New Year's New Steps

Happy 2013! What do you want to do in this New Year? Anything you want to conquer or learn? Oh boy, I need to make a list for real. 2013 is going to be full of farm lessons for me, I’m sure. Ay-Ay-Ay, you know it. And I’ll celebrate my 50th year on this earth, so I think I’ll make a list for that too.

But not now. Some other time. Now? Now I’m tired. I’m tired and it’s New Year’s Eve; I just got back from a quick trip to my home in Georgia, so I’m writing this blog post when I should be popping a cork or blowing a horn. Nah, I’ll still have time for that! It’s only 9 o’clock. Three more hours of 2012.

There’s no place like home for the holidays. We all sing that song at Christmas time. Well, I’m here to tell you that it is TRULY TRUE.

This Christmas was the first one EVER that my husband and I spent without our parents and siblings. I couldn’t take it any more.

So, my daughter and I and Oreo, the dog, jumped in the car and left this:

 While my husband tended these boys for me:

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  1. Jeanette Jacobson says:

    I, too, live in an old farmhouse that we have been renovating for almost 20 years. We’re not done yet! You’ve made great progress on yours & it’s looking great! My favorite view out the window is looking at my peacocks perched on the barn door. Happy New Year!

  2. Lois Schultz says:

    I love your old farmhouse…..just love it. You have done wonders. Thx for the update. I have been following your progress. I have always wanted to live in the country so I live vicariously thru u. 🙂 Enjoy.

  3. Marcie says:

    Hi Rebekah,
    Oh WOW! What a great way to start the New Year, with a wonderful blog from you. Your new home is so beautiful and the renovation is coming along so well… love it all.

    For us, our big project will be to finish our back deck, put a ‘for sale’ sign on this place and find our ‘forever home’ on up the mountain. There are so many things we want to do, but we say, ‘save that idea for the forever home’.

    Thanks for all your New Year inspirations and looking forward to seeing your finished project.
    Take care & get some rest,

  4. Rebecca says:

    Happy New Year!! Loved seeing the photos and reading about your house again. What wonderful memories you are creating! The piano has just the right spot! I can imagine the joy you feel sitting there. I see why you love your painted stairs as well…I’m thinking about that one, but my house was built in 1875 and the stairs tilt so I might have to keep the runner…but I sure do love the look!
    So enjoy reading your posts and look fwd to many more. It’s nice to be able to dream through others adventures and photos. (Adore the photo of you daughter)!

    Have a beautiful day!


  5. Diane Van Horn says:

    Thank you so much for the mini tour! It is looking beautiful and warm and homey! So happy that you were able to go home for the Holidays, even for a little while. May you and yours have a Blessed New Year! Look forward to your posts.

  6. Pam deMarrais says:

    Rebekah, I love what you have done with the house…everything! The front stairs looks so good with the paint, and your furniture fits perfectly in both rooms. The claw foot tub in the bathroom is so luxurious looking. I agree that it was worth having to find a place for the pipes downstairs. You have such great taste in classic furnishings and colors, which makes the farmhouse have such a traditional feel. Kudos!
    May you be blessed with good fortune and good health in 2013!

  7. Joan says:

    Happy New Year Rebekah and family and farm and house and all the animals. What a great tour of your lovely home – wheweeee you have been BUSY and doing such a wonderful job breathing life back into the ole girl. I miss ‘going home’ for the Holidays, so happy you got at least a quick trip. You sure got my juices thinking about the TO DO’S in my life – going to get on that today. I did start today making a Thankful jug, which is a big jug/jar that I am going to put colored pieces of paper in with a jotted note of Thankfulness for every day, then next New Year’s Eve we will read them as a family. So best get going now and get to that list – but first I’d best do what is at hand – Love and God Bless you and yours.

  8. loreta says:

    That was a wonderful tour of your house I kept scrolling back and forth to see if I had missed anything. I always enjoy your blog and your FB comments. Looking forward to seeing all your finished house. Love you.

  9. Adrienne says:

    You’ve done an amazing transformation and should be congratulated. There is still much to do but your changes are wonderful so far. You go, farmgirl!

  10. Keleen says:

    I love what you have done to your farmhouse so far, especially leaving the worn steps on your staircase! You asked for ideas on furniture arrangement in the living room, so I think you should consider the fireplace the focal point of the room and arrange the main furniture pieces toward it, such as bringing the sofa around to face the fireplace. Fill in empty areas with other items you have on hand. Don’t be afraid to bring your sofa and chairs out from around the walls into the middle of the room. Beautiful home, Rebekah!

  11. JoEllen says:

    I absolutely love every aspect of your farmhouse. So original and beautiful and your placement of furniture is just right. I know how you feel about getting a lot of stuff into a smaller place and then deciding what you can use and what you can do without. My circumstances are different, but the feeling is the same. We live in a very small house and recently decided to move my elderly mom in with us. She lived in a 2 room apartment with lots of neat things and with a small amount of time to move them, 3/4 of it came to our house; in a spare bedroom,in the garage, in a storage unit, and some incorporated into our decor to make her feel at home. We do what we have to do and rejoice in the fact that we have a choice to do it. So much fun to look at your home and in my mind escape to where you live in that wide open space. Look forward to more posts as this new year goes on.

  12. Shery says:

    Wow WOw WOWEEEE, HUGE progress…so elegant in the countrified sense of the word. You’ve gotten so much done in a short period of time. Gorgeous stem to stern. How good it must feel to enjoy the comfy feel of your wonderful new home. It has such a warm and welcoming feel.

  13. Denise says:

    Love the changes you’ve made. Looks great. Love love your front stairs – awesome. Glad you stuck with your color plan for them.
    Dining chandelier looks great, don’t worry bout the box and if they’re not crystal. Zips the room up
    Cheers happy 2013

  14. kay says:

    Your home is warm and inviting. Thank you for sharing. Happy New Year……

  15. Tammie says:

    Hi Rebecca,

    I love your posts as well as the photos. The picture above the mantel that you love so much but looks out of scale, you can get another frame that is larger, hang the photo on the wall and place the larger frame over that. If the frame is decorative it will look charming and make your photo look as though that is where it always belonged. 🙂 Happy New Year all!!!

  16. Rene Foust says:

    I love what you have done to your home so far….simply beautiful! I know all about the sloping floors, the floors in my "tv room" slope so much you can see it. But I guess when you are almost 200 years old you are allowed to slope. Good luck with everything and thanks for sharing!

  17. Sandy says:

    Love love it! So elegant and yet farm-ish! Love the painted steps. I too would swing the couch around so it faces the fireplace, the chair too, maybe a coffee table. For your treasured picture I would use a bigger frame with a matt behind it to give it some weight. Everything looks great, thanks for sharing with us.

  18. carol branum says:

    Rebecca,How wonderful!I am so happy for you! carol B.

  19. Lorrie says:

    Your house is beautiful! I’m not surprised you’re tired; it’s clear that you’ve put in a lot of work. I can tell you this – downsizing is only really difficult when you’re doing it. Change and letting go of things is hard. But when it’s done, it’s done. Then you can see and live the dream. What you let go of doesn’t matter anymore. What you end up with is exactly right. Your house is absolutely charming. Anyone can have even floors, but your view, your horses, your unique and special home, the peace and joy that comes from living in beauty? Priceless. Thank you for sharing as you go. Not just pictures (I love those, too), but the reminder that dreams can come true and be as wonderful as we hoped.

  20. Debbie says:

    Wow Rebekah! Things are really coming along! I love your style! Great house, great rooms, great people! What more do you need? I would be pooped too! Your hard work is paying off though… It’s just beautiful!
    Happy New Year
    Love and hugs from your beach farmgirl sister!

  21. Cindy Hailey says:

    I’m so in love! Two staircases! I grew up with two and hope one day, as you, to have them again. What a wonderful job you are doing-it’s such an encouragement. Old homes seem to want something done all the time, but seeing others’ success gives hope. (Our current home was ‘born’ in 1936.) Thanks for taking the time to share you home, your thoughts, and your ideas.
    OH…btw, if you do ever tire of the wood panelling, (we eventually did in one of our former homes), there is this awesome thick wallpaper that goes easily over panelled walls. There are many designs to choose from and they are paintable! In fact, the patterns are raised, so they can even be painted in two colors…Like very close, but slightly different whites, etc. Maybe you already know about the paper, and maybe you won’t ever elect to try it, but just in case…
    Thanks again for sharing your ‘stuff’…Such important stuff it is, too. 🙂

  22. Cindy says:

    First of all, I totally get what you are talking about with moving stuff from one home into another. And I lay awake at night thinking about how I have too much stuff! AUGH! We are living in one room, in our basement, while we build our house, ourselves. And I’ve been bringing stuff from our house in town, mostly by myself. I want it done by the end of this month. I can’t take it anymore. Our problem is, we are living in a little bit of the basement and we have tried cramming all of the furniture that we aren’t using in our basement and all of our stuff and there is no more room. AND we can’t fill up the upstairs because you can’t build around a full room. I have got to get rid of some stuff, that’s all there is to it.

    About going home for the Holidays. Would it be possible to trade every other year. Have your family to your house for the Holiday (to spend the night even) and then you all go home the next year. Families should do everything they can to be together for the Holidays.

    And I was wondering…where’s Strudel….I’m glad you told us!

    And I didn’t read all of those comments but did anyone suggest this…..take a couple of bigger (graduated sizes) of picture frames….just the frames. Paint them and lean them on the fireplace behind or beside the picture of your daughter, and then it’ll all be the right size, and her picture will still be the focal point.

    OK that’s enough for now. Good luck with it all. I feel your pain girl, I feel your pain!

    Cindy Bee

  23. Janie Butters Hipshear says:

    Oh my dear – you are doing so well! This place is a works in progress as you know. What you have done is great – keep sending us the photos. I love love before and after photos! It gives me hope for my orange counter-top country kitchen.

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Finding Peace & Keeping Hope

I had planned to give you a tour of some of the rooms we’ve finished at our Farmhouse in this post. And then…..Friday happened. It’s kind of hard to give a perky house tour when we’re all feeling so shocked and saddened and scared.

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  1. loreta says:

    Rebekah, you are one in a million. I loved everything you said it is so true.

  2. Cindy says:

    Beautiful, Rebekah! I have been thinking of S.t Francis of Assisi these past few days, and all I want is to be a instrument of peace from this day forward, and forever more. I feel a much deeper commitment to this now. Every action and every word creates the future. Our world needs us all to BE PEACE, not just hope for it, but actually live it! Small ways, big ways, all ways. I ask for guidance everyday, I pray, and then I act…kindly, with purpose, with love. You are such a lovely, lovely lady, a kindred spirit with whom I can see myself having coffee and a deep conversation about what we can all do, right here, right now, to create peace on earth. Many problems are solved when women come together, and many times it starts right over the kitchen table, over the back yard fence, or sitting on the front porch…but then you get up and take it out into the world and give it away!

    Thank you for being you, you’re a blessing! And a Merry, Bright, and Beautiful Christmas to you and yours!

  3. Rene Foust says:

    Thanks for such a wonderful and insightful read. I hope you and your family have the most joyful Christmas ever; it sure sounds like you are well on your way.

    P.S. I look forward to seeing your tree at the White House or maybe even Rockefeller center someday!

    May all your dreams come true!

  4. Teri says:

    Amen and Amen.

  5. Sherry says:

    Such truth and insight. I too, have been thinking these things. I know in this world we WILL have trouble….our world is Dark…I am called to be light and show the peace that lives IN me, the Peace that overcomes the world. Thank you for the reminder.

  6. Sharon C. says:

    You do have a way with words. Thank you for the beautiful insight.
    This is what I posted after the shootings last Friday. That Mr Longfellow had a way with words too.

    It was as if an earthquake rent
    The hearth-stones of a continent,
    And made forlorn
    The households born
    Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

    And in despair I bowed my head;
    "There is no peace on earth," I said;
    "For hate is strong,
    And mocks the song
    Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"

    Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
    "God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
    The Wrong shall fail,
    The Right prevail,
    With peace on the earth, good-will to men."

    Merry Christmas , Rebekah and peace for us all.

  7. Maureen says:

    Oh Rebekah! I’m printing this entry off and putting it on my work desk. (I work at a University) You never know what people are feeling, there are so many pressures here, and it just reinforces my philosophy to be as kind as I can to everyone. It comes back to you in the most amazing ways.

    Thanks so much! Many blessings to you and yours!

  8. Jan says:

    Beautiful sentiment, Rebekah. We can all share our positive peace with those around us, in Farmgirl style..I love your elf outfit, too.

  9. Lori says:

    You are an inspiration! Thank you for being you and sharing with the rest of us. Peace unto you and yours.

  10. Debbie says:

    Howdy Sister Rebekah! My heart is heavy too… Love all you shared here today…What else can we do but BE THE CHANGE WE WANT TO SEE…walk in hope and faith every day and be there for each other!
    Lots of love and huge farmgirl hugs to you, your sweet hubby and daughter and all the critters!
    Your beachy farmgirl sister from the northeast!

  11. Diana Henretty says:

    Good Morning From The Ozarks,
    Our hearts and prayers go with each one this holiday season.
    At a time when tragedy struck, I got a call from our daughter who was
    holding her newly adopted baby boy in N. Carolina. Her and her husband left work in Tulsa and drove straight thru to hold him in their arms, tiny at 4 pds.
    My heart was rejoicing, and my heart was sad a the same time, here we are
    given this precious angel for Christmas and 20 angels were taken from our nation. We strive to make sense of it all and come up without answers,
    except to create peace in our own homes and lives hoping that it will spread
    all thru the world.
    Merry Christmas to All From the Christmas City, Noel, Mo ~hugs Diana~

  12. bobbie calgaro says:

    Well said Rebekkah. You have hit the nail on the head. We can not cure the world but we can impact our little peace of it. The Lord is in charge when it is all said and done. He lets evil persist because we live in an imperfect world often of our own making. But HE cares for each one of us as he does the sparrow in the bible verse. We can take comfort in that and share that Love and Comfort with those around us. Take Joy! And a very Merry Christmas

  13. drMolly says:

    Merry Christmas to you & your family, Rebekah. Good ideas for all of us.
    I forget that everyone does not act in the same manner as I do – these type of things seem to be second nature & I do forget.
    Thanks for the reminder.
    Peace & JOY to all this day & forward.

  14. sharon says:

    thank you so much for your words on peace, it is so important to let go of the horrible things going on, and your words on this made me feel better Merry Christmas, my rule this year will be hug those you love just a bit harder…its important.

  15. Meredith (Hereford Girl) says:

    Rebecca- YOU are an ANGEL sent from GOD. You always know just what to say and how to say it. You GO girl- you are so INSPIRING! Merry Christmas and Peace to you and your family!

  16. Louise Marie says:

    Your message gave my peaceful yearnings a much needed boost. Lately peace has been far from my mind and prayers. i listened to Vince Gill’s peace song and Yusef Islam’s Peace Train and read your words. Now i feel that i am on the right path again. TYVM.

  17. Adrienne says:

    Hanukkah ended Saturday and all of us in the Congregation Sherith Israel sent prayers and many blessings to those suffering in Connecticut. Christmas will never be the same holiday but its promise of peace will help all of us heal. Thank you for the wonderful words.

  18. Linda Petersen says:

    Thank you Rebekah for sharing your heart. I agree with you completely & I know it’s the Peace that God gives~~~not the world~~~that sustains us. Let’s shine our lights & lift those precious families up in prayer. Merry Christmas Everyone & Peace be with you!
    XO, Linda

  19. kay says:

    Merry Christmas Rebekah……

  20. bonnie ellis says:

    Rebecca: Peace does begin with us. Thank you for reminding all of us. I find that farmgirls practice this principle. Isn’t it great to be part of something that is so good. God Bless You.

  21. Beverly says:

    Amen, Rebekah, amen. May everyone find PEACE and JOY this holiday season and all the days to come…..

  22. Mary Beth Schwarz says:

    What an inspiring, comforting post. All of us can do something to help those we encounter on our journey through life. The doing helps us in our sorrow and helps others we meet. Thank you for this heartfelt post! Mary Beth

  23. Joan says:

    YOU are beyond my word power – Thank YOU!!!
    God Bless!!

  24. Pat says:

    Rebekah, I couln’t have said it better. Wishing everyone a joyful and peaceful Christmas.

  25. Marion says:

    Rebekah you are truly inspiring. I think too that peace begins with our own selves and how we live our lives. We do need to be aware of and reach out to those who need hope and inspiration. As we spread this peace and kindness may we in some way make our world a better place.

  26. Mary Pitman says:

    wow!!! and there is said that no one believes in God any more! This proves them wrong! Thanks so much for your insight on the world. You are so inspiring to us ‘farm women’, the true believers! You do have a way with words, and we all thank you for sharing.

  27. Deborah Bessom says:

    Thank you for your blog of peace at this time that we celebrate the Prince of Peace. Merry Merry Christmas!!!

  28. Pam Houge says:

    Thank you. I really needed to read this on this cold, gray, misty Iowa morning. You are always an inspiration. Thank you and Merry Christmas. Peace….

  29. Carol in NC says:

    Loved this post. I even took the time to read the comments and I ditto every one of them. Concerning the special tree you found, I get it. I’ve had favorite trees on every piece of property we’ve ever owned and would often seek them out while I was out walking, pat them on their trunks and wish them well.
    Merry Christmas Rebekah to you and your family! Hope it’s wonderful!

  30. Denisha says:

    Very good article. I absolutely appreciate this site.
    Keep it up!

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Joy, Pain, Joy, Pain

I’ve decided that’s the way farm life is:

Joy, Pain, Joy, Pain.

I’ve concentrated on the JOY and not on the PAIN.


Continue reading

  1. Diane Van Horn says:

    "Snowflake, Sweetie Pie"! I have a feeling that Sweetie Pie will end up being the name you use the most. It kind of just rolls off the tongue. I do like Snowflake also! Having more than one name is a good thing. My dogs, kids and Husband have many! I am so happy that you have started to straighten out the unnecessary complications! Have a wonderful and blessed Christmas! Look forward to hearing more about your horse education.

  2. Joan says:

    Through it all – JOY!!!!
    Thanks for another wonderful visit to THE FARM – oh yes I do remember the JOY of living on the farm – oh the bottle calves – that was my chore – feed the calves – we had buckets with feeder nipples – we’d hang the buckets on the fence – the calves would come running – making their darling bawl sound and then no sound other than the sucking – ahhh the JOY. A round pen – the only way to go – no corners to hide in. After a time and it sounds like it won’t be long, your Snowflake/Sweetie Pie will be talking to you like a dear friend – JOY. I just had my main living area, hallway, master bath and closet floorings redone – oh my goodness what a mess the whole house was – but cleaned up and now onto the next project – I know my ‘redo’ is NOTHING in comparison to what you are doing – my family did that big job when I was just about 9 – our ‘new’ house had been used to store grain – so yes I can relate to your pain – JOY. You are one strong farmgirl/family. Yes I do need to hear your pain for such is life and you do handle it with such JOY. God Bless and Merry Christmas to ALL – people/dogs/cats/horses et al.

  3. kay says:

    I remember calves sucking on my hand as a young girl on my grandparents farm in Montana….what fun calves are and cows in general are my favorite farm animal…course I love chickens too. Not much of a horse person, think it is because they are soooo big.

    Enjoy your horse of many names…….Happy Holidays!

  4. Pam deMarrais says:

    Rebekah, That was a great idea to look up Snowflake’s pedigree to choose a name. It gives him roots. Like that. I can totally relate to your feeling of ‘newness’ dealing with a horse on your own for the first time. My daughter was 10 when we got our Morgan horse, and she could handle him so much better that I could. I got the "Don’t you tell me what to do" behavior when I tried to ride him. He would just march me right back to the barn…very humbling. I did take some lessons, but not enough to have the confidence I needed to win him over. We were good buddies though, and he always came running to me when I headed near the pasture to sniff my pockets for possible carrots.
    You are really getting your feet wet with this new chapter of your life, but before long you will be helping to encourage other newbie farmers. I love that you were able to share that your life has been upside down with all of the transition. Whose wouldn’t? This is a big undertaking for you and your family. Just the new house is enough stress! I think that you are pretty amazing!

  5. KimberlyD says:

    I would name him Sweetie Pie, since that is what you have been calling him and he seems to be one too! Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  6. Cindy says:

    Sounds like your horse has Grit! Didn’t you do a post on grit one time? Maybe that should be his name! I’m learning the ways of country life too. I’ll post about it when I get a computer that works (sigh)

    Cindy Bee

  7. Shery says:

    Sometimes it takes awhile for herd politics to re-organize. Your Snowflake was asserting himself and letting whomever might bully him know that is isn’t going to take it anymore. He just might work his way to the top. My dad’s old gelding did that years ago when he was moved to a new location (new pasture). One by one, he elevated his way up to ‘Boss Hogg’ through about a dozen pasture mates.

    Keeping livestock is tuff on the tender-hearted. *Really* tuff. Over the years, I’ve grown callouses where needed, they came by way of tears and heartache.

    For some of us, the many anxious places between livestock and possible deadstock is named Dreadville. Prayer is my #1 coping tool with all of the animals we are stewards of. "The righteous looketh well to the care of their beasts". Praying your way through farming is as ancient as the lifestyle itself.

    Love the name Snowflake. Just like people, horses also find themselves in a state of re-inventing themselves when they land in a new home. Sometimes the adjustment is slight. Other times they require of us more patience, probably discipline … and 4-sure confidence. You’ve got good help available and determination being a core trait in you will get you to the other side…JOYJOYJOY!! Happy Holydays to you in your new home.

  8. carol branum says:

    Hi Becca,
    I heard that the yellow milk heifers bring more at the sale barn than the black and white ones and that white and yellow are second,because they withstand heat and cold better,you only want to keep them for ten weeks and then sale.You can double your money.Lots of work,but,you do have a daughter that can help,it would be remodling money.Have a nice Christmas. carol branum

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