When the Dust Settles

9:08 on a Thursday evening in April. On any typical April evening I would be lying in bed by myself. Probably nodding off as I start in on a another Friends re-run that I’ve seen ten times already.  But tonight, my husband is home because rain doesn’t care about corn needing to be in the ground – it comes and goes as it pleases and if you ask any farmer, it never picks an opportune time. 

So, here I lay snuggled up safely to my sleepy farmer who is sawing some serious logs right now. Is it weird that I think it’s adorable… yeah okay… just going to give him a quick nudge… annnd now he’s rolling over….Yeah, I think we are safe for about fifteen minutes…I had better make this quick. 

9:10 on a Thursday evening and I can’t sleep. Typical me, my brain is turned all the way up to ten right before bed, but all week it seems my brain has been at a solid two and I’m being generous. Most nights when this happens, I can almost promise you it is some silly thought that can wait until tomorrow, but tonight, for some reason, it has my head spinning. Have you ever heard the saying, “Sleep on it.” or “Get some rest, you’ll feel better in the morning.”? What a ridiculous thing to tell a woman. Oh yes, let me just sleep on all of these thoughts (probably made up scenarios) and in the morning I’ll be completely fine. No dramatic notions here….

Disclaimer: My mom used to always say those exact words to me when I couldn’t fall asleep and guess what? It always seemed better in the morning. Those mom’s and their wisdom. 

But here I am tonight, trying to call my mom’s bluff, thinking of things I should really try to be more mindful of in the day light. 

 Speaking of dump trucks, my fifteen minutes has suddenly shrunk to four minutes and Kirn is sounding like a bad engine in a 1980s garbage truck…. 

Not. Cute. Anymore. 

Have you ever noticed our lives are built through moments? Whether that be big or small, good or bad… we live from moment to moment. Some we look forward to, some make us nervous and some we never see coming but could make the largest impact on us. Well last week, our family lived in a moment that I couldn’t even begin to describe to you through writing. It was a moment of fear, a moment of sympathy, a moment of pure love and support – it was a moment that came from a power larger than all of us. And even though this moment was very much so planned and anticipated by many, it was one of the most shocking yet humbling moments I’ve ever experienced. 

But how’d we get to this moment? I sit here tonight and think about every little moment Chasen and Justine have ever experienced (together as a couple or separately as individuals) leading up to this benefit. How those moments had to of impacted each person, who so graciously sat in that jam packed building with us on Friday night. God only knows what each one of those interactions looked like prior to the Seeds of Hope benefit, but nonetheless, what a testament to the incredible people they are today. To have touched so many lives in moments that may be unrecognizable to them, is something not to be reckoned with.  

Wow. Moments. Times in our lives where most days we don’t even realize it but we are creating a significant impact on our life as we know it. Doesn’t that make you sit back and check yourself? What moments do we take for granted? How many times have we passed up a conversation with someone because we were in a hurry or told someone we were too busy to lend a hand? Am I saying we should all self-reflect and then choose to never pass up the next opportunity to go talk to second-cousin Ned for six hours about his bunions because you can’t miss a moment? No… and who’s cousin Ned? And ew bunyons, Ashlee… sorry.. am I losing you? 

I am just saying there is always opportunity to make an impact on not only your life but also others around you. And I will be the first to throw my yellow flag in the air to admit I take things for granted more often than I should. 

So, at 9:35 pm I leave you with this, we all have some pretty incredible people in our lives. So, when the dust settles after a well planned and highly anticipated moment of your life, take a second to recognize what brought you to that point and rejoice in the smaller moments that got you there. 


Fixing Fence

Another quiet Thursday evening, because Kirn is busy preparing for a busy spring. So I am slaving away in the kitchen, whipping up what is promising to taste as good as it smells – chicken quesadilla. Look out, Top Chef, Ashlee’s got a microwave and she’s not afraid to use the express 1 minute option. Nights when he gets home late sometimes take me back to yesteryear, reminding me of college when my fridge could consist of tortilla shells, turkey and shredded cheese for two weeks and I’d never starve.

Finally around 9 pm, he strolls in the house, completely covered in Lord knows what, but it smells fresh. I can tell he’s had it, spent from a long day of putting miles on that old Case tractor that I swear came down the assembly line the same year his great grandpa was born. You ladies know the one. It’s the tractor where the speed controls are still between a tortoise and a hair, sort of resembles an old space ship inside that needs WD-40 and smells like coffee and musk.

After throwing his clothes ON the hamper… not IN because that extra motion is very taxing after a long day (insert half grin and excessive eye roll here)…but I won’t push it tonight. After a “Hi Honey, how was your day” with those adorable dimples, I can’t help but be thankful for such a hard working man. But then he says it. Those words that you love to hate.

“Will you help me fix fence this weekend?”

This question has become quite familiar in my book of “Questions from your Farmer”. So I am well aware it’s going to be a long afternoon in the cold on a four wheeler built for one and probably a few note worthy spats that go something like this…

Kirn- “Can you hand me the stretchers?”
Ashlee – “You got it dude.” Takes a shot in the dark and hands him the fencing pliers with way too much confidence
Kirn- “Honney, the STRETCHERS”
Yeah..like enunciating this word is going to help me find something that sounds extremely uncomfortable
Ashlee – “Sorry- this one?” Still not right
Kirn gets up and grabs it himself…then I get upset because I blew my shot at ever knowing what the stretchers were and he’s annoyed (so I think) that he could have done this job alone after all.

But, because I never want him to stop asking me to help, I oblige and start to think of a few good jokes to tell along the fence line on Saturday morning.

Saturday morning comes much too early and we can see our breath as we are loading up the four wheeler with all of the important supplies to make a fence look supreme…this includes coffee. Don’t be silly girls, just because you’re wearing enough layers to make it difficult to move in a normal manner doesn’t mean you can’t drink your favorite latte in the meantime. Plus, Kirn knows my coffee is like euphoria in a cup – I need it. 

As we take off into the field, the hectic noise of the farm starts to dim and a busy lifestyle seems to be behind us, if only for a few hours. The cold air suddenly seems quite refreshing and hanging on tight to stay warm feels kind of romantic. As I am typing this, I feel a bit ridiculous knowing he is definitely not thinking the same things as me. I imagine his thoughts go something like this…”So, I am fixing fence now, and if the rain holds off I can go get task 2, 3, 4 and 5 done today so tomorrow I have time to do 6 and 7. Hopefully there is enough fuel in the skid loader to clean the lots up next week…” You get it, man stuff.

But even though Kirn has probably not realized it yet, I am considering today a date. Because for three hours, we get the world to ourselves. We get to talk about all of life’s happenings with no distractions. (Who needs a dinner for two in the big city?) Without even realizing it, we will plan out the next twenty years of life.. our dreams, our goals, our worries and doubts. Without even knowing, we will not only be working on the fence that we came out here to fix, but we will also be mending a little bit of our distracted souls. Remembering exactly why we chose to tackle this journey of life together. Mending fences and hearts one barbed wire reel at a time.