Potatoes take time to grow, they can take any where from 2 to 4 months (70-120 days) before you can harvest them. The groundwork must be done first then the tilling (preparing the dirt). Once the tilling has been completed then the seeds can be sown or in this instance the potatoes planted. Now after the groundwork has been laid and planting completed one now must have faith, hope that come harvest time a good crop of potatoes will be ready for the plucking.
If the weather forecast foretold not a drop of rain this season, in that your area would be in severe drought, would you go ahead and plant those potatoes or forego? If you planted before you knew the weather forecast and you faced day in and day out of no rain and the plants were withering how would your faith hold up in the case of a bountiful crop of potatoes come harvest time?
Faith is an amazing thing to have, especially when the bad times roll on around. Faith isn't a guarantee that all will go your way and things will work out the way YOU need them to. Having faith doesn't mean your life will be sunshine and roses, storms will come. It's having faith in the LORD above that will give you the strength and courage to weather those storms.
When Robert and I were married we had put all our money into our wedding and into getting a septic installed on the land we'd be living on as husband and wife. The land came with 5 acres that housed 2 chicken houses, a compost barn, a garage and the foundation for a house that was never completed.
After much much much discussion on where we would live and what we would live in I finally agreed to live in a 30ft. Camper (I was seriously out of my mind with love when I agreed to this) which housed 1 bedroom with a full bed, tiny bathroom with no door which housed a toilet, sink and a small shower in which Robert had to hunch over in just to take one, the tiniest kitchen I've ever been in with a dorm refrigerator, and enough so called living room space which housed 2 chairs and a table for our T.V. I agreed to live in said camper for 2 months until his Parents finished building their dreamy log cabin chalet and then we would take over their 2 bedroom, 1 bath mobile home they were living in. We would then live in the mobile home until we ourselves completed building our own house on top of the foundation that the previous owners had started on the property. Funny how the things we plan for don't always come to fruition or can change on a dime.
The day after Robert and I were married he brought me home to our 30ft. Americana Camper we had both picked out together on Thanksgiving Day 2008 a little less than a month before we were to be married. We spent our wedding night at a hotel which Robert found and booked after our reception party where we somehow ended up staying to clean everything up and load it into everyone's respective vehicles (a whole other posting for another time) once the party was over. I had dreams of a beautiful honeymoon in Ireland (which I found out wouldn't be happening that Thanksgiving Day of buying the camper as when talking over finances after septic, camper and wedding we had none left over for a honeymoon) or at the very least a weekend honeymoon spent lavishing in a nice hotel somewhere. On our wedding night Robert drove us to a hotel and checked us into a 1 bedroom with king size bed and hot tub around midnight. As a new bride you look forward to the romance, a nice hotel, flowers, wine, basically everything planned out ahead of time not something thought of at the last minute. My husband only bought us a 1 night stay for which I was a little dumbfounded as I was expecting something a bit more ( You only get married once, well for me anyway and you'd think on your wedding night you'd pull out all the stops) but I loved him enough not to let it bug me for long. We met up with family for the opening of the wedding gifts the following morning and it turned out to be a really beautiful and heartfelt day. After we said our goodbye's to family we loaded up what as left of my belongings as well as my Purebred Red Nose Pitt Sky into the white Dodge One Ton pickup truck that was on loan from his Dad for the weekend.
We then made the hour and a half drive to our new home in Etowah,TN. We arrived late so Robert didn't have a chance to get the electric and water hooked up in the camper so asked if I wanted to stay in a hotel for the night for which I replied no. I was to excited to start our journey as husband and wife and told him we had plenty of blankets so we should be fine until morning. Who knew that it would turn out to be the coldest night on record!!!We used our flashlights to get ready for bed and after placing our water in the fridge which wasn't on we all bundled up into the full sized bed in the back of the camper. Robert, myself and my dog Sky all huddled together underneath four blankets and a sleeping bag and went to bed. Thirty minutes into going to bed found all three of us still shivering and huddling further into each other for warmth. We were dressed in our winter gear and I even had on my fuzzy pink bathrobe over my clothes as it was thick and should have provided some extra warmth! My teeth began to chatter two hours after going to bed and I kept thinking I should have chosen the hotel but by then it was passed midnight so I just prayed for morning and 5 minutes in the Sahara Dessert so I could at least feel my toes again. OH MY GOSH I felt like I would never be warm again, I felt the cold all the way to my bones and my poor Sky was shivering next to me! It's pretty bad when your dog is shivering! Needless to say Robert was up at 5am to work on the electric so we'd have heat. I finally crawled out of bed at 6am to grab the water in the fridge only to find out it had frozen solid! The fridge wasn't even on and the sucker had frozen, that's how dang cold it was that night!! While he worked on getting the electric up I went to stay at his Parent's place in my pink fuzzy bathrobe, blue winter hat and layer upon layer of clothes underneath. I was so embarrassed to go over there with his family and extended family there but jeeze I needed heat in a bad way more than I cared how I was dressed and what they'd think. I was so friggin cold and it actually took hours before I started to feel warm again. I shiver just thinking about that night! BRRrrrrr!
Needless to say by lunchtime the electric and water were on and working beautifully! Our first two nights as husband and wife were not what my dreams were made of. They were so far from what I had imagined and dreamed of that had someone told me before I met Robert this would happen I would have laughed them off the face of the earth and then avoided any man with Robert's description! SERIOUSLY!! I pictured myself married to someone who rode a motorcycle and traveled the world, not someone who had farming in his blood, never been on a motorcycle and never had time to travel.
Funny how love changes us. All I felt that day was blessed. Blessed to be married to the man GOD made just for me, blessed that he knew how to get the electric and water up and going, blessed that he offered the hotel stay the night before (which yes I do wish I would have taken him up on it but then again we made memories, a great story to tell our kids one day and grandkids.), blessed to be apart of something, and so very blessed that I married a man with a great butt that keeps me coming back for more handfuls...oops meant eyefuls.;P
Fast forward 6 years to the year 2014. We lost the lease on two parcels of land that we relied on for raising our Katahdin sheep and hay. There was a horrific accident on our farm leading to someone's death. A lawsuit for $2.5 Billion was brought against us for said accidental death. We then were hit with mandatory upgrades to the chicken houses and until completed we could not have chickens, therefore we lost our main source of income on the farm. It was one thing right after another and it just kept coming! The following year had us selling off what we could just to survive and put food on the table. We sold off our herd of sheep which was roughly around 200 Ewes plus Rams and most of that went into fixing up the chicken houses. Robert picked up jobs here and there to help make ends meet while he tried to keep the farm going and keep it out of foreclosure. The end of 2015 saw us on government assistance otherwise known as EBT, on WIC and even found us visiting food pantries and churches for assistance with food. Where had we gone so wrong? Robert was sleepwalking again, his left eye twitched constantly, he was always stressed and working from sunup to sundown. He was anxious and even a bit depressed (which I only found out last year when I came across a website he'd been looking at about feeling anxious and depressed. It truly dumbfounded me as to look at him you'd never know he was feeling that way. For the first time as his wife I felt like I was failing him.) which at the time I didn't even realize. He was a man with the weight of the world on his shoulders. Our faith was being tested.
We had a lot of people who thought we were not doing what the LORD wanted us to be doing, that we must not have been serving HIM as we ought to otherwise none of this would have befallen us. On occasion I thought so as well. I was reminded one day after Robert and I finished reading the book of Job in the King James Version Bible that this wasn't the case. That perhaps we were being tried in fire and refined or as my dear friend Glenda put it in my previous post, " As gold and silver are refined by fire, so you and your precious family are being refined, and you'll come out shiny and fresh once the process is over!" The LORD doesn't cause bad things to happen to us however at times HE'LL allow us to go through them praying we place our trust in HIM to bring us through, praying we do not waver in our faith in HIM to handle what's come our way. It's been a hard road, definitely not an easy one and definitely not the life I envisioned us having however, I honestly wouldn't trade it or go back and do it differently. I'd still marry my sexy beast of a husband, still live in a 30ft. camper and feel claustrophobic for as long as need be and still go through what we're going through now as we are stronger for it, stronger in our faith, as a couple, as individuals and as parents. Sometime we must go through difficult times so that we grow and learn. Some may think I'm out of my mind but I do believe we are blessed to be going through these difficult times. Not that I enjoy them but they do draw us closer to the LORD and each other. Seriously compared to Job in the Bible we have it way easier!
The fall of 2015 Robert and I watched a movie called "Faith Like Potatoes" which was based off a true story. It was a story of a farmer who against all odds planted a field of potatoes during an unprecedented drought taking a major risk of them not growing and coming in come harvest time. No other farmer planted potatoes and thought the one that did was crazy for doing so. He would lose it all if his crop of potatoes didn't come in. The plants were dried up on top from lack of rain and he had no irrigation to water them but he had faith and prayed and left it all in the LORD's hands. Come harvesting time the whole town showed up and lo and behold they dug up the biggest potato harvest they'd ever seen! GOD is truly amazing so much so that my jaw and knees drop to the floor more times than I can count. A month after watching that movie we went to see if we had any sweet potatoes to dig up as we had planted some earlier that year but didn't think any of them made it as it was more of a dry year with not much rain. Our plants didn't look like they fared so well but lo and behold it was our biggest crop ever!!!!! All I could think of at that time was "Faith Like Potatoes".
Robert and I had no idea what was in store for us but we knew whatever came our way we would be fine. If we lost the farm and had to live in a tent then so be it, if we stayed put and our farm was saved then so be it. Either way we knew we'd be fine as if "...God be for us, who can be against us?" -Romans 8:31
No more worrying and no more stress, GOD will handle it all and for all of this we are truly thankful and yes even blessed!
(Sorry this posting is so L-O-N-G but hard to crunch it up into just tidbits here and there. If you're reading this now then thank you so much for following our journey, for caring or being interested enough to read this all the way through. Perhaps in some way what we're going through may be of help to others. I'll shush now and let you get on your way.)
Until next time....