My husband loves to be outside working in the yard and building things.

Every chance he gets (even as I type this) he is outside doing some sort of project. Lord knows we’d have a lot more livestock and homegrown produce if our property and city zoning allowed for it.
It’s our dream to own land in a more rural area someday.

This week I’ve been thinking about these dreams to possibly walk in the footsteps of my amazing father-in-law. Don has been on my heart and mind all week long since his soul went up to heaven to be with Jesus this past Monday.

He was so ready to meet his savior, which made a difficult loss a little less painful. When I remember Don, the list of talents and attributes goes on and on, but one thing that he was known for was the grit and ingenuity he had tending to his homestead. He has always been a skillful craftsman. If you look around at their gorgeous 11-acre property, everything from the gate, to the barn, to the house itself he built by hand.

On top of that, he could grow just about anything and work with animals too! He had an endless supply of knowledge about everything agricultural and mechanical.

One fun memory of Don that I can recall in great detail (because I documented it here on the blog) was a conversation I had with him about his upbringing. I asked him if he was raised on a farm.

He was hesitant to answer yes and needed clarification. In the sense of commercial farming as a source of income, he was not raised on a farm. They did live off of the land though (which back then where he was from was just living, not necessarily farming). They raised their own meat, milked their own cows, and planted their own crops. He shared memories of putting curdled milk in a pillowcase tied tight with a stick that would become cottage cheese. He remembered a wood burning stove, a root cellar, and a cantankerous rooster that when finally caught was slaughtered by his mother on the chopping block for Sunday dinner. He remembered that same rooster winking at his mother after being decapitated. She wasn’t able to kill another chicken after that day.

Don moved around a lot in his adult years, but his dream of returning to his country roots came true when they built a house on some farm land Texas shortly after J had moved out. They had cows, horses, cats, and a couple of dogs. It was true country living.

Maybe, when our kids are grown that will be our story too. Who knows.

When J and I celebrated our ten year anniversary we renewed our vows on his parent’s land. It was gorgeous and I’ve written about this special memory over and over.

I have even mentioned that we had photos of our wedding rings on some of Don’s old farming equipment.

One of my good friends took these photos. They represent us and our heritage so well. Another photo she took that day is this one of the two of us with our pastors and our parents. It’s one of my favorites!
It’s a big part of why we can have a thriving marriage after 20 years. All three of these couples were married young like us, they all went through struggles like us, and they all had a strong faith in God that carried them through. It breaks my heart that our patriarch is gone. We will miss him, but what he left that is even more significant than the things he built with his hands is the family he led with his heart.
We will carry the memories in our hearts, until we meet again.