Wednesday, November 13, 2013

a day of gratitude

it's november 13th already, so i guess it's about time i do some "official" posts about what i am so grateful for in my life right now. on monday i detailed my gratitude for our country's veterans through my late grandpa shoaf and everything that surrounded his passing back in february. i am beyond glad i recorded all those memories to never forget. 

yesterday wasn't a typical day. you see, farm boy, flew out of the salt lake airport for a job interview that morning and flew back in that afternoon, so i took the chance i had to hang out in a different valley for the day. 

my very first stop was a quick breakfast of my favorite french toast at kneaders. oh so good! and then i made the short drive down the road to this beautiful place in jordan. 

it was my first time doing a temple session alone. i was a little nervous at first and hesitated to commit going since i've been sick the past few days, but man oh man i am so glad i went. being in the temple gives me such an amazing feeling. i feel loved, important, known, and that i am doing great work for the Lord! i have missed that feeling so much, and being in the temple reminded me i need to go more often. and that got me to thinking. here in logan, utah i live literally less than five miles from the temple. while i was in salt lake valley yesterday i could have drove to over four different temples in 30 minutes. and it hit me, i am incredibly blessed here in this region of the country! temples surround me everywhere. i have the opportunity to go to work eat dinner, and go to a temple session and still be home at a decent time for bed. growing up in indiana, a temple trip is almost an all day trip since our closest temple is in louisville kentucky. soon to be indianapolis once it is all finished in a couple years, which will make a temple trip much easier.

i am beyond grateful for temples. and the availability i have to attend them whenever i desire.

and before i sign off this here blog today, i have one more thing (or person, really) that i was reminded i am beyond grateful for in my life. farm boy has been working so so hard these past couple months. and not just in school, and work, but with our future after he graduates. he has put countless hours into researching companies, perfecting his resume, applying, practicing for interviews and so on. i don't know how i could ever do everything he has done. i know he gets so nervous over it all, and feels a lot of pressure, but he has done amazing things these past few weeks, and we're not even done with it all yet. i can't say much about all the details here and now, but i can say no matter what direction we end up going i have the brightest future ahead of me with this hard working farm boy.  

Monday, November 11, 2013

veterans day, and the shoaf legacy

veterans day has always brought back so many memories for me. and with this being the fist veteran's day since my grandpa shoaf passed away, it holds an even deeper spot in my heart.

as a young boy in the 1940s, my grandpa lied about his age and joined the Navy. he served as a seabee during the korean war. 

every year my high school invites the elementary school next door over, and puts on a veterans day program. my grandpa and grandma would attend every year. i remember as a young elementary student walking over to the high school and scouring all the seats in the center, which were reserved for veterans, to find my grandparents. when the program ended, all my cousins and i (and most often my dad would be there with them) would instantly run over to them to talk as long as we could before going back to class.     

on february 11, 2013 my grandpa, paul franklin shoaf, left behind the greatest legacy i know. farm boy and i were just dating when i got the news that morning, but we quickly made the necessary changes to be with all my family later that week. this meant making the 24 hour drive from utah to  hope, indiana on valentine's day aka my 22nd birthday. it was unbelievably worth it though.    

my mind is so scattered as memories of that weekend home, as well as the 22 years i was blessed to know and spend time with my grandpa. so instead of trying to sort them out perfectly for this blog post, i am just going to ramble a bit, and get all these memories recorded here so i don't ever forget them.

as soon as word spread, several family members worked tirelessly to gather photos of my grandpa throughout his life. i loved looking at these, and hearing all the crazy stories.

my absolute favorite photo of my grandpa is shown on the very bottom left of this display.

and here it is much larger. this is my grandpa with his brother ike, and sister (not positive which sister though). they rigged up this cart and harness for their goat to take them around town. 

my grandma has a large print of this in her home (along with many other great family photos, that i love to look at every time i visit), and when my little sister frances was younger, she would try to do this herself with goats my parents bought her at auctions.

my grandpa was always so proud of his service, and often told some really great stories about those days. my favorite is his story of getting a mermaid tattoo on his arm. 

my grandparents have 13 children, so my grandpa worked hard year round doing constructions work mainly. my parents bought an old foreclosure house when i was in high school, and i worked along side him the whole summer to fix it up as a rental property. he's also worked on the gazebo in our town square, and countless farm and house projects on my parents farm.  

he didn't just work on houses or construction sites though. he was an amazing wood worker. and the proof is in all the pictures below. he often made picture frames and filled them with arrowheads he'd found around their farm property. he even made bassinets for several family members. my mom, sister, and sister-in-law all received one when they were pregnant with their first child. i wish i knew how many he has made total.   

my grandpa left behind such an amazing, and very large legacy when he passed. he, along with my grandma had 13 children (11 boys and 2 girls). according to the obituary in the paper, he had 69 grandchildren, and 41 great-grandchildren at the time (and since then there has been at least a few new great-grandchildren born, and more on the way).

with a family so large, the "shoaf" name is known by everyone in our small town of hope and the surrounding area. my grandpa was very well known for his family, service, work, and for being an all around kind man to anyone he was in contact with. 

this photo is the most recent family reunion that was held during the summer of 2011.

and all the children with grandma before the funeral. 

as soon as farm boy and i arrived in indiana that week, we instantly went over to the local high school in town. the same high school my dad and siblings all attended, as well as myself and my siblings, and several other grandchildren and even great-grandchildren now. we went to help set up chairs for the viewing and funeral that would occur there the next day.

my grandpa was actually great friends with the family of the local funeral home in hope (heck, my grandpa was great friends with everyone in hope). however, when just your family alone easily totals over 100 people, the small local funeral home doesn't quite cut it. the high school administration was very kind though and rearranged athletic event locations so we could use the large main gym for the services. and we did just the next two days. 

i remember the gym quickly filling up with family members arriving from all over the country. 

i remember looking at all the beautiful flowers so many friends and families sent.

i remember staring at the amazing flower arrangement on my grandpa's casket, especially the robin's nesk, and bees that are such a special tough reminding me of my grandpa.

i remember my grandma who was so strong. i mean, she has to one tough woman to raise 13 kids in some really tough days. (and just so you know that's my grandma, and beautiful older sister, christa)

i remember going to hug her the morning of the funeral, and i honestly didn't even want to. i knew i would break down and not be able to handle it at all, but farm boy pushed me towards her and pretty much made me confront her. and i'm so glad he did. she was the only one that could comfort me at that time, and i am so grateful for those few moments we had together.  

i remember the night of the viewing so well. family and friends all gathered in the gym to pay their respects. the line of people wound around most of the gym the entire night. my siblings and i staked out a section of the seats and hung out together the whole night. we recounted memories of grandpa, grandma, dad, and the farm. we laughed, and joked. we played with my nieces, and nephews. we brought in close friends and family to talk and laugh even more. i won't ever forget those moments with them that night. 

i remember after several hours, we took a quick pizza break and went to a local pizza shop for their buffet. they were close to closing, and had little pizza left, but when a group of shoafs came in they asked us what we wanted and quickly filled our stomachs up so we could get back to the high school.

i remember the last hour or so of that night, which was probably my favorite. the crowd died down, and most people headed home. some of the family hung around though, including my entire family (minus a few tired nieces, and nephew). in those last moments that night farm boy and olliver became new best friends again. they used the giant aisle down the middle of the gym as a race course and proceeded to race each other what seemed a hundred times. family members slowly started saying their goodbyes to my grandpa since it was the last few moments before his casket would be sealed forever. my grandma said a few words, one of my cousins gave a prayer, and then it was time to go home till the morning. leaving the gym that night was hard. saying goodbye to my grandpa and leaving him behind was beyond hard for me. and the thousands of tears running down my eyes, and all my siblings showed just that.  

 i remember the music sang, the words spoken, and the stories retold.

i remember the long, long, long line of cars in the procession that made a loop around our town square before heading to the cemetery.

i remember the folding and presenting of the flag to my grandma and then the playing of the Taps.

i remember grandma telling all the grandchildren to grab a flower from the arrangement to keep.

i remember the luncheon so many friends put together for our very large family to enjoy after a busy couple of days. and getting this sweet picture of farm boy, grandma, and myself. i love this picture so so much, because farm boy is just lit up with happiness. farm boy has taken to my grandma quite well in the past couple of years. he loves her like his own, and looks out for her in any way possible. even more though, grandma loves him back just as much. they have a sweet little relationship between the two, and i am so grateful for them both.

grandpa and grandma on their wedding day. they haven't changed a bit since august 7th, 1952.

when all is said and done, i am beyond grateful for this great man that i call grandpa, and the great man he raised to be my father.

i am so grateful for his service for our country at such a young age.

happy veterans day to all that have served, are serving, and will serve. we live in such a blessed country with so many men and women willing to serve for our freedom.  

Friday, November 8, 2013

flashback friday: the proposal i'll never forget, backstory

this is the last flashback friday about the proposal i promise.this post is actually more about all the little details before and after the proposal that i don't want to forget, and an update on my precious jersey calf that came along with the beautiful ring farm boy gave me. 

farm boy officially bought and picked up the ring the day before valentine's day. on that same day he gave me flowers, chocolate and took me out to dinner with a gift certificate his parents had passed on to him for an italian restaurant in town. we were leaving for indiana the next morning to attend my grandfather's funeral, so it was our early valentine's day slash birthday celebration since my birthday is also on valentine's day. 

ironically on our way to dinner, i mentioned to him that if he would just buy my darn engagement ring he would also get flowers, chocolate, and a gift certificate for dinner from the s.e. needhams jewelry store where i had already picked out my dream ring. i had no clue he was already in possession of the ring, and that my flowers/chocolate/dinner gift combo were all from the exact promotion i had told him about. 

although, i never got the surprise of an engagement ring that night or on valentine's day, he did inform me about an amethyst ring he bought me! the store didn't have it in my size, but we went in the next day before leaving for indiana and ordered one, and i love it! and of course, everyone joked that it should have been an engagement ring.

after all of the proposal excitement, and lunch at mis amores with everyone involved, it was time to get to work on a proper home for our new baby girl. we cleaned out a calf hutch for her and moved it over to farm boy's parents' house so he could take care of her easier.  

after all that work she was finally in her new clean and comfy home. we took a family picture that farm boy posted on facebook to get help with naming her. we got some great suggestions from all our friends, but farm boy came up with indy and i instantly loved it. indy, short for indiana, was a great fit for our little girl. 

farm boy was busy all week long feeding indy a bottle twice a day, and of course i helped on the weekends when i came to visit.

everyone took a liking for indy though, especially farm boy's sister, kelsie, who was in charge of feeding all the babies at their family's dairy down the road. she sent us this picture one day after taking indy for a walk around their house. 

she even made a debut in our engagement pictures!
i love this picture of her. so cute!

and i wish with everything in me that i could show you another cute picture of indy, who would be over 8 months old now. however, just three short weeks after the proposal farm boy woke up to a very sick baby calf. he rushed to the vet and picked up medicine for her, but by the time he returned she was already gone. unfortunately that's the name of the game in agriculture. not every one will make it. we knew we were taking a chance raising her, especially in the winter. calves are very fragile, especially jerseys who are about half the size of other dairy breeds. you have to take every precaution you can to keep them strong and healthy the first few weeks, and we thought we had. she had been slightly sick looking a few other times and we treated her quickly, but the morning farm boy found her she was much much worse. 

when farm boy told me she was really sick that morning i said a little prayer for her, and when i got the news she was gone, i cried. if i think about it enough, i could probably cry again today. 

i love love love jersey calves. she reminded me of all the times my dad made me walk out in our pasture to bring in the new calf one of our cows had during the night (that's how i got my farm girl muscles), all the times feeding countless little brown calves twice a day during milkings, all the times i would groom the cattle up and show them at fair.

i had big dreams for indy. we would breed her to a great jersey bull. she would have a sweet little indy jr. heifer calf (hopefully). and then indy would have been right there in the milking herd, although she would have been the only jersey in a sea of holsteins, i know she could have held her own!

indy will always have a special place in our hearts. i mean how could you forget this face?
(little secret: she is still the background picture on my iphone's lock screen! i can't bring myself change it.)

don't you all worry though, an indy II will be in our future. hopefully sooner, rather than later. 

last little note: if anyone is interested, my amazing fiance, at the time, wrote up a blog post about our whole proposal story. you can check it out here. he actually includes way more backstory since he was the mastermind behind it all, so check it out for even more insider details!


Thursday, November 7, 2013

the joy and moral force of woman

over a month ago, i was privileged to listen to the prophet and apostles speak at the general conference of the church of jesus christ of latter-day sainsts (or, lds church). if you missed it, want to remember all the great words, or just want to check out what i'm even chatting about, check it out here.

out of all the great and amazing talks given, Elder Todd D. Christofferson gave one that i have reread and listened to countless times in the past month. it is titled the, "The Moral Force of Women" and it is beyond good!

in his talk that you can read or listen to here, Elder Christofferson actually quoted former young women general president Margaret D. Nadauld saying,

"The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity."

Love love love this quote! What i love even more though is the original talk that this quote came from. Sister Nadauld's talk, "The Joy of Womanhood", was printed in the november 2000 issue of the ensign (lds magazine). I mean she starts out by saying,

"It is remarkable blessing to be a daughter of God today."

and ends with,

"Sisters, regardless of your age, please understand all that you are and must be, all that you were prepared to be in royal courts on high by God Himself. May we use with gratitude the priceless gifts we have been given for the lifting of mankind to higher thinking and nobler aspirations, I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, amen."

How can you not read all of her words and feel so incredibly inspired and blessed to be a women here on earth? i know i still have a lot of work to become the best women, friend, wife, and daughter of god that I know i can be.  

Monday, November 4, 2013

our life lately with pictures!

disclaimer: every single one of these pictures is from a phone because well i never carry my actual camera around with me...and why would i want to. it was a present when i turned 16 (maybe 17) and frankly farm boy's phone and even my iphone take better photos than my 6 year old camera does.

i'm trying to get better with taking pictures though, and even told myself that if it becomes a habit then i won't feel bad about buying a nice "real" camera in the future.

these are the homemade doughnuts farm boy and i made on halloween. i was skeptical if they would even turn out decent tasting, but boy was i wrong. they were amazing, especially right after they were fried and dipped in glaze! we've already decided that homemade doughnuts and apple cider will be our halloween tradition from now on! they were actually quite easy to make and so good and well worth the work you put in for them!

before making doughnuts (and chilli) for halloween night, we made a quick trip out utah state university's south farm and checked on the pig barn for one of farm boy's classes this semester. and of course we couldn't resist a few photo opportunities with the cute piglets!

this was farm boy's halloween date.

Photo: Sometimes you hang out with pigs on Halloween. This guy wanted to dress up as bacon...we advised him not to!

farm boy cleaning out the pens, so i could put fresh bedding in for the moms and babies.

piglets keeping warm in a big pile under their heat lamp.

and when the piglets get cold they like to cuddle together in the feeder...weirdos.

and one big momma who i like to believe is smiling for the camera. 

and now i realize i am way of out of order with these pictures, but we will ignore that. these are all from my the surprise date night farm boy spoiled me with after giving me flowers during work wednesday. we hit up one of my all time favorites, texas roadhouse, and as you can tell farm boy isn't a fan of pictures (that's why i just take pictures when he isn't looking usually). 

so i asked farm boy to take the above picture (which he did great with), and then he proceeds to move the camera a bunch and act like a crazy photographer...enjoy the random blurry pictures he captured.

not really sure what was going on during this picture, but i'm guessing it's his "i'm trying to eat and don't care about pictures for your blog kind of face."

we enjoyed our weekend in idaho with farm boy's family to do a little early birthday celebration for his father. and we decided to make a fun dairy cruising trip out of our saturday. we headed to a little nearby town called winder and checked out a 325 head holstein dairy owned by one of farm boy's relative. and then with all my cow excitement i decided we need to go help feed the calves at his uncles dairy right down the road from his parents' house. i was beyond excited!

it reminded me of when i was younger and had to feed the countless baby calves we had on my family dairy in indiana. i hated it when i was little, but now i would give anything to have cow interaction more often.

since his family only milks holsteins i was even more excited when i finally got to meet their new red calf heifer. it sure isn't a jersey but hey it's something different and i love her!
Photo: She likes the red baby!

farm boy even put this up on facebook yesterday with the caption "I think cows make her happier than I do!" and i'm afraid to say that in that moment it's somewhat true! i miss being around cows so much!

and to finish off our weekend, we woke up sunday morning to a beautiful blanket of snow. i'm still in shock it can be time for snow already! 
Photo: Might be cold and wet, but at least it's pretty! #herewehaveidaho