Farmer Girl


I went to Atlanta for a weekend in a big city.

But I ended up at a farm.

I’m not sure how I keep finding myself taking on the persona of a faux-farmer since I’m really more of a glam-girl. 

The closest I’ve ever come to yearning for country life was during my childhood, when I read about my favorite farmer-girl Laura Ingalls and her adventures in the big woods.

But the appeal wore off as I grew up and discovered lipstick and high heels.



So every year when fall arrives, my sister and I head north to Atlanta, looking for a chill in the air and a few brightly colored leaves, but mostly we go for the shopping, dining and culture of a big city.

A few years ago we thought my niece might enjoy staying at an inn near mid-town that had goats and chickens and turkeys. That was the scene when for the first and only time in my life I held a chicken. 

{You can read about it here, if you’d like.} 

But this trip we stayed at Serenbe, an organic farm village in the Chattahoochee Hills just outside Atlanta that made the other inn look more like a children’s petting zoo. 




The New York Times calls Serenbe a utopian experiment in new urbanism, and it’s certainly a unique community with farm-to-table restaurants, shops and activities.

I ate breakfast at the 1905 farmhouse, strolled around the farmer’s market, visited an organic coffee shop and bakery, and ate dinner cooked by a chef recognized by Food & Wine magazine. 

{Where by the way, I had battered tempura bok choy that was so scrumptious I could have easily eaten another plateful.}





But mostly I met donkeys, pigs, one lone rooster who wouldn't stop digging for bugs to let me take his picture, and some mischievous goats, who were determined to see if I had any snacks for them in my camera bag.

I have to admit that after I met all of these new friends and visited them in their habitats, I sat down on a bench and rested my weary feet in my possibly-too-high-for-a-farm-stroll-heels and let my niece run off to see the rabbits, sheep and llamas. 

{And of course, now I'm sorry I have no photos of the llamas.}









Sometimes you find that where you end up is really where you were supposed to be after all.

Our life's journey might travel over winding roads that seem to be too far from our desired destination. We settle somewhere else and wonder what we’re doing there because we just don’t feel at home.

We wait impatiently to move to a place that’s more our style, that has what we want to do and who we want to do it with. 

We cry hard tears and then cry out to God, asking why we’re in a place that just doesn’t fit us, when really, he’s fitting us for our place in his plans.



We trudge on dusty paths and through barren fields, looking for a harvest, hoping for an open gate, not realizing that God is bringing us into a good land.

He beckons us onward to have a pioneering spirit, blazing trails where we’ve never gone before. 

And he waits for us to get out of the old ruts to respond anew, consider creatively and refute toxic mindsets for an enriched and organic way of life, that puts him at the foundation of our thoughts. 


What if we plow under the crumbling leaves of discouragement? What if we sprinkle the soil with a determination to wait for the ripening of what God is sowing in our lives?

It may take a season, it may take several seasons, but maybe what God matures and brings to fruition is a harvest worth waiting for.

Though the fig tree does not bud
    and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
    and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
    and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
    I will be joyful in God my Savior. -Hab. 3:17-18 (NIV)




As it turns out, I actually did find a little luxury in the country. 

We stayed at an apartment called the Nest, next door to the Bakeshop in the community of Serenbe that lived up to its reputation of elegant urban comfortable sophistication. 

I could have easily called it home.



And I did find some fall-ish weather in Atlanta, which was really just Florida fall weather minus the humidity. 

I even saw a few colorful leaves.

Which leads me to believe I could fall for farm life, but only for a weekend or so.




I'm having coffee with my friends at Holley Gerth's place at Coffee for your Heart. Click the image and join me there for more posts from my blogger friends!


Comments

  1. I love your gallivanting adventures, Valerie! This is twice just this morning I have read about farms and to "keep going, don't give up, keep planting even if you don't see the shoots yet," - sort of message. Your words about the Lord preparing us for what He has in mind is exhilarating. I am thankful He is patient with us as we learn to call out to Him for help out of those old ruts, and so thankful we can actually expect good things from Him when we get out! I am sharing my favorite quote from this on my social media today! xoxoxoxo

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    1. Hi Meg,
      Thanks for reading along! :) I think farm life does have so many life metaphors that it's hard to consider them all -- seeds, planting, harvest -- so rich, isn't it? I'm so glad he pulls us out of our old ruts and guides us to blaze new paths! xo

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  2. Oh! I live in Nepal but will be spending some time in Atlanta this winter. I lived in Alpharetta for 4 years and LOVED it!

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    1. Hi Amber,
      The difference from Atlanta to Nepal is striking! Can't wait to read more about your adventures -- thanks for stopping by!

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  3. Your whole post made me smile Valerie! I love traveling with you! LOL! I keep seeing the term "Farm-her" pop up around VA describing girl farm owners... who knows...!? I love the industrial farm look of the restaurant, the simple beauty of the apartment and the farmer's market-- I'm dying for a closer look!! And this is my favorite line: "We cry hard tears and then cry out to God, asking why we’re in a place that just doesn’t fit us, when really, he’s fitting us for our place in his plans." ...You're speaking straight to me with some much needed truth... It is God who can plow up the hardness of our hearts, put His seed there, water it with His loving kindness and watch us grow up into the beauties he always knew we were-- sometimes right where we are. For everything there is a season and I'm thankful for sharing this one with you! ♥

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    1. Heather,
      Farm-her! Love it! I've never seen that before and it's so appropriate! I think farms inspire quite a lot of metaphors for our lives and there's a lot to learn from all that's in front of us. So grateful for your encouraging words and that you travel along with me virtually on my little adventures! xo

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  4. Oh this is just splendid, Valerie. And you and those goats! That shot is simply priceless.

    You've captured the adventure, the relaxation, the discoveries, the tastes of your time away. What a gift you've shared with us today ...

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    1. Linda,
      Yes, I keep finding myself among goats -- maybe soon I'll grow to like them a little bit!

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  5. Oh Valerie, you always make me smile with your lively adventures. I absolutely love the pics of you with the goats and with the chicken (from the other post). :) I am moved by how you describe that God is fitting us into His plan. Especially this line - "And he waits for us to get out of the old ruts to respond anew, consider creatively and refute toxic mindsets for an enriched and organic way of life, that puts him at the foundation of our thoughts." Amen! Blessings and hugs to you!

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    1. Trudy,
      I thought of you the whole time that rooster kicked dirt on my shoes while I tried to take his photo! :) I'm so glad you liked the goat photo too -- and I don't think I'll try to hold a chicken again anytime soon --once was enough! :) Thanks for following along with me on my little farm adventures, especially since you are a tried and true farm-girl, for real! xoxo

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    2. How sweet of you to think of me, Valerie. :) I think the farm will always be in me. :) Love and hugs!

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  6. I'm so glad God always sends us to the right destination. Atlanta is a beautiful place, with so many different areas. Glad you found a different one this time that fit you just right!

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    1. Hi Lisa,
      Love that -- God sending us to the right destination!

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  7. I love your adventures!! I'm green with envy because although I've been a SoCal girl all my life, I've always thought I could fit on a farm. Your photos had me drooling and I want to go there. It's on my list right after Magnolia Farms in Texas. And this friend, "he’s fitting us for our place in his plans." So much truth. It's amazing how He refines and transforms us to prepare us for His very best. He is a good, good Father!

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    1. Hi Tiffany,
      Magnolia Farms is the trip to make, isn't it? :) I'm thinking of all the farm girls that would probably love to trade places with you to be a Southern Cali girl! But maybe that farm-dream will someday become a reality -- it would give you so much to write about and share with us! xo

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  8. Dear Valerie, You have such a wonderful way of bringing us into your adventure, and then surprising us when we least expect it with such a good word from the Lord! This resonates with me so much: "We trudge on dusty paths and through barren fields, looking for a harvest, hoping for an open gate, not realizing that God is bringing us into a good land." Thank you for sharing your stories and your encouragement with all of us! --Blessings and Hugs!

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    1. Bettie,
      I'm glad you come along with me in spirit, friend! xo

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  9. Good words only made richer by the photo's mixed in telling the whole story. Loved it, Valerie.

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    1. Debby,
      Thanks so much for being here -- I'm grateful!

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  10. Hi Valerie!! I Love your new banner!! SO beautiful !! And this place looks so great! :) I am a country girl at heart- and always dream of a beautiful old farm house (maybe yellow or white) with a big front porch and flowers!! :) Anyway- I love your thoughts here- and find that to be so true how God leads me places I am not sure fit my plans- but then see he knew best all along- and his ideas are so much richer and fuller and go to places I didn’t even know where there! So thankful for this! I am seeing even having to deal with this pneumonia God has brought me to some new places I needed to go- but couldn’t see. Anyway - so glad to visit here tonight- just like having coffee with a friend to me! refreshes my heart -so thank you! xox

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    1. Hi Susie,
      I'm hoping you're up and about again soon! Thanks for noticing the banner -- I love the font, don't you? :) Oh when you talk about a yellow or white old farmhouse I think I could be a farm-girl too -- it sounds dreamy! Especially since you live where the rolling hills would be so beautiful too! Praying for you and hope you're back to blogging and good health soon -- much love to you! xoxox

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  11. "And he waits for us to get out of the old ruts to respond anew, consider creatively and refute toxic mindsets for an enriched and organic way of life, that puts him at the foundation of our thoughts." I love that line Val! And I want to go to Serenbe! I love the idea of being on a farm setting with land to explore and small town shops and bakeries. I dream of living on a land with a stream, and lots of space yet I live in a semi-detached home in a very suburban neighborhood, with trees still too young. And am considering a move within a year. And waiting to 'know', seeing this as learning to trust He will let me know. You're photos again are beautiful. I am thinking of moving to a full-frame DSLR, and again, is that the move to make right now? And, your words about how sometimes a season becomes plural and that is okay, brought comfort to my restlessness and anxiousness to move on.

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    1. Hi Lynn,
      It sounds as if Serenbe might suit you and with Atlanta just 45 minutes away -- you could have the best of both worlds! Waiting to know what to do and which direction to head is such a work of patience, isn't it? When decisions are to be made, it's so difficult to trust -- with big things and smaller things! I've discovered when God calls us out or whispers a dream or idea to our hearts, it's rarely immediate -- it takes time -- much more time than we ever thought it would. So glad you enjoyed the farm life photos! xoxo

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  12. Beautiful pictures! I am really starting to think God wants you on a farm! :)

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    1. Sarah,
      Not sure about that -- but of course, you never know! :)

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  13. "What if we plow under the crumbling leaves of discouragement? What if we sprinkle the soil with a determination to wait for the ripening of what God is sowing in our lives?"
    These questions really hit me hard because this is something that has been brought to my attention recently these past few weeks. I even thought of adding the leaves of discouragement and DISAPPOINTMENT. That is pretty crippling. Thanks for the challenging words, Valerie!
    I am seriously so jealous of all your traveling even if it is only 45 mins away. I could totally do that more often. So do you have a site you go to or a magazine (since you mentioned the food and wine magazine) that has these awesome restaurants and places? Have you been to Harrisburg? Is there any cool places there? Like a said I totally could do what you do especially if it's only 45 mins away. : ) hope you have a good weekend

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    1. Hi Kristina,
      Atlanta is actually a 7-hr drive from Orlando but I have been to Harrisburg since I grew up in Pittsburgh! Eastern PA has some lovely areas of Gettysburg and King of Prussia so I bet there are some great adventures to be had there!

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  14. God's harvest is the best and definitely worth the wait. Gorgeous photos of a gorgeous place!

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  15. It sounds like a great trip, Valerie, and I love the photos. So true that God can lead us in directions we'd never have expected at times and we can end up doing things we'd never have imagined.

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    1. Hi Lesley,
      Thanks so much for popping over!

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  16. "Sometimes you find that where you end up is really where you were supposed to be after all."
    Valerie, I missed reading this post last week I'm very glad I went back to read it I needed to read it. it sums up a lot of my life right now. You put it into words my thoughts and heart and lead me to a better place of looking at it. Thank you for this post it really meant a lot to me and I'm going to re-read it

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    1. Hi Somer,
      I'm always thrilled to hear from you and I'm glad you enjoyed my little journey into farmland! I'm always amazed what we can see of God when we look for him everywhere and in everything and it's so easy to miss him. xo

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