Gifts from the Heart


My sister and brother don’t really understand me, nor the choices I have made in my life.  When I announced I was changing my high-heeled shoes for a pair of rubber boots, I don’t think they knew what to think.  The beauty of it is, they may not understand me, but they have both jumped in with both designer-shoe clad feet to support me. 

One of the many ways they show their support is at Christmas.  They ask for a list of what I want, and I give it to them.  These lists have consisted of everything from stainless steel milk buckets to cheese making supplies to beekeeping equipment.  Without hesitation, they have chosen an item or two and wrapped them up.  And I love every single gift.  But this year?  I wasn’t asked for a list.  I wondered about it, but almost immediately forgot about it as well.  Whatever they got, I knew I would love.  Even if it wasn’t farm related.  When I opened my gifts this year, I finally saw a glimpse of a better understanding and a stronger support from both of them than I have had so far.  Without even a wish list to go by, both of my siblings knocked Christmas out of the park.

Mark, Stacy and Peri started the gift giving with a bag of chick starter.  They know that spring is just around the corner, and that chicks would soon be in the brooder.  That alone made me smile – for the gift of the starter, but also because it was an indication of understanding farm life and where my heart lives.  But the note in the card was what added joy to the gift – 15 assorted large egg-laying chicks would be delivered to me between January 4th and 6th.  Ah, what a precious gift!


Then came the gift from Amie.  Layered upon the smiles and joy I was feeling came laughter!  She does know me – and my life on the farm – better than I ever would have imagined!  I had seen this hoodie in a Facebook ad, and ‘liked’ it.  I ‘liked’ it because I all too well understood the thought behind the words.  I cannot tell you how many times I have been woken up in the middle of the night, or called home from work because my cows had made a prison break.  It just fit so perfectly!  She noticed my sentiments, and took the initiative to order it.

On yet another level, my cousin, Steve, and his wife, Rose, do understand our desire to live on a farm.  I think, given the chance, both of them would build a house in the North pasture and move in permanently.  Being the creative sorts, their gift to me was a combination of everything I love about my life – my animals, self-reliance, creativity, fun and laughter.   They couldn’t have chosen any better.


We may not always understand, or even like, the choices others make.  There are people ‘out there’ that feel like their lifestyle is the only right one, and any other choices are beneath them.  To live our lives according to what someone else considers ‘proper’ is one of the worst things we can do.  We are all created differently.  God gave each one of us dreams and desires according to the purpose He has for us.  Mine are completely opposite from Mark and Amie’s.   Although with a similar love and appreciation, mine are also different from Steve and Rose’s.  I am joyfully and contentedly pursuing my dreams, and will continue to do so until my purpose here is completed.

Thank you, Amie, Mark, Peri, Steve and Rose for my wonderful gifts.  Not just the ones I can hold in my hands, but also for the love and support that they came wrapped in. 

Julie Murphree is a blogger, newspaper columnist, and speaker on all things ‘Living a Simple Life on the Farm’. She is the author of \\\'The Farm Wife – Living a Simple Life on the Farm. She and her husband have 60 acres in NW Louisiana where they actively work on living as sustainable as possible.


  1. What great gifts, they came from the heart. Really wanted to give you something special. ?

    1. They did, Edie – and they succeeded. I really do have two of the best siblings in the world!

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