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New Podcast! Susan Shull, A Vintage Farmwife




I can’t wait for you to meet my friend, Susan Shull!

She is so much fun and encourages and inspires me! She is married to a farmer and her daddy was a farmer and her son is a farmer and it’s generation after generation! I just love seeing her pictures and hearing her stories.  I have a special place in my heart for farmers because I grew up in DeKalb, Illinois in the middle of farmland.  She is in Illinois too so we are kindred spirits. (Mom…you will love this one with all the farm talk (: )

She is a loving wife and mother and grandmother. She loves her three sons and her two beautiful daughters-in-law! She has 5 granddaughters and is so grateful that her family has gone from one girl (her) to 8!

She was an 8th grade language arts teacher for years and now she is creating a life she loves by following her passions and believing that God is always inviting her into MORE. She has so much joy and gratitude – I love talking to her! Listen in to find out how we met and her top 5 pieces of advice.

Susan and her friend have started a non-profit ministry called The Push Ahead. The Push Ahead is a nonprofit ministry for women in our county. It is a mentoring program with the following goals:

To provide an environment where women can find friendship, inspiration and education.
To create a community where all women are encouraged to discover their unique gifts and purposes.
To become passionate women of purpose with strong faith, living an abundant life.
To celebrate and enhance the quality of life in our community.


For more from Susan, check her out on her website at www.avintagefarmwife.com and on instagram @avintagefarmwife. You will love her!

As promised, here are some notes from our conversation:

Here is the quote she read on the podcast:

If I were your enemy, I’d devalue your strength and magnify your insecurities until they dominate how you see yourself, disabling and disarming you from fighting back, from being free, from being who God has created you to be.  I’d work hard to ensure that you never realize what God has given you so you’ll doubt the power of God within you.  

– Priscilla Shirer, Fervent

The book she mentioned she just finished reading is:  “Abba’s Child” by Brennan Manning

Time to get cozy!

I love this season.

I get excited for jeans and scarves and sweaters and football and chili.

However, I also get a little spazzy.  Because to enjoy those things, I MUST clean out all the closets, organize everything, buy new clothes and possibly new furniture.  I tend to rearrange, clean, and rip out hundreds of pictures from magazines of what I want my cozy home to look like. It always happens this time of year.

I did do one awesome thing in my house this summer.  I made myself an office.  Here it is:


I already had everything I needed, I just had to put them together and paint the room pink. Actually there are two new things in the picture.  One, the chair from TJMaxx and two, the new Apple computer from heaven.  Seriously, miracles happen when you turn it on.

I’ve decided the rest of my house looks like crap and must be changed immediately.  I’m starting with this.


I don’t even know what to say.

I hate it.

But I need the storage and my room is the size of Texas so we need some heft in there.  You know what I mean? I need big pieces to balance out the cavernous space.  However, I have another armoire in there too so now it’s just like an armoire store except I don’t think anyone would buy them.

Those of you who know me can tell what’s coming next.  I’m painting it.  Damn straight.

If my husband is reading this right now, he is in a full body sweat and steam is coming out of his ears.

Remember the pink office?  Well, I kinda sorta started that with a lot of enthusiasm and then I lost steam.  I started listening to music and looking for ideas for the next project when the walls were half painted and the ceiling had pink splats on it.  So, being the kind, loving, generous and very handy husband he is…he finished it for me.  There was only a little huffing and puffing.

I promise not to get tired halfway through on this project.  I will commit to finishing.  Unless I start thinking about the family room.  We really need some new furniture in there…

On another note, I’m linking up to my friend’s blog today.  Susan is my Holy Yoga Sister and roommate from our instructor retreat.  I love her.  Also, I think her whole farm lifestyle is really cool and I’m encouraging her to build a barn for us to have yoga parties/retreats in.  Of course, we will need to hang chandeliers and paint it and have lots of cozy stuff in there.  I’ll start gathering ideas on Pinterest.  Oh wait, I’ve already done that.

Her link party has to do with music which of course I love!!  She is asking us to share music that is feeding our souls right now.  What is totally amazing but not really very surprising, is that the song she shared is by the same person who sings the song I’m sharing!  LOVE HIM! This is my favorite song that I play in Holy Yoga.  I also like to listen to it when I want to be totally inspired.

Listen here, enjoy, and check out Susan’s blog!   http://www.avintagefarmwife.blogspot.com

©2013 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big YES™ All Rights Reserved

Don’t talk about our bodies? Really?

My friends and I got together today for lunch.  We all have matching bracelets.  All crosses. My friend says they are a beautiful touch stone for our friendships, built on faith and wrapped around all of our lives.  Which of course I love and felt I needed to commemorate.

I took a picture. But we all agreed we didn’t like the picture because our hands looked “old”.

That’s right.  Our hands.  So we took another with our hands facing up.

Image 1

I actually like the hands up.  Ready to receive.  Open.  Anticipating God’s blessings and abundance.

When did we start worrying about our hands looking “old”?

Of course, we also talked about our bodies and how they are changing and how we want to eat better, work out more, all the things friends discuss as they get older.

I read an article recently that is floating around the internet in which the writer tells us to never talk about weight in front of our kids, never say you feel “fat”, don’t have a scale, bake cookies with 6 sticks of butter in honor of your grandmother and DON’T MENTION THE BUTTER, enjoy them with your kids, live life, have fun, don’t count calories, etc. She says we should never talk about our bodies, we should never talk about our daughter’s bodies and we should never mention anything about another woman’s body, ever.

The article made me mad.   Because honestly, I’ve failed at each thing she mentioned. So this was my response… Well, isn’t that nice? You are probably naturally thin and either have no kids or have thin young kids…meaning younger than 10.  Because like it or not, once we hit a certain age, people will talk about weight and diets and food and calories and they certainly won’t turn a blind eye to 6 sticks of butter.  I mean, let’s be honest…should we?  Gross.

Then I realized maybe I just felt bad because I wish I hadn’t failed at all of those things.  And it made me realize that I’m lashing out at her because even though she seems idealistic and a little judgmental, she’s right.  Those are good ideas.

It’s just that as a woman, I’ve felt fat and thin and tired and sometimes hungry and sometimes stuffed.  I’ve tried diets and cleanses and lifestyle changes and I’ve run and lifted weights and done yoga.  I’ve eaten out of boredom, anger, and worry.  I’ve lost and gained and worn jeans that cut off my circulation.  I’ve fought with my body and with my image of my body and with my expectations and with my desire to have rock hard abs.  I’ve wrestled.

The truth is, I’m human.  And I’m human in front of my kids.  I’m hoping in the long run they will understand me and love me for this.  Of course I don’t berate myself in front of them but they’ve seen the juicer.  I mean, who are we kidding, they’ve seen me count points and they’ve suffered through my “all natural” phase.

I do want to be positive for my kids.  I want to honor my body and model healthy acceptance of what God gave me.  I shouldn’t expect perfection for me or for anyone else.  So while I won’t be eating 6 sticks of butter anytime soon, next time instead of hiding with my pound of M&Ms, I will share.  And then I won’t complain about all the M&Ms I just ate.

As Maya Angelou says, “Everything in moderation…even moderation in moderation.”  Amen?

It’s a difficult thing for all women.  I can’t tell you how to talk to your daughter or what to eat or how to honor your body.  I just know it should be honored.  But how do we do that?

Let’s start where we should always start…in prayer.

Lord, help me.  I have failed miserably when it comes to body acceptance and being a model of kindness to self.  I am sorry.  Help me to be positive and healthy – mind, body, and soul.  I appreciate the body you have given me.  I actually feel like I should write it a note so here goes.

Body, thank you for being there for me.  Thanks for getting me up that rope in gym class and thank you for all of those glorious bike rides.  Thank you for the way you have carried me in the water and the way you can jump on a trampoline and oh gosh, thank you so much for the skiing and the climbing. Thanks for all of the walks to and from school and the subway and the bus and all over campus.  Thank you for carrying me and allowing me the joy of holding my babies.  Thanks for my babies.  Thanks for the years of running and the yoga.  Thank you for the yoga.  The bending and stretching and breathing.  Yes, thank you for the breath.  And thank you for the way you hug and they way you love and the way you sense the world around us.  Thank you for the belly laughs and the butterflies and the goosebumps.  Thank you for sending warning signs when I’m not well, thank you for recovering.  I’m sorry for the abuse, physical and emotional…I’m sorry about the fried food and the beer and the wine and all that chocolate.  I’m sorry for the over indulging so many times, thank you for hanging in there. Oh gosh, sorry about the sun – I regret the iodine and baby oil and tin foil.  Sorry about the blisters.  At times, I have taken you for granted and criticized and been downright unappreciative.  But no more.  I will honor you.

Same goes for my hands.  I’m sorry we were critical of you today.  Thanks for the years of shaking and reaching and holding.  Thanks for the ability to touch and feel and pray.  Thanks for the snapping and pointing and waving. Thank you for all the “hello’s” and all the “good-bye’s”.

Lord, give me eyes to see the wonder and beauty of my body and my hands.  Give me a heart full of gratitude.  Help me to remember that years and experience only enhance beauty. And that Joy on the inside makes you glow on the outside. Help me to teach my kids about that kind of beauty…the glowing from the inside out kind. The kind that never fades.

©2013 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big YES™ All Rights Reserved