Earliest memories of what I wanted to be when I grew up probably date back to the middle 60's. Over  the years I've chatted with many women, sharing their dreams of what they wanted their life to look like when they grew out of bell bottoms. Yes, I was on the tail end of the hippy era. Today women are told they can do whatever you want. The motto for my early teen/teen years was 'we can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and never forget that I'm a woman'.  Who sang that song? All this to say, I don't remember wanting to be anything but a wife and mother. I knew this would be the direction my life would take and I was thrilled to wait for that to happen. For how that story played out, you can find it in my book, Confessions of a Farmer's Daughter.  A disclaimer before I go any further~~This is not a post about the work of women. Whether you are a SAHM or go off to a job you love everyday, women are hard workers wherever they find themselves. I have followed the dream and purpose for what I believed God called me to, and it will look different for each woman, single or married. Rob and I are blessed beyond words for the four , five children( one in heaven from miscarriage), God granted to us. Early on we dedicated them to the Lord and we meant it. I suppose one of the hardest things I've done as a mother is to first raise them in a Christian home, which is not easy in today's culture. Beyond that, as they grew into teenagers and young adults, I did not try to hold them back in living the dream they felt called to. It is very cliche' to say 'let your children go'. If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn't change anything, except maybe to parent better, and pray more. I have never wanted to be that 'mom' voice in my kids head that says 'what would mom think, if I did such and such,' unless it was to keep them from doing something stupid. What I want them to know and tried to live my life accordingly was that I loved God and His Word first and loved my neighbor. I wanted them to know beyond anything I did as a mother was not perfect, but I could pray to the Perfect One, who loves them more than I do. I let them go early on and tried not to intervene in absolutely every decision they were making. They came/come to us for advice and counsel, but the best advice I could give any parent today, would be to pray, pray, pray and pray some more. Hope and trust in Christ, don't hope in circumstances, don't hope in their good or bad choices, don't hope in anything else but God.

 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

All that to say, 2016 has been big for the Gates'. Our son Justin and his wife made us grandparents by giving us our first grandchild. They were married almost two years ago in the beautiful state of Wyoming. Ask me for pictures of Finely and I will be happy to share.

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Our daughter Hannah was married to the love of her life after following her dreams of world travel, which I'm guessing are not over.

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First time seeing Hannah in her dress. She had purchased it in AZ while living there, so I was unable to attend the big day of wedding dress shopping. We loved her choice!

View More: http://inlovenessphotography.pass.us/fitzpatrick-wedding

Our third child, Kelsey, we took 10+ years ago to a modeling agency, where we were told she could do runway modeling. She was always tall for her age, and she never saw the advantage until that day. At the time, our family was young and we chose not to pack her up and send her to NYC at such a young age, it would not have been wise for our family. But today, she proudly stands tall as her dream of modeling is taking place as I write this post. This opportunity 'found her' as she is reveling in being a model for a bridal gown/evening gown designer. My advice to her has been to be herself, and not let 'the devil wears Prada' to bother her(not the designer, who is fabulous) but others she may come in contact with. Her words to me were 'if nothing else comes of this weekend, I am very thankful and blessed for the opportunity.'(Recent pictures of Kelsey can be found on my FB page or Instagram under Sareh Nouri,)

Lauren is a senior and will be following her own dreams, whatever they may be. I'm finding it hard to shut my mouth and just let her 'do her own thing', within reason of course. She's the last and this time next year, the house will be eerily quiet, my guess is her dreams will take her to far flung places as well.

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This is a long post, and I in NO WAY mean to be grandstanding. It is to remind myself of the blessings God has given, to encourage me and you to pray for our children and to see the dream of a little girl has been fulfilled. I'm meant to be a wife and mom.