Giving Up Stuff // The End Of An Era

{Note to y’all who saw my last post: I not only hit my goal for the day, but I exceeded it.
 I haven’t felt like I had anything to write here since then, and if I don’t have something to say, why say nothing?}

Giving up stuff can be hard. Giving up something that means a lot to you can be very hard. 

Being a writer means giving stuff up. It means you sometimes miss out on fun things. It means a lot of hard work and dedication. I knew all of that. I’ve read books and heard stories about people who scraped by eating dry bread and wearing rags so they could dedicate all of their time, energy and resources to writing. I’ve even had exposure to giving up things. Not my daily substance of course, but stuff like hanging out with friends, not buying something I really want, working while everyone else is playing, Etc. So yes, I knew that, but recently I’ve been learning to really know it. Experiencing it for myself and all that jazz.

I have decided that writing (for more than a hobby) is not for the faint hearted. It’s not like you can just sit down one day and think “Ok, so I’ll write a book, publish it, and use the royalties to pay for my vacation to Europe next year”. I mean, you can think that, but that doesn’t mean it will happen.

So, y’all may be wondering why I’m all into the ‘giving up stuff’ phase right now. The answers quite simple. I’m giving up something really big. And it’s hard. And it hurts. And it makes me sad…. And excited, and thrilled and giddy all at the same time.

Today is more of one of those sad days though.

So, what am I giving up? Please, don’t laugh at this. Ok, you can laugh, just don’t do it in front of me. It really is a big deal to me, no matter what it may seem like to you. Ok, deep breath, here it goes: My bro and I decided to sell our goats. Seriously. I know y’all are probably thinking “WHAT? What happened to living on bread and water or locking yourself in a room for two years or…” But the truth is, selling the goats is a big thing for me. (We are keeping three of the goats, but it will be nothing like before.)

We’ve had them for about eight years. We started this herd that we have now, several years ago. Pure French Alpine dairy goats. We started out with two does (doe = female) and over time only bought two more does altogether. Our herd has grown and stretched past the 40’s in number, and that’s not including the dozens that we’ve sold.

All that to say, most of these goats I’ve raised from the first moment of birth. Most of these goats I actually attended their birth. Most of these goats were bottle/bucket raised by my brother, sister and I. These goats and I go a long way back.

I’ve spent countless hours up in the goat barn. Sleepless nights. Early mornings, Chilling cold, Burning Heat. Milking twice a day. During kidding season there are literally times when I’m up in the barn more than everywhere else combined. Like to the point where I don’t even leave to go to church.

And so it’s hard to be selling them, but it’s good. It’s hard because they are a big part of my life. It’s hard because they are animals with whom I’ve spent quite a large amount of time with. It’s good because they are taking up too much time (having to be milked twice a day can put a damper on book-signing tours…), too much energy, and too much focus.

And, as hard as it is, I’m really excited too. I knew by the end of last year’s milking season that I needed to be done with the goats. In my naive state of mind, I kinda figured that my younger sister would want to take my place. After all, I was begging to get goats when I was her age. No go, though. So, sometime during this year after a lot of thought and prayer we decided that selling them was the best way to go. So we are selling them. And that opens so many new doors for me. Doors that I can’t wait to run through. (Like, going to the Mega Answers Conference next week! Eeek!) But it also means no more kidding season (which I loved), no more naming dozens of kids each year, no more… You get the point.

It’s like the end of an era. 
What I need to realize though, is that even though it’s hard, it’s also marvelously thrilling. In reality, it’s like I’m giving up this: 
a picture of our goats taken this morning
For this: 

me signing my first book with my bro cheering me on

So, what have you had to give up recently?