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Beyond Beloved: A farm girl’s journey

Jen Bradley for Progressive Dairy Published on 08 November 2021
The Felder Family

It started as an idea while milking cows in the fall of 2019. Wisconsin dairy farmer Angie Feider recalls today with extreme clarity that initial moment in the barn when she says God spoke firmly onto her heart.

(She even has the cow towel with the scribbled handwritten note she wrote to prove it.)

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Feider says it was a surreal experience – one that changed her life and, through the small business and encouraging events created from that initial thought, has impacted countless others.

Her message since then is simple but powerful.

“You are beyond beloved, so be loved,” Feider says. “I am, what will you be? Be loved – know it, accept it, share it.”

A bracelet to bless

Leather braided bracelet

The bracelets themselves started with a craft project for the religion classes Feider teaches.

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“One time, I found an idea to have the kids tie a leather bracelet as a link to the Trinity as well as a message of faith, hope and love,” she explains, and says as a horse girl her whole life, she liked working with leather.

That day in the barn, the idea of the simple braided bracelet took on new life. Her new adventure and small business, Beyond Beloved: Bracelets that Bless, was born.

Soon after, she built a website and started selling her bracelets. Each is mailed out with a prayer card that explains the methods used to create these unique and meaningful pieces:

“One strand is burned: just like at times we get burned or burn the ones we love. One strand is plain: just like the ordinary, simple, normal times in our life. One strand is jeweled: just as God sees our worth, precious and unique.”

“I didn’t do everything perfectly,” Feider recalls about the first months of starting her business. For example, she learned that in order for the Swarovski crystal jewels she uses to adhere properly, she needed to use a tool to scuff up the leather.

“But I wanted a chance to show creativity in the midst of the normal day-to-day life on the farm and also felt a call to remind people that they are beloved by an amazing God,” she says.

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A farm girl story

Angie Feider

“Braiding the leather is tricky at first,” she explains. “After you get the hang of it, though, it’s therapeutic.” For a busy farm girl, making and sharing these unique leather pieces has been a way to unwind, do something different, but also bring something special to her life and those who are hearing the Beyond Beloved message.

Feider and her husband, Tim, live in New Holstein, Wisconsin, where they farm alongside Tim’s parents, Chuck and Julie Feider. Together, they milk 290 cows and raise more than 300 youngstock each year. High-school sweethearts, Angie and Tim married in 1999, after she spent a year serving the Wisconsin Association of FFA as state officer. They now have four children from ages 12 to 22, whom she says have all loved growing up on the farm.

“Tim and I wanted to farm together after my year of state officer service, giving us the joy and flexibility that comes with raising a family in the lifestyle we knew growing up and loved,” Feider says.

Steps of faith

The response to the bracelets has been exciting but also impactful. Feider says the goal truly hasn’t been about selling as many as possible but, instead, reaching others who need to hear the message put on her heart to share.

“The world is bigger than you or I, or the farm life we have,” she says. “Even though what we do in agriculture is important, I believe it’s as important to step outside of our comfort zones. It’s OK to grow, learn and share through new experiences.”

She did grow, learn and share. In late 2020, Feider began spreading the Beyond Beloved message even further by hosting a series of monthly faith-building gatherings in her small hometown that she themed “Restoration.”

“At first, I just wanted a chance to restore those first bracelets which perhaps had missing jewels,” she says with a smile. “Through God’s will, it has turned into more than that.”

Feider had been meaning to gather everyone, but then the world shut down.

“I put the idea off for about six months and, by then, we all needed some restoration, not just the bracelets,” she recalls. She gathered friends and started planning.

For the past year, a group of women and men meet each month to commune about restoring various aspects of life. The topics have ranged from learning about spiritual gifts to physical fitness tips and talking about parenting or how to find peace and contentment.

“Everybody gets an idea in the shower,” Feider jokes – and then says seriously: “It’s what you do after you dry off that makes the difference.”

Never one to sit still, Feider also gives her time and energy to organizations like the Wisconsin Farm Bureau and the Professional Dairy Producers (PDPW). Her most recent endeavor is vying for a seat on the Land O’Lakes Cooperative board of directors. Each stride aligns with her personal vision: “To restore abundance and to love and serve through the power of faith and growth in relationships.”

She continues each day, amid milking cows, to carry out her personal mission to help others see that they are all jeweled, set apart and meant to bring light to those around us.  end mark

PHOTO 1: The Feider family milks 290 cows near New Holstein, Wisconsin. From left to right: Abby, Garet, Tim, Angie, Vicki and Lilly Feider.

PHOTO 2: Feider makes a leather braided bracelet, and each strand has a specific meaning. A little prayer card explains the message of the bracelet.

 

PHOTO 3: Two years ago, a morning milking shift inspired Angie Feider to create a handmade bracelet business. Photos provided by Angie Feider.

Jen Bradley is a freelance writer in Chilton, Wisconsin.

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