MALI AND DR. MITCHELL GLASS’S FARM OFFERS THE IDEAL PRESCRIPTION TO BE TOGETHER AS A FAMILY
by JENNIFER JORDAN
Most mothers get their children ready for school and then either drive to a job outside the home or do the work of a stay-at-home mother. For Mali Glass, it’s a little bit of both. Each weekday, she drops her three boys at school, gives herself a high five, and returns home to work on her family’s farm in Texarkana.
Living in the mountains was always the dream of Mali and her husband, Mitchell. They love to spend time outdoors. After Mitchell completed his pediatric dentistry residency at the University of Tennessee, the Glasses searched for a new home, “traveling to any mountain town that had need for a pedodontist.” They felt God call them to Texarkana, and Mali originally asked Mitchell, “Texarkana? Are you sure?” God was sure. Texarkana was the right choice. The Glasses moved in 2011 with a 2-year-old and a 1-year-old, and Mitchell set up his pediatric dental practice. Mali explains, “Texarkana’s greatest strength is its people. It may not be a mountain town, but we have been so amazed by the friends we have made. Our community is what makes it great!”
About a year after they moved from Memphis to Texarkana, the Glasses purchased their farmland and 12 pregnant cows. Soon afterward, they
bought a house adjacent to their farmland. “Our land was in the backyard, a true backyard farm,” Mali states. They knew nothing about cattle, but
were excited to learn. “Mitchell and I laugh about how I ordered a birthing kit on Amazon. This included all the items necessary to aid in the birth of a calf. Mitchell teased me about it, and yet when our first calf was in trouble, guess who was prepared? Yep, me and my birthing kit!”
Since then, the herd has grown, as has the Glass family. They have three sons: Rivers, age 8; Judah, age 7; and Bear, age 5. The Glasses see many positives to raising their children on a farm. “When Mitchell gets home from work, we go out on the farm and either play or work. The farm has taught our kids a lot. We see that they are growing up in a world where not much is authentic, and interaction with one another and with nature has changed. The farm brings us back to what is real and important in life which is God, His creation, and His people. Whether it is new life, death, hard work, family, or caring for God’s creation, there are so many things that our family learns and values from farm life.”
Maintaining the farm is Mali’s passion, and her love for it is evident in her description. “As soon as I am out there I imagine myself as a Disney princess, probably Pocahontas, with all of the animals surrounding me. Growing up, I wanted to be a veterinarian or a Native American so it is kind of working out for me.” She further details, “Our farm has become like a vocation for me. I have employees that depend on me (animals), a wonderful product, and I can make my own hours. Sometimes I have to shovel my employees’ poop but I guess all jobs have their low points. I have many hopes for the future of our farm and am excited to start working on some new things!” A typical day on the farm begins with letting out the chickens from their coop and watching them peck at bugs on the ground while Mali gathers their eggs. Next, Mali feeds the pigs, “Dolly Parton” and “Tammy Wynette.” “I like to think the real Dolly and Tammy would be honored by my name choice. They would get it. My favorite thing is that if you scratch Tammy’s side she will roll over and let you rub her belly.” From there, Mali visits the alpacas, “Lima,” “Cusco,” “Pisco,” and “Ludwig,” and lets them out to roam in the field. “All names derive from Peru.” Mali elaborates, “Mitchell and I took a trip last summer to Peru and hiked the Inca Trail with four of our close friends. Along the trail, and at our final destination of Machu Picchu, we saw llamas and alpacas. Talk about cute! They are gentle and really funny. Our guide on the trail was named Ludwig if you were wondering where that one came from. I am learning about alpaca fleece and will be shearing them soon for spring and summer weather.”
Mali’s last farm duty is to drive the farm truck out to check on the cows. As part of their farm is in their backyard, the Glasses keep their heifers (cows who have not yet born a calf) close by. “Essentially they are first-time mommas,” she explains. “I look for any new calves or mommas that may be in labor. Our main function as a cattle farm is producing calves and selling them once they have been weaned from the moms.” The most challenging part of keeping cows is calving season. “Calving season is really exciting and frustrating at times. This is where we learn that farm life does not happen on your schedule. We have actually left a black tie event to bring a sick calf into our garage for the night.” The Glasses credit the farming community in Texarkana with helping and teaching them as they grow in their farming life. “We have a great team that helps us!” Mali remarks.
When they are not farming or fishing, the Glasses enjoy traveling with their children, with friends, or just the two of them. “We love adventures, whether hiking the Inca Trail, visiting the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland (there were cows), the Gaudi mosaic benches in Barcelona, or the most impressive Tower of Terror in Disney World. It is not always easy to leave the farm but that is where the friends and community come in. We enjoy seeing and experiencing all the world has to offer. It gives us a new perspective each time we travel to a different place of how big and wonderful our world is.”
Mali also enjoys the support and community she has in Bible Study Fellowship. “I started it the day I moved to Texarkana and it has made such an impact on my life. Bible Study Fellowship is an in-depth study of the Bible in which women of all ages, races, denominations, backgrounds, and life stages come together to learn from scripture more about who God is and in turn about ourselves. I have had the privilege of teaching alongside some amazing women. There seems to be more division in our world than ever, and I love seeing 300 or so women, who are all different, come together in peace for one purpose, which is a love for God.”
One day, Mali might return to work in counseling (she attained her Masters in Counseling from the University of Memphis), but right now, family and farming are the keystones in the Glasses’ life. Mali views “her life” as her greatest reward. “I am grateful God created me and gave me purpose. That purpose is to love those around me and his creation. Mother Teresa said that ‘If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.’ For right now that is what my mission is, love my family and anyone I come in contact with. For Mitchell, it is similar. He loves what he does and sees it as an opportunity to give back to our community. His staff is wonderful, and they all work very hard. I am amazed at how much Mitchell does each day. He does not sit down all day and takes time to talk to each patient and parent. He comes home to our rowdy crew and does not skip a beat.” Mali and Mitchell strive to raise their boys “to be grateful, honest and kind; work hard, but don’t take yourself too seriously; always have a spare bedroom because you never know who God will bring into your life; and to learn from your mistakes because there are going to be a lot of them.”
Mali also recognizes the busyness of the 21st century and feels that her greatest challenge is the fight against this. Their farm offers the ideal prescription to be together as a family. “Oftentimes, it feels like swimming upstream to choose to say no or not sign up. I cherish the time we have together at our home and farm. I know my boys are changing quickly, and I want to make sure they have solid roots as they grow. Roots in the sense of deep knowledge of who God is and how much they are loved just as they are. I also really like my husband and want to hang out with him as much as I can.”
In the last eight years, the Glass family has built a rich life on their farm, and they truly love their community. In fact, they are the ideal advertisers for Texarkana. Mali avers, “We wouldn’t trade the friends we have made or our community for the best taco place around (and I really love tacos). I would tell anyone who was thinking about moving to Texarkana to get plugged in and meet as many people as you can.” .