Farming truths…

When you fill your tank with gas, you expect to cover miles. It’s a given.
When you work, you expect to get paid… it’s usually contracted. But, production agriculture is not simple. There’s no guarantees you’ll work and get paid. Just guarantee you will work.

We stay up at night pondering the forecast, penciling our fate. Yet, at the end of 365 days our wrinkled, callused hands don’t grasp a pay check. In these tough years, we pay to work. And the gray hair comes free. And we still wait for rain.

We, the drought-affected farmers and ranchers of a very large area, are in a disaster. Our livelihoods devastated. For some, we’ve been hit a few years in a row. It takes its toll and it’s hard to get ahead.

Imagine watching a project you’ve spent a lifetime perfecting, only to watch it deteriorate with the thermometer climbing and forecasts without hope. The baking of the land.

I pluck another head of wheat. The color is wrong, its shape out of whack. The plant has not produced a single seed. An empty head of wheat. Just because we combine, doesn’t mean we get yields.

Glancing at the brown pastures, the cattle are hungry. The hay crop is slim. Yet, the mess needs to be cleaned up. So the tractors still run. Another expense.

Can you imagine showing up to work everyday, and not getting paid? Imagine the desire it takes to just get out of bed every day? Let alone engage your mind? Working to find the best problem-solving skills to make the most economical and environmental decisions? The basic tasks become quite difficult.

Families are burdened. Everyone is cutting back. The entire region, our state, is dramatically affected.

Yet, everyone is looking ahead. Because there’s always next year.

Maybe rain will come?
Maybe prices will climb?
But we know, expenses will not drop.

But, we get up, face the day, and find the beauty.

The pride in grilling a homegrown burger. Boiling a huge pot of noodles from our durum. Watching our kids care for their animals, and learn to weld. Appreciating wide open spaces and room to roam. Spaces to think. Chores to teach responsibility and tiny pleasures.

And dang… tractors are sexy. The new beard is pretty saucy too. And it all works out. For falling in love with farming and ranching, is falling in love with nature. With simplicity. With brilliant, unselfish souls. We appreciate the miracles in the muscling of our animals, and the delicate texture of our fields.

For we love farming. We love ranching. Sure, not everyday do we love our job, but we’re looking behind with we see a whole lot. Sometimes it’s just a fog. But ahead, we look with hope. And we will bond together. Through the tough years, and clinging tighter for a good year.

Boys and their big ideas

Bringing together four minds usually means four ideas.
And lots of ideas can be a wreck.
Especially when its strong-willed little boys we’re talking about.

As a farm family – we wanted our sons to learn to work together at a young age!

Making mistakes.
Fixing breakdowns.
Together.

So, we gave the boys a pile of supplies and enough tools to do the job.
And under the bright sunshine, they set out to replace the shovels on this piece of equipment.

The shovels are heavy.
Awkard.
Sharp.
Dirty.
Cumbersome.

The sun was glaring and our boys were sweaty.
They sat uncomfortably on the concrete.
Their backs a bit wrenched and that was ok.
Their hands were busy.

The four brothers figured out a process.
And everyone had a job.

They disassembled –
and Reassembled.

155x200_Jordan-fixing

They didn’t want to ask too many questions.
Because they loved getting to work!
They loved their newfound independence.
They felt tough.
Dirty.
Appreciated.
Valued.

155x200_Warrick-fixing

I watched from a distance, and couldn’t believe my eyes.
They looked like men – manhandling that large farm equipment.
It made me sad.
It made me happy.

They were working together great!
No fights.
No flareups.
Just determination.
Raw.
Gritty.

Before I knew it,
the shovels were changed.
Takes-them-all

And the boys stood back to admire their work.
They were satisfied.
Myself: in awe.

My husband: well, he was clenching in teeth, and scratching his head…
Because, after six hours of work, he realized the self-sufficient sons had gathered some of their own supplies! (you know where this is heading!)

To the untrained eye – a bolt is a bolt.
But to the experienced farmers – the threads of a bolt are standard or metric.
Unfortunately, they grabbed the wrong bolts.

And… back to work they went!

Twisting themselves out of a mess –
One bolt at a time.

So… about those bolts?
Whose idea was it to grab the wrong ones?
They won’t say.
They were a team.
And they stuck together.

Boys-together-working

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Letting go… letting them grow

A wise mother once said: Life is about letting go.

EVERY DAY.

Watching our sons leave the fan section – to wear a jersey. I’m letting go.

Charging the football field for the first time. This letting go hurts.
And who ever said my son didn’t have hops? He’s blocking punts. I’m filling with pride.

As I hear myself hollering too loud, I watch from the corner of my eye… a beautiful young girl walking by. She’s wearing my son’s jersey. So, I’m forced to let go.

Life is about letting them take a hit.
And knowing our kids will fall. Sometimes hard. Sometimes they can’t get back up.

I’m forced to watch my strong son limp into the emergency room. On his own.
While I walk behind pushing an empty wheelchair. I feel broke. He’s hanging on.

He can barely support his weight.
He wobbles. His knee looks wrong. Something is very wrong.
I study his expression, but he does not show his pain. I only see determination.

We smalltalk. About his team. Their mission. Their vision. Their need… for each other.

We talk about it takes to be a team player. unselfishness. dedication. resilience. a positive spirit. talent.

Then, we talk about his future.
The nurse forces him into the wheelchair. he finally gives in.

jordan in wheelchair

I hear the doctor say something about his ligaments.
No weight bearing. Torn. Surgery.
His season is most likely done.

This time, my son is letting go to an athlete’s dream.
We’re both letting go.

We search to hang onto something! Each other.

We talk all the way home.
We grab lunch, and play cards as we eat.
Ignoring emails. Ignoring the phone.

Instead of putting our clothes into baskets, we’re putting that time into each other.
Just simply being there.
Together. Hanging on.

Watching movies.
Working on projects.

“You know Mom, you really don’t need to sit here all day,” he said.

I grinned. He had no idea how much I loved this!!!

I’m hanging on. To the teenage boy who is so busy, I just follow his dirty clothes.
I’m desperately hanging onto the boy who goes from one athletic season to another.
From the field, to the court, to the diamond. We let him go.

I’m holding tight to the days we read books and played in the dirt.
We’d race inside for science projects and board games. Cookies and Koolaid.
I’m clinging to the days we’d rock all day. Together.

I’m hanging on to the days I could kiss him goodnight, and he didn’t mind.

When your son can only stand on one leg, yet walks his way with his head held high- his mental game is strong. Letting go is a good thing.

It’s much easier to let go of today – when you are filled with great hope in tomorrow!

LET THEM GO to GROW.

JD-crutches

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Desire, determination… sports style

His team sprints from the dugout to take the field.
Looking side to side, he studies the empty dugout.
He can’t ignore the empty feeling in his gut.
He’s warming the bench. for another season
But, his heart burns with desire.
Put me in coach.

He wants to play. THIS season.
Not another one from the dugout.

Finally, the moment of trust arrives.
“Take the pitching mound,” his coach demands.
YES!
He is so ready.
Ready to bring heat.

JD pitching strikes

He prepared for it.
He pictured it.
He talked about it. Envisioned it.
He is ready.

He takes the mound.
Pitch. Strike.
Pitch. Strike.
Pitch. Striiiiiiike.

He’s throwin’ smoke.
Fans holler.
Someone believed in him!
He believes in himself.
He feels great, and he lets it show.

At the top of the last inning, he’s digging deep in his mental game.
Coach pulls on this young man’s burning elbow and slaps his aching bicep.
“JD, I know you can do this.
You can.
Do it.
Go.
Do it.
Just over the plate.”

He was prepared.

JD after pitching win

He was successful.
But, mostly, he was humble.

Seasons change…
But the desire stays.
This time it’s the football field.

He looks great from his sharp-looking uniform.
But, he waits from the sideline.
football sidelines

Through many series.
Through many games. Through much of a season.
Yet, he perseveres.

Late at night, I hear the weight bench snap. I smell his sweat.
I see a young boy turning into a man.

So when the time finally comes to take the football field.
He is ready. So ready.

Defending the football. nothing can get through.
The nose guard next to him is muscular. Strong. Dependable.
That brute forces a fumble, so the football lays at the 22 yard line.

Like a bear to a honey pot, the kid you normally see on the sidelines charges.
He one-hand grabs that pigskin and runs.

And runs. With every ounce of energy he can muster. Across the entire football field.

He runs with his legs.
But really, his soul has all the strength.
football touchdown

Running. For a touchdown.
For the ultimate feeling in football.
To make a moment for his team.
To run from the taste of defeat – to relish in the deliciousness of victory.

touchdown smiles

He was ready.
He was prepared.
He was successful.
Beaming.

Sometimes it takes time on the bench.
basketball bench

To be part of a winning team.

basketball team

It takes a burning desire
to work through rejections – to win.

It takes falls – to stand tall.
It takes 2nd place – to appreciate first.
It takes walking through open doors – to go somewhere new.

We must believe in ourselves.
Take chances.

Prepare now and embrace opportunities to make the game of life the very best it can be!

You never know when the moment you’ve prepared for… the moment you’ve drawn in your mind… is staring you straight in the eye and its up to you to MAKE it HAPPEN!

Leave the bench – and go get it!

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Mother’s Day… with my 5 Guys. So blessed.

Two tubes of used lip gloss. The permanent ink was worn off. The applicator bent. But, it was wrapped with a bow.

Given from his heart.

It was the annual “teacher’s cleaning their desks” rummage sale – and the boys had packed cash. A lot of cash. They cleaned their piggy banks, and there were inter-loans within the home. They were on a mission.

And I was the lucky recipient!

They set the stage for the perfect Mother’s Day. They’d talked about it for weeks, and it seemed all 5 of my guys were in on it. And to be quite honest, I’d looked forward to it for 365 days! I love that day!!! Don’t you Moms?

270x216_lipgloss-photo

We devote our lives into our kids.
We make their hearts part of ours.
We give and give… and give deeper yet. To the point of collapse.

We marvel when they make choices – the right ones.
And we’re there to guide them through the wrong ones.

My sons are so tightly wound within my heart – its hard to let them go.
To school. To the park. To a sleepover. To camp. To driver’s ed.

But, they are simply a gift. From God. And its up to us to savor every minute with them.

To accept the used lip gloss, brush it on our lips, and put it in our purse.

To wear the homemade crown. To the park? When we pick up our kids from school? To work?

I just know, we must keep the crown. In a very safe spot. Because it says the words Moms love to hear: “World’s Greatest Mom.”

270x216_Katie-crown-and-Malachi

So many times I’ve wept at my Mother’s grave.
I’ve vowed to miss church on Mother’s Day because I know I’ll just weep there, too.

I stay away from the Hallmark section during May.
Once, I made the mistake, and my tears ran.
But, the lady next to me was holding that tear-stained card, and she understood.
She’s been there. She actually ended up holding me, too.

Moms teach us young ladies how to be the “World’s Greatest Mom.”
She showed patience.
She taught me how to drive a grain truck, and was there when I over filled it.

She showed unconditional love.
She taught me to always take a stand, but picked me up from detention.

She tried to teach us self control.
But, it was ok to sneak rolos from her candy cupboard. She’s said chocolate does wonders.

She made us feel worthy.
She taught me how to apply makeup, but said I’m more beautiful without it.

So… for me and my guys.

270x216_Katie-and-jordan
He’ll be driving soon. I’m ready.

270x216_Connor-and-Katie
I’ll hold his hand as long as he lets me. Right now he loves it, but I know that will change.

270x216_Katie-and-Warrick
I’ll play baseball, basketball, and football. I usually catch balls with my face.

270x216_Katie-and-Malachi
We’ll check for loose teeth. Because he’s still my baby.

I wear the pink lip gloss – just a light coat.
I’ll take them for ice cream – on special occassions.
We’ll teach them to be independent – and the growing pains independence brings.
But together, we will grow.

270x216_Katie-and-Stu-kiss
And I will love their father with my whole heart. He’s really easy to love! And, Father’s Day is just around the corner!

Good supply is an momentous part of leading a wholesome lifestyle. How can medications help us? What can customers get without prescription? There are many medicaments for each diseases. At present hundreds articles were published about price of cialis. What may patients discuss with a physician before taking Viagra? How you can get correct info about “”? The very significant question you must look for is “cialis tadalafil“. Undoubtedly, sexual diseases can soothe chronic hurt and, even more importantly, reaffirm the joys of living. You should not take any drug if you are allergic to it’s ingredients. If you have a feeling that someone might have taken an overdose of this preparation, go to the accident department of your local hospital as soon as possible.

Dirt…. dirty… we need more AXE!

“Why did Grandpa have to die?”
“How many seconds in a year?”
“How many Super Bowls have the Falcons won?”
“How deep are the roots of a 20 foot tall tree?”
“What is Europe like?”
“Why isn’t she nice to me?”
“Mom, he makes me feel awkward. I don’t know how to talk to him.”

In a 20 minute window – they fired all of these questions! BIG picture observations. In a fast-paced world, it’s tough to create the right place for kids. Somewhere they can really talk. So you can get to what’s on a kids’ mind, or what concerns them.

Creating an environment without pressure. A place they are not rushed. Or distracted. Where they feel open to talk, but not cornered.

Engaging brains… and creating space for the tough conversations. We do it on the farm.

They are so busy, they forget we’re working on their hearts. Not just the job ahead of us.

farming together... building tomorrow

No video games. No phone interruptions. Just us. And a little dirt.

You only need one thing: a rake. or a hoe.

The best conversations happen in the pumpkin patch. In the tractor. In the garden. Driving semi. Or cleaning closets.

It’s asking, “hey, you’re terribly crabby. What’s up?”

“I miss Dad,” one of the little Guys say.

I agree. It’s springs work on the farm – long days, short nights. “So do I, but you don’t have to pounce on your brother. It won’t get Dad home any sooner.” suddenly, he gets it.

The real dirt on raising kids: its not easy. But. With the right fertilizer and favorable conditions, the crop will surpass all of your greatest yield dreams!

Get rid of the weeds. the bad influences
Water often. spend time together
Watch for identifiable diseases.you know the dangers
Keep your eye out for pesty rodents. usually, you can smell them
Cultivate your soil. your future
Plant good seeds. watch them grow

tractor time... with Dad

Good food is an momentous part of leading a wholesome lifestyle. How can medications help us? What can customers get without prescription? There are many medicaments for each diseases. At present hundreds articles were published about price of cialis. What may patients discuss with a physician before taking Viagra? How you can get correct information about “”? The very significant problem you must look for is “cialis tadalafil“. Undoubtedly, sexual diseases can soothe chronic pain and, even more importantly, reaffirm the joys of living. You should not take any drug if you are allergic to it’s ingredients. If you have a feeling that someone might have taken an overdose of this medicament, go to the accident department of your local hospital as soon as possible.