Our love story:

When I was a chubby third-grader, my parents drug me to some picnic. You know, the lame ones your parents insist you attend. I didn’t want to go. Better options were out there. But, then again, there was a lake. At least I could throw rocks and collect snails.

Turns out, a young-blonde, blue-eyed boy from the other side of the state had the same experience. Dragged to the picnic. Too young to stay home. To old for the event to be cool.

So. There we sat.

Eating cheeseburgers, pickles, Grandma’s salads, potato chips, and delicious blue-ribbon brownies. And we drank orange Crush pop.

I will never forget the taste of that Crush. It’s still one of my guilty pleasures.

Elementary turned to junior high. And those awkward years turned to high school. College plans were in their future, with old and new friends by their sides. And soon, both of those young kids were in their last year of college.

Another picnic.

Another cheeseburger.

More pickles and chips and a caffeine-free Diet Pepsi.

A different picnic bench, but the same Crush.

His smile…

His handsome smile was the brightest and biggest I had ever seen, and he had a heart to match.

And over the next few months, we ate more cheeseburgers.

Just the two of us.

We had a few picnics in the park.

And decided that if we spent a lifetime together, it might not be long enough to share all that we wanted to share.

And we fell in love.

And I knew it was the love I had waited my entire life to meet.

And… that is the love story I love most.

Our love story.

It’s pretty beautiful how it all happened, actually.

Kinda romantic.

Blessed.
Four sons.
A house to call home.

And we’re closing in on twenty years of marriage.

In all those years, we’ve learned life is not always a picnic in the park.

Life is certainly not perfect. I know our marriage isn’t.

I’ve made some bad mistakes.

He has too.

But, at the end of the day, we stay on one bench.

We’re devoted to each other.

We’ve learned to appreciate our differences.

And when times are tough, we cling to hope. To Him.

And every day, we renew our commitment to each other.

And, we thank God for the gift of each other.
The joy of marriage. The fulfillment of loving, and being loved.

My 5 Guys:

Meet my 5 Guys.

I’d like to think they named that cheeseburger place after us.

You know, 5 Guys. Especially since cheeseburgers are the core of our beginning.

But, sorry I can’t validate the 5 Guy thing.

We do, however, sit down for home-cooked family meals, and we clean the kitchen. Together.

It’s rough. Rowdy. We allow wrestling, we encourage practicing basketball handling skills in our kitchen duringthe winter. But dodge ball and football games belong downstairs. We’ve learned baseballs dimple doors andfloors; hard-thrown ping pong balls can too.

But, when the commotion quiets, and I see them help each other. I know the fight is won. The commotion istemporary. It’s not how we get knocked down – it’s who will help you up.

My Guys know family. The push, the pull, the sacrifice, the support.

In 2010, the Guys opened a pick-your- own pumpkin patch. Our sons have learned so much about the Businessof Life. On the farm. In the family. In their heart.

Working gloves don’t always prevent blisters.

Weeds invade.

Water is scarce.

A killing frost can take your entire crop.

So they’ve learned to replant. And have hope.

To weed – always remembering to get to the root of the problem.

They’ve learned to solve problems, and satisfy customers.

The Guys have learned that the Business of Life can be heartbreaking.

It’s tempting to quit.

Or we can go strong, harder, and with more conviction than ever before.

Because perseverance wins.

Their choice.

Our Farm:

We are a farming family. It’s where our kids learn that work gloves might not prevent blisters, and callusedhands are earned. You know what really jazzes us? Just picturing you around your table. Laughing. Bonding.

Passing the food. Even your spilled milk makes us smile.

Farmers put everything we own under the skies. In the hands of Mother Nature. Small seeds – with big hope.

We tend to each field. We want you to long a long, healthy life. So, we take great pride in every seed thatbecomes your food.

My pantry has flour. Yours does too.

Mine comes from a farmer’s field. Yours too.

With farm families, everyone has a responsibility. It takes everyone at their best, on their toes, and devoted tothe big picture. You know what gigs farmers? The roar of the machines, the smell of a timely rain, and the tinydevelopments of the plant – that’s cool. And every wheat load I haul with my Big Rig – you stock your pantry.

That’s cool, too.

You know what else really gigs me personally? Nabbing a bucket of wheat from the back of the truck andtaking it home to grind it. And mixing a batch of the most delicious, moist, beautiful, heavenly, delightfulwheat buns you’ve ever tasted. Certified delicious. Endorsed by countless taste testers.

Your bread comes from our spring wheat. Your delicious pasta is made from a beautiful head of Durumwheat. And when you serve a pot of warm soup on a chilly winter night – may those lentils refresh you. Maythe lentil brownies delight you. And the corn and peas enrich you. We want to you enjoy a full plate!

And, as everything in life, it starts with a small seed. Sowed with hope. Faith. Trust.

My heart loves

Chocolate. Milk. Dark. White. Creamy. I don’t discriminate.

Playing piano full of feelings, full of changes.

Winning at pinochle, tolerating strategic games, and crushing my family at Speed.

Teaching my sons to jitterbug, two-step, and play poker.

Scrapbooking: with dear friends, Martina McBride music, licorice handy.

Training my mind and body for a nice long run. I’m slow, but I always finish.

The sun. I love, love, love the sun.

My family. Immediate. Extended. Near. Far. They have my heart.

The Bison. (Bi-zon). NDSU Bison. The Herd. We are a nation.