Monday, November 26, 2012

An Opportunity to Write and Win!

I love my farm life, I really do, but once upon a time, in a world far different from the one I live in now, I was an English teacher.

Yeah, that's me in a yearbook pic circa Lord-Knows-When on Crazy Hat and Tie Day!

This big guy and I go way back to his sophomore year of high school, which was, uhm, 20-some years ago! (And the picture was taken by his wife, also once a student!)

Oh you might not know it from the occasional errors you will find in my posts, but some days it’s pretty crazy behind the scenes here, and I just have to hit the “Publish” button and pray it all makes sense.  And (yes, I know you are not supposed to start a sentence with And, but it’s one of the perks of having your own blog), I do miss teaching, especially the writing part of it all.  To sit down with a student, talk about an idea, and watch a blank piece of paper come to life with his or her own idea is an incredible experience.  It’s not always an easy one, and sometimes there are MANY attempts before it all melds together, but like farming, if you work at it (ok, and use the right kind of fertilizer if needed), it will grow into a beautiful essay!

So you can just imagine my ears perking up and my heart smiling when I learned that Indiana Family of Farmers and Indiana Humanitiesare sponsoring an Ag Essay for kids grades 4-12!  WOW!  It almost makes me want to bust out my purple grading pen!  (That’s the color I used because red looked, well, just so violent at the end of a graded paper!).  I LOVE this idea for many reasons.  1.  It makes kids stop and think about where their food comes from and asks them to consider how hard the people work to get it to them.  2. It asks the writers to consider that farmers do care for the animals being raised on farms for food or to provide food in the case of our Hoosier dairies and egg producers, and 3. It helps them to understand how important it is for farmers and all of us to take care of the ground we live on and grow food in so it will last us for many meals in the future. 

 These are very important concepts for our children to understand, and I like that by thinking about each issue, they will learn how hard we work on the farm to keep our animals healthy, the grain we grow safe and healthy, and the ground that provides for us in the best state of production.  Farmers are not wasteful people, and I believe this message will come through the thought process of the students who participate in the essay contest.

And now for the cool part, instead of getting a great grade, winners will be chosen to receive great prizes!  Students have the opportunity to win either Apple iPad or Beats by Dr. Dre Headphones for writing a prize-winning essay!  There are three age breaks: grades 4-6, 7-9, and 10-12.  Essays are due February 1.  Entry guidelines can be found at or  

Monday, November 19, 2012

This Little Light of Mine

Today I was able to spend time with a dear friend whom I will cherish always.  We talked about serious stuff, we laughed about silly stuff, and it was a truly a special day.

In all our chattering, I came away with a message that had been forming in my heart for a while now, and I would like to share some of that message with you now.  The rest I will save for later......

As we share what we are thankful for this season, I would like to shift the focus a bit.  Wouldn't it be great if we were all people whom others were thankful to know?  Each one of us has an opportunity every day to be a great role model for others.  We can lift people up, we can inspire them, we can be examples of God's plan for each and every one who touches our lives.  The crazy thing about this all is that for some very special people, this ability comes naturally, without any effort or forethought.  I keep asking the good Lord every night to help me be a better person tomorrow; help me improve on the weaknesses and find the strength to change.....But I know a few of these very special people who make it look so easy.....they just live their lives with The Plan already in place, and WOW what power they have to reach out and touch people. My friend I visited today is one who falls into this special group.  She doesn't even realize all the people she touches, but we are all the better for her light!

So I will leave you with a song I told my friend about.  Yesterday at church I was kind of squinting to see what the next hymn would be, and I scrambled the last two numbers (I do that a lot with numbers; that's probably why we don't always get along so well)...yadda yadda yadda....

The hymn I turned to was "This Little Light of Mine!"  It was the wrong one, but I didn't know whether to laugh or cry because I knew I was going to see my friend the next day, and this is the song I always associate with her.  Let your light shine today and every day because you truly never know who it is shining on and guiding to a better choice, day, and/or life.

Since I want this message to be upbeat, who better to sing us home than THE BOSS himself!

Now get out there and SHINE!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Why I Love to Text!

See this Sweetie pie with me?  We have known each other for 21 years!  (we met on her 21st birthday celebration at the Neon Cactus.  You Purdue Alumni will know all about that place!)

Oh the stories we could tell on each other.....but the short of it is.... we found out her uncle and my dad were frat brothers at Ball State.  Go Theta Chi!  Both our dads were teachers and coaches. We are the oldest with one brother. ( I had hers in school as a student!).  We were in each other's weddings.  I had one of her legs when her first born came into the world, and she was right there after Tink made her entrance.  We have shared so much joy and a bit of sadness in these years, but the one of special things we share is our love of sports, especially Black and Gold football and basketball.  Back in the single days, we would be on my couch screaming and yelling and the TV for our dream guy:

Yep, we LOVE Drew Brees.  Sigh..... yes, our husbands know, and they just have to live with it.

We even got to go to see a game at Ross-Ade Stadium this year.  It was probably the best game the Boilers played up until this past Saturday, and we had so much fun whooping it up and hollering for our guys.  This wonderful man behind us even said it was so much fun to see sisters having so much fun together.  LOVE it when we are mistaken for sisters.  Used to happen all the time.

Now, we have to settle for texting most of the time during games because our girls are busy with sports and husbands are busy with work.    

I'm not sure how much the humor will translate, but I copied and pasted our conversation from the second half of the game to share with you.  It might just be this special Jen~Lana thing that nobody gets, but I am so thankful for my ability to text and have my buddy to watch the game with, even if she is in Fishers and I am up here in God's country.

Me: Your boy Marve is having a great day today.

Jen:  He is!!!  If only Hope hadn't had something against playing him all season...  He ruined any chance of him going into the NFL.  I SO hope we can pull out a W!

Me:  Nice pass!

Jen:  Woohoo!

Me: Ooo!  They might respot that punt if they look at it any more!

Jen:  I missed the location - for worse or better on the spot?

Me:  I thought the guy who knocked it back so it could be downed in the one was in the endzone or on the line.  It was a good spot 'til the QB ran for about 20z

Me: 20!

Jen:  No one was even paying attention to the QB running!!!!

Me:  Well that had better come back our way.

Jen:  He was down!

Me:  Why is Henry QBing?

Jen:I just said that!!!!


Jen:  We are going to lose this, aren't we?  Why do I go into these with such hope?  And no pun intended...  Ha!

Me:  CRAP!  I'm sitting here trying to create a blog about us texting, and I didn't realize Iowa was about to tie up the game.  Double CRAP!  THEY DID!

Jen:  Aaaaahhhhhhhh!  Hey, when you watch these alone, you at least need to have a text buddy, right?!:-)

Me:  Dang straight!  I'm not swearing because it might show up on/in the blog!

Jen:  Ha ha!  Be careful!

Me:  First down but a dang holding call!  :-O

Jen:  Grrrrr.  Stop being stupid! Marve is trying and someone ruins it!

Me:  What a great catch!  Was he really out?

Jen:  Could we be any more dumb?  Yes, he stepped out before the ball was thrown to him and stepped back in to catch it.

Me:  Time for Beave's. "Son of a motherless goat" oath!

Jen:  Exactly!!!!  Our defense can't stop this!!!!!  Why?

Me:  Oh for Pete's sake, GET HIM!!!  I think I can hear you screaming! 

Jen:  You probably can!  This is it!  Do I even have to go to the IU game?  I love that someone said let's just fed ex the oaken bucket to Bloomington and get it over with! Lol!!

Me:  IU had their butts handed to them today; maybe it will be the best game of the year.  I think we saw that one!

Jen:  You just never know, right?  Come on Purdue!!!

Me:  Holy Moly are they gonna try a kick?

Jen:  Oh no!

Me:  Oh yes!   Wahoo!

Jen:  I just screamed! Did you hear me?!

Me:  Yep I think our voices blended!   Wish we could have been in the same room, but we might have broken something.

Jen:  That's funny!!!  I love seeing these guys happy! 

Me:  Well you can bet that after the Ohio game, I wasn't leaving to feed the calves until the game was over, No offencce :-)  


Me: PU 20 OSU 14!  Start of the 4th quarter! OMG!  It hasn't been pretty, but we're ahead.

Jen:  Why??????

Me:  WTH happened?  Headed back in side.  I was having nipple issues with the calves!  OYE!  

(*Editor's note:  Nipple issues were with those on the bottles.  Just sayin' for those who were wonderin')

Jen:  Yeah, wide open for a Ohio touchdown then wide open again for the 2 point conversion.  Hope the nipple issue is better :-)


Jen: I know! How do you lose in the last 10 seconds of a game?????


Jen:  :-) I knew what you meant!  I wouldn't have left either.  Just think what might have been with Bolden and Marve in the whole season.

So this is how I try to maintain a somewhat steady blood pressure reading.  Texting Jen on game day.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Chatting with Friends on the Farmhouse Porch

 Everyday Ruralty
  1. Are you planning on doing most of your Christmas shopping in stores, or online?
  2. Have you ever been to a bonfire?
  3. What would "simplifying life" mean to you?
  4. Tell me about one blog you really enjoy reading.
  5. Have you ever had someone who isn't in your family, but felt just like family?
My answers:

1.  Probably a mix of both, but I like online shopping because I do not like crowds.

2.  Oh yeah,  Bonfires have always been a part of my life.  They are one of the best parts of growing up in the country.  Big or small, bonfires ROCK!

3.  I have to agree that getting rid of the clutter would be a HUGE relief, and that is why I am dedicating the rest of 2012 and 2013 to getting rid of the clutter in this house.  If I could put my hands on what I need when I need it, WOW! what a relief that would be!

4.  Oh my...  That's kind of like picking your favorite child.  I would say any on the blogs on my blog roll have merit. However, that being said, Four Leaf Clover Tales is nearest and dearest to my heart right now.  Today, many of us view our country with a bit of despair and cyicism, but Miss Leontine is living her American Dream, and her story has allowed me to see this country in the same way our ancestors saw it, a land of opportunity.  Please stop by and read her story as she made her dream of leaving her own country and moving to America to start a dairy farm a reality.  It is up-lifting, hilarious, witty, wise, inspiring, and just down right smile-inducing.  I pray that her story goes on and on, but I know it is coming to an end.....We have this song we teach our children, "This Little Light of Mine, I'm  Gonna Let It Shine."  I think we can call keep Leontine's light shining for so much longer than she would ever imagine.  Her's is a beacon that should never go out!

5.  The good Lord did not give me any sisters, but he has blessed me by placing some incredible women in my life who are like gems in a family ring, and I wouldn't trade them for anything in the world.  Beth, Jen, Susan, Carol, Wanda, Kim, Carrie, Joy, Elaine, Angie, Chris, Tommi, Tammy, Becky, and I could go on.  I even hate to start naming because I know I will inadvertently leave someone off.   I am just so thankful to have had friends in my life to lean on and share the joys and challenges.

Thanks Patrice for the fun exercise in thought.  It makes me remember why November is the month we tend to focus on those things and people who bring us joy with thankful hearts.