Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Summer has arrived!

Finally, it seems as if summer has arrived.  I gave in and turned on the air this week as it was just to warm to sleep well and we've all been awfully busy around here, so we need our sleep. :)

Sunday we went to St. Louis to celebrate Charlotte's first birthday.  Charlotte is the first great niece on Mike's side.  We had an amazing time visiting with family and sitting out in the back yard enjoying a little sunshine.....something we hadn't seen much of for over 3 weeks!  On our way home, Mike and I were discussing going to a major cattle show in Neosho, MO the next day.  We really didn't plan on buying anything or much anyway, but wanted to go to the sale.  The boys left for youth soon after we arrived at home and then Mike decided we should head out that night and drive part of the way.  After quickly finding a hotel room in Springfield we finished up chores and headed out.  It is so nice to have such responsible young men as our sons that Mike and I can just go and not worry about getting someone to take care of everything around here.

After the sale on Monday we decided to drive through the edge of Joplin.  Words just cannot express the total destruction from their tornado.  We didn't even drive through the worst part of it and yet we still could barely comprehend it.  The other thing that struck me was the amount of help that was already on-site.  I cannot help but compare this disaster to Hurricane Katrina.  The people of New Orleans were quite upset that President Bush did not come until 4 days post Katrina.  His reasoning was that he did not want to get in the way of the search and rescue operations.  President Obama didn't make it to Joplin until one week post tornado because he was in Europe.  We didn't hear or read of any complaints of the Joplin residents.  They were simply too busy picking up the pieces of their lives and moving forward.  By Friday, one of the animal hospitals was already rebuilding.  The building was framed up already and they were ready for the siding, electrical, plumbing and insulation.  AMAZING!  Our youth pastor has headed down as a relief chaplain this week.  Today they reported that all missing were accounted for and the total count for those who lost their lives was 134.  One church sign that we saw on our way out of town displayed the sermon message title, "Where do we go from here?"  I truly believe Joplin will rebuild and become even stronger through this trial.  There is a resiliency that must only come from the Lord.

We arrived home in time for chores and supper on Monday night.  The boys had been chopping rye grass silage all day and were just a little tired.  It was good to sit and just visit with them for a while.  I do love this live God has blessed me with.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

What a month....

I know, I know, I said I was going to try to post once a week on here and it's now been a month.  I'm sorry.  Turns out shortly after that post I was offered a new job.  I have spent the entire last month working two jobs plus we graduated Chris mid month.  It's been a tad hectic to say the least.

Last night was my final day at the library.  I've enjoyed my time there and am thankful they gave me the opportunity to work there 2 years ago.  I'm also thankful that my new job is something I'm really enjoying a lot.  I've started working for Missouri Land and Home Real Estate Office in Columbia.  Right now I'm doing the ads and brochures for their auctions.  I get to play at desktop publishing a lot!  I'm thankful Kurt and Ann were willing to give me a chance at this.  We've worked it out so that I'll be part time at least until we get Jesse out of high school.

Mike awarding Chris his diploma
Chris graduated on May 14th.  I really cannot believe the time has flown by so quickly.  We homeschooled for 9 years with him.  I never would have thought we'd do more than one or two in the beginning.  Funny how God knew so much better than I. :)  We had a big party for him, and, despite the weather, had a great turnout. 

2010-11 Mexico FFA Officer Team
 The week following the graduation was the FFA Banquet.  We put some time into setting it up at the 4-H Center and preparing the food.  It was so worth it.  Our ag teacher, Stephanie Gutshall, was nervous about making it look good.  She's a 3rd generation ag instructor and has been to a lot of banquets.  Her dad came and said it was one of the best he's been to.  I think emotionally, the FFA banquet was harder for me than the actual graduation.  Chris was one of 4 seniors on the officer team this year.  They have done a good job working together and really improving the chapter.  By the end of the night we learned that Jesse was the new 1st vice president.  I really cannot express how proud I am of our guys.  They both put a lot of effort into the FFA program and it shows. 

2011-12 Mexico FFA Officer Team
Last Sunday night a tornado ripped through Joplin, Missouri.  Yesterday, there were more tornado warnings our for our area than I could count.  Several touched down, but the damage was so much less than that in Joplin.  Sedalia sustained some sizable damage and is beginning the rebuilding process.  Thankfully there were no lives lost in Sedalia.  As of today, the death count in Joplin was 125. 

I have so many things I could write about, but there are also many other things calling for my attention.  For now, I think I'll attend to those other things and work on some future posts for you later tonight.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Sunday's coming!

I read a post by a good friend of mine on Facebook saying her little girl was wondering why we call it "Good Friday" when it was the day Jesus was killed.  I remember wondering that same thing myself when I was a young Christian.  Of course, it was an amazingly good sacrafice that only the best could give for my sins.  God withheld absolutely nothing so that we might all come to Him and be in relationship with Him.  Last night our church held a Good Friday service for the first time in as many years as we've been there.  It really was an awesome service.  We took communion, sang amazing songs with just the drum and a couple of guitars and heard a great message by our pastor.  I sat upstairs with Mike since he was running the projectors.  The boys got there just before service started (they had stayed back to do chores since Mike needed to be at church at 6pm).  I was struck after the service at how blessed we are.  It's been a week of God pointing out multiple times to me, just how good we have it with our guys.  Sure we have days when it's a struggle, but you know what?  Nothing good ever comes easily.  Here it was Friday night and our boys had chosen a church service and then time with extended family for desserts over going out with friends. And they chose it without input from their dad or myself.    I am thankful. 
Weatherwise, Friday was a dreary day.  It was rainy and kind of ugly for most of the day.  For me, those kind of days really make it hard to function.  I was blessed with a burst of energy and a bit of cooking inspiration for the day.  I got the entry spring cleaned, lunch fixed, supper fixed, a dessert to take along and worked with Mike on planning the tile layout for our shower.  I think we may have finally come up with a plan or two that will work out for us.  We're trying to use up some leftover tiles and still have a neat looking pattern that will tie the whole room together. 
Today I am at work (thus no pics with this post). It's been a little slow but my afternoon was brightened by a visit from a family that is so fun and positive.  It also happens to be the surgeon that took out Chris's appendix 4 years ago.  That's a long story for another day, but one that ends with quick forgiveness and great strides for all.  Before work I managed to make breakfast and lunch for today, put up a load of dishes, reload the dishwasher, handwash a few things, change out the laundry, fold two loads of laundry and get two calves back in their pasture.  I need to do a few things for Easter morning at our house.  Not sure of all the details just yet, but am thinking a quick nap this afternoon might help. :)  Tomorrow we'll get to spend the day celebrating the resurrection of Christ!  Sunday's coming and the great outlook is right there with it!  Without Christ, I could do nothing, but with Him, I can do all that He asks of me.  Life is good, God is great!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Busy, busy Sunday.

Beautiful Palm Sunday morning.
 Some Sundays I feel like I'm busy just getting ready for church and getting a few things done around here before cooking for the kids that go to youth with the boys. This Sunday was different for us. We had a show to go to, a gomer bull to pick up and a lot of cow/calf pairs to look at. We left home at 7 am and returned about 9:30 pm. All of us were up and going strong at 6 am. I needed to cool the roast beef I'd cooked overnight and turn it into roast beef salad for our lunch. I wasn't sure what I had for bread but remembered we had hot dog buns in the freezer that would work great for sandwiches at the show. I got our food ready and pack, the guys did chores and we were off. We stopped in Boonville to top off the fuel tank then headed on to the show that the Boonville FFA Booster Club was sponsoring. I tried to figure out what the judge was looking for by watching a couple of classes. The guys were fitting the crossbred heifer and I was in charge of letting them know when to bring her up for the show. They had her ready in plenty of time and we were just praying we had her fit to look like what the judge was looking for.  Turned out that we did.  She beat a heifer that has been doing really well so we were thrilled.  We figured getting 1st in class was the toughest part of the crossbred division and it turned out that was right too.  Jesse and Beau won the Champion Crossbred and went back in for Overall Championship drive.  They ended up as the 4th overall female of the day.  Not too shabby.  Mike and Chris went back to fit the market heifer, Payge.  Jesse competed in showmanship.  No win there but honestly, he had done his winning already.  There were only 2 market heifers at the show (new division for MO this year) but we did have some tough competition.  We weren't sure which way the judge would go, but he chose Chris and Payge to win the Market Heifer Champion.  Chris went back in for the Overall Market Animal drive.  We knew we didn't stand a chance in there but it's fun to be back in the ring.  While Chris washed his heifer out, Mike, Jesse and I packed up the trailer and got ready to head out.  The timing worked out really well and sooner than
expected, we were on the road to pick up our gomer bull from Riley Farms near Marshall.  When we got to their farm they offered to show us their spring calves.  Of course we're always ready to look at cattle so off we went.  We saw some really nice calves and finally got the gomer bull loaded up and were back on the road by about 6 pm.  At the show we had talked to John and Patsy Watts about stopping by their place too.  We don't get away to other cattle farms very often so when we're in the area we try to make the most of it.  It was a little after 7 when we got to the Watts Farm.  They have a beautiful lawn and farm.  We enjoyed the visit and the chance to see their cows and calves.  We also
passed by the big sheep farm Mike's parents had been interested in buying when they were moving to Missouri in the late 70's.  Mike got to tell the boys some great stories about that farm and also some stories about what the farm economy turned into in the early 80's.  Was a great lesson in economics and history.   When we were about an hour from home, Mike made the comment that he thought we'd have pizza for supper. Yeah, buddy. I was dialing the phone before he could change his mind. We would be driving right by our local Pizza Hut on the way home so we could just park along the street if they were busy and pick up the pizzas. The guys decided we needed 3 larges because they were all STARVING. If you know my crew that can't be good. Turns out Pizza Hut wasn't busy so we pulled in and took up about half of their parking lot with our truck and trailer.  So, now when I complain about a busy Sunday, I'll have to stop and reflect on just how busy it could be.  But you know what?  I wouldn't have traded that long, busy day for anything in the world.  I love the time I get to spend with all three of my guys.  I'm so glad the guys enjoy the cattle so much, because it's an awesome way to spend some great family time.   

Friday, April 15, 2011

FFA Teacher and Staff Appreciation Breakfast

I know, I know, this happened over a month ago, but life is finally a little bit slower and I can post now.

The kids on the right, Bradley and Haley, were in charge of pancakes.  The group to the left were chatting and waiting for serving time.

The egg crew.  On the left we have Sami cracking and beating the eggs. On the right, cooking scrambled eggs. Funny side note, only 2 kids knew how to make scrambled eggs.

Bacon anyone?  Note the male influence of cooking bacon in the shop. 

Serving and still cooking.

"Hey, I have an order."

Jesse at the scrambled egg station.

Cooks were finishing up and the servers were busy.

"Haley, don't clean that.  Mom'll do it."

"Could we use any shop tools to speed this up?"

The breakfast actually turned out really great.  The kids learned some new life skills (such as how to run the toaster) and the teachers and staff enjoyed a good, free breakfast.  We had way more homemade syrup than we needed.  A few kids took pint jars home.  No parents have spoken to me since.  Is that a bad thing?  I was asked for the recipe but the kids want to make it and sell it next year with their fruit and meat sales, so I'm not giving out the exact recipe.  It does have butter, cream, and sugar in it though.  I jokingly told one teacher it was totally low fat.  Another teacher thought I was serious and was ready to question my ability to homeschool my sons.  Lighten up! 

I really enjoyed working with the kids that morning.  They had gotten up extra early (started cooking and preparing at 5:30 at the school) and really did put forth some effort.  Some learned to be a little more flexible in how they did things (Bradley with the pancake mix and not measuring EXACTLY how much water to add) and some learned to step outside their comfort zone (Phoebe scrambling the eggs).  They all learned to work together to accomplish a goal and they did it with good attitudes.  Thanks guys, for a fun morning!

Time is flying....

I feel like if I don't stop and record a bit of what's going on it will get lost in the shuffle of my brain. 

Cattle shows - we've hit 3 shows now with mixed results at each.  We're having fun and enjoying our time together though and, to be honest, that's the best part about showing anyway.  I love the time in the truck with all three of the guys just chatting and catching up with one another.

Judging - the boys finished their judging careers yesterday.  Kind of.  While they may not have placed as high as they would have liked, they stuck with it.  Chris even said he'd like to coach a livestock judging team next year for the local high school.  Yes, you read that right....Chris said that.  Allowing him to go to the high school for an hour a day for ag class and being involved in FFA has done so much for his leadership skills.  I am so thankful that both of the boys are willing to use the gifts and talents God has blessed them with.  Jesse is looking forward to a new contest team next year.  I'm trying to convince him to try Farm Management.  I think he has the business mind for it.

School - We are done.  Record early for finishing bookwork.  Record for motivation to keep at it.  Chris graduates a month from yesterday.  Jesse is looking forward to his senior year.  I do not know where the time has gone.  I have loved every minute God gave me with homeschooling my sons.  He has blessed me greatly.

I'm still trying to figure out what God has in store for me this year.  I feel like it's time for me to move back into the workforce full time, but so far every door has been slammed shut.  I found another opportunity yesterday that I need to pursue.  I know there is a plan and that in God's timing it will be revealed.  I'm just not the best at being patient and waiting on that plan. 

I've been inspired lately to write more by a group of farm wives writing blogs.  Maybe I'm nearing a stage where I can carve out the time again for such fun times.  I'm going to try.  I'm not going to promise a blog a day or even every other day.  Right now, the most I can commit to is a blog a week.  We'll see how it goes and build from there.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ahhh....fall has arrived.

Yes, fall and spring are by far my favorite seasons.  Fall gives me a break from the summer heat and humidity and yet, it's not so bitter cold.  Spring brings the moderate temps back when I'm oh so ready to be back outside.  Fall also is the season of our sons' birthdays and spring is Mike's and mine.  We're really all about balance around here.  Sort of.

Yesterday I took time to clear out some of the paperwork on my desk and bulletin boards.  There's only so much visual clutter I can take before I'm ready to trash it all.  I was at that point yesterday.  And apparently, the guys have hit that point outside.  They have cleaned out the grainery (which is now our storage area), the tool shed and are ready to start on the garage off the old house.  Apparently this fall we will get that torn down along with the little house across the drive.  The goal is a new shed that is large enough to house the stock trailer and Mike's good truck.  We would also like to fill in the old basement so we have a more attractive yard area.

I've been trying to find open squares on our calendar to plan birthday parties for our guys.  Both have major milestone birthdays this year and yet the calendar is being difficult.  This week has been a killer to us as it's homecoming week in Mexico so the FFA decided to really do up a float for the parade.  It's also fruit sales time and we've been gone two nights for that.  And, I do still work at the library 3 nights a week and a couple of Saturdays a month.  So yeah, the calendar is a bit ugly and unrelenting.

Our church called a new pastor last Sunday.  Actually we called our interim to be our full time pastor.  I am so very thankful that while it's taking some creative time management and thinking, our church was willing to step outside the comfort zone and try something a bit different, a bit unorthodox.  You see, our pastor will continue to live and teach college classes in Hannibal.  He has a passion for teaching and that is one reason he is such a good fit for our church.  I can see a lot of benefits to not living right in the town where you pastor.  People likely won't feel quite so much "ownership" of his time.  I'm hoping this step will encourage all of us in the church to actually be the church and step into some of the roles we formerly thought of as belonging only to the pastor.  I really do think it will be a time of great growth for all of us.

This post has really been random.....sorry about that.  That's just kinda how my mind is working right now.  Maybe I should get off here and teach our Ag Communications class about narrowing your focus before I write another blog entry.