Thursday, May 28, 2015

Do Your RIGHT Thing

DISCLAIMER: Frustration Release Day!I cannot keep it in any longer!

Ok, I let it out right off the bat... Why are we so judgmental? Why do we shun or cling to people based on their living circumstances, athletic ability, brand of clothing they wear, the size and shape, the jobs they have and who their parents or grandparents are or what the rumor mill has to say? Why do we not take time to get to know and experience people for themselves. Why do we not look at what their potential is, what they can do to help us become better people, and how they deserve to be valued. I am SO tired of the thoughts of if I do this, that person or group will not like it or if I say this or question that then people think I am attacking them. Yes, how things are said has a lot of play in how actions and words are received, but so does intent or reasons for the things we do and say.

Have we have become a society so worried about what others wear, do, have, say, think that we have lost touch with who we are, what we enjoy doing, and the ability to make our own decisions based on what is right for us? I personally, think so.
We have cut back or stopped doing what is right and have shifted to doing what we think others will feel is right.

I write this all out today because I find myself falling into the trap. I am not without fault myself. I also write because I struggle at times with finding the line between healthy levels of "keeping others perceptions and actions" in mind and unhealthy levels of "I can't do that or I will only do this or I should go there because a certain person or group will be there". The fine line between looking up to someone and trying to impress them and prove something is often hard to find. I write because the social world is VERY COMPLEX!

This is not a kid issue. It is not an teenager issue. It is not an adult or elderly issue. It s not a rural vs. urban issue or one of poverty vs. wealth. It is all of it.... It is a PEOPLE issue!

So why today is it the day to get this off my chest? Well, two very impactful things have happened in the past few days. Yesterday, was my son's 8th birthday party. Kids all played, had a good time, interacted well. As most birthday parties have, we opened gifts. Some presents were large and elaborate and others were small and simple.
To my son, it didn't matter. He Hi-5ed or hugged everyone, thanked them and couldn't wait to play with them all. None of the issues that I listed above came into play. He loved that each child was there, gift or not, large or small, rich or poor. He was simply pleased that they thought enough of him to want to come.

The second event happened today. Today is the last day of school for us. This means the annual award program. It means recognizing kids for a variety of accomplishments, most of which relate to academic performance and ability and most of which have very little to do with their character, actions towards others, desire to simply do what is right and do it because they want to, not being forced to do so. So I attended and clapped. I watched the clock, thought about the various things I wanted to get done before the afternoon end of year dance party celebration. Which is when I realized that I had forgotten about my favorite elementary award of all times, the Citizenship Award. In all honesty this award is my favorite, but it makes me nervous. I prayed that the awards went to people of good character and not those who simply are popular or parents have power or presence. Indeed, those making the decision did well! Three very deserving young people got this award. They act and make decisions, they carry on through diversity and strive to do it each day. These kids give me hope that more of us can do the right thing!

So as I try to end my rant, trying to come to terms that by making decisions that are right for me, that do not hurt others, that I will be able to offer more to more people. I try to tell myself that it doesn't matter what others not impacted by my decisions think if they are right for myself and my family. I try to feel at peace knowing that even when I justify and explain my position and decisions, which I don't have to do, that most of what I say will fall on deaf ears.

Today is the day to step forward and do what is our OWN Right Thing!
Where will you begin?

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Text Messages of a Farm Wife in Spring

Like many others I have come to depend on my smartphone!
It dawned on me yesterday that the type of texts that I send and receive from maybe different from that of many others.

So, I share a few.....
Life is crazy busy with our farm and five kids. So, we divide and conquer during the busy farm seasons and send pics of kids' events and activities.

I also get pictures of what my kids are doing out in the tractor or when helping plant the crops with their dad....

Crop/ field reports and technology updates are also a hot item this time of the year!

Then there is always the attempt of enticing Mr. Farmer to "hurry up" and get home with pictures of his supper...

And some of my favorites are the simple reminders, despite all the stress, frustrations, long hours and time apart, that doing what we love and having each day come to a close with scenery like this, makes it all worthwhile!

Enjoy each day and the messages you receive! Treasure all you have been given and take nothing for granted!
( Yes, another text message.... you never know what will show up to inspire you in the palm of your hand!)

Friday, May 8, 2015

Winter was Good, But my Jeans Say Different

So what does one do when the Winter and sweatpants weren't so kind to the thighs and jeans?
Whether you are a size 2 or 20, it seems like being healthy and being comfortable with yourself and in your clothes is something that floats around in the minds of moms.

This past winter was probably the least physically active and busiest travel winter that I have ever had. For me that means I sat at my desk or in meetings, wore sweat pants to clean, fold laundry and attend kids' sporting events and eating some really great food! But my jeans, shorts and many of my dress pants are screaming.... HELP! (FYI- so is my checkbook because buying new clothes is just not an option!)

So, now that it is early May, what can I do....that took a lot of thought. No, really it did. I have spent several days tossing around in my mind the things I am realistically willing and able to do. Here is what I came up with...
* I don't drink enough water... no coffee probably doesn't count
* I LOVE carbs... ok, I could devour a whole loaf of fresh bread, pound of pasta, and baskets of starchy fruits and vegies
* I am not nearly as active as I should be.... thinking and moving my fingers doesn't do much for the butt or thighs.

So what does this acknowledgement and profession actually lead me to do. That's a great question!

FIRST- I have to drink 4 glasses of water before I can have my first cup of coffee( built in motivator!!!!)

SECOND- I have to have at least 6 more glasses of water before 7 pm..... So a total of 10 glasses before 7 pm.
THIRD- Carbs.... 1) be aware of foods besides breads, pastas and fruits that have carbs and 2) reduce intake of carbs to 40% of daily calorie intake and increase protein!

FOURTH (and final for now)- MOVE! MOVE! MOVE! I have decided to take on a commitment of 20 continual minutes of movement each day. I know this is doable! I can "find" time to do this... especially because so many things I do each day can be enhanced to be a bit more active! (Here is a good Youtube video (there are TONS) that shows simple ways to make each regular house task more active!


Exercise doesn't have to include a machine to have an impact.
Think about this: stair climbing, sweeping and vacuuming with a little extra "gusto", dancing with your kids, raking, lawn mowing with a push mower, walking, playing a game of tag, swimming, yard work, gardening, bike riding, washing the car, and for us farm moms.... cleaning out livestock pens and shoveling grain bins!

CARB CALCULATOR: Number of grams of carbs x 4= total calories. Figure amount of total carb intake by taking total daily calories recommended per day x % of from your plan. Then divide that number by 4 to get the amount of carbohydrate grams to eat.(example: 1750 calories per day x 40% =700 calories from carbs. 700cal / 4cal per gram of carb = 174 carbs per day.)

Disclaimer: I am not a health professional. I am just a mom with some ideas, sharing them for anyone that wants to read. As many health articles suggest and I share their thought too, if you have concerns for or about your health, healthcare professionals recommend visiting with them before starting a new dietary or exercise routine.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Farming with Faith Through Cancer

One never knows what tomorrow will bring.
Celebrate each day!
I have tried to sit down and write this for several weeks... perhaps blocking my ability to post anything else that has been happening in the world of faith, family, farming and food. perhaps I struggled because it confirms a reality, perhaps because I am humbled by all who have stepped up to help, perhaps because it is still hard to talk about. BUT today, I am committed to sharing and moving forward!

Spring 2015 is a farming season we were not too sure about last fall. And oddly enough, not because the farm was struggling. We had good crops coming off the field, we had good equity, land, moisture, a plan for planting and labor. We had a good foundation in faith. We even had financing all in line for the 2015 farm season. What we didn't have was our health.

On September 5th, 2014, confirmed on Sept 8th, we found out that my husband had Leukemia. At that time he was VERY ill and although they doctors hoped that he would be able to recover from the side effects (dangerously enlarged spleen, lack of appetite, and pain among a few other things) from this cancer, nothing was a for sure. As treatment was started to improve his excruciating high levels of while blood cells and some of his side effects, we learned quite a bit.
We learned that Leukemia is not curable, only treatable/ manageable at best. We found out that he would most likely be on one form or another of Chemotherapy ( in a pill form) daily for the rest of his life. We had no idea how he would respond to the treatment. We didn't know what the future was going to look like, but we did discover that our employees, family, friends and the businesses that we did business with had our back and were willing to make harvest and the farm continue and ensure we were taken care of! That's what small town rural America is all about- right!

Now, that famous saying.... God doesn't give us more than we can handle... for several weeks I wanted to let God know exactly what I thought of him at that moment.... and yes, I would have not been polite and if God was a human standing in front of me, he may have called 911 and pressed charges. But he isn't human and he is a great listener who provides strength when we need it the most!

So, 7, almost 8 months have passed. It has been a true roller coaster. Steven was in the hospital for 2 weeks. He has had weekly blood draws in Bismarck, 55 miles ways, since discharge. After about 5 months they switched to every week and now Steven has his blood checked every 4 weeks. We meet with the oncologist in Bismarck every other month and have been to Mayo Clinic in Rochester 3 times. Yes, he really does take a form of Chemo everyday- twice a day in fact. As tired as this medicine makes him, it is for the best! All of his blood work continually gets better. The doctors have repeated several highly skilled tests analyzing cells in Steven's Bone marrow- now that is a story-- a need stuck into your hip bone with almost not numbing medicine and no sedation, no thanks! All results are looking VERY good!

When it is said that God answers prayers on his own time and that there are many things to be gained from struggle, as painful and tough as it may be, I'd have to agree. As of 2 weeks ago, the doctors could not detect any cells that cause the Leukemia that Steven has!!! Saying that we are ELATED, would be an understatement.

Although this is what we feel to be "our miracle", it doesn't mean the doctors were wrong when they said Steven's Leukemia wasn't curable. It means that for the time bring, we are doing everything right. We will still have to check blood monthly, check cells for mutations - which cause the cancer, and make sure that none of the side effects from the chemo is taking hold.... so far being tired is the only one he has and that is something we can live with!

But when all is said and done, we realize that everyone has a burden or two to carry. This just so happens to be one of ours and by having it enter our life we haven't let it take over, but show us all that we have to be thankful for...we have so much.. Faith, Family, Friends and the ability to do what we love, Farm!

Here's to farming season 2015 and our whole new outlook on life!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Lent... Fish Again?

Yes, it is that time again. The time of year that we are supposed to step back, reflect on our faith, take action to become less selfish, and evaluate our action as it relates to pour faith... it is Lent! Well, in all reality, it is almost over, but it still is for a few more days!

At our house lent is fairly simple. We reflect on our faith, identify ways we can exemplify our faith and then decide what we are going to give up or in some cases take on. Of course, it also means no meat on Fridays.Now, I kind of enjoy this part-- I LOVE fish, seafood, noodle, and grilled cheese! But my family on the other hand is not nearly as excited!

So a few weeks ago I tempted to try something new... Something that the family might get a bit more excited..... So I made Veggie, Lentil Penne Alfredo.... It was simple...

I chopped up some Kale and Spinach, a small onion, 2 Roma tomatoes, a few stalks of celery, and a few shakes of Italian seasoning. I then mixed in a jar of alfredo sauce, a cup of sour cream and about 2 cups of milk. Next, I boiled ,get this, red LENT-il penne pasta noodles. Drained and let them cool. Then I mixed the noodles into the veggie and sauce mixture, poured it all into a 9x13 pan coated in cooking spray and cooked uncovered for about 40 minutes at 350 degrees.

It came out of the oven delicious!

I paired it with parmesan crusted Tilapia (for me), fresh mixed greens salad and petite cold carrots!
Despite thinking I was pretty corny using LENT-il pasta during Lent, the meal was a hit!

One just never knows what a family with 5 kids will eat... I am learning to never expect a certain result, but to be grateful for the opportunity to provide! Opening ourselves to new experiences is what living is all about!

"Lent stimulates us to let the Word of God penetrate our life and in this way to know the fundamental truth: who we are, where we come from, where we must go, what path we must take in life..." -- Pope Benedict XVI

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Simple Amazon Search- Oh My!

Today I was ordering a few items to share with friends. I almost always use Amazon to do so. So I typed in the phrase "Plan B" looking for Suzy Toronto's "Life is All About Plan B" items. I often search for things using various search engines and websites and know that the responses are often not what you initially are looking for; but, today I was caught off guard.

I entered "Plan B" into the search box. A minute later I got the following results....
Plan B emergency contraception,

A book, What to Do When God Doesn't Show Up the Way You Thought He Would: Plan B,

and then the Suzy Toronto items I was looking for
.... What a wide variety! In all honesty I was shocked, perhaps even appalled!

Amazon sells a TON of stuff. I buy a TON of stuff from them. It is convenient, a fair price most of the time, I don't have to drive an hour to get stuff, and it's delivered to my door in 2 days! But emergency contraception throws me for a loop! Should it be that easy to access what used to be called "the morning after pill" and used to require a prescription? I know the FDA has approved it for over the counter sales and I know that other stores sell it too. But it is in a section in a store in which I would expect it. A person has to be looking for it in order to find it. It doesn't just "pop" up! What seems to get me bothered as much as I am is the way I stumbled upon it. I wasn't looking for it at all.

I have to ask....How many others will do the same? Will it promote reckless behavior? How many reckless teens and adults will purchase and use this? How many will use it as a result of a tragic experience? I do not have answers just more questions. There may be some positive sides for some, but I being a conservative believe that this is not a solution. It is a product looking for more trouble.

So, what does this search today teach me? Search terms are important! Be prepared for what you may come across. It is a free market world that we will live and products will be sold and named as companies are approved to do so and choose to do. I need to be more specific with my search terms! I need to prepare, teach, and guide my children to make choices that align with our family values and faith.