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Nov 27, 2013

happy thanksgiving [in a not so perfect world]

This afternoon, as I was staring out the window at the beautiful snowflakes falling down, I stirred my cappuccino in my mug. My spoon was clinking against the glass. I had forgotten how much I enjoy that sound. I kept stirring just to hear that little noise. It's a good thing my husband wasn't home or he would have been annoyed. 

Snowflakes continued to fall. I took my cappucino over to the other window and stared out at the thing blanket of white everywhere.

I noticed my pumpkins still out on my porch. Some beginning to rot. My pet peeve. They looked out of place sitting out in the snow and I was mad at myself for not throwing them out like I was going to last weekend. I thought to myself, in a perfect world, my pumpkins would be fresh and there wouldn't be snow falling the day before Thanksgiving.

But I don't live in a perfect world. No matter how hard I try.

Then I began to notice how nicely the snow sat on top of the pumpkins around the stem. As if it was suppose to be there all along.

I sat my cappuccino down and grabbed my camera. I stepped outside in the cold, brisk air. Snowflakes were falling into my hair as I snapped a few picture of my snow covered pumpkin.

I was no longer mad at myself for not throwing my pumpkins out last weekend. 

Nov 21, 2013

holiday newsletter idea a total bust

Today, I decided I wanted to get ahead on a few holiday chores. I wasn't excited about getting the tree out quite yet. The cats just tore it apart several weeks before Christmas last year.

I really wasn't in the mood to shop for people quite yet although I looked at a few ideas for my nieces and nephew.

So what could I do? You know, to get "ahead."

I got online and visited one of those design-your-own card sites and started scrolling through some different greeting card ideas. Some cards were plain with some small graphics. Some had a family picture. Some even had little news tid bits about exciting things that occured this year.

Then I thought to myself, hey, I like to write, I should make a holiday newsletter to send out with my cards! Do people still do that anymore? Sure! Why not! Some of our relatives don't have Facebook so they have no clue what we are up to.

I got really excited.

I made a cup of coffee and opened up Microsoft word. 

I was ready to do this thing!

And I sat there. Staring blankly at the screen.

Hmmmm, I thought to myself. What did we do this year that is fun, new and exciting?

Then the Jeopardy theme song started playing in my head.

Well, two years ago we got married and I started a new job. Last year we moved into our house and went out to Kansas for Thanksgiving. Went to a lot of weddings. Friends had lots of babies. 

And the Jeopardy song came back as my eyes were looking all around the room for ideas.

Oh! We got a new bedroom set. Nahh, people don't need to hear about that. 

We are really excited about our new to us tractor we purchased this year! We even gave it a scandalous nickname. Never mind. It's 30 years old. No one would understand our excitement.

Oohh! I could write about our new barn cats. 

Then it hit me.

We aren't really exciting newlyweds anymore.

We are that comfortable, boring-almost 30-married couple without kids who have given up our partying and socializing days for crashing at 10 pm on a Saturday night.

For a second, I was slightly bummed because I feel like we are extremely busy people. We are always going somewhere, working on something, helping somebody out or doing something. Surely I would have something to write about. But when I look back on this last year, I can't recall much of it being outside of the "norm." I had nothing new and "cool" to write about in my Holiday Family Newsletter Volume 1.

But you know, I kind of like being that comfortable, boring-almost-30-married couple and not having anything "cool" to write about.

I was feeling sort of oddly thankful for my boring, almost-30 normal life and that my letter was a total bust.

It's called freedom.

That Holiday Family Newsletter Volume 1 can totally wait. 

Nov 19, 2013

30 days of thanks: surviving the mid-west storm

I've always enjoyed living in Northern Indiana for the most part.

If you know me, one of my biggest "fears" is experiencing a natural disaster. I even held this fear long before I was a home owner.

What I really like about Indiana is, we don't have hurricanes and coastal flooding. We do have the occasional river flood. Not a lot of mud slides since we lack mountains. Every now and again we experience "blizzard" type conditions and chillier than usual weather but our winters really aren't detrimental. There typically aren't issues with naturally wide-spread forest fires although we will have a common grass fire but that's mostly due to a careless person tossing a cigarette out their vehicle window. We have earth quakes but they are very minor compared to those experienced across other parts of the world. Last I checked, there aren't too many erupting volcanoes here, either.

But we do have tornadoes. And the very town we live in was wiped away by a tornado in the 70s. There's nothing left but a community building, a closed down screw factory, a church and some homes. Nothing was rebuilt.

The nice thing about coming into November and December is the peace of mind for a few months where we don't have to worry about natural disasters like tornadoes. I'm not saying we didn't know they could happen, but it's always reassuring when your chances decrease. November to me, is time to relax. It's the end of harvest. It's the calm before the holiday storm. Metaphorically speaking.

Nov 14, 2013

Stereotypes and Agriculture

Sometimes stereotypes can be fun. I made the above farmer meme in honor of my husband just to see what I could come up with for stereotypes. I love watching him grow into his own. And I love watching all the different ways people view what he does.

Sometimes stereotypes can really hurt.

No matter what you do in life, others are going to view it through their own lens. I'm guilty of it myself at times when it comes to other hobbies and occupations. We all do it. We all stereotype.

Agriculture has become so far disconnected with today's society that a lot of kids and even some adults have no clue where their food comes from. All they have left are the stereotypes. You know, like the ones Pete Holmes has so greatly shared in his skit blaming farmers for day-light savings time.

Farming and ranching are two occupations that fall greatly as stereotype victims to society. Yes, there are some farmers out there that are lazy, only do it for the money, turn in false records to their tax accountants, break the laws and rules, trash the land and abuse animals. They ruin the good name of an honest, hard working farmer. You're going to have that in every occupation. You're also going to have farmers with frugal life styles and farmers that live high off the hog. No pun intended. But you also see that in other industries as well. I know some dentists that live like paupers!

There's going to be that dishonest doctor that tells a patient they have a disease when they really don't. You'll have that police officer who takes advantage of his power. There's a lot of dishonest politicians out there getting in trouble for things in which they should know better. A lot of these occupations take the wrath of those who have abused the system but not all doctors, police officers and politicians are bad people. In fact, I happen to personally know wonderful people in all three of those fields.

I once worked with a very sour person that was constantly and blatantly making statements about farmers and money to my face. He was going to go out and start a farm so he could be "rich." I kept telling him, you're more than welcome to go out and do whatever you put your mind to but good luck.

As John F. Kennedy once said,
Farming can be decent money, yes, but it takes a long, long time to get there unless you were born into a huge operation. Even then, it takes a good farmer and a good man or woman to take care of something their ancestors started. It's all about choices and decisions and every one you make affects your future. There is a lot at risk. And there are a lot of things you can't control like the weather and the economy.

It's an occupation, hobby and lifestyle all rolled into one. There are times it can be hard. There are times it can be fun. You're going to have your good years and your bad years. Some years you break even, others you bank. You may know you're working, other's may think you're just out there playing and a lot of people think all farmers do is make money make money make money, spend spend spend, get, get, get. That's just how it's always going to be but it's up to us to educate society on what we really do and what we are really passionate about.

Farming has a different meaning to everyone young and old, man and woman, city and country. There's more to it than a tractor and a pair of cowboy boots.

I guess ultimately we and our families are the only ones that matter but at the same time, we want our consumers to understand and appreciate all that we do. It's up to us as farmers to educate and it's up to consumers to get educated!

We should be thankful for stereotypes because they give us an opportunity to teach and reach out! If it weren't for stereotypes, there wouldn't be a need for "AGvocates" and reaching out to consumers. One of the best things about being a farmer is sharing with others what it is we do!

Nov 13, 2013

30 days of thanks: dreams to share

I don't know about you, but I dream a lot. Dreams are what push me to keep going all day every single day. Sometimes my dreams are unrealistic and sometimes they are achievable. Sometimes they last 5 minutes and sometimes they last 5 years. My dreams vary from occupational, additions to our farm, ideas for the house and what I want to try making for dinner that evening. 

One thing I learned is that it can be scary to share your dreams with others.

Another thing I've learned about dreams is that they can easily be crushed. When your dreams are crushed, it's much harder to want to make your dreams come true. You question whether or not you're dreaming the right dreams. 

No one likes a dream crusher.

At one point in my life, I was probably a dream crusher. I was more of a realist. I was that friend who was always bringing up reality checks with my other friends. Don't you think he's a little too old for you? Are you sure you can afford that? Do you really need to get married this soon? You're going to get bored with that down the road and move on to something else. Why would you want to do that?

I loathe dream crushers. I loathe the fact that I once was a dream crusher. 

There is a fine line to cross when it comes to not wanting someone to make a mistake and letting them learn from their own mistakes. It's hard. If they're doing innocent dreaming, let them dream. Dreamers usually move on to the next dream anyways.

Life is so much better when you just sit back and let people dream. 

It's even more fun when you dream with them together.

I love watching my friends and my family members turn their dreams into reality. Nothing makes me happier. 

I have indeed encountered some dream crushers in my life the last few years. Are they realists or are they jealous? Sometimes it's hard to tell. I am so thankful that I have more people to dream with me than I do to crush my dreams. It's hard not to focus on only the crushers at times.

My husband, my family and most of my friends have been more supportive with some of my dreams as of late than I could ever imagine. 

Marrying a farmer has taught me that dreaming is okay. Agriculture and technology is constantly growing and changing. There's always something to read and dream about. I've become comfortable with the fact that most of our life is going to be composed of dreaming but respectively, we've had a lot of dreams come true as well. I can't complain.

I am going through a period in my life where I am dreaming more than usual lately and there's nothing better than having someone by your side dreaming with you. So thank you, friends. Thank you, family. For dreaming with me and turning my dreams into reality. 

Nov 12, 2013

30 days of thanks: sunrise





We see this pattern every. single. day. We don't think much of it. We don't call up our buddies and say,"Hey the sun rose today! Coolest. Thing. Ever!" You don't walk into work and say "Thank God the sun rose today. Phewww."

Once in a while, we might take a picture of an exceptionally more beautiful sunrise. We appreciate the beauty.

However, the older I get, the more I appreciate more than just the beauty of a sunrise.

It's more than just having to get out of your warm bed in the morning.

Watching the sunrise every morning is like watching a new day begin. A new day that most of us will take for granted.

There's nothing better than sipping on coffee and watching the sunrise. Whether you're doing it from your vehicle, the barn, the office, the front porch or your kitchen table, it's all the same.

Savor every moment of it because you never know when your last sun rise will be.

Nov 11, 2013

30 days of thanks: veterans

Veteran's Day. Smack dab in the middle of everyone's 30 days of thanks. You can't get any more of a perfect opportunity to be thankful than this.

I am thankful for our Veterans. I think about war a lot. I silently think about the state of our country often. It's one of those "what ifs" constantly weighing in the back of my mind. I am so thankful for our Veterans because I am more of a pacifist. It would honestly be hard for me to enlist as a soldier and kick butt at it. I know some women that would do an amazing job. I am so thankful that we have all the men and woman who do volunteer so those of us who are insecure about our abilities do not have to enlist. I am thankful for those women and children who have given up their husbands and fathers so that mine doesn't have to enlist. It's such an emotional feeling and one can never give enough thanks to their dedication.

My mother in law was cleaning out some paper work and came across my husband's certificate for registering for the draft when he was 18. It kind of made my heart stop for a moment. I know it's not a big deal because all males had to do it when they were of age but it still makes you think. For a moment. That some day there just might be that possibility.. that I don't even want to think about.

There are times when I am whining to myself because my husband is busy with the farm and not around a lot but at the end of the day, he's always home. We always get to eat dinner together whether it's at 5:00 or 11:00. He's by my side every night. Well, other than dryer duty nights but that's what, a few nights out of the year? I will take it.

Then I think about the military families.

The wives, husbands and children of military men and women have given up more than I could ever imagine. They know the definition of a true sacrifice. They know the price of what it costs to keep our freedoms.

When I think of veteran I often think of my maternal grandfather. My Poppa. He was a tall, noble man who wore a military haircut his entire life. He never spoke of WWII where he served over seas in active duty. If it weren't for my mother telling me, I never would have guessed he was a war veteran. He didn't display a bumper sticker on his car. He didn't wear an "I'm a Veteran hat" nor did he participate in any lodge or clubs made up of veterans. He didn't tell stories of the war over dinner. He went, came back, began a normal career, never speaking of what went on. It's almost as if that part of his life was not how he wanted to be remembered as and he surely to this day wouldn't want to be labeled as a veteran. He wouldn't want the recognition.  It's hard for me not to think of him on this day. So hard. But I do. And I can.

My husband's paternal grandfather, from what I hear, was the same way. Never spoke of what went on during his line of duty. I now think of him as well on this day. I often-times wonder what it would be like to across from him in his recliner to this day. I imagine the stories he would tell about my husband as a young boy helping him out around the farm. I want to hear him tell the version of how he met his wife. I've heard her version many times. Her eyes light up every time. I think about what it would be like to see his warm eyes light up.

On this day, I also think about the many classmates of mine and the several in the classes below me who went off to training shortly after graduation. Instead of going off to college or working in a factory or joining an apprenticeship, they chose to serve our country. They didn't have to. But they did. It was an extremely admirable choice. I remember being so proud of them. And I still am to this day.

And lastly, on this day, I think of all the veterans and soldiers I will never meet. All the young men and women who make such a difference in our lives without us every knowing their name. It's because of you that I can wake up every morning as a free person living the American dream. I can eat what I want. Watch what I want. Read what I want. Go wherever I want.

Thank you to all our veterans and active men and women in duty. Thank you to your families for making the ultimately sacrifice.

We all take far too much for granted.

Nov 7, 2013

30 days of thanks: first world problems

You have probably heard the term first world problem a lot these last few years. If not, a first world problem is something like an iPhone not having signal, the power going out, your car not starting, you forgot your morning coffee on the counter, your favorite pair of jeans didn't get washed, etc.

You see, these types of problems are not real problems. They are things that frustrate us, yes but most of the items we have issues with on a day to day basis are luxury items. No matter how many first world problems we have, we still have a warm house to go home to, a family that loves us and food on the table.

These are first world problems because at the end of the day, they really don't matter. The last few days have been filled with what I consider first world problems to me. They're so petty that I am too embarrassed to even share them with you!

Nov 6, 2013

30 days of thanks: my parents

When I started this 30 days of thanks series, I thought that it would be hard to to find things to write about. Not because I don't have a lot to be thankful for, but because I find it hard to sometimes put your emotions and true feelings down for the world to see and that's what giving thanks is all about.

It's so easy to sit back and say, I am thankful for "X", "Y" and "Z" especially when it comes to the obvious like family, friends, a warm bed, siblings, etc. You have to understand why you are thankful for someone or something in order to fully appreciate what you have in life. We are taught at a young age to be thankful for friends, family and good influences in our lives. However, it's so easy to take them for granted. This month I have really pushed myself to sit back and think about why am thankful for the things that bring joy in my life.

Yesterday, I noticed a Facebook status of someone mocking the 30 day of thanks Facebook challenge that I noticed a lot of my friends and family members are doing everyday with a new status. That made me sad because that person doesn't truly grasp the whole idea.

Everyday is a new day and with each new day, you find new reasons to be thankful for something specific in your life. You might be thankful for your parents because they clothed, fed you, put you through school and provided a roof over your head. That's a given. But what else have they brought into your life? Clothes, food, school and a roof are all physical, Earthly items.

Nov 5, 2013

30 days of thanks: a home to clean

This post is sponsored and brought to you by Alicia Kondas || Independent Norwex Consultant. All thoughts and opinions are written by me and %100 genuine. 

If you know me personally, one thing I am extremely passionate about is a clean, healthy home. As much as I clean, you would think that I enjoy it. It's not that I dread it, but yes, there are other things that I would rather be doing but it needs done! 

Cleaning your house comes hand in hand with owning a home and taking care of your family. Instead of seeing it as a chore, I view it as something I am thankful that I have the opportunity to do. I am thankful that I have a home to clean and you should be too!

However, I actually enjoy cleaning my house a little more since I have started using Norwex products. Norwex is a company that focuses on eliminating as many chemicals and harmful cleaning products in your home as possible. They're also focused on saving consumers time and money. Their products are an investment up front, but I love how much money they save you in the long run.

Nov 4, 2013

30 days of thanks: the farm

As we have recently ended harvest ourselves and I've been watching some of the other farmers still out and about in the fields, I am reminded of how lucky I am to have the opportunity to work side by side with my husband doing something that I love.

I have absolutely fallen head over heals in love with farming and agriculture. I love working the ground that my husband's great grandfather once did with a 3 bottom plow. I love watching our crops grow all summer. I ache when we don't get enough rain or we get too much rain. I thrive on fall harvest. I love reading and learning about farm progress. My heart dances all over when I drive by a heard of cattle or an old barn. My passion grows more and more as the years go by. I even don't mind helping my dad make hay which use to be a dreaded task in my younger years.

Working on the farm, I see what my husbands sees. I feel what my husband feels. I live for the same reasons my husband does. It has brought so much joy and meaning into my life.

This farm has taught me many things including perseverance, patience, sacrifice, hard work and dedication.

I am so thankful for our farm and the fact that no matter what life throws at us, we still get to do something that we love. Success should not be measured by money or Earthly possessions. Success should be measured by how much one loves what they are doing. If you don't love what you're doing, there's no amount of money that can make up for that.

Nov 3, 2013

30 days of thanks: my husband

Sundays are one of my favorite days of the week. It's a day when usually my husband is home. Some women don't like it when their husband is home but I do. And do not say it's because I am a newlywed! 

On Sundays, I like to make a special big breakfast like the burnt peanut butter and chocolate chip pancakes I made this morning. It's nice that we don't have to rush off to work and can sit down and enjoy breakfast together. We often spend the day getting things done around the farm and house. Like today, he scrapped metal while I did some yard work and washed our vehicles. The evenings are usually reserved for a good meal and some couch time! Once in a while we might go into the city and get some shopping done. 

So, since today I spent time with my husband, Dan the Man, I was able to really think about how thankful I am for him. I am not just thankful in general that I have a husband. I am thankful to have a husband like mine in my life. Even if he won't let me have a third cat. I am so proud to call myself his wife. He is that guy that all your friends and family members can't help but love. 

He makes me so proud in everything that he does. Well.......... almost everything. We all have our moments. 

I've never met somebody as selfless, self motivated, passionate and hard-working. Yeah, yeah, yeah, we're getting sappy all up in here at Old Blue Silo. I will try to spare you.

I am so thankful to have found somebody that puts up with me and loves me for who I am including my silly quirks, gluten intolerance, impatience with children, compassion for all animals, OCD tendencies and my obsession with matching. Takes a special person, y'all. 

Day #3 puts the spotlight all on you Dan the Man. 

Nov 2, 2013

30 days of thanks: mobility

Day 2 of the 30 days of thanks challenge. I am thankful for a lot of things in my life, however, this morning I thought of something to be thankful for that a lot of us take way too much for granted.

This morning we were working on some of the not so fun parts of owning a farm: clean up. As I was walking around in the chilly air surrounded by mud and wet grass cleaning up some scrap metal with my husband, father in law and granny, I found myself appreciating the fact that I am able bodied to do this kind of work. There are so many people in the world that are not physically able to get up and move around. There are also so many people in the world that are able to work and move around but choose not to. It's sad, but I know more elderly people who use their mobility more than some people from our younger generations. My husband's 86 year old grandpa uses his mobility like a boss. He still chops wood, wrenches on machinery, drives and works in his garden. 

So today, I am thankful for mobility. 

Mobility is an important part of my day every day. From cooking in the kitchen, taking a shower on my own, doing laundry, cleaning the house, walking to my vehicle, driving my vehicle, making my bed, carrying things upstairs, working on my landscaping, hugging my husband and chasing my silly kitties. I take so many of these things for granted along with the fact that I am able to do them all on my own. 

Dancing with my little brother on my wedding day
I couldn't imagine my life without mobility. I know that it can be lost in a matter of a split second. So many of the things I enjoy doing in life couldn't be done without it. 

Nov 1, 2013

30 days of thanks: indiana

Today is November 1st. Ah yes, thank you Mrs. Obvious. I seriously have no clue where October went. When did it even get here, anyways? Crazy. They say the older you get, the faster time flies. Or maybe it's time flies when you're having fun. So does that mean older people have more fun? I guess so :)
I am starting a blog series for this month. It's called 30 Days of Thanks. I am sure you are all familiar with the idea. Each day I am going to remind myself of something different for which I am thankful. I try not to take too many things for granted in life, but we all need reminders of how well we really do have it regardless of what we don't have. 

November is the month to focus on what we do have. It's time to stop focusing on wanting and move our energy towards thanking and letting others know how grateful we are. 

I am going to still continue my regular blogging, but each day I will feature something I am thankful for. It may be something small and petty. It may be sappy and serious. I swing both ways. 

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