Feb 18, 2017

These Boots





It was May 2008.

My now husband had invited me down to his farm for our second date. I had never been to his house before. I slowly pulled in the drive and walked anxiously up the sidewalk to the front door taking it all in. He greeted me at the door with a huge grin wearing a Hollister t-shirt, a crisp pair of bootcut Levis and a pair of sneakers.

I walked into his old farmhouse and I took off my shoes. I placed them on the floor of the mudroom next to a pair of worn out Red Wings. The leather was rough and the toe was worn out where you could see the steel toe peeking through. I noticed a tin of Red Wing mink oil sitting on top of the upright freezer above. I smiled, wondering if these boots ever saw a drop.

But that didn’t matter.

You see, I learned very quickly.

These boots, they’re special. They’re a rare breed.

They’re the boots of a 4th generation farmer.

They’re purchased once every two years and when a hole starts wearing in the sole, it’s time for another.

He never tells me when it’s time for a new pair.

They just show up. Right next to the door, like that loyal old friend. Like clockwork. Same size. Same style. I really don’t even know what happens to the old pair. I suppose they go to old farm boot heaven.

They’re like family, these boots.

In fact, I’ve gotten so use to them that I forgot how special they were.

Until tonight.

I had just walked up from our backyard. My husband had recently came home from working and was sitting on the tailgate of his truck in the shop. It was a nice, unusually warm day for February. He was covered in dirt. The dog was covered in mud. He looked tired. But happy.

He climbed off the truck and went in to clean up for the evening. I put a few things away outside. As I rounded the corner back into the shop, I walked in and stopped.

The sun was shining in on the tailgate where he once sat.

And in his place sat those boots. 

Jan 5, 2017

Sacrifice for Solution



This past year, whether you watch the news or not, you've heard a lot about politics especially with the presidential election. It's been everywhere. It still is. As time goes on, eventually people will go back to what I like to call their regularly scheduled programs. Who was elected will eventually be forgotten and most will go back to living a life we all take for granted. We'll forget that there are real people giving up so much to work endless hours for us.

My sister in law who lives on a ranch in Western Kansas with her husband and three kids, however, will not be going back to her regular scheduled program anytime soon. This year's election has effected their lives in a way most of us will never understand. Sometimes sacrifices must be made so our voices could be heard. 

From the moment I met Christine and my brother in law Adam, I knew they were people I would look up to. They are hard working, very active in their community and do an amazing job parenting my nieces and nephews. They'v been great role models for us.

After taking their photos when we were out visiting for Thanksgiving in November, I couldn't help shed a few tears while editing.  I was inspired by their humility and wanted to write a post about the changes and sacrifices my sister in law and her family are about to go through but I thought it would be more impactful coming directly from the source.

I invite you to enjoy a very special guest post on living in the moment, sacrifice, servant leadership and what it means for our rural voices to be heard. 

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LIVING IN THE MOMENT has taken on an entirely different meaning, as our family heads into our last week of normal here on Willow Creek. Many of you may be unfamiliar with our story, so I’d like to share glimpse of our life with you. My husband, Adam and I own and operate our family’s ranch in Western Kansas. Along with raising cattle, wheat and sorghum hay, we are also raising our three children, Austin (8), Kaitlyn (6) and Allison (4). As any parent also realizes, that also includes attending activities, teaching Sundayschool, and doing a lot of the “everyday” things that most parents do. In addition to all that our crazy family life has to offer, my husband and I are both politically involved in our community. I serve both as our county treasurer and as a school board member, while my husband just wrapped up 8 years of service as one of our county commissioners.

As I mentioned above, life as we know it will change on January 9th, as we begin a new adventure. We have taken each opportunity these past few months to soak up as much family time as we possibly can, playing games, snuggling, and providing opportunities for memories to be made. I am proud to say that on January 9th, my husband will be sworn in as our district’s State Representative in Topeka, Kansas. For any of you familiar with Kansas geography, you will note that Topeka is just about as far east as one can get from the small, rural Kansas community of Weskan. Because of the distance, many of our friends, neighbors, and other curious individuals have asked me what life will look like for our family once the legislative session commences. Others have just bluntly stated, “So, I supposed you are all moving to Topeka?” While we aren’t moving, we have found ourselves making many preparations to help lessen the 365 miles between the state’s capital – and our home.

Our experience will begin in early January, with Adam [temporarily] moving to Topeka until the end of March. The legislature takes a recess for the month of April, giving legislators the chance to travel their districts and speak to constituents. Adam will return to Topeka in May for a (hopefully short) wrap up session. We are very fortunate that our children only attend school Monday through Thursday (as our district operates on a four day week). This incredible schedule will grant us some flexibility to travel to Adam, spending longer weekends in Topeka when “Dad Time” is needed. Although not the same, Face-time and phone calls will provide our children opportunities to share the stories of the day with their dad. The same will be true for our conversations. Weekends will offer opportunities for Adam to come home, as schedules and weather permits. As goes with ranching and farming, there is always something that needs attention. In our case – and as normal, time will be prioritized between family and the ranch.

Jan 2, 2017

New Year, New Planner: EC versus Heart of the Farm


Sometimes we have to live a little out of our comfort zone.

This may mean we have to give up something we love to try something else... which is why trying new things is so hard.

I have been using Erin Condren planners for the last three years. I absolutely love them and would recommend EC to anyone wanting to organize their life down to the months, weeks and days. I love the customizable colors, the layout and the extra pockets. The only downside is the cover starts to get a little loose and fall off towards the end of the year. You can easily put it back on, but after a while, it becomes a pain.

I don't spend a lot of time browsing Instagram but every time I do, I always discover a new product or something to try. This is probably why I don't get on Instagram very often... A few months back, I was on Instagram and came across a thread giving away a Heart of the Farm planner. Being that we live on and run a farm, I was instantly intrigued. As I furthered my research, I discovered that this planner was designed and sold by a fellow farm wife and entrepreneur. I loved her story and instantly wanted to give this planner a shot but I was afraid to give up my EC planner.

After sitting on it for a few weeks, I took the plunge and not only ordered myself one, but my mother in law as well. She's really involved in many organizations, helps out her parents and grand kids with appointments and works a different schedule each week. Not to mention she keeps us fed during the busy seasons on the farm. Normally, she keeps her schedule on a wall calendar at home and I thought it was time she try using a planner she can carry with her.

My planner arrived beautifully packaged like a gift. I wish I would have taken a picture of it! It was so beautifully packaged that I didn't have to wrap my mother in law's for her birthday. I just tucked a card underneath the ribbon.

Much like the EC planner, there are many features and list-making functions. Heart of the Farm caters toward the farm life with some unique features such as field meal planning, freezer inventory and a new farm scene photograph and quotes at the beginning of each month to remind us how lucky we are to live the lives that we do.