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Dec 1, 2017

It's only December 1st

It's been one of those weeks! And it's about to be one of those months.

We arrived home from Thanksgiving vacation in Kansas late Sunday evening. It's always good to see my sister in law and her family! Such a much needed trip for our family.

We finished our custom harvest job this week for our Mennonite neighbor. Harvest '17 is OFFICIALLY OVER for us. The combine can now go into hibernation.

I've been working diligently in the office trying to take care of some hot projects for clients. My husband has been working on end of the year quotes for his customers. We've had several meetings and this weekend is full of fun events with friends. More meetings, events and projects next week.

I have no idea when we will get our Christmas decorations up or get to our Christmas shopping. And you know what? For the first time, I don't care. It's only December 1st.

It always gets done.

It'll happen when it happens.

So many of us stress over the holiday season. It's a season I don't look forward to for many reasons but this year, it's time for a an attitude adjustment.

I am going to focus on the people and all the wonderful events. Not the things or the details in-between.

I've already worked on some ideas to eliminate stress.

What have you done over the years to make your holiday season more enjoyable from Thanksgiving to New Years?

Nov 8, 2017

Struggles Small and Large

I’ve been reflecting on the episode of This Is Us from last night. I’ve never seen a show that comes even close to touching so many emotions. It’s a show everyone can relate to.

One thing I am really learning from this show is that we all have struggles small and large. Sometimes the people that seem to have the most perfect of lives and have it all together are struggling the most. There is no such thing as a perfect life and a perfect family.

I try to share content that gives you a peek into my life in hopes you’ll find a small nugget that you or someone you know can relate to. My content may not always be relatable to everyone and you won’t always agree with me. We are all wired differently, share different struggles and we come from different places.

Last night on the show, a poor, heart-broken drug addict and a judge came together in relatable disappointment. The judge found himself in constant disappointment every day because of the sentences he had to serve. The drug addict was in constant disappointment because of the everyday down spirals he was experiencing in his life.

This goes to show that two people living completely different lives can share the same emotion and struggle.

Under-minding someone’s struggle or accomplishment is one of the worse things you can do. It is not up to you to decide how someone should be feeling. Come along side and help someone find a solution to their stress or problem. Be a cheerleader through the good and the bad.

We don’t have to settle. We can always be better. There’s always time to redesign the ending to our stories; especially with the help of others.

Oct 23, 2017

Farm to Town: Fall Edition

Yesterday, my husband and I ran into town for breakfast and on our way back we ended up moving farm equipment. Not too dirty of a job, but you still needed some sturdy clothes and boots to handle the uneven dirt, hook up a trailer, tie down the grain head or fill a flat with air. I wasn't in what I consider my farm clothes but I was still dressed for the job. You just never know what you will get roped into around here, especially on the weekends!

One thing I've experienced living on a farm, is that during the busy seasons and maybe all year round for those of you with livestock, sometimes it's hard to find things to wear that you can quickly work in if needed but also feel put together if you need to run into town for errands. (Now, if I know I am going out to farm for the day, I pull on an old hoodie or flannel, a college t-shirt an old pair of jeans and my work boots...)

So, I'm sharing my favorite 'farm to town' pieces with you because they've been put to the test. They've been worn a season or two already, have been washed, washed and washed again. They've done some light duty work around the farm. And I simply could not live without them. 

So, husbands, listen up because psssst... Christmas is coming.

Oct 18, 2017


Two months ago, I signed up to do an online Bible study by Proverbs 31 called, 'She's Still There.' At a time when I have really been experiencing a lot of stress, wondering if that happy go lucky girl was still inside this busy body; this study couldn't have come at a better time.

In my 30s, I've started to experience a lot of anxiety, especially recently. This year I started my own business, I took on some leadership roles that are amazing opportunities but have left me feeling alone at times, my husband and I have continued to farm another year even through this rough farm economy, my in-laws have separated and there's the constant pressure from family, friends and society to start having children when that's never been something I've wanted. I began questioning my purpose and direction. I found myself constantly getting caught up in the what if. 

I instantly ordered the study's foundation book, She's Still There: Rescuing the Girl in You and joined a small accountability group with a friend and her friend. I counted down the days until the study began. I could. not. WAIT.

On the first day of the study, I got up at 5, made my coffee and felt like a kid on Christmas. I printed off my study guides, watched the videos and got through the first chapter of the book; nodding my head over every word and marking it up with highlights, notes and filling out all the reflection options. I felt like a champion. I felt refreshed. I felt inspired. I was a new woman [for a day]. I was really looking forward to diving even deeper into the study.

The next morning, I dove into Chapter 2 and the new lessons. I made some more notes and continued to enjoy myself. By the time the third day rolled around, I saw that I needed to get through a few more chapters. We were getting ready to go to Gatlinburg, Tennessee for a weekend get away with some friends so I saved the rest of that week's study to do before everyone else got up, overlooking the mountains on our cabin's front porch. Long story short, our cabin's front porch was little to be desired as well as the rest of the cabin. I was very stressed about the false advertisement and very unhappy for someone who was on vacation. I used our unideal situation as an excuse to not crack open my study like I had planned.

Oct 13, 2017

The Rules of #Real

Social media is here.

I don't know if you've noticed or not. I hope you sense my sarcasm.

In fact, it's been here.

I was thinking the other day, that I've been on social media for roughly two thirds of my life. It dates back to the MSN messenger, AOL messenger, Xanga and Myspace days and then onto Facebook when my college was one of the first networks created. Before Facebook came along, my friends and I were already using instant messenger statuses as a way to share what we were up to or the latest group of song lyrics that applied to our current life situation at the time. I remember always crafting an 'Away Message' before leaving my dorm room.

Social media has become a way of life especially as it now fits into the palm of our hands 24/7. Whether you're on a blog, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, SnapChat, Pinterest and many other channels, it's how we search for information on a business or person, look for today's headlines, discover new products and communicate with our loved ones and... not-so-loved ones. Whether we like it or not, we have all become influencers. Unbeknownst to us, we are crafting our own personal brand by what what we share and how we share.

However, in a world where some are still reading print newspapers and watching local TV stations, we still look at social media as this realm of entertainment or information resource and communication tool hat doesn't count.

But it does count. Oh, how it does.

Much like fashion, photography, design, the food industry, automobiles, farm machinery and technology, social media hones trends that are constantly changing. From what channels are popular to use to how we should share things whether it's through photographs, writing, video or memes, if you don't stay up with the latest trends, your voice will get lost. If you go to a Facebook or other social media workshop, the content of that workshop is relevant for the month, if that. That's how often trends are changing. It has become standard for companies to hire outside contractors to consult with on social media trends and many even have in-house staff members whose job is to run the company social media channels. That's yesterday's news but so many people to this day still roll their eyes at the mention of careers in social media.

People are constantly preaching about what kind of content should be shared and not shared. With social media, we've become extremely personal. Complete strangers may know more about us than our best friends or family members. Social media has given literally everyone a platform if they so choose to use it; politically or not.

However, as we've become personal, we've also become unreal. We hold off sharing good news and large purchases as we don't want to appear as boasting. We bite our lips as we erase an emotional post about a hardship or struggle we may be going through because we don't want to come across as an emotional basket case. We are afraid that our struggle or blessing may be menial to someone else.

Over six years ago, I started Old Blue Silo. I was afraid to share pictures from the old farmhouse we were living in as it was old, outdated and some rooms were very less than ideal. I was embarrassed of it, not knowing that many, many, many folks were living in the same kind of situation. We started building our new pole barn house and as much as I wanted to share the entire building process, our floor plans and my journey through decorating, I held off because of a comment a friend made. Because they didn't have a new house, they didn't think it was fair that I shared our new home. That same person also knocked me down in my journey through leadership. I held back from inspiring others with some things I was so proud of because of things one person said. Even though I didn't go into a lot of detail or share the process of building our home or my journey in leadership, I still have provided some sneak peaks and enough information to spark reader interest. I find myself receiving emails on a daily basis, full of burning questions from readers who too have interest in pole barn homes and furthering their leadership journey.

I have found myself buried in a situation where it is going to take a lot of work to dig myself out. I've recently been inspired to go back through and start sharing more of our home and my leadership with readers, regardless of what one person said years ago. However, as you know, it's much harder to go back in time and relearn all of those basic details you once knew by heart. In fact, I don't have a digital copy of our floor plan anymore. I will have to recreate that. But, it's something I want to do for you because... it's time to start being real.

Be #real... regardless of your current status or situation. Your successes will inspire others to be successful and crush their own goals. Your struggles will help others through their own.

When it comes to being real in person and on social media, the rules are wide open as long as you stick to these guidelines:

Share the good.

Share the bad.

And YES, share the ugly.

But please. Please don't BE ugly.

By ugly, you know what I mean. Find that fine line. Don't post on a social media channel what you wouldn't say to one's face. And for goodness sakes, what happens behind a closed door, keep it behind a closed door.

The other day, I shared a very raw video on Old Blue Silo's Facebook page with my readers. Some thoughts were weighing heavy on my mind and I couldn't take it anymore. I literally turned off the TV and sat up straight as I started recording. I shared some successes I've been keeping from you guys and I shared some hardships that our family has been going through. My in-laws separated this summer. It's been very hard. But that's all I need to share for now. The rest, is their personal business. Our family isn't perfect and neither is yours. You know how to get a hold of me if you're through the same thing and would like to talk about it. That's why I shared it. You can share your struggles without airing your dirty laundry too.

Social media is not going anywhere. It's time to really learn how to use it.

You can use it as a tool to influence, inspire and relate or you can use it to craft an unreal life that makes someone else feel less than ideal.

Share that new vehicle. But share it because you've worked hard for it. Share the features and functions you love about it so someone else vehicle shopping can learn something. Share that hopefully positive experience you had with the dealership and the salesperson so we can pay them a visit our selves. Don't share it just because you want to one up your neighbor. Just don't.

I am inviting you to forget about what others may think and join me in a challenge to be more #real in sharing the good, the bad and the ugly.

Will you join me?


PC: Sarah Straeter Photography

Jul 20, 2017

A Break from the Norm

As of Monday, our first wheat harvest is in the books!

Many of you have driven across some of the "I" states and see a lot of corn and soybeans growing everywhere. That's what we are known for. We grow corn and soybeans. We are good at it.

Occasionally, you'll drive past a field of wheat. I hope it leaves you as breathless as it does me.

I instantly want to stop and start singing, "Oh beautiful.... for spacious skies... for amber waves of grain...." But I don't. Because, well, my singing is bad enough that my cats will bite me if I start.

Wheat is a beautiful grain. It dries out to a beautiful golden color that creates a gorgeous contrast across the horizon.

It's a grain that has changed society to the way we know it. It's the foundation of our history.

I'm amazed at how such a small kernel can come together with others to feed such a large amount of people all across the world. It's a grain we truly take for granted.

Jun 22, 2017

Because Corn


For almost twenty years and my entire childhood, my dad sold Kubota tractors. Every night, he’d pull just past the driveway and then back in with a piece of equipment on his trailer ready to deliver or demo to customers in the morning.

There wasn’t a day, even on weekends, you wouldn’t see my dad in his orange Kubota hat. Owning an entire fleet himself, he loved the product that he sold. If you want to see my dad light up, just ask him about Kubota tractors. He always said if you sold and promoted an honest product you loved, it sold itself. Even in a tough market where everyone was use to red, blue and green paint, dad loved selling his products and was successful at it.

Now, I get to grow and market an honest product that I absolutely love.



I get giddy just thinking about it.

A good friend once asked me why we grow so much corn and what it was used for.

I didn’t know where to begin. When it comes to corn and other crops that we grow, there are endless possibilities ranging from food, animal feed and fiber to fuel and everything in between.

May 10, 2017

Necklace Give Away

Much like the things I have to decorate my home, I really enjoy clothing and jewelry that tell a story. Especially jewelry.

I recently came across a new line of beautiful beaded and whitetail antler necklaces created by Emily at OnTheWildeSideDesigns. I explored her Etsy shop a few times. I found myself admiring her work even more every time I visited. I swooned over all the different designs and colors.

May 1, 2017

Rainy Days and Mondays

Growing up, my mom use to listen to the Carpenters and right now, I have the song, Rainy Days and Mondays in my head.

Getting into a groove here at our farm has been difficult this past week spring.

We witnessed a really mild winter which left us pretty anxious to get in the fields and work ground for #plant17. However, if you get into the fields in February and March, you risk those temperatures cooling down again as well as a late snowfall. Working ground too early is oftentimes wasteful because your soil will get re compacted over time and you'll lose that nice fluffy soil bed. We spent our time slowly working on equipment maintenance and getting things ready to go. I enjoyed some of the early nice weather as I worked in my landscaping and mowed the yard. 

Last week, we finally made the decision to get into the fields. Just a day later than last year according to my Facebook timeline. Things went well for a few days. We had two of last year's soybean fields worked for corn and even got just a little bit of seed in the ground! Morale was up and life was good. We were looking forward to the weekend and getting a lot done.


Everything came to a screeching halt on Friday afternoon. It's been raining off and on since then. We have been pretty fortunate as we've only had a few inches of water compared to some other parts of the state and county who have witnessed 6-11 inches over the weekend causing a lot of flooding which may result in a replant. Some major storms passed through over the weekend and we are also fortunate they did not hit us as hard. We did not have any damage online our neighbors out west and up north. 

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. 


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.

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