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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.

We realize that it will be impossible to spend each weekend as a family – but those spent together will be jam-packed with quality family time! Some of it may involve fixing fence or moving cattle. Either way, we’ll make the most of each opportunity.

My honey-do list, once quite extensive, has now been whittled down to a few, remaining tasks. I have made organization one of my top goals for 2017 – and have found an incredible monthly/day planner to help me do so. It has quickly been inundated with dates and events of all types, from our daughter’s cheer clinic to a few of my husband’s legislative events, and finally to our family vacation scheduled for later this year.

I did mention above that we raise cattle, so I’m sure that some inquiring minds are asking, “What about them?”… The answer is simple. I mean, I’m good (as we farm wives are), but I’m not THAT good! With kids, work, and meetings, there was no way that I would have time, nor the abilities to handle breaking ice, checking cattle each morning, and overseeing the delivery of this spring’s new babies. My one request of Adam was that he find someone who would be able and willing to oversee cattle operations during his absence. That task was quickly accomplished with the cooperation of Adam and a neighboring rancher who was very willing to help with the calving and care during his absence. While having someone else manage your cattle isn’t an ideal and perfect solution, it is one that works and provides solutions for everyone involved.

Other preparations have simply included a few changes around the house, tutorials on “What to do IF…” and so on. Unaware of them, I found that Adam had a few other special tasks he had charged himself with as well. A couple of weeks ago, I found several of our daughter’s books in his office. When asked, he simply said that he had been taking time to read and record them onto an old iPhone so that whenever our girls needed it, they could have bedtime story from Daddy. Each of us have found ways to make this transition easier on our children and have spent the month of December creating new routines that will help us transition into January.

Due to tax cuts in recent years, Kansas is facing a financial catastrophe – and while we realize the mess won’t be cleaned up overnight, my husband has a motto.

 You can either be a part of the problem, or a part of the solution. 

 While Adam and I both realize that we are asking our family to sacrifice tremendously, we have felt God’s calling on our hearts for Adam to step up, giving Northwest Kansas strong, moral representation and sound leadership.

Several weeks ago, our oldest and I found ourselves having an unscheduled, unrehearsed heart to heart. The kind that comes out of nowhere during a Sunday morning drive, on the way to church... Just as this one did.

Adam had just left to attend his legislative orientation. As we were pulling into town, our son asked me "Mom, are you going to miss Dad?" My response was simple yet so full of emotion. Of course. Yes, I would MISS him! Almost 10 years of our lives involved each other on many levels, each and every day. I found myself explaining to our son that I would most definitely miss his daddy, but even more than I would miss him was how proud I am of him. Of his passion to serve, and of our deep desire to make Kansas a place that they would want to return to after finishing college. To build a career, raise a family, and watch their kids and grandkids grow up...someday. 

We hope and pray daily for a better Kansas, for our children, grandchildren, and others, thus Adam’s reason for running for office.

I would be lying if I told you that no tears have been shed during the writing of this blog and wish to thank my sister in law, Kelly Whiteman Snipes, for the invitation and opportunity to share our story with you. Writing has been a great source of reflection for me as I prepare myself and our children for what our new adventure will be. I’m no expert, so if you have an awesome crock-pot recipe or some thoughts to bestow, please feel free to email me at! I’d love to hear from you!

-Christine 'Snipes' Smith

1 comment:

  1. Thanks to Christine for sharing her story. As a rural Kansan, I appreciate their sacrifice and service at this critical time in our state and am thankful that Adam will give a voice to concerns from outside the big city limits.


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