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Archive for November, 2018

You be you, my friend! 

I have traveled a lot over the past month (Matt reminded me last week as I was preparing to leave the house at 3:30 a.m. that I was headed out for the fourth week in a row for meetings.)  The people watching in airports and around different cities is fascinating!  I especially like to see the ones who are willing to have long, soft, PINK hair, but dress completely normal otherwise.  I am NOT bold enough to do that and on the person I saw, it was absolutely gorgeous!  There are always folks who you can tell have been to the beach, or the fishermen returning home from a trip (yes, they might smell if they didn’t get a hotel in town and shower before boarding), or the families donning the Mickey Mouse ears as they dash to their next gate.  It’s easy to long to be those people…the ones who get the fabulous vacations…not sitting in another meeting room in another hotel, not hauling water to cows everyday, not trying to finish harvest way too far into November…

But alas, you are the one doing all of those things listed above – the chores and harvest and meetings.  And when you have sold the calf crop and the grain crop and you deposit the paycheck for the entire year’s worth of work, there is just enough to cover all the bills, and nothing left over for a nice vacation. That is when you get to make YOUR choice – you can be gloomy, comparing yourself to everyone you are not, or you can be thankful. 

I so hope you choose to be thankful.  Those of us who get to farm and ranch get things others only dream of seeing on vacations.  We get the most gorgeous sunsets, ever.  And, we get to see them frequently because we are usually still out working, right???

A random October sunset at the Caldwell place.

We get to enjoy wildlife as we go about our days.  Others pay a lot of money to come to our part of the world to hunt and fish – we have it all right where we go about our daily tasks!

This is my awesome niece with the nice buck she got this year.

Every day can be a complete struggle or absolute joy for each and every person – for so many different reasons.  Some years the vacations will happen.  Some years the stay-cations will be what you get to enjoy.  Family, friends and acquaintances will have something wonderful happen to them, while you do not.  You will certainly hope they are there to help celebrate you when your turn comes – celebrate them when it’s their time! 

We are all here in this earthly world for a finite amount of time. Since you are reading this, you obviously woke up this morning to get to choose to enjoy another day.  On this day, YOU DO YOU!  Please, DO NOT compare yourself to anyone – they very likely are not even thinking about what you have or do or look like.  But, they WILL notice if you smile, help someone out, or overcome a challenge.  The only comparison you need to make is if you are a better version of you than you were last week or last year – you do you.

 

 

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That was the topic of the sermon at church last Sunday.  It was a short sermon because it’s a pretty darn blunt message!  Well, that, and our pastor is just really good at getting the point across in a short time with a LOT of enthusiasm!  There are some awfully good tv shows and movies made about this very thing – trying to get along with neighbors; and for good reason!

So, for today, let’s think about a counter action for different times your neighbor frustrates you, so you can demonstrate those acts of love.  (You have to bear in mind, I am really making up some fun stuff here, because our nearest neighbors are just over a mile away and they are completely not annoying!)

  1.  Your neighbor constantly spies on you and then reports to everyone else what they see you doing.  First of all – how much fun is it to do things because you know they are watching!?!  Do something to give them an extra good story, like writing Christmas cards during the summer or using a fork to eat ice cream (I may or may not do these things regardless if someone is watching).  Then, each and every time you see them, kindly ask how they are doing and offer them a cookie – preferably a Valentine’s cookie at Easter, a Halloween cookie on Valentine’s Day, and a Christmas cookie on 4th of July.  Just generally keep them guessing – cheap entertainment for you and them! 

    I highly recommend a cookie/snack recipe I made this morning – your neighbor will LLLOOOVVVEEE you if you share! 
    Peanut butter Fritos – oh my sweet, salty, crunchy, chewy deliciousness! 
    Here is the simple recipe:
    Dump a bag of Fritos on a serving tray (I used a jelly roll pan covered with foil).  Mix 1 cup sugar and 1 cup light corn syrup in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil – stir and boil just until sugar melts and mixture is clear.  Remove from heat and stir in one cup peanut butter.  Pour the entire mixture over the Fritos.  Allow to cool and ENJOY!IMG_7898

  2. Your neighbor parks in front of your driveway so you can’t turn in to your own property.  This can be incredibly maddening!  Your first thought may be to park in their driveway, but it’s probably already full if they are blocking yours.  Let’s think of something SO nice they are completely confused  – my mom always called it “killing them with kindness.”  I would suggest getting your lawn mower and and going to work on their lawn!  Who doesn’t want to have their lawn mowed for them?  Or perhaps, once you have finally found a place to park, you just call and invite them right on over to supper and some entertaining board games.  Wait! I’ve got it!  Put up Christmas lights on their house for them! (I love this idea, particularly if they aren’t fond of Christmas lights, heehee!)
  3. If your neighbor constantly has loud music going or loud machinery outside all the time, here is a potential solution:  Give your neighbors a pair of Bluetooth speakers as a gift.  How loving and kind is that?  Then, you can use your device to blast music into the speakers at random times during the day so they can enjoy your music with you! You can easily sync your device to the speakers so long as you are not too far out of range. You can also blast creepy sounds to make them think their house is haunted, you know, just for fun. 
  4. Your neighbor has all kinds of political campaign signs that you absolutely don’t agree with and they place them in their lawn right up to the very edge of the property line.  This is NOT the end of the world!  Once again, plan a bbq or meal, invite them to watch a ball game, and JUST DON’T TALK POLITICS.  

Honestly try to get to know something about your neighbor that has nothing to do with politics or even their habit that makes you angry.  Do they love to cook?  Are they good at art?  Do they have an amazing garden?  Did they grow up in a small town or a big city?  Have they ever been to a farm?  Do they enjoy sports?  I know I am 100% chatty and I am also well aware of my tendency to hang with people that are just like me.  That is when I remind myself, I am glad I have friends like Jonathon – not much like me, but SUPER cool and smart!  I just have to be willing to show a little love to someone that at one time in my life I would have probably stared at, snuck a pic to send around to friends, and even sent a group “check this out!” text.  That is rude and now I know I should talk to them instead of making fun…In fact, I got to enjoy a completely impromptu shopping trip at a thrift store with Jonathon!

Here is my buddy Jonathan – he has more certifications and qualifications than I can name, he grew up in Hawaii and now lives in New York City, he is a great advocate for modern agriculture and I am proud to call him my neighbor from across the country!

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But in all seriousness – do you see why I would have sent that “check this out” pic!?!?  Blue mo-hawk, a lot of crazy, and quite honestly, stuff you just don’t see much in good ol Clay County Nebraska, USA.

Have a great week everyone – I hope you get to show some unexpected kindness to someone!

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Some pretty great memories are made on dirt roads!  And,  with that statement, I can guess where a few of your minds went – immediately to the slightly disappointing flavor experienced in sharing a can of beer that was snuck out of your parents’ garage fridge or to the stomach butterflies of fumbling through a first kiss, praying no one would drive by and see you.  Yes, many of those growing up moments definitely happen on a dirt road (at least in our part of the world).

I am thinking a bit more nostalgically.  Some of my earliest memories of dirt roads include learning how to skip; individual lessons were given by Roy Henry while we waited for wheat trucks to be filled.  The shoe prints in the dust created a pattern that couldn’t be replicated, as hard as you tried.  There were ground bee holes to smash the mounds on and try to fill in, and grass growing along the roadside.  A great accomplishment was to learn to hold the perfect grass blade just, right between your thumbs and place it against your lips to make some kind of shrill kazoo type sound.  During fall harvest, we would pick milkweed pods, scatter the seeds like snowflakes, and then take the empty pod home to paint to look like a ghost for a Halloween decoration.  (My Mom is one of the nicest ladies ever to always let kids, even to this day, destroy the house while carrying out their “very special” projects!)
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Fast forward to the college years.  It was on a dirt (maybe with a little rock or gravel) that Matt asked me to marry him.  I’m not sure I could drive to the exact spot today, but I am comforted in knowing that he can and more importantly, that I said yes!

Since we have had our own kids, they have also learned to appreciate the beauty of a good dirt road.  (Okay, I’m not gonna lie – there are times, when we have had plenty of precipitation, that we really wish for a lot of rock and gravel on our dirt roads!)  This picture of moving cattle along one of the roads we use often is so pretty!

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I will also confess, on that very road, in about that very spot, we had our pickup sliding sideways down the hill between the steep banks on either side, praying we wouldn’t slide all the way to the bridge and wreck,  with two kids in car seats.  I had sucked nearly all the air out of the cab, but  Matt is a very good driver and had nerves of steel to steer us out of that scary predicament!  But then again, that road served as a perfect backdrop to some of Emmet’s senior pictures.dsc_4857

While a know full well how many great ideas are borne on the thinking throne, there are some pretty great dreaming sessions that happen on dirt roads.  Whether walking, riding horses, driving ATV’s, or just cruising around in a pickup, there is something about a dirt road that spurs your ability to think beyond what is the here and now.  We just need to take time to do it more often!

With that, I hope you take time this weekend to enjoy a dirt road – wherever that is for you.

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