Monday, December 27, 2010

Getting screwed over may be the best gift of all

Brace yourselves, dear readers.  Here's another excerpt from the AgriNews blog.  Yeah, the title might be a bit misleading (I didn't get screwed over at Christmas or anything...quite the contrary actually) but hopefully it all makes sense anyway. 


We all make plans. And I’m not just talking about all the plans we make for the holidays, such as going to Hub’s parents’ house on Thanksgiving and my parents’ on Christmas. 

No, no, I’m talking big plans. Deep plans. Life plans. 

Here, at the end of 2010, I’m doing a bit of reflecting. First, it seems that 2010 went by way too quickly. I’m just now ready for fall to begin, let alone to have it already over. 

I recently got to do one of those interviews that, when I left, I really felt enlightened. Without going into too much detail, I was interviewing a farmer who was fulfilling some major philanthropy projects. 

He has had success and now has the proof to show for it, even though he’s giving quite a bit of it away. 

From multiple farms to owning multiple businesses, this guy is a businessman, and he’s not afraid to admit it. But, with all the fortune he’s found, he said he knows a lot of it came from being at the right place at the right time and being nice to the people he’s met a long the way. 

But the message that stuck with me after this interview wasn’t about his hard work ethic and his perseverance. After all, those characteristics can be found in almost everyone in agriculture. 

The part that got me was this statement: “Whitney, I got screwed over good a couple times before I got to where I am today.” 

It was less of the “make lemonade out of lemons” speech I’ve been hearing my whole life and more of the “Suck it up, don’t be a pansy and move on.” 

Maybe it was the cut-to-the-chase phrase of “got screwed” that resonated with me, but I think that’s a good lesson to put in my pocket for the next time I’m having a rough day. 

There’s a country song that includes the lyric, “You wanna hear God laugh? Tell him your plans.” 

I think we young people — let me hold on to that bit of my youth and consider myself to still be a young person, OK? — have a tendency to make plans for our future and be completely thrown off if something doesn’t go as planned. 

Maybe the thought of being fluid enough to “go with the flow” is a lost art, but it seems that once a plan of mine gets a bit derailed, I get flustered. 

I’m not one to easily “flow.” I’m working on it. 

But as I left that interview, I couldn’t help but think what might have happened to this particular farmer/businessman/entrepreneur if God had just let him follow his plans with out throwing him a bit off course. I don’t know that his companies would exist today or if he would have the capability to help with the fundraisers as he has today. 

As I head into this new year, I’m sure there will be some things come my way that will involve me changing the plans I already have laid out. But I am going to do my best to accept them and roll with the punches. I encourage you all to do the same. 

Who knows what might happen if we open ourselves up to change? I can’t wait to find out. 

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 24, 2010

No Room at the Inn

My mom let me borrow one of her nativity scenes last year and I didn't give it back.  (I will, I will, get off my back!)

This scene was given to her and my dad when they got married.  My grandparents had one identical to it, as well as my aunt and uncle, maybe? (I think they were all purchased at the same time and then gpa or my uncle made everyone a barn...? The story is close to that if I'm not right.)

The nativity is ceramic and glazed in clear so it is bright white.  As a kid, I thought it was SOOOO boring (grandma's set had real clothes that she and a friend or sister or someone apparently stayed up all night one year dressing their nativity people like dolls from their old scraps of fabric.)  But now, I'm digging the simplicity of the white set.  I get it... Mary and Joseph were pretty simple people anyway.

Here's the happy couple

The angel on the top of the barn

The three wise guys (isn't that funny...'the wise guys'? ha ha!) (and yes, the wall really is neon green.... very festive for this time of year!)

One of the shepherds

All the shepherds...

...including one playing a tune...

...and one carrying a lamb (I always wondered if that little lamb wasn't moving fast enough for this shepherd and that's why it got carried)

A look into the barn

This little donkey must be the one that carried Mary (he has a chipped ear, but I don't hold that against him)
I figured this camel belonged to the wise guys.  It looks a bit too ornate to be a shepherd's and not a king's.

And the bull shared his pen with the sheep that came along with the shepherds

Except for this one... it wanted to get closer to Mary

There was no room in the inn (and apparently no lights on in the barn this year!)

Another one with some flash so you can actually see in the barn

But does it seem like there's something missing?  Or, rather, someONE?

In our family, Baby Jesus is the first gift of Christmas and doesn't enter the nativity scene until Christmas morning after we read the Christmas story in the Bible.  So, until then, he waits in the tree, all wrapped up with care. 

This is our tree this year.  It's a bit wild for me -- I am very much a "white light" kind of person, but this year, we opted to use the little tree that typically only has monster trucks on it as our main tree.  (and yes, that's a cardboard wall in the background!  Just keepin' it real here!)

From my family to yours, we hope you all have a very merry Christmas and remember that Jesus is the first and true gift of Christmas!  

Thursday, December 23, 2010

My Snow Village (lots of pics!)

 My grandparents (my mom's parents) had a flair for Christmas.  My grandma Willis had Christmas dishes, glasses, towels, linens, etc.  They had Christmas ornaments and special decorations that all meant something to them.

But one of my favorite traditions was the village (specifically a Dept. 56 The Original Snow Village) my grandpa set up every year across the buffet and tables he had built especially to suit the growing village.  There was a part of the village that was the town with city buildings and big fancy houses and then one end of the village was the country scene with barns, livestock, tractors and even an outhouse.  The other end of their village was a woodsy area with a cabin and a pond and even a small airplane.

Their village was my own personal Christmas wonderland.  Even though we weren't allowed to touch it, I loved looking at it and making up the stories about what all the people in the village were up to.  The kids sledding and ice skating looked like they were having so much fun and there was a cow with a wreath around her neck that I just loved.

Long story short, when my grandparents passed away, the village was split up between my mom and her brother (my uncle).  Mom took most of the country scenes and uncle took most of the woodsy stuff (he's a hunter) and they split up the towny stuff.

When Hubs first started coming around, he got a kick out of the village when Mom set it up.  It got to the point that she would set up all the buildings and then let Hubs and I set up all the people and accessories.  She didn't even mind (or say she did) when he slipped a monster truck or two into her village... God bless my mother!

So when Hubs and I got married, the day of our wedding, he sent a gift to me while I was in the "dressing room."  It was a large box and inside was the beginning of our Christmas village: The Silent Night Church.  To make matters even more sentimental, the Silent Night Church looked almost identical to the church we got married in (the church I essentially grew up in.)

Ever since then, we've continued to add to our village each year.  Even though we are in cramped space, we made room to set up the village this year (along with the nativity, but that's another post).

Let's take a tour and see what's happening in the Snow Village, shall we?

An overall show of my village (and the dog crate...things are tight in this little place!)

Here's the church Hubs gave me the day we got married. 

I love the bell

It's completed with decorations and poinsettias. 

This is the piece he gave me for our first Christmas (after we'd been married 1 week)

I love the look on the lady's face!

She was so excited and surprised that she dropped her purse and everything fell out!

But look at that rock! I'da dropped my pocketbook, too! (yes, I said pocketbook)

He also gave me this bus for our first Christmas.  There was a decorated bus involved in our wedding party transportation, so even it has significance to me.
For our 1 year anniversary, I got this little house from Hubs.  We'd just bought our first place that summer.

It's a music house (hence the violin playing snowman)

(did you know you could get these little signs customized?  I didn't, but I could.... just sayin')
That's why he also got this lovely lady shaking on a deal to buy a house.

Doesn't she look happy? (If you've ever bought a house, you may know what a relief it is to slap that "Sold" sign up!)
The next year, Hubs got me this pet shop.
It's the "town-ie-est" thing in my village, but I just love the detail of it... the dogs in the window and the one tied to the hydrant outside.
The same year, he got me this little dog walker to go with the pet shop.  We have three dogs ourselves, so I know what this kid must feel like!
Here's a father/son team dragging a fresh cut tree into their house

This is the house Hubs got me for our 4 year anniversary last year.  I think the candle in the little window at the top is adorable

 Doesn't she look like she's having a blast?

I got this set of sledders at an out of business sale. 

And this guy is right on her tail

Here's another team building snowmen

I got this house this year at an antique store for next to nothing.

This little gal seems to be happy, too.
Why wouldn't she be? How cool to have an igloo to play in?!

She was having fun... until this little punk strolled into the village.
Oh yeah, anyone that has spent any amount of time around kids knows where this is going.

That was my village this year!  However, it's already dated some because Hubs got me a new log cabin to add to it this year and I took all these pictures before then.  You'll have to wait until next year to see it!

Hope you enjoyed the tour!

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Happy Anniversary!

It is so crazy to think that five years ago today, I was running around like a crazy woman trying to get ready to get married! Getting hair done, make up on, dress transported, the luminaries put out, etc!

The lace!

The candles!

All those red poinsettias!

The snow!

The bus! (yes, there was a bus involved!)

Oh the drama that goes into a wedding!   (You'd never know, looking at the picture, that my tiara was broken and being held together with fake-fingernail glue!)  

We made it half a decade!  Yay us!
But despite the chaos, you can see in this picture that the day was perfect...and the guy is perfect (for me anyway)  He's changed my life in so many ways and made me such a better person.

I'm lucky he hasn't given up on me...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I spy... a blog post!

I am not going to lie.  

Things have been crazy up in here.  

(some sickness, work stuff, home stuff, Christmas stuff)

But the good news is they are improving! 

And last night, I shot over 100 pics for Christmas blog posts!  

*someone really shoulda told me it's already the 14th of December!  When did that happen?!  How am I going to get all this Christmas joy shared?! 

Anywhoo, the moral is that I heart Christmas in a BIG way and I want to share some of family traditions and things I love and whatnot!  But... it won't be today.  :(  

Instead, because I am oh-so-original, I'm posting my AgriNews blog from yesterday.  It's a cute story that will restore your faith in the future of agriculture (if you had lost any of it).  



I recently visited a farm on behalf of the newspaper. I went to do an interview with a livestock producer about a particular breed they were trying out and was curious to see how the animals were adapting to a life with four seasons. 

I’m intentionally trying to keep things vague, so that you’ll have to read the paper! 

But, as it is with life, something came up, and my interview with the producer was quickly shifted to an interview with the producer’s daughter as the parent had to make an emergency run into town. 

For the first time in my career as a reporter, I don’t think I had to ask a single question. The 11 year old took off to the barn with me quick on her heels and trying to figure out what she was saying. 

She was talking so fast it was hard for me to keep up. I eventually gave up on taking notes — knowing I’d need to follow up with the parents anyway — and just started listening. 

We walked. And she talked. 

She told me about her horses, the sheep — including her perspective on how to tell if it’s a boy or a girl — the dogs, the ducks that wouldn’t go in the pond, the chickens that have the crazy hair, the ram that’s a meanie butt, the goat with a messed up “bahhh” and the dog— or was that goat? — that she accidentally fell on and broke its leg. 

“It was an accident, though,” she said. “I was only nine. It was completely an accident, and I didn’t mean to do it.” 

I muttered something about how things like that happen sometimes, but she didn’t hear me, she was on to talking about the horses and calling them all by name as if that helped me understand which one she was talking about. 

This girl talked a mile a minute, and I just kept throwing in a random, “Uh-Huh” or an “Oh, OK” to let her know I was following the train of thought she was on. 

But the part that got to me was when she was talking about her family’s farm, how her dad grew up in the same house he and her mom lived in and how she, too, was planning to live on the farm forever. 

She is going to be a horse trainer and build a house in the back pasture with her friend, Ashley, and they are going to be partners and it was going to be great. 

The gal had the brightest sparkle in her eye talking about her future — her future in agriculture. 

She talked. I listened. 

That was how the entire interview went. We stood out in an unheated old, drafty barn and she was thrilled to have me there to hear all about what she had learned in 4-H and the differences in English and Western saddles for her horses. 

I would like to state for the record though that I did know some of that stuff. 

I heard all about how she doesn’t like the color pink. She’s more of a “purple and blue kinda girl.” 

While I was a little disappointed — but understanding — that she had become my guide that morning, I left feeling guilty about that sentiment because I had, instead, had the opportunity to get a glimpse into this gal’s future and her ideas for staying in agriculture. 

That made my day, to know that there still are girls that dream of building a house on the farm and staying involved in the industry I grew up loving, just like this little firecracker. 

And I was I leaving, I zipped up my camera bag, pulled my pink stocking cap down tight and put on my pink gloves, she hugged me and thanked me for hanging out with her. 

Yup, I think that if she represented any bit of the future of this ag industry, we’ll all be just fine. 

These were some of the critters at the farm.  I just love the donkey looking around the corner like, "hey, what's up?" Also, that ram is the "meanie butt."  

Related Posts with Thumbnails