Tag Archives: changes

Fresh eyes and a male voice

I am about to embark on one great big, holy crap adventure – and I’m kind of terrified. The terror isn’t going to hold me back, in fact it is pushing me forward, but the fears of failure or success or getting hurt along the way – all these things are beginning to knot together in my tummy. You see, next week I am flying to Las Vegas for a national conference where I am going to be part of two panel discussions about farming, women, and communications. It is an amazing opportunity – one that I reached for and grabbed. An opportunity I plan to take full advantage of…but that doesn’t mean I’m not scared to death.

The other morning as I was stirring my coffee and staring at the clock, I realized that all grand adventures are, in some way, kind of terrifying. Adventures aren’t smooth and easy and always full of fun. That’s a vacation. No, adventures are full of tough treks and scary moments and amazing payoffs. I’m ready for the adventure – and the happy ending too.

I’ve been practicing my presentation (about farming, women, and communications) for a few weeks now, but I felt like I needed a fresh perspective. I called my friend, the Lemon Drop (sour and sweet all at the same time) over for dinner. The Lemon Drop realizes that there is no such thing as a free dinner where I am concerned. When I come a-callin’ he can expect a delicious meal, a lot of questions and very likely a blog entry the morning after.

Anyway, I think the best part of the evening was listening to the Lemon Drop reading my presentation about farming, women, and communications. Hearing him say things like “It’s called being a woman, right?” with sincerity made me giggle. A deep, gravelly voice – one that can be grumpy and pumpy at times – talking about the strengths women have, well, it made me see the presentation with fresh eyes and a pretty light heart…and I wasn’t so scared anymore either.

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Filed under Day to day

A turning point

Last Sunday ended a decade of dairy farming. It’s taken a week for things to start to sink in. When I spoke to my mother last night the void is still felt deeply. She described things like this: When there is an emergency you work only on adrenaline. It takes a while after the crisis has passed to realize/feel the injuries you may have suffered. We’ve been working on adrenaline for the past ten years.

The following are my thoughts on the day…

The cows were quickly and efficiently loaded up onto two large cattle trailers as I watched, tucked away behind my car and cried. I cried for all of three minutes, hard jagged sobs then I made myself stop. It’s not like I have a right to cry. I don’t know any of them anymore. I don’t care for them everyday the way my brother and my mother do. I don’t have anything to do with them. But I know that our cows were loved and cared for. I know that my family devoted themselves to our herd and I know how strange it is going to be. There will be a void, an absence, that will be felt for quite some time to come.

I cried for my family. I cried for the cows. Our herd has been closed for quite some time. That means the cows we milked were born on our farm, raised on our farm. All they have ever known is the love my mother gave them, the fields and flowers around us, the sound of my brother’s voice and the touch of his hand. Where will they end up? What will their lives be like? How many of them will go from our farm to slaughter?

It’s overwhelming the sadness that fills my head and I cannot fathom what it must be like for my mother and brother. My father isn’t part of the equation, though he worked in the barn and on the farm as well. He fled the day the cows left and it was probably for the best to be honest. He would have made a tough day more tense, but it is awfully sad that he isolated himself (knowingly or not) from us. The tension, the animosity and annoyance has gotten to such a point that I don’t know if there is any coming back.

But back to what? We’ve never been a happy family. We’ve never been without the anger and the distance and the holding our breath waiting for him to snap and us to bear the storm and quietly pick up the pieces afterward – when he’s not looking. I suppose this is no different. The cows are gone and he wasn’t here. The turmoil was felt by the three of us and not him.

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Filed under Common Ground, Day to day

It just hit me…I’m getting old

Yup, it’s true. Now, I’ve written about the small, occasional realizations that my youth is slowly slipping away. There was this lovely monologue on the slowest escape ever. And other random thoughts about getting older. This morning though it really, really hit me when I couldn’t focus on the small print of a paper I’d printed up.

Ugh!

Am I going to turn into one of those people who make comments about “not everyone can read that small” or makes up excuses why the design is wrong and fail to admit that their eyes are just failing them?

I’m going to have to buy reading glasses. Reading glasses! Well, they better be stylish that’s all I’ve got to say about it.

This really sucks.

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Filed under Day to day

Hazy days…

I’ve been in a bit of a writing-induced haze the past few weeks. It seems like I have writing projects, deadlines and desires piling up. There are the newsletters I’m writing for work, the articles I’m writing for Farm Bureau, the unfinished snippets of stories that barrel through (in and out) of my brain faster than I can get them onto paper. There is this blog (which I love) and my newest venture Give Gratitude, a non-profit marketing blog.

Give.Gratitude. is meant to be a jumping-off point for me. It’s something I’ve always wanted to get up and running but, until now, haven’t actually had the courage to do. Needless to say, when you start to actually pursue your dreams the pressure can be immense – and the creativity sort of dries up. I’m pushing through it though. I’m starting small. It took me three years to build The New Farmer up, slow but steady. I thank you for your interest, support and readership. And I promise, I’m not going anywhere.

But, if you need help on marketing projects, organizational newsletters and effective thank you’s – I’m your girl. If you need help engaging donors, volunteers and even staff – me again. And, if you are looking for a speaker at a conference, luncheon, Rotary Club meeting or anything else – you know where to reach me.

Dreams are scary and exciting, that’s probably why it takes us so long to go after them. Questions fill your mind with doubt and the underlying phrase “you’ll fail.” The thing is, I’m not afraid of failure in my day-to-day life and starting now, I’m not afraid to fail in my dreams either.

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Filed under Basics, Day to day

I need to commit

I’ve been really really stressed this week. My life is about to go through a major transition (I think) and, though excitement and joy surge in my veins, the uncertainty of it all can be a little overwhelming. I love transition, I love the possibilities that change brings. I’ve been through enough twists and turns in my life that I know even the bad changes bring growth and confidence and, yes, joy in the end. But the in-between, the standing on the cliff, the working up to actually jumping – that part involves a lot of food.

I mean a lot of food.

I’ll be honest, I’m pretty disgusted with myself right now. So to counter-act the complete damage I’m doing to my waistline (and my self-image), I’ve decided to commit to a few things in the coming year…

1. I will  run 1,000 miles (that’s a little less than 20 miles a week)

2. I will lose 25 pounds

…I’m sure that I’ll think of more. I’ve got a few possibilities floating around in my head…Oh!

3.  I will run 4 races this year

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Filed under Basics, Day to day

We may experience a little turbulence

The weather has been very…Spring like.  What does “Spring like” mean? If I had to sum it up in one word it would be turbulent. Turbulent, kind of like my mood of late and actually kind of like everyone’s mood lately. Isn’t it funny how a change in the weather can affect a person so deeply?

The other night I woke up from a dream where I was on an old ship during a sea storm. I was being tossed back and forth while an argument was happening in front of me. Rain and wind lashed at the big glass windows of the room I was in, you know, those beautiful captain’s quarters of a man of war or pirate ship or something of the like. But when I opened my eyes, the storm didn’t disappear instead it was lashing against the bedroom window above my head with a fury and vengeance like I hadn’t experienced in a very long time. It was romantic and frightening and powerful – it was Spring voicing her opinion. In the morning, the sky was a beautiful blue with white, puffy, peaceful clouds tranquilly floating past.

Spring is all about extremes.

In college I remember reading Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, a book that I love. If you haven’t ever read the real story (as compared to seeing a movie adaptation) you should; it is powerful, beautiful and absolutely amazing. The major theme running throughout the work is that you cannot have creation without there first being destruction. I think about that often, and I’ve been thinking about it now that Spring is here and suddenly so many things I’ve gotten used to have turned up on their heads and my norms have been destroyed.

As I walked along the soggy fields yesterday afternoon, taking advantage of the window of beauty Spring decided to throw our way, and taking in the way the hayfields are beginning to change from a dull, dead brown to a vibrant, hopeful, green, I saw something truly beautiful peaking out at me from a hedgerow. Among the brown leaves and still-barren branches was a crocus, just one. Among all that decay, there was a beginning.

Powerful, purple, persistent – this flower proclaimed that life and love and sunshine will soon be here and the turbulence of the moment is sure to pass. Trust me, just as turbulent, temperamental Spring turns into confident, calming Summer so too will our moods, we just have to wait out the storms in between.

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Filed under Basics, Day to day

Strength

Strength. It’s not a word I would normally use to describe myself. If you are talking about emotional strength, then I’d admit yes. Academic strength? Yup, that too. But physical strength – a few days ago I would have laughed in your face.

Today though, as I passed by 3.6 miles and was still going, one foot after the other in a steady motion, the word strength popped into my head. Maybe it was the rush of endorphins that made me wonder at how strong I am now; how capable I am of not only running but achieving the things I once thought out of my reach.

The truth is, at 2.8 or so, I was pretty down on myself. I wondered, seriously, if I was a fool for signing up for the 10K in the first place. I wanted to quit, head into the house and call it a mildly successful day. But as I approached the turning point in my route, something inside me turned too and the light went on.

I could feel the muscles in my calves stretching and tensing with each stride; my thighs pumped with power and strength and confident determination as I ran on until 4.6 miles were behind me and I smiled, not just with my eyes or my lips, but with my whole body. How different am I from the person I knew six months ago? How foreign is the girl I was at 25 or 29? Today I am strong, not only emotionally or academically but, yes, physically as well.

Tomorrow I anticipate a lot of doubt at 2.8 once again, but a lot of joy at 5.2 and in two weeks time I will kick this 10K’s ass with a great big smile on my face and a whole lot of power and strength behind it.

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Filed under Basics