Tuesday, November 13, 2012


I have a love-hate relationship with name tags  I hate wearing them- the magnetic kind that pulls on your clothing or the sticky kind that leaves a film on your clothing; but I love when other people wear them because I am horrible with names (unless you are one of my board members, a favorite person, or someone I have known for at least 10 years). I try and get out of wearing name tags every chance I get.

This last week was our annual meeting and it is overflowing with name tags  people, food and speakers. It was a standard Farm Bureau meeting- farmers and ranchers and food! For the first time in about five years I was able to sit in on the keynote speaker. It was a great talk and I've been thinking about it how one small comment or point made by a speaker is reinforced through other conversations, observations or things you read in your Bible. Our speaker planned to make an impact in the members and agents or at least make them think but I don’t think he ever imagined that God would use a story and point he gave to make a point or to reiterate what God had been trying to tell me.

The point was don’t judge others. It’s not my job- it’s His. We are so busy as a society that we label everyone. I do it on a daily basis- sometimes not in a judgmental way but I am always labeling or categorizing people. For example- my friend Christi  she has been an inspiration to me through the way she is raising her family and all that she has accomplished in her life. She’s tall, like 6 ft but I don’t call her my tall friend Christi- she’s my vegetarian-friend- Christi  I have my Cochise people, my Yuma people, my Church friends, my book club ladies, Bible Study ladies, youth group kids, and the groups go on. It’s not bad to group or label people sometimes- it helps keep them straight in my head.

It’s wrong to label or group people when you are being dismissive of them or think they won’t understand or that they are too far to the left, right, or just not like you. In his talk, Matt told the story of meeting a lady on a plane that definitely wasn't like him and was hoping that he wouldn't have to talk to her. Fortunately they ended up talking and he made a friend for agriculture. He encouraged us to reach out and talk to the people that don’t look, act, or (eat) like us. We might make a friend or supporter of agriculture. That’s my passion- helping promote and protect agriculture. I love the life and people. I miss getting up at 2 am and checking heifers during calving season, I miss riding and gathering cattle off the mountain, I miss feeding cattle when it’s 5 below and your nose hairs are frozen and you can’t really feel your fingers, I miss working cattle in mud in the corral because that’s what you do. I would trade my life now for that in a heartbeat but we need the city people (my neighbors) to help us. We are a small population of people and we need our city friends and family to understand why we do what we do.

But here’s the lesson I've been thinking about. Yes, in agriculture we need to reach out and talk to those that aren't like us- we need them and I am willing to do that because I love agriculture and they need agriculture to survive. But from my faith standpoint- why am I not willing to talk to people who aren't like me. I spent the week of youth camp this summer working in the inner city of Santa Fe, in a community that for the large part doesn't believe in God and doesn't have a relationship with Jesus. It scared me. I was not comfortable with it. But why don’t I have the same attitude and passion to talk about my faith that I do when I talk about agriculture? You spend five minutes with me (30 seconds if you see me drive up) and you know I am passionate about ag but it takes 30 minutes or more for you to know I love Jesus. Shouldn't it be the other way around?

Instead of thinking of new leadership training for my members or a easier way to train them in a skill or give them information when I go to sleep, I should be thinking of ways to reach out to others.All of these thoughts culminated when Matt was telling his story. We need to be outside of our comfort zone to make a difference. We may get rejected and we may lose people along the way but we need to keep moving forward and keep sharing our story- weather that is agriculture, faith or our passion but eventually someone will say the right words to reach the right person who will then become sold out to the cause.  We may just be the person who plants the seed not the person who reaps the harvest.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Life Changes

The last couple of months my life has had a few changes...nothing big or grand, just changes that may become big or grand eventually.

I moved and this week will finally sign the papers to sell my house. I'm ok with selling my house but I feel a little like I failed at home ownership. The fact is I couldn't afford to live there anymore and I have a life right now that isn't conducive to owning a home.

We are changing the way we do things with our youth group on Sunday mornings and so there are definitely growing pains as we are encouraging our youth to be more open and real with us.

I am working four ten hour shifts now so I have Fridays off to get things done like laundry, clean house, go to the doctor, grocery shop or work out. It's funny how many doctors do not work on Fridays and how that messes up my schedule. It also makes it hard to work out those 4 days because unlike other places in the country it is still in the 90s at 5 pm when I am getting off work. So my only other option for running without the possibility of a heat stroke is to get up at 4 am and run before work, with a headlamp so I don't trip on the sidewalk (which might be OK in the dark because no one can see you and if no one sees you trip, did you really trip?)

I started Weight Watchers again for the third or maybe fourth time but this time I am working hard to make it  a real commitment  I need to because one of the changes is that I had a health incident. I call it an incident because it really didn't freak me out the way it probably should have. I have a history of heart disease in my family- my grandmother, one of her sisters and brothers had the exact same surgery as my dad. My dad ended up having the same surgery twice. So when I mentioned to my doctor in passing at a follow up blood test that I needed to renew my thyroid medicine that it seemed like half my dad's family was on this medicine and further conversation about heart disease in the family. He said I was ok because I had been running for a year and that would be fine because I am up to a mile or two at least. Well I guess I shocked him when I said I could still only run about a tenth of a mile before I couldn't breath and then I would walk till I could breath and repeat the patter to whatever mileage I was "running."  This revelation lead to me seeing a cardiologist and now an appointment for a pulmonary specialist.

I realized a couple things with these tests... 1. I don't like the goo they use for ultrasound machines used for echo cardiograms. It's slimmy and gets all over everything. 2. I have to give up fries and a lot of my fast food because it is not that healthy 3. As long as I run and lose at least 60 pounds I should be fine for now with my heart issues but the breathing thing is still up in the air. 3. I am going to do a half marathon in just under two weeks and I didn't tell my pulmonary specialist and scheduled that appointment for the day after so she can't tell me no. 4. Big shock to me, I missed running until the cardiologist told me could. 5. The thought of major surgery didn't scare me but being in an operating room naked with a room full of strange doctors did (just being honest).

And it's fall and with fall (every place but in Phoenix) happening I am homesick. I miss the trees turning and the cold nights at the football games where sometimes it's so cold your nose hairs freeze (you know what I mean if you are from a colder climate) and I miss wearing flannel.

So with all these changes here is what I learned... God is bigger than I am and He is in control and I am learning to give him the control and not try and take it back. I am also learning that I need to focus on each day or week and not on the big picture. The big picture will overwhelm me but the day to day journey I can work through and focus on.

Monday, September 10, 2012

National Lampoon's County Annual Meeting Season

Every month I visit 6-8 county boards depending on what is going on in Farm Bureau and what activities they are planning. So I see actual farmers and ranchers at every county meeting. It's the best part of my job. I love hanging out with them. You know the old saying "If you can't beat be them, join them?" well I do. If you have ever heard me talking about my eight counties you will always hear me say that they are like people, they have their own interests, like, dislikes and even though there are a few things- policy development, commodity committees, membership and county and state annual meeting that they all accomplish throughout the year, none of them do it exactly the same. They are all different- like working with eight different people. What works in one, doesn't work in another... the way to encourage one county may not work in another and just because a person is the president doesn't mean they are the person of influence on the board (sometimes they are and sometimes they aren't).

My favorite time of year is county annual meeting time. I love it!!! It's the best activity or program we do all year. I could give you the FB line that that is where we see FB in action- passing policy resolutions, electing officers, giving awards and updating the members on what we have been up to all year. I could tell you that and it's true we do all of that at the meetings but that really isn't why I like those meetings. There are three big reasons I love county annual meetings. 1. I get so see members besides those who sit on the board, or at least the board member spouses who do at least half the work of the board member in making the county a success  2. Good food and amazing desserts. It's usually steak(Cochise, Pima, Graham), or pot roast (Greenlee), Mexican (Yuma, Navajo, Apache) and desserts (Pinal and Pima).

This year was no exception. I was gearing up for the annual meeting run and do to some scheduling changes it ended up that my first week of meetings I had FOUR county annual meetings in one week. The other four were scheduled out so that I had two each week.

Before I begin why that week and the following two meetings should be highlighted in a National Lampoons story, let me give you some background information. I moved the Sunday (the week before) the first meeting. I started Weight Watchers the saturday before was was freaking out as to what I was going to be able to eat that week.

So the first night I headed off to Willcox, AZ for the Cochise meeting. I moved in with my aunt and uncle and  my aunt had been visiting out of state the first week I was there but she came home while I was in Willcox. Not a big deal. Because of schedules, a co-worker and I had to come back that night so I very politely sent my aunt a text letting her know we were leaving Willcox at 9ish pm and that it would take about 3 hours to get home but I had to drop my coworker off and would be home around 12:30 Tuesday morning. She sent a message back to come through the front door, she left the light on. That wouldn't really be a problem except my keys were laying on my dresser in my bedroom. But I had the garage opener. I pulled in the drive at 12:30 am and grabbed my stuff, opened the garage door and came upon a locked door leading into the house. I'll pause so you can stop laughing. I searched both their cars looking for a house key and petted the dog who came out to meet me. I went back to the truck and sent them a text telling them I was home and waiting outside. No response....... it's now almost 1:30 and I am tired so I send them another text letting them know that I am sleeping in the truck and when they get up (used to be around 4-4:30) to come and get me. But it was hot and muggy and so I didn't fall asleep till 4:30 then at 5:50 I woke up because I had a thought that with the windows down a person could see me sleeping in the drivers seat (the back seat was full of meeting stuff for two meetings and the way back was full of sound equipment.) someone walking by (retired people who get up early in the gated community) might call the cops. Thankfully my aunt came out at 6 and asked why I didn't use one of the two keys hidden in the garage? So moral is I know know where the hide-a-keys are and I always take my house keys with me.

The ribbon cutting on the new Yuma County Farm Bureau building.  
I slept about 3 hours on my bed Tuesday morning before I had to get up to head out to pick up my co-worker to go to Yuma. It was a special meeting this year for two reasons- they opened their new office building and Senator McCain came and spoke for a few minutes. They do there meeting a little different in that they do all their business stuff first and then break and do their banquet with awards and dinner so special guests don't have to sit through all of it. It's handy and doesn't make the night really long. McCain ended up coming because his staff was planning on attending and mentioned it to his people and they decided the morning of the event that the Senator would come too. So it was really special.

Senator McCain and Me!
So the meeting went off without a hitch and we headed home, I again sent a text but I didn't have my keys!!! We could see a storm east of us as we drove back to Phoenix and when we were about 8 miles from Dateland, we had to pull off the road and sit in the dark, no lights, no brakes, nothing because we were in a dust storm. We sat there about 25 minutes before going on to Dateland were we had to stop and get gas because the normal half a tank to get home was used to go that far.  We made it to Gila Bend and that is where I had to turn it over to my co-worker because I could barely stay awake a DPS officer stopped us and told us the road was flooded and we would have to go around... so we did  and instead of getting home at 12:30 Wednesday morning I pulled in the drive at 2 am. Man was I tired and a little cranky because I am not a fajita person and that was what the dinner was so I skipped it and then was going to have some cheetos at Dateland but my co-worker brought me fritos instead. I still ate about 10 fritos.

By the time Thursday and Friday rolled around I didn't care what happened at a meeting I just wanted them to elect officers, delegates and pass policy but the awards at Pima's meeting on Friday were so good to see and hear how the recipients were so humble and thankful for their award. A few didn't even know they were getting anything. Pina'ls was inspiring and almost made me cry. Pinal had people actually speak very passionately about an issue that is affecting them and they weren't a board member but they got involved with the process and it made me have a renewed faith in the Farm Bureau system. And they gave me flowers. I didn't know they were going to do that and it had a butterfly in the flowers and that reminded me of my grandma which I miss terribly.

So it was a crazy, unexpected week of county annual meetings but I saw a new president getting elected, new board members joining and people being recognized for their work.

The following week was just as crazy but I din't have any county annual meetings, just a two day state board meeting, a policy development meeting (with yummy pie) and a picnic (yummy home made icecream and pit BBQ beef).

This last week, I had two county annuals- one in Navajo and the next night in Greenlee. I love Greenlee's meetings because they are in the front lawn of a farmer's house next to his corn field, they serve the best roast beef (melts in your mouth) and this year I was bringing pies from Trappers in Taylor for dessert. Monday was a holiday and so Graham's board meeting was moved to Tuesday then Wednesday was Navajo and Thursday was Greenlee. That is what was suppose to happen but the reality is that Monday night I started no feeling well and by Tuesday night after getting home from Safford, I was sick. I missed the two county annual meetings because of the flu. It was the first time and I didn't like missing them.

I still have two more to go- Apache is tomorrow night and Graham is next Thursday. I think that after six years of them running fairly smooth, I must have hit the seven year itch for all this craziness to happen in one year.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

I am good enough!

I have been really busy since I got back from youth camp, to the point that I chose not to go to my 20 year class reunion. I wanted to go but then when I decided not to go, part of me was sad and part of me was relieved. I've been contemplating those two thoughts for a few weeks.

I was a wallflower, book worm, quiet (I know shocking!) person in high school. I was very insecure with who I was and part of me wanted to go to let them see that I am not completely that person. But part of me was nervous because in my eyes/mind I hadn't really "made it" or accomplished anything important in the last 20 years. Before you yell "liar, liar, pants on fire!," I know that I have accomplished things- I went to college, I have three degrees, I traveled to Europe, I have a job, I walked 60 miles for breast cancer, I completed a half marathon,... I've done stuff. I am proud of the stuff I have done.

After the reunion was over I looked through the pictures on Facebook and I realized that by 20 years, there really isn't cliques anymore and that everyone is happy to see everyone. By 20 years it doesn't matter if you are a farmer, rancher, teacher or what ever. What matters is that you are happy with your life. You may fear that people may judge you and not think your good enough but does that really matter what they think? When we are in school, it matters, its our life and our community; when you grow up your life and community (the people you surround yourself with) changes and so do your priorities or what you want to do in life.

So while I feel that I haven't accomplished in my life by being a mother or wife, I am proud of what I have done and I am respected (I hope) in my community. I think I am wiser than I was 20 years ago because (no offense intended) I wanted my classmates approval that I was worthy to be part of the group. Now I just want to visit and some may inspire me to run races like Anne, Valorie or even try a triatholan like Elena. It's about talking with people who share a common experience and sometimes as you grow older you have life experiences that create friendships that weren't really there 20 years ago.

So as I finish rambling. I am looking forward to seeing classmates in 5 years because I don't think I am intimidated of them and what they have accomplished. We all have our lives and the paths that we have chosen and class reunions are like intersections with our paths that we all meet for a moment to reconnect and catch up then continue on our journey.

Monday, July 16, 2012


This will be one of many posts over the next couple of weeks as I contemplate my experiences from youth camp.

Pursuit was the theme at youth camp this year… for me it could have been “uncomfortable.” I went to camp last year and it was easy. I drove one of the vans to camp, hung out during the day after Bible study and then had lunch, a nap and dinner then evening worship and church youth group time and bed. Pretty easy week, I didn’t have to worry about the kids or make sure they were safe. I just had to make sure the one or two kids that I hung around made it to meals and services. It was a piece of cake. The hardest part was sharing a room with one of our students.

This year was a whole different story. I agreed to go and be a driver then we signed up for MFUGE instead of Centrifuge which we had done the year before. MFUGE was everything like before but instead of hanging out and napping I took kids from a bunch of different churches to go and do missions in Santa Fe. Our group had our leader (staff) then five or six adults and about 25 students. We were one of the PCY (painting, construction and yard work) groups. We spent our day at Youth Works and the whole week I was completely out of my comfort zone. I was hungry, tired, hot, cold, cranky and just wanted to have five minutes to myself. Going into the week it was totally about me and no one else. I didn’t know if I wanted to give up five days of vacation to go to a camp that, although each room had its own bathroom and you used a key card to get in your room, I knew I would have to share a room with someone, not have a nap and fight my asthma all week (the camp is at 7500 ft in elevation). But the biggest reason not to go was I didn’t want to do missions. It’s scary and people reject you and you have to recite all these verses about how you are going to go to hell if you don’t believe. That is true but it’s scary to tell a total stranger that and they reject or accept you. I just imagined spending my day knocking on doors and doing visitations. That is not my cup of diet coke tea.

So I went out of obligation. I couldn’t leave Josh hanging and some of the kids I had talked to over this past year but I really only knew two or three really well and the rest were just kids that came. I knew their parents much better than them. Boy was I in for a shock!!!!

First uncomfortable moment is when I am paired with three girls. I knew all of them but one I was the most comfortable with and the others I figured I would get use to it. To be honest there were days that I wanted to come back from our track and have a shower to get the grime off and take a nap but that wasn’t the plan because in our room would be the “little girls”- the new girls (7-8 grade) hanging out with E and playing Catch Phrase. Catch Phrase is my favorite game and I am a little competitive but I really just wanted a shower and nap but instead I showered and played the game with them. We all had fun and I got to know the younger girls better. I would have missed out if I had gotten my way. We ended up playing that game for a couple of days. The three girls worked out well too. I got to know A and J much better and we have some great stories and good laughs over the course of the week. Time that now makes me miss them when they go off to college next year.

My second uncomfortable moment was when they (the Bible Study leaders) talked about what we were going to be doing- connecting with people. As I said before, I am not a good door knocker and I really didn’t want to hand out tracks. Thankfully they said we could do what we knew- Romans’ road, other bible verses or just talk to them about family, interests, their religion and then talk to them about what God has done in our lives. How we see and experienced Him. I starting thinking that I could do that and not freak out. I have lots of stories I could share from my life. I just had to get over my fear of strangers. If you know me, you know that I can talk to anyone but by anyone I mean, they have to be attending a Farm Bureau event, book club, walking group or a friend of a friend. Otherwise I have stranger danger and want to run the other way. So having 25 kids that I don’t really know and 23 of them I have no idea of their names and where they were from; add in the other five adults and then the adults we were working with at Youth Works and I was in stranger overload. So I put on my big girl pants and sucked it up. It was just four days and I could do anything for four days.

But God used those four days, the three girls from my room, the little girls and the worship and Bible Study time to teach me something. That it really isn’t about me and my comfort zone. It’s about reaching out to others and helping them and showing them love.

My next couple of blogs will be the lessons I learned at youth camp.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Liar Liar Pants on Fire

We had a discussion at my Bible study/accountability group about lying. We all do it but has it gotten easier because we do little lies instead of big lies?

A big lie is cheating on your taxes or forgetting to mention to your spouse that you have a girlfriend/boyfriend (unless your into the whole sister wives thing) or borrowing the money from the wallet you happened to find in a persons purse or jacket.  The little lie is the ones we say when we don't want to hurt people's feelings. Men do it all the time when we set them up by asking if we look fat in something. I've done it when I don't want to go someplace or eat at a restaurant or go to the gym. It's an excuse rather than saying I don't want to do it we say "I would love to but....."

We use our schedules, kids and family to lie- they are our excuse rather than saying I just don't feel like it or I am not able to we feel like we need to explain and sometimes we use others to justify our lie.

But it doesn't matter if its a big lie or a little lie, it's still a lie. As the old guy says in the movie Pure Country (love my George Strait),  "Funny little thing about that white speck on top of chicken shit. It's still chicken shit"

Little lies will eventually lead to a big lie just like a little of something leads to a big something. I see it in my life when I listen to certain music or watch certain shows or movies. My language changes. A little influence makes a big difference in how I act.

There are lots of things I struggle with but this past week it has been to focus on that small aspect of my life. I failed several times but I will keep going. 

Thursday, July 05, 2012

A Life of Contradictions

I was talking with my new friend Norma about just weird things new friends talk about when they meet the first few times and the topic of germs and stuff came up.

I think I am a walking contradiction when it comes to life.  I am a ranch kid who grew up in the middle of Oregon (literary one mile from the center) in a one building town that housed a bar, store, gas station, post office and house and our nearest neighbors were not next door. I now live in Mesa and am surrounded by people- some nice some not so much.
I now live in Mesa and am surrounded by so many people. I don't know my neighbors other than the kid downstairs name is Frank. Back home in Oregon I could tell you all the people who lived in the area for a good 50 miles. I may not know the ranch hands but I could tell you who was driving down the road (person or the ranch they were from) based on the truck that drove by. 
I miss being home where the doors are unlocked and keys are left in the trucks but love the fact that Target is just a half mile up the road and that I don't have to plan for a month of meals I can just stop by the store on my way home. 

I grew up on  a ranch and I love beef but I hate going to a steakhouse. I like to fix my steak my way with my marinade and the steakhouse just doesn't do it good enough. I love my cows- riding for them, branding, calving- everything that goes into running a cow-calf operation but I fell in love with the beauty of veggies and cotton.

But here's the biggest contradiction in my life that my friend Norma said I should blog about because it's so weird that it's funny. I grew up on a ranch where animal body parts and fluids don't gross my out but other people's germs do. I have no problem being covered in cow manure or blood but the thought of sharing a bottle of water with someone or a utensil just sends me over the edge. 

If we ever go to dinner there is no sharing. Call it an only child thing but if you want to try what I have ordered you need to order it yourself. If you take a taste off my plate I will leave a couple centimeter buffer around the area your utensil touched and only eat to that part of my plate.

If I go to the Circle K to get a drink I have to take the cup that is under or behind the top one and the lid has to come from the middle of the pile so less people have touched it. Also, straws have to be covered in paper. I won't use a straw if its in a dispenser with no wrapper because someone had to touch the bare straw to put it in the dispenser.

I love the taste of watermelon flavored things but actually eating watermelon grosses me out- it's a texture thing.

Another thing that kind of doesn't fit in my world is soft hands on a man. 

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Gym Thoughts

I was going to title this "Fat Girl at the Gym" but a friend said it wasn't good to be degrading myself so I came up with fluffy and then moved on to calling myself a non gym rat but any which way you label it, I have opinions about gyms and I am going to share them.

I love gyms that have an area that a non athletic or non-gym rats (NGR) can work out without feeling like everyone is watching. This week while working out with a friend I realized that there should be some rules or at least manners fellow gym goers should observe when interacting with NGRs.

1. There are usually about 20 treadmills (give or take a few) in a gym. I like the gyms that have the treadmills that are in the back or separate from other cardio equipment. I do not feel comfortable when the treadmills are in front or at least behind the bikes  but in front of the ellipticals. But really here is the manner rule that I have decided should be used. Treadmills are like urinals (guys will get this). If there is a bunch of treadmills open don't pick the one right next to me. Give me space and leave at least one between you and me. Treadmills should only be used next to each other if there are not other open areas or you are working out with your buddy, or a tv is broken and you are catching up on your favorite show.

2. I took a class... actually two. For class manners as it relates to NGRs, people should leave the back row of the class to first timers or those of us that are less graceful. We don't need others to see our inadequacies. We wanted to try yoga but got our times mixed up and showed up early so we  also took the weight class. During the yoga class I had a revelation. Yes I need to be more flexible and I know that will come with more practice but I almost burst out laughing when the instructor told us to draw our leg up between our arms from Downward Dog to go Warrior. What that involves if you are not familiar with yoga is you are going from a position where both your hands and feet are on the floor and your butt is in the air to a pose where one leg is back and one is forward like a lunge and your arms are out. So back to the revelation... the instructor tells us to move our leg forward and I realize I don't have any room for my leg because my stomach and my boobs have already occupied the space and there is no vacancy for my leg. 

Downward Dog

Warrior Pose
There were several other moves that I also couldn't master because either my body doesn't  bend that way or there wasn't space for my arm or  by the time I figured out the pose they were on to the next one. 

3. I think some gym equipment could be used as torture machines. I mean have you ever actually used the stairclimbing machine? I am talking about the one with actual stairs that go around. I have only been able to go 3 minutes and 30 seconds on it and that is working up to that time. I don't know the actual term for the equipment, I just refer to it as the stair climber machine from hell.

The gym is good because I can sweat but I decided that I am a gym snob and there are just some gyms that are nicer out there and make it much more comfortable for those who are not graceful or athletic.  But as long as it is hot outside I will be in the gym and I will keep trying to run on the treadmills (not a graceful action) and I will try and increase my time on the stair climber from hell.

So in next time you are at the gym and you see the non-gym rat on the furthest treadmill give her space. You don't need to pick the one next to her when there are 23 other treadmills available.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Things that make you go hmmmm?

With as many miles as I travel in the month I have to find humor along the road. So here are just a couple things that have made me smile because either they are just funny or they are a little ironic.

In Gila Bend there is a business that allows you to accomplish a couple different items on your to do list if by chance you need to order and pick up your meat from the butcher and cash your check. I am all for diversifying your operation. I see it all the time in agriculture, the cattle market is a little low so you supplement your income by selling wood, lumber, hunting rights, hay, or maybe becoming an distributor for circle pivots or something. Maybe you start raising pumpkins and doing corn mazes in the fall to pick up some extra money to keep your farm or ranch afloat. I'm not judging, I've been there but this one just made me smile... a lot.

Another thing that I have found ironic... Union Pacific. In my travels to Cochise, Pima, Pinal and Yuma  counties I spend a lot of time (mostly to Yuma) traveling next to the rail line. Has anyone ever noticed the types of containers the railroad hauls along the tracks. The rail line that I drive has several hundred trains a day coming and going from California (the shipyards) to all parts of the US. Here's what I am talking about.

There are a ton of containers that are stamped on the side "China Shipping." I know, everything comes from China but the ironic part is that the Union Pacific locomotives pulling these long trains have "Building America" painted on the side between the flag and their logo. So we are building America, one hundred China shipping containers at a time.

The last one that I always get a smile out of is when the highway department puts out the signs about fresh oil and no line markings to warn drivers but don't take down their signs after they have finished striping the roads.

Just some random thoughts about things I find interesting from the road.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Life lessons from Michal and other discarded people

My small group has been working through the book "Bad Girls of The Bible." It's been interesting and I really have enjoyed reading Liz Curtis Higgs and her thoughts on the different ladies of the Bible. Last night's was on Michal (Saul's daughter and David's first wife). It made me sad that she was traded around by the guys like property and yes she was not a nice person. What made me sad was how both Saul and David (a great man) treated her.

Her dad gave her to David and then when he escaped gave her to some other guy only to take her back and give her back to David when he asked for her several years later after getting a new wife. She was traded like property and I started thinking how often do we treat others like property. We get a new friend to hang out with and that's who we spend all our time with (like a new toy or purse or shoes) and then when they aren't useful anymore we toss them aside for the next best thing. Or we go into friendships seeking what we can get from them or what we want and not maybe looking at what they need or what God is expecting from us.

I am not saying Michal is excused from being a bad girl for being rude and snide to David for his dancing and worshiping God and having other idols but I wonder if either Saul or David would have just stopped and considered her feelings would the story have turned out better. Would the story be different if they or someone had invested in her- reached out to her and loved her.

I was thinking all of this when I visited an FFA chapter who's advisor reaches out to the students and accepts them as is- broken, messed up, not the most desirable and he tries to build them up and give them something more in their lives and equip them with knowledge, skill and confidence that they can do something with their lives even if no one else believes they can and has written them off. He's not successful with every kid he meets but he tries to give them the opportunities and that is what counts. No judgement just acceptance and opportunities. If we had more people like that in the world we would have a better world.

If I was more like that and had a heart for others, my world would be a better world.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

My Barbie Dolls Need Counseling

Almost every girl had a Barbie growing up. I was kind of a tomboy when I was really little and preferred playing with rocks and my toy tractors, truck, farm equipment (they were the metal ones that lasted for ever because they never broke). Most pictures of me as a little kid have me covered in dirt and doing something outside. I remember in first grade going to California with my mom to visit her family and seeing a Barbie doll in a night stand at her aunt's house. It was broken (the plastic part in the leg was sticking out at the ankle and you had to slide it back in the "skin" before you could play with her) but they let me have it. I think my grandma may have given me my second and third Barbies.

Some of us had more than one and some even were cool enough to have Ken. I didn't have the car or the house and I think as I came close to growing out of playing with Barbies I finally got a Ken doll. My favorite Barbie was the one that came with her own horse. She had a white sparkle jumpsuit and hat and she had a button in the back that you could push to make one of her eyes close to "wink" at you. Her arms were also bent so she could hold the reins when she was riding. She was the only Barbie that I never cut her hair.

I think a lot of us also cut their hair and maybe like other girls I would make my Barbies have babies (stuffing material up under their shirts to make them look pregnant). I didn't realize until I mentioned in Bible Study a few weeks ago that the other thing I used to do to my Barbies wasn't normal. I used to "borrow" my mom's blue eye shadow and put bruises on my Barbies. They would have a fight with each other and have "bruises." I had a very active imagination. 

Now that you are done laughing. Obviously I didn't play with dolls very much. It made me wonder... what other things did I do as a kid that I thought everyone did? What things did you do and now you realize that it wasn't "normal?"

Maybe I should have mentioned this to my counselor several years ago....

Monday, April 30, 2012

Ripple Effect

I have been thinking about my life and having a slight little tiny pity party for myself. I feel like what I am doing in life isn't making a difference. The other night laying in bed I was contemplating this thought as I have for awhile now and another thought came to me. Actually, a memory from my grandmother's memorial service last year. My uncle was talking about how grandma didn't think she was the smartest, most beautiful, or best singer in the world. She saw her flaws and not necessarily what we, her family and friends saw, a woman of great value and worth.

Grandma was grew up on a small farm where with her family. Later she worked the ship yard areas during WWII in California. She raised a family of nine (seven kids) on a shoe string. She was a wonderful mother, grandmother and friend. But she was eternally more than that. I had a realization about her and myself thanks to my friend Lara and her blog post from Saturday. You can read that here. It made me realize that we can't create world peace or find the cure for cancer by ourselves but we may help the person who does. Similar to Andy Andrew's (The Butterfly effect)story of Norman Borlaug and the person (George Washington Carver) who inspired the next, who inspired the next, which eventually trickled down to Norman Borlaug who won a Nobel Peace Prize for his work with genetics and wheat so countries who had severe drought and famine could grow wheat and feed themselves. You can read about him in his book "The Man Who Fed The World."

I say all of this because I trying to serve in our youth ministry at church and I am doubting if I am making a difference in the kids lives or even in the lives of the FFA kids and the volunteer work I do with them. I am not quitting on these kids or these two ministry areas I feel I am suppose to be in but do they care that I am there on Sunday's or that I am helping judge speaking contests or projects or what ever they maybe working on. After reading about all the people the Cupcake Kids helped on Saturday through cupcakes I realized that you just have to keep doing what you are doing even when you are discouraged or people try to defeat you.

My grandma didn't think she was anything special by the world's standards but she was outstanding in her faith. She made sure all her kids knew Christ and her grandkids too. She worked endless hours in AWANA and also in VBS with her church reaching out and caring for 1000's of kids over her lifetime. She taught hundreds of us kids to read and count in kindergarten and she even took time to help kids read in the schools reading program. Even after she had to move to Arizona for health reasons, she worked with kids at Sunshine Acres helping them read and encouraging them with love and kindness. Her ripple affect was like an ocean in some of our lives but smaller in others but she made an impact that will affect generations to come that may never hear about her.

Dorothy Elizabeth Jacobs was an incredible woman who loved me encouraged me through out my life. She taught me many lessons that even after her death I am still learning. It just took me a quiet night in the middle of a pity party to learn the lesson that sometimes you don't see the impact but you are making a difference, even if it is just one person.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Confident in the future generation: FFA All Star Tour

I spent three days last week (Sunday afternoon through Tuesday evening) crossing the southern half of Arizona talking to five seniors and six freshman on their FFA projects. I finished the week very inspired by these kids and fully confident in our next generation if most of them are similar to these kids.

Four of the five seniors were doing livestock projects in urban areas. It was cool to visit with these urban kids that are raising rabbits, cattle and hogs in urban areas such as Gilbert, Yuma and downtown Tucson. They aren't farm or ranch kids but wanted to be apart of agriculture that they have adapted production agriculture to their surroundings. They figured out a way to be involved and over come obstacles. They also had a plan for the future. Some were going to get a certificate in a trade to pay for college. Others are trying their hand at hedging livestock to help pay for school.

The freshman also gave me hope. They are kids who are figuring out how to be involved in agriculture when sometimes their projects are up to 20 miles or more away from where they attend school. They are raising hogs, cattle, alfalfa, goats, bees, sheep and chickens and they are successful at it just like the seniors we talked with. These freshmen are trying different projects to find their niche. Some have already found it and are just trying to expand it but they are working for people and have great mentors in their lives to give advice.

In June these guys will know if they have won the Star award for their projects in the categories that they applied for but in my book they are all winners because they are learning to run a business and gaining skills that will reach far beyond the classroom and school and into their careers. They were all able to talk about issues from water settlements to dust and the proposed new child labor laws.

I enjoyed visiting with each of them for the hour that they had to share their projects. I learned things too... like cavy's will get nervous and eat or pull their hair out; sheep are the only livestock animal so far that can't be artificially inseminated, belt buckles are won for a lot of things. It was also interesting to meet these kids that I normally wouldn't get to meet in my many dealings with FFA and the time that I give.

So when you hear someone complain about the state of today's youth, you can let them know that the FFA is still producing amazing kids that will be our future leaders.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Being Martha Rather Than Mary

A couple weeks ago, I attended our Ladies Retreat at church. When I found out we would be working and sharing in groups I was excited until I found out I couldn't pick who was in my group. Then I was uncomfortable. I am a social person once I get to know people but meeting new people is scary and I don't like it. One of the sessions was about doubting and another incorporated praying for those in our group. Thankfully I knew the other three ladies. We got to talking about steping out of our comfort zone and I starting thinking that I am much more comfortable doing what I am good at rather than doing maybe what God would like me to do. So...I am much better at being a Martha than being a Mary. Maybe I am a little bit of doubting Thomas as well. But I think as Christians we go through that from time to time. The one postive thing is that I won't have my doubts written down in the Bible for the rest of humanity to read about and to labeled as a doubter for one moment in time like Thomas.

So I will label myself as a Martha instead of a Mary. Mary chose to be sitting at Jesus's feet and to learn and listen to what he said. Martha was busy feeding people and making sure they were comfortable and that they had their water, coffee, or diet coke (if they had that back then, I am sure she would have offered it). She got upset that Mary wasn't helping her and doing what she thought should be done instead of stopping and actually listening to what Jesus was saying or in our case also doing as he instructed. Instead she focused on the task at hand or busy work.

So I've been thinking... I am really good at focusing on busy work or things that need to get done instead of stoping and being quiet for a time and focusing on what God is saying for me. Am I so busy that I am missing what God is saying to me?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Bathroom Philosophy

Finding a clean bathroom on a road trip is essential. I have spent the majority of the last 6 plus years on the road as a Farm Bureau Field Services Manager that I don't really like to do road trips anymore because I do them everyday. I joke about knowing where all the clean bathrooms are and the spots police like to wait for speeders (but that is a different post) and have a philosophy about both.

First my philosophy on bathrooms- specifically bathroom doors.

First, if there was a hook on the bathroom door and it's broken or missing, you have a 75 percent or greater chance the lock on the door doesn't work. I haven't actually done a scientific study but usually more often than not the lock doesn't work or it's been replaced by something that you have jimmy and put your shoulder into it to secure the door and hope you can open it back up.

I tried to find a bathroom door to show you what I mean about the messed up lock but the one time I was in a stall that was messed up I didn't have my phone. And I didn't want to seem crazy running out to get it and coming back to wait for a specific stall. I am dedicated but not crazy!

I did come across a very unique solution to a door lock problem. I am just not sure they fixed it correctly and wouldn't it have been the same about to buy a new knob as it was the chain?

Second, just because the appearance of the establishment is clean and neat doesn't mean the bathrooms are and the same can be said for the opposite in a rare occasion

Third, there is just sometimes that bathroom humor isn't really the typical bathroom humor. For example, in a Mexican Restaurant (Club 21) in Tucson, if you go to the women's bathroom, you may need to bring a foot stool with you if you are.... say under 5'5". Their paper towel dispenser is hung very high on the wall. I have to stretch my arm out completely to reach the handle and I am 5'8". Is it wrong that I want to bring my friend Ana with me to a meeting so I can see her try and dry her hands. I think she is maybe 5'2".

(I took the picture with my phone directly in front of my face.)

I also find it funny that one station in Yuma County was creative to fix the gap between the door and the rest of the partition in the bathroom stalls by using a decorative tape. It makes me laugh every time I stop in there.

Finally, here is the list of clean bathrooms I have found along my travels. I don't try to use or stop at rest stops. They are a little scary and most of them in the state are closed.

When I travel to Apache/Navajo Counties through Payson: I like the Giant on the right hand side as you are leaving Payson just past the Safeway a little ways. If I am headed back into Payson (coming from Navajo/Apache) and can't wait to make it to the Giant, the Circle K in Star Valley works in a pinch.

Once I get to Heber/Overgaard I use the Chevron/Dairy Queen if I need to and finally in Snowflake I like the gas station that is across from the Pizza Hut. I can't really remember what it is.

If I am heading from the Salt River Canyon area I like the gas station just as you are coming into Show Low.

Graham/Greenlee counties: I stop in Globe at the Chevron where the 60 splits off to go to Show Low. They have recently remodeled bathrooms that are nice.

If I must stop on the reservation and I don't like to but I hit the Apache Burger. Once I am into the Gila Valley, I either go to the Quick Stop or Super Stop (can't remember the name), it's on the right just after you pass through Pima but before you get to the stretch that is where the Mormon Temple is. If I have time and can pass that one up I will stop at Walmart but I don't use the front bathrooms, I go to the back.

For Duncan, we meet at the library so that's the bathroom I use. Very clean and just imagine all the reading material available (not that I have ever done that)!


Pinal is easy. It's either the bathroom at the Farm Bureau office or if that's not available to you, then the Quick Trip on Pinal Avenue or Target (Florence Blvd and I-10) is a good bet.

Pima- I have three places I will stop (and I always stop because they also have the cheapest gas in the state).

The first two are Quick Trips- one at Cortaro Road on the East side of I-10 or the West side of 10 on Grant Road (. The third is a Circle K (newer store) at Palo Verde on the North side of 10.

Cochise- If I need to I will stop in Benson. They have a new truck stop so the bathrooms are clean there. Just take the exit to Fort Huachuca/Sierra Vista. If I am in town and not at the Farm Bureau meeting then I will also use the ones at the truck stop which is the north side of 10 at Rex Allen. They are clean and nice.


When I go to Yuma I take 10 to Maricopa then use "Dead Cow Road" to Gila Bend. I don't know the road number, it's just what those of us who drove it back in the day refer to it as because it use to have dead cows (hit by trains, trucks, cars, etc) littered along since the reservation was open range. They now have it fenced so I haven't seen a dead cow along the road in a couple of years. ( I digress).

In Maricopa, if I drank too much water before leaving or it's on my way back, I will go through town to the Quick Trip (are you seeing a pattern). It's a new one so the bathrooms are really clean. If I can't make it that far then I hit the Basha's at the intersection. There is a Circle K there but the bathroom leaves a lot to be desired.

Once to Gila Bend, I use the Pilot, not really great but clean and it's the best of all the options. If I need to go before I get to Yuma, I stop in Dateland. Great Bathrooms!!! They tore down the old center and built a new one. Full length doors and the new dryers that take your skin off but dry your hands in 15 seconds (not that I am in love with public bathrooms, but it might be my favorite). In Yuma, I pretty much just go to Booth Machinery (off Araby Road). We hold our meetings there but I am sure Harold and Dennis wouldn't mind you stopping in and saying hello as you use their facility. They also have a free soda machine although it's now Pepsi instead of Coke. Another spot in Yuma is the Pilot on 3E. It's new.

On my way back from Yuma if I can't make it to Dateland, I hit the Cheveron at Coyote Wash. There, ladies will get to see the butterfly tape as they use the facilities.

I hope this public service announcement was helpful.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Small Towns

I grew up in a small town and now I live in Phoenix. I have enjoyed the availability of things such as the grocery store, take out, doctor visits without the 45 minute drive. If run out of something I run down to the store to pick it up. I have found an affection for Target and the movies. I only have to buy enough groceries for a couple days instead of a week or a month. I don't have to plan to buy gas if I am at a quarter of a tank before heading home so that I make sure that I have enough to get back to town. If I was still in my small town, the movies (up until recently) and Target was an hour and half away.

That all being said... I realized yesterday on my way to Yuma for the Farm Bureau meeting how much I miss my small town. Where I grew up in Oregon, our town consisted of a store, gas station, post office, bar/cafe and a house.

Maybe I should clarify... the entire town is in one building. Maybe town is the wrong word... medium wide spot along the road. But it was where I grew up and I have a lot of great memories there. It's a place that the hours of the bar are the same as the store.

It's where you can spend a couple hours drinking coffee or soda and see your neighbors and catch up with what is going on. It's where if you are walking or jogging down the road, people stop to see if you need a ride because you might be broken down. It's where you leave your doors unlocked and keys in the ignition of your vehicles because no one is going to take them. It's where you run a tab at the store because up until a few years ago it was strictly a cash or check business. It's where the only time you don't recognize vehicles or have more than 5 pass you on the way to town is during hunting and fishing season. It's where going to the parade in town (the town 45 minutes away) is a big deal because you and your dad walk the entire length of it and back to see all the neighbors that live within a 50 mile radius. It's where everyone knows your name, your parents and grandparents names and your dog's too.

I thought of all of this because I was driving through Wellton/Roll area after leaving a school and a farmer waved at me. He didn't know me but he probably was a Farm Bureau member and I was in the Farm Bureau truck but the most logical reason he waved is because that is what you do when you live in a small town or come from a medium wide spot in the road.

When I moved to college I loved the fact that for the first time, most people didn't know me. I wasn't hindered by who I was in kindergarten or grade school. When I moved to Phoenix I loved it for the same reasons. But yesterday I realized I don't like having my neighbors not know me or the fact that people don't wave driving down the road or that instead of going to a neighbor's house to borrow sugar I go to the store instead. I miss the long and deep friendships you have with your neighbors when you live in a wide spot in the road that you miss living in a large city.

I miss living in a place without smog, rush hour traffic and where you can't order a pizza for delivery.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Accountability- My Running Last Night

Last night I went for a run. When I say run- what I really mean is a run a little bit and walk a little bit for the loop through my neighborhood. It was my first time since January 15th. I was nervous but my friend Danyelle joined me. We make a good team. We are both learning to run so there isn't really the intimidation of running woth a runner.

I realized when we were almost done that even though I was slower than the last time I was out there I did more. Not in running distance but in speed. Danyelle may be five inches shorter but she runs faster. She pushed me and I appreciated it. I am looking forward to it again. We were able to talk and I didn't even listen to my music.

I felt a little sore this morning but I enjoyed the soreness because it meant I was working out and that I could breathe.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Facing My Fear- Running (in public)

Just over a year ago, two of my friends- Stacey and Bethany- and I got together for our almost monthly get together to catch up on each others lives. Stacey had just ran in a marathon in Iowa to qualify for the Boston Marathon. She mentioned that it was on her bucket list. So we decided to each make up a bucket list and meet the next month and share our lists. It was exciting making my list. Being an organized person, my list was broken down into places I wanted to visit and things I wanted to do. I put on there things like going to Russia, Germany, Scotland, Prague, all 50 states and the list goes on for places. As for experiences I put down things like going to a Broadway show in NYC, attending an Olympic game (that was on all three of our lists) and seeing the musical Wicked (I did that last weekend).

The conversation progressed to about getting out of our comfort zones and experiencing things maybe not on our list but on each others. So I ended up with doing a half marathon on my list (read not on your life would I do that). I am not a runner, I am not built like a runner and my philosophy on running has always been "why run when you can drive." But I took on the challenge.

It has been a challenge. I found out I have asthma when I run so I worked on that. I still can't run a mile and it's been over a year. I used to have almost a panic attack when I would think about running. It wasn't about actually running but more of what are people going to think. I would picture myself running like Pheobe did in Friends- arms flaling about. I eventually got over that fear and then self doubt would creep into my head... "I can't finish 13.1 miles in 4 hours; I can't do this; I am not a runner" and so on.

The deal is I did a half marathon in January and I finished in 3 hours and 29 minutes and 10 seconds. That's about 29 minutes and 10 seconds longer than I had set a my goal at but the thing is that I finished. I set out to accomplish something but I didn't cross it off my list just yet. Instead I signed up for another one in November. I want to be able to come in under 3 hours and eventually be able to run the entire thing. That means more half marathons and more running. Something I never ever imagined I would do.

I say all this because for the last 7-8 weeks since the race, I have had an asthma issue followed by a head cold/sinus infection. So today I am planning on going out and running again but I find myself totally slipping back into the panic mode. I still think I run like Pheobe but now I doubt that I can do the 3.2 mile loop around my neighborhood in 45 minutes that I did right before the race.

I know it's self doubt and maybe a little bit of Satan picking at me but I am going to face my fear tonight and as a way to hold myself accountable I will post here tomorrow (and on Facebook) what my time was.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

I am not observing Lent

I grew up in a Baptist church and I currently am going to a Baptist church but until I moved to Arizona I don't think I had ever heard of Lent. I didn't know what Ash Wednesday was until I went to college. Then I would see a few of the girls at the sorority house come in on a wednesday and have ash all over their forhead. When I moved to Arizona, I heard friends talking about giving up stuff- chocolate, soda, dessert, etc for Lent. So I thought it was just a Catholic holiday until I learned that Methodists and some Lutherans were observing Lent.

A few years ago, I had a conversation with my cousin about Lent and the real meaning behind it. Lent isn't to just give up something but to add something to your life and to focus on God during that time and hopefully it would become a permant part of your life. Not just something you did prior to Easter. A few of my friends this year are giving up sweets, soda or focusing on verses during Lent.

I am still a Baptist and we don't as a church practice Lent but I have been thinking about it for the past few weeks and although I am not doing it for Lent, I am trying to release the hold chocolate- specifically candy- has on me. I am a self- admitted sweets eater. I love my candy and especially chocolate. I eat if I get bad news, I eat it if I get good news or I am bored or I am driving and just want it. It has gotten to the point that I would pick bathroom stops along my travels based on what candy bar options I had.

Before Lent, I was reading a friends blog about how she was going to give up sweets and eating out because they had become a god in her life. It got me thinking that instead of turning to chocolate for good/bad news or because of boredom maybe I should shift that focus to God.

So I am working on not eating chocolate until Easter and instead trying to focus on God. I haven't eaten any and I do more time in prayer or working on my Bible study. Don't get me wrong, I still want chocolate and I catch myself reaching for that Symphony bar or Dove bar or my favorite Easter candy- Cadbury mini chocalate eggs. I am not giving up my chocolate forever but I am trying to learn new, healthier eating habits. Now I pack snacks or reach for veggies instead of candy.

I am trying to be a better steward of the body God gave me and live a longer and healther life. So I am not participating in Lent but I am trying to focus not on instant gratification (even if it is for a split second) and focus on the bigger picture. I will still struggle and there may be bad days but if I can accomplish this small task, I may be one step closer to conquering my food addition issues.

Friday, February 24, 2012

God's Fortune Cookies

I may offend some people but I think the book of Proverbs is the orginal fortune cookie. Think about it... it's full of wonderful words of wisdom and instruction, gems so to speak. Solomon wrote it and his was the wisest person.

I love all parts of Proverbs, there are parts about raising kids, how you should treat others and words on relationships. But there is also a couple funny parts that make me laugh everytime. Proverbs 21:9 and 25:24 both talk about living on the corner of a rooftop than with a quarelsome wife. If you read those chapters, those two verses seem to be a little out of place. I can just see it: Solomon is writing his words and they are full of wisdom and instruction and all of a sudden one of his hundred wives is complaining because he didn't put the toilet seat down or he left his clothes on the floor or forgot to take out the garbage. I know in reality that probably isn't what happened but we experience it all the time in our lives.

How many times are we in our groove doing our thing and someone disrupts it and we get frustrated or we stop or stumble or get side tracked and it takes us a moment to refocus. How often do we do that with our faith and walk with God. I know I have faith ADHD- I am focused on God's plan with my life and something shiny comes along to distract me and have me lose my focus.

Another idea is sometimes it may be easier to retreat and live on the corner of the roof than constantly be fighting. A nagging wife (or person, issue, or sin) can keep us unfocused, not content and not able to enjoy the blessings that God has given us.

I do know that I have found focus and comfort in my times of need in the Bible but the most comfort or encouragement has come from Proverbs and each time I read it, I find new gems to discover and apply to my life.

What gems have you discovered?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Giver's Remorse

My Bible Study has been going through Andy Stanley's Enemy of the Heart. It works on various issues - anger, guilt, jealousy and greed. I admit it, I struggle with all of those and each week I would think that topic was the one I was suppose to focus on and work on improving until the next week when I would have the same thought.

A couple weeks ago the topic was on greed. I shared with my group that I am a greedy person in the normal ways, I don't really like to share my things or my food. If we go to a restaurant don't expect me to share my food. If you want what I have then you need to order it.

Some of my friends may say that I am a giving person. I don't mind giving my time or efforts or even things- books, games, clothes and other stuff to people who need to borrow it or even keep it. I am fine with giving my stuff away but sometimes I have giver's remorse.

Giver's remorse is like buyer's remorse but I regret giving somethings away but I would never ask for it back. It could be shoes or a shirt that would go perfect with the outfit I am trying to put together but I gave it away so I regret giving the item away and sometimes if I see it again if a friend is wearing it or in their house.

I know it's wrong. I have more than enough clothes to wear and I have been blessed with what I have. Not having the right shoes or the book I want to read again because I gave them away is silly but I wonder how many of us struggle with greed like this.

Extreme Couponing and Helping Others

I spent a lot of time on the road this week and a few nights in hotels. I don't like watching TV in hotels because new towns usually means different stations and that results in not watching or finding my normal TV programming. So I watch random shows like Extreme Couponing or Storage Wars.

One episode a month or so ago, a husband had put his foot down and told his wife to stop buying with coupons because they had enough toothpaste and toilet paper to last several years. They had a spare room in their house full of stuff.

This in my travels I spent time with our Young Farmers and Ranchers in Yuma. They have spent a lot of time and resources the last couple of years helping their local food bank and mission giving them food, jackets and paper. This last year they gave over 1,000 pounds of food- veggies and meat. At Christmas they did a dinner with a coat and canned food drive. They also collected funds to use towards things the mission needed like toilet paper and meat. They ended up being able to buy over 900 rolls of toilet paper that they will be able to hand out to those in need.

This week begins Food Check Out week. Food Check Out week celebrates the fact that by now the average family of four in the US has earned enough money to pay for their food for the entire year. Maybe we should partner with extreme couponing people who can get cases of toilet paper, cleaning products and food in the future. Use their skills at shopping and our ability to produce safe and affordable food. Besides, we may help their marriages by allowing them to continue to shop with coupons without overstocking their homes.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Sliding Doors

Do you ever think about what would have happened if you had made a different decision in life and where you would be? It could be a big one like moving to a new city, picking a different college, saying yes to a job or marrying someone else. It's like the movie Sliding Doors with Gwyneth Paltrow where it depicts her life if she makes the train and what happens or if she misses the train.

It's like a compass, if you are just a smidge off in the beginning you are great distances off at the end. I've been contemplating that the last few months. Were would I be if I hadn't stayed in Arizona? What if I had not applied for the position at Farm Bureau, what if I had said yes to this and no to that?

I think of regrets I have in decisions I have made but find joy in the people I have met along the way and the things I have learned but I wonder what or where I would be in life if I had changed one decision. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy my life and have been blessed with amazing friends and family but am curious if I would be standing in a hole in some field or building today if I had majored in archeology instead of animal science in college.

I know God has a plan for me and I take comfort in Proverbs 20:24 "A person's steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand their own way?" I know I will walk out of this shadow of doubt in my life.

I've been thinking...

I have had a lot of time to be thinking of things this past year. A lot has changed in my life and I've had a lot of windshield time to contemplate it. I'm going to try and post my observations and conclusions about life. My experiences both with Farm Bureau and just in general and those "life things" that I contemplate on my 50 plus hours of drive time each month.

I have made changes to the design of my blog and with a little help from my more hip blogging friends I will make a few more additons. I hope this will become a weekly post. So starting tomorrow there will be a post and feel free to comment.