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?