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Monthly Archives: February 2014

The Heartbreak of Foster Care

I’ve gotten a lot of questions recently: lots of funny looks and tiny head shakes. Its not something I write about on the blog, but since there’s interest, I’ll answer. People don’t get why I’ve opened up my home to a foster child.

I understand that. I really do. And maybe I can explain it to you and maybe I can’t. I went through a process to get here myself. Basically it boils down to this.

Love is always worth it.

But to open yourself up for heartbreak? People tell me “I couldn’t do that.” Well, I’ve said that too, so coming from the other side, and with no malice, let me just say, yes. Yes you could.

We choose not to.

The heartbreak of foster care

I mean, there’s nothing glamorous about it. You voluntarily allow a child into your home whose parents are probably less than stellar. They come with lice (or worse). They don’t know how to eat at the table properly. They probably cry for parents you wish could be locked up for decisions they’ve made. It means child services in your home, scrutinizing you in ways no one does for a biological child.

But take a second to consider the alternative.

The Heartbreak of foster care

Where else would they be? A fellow foster parent recently posted to her Facebook page “We don’t do it because we aren’t afraid of heartbreak, but because we are afraid of what would happen to them without us.”

Pretty much.

Foster kids are generally at the bottom of the social ladder. Who really wants these kids? Less than a week after the ink dried on our license I was holding a five month old in the middle of the night, tears streaming down my face as I both fed him a bottle and scrolled through my Pinterest account looking at pictures of Prince George. Just a few months apart, but the world ADORES the Prince of Cambridge. No one wanted the tiny life in my arms.

He literally was “the least of these.”

foster baby

In the hard moments that’s what I cling to. This little guy isn’t just a foster child. He’s my little piece of Jesus, right here in my house.

But apart from all of that, people still want to know.

Will I get my heart broken?

It already is.

His tiny smile and great big losses. The phone calls for another child who needs a home. Every news report. Every Amber alert. All heart breaking.

If he goes back to his bio parents I’ll cry because I will have lost him. If we adopt him I’ll cry because he will have lost his bio parents.

Heartbreak is really just part of living.

But hopefully I’m teaching all my kids a really important lesson. Be compassionate. Take care of those who are weaker than you. Share.

kids and foster child

And love.

Because I’ve looked into the eyes of an unwanted child and I know.

Its always worth it.

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Categories: Family | Tags: , , | 413 Comments

Free Farm Family Printable

Grrr, this was supposed to post on Friday, during Thank a Farmer week, but there were… technical difficulties.  (As in I almost took my computer outside to stomp on the concrete, but oh well!)  At any rate, better late and all that!!

Free Farm Family printable

I love this little saying and needed a print for my dinning room, but alas, there were none to be found.  (At least, not for free!)  So as my thank you to farmers and ranchers everywhere I have rectified that situation! Just download the PDF file, print on cardstock or other nice paper, and trim to fit the frame of your choice.

Free Farm Family printable

And really.

Thank you.

Free Farm Family printable Faith green Free Farm Family printable Faith grey Free Farm Family printable Faith tealFree Farm Family printableFaith yellow

Categories: Family | 1 Comment

Brian Testifies to Congress

Not all farm work happens in the field.  On Tuesday Brian did some critical chores, not in the shop, but in Congress.

Thank a Farmer, Brian testifies before Congress on behalf of Farmers and small business owners.

Thank you to American Farm Bureau for the photos!

He presented information to the House Small Business Committee about new technologies in farming; mostly about the data we now create.  Brian (usually known on this blog as Daddy!) explained how we use GPS and programs like Field View on our tractors, combine, and sprayer.  Each of those pieces of equipment records the location and what was planted, harvested, or applied in the field.  As a business owner we can then pull all of that data together and get a very detailed look at what’s going on with our farm.  We can see if a certain brand of seed grew better than other brands.  We can tell where more fertilizer might be needed.  We can watch for patterns of problems over the course of years.

That’s pretty cool technology, and its something our lawmakers know little about.

But who cares if they know about it, you ask?

Well, Congress tends to like nothing better than to create rules and regulations.  Job security and all.  Naturally no one person can be an expert on everything the United States Congress does, so “expert witnesses, ” like Brian, bring real-life information and personal stories to our elected officials.

Thank a Farmer, Brian testifies before Congress on behalf of Farmers and small business owners.

Brian visited with some of our elected officials while he was in DC.

Did you know some farmers are using drones to check their fields during the growing season to watch for pests that can damage entire fields?  Some people want to regulate these drones the same way we regulate planes.  The cost of this kind of equipment is already high; adding that kind of regulation would make the technology pretty much unusable.  You’d spend more time on paper work than the drone would save you.  You might as well check the field yourself.

All the data I mentioned before is also of legal concern to farmers.  Brian can pull information from the cloud right from the seat of his combine, but who else can see his data?  Can the company that made the program sell that data?  Can the government take it?  Could the Chicago Board of Trade have access to exactly how much corn is being harvested in the US right now?  Can seed companies look at the yield of their seeds and their competitors?

Thank a Farmer, Brian testifies before Congress on behalf of Farmers and small business owners.

Thanks to Missouri Farm Bureau’s press release, the story hit the papers about the time Brian’s plane touched down in Kansas City!

Both of these issues, along with many others, may be visited by Congress.  Some issues we hope they’ll stay away from, allowing owners to control their own small businesses.  On other issues we hope they will choose to help instead of hinder America’s farmers.

So in its own way, this work is as important as any we do here on the farm.

Categories: Science | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Farm to Store

Celebrating Thank a Farmer week is done like most American holidays– it lasts a whole week and has a lot to do with food!  Saturday was the pancake breakfast, then raffling off a grocery store gift certificate, and, new this year, we parked a tractor at the local store!

Thank a Farmer

Thank a Farmer and Thank Early’s Tractor Dealership!

Thanks to the tractor dealership in town for letting us use one of theirs since it was already clean and only a few blocks from the store!  Tractors generally go less than 25/mph, so that’s pretty helpful!  Thanks to the county Farm Bureau board members who volunteer their time to set up these functions.  Thanks to the grocery stores that work with and support the farming community.  And of course, thanks to the farmers who are responsible from everything in those stores from the bananas to the macaroni and cheese to the plastic used to package it all!

Check in tomorrow for the next Thank a Farmer post.  We’re thanking Daddy for something pretty exciting!

Categories: Food | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Disclaimer on this Video!

It was awesome to hear this song, “Thank a Farmer” by James Wesley live at the AFBF annual meeting and I made a note to share it on the blog during Thank a Farmer Week.  However, I must add this disclaimer, we are NOT growing daughters in tank tops and tight blue jeans on this farm!  I feel I should warn potential young suitors that Daddy has a Case IH gun safe in the garage.

Thank a Farmer

Just so you know.

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If You Have a Career, Thank a Farmer

If you’re an artist, thank a farmer. If you’re a lawyer or business owner or teacher, thank a farmer. If you work at Wal-Mart, or an animal shelter, or the White House, thank a farmer. Because once upon a time you had two career choices– hunter or gatherer.

Thank a Farmer

Here’s a snapshot of Brian’s mom as a little girl and her Daddy– a farmer.

And then, some enterprising person discovered that you could plant seeds and grow food on purpose and in one place. Some early wanderer domesticated a few sheep or goats and settled down on the banks of a river. It was the beginnings of civilization itself, and it’s all thanks to farming.

Thank a Farmer

This farm was owned by my great, great, uncle.

This week our Farm Bureau is celebrating “Thank a Farmer” week. We talk a lot about how 100% of the people in this country eat food and how America’s farmers provide the safest, most abundant, most affordable food in the world. Which is pretty important stuff. But I was really struck at the American Farm Bureau meeting in San Antonio last month by the head of the USDA, Tom Villsack, when he spoke about the farmer being the cornerstone of civilization, because without someone to grow the food, no one gets to be anything else.

No computer programmers. No engineers. No fashion designers. Not even any McDonald’s employees.

Thank a Farmer

This is Daddy’s Grandpa Tom on the far right, harvesting wheat.

The better farmers get at their jobs, the freer our nation becomes to pursue other avenues. Every advancement in technology means one more kid goes to college to be a writer or opens a garage to build hot rod cars.

My great-grandpa was a police officer.  Benjamin Corner was the first Highway Patrolman in Missouri to give his life in service of his fellow men.

My great-grandpa was a police officer. Benjamin Corner was the first Highway Patrolman in Missouri to give his life in service of his fellow men.

You probably don’t have to look very far back your family tree to find a grandparent or great-grandparent who farmed. When Brian’s grandpa climbed up to the open seat of his combine his hard work provided 20 people with the food they needed, so they could focus on building roads and inventing microwaves. Today, on average, one farmer feeds 155 people. 155 people who can find a cure for cancer or dream up missions to Mars.

Thank a Farmer

This is my mom, visiting her uncle on his farm.

So today, if you dream of a fulfilling career, be glad it isn’t just a filling career, and thank a farmer.

Categories: Technology | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

Snowy Days

I know I’m not the only mom out there going just a little bit stir- crazy! Sure, we homeschool so we’re here all day all the time, but it’s just not the same being stuck inside while the wind howls around and snow beats against the windows! So yes, Missouri Department of Transportation, it was absolutely essential that we leave the house for a little while! Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite that simple.

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This is daddy driving the tractor in front of us to plow the snow so we can get to the roads. So very grateful to have our own snowplow or this would be one crazy mama!

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So ready for spring!

Categories: Family | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Farm Fun Valentines

Its February!  The thing I love most about February is that we’re just that much closer to spring, but Valentine’s Day is right up there. 😉  Just for fun I’ve made a free, farm-themed Valentine’s Day card printable.

Farm Themed Valentines

Click here to download Farm Valentines.

And happy closer to spring!

Categories: Family | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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