Living a Grateful Life— Reasons To Be Grateful This Year

Thanksgiving. A time for family to gather together, share a meal, and give God thanks for a fruitful harvest.  This year, my Thanksgiving was a little different than most American’s. While most everyone else was sitting down to the family dinner table, I was sitting on a runway at the Minneapolis International Airport… not moving. Waiting. Waiting for the snow crews to clear the runway, so I could join my family later that evening. I had spent the few days prior in Canada at the Canadian Western Agribition Show. Like most people who finally board the plane and fasten their seat belts, I was ready to get home. My immediate reaction to killing time while belted into the seat? Yup, you guessed it…. Facebook. I began to read all the “Thanksgiving Blessings” that each of my friends were posting, and even took the time to share mine….

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My Thanksgiving Blessings— “My Why”

But why is it that we wait until November to share our reasons to be thankful?  Its like we all fixate on whats wrong in our life and fail to focus on our blessings. We go through life like a cog in a machine focusing soley on what is right in front of us, as opposed to living like the independent self functioning people we all are and choose to focus on the blessings we have both big and small. I’ll be the first to admit… there are times, I get just as bogged down by life as the next person.  As we approach the holiday season, and begin the search for our New Year’s Resolutions, maybe we should all ponder how we can shift our focus to counting our blessings the entire year, as opposed to when the annual Thanksgiving holiday rounds the corner. What about all the blessings that we fail to acknowledge? The ones that are behind the scenes that ultimately without those blessings, our life would look and feel completely different… as I waited on the runway at the Minneapolis Airport, I gave some thought to my list of “Reasons To Be Grateful All Year”

  1. I am thankful for my parents. They laid the foundation of the importance of hard work, perseverance, and having faith in God.
  2. I am thankful for love and laughter. These are two of life’s greatest gifts. The presence of those two things can make or break my day.
  3. I am thankful for all the mentors that have changed and revolutionized my life.  I am grateful they gave me the chance to work and labor in an industry that I love. It is many of their ideas and associations that showed me how to push for progress and results.
  4. I am thankful for strength and health. Health and fitness is the key to living a long and fruitful life. The absolute fountain of youth.
  5. I am thankful for having the hunger to learn, grow, and serve. It is these traits that truly permeate my soul and my life and pushes me toward progress.— Progress. Some folks perspective of being grateful is to “be content with what God has blessed us with”. My personal feeling is being grateful is so much more than that. A grateful life is a life of hope. Sometimes being grateful is more than the gifts we have already received. It is the hope, almost an expectation that things are going to get better. This alone gives us the fuel to dare and the courage to leap toward the next goal or challenge that life has presented us with. It is those things and the hope for more that gives us PROGRESS. I think about mothering Lexi. Like any parent, you want more for your child than what you had. As a result, you push and encourage your children to take a chance and push forward for whatever goals they dream of. It is the hope of what could be for them that fuels our fire. That is NOT selfish. It is learning to be thankful for what we already have, while we pursue all that we want. It is using the talents that God blessed us with so we can use our blessings to bless others. Letting those talents expire without sharing them with the world, is not living God’s will.
  6. I am thankful for the pain and problems that I have experienced in my life. It has given me the power to grow and become more than I was before. All those experiences have brought me to where I am today. Granted, when I was going through those challenges, I often asked God, “why?”. It was those troubles that opened opportunities and unique experiences to flow my way which further blessed my life. Without those troubles, I would have never known some of the talents that I had buried inside of me or what true love is all about.

Thankfulness is just the beginning to living a fulfilled life. Life isn’t always a bed of roses. There are curveballs that get thrown at you, when you least expect it. It has often been said, “It is how you handle yourself when facing adversity and the least expected that determines your character.” The following are my tips to transitioning your life to a grateful one.

  • Smile. When you face a challenge or uncontrolled circumstance, always smile and remember you can always find something worse off than you, and look for something in that challenge to be thankful for. Even the smallest thing. It might be that one thing that gives you the hope to push forward. Smiling at someone that is having a bad day, changes the tone of the encounter and even the conversation.
  • Give yourself an inner pep talk. Your inner voice is important. Often times, it is negative. Begin reminding yourself of all your great things to be thankful for and that you can accomplish anything you want, if you want it bad enough that you are willing to do what everyone else won’t do to get it.
  • When you make a mistake in life (we all know we make plenty), learn from even the smallest things. Last weekend while getting the show cattle up, we closed all the gates, but the one man gate. What happened? The heifers went straight up to the barn and past their pens and through the man gate. It was like they knew it was open. Lesson learned? Have a solid plan, before beginning the project. Building the plane in flight, gives us set backs that if we just planned and executed right the first time, we would not have wasted so much time.
  • When I start to think about all the things that I don’t have or how crappy my life is at that given moment, it is my internal clue to see how I can help or bless someone else. Try it. It changes your tone and your outlook on your own life. Something simple like holding a door for someone, buying someones coffee, or even paying a simple complement, not only makes you feel good, but could even be the highlight of someone else’s day.

As I sat on the runway in Minneapolis, and we did not take off until we were supposed to be landing in St. Louis, these thoughts flooded through my head. This new perspective has helped me in work and life. When I got off the plane, Brock met me at the gate instead of waiting in the truck in the cell phone lot. I shared with him how thoughtful that was, which made him smile. When the TSA agent was sitting all alone with a blank stare on his face as I passed by, I smiled and wished him a Happy Thanksgiving. He looked at me a little funny, and replied, “Thank you. You too, ma’am”. When my dealer called me on Monday morning, and told me to keep a grower, we had to get to $195 corn, I took a deep breath and began working on a new proposal– we hadn’t lost the sale. Sometimes being thankful and grateful requires us to appreciate the little things and its that perspective that can change our lives. Happy Holidays!

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“1501” A New Year of Babies

Spring, summer, winter, fall…. everyone has their favorite season for various reasons. Some like the heat and sun. Some like the cold snowy days by the fire. Me? Calving season is my FAVORITE season by far! For some, that time is now. For others, those momma cows are just getting ready to start dropping those babies. Why is this my favorite? The reasons are endless. Most importantly though, this is what we work all year for! We all care for the cattle all year long feeding, walking through knee deep mud, fixing fence, working tirelessly to get that stubborn cow up that simply won’t be smart enough to just go through the dang gate! Today is the day it all pays off!

Many farm wives out there might think I am crazy. You ladies are reading this saying, is this chick CRAY? Calving time is the WORST! Ladies, I know where you are going with this…. I understand the stress levels associated with the best season of the year. I know how the husband’s stress levels can get…. well can we say, a little out of whack. Lets face it, it can become an episode with an exchange of words that might resemble the infamous “cattle working saga” that we farm wives or farm girlfriends hear about. We all have seen those posts on Facebook…. they go something like “Farm Girl Tip: Don’t take anything he says personally when sorting or moving cows.” Hopefully this post will help you ladies out there that find themselves elbows deep in helping calve those momma cows! Remember ladies, Valentines day is this weekend. What better thoughtful gift to give your farmer than helping them prepare for the MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR!

Anyone else think this is the BEST advice?!
Anyone else think this is the BEST advice?!

Below are some of my tips to a successful calving season.

1. Begin with the end in mind. One of my life mantras! I simply cannot understand anyone that goes through life and has no clue to where they are going! Likewise, who begins calving season not knowing how many calves to expect and who is going to calve when? Being prepared is the most essential step to successfully calving your spring calf crop.  Having your herd pregnancy check sheet organized by due date is key to knowing when each cow is EXPECTED to calve. Obviously, this is not an exact science, some cows come early, some bulls have shorter gestation, and from experience many baby heifer calves come early. (We started calving 2 weeks early this year.)  Success starts with analyzing your breeding and pregnancy check records.

2. OK ladies…. this one is the great Valentines gift… Prepare the calf bag. What calf bag you may say? We prefer a cloth tool bag. We get ours from Lowes with a $15 price tag. Totally economical. Brock looks like he is carrying a “man bag” when he is walking through the pasture with it! So cute! In the man bag, goes the following things…

All the essentials for caring for baby calves.
All the essentials for caring for baby calves.
  • Ear tags
  • Ear tagger
  • Tag Marker
  • Alpha 7 (Blackleg Vaccine, follow your veterinary recommendation )
  • Full Bottle of LA300 (We treat each new calf at tagging with 5cc, just as a precautionary measure.)
  • Steno notebook to record all calving information. (Essential for record keeping.)
  • Ziplock bag (We put the steno in the ziplock bag just in case the LA300 breaks.)
  • Ink pen to record calving information.
  • Bander with bands to band the bull calves
  • 6cc syringes with extra needles. (Follow veterinary recommendations for size.)

This is the best way to process those baby calves before they get too big to handle. It is low stress, and I personally HATE getting baby calves up out of the pasture. Its like herding cats! So frustrating!

3. Isn’t it fun, when the cow calves without any trouble? What happens if there is issues? Here is my list to be prepared. From my experience, its best to “just know” what to hand your farmer when the stress sets in when potentially pulling or assisting the cow calving.

  • CLEAN Bucket with warm water and soap or disinfectant.
  • CLEAN and DISINFECTED OB chains
  • Extra rope halters (We cannot do anything without rope halters in our life. They tie gates, etc always a mainstay in the tool department at Meyer Cattle!)
  • Calf Jack
  • Old bathroom towels (Help to get that calf dry on cold days.)
  • A good veterinarian’s phone number on speed dial. (Ladies, do NOT leave your phone in the house on accident!)

4. OK, the calf is here and ok…. now what? Be sure the calf is sucking and ok. I always be sure to have a clean tube feeder and bagged colostrum at the house, just in case. Inevitably, if there is going to be a problem, it is in the middle of the night, or on a weekend when no retail outlet is open to aid in this.  Better safe than sorry.

5. I mentioned this before, but deserves more discussion…. Establish a good relationship with a veterinarian. That person means a lot to the success  of your cattle herd. From having an accurate pregnancy check to those dreaded late night calving problem calls, you want to be able to call on someone that you trust and has a vested interest in YOUR success.

6. Weather…. the HUGE factor that influences so much in the agricultural industry. Ladies, help your farmer. Now, in my experience, Brock is the weatherman here at Meyer Cattle. I mean we go from one weather app to the next to determine what the next day has in store for us! We use the WeatherBUGG and Accuweather. Use your smartphone for more than reading this blog or Facebook. Watch the weather and determine if you need to get calving cows up to the barn lot or barn to calve, if you can calve on pasture, and if you need to bed the cows and baby calves on pasture. This is HUGE in your planning endeavor. If you know the weather is going to be rough, you can prepare and have calving pens built, use the pregnancy check sheet and sort up the close to calve cows, bed the babies on the pasture so they can bed down away from the wind and the winter elements.

There you have it ladies…. keys to success for a successful calving season. Share with your farmer! Or better yet, be the leader and start making these things happen for him! Have a great Valentine’s Weekend with your farmer. There is truly no better Valentine out there than a farmer.