What keeps me away?

Yikes…a little more than two months. I’ve missed you all. Really and truly. And I know you have a ton of questions, so ask away, and I promise I’ll answer them…all of them.

But before you start rambling them off, let me give you a quick run down of what’s been going on, so you can get a brief picture of what’s been happening, and what’s been keeping me busy…here’s my top 10 list:

  1. I finished my paralegal education. Finished. Done. Complete. That’s right, 18 months of education, finished with honors. My advice? Do it when younger. Yes, I was more focused, but my energy levels were lacking. And staying up until 3 finishing projects is not for someone on this side of 35.
  2. I was bit by a spider…or some sort of bug…at the end of November, which led to an infection and a whole mess of doctor’s appointments. And medicines. And not feeling so hot. Yep, I was a hot mess.
    The "tattooed" marker line showed the doctor if my infection spread at all. They should have used Z-tag marker.

    The “tattooed” marker line showed the doctor if my infection spread at all. They should have used Z-tag marker.

    The doc sliced an "X" in the wound to get it to drain...and although I have a scar still, I'm grateful for how well it healed now.

    The doc sliced an “X” in the wound to get it to drain…and although I have a scar still, I’m grateful for how well it healed now.

  3. My oldest son tackled his first set of semester tests as a seventh-grade student. And neither one of us required therapy. I’m making no comments about the number of glasses of wine I may have consumed.
  4. We all own a calendar and realize there were approximately three holidays in there, right?
  5. Since I was already seeing the doctor so often, I decided to do something drastic about this extra weight I’ve been carrying. It’s a work in progress, but it’s been a pretty successful one so far. I consider that a win. (And see #4 for the difficulty factor in this.)
  6. Science fair finished last night. I don’t think I need to explain any more.

    Big brother tested the staining effects of different non-dairy "milk" on egg shells. Lesson learned? Brush your teeth.

    Big brother tested the staining effects of different non-dairy “milk” on egg shells. Lesson learned? Brush your teeth.

  7. We lost a very close neighbor and had a close friend have two children involved in a tragic bus/train accident. One child did not survive. It’s hard enough understanding these events as an adult – trying to work through them with a pre-teen takes skills that I did not possess as a mother. But I have some amazing friends that can pull some amazing resources from out of thin air. And provide support for me as well. I owe them more than I could ever repay.
  8. Meetings. Winter is meeting season. And it’s not slowing down through February. But I’m going to do a better job of writing and scheduling.
  9. I took a time-out to spend some needed time with my kiddos. We spent Christmas break doing a whole lot of nothing – and it was the best schedule ever.
  10. Leaning in. I’ve been working on leaning in. Leaning in to my church. Leaning in to my boys’ schedules. Leaning in to my health. Leaning in to my hobbies. Everything has its season and time. And the last few weeks have been my time to reconnect – to real life.

But I must admit, I miss blogging. And I have no intentions of staying away. It’s a great tool, and one that I use as much for my benefit as anyone else’s.

So here’s to a great 2015. One more engaged.

You are who you are

I’m almost in tears sitting at my computer. It’s been almost three months since I’ve wrote on this blog. Three months. Wow. I cannot tell you how hard it was to not sit here and type. You have all become my friends…my family…my confidants…my support. For some reason, sitting here, typing, I feel free. I feel relief. I feel myself.

But I quit for awhile.

Never again. At least not intentionally.

It’s not like I was sitting around, twiddling my thumbs. School let out. My boys played ball, I played ball, my family had a few medical crises. You know, summer stuff.

Big Bro even tried his hand at pitching.

Big Bro even tried his hand at pitching.

Oh, the medical thing? Eh, no biggie. Just an aneurysm or two or three in my mom’s head. Oh, and my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer again…and possibly spots in his lymph nodes and his colon. All is pretty well┬ánow. Six weeks of radiation in three days will help matters immensely…if you can handle it.

And did I mention that my oldest nephew got married? And I’m still going to school full time? (16 credits for summer quarter)

And the most important activity of all…I took my boys on our first ever real-life, trip-away-from-home-not-family-event related. And they loved every minute.

A trip to the zoo..."camels" that looked an awful lot like goats and breeding season. Stories and memories galore...did I mention Scooter opened up the window in the car wash? Yeah.

A trip to the zoo…”camels” that looked an awful lot like goats and breeding season. Stories and memories galore…did I mention Scooter opened up the window in the car wash? Yeah.

George and I...proof that you can live with your heart outside of your body.

George and I…proof that you can live with your heart outside of your body.

Yes, I had a busy summer. Like most parents and people that enjoy their community. I got involved in our local Bountiful Baskets co-op. We had our county fair. I started going to a boot camp workout class.

A boy and his pigs. EJ is our true-blue farmer.

A boy and his pigs. EJ is our true-blue farmer.

But not writing was hard. I love to write. It’s as natural to me as breathing. And when I hit publish on a post, it’s hard to explain the feeling, but it’s like hitting an RBI in a tie game.

There’s a real reason why I quit writing for awhile. And it had little to do with my schedule. I am one of those people that thrive on pressure and crunch time. But what I do not deal with well is criticism and critiques. Especially from those that are supposed to be the most supportive.

I would have to say that over the course of the last two summers, I have learned a lot about myself. And I am grateful for every lesson I have learned. There are many that I need to thank for teaching me those lessons, some that have done so with encouragement and opportunities, and some that have done so through other means. Whatever the case may be, I have become a better person. And for that, I’m grateful.

I am back – blog world. I hope you are ready for me.

Who are you growing food for?

A few weeks ago I spent a day at a conference, where I participated in a session that discussed how independent seed professionals could engage with their growers. It really got me to thinking about the reasons why we do what we do…and that includes our crop/livestock decisions.

What seeds are you planting today? Who are you planting for?

What seeds are you planting today? Who are you planting for?

Here’s the deal: we spend a lot of time reading articles and blog posts and listening to the activists and those that have the time/means/ability to use media to increase their audience. I know how that goes, I do it as well.

We aim our messages at the masses that fire back at us, the vocal minority that give us reason to pause and take note of what we’re doing, and more importantly, why we’re doing it. And I have no problem with that.

But do you know who I would really like to hear from?

Those that don’t have access to a blog community. The homeless woman in NY…the single father of four in Chicago…the family in San Diego where both parents work two jobs. THOSE are the people I want to reach. THOSE are the people I’m most concerned about.

But those are the people that have neither the time, nor the connections to speak to me. So I will continue to reach out, to explain our decisions, to answer questions, all while knowing that I haven’t quite reached my goal. Because where would we be without goals that we haven’t reached?

Don’t get me wrong, I love to be challenged. I love having to think outside the box and no one should be afraid of having their beliefs questioned. In fact, I enjoy it. I have some pretty strong convictions, if you haven’t noticed, and I’m willing to stand behind them, explain myself, whatever it may be.

While at that conference, one of the people listening asked how we respond to the accusations. Although some would suggest that you don’t respond, my answer was this:

There’s no one I don’t try to respond to, whether or not I agree with them. You’re not responding to change that person’s mind. You’re responding for those that haven’t made up their mind, those that don’t feel strongly enough to submit a comment, those that are just watching the conversation. THAT’S where you can make a difference.

So who are you growing food for? Your family? Your neighbor? A family in Chicago? Your customer is who you should be concerned about…and once you have no customers, than the answer is in front of you.

From my front porch

Well, actually, not my front porch. More like my office. But I’m hoping that one day soon it would be from my front porch. I’d go into that, but that would take a whole other post, or maybe another blog…and perhaps a marriage counseling session or two.

But I digress.

An amazing thing happened to me this week. Sometime over the weekend, someone stumbled across a post that I had wrote two years ago: “How to Spend 10 Years Married to a Farmer.” I remember writing it as if it were yesterday, but it definitely wasn’t yesterday. Boss Man and I are now closing in on 13 years of marriage, and just celebrated 15 years of being together.

This is what happened Monday:

 

Consider my mind blown...completely.

Consider my mind blown…completely.

Yes, somehow more than 100,000 people decided that something I had wrote was worthwhile reading. Are you kidding me?

In fact, I received messages left and right from people who saw the post shared, including this one:

I love the "whatever" part!

I love the “whatever” part!

So while it was cool to see my traffic have a crazy jump like that, it taught me one of the most valuable lessons in my life: You never know what speaks to others, but if you never speak at all, they will never hear you.

You can quote me on that.

I am not a professional writer, it’s a hobby. I don’t write about things that I don’t feel passionately about, and I speak from the heart. And I write when I should be sleeping, doing laundry, washing dishes, name it.

You don’t have to be in New York City to make a difference, you don’t have to work for a large publication, you don’t have to have years of education. You simply have to have a message and let someone hear it…well, or read it.

I live in rural North Dakota, and the world is my audience.

It can be yours, too.