Sunday, April 27, 2014

Sweet Sunday: Colossians 3:23

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as if working for the Lord, not for men."
Colossians 3:23

Although this is one of my very favorite verses in the bible,  hearing it this morning in church it really hit me upside the head.

As our pastor discussed "working for the Lord", I began to think about it's application to my life. Our pastor brought out 3 points that we could do to better embrace all the work we do in our lives. Oh how perfectly timed this was. I just can't get enough.

1. Wherever you are, embrace it, because God is always working.
For a lot of people, this is applied to the job they're in. Whether it is being a mom, planting corn, or saving lives, the message was to thank the Lord for putting you in that position.

But, I have to admit, as a college student with only a part-time job, it came across in a different light to me. As I've admitted before, I'm a "Type A" personality and I feel the need to be prepared, be organized, be ready and always thinking about the future.

Being prepared for the future is great, but here's the deal: we're not in the future, we're in the present. And as much as I hate to admit it, I don't know what the future holds, and all too often I miss what's happening in the present. God is always working. He's always working to prepare me for the future.

Yes, I want to think about graduate school, and be excited to graduate and ready to start my life outside of college - but in doing so I'm missing my final days at Tech. Wherever you are, embrace it.

I couldn't help it. I had to post my awesome senior picture, taken by Khaki Scrivner - thanks a million!

2. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart.
This of course relates back to the verse in Colossians. All too often I forget that my actions reflect the work of the Lord.

It's true that the Lord deserves nothing but excellence. If I'm working for the Lord, I need to "strive for excellence". (How perfect is it that this is the Texas Tech motto!?) In everything I do, I should strive to better the kingdom of the Lord. 

Studying for my Horse Production test is a stretch - but hey, that's what prayer is for, right?

Just keep studying, just keep studying. Thanks Khaki for giving me hope to remember why I need to study! 20 days left....

3. Wherever you are, and whatever you do, find the eternal value in it.
This one I feel is the most difficult task to assess. Studying for a test, changing a diaper, driving a tractor, grading papers, all these are tasks that may not feel like have eternal value.

So what's the plan? Stop looking for the meaning in what we do, and start taking the meaning to what we do.

Yeah, I told you this one was a good one. 

Just for today I will work for the Lord. Just for today I will find purpose in my actions. Then, I will do it tomorrow. Then, I will do it the next day. 21 days develops a habit, and it's time to start.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Real Life Farmer?

So, I have no idea how these "opportunities" just fall into my lap. Honestly, I have the most bizarre experiences. But, hey, they make for great blog posts!

So two weeks ago, a few of my friends and I attended a concert in town. While there, two of my friends, Stefanie Neuhaus and Lindsay Bowman and I were talking and enjoying the concert when an unknown college student, a male, approached us.

Yeah, this is going to be good.

The college student, who unfortunately still remains nameless, began small talk. He asked us where we were from (Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado), and where we were attending college (Texas Tech and University of Arkansas).  Then, it got interesting.

Male: "So what's yall's major, are yall in a sorority?"
Stefanie: "No, we are agriculture majors, we were on the livestock judging teams."
Male: "WHOA, so yall are!?"
Emily: "Yes, we grew up on farms."
Male: "So yall could like drive a tractor, or work with a cow?! No you girls are lying?! No way!"
     (we were figuring out he much not have had much agriculture experience)
Lindsay: "Yes, that's correct, we work with animals."
     (the male is seeming very very shocked at this point)
Male: "Wow, never would've guessed that. But that's cool, I respect your decision to be poor for the rest of your life."

At this point, a few of our male friends noticed the "absolute shock look" on our face and came over to see what the problem was. Our unknown friend then wandered away.
Note: he actually came back to inform us he "could've came across the wrong way", but the conversation was very short.

Either way, the three of us girls got to thinking about the common misperceptions of agriculturalists. I've wrote about this in some of my blogs before, but some people I believe still view farmers as a "different species". Here's a few pictures of Stefanie, Lindsay and I proving we can be more than just farmers.

Stefanie and I interned on Capitol Hill, in an office, working on legislation all last summer.

Then came home to tend cows and fulfill roles as care-taker, nutritionist, and the occasional veterinarian.

Farmers and ranchers feel the importance to stay at home and tend to animals and crops. But, we also travel the nation. Here's Stefanie and I on the boardwalk in Ocean City, Maryland.

But, when it comes to taking care of our animals, we'll do anything. Last winter, Stefanie bundled up in the snow to make sure her lamb crop was safe from the frigid temperatures.

We love animals. In nice weather,

in cold weather,

and even in hot weather when work just has to be done.

As far as the "I respect your decision to be poor", well all we have to say about that is life on a farm is rich.... in memories and passion. In the end, we're just ordinary people....

....with an extraordinary passion for livestock.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Jesus Is....

So I apologize for not posting a Sunday verse, if you can imagine, we were spending time with family and enjoying company together. It's not that I don't love my blog, but sometimes priorities trump all.

Our  family time was very, very important....

Hey, we admired God's beautiful creation. Technology was a secondary factor this weekend.

But, anyway, back to the topic at hand. So I am stealing this idea from our pastor at Aldersgate Church who spoke on the times where Jesus said "I am...", validating Himself as the Lord. In all reality, I had never gone through the bible and noted the times were Jesus stated what He was. So, I have complied all of the "I am" statements in the book of John that tells of Jesus' teachings and miracles.

The first "I am" comes in chapter 6:

"Then Jesus declared, 'I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.'" -John 6:35

Then He clarifies by adding:

"I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh which I give for the world." John 6:51

Now, here, Jesus is declaring hunger and thirst? But is it real water? Let's backtrack a couple chapters to when a Samaritan woman asked Jesus how basic water would cure eternal thirst.

"Jesus answered 'Everyone who drinks this water {water from a well} will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." -John 4:13-14

Jesus' reference to water is spiritual, meaning believe in Him and your spirit will never thirst for more.

Then we get two more from John 8.

"When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of the world." -John 8:12

Keep in mind, all of these refer to the spirit, meaning the holy spirit will reside in you and show you the way.

"But he continued, 'You are from below, I am from above. You are of this world, I am not of this world. I told you that you would die  in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you indeed will die in your sins." -John 8:23-24

That one was laden with "I am" but I think it's explanatory.

Then one of my favorites:

"I am the good shepherd. I know my sheep and my sheep know me. Just as the Father knows me and I know the Father - and I lay down my life for the sheep." -John 10:14

When our pastor lectured on this he noted how humerus it was that Jesus refers to us as sheep. Sometimes people can be pretty dumb, just like sheep. We need a lot of guidance.

So how do the sheep get to the good shepherd? Through the gate.

"I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved."

And finally, the verse that ties it all together:

"Jesus answered 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." - John 14:6

There is only one way to heaven, through Jesus. This Sunday, I hope you celebrated your one way ticket to heaven through Jesus. If not, it's never too late to accept Him into your heart.

Have a very blessed week!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

15 Passenger

So, for those of you who don't know me, I have a confession: I am a scrap booker! I mean, I keep everything from movie tickets to banquet booklets to newspapers. Today, I was catching up on some scrap booking from last fall, and I came across a few pictures that really made me tear up.

 After spending a few minutes pasting pictures, I sat back and relished the memories I've made over the past four years. (I had to pick up my cap and gown yesterday, and that was super depressing. Ever since then I've been thinking back to my years of college and how FAST they go).

Of all the memories I have, some of the sweetest are from the inside of a 15 passenger van, cruising the country with self-proclaimed livestock enthusiasts, not really knowing if we were searching for a trophy or just wanting to see history in the makings.
I found a picture I have on my phone of pitch black darkness. At first, I couldn't remember why it was still on my phone. Then, I remembered the night I took it - intentionally. We were driving to Austin, Minnesota, it was awfully late at night and my team was singing 1970's country songs in the van, as we were driving through the open fields of Iowa. I remember thinking how blessed I was and that nothing in the world could have been better than sharing the inside of that 15 passenger van that smelled like hog poop. 

To some, it's a big white van with a school logo on the outside. To livestock judgers, it's signing to Elvira, sharing a prayer, wiping a tear, and filling blank pages with the words of your heart. It's learning about each others passions, while discovering your own.

I know for those in junior college, your season is over. My one word of advice would be to continue onward. Don't stop after junior college, judge on into senior college if your heart pulls you that way.

Finally, here's a poem one of my teammates wrote about another "odd" object that means more to judgers, the steno. Happy Thursday!

The Steno
By: Bo Hutto

The steno, a 99 cent purchase from a local store,
A 99 cent investment, worth so much more.

The steno, comes in different sizes, shapes and hues,
It doesn't know it, but it'll soon be abused.

It'll get wrinkled, crinkled, weathered and smushed,
It'll be dropped in the mud and stuck in your tush.

The steno, use a clip so your pages don't flap,
You'd be lost without it, but you still treat it like crap.

It's use is unrestricted, it's use for more than just notes,
It can stir ewes, drive hogs, and straighten up stantion fighting goats.

The steno, a judgers best tool,
Used for evaluating critters with hide, hair, and wool.

The steno, can't blame it for a loss, but it's vital for a win,
It's infinitesimal wisdom relies on who holds the pen.

The steno, from all over the country, it's seen some stock,
Yet, it travels in your suitcase next to a dirty sock!

It's traveled many of hours down i-10,
And stayed many of nights at the Holiday Inn.

When you work up your set, it'll keep you honest and true,
It'll get you strange looks from a stranger or two.

Moral of the story, treat the steno with class.
Keep it close to your heart, even when stuck in your....tush.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Good Shepherd

Even though it's not Sunday, I just couldn't help myself from sharing this link. This is a sermon our pastor at Aldersgate Church gave last week and I LOVE it so much.

The sermon is all about livestock and even incorporates livestock showing - he's speaking my language! Pastor Ryan incorporates Jesus' statement "I AM the good shepherd" into our daily lives. If you have 40 extra minutes in your day, I highly suggest listening to this sermon, click here, or plug in the link below.

Have a wonderful Tuesday friends!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Sweet Sunday: 1 Timothy 6:11-12

"But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith." -1 Timothy 6:11-12

I love this verse because God is commanding us the attributes He desires to see in us, but He's not saying it will be easy.

Even God is saying "fight the good fight".  Being gentle for example is not easy. It's nature to become angry. Sometimes fighting the good fight of the faith is fighting natural reaction and choosing to be godly or gentle.

Anyway, I would also like to take the time to congratulate my cousin, John, on returning home from five years of service in the marine corps. Thanks for fighting the good fight for our country. Proud of you!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

What Does A Farmer Look Like?

I'm sure everyone has heard the saying "any publicity is good publicity." Well, I personally disagree when it comes to the agriculture industry.

For any agriculturalist that has seen the new "" commercial on television, I'm sure you'll agree with me. The commercial includes three farmers in overalls, with straw in their mouths, barely any teeth, and acting absolutely surprised at the function of a computer.

Honestly, I think the majority of America views farmers and ranchers as "old time" and "outdated". Yet, that's actually the opposite. In order to keep up with a growing population and growing food demand, farmers must use technology to keep progressing their operations and feeding the world.

Today, 94% of farmers have a cell phone, while half of American farmers have a smartphone, such as andriod or iPhone.  From personal experience, my dad is always on his cell phone, checking market prices, commodity changes, or making calls to keep our dairy in business.

Computers are also on the rise, in August 2013, 70% of American farmers had a computer or lap top. On our farm, we use a computer to keep farm records like: when a cow calves, how much milk she produces, and other needed information.
Fun fact: cotton farmers support the most computer usage per industry.

Although it doesn't apply directly to cows, tractors for farming are filled with technology to help keep yields high and efficiency at a maximum. Here is a picture of a "mini computer" that counts the number of hay bales produced per pasture, and how much the pasture yields each year! Our hay baling tractors have their own mini-computers that stay in them all year round.

Ever wonder about your milk? Even our milk tank has it's own data system to make sure the milk is ALWAYS at the right temperature and fresh at all times.

And finally, check out this picture of my dad and two of his brothers, all dairy farmers! They have all their teeth, own cell phones, and even wear khakis at times.

Farmers are normal people with an extraordinary passion for livestock.