Tuesday, June 17, 2014

He Is Here

Today, as I was driving along in rural Oklahoma jamming to some Christian tunes admiring the beautiful blue sky and bright green corn rows, I got to thinking how God really is every where.

I have to tell a few stories to back this up because it is just so special to me.

Exactly a week ago I was sitting outside Texas A&M's Louis Pearce Pavilion waiting with the Hansford Co livestock judging team for the State 4H contest to start. The team was young, none of them had experienced a state contest, and they were nervous. Instead of playing rap songs or hip hop songs to get pumped up, what did they want to listen to? Christian music. So I plugged in my phone and put a little Jesus in our day.

As the song was playing, I looked in the rear view mirror to see these awesome kids dressed in khakis and sports coats, ready for their state contest, clenching onto stenos, singing every word to "10,000 Reasons" by Matt Redman.

"For all your goodness I will keep on singing, 10,00 reasons for my heart to find. Bless The Lord, oh my soul, oh my soul, I'll worship your holy name."

Then, I looked next to me, saw my uncle and cousin singing the song and what happened? I cried a little. I had on sunglasses thankfully, because a couple tears slid out.

I knew in that moment. When I closed my eyes and heard the sweet voices of powerful reasons givers softly singing praises of worship - He was there. I could hear it in their voices and see it on their precious faces. God was there, laying comfort on our team.


Another example, I'll never forget was at the beginning of my judging career at Texas Tech. I've mentioned so many times in prior blogs about how Christ-based our team was. Well, it started off on a strong note when we first began.

We were on a winter workout in Odessa, Texas when "I Can Only Imagine" by Mercy Me came on the radio. We were driving along scribbling on our stenos, not paying mind to the radio, when our coach suddenly turned the song up loud. We all paused and looked up for a moment to find our coach singing every word. No one in the van said a single word. It was pure silence except for the blaring of the radio and our coach's strong voice as he stared at the road ahead. 

I closed my eyes in that moment and said of prayer of thanksgiving because I knew The Lord had led me to where I needed to be. Then, I knew He was there. From the man who often talked livestock, came "surrounded by your glory what will my heart feel? Will I dance for you Jesus or in awe of you be still? I can only imagine, oh, I can only imagine."
I could feel His presence among us.

There are so many stories that run through my mind when I think of Jesus being with us. But, it's the special moments that take me by surprise.

It reminds me of my moms favorite old hymn: He Lives.

"He walks with me and talks me along life's merry way. He lives! He lives! Christ Jesus lives today. You ask me how I know He lives...He lives within my heart."

So today, I pray our eyes be opened, our ears be sharp, and heart ready. For Jesus is around us in everything we do. He lives within our hearts <3

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Put Your Trust In Agriculture Part 1: Motivation

"Act in a manner that is ethical and consistent." -Center for Food Integrity

In today's modern, technologically savvy, urban dense society, the average American is over three-generations removed from the family farm. In my grandparents generation, nearly everyone had a chicken or two and a milk cow in the back yard. Today, that's not how society runs. The majority of consumers buy all of their food from the grocery store and most have no idea how it got there.

To no surprise, there seems to be a new trend of consumers wanting to know "where their food comes from". As a producer, it's easy to look out my kitchen window and know exactly where my food comes from. The way my momma raised me, if you have something someone else needs, share it.

As a food producer, I am confident in American agriculture products produced daily. At the end of the day, my family and I are consumers, just like non-agriculture Americans. We eat at the same restaurants, we buy the same groceries, we prepare the same meals that are set at the table and blessed, just like everyone else.

Therefore, over the next couple of weeks, I will be posting a series of seven blog posts all related to trust. Luckily, according to The Center For Food Integrity, there are seven elements to trust-building transparency. I'll reveal these seven elements through my blogs, and why farmers should be the most trust-worthy individual in America.....after all, they are the ones that feed and clothe the world.

Plus! As an additional bonus, I have made contact with some farmers of my generation. They are the future of farming and have graciously offered up their time to lay input on the seven reasons farmers do what we do.

The first element to understanding and trusting farmers is understanding the motivation behind what we do.

My first guest blogger to address the topic of "motivation" is Brett Moriarty. Although a recent graduate of Texas A&M, Brett reigns from Medical Lake, Washington where he grew up on a diversified farming operation primarily working with horses and cattle.

"Farming and ranching are not simply jobs" Brett says, "to some they are just a career, but to many farming/ranching is a lifestyle."

According to the USDA, 98% of all farms are family farms, so for families like mine and Brett's, farming is not just a form of revenue, it's a family tradition. 

Brett goes on to say "Those members of society who are involved in production agriculture are some of the best hearted people you will ever come across. They take pride in getting things done to the best of their abilities.

To any readers who also have the responsibility of being a parent, you can easily relate to one of the integral parts of agriculture: nurturing another living being.

Some people make the claim that farmers and ranchers are in it to 'get rich'. However, there is a good chance that these critics have never been a part of agriculture. The margins in the business are often extremely small. This means that whether a producer farms crops or raises livestock, they must keep the health of their product as the number one priority. Maintaining a healthy, productive, efficient animal is the best solution."

So, what's Brett's conclusion?

"Ultimately, a farmer or rancher is motivated by their ability to supply safe, wholesome food to consumers, (a category that everyone falls into), as well as by a continued effort to build a more sustainable process so future generations can experience an increased quality of life."

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Sweet Sunday: 1 Corinthians 16:13

"Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong."
-1 Corinthians 16:13

So, since I have been awful at blogging I will let you all know what is new in my life! I think this verse is very applicable to my current adventures so I'm sharing it primarily for my personal benefit!

Currently, I am in Mulhall, Oklahoma helping my cousin with his political campaign. We travel and talk to voters and do all kinds of fun stuff! This verse is especially true to remember when getting caught up in politics and the hub-bub of busy life, I have to remember to keep myself grounded, to be courageous, strong, and mainly to stand firm in faith. 

I have started a new tradition, thanks to a new blog I now love - Cup and a Slice! I take time each morning to drink a good cup of coffee and read a couple chapters out of the bible. (Seriously, invest in good coffee, it's one area of life that should never be shorted. I prefer Dunkin' Donuts hazelnut.)

Also, if anyone has any suggestions of favorite books of the bible - I am almost finished with Proverbs and open to taking suggestions on my next book, comment below :)

Additionally, I am helping my uncle coaching a 4-H livestock judging team! The state contest is in 10 days so we are working very hard. This is by far one of my favorite tasks I've taken part in! If it isn't already known, I'm a livestock judging guru, I seriously love it. So far, coaching has proven to be much more fun than actually judging. Except on contest day - then it's not as fun, it's way too stressful being outside the doors!

Anyway, I wanted to write this verse not only for myself, but also my sweet Hansford County livestock judgers. I just love to remember that God is with us in everything we do. At the end of the day, after looking at pigs and cattle, it's important to hit our knees and thank the Lord for giving us the opportunity to have such a wonderful life <3

Well that's it for now! I'm off to get some sleep and get ready for the week!