The New Year Bliss

It's the start of a new year. In case you missed it, of course!

It seems every time the new year rolls around a whole new feeling is in our home.

The chance to start something fresh, set new goals, changing over files, and a new tax year. I always feel so refreshed at the start of the new year. I often say to myself "This is the year I do...."

Then, a few weeks later the new year bliss is over. I find myself falling back into the same old ways, and those dreams of drinking less coke are way behind me already.

Now, before I married my farmer I was a goal setter. Every single week I would have a list of things I wanted to get accomplished. Listed in their order of importance. And often times color coded.

Well, a farmer's life isn't color coded. So, after a year of being married to one, I found myself listing less and less goals in my coveted Franklin Covey planner. I found myself not planning over two weeks in advance, when I very easily had a month ahead always planned before. I found myself adjusting my life to fit into the farm life schedule.

And I made it work. I still color code, but instead I use a planner that sits on our counter. So my farmer always knows what is going on. And I keep the same planner, in a smaller version in my purse. Instead of listing goals every week in my planner and numbering them off I now use a post-it note system. That I really do love. And amazingly, so does my farmer.

 Now that the new year is here. I have our new calendar all set up, highlighted and all, with meetings, birthdays, and travel dates.

I have really been thinking about the whole idea of what "goals" I want to set for the new year. And I have decided this year I won't.

Lots of people set goals like weight loss, eat better, call family more, get organized. Well, I know I need to work out more. I typically do my best to have a well balanced meal. And my husband will agree to that. My policy of at least two vegetables sometimes drives him nuts! And I am the most organized person I know.

I think the pressure of setting new goals at the new year is a bit much. Instead I have decided that setting goals every week by writing them on my post it notes works for me and my family. I am already a goal seeking person naturally, it's just to me about choosing where I want to dedicate my time, where my passions are...

Maybe that's the key. Instead of setting a goal of something I am going to resolve I will not set a goal and continue to seek passion in my everyday life.

Happy New Year, resolutions and all. And if you find yourself slipping I think that's okay. Instead of seeking the goal, instead seek passion and embrace life!

Starting A Family With Your Farmer

Is about like getting married. It never seems there is a good time!

My husband and I have been married for four years as of last Thursday. Our daughter has blessed with her presence for 18 months.

I remember being pregnant with her two harvests ago. I spent my Fall in the grain cart out in the field. Sick, very sick. I had a pretty rough pregnancy, but it was so worth it.

And it didn't really go as planned. Ideally we had aimed for having a baby right at the end of November or May. This gets us through harvest and through planting seasons.

I will say that babies never come as planned, but I know that I am really glad we didn't have our daughter smack in the middle of harvest, because then I would have had a husband that would have been distracted I think. Especially since we were at the hospital nearly a week!

It just so happens that the day we were admitted into the hospital it started raining, and raining and raining. It rained so much we in fact had to replant some fields that Spring.

The day we got home from the hospital I remember my husband helping me into the house. Laying our little girl in my lap, kissing my cheek, and saying he will be home soon.

He then spent the rest of the afternoon and early evening feeding cattle and working on various projects. Work on a farm is never done, even if you do have a baby.

I remember sitting on our couch watching the sun go down, debating whether I should wake up our pretty little girl to eat or let her sleep. And being just a tiny bit sad that my husband wasn't here to discuss it with me.

But, I will say he was as supportive as he could be every night when he did come home and we also worked a pretty great routine out for the night shifts. He wanted to be a part of every moment and I love that. He was just as passionate about being a Daddy as being my Farmer.

I love watching my farmer with our daughter on the farm. It is one of her favorite things to do- go with Daddy. She loves all things farm, tractor, and cow.

You can't help but feel her joy for agriculture as she sees and learns everything for the first time. It is a nice reminder of the beauties of our industry.

My farmer and our farmer in making at a local farm show. 

Marrying My Farmer

When I married my farmer, some things had to change. I couldn't just run off to town real quick for what I needed to make supper, or even to run to town to pick out the perfect outfit for a special event. Tanning and getting my nails done are now a thing of the past. My favorite make-up counter is not even existent in the state of South Dakota.

And while I miss those things and enjoy when I do get the chance to be a "city girl" again, I wouldn't trade my muck boots, pony tails, or coveralls for anything.

I wouldn't say as I married my farmer that my hobbies have changed, but I definitely feel more confident and more credible now, than ever before.

I spent my childhood being involved in 4-H and FFA. When it came time for me to go to college I knew I wanted to teach, but wasn't sure what. When I made my decision it felt right. I chose to major in Agricultural Education because as an educator I would always be learning- because the Ag industry is always changing and evolving. And that was something I wanted to be a part of.

Through out college I was active in various groups promoting the Ag Industry. I participated in debates and forums. Even sitting on a committee in the Indiana State Department of Agriculture on improving education in rural Indiana. I was President of my 4-H groups, sat on various community boards, and actively an advocate for the importance of Agricultural Education.

So, marrying my farmer didn't chance my interests. It just strengthened them. Instead of just talking or teaching about farming, now I can talk about my real life experience with it. When I say that I support GMO's, I can tell you why we use them on our farm and the benefits that I see every day across the industry as a whole.

I spend my spare time doing my hobby. Being an Advocate for the Ag Industry. Something we need more and more of. I spend late nights blogging, replying in comment sections to articles speaking out against the Ag industry, speaking at various events, and when I get the time, traveling to talk about my blog and the benefits of using social media to engage with consumers.

Marrying my farmer didn't change who I was, it only strengthened what I believe in and he has shown me the importance of continuing to put on a face on agriculture.

Make sure that when you marry your farmer you don't fall away from your passions, but make sure you marry him because he makes you a better you.

Putting Your Relationship First

We are done! All of our crops have been brought in and are either sold, in grain bins, or bunkers tarped and ready to feed this winter.

Now, we are a bit out of the norm. I am pretty sure that the last statistic I saw on Friday was that only 40% of the corn was combined across the Midwest. But, my guys, they don't like to mess around.

We work long days and even longer nights. But, finally we have reached the light at the end of the tunnel.

Typically, harvest for us ends around the end of October and I have been planning for months about what our first after harvest date is.

However, now with our 18 month old running around all the time I haven't thought too much about it.

I believe that when you are married it's super important to always put your relationship first.

Even before farming. Except maybe during planting, calving, haying, and harvest.

Let's be real, putting your relationship first when you are married to a farmer is tough.

But, no worries- there are still plenty of opportunities to put your relationship first, even during the busy seasons!

It may mean working out differences while sitting in a tractor, working cattle, or sorting pigs.

Even when you have kids I think this is super important, your marriage and relationship should always come first. Plus, it is such a good example to your children to show that their parents love one another and truly care about the bond they have as husband and wife.

Here are some tips to always keeping your relationship first when dating a farmer.

Plan dates every week, month, or every 6 weeks.  Having a set day for dates really helps. Now, we are a bit flexible on this one. We don't stick to the exact day, but we try to aim for at least once a month spending time alone together just the two of us.

Plan exciting dates. I think trying to do new things is always great. My farmer, not so much. To us, in our small town, a new movie is pretty exciting! Whether it's talking the entire night or simply sitting in silence and enjoying one another.

If it's your one date night a month, do not go to a sports bar. I can not stand it when a TV is present at wherever we are eating. I got dressed up, brushed my hair, have on heels...I want the attention on me, not the baseball game.  Farmers spend a lot of time in the tractor and my farmer listens to a lot of sporting events so getting the chance to actually see one on TV is a real treat, which I get, but I also want that undivided attention.

Head to a Farm Show. Make a day of it. My hubby and I just spend the day at a farm show towards the end of the summer. We walked and walked and walked. And we also talked. And then we ended the evening at a decent restaurant simply sitting in silence enjoying each other.

Any other ideas on how you can put your relationship first with your farmer?

Love And Respect

I have always been a reader, ever since I can remember. My parents were often telling me to "get my nose out of my book" and partake in family activities. I was a social butterfly, but could easily immerse myself in any story for days at a time. There is just something that books do to my soul. They make me cry, make me angry, fill me with love...

Each year as I grow older I find myself being drawn to different styles of books. In fiction, I never would have picked up a science fiction book until a few years ago.

The last few weeks I have been running the grain cart in the fields most days and nights. I have read about 5 or so books. And it isn't because I have nothing to do, it's because soybeans tend to go slower, and there is always that perfect timing of a breakdown, or when the semi is running behind and isn't back to the field to be reloaded with grain.

A few days ago I was digging through my back pack trying to decide what kind of mood I was in. I then had to snap this photo as I chuckled at my various subjects.

I have a Christian Fiction Romance (Moonlight On The Millpond- Reread, so I love!) and my Bible study book (Not A Fan- Which is extremely convicting! LOVE!). I also have a book on the importance of advocating for agriculture (No More Food Fights- also a real eye opener!) and a book on marriage (Love and Respect).

Now, I am pretty much in love with every one of these titles rights now. But, I really wanted to talk about Love and Respect. My husband and I received this as a wedding gift four years ago. With all of the reading I do I haven't even touched it until the last few months. Amazingly enough. I think I have finally reached a maturity in my marriage to need it.

And it isn't because my husband and I are struggling, it's because I find myself wanting to find new ways to make our marriage even better.

The concept is that love best motivates a woman and respect most powerfully motivates a man.

An example that comes through in the book is the idea that in an argument a woman feels unloved, where as a man feels disrespected.

I completely, fully agree. When my husband and I do argue I find myself sometimes feeling like he doesn't love me (Even though I know he does). I feel like he must not care enough to really want to do what I want or really listen to what I am saying. When in actuality he may just not be wanting to hear what I say because of how I am saying it to him.

Now, I am only into Part 1 of the book- The Crazy Cycle. There are two other parts I haven't gotten to yet- The Energizing Cycle and The Rewarded Cycle.

The Crazy Cycle is exactly what is sounds like. A viscous crazy cycle. Without love she reacts without respect and without respect he reacts without love. It also gives some great advice for how to get out of this cycle.

I see this concept can often be applied in all relationships. I have often used the saying "To get respect you have to give respect".

So, I think the idea of this book pretty much hits marriage relationships right on the head.

I'm not saying that to have a perfect marriage you need to pick up this book. But, I will definitely say it has already in the last month changed some of the ways I communicate with my husband. I try to respect him more and I think he naturally has shown more love. And he hasn't even touched this book.

After four years of marriage, two miscarriages, life threatening medical conditions, and one beautiful little girl, I would say it is safe to say we have been on a roller coaster most of our marriage.

Our marriage has been through a lot and we have learned a lot about one another as individuals, as a couple, as business partners, as parents. And I foresee many more roller coaster rides in years to come. And I think advice on how to make things even better in our marriage is something I could never turn down.

Don't be afraid to pick up books on communication, marriage, or relationship advice. You may have something perfect already, but having the tools in place when you hit the bumpy spots on your road will only strengthen your relationship that much more.

Wedding Planning With Your Farmer

Now that you have selected the PERFECT time of year for your wedding, you now have to look at all the planning that goes into it. 

And, you definitely want to make sure your wedding is "farmer friendly" too. Keep in mind that you may have selected the perfect time of year for your wedding, however, the months before the wedding may be a busy season. 

If you remember, my farmer and I were engaged in July and married in November. That means that we had just about 3ish months to plan. And most of that was going to be smack in the middle of Harvest.

Once my husband and I selected the location, the details were left up to me. 

I would have been just fine with a big BBQ thrown at our shop, but my husband wanted a nice supper and a wedding dance to remember. 

I wasn't too picky on decorations or colors, but my husband had the idea of using the kids' tractors as part of the centerpieces and I loved it. I added in some various glass vases, some Fall foliage and it fit us perfectly.

 I have a really beautiful sapphire engagement ring, passed down from my mother. But, when I chose the ring I would wear everyday I chose a unique band with diamonds. No sense in wearing a 3 carat diamond around on the farm everyday. 

Instead of sand we poured two types of corn

We were married in the church we now attend on Sundays.

I was pretty easy going about what dresses my bridesmaids chose. Half of them switched to their boots by the end of the evening. All of our men in the wedding party wore black wranglers. And I may have climbed our combine ladder in my very white dress. 

Don't be afraid to pull details from the life you are going to have with your farmer. My husband enjoyed hearing the details and adding his own thoughts here and there from the seat of the tractor.

Planning a wedding is so much fun, but I think it's even more fun when you are marrying a farmer!