Sunday, January 25, 2015


Rarely if ever do I get company on a Sunday morning at the hour I post our visit. So this morning I was surprised when Karl walked in and said his hog shed called him at 2:30 am and told him he and Kristin were out of electricity. We shared a cup of coffee together.
Last week I shared with you how we helped get ready for new little pigs.
 These little guys are doing the same thing little pigs do. Hang out together under the brooder heater.
 Of course someone needs to check out if the dead pig cart works by sharing rides.
 Karl and Kristin's new little guests arrived healthy and comfortable. They are anywhere from 19-21 days old. A semi can hold up to 2500 of these little guys.
 They get two shots within the first week they arrive. Catching, vaccinating, and lifting 3600 15-20 lb. pigs over the fence will challenge any healthclub workout.
However a good crew makes the job go fast. This crew was vaccinating around 1000 pigs an hour.
Due to the moderating weather Mike is back in the dozer and BJ and Mark are tiling. Byron and Ethan are supervising in this pic.
 It was fun to watch grandkids play junior high basketball at Osky Christian. Matt, an Osky native, was the girls coach for Des Moines Christian.
 Last night we enjoyed supper and visiting at Sully Christian's fun and food get-together.
 We spent some time in the FSA office this week. The farm bill is asking to update yields and base acres on every farm.
 Of course January is a busy month sending out 1099s and preparing for taxes. Good thing we have Linda as a helper.
In 1931 Timken Bearing Co. came out with this advertisement in the Country Gentleman Magazine saying that farming in 100 years might be unrecognizable. This week BJ and I went to Climate Pro training where we were learning how to scout crops with satellite technology.  
 We often get guests in our shop. It's educational and fun to share ideas.
 Jan and I went to a wedding last week where we were able to visit with some friends at the reception that we usually don't see that often.
 Many times in life you just never know what God has planned and I'm thankful for the people he has put in our lives that we can share relationships with.
 I'm also thankful for family and how we can share both our blessings and our burdens together.
 To wrap things up this morning I'm thankful we live in a country where we can still share our faith and celebrate worship together. In the pic below we are having communion together as a church family.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Understanding And Sharing What Really Matters

Good morning folks. For some unknown reason my computer refuses to load pictures this morning. I'm sorry. I will do my best to paint pictures in your mind as I share during our visit.
It was a beautiful Friday morning and warming up. The evening before Jan and I drove to Des Moines where she had some shopping to do while I attended my board meeting in Urbandale. At our meeting we were discussing the upcoming presidential campaigns. We also talked about some of our organization's friends that included God in their successful businesses.
I had received an invite to a meeting in SE Iowa from an Ag business that I don't do business with. I was intrigued however that in their advertising they shared their values and their faith.
Thanks to Mark, Brad, and Alex who were loading and hauling beans I decided to head down the 4 lane to SE Iowa. As I was leaving Jan called and reminded me of a farm sale in the neighborhood which I also passed on.
As I arrived on this businesses property I counted around 100 pickups in attendance. I walked in, was given a tour, offered a cup of coffee, and invited to mingle until lunch which would be in about 20 minutes. I didn't know a soul there and I was wondering why I had even come.
We were asked to find a seat and the meeting was starting. Ben opened the meeting, said they were thankful for us their guests, and said they felt blessed to be in business. He then introduced Scot, the owner of the family business. Scot talked about his family, their company's passion for farmers, and said they were taking a step of faith expanding into Iowa. He mentioned their company was growing around 20% a year. He also talked about attitude, teamwork, integrity, and commitment.
After more introductions they said it was time for lunch. Ben asked everyone to bow their heads and asked the blessing on the meal. As folks were getting in the lunch line I saw the owner exiting the room and I knew why I had come. I passed on lunch, caught up with him, and thanked him for including God in his growing business. It's refreshing and rewarding when someone understands and shares what really matters.
Last Sunday Justin shared with our church about his ministry in Cambodia. His passion showed and he understands relationships is how to reach folks for the Lord.
I was hoping to show you Karl's clean hog shed this morning. Yesterday Karl bought breakfast pizza and several of us including 8 grownups and 7 kids put things in place for the arrival of 3600 baby pigs next week.
Jan and I attended a wedding of a friend of ours who we do business with. My prayer for them as they continue their lives together is that they understand what really matters in their marriage and share that with each other.
"For I want you to understand what really matters so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day our Lord returns." Philippians 1:10

Sunday, January 11, 2015

A New Season

Good morning. I'm not sure who you all are but I hope you are enjoying the season you are at in your life. Just like the weather here in Iowa our lives go through different seasons.
It's been cold around here this week. Uncomfortable situations sometimes call for unlikely friendships.
Sometimes you may wonder what can possibly happen on the farm in the dead of winter. Well Karl is busy selling hogs and will soon be power washing his shed in order to get ready for a new batch of baby pigs. 
We are hauling some grain. In this weather we have to be sure the truck fuel is treated or it will gel up as thick as jelly. Also we run alcohol in the air lines so the brakes work.
The boys have been hauling feed ingredients to a local feed mill from ethanol plants in the northern part of the state.
Our seed sales are just about complete other than walk-in business during planting season. Winter is a good season to sit down with customers and help them plan for the coming year.
We get in semi loads of seed just about every  week from December through February.
Of course winter time is when a farmer gets his equipment ready for another new crop season.
Congratulations to Kyle and Meredith who started a new season in their lives yesterday.
Our family did an overnight stay after the holidays at a motel with a water slide. Breakfast at Perkins the next morning took six tables.
Kurt is starting a new season in his life serving as a deacon in he and Emily's church in Pella.  
Mark was also given the responsibility of serving as a deacon this year.
Yesterday our church council got together for breakfast at the cabin. Thanks to Irv for planning and cooking the meal. We had a good time.
Yesterday we had a family meeting about an upcoming outing with Pablo and Paula. Planning on something you are looking forward to is half the fun.
"But Mom, I didn't mean to make him cry." Older readers, doesn't Harris's hat remind you of Mr. Khrushchev who was president of Russia in the 1960s?
Well that's about all the news I have for this week. No matter what season of your life you are in remember to live life with a purpose. It's how God intended it when He made you.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

What's The Plan

 It's snowing and blowing in Iowa this morning. So we're in a new year. What's the plan? Have we thought about what we would like to accomplish? Will our efforts be effective? As we move forward is our goal just to make a living or make a life?
You don't have to be very old around here to wish you were outside playing with your cousins or helping your Dad.
Families are the back bone of our culture in learning responsibility and caring about each other. One of the things that shaped me the most growing up was helping and being given responsibility as a kid. One of the most rewarding things for me is to see our grandkids being given responsibility and working along side their parents.
I have always loved and appreciated my parents although I don't tell them that often enough. One of my goals this year is to be a parent that my kids can appreciate. By the way I think it's my little sister's 45th birthday today. Happy Birthday Beth.
Will you be an enjoyable person to be around this year? Do folks like working with you? Are you a good listener? Can people trust you?
Will you be thankful this year for what others do for you and express it? How about please when you need something? How about I'm sorry when you goof up? Old rules that are still very applicable today.
God always has a plan for us and sometimes He leads us down a different path. Another one of my goals this year is to not miss opportunities to serve and help when they are presented. It's like when Mordecai said to his niece Queen Esther, "and who knows that you have come for such a time as this." God wants us to be part of His-story.
Will you feel genuinely happy for other folk's accomplishments this year?
Relationships make things happen. If you have to pick between people and things, pick people.
Do you have projects that have been needing attention for some time? I can be a procrastinator sometimes. Make it a goal this year to tackle those projects.
Finally we don't know when the next year will be our last. Have you made a plan for heavenly treasures after these earthly treasures? If you were to die this year would you be ok? Have you made enough plans and did enough homework that your loved ones would be ok? Remember don't judge a person's success by how much his business needs him. Judge that person's success by how well things run when he is gone.
"And may the Lord our God show us His approval and make our plans successful." Psalms 90:17

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Looking Back On 2014

"Then I realized that it is good for a man to make a living, and to find satisfaction in his work during the few days God has given him, for this is his destiny. Moreover, when God gives man things, and allows him to enjoy them, to accept his destiny, and be happy in his work, this is a gift from God. He seldom looks back on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart." Ecclesiastes 5:18-20
 I'm spending just a little time this morning looking back over the past year and sharing some thoughts. It's been a busy year on many fronts. It's still a highlight of mine to be able to work with family and help that cares about each other as a team, is not scared of responsibility, and gives 110% effort.
Early in the year Kurt and Emily took their little guy home from Blank Hospital after recovering from a blood platelet issue.
 Today Jackson is a busy little guy looking and acting just like his Dad did 25 years ago.
I was able to go to Malawi, Africa with Ken last January, see my friends there, and help with some farming practices.
It was a Sunday afternoon in late April. The sky got black. We had heavy rain and scary high winds.
 We cancelled Sunday evening church. We were without electricity. We had to pull a fire truck out of the mud. Crops blew over.
We lost a small building across the road. Karl and Kristin lost two buildings. We had landlords lose a machine shed. We had to have a cleanup week.
Becky and Brian added a fourth boy to their family this year. Today Harris is 5 months old and a chunk. Becky will be strong by the time he is walking.
We are building a house. It's been fun getting to know Daryl, our contractor, and his son-in-law Colton better. Jan spent a long time dreaming, planning, and designing. Currently she is busy making choices. She has done a phenomenal job and our new home will be very practical and have a very homie feel.
I have three reasons for wanting a new home. The first reason is kind of selfish. It eliminates my honeydew list on the old house. I wanted Jan to have the experience of a new home. She deserves it. And finally I hope it will be a blessing to family short term and long term. I also hope we can find a way to share it.
Another highlight this year is when Karl and Kristin announced they are going to have a baby next April.
And then there was the mud. We had a 5 inch rain in September and another 5 inch event in October.
Because of all our commitments we traded for a combine on tracks.
We ended up taking 95% of our forward sold crop to market right out of the field again this year.
The crop south of Highway 92 was one for the record books. Corn on clay hills were making well over 200 bushels per acre. Soybean yields were a little more variable averaging from 50 to 75 bushels per acre. 
I was given some responsibility this year serving on our church council. I was blessed to be able to work with men that cared about and had goals for our church.
Our goals included to be a more affirming church to each other and to community, to experience joy in worship, and to serve our Lord by serving each other.
 Well you don't get anywhere looking backward for long. As we look down the road toward 2015 let's continue to find ways to be productive, effective, and caring. Happy New Year.