Sunday, July 27, 2014

What About Him

On the spur of the moment we invited the kids over for hot dogs last Sunday evening. I wanted to get together and make a special evening for two of our grandsons who were leaving for the International Cadet Camporee in Canada.
Gideon and Cody's folks brought them to Pella to board two greyhound buses at 4 am on Tuesday morning for a 30 hour trip for Red Deer, Alberta, Canada. Leaving and being gone for 10 days might have been harder for the mom's than for the boys worrying and wondering about them. Oh well, that's what mom's are for. Hope you guys are having fun.
Monday noon we celebrated Zac's 4th birthday. Sweet corn and birthday cake. I read a good quote this week by the late Dear Abby, "If you want your kids to turn out well spend twice the time with them and half the money on them."
Jan and I enjoyed a visit with friends and great landlords, Marv and Jean. About 45 years ago as a young teenager I used to babysit their kids.
Well Friday was to be a sweet corn morning. It was raining. We picked a Ranger load anyway and then backed it in front of the shop to husk it. Many hands make the job go fast and is more fun.
When we came in for lunch on Friday there was corn cooling in the living room in front of a fan with two little foot prints in it. Couldn't resist what that would feel like I guess. When the little people were asked who did it they said, not me, what about him.
Jan's father insisted we mount a seat complete with a seat belt on the fender of a non cab tractor for little riders. Kurt and helpers took care of that job.
We learned this week that one of Kurt's landlords has fast progressing brain cancer. Our prayers go out for Gene and Sandy and their family.
Our crew is planning and preparing for harvest. The weather will determine the timing however we hope to be ready to roll by Labor Day week, just five short weeks away.
My father-in-law stopped by a couple of times this past week. He has always been a go-getter and hard worker. He's 91 years old and mentioned to me in both visits that his days on earth are numbered. As we experienced this week not everyone dies old.
I lost a cousin yesterday afternoon. He died of a heart attack at 53 years old. My dad was the youngest of ten children. There are two left, him and Aunt Kay. Of the forty or so kids of those ten children I think we've only lost five. Robert and Jerry drowned in a pond accident in 1960. Kenny died around ten years ago. My brother Dan. And now Greg. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his father Uncle Harold, his wife Lorriane and family, his brothers Darryl and Jim, and his sister Nancy.
Death is sometimes sudden and seemingly so final. We never know when God says, "I want him". We all need to live as if our days are numbered because they are. In John 21 Jesus reinstates Peter after his resurrection. He tells Peter to follow Him. Peter looks at his friend John and asks Jesus, "what about him?" We are so like Peter sometimes.
I rarely get company early Sunday mornings. BJ and Cassia and family stopped to say good bye. They and Mike and Suzanne left this morning for Canada to pick up their boys. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Extra Things

Good morning. The pictures in our visit this week show a number of extracurricular activities our family was involved in.
 Cousins watching the sheep show
 Since they are rather self explanatory I won't bore you with details. I think I'll share some of my favorite quotes. A few are my own. Many I have heard and saved over the years.
Ethan showing sheep
 "Remember the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing"
Motocross at the Washington County Fair
 "85% of communication is voice inflection and body language"
Dad and boys
 "If you make a mistake make sure you make it at full speed"
Elijah mutton busting
 "If everyone is zigging, zag. If everyone is zagging, zig"
Elliott's catch
 "Don't wait for the light at the end of the tunnel. Go down there and light it yourself"
64 lb catch out of Lake Keomah
"The future will always be to those who see the possibilities before they become obvious"
Newton Speedway
"The best way to predict the future is to invent it"
Jackson wishing he was driving
"You can't fly a kite running with the wind"
Rachel tractor pulling
"All strengths become weaknesses if taken to excess"
Amelia's ribbons
"Just because you have a hammer doesn't mean everything is a nail"
Meet and greet with the News Boys
"Don't talk so much that you say things you haven't thought of yet"
4 guys that truly love their Lord
"If you look where your significance and security are, there you will find your God"
Chuck and Gina Norris and family
"Patience is the ability to keep your light shining after your fuse has blown"
Mondays at lunch time
"As you think about and plan how you handle the extra things in life remember to include other people"
4-H auction @ Southern Iowa Fair
"At the end of the day people won't remember what you said or did. They will remember how you made them feel"
Spraying beans @ the Ponderosa

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Holding Harris

Harris Jordan was welcomed into the world by his brothers about 3 hours after he was born. He weighed 10 1/2 lbs and was hungry the minute he arrived. These four boys belong to Brian and Becky.
 The older three brothers stayed over for a couple of days. They enjoyed Grandma's cooking and helping Grandpa, always asking if we could use the Ranger during our jobs.
 Grandma still loves and gets along well with babies. Harris is our 16th grandchild. We are so blessed to have our children live close and see their families every week. We couldn't have prepared, planned, or even dreamed of the changes, opportunities, trials, and blessings we've experienced since our first was born 37 years ago next month.
 Brother Bill and his wife Julie are grandparents for the second time. Daughter Hannah and husband Tony welcomed Evelynn Tiah into their family this past Wednesday.
 The grain markets are thinking we have a big crop coming. The corn market dropped 30 cents/bu. this week and $1.30/bu. since spring. Eddyville corn bid for last half October is $3.50/bu. The soybean market dropped over a dollar/bu. this week.
 More often than not the grain markets break from their spring highs sometime between the 20th of June and the 10th of July. Hopefully farmers have forward priced some of their 2014 crop and/or bought put options to establish a floor price. There is a risk in selling ahead of the combine or even the planter. There is also a risk in waiting. 
It's been a week of looking back and looking forward. So much has changed. Life seems faster. How we farm. How we communicate. How we get from point A to point B. When I was born 58 years ago my parents lived on a dirt road in a two room house. I think they got indoor plumbing the year I was born.
When Jan and I got married we lived on gravel in a small rented house we paid $75/month. This bridge close to Tracy reminds me of the one that used to be below Bellfountain Hill on Hwy 92. For some reason I still remember buying a IH 715 combine in Knoxville the first year we were married. Jan went across the Des Moines River on a bridge like this to stop traffic so I could get across. Today we live just a mile off of a 4 lane divided highway.
Speaking of bridges, this crew put one in this week. We are changing up our 4-wheeler and Ranger paths a little that some of you have been on when you've visited StillwatersIowa.
Last Sunday the 8th grade class of 1969 from Osky Christian Grade had a 45th year reunion at the cabin. These folks were a year ahead of me in school. I stopped by their get together for a cup of coffee, a picture, some cool stories about the old days, and what they are all up to today.
We occasionally stop by and visit Edgar. He lost his wife this past spring. The original room of the home he lives in was a cabin built in 1844. Wow. I think that was even before Iowa was a state.
He passes the time by feeding chipmunks that live under his home. The Ritz cracker can he had his sunflower seeds in was metal. That can must be 60 years old.
Despite all our modern changes, conveniences, and faster life pace, our culture has gotten sidetracked. Our countries leaders are trying their hardest to do away with acknowledging God and the values He put in place and what our countries founders built our country on. Family, freedom, life, and marriage.
I'm thankful the racing industry still acknowledges God by praying before every race. As a society we no longer allow God in our public schools and civil buildings.
It's not rocket science to figure out we have problems when we as a country protect unborn wildlife, yet legally allow human babies to be killed up to the time of birth, and publicly pay for it with our tax dollars.
So what will life be for Harris? How will he travel 50 years from now? What will he do for a living? Will he still have the freedom to have as large a family as he wishes? Will he be allowed to own property? Will he be allowed to acknowledge his Creator and worship freely? What are we as a generation of grandparents doing to keep our freedoms and values for our grandchildren? Are we making things happen or are we watching things happen? Or will we someday wonder what happened?
"For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for evil. To give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Holding On Loosely

Happy Independence Day. A countries independence and freedom only works if it's citizens hold on to trust, integrity, and character.
A business and career is most successful when it's proprietors hold on loosely by sharing the credit for their success, by sharing the wealth they produce, and by acknowledging all things are given by or allowed to be taken away by a higher power.
As we roll into July for the most part the planting, fertilizing, and spraying are about wrapped up. The biggest factor in crop production in July and August is the weather which is beyond a farmer's control. 
Southern and central Iowa had some strong winds come through giving new meaning to the term "knee high by the 4th of July".
Southwestern Iowa had a serious batch of hail destroying crops for many miles.
All of Iowa has had heavy rain events. The rising rivers have flooded bottoms. Many local farmers have lost significant acres.
Thanks to all of you who sent me birthday wishes. Thanks to Jan for my favorite meal. Thanks to Brad for cutting the German chocolate birthday cake.
Thanks to the kids for a gift and for taking us out for supper.
As my birthdays count up I realize what a gift a large family is. Below is Grandma's house on a rainy Monday.
I've also learned over the years that the ones we love are the Lord's. Grandkids prefer sunny Mondays at Grandma's.
I'd like to finish with a story I heard this week that puts "walking our talk" in perspective.
A gentleman who had become wealthy came back to his hometown to speak at the church where he attended when he was young.
 He talked about earning a dollar bill as a child. He recalled how he was sitting in this very church when a missionary asked for money.
 He said he remembered putting the dollar in the collection plate, stating he had given everything he had, and how he credited that act to God blessing him so richly.
 As he was sitting down after his talk an older lady leaned over to him and said, "I dare you to try it again".
 Wow, everything we have is the Lord's. Yet how tightly we hang on, coming up with excuses why we can't share or give sacrificially.
All to Jesus I surrender, All to Him I freely give. I will ever love and trust Him, In His presence daily live. All to thee my blessed Savior.  I surrender all.