Sunday, May 24, 2015

Graceful Giving

What kind of person would you like to be when you get old? What's important to you now? 
When you think about what's important in the Bible it mentions "believing" 233 times. It talks about "praying" 345 times. It talks about "love" 640 times. The Bible mentions "giving" 1536 times.
Elijah graduated from Kindergarten this past week. He was to wear something he wanted to be. He told his Mom he wanted to go in a Cat combine. Way to go Stacy!
We had another good week of wrapping up some jobs and starting others. Our family couldn't do it without our helpers who make us a complete team. Brad and Julie and their girls live close. Brad helps out as well as has ground of his own.  
Alex can plant, spray, apply NH3, truck, or do just about anything else. He is BJs go to guy when tiling as well. Alex is just starting to rent his own land.
Dan and Cindy are neighbors. Dan is retired and helps out part time tendering the sprayers. He can fix anything.
Pablo and Paula just live down the road with their girls. Pablo has a full time job at Cargill and helps out a couple of times a week. Paula and the girls help clean. I appreciate their friendship.
Matt and Becka have a busy family with four children. They moved back to Iowa from Colorado a few years ago. Matt has a knack for figuring things out. It's been a blessing having him help out a couple times a week and getting to know them.
Linda has helped out with the books and kept the bills paid for years now. Her and her husband Kevin are also neighbors. I appreciate all our helpers giving attitude.
We have our custom planting pretty well wrapped up. Friday night I brought Brad and BJ soybeans. If you look close in the horizon you can see the lights to "Golfing under the Stars" outing Musco was putting on.
Kurt and Karl have been spraying and are busy on second pass corn.
 It's also time to get the second pass nitrogen on the corn crop.
Graceful giving happens in family. Parents providing for, raising, and protecting their young children. Children learning to help out. The graceful part describes an easy openness, a way of life, not expecting something in return.
In order to be a giver their needs to be a receiver. Everything we have and are God gave to us. He asks us to follow his example by giving to others. 
Graceful giving also happens in community. It involves not keeping score and hanging on loosely to what we think is ours. Most folks think a person is blest and then he gives. That is so backwards. He gives in gratitude for what he has been given and then he is blest.
This weekend we are remembering. How do you want folks to remember you? When we shovel out God shovels back and God has a bigger shovel.
"Bring the whole tithe... Test me in this, says the Lord, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it....Then all the nations will call you blessed, and yours will be a delightful land." Malachi 3:10-12
 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Beginnings

Last Sunday noon the girls organized and made lunch for Mothers Day. These seven Moms have busy lives with all their responsibilities.
Mark and Stacy's boys participated in a motocross race yesterday. My guess is this snapchat is Elijah in the 50cc class.
I see our bookkeeper, Linda, has a new mouse pad. It's a series of pics of Gavin and says, World's Best Grandma.
Jan and I went out to eat one rainy evening this past week and ran into Kurt and Brad's landlord. Gary was there with his brothers and sister and some of their families.
Jan went to Grandparents Day four different times this spring. I went along with her for this one. I had to draw a picture for grandsons Anton and Zac of what I remember doing as a kid. 
Congratulations to nieces, Ki, Moria, and 13 classmates who graduated from 8th grade at Osky Christian Friday evening. They all told us their favorite scripture verse and what it meant to them. I can still remember finding my verse when I was in 8th grade.
A big thank you to all the staff at Osky Christian who are so dedicated to what they do. Ruth, who is hiding in front of Royce in this pic, was recognized for her many years of getting young folks started off right in kindergarten. 
This morning our church will celebrate 9 young people professing their faith in their Lord. What a joy to hear these kid's testimonies earlier this month as an elder. Sometimes I think we as grownups need to be more brave in sharing what our Lord means to us. Our Dutch ancestors taught us showing emotions and sharing, shows weakness and makes one vulnerable. Well they were wrong and our young people are starting to break that tradition.
Starting last evening Jan and I are beginning the rest of our lives together in our new home. For supper we brought home Mexican take out and prayed together that God would bless us and help us bless others in this new endeavor.
There are still many things to move yet and projects to finish. I would use Becky's analogy of describing it as being a very practical home thanks to Jan and a very quality home thanks to Daryl and Coulton.
We have said we have no sentimental attachments to our old home. However after 38 years of life together in it and raising a family it's hard not to think back to all the memories when looking at an empty room with pictures on the wall. It's interesting what memories come to mind. We plan to take our old house down later this year.
Life moves on in the farming arena. The alfalfa is growing and will soon need to be cut.
It is always hard to know when to mow hay. We have not had very good drying conditions in order to bale. I seeded some hills and field borders down this spring hoping to have the grandkids experience small square baling, something I did all my summers growing up.
Our damp warm days have been ideal corn growing weather. We still have a little planting to finish up yet. Nowadays life on the farm seems to stay busy from April planting through July spraying. 
Since we 2 pass most of our corn acres it's time for the skinny tires on the sprayer. The dry box for spreading extra nitrogen also goes on this week.
This is a cool picture of Emily and Jackson taken by Kurt at their new Leighton farm. It so depicts a lifestyle. At the end of a day it shows faith, family, friends, and farming, all in one. Whether we're graduating from preschool, 8th grade, joining church, moving, or farming, God always has beginnings planned for us.


Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Process

Last week Sunday the weathermen were predicting a wet week. So when folks got up on Monday morning and it was dry many came to pick up their soybean seed.  
We loaded the planters and headed for the fields. I'd guess crop planting in our area is close to being completed.
The sprayers always stay busy. Some farmers spray after planting. Many no-till fields are sprayed with burn-down. That's when you start with spraying Roundup and then plant right into last years old crop residue.
Much of the crop nutrients nowadays are split applied meaning we fertilize some all through the growing season instead of all up front. We applied some extra nitrogen to our new seeding.
Being involved in agriculture and the process of raising a crop is a wonder. Emergence is when you check stand, spacing, plant health, and weed control. A corn plant responds to details. The secret to a bumper corn harvest is hoping and helping your corn fields never have a bad day.  A farmer plans, plants, and prays because it's all in God's hands.
Soybeans on the other hand are a very forgiving crop. They don't mind coming up in last years crop residue. They accommodate a variety of plant stands and bush out accordingly. Unlike corn they have the ability to wait on moisture. They sense when the days are getting shorter and mature according to sunlight rather than heat units. A soybean's shortcoming is they don't like wet feet. 
Kurt and Emily's house remodeling process west of Leighton is progressing. The new roof, siding, windows, porch, plumbing, and wiring have all been completed. They are currently working on dry wall. They hope to move sometime before harvest.
In the summer of 1960 the home Jan and I raised our family in and have lived in for 38 years was moved to our current farm yard. It was built out of used lumber around 1900 and has served us well.
Our new home is basically finished. The basement went in last May and building started the first of July. Many thanks to our contractor Daryl and his son-in-law Colton for doing a great job. It will just about feel like family missing without them around.
The process of building a home makes a person look back and remember. It also makes one look forward and wonder. Jan planned our house with no steps to the main floor and handicap accessible bathrooms. My first thought was she must think we're going to have a lot of old people visit. Then I realized she was thinking about us. The porch and rocking chair are ready for me. However I'm not quite ready for them. I am high mileage however and have aches and pains I didn't use to have. 
Thursday my parents celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary. Today is my Mom's birthday. Happy Mother's Day Mom. I couldn't have asked for better parents. 
I don't have a current picture of the gals in my life so I'll have to use an older one. We haven't gotten together for awhile so I'm looking forward to Mother's Day dinner at the cabin this noon. Jan has always been and continues to be an exceptional mother and wife. Happy Mother's Day Jan. Believe it or not I'm starting to look forward to moving.  
I saved this snap chat picture I was sent from Tulip Time of our three oldest grandsons. My daughter and daughter-in-laws are all wonderful mothers and wives. It's exciting and scary both to see grandkids growing up so fast.
Kristin brought 3 week old Malaki over on the Ranger in his car seat to help both his Grandpa's load seed beans. Like Jan, Becky, Suzanne, Stacy, Cassia, Emily, and now Kristin have all been amazing at nurturing and raising kids and at the same time let them experience life and allowing them to be part of the farm. The process of being a Mom and raising a family is the most important job anyone in this country has.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Gideon's Help

About 3000 years ago the Israelites were struggling. The Midianites had come, camped on their land, ruined their crops, and killed their livestock.
Judges 6 says one day the angel of the Lord came, sat under an oak tree where Gideon was farming, greeted him, and told him the Lord was with him.
Gideon responded by asking, if the Lord is with us why are all these bad things happening? The Lord told Gideon He had come to send him and save Israel from Midian's hands.
Gideon argued that his clan was the weakest in his community and he was the smallest in his family. The Lord promised to be with him. Gideon said please don't be angry with me but could you give me a sign that you are here for real. God did with the dry ground and wet fleece and then the wet ground and dry fleece.
Finally Gideon started his task and gathered 32000 men to go fight their enemy of 135000. God said, you have too many. Send everyone home that is scared. 22000 men went home. God said, you still have too many. Go and take your men to the water and I will sift them for you. As many of you remember from the story, Gideon ended up with just 300 guys.
Do you suppose Gideon was scared? Probably, but he was not a coward and he obeyed even though he did not have a clue about the results. 
Gideon did do his homework. He and his servant crawled down to the outpost of the Midianites during the night. He heard the guards talking about a dream they had, that they were going to be beaten. That gave Gideon the confidence to move forward.
It says when Gideon heard the dream and it's interpretation, he worshipped God. What a moment to fully know that he was right where God wanted him and was going to use him.
He went home, got his 300 guys, gave them trumpets, pots, and torches, and headed back to his mission. They surrounded the enemy, made a lot of noise, surprised and confused the enemy, and God gave them the victory.
What about you? Have you ever felt that you had a project that was bigger than you could handle? As you look over a situation you feel small and inadequate. Sometimes you even feel alone.
Remember at the end of the day God is more concerned about our availability than our inability. It's His plan, His mission, His victory.