Sunday, July 5, 2015

Listening To Advice

In Exodus 18, Moses' father-in-law Jethro, said to his son-in -law, "Now listen to me and I will give you some advice. What you are doing is not good." I always smile when I read that as I could relate and appreciate listening to a father-in-law full of ideas.  
Last Sunday Brian reminded us in his message that we have promised God in baptism and are to teach our children to listen not just to their parents but also to God's calling.
 Elijah loves to listen when his folks tell him he can mow the yard. He just graduated from kindergarten.
 We took down a building at Kurt and Emily's farm that had a lot of history. It was Anthony's father's shop at the turn of the century. Anthony was my parent's landlord when I was born.
I would like to thank the brave soul that called me this week and informed me there was a reflection in a window in one of last week's pictures. If you missed it, Good. If you happened to see it, I apologize. My goodness, God sure comes up with unique ways of humbling me sometimes. :)
 Our kids all made grandkid arrangements and we grownups went out for supper this past week to celebrate my birthday late.
 We have so much to be thankful for as we celebrate our countries birthday this past weekend. Our country started as an idea that we could have not only religious freedom but also a system that allowed us to pursue our dream and then pass that dream on to our children and grandchildren.
 So what is happening to our country? We have done away with our absolutes, those foundation blocks that truth sits on. We have also removed God. Will we be able to continue to pass on our values, our liberties, and our dreams to our grandkids? Only if we go back and rely on God rather than government. Thanks for sharing the picture Lisa.
I first met my father-in-law while dating Jan. He was a hardworking farmer with the ability to tackle anything. As he evaluated me one of my shortcomings was growing up on red tractors. He was all green.
 My mother-in-law helped him constantly outdoors and she loved it. I could tell she liked me and she would smooth over her husbands occasional rough edges.
 Although he never told me I could tell that he was soon ok with me as well and loved it when I would help him with his work. He even drove my motorcycle once.
He would send me to do jobs I had never done before without instruction or supervision like dozing or chopping. I learned fast and what I would find out later was that he trusted me.
He had lots of advice for me. Nearly all of it was good and he taught me about being independent and daring to tackle projects.
 Back in the day he and a friend were in charge of a local tractor pull where they pulled a tractor backwards and tried to measure pull with something between the tractors. That didn't work so they built the first tractor pulling sled in Mahaska County in his shop. It held the tractor being pulled and men would step on the sled to add weight as it passed down the track. 
We used to bale small square bales all summer. I remember two things he told me when I first started helping him. First he said you're not a farmer if you don't wear a pliers. I've been wearing a pliers ever since. Second he said your gloves will just get in your way when you are handling wire tie bales. I've baled tens of thousands of bales in my day and haven't worn gloves since listening to that advice.
 I had never seen anyone bale hay before and not pull a rack behind the baler. Gene said a hay rack and crew slows down the baler. We still bale with wire and drop them on the ground.
 Grandpa Gene was a generous man and always paid his hay help well. You never stopped for morning coffee time, something I was used to. You always stopped for lunch at the house and were always on time. You always had afternoon coffee time right at 4pm. Gene never drank coffee.
 Grandpa Gene would have been proud of his grandkids on the rack and great grandkids in the mow this past week.
 My father-in-law passed away yesterday afternoon, losing his battle with a stroke he had on June 7. I spent his last night on earth with him by his bed. His wife Bev, Jan, and I were with him when he died. I will miss him greatly. He left myself, my children, and my grandchildren a legacy. He loved his Lord. I hope to bale hay with him again someday in heaven, without gloves.



Sunday, June 28, 2015

Enjoying June

Good morning. It's hard to believe the days are already getting shorter. Sometimes, especially in wet weather, a person gets to feeling behind. I decided I better start enjoying summer. It will soon be over. Monday I helped Jan watch grandkids while they went swimming.
 We have had a wet week with some farms to our south getting 7 to 9 inches of rain in a 24 hour period.
This is a bottom southwest of Lovilla. Most roads were covered for a while and some bridges are still closed because of all the water.
So what happens on the farm during a wet week? Well we started to build hay racks since our old ones were 30 years old.
 We ended up building or rebuilding three of them and may do a fourth if it keeps raining. It's handy to have storage on wheels. It's also nice to have good racks when folks ask if they can borrow them.
 We put in lot fence for Kurt on his farm near Leighton.
 Kurt is considering custom feeding buffalo and that takes a strong fence.
 We decided the seed treater could come down.
 We cleaned up in the machine shed and started putting things away.
 Sometimes during field work when you have a flat tire you just throw on a spare. So after cleaning up equipment this week we made sure the right tires went back on.
 We did have an accident this week and had to go to the ER. While we were walking in with Cody, John said to the nurse that we would like the painted room. The nurse smiled and said, you guys have been here before. I told the boys we were going to pray together and thank God everybody was going to be ok. John says, I already have Grandpa, three times.
 When I was 24 a neighbor and I bought an old scale from a rock quarry. I installed it at our farm in 1980 and used it for 30 years weighing and recording all our grain. Technology and size of equipment has made the scale obsolete over the last ten years.
 Since the scale has a lot of history and is old, and since it has been wet, the boys helped me take it all apart, restore it, and helped me put it in my office. I hope to put a Bible verse on the wall above it however most verses about weights and scales in Proverbs talk about dishonesty and crooks so I'm still looking.

 You know the saying, "one man's junk is another man's treasure." My friend Jerry went up north of Collins where they have to walk their fields for rock and brought me a load of big rock we hope to use for landscaping.
 Jan has been a trooper about making lunch for all of us since we are on the yard a lot with the wet weather. We are very much enjoying our new home.
 Slowing down, relaxing, and enjoying the moment is still a work in progress for me. There are many things that try and get in the way. Unfinished custom work, crops, our country going to pot, yes, even good things like church and other meetings. However there are so many good things happening. Summer, little people around, family working together, fun projects, and remember, God wins in the end and accomplishes His purposes.
 Malaki and I are going to hang out together today. I turned 59 Wednesday. Malaki has baptism this morning. Thanks for stopping by and enjoy your summer. It will soon be over.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Being A Winner

Happy Father's Day. It is such a blessing having a Christian father. It was a God given gift being a father. It's been a joy to see our sons and son-in-law be loving and caring fathers.
 So how do you win at being a good Dad to your kids? First of all love their Mother. 
As a younger father provide for your children. When they are grown if you are able help them make connections and share opportunities with them.
Make sure you as a father are approachable. Be an example in opening up your life and business to others you may be able to help. Rich's Food Corp. It was a privilege to have you visit.
 Teach your kids to be gracious and generous. Thanks for a wonderful supper Ken and Ruth. Nice meeting you Mr. and Mrs. Carol. Good of you to drive your folks, Sheri.
 As a father give your kids responsibility and teach them to work. It will not only make them assets to society but God's kingdom as well.
 Fathers, attend church with your children when they are young and be an example to them by being involved in church.
 A father is to be available and approachable to his children during the storms in their lives. Be perceptive and aware if your kids might be having dark days. Pray with them about help, solutions, and outcomes.
 We had close to golf ball size hail last evening. Fortunately it didn't last long.
 Allow your kids plenty of time to be kids and have fun. Most times Dad's, your kids would love it if you were part of the fun. Attend their events. I need to work on that as a Grandpa.
 Jan's high school class got together at the cabin last evening. Most of them are turning 60 this year. It was really fun having you folks over and catching up. Graduating in 1973 few of you thought about talking about memories and grandkids 42 years later. Although I don't know many of you well I was impressed what a good bunch you are. God is good.
 We fathers are getting older. Our opportunities at winning won't last forever. Remember the good times. Take advantage of the present. Finally be positive and help your children look forward to the future.
Character is easier retained than recovered. Blessings.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Dividing Camels

Have you ever been asked for advice or a solution and you really weren't sure what the resolution or the answer to the situation was?
A story is told of a man a long time ago in a far away land that died. His wishes were to divide his estate between his three sons. His instructions were that his first son was to receive half. His second son was to receive a third. And his last son was to receive a ninth.
The father's estate consisted of 17 camels. So the sons got together and started to try and figure out how to divide up the camels according to their fathers wishes. 
Well the harder they tried the more frustrated they became and they started becoming angry with each other. As you know you just can't split a camel and it was looking like their father's wishes just weren't possible.
The sons agreed to go ask a wise old woman in their village for help. The woman listened, thought for a long while, and finally said, I don't think I can help you.  
She said, I'm sorry. I'm not sure there is a resolution to your father's wishes however I would like to help. I have one camel. I would like you to have it. The sons protested, we couldn't possibly take your only camel but the woman insisted so they agreed and took her camel home.
The next morning the sons got together again to try and come to a solution. Now they had 18 camels. The first son's half would give him 9 camels. The second son's third would give him 6 camels. Finally the last son's ninth portion would give him 2 camels. 9+6+2=17 camels. 
They returned the wise old woman's camel to her and thanked her for her help.
Occasionally we are asked to help in situations where we don't always have the immediate answer or solution. However if we are approachable, willing, caring, and generous, God is faithful and often uses us to help accomplish His purposes.