Refilling the Cup…

Katie Pinke of the Pinke Post made a comment on Facebook last week stating the difficulty of finding ways to “refill the cup” as an advocate for agriculture. Katie has many years of experience in social media and her intuitive thoughts often leave me pondering. As advocates for agriculture, our cups of energy are often depleted. Learning how to refill them is a journey of survival.

annecattlemiranda.jpgThis April will mark the 5th year anniversary of the Feed Yard Foodie blog. Four hundred and eighty nine blog posts and almost a million views (from a half a million visitors) separate the naïve cattle feeder of 2011 with the seasoned (and somewhat hardened) blogger of 2016. So much has changed since the birth of this blog, and yet, so much remains the same.

It takes an enormous amount of optimism and energy to brave the social media world that revolves around agriculture. On a good day, you pick up a follower who shares some common ground and wishes to further understand “where food comes from”. On a bad day, you are threatened and disparaged with an appalling lack of basic respect.

As I close in on five years, I find myself reflecting and attempting to rationalize the volunteer time and energy that I pour into Feed Yard Foodie. I try to look past the heartache that sometimes permeates my outreach to find the shining light that leads me to continue down the ag-vocacy trail. It takes a constant effort to figure out how to tap that unlimited source of energy which serves to fuel the blog amidst the regular list of chores that go along with being a mom and a feed yard boss lady.

I tell my girls that the most important life skill they will learn is perseverance. Perseverance is all about refilling the cup. My words take on a new depth of meaning as they watch me “cowgirl” up and continue the journey. They live with the stubbornly independent mom and boss lady, just as they watch the vulnerable woman struggle to find the courage to continue to share her story.

My girls work every day to refill my cup because they watch first hand as others deplete it. I do not shield them from my struggles, and it teaches them to not only persevere but also to empathize and offer compassion to those in need.

Life is hard. It is filled with demands that work to deplete the cup. I believe that the difference between those who persevere and those who do not lies in the ability to gather the love and optimism that is required to refill the cup. That is a very personal journey as everyone’s cup is unique.

Below are five things that I have learned to rely on for the past five years in order to persevere:

  1. Accept that everyone (including you) is human. Learn to forgive.
  2. Notice your blessings – learn to look for the good as it is what refills your cup.
  3. Draw a line between your real life and your cyber life – understand that the majority of what refills your cup comes from personal interactions outside of the internet.
  4. Take the time to be pensive – quiet thinking breeds both respect and learning.
  5. Understand that temporarily walking away is not failure – rather it is a necessary component to finding the courage to continue.

I do not know how to measure the success of my agricultural outreach, but I can recognize the personal growth that has occurred as a result of it. The road to excellence is rarely comfortable and I can attest to the fact that being an advocate for agriculture is not a comfortable journey. I am thankful to all of you loyal Feed Yard Foodie readers as you play a vital role pushing me to search for continuous improvement on my farm. You all help to refill my cup by reading, commenting, and sharing of yourselves.

12 Comments

Filed under A Farmer's View on Foodie Thoughts..., General

12 responses to “Refilling the Cup…

  1. Larry DeShon

    I pray that your cup continues to be filled!!

  2. Thank you, this week has been a very interesting experience in how one person can take social media and attack agriculture in a very negative and hurtful way. It is so important for people to understand that producers, 4H and FFA members alike are all trying to do the best they can to raise products and projects in a safe, humane manner so that we can feed a hungry world. The FFA has now sent a back lash against this person’s negative post and has created a hailstorm effect of the good experiences that can result from being involved. Being involved in Agriculture can teach all people so much. It is hard not to take it personal when someone attacks the values of our youth organizations. I am in Agriculture because it is a wonderful industry in so many ways. Thank you for sharing your blog and making sure that Agriculture has a good voice. You have helped my cup stay full.

    • I share your frustration as well as your passion. Our youth is our future and it is so important that we mentor and allow them to develop into productive and effective leaders. The next generation of farmers will have many challenges, and FFA is a great way to begin to prepare them for the journey. I just had a group of FFA kids out at the feed yard Wednesday afternoon — it was a great time of sharing and learning.

      I appreciate you taking the time to reach out to me. It helps to “fill my cup” when I hear from folks that read the blog.

      Thank you,
      Anne

  3. Around here, the hog barns wars rage in unrelented fury. As I see it, people on both sides of the debate have very valid points and if they would just stick to them, things would remain heated but civilized.

    • Yes, so much passion leaves little room for reason and respect. You have called up one of our greatest challenges — respectful communication in order to find compromise. I believe that this holds the key to our future. I pray that we will change course and find common ground on the journey. It is a worry to me.

      I appreciate you reading and sharing your thoughts.
      Anne

  4. Valerie Mitchell

    Thank you for being a cup-filler!

    • Thank you, Valerie. It helps to “fill my cup” to hear from readers like you. I appreciate you taking the time to leave me a note.

      Best,
      Anne

  5. Dawn

    Thank you for all you do! I enjoy your blogs so much. I know it takes so much to put yourself and your family and way of life out there. How does the song go? “Haters gonna hate”. I hope you continue to put the information out there. People need to know how and where their food is raised and that real people are doing their very best to provide safe, delicious and nutritious food in a caring humane way. May you find the strength and will to continue your journey. God bless you and your family!

    • Hi Dawn! You have been such a loyal reader for so long. Thank you for that, and thank you for your nice note. I appreciate it so very much.

      Best,
      Anne

  6. Anne,
    Thank you so much for your heartfelt and very poignant message. The real life of chores, raising feed, feeding cattle, being their caretaker, understanding and responding appropriately to behavior of both people and livestock is the challenge for all of us that have chosen this incredibly important life and work. Very little of this can be taught in books or lectures, Providing the experience and mentoring is our challenge for the next generation. Otherwise we run the risk of exporting our business of food production to other countries.

    Gerald Stokka DVM,MS
    NDSU Extension Veterinarian/Livestock Stewardship

    • Yes, Doc — those are very truthful words. I always enjoy it when you leave me a comment as I know that it will be well thought out and come from the heart. I am glad that you are sharing of yourself teaching the next generation. It is a good fit and will go a long way to make agriculture sustainable.

      Keep up the good work and I will try to keep doing my part.
      Best,
      Anne

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