Yeah, but…

Wednesday Wisdom 😊

I took a hiatus from blogging late this fall. I don’t have a specific explanation, except that I believe I needed to retreat to the “virtual wilderness” for a bit. As 2022 begins, I am choosing to move forward with strength and courage – remembering God’s command in Joshua 1:9.

“Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

This week I hit the “3 year” mark since I broke my leg. Throughout those 1107 days, I’ve learned a lot about patient endurance, and leaning into Jesus to help me live with a cheerful and courageous heart. I’ve also seen how fear holds me back, and how hard it is to move forward in faith if I do not both claim and act on the promises that the Father gives to me. Just as it has become crystal clear to me that the difference between a good day and a bad day is my attitude, I also have come to recognize that it is through suffering that I am able to really hold onto and own that mantra. It’s easy to have a good attitude and to live with courageous strength when everything is going well; it’s life changing to be able to do it when you hurt.

We had a “guest speaker” this week at church. I put that in quotation marks because Pastor Bobby isn’t really a guest — he’s a member of our church. But, he does not often preach so I guess that makes him a guest speaker! Bobby is a member of our church family that I find myself looking for each week as we gather because he has a way of sharing a smile combined with a tidbit of wisdom that always blesses me. Usually I visit with him “on the sidelines”, but this week his message resonated “from the pulpit”. Bobby spoke of the first chapter of Joshua:

  • of God’s commands to us
  • of our responsibility to obediently claim and act on His promises to us
  • of how knowing the Word enables us to live the Word

He left us with some advice: “In order to make 2022 our best spiritual year as both individuals, and as team Jesus at Parkview, we need to get rid of the ‘yeah, buts’.” I remember when my kids were little, and as soon as they got caught making a bad choice they would say, “but Mama I was just…” Well, a “yeah but” isn’t a lot different than a “but Mama I was just…”. It is an excuse, or a rationalization that we use when God asks us to do something that is hard, or that we are not sure we want to do. Our “yeah, buts” are likely some of the greatest deterrents in our walk with Jesus. They keep us from believing so deeply that it affects our hearts, our attitudes, and our actions. They hold us back from moving forward in faith by providing an “excuse” for us to tell God “no”.


The photo above is a secular example of a “yeah, but” that I have struggled with post leg-break. My leg never healed correctly. I don’t know why, and I probably never will, but that’s not the point that I’m trying to make here. The point is that I have only ridden a handful of times in the last 3 years. The first year, I was in a cast and on crutches most of the year, but the 2nd and 3rd years I didn’t ride because my leg hurt and I was afraid. Megan or Karyn would ask if I wanted to ride with them, and I would say “yeah, but my leg hurts.” A few weeks ago, I decided that my “yeah, buts” were problematic so when Meg got home from college and asked me to ride, I said “yes”. We’ve ridden many times in the past 3 weeks, and I’ve enjoyed each one. I finally decided that the joy of being outside riding is greater than the “yeah, but my leg hurts“.

My spiritual walk is intrinsically tied to my secular walk because I’ve given my heart to Jesus. I try to be obedient to God but sometimes fear causes me to not grab hold and act on His promises. When I do that, I limit God and I limit His purpose for my life. The truth is that joy lives in embracing those promises. And, I can only find that joy when I get rid of the “yeah, but”. Just as I know that I can overcome the hurt to still ride my horse, I know God loves me. I know that He offers me strength and courage. I know that I never walk alone. But, I have to deeply believe it in order to move my feet with cheerful and determined strength when He commands it. I know the Word and it tells me that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. And, that’s a whole lot better than a “yeah, but” 😊

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Merry Christmas!

It’s been a while since I opened the blog to write. This morning I picked it back up again to honor Matt and I’s “Christmas letter” tradition. We sent out a small bundle of traditional paper cards, but I felt the pull to write to our “online family” as well. So, here it goes!

Burkholder Annual Christmas Letter…

Christmas blessings from the farm! After 25 years, Matt still laughs that he’s crazy about me. I’m hoping that doesn’t mean that I’m driving him crazy πŸ˜‰ Although our lives continue to change with each year that passes, the farm still keeps us busy. Matt works diligently to continue his “agronomy” education with the ultimate goal to always offer the best care for the land with which God has entrusted us. I never tire of the beautiful sunrises and sunsets and we feel so truly blessed that we get to call the Nebraska prairie home. Outside of farming, Matt serves on many local boards working to keep our community moving forward in the midst of a challenging world. He still water skies like he is twenty, dances with comical exuberance, and melts my heart as we hold hands together on the journey!

Ashley Grace is a senior at the University of Notre Dame where she is double majoring in Theology and Political Science, and minoring in Public Service. She adopted a cat this year and continues to love her Fighting Irish experience πŸ™‚ She serves as a writing tutor at the university which allows her to work with athletes and international students on campus during the school year. She spent last summer teaching 3rd and 4th graders in the Milwaukee area, and after graduation she plans to move to Chicago and find a classroom of elementary students to love and mentor. I am so very proud of her heart and her courage to follow God’s urgings in her life.Β 

Megan is a sophomore at Davidson College where she is majoring in Physics and pole vaulting on the track team. She is also involved in both FCA and Young Life at Davidson, and has found a wonderful church family in the area. She set a new school vaulting record last year before setting out for Wyoming to work at the K Bar Z guest ranch for the summer. She loves both the Nebraska prairie and the mountains of Wyoming so we are expecting that she will head back out this direction after finishing school. She and I still share a love for horses, cattle, and working on the farm so it is always fun when she comes home to visit!

Karyn is a junior in high school and we took our third “Burkholder college visit trip” over the summer. We headed south to Oklahoma and Texas to visit a number of schools. The University of Oklahoma and Texas A&M currently top her list. She is thinking of doing ROTC at Oklahoma or the Cadet program at A&M during her college years. She had wonderful track and cross country seasons this year and made trips to the Nebraska State Championships for both sports. She enjoys One Act, math, science, our church family and friends, and hanging out with Matt and I on the farm.Β 

I continue to coach, substitute teach at our local middle school, and help Matt on the farm. We run cattle on grass each spring and summer which reminds me of my love for bovines! This summer I began coordinating the student ministries program at our church when our Youth Pastor left unexpectedly. I love working with kids and God continues to bless me on the adventures that He leads me to!Β We are very excited to have all three girls (and a grand-cat) home for the holidays! In addition, my mom and Matt’s sister will spend Christmas on the farm πŸ™‚ We pray that God’s blessings will wrap you up this Christmas, and the love of Christ will fill your hearts!Β 

Merry Christmas from our family!

Love,

Matt, Anne, Ashley Grace, Megan and Karyn

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I Saw God Today…

Wednesday Wisdom πŸ™‚


I’ve been to church
I’ve read the book
I know he’s here
But I don’t look
Near as often as I should
Yeah, I know I should
His fingerprints are everywhere
I just slowed down to stop and stare
Opened my eyes and man I swear
I saw God today


In January of 2015, George Straight’s song, “I saw God today” came on the radio early one morning when I was reading bunks at the feedyard. I’d had a hard fall season, and was really struggling to hold my life together. It seemed like 100 different people needed 1000 different things all in the same moment, and I was crumbling – bit by bit. This was not an acute moment of stress, it was the toll of a long standing grind to run our cattle farm and lead my peers in an effort to improve cattle welfare. Managing those demands in addition to raising a family and serving in my community left me in a seemingly permanent state of exhaustion.

In those days, God was starting to work heavily on my heart and planting the seeds of change. On this morning, as I heard George Straight’s words, I started to listen.

Here is the original blog post from January 13, 2015 (on what would have been my dad’s 70th earthly birthday):

https://feedyardfoodie.wordpress.com/2015/01/13/i-saw-god-today/



Fast forward almost seven years, and one of the things that the Experiencing God study that I am currently doing talks about is “seeing God”. God is at work all around each and every one of his children, but do we pause to see it? Then, just as importantly, do we move ourselves so that we can participate with Him in it?

As I finished up the 4th week of the series a few days ago, it got me thinking back to that morning, that moment when I intentionally decided to pause and look for God each day. A lot of things can happen in 7 years, and I have to admit that God has taken me on an interesting journey in those 2500 days! In all honestly, it’s been a journey full of uncertain “Yes’s” as my heart told me to obey the soft, quiet voice of the Spirit while my head told me that it was crazy… In typical “Anne fashion”, my heart and my feet were hesitant, but intentionally obedient.

  • In 2017, I made the difficult decision to close down my feedyard.
  • In 2018, our family adopted a 17 year old boy who needed a loving home.
  • In 2019, I prepared to leave the “cattle animal welfare” professional circle to serve more in our church and community.
  • In 2020, God brought me a long list of kids to love and mentor through coaching and substitute teaching as the corona virus changed our lives.
  • In 2021, I stepped in to lead our Student Ministries program at our church when our Youth Pastor was unexpectedly called to serve somewhere else.

I did not expect any of those changes to happen. But, God did. And as I looked, I was able to see Him. When IΒ  saw Him, I could then see His work and have the opportunity to change my life in order to become a part of it.

My life is not a fairy tale. Many of those things listed above have not gone the way that I thought they would go. But, I feel Jesus in my heart and that soft, quiet voice keeps talking to me and asking me to listen. Finding the courage to trust and follow God through the hard things takes faithful endurance, perseverance, and the willingness to believe that He is able to work in and through us. Some days I do well, some I falter. But, I know that God loves me the same on both of those types of days, and that His mercies are new with each sunrise. And, I know that what He really desires is a heart that listens.

I have a verse written on a notecard on our door that heads out to the garage. It is from 1Corinthians 15:58.

“So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and unmovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.”


God’s fingerprints are everywhere. When Jesus softens our hearts and God opens our eyes, the Spirit is able to allow us to see them. In those moments, when we do what George Straight suggests: slow down to stop and stare, we are able to see God each and every day 😊

Did you slow down to stop and stare today?

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The Third String…

Wednesday Wisdom πŸ™‚


Inspiration this week comes from the Gospel of Luke 21: 1-4

The Widow’s Offering: “While Jesus was in the Temple, he watched the rich people dropping their gifts in the collection box. Then a poor widow came by and dropped in two small coins. ‘I tell you the truth,’ Jesus said, ‘this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them. For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.'”


My favorite brunette is a student at Notre Dame University. Her daddy taught her to both love and understand the game of football from the time that she was a little girl. She’s a loyal Fighting Irish fan, and also works as a writing tutor on campus where she helps several of the football players with their studies. She traveled to the game in Chicago last weekend as the team took on Wisconsin, and managed to get an awesome seat in the first row. In the middle of the second quarter, we actually got to see her on TV πŸ™‚

My favorite farmer and I try to be “good Notre Dame parents”. As a life-long Husker, that’s a bit of a stretch for Matt but I’m proud of how he has embraced Ashley Grace’s dreams and the college family that she chose. As we watched the game, it struck me how seamlessly Notre Dame was able to transition from starting quarterback Jack Coan to third string quarterback Drew Pyne when injury plagued the Irish. Drew didn’t miss a beat when coach called him to the field, and his teammates clearly showed up to support him. They had a plan, they believed in each other, and they went to work. They gave everything that they had, and it was enough to lead them to a clear victory of 41-13 when the clock ran out in the 4th quarter. It was pretty clear to me that the Fighting Irish players were unconcerned with the “third string” label as they instead chose to value Drew as a teammate knowing that he was willing to give everything that he had as they fought together for victory.


Our church family is currently doing a fall study entitled “Experiencing God”. God’s placed many different things on my heart as we’ve begun this study, but I think that the most profound is a more complete realization of how much God loves each and every one of us. He doesn’t compare us or label us, instead he pours into us so that we can be in a deep and meaningful relationship with Him. I don’t think God calls any of us “third string”. We are simply the sons and daughters upon whom he bestows an unconditional love that leaves us baffled, yet blessed.

It amazes me what God can do through us when we let Him. He asks us for our love, our trust, our belief, and our obedience. He takes those things and puts them together to create light and goodness. He doesn’t count the coins, He values and empowers the heart that gives all. I am learning to not limit the God who loves me, and trusting that when He calls me to action that as long as I give my all, I will be enough. This helps me to be an active and energetic member of Team Jesus, ready to let God work through me whenever He calls my number πŸ™‚ I am more fully understanding that when I lean into Jesus, I cease to be the “third string” and begin being the one through whom God can bring victory.

When we give our all, it is enough. God blesses it, and then blesses others with it. Today, I am thankful to the Fighting Irish football team for allowing God to work in them and through them to help bring this message deeper into my heart.

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Time…

Wednesday Wisdom 😊


Inspiration this week comes from the book of Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8

For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.

A time to be born and a time to die.

A time to plant and a time to harvest.

A time to kill and a time to heal.

A time to tear down and a time to build up.

A time to cry and a time to laugh.

A time to grieve and a time to dance.

A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.

A time to embrace and a time to turn away.

A time to search and a time to quit searching.

A time to keep and a time to throw away.

A time to tear and a time to mend.

A time to be quiet and a time to speak.

A time to love and a time to hate.

A time for war and a time for peace.


My favorite farmer turned 50 yesterday. We *celebrated* his birthday earlier this month before our older two girls went back to college, but the actual day of the BIG 50 left me a bit pensive and whole lot thankful. I happened to be reading in Ecclesiastes and the above verses just jumped off the page at me. My heart warmed as I was reminded just how beautiful the gift of time is. We all spend our time in different ways and feeling a myriad of emotions, but it struck me how truly blessed I am to not just have the gift of time, but the ability to spend it with those that I love.

Matt and I have loved each other for 28 years, and we’ve been married for more than 25. That’s more than 10,000 days and a whole lot of minutes 😊 We’ve spent that time doing many of the things listed above. Some of them were hard, but they were all meaningful. The seasons continue to pass on the farm and we still get to experience them. That is God’s gift of time. It blesses us, it grows us, it reminds us of the One who created us and delights in us each day.


We are all “a work in progress” that God faithfully improves upon over time 😊 Life is a journey and growth happens little by little. Matt is good for me. He is a goofy clown with a huge heart, and brings so much joy into my life. God knew this and that is why He brought us together. Matt reminds me to accept peace, to choose joy, and to rest in the moment knowing that God made everything beautiful for its own time. Today, I am so very thankful for my favorite farmer, the God that unconditionally loves us both, and the time that we are blessed to be able to spend together ❀️

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Thankful for those that came before…

Saturday Memories 😊


Inspiration today comes from Isaiah 40: 28-31

“Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of His understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall into exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”


Earlier this week, my high school Cross Country coach, Harry Howell, passed from this life into the arms of Jesus. I had two coaches during my high school tenure that purposely shaped my life. Coach Howell was one of them. His goofy sense of humor and classic “one liners” provided for interesting times on the Cross Country course, but what I remember most about Coach was his heart. I know that our antics drove him crazy. But, he loved us anyway.Β  I don’t remember all my times or places from the years that I ran for him. But, I remember that he had our backs – that we could always count on him to show up for us – and that he valued us not just as athletes but as people. He never gave up on us. I don’t think that I properly valued these things at the time, but I still carry them with me thirty years later.

Coach Howell was famous for his “one liners”. He just kind of stuck them into the middle of conversations, and then turned them intoΒ  “learning moments” (AKA lectures). My favorite was Murphy’s Law. Coach was a bit of a worrier. My freshman and junior years, multiple members of our team were competing in the Florida State Swimming Championship meet the night before we competed in the Florida State Cross Country Championships. Coach loved us and knew that we loved both sports, so he supported us as we “doubled up” during the fall season. But, the notion that we were going to compete in two different places in two consecutive days caused him to fret a bit. One day at practice, we got the Murphy’s Law lecture. I remember the look on his face as he stood there with his hands on his hips and said, “Ladies – Murphy’s Law prevails. We have to be prepared that anything that can wrong will go wrong.”

Fortunately, we held Murphy’s Law at bay as we brought home hardware both in the pool and on the Cross Country course (team Cross Country State Titles (1989 and 1991) πŸ™‚

Coach Howell is in the white shirt and blue shorts.

Another one of Coach Howell’s famous “one liners” was, “It’ll put hair on your chest”. Whenever things were hard, he reminded us girls of this interesting thought. We laughed, shook our heads, and muttered that coach might be a bit crazy. But, his well-timed comment broke the tension and taught us that the truly meaningful things in life were the hard things. We learned from Coach that we could do hard things together.


My life has taken a series of twists and turns since I was a member of Coach Howell’s Cross Country and Track teams. Murphy’s Law took on a new twist as I learned to manage a cattle feedyard and care for animals on the farm while Mother Nature’s wrath simultaneously “put hair on my chest”. The years have gone by, but memories of Coach Howell surface often as I spend time as a coach in my community. Ask any one of my athletes about Coach Anne, and I’m sure that you’ll hear a story or two about my own “one liners” πŸ™‚

Today, our Cross Country team had it’s first meet of the 2021-2022 season. As we huddled up to prepare for a race, one of our runners shared the above scripture verse from Isaiah. It made me think of Coach Howell and how he inspired us to run strong and not grow weary. Of how, when we believe in ourselves and the Lord who created us, that we soar high on wings like eagles. I’m pretty sure that Coach Howell underestimated the impact that he had on his runners’ lives. I hope that he knew in his heart that we loved him – that we ran fast not just for our Lord and ourselves, but also for him.

I don’t know how many athletes Coach mentored over his lifetime, but I do know that his impact was far-reaching. Today, it still lands into the hearts of runners almost 2000 miles away from Cardinal Newman High School as his legacy of love and “one liners” continues on through me in Cozad, Nebraska. Please help me to lift up Coach Howell and his family in prayer and thanksgiving as we honor a great man.

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A visitor to the farm…

Wednesday Wisdom πŸ™‚


Inspiration this week comes from the Gospel of John as Jesus addresses the first disciples: John 1: 35-50

In these 15 verses, Jesus invites the first disciples multiple times to

“Come and see” and “Come, follow me”.


We had a fun visitor last week on the farm. Ashley Grace’s boyfriend bravely ventured to Central Nebraska for a few days before heading back to Notre Dame for the fall semester πŸ™‚ It was great fun to introduce him to life on the farm. We visited our fall calves on the grass pasture, our yearlings on feed at a local feedyard, and toured the crop farm and alfalfa dehydration plant. In addition to “farm stuff”, we had a wonderful time hiking and messing around at the lake. Luke learned to water ski and knee board, and Matt was super excited to have another man in the house for a few days! We are so thankful that he wanted to come and seeΒ where Ashley Grace grew up.

We’ve had a lot of visitors to the farm in the 25 years since Matt and I moved back to the prairie. My social media work regarding cattle and welfare tended to bring us quite a few extras in addition to the regular flow of friends and family that wanted to come and see the farm where the city girl from Florida landed after college. If I had to choose five words to describe our lives, they would be: rewarding, purposeful, busy, all encompassing, and challenging. I don’t know if we effectively communicate that to all our visitors, but I hope that we offer a friendly glimpse into the care, team work and intentionality that goes into working the land and caring for God’s creation.


I love the Gospel of John. The imagery, depth, and foundational truth found in the first chapter is both beautiful and amazing. I pulled short quotes above to highlight, but I would truly encourage reading the entire chapter. In verses 35-50, I think it is really interesting how Jesus called visitors to become disciples. His invitations strike me as both genuine and humble in nature. Jesus waits until they curiously seek. Then, the Messiah, the Son of Man, the stairway between heaven and earth, casually asks them to “come and experience”.

Every time that I read those verses, I am awed at the naturalness of the words. They are issued without the weight of guilt, without the distrust of an outsider, and without the component of impatience that I often find in myself. Jesus was so neighborly.Β One of them, Andrew, not only decides to come and see but to go and get his brother Simon (Peter) so that he can also share in the experience. Two others additionally accept the invitation when Jesus asks them to not just come and see, but also to follow.

In the midst of these interactions, Jesus gives them purpose, builds them up with praise, and promises both truth and hope as they prepare to journey together. The psychology major and “coach” in me just marvels at how easily Jesus turns visitors into family.

Sometimes I can be a stubborn and slow learner, but I hope that I continue to evolve into a more gracious and natural host. I pray that I allow Jesus to soften my heart and the Holy Spirit to guide my actions so that visitors can feel accepted and valued when God brings them into my life. Ultimately, I strive to be a disciple – to not just come and see, but also to follow in order to lead others. Together, we can persevere in faith on our journey into the arms of Christ πŸ™‚

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Searching…

Wednesday Wisdom πŸ™‚


Inspiration this week comes from the Gospel of Matthew 7: 7-8

Effective prayer: “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.”


Last week, we headed south to tour colleges in Oklahoma and Texas. Over the years, Matt and I have encouraged each of our three girls to search for schools within a region of the country that they are interested in visiting. The summer before their junior year in high school, we take a family driving trip to see them. After participating in each one of her older sisters’ college trips, Karyn was excited to plan and execute her own! We toured five schools in seven days as well as visiting friends in Austin, Texas. It was a wonderful trip, and very fun to watch Karyn seek – knock – and receive a warm welcome at each of the colleges that she chose. Megan was able to travel back home from Wyoming to go along with us, so we were only missing Ashley Grace on the family trek πŸ™‚


All three of our family “college trips” have been meaningful, enjoyable and interesting. I think that is because we were very intentional about planning and executing them. Yesterday, the above Bible verses popped into my head. The Holy Spirit was reminding me that my faith journey is not so different from planning and experiencing a trip. It is my part to ask, seek, and knock. Those are action words and require my movement and intentionality. God’s part is then to help me to receive, find and ultimately to open the door. When the door opens, I again must intentionally move my feet to walk through it in faith. Salvation is a free gift from God. But, walking through the door and into faith with Jesus requires energy and work on my part.

I remember when I was growing up, my parents would say “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” At the time, I didn’t really give those words any deep thought. It took me a while to be inspired to ruminate on them. The “lunch” may be a free gift, but it costs me something to ask, seek, and to accept it. Once I accept it, I then have to eat it in order to experience it. All of that takes effort on my part even though technically it is “free”. Similar to the gift of a “free lunch”, God offers us a free gift of salvation. It is available to all who seek it and accept it.

I wonder how God feels while He is standing at the open door waiting for us to decide to love Him. I picture him standing there with open arms and a big smile on his face. I think of how patient He must be to keep standing there, to keep waiting for all of his children to seek, ask, and decide to walk through the door and into His arms. And, I cannot help but think of what a good, good, Father we have. One who pursues us with patience, creativity, and boldness. One who loves us so much that He gives us the gift of deciding. His answer is an open door. It is always “yes” because His greatest desire is to be with us πŸ™‚

I don’t know where Karyn will decide to go to college. But, I do know that wherever she goes, Jesus will be with her. As she searches, she will find a well of love that fills her each day.

 

 

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