Tag Archives: birthday

Finding Honor In Our Lives…

My favorite farmer celebrates 46 years of awesomeness this week. With the last twenty of those years spent working on the farm, I find myself thinking that perhaps we aren’t as young as we used to be! Matt and I tend to draw very few boundaries in our lives, so it would be impossible to evaluate the last two decades of our lives without including the farm.

A couple of weeks ago, the sermon at church centered on finding honor in our work. The topic resonated deeply with me as honor is something that I personally value. It was a great reminder for me that work is part of God’s plan for humanity and we honor our faith when we honestly and fully engage in our jobs. For Matt and I, finding honor in our work is closely akin to finding honor in our lives as there is very little separation.

I think that one of the hardest things about being a farmer is finding and maintaining balance. You learn quickly to control the controllable in order to protect your livelihood from those things that threaten it. From Mother Nature –  to volatile markets-  to debilitating regulations: the list of things that keeps you up at night can grow lengthy. Maintaining a perspective that focuses on honor instead of fear/frustration provides the encouragement that refuels your cup and grants you a healthy outlook on life.

Cattle are masterful at sensing their caregiver’s attitude 🙂

The last twelve months have inspired me to reflect on this topic. The following are 5 personal habits that I have worked to establish in order to help me always focus on finding honor in my life:

  1. Let my faith be stronger than my fear.
  2. Look for gaps and be cognizant of the needs of others – Approach each day with the question: “How can I help?”
  3. Bring a constant element of thankfulness to my daily perspective. Thankfulness wards off frustration and anger, and increases the ability to live a life filled with joy.
  4. Create a personal focus on giving intentional encouragement so that my words and actions positively inspire others.
  5. Recognize that it is okay to take time for personal reflection and growth. While I am very much an “action” person, taking time each day to talk to God and develop a plan grants meaning to my actions in addition to helping me to refill my cup.

I find each day that I am still a work in progress – achieving differing levels of success with the above 5 habits.  But, I am confident that I am on the right track. Good habits bring about good daily choices.

And, making good choices enables us to find honor in our lives.

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42 Reasons We Love You…

Tuesday, I put 42 years on the books.  My daughters, led by my favorite brunette, gave me a really awesome birthday gift.  It warmed my  heart and was so perfect that I decided that I needed to share it with each of you.

girlsfall2016chute

Image credit: Katie Arndt Photography

I woke up to find a written list entitled: 42 Reasons We Love You…

  1. You push us to be our best selves.
  2. You always support us in following our dreams — even when they inconvenience you.
  3. What you see is what you get.
  4. You do everything with your whole heart.
  5. You don’t hide the way that you feel.
  6. You’re confident in your own skin.
  7. You can still beat most of the high school boys in a push-up contest.
  8. You donate so much of your time to your community and those you love.
  9. You make us sing the wrong words to songs.
  10. You always have a goal,
  11. And you work hard to achieve it.
  12. You always see things through to the end.
  13. You’re a glass half-full kind of gal.
  14. Your not afraid to own the room,
  15. And you command it so well.
  16. You’re not ostentatious,
  17. You quietly find a way to show your talents.
  18. You uphold your values and beliefs in everything that you do.
  19. You taught us that “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll always fall for anything.”
  20. You’re a planner,
  21. But when you don’t have one, you fake it well.
  22. You treat everyone with respect, no matter their age, gender, beliefs, or intelligence.
  23. You taught us that God made everyone different, and that’s a good thing.
  24. You’ve encouraged us to leave home and see the world,
  25. Plus you’re paying for us to do it!
  26. You’ve shown that holding a grudge will only wear you down,
  27. And that forgiveness lightens the heart.
  28. Because of you, we know that good is the enemy of great.
  29. We’ve seen your incredible work ethic throughout the years and been inspired by it.
  30. You are an example of how to live and love life to the fullest.
  31. You embrace PDA and let us know that true love only grows.
  32. You’re not afraid to be a little goofy,
  33. And you put up with Dad being more than a little goofy.
  34. You tell us to Pack Our FAITH,
  35. And constantly encourage us to look for God in our lives.
  36. You appreciate the natural beauty of the world.
  37. On that note, you allow our house to be in its natural state of lived-in messy.
  38. You take our fashion advice with little complaint (and sometimes even ask for it!)
  39. You don’t know what swag, lit, or OG mean, but you still manage to be the coolest person in the world.
  40. You are an impartial judge of character.
  41. And a great listener.
  42. But most of all, you’re our Mom!

My girls are my greatest blessing and I am so proud to be their mom…

 

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Birthday Fun For Our Favorite Farmer…

Our favorite farmer celebrates his 43rd birthday today.  In honor of his birthday, Ashley Grace and Megan have written their top 5 reasons why Matt loves being surrounded by women…

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1. His days are filled with lots of smiling faces and very little attitude…

2. He is surrounded by fashion advice and never has to worry about going out of the house with clothes that do not matchOr be concerned that he won’t be able to find an emergency supply of lip gloss and hair rubber bands in his pickup truck…

3. Dreaming of the boys that will soon permeate his house gives him great incentive to teach us all of his best wrestling moves…

4. It is good for his ego that all of his girls can smoke him in all four strokes in the swimming pool…

5. Fear of no longer being able to beat his girls on the track provides excellent ambition for exercising and staying fit…

Happy Birthday, Dad!  We love you :)

Happy Birthday, Dad! We love you 🙂

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The Gift of Togetherness…

Today I attain the milestone of 39 years.  Over the past four decades I have received many gifts; but none have been more precious than the gift of togetherness that I have been blessed with each day for the last twenty one years.

I met my favorite farmer on Halloween night, 1993, at a fraternity party on the Dartmouth College campus.  He was in the middle of his senior year football season and I was a freshman newbie on the swim team.  We had our first date Thanksgiving weekend when we were both required to be on campus for athletic practice.

A younger Anne and Matt...

A younger Anne and Matt…

It didn’t take long for us to become basically inseparable.  We got engaged on my twentieth birthday and were married a little over a year later.  Our first baby was a black Labrador retriever named Taylor who ended up going to class with Matt and attaining her master’s degree in engineering business.

Just a few years ago with Taylor...

Taylor…

When Matt completed his master’s and I attained my undergraduate degree in June of 1997, we moved back to the farm in Nebraska.  Our lives were no longer filled with classes and college life, but the togetherness remained constant as we transitioned to life on the prairie.annemattsdakota

There is a tremendous sense of security that comes from the knowledge that you are never alone. 

Although I do not spend every hour of every day with Matt, I take a piece of him with me wherever I go.  Both my heart and my mind know that I have his unconditional love and support — this gives me confidence and motivation as I make my way through life.

Our 10 year wedding anniversary...

Our 10 year wedding anniversary — June 2006

Although I am proud of many things that I have done in my first 39 years, I am most proud of what Matt and I have accomplished together.  From our three beautiful daughters to the farm that we tend to with love and dedication — I know that no matter what we could likely accomplish alone, we are better together.  DSC06166

There is tremendous joy to be found in the act of sharing.

There is tremendous strength to be found in the act of loving.

Today, as I count my blessings, my favorite farmer tops the list.  I remember the look on his face the night that we first met.  I picture in my mind the twinkle in his eye when he held each of our girls for the first time.  I think of the smile that he gets on his face each morning as he tells me that he loves me.

I recognize the infinite beauty of this gift of togetherness…

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Learning To Share…

Nine years ago today my baby girl made her way into the world.  She was four weeks early, obviously deciding that she was tired of the cramped conditions in my belly as well as spending long days caring for cattle during the Fall Run at the feed yard.

The fall months are marked by cattle coming off of grass pastures and into the feed yard as the growing season comes to an end in Nebraska...

The fall months are marked by cattle coming off of grass pastures and into the feed yard as the growing season comes to an end in Nebraska…

She was a perfectly beautiful baby weighing in at 6 pounds and 7 ounces, and she arrived ready to take on the world.Karyn birth1

While I believe that all of my girls are a gift from God, the circumstances surrounding Karyn’s first four years uniquely changed both my body and my perspective of life.  Unknowingly, over the years, Karyn has propelled me toward adopting my own mantra.

Special times of learning...

When my life is over and I leave this world, I do not want to have any part of myself left.  I want to have used all of my gifts and talents in order to have made a positive difference.

Most fall days, chores keep me hopping from the dark hours of the morning until dusk falls across the prairie in the evening.  As much as possible, I try to include my girls in those chores.  I believe that working with animals teaches focus as well as compassion and responsibility.  It takes the emphasis away from self, and instead focuses the caregiver’s attention on another being.Sept. 30, 2011 054

Just as there is a part of my heart that cares unconditionally, there is also a part of my brain that accepts the necessary life skill of learning to share.  That skill not only pertains to the way that I care for my animals, but it also bridges into every relationship in my life.  Passing that skill on to my girls is of the utmost importance to me.DSC06493

Last weekend, Karyn made her own birthday party invitations on the computer.   She proudly brought them up to show me when she was finished, and my eyes filled with tears when I read her request for birthday gifts.

Don't bring gifts

Bring donations for the local food pantry instead of gifts for the birthday girl…

She may only be nine years old today, but she already is realizing the vital importance of Learning to Share. 

What more could a Mama ask for?

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Time Goes On…

My favorite farmer assures me that I turn 29 with every birthday that passes.  When I look at my girls, I have to admit that I call his math skills into question…IMG_4143

My first baby stands 4” taller than me, and appears to be taking the 8th grade by storm.  She achieved the 200 mile club for Cross Country again this summer pounding out 250 miles of training all on her own.  She is chalked full of true grit, and both her talent and her work ethic will ensure her a successful future.  Whether it is the quickness of her mind or that of her legs, to say that she makes me proud would be a tremendous understatement!IMG_4151

My second baby had her first day of Middle School last week.  Despite the fact that my cowgirl can handle a large group of cattle with ease and break into the yoga position of choice while standing on a feed yard fence, the thought of going to 6th grade in the “big school” terrified her.  I am happy to report that her inner confidence and natural tenacity kicked in when she walked through the school door and she appears to be thriving in her new environment.  Megan laughed when I told her that she simply needed to be acclimated just like the calves in the feed yard 🙂 IMG_3975

My third baby stands almost 5 feet tall and wears the same shoe size as I do.  I keep telling myself that it’s normal for an 8 year old to share shoes with her Mama, and I am dealing with the reality that if she keeps growing as fast as she did this summer, she will graduate from third grade taller than I am.  She is excitedly waiting for the soccer season to start this fall and has loved her first days of school.  Karyn and I were able to spend a few hours last week up in the Nebraska Sandhills with our horses for some special time before the start of school.  She is well on her way of becoming a great cowgirl just like her older sister.IMG_4093

As for my favorite farmer, he celebrates his 42nd birthday on Saturday.  He is commemorating the occasion by traveling into Lincoln with high school friends to watch the first Husker game of the year.  Some days it seems hard to believe that as our girls fondly tell us “we are approaching middle age”; however, I am positive that the gray that livens up Matt’s hair and the wrinkles that give character to my face are simply outward representations of all of the joy that has marked our last 20 years together 🙂DSC06166

How do you mark the passage of time in your own life?

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Celebrating 38 years…

Today I turn 38 years old.  I am celebrating my birthday representing the cattlemen of Nebraska at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association convention in Tampa, Florida.

I am lucky enough to have my favorite farmer with me!

I am lucky enough to have my favorite farmer with me!

As I enter a new year in my life, I find myself counting my blessings…

Most of all, I am thankful for my beautiful family and the life that we have made on the peaceful prairie.  I am thankful for the natural resources on our farm that allow Matt and I realize the dream of using our hands and our minds to grow nourishment for the world.

Today, I salute all of my fellow Nebraskans and send a heartfelt “thank you” for welcoming me into your communities and into your lives.  Please know that your acceptance and love means the world to me.

It is my greatest hope that my toils bring a small part of prosperity to our wonderful state.  Although my birthplace was the beaches of Florida, my heart will always lie in the prairies of Nebraska.

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