Wednesday Wisdom 🙂
Inspiration for this week comes from 2 Timothy 1:7
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.”
Last week, I traveled to Stillwater, Oklahoma to speak on OSU’s campus as part of the 25th Annual Totusek Lectureship. I spent all day Friday with students and faculty from the Department of Animal and Food Sciences and ended the evening as the keynote speaker for the lectureship. I always learn something when I spend time with students who are passionate about agriculture, and I hope that I offered a meaningful message for them.
I was charged with talking about “My Journey in Beef Production”, but perhaps a more accurate title would be “Laying Down What’s Good To Find What’s Best”. The phrase comes from an awesome Jonny Diaz song entitled “Breathe”.
As I prepared for the lecture, creating a power point and pondering what “work” stories and lessons I should share, it occurred to me that there have been many times in my life that I have laid down what’s good to find what’s best. Each and every time, it has taken loving commitment and self-discipline to overcome the fear involved in creating meaningful change.
I have literally hundreds of stories to share on a variety of topics including:
- Moving to Nebraska from the city to work in our small feed yard
- Changing daily feed yard animal care practices to include low stress cattle handling
- Redefining our business model to become my own cattle buyer in order to reduce stress on my animals and better honor God’s call to be good caregivers
- Navigating my way into leadership positions in order to foster meaningful change across the beef industry in animal well-being
- Closing down the feed yard and then opening a new chapter of life with the Beef Marketing Group.
Throughout the preparation process for my time at OSU, my thoughts kept coming back to the difference between good — better — and best. It takes intentionality to move up the scale. And, the leap from better to best is a big one. When I think of best, my mind often goes to my faith and my family – to the love that I share with my favorite farmer and the children with which we were blessed. I’ve earned a lot of titles over the years, but the one that I am most proud of is wife/mom. Together, our family has learned to love — to reflect the light of God’s grace in order to walk a meaningful journey. There’s not a plaque hanging on my wall to honor this, but instead a mark on my heart that I cherish above all else.
It’s where I consistently find best.
Life journeys are interesting that way. Reaching for what’s good – upgrading to better – and ultimately striving for what’s best. I believe that the leap from better to best has a strong faith component to it. When we follow the path that God sets out for us, He fuels us with the power that comes from love and inspires us to develop the needed self discipline to persevere. Jesus calls us to be courageous and hopeful in our journey – thereby overcoming the fear and timidity that threatens to keep us from finding best.
I don’t know for sure what the folks at OSU expected from me, but they got a talk that uniquely blended cattle stories and faith stories with a sprinkle of Coach Anne on top. It’s a mix that works for me in my constant search for best 🙂