Tag Archives: gift

It means more when you share it with a cheerful heart…

Wednesday Wisdom 🙂

Today’s thoughts come from Paul’s 2nd letter to the Corinthians Chap. 9:7-9

You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” And God will generously provide all that you need. Then you will always have everything that you need and plenty left over to share with others. 

Finishing an ocean mile race as part of my training circa 1992

When I was a young athlete, I remember my dad telling me, “Anne, if you are going to do something then you need to do it well.” With him, there was no halfway, and I learned to work with diligence and dedication to make the most of my God-given talent. At 5’3″ and 105#, I was often the smallest backstroker in the pool. I think that some wondered how I found success, but I knew the secret — I found that hard work brought passion and passion brought hard work. It was a winning cycle that both brought honor to my sport and carried me through the majority of my athletic career.

While I possessed a keen grip on the notion of bringing honor to my God-given talents through dedication and hard work, I had begun my journey into adulthood before I gave much intentional thought to the concept of “giving”. The idea of turning those talents into cheerful gifts to others came after trading the ocean for the Nebraska prairie. Over the years, there have certainly been times that my efforts benefited others, but a focus on daily giving with a cheerful heart is still a work in progress for me.

I think that one of the things that I love most about being a cattle caregiver is the simplicity of the relationship. My cattle need me for daily care, and I need them to turn the resources on my farm into beef which nourishes my body.

There are no games, there are no politics, there are no pretensions.

Very simply, there exists only an honest display of bidirectional giving.

I can’t honestly say if cattle experience the emotion of joy; but I can report that I gain a feeling of peace and contentment as I fulfill my responsibilities as an animal caregiver — giving from a cheerful heart to fulfill a noble calling.

For me, things become more complicated in my relationships with other people. My “cheerful heart” sometimes wants to place expectations on others instead of simply finding honor in the act of sharing and giving. I forget the point of sharing when I do not place my faith at the heart of my gift.

I believe that God desires us to give as He gives

cheerfully, generously, and without any strings

knowing that our hearts possess enough love for everyone and our actions are fueled by a divine power of unending goodness.

I know that with each day that passes, I intentionally mature in my faith as my heart builds a habit of sharing with gratitude — trading unhealthy expectations for empathy and love.


Filed under General, Wednesday Wisdom

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...


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…


Filed under Family, General

The Gift That Keeps On Giving…

The Christmas tree that was once laden with ornaments no longer adorns the living room.  The carefully wrapped gifts are opened.  The thank you notes are written (hopefully!).  Christmas Day 2011 and the gifts traditionally given are now memories.

Many years at Christmas-time I worry that my girls will not remember all of the gifts that they receive because the day becomes a mass of activity and a resulting blur…This year was different.  This year, Matt’s parents gave all of us a gift that keeps on giving.

One of the rural airports that we flew out of...No air traffic control, no security, and a dirt runway.

Our family traveled to Kenya on a safari for Christmas.  This trip marked the first major family vacation in the almost 16 years that Matt and I have been married.  Worry about leaving my animals and my business for a significant period of time, worry about taking my children half way across the world, and worry about the safety and logistics of the trip all plagued me in the days prior to our departure.  I remember having a phone conversation with my mom a couple of days before we left where my stress-laden voice cried, “Is it worth all of this work just to go on vacation? It would be easier to just stay home!”.

This is my comfort zone...

I am a home-body.  I am comfortable in my world that consists of my family, my farm, and my town.  I am a creature of habit and normal routines are important to me.  While this trait is very helpful when managing a cattle feed yard where the animals need constant and consistent daily care; the down side is that I tend to develop a tendency toward tunnel vision.

When I think back on all of the gifts that I have been given over the years, it is the gifts that bring me additional knowledge and perspective that I cherish the most.  My life is a series of experiences, and each one has played a huge role in making me the person that I am.  From my background in competitive athletes, to my education at Dartmouth College, to my years of learning to care for animals and run a business-I am certainly a different person today than I was twenty years ago.  While I am very proud of the person that I have become, I also recognize that in order to benefit from continual growth that sometimes I need to go outside of my comfort zone.

In order to think outside of the box, I have to go outside of the box…

Straddling the equator--half on the Northern Hemisphere and half on the Southern Hemisphere...

The trip was absolutely amazing.  The culture and the animals both fascinated and captivated the psychologist and animal lover in me.  I filled half of a journal with notes and asked thousands of questions.  I am planning to write a series of posts to share my experiences and insights: agriculture, food and culture, and the beautiful and wild animals that call Kenya home…Perhaps by reading my posts your knowledge and perspective will be broadened just as mine was.  After all, it is not every day that a Feed Yard Foodie goes to Africa!

Perhaps my perspective is skewed, but there appears to be a cheetah on the top of the jeep that my two younger girls are traveling in... That can not be possible, can it?


Filed under Family, Foodie Fun!