Tag Archives: inspiration

The Three P’s…

Wednesday Wisdom 🙂

Inspiration this week comes from Paul’s letter to Philippians 3: 12-14

“I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”

We are deeply in the midst of the Cross Country season. Like many coaches, I am searching for inspiring words to keep my athletes working hard and moving forward. This is a difficult time: bodies are tired, legs hurt, brains struggle to focus, and the temptation to settle is very real. We get trapped by thinking about how hard practice was yesterday instead of concentrating on the gift of being able to practice today. It is a time when success is found as we look outside of ourselves to be inspired by those around us. It is a series of moments when we can choose to press on in love.

In my almost 46 years, love is the only thing I’ve found that inspires me to sacrifice and to move into hard places. For me, love inspires the three P’s. When my heart chooses to love, I am driven with passion, perseverance, and patience. Those that know me well understand that passion to put in the work and to persevere are things that come naturally to me. I am a work horse with a belly full of oats who always sees and moves toward the home barn on the horizon. I’m one of those goofy people that lives to sweat and to push the envelop of the impossible. The one of the three P’s that causes me to struggle is patience. When the Holy Spirit blessed me with gifts, patience fell somewhere at the bottom of the list 😉

Being a mom and working as a coach has taught me to develop patience. I love the kids and that inspires me to work to become a better version of myself. Patience is still #3 on the list, but God is using love for those around me to inspire me to do it better. My leg has played an important role in that process. Those of you that have read FYF faithfully over the years, realize that I am almost two years into a struggle to gain full use of my right leg. A crazy ice-induced accident left the bottom of my leg shattered. Three surgeries and 19 months later, the three P’s – fueled by love – are bringing me traction.

I started trying to run again last spring about 15 months after the accident. My leg did not handle it well and I prayed for trust, for hope, for discernment. I stopped running and continued to rehab in the pool because I knew that I needed to put in patient work. I knew that I needed to press on in trust. I knew that Jesus struggled with me, and cried those same tears of frustration each time the pain left me limping.

I made a goal of running with the Junior High Cross Country team this fall because I knew that God had strategically planted me as an XC coach. I knew that the kids were going to need me as they embarked on their running journey. There is just something really special about a coach who sweats, hurts, and works with the team. It doesn’t just build good athletes, it creates good humans 🙂 That’s the coach that I believe God made me to be, so I believed that He would answer my prayer.

And He did.

We are thirty days into the season and I’m running. From 800 repeats to longer aerobic runs, God carries me daily. It’s not without work, sacrifice, and pain. But, it’s there. And, it fills my heart because I know that it is fueled by a God who shows up for me and for the kids that he brings into my life. He loves in a way that leaves me inspired – with passion, perseverance and patience.

Together, I pray that God will help all of us to more fully understand the beauty of running the race all of the way to the finish line!


Filed under General, Wednesday Wisdom

God’s part, My part, Other’s part…

Wednesday Wisdom 🙂

Inspiration this week comes from the Gospel of John 8:12

“Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”

One of my greatest personal challenges is “refilling my cup”. God has filled me with a lot of passionate energy, and working to make a difference sits close to the top of Anne’s priority list. The cup stays nice and full when I can see the positive impact of my efforts, but it steadily empties when I do not get to experience a tangible part of God’s evolution.

There are lots of places in the New Testament where the Bible talks about the “water of life” and the role of the Holy Spirit in the daily renewal of our faith. There are also lots of places in the New Testament where Jesus talks about following him in order to live in the light. I get that. Where I stumble is the additional internalization of the core teaching that there are three parts to a life filled with faith:

  1. God’s part
  2. My part
  3. Other’s part

I get too hung up on the outcome and feel personally responsible for it.  As a result, I feel an acute sense of failure when others do not chose to respond in the way that I would like when I offer help and support.

A friend of mine sent me this comic a couple of weeks ago. It inspired me to pause and think a bit. While I’m not sure that walking away is always the correct answer, having enough faith in God to recognize that I am only called to do my part helps me to not lose hope.

I suspect that I am not the only one to struggle with this. It’s a hard lesson to realize that we cannot be responsible for other people’s hearts and actions. I struggle with this daily. I want to fix, but really all that I can do is love. Each person is responsible for their own decisions and actions. And, God is truly the only one that can heal the broken. While he can use us as vessels to guide and share his love, we have no control over another person’s response when we share.

I’ve been coaching and working with kids for almost 20 years now. I remember the first time that I truly realized that I couldn’t do it for them. I was 24 years old and the assistant high school Cross Country coach. We had a good group of boys on the team that year. While none of them would have told you that Cross Country was their primary sport, they had a lot of potential. I learned something at the district meet that fall. I learned that my passion couldn’t carry them in their race. I could teach them the proper technique and help them to gain the needed fitness to find success. I could do my best to inspire their devotion. But, when it came to the race, I couldn’t do it for them. Finding success required a choice on their part which was out of my control.

Our faith journeys aren’t really any different than that race.

Faith is an individual decision that each person makes – every single day. No one else can make it for them. It’s the difference between living in the light and living in the darkness. I can control how I respond to others, but I cannot control how they respond to me.

  • God’s job is to love and guide.
  • My job is to reflect that love and guidance.
  • How other people chose to respond to that is their part.

I’ll let you all know when I’ve truly mastered that process, as there is a difference in knowing it and truly believing it. That difference influences the quality of the light that Jesus talks about in the above passage from John. My heart clearly tells me when I lack the trust required to let go, as then I loose sight of the light and the cup seems to systematically empty.


Filed under General, Wednesday Wisdom

Reach for it…

Wednesday Wisdom 🙂

Inspiration for this week’s post comes from the Gospel of John 4: 14

But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.

Shortly after my seventeenth birthday, I traveled to Buffalo, NY to compete in the 18 and Under USA Swimming National Championships. I think that I made the finals — honestly I don’t recall — but I clearly remember that my swim missed the qualifying time for Senior Nationals by 0.04sec. Four hundredths of a second doesn’t seem like very much, but that swim helped to define the way that I look at life.

My swimming career went on for four more years, but the majority of my success came during that year and the following year as I closed out my high school swimming journey. Throughout that time, I learned to believe in myself and reach for it. 

During my adult life, I have learned to use those athletic experiences and apply them to my faith journey. To me, active faith — one that is alive and strengthening — begins with:

  • Reaching for it
  • Grabbing it
  • Owning it

Photo credits to Corbey Dorsey 🙂

While I learned to reach for it as an athlete in the swimming pool and on the cross country course, I learned to grab it and own it after I became a mom, a coach, and a heart-felt Christian.

The words living water appear often in the Bible. It’s a term that I gave little thought to until a couple of years ago. To me, living water is:

  • The peace that passes beyond understanding.
  • The love that inspires you to give.
  • The faith that, although you can never see it, fills your life and drives an intentional God-filled journey.

The living water comes from letting Jesus into your heart and accepting the Holy Spirit as your guide.

Sometimes I fall short – not just in the swimming pool, but in life. I make mistakes and temporarily lose sight of God’s guidance. But, the living water of the Holy Spirit centers me and brings me back after I stray. Although I don’t always get it right, I am inspired to persevere and continue the journey.

God uses broken people. His mission involves inspiring broken people to come together to make something of beauty. That is why Joseph is now a part of our family. Together we all find God’s peace and learn to heal through faith. It isn’t always a happy journey, but it is a meaningful one that brings a peaceful purpose to our days. I have found that the more that I answer God’s calls, the more that I need the inspiration, confidence and direction of the Holy Spirit.

The living water of the Holy Spirit is a very different water than what I used to compete in during my swimming career! But, it builds on my athletic experiences and inspires me daily to pack my faith to live with grace. It offers the promise of eternal life in heaven with the bonus of an incredible journey on the earth.

I don’t just reach for it.

I grab it.

I own it.

And I give it to God.


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Filed under General, Wednesday Wisdom

A Deer In the Headlights…

Cattle outnumber people in the state of Nebraska by a ratio of just under 4:1.  We share our great Cornhusker State with a healthy population of deer who reside amidst the 1800 miles of river ground within our boarders.



Life on a farm leads to many miles traveled on gravel roads. Learning to drive where the pavement ends initially provided a bit of a learning curve for me, and I remember my favorite farmer giving me driving advice as I adjusted to life on the prairie. After two decades and hundreds of thousands of miles, I recently got to put his what to do when a deer jumps out on the road in front of your vehicle advice to good use…

  • Slow down as much as possible without losing control of the vehicle. 
  • Stay in the middle of the gravel road where the traction is the most consistent.
  • Hold the steering wheel with two hands and drive STRAIGHT.  Do NOT SWERVE.

 Natural human intuition often leads to swerving to avoid the collision.  Swerving results in losing tire traction on the uneven gravel and crashing the vehicle into the ditch.  It is preferable to take the deer head on which allows you to better remain in control with a solid driving surface.

It was pitch black dark the morning that a doe mule deer decided to cross the road in front of my vehicle.  The look she gave me reflected her lack of foresight and thought, but I am glad to report that I had enough to cover both of us.  I followed my favorite farmer’s advice to a T, and all ended well.

anne-ag-meg-treeAs I recounted the experience of saving both myself and the deer to my girls, I took the opportunity to turn it into a teaching moment.

  • PAY ATTENTION to the world around you.
  • TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for both your actions and the situation at large.
  • DON’T BE AFRAID to face things head on.

 Of course, the girls expressed great excitement toward their spontaneous life lesson opportunity with Mama. Now, if I can just get them to consistently wear socks and coats during the winter weather; they might be ready to go off to college in a year or two 😉

Like many of you, we reconnected with family and friends over the holiday season.  In my case, many of these awesome people lead unique lives in places vastly different than my farm on the prairie.  While I deal with deer before dawn on gravel roads dressed in blue jeans and boots, they deal with rush hour traffic while dressed in business suits.

Taking the time to appreciate the diversity in others allows our own lives to take on a new depth of meaning. In doing this, we are able to shed that deer in the headlights look and actively embrace the similarities that exist in our hearts.

**P.S. I am open to any and all advice as to how to convince my teenage daughters that physical care and comfort should come ahead of fashion.  Please leave thoughts in the comment section 🙂 —Thank you, Anne




Filed under Family, Farming, General

Life is a gift: How do you plan to share in it?

Today, I am the Keynote Speaker at a seminar for local (Dawson County) high school students who are interested in learning about “Growing Career Opportunities in Agriculture”.  The title of my talk is:

Life is a gift: How do you plan to share in it?

I do a variety of public speaking engagements throughout the year, but being asked to speak to the youth in my surrounding community is really an honor.  Motivating young people to achieve greatness holds a very special place in my heart. 018

America works when everyone works…

There is no such thing as a free lunch…

How can you use your talents to benefit your country and your community?

Matt and I made a life choice when we moved back to our rural community of Cozad.  We looked at our talent set, we looked at our priorities, and we recognized what was going to make us happy. DSC05507

We are dedicated not only to our business but also to our community.  Our professional careers have taught us that working hard is easy when you believe in what you do.  Our personal lives have shown us that volunteering within our community plays a key role in both our happiness and the success of the team that we are so proud to be a part of.alfalfa may14 012

If I can leave anything with the students that I visit with today, it will be:

  • To inspire them to use their God-given talents to make a positive difference with their lives.
  • To encourage them to look at their home communities as the place to build their lives.
  • To motivate them to believe in themselves in order to strive for greatness.

I believe with all of my heart that each one of us was placed on this earth for a reason.  We all have a very special purpose—a unique role to play in the game of Life.  Our success is determined by our individual abilities to be dedicated to the cause, combined with our united effort to work together for excellence.

What I teach them determines not only their future but mine as well...

What I teach them determines not only their future but mine as well…

I will close my talk today with my favorite quote from Aristotle:  We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

How do you personally share in the gift of  life?


Filed under General, Rural Communities

Why Blog?

I read a blog post this week that spoke to me so much that I am going to deviate from my Sustainable Spring series to tell you all about it.   The author of the post is Aimee Whetstine who blogs at everyday epistle.



Aimee was one of my very first “virtual friends”.  Although I have never met her in person, I value the relationship that we have built over the past year and a half.  I faithfully read her words each week because she respectfully inspires me to think even when we look at issues from different perspectives.

You can read Aimee’s post at http://projectunderblog.com/debunking-8-rules-of-blogging/ or visit her at http://everydayepistle.com/.

This week, Aimee tackled the issue of “Why Blog”, and what rules a blogger should live by.  It took me back to the weeks preceding my leap into social media in the spring of 2011, and also inspired me to rethink my current goals.

He is a silent contributor, but I could not do it without him...

We’re in this together…

Aimee did this with two short pieces of excellent advice:

  • Publish when you have something to say.
  • Your blog is a reflection of what matters to you.

I began blogging because I had something to say.  I wanted to open up my farm in an effort to have a respectful conversation about how I care for cattle and raise beef in a feed yard.   I believe in transparency and I believe that every consumer has a right to know how their food is raised.

I've become a farm girl and the days that I spend in the processing barn "working cattle" are some of my favorites...

Over the past 16 years I’ve become a farm girl, and the days that I spend in the processing barn “working cattle” are some of my favorites…

I continue to blog because I love to write.  I am a naturally reserved person, but I have found that I love to share my life through pictures and the written word.  From the challenges that I face — to the joys of raising my daughters in rural America, blogging is truly a personal journey that brings me joy.

Because I am not good at separating my life between raising cattle, parenting my girls, and sharing our story; my blog is a reflection of what matters to me.  It is a voluntary “labor of love”, and one that I am very proud of.  While it is sometimes easy to get caught up in the social media hype of blog statistics, I believe that blogging is truly about sharing, conversation, and personal growth.

There are many different types of conversations, but they must all be based on respect...

Conversations come in many types, but they must all be based on respect…

There may be times in the future that I *temporarily* may not have anything to say (my favorite teenager would like to go on record here to say that she doubts it!); but I will always come back because Feed Yard Foodie is an extension of me—a creative and intellectual outlet for the Ivy League educated psychologist turned cattle caregiver.

They are not just a number, they are an animal that deserves to receive good care and will give its life to nourish my children...

They are not just a number, they are animals that deserve to receive good care and will give their lives to nourish many very special people…

Hat’s off to Aimee and the countless other people that inspire me daily to be the best that I can be.  Thank you for respecting the individual that I am, and for choosing to join me in my adventures.

Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.

Vince Lombardi


Filed under Foodie Work!, General


My family traveled back to my home town for a few days at Christmas this year.  Every time that I go back to West Palm Beach, I am reminded of my childhood days.  I find myself trying to connect the dots that led me from the swimming pool and the beach to the prairies of Nebraska.

Christmas morning at the beach...

God’s paintbrush creates breath-taking Florida landscapes…

Approximately 1800 miles to the north and west takes you to Cozad, Nebraska…

While very different, God's artwork is also prominently displayed in my back yard in Nebraska...

While undeniably different, God’s artwork is also prominently displayed in my back yard…

Some may argue that Matt dragged me those 1800 miles from civilization to the great unknown but I view my move to rural America as a journey led by a search for my own special place.

16 and a half years later, Matt "encouraging" our oldest daughter (a Nebraska prairie girl) to try a taste of ocean life...

16 and a half years later, Matt “encouraging” our oldest daughter (a Nebraska prairie girl) to try a taste of ocean life…

As you can see, she was not initially a believer---adventuring into uncharted waters of her own accord...

As you can see, she was not initially a believer—lacking a desire to adventure into uncharted waters of her own accord…

It did not take long, however, for her to embrace the beauty of the ocean and all of its secrets...

It did not take long, however, for her to embrace the beauty of the ocean and all of its secrets…

Maybe she's just a little bit like her Mama---searching for her path in life---looking to discover how she can best use her talents...

Maybe she’s just a little bit like her Mama—looking for her own life’s path—searching for a way to make a difference…

When I arrived in Nebraska, I realized the start to a beautiful journey.  I found:

  • A place where I would discover a passion for the land and all of its marvelous creatures.
  • A place where I would find my own true self and the vocation that I believe that I was born to fulfill.
  • A place where I would learn to raise animals and grow food–cementing my belief that personal pride grows alongside hard work.
  • A place where I would raise a family—the next generation of thoughtful and motivated Americans.
Her life may one day take her back to the ocean---her life may instead keep her on the prairie, but it is my hope that she will make the most of all of the gifts with which she was blessed by continually sharing them with others...

Her life may one day take her back to the ocean—Her life may instead keep her on the prairie…

It is my sincere hope that wherever her destination, she will strive for greatness and stay true to her beautiful self.  I pray that she will always share of her gifts and talents as she ventures through those uncharted waters of life.  Today as I reflect back on the last 20 years, I remember this mantra from Winston Churchill:

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.DSC03744

May we all have the courage to delve heartily into 2013, always remembering that gifts are only as powerful as the number of people with whom we share them…


Filed under Family, General

Becoming a Believer…

I have a quote down at the very bottom of the home page from football player Drew Brees’ book, Coming Back StrongerWhen I read Drew’s book a couple of years ago, it just plain spoke to me.  In fact, I have many pages of notes where I copied down quotes that I loved from the book.  The one below is my favorite…

“Believing—there are several layers to it. There’s the surface-level type of believing, where you acknowledge that something is true. Then there is a deeper kind of belief–the type that gets inside of you and actually changes you. It’s the kind of belief that changes your behavior, your attitude, and your outlook on life, and the people around you can’t help but notice.”

I am a person of very strong beliefs and faith.  I have always been strong-willed, but the confidence that I have attained as an adult stems from the development of personal beliefs and faith.  My life is centered around love, empathy and hard work because I believe that is what allows me to use my talents to achieve greatness.

I work tenaciously as a parent to teach my girls to be believers

Although there are many different people that have served as mentors for me over the years, learning to be a caregiver for animals has inspired in me a deep level of believing that transcends everything else.  Figuring out what an animal needs and then working tenaciously to provide those needs brings me an inner confidence and a sense of peace.

Both of these animals are actively engaged with me and asking me for guidance…

As I watch my cattle thrive and grow, and then trace their performance all of the way to my own dinner plate I become even more of a believer. I am left with a sense of purpose, and inspired to work harder with each day that passes.  My love for animals is diversified and runs deep. I am happiest when I am surrounded by them.

On top of my trusty equine partner and surrounded by cattle…

My daughter, Megan, and I spent a couple of days recently in the Sandhills of Nebraska.  My husband laughs that even when I go on vacation, I take some of my animals with me.  Megan and I joined some friends at “horse camp” riding and learning how to be better communicators with our equine partners.

Megan (right) practicing her “Miss America” wave while sitting side-saddle on her horse.  She is joined by her two friends and their favorite equines…

My favorite part of the trip was watching my daughter in her own journey to becoming a believer.  Our animals not only teach her a sense of personal responsibility as she learns to provide for them and understand them, but living her dream with them also brings a sense of innate self-confidence.

The above picture makes my heart swell.  The absolute joy and personal pride in her expression is priceless to me as a parent.  At the very moment that I took the picture, Megan became a believer.  She realized what it meant to be a partner to her horse and they achieved a unique harmony that only a lucky few will ever feel.

She caught a glimpse of how wonderful it feels to use empathy and feel to successfully and unselfishly communicate.  Going forward, she will view the world differently—with a sense of confidence and understanding that enables her to successfully use the gifts with which she is blessed.

Is there a pivotal moment in your own life that caused you to become a believer?


Filed under Family, General, Natural Horsemanship