Tag Archives: life


Wednesday Wisdom 🙂

Inspiration this week comes from Jesus’ word in the Gospel of Matthew 10:39

“If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.”

I’d never paid much attention to the concept of flexion until I tore ligaments and broke my leg. The bone that I broke (the fibula) is actually the “non-weight bearing” bone in the lower leg, but it – and the ligaments near it – play a critical role in ankle mobility.  As a lifelong runner, I’d enjoyed really good flexion in my ankles which allowed my foot to bridge up and back down in a harmonious running step. Like many things in life, I never truly appreciated my ankle flexion until I no longer had it.

It has taken many, many painful hours of intentional physical therapy to work to gain back the ability to bend my right ankle. It’s still not what it used to be, but last week I made a new stride as my therapist was able to push it to 29 degrees past neutral. To help put that victory into perspective, in between my first and second surgery, I scored in at only 3 degrees past neutral. I’m not sure that I can put into words how hard it has been to gain the ability to bend those additional 26 degrees, but my body has given my heart an entirely new outlook on the concept of shaping.

I recently completed my first 5k post leg break – it is the first race in my life that I have walked and it took me longer to walk the 5k than it took for me to run the 10k last year. But, this race is likely more meaningful as I honored the medal God placed on my heart instead of the one that I might have earned had I been able to run…

I think that God finds creative ways to grow us. My leg experience is one of those. Outside of my ankles, I have spent most of my life not being a particularly “flexible person”. My stubbornness can outweigh my ability to bend. It stands in the way of God’s ability to shape and refine me; and can provide a significant hurdle as I strive to hold Jesus’ hand on my daily faith journey.

If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.

That scripture verse used to confuse me. I couldn’t fathom why God would want me to give up who I am in order to find myself. It frightened me to think about releasing control in order to allow God to guide my path. It took a lot of prayer and deep reflection for me to realize that walking with Jesus – responding to the Holy Spirit – and honoring God’s calls actually allowed me to find myself.  It freed me to be the person that my brain feared but my heart desired.

Being shaped by God is not always an easy process. When I am stubborn, it can look like my ankle refusing to move as the physical therapist breaks into a sweat trying to cram it into the proper bending shape. My therapist describes me as “guarded” because I don’t trust him as he bends, twists, and yanks on my leg. A truthful introspection shows me that God might also describe me as guarded when He asks me to truly give him my heart.

As I write this today, I’m still stubborn. I’ll likely always carry a bit of that trait with me. But, I’m learning to be more flexible — to submit my heart to the One who calls me by name with an unconditional love that fuels me despite the circumstances of my earthly life. I am finding that the more of my heart that I surrender to Jesus, the more that I can find the peaceful hope that transcends human ability or explanation. It doesn’t always make intellectual sense, but it frees me with a flexion that lends purposeful meaning to my life.





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Filed under General, Wednesday Wisdom

It All Started With a Beer…

Frankie Ballard has a new song out on the country music charts entitled, “It all started with a beer”.  There is something innately human about the song that really speaks to me.  The truth in the words of the melody pull at my heart and serve as a good reminder of what real life is all about.

There’s been highs and lows,

Fast lane freeways and bumpy roads
Cursed the devil and prayed to heaven,

Lost it all and we rolled some sevens
Been some smiles then there’s been tears,

Been more good than bad years
Ain’t it crazy baby how we got here,

Oh, it all started with a beer

annemattjeans.jpgMatt and I met at Dartmouth College at a party in the fall of 1993.  The life we started together in New Hampshire and then continued on the farm in Nebraska is wrapped up somewhere in the midst of those words coined by Frankie Ballard.  We celebrate 20 years of marriage this June and 19 years on the farm having experienced the joys of love, the trials of farming, and the journey of finding strength in togetherness.

When I look in the mirror today, my eyes do not hold the innocence and optimism of youth.  Instead, they carry the knowledge of life — the highs and lows, fast lane freeways and bumpy roads — the recognition that tackling challenges is just part of living.  Understanding that, perhaps, the tears and frustrations that come during the lows actually lead to a broader perspective allowing for a fuller life experience.

There is no doubt that the optimistic Ivy League graduate with stars in her eyes that landed in the heart of the Nebraska plains really had no idea of the journey ahead.  Sometimes it is hard to remember the girl who showed up at the feed yard that first day shaking with nerves, but determined to learn.  The years blur together, but adaptation is a curious process and I have (from time to time) both cursed the devil and prayed to heaven. 

The experiences of creating a family combined with the trials of learning to understand cattle and running a business have instilled me with patience and resilience.  The uphill battle of bringing positive change to an agricultural industry steeped in both testosterone and tradition taught me that small periods of failure often precede a roll of sevens.annemattjeanskiss.jpg

Through the decades, my favorite farmer has shared both my smiles and my tears quietly supporting me so that I would have more good than bad years.  His faith in me never waivers and the love that we have nurtured on the journey humbles me.  On this Valentine’s Day, it seems quite hard to believe that

It all started with a beer



Filed under Coaching / Personal Growth, Family, General

Digging In the Dirt…

I have always loved digging in the dirt.  Although I grew up in the city, my dad is an avid hunter and we spent many of my childhood weekends in the Lake Okeechobee area hunting on Florida ranch land for quail, ducks and dove.

My brother and I, many many years ago out at the "hunting camp"...

My brother and I, many many years ago out at the “hunting camp”…

When Matt and I moved to Nebraska, my one condition on the move was that I wanted a house “in the country” where I could have lots of room to have animals and gardens.  Our house is positioned on the edge of one of Matt’s farms and sits on about five acres.

My two horses lay claim to a large portion of those acres, but I still have plenty of room to experiment and grow things.  This spring has been mentally challenging for me because it has been too cold to garden.  Our trees are only now starting to bud and my summer perennials are barely peaking their brave heads above ground (the tulips and daffodils perished in a snow storm several weeks ago).  My fingers have been itching to play in the dirt…DSC05280

On Sunday, we had temperatures in the low sixties so I herded up my free labor and headed outdoors to do some gardening chores.  My girls always complain a little bit as we get started, but it does not take long for my older ones to get excited about transplanting and clearing out the flower gardens.

Transplanting lilies...

Transplanting lilies…

They seem to have inherited my love for digging in the dirt and making things grow…

In addition to my perennial flowers taking the plunge above the soil, my rhubarb and asparagus are coming up.  It will not be long before it is time to get the colder season annual vegetables in (it was 28 degrees Saturday morning so not quite yet!).  This year we are doing a combination vegetable garden with my  mother-in-law and the girls are in charge of weeding 🙂

Dividing our Irises...

Dividing out and replanting Irises…

It renews my soul to dig in the dirt.  It fuels my optimism to watch new life grow in my gardens.  It brings a smile to my face to watch my daughters learn the combination of care and just a little magic which brings beauty to our yard and vegetables to our table.

Even while we garden and water, she still dreams about that great tasting steak that will go along with her vegetables :)

Even while we garden and water, she still dreams about that great tasting steak that will go along with her vegetables 🙂

We topped off the afternoon by finding the first toad of the year.  Karyn seemed to spend more time playing with it than helping with the gardens...I guess that is the joy of being the baby of the family!

We topped off the afternoon by finding the first toad of the year. Karyn seemed to spend more time playing with it than helping with the gardens…I guess that is the joy of being the baby of the family!

Is it warm enough to get your gardens going for the growing season?


Filed under Family, General, Sustainable Spring