Tag Archives: natural beauty

I Saw God Today…

One of my favorite songs is George Strait’s classic I Saw God Today It speaks to me — warms my heart — and balances my perspective.

I’ve been to church
I’ve read the book
I know he’s here
But I don’t look
Near as often as I should
Yeah, I know I should
His fingerprints are everywhere
I just slowed down to stop and stare
Opened my eyes and man I swear
I saw God today

Late this fall, I struggled terribly to find balance in my life. There were so many requests — so many demands — so many responsibilities — that I became lost in a sea of chaos. I felt stripped of energy, tired of giving, and emptied out inside. When I looked about me, the world had lost it color just as I had lost my spark.

My equilibrium failed and I lost my natural tendency to:

  • Look for God
  • See the good
  • Count my blessings

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To recognize that just as I give, I must also receive — for if we fail to refuel our minds and our hearts, they run dry.

After my Turkey-Less Tetrazzini post in December, many of you reached out to me and shared similar struggles. It became quickly apparent that I was not alone in my battle to maintain balance.

I found comfort in that offer of comradery – thank you for that.

I spent the weeks following that post searching for an answer, a secret, to maintaining fitness amidst the endless tsunami of responsibilities.  I think best while exercising, so as I traversed up and down the swimming pool, and pounded the pavement walking and running; I slowly realized where I had gone amiss.

I remembered the words of George Strait’s song, and made a new resolution:

No matter how hectic the day, I will pause to look for God.

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  • I will see him on my farm which will refuel my desire to CARE: for my animals, for my crew, and for those lives that I touch with the gift of food.
  • I will see him in my home, in the eyes of my children, which will refuel my desire to SUSTAIN for the future that we will build together as a family.
  • I will see him in my community, in my neighbor, which will refuel my desire to SHARE for I know that together we are stronger.
  • I will see him in the natural beauty that creates the plains of Nebraska, which will refuel my desire to PERSEVERE – never faltering in my desire to pursue excellence amidst the awesomeness of Mother Nature.

At the end of each day, I will reflect on the times that I felt God’s presence – refueling for the next day – finding peace amongst the chaos of life.

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Did you pause to see God today?

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Filed under Family, Foodie Work!

Meanwhile Back In Nebraska…

Fall is in the air and the trees are turning colors. 

This is my favorite time of year, and I treasure the breathtaking views that surround me.  The following pictures were taken by Kristian Rennert of Elm Creek, Nebraska.  He has a tremendous gift for photography, and has gracefully allowed me to share the beauty.

The beautiful Platte River...

The Platte River dressed in its fall glory…

An irrigation pivot just north of the river...

An irrigation pivot just north of the river…

Kristian's dog, Tater, posing for a picture during their hike along the river...

Kristian’s dog, Tater, posing for a picture during their river hike…

This one is my favorite.  God's paintbrush leaves me in awe...

This one is my favorite. God’s paintbrush leaves me in awe…

The river brings life to our farm and the Nebraska prairie with the gift of water...

The river brings life to our farm and the Nebraska prairie with the gift of water…

As the green shifts to yellow and orange we are thankful for the passing of the seasons, and take a moment to enjoy the beauty that surrounds us...

As the green shifts to yellow and orange I am thankful for the passing of the seasons, and try to take a moment to enjoy the surrounding beauty…

What brings peace to your life?

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Filed under Environmental Stewardship, General

The Humble Inhabitant…

The most challenging part of morning swimming practice was diving into the water.  Being from Florida, most mornings were fairy warm; however, we did get some pretty cool temperatures during the winter months.  Of course, everything is relative, but 40 degrees at 5:00am standing on the pool deck in a bathing suit seemed cold.  It took an enormous amount of will power to force myself to dive into the water, and I still shudder a bit when I recall the feeling of hitting the cold water while my brain was still fuzzy from sleep.  I have never become a coffee drinker, and I really think that it goes back to all of those mornings when a cold pool woke me up—A cup of coffee just doesn’t have the same potency as that chilly water!

Twenty years later I still greet the cold winter weather early (our day at the feed yard starts at 6:00am), but I wear coveralls, heavy gloves and boots, and a face mask instead of a swimming suit.  My guys all have beards to keep their faces warm in the bitter cold, and I look like a bank robber with my black face mask on.

My winter wardrobe...

My definition of cold has altered a bit since I retired from swimming and moved to Nebraska.  When I went out to the feed yard on Sunday morning to read bunks and exercise some newly arrived cattle, the temperature was below zero.  When I left home before dawn the car thermometer read -3, and it had dropped to -8 by dawn.  Thankfully, the notorious and merciless Nebraska wind was not blowing.

Winter time in Nebraska reminds me that Mother Nature is fierce.  The descriptive word that comes to mind is raw.  Sunday morning I was surrounded by raw temperatures, but I was also surrounded by raw beauty.  I was both humbled and amazed.

Natural beauty at dawn on a winter day...

I do not think that I ever fully appreciated the humbling effect of Mother Nature until I moved to Nebraska.  Quite simply, Mother Nature rules my life.  She dictates what I do every day, and I have had to learn to adapt to her because she most certainly is not going to adapt to me.  I used to get very upset when the weather turned brutal.  Today, I accept that I cannot change the weather.  Instead of wasting my energy wishing that the weather wasn’t beastly, I channel that energy into setting myself and my animals up for success so that we can effectively deal with Mother Nature’s varied challenges.

Breakfast arrives!

We deliver a special feed ration (blend of feed ingredients) to our animals when the weather is nasty, and my guys and I put on layers and layers of warm clothes as we go out to offer the necessary daily care to our bovines.  The most important things for my cattle are fresh feed and water, so that is our top priority.  Quite honestly, my cattle are significantly more comfortable with winter weather than I am.  Cattle are actually very cold tolerant animals and rarely get chilled unless a cold wet rain dampens their coats prior to the temperature dropping.  Cattle in Nebraska are genetically wired to tolerate the cold and put on very heavy hair coats this time of year.

These native Nebraska cattle do well in cold temperatures...

As we approach the celebration of Christmas, my children all start to wish for snow.  I don’t.  My kids will tell you that “Mama prays for a nice, pretty, brown Christmas.”  It isn’t that I do not love Christmas, it is my favorite holiday.  I simply do not want to share the holiday with a weather challenge so I wish for a brown Christmas instead of a white one.  When you care for cattle, snow is synonymous with additional work.  I will be traveling with family this year at Christmas so I am especially hopeful that Mother Nature will behave herself.  I hope that my guys can celebrate a nice Christmas with their families with the only disruption of the holiday being the normal delivery of feed.

Raw Beauty...

In the meantime, I will continue to both respect and appreciate the raw power and beauty of winter time in Nebraska.  I am, after all, the humble inhabitant.

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Filed under Foodie Work!, General

A Different Point of View…

Studly and I teamed up again last week to “ride pens” because my cowboy was on vacation.  I spent the week checking cattle, and thinking about the difference that “point of view” makes when you look at the environment around you.

My point of view is different while atop Studly’s back than when I am on the ground.  I can see more things because I am higher up, but being on top of a prey animal (horse) and surrounded by other prey animals (cattle) also causes a shift in the way that I perceived the world around me.  I pay more attention to detail…

Here is an array of pictures from the week:  from the point of view of atop the horse…What do you see when you look at the pictures?

Waiting for the sun to rise...Do you see the cattle in the predawn light?

There is the tip of the sun...Does the world look different yet?

It's almost up!

Magnificent...

This one is my favorite...Do you see the cattle resting in the foreground, and the others playing in the background?

The sun is up...Do you see the rainbow just to the right of my feed elevator?

I saw all of these things in the span of an hour.  I feel blessed to have witnessed the beauty.  Have you stopped to notice the beauty that surrounds you today?  It is everywhere–just waiting for you to notice…Happy Monday!

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Filed under Environmental Stewardship, General