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Genuine hearts…

Wednesday Wisdom 🙂


Inspiration this week comes from Paul’s epistle to the Romans 12: 9-13

“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.”


Sometimes, I read the Bible and I struggle to figure out what God is trying to tell me. Other times, I read the Bible and the message is so obvious that it’s like a friendly smack on the face! I’ve experienced both of those feelings as I studied Paul’s letter to the Romans. Since the beginning of the Covid pandemic, I’ve been mainly reading in the New Testament spending time in the Gospels of Luke and John in addition to studying Paul’s epistles. In all honesty, as I read God’s Word, I am searching for a daily roadmap. I need it as I strive to love and serve my family, my community, and the young people that God brings across my path. 2020 has been a year of challenge, and I have tried to be careful to remind myself each day “to look up to the audience that matters” in order to find discernment to lead me through it.

Some days I do a better job of that than others, but I pray that each day God sees my “try” and creates in me a merciful, servant heart.

I spent last week teaching 6th and 7th grade math as a substitute. I am still in the midst of the Cross Country season, so that meant 10+ hour days surrounded by kids. I was pretty well “immersed” 😉 One thing that God placed on my heart over and over again throughout the week was the need to be genuine. I remember an old horse trainer telling me decades ago – “Anne, that horse doesn’t care how much you know until he understands how much you care.” That day, the trainer was reminding me that “cranial knowledge” sometimes needs to take a backseat to the heart and its discernment of right and wrong. I thought about that repeatedly last week as I tried to remember middle school math and keep the kids moving forward in a disciplined fashion. I hope that they figured out over our five days together how much I care about them and the work that we were asked to do together. 


I don’t know why we are sometimes tempted to “pretend”, or to create a farce as we live our lives. But, I think that Paul’s reminder up above speaks clearly and boldly about God’s expectation of our hearts. We are called to be genuine, to love without reservation and with great affection. As we love with true hearts, we are also asked to work hard, to serve enthusiastically, to rejoice with hope, and to be patient in times of challenge. Perhaps most importantly, we are asked to be steadfast in our prayers in order to give Jesus the ability to replenish our hearts so that they continue to bless others as they run over with love. The expectation is that we lead with our hearts, always eager to help those in need. 

“God loves a cheerful giver” (2Corinthians 9:7).

For years, I thought that God cared most about my actions – for the work that I accomplished. The more time that I spend in His Word and around the kids that He places in my life, the more I realize that what God cares most about is my heart. I’ve decided that I don’t need a “task list” to give me a report card at the end of my day. Instead, I need a “genuine meter” that assesses the sincerity of my heart. Good work can’t help but spill out from a heart that loves with Grace. The works are the fruit of the heart and a demonstration of the love that lives there. This is the evidence of God’s presence in our earthly world. This is how the Good News is shared.

It’s okay to be different. It is good to be genuine. God asks us to be real. It honors and points to our heavenly Father when the sincerity and compassion of our hearts provides the roadmap to our days 🙂

 

 

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The Teacher in Me…

I love to learn.  I love to teach.  When I was young, I had the notion that I wanted to spend my life being a classroom teacher.   This idea never materialized, but I do still hold true to my love of sharing what I know.

My love of knowledge is only as powerful as the amount of times that I choose to share it...

My love of knowledge is only as powerful as the amount of times that I choose to share it…

Not a week goes by that I do not get a request to do a public speaking engagement.  Because of my loyalties to my family and my farm, I have to turn down 75% of the requests.  It always hurts just a little when I have to say “no” because of my personal love of educating.

The traveling aspect is far more difficult for me than sharing my thoughts...

The traveling aspect is far more difficult for me than sharing my thoughts…

This week, I had three invitations that I felt compelled to honor.  I left home at 5:30 am Wednesday morning and drove 3 and ½ hours to Omaha, Nebraska where I spent the morning speaking to a high school class at Bryan High School, and the afternoon with a class of 3rd graders at Edward “Babe” Gomez Heritage Elementary.

The Bryan High School students...

The Bryan High School students…

The 3rd grade class was my family’s Agriculture in the Classroom Pen Pal (AITC) class and we have been writing letters and sharing pictures with one another all throughout the school year.  What a wonderful class of children and what a great teacher!

Our Ag in the Classroom students...

Our Ag in the Classroom students…

The AITC program is a nation-wide outreach program that connects farm families with urban classrooms so that children can better learn about agriculture.  Interacting “first hand” with these students is a truly gift.  Our family gets to know some wonderful young people every year, and the students are able to better learn how we grow cattle and crops on our farm.

The kids were fascinated with the cattle ear tags!

The kids were fascinated with the cattle ear tags!

On Thursday morning, I headed back to Lincoln, Nebraska to participate in a series of discussions with woman students involved in the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program at the University of Nebraska.

The Engler Entrepreneurship panel discussion...

The Engler Entrepreneurship panel discussion…

I love to interact with college students—their passion and excitement is contagious, and it is one of my greatest joys to be able to mentor young adults who want to become involved in the beef community.  I am always thankful for the opportunity to share my knowledge with the next generation of cattle farmers.

Where my heart is...

Where my heart is…

Today as I return home, I am thinking of the future and all of the ways that I can continue to work for improvement both on my farm and in the larger community.

  I know that the personal sacrifices that I make to reach out to others are both my responsibility and my gift.  And, I am thankful for my family and my crew for picking up the “extra chores” that result from my temporary absence from our farm.

Waiting for breakfast...

Waiting for breakfast…

We should not judge people by their peak of excellence; but by the distance they have traveled from the point where they started…Henry Ward Beecher

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Out Of The Mouths Of Babes…

Whenever I speak to a group of students, I always ask them what the two most important skills are that they need to master.  I get some interesting answers, although I rarely get both of the ones that I am looking for…

So, what do I feel are the two most important skills that our young people need to learn?

  1. To coherently express their thoughts verbally in an organized manner—Public Speaking Skills!
  2. To coherently express their thoughts in written form in an organized manner—Writing Skills!

I am a firm believer that these skills are imperative, no matter what path your life takes.  I spend the majority of my time non-verbally communicating with animals; however, I still use these two skills regularly.

Walking down the aisle at graduation a few moments before giving the Salutatorian Address...

My love for public speaking started early in my life, and continues to this day.  I speak to groups of cattlemen, I speak to groups of veterinarians, I speak to politicians and their staff members, I speak to student groups.  This list could go on and on, and I love every minute of it.  My Feed Yard Foodie site is a testament to how important I feel decent writing skills are.

My three daughters claim that I pontificate at home about the need for them to develop these two skills.  My middle daughter has recently realized an interest in writing, and my husband and I are trying our best to foster that interest.  One afternoon before Christmas she came home from school and wrote the essay that appears below.  She is very excited to be a guest blogger at the young age of 9!

I would like to title the essay: “Out Of The Mouths Of Babes”, and I think that you will understand why when you read it

The cowgirl turned writer...

The Reasons Agriculture is Important To This World

By Megan Anne Burkholder

I think Agriculture is important because it provides this WORLD with a large supply of food! A lot of the world depends on Nebraska and neighboring states for their meat! I live in Cozad, and where is Cozad you might ask? Well, it is in the middle of Nebraska! In other words right in the middle of the world’s meat supply!!

            Agriculture is also important with crops like alfalfa, hay, corn, and wheat. Farmers help supply us with corn on the cob, corn and alfalfa pellets to feed to livestock, hay for livestock, wheat for flour and flour for bread! That’s a big job for the 2,204,792 farmers in the United States of America–plus, a few farmers from other countries too!

            There are a LOT of people in the U.S.A! Still, farmers only make up 2 present of all Americans! That’s not a lot if you ask me. They work hard, trying to survive in the world because President Obama keeps increasing our taxes and regulations.

            Farms are struggling because they don’t have enough money; there are too many taxes; and too many regulations from OSHA, the Labor Department, and EPA.  For a farm business there are a lot of rules to follow! For example I mentioned OSHA; well OSHA is having EVERY employee in the U.S.A wear a harness if they are 4ft off the ground! That is NOT a very high point!! (If OSHA found Cozad Elementary they would make kids were harnesses on the PLAYGROUND!!! That would be terrible!)

            Did you know that the Department of Labor is trying to make it illegal for me to go with my mom to her cattle feed yard to help her work? That’s terrible because my mom says that I make her work more lively, go quicker and more fun to do! That is a compliment! I like to help her do her job and she likes to teach me to do her job correctly! Together we are a perfect match to get the work done quicker and have a little fun doing it the right way!

            I don’t get to help my dad much at his dehydration plant. Most of equipment is too dangerous for me to be around. So when he is at the plant and my sisters or I are with him, we have to stay in the office with the kitty cat. But when he is out in the fields working with NO dangerous equipment, we are allowed to help him.  This fall I got to help him take soil samples on his farm—it was hard work getting the samples out of the ground!

            Well, that is my life and why I think Agriculture is SO important to the world. I am sad that not everyone understands why agriculture is so important.

Quality time shared together helps her to understand the world that she lives in, as well as to develop those important life skills...

It is both my right and my duty as a parent to teach my children.  I must not only share my life with them, but also teach them the skills that they need to be productive participators…The world is run by those who show up with skills and a desire to participate!

           

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