Tag Archives: togetherness

Cycles of giving…

Wednesday Wisdom 🙂

Today’s quote can be found in the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 6:38

“Give and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full — pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount that you give will determine the amount you get back.”

Life on a farm intrinsically teaches a lesson in the cycle of giving. As Howard Buffet notes in his book, Forty Chances, a farmer has approximately 40 chances (growing cycles) over his lifetime to use his efforts to bring meaning to the world. Whether its tilling the soil or caring for a calf, as adult farmers, we each have around 40 years of contribution.

Matt and I are firmly in the middle of our forty year tenure — far enough through the process to understand fully what it means, but with enough chances left that we are inspired to constantly strive to do it better. It takes a lot of faith to farm. Diligent care for the land and our animals provides the structure to our days, but uncontrollable forces like Mother Nature can undermine our success as caretakers. The process has taught me to tenaciously give, stubbornly packing my belief that God will never let the cup run empty.

Matt giving a young Megan a lesson in water quality

We honor our resources on the farm by always getting smarter about how to use them. We work, we mature in our knowledge, and we are renewed by our dedication to the goal. A tangible example of this is the move to shift from gravity pipe irrigation to pivot technology combined with soil moisture sensors which allows us to conserve water while optimizing crop yields.

As I travel into my third decade of chances, I find myself digging deeper to better understand what it really means to give. Jesus’s instruction, “Give and you will receive”, is a very basic one. However, it also holds complexity and depth. In order to fully give, you must

  • gather as a team
  • connect as a unified group
  • contribute unselfishly

I feel as though my life has been a series of experiences where God tenaciously tries to teach me the value of giving as a team. Jesus’s words, “pressed down, shaken together to make room for more” denotes the importance of we. Giving is not a singular act. It takes both a donor and a receiver. We bring honor to the act when we work together — creating a continuous cycle rather than one independent input. The cycle perpetuates as givers become receivers and receivers become givers — when the team comes together to fill the cup.

If we only have a finite number of chances, then it behooves us to make the most of each and every one. I may have learned that lesson on the farm, but it carries over to every aspect of my life. The Holy Spirit reminds me daily that #TogetherWeAreStronger.


Filed under General, Wednesday Wisdom

Good Idea! Poor Execution…

My favorite farmer and I played racquetball on Saturday morning. Temperatures were hovering around zero outside, so we headed for the indoor court after I got farm chores finished.  We both enjoy athletics as well as doing things together, so it’s a good fit on a cold day.

I’ve loved Matt since I was eighteen and we’ve been married more than half of my life. One of our strengths as a couple is our dedication to the concept of team. We both place a priority on the realization that together we are stronger, just as we also acknowledge that the key to this is using our blend of strengths and weaknesses to continuously work to make the team better.

Matt is, hands down, a better racquetball player than I am. He’s bigger – He’s stronger –He’s faster. In fact, he’s also ambidextrous so he doesn’t have a “weak side”. Playing the game could be frustrating for me with him acing the serve and never giving me the ability to participate; but that isn’t the case because of our unwritten rule of always working to build the team.

As we play racquetball, I have lots of good ideas with poor execution. I’d never played the sport before I met Matt, and our games are pretty infrequent with the responsibilities of family and farm chores. I know enough that I can envision what I need to do, but my body doesn’t always move with the precision needed to make the play. However, each time that we play, I get better. This happens for two reasons:

  1. I bring a positive and passionate attitude to the games.
  2. Matt holds strong to the goal of helping the team to get stronger.

There is a reason that there is no “I” in TEAM. The lack of “I” keeps the team going with universal hope for the future.

Life is full of times when we work to build different skills. It is also full of moments when a fresh set of eyes allows for the development of good ideas. I believe that the secret to success is in the team mentality.  It creates a culture which nurtures the teammates. New ideas are created and embraced, and a level of support exists to inspire the work needed to improve execution.

  • It takes good ideas to inspire continuous improvement.
  • It takes practice to develop good execution.

Common acceptance of the goal, good communication, an underlying level of respect, and a dedication to finding group success makes each individual teammate stronger just as it builds the team. The score board said that I lost all three racquetball games, but I had moments of success and lots of improvement over the two hour period. Matt broke a sweat and I only lost the last game by two points. We finished with smiles on our faces – looking forward to the next time.

Sometimes, that’s the biggest victory of all 🙂

How do you build the concept of “team” in your life?

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Filed under Coaching / Personal Growth, General

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