Sunday, November 30, 2014

Day 30 - Write it Down

Well 30 days turned into 395 days, but I did accomplish my goal of 30 total days of blogging.  Thanks again Holly for your 30 Day Blog Challenge.  It started off as a blog to promote agriculture and life on a farm, but quickly turned into a book of memories that I wanted to log for my kids, nieces and nephews, and to share with the friends and family who helped create them.  

Writing is an interesting beast for me.  I've always enjoyed writing, putting my thoughts down on paper.  So much so that here I sit at 12:50am typing away on my iPad, sleep-deprived and still driven to continue as long as the words keep flowing. From as long as I could remember, writing came best to me in the late evening hours.  

My earliest spiral notebook journals started in 7th grade, mostly written under my covers with a flashlight late at night.  I had some pretty deep thoughts back then, and they were incredibly entertaining to reread when I uncovered them while cleaning out closets over the summer.  My junior high journals included anything from the boys that my friends and I were dating, to the horrible treatment I received from my older siblings:), frustrations with my parents' rules, the number of points and fouls game by game of our basketball season, and even the race times of our 4x200 relay team.

High school thoughts got a little deeper, more serious boyfriends, bigger sports events, and decisions like college and my future outside of Paxton, Illinois.  Most enjoyable was a decent amount of documentation I kept in college on the phases of "Trying to get Ted Mies's Attention."  According to actual documentation from 7th grade on, I never worked so hard for something in my life as I did to try to get that boy to like me!

After I finally got his attention, I guess I put my pencil down.  It only took 17 years to find the inspiration to pick it up again.  I would also like to thank Loraine Pitman for the inspiration.  At age 90, she had the help of her daughter to write down several memories of her years on the farm, in college at the University of Illinois, etc.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the past generations of Mies Farms.    So very many things have changed in agriculture over the last 90 years.  But interestingly, we also learned that many of the challenges are still very much the same as those of the generations before us.  

Should time or inspiration allow for it, I hope that at least one person who has read my blog takes the time to start writing one of their own.  Writing has been my therapy over the years, and I'm excited to publish my Shutterfly book full of blogs and pictures for our coffee table viewing only.  And maybe one of these days I will bust out those 7th grade journals for my 7th grader to read.  Although, I had a few boyfriends back in 7th grade, maybe she doesn't need to know about that just yet.

1:17am,  blog complete.

Day 29 - Life is exactly what you make it

Day 29 - Life is Exactly What You Make It

I've been toying around with this particular topic for about 6 months now, trying to come up with the most effective way to put it out there as I feel like it sums up this blog.  I sometimes tend to lack sensitivity (I cringe when I try to imagine what my filter will be like when I am 80+), so I apologize in advance as I promise I'm not directing this blog in any way, just putting it out there so my kids can read it someday and at least contemplate my attempts at passing wisdom their way.

Disclaimer completed, now I want to take a moment to point out the obvious.  Life is exactly what you make it.  We often try to point our finger in one direction or another, blaming our problems on the weather, on others, on the day of the week.  You name it, we blame it.  At the end of the day, we have to circle back around and point that finger at ourselves.  What did I do today to make my day better?  How did I react to a situation I was in?  Did I make it better for myself and others, or worse?

We can choose to be leaders.  We can choose to be followers.  We an choose to do things all in the name of good fun.  Or we can choose to sit on the sidelines and avoid potential embarrassment.  We can choose to stay mad or we can choose to get over it and move on.  

As parents, we can look for ways to create memories for our children.  We get such a short period of time to influence their pathway in life.  I'm frankly a bit freaked out right now about the short window of opportunity I have left to influence my children.  If I figured correctly based on my own experience, I have 5 1/2 years with Samantha and 7 1/2 years with Amber.  I was the child who left for college, came back for holidays here and there, and spent just one summer at home after high school.  Besides that, gone.  I think I heard my parents call me "independent" more than once.  So I figure there's at least a 50% chance my children will follow in my footsteps. 

With that said, I feel it may be time to create a bucket list of memories, experiences, and values I need to purposely instill in my children before they leave the house.  Ok, yeah I need to do that, but not tonight.  Sleep is still a critical part of my day.

I will share a few quick thoughts on this "Life is Exactly What You Make It" topic from conversations I've been in over the years.

The first comes from a level-headed friend describing philosophies on managing people.... I often tend to find myself in the middle of disputes where a person is on one extreme end of the spectrum and the opposing party is on the opposite end of the spectrum.  Most of the time the truth lies somewhere in the middle.  How true is that!  When you can actually take a moment to remove yourself from a situation, look at it from both sides, and find the truth somewhere in the middle.  Life changer if you take this one to heart.

The next comment comes from a friend looking for ways to find peace in a divorce....  I don't judge people anymore.  If I cross paths with someone during my day who is incredibly rude to me for no particular reason, I now think to myself, what is this person going thru in their life right now to make them feel and act this way?  Instead of reacting to their rude or insensitive attitude, I take pity on them.  Wow!  This comment came out several years ago and still sticks in my head as one I don't want to forget.

The third comment I will mention comes from a friend who themed her Caringbridge site around this quote, after she was diagnosed with a terminal illness.  When life gives you lemons, make lemonade vodka.  She passed away over 10 years ago, I still silently toast her when I have a lemonade vodka in hand.  (I'm proof-reading this and might need to add another disclaimer -  I'm not suggesting to drink vodka every time I get a lemon, more so that if things go south, don't just turn your situation around, add some fun into the equation too.)

Can the weather make a farmers day, or break a farmer's day?  Oh yeah.

Can Backorders and shipping errors at you company warehouse make for a cranky sales person?  Yep.

Maybe your basketball team didn't play so hot tonight?  Or your sister gave you the stink eye today and it put you in a bad mood?  What are you going to do about it?  It's your call.

At the end of the day, when you're staring at a bowl full of lemons, what are you going to do with them.

Our God is a good God.  He lets us choose.  He lays out the setting and we decide how to move forward.  We cannot erase what happened yesterday, we can learn from it though.  Then take that knowledge and apply it as best we can, before the next rain hits.

Hopefully, in the name of good fun.