Blessed

a humble princess, pursued by the King, in the greatest fairy tale ever written

FFA is BAE: How “the article” got it all wrong

brilliantlybold

“Agriculture is the most healthful, most useful and most noble employment of a man.” – George Washington

Earlier today, a blog was posted on a website that completely bashed the National FFA Organization and the values the organization and the agriculture industry have stood for, time and time again. The article (which I won’t link here to prevent more traffic from going to their site) gave 11 reasons, including visuals with graphic content, why FFA was “lame AF.” In the opinion of this young professional, the title alone is enough to knock off any credibility that this blog would carry.

Though the article that I’m referring to focused solely on the “inhumane” treatment of livestock, the National FFA Organization is so much more than “plows, cows and sows.” I do agree with George Washington in saying that the agriculture industry is the most noble employment of anyone and I believe…

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One of those days? Here’s something uplifting: “Francesca Battistelli – He Knows My Name”

Francesca Battistelli – He Knows My Name (Official Audio): http://youtu.be/1NHQJWdXfFE

I’m in a really stale place in my life right now. The highs are so high and the lows …well they add up.

Today was just one if those days where I did nothing right. Professionally, the day was a disaster. Personally, two people took time out of their day to give me rides while my car was in the shop (again) and when I picked it up,I found out they didn’t even look at it.

I was so glad to hear this song earlier and to be reminded that even when I perceive myself as worthless and messed up, my worth isn’t based on what I say I am, but rather what God says I am. He calls me “chosen,” “free,” “forgiven,” “wanted,” “child of the King.” His forever, held and treasured, I am blessed.

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ARE FARMERS RICH?

bag of moneyNot surprisingly, it’s one of our highest ranking search terms.  Apparently, tons of people want to know if farmers are rich.

And I think the answer is, no.  They are rich in all the things that matter, but are pretty middle class.  They just deal with a lot of money coming in AND a lot of money going out.  And all that money coming in looks like a lot if you don’t know the whole story.

So here it is … the whole story.  I hope you take the time to read through what sounds confusing and get to the summary at the bottom because it’s worth it!  Promise.

INPUT COSTS

In order to grow a crop, farmers must buy things like seeds, equipment, chemicals and fertilizer (surely one of you has a bag of Miracle Gro around for the garden, right?).  And there are also the costs that you…

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let’s take “serious” seriously

“Hey I just met you, and this is crazy, but we’re in a serious relationship, so what’s your last name?”

(Sorry for getting that song stuck in your head. But I wanted to make a point.)

Lately I’ve been noticing a trend where people meet, and then suddenly, like the next day, they are in a serious romantic relationship. Yes, they probably know each other’s last names before they’re “Facebook official,” but only because it says so in their profile.

Maybe it’s because I’m such a wild child, but I can’t imagine such a situation. (Granted, my last relationship was close, and that’s what we call a “learning curve.” AND I worked side by side with the guy for a solid month before we started dating, so it did seem like I knew him pretty well.)

These couples I’m talking about are people we’ve all seen. And you know what tends to happen?

They are obsessive. The guy texts the girl all the time, likes everything she posts on social media, etc. The girl starts posting all kinds of pictures of the two of them for all the world to see, expects to spend every evening together, etc.

And then sometime between a few days later & a couple months later, it all falls apart.

A couple weeks later, the cycle starts over. (Again, this might be a bit exaggerated, but we’ve all seen this be the case.)

And maybe I’m just a little behind times, but I can’t see a situation where I would make my relationship FBO until I felt comfortable thinking there’s a good chance we’ll make it all the way. Maybe most people think this on a first date-to be honest, I don’t have any survey data to confirm or deny that.

As for me, I would never want to consider a relationship to be “serious” until the other person made it clear that our goals and dreams are in line. For me that’s the biggest hindrance to even going as far as a second date. I have dreams and goals that are extremely clear, and usually the guy I’m with seems like he’s ready to bring those down.

Maybe that’s the prominent wild & crazy coming out in me, or maybe it’s just coming from past experiences. I’ve been miserable in situations where my boyfriend wasn’t on the same page as I was, and I was looking at compromising my dreams. (Luckily, God knows better and rescued me.) In these situations, if you’ve just been on a couple casual dates, then it’s no problem to call it off. But if you’ve been pouring your life into this person for most of your time the past few months, changing yourself to fit with them, etc, the breakup is real and hard.

So I challenge you to think about what you’re doing in your relationships. I’m by no means saying there’s a certain time frame to denote being “serious” because I realize that varies from situation to situation. But I do want you to consider knowing someone for a while, meeting their family, listening to their dreams, before you consider your relationship to be “serious.” Because it’s hard for practical realistic people, like myself, to take you seriously if you just bounce from one “serious” relationship to another.

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Turning your complaints into content

daughter by design

contentIt’s easy to count our blessings when the sun is shining and the birds are singing and everything is falling into place just right.

It’s a different story when you’re in the middle of the storm, your friends aren’t around you, and your plan is falling apart.

But God calls each one of us to remain content in Him not only when times are good, but especially when times are bad.

Not only when we have victory, but also when we’re right in the middle of our deepest struggle.

Not only when He answers our prayers, but also when Heaven seems to ignore our calls.

For the longest time I didn’t understand what exactly it meant to be “content” in Christ.

Being content means to be mentally and emotionally satisfied with the ways things are.

It means we are willing to accept circumstances without complaining.

But how in the world…

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A good man

I hope you’re sitting down for this big news….

A few weeks ago, I went on a date. A real date. A date where I wasn’t confused about what it was, it wasn’t just me and a few friends, it wasn’t just me agreeing to supper with someone just so I can get him to leave me alone. It was a real-live date. Where a man asked me out to supper and then planned it.

And it was pretty awesome. Probably because I’m extremely picky and demanding about the type of people I’ll spend time with. (I had to learn all that the hard way.)

Anyway, it was basically the most magical of all nights and potentially one of the most important days of my life. You see, all this time, my friends & family told me I’d never meet someone who had all the things on my “list.” But this guy – he went above and beyond. He had all the superficial things I’m into, plus all the things I’ve always wanted but could never find in a guy! He’s got the qualities of my whole list (probably). Basically, he’s very manly and oh boy, was that ever exciting for me.

He was so manly that he was nice to me and actually made conversation a few times after that night, even though there was no further date. He was even so kind as to be honest with me – he brought up the reason he hadn’t asked me out again and explained it to me, and I give him so much credit for doing that.

Basically, he’s way too perfect (in my eyes) to be real.

But there’s one important thing – the most of all -that I haven’t found out about him yet. As much as I love Jesus and try to incorporate God into many conversations with people, I found myself stuttering on this evening. I found myself thinking about it, and then swerving around it. I never brought up how important my relationship with God is, nor did I ask him about his relationship. To be honest, I really was just trying to focus on not scaring him away or ruining anything.

And here’s the thing – I am not all that sad that it’s “not working out” (right now). For one thing, I am confident that God will truly give me the desires of my heart. Right now, I’m a free spirit in every form. Honestly, I have a small concern that someday, I’m just going to load my truck and trailer and literally drive off into the sunset. Like, without a plan. That’s the kind of person I am. And I love my freedom.

Another thing I’m confident about is that there are good Christian men out there. I may not know any (who are single), but I know they are there. And now that I had this super monumental date (basically, I was excited about it and I had fun, and that literally never happens when I think about dating!), I realize that there are good men out there. Manly men who possess good and manly qualities. And even if the only manly man in my life on Earth is God, I know that’s more than enough. But… if there is someone out there to compliment my lifestyle and do fun things with, I’m okay with that too.

Basically the point of this blog is to spread hope and joy that good men do exist! (And I’m only 23, so I’m not talking about an old dude here.) But I think if I go on a date again sometime (like in another couple of years, ha ha ha), I will probably make sure the other person knows early on where I stand. In my last relationship, I wasn’t clear about anything, and that went down a pretty bad road – because I was excited and got swept away. And I keep thinking, “That could have happened again!” So I think maybe God is saving me for something better in my life, when I’m ready. 🙂

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What’s on my heart right now?

Before we go any further, I think it’s important to be honest and up front:  I do not want to write this blog. At all.

Whew, glad to get that off my chest.

I just feel, very strongly, like I need to write this damn blog, whether I want to or not. Have you ever disobeyed a nudging from the Spirit? The remorse afterwards… isn’t something I want to face. So here I am, writing when I’d rather be sleeping……

“Colossians 3” has been weighing heavily on my heart this week. Until today, it was no particular verse – just simply, “Colossians 3.” It’s one of my favorite passages of all of Scripture, and one of the few longer passages I have memorized (at this time).

The important thing to note here is that no particular verse was sticking out for me. In fact, during stressful times this week (I have moments, every few weeks, where I just need a break of some sort, and this has been one of those weeks), I just kept thinking, “Colossians 3.”

But I was so preoccupied with so many other things, I could never bring the actual passage to mind.  There were several times where I’d quote a verse, think about it for a second, and realize, “that’s not from Colossians 3.” At one point, I was so off-base that I was reciting a Psalm. Like, that’s not even close.

So finally today, I got a moment of peace. I mean, really, I created a moment of quiet solitude during my day. And during this time, sitting in an almost empty cafe, I opened my Bible to Colossians 3. And there it was, clear as a bell. I love the whole passage, I really do – and there’s no doubt that I needed to check out those verses (about work and serving) at the end of the passage. But at this time, that’s not what the focus is.

Here’s what I was trying to search out in my heart this week:

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” 

**Somewhat irrelevant sidenote:  because this is what I’ve written on Facebook as my “religion,” we’ll look at 3-4 (obviously my favorite verses of this passage): “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, Who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” Partially, I like these verses because they are so beautifully written. And by that, I am referring directly to the somewhat-complicated-but-correct punctuation. That turns me on a bit.  ;)

Going back to the first 2 verses – this is what I had in mind all week. I know the verses by heart, and it’s exactly what He was calling me to reference multiple times this week. But did you catch what happened? I was literally so preoccupied by the things on this earth, that I couldn’t even bring to mind the comforting Scripture I was searching for! My heart was NOT set on things above, but rather on earthly things. Believe me, my heart was probably more of a problem than my mind this week, but let’s not disregard that point either.

If you don’t actively check your heart, as well as your mind, focusing on all that is great and lovely and worthy (Philippians 4:8), then you’ll end up like me. There were several times during this past week where the song “Oceans” came to mind – I felt like I was getting pulled under by my own worries and preoccupations (and things that don’t matter in the long run – eternal perspective), and instead of calling His Name, instead of turning my focus to Jesus, I was letting these things drown me. To be fair – I have been praying and making a valiant effort there -but my quiet time in Scripture was totally pushed aside in favor of earthly distractions and woes.

I’m so glad to have been nudged and pushed to read Colossians 3 this week – a refresher course is always beneficial. Different verses hit at different times – just a couple weeks ago, I was memorizing Psalm 46 (a passage that has given me comfort numerous times over the past year). There’s nothing as precious as “camping out” (as my discipleship leader calls it) in a certain passage of Scripture for an extended amount of time, and right now my focus is on Colossians 3: 1-2 (okay…and 3-4, but that’s for another time),

So now I’m focusing on Jesus and all His glory, and knowing that someday, I’ll be right there with Him – no stress, no thinking, no sadness – just worshipping at His feet for all eternity………

And I feel a lot better now that I’ve shared His message! (Now I can sleep well!)

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TWELVE WORDS THAT MEAN SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT ON THE FARM

Only  two percent of Americans are farmers.  Several more work with the industry while a few more simply live in rural areas.  For all those people, these dual meanings might be second nature, but for the rest of us, talking to a farmer can be really confusing!

Clear up your confusion below!

1combine) Combine

What it usually means: To unite or merge – like you would combine the flour and baking soda in a recipe

What it means on the farm: A machine which moves down the grain field removing the seeds from the stems of ripe plants of grains

 

elevator2) Elevator

What it usually means: A platform or compartment housed in a shaft for raising and lowering people or things to different floors or levels, i.e. “Take the elevator to the penthouse and look around.”

What it means on the farm: A building or terminal where grain…

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Weeding the garden

After a stressful week, and particularly a tough day today, I came directly home after work. Spending time outside on one of the most beautiful days so far this year turned out to be just what I needed. I got to watch the sun set and also the full moon rise. 

Before either of these, I spent some quality time weeding my garden. By hand, of course, picking out every stem of grass I could find. And while I was bustin’ my butt, my cat and 2 kittens were playing in the tall grass around the edge of my yard. My dog however, was “helping me” in the garden. 

Every time I crouched down, there she was, right smack in the way. Every step I took, she took with me. And who doesn’t love a devoted dog? Of course I reached down to pet her and hug her, but there were also a few times where I kind of pushed her out of the way. And occasionally, she would leave my side and go to the edge of the plot and watch me. And if I called her over to me, she came right away. 

Isn’t that what it’s like to have a relationship with Jesus? He’s always there. Sometimes we hug Him and do spend quality time with Him.  Other times we think He’s in our way, or we push Him away. But He never leaves us. He might give us the space that we need, but whenever we call on Him, He will always come back. He’s always there.  

Today I had one of those life-altering instances that draws me closer to Him, brings me to a place where I realize how much I need Him, depend on Him. I had asked for it, but of course, when that moment came, it did bring my whole day down. But I know that no matter what happens, no matter the outcome, it will be okay, and in fact, whatever happens will be for my good, even if I can’t see it now. And I’m clinging to Him and He’s there for me, even if I pushed Him away yesterday. Jesus is the same today, yesterday, and forever; He doesn’t change like the shifting shadows (Hebrews 13:8 & James 1:17). 

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How do you measure if Christ is growing in you?

sevennotesofgrace

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If you want to get serious and take an honest look at your Christian walk, then these eight questions (from Tim Keller’s book Center Church) will be very helpful. They have been effectively crafted to make you take a good look at your progress in becoming more like Christ. Talk them through with your growth group or a spouse or close friend or prayer partner. Pray about them too! They won’t make you feel comfortable, but since when was change comfortable? God is most definitely in the business of changing us.

  1. Do you have spiritual assurance of your standing in Christ? How clear and vivid is it?
  2. How does the Holy Spirit bear witness with your spirit that you are his child? Are you conscious of a growing spiritual light within, revealing more of the purity of the law, the holiness of God, the evil of sin, and the…

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