How do you do it?

I hear myself ask the question of many women in agriculture, “How do you do it?”  We are all so busy, at times overwhelmed, running around like chickens with our heads cut off, but meanwhile still getting things done and succeeding.  So how, truly how do you do it?

As a new mom, a farmer, and generally someone who always volunteers for everything, I am always a bit surprised when someone asks me this question.  Because inside most of the time I feel like I am constantly screwing up.  Let me set the scene,  it’s 6 am on Monday, the house is…well we are all tired.  It seems like the last 10 months of life have flown by in some respects and have crawled in others.  The nights are still quite restless with our little man.  I remember the night at four months old that he slept for 8 hours, my husband and I high fived, we thought we had won the battle.  Turns out it was just that, a battle and the war with sleeping through the night has continued.  Every night in a way feels like a failure, that might be too strong of word, but it doesn’t feel like success.

All of this meanwhile we are running a farm.  I’m the manager, making all decisions from day to day and year to year.  Where there are mistakes to be made every single day.  There are so many situations that you can’t control, the rain and wind to just name my usual arch enemies.  Continuing to blog three times a week (which doesn’t always happen), keep up with friends (who I miss and don’t call enough), hit a meeting or two each week, let’s just say that just writing this all down makes me feel very overwhelmed.

So here is what I have learned and here is what I feel when I get asked, “How do you do it?”  You just do, everyday you wake up and realize that today you don’t get a day off.  That no matter what you have to get things done, take lots of deep breaths, and then find joy in what you are up to that day.  I have found that just smiling at my son when I get home from a long day, makes a lot of things better.  I have also realized that if I just take 15 minutes to finish the dishes, it makes a world of difference in my life the next day.  Try as hard as I can to not feel guilty for making decisions to do something.  Because a decision to do something inevitably is a decision to not do something else, and that isn’t easy.  And at the end of the day, no matter how long or tiresome or successful you tell yourself that tomorrow is a new chance to work at it all again.

Living the life that farmers do, where our jobs are also our way of life, is a tough position.  So you prioritize, you again take a deep breath and you move forward.  My answer then, the short of the answer anyway, is just give yourself a break, work hard and remind yourself that you’re working hard for a good reason.  Life is meant to be enjoyed and if you can find that joy in the small everydays of life, you have it figured out.  Good luck out there, it isn’t easy, but once you resign to that, it becomes easier. (if that makes any sense at all!)  In the end everyone has their battles to be fought everyday, those who are successful though don’t give up, they learn from themselves and from others.  They just keep chugging along.


FFA Convention 2015

I have to say that FFA State convention turned out to be a huge success this year in Silverton, Oregon!  While I wasn’t there wearing the most popular blue and gold attire, it was really fun to be involved again with an organization and event that brought back so many great memories.  And brought back a lot of friends, so many people who I haven’t seen in ages were there, mostly as ag teachers and parents of current FFA-ers.

We were able to connect with many students and talk to them about how Young farmers and ranchers creates a unique opportunity to continue with leadership after graduation.  We talked about how we have a few similar competitions, and provide  a great way to keep in touch and network with other young farmers throughout the state and nation.

20150321_092840_resized20150321_094833_resizedOur booth was very popular, probably mostly due to corn hole games and our giveaway of a Kindle Fire to one lucky winner.  That lucky guy was Kurt Norton from Enterprise FFA.  When I handed off his prize today he was so grateful, he said, “I should have bought some lottery tickets because I won my proficiency and a new Kindle…what a lucky day!”

IMG_3187We also had a good time meeting many state degree recipients and serving them up some good apps and great ice cream floats!

20150321_160322_resizedIt took the whole weekend, it was a lot of work, and it was a lot of fun.  Overall I think it all paid off and many of us walking away from convention this year not only feel hopeful for the next generation of farmers coming through the ranks, but also optimistic for a future where FFA continues to provide leaders for Oregon.

20150321_165323_resizedThanks for everyone’s help and organization this weekend….especially Kathy Hadley, Chairman of Young Farmers & Ranchers!  She worked her tail off to make this all happen!!


FFA Agricultural Sales Competition

I volunteered this past weekend to help judge an FFA competition called Ag Sales.  The students have a product and they have a mock sales situation where they try to sell you the product.  To be honest I had a long night before, I was feeling very tired, and wasn’t sure I was up to spending my Saturday morning working with high school students.

But then after I got there and started to go through a few scenarios, I realized how glad I was that I took the time.  These students reminded me not only of how important FFA was to me as a student, but also how much it has helped me even to this day.  With something as easy as selling a product (or as difficult as it feels sometimes) there are so many skills you are learning along the way.  Some examples are how to talk to adults, how too work in situations where you have to think on your feet, and how to prepare before walking into a task.

A lot of the parents of high school students that I talked to during breaks mentioned that the best thing FFA has done for their kids is teach them so many good lessons that are lost in schools today.  Even something as simple as how to shake a hand, how to look people in the eye when you talk to them, and how to be respectful.

I don’t have kids in high school yet, my first is actually still incubating in my ever growing middle section, but I am glad to see that there are places in school to still find where manners are being taught.  Many times people think of FFA as just a group of people who want to farm, but the reality of what students take with them from the FFA experience is so much more than that.  In the end it comes out as a group of people who range in occupations from farmer to lawyer, from teacher to engineer, even doctor to salesman.  All walking into life with just a few more of those common skills, that at times feel as though are lost in our modern society.

I’m glad that I took the time that Saturday morning.  It was a great reminder of my good FFA experience, but also it was great to participate with students now, who in 15 years will be looking back realizing how lucky they were to have the same opportunities (all while wearing that interesting blue corduroy jacket!).



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