Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving, and Merry Christmas

No, I am not confused on the date, I know it is almost Christmas and I am writing about Thanksgiving? It is just that Christmas is the holiday season when I really am thankful for so many things.

We need to acknowledge that all we have is a gift from our Heavenly Father. And this is the time of year that we celebrate the best gift of all, the gift of his Son, Jesus Christ, who died on the cross because of my and your sins.

So here is a partial list of things I am thankful for, and I know you will be puzzled by some of them, read on:

My rheumatoid arthritis, allergies, bad back, cold snowy weather, being married to my best friend, two beautiful and loving daughters (we already opened our gifts so I an not buttering them up), our church has a pastoral vacancy, growing up and living in Lexington, Nebraska, my job and hobby are the same thing and so on.

Let me explain a few of these. I know that being thankful for rheumatoid arthritis is very strange, but I can't change the fact that I have had it for 26 years. I understand why senior citizens move the way they do, I can empathize with them for the aches and pains. Do I wish it would away? You bet, but God set it in my path for a reason. I might as well look on the bright side.

Much the same for the bad back and allergies that I have been plagued with for most of my life. For all three of these maladies I am thankful to be living in this day and age with modern medicines.

The cold snowy weather? Without the winter in Nebraska, how would we enjoy the spring, summer and fall in God's country?

Wife and daughters should be easily understood, especially if you know them.

I have some friends and family that don't understand why I enjoy living in Lexington. For those who don't live around here, Lexington underwent a major change around 22 years ago. IBP, a major beef processor, bought a closed manufacturing building and converted it into a beef processing plant. Tyson bought out IBP and now employs somewhere around 5,000 workers, most of them fairly new immigrants to this country. After a few years at the plant many workers move onto other jobs, but they stay in Lexington.

Lexington is now about 75% Hispanic, 5% African, and 20% Anglo. This has obviously changed much in town, from schools to churches to doctors and hospitals. The short answer is growth is better than death, which many small towns are facing. Our daughters have some amazing friends of many cultural backgrounds.

This is still a rural town as well. If there is a crisis in the area, people jump in and help however they can. Need a new library, pool, auditorium, gymnasium, etc. no problem. We'll just raise the money mostly from donations and build it.

Vacancy at church? I do miss our last pastor whom retired this summer. We do have a wonderful vacancy pastor. But people have been stepping up to help, with little prodding.

I am lucky to be able live and farm the ground that my great-grandfather homesteaded on and/or purchased soon after immigrating from England in 1872. It is a great feeling growing food for people around the world as well as here at home. Sometimes I have to pinch myself and remember that I didn't do this all by myself. I am building on what my grandfather and father started. I have a great employee and a family that helps however they can. And of course God is in control.

So in this Christmas season be thankful for all you have, even if it is unpleasant.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

On the road, again

   Last week was a blur for us. I spent a total of one day at home and most of that was in town running errands and working at church.
   It all started with a very snowy trip to Lincoln on December 3. Our youngest daughter plays volleyball for Nebraska Wesleyan they had their annual banquet at noon. We drove down in heavy snowfall, yes we are crazy. We had a good time visiting with the other parents who are also crazy and watched our daughter get her first collegiate letter. And then we drove back home, on ice. We saw plenty of cars and trucks in the ditch, some of whom had just passed us a little bit earlier.
   The next day we went to Kearney after church for the start of the Nebraska Farm Bureau convention. Barb served on the credentials committee and I was a voting delegate and judged one round of the discussion meet. The roads were great by Sunday afternoon.
   NFBF convention ended on Tuesday evening and we came home. Wednesday was catch up day. After doing paperwork in the morning, we went to town in the afternoon so Barb could cook a meal at church and I could train a replacement on the church computer. That evening I was a reader at our advent service and Barb streamed the service on internet, a new experience.
  Thursday I drove to Lincoln again. This trip was to attend the Lincoln Power Farm Show, a very large indoor farm show. I met with a couple of vendors I had been trying to talk to and then drove home again. And it was snowing Thursday as well. Again many cars and trucks in the ditch.
   Friday Barb & I went back to Lincoln, yes we already established we are crazy. This trip was to watch our oldest daughter. She is a senior at UNL and is on the marching band. They had their final concert Friday night. We met with Barb's brother and family for the concert and had our family Christmas that evening and the next morning.
  Saturday noon we packed up and headed for Norfolk. Barb nephew attends Northeast Community College and is in the choir and their Christmas concert was Sunday afternoon. After the concert we headed home again, at least this time on good roads.
  While many think we are out of our minds to be on the road so much, we feel fortunate to be able to catch as many of our kid's activities as possible. We know these activities are limited and don't want to miss them. This week, however, we are staying as close to home as possible.