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10

Countdown to County Fair:

If you have been a fly on the wall in our house (and Lord knows you could be by the number of flies around our place) you know that the countdown to the county fair is on!

If you were that fly here are some things you might have heard:

Goal Cards

“You are not waiting until the last minute this year to write your 4-H goal cards!”

“Let’s get the goal card finished for the projects that you have finished so there will be less to do as you are wrapping up the projects.”

“Grace, did you get that goal card finished?”

Wash your calf

“Girls, time to go rinse your calves.” Insert pause and no children moving. Now with a little louder tone, “GIRLS, time to go rinse your calves.”  Again, no movement.  Now with a little more gusto and a possible threat, “GIRLS, GO GET STARTED ON YOUR CALVES OR…” think scattering mice.

Sewing

Kid-Mom, I am going to my room to sew.”

Me-”Oh, good, you know there are only 17 days until judging, so you will want to get your quilt finished up.”

Kid- “I know, but I want to make some Barbie clothes, I will finish the quilt later.”

The “ List”

“Mom, add rubber cement for my photographs to the list.”

“Jen, make sure the show box has enough fly spray in it. If not add it to the list”

“Mom, can you add a pink bucket to the list? I really want a pink one because it will look good with my heifer’s hair.”

Obviously, that was meant to be a humorous look into the countdown to the county fair through my eyes and other parents, but in reality, I want everyone reading this to know just how much time and work EVERYONE, especially THE KIDS involved in the county fair are putting in to help make it an amazing, fun event for everyone in attendance.

We, all four of us, love the fair, FFA and 4-H.  Rob and I showed at the fair and our kids love showing just as much as we did.  It takes hours of practice, elbow grease, a few wheelbarrows full of patience, and lots of laughs to prep for the fair.  I would be lying if I said it didn’t take some prodding to get the girls moving in the morning to get their calves rinsed, but seeing their smiles and listening to their conversations as they work together is worth every ounce of it. The countdown is on and I will continue to add things to the list so nothing gets forgotten, lessons can be learned, and memories can be made.  

We’ll see you at the fair!

What do you do at your house for a smooth county fair prep? Did you enjoy taking projects to the fair? What is your favorite fair memory?

From the gravel road-

Jen

2

Last weekend Father Brunkan gave that same knock me over the head message that I was needing to hear at the exact moment that he gave it…

Photo courtesy of Brenda Schmitt at Family Fun Night, Roseville

Father Brunkan told a story of a little boy and his interest in a cocoon that a man had.  The man had told the young boy not to touch or bother the cocoon. As time passed the young boy saw the butterfly inside starting to beat its wings against the inside of the cocoon.  The young boy panicked and did the opposite of his instructions and broke open the cocoon to help the butterfly get out. To his amazement the butterfly didn’t flutter away, instead, it dropped to the ground and died.  The boy was embarrassed and sheepishly returned to the man. The man explained to him that the butterfly NEEDED to struggle and beat its wings against the cocoon to build the strength to survive outside of the cocoon.

Parenting

The first thing that popped into my head-Parenting!  As parents, there are so many times that we want to just fix things for our kids, especially when they are living in our homes (cocoons).  It is so hard to watch them make bad decisions, big mistakes, and get their hearts broke. It would be SO easy to talk to that coach for them, call that teacher, or chew out that other kid that stomped on their precious heart. BUT, that does not help them build their wings and fly.  As hard as it is to witness sometimes, we have to let our children flap their wings and struggle. If we as parents don’t let them struggle they will never, ever be able to fly on their own.

Life

Then I thought about was myself.  There have been SO many times that I have asked why?  Asked the question about why certain things have happened in my life. Why Crohn's? Why meningitis? Why have I had to lose good people in my life? I guess the why might be to strengthen my wings. Had I not been through all of my health struggles I might not be such an understanding person.  Had I not had meningitis I might have chosen to live my life in a different manner and not be a person that focused on dreaming big and huge. The struggle has gotten me where I needed to be today!

Agriculture

Lastly, I started thinking about our agriculture community. We have been hit hard!  I would venture to guess that most farmers and ranchers would tell you that they don’t feel like a butterfly trying to flap their wings to strengthen them, but they feel like the butterfly that is trying to remove itself from the grill of a Chevy that was driving down a blacktop in rural Iowa.  It’s hard, EVERYONE is asking why. Why so much rain? Why floods? Why the prices? While I don’t know the answer to why I do know that there is no better community to witness coming together than the agriculture community. In hard times and time of loss of life, farmers and ranchers, resemble a roost of monarchs coming together and those farmers will beat their wings just as hard as those monarchs headed south to help a neighbor in need.  I pray that we continue to keep that same courage to keep flapping through this hard season of life, encouraging each other to look ahead and I know buried deep somewhere there is a plan to make us all stronger by beating our wings through it.

What does Father's story make you think about? If you have a favorite story from Father Brunkan I would love to hear it, you can write it in the comments.

From the gravel road-

Jen  

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