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This week I had the opportunity to go see Rachel Hollis live in Cedar Rapids.  I took half of the day off to drive by myself, in 50 mph winds, to go see her speak and it was well worth it.  So many things that she said sparked things inside of me, but there were a couple points that she made that I can’t stop thinking about so I decided that I needed to do what I know best…write about them, so in my next 3 blog posts, I am going to tackle one of her points.

Rachel’s point #1: Where do you come from?  There is a REASON that you, yes, YOUare here on the planet today.  Where do you come from?  She mentioned that her great, great, great, great Grandmother was born on a ship on the way to America.  Her parents died on the ship and her uncle raised her.  Had she not survived that boat ride to America and been raised by her uncle, there would be no Rachel Hollis today and if you think about the ripple effect that occurred from that little baby being born on a ship on her way to America all of the way to Rachel Hollis who is taking personal development by storm, it is pretty darn amazing.

So here goes nothing, in 3 parts over the next 3 days, I am going to tell you where I come from.

I come from love, strong work ethic, and kindness.  I come from my paternal grandparents, Marvin and Janice Bushbaum, married and wildly in love for 44 years at the time of my grandma’s death.  They married in 1948 at age 15 and 18 (if I have done my math correctly) and were parents not long after that.

As I am typing this, I am learning that I wish I would have asked more questions or learned more about how they met.  My dad is one of four boys, so my guess is that how their parents met wasn’t something that was talked about often. I asked him how they met, but he isn't sure if my Grandma's brother introduced them or if they knew each other and then my Grandpa and Uncle Beryl started working together. 🙂 BUT what I do know is that my Grandpa used to walk on the railroad tracks from the country in to town just to visit my Grandma when they were dating.  I know as a 10 year old kid as I sat in the back of their car on a drive to the Grotto and watch them hold hands like they were age 15 and 18 on a first date. They loved hard and I know in the depths of my being that they are the reason I love as hard as I do today.  Loving this hard means that there is deep pain, too. My Grandpa and Grandma lived through the loss of an infant son, a grandson, parents, and siblings but they made it and they loved each other through it. My grandparents did not have much, but they didn’t need much either. They had each other and their family.

A living room filled with love!

I come from a strong work ethic.  My grandparents never turned away from a tough job and even as a young kid that was evident. I remember Saturday’s helping cut wood to fill their basement with logs that would serve as fuel to keep their home warm and welcoming, I remember bottomless glasses of Bubble Up from the Family Café and hamburgers with buttered buns, and I remember CB calls from the JackRabbit to the Bushy Tail Base, where he would talk to Cotton Tail.  Have you ever heard the Alabama song, Roll On?  Sometimes I imagine that was how my Grandma felt.  When she wasn’t in the truck with him in the later years of life, she was back home holding down the fort that was filled with grandkids.  My grandparents did everything from working in factories, to cooking, to running a café, to running a trucking business over the years. They loved hard and worked hard every day of their lives.

M&P Trucking (Both of my grandpa's) and Grandma, me, and Christopher(their first great-grandchild) whom they adored!

I come from kindness. My grandparents were kind and thoughtful, truly neighborly people. I remember helping clean out some upstairs bedrooms in their house after they had passed away. In one box we found receipts from what looked like an order pad that a waitress would use. In fact, they were, they were receipts or “tabs” that had never been paid.  Remember I said my grandparents didn’t have much? They didn’t, but they sure would have never thought of letting someone go without, especially a child.  Those receipts were from a family that I am positive never paid, but I am positive never went hungry thanks to my grandparents.

Former site of the Family Cafe

Because of Marv and Janice Bushbaum I have a strong work ethic, I am kind, and I love hard. Because of what they went through to make sure that my dad was born and raised to be a strong man, he met my mom.  Because my dad met my mom, I am here and I will be damned if I am going to let the ripple that my Grandpa and Grandma Bushbaum started stop.  Because of where I come from I will continue to work hard, love hard and be kind to all I meet.

From the gravel road-

Jen

P.S. Part 2 Tomorrow

Raising animals is not for the faint of heart, unfortunately there can be days like today that have us on bended knee and asking why.

I got a phone call on my way home from work that one of our cows had lost a set of twins. We had been taking bets on how many calves we thought she had inside of her because of her growing belly.

She had given us a set of twins a couple of years ago and we knew there was probably more than one calf inside of her based on her growing middle. Unfortunately, she wasn’t actually due until the end of May so these babies were born way too early, leaving us wondering why and what could have gone wrong.

So on a day like today I found myself on bended knee as I took the lifeless little bodies to the creek pasture to return them to the earth. I thanked the good Lord for giving us the opportunity to do our part, I asked for peace for their momma, and I asked for peace in our hearts as we struggle and wondered what we could have done differently.

Loss sucks, loss of life hurts us as producers, because there’s nothing better for us than seeing a live calf on the ground drinking from its mother and continuing the cycle of life. We work hard to take care of these animals in the cold, snow,  mud, and on the sunny days, too.

Second, it’s hard for the mama to understand. She is out of sorts and unsure of what is going on. As I watched her tonight, she just wasn’t her usual self.  She did get up and eat though which is a good sign that she is healthy.

Third, there is loss of income, in this case we lost two calves that would have grown to provide us with a paycheck and provide food for other families.

So tonight as I type this I keep reminding myself that this is nowhere near the tragedy that our friends to the west have been facing, but it is is a reminder that not all days on the farm are full of sunshine and roses.  

From the gravel road-

Jen

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