The Foundation of Self-Esteem 

Since high school I’ve been on a journey of ‘increasing my self-esteem’.   I used to stand on the fact that I was a dairy woman, I was a dairy cattle owner, I was a past dairy princess and I held ‘all these leadership positions’ etc. to build my self-esteem.  I looked to all of my achievements to build and hold myself up.  I looked to all of my skills, talents and capability in dairy too.  I also looked to my relationships to build me up.  And I have read numerous articles, read different books, gone to qualified counselors, listened to wise people, and to numerous inspirational speakers, videos etc.  However I believe that the key I was missing up until recently is the fact that self-esteem without a firm foundation in my faith is unfounded.  It is only with a firm foundation that I can thrive!  I am overjoyed to know and understand this now!!  God’s plan for me is who I hope to be.  I can only know that plan and have self-esteem when I am standing on Him.

“We are all starved for the glory of God, not self.  No one goes to the Grand Canyon to increase self-esteem.  Why do we go?  Because there is greater healing for the soul in beholding splendor than there is in beholding self. Indeed, what could be more ludicrous in a vast and glorious universe like this than a human being, on the speck called earth, standing in front of a mirror trying to find significance of his own self image?  It is a great sadness that this is the gospel of the modern world.

The Christian Gospel is about “the glory of Christ,” not about me.  And when it is —in some measure—about me, it is not about my being made much of by God, but about God mercifully enabling me to enjoy making much of him forever.”

John Piper, ‘Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ’  (pages 15-16)

Today I praise God because I can rejoice and rest in my relationship with Him!!!  My significance, my self-esteem, and my confidence comes from above!  And hear me out—I am not done building my foundation for self-esteem, I have to be reminded daily that this will be on-going for all my days on this earth.

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Faith Regeneration

Faith does not proceed from ourselves, but is the fruit of spiritual regeneration.  John Calvin

That quote struck me this morning because I know that dairymen across the country have to have faith each day to continue in their farming.  Whether it’s your favorite cow about to calve or a test result you’re waiting on.  Of all the roles in agriculture I believe that dairy farming is the most emotional (and my dad agrees ;)).  The point is we cannot just strike up the faith it takes to live life on our own.  It is a gift from God that we have the strength to do the things He asks of us.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9

On our own we are mere humans, but time with God each day will renew us spiritually and through that spiritual regeneration, our faith can grow in Him.  When our faith grows, we will see God’s power in each part of our lives.  As we continue spending with time Him praying, reading His word, praising Him, and serving Him we will see and understand life from a whole different perspective designed just for us.  Dairy farming is emotional and LIFE is just plain emotional!  There are waves we have to ride out every single day, and with God’s help, no matter your profession, you can do it!!  I have had the days where I chose not put my trust in God, and believe me I could feel how weak I was on my own.  God desires to be a part of your life if you just invite Him in with a simple prayer, ‘God, help me today’. Amen and God Bless.

My Acre of Heaven

My family’s farm can sometimes be referred to as our little slice of heaven though it doesn’t come close!  We are very blessed to own land, and we also rent more by the acre for pasture to graze cattle and farm etc.  It’d be great if we as farmers wouldn’t have to pay rent for extra pasture or farmland.  Wouldn’t it be grand if the land was just given without cost, just a gift!  Well that’s not reality!  In fact when any farmer rents land or pasture there is no guarantee that it will even be productive land.  The farmer may have a great yield (A bumper crop as some may say!), but he or she may not!  Farming is a risky business, and a business that I have much to learn about.  Growing up on the farm, agriculture has become such a big part of my life that at times I falter and place it above my faith.  Thankfully God loves, teaches, and uses me continually no matter where I am.  I am grateful my parents taught me about farming from a young age, but more importantly they showed me who makes it all possible, God.  While I learned of the risks in farming at an early age; I also learned of God’s love for me and found out that I can be sure He payed the price for my sins even though I may not always be on ‘productive land’ in my life.  There’s no guarantee in farming with all the risks, but I know the one guarantee that really matters in this life.  That’s my acre in God’s Kingdom of heaven because His one and only Son Jesus ‘payed the rent’ with His life and and in return gave me the best guaranteed gift of all, eternal life—-an acre in His Kingdom!  There isn’t one thing that you and I can do for an acre in His Kingdom (aka eternal life), we can’t even rent one if we wanted!  It is a free gift from Him, ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.’ John 3:16  He loves us so much that he’d pay the full price for our sins.  All we have to do it admit our mistakes to Him, believe that He payed the price for them and live for Him.  I pray that if you don’t know the joy it is to have an acre in God’s Kingdom, you will soon.  

For my faithful readers, the day two of Brazil is in the making!  

From Stomachs to Souls with Dreams and Goals!

Well I cannot believe I have already been working here at Watertown Holsteins for just over two months!  It has been a huge learning experience already as I am working with my family, and gaining new responsibilities on the dairy.  The time that I was without a Mac was actually a blessing in disguise.  Even though I missed blogging a lot, it’s been hard to get back in the swing of things!  However that time allowed me to reflect on my summer, my college career and decide what goals I think God wants me to pursue in the near future.  I always learn a lot during an experience but even more from reflecting on it as time passes.  As I look back on my summer I feel blessed to have been given knowledge, training, hands-on experience, and friends at Maddox Dairy on my internship.  It was an inspiring place for me to be!  I set out for California in May after graduation excited to see more of the dairy industry in another state.  But I didn’t realize that I would learn and gain so much that it would change my life.

When I arrived, I felt like an olympic athlete before he or she walks in to the Olympic training center for the first time.  He or she feels excited, nervous, proud and just can’t wait to get to work!  Because for me, as seriously as an olympic athlete takes their training, I take mine, as I prepare for a career in the dairy industry, in agriculture.

My journey through dairy started when I was just a young little girl, but it has a long, long ways to go.  In the last few weeks of my internship I had a chance to practice artificial insemination, trim hooves, shadow the manager, and shadow the veterinarian of the embryo transfer program at Maddox and RuAnn Dairies.  For everything that I was taught during my internship, I told the folks there I ought to be paying them for letting me come!  For me, it was a one of a kind experience.  Through the internship this summer, my college career and in the recent weeks I have determined that I am going to full on pursue my dream to become a veterinarian.  It is a dream I have had since I first watched a vet fix a cow’s displaced abomasum here at my home farm when I was about eight years old.

Ever since it’s one of those dreams that has always lingered, even as I pursued and completed my degree in dairy production from South Dakota State.  Through college, I went back and forth many times wondering and asking myself “what do I really want?”  To me it is a huge commitment and when I was trying to make it before it wasn’t the right time in my life.  I can see now that my faith along with all the experiences and activities I committed to in college helped me become what I am, and I believe they will ultimately help me reach my goals in this life.  Now, I know of course that I have to be accepted to a veterinary school, and that itself is extremely competitive.  But now I have the right attitude and motivation for going after that acceptance letter.

I believe it is important to follow and trust God in making decisions.  Even though I don’t always do that; I am trying to more and more each day.  The biggest thing we all have to do in this life is admit that we mess up, we make wrong choices, follow the wrong path.  The best thing part is that God is always there to put you back on the right track.  There are always consequences for our actions, but He never gives up on us!  Sometimes I wonder why on earth God gave me the passions I have, but then I remember that God put them in me for a specific purpose.  I also know without a doubt that His timing is best and that He will give me the strength I need.  When I was young I never dreamed that my generation would have to produce enough food for 9 billion people by 2050!  Not only that but we have to do it more efficiently with less land and resources!  On top of that, as agriculturalists, we have to advocate and prove over and over again that we are doing our very best to produce wholesome food from the land and animals we value and care for.  Everyday I am thankful and happy that I can help feed the world!  For me feeding the world isn’t just about filling stomachs either, it’s also about feeding souls too.  I have many dreams and goals that align with feeding stomachs and souls, but first I am going to follow my dream of becoming a veterinarian.

We all only have one life, just as an athlete may only get chance to attend the Olympics.  We have to make each day count!  Life is meant to be lived with purpose, it is not just a right you have.  It has been given to you by our Creator above.  It is my task be a part of agriculture, to bring honor and glory to God through it, to love others as He does, to help grow and produce the needed food, and to trust Him to make it all come together.  The road ahead will be tough, but at the end of the day I KNOW He knows what is best.  In reality, we are all like Olympic athletes training for the race ahead.  It is just that some of us are “in the training center” and some of us are watching from the outside.