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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Happy FFA Week!

Happy FFA Week!  All week on Facebook, I've really enjoyed seeing posts from other former FFA members talking about what the organization meant to them.  From old pictures with ag teachers to blog posts about how FFA helps prepare members for nursing careers, to collages of favorite memories....it's really been fun to see!

I was struck not only by the number of my friends who were involved in FFA (not surprising given where I went to school, my major in college, my current job), but the variety of things we are doing now.  Some are home on the farm raising food and fiber to feed and clothe America.  Some are in big cities,  one even has  her own law office on Wall Street.  Some are in small towns teaching elementary school, working in industry, protecting the community.  And some have chosen to carry on the FFA tradition by becoming ag teachers themselves.

These stories prove that FFA didn't just prepare us for our futures in agriculture, but for our futures, period.

To celebrate that, I wanted to share some of my favorite FFA moments.

Stock shows with the family.

County fairs with the family.
State Fair with friends.
This was us in college, but I met some of my best friends in FFA.
Winning State FFA Livestock Judging
FFA Camp
Winning State Star Farmer
Winning a class at Roswell with Walter.

Sorting ewes for breeding.

Winning Grand and Reserve at the County Fair
Winning High Individual in Reasons & Reserve National Champions at National FFA Dairy

National FFA Livestock, complete with food poisoning experience.

Calving season

Little Brother winning the pig show at the County Fair.

Reserve National Champions in Poultry

"Crunch time" at the barn.

Little Brother winning the sheep show.

Dad's lucky shirt.
State Fair sheep show day.

Winning County Fair 3rd time in a row

Roswell pig show with Mr. Franklin

Winning Champion Cross NMSF

Winning a class with a lamb we raised.

Feeding time at State Fair.

 And lastly, I will share what I previously shared on Facebook.  If The Baby from Texas turns out to be a boy, his middle name will honor my own FFA advisor, Mr. Franklin, who was so much more than a teacher to so many of us.



Happy FFA Week to all!

Friday, February 20, 2015

What Real Friendship Looks Like

"My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." ~ John 15:12-13

Over the years, I've had several friends struggle with infertility.  One, in particular, in whose journey I have been more involved than the rest.  We've talked for hours about ovulating and I've gone with her to buy pregnancy tests and I've cried for her when the result we prayed for did not come.  I've prayed Novenas and read books and just keep believing that her baby will come.


When I found out we were expecting The Baby from Texas, I was both excited and scared to share the news with her.  I know that it must feel like a knife to the heart to see other people getting what she so badly wants.  And although I've never felt that pain with regards to a baby, I sure felt it for years with regards to a shiny ring.

The one night on the phone, I decided it was time to break the news.  Timidly, I told her.

And her reaction was what real friendship looks like.

She screamed.  Then she screamed again.  Then she demanded that she be invited to the baby shower and made clear she will be coming to visit and help with the baby arrives.  What are we thinking on names?  Will we find out the gender?  Will we tell her when we find out?  This is just the best news.

I just cried while trying to keep up with her excitement and barrage of questions.

I believe that part of our purpose on this earth is to show love to others as God loves us.  My friend hit it out of the park on this one.  Selfless love.  Unconditional support.  Honest joy.

I could not be more grateful for her friendship, her Christlike example, and her love.  And I know she will make a great mom when her time comes.

But for now, she better believe I'm taking her up on the offer to help change diapers.








Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Epic Baby Announcement Fail

I'm a pretty good writer.  I am good at managing money.  I'm very organized.  But I'm not super cutesy or creative.  So when we found out about The Baby from Texas, I was so excited when I also came up with a super cute way to tell my parents they were going to be grandparents.

So....my dad had to have a medical test done in January.  I came up with the following card idea.

Outside of the card said:

 Inside of the card said:
"We already passed ours" and an arrow pointing to the picture below


I mean, seriously.  I felt like it was Pinterest worthy.

I went to Hobby Lobby to buy materials.  Had the picture printed.  We drove 2 hours home.  Made The Boy from Texas video them getting the announcement because in my head they were probably going to scream and jump around and my dad might have said something really funny that could have made us  You Tube sensations.

Reality, however, was far from that.

We were all in the living room watching tv.  The Boy from Texas got the phone ready.  I went and got the card, handed it to my dad, and prepared for the awesomeness that was sure to follow.

Dad:  "I don't get it.  Test? 

Me:  Read the card, look at the picture.

Dad: What's this a picture of, is it a sword?

Mom:  Here, let me see it, geez.

Dad:  No, I can see, it just doesn't make sense.  This is stupid.

Me:  Oh good grief, give it to mom.

Mom:  Well I can't see this without my glasses, it's dark in here.  Where are my glasses.

Me:  Are you guys kidding me?

The Boy from Texas:  I think I can stop recording.

Mom:  Wait, are you pregnant?

Me:  Yes!

Dad:  Well why did you tell us with a sword?


For. The.  Love.

{In my dad's defense, apparently he had never seen a pregnancy test before.  I guess they didn't exist in the stone ages when he was having kids.}


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

I Will Remember

Last Sunday, we went to church.  We walked right in the door.  We sat in the pews.  Prayed.  Sang songs out of the hard-backed red hymnal.   "Oh come though long expected Jesus...."  We professed our faith. "I believe in God, the Father almighty, maker of Heaven and Earth...."  We stood as the Gospel was read.  We freely gave our tithes and offerings.  We listened to a homily given from a pulpit.  We shared aloud of own prayer requests.  We were blessed with the sign of the cross and told to go in peace.



At the same time, around the world, twenty one men were beheaded for their beliefs.  They were not able to sing hymns in church that morning.  They had no opportunity to place money in the offering plate.  Instead, because of their beliefs--the same beliefs that I hold so dear--they lost their lives.

While we repeated the Affirmation of Faith, they lived it.  And lost their lives because of it.

Today, as we celebrate Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent, I want to remember these men.  I want to remember all of those around the world who are persecuted, beaten, and martyred for their faith.  As I prepare to celebrate Easter, I know that remembering their story will change my heart.

When I don't feel like reading my Bible, I will remember.  When I feel too tired to pray, I will remember.  When going to church seems like a drag, I will remember.  When I want to curse, I will remember.  When I take for granted my freedom to worship, I will remember.

Pope Francis put it best.   "The blood of Christians is a testimony that cries out to be heard. It makes no difference whether they be Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant. They are Christians! Their blood is one and the same. Their blood confesses Christ."


Monday, February 16, 2015

The Baby from Texas: Weeks 0-10

I'm not a huge fan of those typical pregnancy blog posts where ladies answer questions like "what size is your baby"  and "is your wedding ring still fitting" and what not.  So, I'm doing my own take.  Here's what The Baby from Texas has been up to the first 10 weeks.

*  Undefeated at Lamb Shows.  Just for the record, The Baby from Texas has been to two sheep shows and our lambs have been named Grand Champion both times.  That would make the baby undefeated.  Let's hope that's a good omen for the future.
Baby from Texas covered up by banner.

*  Potential Names.  On that note, potential names have been tossed around.  The Boy from Texas always thinks about how the name will sound if he is yelling at his star linebacker from the stands on a Friday night.  I always think about how the name will sound when it s being called as winning a class at a major sheep show.  We dream big around this joint.

*  Talking to Folks.  You've been at a lot of ag law presentations, all over Texas and even in Georgia!  I appreciate you not making me hurl during the middle of one of these little talks.

Baby From Texas hidden buy guy's head.
 *  Causing Vomiting in the Bushes.  Speaking of, I've been pretty sick.  Probably not shocking given the motion sickness issues I've always had.  The worst day was when we were leaving the house one morning to go to Home Depot and I got sick just as I was about to get into the car.  So I ran over to the rose bushes and let loose.  The Boy from Texas swears it was one of the funniest things he's ever seen.  I didn't have a similar feeling.

*  Hitting the Slopes.  Obviously this was before we knew a baby was in our midst, but The Baby from Texas had a lovely time skiing at Red River over Christmas Break!
Baby from Texas hidden by ski jacket.




* Growing Body Parts.  I've got to admit, I had no idea how much development happened with this baby in the last 10 weeks.  At the first sonogram, we could see everything!  Brain, ear, arms, legs, it was just amazing!  Grow baby grow (I mean, don't grow too much, a small, healthy Angus-type birth weight would be fine by me).



Friday, February 13, 2015

For the Single Ladies

It's the day of the year that can strike fear in the hearts of single ladies everywhere.  Valentine's Day. I remember, oh, do I remember.  

I'm not going to sugar coat it for you.  Being a single lady in her late twenties was hard.  Real hard.  I know what it's like to go to multiple weddings alone.....your younger sibling, your best friends, your former love.  I remember what it felt like to watch everyone else finding Mr. Right and feeling like mine must not exist.  I cried.  I prayed.  I struggled.

And on Valentine's Day, the situation often got even worse.  One time, the boy who I thought I was in love with took me for a $4 dinner and out to the bar, only to come over later and tell me he needed to drop me off early because another girl was going to come out at meet him.  Ouch.  Another, Valentine's Day, I went to a rom com alone at the movie theater.  There I was, solo, in a room full of couples out on their dates.  But I didn't stop there.  Because I'm cheap, I smuggled in food, which I then offered to share with those young couples around me.  "Do you kids want some fruit," said the old spinster.  Yep.  It happened.

But you know what?  I also lived.  I mean really lived.  I traveled the world.  Went crazy on a bucket list.  I collected cute shoes and spent too much money on football tickets.  I flew across states to surprise friends at their baby showers and saw a river dyed green and ate pizza and drank wine in Rome.  I ran half marathons and rode on ferries and have never missed a family ski trip.  I've ziplined through the jungle and prayed before relics and run with my aunts through the mud.



And all that living I did?  I have absolutely no doubt that it prepared me to recognize Mr. Right when he showed up.  Equally as important, I firmly believe that living helped me to discover the person who I am called to be.

So today.....you go live.  Do something crazy.  Set a wild goal.  Offer some dried fruit to kids at the movie theater.  Because you don't have time to sit around dwelling on what you don't have, you're too busy becoming who you should be.  Enjoy every minute.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Newlywed in the Kitchen Recipe #11: Super Mom's Spitz Buban

For Christmas this year, Super Mom sent us an amazing jar of Spitz Bubon cookies.  The Boy from Texas seriously devoured them in about 10 minutes and begged for more.  Luckily, she had posted the recipe on her blog and I was able to whip  up a batch.  Not going to lie here....the prep time is not hard, but it fairly time consuming.  But the end result is excellent!  In addition to ensuring The Boy from Texas got his fill, we also gave these as Christmas gifts to a few folks.

The Boy from Texas Rating:  4

The Boy from Texas Comments:  (1)  What's in these things?  (2)  We need more, seriously call Super Mom, we need more now!  


Super Mom's Spitz Buban

To see a detailed explanation (including pictures) go to The Fisk Files blog.


1 lb. butter softened to room temperature (do not soften in microwave)
1 C. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
3 C. flour + more to make dough workable (I always use at least 4 cups)
2 eggs (for egg wash)
Bread crumbs  {I bought the Panko Original ones.}
Red plum jam  {I couldn't find plum jam, so I went with apricot instead.  I might have liked that even better.}
Powdered sugar

Mix butter, sugar and vanilla until well blended.  Then add flour and knead dough until smooth.  Roll out dough to about 1/8 inch thick.  Cut with diamond cookie cutter and brush the top with beaten egg.  Then dip in bread crumbs.  Bake in a hot oven (375) for 8 minutes.  You don't want them to brown.  When completely cooled, spread plum jam between two cookies and sprinkle with powdered sugar.  

{I couldn't find my rolling pin....it was in a box somewhere, so I used a glass.  I also don't have a small cookie cutter, so I used the lid off of a spice jar. I'm a regular McGueyver over here.}



Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Taking Stock

My friend Super Mom does a quarterly post she calls "Taking Stock" where she just sort of runs through what's been going on in her life in a number of categories.  I figured, why not join in!  Here we go.

making: Homemade soup.  The Boy from Texas and I have both felt a bit under the weather, so I think a big pot of soup filled with beef and veggies is just what the doctor ordered.

cooking: Shoot, probably should have looked at this before I answered the question above.  I'm planning on baking some apple cinnamon muffins later this week.

drinking: H20.  Always water around this joint.

reading: I'm finishing up Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist.  After that, I'm going to look through my stack and choose my Lent reading for this year!

wanting: A nap.  Why do we waste nap time on little kids who hate it?  I'd give my right arm to whip out a little mat and snooze this afternoon in my office.

looking: At the view from the new house.  We're just on the edge of town and have an awesome view of wide open spaces, a cotton field directly across the road is the perfect view for these country kids!




playing: My Christian playlist on my iPhone.

wasting: Time.  Why do I do that?

sewing: Nothing.  I literally had to cheat to pass the sewing portion of home ec in 8th grade.  Thank goodness for a kind boy who did my pillow for me.

wishing: It was the weekend again.

enjoying: Setting up the new house with The Boy from Texas.  Here's a sneak peak of a future house tour once we get a few more things unpacked.

waiting:  For a few upcoming meetings and appointments coming up later this week.

liking: Pop tarts.  I probably hadn't eaten one since I was 10, but I bought some last week and they are yummy!

wondering: How to better manage my time to get more done in a day.

loving: The Boy from Texas.  Here's photo Exhibit A of why.


hoping: For peace.....the world is a scary place.

marveling: At how much junk we own and our inability to just get rid of things.

smelling: Not a think....my nose stuffy and running all over the place.

needing: A nap.  Did I mention that one?

wearing: The $7 sweater my mom got me for Christmas from Wal-Mart.  It's seriously super cute.

following: Word on Fire Blog.  The posts are always good, but my sweet ND Friend wrote the post yesterday about Saint Josephine Bakhita is excellent.

noticing: The warm weather we've been having.....went from snow last weekend to 70 degrees this Saturday!

knowing: I am not thankful enough.  Ever.  A quote from St. Josephine Bakhita from the blog above is a good reminder.  "Be good, love the Lord, pray for those who do not know him.  What a great grace it is to know God!" 

thinking: About what I will do for Lent this year.

bookmarking: This video discussing the legacy of Coach Dean Smith.  Wonderful stuff.

opening: My gym bag.  I'm going today if it kills me!

giggling: A couple of classic comedy routines The Boy from Texas plays repeatedly.  "It's a sad sad day..."


feeling: Blessed.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Newlywed in the Kitchen Recipe #10: Pioneer Woman Sloppy Joes

Well, our friend the Pioneer Woman did it again.  Seriously, I've never made anything of hers that wasn't awesome.  A month or so ago, we tried her Sloppy Joe recipe.  Y'all.  It was amazing.  So, so good!

The Boy from Texas Rating:  4  (I would have given it a 5 no question).

The Boy from Texas Comments:  (1)  Does this thing come with cheese on it?  After learning it did not, well we have to add cheese, that's just dumb not to put cheese on it, I'll get it out of the fridge for you.  (2)  I hate ketchup, why are you putting ketchup in there?


You can find the recipe (and her awesome photos) here.

I made very few changes:  (1) I halfed it because good grief!; (2) Left out the onion.; (3)  Used minced garlic in the jar from the store.

Pioneer Woman Sloppy Joes

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 2-1/2 pounds Ground Beef
  • 1/2 whole Large Onion, Diced
  • 1 whole Large Green Bell Pepper, Diced
  • 5 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1-1/2 cup Ketchup
  • 1 cup Water
  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Chili Powder (more To Taste)
  • 1 teaspoon Dry Mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes (more To Taste)
  •  Worcestershire Sauce, To Taste
  • 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste (optional)
  •  Tabasco Sauce (optional; To Taste)
  •  Salt To Taste
  •  Freshly Ground Black Pepper, To Taste
  •  Kaiser Rolls
  •  Butter

Preparation Instructions

Add butter to a large skillet or dutch oven over medium high heat. Add ground beef and cook until brown. Drain most of the fat and discard.
Add onions, green pepper, and garlic. Cook for a few minutes, or until vegetables begin to get soft.
Add ketchup, brown sugar, chili pepper, dry mustard, and water. Stir to combine and simmer for 15 minutes, adding salt and pepper to taste. Also add tomato paste, Worcestershire, and Tabasco if desired. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
Spread rolls with butter and brown on a griddle or skillet. Spoon meat mixture over the rolls.