Life is Tough…But I’m Tougher

“I choose to be unstoppable. I am bigger than my concerns and worries. The strength of others inspire me daily. I focus on my goal. I trust my intuition and live a courageous life.”

I think I can speak for a majority of people when I say that life sure has a way of knocking us down sometimes. I can be one that can attest for that statement, especially after the events that have unfolded these past few weeks. I will be straight up and honest when I say I always try to put on a “tough girl” front. I strive to make a goal to try to be a positive light in others people lives even when I am facing struggles of my own. Sincere optimism, sassy sense of humor and simply smiling are three traits I want to exhibit to others no matter what…at least that is my goal. But as we all know, none of us are perfect. We can only be strong for so long before we break, crumble, fall away from our normal self and become distant from others for a while until we can pick the pieces up and put ourselves back together.My horse, Cherry Bomb, and I

“Sometimes, the prettiest smiles hide the deepest secrets. The prettiest eyes have cried the most tears and the kindest hearts have felt the most pain.”

So I think I made it obvious that I unfortunately have experienced some tough times here recently. Extreme stress from graduate school, uncertainties of what my future holds, losing a dear family member and other things have really gotten to this sassy lady. Yes I will admit, there has been times that I have almost completely broke down. Yes, there has been times that I wanted to just give up. However, it did not take me long to realize that is not who I am. That is not how I want to live my life. It took some conversations with the big man upstairs, some flipping of Bible pages, advice from some of my closest friends/family and constant reminder from myself that I am strong enough to handle anything.

“Life…has knocked me down a few times, it showed me things I never wanted to see, I experienced many sadness and failures…But one thing for sure- I ALWAYS GET UP”

Thankfully, I’ve been able to regroup and get to feeling normal again. I have taken a step back, remembered what is truly important in life and have made these bad events into learning experiences. (And of course, I had to incorporate optimism into them all!) Stress from graduate school? I have to deal with it. Stressing about it will not make it any better. Uncertain about the future? Quit worrying about it! Have faith in God that He will direct my paths and will provide like always. Losing a family member? Never easy and downright depressing. (My cousin passed away after fighting breast cancer and it was super hard on my entire family, but I know she is in a much better place where she is feeling no pain). And one of those other things – I’ll be honest about it – is getting poison ivy all over my face and arms which led to a trip to the doctor, who then put me on meds that literally made me crazy. I know this doesn’t seem like a major deal, but when you are horribly moody, unable to fall asleep at night and retaining water making you feel like a hippo, all while having a nasty rash on your face then you kind of lose it. Haha, you can go ahead and laugh but it was just the straw that broke the camels back if that makes sense.1373928_10201913058490130_1771588366_n

“Next time you’re stressed: take a step back, inhale and laugh. Remember who you are and why you’re here. You’re never given anything in this world that you can’t handle. Be strong, be flexible, love yourself and love others. Always remember just keep moving forward.”

In lieu of all of these situations, I have learned a great deal about myself and life in general. First of all, tough situations lead you to discover who your true friends are and who really does belong in your life. Secondly, simply stated life is going to suck sometimes. That is just how it is. You just have to rely on God and rely on your faith to remain strong to overcome these not-so-good times. Also, another lesson learned is that life is too short to be anything but happy. Seriously, make the most and best out of each day and never take anything for granted. Most importantly, life is a blessing , so stop stressing!!!! On a more funny note, I did learn that if I ever get poison ivy again, I will not take the medicine that makes me a crazy person. (I think a lot of other people will appreciate that too!) Here is a list of quotes that sums up what I have learned that can also help you 🙂

  • “Surrender to what is. Let go of what was. Have faith in what will be.”
  • “Life is too short to stress yourself with people who do not even deserve to be an issue in your life.” -Anon
  • “Faith is knowing and believing, not wondering and doubting.”
  • “Use your smile to change this world. Don’t let this world change your smile.”
  • “Don’t stress the could haves. If it should have, it would have.”
  • “Just because the past didn’t turn out like you wanted it to, doesn’t mean your future can’t be better than what you’ve ever imagined.”
  • “The secret of being happy is accepting where you are in life and making the most out of everyday!”
  • “Never let a bad situation bring out the worst in you. Choose to stay positive and be strong.”
  • A woman’s strength isn’t just about how much she can handle before she breaks. It is also about how much she must handle after she’s broken.” 1384977_10201948418534109_452540958_n

My “AG” ventures definitely have not been the most positive situations lately that is for sure. However, I do know that I will be an even stronger person now that I have been able to endure what I have so far. I know that as people, we all go through times when you cannot help but feel a little down. I must say that if it was not for my family, friends, my horse, my dogs and my faith, I know I would not even be where I am today. It is these things that truly matter because they are the ones who are always by my side and they are the ones that always puts a smile on my face. I hope this post serves as an inspiration/motivation for others who are going through struggles and trials of their own. There are always brighter days ahead. Just keep your head up, keep smiling and let your light shine!

“I believe everything happens for a reason. People change so you can learn to let go. You believe lies so that you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself. Things go wrong so that you can appreciate them when they’re right. And sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.” – Marilyn Monroe

 

This blog is dedicated to my cousin Deana who recently lost her battle to breast cancer. She was one of my biggest inspirations and is a true hero! Please remember that it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Think Pink!!!!!

BreastCancerSurvivors

 

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“So God Made a Farmer…”

481501_10200455320567593_712146636_nThis is a post dedicated to everyone out there who is a farmer. You do not get the credit you deserve. Before I begin this post, I want to say thank you!

I know I have not posted a blog in a very long time. Why the sudden urge to begin blogging again? As crazy as it sounds, a commercial inspired me to do so. For those of you who follow me on Twitter or are friends with me on Facebook, you probably already know what commercial I am referring to.

Last night, a large portion of my mom’s side of the family decided to get together to watch the Super Bowl. I personally am not a huge fan of football; however I am always wanting to see good commercials, as well as spend time with my family. We were watching the game, talking about what commercials we were looking forward to seeing (the Clydesdale one was at the top of most of our lists), talking, eating unhealthy snack foods and just having a good time. Then the house went silent…

A commercial began to play and the name Paul Harvey appeared on the screen. An agriculturelike scene began to unfold which quickly grabbed all of our attention. The talking stopped, the kids stopped playing and all eyes were glued to the screen. These were the words that were shared on the commercial:

And on the eighth day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, “I need a caretaker.” So God made a farmer.

God said, “I need somebody willing to get up before dawn, milk cows, work all day in the field, milk… cows again, eat supper, then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the township board.” So God made a farmer.

“I need somebody with arms strong enough to wrestle a calf and yet gentle enough to cradle his own grandchild. Somebody to call hogs, tame cantankerous machinery, come home hungry, have to wait for lunch until his wife’s done feeding visiting ladies, then tell the ladies to be sure to come back real soon and mean it.” So God made a farmer.

God said, “I need somebody willing to sit up all night with a newborn colt and watch it die, then dry his eyes and say, ‘Maybe next year,’ I need somebody who can shape an ax handle from an ash tree, shoe a horse, who can fix a harness with hay wire, feed sacks and shoe scraps. Who, during planting time and harvest season will finish his 40-hour week by Tuesday noon and then, paining from tractor back, up in another 72 hours.” So God made a farmer.

God had to have somebody willing to ride the ruts at double speed to get the hay in ahead of the rain clouds and yet stop in mid-field and race to help when he sees the first smoke from a neighbor’s place. So God made a farmer.

God said, “I need somebody strong enough to clear trees and heave bales, yet gentle enough to help a newborn calf begin to suckle and tend the pink-comb pullets, who will stop his mower in an instant to avoid the nest of meadowlarks.”

It had to be somebody who’d plow deep and straight and not cut corners. Somebody to seed, weed, feed, breed, brake, disk, plow, plant, strain the milk, replenish the self-feeder and finish a hard week’s work with an eight mile drive to church. Somebody who’d bale a family together with the soft, strong bonds of sharing, who would laugh, and then sigh and then reply with smiling eyes when his family says that they are proud of what Dad does. “So God made a farmer.”See More

As these words were spoken, scenes of different agricultural/farming sectors flashed on the screen. Fields being plowed, farmers of all generations, horses, farming equipment, just to name a few. Of course, a really, really nice Dodge truck appeared at the end of the commercial to support the commercials founder Dodge Ram. After the commercial was over, I took a second to look around the room. Everyone sitting there had some sort of farming background. All of us were involved in the dairy industry in some way; most of everyone there is current dairy farmers. They all had the same reaction I did – a feeling of pride, reassurance, thankfulness and awe that the American farmer finally got some recognition on national television during one of the biggest TV events of the year. It was a very emotional moment, and I want to give a HUGE thank you to Dodge for airing such a great commercial.

This commercial got me to thinking….a lot. First of all, it is possible for our (farmers/agriculturists) voices to be heard. We can spread the word to the general public about agriculture’s importance and impact on our lives. We can show how hard farmers work and what they have to endure to provide food for people. It is a possibility and it is up to us to continue pushing forward to spread the word about agriculture.

Even though the commercial has created a lot of positive feedback from many, there are still some out there who view it as something completely different. I was researching reviews this morning and found people who had commented or posted on social media sites what they believe is meant by “so God made a farmer…” There were several references to tobacco chewers, factory farmers, tobacco farmers, hillbillies, etc. (You can find these reviews after searching the commercial on Google. Several sites come up that show them.) If that is what people truly think farmers are, then we need to work harder to change that image. Present these questions to those people:

  • Where does your food come from?
  • What did you eat for breakfast this morning? Do you know where that came from?
  • Who provides food to your grocery store?
  • How are you able to go to the store any time of the week and always have a large variety of food to choose from at a reasonable price?
  • Tell me what you know about agriculture. Do you truly believe that?
  • How would we survive if it wasn’t for our farmers?
  • How long will you survive if there were no farmers?

Once again, it just proves how uneducated the public is about what agriculture is all about. Obviously, we cannot survive without a strong agriculture industry. Our farmers are this nation’s backbone and always will be no matter who is leading this country, the technologies we have, etc.

After this commercial, I asked myself this question. How many people watched the commercial last night and did not understand it? There were probably several. Needless to say, Dodge’s “So God Made a Farmer” commercial has inspired me to make a difference. It has inspired me to keep pushing to educate the general public about American agriculture.

I apologize for the wordiness of this post. It has been so long since I have shared my thoughts, and the commercial from last night just got me thinking. I also want to make a special shout out to Budweiser for airing, in my opinion, one of their best Clydesdale commercials. The Doritos’ goat was good too. What were your favorites?

In conclusion, I hope that “So God Made a Farmer” has inspired you to agvocate even more. I hope it has inspired you to learn more about agriculture and comprehend its importance. Most of all, I hope it has instilled an utmost respect for our American farmers. They do not get the credit they so deserve for their hard work and dedication to providing safe and quality food on all of our tables. They endure every hardship – intense weather, working 24/7, working straight through holidays, sickness, the list goes on and on. Farmers deserve so much more than what most Americans give them credit for. Without them, we would not survive. Without them, we would have nothing. That is why, “God made a farmer.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMpZ0TGjbWE

Until next time, be sure to thank a farmer. If you are a farmer, then I want to say a special THANK YOU!!!!

Let’s all strive to make 2013 the year of the farmer!!!!

Alison

Journey to Delaware

While many spent their spring breaks at the beach or with their families, I spent mine in the tiny state of Delaware. (The nations first official state!) You are probably thinking two things right now. 1) What in the world were you doing there? and 2) What is there to do in that state?

I made the trip to Harrington, Delaware (home of the Delaware State Fairgrounds) to show horses in the IHSA Western Semi-Finals, I had qualified for this event by being the Reserve Regional Champion a few weekends ago. Granted, there was not much to do in the small town of Harrington; however this trip was one I will never forget. I have highlighted my experiences and have put them in a list below. Enjoy!!!!

  • I got to fly on an airplane for the 3rd time in my entire life. We flew out of St. Louis into Philadelphia the first trip. On the trip back home, we flew from Philadelphia, Cincinnati then to St. Louis. It was amazing because a trip that would have taken 16 hours driving only took 2 hours in an airplane. Thank goodness for that!
  • It was amazing to see how many people did not know what a hat can was. I got so many strange looks from people as I carried it through security and on the plan. Once I explained it to them, you would have thought it was the coolest thing they had ever saw.
  • I got to experience firsthand the craziness of Philadelphia drivers. We had to ride in a bus from the airport to the car rental place. The driver’s name was Al and he told us that he was “an express driver.” He wasn’t kidding. That man was flat-out CRAZY!!! We made it there in one piece…suprisingly.
  • The state of Delaware is tiny; however a very interesting state. It has a lot of agriculture, which I thought was very interesting. There were several acres of flat cropland, along with several wooded areas. Even though there was a lot of crops, I did not see a single cow. There were several horses, however.
  • Harrington, Delaware is home of the Delaware State Fairgrounds, where the horse show was held. It is also home of Chick’s Saddlery, which is a famous discount tack store. There were few restaurants and hotels; however it did have a very large casino, which appeared to be the town’s hotspot.
  • We were only an hour away from the ocean. Since I had never been to the ocean before, we spent all of Friday morning at the Rehoboth Beach. Seeing the ocean for the first time was a feeling I will never forget! Even though the Atlantic was freezing cold, I still had to put my feet in the water to say I had been in an ocean. It was definitely worth it.
  • Saturday and Sunday were spent showing horses. I had made it out of the preliminary round on Saturday, which allowed me to show in the final round on Sunday. The final round did not go as I would have liked. I ended up placing 7th out of 16. (I needed 4th to make it to nationals.) Even though I would have liked to have made it to nationals, I still felt very accomplished for even placing. The competition was really tough!

As you can see, I had a very eventful Spring Break. Delaware ended up being quite an interesting little state. It was a very fun experience being able to participate in the 2012 IHSA Semi-Final competition. If it was not for this horse show, I would not have been able to visit a beach or visit Delaware itself. It is crazy to think that myAGventures have made it to this state; however I am so grateful that it did.

What did you do over Spring Break? Hopefully you have a story to tell, along with memories that will last a lifetime!!

Equestrian Team. What?

Since my blog is dedicated to my “AGventures,” I decided to dedicate this post to something that makes up a large portion of my college life. That something is showing horses in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) with the Missouri State Equestrian Team. Many people have never heard of this, so I thought it would be helpful if I wrote more about it. I want to share my experiences to not only tell my story, but to encourage you to look more into this activity.

My journey with the equestrian team began my freshman year of college. I did not even know it existed until one of my friends told me about it my first week on campus. Eager to learn more, I drove to Missouri State’s Pinegar Arena to see what this equestrian team was all about. As soon as I walked into the arena, I was hooked. I joined that day, and have never looked back.

The equestrian team competes in stock horse (western) and hunt seat (english) shows. Shows are sanctioned by the IHSA and competitions are held throughout the fall and spring semester. I decided to compete in the western shows, since that is what I had done my entire life. Practices are held four days a week, and members are expected to come to at least two. Shows are held at universities across the region. Students do NOT have to have their own horse, and travel expenses are mostly paid for. Riders are placed in divisions based on their horse showing experience. At shows, horses are provided by the university where they are hosted. The horses are placed in the division, and are chosen by drawing numbers from a hat. Riders are given no chance to warm up and are judged based on horsemanship. This allows for a very unique and challenging experience. Riders are awarded points based on their placings. They then are given the opportunity to compete in post-season shows if they meet the point requirements, where they can work to make it to the national competition.

This is a very brief overview of what the IHSA offers, and how the Missouri State Equestrian Team works. I could write several posts about this topic; however I will save that for a later date. As you can see, this is an activity that I am very fond of. I have devoted hours of time over the past few years in order to be successful and to become a better horseman. By being on the Missouri State Equestrian Team, I have developed more as a person and have become a much better rider. I encourage you to look more into this program if you enjoy horseback riding. You will learn so much and be given opportunities to show horses of all kinds at several different places across the country. It has added so many “AGventures” in my life that I will never forget!

www.ihsainc.com

http://missouristate.collegiatelink.net/organization/horsemans-association/

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