Tuesday, November 24, 2015

I Am Martha

Who's Martha?
She's Mary and Lazarus' sister.
Her story can be found
in Luke 10
The Bible 

I've been thinking a lot about her lately and how I am just like her.

Mary is the girl who sits at the feet of Jesus gazing at Him
while Martha busies herself with all the things that need to be prepared for.

I have beautiful friends that are Mary's 
quietly, prayerfully, gracefully gliding through the day.
I picture them with little birds swirling around and baby bunnies following them.
It's magical and beautiful and sometimes I wish I could be like that
but it just isn't 
who I am.

I am a front row sitting, boots on the ground, problem solving by action and talking kind of girl.
Talking, so so much talking.
Usually too much talking.
Clanging, banging and making a lot of noise.
no birds or bunnies because I've scared them all away and not what might be considered magical
When I see a need I try to fill it whether it is through fundraising or delivering a meal or whatever I can do to physically help.
Sometimes even when I don't want to help I can't help myself.
Sometimes it even means my kids and my husband don't get the best of me.

I fail at sitting and prayerfully waiting.
Oh, I pray; I do.
When I wake, throughout the day, when something strikes me, when clients sit with me, when I put my kids to bed, when someone asks me to pray,
but I never sit and pray quietly.
I've tried and this is what happens.
Thoughts of what I can do
"should I stop and give someone a hug today"
"I'll bring them dinner"
"What should I wear today"
"I wonder if they know how much I love them"
"I need to call my mom"
"Oh ya I was trying to sit quietly and pray"

Recently this has really been on my heart and I was sharing some other feelings with one of my dearest and she said something profound.
"it's ok to be who God made you to be"

The words knocked the wind right out of me.

God made me a
problem solving
big loving
big hugging
goody baking
farm loving
mother of everyone
He made me a 

It's ok to be Who God made you to be because you are fearfully and wonderfully made.
It says so in Psalm 139

Blessed Is Me.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Our Excellent Euro Adventure!

Jer and I just returned home from an amazing week in Austria and Germany, hosted by Pottinger, a company that Jer distributes for.

They build rakes, tedders, mowers, loader wagon and all sorts of farm equipment.
It was a week filled with factory and city tours, eating so much, beer, and Agritechnica.

We got to tour a Case tractor plant that can build more than forty tractors a day, two Pottinger plants, the Voestalpine steel company-this was my second favorite tour and they employ 10,000 people-, a city tour in Linz Austria- my number one favorite-, Agritechnica, and a beef farm. 
We missed the beef farm because we were trying to rebook our flights that had been cancelled due to a flight attendant strike which turned into a 2.5 hour on hold and 2 disconnections.
There was also the option of a castle tour and shopping day, but we didn't do that one because it was the day of the farm tour and flight rebooking.

Agritechnica is the worlds largest farm show for machines and equipment.
It was an amazing view of all the machines and some of the products that go into farming.
In three days the show had already had 200,000 visitors with 3 more days to go!
I had no idea how many different types of machines there could be nor the cost.
Did you know you can get a manure sprayer that hold 6000 gallons of manure? No?
Well now you do and so do I!
I loved watching Jer's amazement in the machinery and his knowledge of so many things.
I think at times he knew more about things than the salesmen.
 He worked a little at the show making contact with companies and looking into different machines that could by marketed in our area.
Farming is no joke and these men and women are invested in their craft.
Some of the farmers were third generation and raising up a fourth generation.

We joined 71 other dealers and/or farmers on the trip.
We traveled by double decker bus.
Conversations started like this
"Where are you from?"
"Are you a dealer or a customer?"
Then ensued a conversation about the type of farming or equipment the whats and whys of the operation.
We met people who know people we know.
There were organic farmers and non organic.
I got to sit at dinner twice with a farmer that grows GMO crops.
What and eye opener.
He voiced his frustrations over how people like him are vilified by people who don't have a clear understanding of what they are talking about or what GMO truly means.
The key to these types of conversations is listening and being willing to hear what they have to say.
We chatted with dairy farmers that have 60 cows and with farmers that have 4 dairy's with 4000 cows.

My favorite couple was the Griswalds.

They are dairy farmers in their 70's.
Their crew milks 1200 cows 23 hours a day.
They were the CUTEST and boy can they hike!
We did a lot of walking and many times they led the pack.
Mrs. G was so funny too.. one night at dinner she told us she makes better soup than the restaurant!
I have no doubt about her statement and I bet she wears an apron while she does it.
I wonder if she cooks with lard!?

The food was abundant.
I can't even decide what my favorite meal was, but let me assure you the basket of bread that you get with every meal is perfect.
We ate at one place that offered a traditional Austrian dinner of meats, cheeses, pickled vegetables, beer, wine and schnapps made in house.

All the meat we ate was grown on their own farm that shared the property.
Smoked pig tongue was on the platter and now I wished I would have been brave enough to try it!
Most factories have giant lunch rooms that serve lunch to employees.
A real home cooked hot lunch and the company pays about 50% of the cost.
Their view is that it adds to the value of the company that happy employees make better employees

The beer flowed like water and the water tasted terrible.

Every place serves beer even McDonalds and the factories!

Many places allow a beer at lunch and a few beers after work.
The water came in "gas" and "no gas" or "flat"
Gas is sparkling
No gas or flat is mineral
They don't drink tap water and consider it on the same level as toilet water.
All drinks come in glass bottles

The coffee came in perfect little cups on saucers with tiny spoons

even at the farm show it came that way with a paper cup and plastic saucer and spoon.

Sugar filled large latte are no where to be seen, but you can get cappuccino

In Wels, Austria the lamp posts are chandeliers.
These are my people!

Smoking is common place and happens inside the restaurants, right outside the doors of places and there are cigarette vending machines everywhere.

What there isn't is cigarette butts anywhere!
Swear, the only place we ever saw cigarette butts was in the ashtrays.

Sometimes you just see tractors in the middle of town on a busy street!

Public bathrooms were interesting.
You have to pay to use them.  Prices 0,20 to 0,50 euros is what we experienced.
One had a man sitting in a hallway between the mens and womens rest rooms collecting the money on a plate another at a truck stop gave you a ticket that could be used to purchase coffee in the store.

They were SO clean.
Never did we see paper on the floors or mess of any kind and the stall walls go all the way to the floor.

Truck Stop in Europe.
Be still my heart!

Hotel rooms were interesting.
Twin beds pushed together with separate single down comforters.
No sheets.

No coffee pots in the rooms, but one has nespresso which I thought was terrible.

The room key had to be put into a slot to turn the lights on.

In Wels, Austria we went out to a bar/club.
They play American music and the smoke was so thick I had to quarantine my clothes including my only rain jacket.
Get a farmer off the farm and away from the responsibility of chores and he can get down.
I called it "Farmers Gone Wild" without nakedness though.
Oh the stories the next day had us laughing so hard.

Some things we noticed were:
Everything was tidy.
No garbage anywhere.
Homes had simple yards, but not mess.
Every person is well put together.
No pajamas, sweatpants or messy buns in sight.
I did have 3 Croc sightings...
No one is overweight.
A lot of people walk or ride bikes and they eat real food including lots of bread, noodles and sauce which we call gravy.
This is the food offered in the Hanover airport

No junk cars
We didn't see even one and no bumper stickers.
When you walk by someone and smile at them they don't smile back.
It's odd.
When eating at a restaurant they don't come back to the table to see if you like your meal or need anything else.
If you need something they expect you to ask.
Homes were mostly white and yellow. Cars were mostly black.
I'm not sure why.
At a restaurant our waitress had a tattoo in English
Faith, Hope and Love

We watched the sunrise above the clouds

and from our tour bus.

It's beautiful anywhere, but my front yard is still my favorite place to watch it.

It was a wonderful very full week and we feel very fortunate that Pottinger invited us giving us an experience we could never imagined.
Next time we will do it different.
We are also so fortunate to have the Grandma's and Papa's so eager to take our babes so we could go.

Cheers to new friends, experiences and for the love of farming.

Blessed Is  Me...