Filed under: charity, Christmas, church | Tags: charity, Christmas, church, shepherds
On this day we celebrate Christ’s coming into the world. His birth was announced not to priests or government officials, but to shepherds. Poor, simple hill folk who did not go to church all that often since they had work to do every day. Because they could not make it to church they were despised by those in power. They were looked down upon and marginalized. Now isn’t that interesting.
The next time you look at someone with scorn, the next time you feel better than someone, remember that Christ’s birth was not announced to those such as you, he came first to the downtrodden, the marginalized, the scorned. Christ came not to those in the church, but to those who were outside, left out, lonely. If Christ were alive today would he come to you?
Filed under: cars, charity, hunger, make a difference | Tags: cars, climate, Food, hunger, recycle, transportation
Weather it is cleaning up our part of the world or taking care of others in this world, we can all do better. I know I am not always the absolute recycler, there are things I could do yet to save reusable things. I know I could use my car less, and thus help cut greenhouse gasses. I should be able to eat less and save more. Is it maybe because of fear that we don’t want to look for those less fortunate, fear that we may not like what we see?
Love of self is one of the first things we all show when we grow up. Young children always start out with a “mine” attitude. We have to be taught that this world is ours to take care of. Even then we still want to look out for Number 1. There is a little bit of “let someone else do it” in all of us too. So how do we get over ourselves and learn to take care of our world? I really don’t know, but I keep trying.
Filed under: Ag education, charity, Farm Bureau, food | Tags: Agriculture education, Citizen Publishing, cottonwood county, Cottonwood County Farm Bureau, farm, Farm Bureau, Food, food shelf, Hy-Vee, KDOM Radio
For the second year the Cottonwood County Farm Bureau is celebrating Food Checkout week by turning loose shoppers to wreck mayhem in the grocery store. For two minutes there were groceries flying off the shelves to benefit the local food shelf as two contestants vied for bragging rights. So what is Food Checkout Week and what were we doing?
Food Checkout Week is the week that the average consumer has earned enough money to pay for their years worth of food. This week again falls in February since the average consumer spends about 10% of their income on food. This contrasts with Tax Freedom Day, that falls in April, when the average American earns enough to pay their taxes for the year.
With the cooperation of our local Hy-Vee store, Citizen Publishing and KDOM Radio we planned a race in which contestants had two minutes to fill a grocery cart for the food shelf. The contestants got bragging rights only. The food shelf was the ultimate beneficiary.
- Each runner had 2 minutes to fill their cart.
- There could be only one of each item in the cart, but different brands or flavors are not considered to be the same.
- The highest dollar amount wins.
- Each shopper answered 5 agriculture trivia questions before the race. For each correct answer they got $1 added to their cart.
The race was timed by the store manager and photographed by several people including the local press.
Sometimes items ended up on the floor and not in the cart.
When it was over the total dollars were not even close as KDOM’s Judy put over $350 worth of groceries in her cart.
In the end KDOM’s shopper won by almost $50. This is the second win for KDOM.
Everyone had a good time. We’re planning to do it again next year.
This event gave us the chance to talk to our consumers about what farmers do and the entire food system. It was also great that we could have some fun doing it. Having the support of the local media really helped with the pre-event advertising as both the radio and newspaper were talking up the event. It was indeed a team effort.
Filed under: charity, church, family, Farm, Farm Bureau, Politicians, Politics | Tags: civics lesson, family, farm, Farm Bureau, regulations, rules, u s constitution
Well, it seems our President has stepped into a real storm after he O.K.ed a Department of Health and Human Services regulation requiring all employers to cover contraceptives, including those that act as abortifacients and surgical sterilization. To say the least the Catholic Church, and its hospitals, schools and charities, is not happy, and they are not the only ones. We are now faced with another example of a regulatory agency in the Executive branch going much further than the actual law passed by the Legislative branch.
So here’s a little Civics lesson to help you understand what is happening here. When laws need to be changed the Legislative branch, the House and Senate, write a law and pass it. The Executive branch of our government, the President and his cabinet, plus all of the regulatory agencies they control, is charged with enforcing these laws. A law means nothing if it is not enforced by the Executive branch of government. It is the job of the courts, the Judicial branch of our government, to decide if the law or regulation is really legal. The Judicial branch of our government can overturn any law or regulation, but they cannot make or enforce a law. The Judicial branch has final say on fines and imprisonment of any person or group for breaking the law, but they can do nothing if the Executive branch, or the people of our country, does not bring the case before them.
In many cases the Executive branch of our government can make regulations that “interpret” the law in a different way than the Legislature ever intended. It is then the job of our Judicial system to bring the Executive branch back in line. In this case, the Judicial branch will spank the fingers of the Executive branch for pushing too far. The same is true when the Legislative branch passes a law that is not in line with the U.S. Constitution or the Bill of Rights.
Currently, we in Agriculture are also fighting rule making that just does not make sense. Last year the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sought to bring forth a regulation that would control dust. Thus all levels of government would have to either pave over all gravel or dirt roads, or enforce 10 mph speed limits to keep down dust. Ranchers whose cattle raise too much dust in dry months would be subject to fines, and farmers would be forced to eliminate the dust created when they planted or harvested their fields. This regulation would have cost governments and rural residents billions, but the EPA cannot consider the cost of its regulations when it makes a rule.
Currently there is a battle between food producers and the EPA that would require all businesses in the Chesapeake Bay area to a pile of paperwork concerning discharge of pollutants into the bay, even if the EPA had already previously declared that they were not discharging anything.
The Government is currently considering passing regulations that would regulate all water, from the smallest puddle in your driveway, to the water you use to water your house plants and pets. Do they really need to micromanage that far?
A recent regulation has drawn the ire of farm country when the ruling would have prevented children from any kind of work for parents or any other family member. One of the primary ways that families have to pass on their work ethic was in danger.
The cost of democracy is constant vigilance. We need to be watching our government agencies to make sure that they do only the things we want them to. Groups such as the Farm Bureau, the Better Business Bureau and the AARP are helping us keep watch on our government. When they need our help, be sure you answer the call.
Filed under: charity, church, family, Minnesota, Music | Tags: children, Christ, family, God, hymn, Minnesota, politics, South Africa, southwestern minnesota, welcome
I was raised in a house and a church where all were welcome. Because of that I still have no problems with hosting and talking to people of different backgrounds and beliefs. I have been known to avoid conflict with those who are “intense” in their belief and have a hard time understanding those who call “hateful” anyone who does not believe exactly what they believe. Because of my beliefs and upbringing I was really shocked when I heard of a church group that was banning the hymn “All Are Welcome” from their church.
When our church home suffered a fire and was a year in rebuilding, we used this hymn as a promise of what we were doing and what was to come. When I traveled to South Africa a year ago with a group from Southwestern Minnesota, we used this hymn as a bridge between cultures and a promise of unity for all believers. I have used the sentiments of this hymn to argue for the inclusion of women as pastors and the inclusion of gay/ lesbian members of our community into our church. I am a firm believer that all are welcome in Christ’s church.
My firm belief is founded in the actions of Christ himself. When Jesus walked this earth he was not found with the churchgoing folks of his time, but with those most reviled and downcast. He walked with the lepers and ate with prostitutes. He called the tax collector, fisherman, prostitute and all others who were not welcome in the church of his day to follow him.
It is hard to be all welcoming. As fallen creatures we are prone to want to be with those who are most like us, especially if we are living comfortable lives. We separate into “us and them” groups to help ourselves cope with the hugeness of differences in this world. To welcome all would make us feel less important. Some do manage to live out their lives with their warped convictions intact, others do not.
When I was growing up, I remember an individual who was constantly voicing their feelings about those they despised the most. The rants about the divorced, those living together without being married and above all gay/lesbian people were frequent. For this individual, karma is a bitch. As their children grew up, one married a divorced person, another moved in with a person of the opposite gender and never married, and the last has come out of the closet as gay/lesbian. They were taught one relationship at a time to love those they had once despised.
The lessons we are taught are not always that personal. I do indeed hope that you are not so warped to be one of the haters in this world. We are called to live in a world of God’s grace, God’s inclusiveness. How can we love God and His son Jesus if we are not welcoming to all. I’m going to end with the first verse from the hymn “All Are Welcome” by Marty Haugen, I encourage you to look up the hymn and check out the other verses as you contemplate your place in God’s world.
“Let us build a house where love can dwell and all can safely live, a place where saints and children tell how hearts learn to forgive. Built of hopes and dreams and visions, rock of faith and vault of grace; here the love of Christ shall end divisions; All are welcome, all are welcome, all are welcome in this place.”
Filed under: charity, Christmas, church, family, friends, Holidays, travel | Tags: children, complaints, discontent, Food, friends, simple life, simple man, stuff, travel
I recently heard reports of the tweets of discontent this holiday season. People were tweeting each other about what they didn’t get for Christmas, or of the things they did get that were not right. I have also heard reports of how much parents are spending on children for Christmas presents, I am shocked. Why do we spend so much? Why are we so discontented? I don’t understand.
Now to be fair, I’ve never wanted for material things in my life. True, I didn’t always have what I wanted, but I always had what I needed. My parents, while not really rich had enough to live and travel well, we worked hard and always had what we really needed, and I was raised to appreciate what I had. Because of that, my tastes are simple. I’ve got a job, make that several jobs, that supply me with what money I need, a much better wife than I deserve, and three children who are now supporting themselves. I consider that a success. I have books to read, friends to visit with and a church and community that I enjoy, all things that I consider worth while.
When I hear people complain about not having the right smart phone, the right color whatever, the best food, I do not understand. Perhaps because of my reading and travels, I know that we have it really nice with our good enough cars, phones and house. I’ve seen and worked with so many that have so much less than I do, and are content. I’ve visited with many who have so much more, and are less happy than I am. I’ve learned that money does not bring happiness, but more worries. I’ve learned that having things doesn’t bring contentment, but a desire to have more and better things. I’ve learned that having just enough, is so nice.
Yep, I’m a simple man. Yes, I enjoy good things, but get no more happiness out of eating a $50 meal than I do a $5 one. My phone is just smart enough to allow me to answer calls where ever I happen to be, and survive the abuse I give it. My home is rather medium in size for our area, nicely decorated and comfortably furnished. I’ve got a bunch of books to read, and re read, a few movies and more than enough TV sets. My wheels are not that old, but not that new either. I live just well enough for me, thank you.
There is a song I am remembering about a simple man, it pretty well sums up my feelings about life. You’ll have to update a few things for today, but it fits: ”I got a hump back mule, a plow and a tater patch, eggs that are gonna hatch someday, I got the Lord above and a good gal that loves me, I’m the richest man in the world.”
Filed under: charity, church, friends, garden, Politics, South Africa, travel | Tags: children, ELCSA, Food, harvest, South Africa
This was my first trip to a developing world country. I have travelled most of the U.S., in many European countries, Israel and parts of Canada. In other words, I travelled among the blessed. This trip was to a country that is multi-faceted.
South Africa is a resource giant. There is so much there that is either mined or grown that the world wants, yet it is still owned by the few,and does not seem to benefit all.
South Africa has talented, energetic people. They manufacture complex machinery. They have hospitals that draw people from around the world to study in them. Yet only 25% of the population is registered as being employed.
Many look at Africa and think of elephants, rhinos, leopards, lions, apes and cape buffalo, and there is that in South Africa, but it is a land teaming with people and declining wild places.
I found South Africa to be a land of contrasts. We lived among people of the ELCSA (Evangelical Lutheran Church of South Africa) who were getting by on very little and yet had great joy in their lives. I saw pastors who lived and worked with people who had so little, and yet always had something to give to the church.
I talked to young people with great hopes for their future, and young people who were holding on to their last shreds of hope.
South Africa is a land that is still struggling to throw off apartheid. The races still live segregated. Yes, there are those of all races that are doing well, but the black population is not doing as well as the white. Most of South Africa is still white owned. Yes, blacks now are part of the government, but so few know how to make that government work for them.
I saw people living off of the small amount of money they make by collecting and selling scraps of materials that here we would throw into the landfill. People selling fruits or hand crafted items by the roadside that they had purchased and hoped to sell for a few pennies more.
The people of the Ondini circuit sing and dance in church. They sing when they are happy, and when they are sad. They are warm and helpful. Above all they are willing to share their love of God with us.
I think of how much we have here, and how we complain about it when we think we don’t have enough of something, and then I see them rejoicing in all things. We here in the U.S. should be ashamed of all of our complaints over our petty problems.
Thirty years ago I sat in on a meeting where we were talking about the changing face of mission in the world. We talked about how the U.S. and Europe had sent people out into the world to spread the Gospel of Christ and how that mission must now change. I was told then that the in the future, Africa would be coming to us. I have now seen the face of mission in the future. I have seen the joy of Christian life that cannot be matched here. The people of the Ondini circuit have shown me Christ in a whole new way. I’m ready for the future, I hope you are too.
Filed under: charity, history, hunger, make a difference, Politicians, Politics | Tags: Food, history, hunger, JFK, politicians, politics
Today is the anniversary of JFK’s presidential speech that had the famous phrase “Ask not what your country can do for you . . . Ask what you can do for your country.”
I’m beginning to think this country has become a welfare state. More and more I see people with their hands out asking that their government give them something. They expect that the government will give them everything. That is not the U.S. of A. I was born in. That is not the country that our fathers fought to build and protect.
Our constitution gives us the right to pursue happiness. It does not say that we will be happy. There are opportunities in our world today for everyone to work. It may not be the job we want, but it is work. I see folks complain about our illegal aliens here in the U.S. but most of them are here doing jobs we don’t seem to want to do. If you want to eat, get out there and work. Our country was built on hard work, not on a life of constant vacations.
Our entertainers have done more than anyone to break our country, and it is our fault. We value major league sports and movie actors more than we do our teachers and police force. We pay major amounts of money to watch entertainment, and then complain that the prices in the grocery store are going up a few pennies.
We are truly blessed in this country to have so much that we can complain about it. Next time you feel that the government owes you something, check out how much you have given to your country and to your neighbor first. Ask what you can do for others, before you ask for a handout.
A democracy can only last until its people realize they can vote themselves something for nothing. I’m afraid we are about to reach that breaking point, that the country that has given us so much will cease to exist. It is time for all of us to do, not ask.
Filed under: charity, family, Farm, food, history, make a difference, Politics, school, science | Tags: children, famous, farm, Food, history, killing, people, sports, things, value
I have trouble with the values that some folks put on things.
Why is a rock that I want out of my field worth so much to someone in the city as an ornament?
Why is a piece of paper worth so much just because of who’s name and picture is on it?
Why do we pay sports stars and entertainers more than teachers?
Why do some people stay up all night under artificial light and then go to bed and miss the beautiful sunrise?
Why do some put so much value on things, and so little value on people?
Why is the opinion of a famous person of more value than that of a scientist or of a farmer?
So much of our world is upside down. I just don’t understand it. Those with hard jobs that feed and heal the world are valued less than entertainers. Art can be worth millions and food worth pennies. Our children are given TV sets as baby sitters because we don’t have time to read them a book or show them how we do every day tasks. People kill each other over an idea or a few ounces of poison. We are so busy giving each other things that we don’t stop to give them our time and our love. How did our world get so messed up.
Filed under: Ag education, Ag promotion, charity, Farm, Farm Bureau, food, Minnesota | Tags: farm, Farm Bureau, Minnesota
The registration is now open for Minnesotans to register for free groceries from Farmers Feed Us. You need to check out <http://www.farmersfeedus.org/mn> and register with each farmer for your best chance of winning. Several other states have already run their grocery give aways and it has been successful for all of them. I was encouraged by the winner from Iowa who gave most of her winnings to her local food shelf. What a great way to spread the wealth of winning.
A few other states are also taking part in the food giveaway. If you are a resident of Ohio, visit the Ohio page to enter the sweepstakes to Win Free Breakfast for a Year. If you are a resident of Wisconsin or South Dakota, visit those state pages to enter the sweepstakes to Win Free Groceries for a Year. If you are a resident of Missouri, visit the Missouri page to enter the sweepstakes to Win the Ultimate At-Home Tailgate Party.
Other recent sweepstakes have ended. Iowa, Missouri, Indiana and Michigan are now closed and the winners have been announced. It is still worth visiting the site to get information about agriculture in these states. So check out Farmers Feed Us to find out where your food comes from.