Tag Archives: Family

ALOT Class XVI Unites

12 Mar

ALOTLogoSmall-editedAgricultural Leaders of Tomorrow (ALOT) is a two year adult leadership training program that targets rural leaders and agricultural producers who have a passion to promote Missouri agriculture and strengthen their rural communities. The program enhances communication and leadership skills, expands knowledge of ag issues and encourages leadership initiative in local communities.

The ALOT Class XVI has so far visited Columbia and Jefferson City, Missouri and I am proud to say I was one of them. After the initial anxiety wore off I was blown away with the instant comradery the group formed. Over the first two weekends together we hadn’t simply met, we had united.

Columbia, MO was our first stop in the ALOT program that includes ten in-state three day sessions, a week long seminar in Washington D.C., and a two week international experience to a country that impacts Missouri agriculture.

Kristin Perry, executive director for ALOT, took a few minutes to share the rich history of ALOT and what she thought the take home message was from our first event.

“The program started in 1983 with a Kellogg grant that was sought by Dr. Bruce Bullock, Dr. Daryl Hobbs and Dr. Ron Plain. They wanted to teach people involved in agriculture how to be more involved in policy and leadership positions that would create a positive affect on Missouri agriculture.”

Kristin said her real goal in this program is to help everyone discover their passion and find how they can take an active role in the advancement of Missouri agriculture.

“Read more, listen more, learn more so you can become more involved, better informed and better connected for the future.”

Listen to my complete interview with Kristin and stay tuned as I chronicle our journey of leadership development in the ever-changing world of agriculture.

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State Fairs – A Family Affair

21 Aug

IMG_0332 editedI literally grew up at the Missouri State Fair. I was just a little one when I first attended the fair with my dad and I haven’t missed a year since. My dad worked for the Missouri FFA and ran the FFA Building during the two-week event. I remember hanging out with the State FFA Officers while running through displays of corn and soybean seeds, flowers of all shapes and sizes and thinking all the ag mechanics projects were my own personal playground.

The Missouri State Fair brings back so many great memories for me. We ate meals in the youth building, slept in the administration building and when my sister and I were lucky, we even got to ride some rides. But the best memories come from exhibiting Hereford cattle year after year. Whether we walked away with a blue ribbon or not, we did it as a family. I actually met my, now husband, at the fair. The 2014 Missouri State Fair marked our 10 year anniversary of dating. How many of you can say you met the love of your life at the fair?

IMG_0346 edited Now we stay in a camper and eat our meals around a grill with our friends and family, but we still show cattle at the fair. However, my family has grown. This past year we had the privilege of welcoming a new member to our family. Miss Harper James Johansen attended her first state fair this year. When we pushed her stroller up and down the aisles of the barn or carried her as we tailed one to the ring, I have never seen my husband so excited and proud.

State fairs across the country are a family affair. My daughter’s state fair moments have already begun, even though she won’t quite remember them herself. I look forward to watching her grow up exhibiting livestock, eating corn dogs and creating friendships that will last a lifetime. Thanks dad for instilling a love of fairs in me and all the hard work and good times that go along with them.

Family Blessings Leading Up To Sale Day

24 Apr

Sale Catalog CoverAs we have prepared for our annual production sale, we can’t miss the opportunity to update folks on issues our family has faced over the last couple of months. In mid November, a supposedly minor outpatient surgery on dad’s foot exposed clear-cell sarcoma, which had spread throughout his entire right foot. Our family learned that the only way to treat this form of cancer was to remove the foot halfway between the ankle and knee. During the first week of December we traveled yet again to Barnes Hospital in St. Louis for the surgery.

Our family has been so blessed with everyone’s thoughts and prayers. We all have felt the hand of God through this trial in our lives. So many have shared their pledge of prayers. It is certainly humbling to watch the prayer support through dad’s students and friends at Missouri State, the Aurora/Mt. Vernon communities and, of course, the cattle industry across the Midwest. Our prayers were answered when doctors shared that CT scans found dad was cancer free once the amputation was completed.

Recovery has gone very well. Dad was back at the university fulltime by January 2nd. He mastered the art of driving with his left foot. And as you can guess hasn’t missed a beat when it comes to the cattle. Dad only missed one Sunday at the piano bench and his left foot has taken over the foot pedals. This life-changing event has been challenging, but recovery has progressed rapidly because of his amazing attitude towards it. His positivity has allowed so many to grow stronger in their faith and remember that God doesn’t give us anything we can’t handle.

Dad can continue the cattle operation, teaching and working with students. He can spoil his first granddaughter, Harper James Johansen, born to Kevin and I on February 5th, walk Joanna down the aisle as she marries Neal Wilkinson in August and continue to climb the many steps to watch Jonathan march in the Pride band.

Dad began walking again with a prosthetic leg in mid February, but brags of catching a calf with only one leg on his hands and knees earlier this winter. Just the other day I watched my dad help his mom, who has two bad knees, down a step while leaving a restaurant. Then, she turned around and helped him balance the same step down. If you didn’t know the pair, you could have easily felt sorry for them, but not my dad and grandma. As I watched them help each other, all I could see was their smiles stretching from ear to ear.

2014 has started out with a bang for our family. God’s grace continues to bless our lives and as we have prepared for this sale we are once again reminded that none of this would be possible without you. Few things make my dad happier then creating mating’s that will help others grow their herds of “No Excuse Herefords.” We know we have a great offering to share with you in our 14th Production Sale. Thank you for being a part of our family for so many years.

View our online sale catalog here.

Happy New Year

1 Jan

2013 has been one of the most memorable in history. My brother graduated high school and started his journey in college, Kevin and I received the biggest blessings we could imagine, my sister got engaged to such a wonderful young man, my dad overcame cancer like a champ and my mom continued to serve as the rock of the family; holding us all together with a constant reminder that God doesn’t give us anything that we can’t handle and with His guiding hand all is possible.

But 2014 can only trump it. My brother is already planning for the future and applying for internships. Baby Johansen will be here in just a couple of weeks. Wedding planning is already in full swing. Dad gets fitted for his prosthetic very soon and is truly my hero. And none of this would be possible without my mom.

2013 Christmas Card

My Ozark’s & Harvest Time

24 Oct

Fall TreeIt is finally cooling off here in my Ozark hills. And I am actually thankful. I am ready to curl up under blankets, bundle up in warm sweaters and even see a little snow on the ground. But soon we will all be wishing for green grass, blooming flowers and a warm breeze. It is harvest time throughout the country and I recently came across this writing from my Great Grandma Helen. Her favorite time of the year was Spring, but she always honored the farmers who worked tireless hours bringing in the crops before winter hit.

As far as I know these are her original words, but she often quoted her favorite authors. Remember these are unedited. But as you read you can see her passion for the land, farmers, nature and her relentless faith.

Yes deep in the heart of the Ozarks, life is real and beautiful, we worship God in our little country churches by the side of the roads our voices mingle together in song and in prayer. “Farmers,” “Ozarks Farmers,” God bless them. We come to the close of another harvest with Thanksgiving in our hearts.

If last year we toiled long and hard in our fields, drought and insects overwhelmed our efforts with failure of a good crop. Does not the kindly springtime seem to say to each of us “forget the heartaches of yesterday, and with joy and hope in your heart, roll up your sleeves and try again.”

To me there is something holy about the springtime, and the return of the birds with their songs, and the eternal grass and the wild flowers that grow up on the hillside and in our fields and meadows. How dreary life would be without them.

In all nature there is nothing more mysterious remarkly then the coming and going of our birds, and how these lovely little creatures know that winter and blizzards are in the offering and it is time to seek a warmer climate, and later when spring is on the way, these things are secrets, known only to God and themselves.

Out in California, there is an old mission that was built by the Spandard’s of long ago. At a given day on a given hour back fall time the 100 of swallows that make their home in that centuries old structure suddenly depart and on a certain day and hour, in the springtime they as suddenly reappear, and who shall say that life ends at the grave when we are surrounded by forces that are thus beautiful, and as mysterious as they are beautiful when the frost of Oct. comes the leaves of the trees turn sear and yellow.

The autumn winds blow them hither and you and the trees upon which they grow stand stark and bare, and yet comes the spring. The leaves return in all their glory, dull lifeless bark opens to let pink-white blossoms push their way to the sun. This is how we know life does not end suddenly with the words – dust to dust.

The roots bid their time in the frozen earth and quicken into life with the April shoulder. But root or seed they unite in proclaiming to all the world that God intended that they shall live forever. And if this is true of the wild rose and the little brown seed why should it not be a thousand times more so of a human soul.

This is the message of our harvest and springtime, when God strives to give us new courage and also it is life, for just as drought’s insects or flood would soon bring us face to face with starvation, so would not our muscles grow soft if all our harvest were golden. Always we must take the bitter with the sweet it is God’s way, it is life.

It is no trouble for us who life in the country to believe in the resurrection, we know full well that nothing in nature is ever completely destroyed. At this harvest season we give out thanks and know it is sleeping for awhile our nature, then in a few weeks the whole countryside will echo. I am the resurrection and the life.

1st Project is a Wrap

16 Oct

My grandma Charlotte taught me how to knit when I was young. I understood the concept, but never was able to make something that would actually serve a purpose. I guess it was something with using two needles. I could never get the tension right. My rows were either too tight or way too loose.  A2Z-2

Fast forward 20 years or so… Last year before Christmas I got it in my head I wanted to learn how to crochet. I guess I was feeling a little domestic. I found a book online called A to Z Crochet and added it to my Christmas wish list. It teaches you step-by-step in pictures. I am a visual learner and it was great to actually see what each step is suppose to look like. Luckily, my mother-in-law drew my name and I was more excited about that gift then any of the others.

I quickly bought some yarn and started to learn the basic stitches. Over the course of the last 8 months I have mastered the concept of crochet, but have yet to actually finish a project. I love making granny squares, but haven’t put them together to make anything. But once I found out we were having a little girl, I retreated to the closest Hobby Lobby and bought a bunch of yarn. I knew I wanted to make a baby blanket, but had no plan in mind. I soon found a pin on Pinterest I thought I could complete, but like I do with recipes, I made a few changes.

My hands seem to always need to be busy. So, crocheting in the evening while watching TV works great for me. My project soon started looking like something and I have finally finished it. I am defiantly hooked on crocheting. I can’t wait to start another project soon.Rainbow Crocket Blanket 1

In this picture I actually still need to add white to the other side of the pink. I ran out of white at the very end. I am not big on pastel colors and wanted something bright and colorful for the nursery. I chained 110, but in the future I will probably do 125-150. As you can tell I believe my tension still isn’t perfect. As I went my stitches got a little looser.

Rainbow Crochet Blanket 2

I used I Love This Yarn brand of yarn. I am sure there are better yarns out there, but this can be found in many different colors and is really soft. Throughout the entire project I did a single stitch (sc). It gives you a fairly tight stitch and a very warm blanket. I thought it was perfect since I am due in February. However, it does use quite a bit of yarn. In the future I will probably change it up a bit.

Hello again…

6 Sep
Here is an early ultrasound picture taken at about 10 weeks. During this Dr.'s visit we got to hear the heart beat for the first time.

Here is an early ultrasound picture taken at about 10 weeks. During this Dr.’s visit we got to hear the heart beat for the first time.

I am utterly embarrassed with my lack of posting. Things have been kind of crazy with my life since early spring. But I am done using that as an excuse and want to update everyone on my life in the hills.

The biggest news is after almost four years of unsuccessful attempts in trying to start a family we are excited to announce our first child is due February 1st, 2014. Thanks to lots of prayers, a strong faith and science I get to start decorating a nursery very soon. I believe it is finally settling in that I am pregnant. After so many years of never thinking it would happen, it is hard to fathom it’s actually truth. But over my busy summer of camps and cattle shows, the morning/all day sickness was a constant reminder. Still it wasn’t until recently that I let myself truly believe I am going to be a mom. Clothes are starting to get smaller and finding a comfortable position to sleep in is getting annoying.

The moment of truth will come on September 24th. The day we find out if we are having a boy or a girl. I honestly don’t care either way. But part of me really wants a girl…why? If you show cattle you are aware of all the bling, bling out there for show sticks, show halters and everything comes is lots of bright colors. My husband’s stance is the use of anything other than a black or silver show stick and a black or brown show halter is a big no, no. He strongly feels even his own future daughter (who I know will have him completely wrapped around her little finger) will have none of that bling, bling crap. I am betting he caves. Anyone want to place your bets?

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