Have you ever been on a road trip or even on your way to work and see an old farm that looks abandoned? I have all the time. Maybe it is that I take special notice. Maybe I am partial. Could it be that it is because I love history. It is probably a combination of all these things. The old farms stick out to me. It is almost like a huge tombstone that marks the resting place of a day and time that is gone. I grew up on a family farm. It was a way of life. It was a passion. My family took pride in the farm and animals that they produced. This way though has been replaced. It has been replaced with big business. Sure there are a few that are still trying to hang onto the old way but for the most part times has changed and left them behind. What was once a way to survive and live has turned into million dollar operations. These farms of today have a cash flow of more than what a whole county used to. Now I am not saying they are rich or even close. The farmer of today struggles with prices and often barely turns a profit. A lot of the huge farms are in substantial debt. I know that the farm life of today is far from easy, but for this post let’s concentrate on a simpler time. A time when a farm was a mere fifty acres. A time when husband and wife worked the land. A time when one tractor tended the crops. A time when a few cows and a little corn would be enough. These old farms buildings setting idle tell the story. Only if they had a voice and could tell their story. Would they tell of the livestock that once grazed in the pasture. Would they tell of the little boys and girls who played in the hay that was stored in the loft. Maybe they would tell about the farmer in his bibed overalls who worked unconditionally six days a week and took off on Sunday for the sabbath. As time marches on and these old farms are torn down in the name of development there is a part of the rural life that dies. One by one these old buildings fall or get demolished and big new building go up in there place. For me it is a sad scene to watch as a piece of history is gone. For the ones that are there as of now, should be appreciated. Don’t just let them blend into the horizon. Pay attention to them as you travel and maybe, just maybe you will hear the ghost of the forgotten farms.
When you was a kid, did you ever play hot potato? I remember playing the game. Kids would get in a big circle and throw a potato around to one another to the sound of music mimicking tossing a real potato that was hot. The object of the game would be to not get stuck with the potato in hand when the music stopped. Each time the music would stop and whoever was holding the potato would be disqualified from the game. Then the music would start over and go through the same process again until it was down to one person. They would be declared the winner. It is funny what we can learn from a child’s game. Every day as adults we get up and start juggling our day. We have got to balance our careers, families, school, volunteer work, obligations,church, aging parents. The list goes on and on. We go so wrapped up in life that we focus entirely on that hot potato. We get so busy and competitive to beat the next person in line that we often lose sight of the main objective of the game. The child’s game should be played to socialize and spend time with friends. It should be fun. Everyday as we juggle life and focus on work (that hot potato) we slowly lose sight of the real things in life. Sure we have to work to pay the bills. We have to have shelter. We have got to have food, meds and basic things of life. As a human being we strive for more and more possession. It is only normal. We want our children to have it better than we did. So many times though we push to much in our schedules only to see that we actually neglect what our children need. They need mama and daddy. They need to be loved. They need to be hugged. The world is so educated now that people are smarter than they have ever been, but has it paid off? Women used to be able to stay at home and raise their children. Now let me say that if a woman has a career and is happy then I am all for it. I am in no way a sexist, but if she is having to work just to make ends meet and the children have got to attend day care are they really benefitting? Could we drop a few things out of our schedule to be there for them. Dads could you take off early from work just because. Just because. No reason. Just to spend sometime with the family. Do we really need that new car? That big house? What about that time share? The country club membership? Let’s all stop and pay attention before we get burned by that hot potato.
I wake up to the alarm sounding off at several decimals higher than it needs to be. Wipe the sleep from my eyes and head for the shower. What will the day ahead bring. Not just for me but the world as well. What news will break? Who will get shot, abused, stabbed or robbed? What good thing will happen today? Who will be born into the world? Who will create the next big break through? Who will develop the cure for some terrible disease? The truth is that the day has not been written yet. It is there for the taking. Don’t get me wrong, I know somethings can not be helped but it is yet to be set in stone. We should wake up everyday excited about the opportunity ahead. If things are going like you want them too then be excited for another fabulous day. If things are not going as you want them to then be happy you have one more day to fix it. Make it right. If your health is good then be happy your so blessed. Someone out there is confined to their bed. If your health is bad, be thankful to be alive, see one more sunrise. Be proud that God has give you one more day to love, be loved, and just live. Sure your day may bring stress on top of stress. You may think it is horrible, but at night when you come home to your family remember someone didn’t get to see their family again. You say my job is terrible. Be thankful you have a job. Someone is out of work and hungry. No matter the circumstance I guarantee you someone has it worse. If you wake up in a country that is not in a war zone plagued with starvation then you are blessed past a lot of the world. The food we eat, water we drink, roof over our heads are all blessing that we take for granted. If we get to hug our children and send them to school for an education. All these things we do everyday and not think twice about it. Often complaining about it. To much work, to hot, to cold. We have grown as a society of chronic complainers. Let’s quit complaining and take back our lives. The attitude you have for the day is 80% of how your day will be. Have a good attitude and you can overcome anything. Have a bad attitude and anything will get you down. Your attitude affects everyone around you. Be happy and they will be happy. Be sad and they will be sad. Tonight take time to thank the Lord for your blessings. Hug your spouse, children, family if you have them. Take back the day ahead.
Gone are the days that you can pick who will win the NCAA tournament by looking at seeding. Today’s athletes are so complete that even the lowest seed has a path to the final four. UMBC proved this with the total dismantling of Virginia. With the lucrative payouts of the NBA super talented players are often gone after one season. This leaves mid major schools with recruiting four year players by default. They can’t compete with the power schools. In the current atmosphere these mid major schools are playing upper class men against freshmen and sophomores. Now we can argue all day long about the one and done. We can argue about the talent of these players versus experience. I am not going there, at least not in this post. The point I want to make is that it definitely levels the playing field. In the early years of the tournament you had the power schools with veteran super talent. The mid majors was stuck with just veterans. It was a win, win for the power universities. They had it all. That way has been replaced in today’s tournament. You either have veterans or underclassmen that are super elite talent. Sure on a given night talent is talent and it will prevail, but tournament is not a given night. These veteran seniors that have poured their heart and soul in a program want to keep playing. One more game, one more half, one more possession. They don’t want to put that jersey up for good. Just one more. Then with all the pride and heart comes a super nova over these players. They suddenly play stronger. They play taller. They play faster. Four years of playing experience clones it’s self into the talent they were lacking as high school seniors. It is win or bust. Once again I am not saying experience is better. Although it does level the playing field in the new era of the NCAA tournament.
Have you ever had the chance to sit down and talk to the elderly? What about the chance to sit down with a grandparent? I treasure the talks I have had with the older ones about their lives and the things they done in earlier years. In a conversation with my grandmother it come up about the clothes she wore as a little girl. She said her mama made her skirts out of old flour sacks. Talk about in style! She said she never complained because that was the norm. The other little girls of the time was wearing the same thing. Times was hard back then. There wasn’t the luxury we have now. Cars was scarce. People either rode a horse or walked where they needed to go. Some folks then would wait for the rural delivery mail carrier and pay a nickel to ride somewhere with them. People made do with what they had. Often chickens eggs would be traded at the gristmill for cornmeal or flour. Every one had their own cow that had to be milked morning and night. Hogs were killed in the late fall as a community event and salted down to preserve the meat. People often sold the cream off the extra milk at cream stations. Whole milk was not wanted then. Just the cream. The way, or by product off the cream was fed to the hogs. Women churned their own butter. My grandmother said she could remember how happy her mother was when they got their first butter churn. Up until then they used a dashboard style. She said this was much slower. The men worked in the field with mules and a strong back. Gardens was canned, dryed buried to be preserved. Potatoes then were dug and put in a hole lined with straw in the barn to be kept. The hole had to be deep enough to be below the frost line so they would not freeze. Pumpkins was planted in the corn and were picked and fed to the livestock. Families had several children in those days which would start to work at a very young age to help feed their family. Education was often all most obsolete. My grandparents was a few of the blessed ones and got a high school education. This would be compared to college in this time. Most children of the area did not get a chance to go past grade school. In our Kentucky area tobacco was the major cash crop. Supplies would be charged at the country store and paid when the crop was sold in the fall. People struggled but had to much pride to ask for a handout. They loved one another, helped their neighbor, raised their children as they was raised. They watched their children grow everyday instead of taking them to day care that has to happen so often in today’s time. Yes times was hard but in a way I envy the days of old.
Have you ever looked at a woods in the horizon or from a hill? You can pick out two, three, maybe four standing tall above all the rest. These trees, no doubt are old and strong. After looking at these trees one day I had a thought of how these big strong trees is exactly how we should live day by day. Like the big oak trees in the woods that stands strong above the rest, we should stand strong in what we believe and how we live. Through the generations things have been handed down from parents to children. Just the way their parents shown and taught them. From religion to politics to the way we dress has been passed down. As one generation leaves out another is born to take the family name forward. The winds of the world and the evil that presents it’s self from time to time is no different than the strong storms that the big oak trees have stood. I have witnessed forest after a strong storm and seen trees that were twisted,uprooted and broken up all over the woods in total destruction but there stands that giant oak tree in all her beauty standing strong. You see it is just like the human race. You have got to be anchored in something to stand for. Something to believe in. You have got to have a purpose. The people of the world that go with this for a while and then something else for a while never get established in anything. Just like the storm beaten trees of the forest they are twisted and bent to believe as someone else or maybe as what is popular if you will have it. The person who stands strong even if it isn’t the popular way will be standing after the storms of life roll through. When time comes that these big trees are cut or die out if another tree isn’t planted and established quickly then the underbrush will over take the land. The briars and vines will grow so thick that the possibility of another big tree growing is gone. The landscape is changed forever. Just as our ancestors have pass away if we don’t stand strong to our upbringings and teachings then our family name is altered forever. I know as the world modernizes some things have to change but most likely what was good enough morally for our grandparents should be good enough for us. Love your neighbor, be kind, be slow to take offense but quick to forgive. In modern times these are principles that are not popular it seems.You get one name in life. Don’t be bent and persuaded to bend and twist to evil. Be like that giant oak tree and stand strong for what is right!
In the long hard journey of life there is a time for everything. No matter if you are a child or one hundred years old. There is a time to sow and a time to reap. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to work and a time to rest. A time to be happy and a time to be sad. As a child you are born completely helpless. Unable to survive on your own. Soon you start to learn and adapt. Before long babies grow to toddlers and begin to crawl and talk. They must wait for the right time for nature to occur. A child cannot walk or run before they crawl. Just as a tree cannot bare fruit before it blooms. Sometimes we want to grow to fast, do to much, get to big before it is time. No matter if it is the child trying to crawl or the medical intern wanting to be a surgeon, it takes time. There is steps in life that you cannot skip or jump over. We often start careers at the very bottom and envy to be on top. It does not work this way. You have got to live, learn and grow. If there is something in the process you dont like then change it when you get there for someone else. Don’t forget where you come from or where you intend to go. Keep your dreams close at hand and pray daily. Be kind in the process as others have had to make the journey you are making right now. If you get knocked down just remember there is a time to get back up. Be diligent and truthful in your dealings. Give when you can for there will be a time to gather. Treat others as you want to be treated. Be happy for it may help someone that is sad. When life’s journey draws to a close people will remember you by the fruit you bore, not by how much money was in the bank, but by the good ( or bad ) deeds you have done. As you go through life and face trials, tribulations, sad times, and hardships just remember there is a time for everything. It will soon be time for things to brighten up and get better no matter the circumstance. There really is a time for everything!