Yes, I know. This time of year is supposed to be spent in reflection and looking back at the year that was. That’s all well and good but I have never been a terribly nostalgic person, preferring instead to look ahead at the future and all it’s possibilities.
So with Christmas wrapped and 2014 right around the corner, here are my top 10 hopes, wishes and dreams for 2014 . . .
(1) Growth and prosperity for family and friends. I would not be the person I am or have the fantastic life I do without my wonderful family and fantastic friends. I have a mother and father that would – and often do – anything for me. I have a sister I am blazing the new parenthood trail with and a husband that works tirelessly everyday to provide a home and life for my son and I. My in-laws make our dreams of farming and ranching a reality and my father-in-law is three employees in one. My friends provide continuous support and companionship for the occasional adult-only night out and a listening ear when the road gets a little rocky. I know my circle of family and friends will continue to grow in 2014 and I look forward to new welcoming faces, young and old.
(2) New milestones for our son. Derek and I welcomed our son, Evan John, on April 12 and I don’t believe we have sat still since. As everyone warned us, our baby has turned our world upside down. It’s now all about him, on his schedule and catered to his needs. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. Being a parent is rewarding and I’m looking forward to seeing Evan continue to grow and hit new milestones. He’s a happy and charismatic little guy that so desperately wants to be on the go and into everything. I know life will only get more hectic once he begins to walk but I also know with walking comes talking, hugging and words. I know my husband looks forward to the day Evan can accompany him in the feed truck and on the combine – without mom, of course. We work to provide him a farm and animals he can love and I’m excited to see him take it all in.
(3) Continued leadership from my husband. Derek has always been a natural leader and has found a family and place in Farm Bureau. He’s served at the local, state and national level and continues to be asked to lead and help move his industry forward. He will continue serving on the Kansas Farm Bureau resolution’s committee and lead the county Farm Bureau board as president. And starting in 2014, Derek will become a member of the very first Kansas Dept. of Agriculture Marketing Advisory Board. He applied and was selected from a pool of applicants to represent the state’s agriculture industry in helping guide the Dept. of Agriculture’s marketing efforts both domestically and internationally. It’s never easy having Derek gone for meetings and conferences but I always enjoy seeing him utilize his leadership talents and know he will continue to be a great spokesperson for his industry.
(4) Female leadership. Speaking of our state agriculture department, I am excited to see a woman at the helm of a still male-dominated industry. In late 2013, Jackie McClaskey was named the new Secretary of Agriculture. McClaskey was at Kansas State University when my husband attended so I have been fortunate to know Jackie for a few years now. She is a great lady, a great leader and will do great things with the department. I always enjoy seeing women break gender boundaries and I know she will do female producers and advocates alike proud.
(5) A farm bill. On the federal level, I am hoping lawmakers can get in the spirit of the season and come to a compromise on the new farm bill. I shouldn’t say new, this bill has been in production for two years now. The agriculture industry needs a farm bill. Producers, like my husband, must make planting and marketing decisions and need a farm bill to know what the future holds. It will take compromise and cooperation but I’m confident 2014 is the year of productivity on Capital Hill.
(6) A new crop of calves. Owning cattle means we never truly have downtime on the farm. Once the crops are out of the field, the cows return home and the daily feeding and water routine begins. There are times that those tasks keep my husband at work far longer than I would like. And I guarantee there will be at least one social function we will be late to because a group of cows manage to escape from the pasture. But all of that time and hard work is rewarded with a herd of new calves. We will start calving in about two weeks. From there it’s a continuous parade of baby calves. Some will come on their own with little commotion and no help from us. Others will require hours of monitoring and assistance from my husband or the local veterinarian. Regardless how they come, once they are on the ground they are fun to watch grow, play and find their way through fields and pastures.
(7) Weekend racing. Now comes the selfish part of my list. As I mentioned before, having a baby changes everything, including your long-held routines and habits. I have been a nearly daily runner since middle school. That’s more than a decade of waking, running and tackling the day. With a baby in the house, that routine doesn’t always happen as hoped or planned. While still pregnant I purchased a treadmill for my basement. I use it and occasionally sneak out of the house while the hubby and baby are asleep to run outside with the dogs and take in some fresh air. But my runs aren’t as frequent or intense as they were pre-pregnancy. It’s been a nice change but I am ready for the 8-milers and Saturday morning races. I am back in running shape but am looking forward to getting into racing shape. I love my weekend races and am anxious to get back on the starting line.
(8) More blogging. On the sideline with my running is my blogging. It has gone weeks without updates or new posts. I always enjoy sharing my pictures and stores and hope to be more regular with my blog posts and updates. Add to that keeping our new farm website (www.sawyerlandandcattle.com) updated and I have a part-time job to add to my full-time position. Thankfully I have two great subjects – my hubby and my son – and lots of great landscape and animals to capture.
(9) A little R&R. And now comes the whiney part of my list. I grew up taking regular vacations. Have I mentioned I have great parents? I knew marrying into the farming world, vacations would be more infrequent and occur in the precisely two week period between when all of the animals have returned home and the first cow calves. But last winter came and went without a trip out of our great state. Two Farm Bureau conferences – which for the past two years had provided some form of travel and sight-seeing – took place without us and the summer flew by without a trip. So I have informed my husband that we need a vacation in 2014. Something that will take out of our everyday, away from the hustle and bustle of life and provide us a day or two of little to nothing at all. It sounds fantastic and I’m already starting to plan.
(10) The unknown. And finally, the planner, type A, control freak in me is looking forward to the unknown. Yes the new adventures, hidden obstacles and undiscovered pleasures that await us in 2014. Be it new friends, new opportunities or just a new normal, I’m excited to see, experience and live it all. I have always been a planner and it kills me to not know what the next day holds but I’m trying to relax, go with the flow and just enjoy the ride. I know we will survive whatever we encounter, likely make some new friends along the way and live to see another day.
I wish everyone a happy and prosperous 2014 and best of luck in the new year!