25 Years Later, Still in Love!

Today Jonathan and I are celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary. I am so thankful that God brought us together…and that Jonathan was wanting to be a pig farmer and not a dairy farmer. I am so not a morning person.

August 20, 1988
August 20, 1988
December 24, 2012
December 24, 2012

Our hair may have turned a bit gray – or thinned some. We’re both a bit fluffier – me more than him. We move a little slower after a day of filling the planter. But I think it’s safe to say, we’re still in love after 25 years. I love you, Jonathan!

If you want to read more about how this city girl became a farm wife, read my very first ever blog post, Why I Care.



What Does it Mean to Love Our Neighbor?

The Gospel lesson and sermon in church this past Sunday touched on some things that have been running through my mind lately, especially after reading a blog post that was directed at one group of people in particular. The title of that post seemed to serve no other purpose than to belittle the group that they had a difference of opinion with.

The Gospel text was from John 13, where Jesus is instructing his disciples, and gave them a new commandment. Verses 34-35 say, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

The sermon went on to explain that this means we are to love our neighbors. Douglas John Hall of Canada’s McGill University states: “It may be good enough, legally and politically, but it is not good enough for the one who did not say, ‘Tolerate your neighbor’, but ‘love your neighbor.”  Uff da! To love someone as Jesus has loved me is not easy.  That would mean an unconditional love. No judging, no scoffing, no name calling…unconditional.

We live in an age where, at any given moment, we are able to communicate with our fellow man – our neighbors – anywhere around the world. How are we supposed to show this love to neighbors we’ve never met in person?  As our speaker, Jason Swenson, mentioned: “Biblical love is not all hearts and flowers, but actions and deeds.”

Actions and deeds… The beauty of living in this cyber age, is the ability to reach out and show our love through our actions, which in most cases, is conveyed through words. Unconditional love through words…hmm.

I did a little searching on the internet for quotes or thoughts about unconditional love, and the power of words. Besides a myriad of Bible verses, I found a ton of quotes by authors, philosophers, statesmen, and religious figures. One of the quotes that stood out to me was by an unknown author who said, “Let people march to their own beat of the drum and feel safe to be real around us. That’s what unconditional love is all about – being an encourager of people’s passions, loves, and dreams, even if you may disagree with them.” Look at the last part of the sentence again…”being an encourager of people’s passions, loves, and dreams, even if you may disagree with them.”

When we write blogs, Facebook posts, Tweets, or whatever…are we being encouragers or discouragers. Are we willing to show our love for our neighbor in the words we choose? Another unknown author asked, “If someone were to pay you 10 cents for every kind word you ever spoke and collect from you 5 cents for every unkind word, would you be rich or poor?”

It is so easy for us to hide behind the anonymity of user names on forums, to hide behind our job titles, or educational titles. We feel we can type whatever we want, and it won’t matter because we are right, or we are smarter, or they need to be educated. But those of us who are followers of Jesus, can we really say whatever we want without regard to how our words may affect another person?

I will admit, there are times when I have not shown love towards a neighbor…those are the times when I must ask forgiveness for my thoughts, and my words spoken in anger. It took being called out by my daughter, Laura, in a college paper to make me really look at how the words coming out of my head affect other people. That’s when you realize how true Psalm 16:24 is: “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.”

Loving our neighbors does not mean that we all have to think the same thing, shop at the same store, or belong to the same political party. We can have lively discussions, and still show love. We can disagree about how to manage our businesses, and still show love.  The key is in our actions and our words. Weigh your words carefully before you post something online. Leave out the inflammatory adjectives that are there mostly for spite. Ask yourself, am I building up the people around me, or am I tearing them down?

Ephesians 4:29 “Do not use harmful words, but only helpful words, the kind that build up and provide what is needed, so that what you say will do good to those who hear you.”

Merry Christmas From our Farm to You!

Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year from the Olson family!

The Christmas season is typically filled with the hustle and bustle of baking, shopping, and decorating. This year, we added a trip to the Mayo Clinic for Anna’s yearly checkup, and grain hauling into the mix. Some decorating didn’t happen, but Christmas isn’t dependent on how festive the house looks.  After all, Jesus was born in a stable, surrounded by farm animals.

I am so thankful for Anna’s positive check up. Her MRI showed no new Multiple Sclerosis activity, and her physical tests showed no major declines in strength or other issues. That was our first Christmas gift this year.  Anna and I left for Rochester a day early, due to a blizzard warning in that area. We wanted to get ahead of the storm, and avoid driving in the wide open spaces in wind driven snow. This was the third year in a row that we have spent extra time in Rochester due to winter storms. Our hotel was great when Anna’s first appointment went long, and we were late for checkout on Friday morning. They didn’t charge us a late checkout fee, even though they could have. That was our second Christmas gift this year.

On Christmas Eve Day, we started out with fresh caramel rolls for breakfast.  We all went in to our church’s candle light Christmas Eve service that evening, where we served as the greeters. I love seeing all of the families who have come home for Christmas. Having our girls home for Christmas was our third gift this year.

Our family opens gifts on Christmas Eve, following the candlelight service. I love the laughter, the delight, the joy at gifts given and gifts received. Two of the girls did the majority of the gift buying this year.  It was a fun night.

Christmas day dawned bright and cold.  It was a day of playing games with Jonathan’s cousins from town, and eating delicious appetizers and cookies.

In the midst of all the merriment, Jonathan has been out working in the single digit temperatures to load out semi loads of grain, as well as the usual pig chores. The cold temperatures always bring equipment issues, but typically things get fixed in short order. We are thankful for our dairy friends who are out in the barns every day – holiday or not. I haven’t heard any complaints about working holidays, or working in the extreme cold. This is the life we have chosen, and we are thankful for it.

So, from our farm to you, we wish you a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!


Why I Care

Twenty two years ago, I went from city girl to farm wife.  I moved three hours away from my family and friends to start a new life with my husband, Jonathan.  We were married in a drought year, which meant harvest had started within a few days of our wedding.  We decided to come home a day or two early from our honeymoon to help my father-in-law.

Our house had been “decorated” by Jonathan’s friends, so we had a little clean-up to attend to before we could help move corn wagons.  My in-laws had surprised one of the guys doing the decorating, and suggested we enter the house carefully.  After a little cleaning and unpacking, I learned how to hook up the wagons to the John Deere 4020.  Eventually, I learned how to drive the 4020, and how to unload the corn into the bin.  It was a lot for me to remember and I made many mistakes.  Jonathan and his dad were so patient with me, that I wasn’t afraid to try all the new things.

The patience and caring that I was shown as a new bride in a new atmosphere has had a lasting impact.  I try to live by those same principles, and treat others with respect and care.  Their example has also fueled a passion for agriculture and its importance in our world.

Jonathan and I have three beautiful teenage daughters. We have both become active in our church and community. I am currently serving as president of our county Farm Bureau, and have served on a few State Farm Bureau committees.  I look forward to sharing some of my perspectives with you about the farming industry, and what goes on in our family during the different seasons.