Waiting for What You Want Most~

Waiting for What You Want Most~

14 January 2019

 

Hello, everyone, and Happy New Year!!! 🙂 🙂

 

I cannot believe that it is finally the new year! 🙂 2018 was such a terrible year, filled with disappointment and death. Therefore, I am so thankful for a new year; for new beginnings and adventures. I’m so looking forward to what God has planned for us this year!

 

In fact, below are my 2019 goals. I never fulfill all of my yearly goals, but it’s still fun to plan and think ahead, isn’t it?

 

  • Develop a stronger faith & a complete trust in God.
  • Finish my current WIP (Work In Progress), “The Innkeeper’s Secret”, and thoroughly revise it and do research on it.
  • Finish my final FINAL revision of “The Dead Sister”, completely revise the query letter & synopsis, and once again submit to literary agents.
  • God willing – find our house, buy it, and move out of our apartment before the summer.
  • Spend more time with family and true friends, as well as church family.
  • Learn better on forgive and forget, as well as how to be completely content with my life for now.

 

Right now, I am waiting on several things in my life. One thing I can mention is that I am waiting for the time when I’m once again a published author! Within this past week, I became an official author on Goodreads!! How huge that is, because to me that means that I’m still not just a writer, but an author. Granted, I’ve only published one book in my life, but still, I have faith that one day, God will bless me with even more books to place on bookshelves. This time, God willing, they’ll be on shelves at Barnes & Noble – just like my favorite author, Kate Morton.

 

Waiting is sooooo tough. Everyone in the world has waited on something in some point of their lives. Maybe you’re simply waiting for life to begin – for college to start, to finally move out and be free from your parents. Or maybe you’re waiting to finish college and find that career you love. You could be waiting for that dream career, for God to bless you with that perfect spouse, for God to bless you with a baby, or for God to save you from the problems/trials going on in your life.

 

Whatever you’re waiting on – just remember, God knows. Right now, God has forced my husband and I to wait for blessings that only He can provide. But in those times of trial and uncertainty, it’s important not to lose hope or faith. This season of waiting is simply just a test of your faith. God wants to see how much you’ll depend on Him – or if you’ll take matters into your own hands! And folks, DO NOT TAKE MATTERS INTO YOUR OWN HANDS!! Do not even make a single decision in your life without praying about it first. It’ll only cause you to have to take a serious detour within that certain big decision or issue you’re praying hard for. But if you simply trust God and be patient, God WILL come through for you because He DOES exist and He DOES LOVE YOU more than you can possibly imagine!

 

One of the hardest choices I’m faced with right now is being patient – but in the course of that, I’m learning how to be content with where God has put me at this point in my life. No, it’s not fair, and quite often, I cry out to God and pray with my whole heart for Him to answer our prayers. But alas, we must let God’s timetable rule.

 

Soooo what are you supposed to do in the mean time while you wait?

 

Busy yourself with the hobbies you love. Right now, while I wait, I’m devoted to re-decorating and re-organizing our home, playing piano more, reading suspense novels, working harder to learn & love my job better, and planning and writing my current WIP. I’ve also devoted myself to spending more time in God’s Word, in prayer, and spending more time with my husband, Ryan, as well as my family, true friends, and church family. No, all of these hobbies do not block the desperate longing coursing through my heart several times a day. They do not block out the need for those dreams that drive me forward daily. But even more important than that – in fact, the most important of all – by gradually learning to let go of my fears and worries each morning and choosing to trust God, I’ve found an everlasting peace. That peace comes only by giving our Creator all control. I’m not saying it’s easy; in fact, it comes only over time, as well as through sincere Christian growth.

 

But I promise you this – when God whispers, “Okay, you’re ready now,” and answers your prayers – just think how eternally thankful you’ll be! And you know what? You’ll also be thankful that you had trusted Him in the first place, because He is our dearest friend we have, and He will never let us down. Never! No matter how He chooses to answer our prayers! 🙂

 

Are you struggling right now in your faith? Or are you looking to get closer to God? Or maybe it’s your first time turning to God in your life and you want to learn more about Him? Come on, don’t be shy. – Please feel free to comment or else drop me a line at my email: books_jmg@yahoo.com. Never lose hope, my friends, and never lose patience! Yes, it will be trying at times – but it WILL be so incredibly worth it!

 

Make sure to follow me on Goodreads! Have a good January, everyone 🙂

 

JMK~

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When in Doubt, Do What Grandma Says~

30 October 2018

 

Hello everyone,

 

Hope everyone has had a good October and fall so far. Halloween is tomorrow, and I’m dressing up as Mario. What are you dressing up as?

 

This October has been a terrible one for me, mainly because my 92-year old grandmother, Agnes, passed away on Oct. 15th. I cannot even begin to explain to you the depth of how hard the past couple weeks has been. They’ve passed by in a blur, but it’s been a blur of numbness and shock. I keep having to poke myself that this wonderful, spirited woman who had lived next door to my parents out in the country all my life is now gone. There are no words to fully examine to you how much I miss her, or how much I crave her presence.

 

Almost every weekend when I was growing up, I went over to her house and hung out with her. I baked with her, prayed with her, and learned from her. As I grew older, I didn’t notice that she growing older, too, but in a completely different way, even though she was still her loving, spirited self. She had the same laugh, the same directness to handling disobedience as well as not being afraid to tell you exactly how she felt about something. But that was okay, because she was her own person. She loved the Lord, she loved her family, and loved reading, puzzles and, in the earlier years, enjoyed sewing as well. I fondly think that I’ve received my enjoyment of writing from her. She had a single typewriter she used for typing out all of her letters, recipes, and notes. She enjoyed reading and had done so for many years, up until within the past few years where she couldn’t see well enough to do so. When I was either 13 or 14, she started ordering Love Inspired/Harlequin books (which amounted to about 4 books a month) and gradually, when she was done reading them, she put them in a special cupboard in her desk for me to take and read for myself next time I visited her. Every time I visited, she always had a personal story to share that was similar to one of the books I picked up, or a story that reminded her of one of the books’ plots. And I’d sit and listen to her calmly and patiently talk, while she thought of every aspect of the story just to make sure she got every part right.

 

I went to high school and college, graduated, and lived on my own for a couple years before I married my husband. Along that time, I worked, enjoyed being a newlywed, and forgot about how my grandmother had gotten even older. She started using a cane. Then, gradually, a walker. Then, before I knew it, myself and most of the other grandchildren sat in her nursing home room surrounding her where she lay, unconscious and on oxygen. As I sat there, occasionally visiting with my sisters and cousins, I gazed around the room at the pictures that had defined her life. Her wedding picture sat nearby, and within that photo sat a much younger woman who had a full life of possibilities stretched ahead of her. It made me realize then, as I sat there, about how fast life really does happen. Once you reached 30, the age I’m at, you only have 10 years until you reach 40. Then, before long, your kids make your years whiz by up through age 60. For example, I can’t believe my parents are in their early 60s now. It seems just yesterday they were in their 40s, raising little ol’ me and my younger sisters.

 

If you think about it, it’s really not fair. Relatively, on average, God only gives us 70-100 years to live on this earth. We’re babies, then we’re children, and then we graduate from high school. Then, we graduate from college. Then, we get married and have kids. (Not necessarily in that order.) We raise kids, watch them graduate and get married and have their own kids, and before we know it, we’re sitting in a nursing home wondering where life had gone. Every day, especially lately, it feels like life just goes faster and faster. When I was growing up, particularly in elementary and high school, the days crawled. Maybe it was because I hated school and didn’t enjoy my classes, nor have very many friends. Or maybe it was because I didn’t think of how slow or fast life was going. But while I was growing up, my grandma was growing older. Whenever I wrote to her, she wrote back sometimes complaining that I don’t visit as often as I should. At the time, I just shook my head and chuckled, mentally reminding myself to visit her next time I visited my parents. But now, looking back, I feel ashamed of myself and not visiting her as often as I probably should have. However, within the past few years, I began visiting her more and more, and that makes me really thankful now that I did do that. We didn’t even have to talk about much. She had the volume on loud because she couldn’t hear the greatest, and we’d just sit there in her living room watching old game shows together. Neither of us really ever had anything new to share. But the time was made to simply just be with each other and cherish the time together. After an hour or so, I remember that every time I admitted I had to go, she had this big disappointed look on her face. But I also knew she understood. She’d been young once, too.

 

I’m saying all these things not to make you depressed or feel sorry for me and our family’s loss. Rather, I want you all to really take a good look at your own life. What kind of legacy are you going to leave behind for your children and grandchildren? The kind of life you’re living now, they’re going to be envious of one day – especially your grandchildren. If you’re away from home a lot, visit your folks and grandparents as often as you possibly can! Trust me, if you don’t grab hold of that time and cherish it, you WILL regret it one day. I regret not spending more time with my grandma. I should’ve made it more of a point to spend more time with her, even though I spent as much time as I could with her. One day, you’re going to be sitting in a nursing home wondering where life had gone and why it had gone by so fast. Don’t just bypass this blog post without thinking about it very much – REALLY think about it, like I have. Enjoy your life, and cherish it. Grab hold of it as hard as you can, and spend as much time with your family as you can. For if you don’t, you’ll regret it, and that’s a horrible feeling to have.

 

On the day that my grandma was driven to the nursing home, she left her home for the last time. She looked back at the home in which she’d lived for many years. So many memories had been there. Raising kids, grandkids, and having grandkids visit in your house. Walking across the land and breathing in that fresh country air. Thinking about the length of time and the depth of the memories ~ if you think about it, it really gets you. Life is built with memories, but most especially, with God as your Head.

 

Cling tight to those memories, but most especially to those family members you love so much. Keep God as the head of your life always. Plant a legacy the future children and grandchildren will one day be extremely proud of. Then, quietly leave it behind, trusting in the Lord to handle the rest in this wild adventure we call life. The continuous circle of life will go on until Judgment Day. But you – yes, you – only have 1 life to live. 1 life. How are you going to live it? Making choices you may one day regret? Or living in a way that is not only pleasing to God, but in a way where your future grandchildren will one day wish they’d lived it with you?

 

I will forever love and miss my grandmother. She was one of the more important persons in my life. But as I continue on in this adventurous and busy life, I will honor her memory by carrying on her legacy ~ a legacy she would’ve been proud of ~ all the while planting my own.

 

JMK~

Goals for Fall & Winter 2018~

25 September 2018

 

Hello, everyone!!! 😀

 

I am BACK!!! Back and ready to roll! 🙂

 

Some of you may be wondering where I was for two months. Well, I had been busily studying away to get my insurance producer license. For a month and a half, I took classes and studied for four exams for Property & Casualty insurance – only one in which I passed on the first try. Monday of last week, I finally passed the final exam. Along that time, I had sacrificed every evening to studying. My life only consisted of church, work, and eating. Friday evenings were the only time I used to spend with my husband. Otherwise, I was studying away, and I learned a lot and it was so very worth it. But now, I am back, and so excited to discover what God has planned for our lives. I’m also so excited for evenings spent with my husband again, and free time to do chores around the house, hobbies such as writing, knitting, reading, and playing piano. I’m so excited to get back into the business of writing and editing again – Lord knows how much I missed it.

 

Therefore, below is a list of goals I hope to accomplish before the end of this year, 2018. Hope you all enjoy, and comment your two-cents worth as well. I also enjoy hearing from fellow followers.

 

  • Finish editing my completed manuscript, “The Dead Sister” and send back to my beta reader.
  • Complete my knitting project (round table decoration runner) and give as a gift to somebody this Christmas.
  • Play a couple piano songs that will influence me as a pianist, songs I’ve been waiting to complete for a long time.
  • Get 2-3 novels read before the end of the year, including the newest book from my favorite author, Kate Morton: “The Clockmaker’s Daughter” (so excited!).
  • Get more organized around the house and maybe do some planning about the kind of decorations I’d like in our new home next year.
  • Start learning to sew by beginning a sewing project with my mother.
  • Start writing a new book with a catching title and a beautiful, thrilling storyline.

 

Now, it’s your turn! If you wish to join in the fun, let’s get to know each other better, people 🙂 Copy and paste the list below into your comments and complete it, or else send me a message if you prefer not to say. I’d love to get to know my followers better – whether you’re on WordPress only, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or Instagram 🙂 Come, and let’s be friends!

 

Hope to talk to you soon! Below is the list:

 

  1. Your favorite fall activity is:
  2. Your favorite fall hobby:
  3. Such hobbies such as knitting and sewing are_____________.
  4. Who is your favorite author?
  5. Favorite book genre?
  6. Favorite past-time?
  7. Outdoor or indoor person?
  8. Coffee, tea, or neither?
  9. Preferred weekend activity?
  10. State or province you live in?
  11. What you’d like my page to show more of? (Be appropriate, please.) __________________
  12. Was this list a good idea? Yes or No?

 

Blessings always,

 

JMK~

There’s a Lack of Beauty in the Worl

2 March 2018

Hello everyone,

I love a good book as much as the next person. My favorite are suspense novels, a genre I also write, where the story incorporates drama, romance, life lessons, and everything else in between. Kate Morton books are the best; with every twist and turn, you expect the book to end one way, when it actually ends a different way. I have a short pile of suspense novels in my home bookshelf just waiting to be opened into, read, and enjoyed.

It’s the same thing with a person, isn’t it? Every person in the world has their own unique abilities, their own beautiful personalities. Only God can see who is good and bad, true to His Word or ignoring it completely. But He also sees all the disrespect in the world; the anger, hatred, and rebellion. All that terrible sadness – don’t you think that makes God sad? This world that He created torn apart like this?

More and more these days, I see nothing but negative headlines in the news today. For some odd reason, people find it funny or at least interesting to have disrespect toward things or people that they shouldn’t have disrespect to. Whether it’s players in the NFL, the NFL in general, celebrities, executives, governing leaders, musicians – you name it, the disrespect is there. Even more so, the HATRED is there. There’s too much impatience in the world today, too much rebellion, too much ignorance of God and His Word. But this isn’t just about God and His Word – it’s also another matter, a subject that many of us ignore because we don’t think there’s anything we can do about it. People are gonna do what they’re gonna do – that’s the way we think.

But we shouldn’t think that way. Instead, we should reach out to others and help out as many as possible. We should set a good example toward others. You know, a smile in a stranger’s direction goes a long way. It could even make their day – or, even better, be the best experience they had all week. Give food to the homeless. Set an example to your children, nieces, and nephews that all of the world is not all ugly. Parts of it is, but we can’t make it all good. All we can do is do our part – and the best part of that is by living the way Jesus wanted all of us to live. Obey the Gospel. Have a faithful & regular prayer & Bible study life. Make solid time for God & His Word. Then, go out and spread the Gospel to others. Something as simple as giving a spare Bible away is planting the seed.

I look at the news today and see that there is so much ugliness, especially in the media. People are wrongly accusing others of wrongdoing. People are not being kind to others. There is too much anger, frustration, and hatred. Too many people protesting for stuff that is really not going to matter at the end of the world. What IS going to matter, when we all stand before God on Judgment Day, is whether or not we lived according to His Word. Whether or not we obeyed the Gospel, gave respect to others, never talked badly about others, always held your tongue, and tried your hardest to set a good example to others and helping others out. The best example I have is whenever you see somebody in the supermarket, in a coffee shop, on a sidewalk – maybe an elderly person fell down. Maybe accidentally spilled their coffee all over the floor. Maybe somebody was carrying a stack of books and one bump and they all fell to the floor? Instead of watching that person, watch how many people ignore them and continue on with their lives as if that person clearly didn’t matter? Perhaps they didn’t NEED help, but just think about the kind of wonderful day you’d give them if you stepped out of line to get your coffee, to go to your job, etc. just to help that person? And you know what? It’ll make your day, too.

I think I’ve told this story before, but I remember when I was in college, I was on my way to class. I passed by a hallway just in time to notice a woman, who’d been pulling a wagon filled with books and supplies and other things for the department in which she worked. Suddenly, the wagon toppled over, and dozens of pens, pencils, notepads, and books toppled out.

And of all the crowd of students heading toward the doors leading outside in which I was headed, I was the ONLY ONE who stopped. The only one!!! I was absolutely appalled. For a moment, I stopped walking to observe the lady who clearly could’ve picked all that stuff up herself, but think of the embarrassment she probably felt, making a mess while everyone glanced her way on their way out the door. Think of the stress she probably felt, because she’d piled those supplies in her wagon just right. And I was the only one who stopped and hurried over and instantly began helping her put her stuff back in her wagon.

“Thank you so much!” she exclaimed in a relieved smile, a big bright smile on her face. “I really appreciate your help!”

“No problem at all!” I insisted, and cast her a smile of my own.

And for the rest of the day, and still to this day, seven years later, I still think about how relieved and happy she was for me to help for only a couple minutes. To help her, when everyone else had decided not to.

Don’t be so in tune with your own lives that you forget about helping others, about looking after others who aren’t just your loved ones, they are strangers. They’re children. They’re people in need or even people who aren’t in need but could use a helping hand – just to make their day! J How wonderful that’ll feel.

Come on, world, let’s stop being so disrespectful and angry. Let’s stop the hate and all the rebellion. Let’s listen to our parents, who always know the best thing for us, and let’s help others. Let’s give people the benefit of the doubt. Let’s work on our road rage.

Don’t get me wrong – nobody’s perfect. But if we all worked a little harder to make someone else’s day and being more respectful and kinder – wouldn’t the world be that much more beautiful?

Think about it.

Enjoy March 🙂

JMK~

A Soldier’s Unforgettable Journey

5 January 2018

 

Hello everyone,

 

I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday season spent with family and friends. WOW, I cannot believe it’s 2018 already!! What a year this is going to bring, and I cannot wait to see what God has planned for my husband and I this year! 🙂

 

So, as some of you may know, I am currently writing a WWII book about a soldier. His name is Peter, and today / this month, I plan to tell you all about him and this amazing story I will be writing & editing for the majority of this brand new year! May God be praised that He has given us another year – God willing – to live upon this Earth.

 

Well anyways, let me continue my explanation of this story, although of course I’m not going to give anything away. Peter enters WWII where he is thrust into action and drama that he’d much rather not partake in. He begins his story as a soldier living in fear – fear of dying and never seeing his cancer-sick mother again. She has leukemia, and he’d love nothing more than to be home with her, even though he’d already made a vow to serve his country. Peter is a fearful soldier, and after being thrust into an ugly, brutal, and bloody battle, his ranking officer, Glen, sees something shining out of him that might be worth fighting for within the cold, wintry wonderland of France at this time. Soon, Peter discovers that war, perhaps, shouldn’t have been for him, because he is constantly afraid of dying. Even more so, he’s terrified of never seeing his mother again.

 

Now before I go any further, let me just explain that this is a fictional story – obviously. Anything can happen in life, or even in war, so I don’t want to read any “oh, come on, that’s unrealistic,” or anything like that. Please, just use your imagination.

 

So, continuing on, Peter and his unit are ordered to travel through several different French towns to help civilians – protect them, provide food and shelter, and take care of any remaining wounded soldiers around the premises. But once they reach a certain French town, Glen has this crazy idea that perhaps, since they’re so far from home and so far from their commanding officers, perhaps it’s time to teach the French civilians a lesson for allowing the war to occur in the first place, even though this war is a part of several different countries total. Since he is their captain, he decidedly orders that they all partake of slaughtering the entire small town, and if anyone disagreed with him, there would be major consequences. But Peter, despite his anxiety about the war and being there in general, remembers that being a Christian also means that he had to do the right thing.

 

Glen had grown fond of Peter. But after Peter’s ultimate refusal to partake in this evil activity, his entire unit betrays him and leaves him for dead. But he doesn’t die, and the journey he undertakes gives him the strength, wisdom, and the guidance to make better and smarter and braver decisions in the future. This story is also gradually being researched by his future granddaughter, Janie Berg, whose grandfather is slowly wasting away from dementia in the nursing home. Researching her grandfather’s past may give her the understanding she’s always wanted to know about him and his past, as well as discovering clues to better understanding her future.

 

Since this book is currently in the beginning stages, any ideas you may have for WWII are welcomed. Regardless, I hope to finish this book by next summer, God willing, and begin the editing process then.

 

Let me leave with a final note: I know that most of you writers out there, if not all, are presently trying to partake in sending query letters to agents and publishers. What is my advice? No matter how many rejections you may get, even if you’ve gone above and beyond the call of duty in trying your very hardest to write the best query letter you can, don’t fret or worry. God has a beautiful plan for your life. Not only that, but don’t ever give up on your writing and on your passions in life, no matter how hard it may seem. When the agent rejections pile up and you feel at your wit’s end, don’t give up. Keep trying and trying and trying, and, first and foremost, don’t ever stop writing.

 

God bless you all! 🙂

 

JMK~

The Ultimate Anxiety Cure

5 December 2017

 

Hello everyone,

 

If you’ve read my blog at any point or another, you recognize that I am a Christian, a woman of faith. I know that many of you out there don’t believe the same thing I do, but my hope and prayer is that though my words within either my blog or within my own novels, I may be successful in convincing at least one of you to at least give God a chance.

 

Anxiety is a depressing word, isn’t it? But we have a pretty amazing God. He is our ultimate Source for everything we need in this life, as well as want. We can trust Him with everything and anything. And sure, we can pray and pray and pray about it. But are we really praying about it? Are we really giving God not only full control, but complete trust that He will take care of whatever anxiety you have?

 

As a quiet person, anxiety happens for me at least every day, some days more than others. I can stress about anything and everything, especially situations that bring me out of my comfort zone or where I am forced to be confrontational. It is very difficult for me to be this outgoing sometimes. To most people in the world, whether you’re a Christian or not, it’s much easier to be outgoing and to approach uncomfortable situations. But for me, it can be very difficult.

 

I recently read a devotional on my iPhone’s Bible app that stated that when you pray and you still feel burdened about what you were praying about, you didn’t really pray to God about the problem. Instead, you just told Him about it. Praying about something – and really praying about it – is giving it all to God with complete confidence in Him that He will make everything turn out all right. We may not know yet on how the situation is going to turn out, but no matter what, God has our backs, and He always pulls through for us. God has a beautiful & unique plan for our lives, and as long as we keep attending church on a regular basis, studying His Word, praying regularly, and doing our best to be a shining example to others as He has instructed us in the Bible, then we really can’t go wrong. I’m not saying there’s not going to be ups and downs along the way, or even that the situation we’re faced with turn out perfectly. But, as I’ve read somewhere before, “God makes a way when there seems to be no way.” That’s something my life has gone by, and I’ve discovered that many a time in my life, that saying rings true.

 

This Christmas, perhaps you’ve just lost a loved one and are searching for answers, or at least comfort and peace in the midst of your struggle / trial. Maybe you don’t know how to afford Christmas presents for your kids this year, or maybe you are not looking forward to seeing a certain relative during the holidays. Maybe you have to work over the holidays, or even, maybe you’re alone this Christmas. No matter what you’re going through, pray about it. But not just pray about it, give God ultimate control & love & peace in your life. This is a hard lesson I’ve had to learn within these past couple of months. When you pray & surrender everything to God, but trust God that He’s really, really got this – then you will feel, within your chest and heart, ultimate peace. Peace that is so real you can feel it within your own body. Burdens are lifted from your chest. Your anxiety begins to disappear, and suddenly, the obstacle you’re about to face doesn’t look that bad after all. Because God is amazing and nothing is impossible with Him.

 

I hope you all have a safe, warm, and happy Christmas holiday season! And a Happy New Year! Blessing to you all, and thank you all for still putting up with me and continuing to read my blog posts. 🙂

 

JMK~ 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4-H – An Experience to Cherish Forever

4-H – An Experience to Cherish Forever

3 November  2017

 

Hello everyone,

 

I was eleven years old when my mom thought it would be a neat idea if my younger sisters and I joined 4-H. So we joined the Silver Lake 4-H Club in our hometown, named after a lake in the area. I wasn’t too crazy about it at first, being shy and all, and I wasn’t up for joining “clubs.” But once we started, I learned to like it, love it, and then, years after graduating from high school, missing it.

 

When I was fourteen, my family and I attended an event that gave honors and awards to those at the Fargo, ND college, NDSU, for those who had made lives and careers that all began with 4-H, and who also had been greatly involved at NDSU. My late uncle, Jerome (remember him? Click here if you don’t), had been greatly involved in NDSU, which began from his deep love of 4-H. He’d loved it so much he’d made a career out of it, and that night, Jerome had received an award of his dedication. We all looked on, proud smiles and matching pink flowers pinned to our chests. My family and I took the award in his place and in his honor. The gentleman presenting the award had many great things to say about Jerome. I had proud tears in my eyes when the man mentioned that Jerome’s family was there, and everybody looked over at our table where we sat, applauded, and even gave us a standing ovation. Because Jerome had been that brilliant of a person.

 

Ever since that day, I worked even harder to present myself as a worthy participant in the nearby 4-H county fair. My sisters and I presented sheep, chickens, and rabbits as animals nearly all the years that we performed. It was a TON of work every year from 2001-2008. I cannot even fully express in depth how much work it truly was, particularly with the sheep. It was even extra work when you chose to take non-livestock items to the fair, which included food, sewing and construction projects, painting projects, and the like. In the  year 2003, I got a Reserve Champion award for my writing project novel that I put into the fair, which brought me to the state fair in the Twin Cities, MN. It was very much an exciting experience, although unfortunately, I received a red ribbon (compared to the best blue ribbon award) for my participation. My book deserved FAR better. But in 2004, I received a Grand Champion ribbon for the best wether lamb (which is a young ram) in the open class showing. Along the way, I became disappointed, unhappy to happy, excited, and proud. Along the way, I had a deep adoration for the animals I presented every year. It was especially the hardest and saddest when we had to sell our young rams every year. Working our hardest from when they were newborns to after the fair; it was a yearly struggle that was difficult for all of us.

 

The following are ten things that I learned about 4-H throughout the years:

  1. Remember that it’s not the awards that you receive, but what you learned from the experience and how it has affected you as a person.
  2. Animals are God’s creatures, and they have individual,  unique personalities all their own.
  3. Don’t let anybody just go around and tell you that your animal or your work of art that you placed into the fair is meaningless compared to theirs. Make sure to defend yourself, but do it in a way God will be proud of.
  4. Trust that God has a beautiful plan for your life, which far exceeds any awards you might receive.
  5. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else, for everyone’s story is different and everyone’s way of learning is different.
  6. The amount of money the state takes away from 4-H’s funds that they receive in 4-H animal auctions is highly unfair. The 4-Her worked HARD for that animal. They deserve every penny of it.
  7. As my mom used to say, “there’s always next year.” Don’t give up. Keep trying to work hard and keep learning everything you can about 4-H and the 4-H projects you work on. You never know, it might turn into a career one day.
  8. Don’t get mad if someone got a higher award than you, for it will not get you anywhere in life, and such attitudes are filled with nothing but selfish desires.
  9. Don’t forget to smile as much as possible. If you’re all hot and sweaty from bathing that sheep lamb and you don’t want the judge to think that you hate 4-H, because you don’t, it’s really just the hot weather – just keep smiling!
  10. Keep going back to county fairs every year, no matter how old you are, and keep telling stories about the 4-Her you truly were.

 

Recently, I attended a county fair, and as I walked through the corridors of the non-livestock 4-H projects such as gardening, sewing, and painting, I kept smiling to myself. That had been me at one point in my life. A person who may have never been involved with 4-H can walk through such projects in the fair and think, “oh, that’s nice. That must have been a lot of hard work,” and will never TRULY realize the depth of that hard work like us 4-H admin do. I saw every stroke of the paintbrush, every piece of tightening thread, and watering of the flowers that day. I KNEW what it was like to work hard like that, because I lived it. And you know what? I highly recommend it to anyone thinking about putting their kid through a club or special activity. It’s free, and the amount of work that it amounts to will be SO worth it in the end. Trust me, it WILL be worth it.

 

 

Have a great week! 🙂

 

 

JMK~