Thursday, November 26, 2015

What Are You Going To Do About It?

It has become an annual tradition of mine to write a blog post on or near my favorite holiday.  Last year's post is going to be a hard one to top and, even though I wrote it, I still recommend that you all go read it.  Part I is here and Part II is here.

I often start writing the Thanksgiving post whenever I am feeling like I need to exercise my gratitude muscles. This year, I started uploading pictures on November 13 after I learned about the bombing in Beirut.  But, I didn't get very far.  It can be difficult to think about good things when you have bad news on your mind.  Then, the Paris attacks occurred and I thought maybe I should say something after that.  But what?  Then, I watched - horrified - while people used these terrible events to belittle and demonize others because they didn't hold the same opinion or have the same religion or have the same cultural background.  This is a time when the good people on this earth should be in mourning and thinking about how we could help each other.  This is a time when we should all find the common ground regardless of race, religion, orientation, creed or stance on *fill in the blank hot topic*.  This is a time where we should be trying HARDER to understand people different than we are and trying less hard to determine if we can categorize them as with us or against us.

So, what can I do about it?

This is a farm blog with limited readership.  One post may be read by as few as one person (the farmer) or as many as one hundred - if you give it a year or so with lots of references to the post.  I can shout into the ether all I want, but it isn't likely to make a difference in the grand scheme of things.  What a terrible feeling that is - to have the desire to help and to feel that you are impotent and unable to do so.

So, what AM I going to do about it?

I'm going to remind myself (and you) that there is always a chance to make a difference.
I am going to practice gratitude and thankfulness.  And, while I am doing that, I am going to work to do positive things in situations where I have some influence.  I can exercise my abilities to be as understanding, caring, positive, supportive and merciful as I am able.  And, when that is not enough, I will work even harder at it in hopes that one day, it will be enough.
And, when I don't feel strong, I will let others help me to stand again.
And, when they don't feel strong, I will do what I can to prop them up.  And, when none of us feels strong, we will gain strength by leaning on each other.  I will do what I can to remember that the person next to me could be the one who makes a difference for me, just as I might be the one who could make the difference for them.

And when today is over, I'll prepare to do my best again tomorrow
I can take a moment and appreciate the beauty in nature.  I can take a little bit more time and see if I can capture at least a little of that beauty with an image that can be shared with others.  By sharing, I can hope that at least one other person gains something positive by seeing it.

Columbine are an under-appreciated flower, in my opinion.
I can remind myself that bigger things often come from small things.  Planting seeds can provide us with food later on.  And, perhaps, planting seeds of gratitude can lead to positive food for thought later on.

It is incredible how small some of our plants are when they first start.
Many things that are worth doing seem impossible when you look at them as a single task.  But, when you start to break them down into a series of actions, you can be surprised by how far you can go.

Those trays represent the potential for over 3200 plants and require at least that many actions.
And, when you get good people to join you in your tasks, the combined energy and effort can result in results that you can look back on with pride.

Yes, we did plant that whole field today!
Sometimes, as a group, we can push to exceed what we might have thought what was possible - or perhaps - we can exceed what should have been possible.
A tired, but pleased construction crew.
The farm reminds me often of two sayings.

1. Good things come to those that wait
I am reminded to be patient, but be ready for the moment when the time is right (or ripe).  If you want to herd your chickens, you can't rush them.  And, if you want a ripe tomato, you should just let it ripen.

2. There is no substitute for hard work
Record harvests of snow peas for our share holders didn't happen entirely of their own accord.  There was a fair amount of effort put into them by the farmers and those who joined us to work on the farm this year.  If we think something is worth achieving, then some real effort on our part is required.  If you think it is optional, then you will be disappointed with the results.

We don't want to live with disappointment and neither should you
Certainly, things won't always go the way we want them to - even when we work hard.  In fact, things go wrong sometimes even when we do everything "right."  That's when we re-frame how we look at things.
And we find there is actually more to the harvest than we thought
And, I remind myself often that I am not perfect.  I do not know the answer for every question and I sometimes wonder if I know the answer to any question.  It is good to recognize that I am not always able to determine the best answers.  It helps me to understand that, perhaps, someone I disagree with has the right of it.  Or perhaps, neither of us is entirely correct. 

But, I will not stop trying to figure things out and I will not stop learning.
And sometimes, things work out.  The choices we made, the hard work and all of the other variables lead to success.  Suddenly, you find yourself wondering how to graciously accept the gift that comes in the form of positive results.

When onions do well, it is a beautiful thing.
It can be so easy to continue to find the cracks and the faults.  What about that one bed of onions we never did get to cultivating?  We lost the entire bed, you know.  It would not be hard to create an extremely long list of failures for the season that was this season.  I am all for reviewing things that didn't quite go as planned so we can learn from them.  But, dwelling on it would not show gratitude for the good things that happened this year - especially if it overshadows them.

We did our part to encourage our pollinator workers in 2015.
So, I took the time to think hard about the things that went well this past season and I let myself ignore all of the qualifiers for the time being.  I told myself that it was time to recognize the positives and give thanks for them.  By giving thanks for the good things, I am reminded of their value and worth.  These are the things that can be part of what sustains me when times are difficult.

Each day, we try to take a little time to recognize something that makes us see value in our surroundings.  Rainbows.  Friendly and extremely "helpful" cats.  A droplet of water on a broccoli leaf.  A few moments with family.  Another five pounds of spinach.  A note from someone telling us they appreciated something we did.  An opportunity to go help someone with a task of some sort.  A beautiful piece of music.  Or a flower.  Or some time with our best friend.

So, once again, we celebrate Thanksgiving at the Genuine Faux Farm.  We are grateful for all of those who have supported us over the years in so many wonderful ways and we look forward to more adventures.


  1. jane day3:09 PM

    I took in a deep breath after reading your article. We sometime overlook the wonderful world we live in and our courage to be a part of the change. Reminded me of becoming more patie ant. Rob for your time to write has been a pleasure to read.

  2. thank you Jane! I appreciate hearing this.


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