HarvestHER- A Weekend to Remember

I’m not a social person. I never have been. In a situation where I feel like I am at the mercy of others and not in control I get awkward, quiet- or even worse, way too chatty. I laugh a bit too loud and sometimes at the wrong time. The lead up to events where I know I’m going to have to “hold my own” so to speak- my anxiety goes through the roof.

So- when I (aka: my husband) signed up for this Lifted and Uplifted HarvestHER retreat in January, it was a little surprising. To begin with I was really excited. I had met Kylee at another harvester association’s convention and we just clicked. She invited me- at that convention- to join her at a retreat in March. I had made a friend, AND been invited to a weekend women’s retreat with her. GO ME!

But the closer the weekend drew for me to head to Nebraska, the more nervous I became. I almost backed out several times. I prayed for a good excuse not to go. I had myself all worked up. “these women all already know each other. these women have all been doing this for so long- they’re experienced and I’ve only been an active “harvest participant” for one season (and know next to nothing about most of it). There’s no way I will fit in. No. Way.” I’m feeling that anxiety creep up just typing this paragraph.

I guess by now, everyone has figured out- God didn’t let me off the hook. I packed my bags- met Kylee in Woodward and headed north. The longer the ride with her, the more at ease I felt. We picked Amanda up in Kansas and I found that I really enjoyed her company and conversation just flowed with the two of them so easily. (Not really normal for me.) Before I knew it we were pulling up the drive to this beautiful “Mansion on a Hill.” Queue the nerves again. My heart felt like it was in my throat. It took me a while to settle in- but each new person I met treated me with so much kindness. By the end of the evening, I knew this weekend was going to be okay.

I won’t go over the details of the entire weekend. That would be a lot. I will say, though, I learned so much. I learned about myself, I learned about the industry, and I learned about the women in the industry. I shared a ton of laughs and a few tears and built relationships with women who “get” it- women who have been where I am at one point, women eager to share a laugh, a smile, or an encouraging word. I’m glad God didn’t let me off the hook. I’m glad He guided me into and through the weekend. As I’ve been saying for the last few years- and even more so this last few months, Where God guides, He provides. How he provides.

Last, but not least, Thank you, Tracy, for planning and putting on an amazing weekend. YOU- you are a rock star. You have the most beautiful servant’s heart and I’m so happy to have met you. And thank you, Kylee, for taking the chance on me back in January and inviting me- for driving to and from the event, and, whether you know it or not, being my “home base” during the weekend. Thank you to each lady this weekend for accepting this newbie, for the laughs, the tears, the hugs, and the encouragement. I went in scared and feeling a bit alone- I came out of the weekend empowered and with a community. I look forward to seeing each of you and following your harvest journeys. Because- like it or not, I think I’m in this for the long haul, guys.  

 

(Featured photo credits to Laura Haffner)

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Right, Left, or American?

Okay… So I’m going to get a little political on this post. Not in the “if you’re not republican/democrat you’re wrong” way- don’t worry. It’s just that I just can’t help but be frustrated and disheartened by the mere fact of turning on my TV or opening up a social media platform. The negativity on both sides of the aisle is just overwhelming! (Amiright?)

Regardless of who holds the office of the presidency- he or she deserves respect. I’m not saying you have to agree with all of their policies or clap and cheer every time he opens his mouth to speak. No, I’m saying that be it Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, or Tommy-Joe from down the street- we, as Americans, should have the decency to show basic human respect. To defend our causes relentlessly- but in a way that understands that not everyone in the world has the same opinions or holds the same causes as dearly as we- and that includes the President of the United States. Defend your causes, but do so with the understanding that the person in the office of the presidency has taken on the most difficult job in our nation. Not only are they responsible for the social and economic well-being within the borders of the U.S., but they are responsible for diplomatic relations with every other country in the world. The president has never been a president before- he or she has never held such an important role, regardless of whether they have been in politics previously or not. Defend your causes, but do so respectfully and with understanding.

I will be the first person to admit- “President Trump” was not exactly the outcome I was hoping for in this last election cycle. (Just to clear the record, President Clinton was pretty bottom of the barrel for me.) But President Trump is who we got. He’s loud, he’s rude, he can be vulgar, he’s certainly not politically correct, he could be more careful about what he’s putting on social media- with all of those, I agree; but I believe the man is trying. He’s honestly trying to make good on the promises he made on the campaign trail. He’s trying to find a way to fit into a world of proper politics instead of his Hollywood lifestyle. Unfortunately our media and career politicians on either side of the aisle don’t want to give him a chance.

Instead of uniting and using their national platforms to spread messages of hope and unity, our politicians and media are so focused on proving who’s right or wrong- so focused on getting a one-up on their oppositions- that they are causing hysteria on both sides of the political spectrum. It’s wrong. It’s wrong on so many levels. Are we not all Americans? Should we not be standing united as one? What difference does it make who your neighbor voted for? The mass media as well as national and local politicians should be absolutely ashamed of themselves for, directly or indirectly- depending on who you talk to, causing this mess, this dysfunction, this complete rift between the American people. And to be honest- we, the American people should be ashamed of ourselves for letting such a small group of people influence our relationships and sense of “togetherness” the way they have. We know better. Deep down, I think we all want better. We deserve better. Our children deserve better.

It’s not about being democrat or republican or anything in between… It’s about being human and showing respect, love, and tolerance for our neighbors, families, and ourselves. First and foremost we are children of God, then we are husbands/wives/parents/grandparents/children/friends the list is endless… who we voted for the last election cycle should be the least of what makes up our identities. We are all humans. We are all Americans. Let’s act like it.

“There is more strength in unity than in division.”  Emanuel Cleaver

X’s & O’s

Amber