Wednesday, December 29, 2010


One of my best friends had a girlfriend for almost 5 years. Had. Lying, cheating girls are not his favorite.

He showed up at our house with the largest bottle of Southern Comfort I have ever seen. No time to blog.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Pawn Shop Finds

My uncle Kenny (the Shark) owns a pawn shop in Hastings. I like to visit once in awhile to seek whatever treasure I may find and to see my favorite uncle. Went today with Sam, cousin Jake, and his girlfriend, Chelsea.

There used to be a company that made ammunition by the name of Peters, so I like to keep my eye out for advertising signs and the like. Uncle Kenny had one in his shop today, and if I wasn't so lazy, I'd take a picture of it. I brought it home and it now resides in the cave. 

That was cool enough, but my other discovery was better. I even took a picture of it:

It's an Elgin watch. From what I've been able to find, it's from the 50's. I found a restored one on eBay for $325 and another one in a little better condition than this and with a strap for $139. I didn't know it was worth that much. I just knew it was cool. The Shark wound it up and it's been keeping perfect time since this morning. He gave it to me for $10 with the promise that if I ever sold it, he would get half of the money.

I don't think that's going to happen.

If you look at the full sized picture, you can see it's beat to crap. It has a lot of character, I suppose. I dig it. I want to find a band for it and wear the crap out of it. I wonder what this watch has seen. Maybe it's the poet inside of me, but I feel like there are a million stories that this watch needs to tell. 

Another option is to get it restored. That would cost anywhere from $150 to $200, but it would be in new condition and have another 50 year lease on life. 

This is the kind of watch I could pass down. If I have a son, he will get the watch that Shay gave me on our wedding day. If I have a second son, he would get this watch. Our family doesn't pass things down, at least not that I know of, but I would like to do so. That's why I'm leaning towards restoring the watch at some point down the road. 

What do you think?

Monday, December 27, 2010

Grocery List

Toilet Paper
Macaroni noodles
Cherry Coke Zero

Man cannot live on bread alone.

People looked at me as if I had 3 eyeballs while I was walking through Hyvee with these things in hand. The list looked almost identical to my college lists. The only difference - Cherry Coke Zero instead of Keystone Light. I'm so grown up now. 

You got me. We were already stocked up on Keystone Light.

I don't understand why people stare at me when I walk through a grocery store with the 12 pack of Charmin Mega Rolls. Yeah, I need it. Get over it. You do, too. 

Sorry I haven't written in a couple of days. See what pearls of wisdom you missed?

Friday, December 24, 2010


I'm holed up in the cave while Shay sleeps on the couch. It's a dismal day and I have no lights on. A flannel shirt and a cup of coffee are pretty comforting to me.

I'm not in a great mood. I've been looking forward to Christmas and now that it's here, I'm stuck in that "It's going to be over soon" state of mind. Tyler and Chaela (sister and brother-in-law) won't be making it home for Christmas, Sam (brother) has to work, and Alli and Joe (sister and brother-in-law) are leaving sometime tonight because of some snafu. I'm mostly upset because Shay's sick, and I can tell she feels terrible, but she's trying to lie to me and tell me she's ok because she knows that today is really important to me. I wish she could feel better. I was sick once over Christmas and it was the worst. I hope this nap helps her out some.

All of this stands to remind me that Christmas is not about me. It's not presents, or chili, or church with the little kids singing out of tune. It's about Christ and the promise that his birth brings us.

May the joy of Christ fill your hearts tonight. May He fill my heart also.

Waiting For the Comforter to Dry

Shay's been sick the last few days, so the sheets and blankets all got washed. The pesky comforter won't dry, though, so I'm kind of waiting up for it to get done. When you're poor newlyweds you can only afford one comforter, I guess. 

I didn't blog yesterday. Apologies. Honestly, I wasn't in the mood. I was tired from not sleeping much the night before and keeping a sharp eye on Shay. I'm going to be a wreck when we have kids. I'd look over at her every 5 minutes or so to make sure she was still breathing while she was sleeping on the couch. It was a tough task when she rolled over on her side. The blankets kind of swarmed around her, but with an eagle eye, I could detect he breathing. I don't think it's common for healthy women to die of a cold, but I'm not taking any chances. Shay and I slept in separate beds last night so I wouldn't get sick. While trying to fall asleep, I was in that weird not-quite-asleep-and-cognizant-enough-to-have-crazy-thoughts stage, and I thought to myself "What if Shay dies in her sleep?! I'd be in the next room and never know it. I'm such a bad husband." That's the last thing I remember before falling asleep.

She's probably annoyed with me by now. I think I ask her every 7 minutes how she's feeling, if she needs anything, if her throat hurts. 

I'm pretty excited about this weekend. Hope everyone who is traveling travels safely and that much Christmas cheer and goodwill is spread.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Little Surprises

My computer died, so I've been using Shay's the last few days. Well, it didn't really die, but something is wrong with it. 


I've been listening to some of the music Shay has on her computer while I check BigIron, craigslist, eBay, etc. I have over 7,000 songs on my iTunes, which I've come to find is a bit over saturated (as long as my music was backed up... I don't know that all of it was). Shay doesn't have nearly as much music, so this means my sample is smaller, which means I'm listening to some music that I haven't heard in a long time. "Somewhere Down in Texas" by Jason Boland was one of my favorite songs when I was at CCC Hastings, so we're talking 5 or 6 years ago. 

It's always interested me how a song can take you to a certain time and place. For some reason, when I listen to this song, I think about driving home from town on a summer night, with some rain starting to fall, but my window down anyway, because I love having my window down. Rain be damned. I don't remember what happened that night, but I know it happened. I know it was raining. I know I was in a melancholy mood. In the summer when it's raining or it's humid out at night, you can smell the corn growing. I can remember coming off of the 281 overpass headed home and catching a whiff of the cornfield that was to the west. I remember the glare of the green light mixed with the rain on my windshield at the last stoplight before home.  

The remembering makes me happy. This song makes me happy, even though it probably shouldn't (download it and you'll see what I'm saying). It makes me think about the kid I was, and the man I'm trying to become. It's cool to see how much I've changed and how much I haven't since that time in my life. 

If my music survived, I'm going to comb through the library and make a playlist of songs that meant a lot to me 5 years ago. Then I'm gonna sit on my butt and drink coffee while I listen to it. Or maybe I'll go for a drive and listen to it. 

Go find some music that defined you 5 years ago. 10 years ago. However many years ago. Get lost in it for a few minutes and remember a point in time that defined that music. Then tell me about it. I'd like to hear your story. 

Monday, December 20, 2010


Not much happened today. I did some laundry. Played with the dogs. Almost finished a book. I was really lazy today and I kind of feel bad about it.

I need to go finish The Road. I think I have fourteen pages left.

I'm getting pretty excited for Christmas. I can't wait to give gifts. I like to surprise people and I think I might do well this year. It's also exciting celebrating our Savior's birth and knowing that no matter how much of a screw up I am, or how many people don't like me, I don't live for this world, I live for the next. And it's all because of Jesus. Pretty cool stuff, I'd say.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Flannel Shirts

I like them. I think my favorite thing about them is that I've only purchased two of the six or so that I have. The rest are hand-me-downs from my Grandpa Hansen. I think that's kind of a cool thing. Grandpa Hansen and I really click on two levels - basketball and flannel shirts.

Grandpa Hansen was a pretty awesome basketball player in his day. He played in college and it's weird how many people I've run into over the years that are his age that remember him from high school. Guys from Aurora, York, Henderson and other areas all say practically the same thing - he was a hell of a basketball player. I wasn't that great at basketball. I had a lot of heart, and did a lot of the dirty work - rebounding, hard fouling, playing in the post against guys 4 or 5 inches taller than me. So, no, I wasn't as good as Grandpa, but I'd like to think I could hold my own. I had some pretty sharp elbows, if you know what I mean.

Grandpa also wears a lot of flannel shirts. So do I. They're comfy and keep me about the perfect temperature. They make me feel like a real man, like I should be headed out to the woods with my blue ox. I love the ones that Grandpa gives me. They've been washed enough times to feel perfect. "Vintage" would be the appropriate tag, I guess. I think mainly it's just an easy way for me to feel close to Grandpa.

Shay and I went to Hampton the other night to eat with Grandma and Grandpa Hansen since we won't be able to make it to their house for Christmas. I didn't come away with any shirts this time, but I did realize that I don't get over that way to see them enough. I'd like to get better about that. I don't want to be telling my kids about their Great-Grandparents with the nagging thought that I should've spent more time with them. I'm pretty lucky in the fact that most of my family is withing 45 minutes of my house. I should take more advantage of that.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Sweltering 65 Degrees

Yes. That's where I keep the thermostat. No, my wife doesn't complain. With a couple of space heaters in strategic places, our house really isn't that cold. Cuddling also helps. 

I think Shay and I are going to watch a movie. At 10:30pm!!!! We're rebelling against becoming old before our time. Ignore the fact that I'll either shut it off and carry Shay to bed before it's over, or we'll both fall asleep.

If you ever need a pick-me-up during the day, download the song "The Mountain" by Lucero. I dare you not to tap your feet, bob your head, or play some sweet air guitar licks. 

I became a board member at Heartland Lutheran High School tonight. Got a call out of the blue a couple of weeks ago asking if they could appoint me. I'm a dumb kid, but God must know that I have something to offer. 

I've worked out 4 days in a row. It's the first time that's happened since high school. Apparently an ice cream truck made it through hell. I heard the driver was wearing mittens.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


I'm a huge fan of Cormac McCarthy. This began with All the Pretty Horses and continued with the rest of the Border Trilogy. If you haven't read it, I implore you to read the trilogy. If you love books, at the very least read All the Pretty Horses. McCarthy's writing style can be frustrating at first - he doesn't use quotation marks, and in his western books he uses some Spanish - but I think it causes you to become more involved with the story. You actually have to pay attention to what's going on instead of being on book-reading-autopilot.

The Road has been on my bookshelf for quite awhile. For some reason, I felt like it was time to read it. I'm glad I started. It's a story about a man and his young son in a messed up America. I'm a hundred pages into it, and that's really all I've gotten out of it. If you remember a previous post, I complained about a hundred pages of drivel, and you might be thinking that this sounds like a hundred pages of crap, but it's not.

I think anyone that writes - poetry, songs, novels, reports, essays, checks - owes it to themselves to read at least one McCarthy book. If you don't know where to start, I suggest one of the two in this post. If you have a literary crush on McCarthy like I do, you already know what I'm talking about.

"He could remember everything of her save her scent. Seated in a theatre with her beside him leaning forward listening to the music. Gold scrollwork and sconces and the tall columnar folds of the drapes at either side of the stage. She held his hand in her lap and he could feel the tops of her stockings through the thin stuff of her summer dress. Freeze this frame. Now call down your dark and your cold and be damned." - The Road (18,19).

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Coffee and Verses

I stumbled upon a chord progression I really like last week. Once in awhile this happens - I'm screwing around on the ol' flat top box and something really simple grabs my attention. It's a chord progression that I've heard and played a billion times, but I added a couple of hammer-ons and off we go. The other night I noticed the lights of Worms (all three of them) through the living room window. Can you see where this is headed?

I bought the Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers documentary - I think it's called Running Down a Dream - last year. It's 4 hours of awesomeness. Anyway, Tom Petty is talking about his song "The Waiting" and how he had the chord progression for a long time. He knew it was something great, but he couldn't find the words for it. It got to where he played the progression so much that people told him to stop playing it. He didn't, and eventually the words for my 3rd favorite Tom Petty song finally came out (#1 is "Even the Losers" while #2 is "You Don't Know How It Feels").

I'm not saying my song is great. I know it's not, but I'm having so much fun, and I'm finally writing something that I'm close to. I do this in poetry a lot, but I never really have in a song. Writers, you know what I'm talking about. Finally, something that is me. Something I've been wanting to write for a long time. It's happening.

The last couple of mornings I've been drinking coffee, playing the progression over and over, and adding verses. I don't really know where I'm going or how it will end, but I'll get there. For now I'm enjoying the process.

Monday, December 13, 2010


Hope you enjoy it. If not, well, I don't really care. I think Great-Grandpa would like that statement.

Willie’s House (Great-Grandpa’s Poem)
Lightening bugs in the front yard,
Rotten apples in the back.
We knew what to do with both
While the grown-ups played Sheep’s Head inside,
The sounds of shuffling cards and laughter clear.
We’d come in after dark and
The old man would feed us ice cream or
Give us a Barq’s for the road.
When our parents protested he’d say
“You leave those kids alone!”

In the spare bedroom was his wife’s wig,
Toys and the forbidden “Fart Book”.
If we were naughty we’d get spanked or
Have to sit on the porch by the “little nigger boy”
With his hat on and fishing pole in hand.
Somehow the adults knew
We were less afraid of the spanking.

He was full of sayings we still use in our family:
“Good enough for the girls I go with.”
“I was so confused I didn’t know which way to point my pecker.”
“If I had that and he had a feather, we’d both be tickled.”
“Hurt your finger? Soak it in cider.”

It’s been a dozen years since he died.
I don’t remember talking to him much,
But I still say the things he said,
Play the card game he played,
Share the last name he gave.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I Don't... Uh... I Can't... Uh... What?

I haven't blogged for a couple of days. Sorry kids.

My title is a line from Family Guy, more specifically, the episode where they make fun of Roseanne. Anybody remember Roseanne?

I'm sitting in our new living room. Not really new. Just different. We moved some stuff around and painted one of the rooms in the house. I call it a $50 remodel. It's kind of hard to explain, but because of the way we moved things, we now have a family room (without the family) and an actual dining room. We're so grown up. Thanks to the in-laws for helping us move furniture. Also, thanks to Shay's great-uncle and aunt for the free filing cabinet, cedar chest, and end table. Also thanks for the great deal on a sweet piano. I may have to go back to work on learning how to tickle those keys.

I had to get under the house to reroute our cable, well, cables, and all of the fiberglass insulation that is supposed to be stapled to the floor fell on the ground, which resulted in me basically crawling around in a fiberglass minefield. I'm a little itchy.

I see that some of my fellow bloggers are finishing their undergrad careers. To you I say God's blessings, and good luck.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Farm Expo Reaction

Well, I didn't buy anything at the farm expo today. I've realized how little chance I have of buying any equipment in the next year or two. It was fun to go look at stuff, though. There are some pretty talented people out there building things I would've never thought to build, or wouldn't have the know-how to build.

I did price some sprayers. Anywhere from $8,000 to $14,000 for what I'm looking for. Ag Service, who currently does our spraying, charges $7/acre to run their sprayer on our ground. If we sprayed 1,200 acres in the first year we had the sprayer, it'd pay for itself. Also, we could shop around for herbicide, which could save us some extra money. I know a guy around here who saves a bundle by getting his herbicide up north. I'm hesitant to buy a sprayer because I'm scared I'd buy it and we wouldn't use it. The last 3 springs/summers have been pretty crazy. We've had so much rain early in the year that we play catch up all summer. In the summer of '09 I did some field work while there was still water standing in the fields. This wouldn't leave any time for spraying. That being said, wet years cycle, and pretty soon it'll start getting dry again.

I don't know.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Farm Expo Tomorrow

Going to Lincoln tomorrow for a farm expo. I'm hoping I can get a good deal on a sprayer. Sometimes if you ask, manufacturers will give you a "show discount" on equipment. I don't know. I'm trying to convince myself to buy a sprayer, but I'm also trying to convince myself to save all the money I can to buy some land and build a house. 

Awhile back I briefly discussed a 160 acre piece of land that would be perfect for that. It sold for $4150/acre. For those that don't want to do the math, that's $664,000. I don't think I'll ever save up enough money to buy land at that rate. I qualify for a young farmer loan from the FSA that would help me buy land. I won't bore you with the particulars, but I have to have a down payment of 5%. Doesn't sound like much, right? A 5% down payment on $664,000 is $33,200.

I feel like I'm going to be poor forever.

I did gain some employment today. I was asked to help move snow in Grand Island this winter. I'll be running a JD 8100 with a 24' blade on the back and a 12' dozer blade on the front. It could be exciting. I'm nervous about breaking stuff. It will be nice to have some extra money, though. It'll probably go towards the "pay off student loans as quickly as possible" fund. Freaking student loans. 

I hate debt. It feels like some giant sinkhole.

I'll stop rambling now. Goodnight, all.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Crisp 14 Degrees

Grandpa's out of town, so I'm feeding cattle while he's gone:

The sun had just come up. I had breakfast about 15 minutes before the cattle did. They seem pretty content:

There are some nut jobs out there who think farmers and ranchers don't care about the welfare of their livestock. Breakfast served every morning at 7:30? Suck it, animal rights activists.

Monday, December 6, 2010

100 Pages of Drivel

I don't understand why some authors feel the need to let their mastery of the English language get in the way of a good story. A book that should be 400 pages stretches to 500. Heh...

This dude David Wroblewski is doing it. I'm reading The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. It's a really great story. It's a terrible book. You wrote a book. Good for you. Please don't bog down your story with a ton of crap that really doesn't have much to do with the story.

Why don't I quit reading the book? The story. And the author knows it. Maybe that's why I'm so annoyed.

There was an interesting thought raised in a section I read tonight. Edgar is talking to an old farmer (actually he's a figment of Edgar's imagination, but he's really there, but not really there. It's hard to explain.) and the old farmer is talking about the curse of being good at something you don't care about. In the old farmer's case, he's a great farmer, but he doesn't care about it. He says it's rare to find a man that cares about something he is good at doing. The old farmer says that when you see that in a person, you can't miss it.

It's one of those thoughts that's always been in a file cabinet toward the back of my brain. I've never been able to sum it up quite like that.

The 100 pages of drivel was worth it.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Teachers! Help!

I teach 7-12 grade Sunday school at church. Today we were talking about the passage in Matthew where Jesus says that if you look at a woman lustfully, you should gouge your eye out. For whatever reason (probably because they're 7-12 graders) someone turned the conversation to homosexuality. I said "Guys, it happens in the LCMS. Don't act like we're better Christians than other denominations." The kids looked at me with astonishment, and I'm pretty sure I saw smoke coming out of some ears. Before anyone could say anything more, I said "I don't really think we should talk about this until I've talked to your parents and pastor first." They said OK and let it go.

I know what I said was the right thing, but I think this was a teachable moment. Did I mess up here? I suppose not, because I wasn't prepared to talk about that particular subject at that time. I also would've had to deal with backlash from parents. I feel like if the kids want to talk about it, though, maybe I should pursue it.

Since 97% of my readership is comprised of teachers/soon to be teachers, I figured I could get some advice. First step is to talk to pastor, then talk to parents. After that, I'm not really sure where to go.

Any thoughts or suggestions?

For the record, when it comes to homosexuality, I treat it as love the sinner, hate the sin. I don't see it any differently than any other type of sexual immorality. I'd be interested to hear some of your thoughts on this to help with preparation of a lesson. 

So much for this being a blog about farming, eh?

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Moved the mancave to a different room today. Tomorrow I'm going to be doing some painting. We're moving our living room into another room so we can actually have a dining room. The last time we had a bunch of people over we realized our dining area is not sufficient for more than 4 people. When we're all done, I'll post some pictures.

There's a nice chill in the air tonight. I like cold weather. Probably because I get to sleep in a warm house.

I'm going to bed. Hope everyone had a good Saturday night.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Christmas Tree!!!!

I used to be kind of a scrooge. I think that's changing. I'm really excited for Christmas. Tonight Shay and I got our first Christmas tree together. And yes, it's a real one. I may have cursed a few times trimming it to fit into the bottom of the stand, but hey, it smells good and it looks better. Here you go:

It's a little short on ornaments, but some are on the way from Shay's mom, and I of course had to order a John Deere tractor and a Chevy pickup. They're supposed to be here next week. The lights are the blinky ones that change a lot. The icicle lights go up around the house tomorrow.

I also bought Shay a nativity set tonight. Here she is setting it up:

Here's me with the knife I used to trim branches. I don't have a small hand saw, so this was all I could find in a pinch:

Now to buy some gifts. What does everyone want?

Thursday, December 2, 2010


I believe it was Michelle that asked to meet my guitar the other day. I've been meaning to write this for you, Michelle, but I haven't gotten around to it. Until now.

This is a Guild DV-52:

Doesn't look like anything spectacular, does it? Well, it is. You can see that I've already worn the finish down to bare wood in one spot next to the pickguard.

I bought this guitar approximately three years and two months ago. I remember it was October. I had always wanted to play a Guild because one of my favorite songwriters, Willy Braun (from the band Reckless Kelly) has one. The problem was, there were no Guild dealers in the area. My good friend JJ was going to school at UNL at the time. I was minding my own business, when out of the blue, JJ calls me and excitedly says "Worms! Dietze's has a Guild!" To which I replied "Holy shit! I'll be there in half an hour." (JJ calls me Worms because I'm from, well, you get the picture.)

I got to Dietze's about 15 minutes before they closed. I took the elevator to the third floor, found the guitar, sat down, and played a G chord.

And that was it.

I had Doug (the cool old guy at Dietze's. He was always super nice to us.) put it behind the counter so I could bring some stuff in on trade the next morning.I almost pissed it away that night. The responsible part of me said it was too much money. The other part of me said that it was not too much to ask for something that I would have for 50 years. Thank goodness for JJ. He talked me into going through with it.

Come to think of it, I owe JJ a lot of thanks. He introduced me to this guitar and Shay.

Went back the next morning and came home the proud owner of a Guild. I've never regretted it, and I've never thought about selling it. It's been through a lot of heartache and joy. It was there when one of my best friends died, when girls I thought I could love wanted nothing to do with me, and it was there when Shay and I began our lives together. I can't wait to strum it while I sing my kids to sleep (I hope that will work, anyway). I've written a few songs on it, butchered many more, and changed the strings and polished the fret board more times then I can count. I hope to one day pass it down to a child or grandchild.

Action photo!

That's JJ. He and I used to get together every week and visit every guitar shop in Lincoln. We played at the Gallery once in awhile. One evening we played guitar in a park across the street from his apartment and two little kids brought us pictures of us playing guitar. They said they liked our music. I still have that picture in my guitar case. JJ is my musical brother from another mother, as they say.

Who knew a piece of wood and six steel strings could mean so much to a man?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Motivation And Fire

I did some things today that I've been putting off. I took a bed back over to Grandma's. I burned trash. I even did some dishes. Thomas came over and helped me take apart the pool table. Then we destroyed the slate with a hammer. Don't worry. It was in bad shape already.

The best part?

Setting the pool table on fire.

I love fire (in controlled environments). Heat and light and smoke. I love the smell of smoke. Thomas, Dad and I sat on the tailgate and watched it burn. It was most excellent. Chewing sunflower seeds, watching smoke billow as the sun went down. It was manly bonding. Poetic in a manly way.

I love being a man.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My Yoke is Killing Me

I do a really good job of calling myself a Christian. It's a pretty easy thing to say. I get really proud of the fact that I'm a Christian. When this happens, it seems that God somehow always directs me to a passage in the Bible that knocks me off the pedestal.

Tonight, that passage was Ephesians 4:1-3: "I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace."


Paul is speaking here about Jews and Gentiles becoming one worship body, a body that God has brought together and that should work together and be united in the church of Christ.

The only calling that I'm completely aware of is the call Christ has given me to be a member of His body. I thought at one time I was vocationally called to be a teacher. Then a pastor. And for the second time, a farmer. I'm sticking with farmer, but honestly, there are many times I consider being a preacher. What I do for a living isn't really the point, I don't believe.

The point is, I'm not very good at keeping my original calling - being a follower of Christ. Not very often am I humble. I really suck at being patient. I don't always attempt to keep unity. Basically, all of the things I'm called to do, I fail at, and fail miserably.

In verses 25-32, Paul goes on to write:"Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."(Bold font added by me.)

Ouch. I am terrible at every single one of those things. In my deepest sinner's heart, I am a very jealous, angry, judgmental, greedy person. I say things I know I shouldn't. I know I dropped the GD a few times today. I participated in some gossip. Every time I talk to someone about farming, I end up becoming very jealous of those who have more than I have.These are huge struggles for me. I know when I do them, yet I either cannot or will not change them. I have a hard time living a life for God and living a life for me. Living God's life is not an easy thing in our world, and most of the time I forget about God's life to save my own face.

In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus says "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

I know I'm young, and some that read this might be thinking that I should quit my complaining. Maybe revisit this topic in twenty years.

I'm here to say that I am weary. I am burdened. I want to be gentle and humble. I want the rest that only Christ can grant me. I'm having a hard time letting go of my earthly wants and worries and reaching for that yoke. Do you all know what a yoke is? It's a piece of wood that is used to tie two oxen together so that they may work as one. My yoke most days is firmly in place with the world. I do what Paul says I should not - I complain, lie, curse, slander, show anger, etc. I want to be yoked with Christ. I want to work with Him, not the world. The world's yoke seems to always lean my way. I'd like to feel that yoke of Christ, the one that does not weigh me down.

I don't know how to get there. I only know that Christ is the way, not the world, so I continue to strive for His yoke. I am thankful for the celebration of His birth that is upcoming. It gives me hope to continue on.

I generally hesitate to ask for prayers. That's the Lutheran blood in me. Paul asks for prayers in chapter 6 of Ephesians, saying "Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should," (v19-20). Paul was speaking of actual chains - he was in prison when he wrote this letter. I'm chained down by the sins I commit. We are all ambassadors of the gospel. We should all declare it fearlessly, myself included. With this thought, I'm asking for your prayers. If you should take the time for me, pray whatever is in your heart, keeping in mind my struggles. I am thankful for you thoughts and prayers.

Psalm 94:19 - "When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul."

Monday, November 29, 2010


I don't know what to write about. I've been sitting here looking at guitars on eBay/listening to "House Hunters" in the background. I think "Property Virgins" was on once. We watch a lot of HGTV. The lady on "Virgins" (as I like to call it) has a Canadian accent. I find myself saying "oot" and "aboot" more every day, alternately laughing at myself and wishing I could somehow strangle the TV sound when that woman speaks.

You know what I don't get? On these shows people always say "My furniture won't fit in the bedroom/den/office/living room/laboratory." Hey people - you bought your furniture somewhere. Did you know you can go back and buy different furniture? And that they will probably take your old furniture on trade? You could also sell it on craigslist, if you want to deal with the weirdos. It's really not a big deal. Your budget for buying a house is $500,000 and you can't afford a few pieces of furniture?

I sold a guitar on eBay tonight. I think. The dude that bought it hasn't paid me yet. It would be really nice of him to do so. I got bills to pay, bro! Just kidding. But seriously.

I didn't sell it because I'm poor. I sold it 'cuz I'm a wheeler dealer when it comes to guitar. I was looking through some pictures of old guitars and I had already forgotten about 4 or 5 of them. I only have one guitar I've kept for more than a year, and it's the one I'll keep forever. It's a Guild DV-52. That's an acoustical guitar. I've had it for a little over 3 years. Maybe tomorrow I'll take a little snapshot so I can share it with all of my faithful readers.

I'm looking for the electric guitar that I'll keep forever. I will continue to wheel and deal until I find it. Or until I run out of money.

I have to save up for furniture. My office chair won't fit in the bathroom.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I'm Tired

Of people saying I'm whipped. I think that's the dumbest thing in the world.

I guess what prompts this is the fact that Shay is getting a real Christmas tree and lights to put up around the house. I've always been about fake trees and didn't much care about lights on the house. Shay wants these things, and because it makes her happy, I agreed. Not that I was exactly excited about it. Reluctant may be the word that comes to mind. 

If someone hears that we're getting a real tree and lights for the house, they make some reference to my manhood being in Shay's purse, or the sound of a whip crack, blah blah blah.

Because I like to see my wife happy.

Am I the only one that does not understand this logic? That a man has to be selfish all the time and do only what he wants? And I'll be the first to admit I've given guys a hard time like I'm now receiving. That was before I was married. Most of the guys I get crap from? Yeah, they're married.

Uh, what's cool about being selfish in a marriage?

Now, my father and Shay's father are exempt from this. They're giving me crap not because they think I'm a wimp or a push-over. They give me crap because, well, they're my dad and father-in-law. That's what they do. But their crap is lighthearted, because they know how much I care for Shay.

Some people seem to be questioning my manhood. For those, I would like to ask you to read Ephesians 5:25-29. "He who loves his wife loves himself." 

Granted, Christmas lights and a real tree aren't needed. They are not vital to our survival. This passage does mention care, however. I care deeply for my wife. I take care of her any way I can. Is happiness a part of this care? I'm pretty sure it is.

If I wanted lights on the house, you can damn sure bet I would go buy some. If I love my wife as I love myself, why would I not buy her some lights? It's not a matter of life and death. The bill from Southern Power might go up a little. So what? Making Shay happy makes me happy. 

If people think I'm "whipped" so be it. I don't care anymore. I'm supposed to be Billy Badass and not give Shay what she wants so I can puff my chest out around the guys? 

No thanks.

Already Messed Up

I didn't blog the last two days. Whoops. I was a little busy, in my defense. Friday I went to the game with my father-in-law Tom and didn't get back 'til late. Yesterday we worked on Mom and Dad's house all day, then went over to a friend's house to watch the OSU-OU game. It was late when we got back from that.

Sorry friends. I will blog twice today. I know I'll still be short one, but I don't think the point of this challenge is to write every single day. I think the point is to get some people writing again, in which the challenge has already succeeded.

I had a lot of fun the last couple of days. Sorry there's not much substance in this post. Maybe tonight I'll write something with a little more meat to it.

I would like to say that I'm loving the things I'm reading from other friends that are partaking in this 365 day challenge. I kind of forgot how awesome some of my Concordia friends are at writing. Keep it up, kids. 

Thursday, November 25, 2010


I don't want to get too mushy here, but I would like to tell you faithful readers some of the things I'm thankful for:

My parents - They've been supportive of me the last few years, allowing me room to breathe, and welcoming me back with open arms. I went from farming, to studying to be a teacher, to studying to be a pastor, to finishing my English degree, to coming back to farm. Not once have they questioned me about my decisions when they probably had every right to do so.

Our dogs - Even though they can be real pains, they're always happy to see me. Maybe it's because I scoop the poop out of their pens every day. 

Music - What would our lives be like if they had no soundtrack?

Tractors - They make my life a hell of a lot easier.

Friends - I have some great ones and I miss them every day. Come visit us anytime you like.

Shay - Every day it gets better. It's really nice to come home and have someone to hang out with. The other night she taught me how to dance a little. It's nice to have someone fall asleep on you every night, even if they put their ice-block feet on you. And she's a great cook. Plus, she puts up with me, so she has to be perfect. 

God - I was thinking on the drive home tonight that nothing I have comes from me, only from Him. I deserve none of it, but for whatever reason He blesses me with all the great things in my life. I'm thankful that Christ died to give us life after this earth. I'm most thankful that he forgives the sins I commit every day, choosing to look at me through a perfect lens. How amazing is that?

Hope everyone had a good day. If you didn't, remember there's always something you've got that someone else wish they had. There's much to be thankful for. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Practice Makes Perfect

That's why I ate so much tonight. Needed to condition myself for tomorrow. After a lovely meal of calzones and french fries (how American), the family retired to the living area to watch Charlie Brown and Planes, Trains and Automobiles. If you haven't seen Planes, Trains and Automobiles, I recommend you do so. It is one of the funniest holiday movies of all time.

I don't really have much to say today. I'm tired. I've found that I get tired about 10 PM anymore. Used to be if I was in bed by midnight, it was a good night. I can (kind of) remember some 4 AM bedtimes, too. 10 PM to 6:45AM is pretty much my sleep schedule these days. Pretty boring, eh?

Pretty boring blog, too.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Auction Followup

I'm sure all you faithful readers are wondering if I got anything bought at the auction today. Yeah, sure did. The backhoe? No. A sprayer? Well, yes. Not the one I really wanted, though. I bid on a 60' Great Plains sprayer, but someone wanted it a lot more than I did. Instead, I bought a 25 gallon ATV sprayer with a 10' boom. Got it for about $300 less than a new one goes for, and I've been wanting one, so I'm pretty excited about it. I'll have to do some fixing - one of the nozzles is broken, and I may need a bigger pump, but even at that I'll still have what I wanted for half price. It will be nice for spraying pipe and driveways. Could spray my lawn with it, too. I was going to buy a hydraulic top link for my tractor (It tips the 3 point hitch back and forth using the hydraulic outlets on the tractor. The factory top link is operated manually, and usually fills with dirt and crap, which results in it not working like it's supposed to) but I didn't get it bought. The auctioneer was farting around selling some tools, taking his sweet time, so I went to get a burger and some coffee. Wouldn't you know, he sold the top link right as I came back to the auction ring. New ones sell for about $800, and I think that one went for $500. Oh well. They made more than one.

I'm kicking around the idea of investing in GPS for my tractor. The only problem is I don't have $25,000 in my back pocket to spend. If I could come up with some more land, I'd probably bite the bullet. Everyone says it pays for itself in the seed, chemical, and fuel savings. I think it would be especially nice for spraying and planting. No more wide and narrow rows. We don't disk much, but I could see where it would save a lot of money in fuel when we do. Maybe next year...

Non-farm readers: If you have questions, don't hesitate to ask. I can take pictures and go into a lot of detail if you so desire.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Auction Tomorrow!

Another reason I love winter - auctions! I love going to farm machinery auctions. I hardly ever buy anything, but the possibility that I might is tantalizing. I also enjoy listening to the auctioneers as their cadence spills out over the microphone. And you have to enjoy the fact that there are always food stands that have hamburgers and polish dogs ready to eat by 10 AM. 

The anticipation is akin to the night before your birthday as a 5 year old. I probably won't sleep much tonight.

At auction tomorrow for my consideration: A Case backhoe, a Great Plains 60' 3 point spray boom, miscellaneous crap. I doubt I'll buy much, but who knows? At the very least, I'll come home with a belly full of hamburger, polish dog, and coffee.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Dance, Dance, Dance

I don't really know how it happened, but not many minutes ago, Shay and I were dancing around in the hotel room. I put some Justin Townes Earle on (thanks go to Lisa Smith for the new tunes) and out of nowhere we started dancing like nimrods. I don't dance often, but I like to do it once in awhile to make Shay laugh. I have no rhythm, which is weird because I play an instrument. 

I would suppose it's pretty interesting to watch my attempts at dancing. I don't really care though, because I like to laugh with my wife. These are some of the little things that I tend to live for.

I hope that when we "grow up" we still have moments like this. I think we always will, because it only takes me about .3 seconds to slip into my goofy mode, and it usually only takes about 7 seconds after that to make Shay laugh. If nothing else, I know I can start dancing to make her laugh. 

Download Mike McClure's song "Like an Idiot" and you'll know exactly what I'm describing.

Keep on dancing in the free world.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


I'm tired. Been in the car much of the last two days. I'm not in my home state and I hate hotel beds. Nebraska lost. Sorry there's nothing enlightening here, but hey, I'm supposed to blog every day. I'm just trying to hold up my end of the bargain.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Life cereal & the Bible

One thing I really love about farming is winter. I actually enjoy winter. I'm more of a polar bear than most people I know. I don't mind cold weather. Anyway, what I like most about winter (besides Christmas) is that it's not a very busy season for us. This year it will be because my parents are moving and I'm helping with the remodel of the new house and the move. I'm cool with that though, because I'm really happy and excited for the rents. 

I seem to keep getting off track. 

I like winter because it gives me an opportunity to do things I normally don't have much time for. An example is playing guitar. I get into it during the winter, playing for at least an hour every day, usually closer to two. I just got done playing for about an hour and a half, actually. During the spring, summer, and fall guitar takes a back seat. I get home from work and just want a shower and a meal, most likely a beer as well. Winter time, I plan my days this way - "Well, I think I'll put on a pot of coffee. Then I'll take a shower and wear my favorite pair of jeans. Who cares that I've worn them four days in a row? Not me. After my shower, I'll drink coffee. Probably play guitar. Look at guitars on ebay. Watch the Drive-By Truckers on YouTube. Listen to James McMurtry on vinyl. Read a book or some magazines. Eat a couple of hot dogs. Rinse, lather, repeat."

Now this next part might get me in trouble. I know how bad it sounds. 

During our busy seasons, I don't take much time to read the Bible. I know, it can't be hard to carve a few minutes out to read God's inspired word. And yes, as a Lutheran, I believe the Bible is the inspired word of God breathed to the writers through the Holy Spirit. Every single word. This is a conversation for another time, though. Anywho, I seem to put God's word on the backburner. I have a hard enough time dragging my butt out of bed at quarter after 6 in the morning. I can't concentrate on anything for the first hour or so I'm awake. I can irrigate in the mornings during the summer mostly because it's not difficult, and the mechanics of it have been branded onto my brain since before I came out of the womb, I believe. When I come home at night, my brain is also fried. This makes it hard for me to get revved up to read anything. 

Pretty lame excuses, huh? I make it sound like God's word is the daily newspaper.

Starting today, I'm trying to get into another mindset. I read the Bible while I eat my Life cereal. Why Life? Why not? It has lots of sugar in it and it tastes great with milk. I might as well eat a bowl of sugar with milk, but it's been my favorite since I was a kid. I eat copious amounts of it and I'm guessing I get no nutritional value from it. If you've seen me eat, you are probably saying "You're not going to get much read in 73 seconds Ben." Yeah, you're right. I mow my food down. That doesn't mean I stop reading there, though. The act of eating while reading somehow gets me into the zone. I don't really know why. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I'm smashing down the walls of male stereotypes - I can do two things at once! I may have to change my cereal though, because with the amount of reading I hope to do, I will weigh roughly 419 pounds on my Life cereal breakfast diet by the time winter is over. 

I read something in Matthew today. I love to read the sermon on the Mount. It could very well be my favorite passage in the Bible. This morning, the sugar must've gone straight to my brain, because something stuck out to me that never has before. Matthew 5:6 says "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled." Now, I hunger and thirst for Life cereal and coffee in the morning, but I don't know that I thirst for righteousness. That little verse hit me like a frying pan to the back of the head from an angry wife (no, this has not happened. I'm guessing it feels real bad, though). Righteousness, from what I can understand, means being free from sin and guilt. We're human. There is no way we can do that. We all understand we are sinful, and only through Christ's love and grace can we be made without sin. 

The question in my mind is - Do I ever thirst or hunger for righteousness? Do I ever attempt to be free from guilt or sin? Do I, on a consistent basis, turn from sin, which causes guilt? I don't think I do. I think I look at my sin and say "I can't, of my own accord, do anything about this sin." Jesus died to take our sins, and thank the Heavenly Father for that. What I'm trying to get at here is that Jesus calls on me to live a different way. Instead of simply accepting His grace, maybe I need to strive to turn from sin in the first place. Now, I know what you're saying - "Ben, we live in a sinful world. Moreover, you cannot be your own savior." Yeah, I know. What I'm saying is there are things that I can work on, things I can remove from my life with help from Christ. I cuss a lot. I drink too much on occasion. I don't always keep my word. My anger controls me sometimes. I say things I know I shouldn't. I hurt people. I judge people. Can I change these things on my own? Heck, no. But God can. He can fill me with His spirit, His love, His grace. If I turn myself over to Him, trust Him, He can help me change. It's not only His responsibility, though. I have to help Him help me. No, I cannot live a life of righteousness, because I am a sinner. Sitting in my chair, listening to "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" by The Band and typing this is a sin. Eating Life cereal is a sin. That's what I believe, anyway, because this world is sinful. Only by His grace, His love, His crucifixion, can these things be made right, made righteous.

With Christ's help, I can strive for righteousness. Will I obtain it? Only when I die to life in this world and move on to the next. I know that nothing I can do will make me righteous. Only Christ can do that for me, but that doesn't mean I can't work on it. I can work to watch my mouth, the things I say, how I say them. I can work to stop judging my brothers and sisters in Christ and love them, the way that Christ has called me to do. When my temper flares, I can ask God to enter my heart and soul, to help control the anger. Prayer will be, and should be, my constant companion. In all situations, I can call on Christ, and He will help me work through my unrighteousness. It is only through Him that I will have the strength to change.

Bet you never thought a conversation about Life cereal would be so intense, did you?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Main Thing I Worry About

I don't worry much. Christ points to the birds of the air and the lilies of the field in Matthew 6:25-34 and basically says "These things aren't worth as much to me as you are, yet I clothe and feed them. Take it easy, pal, I've got your back." I tend to live my life keeping these words in mind. I don't get too wrapped up about things because in the short time that I've lived, I've learned that Christ always takes care of things. I constantly tell people not to worry, everything will work out one way or another. You're most likely still going to be alive, and Christ will still love you.

I've been thinking about Christ's words quite a bit in the last few months. I got married lately, moved into a house that I rent, and make enough money to pay the bills. What's to worry about, you ask?


Shay and I both want kids, and depending on which one of us you ask, we want anywhere from three to nine of the little buggers. I don't worry about raising them so much (there are plenty of people around willing to teach me how to do that). No, I worry about providing for them.

I currently farm approximately 200 acres. That's plenty for Shay and I, but I feel the need to expand. The only problem is there's not much room for expansion in the area. I went and looked at 155 acres for sale today that is priced at $3300 an acre. For those that don't want to do the math, that's over a half of a million bones. To be honest, it's probably not even worth $2500/acre. The land market is nuts these days and I don't really see it going down anytime soon. Renting ground is an option, but that's hard to find as well.
I worry about land because I want to be able to build Shay and our children a house they need and deserve. I want to plant a bunch of trees and have a big yard and watch the kids run around with the dogs while I drink coffee on the porch. Maybe that's a lot to ask, but I don't really think so. I'm trying to find the line between being greedy about finding land and providing for my family. There's a piece of ground coming up for sale that would be perfect - 140 acres of good crop ground with a 20 acre farmstead. The farmstead is run down, but that doesn't bother me. I could build on that. What bothers me is that whoever buys it (there are three or four people I have in mind) already farms multiple thousands of acres, and will most likely tear down the farmstead to farm another 20 acres. I wish people could see that it would be good to have another young farm family in the area. I worry that 10 years from now I'll have to put my degree to use. That's not what I want. I want nothing more than to farm for 40 more years, hang it up, and hand it off to my son or grandson. Will this happen? I don't really know. Am I being greedy? I don't think so.

I'm not good at following my own advice. I just need to shut up, pray, and let things work out the way they will. The thought that I might not farm the rest of my life terrifies me. It's all I've know, and really, it's all I want to do. A neighbor told me when I came back from school that he figured I wouldn't become a teacher or a pastor because I "have farming in my blood." He's right, I think. Very seldom do I wake up and not want to go to work. I really do love what I do. There are bad days and things I don't really enjoy about it, but I think that goes with every job.

I hope this doesn't come across as whiny. That's not what I'm trying to attempt. I was just bummed when I looked at that $3300 piece of ground. I was considering trying to buy it. It's available and relatively close to some ground my dad farms. It's not good enough, though, and I can't afford it. I get a little depressed because I wonder if I'll ever be able to afford good ground. I wonder if I'll be able to build Shay the house that she wants. I wonder if I'll be able to afford to support our kids the way I want to support them.

Through all of this worry, I remember what Christ says - "I've got your back, Ben. You're important to me. Follow me, and I will take care of you." I know that he's going to take care of our children as well. Someone told me that you'll never have enough money to have kids, and I'm guessing that's true. People make it though, and there are some great kids in this world being raised by Christian parents. Doesn't seem like a coincidence to me.

I hope that whatever your worries, you remember this message. Although I seem downtrodden, I'm not. If this mean bastard of a world gets me down, I remember it's not the only thing I live for. There are better things ahead. Keep your heads up, followers of Christ.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


This is my pal Charlie. He's an Australian Shepherd. I've always been a Doberman guy, but Shay raised Aussies in high school, so when I came across the craigslist ad for this guy, I should've known better than to show it to her. Of course we had to have him. He was Shay's Christmas present last year, and he stayed with her while she was going to school. She moved to a different house around Christmas of last year, a place where dogs really weren't welcome. Charlie came home to live with me. Now, I don't know what you folks know about Aussies, but they are very loyal. They respond to one master and pretty much stick by their side at all times. Charles and I became great friends, which resulted in the purchase of another pup for Shay. That's a story for another time (if it was up to Shay we'd have a billion dogs).

Charlie is pretty much the bomb. We've had some rough patches - he got ran over and had to have hip surgery and had some nasty road rash on his... male dog parts. He had surgery about four months ago and is doing quite well. He jumped into the bed of my pickup unassisted last week for the first time since he got ran over. He loves to ride in the pickup. He barks for at least 5 miles every time I let him ride in the bed. I play ball with him. I feed him. I love him.

So, why, Charlie? Why must you run away at every opportunity? He must've crashed through a 40 acre patch of cockleburrs yesterday. They're all over the poor guy. I had to cut a large portion of his hair off, and this after his hair was finally growing back from the surgery. Male dogs like to get out and explore. I get it. That's a dude thing. Gotta get out there and look for a woman. I just wish he would tell me first. It's almost as if he doesn't care what I think or how I feel. Plus, he had the nerve to drag his little sister (they are actually from the same parents) Hannah along! Thank goodness the neighbor found them and brought them home. Sometimes I think he does it to piss me off, like the time I came home and found my lawn mower seat ripped to pieces. I was pretty mad at him, but I couldn't bring myself to discipline him, not when he looked at me with his yellowish-brownish eyes and attempted to nuzzle as close to me as possible. He didn't mean it. He was chasing a bird and got lost. He'll know better next time.

God help me when I have children.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I Guess It's Time

After receiving challenges from a couple of friends, I'm starting this thing. It'll most likely be crap that no one really cares to read, but I like to write, and I've gotten away from it lately. Plus, it will take up a few minutes of your day if you choose to read it. I'd read it at work when bored, or bored in class, or bored at home sitting in front of the TV. Basically I'm telling you to read it when you're bored.

I'm not promising I've got a direction in mind, either. Andy (the first person to tell me to do this) thinks it would be interesting to chronicle my life as a young farmer. I'll be doing that. It's the slow season right now, but once in awhile I'll discuss that part of my life. I'll talk a lot about my wife, I'm sure. And our dogs. Probably music. Definitely guitars. If you want me to discuss something else, throw it out there.

A quick primer on me for those that might not know exactly where I am or what I'm doing - I'm 25, married for four months to the perfect woman for me (those of you that really know Shay and I know what I'm talking about), the father (not scientifically, but emotionally) of two Australian Shepherds named Hannah and Charlie, a farmer, seed salesman (on a very small scale), spender of money, and saver of things I probably don't need. I play guitar, but I only tell you this because it will work its way into this thing. Everyone plays guitar, so I'm not trying to be a badass about it. I do it because it's fun for me. I have a record collection. It's small, but expanding. And, no, I'm not that record collecting guy that looks down his nose at all other types of audio entertainment. I like old things, and listening to records makes you sit down for a period of time. Those are the main reasons. I read a lot. We'll talk about that.

That's really all I can think of at this moment. I could probably think of more, but there is a fantastic smell coming from the kitchen, and since I'm a man, I can only concentrate on one thing at a time.  Food always wins.