Playing Well with Udders

In my life just like many before me but maybe not all, I have had to grow A-LOT in the area of self-awareness.  We are all born with a clean slate, innocent and pure minded.  The things we learn about ourselves and what our subconscious beliefs become, determine what we will do and where we will go.  Ultimately I have come to realize (with the help of some coaching) that my subconscious beliefs are what truly control my choices—my potential.  The more that I am focused on my own personal growth and increased self-awareness the more I am reaching toward my own full potential.  The John Maxwell Team has been teaching me so much these past eight weeks and I am very excited that I have the opportunity to be a ‘river and not a reservoir’ with the core learning programs.  God makes a way for each of us but we have to take action to get us there.  I will be learning and trying to push my own personal growth for the rest of my life and I look forward to helping others do the same.  So here’s to playing well with udders! (Others of course ;))  As I learn and grow, my relationships with others can become even richer and let’s include all my bovine friends in that too!  They are such goofs I usually can’t control the laughter they help me experience on a daily basis!   

 

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Dairy Woman + Baby 

It’s official, my husband and I are expecting in April 2016!  Since my husband is such a Jersey cow fan and I am a Holstein cow fan—you’ll get the picture. Wink, wink, we are starting our very own small ‘cross-bred’ herd!  It’s exciting!! I was blessed with only some morning sickness and exhaustion in the first trimester along with the other ‘normal pregnancy symptoms’.  Now in the second trimester I’ve been feeling great.  Check out our cute announcement below.  We know all the registered cattle breeders out there will get a kick out of this!!  Beneath it is what a real registered Holstein pedigree looks like.  If you want to be able to read a pedigree please visit, How to Read an Official Holstein Pedigree.  

   

Taking the Step to JMT!

Life is truly a gift and I am ecstatic that I can say I am on the John Maxwell Team!! My passion starts with dairy farming. I grew up on a small family farm, caring for a bunch of goofy, black and white, four-legged creatures called Holsteins! I have studied the science of caring for dairy cattle through college at South Dakota State University and have worked with dairy cattle my entire life. I believe my purpose is to serve as a bridge to animal welfare and the rest of the world as it relates to food production. I seek to further understand both the urban population as well as the farmers and ranchers of our world. We are all responsible to God and to one another for our actions no matter where we live or what we do.

This is my third week on the team and as time goes there will be more additions to my website and information about how you can push your own personal growth.  So why did I join the team?  Here are just a few reasons.

I want to help the dairy industry shine and thrive, caring for animals is a passion of mine and the dairy farmers of today are among the best care givers of all!

I am still on my journey for higher education and this will play a role in my success in those goals.

My favorite animal is the dairy cow and I desire to push the standards of care to the highest level, while holding all care givers accountable.  I know that we the dairy men and women need transparency for the rest of the world to see how much we value the animals who provide a nutritious, whole and healthy product for us!!

I know I need to push my own personal growth to accomplish what I stated above.

I desire to add value to my current skills and talents.

I need help from an amazing team because no one reaches significance on their own.

I want to add value to you and many others to help people reach their goals and dreams, to push their personal growth!

Stay tuned for more!!

Stop Drowning in Doubt

This morning I picked up a book called The Jesus Code 52 Scripture Questions Every Believer Should Answer.  In the first chapter Author, O.S. Hawkins, calls out the human race on doubt.  It is inevitable that we have doubts every day, but it is what we do with those doubts that matter.  I quote from the book,

“Our minds are like a hotel.  The manager can’t keep people from coming in the lobby, but he can keep them from getting a room.  It is the same with our thoughts.  It is not a sin when an impure thought goes through our minds.  The sin comes when we give it a room and let it settle down there.”

How often does a doubt come in to my mind and I could easily shuffle it out, but instead decide to think about it later!  I know that I can let those doubts go with God’s help.  The book directed me to the Bible, in Matthew 14:22-33.

22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,”they said, and cried out in fear.

27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

29 “Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,”he said, “why did you doubt?”

32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

This stood out to me today because of how often God places moments to trust Him in front of us, giving us the assurance to trust Him.  Yet we will look away and forget what He has promised us.  He will not fail us just as He saved Peter in the verses above when Peter started to doubt.  Jesus was right in front of Peter just like He is always here with us!!  What is in front of you today that is causing you to doubt?  What thoughts have you give a ‘room’ to that need to be checked-out?  Doubt can drag me down fast like I am drowning, but it doesn’t have to when I put my trust in God and His promises.  God will save you, He loves you more than you’ll ever know.

Faith Regeneration

Faith does not proceed from ourselves, but is the fruit of spiritual regeneration.  John Calvin

That quote struck me this morning because I know that dairymen across the country have to have faith each day to continue in their farming.  Whether it’s your favorite cow about to calve or a test result you’re waiting on.  Of all the roles in agriculture I believe that dairy farming is the most emotional (and my dad agrees ;)).  The point is we cannot just strike up the faith it takes to live life on our own.  It is a gift from God that we have the strength to do the things He asks of us.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9

On our own we are mere humans, but time with God each day will renew us spiritually and through that spiritual regeneration, our faith can grow in Him.  When our faith grows, we will see God’s power in each part of our lives.  As we continue spending with time Him praying, reading His word, praising Him, and serving Him we will see and understand life from a whole different perspective designed just for us.  Dairy farming is emotional and LIFE is just plain emotional!  There are waves we have to ride out every single day, and with God’s help, no matter your profession, you can do it!!  I have had the days where I chose not put my trust in God, and believe me I could feel how weak I was on my own.  God desires to be a part of your life if you just invite Him in with a simple prayer, ‘God, help me today’. Amen and God Bless.

Without Him…I’m Nothing

Crazy and heartbreaking to think that the next time I go home almost all the cows will be gone… ;( Life isn’t all that you think it will be, but you have to hang on because God has a bigger plan than we will ever know. I still cry about all that’s happening with my family’s farm, but it’s in God’s hands not mine… and it always has been. Yet I haven’t always known that it was in His hands, I have often thought I had control of my life and the things that made it up. I thought I needed to do everything, that somehow I was going to save the world…boy was I full of myself (Those of you who know me, it’s progress not perfection!) It wasn’t until I realized just how broken I was and in that humbled, that I surrendered to God. It’s not about me and never has been… It is funny (yet not!!) how often as a Christian that I thought people ought to fall in love with Christ because of me. It has nothing to do with me!! It has everything to do with Him, the hope and healing that He brings in that no matter how badly we think we mess-up, no matter how badly we feel we dishonored Him and our family and friends, no matter what…He LOVES us and accepts us in all our human faults and gives us grace! If someone looks at me, the only thing I want them to see is Jesus working through me, because without Him…I’m nothing.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify you Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:16

God has healed my heart over and over again and He can do the same for you.  I want to be more like Christ because He is so loving, so kind and so good.  I don’t choose Christ because I am scared of hell or any other reason.  I choose Him because I know what He has done for me!  He has given His life for me and for you!!  Even though we fall short all the time, over and over again.  I am so thankful that by surrendering my heart, mind and life, He can help me, and use me in ways that I never dreamed of.  He can take what’s broken and make it beautiful.  God bless you in your walk with Him!

Lechera Ana

Running to the King of Kings

The old saying ‘you can run, but you can’t hide’ was meant to scare however I would like to use it in a different context.  There are times when I have expanded my horizons in life, but it I compressed my time with God.  Not to say that all who expand their horizons spend less time with God, but for me that became the reality.  I put Him on the back burner where He certainly doesn’t belong.  At certain points I chose to run away from what He was placing in front of me.  Nonetheless, when God has a plan and a mission for life, it will come about.  We can run or deny it, and we can even get ourselves into a massive amount of distractions which is what I am good at.  That won’t change the overall plans He has for each one of us.  Truthfully there are times when I have felt very discontented with life, unsure of what my purpose is or what I am supposed to achieve.  But honestly, I have had so much to be thankful for because God has provided for me over and over again.  My discontented feelings come from the fact that I ignore His guidance in my life.  I have struggled with wanting to be my own god.  It is easy as we are born very self-centered beings.  We don’t naturally have the tendency to listen and obey, those are learned skills.  In my struggles with God’s will over my own, I have found assurance that God still wants me and His plan still reigns in my life.  When I listen to His voice, spend time in prayer, and realize that He is in control that feeling of discontentment leaves me.  I have also found great comfort in the books of the Bible, King David for example.  He was a mere shepherd boy to start out, but God gave him many victories in his life.  David grew in to a man and king that was said to be after God’s own heart.  (I Samuel 13:14 “the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people”)  David was a great king, but he stumbled too and decidedly went against the will of God at times in his life. Read here in 2 Samuel 11,

 In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem.

One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful,and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (Now she was purifying herself from her monthly uncleanness.) Then she went back home. The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, “I am pregnant.”

So David sent this word to Joab: “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” And Joab sent him to David. When Uriah came to him, David asked him how Joab was, how the soldiers were and how the war was going. Then David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house and wash your feet.” So Uriah left the palace, and a gift from the king was sent after him. But Uriah slept at the entrance to the palace with all his master’s servants and did not go down to his house.

10 David was told, “Uriah did not go home.” So he asked Uriah, “Haven’t you just come from a military campaign? Why didn’t you go home?”

11 Uriah said to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in tents,[a] and my commander Joab and my lord’s men are camped in the open country. How could I go to my house to eat and drink and make love to my wife? As surely as you live, I will not do such a thing!”

12 Then David said to him, “Stay here one more day, and tomorrow I will send you back.” So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next. 13 At David’s invitation, he ate and drank with him, and David made him drunk. But in the evening Uriah went out to sleep on his mat among his master’s servants; he did not go home.

14 In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. 15 In it he wrote, “Put Uriah out in front where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die.”

16 So while Joab had the city under siege, he put Uriah at a place where he knew the strongest defenders were. 17 When the men of the city came out and fought against Joab, some of the men in David’s army fell; moreover, Uriah the Hittite died.

18 Joab sent David a full account of the battle. 19 He instructed the messenger: “When you have finished giving the king this account of the battle, 20 the king’s anger may flare up, and he may ask you, ‘Why did you get so close to the city to fight? Didn’t you know they would shoot arrows from the wall? 21 Who killed Abimelek son of Jerub-Besheth[b]? Didn’t a woman drop an upper millstone on him from the wall, so that he died in Thebez? Why did you get so close to the wall?’ If he asks you this, then say to him, ‘Moreover, your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead.’”

22 The messenger set out, and when he arrived he told David everything Joab had sent him to say. 23 The messenger said to David, “The men overpowered us and came out against us in the open, but we drove them back to the entrance of the city gate. 24 Then the archers shot arrows at your servants from the wall, and some of the king’s men died. Moreover, your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead.”

25 David told the messenger, “Say this to Joab: ‘Don’t let this upset you; the sword devours one as well as another. Press the attack against the city and destroy it.’ Say this to encourage Joab.”

26 When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him.27 After the time of mourning was over, David had her brought to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing David had done displeased the Lord.

Though David knew his actions didn’t please God, he was self-centered seeking only to make himself happy and thus tried to cover up his mistakes.  David was a man of God, but he was human just like you and me and we all make mistakes.  The point is no matter what we do, Jesus Christ is interceding on our behalf and loves us so much.  He desires to give us a peace and a contentment like no other, but we have to listen to Him.  If you do not follow God, how can He lead you?  It is tempting to try life on our own, to think that we can do things our own way.  We can try, but it will not lead to peace.  God wants us to come to Him with our needs and desires and wait on Him for His call.  Life is filled with choices and it is silly how often we forget the importance of God’s love and guidance in our lives.  The most important choice that only you can make, is to follow Jesus Christ and allow His love to fill and guide your life.  No matter what you did in the past or what you are doing today, you can pray and ask for His forgiveness, love and protection.  When you feel like running, run to the King of Kings.  He has a plan each and every person He created, including you!  God bless you.

Selling the Family Jewels

Well the time has come for my mom and dad to retire from milking cows. As a result I have written something to commemorate our family farm.

As this chapter of Watertown Holsteins comes to an end I can’t help but write a little something in remembrance of my family’s dairy farm.   First off it is hard to grow up, and we are all still doing it no matter our age!  My childhood on the farm with my sisters and brother, mom and dad, are filled with so many good memories.  All too often, it is easy not to say or write the things that our loved ones need to hear.  So I am taking this opportunity to do just that.  I consider my mom and dad to be fairly young even though they might disagree, and I am grateful they are just a phone call away.  My parents were both a big influence on me while growing up, and for that I am also thankful.  However, keep in mind I used to joke they had six kids so we could do all the work for them!

The truth is, all the lessons they taught me and my siblings through the family farm life will benefit us the rest of our days.  My parents taught me who God was at an early age, so I knew who created me and all the animals I adored.  However it wasn’t until I was about four or five years old that I became comfortable around cattle since they were so big!  All of my siblings and I had responsibilities in the house and on the farm growing up.  Through my early years I had to unload the silverware, sweep the floors and take out the garbage.  My older sisters always thought I got by way to easy, but I disagreed.  I discovered my favorite task, making the morning pancakes after dad got in from chores though.  I used to sneak outside in the morning before my mom and sisters woke, just to go see my dad milk the cows too.  Then I got my first job on the dairy, sweeping the hallway outside the office, bathroom, and milk room.  I still remember finding some change (placed cleverly by my dad) in all the dirt and feeling so accomplished since I made a few cents at the age of five!  My responsibilities grew as I did and so did the opportunities.  In the morning and evening I got to fill many bottles full of milk for all those cute Holstein calves and in the afternoon build amazing forts in the cottonseed pile.  Talk about a blast for young kids and a nightmare for our mom and sometimes dad too, especially if we forgot to take the shovel out of the pile, sorry dad!  Once we headed back in the house, our clothes mysteriously managed to carry cottonseed in, sorry mom!  Then it was riding on the lawn mower for hours in the evening with my dad because I wanted to drive the mower, but I was too short.  As soon as I was tall enough, I got to be the full-time grounds keeper.  During the summers it was wanting to cut green beans but instead I had to wash them since I was too young to play with knives.  Not to worry, eventually I cut plenty of green beans!  When I was still the baby of the family, my older sisters, Joelle and Maria, helped me ride my bike around the section sometimes every day even though I struggled to keep up at times.  They also opened up the ice cream shop straight from the garage door and made me some very tasty treats.  Then soon I was a big sister and my little brother Samuel was volunteered for daily tours of the farm in his stroller, by tour guide Ana, so my mom could do what she needed.  Then eventually I was taking my younger siblings around the section on bike rides just like my older sisters did with me, and guess who needed the patience then!  As siblings we created a ton of fun memories on the dairy.  Maria and I dug traps with poop in the bottom for my sister Joelle to step in but instead dad found them first, sorry dad!  We ran through the sprinklers, built teepees in the trees, set up tents in the backyard for campouts, shot each other with water guns, pelted empty pop cans with Maria’s BB gun, but not to worry we got back to work.  We got to show calves together in 4-H every summer too, which was a huge highlight in my summers.  My dad taught me how to clip and fit cattle, and I loved the smell of the clipper oil and still do.  As I got older and stronger, my dad let me do more and more.  I got to push the manure from the barn alley into the gutter after each cow took her stall in the early afternoon.  Then eventually I was wheel-barrowing out manure from the box stalls with my sisters and brother.  By the way, that wasn’t punishment that was just chores.

Learning how to watch over younger siblings and how to care for the farm and its animals were blessings my siblings and I got to know early in life.  We all started milking cows around the age of fourteen, though other farm and house responsibilities started long before then.  Believe me, I have milked many cows and I enjoyed it.  Some of the best conversations happen when milking cows!  I got spend hours with my dad, my mom, my older and younger sisters, my brother, and all the hired hands.  All the way through middle school, high school and college I earned money on the farm for each hour I worked.  Whether it was feeding, bedding, milking, painting, cleaning, mowing, driving, farming or gardening.  Mom and dad gave me the responsibility to give an offering to God, save money for what I needed and wanted, and to help others too.

While life on the farm wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows I will always remember all of the good times I had with my sisters and brother, mom and dad.  From showing cattle together, to milking cows together and some days struggling together.  I know that the farm life made my family ties stronger even though we don’t all live in the same place anymore.  The relationships that we have are a huge blessing and their start was on Watertown Holsteins alongside two of the hardest working people I know, my parents.  Mom and dad, never forget that I look up to both of you.  I am proud of you both and all that you have accomplished.  You have a BEAUTIFUL herd of cows, and I am so proud and thankful that I got to learn from you and help you in your endeavors.  You gave me so much, and most of all you taught me to pursue a relationship with my Maker, to give it all I got and never give up!  Though it breaks my heart and brings tears to my eyes to have a big part of the family business dissolve, I know that there’s MUCH MORE to come and no matter what we are blesssed to have one another.

All the blood, sweat and tears have been worth it, there is no better way to grow up than on a dairy farm.

Ana Schweer Ruiz

Check out the Facebook page, Watertown Holsteins for all the details on the sale.  Cow photos posted daily with updates to come!

How to be the Best Valentine

As Valentine’s Day approaches we hear more and more about LOVE!  According to dictionary.com, love is a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.   People spend tons of money to be the best valentine in order to show their love.  This romantic holiday is very special for many, filled with flowers, chocolates, cards, stuffed animals and let’s not forget your lover!  There are so many ways you can show love to your special someone and others.  I think the dictionary has a super definition of what love is and that Valentine’s Day is a blast!  So here is an added bonus, how to be the best valentine for life!! 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7, the New International Version (NIV).

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

You can give all the stuffed animals and chocolates in the world hoping that you will be the best Valentine ever, in reality it’s what you do to demonstrate love day-in-and-day-out that will matter.  No matter who you spend your Valentine’s Day with, there is a God who loves you just for you.  The video by Brandon Heath puts these words in a song.  Enjoy!