Friday, March 30, 2012

An Agricultural Metaphor ~ Back Home!

It takes about 6.5 hours to drive the 450-mile stretch between our home in Billings, Mont., to my former stomping grounds in western Nebraska. After 15 years, I know nearly every crack and crevice of the two interstates and two-lane highways just about as well as I'm beginning to know the wrinkles carving their way onto my 43-year-old forehead. With the entire family (hubby or Papa & two kiddos) or by myself, the trek continues to require a couple necessary pit stops in Wyoming.  

Having lived away from my Nebraska Panhandle now longer than I lived there, I remain a Husker at Heart! Other than seeing the faces of my mom, step dad, three sisters, family and friends, nothing says "YOU'RE 'BACK HOME'" more to me than the view of the Scotts Bluff National Monument in my windshield. I admit, I've shed a happy tear or two even seeing that sandstone rock from the window seat of an airplane upon returning home for a visit from college.

Not only for myself, but I'm certain for other former Panhandle residents, the Monument serves as a natural "landing page" in our memory-recall. Even diaries and journals of 19th century westward emigrants, who traveled by covered wagons along the Oregon, Mormon and California trails, noted the natural marvel. History reflects that more than 250,000 travelers made their way through the area between 1843 and 1869. 

Scottsbluff and Gering, a.k.a., the Twin Cities, today boasts about 22,000+ residents. Besides the North Platte River, a little cross-town rivalry occasionally separates the two cities. But you see residents pulling together like recently, when Teresa Scanlan, from Gering was named Miss Nebraska 2010 and later Miss America 2011, becoming the youngest Miss America crowned since 1937. And when the 2011-2012 Scottsbluff High School Boys Basketball team brought home the state Class B Championship trophy for the first time since 1955.

Sunday = Fun Day!
I know its easy to take every essence of the people and environment around you for granted when it's all that your eyes see daily. Objects and emotions become sedentary......complacent.......unattached. For those reasons, that why I appreciate going "Back Home" to Nebraska. I always look forward to recalling the memories I made during my formative years and the new ones I make with my own children and extended family now.

Sunday's have and will continue to be my favorite day of the week: waking up to read the Sunday paper....hearing meadowlarks sing from fence post perches....heading off to Sunday school and then church.....anticipating the mmmmm....mmmmm...goodness of my mom's fried chicken and mashed potatoes.......responding to my dad's desire to go for a Sunday drive to only-God-knows-where....and topping off the day with some ice cream from the local creamery and a good Disney movie on TV. 

Sunday's have been days of celebrating births.....baptisms........Easter holidays......graduations......visits from friends........reaping the harvest for which we have sewn..... and most importantly for me now than ever before, listening intently to God's word. 

On this last trip back home, I was able to attend church service with my sister and mom in the same church that my hubby and I were married in nearly 16 years ago. The scripture reading for the day came from John 12:20-36. As I looked to find the passage in my Bible, my ears perked when I heard the worship leader say, "Today's timeless word is an 'Agricultural Metaphor', in which Jesus predicts His own death and explains to His disciples in verse 24: I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds."

 I sat in amazement of God's grace and steadfastness when I realized how much he has always made Agricultural an integral part of my life. From as early as being a 4-H'er in Scotts Bluff County; showing market lambs and stocker feeders; participating in livestock judging; majoring in journalism and getting the "Ag Beat" for my J-School newspaper; writing for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Institute of Agricultural & Natural Resources; being hired as an agricultural reporter and photographer my first year out of college; only later to be recruited by a public relations and advertising agency to write for one of the largest fertilizer company's; and now having my own public relations and marketing business to work with those associated with agriculture.

Which, when you drum it down, we ALL are associated with Agriculture. Farmers and ranchers grow and raise food. We, as consumers, eat food for nourishment and sustainability. Pretty simple! 

So, when I have remained faithful and obedient to God's nudging, He has always brought something to do with Agricultural into my life. I look forward to being the New Ag Columnist for the Gering Citizen Newspaper and helping meet the public relations and marketing needs for the upcoming documentary film, the Wheat Harvest Movie.   Looking forward to both adventures and having additional outlets to "agvocate" for our American farmers and ranchers.

I hope you will join me on this journey! Because, as in life, recalling the Agricultural Metaphor of Jesus, when you have a seed and it sits by itself ~ it bears no fruit! We need to work as a community of "seeds" to thrive!

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