Angels o’er the plains

Angels we have heard on high

Sweetly singing o’er the plains

And the mountains in reply

Echoing their joyous strains

Gloria in excelsis Deo

Gloria in excelsis Deo

Come to Bethlehem and see

Christ whose birth the angels sing

Come adore on bended knee

Christ the Lord the newborn King

To me, nothing spreads the spirit of Christmas more than Christmas music. There’s something about the combination of the familiar words and the comforting melodies that makes me slow down and reflect on the purpose of this glorious season.

But if truth be known, I’m really not all that choosy about my Christmas music, either. There’s a time and a place for “Joy to the World,” the same as there is for “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer.” After all, who doesn’t have funny stories about that crazy relative who painted the fingernails of her praying hands figurine fire engine red? Hypothetically speaking, of course. <Read more>

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Why we live here

I wrote a column recently about the beauty that is the country.

I see the most beautiful sunsets, an abundance of wildlife and sometimes it is just downright beautiful.

Case in point:
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Just one of the many reasons why we live here.

Day 2: Thankful for farmers

Day 2 to be thankful

Click here to view the entire series.

Day 1: Thankful for farmers

Farmers and ranchers and the entire agriculture industry often go unnoticed. They simply go about their work, raising food for the world while the world eats. But during the month of Thanksgiving, High Plains Journal wants to remind consumers to be thankful for those who put food on their tables each and every day of the year. This month, I’ll be sharing the series with you, in hopes that you will say a little prayer of thanksgiving for the farmers and ranchers of the world.

Day 1 to be thankful

Click here to view the entire series.

Today is unusual

One of the first things I do every day, is look at my calendar for the day. Ok. I don’t always do that and sometimes I miss appointments. Like last night when I should have taken my oldest son to a meeting. I forgot.

That was until my phone beeped at me 15 minutes before it was to start and by then, it was way past time to be able to get there before the meeting was over. I’ve recently switched to an electronic calendar that I can sync with my phone. It is supposed to keep me from making those mistakes, but hey. Nobody’s perfect.

Back to the point. This morning, this is what my calendar looked like.

And this is what my afternoon and evening looks like.

I intend for this to be glorious. I am checking things off my “To-Do” list right and left. Hence, a new blog post.

And if you are my friend and know that I’ve forgotten to put something on here, just don’t burst my bubble. Let me enjoy it. Please?

Getting the word out

Ever have a moment when you are ridiculously proud of a kid (or group of kids) that aren’t your own? Yeah, me too.

One of those moments happened last week when I saw this video. I wrote about their family here when my son stayed with them for a livestock judging camp. They are good people. The whole family. Those same kids, their friends, teachers, family and community are a part of this video. I’m writing about them in my column this week. It’s become a huge deal.

So big that while I was on the phone with the teachers who spear-headed this project, 20/20 called. Yes, THAT 20/20. And then ABC. And this was just after two segments appeared on the morning programs of NBC and CBS. It’s getting crazy.

The best part? The teachers told me as they finished their video they joked about it becoming as big as the Peterson brothers hit, “Farming and I Grow It.” “We looked at each other, laughed and hit ‘upload,’” one of them said. And now they are at a quarter-million hits.

The thing that makes me so proud? Is this group of rural kids and teachers are a class act. They speak with passion and conviction. They are good communicators. They didn’t just complain about something they thought was wrong. They stood up and did something about it.

My (un)organized work life

Last week I spent the entire week in the office. The. Entire. Week.

No work trips. No day meetings across the state. AND no hours-on-end meetings.

It was blissful.

But the problem with weeks like that? You realize all of the things you have neglected as you ran around and did the things that must be done.

One task that has been sorely neglected is backing up my computer. I have good intentions. (See note hanging above my desk.)

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But when I go to back up my files, I don’t have any way of knowing which files I have updated and which ones I haven’t. Consequently, it is just one huge backup folder that keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger. And it keeps taking longer and longer to back up because every single file has to be re-written.

So I’ve decided to reorganize my entire computer into files divided by year. Always before I had a folder called “columns” with subfolders of “2012,” “2011” and so on. Now, I’ll have a folder called “2012” with a subfolder called “columns.”

Now, I know to some of you who organization comes naturally this seems like the most obvious fix there ever was. To the organization-challenged (that would be me), it took me a while.

I’ve made one last huge dump onto the server of my last system. And from now on, I can simply replace the 2012 folder at the first of every month, house the old stuff on the server and live happily every after.

Right.

I’ve thrown a lot of files into the trash. See below.

And that’s just to “A.” But I have yet to say “Empty trash.”

Why? No idea. I just might need that mailing label from 1998, you know. Geez.

If they ever have a Hoarders episode for computer files, sign me up.

Ag politics junkies unite

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So if you care nothing about politics, you should probably just go ahead and quit reading right now. It’s not that I don’t love you, it’s just that you’ll get bored and that’s not my goal here at The Country Chick.

If, however, you get the least bit fired up over what happens in Washington, then this post is for you. Especially if you are also are an aggie. The last few days have been sensation overload for ag policy nuts. The Senate is debating the farm bill. High Plains Journal’s farm policy editor Larry Dreiling may need a new eyeglass prescription after the last couple of days. He’s been glued to C-SPAN watching the farm bill debate unfold on the Senate floor. Amendments are flying. Votes are happening. These are the days that farm policy gurus live for.

Now, I’ll just come right out and say studying farm policy doesn’t make my heart flutter. But when you see it first-hand? That’s a whole new ballgame. You may remember that I was fortunate enough to see my very own Senator Pat Roberts, along with Senator Debbie Stabenow introduce the bill to the Senate floor. I was there – sitting in the gallery, looking down, watching arguably the most important piece of legislation for the agriculture industry for the next several years be introduced. It was pretty cool. And I’m just enough of an ag policy junkie to get a pretty big kick out of it. I wrote about it again for my High Plains Journal column, because as I realized – more than watching the process, it’s important to be a part of the process.

In the halls of Congress

Here I am in Dodge City, Kan. I sit at my desk, putting together words into a column about agriculture issues. But exactly one week ago I was about 1,400 miles to the east in a city where they, too, were discussing agriculture issues–Washington, D.C.

I was in Washington as a part of National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s Young Cattlemen’s Conference. This same morning a week ago, nearly 60 cattlemen from all across the country were fanning out making congressional visits to their various elected officials. There were boots and cowboy hats in nearly every hall of the House and Senate office buildings.

Two fellow Kansans and I had appointments with our Senators and Representative. Our first appointment was with Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS). As luck would have it, Sen. Roberts had something very important to do just a few minutes after he shook our hands: He and Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) introduced the farm bill to the Senate floor. And we were there, literally, sitting in the gallery. Roberts’ staff member asked us if we would like to watch. Watch the major farm policy legislation for the next several years introduced into the Senate? Sign me up.

As we sat there, the importance of those “boots on the Hill” hit me.  <more>