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My Generation

A Late-January List of Semi-Related Thoughts

Pork, resolutions, rain and books. What's on your list?

When in doubt, make a list. Right?

1.    I got to spend an evening last week with the Knox County Pork Producers, who were kind enough to invite me to speak at their annual meeting. If, like me, you wonder how many pork producers there could be in Knox County, it turns out there are a lot. I had no idea. Many, but not all, contract with The Maschoffs. Our table had some great conversations about the recent "useless ag degrees" story. We were also fortunate to have the procurement director for Farmland Foods at Monmouth at our table. Suffice to say, I learned a lot about pork processing. He says they're processing 11,000 hogs there every day. That's a lot. We also ate some delicious and unbelievably thick pork chops. And none of us thought that juxtaposition was odd. Pass the salt, please.

2.    And speaking of Knox County, Emily Webel and I have been invited to share the Illinois Farm Families story with their annual Farm Bureau meeting this coming weekend. We did a similar presentation earlier this past fall, and as her dad, Ted Mottaz says, we're getting the band back together. You can see where Emily gets her fun. I'm looking forward to it. Maybe a little too much.

3.    I know it's the end of January and most people have already made (and maybe forgotten!) their resolutions by now. I'm just settling into mine. I'm a rebel like that. In general I have two: A) meet deadlines. B) get healthy.

The deadline thing is pretty self explanatory. The deadlines. They overwhelm. And as you can see, this has been super-effective so far since I didn't get my resolutions made until the end of January.

On to the healthy thing. It's something I've struggled with for a long time. Mostly, it boils down to the fact that I don't really like to exercise. Like a lot of farm kids, I grew up working hard, physically, every day. That was my exercise. I was perplexed when my girlfriends would meet up in town to "go walking" together in the evening. By that point in the day, I'd already walked miles of pasture, checked cows, found the short in the fence and hauled a lot of feed. (Also, Dad didn't believe in ATVs. Back then.) Who needed exercise? It was a good theory until I became a mother of three small kids who can't necessarily sneak out to do that stuff. And I have a part-time desk job. I'll add that lifting a camera isn't necessarily considered an aerobic workout. It was a wake-up call last fall when I was playing egg-tag with some of our youth group kids and thought I might actually have a heart attack from THE RUNNING. And that I would die, right there in Mark and Sue Wolford's front yard and these high school boys would just trip right over my lifeless body. And break eggs on my back. That would be bad.

So it's time to get over myself and find a way to fit exercise into my daily routine. Step 1: use the elliptical which my husband put together using the only-in-Spanish instructions that were included. After that kind of effort, I feel like I owe it to him to use it and use it often. I've also been inspired by my friend and co-blogger, Andy Vance. Andy got serious a couple years ago and has dropped some serious weight, while learning a lot about food and nutrition. My prayer: to desire to be healthy…more than I desire dessert. Or mashed potatoes. Or rolls. Or butter.

4.    2012 is also to be the year of The Book. I have tossed a book idea about in my head for a long time: the life and times of a young Illinois farm family, based on my columns and blogs. Now, the University of Illinois Press actually wants to publish it, God bless their hearts. And now, all I have to do is write it. Simple, right? Although I feel even more committed having put this in writing. Or maybe I should just be committed. Either way, there's going to be a book.

5.    Speaking of large projects, have you heard of choosing a "Word of the Year"? The idea is simple: choose a word that reflects what you want the coming year to be about, or what you want to strive for in the coming year. So my word, referring back to points three and four, is persevere. I need to persevere. I've had 2 Peter 1: 5-8 taped up in the bathroom for a few months; perseverance needs to become real in my life.

6.    It's rainy here. I'm in southern Illinois, visiting my parents in between photo shoots. And it's raining. Blah. But I suppose it could be worse if, say, the temperature dropped 10 degrees. And while there are parts of the state that would enjoy a good rain, this is not one of them.

7.    This is all I have. Have a good weekend! May we all persevere!


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