Thanksgiving is a time families gather, eat turkey, get stuffed, and watch football. If you let the holiday go without counting blessings, however, you miss a real opportunity to give yourself a lift and help you get a new perspective on life.
Here are 10 things I'm thankful for. Your list will be different. You're a winner if you take time to list 10 reasons you're thankful this holiday season.
Ten. A good crop year. I don't raise one grain of corn, I just write about it. But it was much more pleasant to cover corn and soybean production and talk to farmers when there was a crop to harvest this year.
Nine. Soil health movement. I believe in soil conservation. It's neat to see Indiana be a national leader on soil health. This is about more than just raising cover crops – it's about realizing that the soil is alive, and needs to be cared for to return good production in kind.
Eight. A successful Farm Progress Show. I hope you had a chance to attend the large show in Decatur, Ill., this year. I once worked traffic and later managed traffic at those shows. Now I get to find new products and lead the new product team. You're seeing those new products now in the magazine. Whenever the show is over and I survived another year, it's always a good show. This one was especially productive. Our team found 200 new products for the second year in a row!
Seven. Supreme ram. Our daughter, Kayla, topped off her 4-H career by winning supreme ram at our county fair with a ram lamb we raised ourselves. Of course, life isn't always a bowl of cherries. It turns out he didn't pass muster on important tests, and we couldn't keep him. But raising a good-looking animal was still fun.
Six. Soil judging in Oklahoma. I love to coach high school soil judging. For the second time in 10 years, I got to go with our team to Oklahoma last May. The team tied for 10th out of 110 teams. Of course, I still didn't find the bowl of cherries. The day of the contest was the windiest, coldest, most brutal day anyone ever tried to judge soil! And the motel was notorious – not legendary. Notoriously bad!
Five. Empty nest. Our youngest graduated high school. I was especially thankful because she battled health problems for over three years, and is finally healthy as can be. She enjoyed her graduation. Mom and I finally have all four off and graduated. Of course, one flew back, grandchildren in tow, so the next still isn't empty – yet!
Four. A doctor in the family. Our oldest completed five years in a strenuous PhD program in Food Science and graduated from the University of Georgia in August. She now works full-time for Coca-Cola in Atlanta. It's great to see one of your own succeed!
Three. Son gets a job. Our son Daniel is a senior at Purdue University in Agronomy. He has already accepted a job with Beck's Hybrids for next May after he graduates. It's a good feeling to know your kids are getting jobs, and maybe the nest will be truly empty one of these days!
Two. Good health. A recent illness taught me once again that if you don't have good health, you don't have anything. It also helped me realign my priorities.
One. God and family. What could possibly matter more? In the end it's not how many bushels of corn you raised per acre people will remember. Your family will remember how you served your Lord and loved them.