We talk often about growing. Growing taller. Growing older. Growing wiser. Growing hair. Growing children. Growing relationships. Growing plants. Growing one’s mind. Growing hearts. Growing faith. Most of these happen a little at a time, unnoticeable to the human eye. Some take intentionality: children, relationships, plants, the mind. In our line of work (farming) we are restricted by the seasons when it comes to growing food. However, we are intentional with all seasons, attempting to make the most of the time God gives us. So what do Midwest farmers do in the dead of winter? We keep growing. What?!? No, not crops or vegetables. We make the time to grow in our communities, to grow our relationships, to grow our network, to grow our minds. Our family has taken a few opportunities to grow together, to grow our network and to grow our minds over the past few weeks. Because we are homeschooling, these are things we are doing together, learning and growing as a family.
At the end of January we attended the NSAS (Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society) conference in Nebraska City at the beautifully restored Lied Lodge. There were workshops and talks available for all ages and areas of farming, and our children were even able to attend the children’s program where they went on tree/shrub identification walks, learned how to make lip balm with plant-based essential oils, painted pots and seeded chia and pea shoots…and this is just a snippet of the fun they had! Jonathan and I took a variety of courses on topics including marketing, landscaping with perennials, seed saving, and native trees. I think the most exciting thing about the weekend was that Jonathan was one of the presenters! His talk on ‘Pattern Literacy’ created quite the buzz and was enthusiastically received by his audience. One lady even told us that his class was “Fascinating!” Talk about growth in confidence! The NSAS conference is one we continue to laugh and share about…our family definitely grew in our relationships with our farming community and in our relationships with each other.
Speaking of family, we were also able to take a wonderful break from the Nebraska cold and escape to Hawaii for a week! My dad took us (along with my brother, Paul) to the Disney resort on Oahu for a week of R&R. We definitely enjoyed our family time with them, relaxing and playing in the sun. Again, we took advantage of this season to get away and enjoy family time with those we don’t often get to see. Mahalo, Dad, for a wonderful trip!
This past weekend we journeyed north to LaCrosse, Wisconsin, for our first time attending the annual MOSES (Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service) conference. Again, it was another time set aside for growing our network and minds in different areas through a variety of classes and workshops. We enjoyed furthering our education and, again, had a great time with our kids! It was also a time where our family's hearts grew together as it seemed we all took turns caring for each other through bad colds and coughs Although we were all sick throughout the weekend, in a strange way it sort of bonded us even more!
We encourage each of you to keep growing, no matter what season of life you're in. We were not made to stay static and sedentary...God created us with bodies and minds that are constantly changing and growing. Make sure to tend your mind and heart as well! You are always welcome to come and grow with us through our variety of talks, workshops and courses offered through the season. Or just come over for a bowl of soup and some good conversation around the table. Whatever you choose to do, keep growing :)