Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Christmas in the Country

Better late then never, but with a good excuse, having a baby counts right?!? I am finally getting around to my link up post from Christmas in the Country. Don't let my tardiness diminish the fun and excitement I had with this experience. A huge Thank you goes out to Jamie and Laurie for setting this all up. Truly was the highlight of the holidays for me!

I love getting packages in the mail, even more fun when they are filled with a surprise!! So when my package arrived on Christmas Eve, I was so giddy my husband was making fun of me! I torn I to the box to find this:
A whole box full of goodies all wrapped up and numbered! Felt like a scavenger hunt in a box, I love stuff like that so I was super excited! Included was a read first note to open the numbers in order!
First up, #1, a Blake Shelton Christmas CD! It immediately went into my cd player in the kitchen and with Blake's smooth voice in the background I proceeded to open!
#2 a bag of local popcorn from a member of my secret country pal's son's 4H club! It is awesome popcorn, great flavor and pop! The whole family has enjoyed it for movie time.
I got a really good laugh out of number three and it couldn't have arrived at a more perfect time. A new cool drink cup for my love of Coffee. In my favorite color too! :-)
Now I'm sure my secret country gifter had no idea, but I have quite the history with fun cool drink cups. It's kind of a running joke between me and my husband. I have a thing for fun drink cups and I also really enjoy a good iced coffee. Especially when I am milking in the summer, our parlor gets super hot and it's nice to have a good drink to help me keep my cool, quite literally. Well I also find it fun to take my cool cups into the parlor cause they make me happy. Well they also seem to make the cows happy.......there's no really good cup holder place in the parlor that accessible for quick walk by sips between putting on milkers. So my cups always end of sitting within cows reach, and the Ladies always want to check out my new cups. A little too enthusiastically, so far I've had 5 cups get broken in the parlor. You'd think I'd learn! This one is so fun it might just have to be my house cup. Sorry Ladies! ;-)
#4 Pumpkin! My sender lives about 15 miles from the Pumpkin Capital of the World, Morton, IL!
#5 was for my love of Photography, a calendar from her Farm Credit Services that host a photography contest every year to be included. It's full of some fantastic and fun agriculture pictures from around Illinois. I have it hanging up in my office already! And am enjoying a snapshot of IL!
#6 a super fun cookbook that was put together by my country Santa for their grade school. Some of the recipes sound great and I can't wait to try them out. I always love finding new favorite dishes!

Boosting my Christmas spirit #7 was a delicious mini-tea ring. I had to try a bite right away, I have a weakness for bread! Yum, it was great! Sharing was optional, but we did dig into it as the whole family was at our house for Christmas morning! It was a great addition to our usual fair of cinnamon rolls and enjoyed by all!

And lastly #8 was a generous offer to put together a farmed collage of photos of one of my favorite cows, Mercedes, that we just lost! Super touching and personal, excited to get some sent off to be put together!

Wow! 8 awesome surprises and I didn't yet know who my country Santa was. A die-hard Jersey girl (I'll forgive her that!) with Illinois dairy in her background: Jenny from TheMagicFarmHouse! Jenny also included a great letter with insight into her country life. I had so much fun receiving Jenny's gift and love all the thought and planning that went into making it personal for me! A huge Thank You to her. Jenny is also the Communications Director at the AgChat Foundation, whose regional conference is being held in my neck of the woods in a week. I had seen the conference earlier and totally forgotten about it, but at Jenny's reminder I signed up and am looking forward to not only meeting her, but also expanding my blogging skills and knowledge! Watch out 2014!!

Christmas in the Country was a super fun event full of great people. Make sure to stop by the link up to read about everyone else's gifts and gifters. My gift traveled to Jamie at This Uncharted Rhoade, besides a set back, I had so much fun gathering hers together as well! Seriously what an awesome group of people! I am thoroughly looking forward to participating next time!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Living the Present

In October I won the ticket lottery to attend a Jack Johnson concert. He is my absolute favorite and I never win anything, so I was beyond ecstatic. Me and three close friends shared the tickets, and embarked on a fun filled night in the big city (I don't get out much!)   After a delicious dinner we arrived just in time for the main act to begin. 
I settled into our seats and as the lights dimmed and Jack Johnsons smooth voice enveloped the auditorium............I was blown away. All across the seats and pretty much every other person was accompanied by a blue screen. Smart phones held high, they were "capturing the moment". Blessed by my rural location, I don't have a smart phone, no carriers have good enough service to justify the cost. I felt like the only person in the whole audience that wasn't virally sharing this awesome experience. For a minute I felt left out, but then I merely felt sad for humanity.
We've replaced immediate human interaction for online worldwide sharing. I think we've made the wrong choice. I thoroughly enjoyed the concert screen free; singing along, taking in the lighting and atmosphere, in the moment. And I vividly remember that night, it is a great memory. 

Everywhere you go it's the same, I'm sure you've seen it too, people on their phones, iPods, tablets; out at dinner, in a movie, at the park; digitally sharing their current experience with the world. Don't get me wrong, I fully enjoy the world of social media, sometimes too much. 
I'm not one for "New Years Resolutions", but this year I am making a conscience decision to live in the moment. It stems from having a newborn and realizing that each moment, every experience, every day is so fleeting. It's here, it's the now, it's the present. A gift to you to take and make it what you will. 

So next time your out to dinner, enjoying a beautiful sunset, watching your kids play. Don't update your status about it, don't pin it, don't Instagram it: Live it! Take it in, take a mental picture and enjoy it!! It'll be gone before you know it. I challenge you to live in the present. 

That age old saying, sleep when your baby sleeps, I found impossible to do today. All I wanted to do was stare at my newborn son. His forehead wrinkled, his eyes fluttered in sweet baby dream land. He slowly opened and closed his fingers, his bed head of dark hair was sticking up at the top of his head. His lips gave off a soft sleepy smile. 

Today was a present and I lived it, did you?