Let’s Chat……. Part II

Late last summer I attended the AgChat conference in Austin, TX. The first of October I met fellow bloggers in Kansas City, KS for a face-to-face. This past Friday I attended my first Women In Agricultural Regional Conference in Marshall, MO. What do all of these little outings have in common? (Besides the fact that I travel more than I realize.) They each were a chance to chat with others involved in Agriculture.

I have already shared with you my time in Austin at the AgChat ConferenceWhat I was able to learn there is still resonating with me today.

Farm Moms

My face-to-face with fellow bloggers left me inspired and humbled in the fact that my voice, in many instances, is their voice too. Our backgrounds are completely different, but we share the common thread of being farmers, farmers wives, and mom’s to future farmers. That is enough for us. We are there for one another, even if our main form of communication is texts, emails and FaceBook messages. One weekend surrounded by these strong, opinionated, sweet, funny, spiritual, and determined ladies was a joy. Our time together was short, but we have plans to meet again and I for one hope it is soon!

My third chance to “Chat” with others happened this past Friday at the 2015 Women In Agriculture Regional countrylinked.wordpress.comConference. My attending was a last minute decision and it hinged on if our high school boys basketball team played for third or first in the Class 1A State Tournament. I am happy to report that they played for first, AND WON, thus opening up my Friday and the opportunity to attend. (I owe a lot to these boys. It was through photographing them at home basketball games that I have improved my photography skills. Their skills and talents have lead to my improved skill and talent and I can’t thank them, their coaches and parents enough for letting me capture their talents with my camera.)

The first thing I learned when I walked into the conference is you do not attend these things alone. You bring all of your best farm gal pals and sit together! That being said, a new friend, The Feisty Farm Wife (more about her soon), saved me a seat at her table. I also learned that this was the 12th year for the Women In Agriculture Conference and now that I have attended my first, I do not plan on missing any more.

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Featured speaker at the 2015 Women In Agriculture Regional Conference – Marshall, MO

Jolene Brown was the featured speaker and I was very excited to finally hear her speak! Jolene is funny, witty and full of stories from her own farm as well as stories from those who she has worked with over the years. If you ever have the chance to hear her speak or attend one of her workshops, I highly recommend it. She had two messages for us; the first being, “It’s A Jungle Out There” and we are sometimes dedicated to being stuck. If we are willing to do things like educating everyday, finding humor everywhere and enjoying what we do, then we are on the right track to blazing a trail through that jungle. One of my favorite quotes that I heard her say is: “Row gently down the stream, but do not go it alone” – Jolene Brown.

Her next message was, “If We Huff and Puff, Will We Blow Your House Down?”. She was able to condense a two day workshop into a two and a half hour presentation on becoming a Business First Family. She hit the highlights of course, but in that two and a half hours my wheels were spinning and I was trying to absorb every little thing that she said. She was able to give us not only things to think about, but new tools to make the process of discussing the family business a little easier. “Sometimes You Need More Than a 2X4” – Jolene Brown.

2015 Women In Ag Conference

“What makes us strong also makes us united.”

Throughout the day there were also opportunities to hear additional speakers and network with other women. I do not always “mingle” very well, so I was glad that I reached out to Lorin, aka The Feisty Farm Wife, to see if she would be attending. Not only did she attend, but her mom, her Aunt, her cousin in-law and a close family friend were all in attendance with her. (See! I told you that you are to bring your favorite farm gal pals with you.) Again, it was a joy to be around and have the chance to chat with these ladies who I have much in common with. I could of sat there for hours and listened to their stories about their families and their farms.

If there is something I have learned in these experiences of “Chatting” with others involved in Agriculture, it is this: What makes us strong also makes us united. I will say it again, what makes us strong also makes us united. It is our connection to Agriculture that makes us a small percentage, but it is the strength of this noble industry that unites us. Unites us as women in agriculture. Unites us as virtual sisters. Unites us as agvocates.

The next time you have a chance to chat with others who have the same passions that you do, I hope you take it. I hope you make connections and form relationships that make you stronger. When you do, please share them with me! I would love to hear about it.

Blessings to you,

Laurie – Country Link

Let’s Chat…….

There is a famous line in the movie Steel Magnolias that I will never forget.  Clairee Belcher says, “Well, you know what they say: if you don’t have anything nice to say about anybody, come sit by me!”

Now, I don’t agree with that philosophy, but I do appreciate the fact that she wants to know what is going on.  She wants to “chat”.

I have had two chances now to “chat” with fellow bloggers and agvocates and let me tell you, I wanted them all to come and sit by me!  I wanted to soak up their knowledge and their thoughts.  I wanted to get to know them better and I wanted to make a personal connection, not just a virtual one.  Partly because I was in awe of them and the strong voice that they have, mostly because I am now a mama home most of the day by herself and I really needed some stimulating conversation.  (You try going from having a little shadow all day long to only having the dog, cats and cows to talk too, see how you do.)

In late August I made the trek to Austin, TX all by myself to attend the 2014 Cultivate and Connect AgChat Conference.  Did I mention that I went by myself?  It was all good, no worries, but lets focus for a minute.  I. WENT. BY. MYSELF.  No husband.  No kids.  Nor animals of any kind.  It was me on my own doing something that I really wanted to do.  Man, it felt so good to do something for myself!  Okay, back to the conference.

AgChat hosts an annual conference that brings together agvocates, bloggers, agriculture industry professionals and farmers to talk about being a voice for Agriculture. (That is the simple explanation.  For the whole story, visit AgChat.org.)  How did I hear about AgChat?  My friend Nicole has attended three of the AgChat conferences and tried to talk me into going last year.  Being the mama that I am I said no because it was taking place on the first few days of school for my kids and it was also happening on my daughter’s (Kendall) birthday.  Guess what?  This year it was also during the first few days of school, and I was gone for Kendall’s birthday.  I KNOW! How could I? After some soul-searching, a discussion with my husband and a FaceBook chat with a friend, I signed up in the last hour of the early registration deadline. Let me tell you, once you decided to pay the fee, you are going to do whatever it takes to attend.

AgChat was formed in 2010 and is led by an Executive Director and a board of volunteers.  They really do know how to put on a conference!  The accommodations were wonderful, the speakers inspiring, the food excellent, and the sessions insightful.  The quality of the conference was top-notch and I have attended several conferences in my day. (Okay, not recently, but I have attended many conferences, especially in college and that was not THAT long ago.)  

Fellow attendees have written wonderful blog posts about what they learned and gained from the conference.  Others were on Twitter, FaceBook and Instagram while in attendance and gave the play by-play.  Then there were the few, very few, (okay mainly me) who were in attendance, who were not for sure what they were supposed to do, and waited almost two months to write and reflect on their experience.  What can I say:  I have been busy?  I had writers block?  I was overwhelmed?  Maybe?  Or it could be that I was waiting for the right inspiration and connection to make as to why I attended such a conference.  (Let’s go with the last one.)

Why did I attend AgChat?  To do that, chat.  I attended to chat with others about the industry that I love and have been in my whole life.  I attended to make personal connections with individuals who I have only read their words, not heard their thoughts.  I attended to learn, absorb and take in all that being with fellow bloggers and agvocates has to offer.  I attended to get some AWESOME ag swag.  I attended to get a better understanding of why it is that I am Country Link.

I have told people that I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.  At one time I thought I had things planned out pretty well, but when you are not The One in control, you really can’t plan your life.  So…………………..I take each day at a time and feel very blessed to have a loving husband who lets me be me.  With that he also knows that I struggle at times with being me and finding my place.  Attending AgChat was one way of finding my “place” and chatting with others made me realize that I can be me.  (I really already knew that, but with being there some things finally clicked in my head.)  I can be a voice for Agriculture and the future of farming.  I can connect with others and share my story.  I can be me.  The gal who:  “brings to the group sweetness wrapped in smartness with a splash of humor. She can give you something to smile about, encompass you with her warm hugs, and then talk Ag like any good farm raised girl should. Her love of her children and photography is evident in her daily life!”  That’s me!!!

Stay tuned for part II of Let’s Chat and I will tell you about the second opportunity I had to “chat” with bloggers.

Blessings to you and all of my wonderful blogging/agvocating friends,

Laurie – Country Link

 

 

 

 

COUNTRY FAIR BLOG PARTY #23

Co-Hosts of the Country Fair Blog Parties; Nicole, Laurie, Tysha, Danielle

Welcome to the first BLOG PARTY from Austin, TX!!!  Here are all of your lovely co-hosts!  That is right, I finally got to meet all of the ladies at the 2014 AgChat Conference – Cultivate and Connect.  Nicole, Taysha and Danielle had all ready met, so I was a little behind on getting to know them better, but we made up for lost time and it felt like I have known them for years.  Thank you ladies for playing a big part in making my time at the conference so much fun!  (Stay tuned for future posts about what I learned at AgChat.)

Since we were all together at AgChat, we are extending a special invitation to those who attended to also participate in this week’s Blog Party.  We want your posts!  They can be about AgChat or anything else.  New to a Linkup?  Read to the end of the post and it will tell you how to join in on the FUN!

Now, on to last week’s winners!  Each co-host chose their own Grand Champions this week.

Winners from week #22:  (Click on the champions picture and it will take you to the post.)

county fair ribbon

Kim's Country Line:  Snapshot Kansas:  Sandy Kansas

PHOTOGRAPHY:  Kim’s Country Line

“The three-week Kansas Cattle Drive was in honor of Kansas’ 150th birthday.”

I have been waiting to award a PHOTOGRAPHY ribbon and this post is very much a Grand Champion!

county fair ribbon

2 Kids and Tired Cooks: Brown Sugar Muffins

BAKING:  2 Kids and Tired Cooks

  “This is our favorite Sunday morning muffin recipe.”

Kendall will be a 4-H member this year and plans on taking cooking as one of her projects.  This recipe will be perfect for a young baker!

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Kim's County Line: Kentucky Hot Brown Bake: The Brown HotelFOOD:  Kim’s County Line

“They don’t meet Funeral Sandwiches in our rating system, but I’m sure I’ll make them again.”

I have heard of the The Hot Brown, but have never had one.  Now I can try it!

(Be sure and grab the URL for the button and logo that Kelly from Old Blue Silo designed for us.)

Now, time to join week #23.  Here is how you link up to the Country Fair Blog Party:

Click on the little blue frog at the bottom.

Add the specific post URL from one of your blog posts, not just our blog address.

Add your email address. (No worries!  No spam!)

Select a picture for your thumbnail.  (It helps if you already have your picture cropped with your blog name and post title.)

Click on Done and then share with your friends!

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me

THE LOVELY COUNTRY FAIR CO-HOSTS:

Blessings to you,

Laurie – Country Link