Monday, October 28

I'm thankful.

Corn harvest is hopefully wrapping up this week for the Franklins. We're going on almost a month, thanks to some much needed moisture, and I am giddy with excitement to see it all out of the fields. This year was not necessarily a bumper crop, but given that we are still in a drought, we are thankful and blessed to have the harvest we did. When you rely on Mother Nature for a good part of your livelihood, you see your definition of successes and failures change. Certain events on our farm are controlled by us and we're held accountable for how well the crops perform, based on our preparation and execution. Then there are the events where you give up all control, give it to God and say, "please let it rain. please let it snow. please let it do anything but hail."

So today I'm thankful we have any corn at all. I'm thankful for my husband and in-laws who worked tirelessly to get it all picked. I'm thankful for their safety. I'm thankful for Tim's cousin who came down to help. And I'm sure that everybody's thankful I'm preparing one of their last ham sandwiches with cheese and miracle whip. Amen.

Tuesday, October 22

Back in the saddle. Again.

Nothing like a month-late "National Talk Like a Pirate Day" post to bring someone out of the blog abyss. Nevertheless, I thought my dad's efforts should not go unnoticed- especially since he earned a dozen free donuts from Krispy Kreme.
That's commitment. Something both he and Ben Affleck share.
Good job, Dad. Maybe next year, I'll go with you...

Saturday, May 4

On miscarriage: one year later.

This post has been written and re-written in my head so many times before today. While by far the most personal thing shared on this blog, it is part of our journey- our story and I want it told.

It is now a year ago today that we learned I was pregnant. I had gone for my yearly exam and much to my surprise, had a phone call a couple hours later with the news that would forever change our life. Tim and I had prayed for and loved this child, long before its existence. An ultrasound just a couple days later showed us a 6-week, 4-day-old little Franklin. All seemed well and good throughout the coming weeks, other than an aversion to lots of smells and fruit, which I happily endured. When we went in for an appointment at 13 weeks, all continued to look and sound good (as we thought we’d heard the heartbeat.) First trimester, check. It was only a few days following that appointment that I started spotting. It was confirmed a day later that I had in fact miscarried. And the hard truth was, our baby’s gestational size read 8 weeks, meaning life had been lost 5 weeks prior- only two weeks after learning we were pregnant. Shocking.  And despite the best of intentions, the completion of my miscarriage was not happening on its own. The weekly blood work consistently showed lowering amounts of estrogen levels, but never to zero. And so determined my need for surgery.

The thing about experiencing a miscarriage is there are always milestones to mark the journey. Dates. The day you find out you’re pregnant (May 4); your due date (Dec. 27); the day you learn you have miscarried (June 21); the day of your D&C (July 19). No matter how hard you try, these dates are written on your heart and you can’t forget. And you don’t want to forget, as if forgetting will somehow diminish your loss.

But there’s also a time for healing and moving forward. The thing is, I kept looking toward the next “well, when” and waiting for time to help heal me: Well, when we hit our due date, I can finally start to heal. Well, when I can get through ___________, things will be better. And that’s where God has been teaching me (read: lovingly correcting) lately that while He may use time to heal our wounds, He is the ultimate Healer; and in order for that to happen I have to cling. Cling to Him. Cling to His promise to never leave or forsake me. Cling to Truths that tell me He is always good, always right and always loving. And Beth Moore maybe explains it best to my heart in her Breaking Free study, “Our Bridegroom sometimes leads us to difficult places, but we can trust Him always to have purpose in our stay and never to forsake us. Remember, Christ can’t lead us somewhere He refuses to go.” I know that can be a hard thing to hear, and on some days it still is for me. But I believe it to be true and I cling.

There are surely parts I’d like to forget and feelings I’d be ok to never have to feel again; but I want to remember God’s faithfulness, His provision and the way only He can bring us through.

Wednesday, May 1

No fail fun.

It's now 12 years post-high school and my girlfriends are just as fun, lovely and weird as ever. Simply the best. We spent the weekend together in San Diego celebrating Jessi's wedding, hanging out and for some of us, turning 30. If you gotta turn 30, you might as well do it surrounded my your pals of 20 years. If turning 30 didn't make me feel old, having friends for 20 years does. But I love it. I love it because no one has seen me sillier, stupider, hungrier, weirder, funnier or any other kind of -er. They also keep me humble and grounded and more importantly, encourage my walk with Christ. Many of our friendships began in middle school youth group, and I attribute our faith to be the main reason we still like each other. That and because Rachel scares us. 
You might notice an overt amount of pictures and that is also normal among this group. You can never have too many pictures. When you have two or more of us gathered, the beach and a remote camera timer (or a husband- thanks, Russell) you have an abundance of {mostly} ridiculous shots. I have kept it fairly normal so that you will not be scared away.
Sometimes it takes a few shots to get a good-ish one. I mean, Michaelangelo didn't paint the Sistine Chapel in one day.
Below is from the birthday dinner. My friends indulged my love of italian food and we all managed to find something acceptable...Hillary also did my hair. For some weird reason I had really wanted to braid my hair and since I can't braid for anything, Hill agreed to do something. And. It. Was. Awesome. Here's to turning 30 and having a braid. Bonus points to anyone who can guess what or who Courtney is impersonating above. Anyone?
Here's a closeup. Thanks, Hill, for making me princess for a night!
Cheers to Jessi and Brad (isn't she beautiful)! Cheers to friends! Cheers to turning 30! I am blessed. Viva la BSC!

Monday, April 29

29 + 1 = 30.

Saturday was the first anniversary of my 29th birthday. There were lots of things that made this one extra special, but my mom and dad got things started with a great surprise: 30 gifts and one to grow on! My mom said it started out as a few little gifts; and then she thought it'd be fun to do keep going. I agree. I am overwhelmed by their generosity and love. What a way to make a girl feel special!
I think other than the fact that I will surely be called Ma'am wherever I go and no longer be mistaken for a college student, I am a little sad that I can no longer classify myself as being in my 20s. For instance, take the all-important magazine advice: it's about to get real. Real old.
Thanks to all my family and friends for making this day so great and for sending me some birthday love. I look forward to the next thirty and going to bed early. 

Wednesday, April 24

We bought a planter.

Farmer Tim and I just got baptized into the fire that is farm equipment ownership. We purchased a Case ih 24 row corn planter. Here it is in all its 60 feet of glory. Friends, don't you want to come visit?
Under normal weather conditions, Tim would tell you he likes to start planting corn around April 25th. Given the more recent ahem snow events, that date will likely be pushed back a few days. No matter the start date I know he's dying to take Big Bertha for a spin (or two, or three, or four...).  
This was early Tuesday morning and also what 9" of snow looks like on April 23. It's melting fast, but it's still a major player in the aforementioned delay. I'm secretly glad about it because despite his best efforts to think otherwise, I like having my farmer around. But don't tell him.
Other than the fact that's it's really huge (that's what she said) and he can cover a lot of ground really fast, my favorite thing about the planter is the camera he had installed on the back. This way, he can see what or who is behind him when he's driving down the road between fields- all from the monitor in the cab! We're high tech. No seriously, Tim has GPS in the tractor so all he has to do is press a button and it drives itself; he only has to turn the tractor at the end of the row to get it started on its next line. Seriously. If you don't believe me, ask Barry. He not only geeks out at technology but he also came to visit and we force fed gave him all this information. We love you, Barry (and Paige and Carter).
If I've said it once, I'll say it again. And probably again and again, but we'd love for you to visit. Come see what farm life is like and watch Tim work. Or at least you can watch the tractor work while Tim plays games on his phone. I'm kidding because that would be dangerous. Yes, I love technology, but not as much as you, you see. Always and forever.

Tuesday, April 23

#laterblog #puertorico

While I'm on a #laterblog roll, I should probably mention that Tim and I went to Puerto Rico back in February. Maybe it's because I'm a little sad about all this April snow, and maybe it's because I miss my friend and I want to vicariously live through my pictures; whatever my reason, here's a peek at our trip. Who wants to go back with me?

We met up with Buffalo friends, Nicole and Todd, for a winter break rendezvous. It was an 85 degree, hair enlarging humidity, conversation-filled, does-your-heart-a-lot-of-good kind of week.
We were far from family during our time in Buffalo and Nicole's family treated us as their own, and were kind enough to include us at holidays and family birthday parties. A home away from home- we were blessed.
This trip had no real agenda, which was a little hard for this Type A trip planner; but it was easy to relax once we got there. Just look at that first picture- how can you not? We rented a car an absolute necessity, visited the rain forest, walked through Old San Juan, kayaked in the dark to see fluorescent organisms ah-mazing and laid by the pool. Before you all get in an uproar about my being in the sun, we did rent a cabana so as not to scorch by pale exterior. Me and my buddy, Jim Gaffigan. Also I wore a hat. And sunscreen (I think we sprayed through three bottles).
My advice after going to Puerto Rico: take heed if the proprietor of an eating establishment offers you homemade moonshine. That is all.

Monday, April 22

Better late than never.

This one time I went to Washington DC and it felt like yesterday but it was really over a month ago already. Whoops. Time flies when you're not blogging. I alluded in an earlier post that I would eventually get to posting about our kind-of-annual trip to DC. We went last year and as you might have guessed we went again this year. I think that's what annual means. The primary purpose of the trip is to reward county Farm Bureau presidents in Kansas for their service. Farmer Tim is still the Sherman Co. President, so they continue to let us intrude tagalong attend a week-ish long trip where we get to tour around, do a little lobbying and learn some stuff about issues affecting agriculture. But we also get to do fun stuff like visit family and friends. Win-win.

As was the case last year, the Farm Bill is still elusive as ever but a hot topic, nonetheless. The Sequester is of course a concern to farmers as it will likely result in major cuts to programs, affecting the way we do business. We did a lot of listening, which was good, but also frustrating because you see so much dysfunction (on both sides of the aisle) and you almost feel helpless. But I suppose our being there at least says something about our caring- or at least I'd like to think it does anyway. And since this post is so belated, I'll end this with a picture trip-in-review.

Sunday, April 21

Where I live.

It might be flat and brown, but Northwest Kansas sure is pretty. #lookatthoseclouds #blueskies #justrainalready

Friday, April 5

Strike while the iron's hot.

Some things I just can't make up. If you follow the blog, I proudly posted that after two years of living in Goodland, we had finally won the free movie tickets. I'd like to think it happened again because we're the most popular people in Goodland. Or because we're the best patrons of the movie theater and newspaper. Or because Tim's winked at all the right people. Or perhaps it's because Tim is secretly scheming to make all my wildest dreams come true in time for my 30th birthday. Whatever the happenstance, it's awesome. And also they probably forgot to switch out Tim's name with the new winner. But out of the whole ordeal we have received TWO BOXES OF GIRL SCOUT COOKIES, which we got when we renewed our paper subscription, and why we were probably drawn for the free tickets in the first place; and now FOUR, 3D MOVIE TICKETS. When did my life get so exciting and when did Tim's head get so huge. Someone come talk him down.
For those of you wondering about The Croods: don't go. I mean, it wasn't terrible, but it wasn't good.

Wednesday, April 3

Fridge of pics.

There are two different kinds of people in this world: people who have pretty Christmas trees and people who have family Christmas trees (aka: homemade and/or mis-matchy ornaments). There are also people who use their refrigerators to store food and people who use them to display pictures and magnets. I fall into the latter of both categories. I come by it honestly, as my family read: my dad collected magnets from places we traveled. I figure I could have picked up much worse tendencies, (albeit maybe not as tacky) but I just can't resist a good magnet. I have even taken it a step further from childhood, and strategically place pictures of family and friends throughout under the magnets. So every year, I take an array of Christmas cards, birth announcements, school pictures, etc. and decorate. It's an acquired taste, I'm guessing, based on visitors' comments and stares; but I love it. It was a daily reminder of family and friends when Tim and I lived far from home in Iowa and New York, and it continues to brighten my days. So thank you to those who support my habit and continue to send me pictures. And if you want your 15 minutes you'll get it at our house!

Tuesday, April 2

Winner winner.

Although I know nothing about The Croods movie, it appears I'm fixin' to since Farmer Tim won us some tickets. Woot woot. Guess this means we'll be going tomorrow night...Thanks, Goodland Star News and The Sherman Co. Theatre!

Friday, March 29

Lucky 100.

I thought for my 100th blog post I should do something special. And I guess it is special in its own way, in that you can once again see how I've paid my way to greatness.
I wish you a great weekend; and may the state of Kansas' journey through the tourney not end tonight or tomorrow. In other words, go Shockers and Jayhawks!

Thursday, March 28

Can I get a whoop whoop? (whoop whoop)!

I've been traveling a lot this past month, and have therefore been tired, so the blog has been neglected. And since I'm tired of Tim telling me he's tired of looking at olives from Subway, I am providing some new material. I'm also seeing a tired theme emerge from this blog post; oh the days of grad school and looking for emerging themes. But I digress. Because I'm tired.

This random picture is brought to you by the hotel we stayed at during our trip to DC with the Kansas Farm Bureau earlier this month. I will get around to a post (or two) on that, but for today I leave you with this whoop of a picture.

Monday, March 11

Tuesday, February 26

San Diego part 4: random

Last one- promise. But I thank you for indulging me, all in the name of posterity.

Friday, February 22

But they go with everything.

Once upon a time, it was the year 2008, and I happened upon an innocent pair of ballet flats. They were slightly over budget, but they were perfect for the dress I was wearing to Tim's brother's wedding in Hawaii. Little did I know that those flats would ruin me. Not only did they go with EVERYTHING I ever wore, they were comfortable (magic to Tim's ears) and I wore them ALL. THE. TIME. And in spite of the huge holes I couldn't bear to throw them away, because after much searching I hadn't found a replacement...
...until enter my 29th birthday my sweet Mom found these chevron gems at T.J. Maxx. She's so thoughtful. As is evidenced by the picture below, they've been well worn and loved, but are still in decent shape... suffice it to say, I was shocked (read: ecstatic) when I opened these up from my Mom at Christmas!!! I have yet to wear them but much like the first pair, I feel they will go with everything. Thanks, Mom, for keeping my multicolored shoe dream alive. I really do appreciate it!
Have you ever had an irreplaceable pair of shoes? 

San Diego Part 3: Midway & harbor cruise

The harbor cruise was kind of hilarious. It toured the south end of the harbor, and we got a very detailed account of all the navy ships. The guide was so enthralled with his monologue that he gave us the bit twice. It was funny. So funny, in fact, that my in-laws think they have found their post-farm calling. 

Go till you get stuck.

We resurrected the Beast from the East today because of the copious amounts of snow we received from Storm Q.
Farmer Tim and I blazed a trail out to the farm this morning to help out Gerry and Linda with their waist-high drifts.
And being 29 years old doesn't preclude you from wanting to jump in the snow. I. couldn't. help. myself. It's not pretty, but it was fun!
And since it's the first winter with the side by side, we thought a proper initiation was in order. Our order from Gerry was to go till we got stuck. And get stuck we did- silly boys and their toys.
I hope your day is warm, and you aren't afraid to fall in the snow or go till you get stuck. Happy Friday!

Wednesday, February 20

San Diego part 2: zoo & sea world

With 11 people it's hard to do anything or go anywhere very fast. Therefore, my suggestion to anyone in a similar situation is to take the things you want to do, and cut it in half; and that should get you to a more realistic plan of action. This is not me complaining, we were plenty busy. I just think you should know that there is so much to do in San Diego that you will want to prioritize the things you'd like to do and see.  
We walked so much that at one point I thought it possible for my legs to fall off. Thankfully, the zoo had a 40 minute bus tour that I was happy to ride, as well as a Skyfari (see above) that hoisted you high in the air and took you from the front to the back of the zoo in mere minutes. Not long enough, if you ask me. So in the name of "zoo orientation" I happily rested my bones. And since our tour was full of animals (as you'd expect) the only exhibit that required any real effort to go see was the panda. And let me tell you, it's cute. Unfortunately I can't tell you its name, if it was a male or female, how old or big it is, how many other pandas live at the zoo...basically, I can tell you nothing. I was too busy vying for a spot to snap this picture. Did I mention how cute it is?
Sadly I did not get in my normal amount of people watching as I would have liked, but the upside of my predicament is that I was a full-on Sea World participant. No sitting on park benches for me. I'm not sure, but I think my last time at Sea World was during my middle school years and in San Antonio. My favorite memory from that experience was going to the Shamu show. Can you honestly tell me you didn't want to be Jesse from Free Willy, and have a healthy obsession about being an orca trainer after seeing that movie? Oh, that was just me? Ok. Well anyway, I was excited to see shamu and all 11 of us showed up 30-ish minutes early to grab a seat in the shade and away from the splash zone. We knew the show was going to be a little different because a baby orca had just been born two days before our arrival and it would focus primarily on its birth. But what we didn't anticipate was a short show with no tricks. It was a bummer, to say the least, and just like that it was over in 15 minutes.
My mom dusted off this relic, circa 1993, at said San Antonio Sea World. I'm thankful that baseball style shirts and white shorts are so 20 years ago....

Annnnnnnd, it's currently snowing! I hope it snows and snows and snows because our crops are so dry. Thirsty thirsty thirsty.

Tuesday, February 19

Sand Diego part 1: food

The entire Franklin crew assembled in sunny San Diego for a few days o' fun! And I'm going to start this blog trip tour the only way I know how: FOOD.  
Clockwise from the top left:
1. Farmer Tim and me outside Cafe 222, featured on Food Network's Best Thing I Ever Ate. 
2. The peanut butter & banana stuff french toast I ordered from Cafe 222. So gooey, so good.
3. Another yummy breakfast eatery.
4. The berry delicious french toast I ordered from Richard Walker's. 
Clockwise from the top left:
1. Fish taco with delicious ingredients, but was seriously lacking some kind of sauce. Or something.
2. My cute nephew, Keller, says eating is hard work.
3. Fish tacos with plenty of sauce. And heat. I think my nose is still running.
4. No explanation needed, really.
Clockwise from the top left:
1. Glamour shot with the heavenlies shining on Tim.
2. Really yummy pizza joint. We had to come back for lunch instead because the dinner wait was 1.5 hours and that just isn't gonna happen with 3 kids under 5. Or with 8 hungry adults for that matter.
3. Heartbreaker.
4. My nephew, Joshua, with his beloved Papa.

And on that tasty note, I'll leave you wanting more San Diego fun from the Franklins. Woot woot.

Wednesday, February 13

AFBF YF&R leadership conference.

I mentioned the other day how we were appointed to the STATE YF&R committee; and this past week, we spent time in Phoenix at the NATIONAL YF&R leadership conference. I will now give you a mostly pictorial account of how it all went down.

Thanks to these floral pants, fanny pack and water bottle our trip got off to a great start.
Things were made even better when our shuttle pulled up to the biggest and most swanky hotel I've ever had the pleasure of staying. Our room was just off the lobby (which was nice since this place was seriously SO HUGE) and had a great view of the pools, grassy knoll, restaurants/patio and the mountains. If you are my Facebook friend, then you already have seen most of these pictures because I thought the Arizona sunsets G.O.R.G.E.O.U.S.
The purpose of these kinds of conferences are twofold, in my opinion. We are there to actually learn and in doing so, get to hear some pretty amazing speakers. But then we also get to network and hobnob with people across the country we might not otherwise ever have the pleasure of meeting. Warning: I'm about to get (more) geeky. It's especially interesting because you can hear about what crops other people grow- we met a lot of people from the south who make it so no one has to see me walk around naked, thanks to their cotton production. You can also ask your new friend from California what it's really like to work in a bankrupt state or if they've ever heard of deodorant. In all seriousness, it is a unique opportunity to meet some great people and learn about issues relevant to farming that often directly affect our livelihood.
We also toured the JW Marriott grounds.
And we even made it off-property to tour three different local agricultural businesses. There were a few different tour groups, and ours included a vegetable farm, olive oil mill and a citrus farm. Because of this mythical moisture called rain, we were unable to tour around the vegetable farm; but we were able to watch them prepare a pallet of broccoli for shipment, which included packing it with ice. Crazy.
The olive mill was cool, and never before have I seen so many things I love in one place. Their retail shop featured gelato, coffee, cupcakes and wine among the many varieties of olive oil and balsamic vinegars. Mmmmmm. This facility grows and processes the olives, but they send their product off for bottling.
And finally, a mom n' pop citrus farm named Orange Patch that relies solely on word of mouth for their business. I can't even show you a website. I do have pictures, and once you do, you will probably wish they had a website. They grow mostly oranges, navels, grapefruits and sweet corn.
I should mention we were there with with some awesome fellow committee members. I enjoyed getting to know them better and am really excited about what's in store this coming year! Tim also learned about a new game he now likes to play called Fart Football, thanks to someone who shall remain nameless. {ahem, Jim} And with that, I will conclude my recap of our time in Phoenix. The end.