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Heger Family Farms

Honoring the Past, Working Today, Preparing for the Future

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Faith

Autism: Through the Window

Emotions run high and often the question of “why?” enters the mind. The world of Autism is fascinating, it is frustrating, it is filled with promise!

autismBeing a parent of a child who seemed to be a typical child for the first 18-24 months, it was heart breaking when “little quirks” began to appear.  My child was content to do things or watch the same program for hours, he enjoyed being around adults, toe walked, was a VERY picky eater, black and white concrete thinker, easily overwhelmed and would melt down- crying, screaming and striking out. He was also extremely anxious. Amazingly even with all these struggles he still smiled, asked questions and woke each morning looking forward to the day.  I longed to hold my child, rock and enjoy his company instead of hold him for his own safety. I often told myself, “If I could just peek inside, see through the window”, maybe I would be able to understand and be a better parent.

I was a special education teacher and yet it wasn’t for many years that I understood what all was going on. Through the years we sought support: OT, PT, communication therapy, counseling and pharmaceutical interventions. I read a lot and observed. As the years progressed and with the help and support of amazing OT’s, PT’s, SLP’s and teachers we have made it to the final years of high school. I would have never imaged, but always hoped that we would get to this point. Truly today my child’s anxiety is manageable, eating habits improved, he has the ability to know his own needs and share them, think and function with less rigidity, and participate in “regular” activities with his peers and adults. I now cry for very different reasons. I am no longer scared for what the future holds- I am hopeful. I am not sad for what we have gone through- I have grown in understanding and compassion. I cry because my family and those around us have been blessed. It really is about deciding whether the cup is half full or half empty.

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We’ll Get By (The Autism Song) Johnny Orr Band

Check out this amazing song and music video:                                                                       https://youtu.be/cBOSr7JK8OA?list=PL075BE3078E117E4C

As a parent of a child on the Autism Spectrum, I tell you keep the faith, be patient, do what is right for your child and family, and know that even when you feel there is no one else struggling like you are, that you truly are not alone! It is no a race to the end, but a journey. Love unconditionally and help them build and live THEIR dreams. The future is bright, the sunshine just may come from a little different direction than we expected!

Autism is not curable, it’s what I call curbable, moldable, shapable. A person will always have tendencies, it is part of who they are, but can learn to adapt their needs and understand the world around them.

“Everyone has a mountain to climb and autism has not been my mountain, it has been my opportunity for victory.” – Dani Bowman

The Christmas Card Fiasco

So it is that time of year. The time of year that Christmas cards need to be addressed and I need to decide whether or not to write a letter to accompany it. I have to think about who  is going to get cards and who is not. Who has our family fallen out of touch with or, quite honestly, who can I skip if I run short. The trick is identifying that forgiving friend that is ok with a texted picture of the card and those who won’t even know they didn’t receive one.screen-shot-2016-12-09-at-9-30-28-pm

But the letter…that is the hardest part. With seven of us in the house I have to be fairly concise. I take a bit of time to reflect on the past year and feel like we haven’t done anything “out of the ordinary”. I pause to think about what others would want to hear and some of the things my kids and family have done. Finding the balance between sharing and bragging can be hard. Having a letter that doesn’t sounds like we live in a constant chaos and have too many different schedules is hard too. And heaven forbid I even consider saying something like, “As 2016 wraps up and 2017 kicks off, we couldn’t be happier that there will be able people required to go back to work, fossil fuels will regain vitality- drill and mine baby, drill and mine, and we are thrilled to know taxes will become more equitable and US companies will be returning to the US in order to make America great again.”  Who wants to hear about politics in a Christmas letter?!

I deeply believe that Christmas cards and letters should be filled with uplifting light-hearted highlights, stories and experiences – not politics or a written temper-tantrum and pout session.

As I await for my cards to arrive, with an unknown delivery status due to 2 weeks of crazy winter weather here in North Dakota, I sit down to write the letter that I have decided I need to write. But, as my fingers tap on the computer keys I will keep these 5 rules in mind:

  1. Keep Christ in Christmas and focus on our blessings!
  2. Share something school and extra-curricular related for each child!
  3. Share one family highlight!
  4. Keep it short and sweet!
  5. No politics!

So I ask that as you sit down to design cards or write letters think about what you really want to share and what is the most important, what sustains you from minute to minute, day to day and week to week. Keep some guidelines in mind and have some fun!

Merry Christmas to all (and because I don’t have cards to stuff and computer is about to run out of battery) to all a good night!

 

The Day I Cast My Vote

So I filled in some bubbles, folded it according to the pre-creased lines, placed it in two envelopes and signed the back of my absentee ballot. This was the day I cast my vote.

Was it easy? The bubble filling was, but my decisions came with a lot of thought. The toughest bubble to color- President. I had a few thoughts cross my mind….Do I pick a candidate that is not a “R” or “D”? Do I not fill in a bubble at all? Do I align myself based on the party I identify with primarily? Hmmmm. Lots to consider.

Media has taken both major candidates and highlighted all their social nuances and ill doings. Both Trump and Clinton have been nasty to each other. People have blasted social media with their favorite parodies and personal feelings. Candidates have avoided answering questions and when they do answer share just enough. So, how does a person decide who to vote for when both act like they are auditioning for a new or a revisited 2017 sitcom? Well, I had to step back and look at issues and topics important to me…

Taxes, immigration, abortion, trade, economy.

fullsizerender-15Ok, those are the big ticket items and yes, I did not mention agriculture. You may ask, “How can I do that being that we farm?”. The reason is that many of the issues I did tune in to are related to or have a direct impact on agriculture.

So here is what I did….

The first step I took before deciding which bubbles to fill in was to decide if I had a duty to vote or if it was simply a right granted to be. I had to decide if those thoughts were the same or different. I decided that they were different. I have a right granted to me by our constitution and I have a responsibility to place an informed vote. Should I have decided to not spend time to know what or whom I was voting for, I would be acting irresponsibly and should withhold my vote. BUT, I did take time to read and listen and think before I filled in my circle.

The second step I took, before I dove into each candidates position, was to write down what I felt was important and what my beliefs were on the topics listed above.Why you may ask. Well, simply because it is easy to sway one direction or another as a person dives into information. I knew that media’s drama of the candidates was inevitable and  as I was to embark on a bit of “research” wanted to keep true or as close to my core beliefs as possible. So, I sat down, did a bit of soul searching, and made some notes.

The third step was to dive in and read. I looked at some information shared by organizations I belonged to. I went to the candidates own websites, reviewed positions from my state’s elected officials, watched the debates, and tuned in to various news stations. I made notes and eventually knew that there were just some positions that I couldn’t compromise on. After taking time to “get to know” the candidates positions, I made my decision.

The last step was the easiest- I filled in bubbles, folded the ballot and placed it in the envelope sealing it with my signature.

My right to vote was acted on as a result of the responsibility I felt that right deemed necessary. Just voting for voting sake it scary. Not voting is just as scary. We have the duty to be informed and although finding the truth in matters such as discovering what the presidential candidates are all about may be difficult, we should take the time and energy to make an attempt, to ask questions and listen. In the long run, even if we choose the candidate that is not victorious, we will know that we made an informed choice that reflected what we felt was best. Ultimately THAT, the informed vote based on our beliefs, is the right choice!

Family Visits to the Farm

Our summer is always busy. The farm is very demanding as machinery always needs repair or fine tuning, crops checked and  cared for, hay is cut, baked and hauled, and animals like to be fed too! 😊 We plant some crops into early June and begin harvest of others  in late July. We also tackle the county fair, summer rec, community events and sneak a bit of time at the lake here and there and a week of travel for family vacation! 

This summer was a lot fun! The best part was having family visit and hosting family and friends out at the farm for a Farm-B-Q! 

Whether it was family from Minneapolis, cousins from the Bismarck area or siblings Wisconsin. Lots of energy was burned off and our farm life shared! 

We hope that many more family and friends venture our way in the near future! 

Breaking the Cycle of Back to School Shopping

It is “that” time of year again! School is a few weeks away and the stores have been serenading us for weeks with their flashy back to school ads and displays! 

picture from weekly Target ad
The  truth is …. They are catchy and there are some pretty neat items in snazzy patterns! BUT, do we really need all that they say we do! 

I have learned over the past 11 years that we often have plenty left from the previous year that can be used to start the next! Often scissors, pencil boxes, rulers, crayons, and markers have lots of life left. Backpacks, if a decent one is invested in, can last A LONG TIME! 

The hardest part is convincing kids that they don’t NEED new things until the old have run out. 

That being said, at the beginning of August I do invest in a generous supply of glue, notebooks, pencils, markers and crayons. Why? Why do so if our things are still good? Simply because it only makes sense for my pocketbook. 10 cent notebooks and glue for 25 cents and markers for 50 cents means a lot of savings later on. Plus, we tend to use them at home too. It also means that when my kids or their classmates have a need for supplies, I don’t have to find a time to drive 55 miles to purchase them.

So onto my second and last groan and moan…. Gym shoes! Whose idea was it to make soles of tennis shoes of FOAM and why? I get that foam makes them soft and light weight, but offer no support and my kids wear through them in about 2 weeks! We are taking kids- moving- active beings! The cost hasn’t gone down – $20-$30 for a layer of foam with laces😆 and I get ill thinking about paying $60 or more for a elementary kids’ shoes!  It has to be all marketing- sell more because they don’t last or force them to buy expensive ones that often get replaced because feet grow. 

Back to school is a fun time! It provides some interesting opportunities to see how kids see things, help them with consumerism- comparing products and prices, time to help guide them through needs and wants, insight into their “organizing”style, and time together. If only the stores would market in need vs want, sell quality for a fair price, and highlight the family focused non- material things that can be gained during his time of preparation and transition, they would top their sales by selling insight and experience and not carts of chaos! 

For the Sake of Tomorrow

So in all honesty I started this post over a week ago and have been struggling with the direction I wanted it to take. The last week has forced my hopes to soar, my heart to hurt, and millions of questions in regards to “what is next” to flutter through my mind. So it is with the coincidental wise words of friends that I decided to be honest, to be simple, and ask a huge favor. Here it goes!

Lately, deep in my heart I have had the desire to throw my hands up, turn my heard, close my eyes, crawl in a hole and just give up. Living “off- grid” really doesn’t sound all that bad, right? I look out over the tragedy in the world and the politics playing out in this country and wonder what tomorrow will bring. I ask whether or not people have hearts, souls, and faith. I ask myself if as a nation we have become so entitled, spoiled, and self righteous that we don’t stop to look beyond the end of our nose or apply lessons from our past to our lives. Deep down, I wonder what my grandparents would have done, would they have set aside the foundation on which their ability to reside in this country was set on? Turning my head, throwing my hands in the air is not a solution, but part of the problem…. So, I shake my head clear and think about what is important and why “off -grid” is not the solution. 13558742_10206635918525175_5297340711586269329_oIt’s my family and the promise of each new day that tells me to find another way.

Tomorrow is what I desire to provide for my family, my friends, and neighbors. Tomorrow , quite frankly, is what I desire to make possible even for those whom I conflict with. Tomorrow is uncertain and that needs to change!

The question then become- HOW?!

I truly believe that it all goes back to me and you, you and I! We do not need others telling us how they can make things great. There is no trillion dollar plan that will solve our problems. Speech after speech, plan after grand plan will not make our troubles disappear. The solution is much simpler and greater than that…. it is you and I.

There is true magic in the power of 1! 10694475_10204851557547897_3429914000056718470_oThere is something heart warming in knowing that simple things like unconditionally greetings others, offering assistance, and providing people the opportunity to rise above temptation and make good choices.  Sure we can lock people up, take away their rights, provide hand outs so that they can get by. Heck, we can even blow them up, but it doesn’t solve the problems. Those actions are band-aids to a surface lesions with roots of origination in our hearts and minds. To change the need to band-aid actions, we need to cure the cause. The only prescription out there comes back to us. To morals, values, pride based on hard work and earned accomplishments, and God! We need to be able to stand on the footings on which our country was established, hold them high, respect them and live by them. We must stop finger pointing and take responsibility.  We must not let fear push us aside and become dependent and servants. We need to be able to think, problem solve, function in society- giving back, and we must be civil!IMG_6199

Tomorrow is full of possibilities- good and evil! The direction that it goes is up to me and you! Take time to examine what tomorrow will be… make it memorable, make it meaningful, make it make a positive difference for someone else!

We can do this… There will be a tomorrow to look forward to…America will be Great by the power  1 almighty God working within each of us!

 

 

 

GMO Labeling

There is steady chatter about labeling GMOS. Quite frankly I do not believe that it is going away anytime soon.

Chatter is one thing, but chatter about something that is not understood is another.

Right now there is the reality that food items will be labeled with a national QR code where if a consumer really wants to know more about the product they can scan it. This would be a national standard with a uniform symbol and unified information- not a patchwork. If there has to be a label, I can live with this, but it still sends my head spinning!

Spinning? Really? Is that really how I feel about this? Not happy! Why? Not for reasons you may think. I have no concerns over crops that are genetically modified being used, therefore I feel a label is unnecessary. I feel the general consumer has developed fear of the unknown and not taken to understand the process and is reacting to a marketing ploy.

Now before you scream, “what?” Or”this lady is crazy”, let me explain.

Labels of this nature signal that there is a safety concern. The longevity of research and approval by not only the USDA, FDA, and the EPA clearly states that there are no safety concerns. The process used in breeding plants, and thus seeds, is complex and time consuming, but simply boils down to replicating a process of resistance or tolerance that occurs naturally out in the environment, the Eco-system, over long periods of time. Several companies use this technology, it is not just one.

There is more research and approval given to the seeds I have available to choose from, then many of the medicines, dietary supplements, and vitamins you have in your cupboards, can purchase on the shelves, or get with a prescription. Just look at the labels and see which ones say “approval by FDA or USDA pending” or “statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration [FDA]”. Yet, we buy them without flinching. Why? Because someone told us they would do something for us, solve an ailment, or maybe even make us skinny!

FullSizeRender (11)

As a farmer, I am thankful for the availability of technology used and the research that goes into each seed we choose to use. Are we forced to plant a genetically modified seed-NO! Do we choose to plant them- YES, when it is the right decision. If a particular seed will allow me to reduce tillage and potentially pesticide and herbicide it is worth my consideration. If I can care for the soil by preserving its organic matter and reducing compaction, genetically modified seeds are worth my consideration.

So, I ask, why label something that has not risks, that isn’t a “thing” but a process. If we label this, then do we need to label all breeding techniques? Identifying genetic traits and breeding plants, thus seeds, is science, it’s nature, and it is something that advancement in technology and precision makes possible in a controlled setting, reducing variables and drastically cutting down on time- decades to be exact. We demand genetic identification of traits for disease, deformities, and cures for ailments; yet want to deny it when it comes to development in sustainability, preserving resources, and fiscal responsibility.

So, why label? Is it needed? Do we really even understand all “those” cute little designs, codes, etc? Do we really even know how to read or use the codes and pictures already on the package?

I do believe that a label for GMO’s is a waste and used for marketing, companies gaining a profit by protruding fear to the millions who have not idea what it means but that it must be bad because a product says “it doesn’t contain”, even if it never had a chance of it having it in the first place.

To label or not that is up to you- you have a right to your own opinion,  but will it really make a difference? Will you take time to understand what it means?

I encourage you to take minute to do a little more research:

Read an article by Mark Lynas, a former non- supporter of GMOs: http://www.marklynas.org/2016/07/time-compromise-gmo-labelling/

Watch a short video “What is a GMO?”

And visit the website below: 

https://gmoanswers.com/

or if all else fails ASK A FARMER or find a farmer at :  http://www.askthefarmers.com/

I Close My Eyes and Cry

Life can be overwhelming! It can be calm and rewarding. Life can be filled with excitement and adventure. It can be lonely and wrap a person in helplessness. Life likes to keep us on our toes and allow us to explore every emotion created by God.

I have always been a strong unemotional person on the outside. Generally I am not one to shed a tear, but over the last 18 months or so I have found that, although generally not in public, the tears flow a bit quicker.

More often than not, when I close my eyes I cry.

I cry for those who struggle.

I cry for my inability to meet the needs of those that ask each and every time.

I cry for the all blessings I have been given.

I cry out of pride I have for my kids.

I cry in admiration of the commitment through hard times my husband has.

I cry for those who choose to make life difficult.

I cry of thankfulness for true friendships.

I cry for the pain of others that I can not take away.

I cry for the frustrations that I can not make go away.

I cry because I know that no matter how hard my day is, how exhausted I am, how much I didn’t get done, that someone else has it worse.

When I close my eyes, I cry and pray that when I open them that the shimmer from my tears crosses paths with a ray of light forming a rainbow seen by someone in need, making a difference in their life.

I know I am far from perfect, but I strive to do better each day. I focus on being a servant leader where helping and thinking of others comes first. For it is what I leave behind, that determines what will be in the future and isn’t preparing for what is to come what we ultimately need to be doing?

When I close my eyes I cry, flushing pain, excitement, helplessness, and pride down my cheeks.

When I close my eyes and cry I find peace, answers, and some resolutions to my struggles, for it is water that cleanses our souls.

So, the next time you close your eyes and cry, think about those that you reach each day. Remember that you do make a difference and can be that rainbow that brightens someone’s day. When the tears fall, be thankful for all you have and your ability to pray for peace for others!

When you close your eyes always remember that water cleanses and when you open your eyes, a new beginning presents.

Take advantage of the time you have to reflect and feel by closing your eyes and crying.

Blessings by Laura Story  “What if blessings come through raindrops, What if your healing comes through tears, What if a 1000 sleepless nights is what it takes to know you are here, What if trials of this life are your mercies in disguise?”- Laura Story

“Crying is feeling and feeling is being human.” – Ray Charles

FARM MOMs- America’s Farmers

Most farms have amazing women that stretch themselves thin almost everyday to be everything to everyone, seldom thinking of themselves!

Today, I met 4 AMAZING farm moms from various states around the country that do just that!  They have been nominated and selected to represent their region of the USA as an outstanding Farm Mom who not only works on her farm, but also works to ensure stability of her family and gives her time to her  community!

I am also honored to be one of the 5 Farm Moms to be recognized!

For me being a farm mom is about balancing the many hats that I wear each and every day. Keeping some level of sanity and order and getting tasks done in a “mostly” timely manner. It mean meeting the needs of others, serving our family, farm, community, and God before myself. It means sharing what we do on our farm, learning more each and everyday, supporting others, protecting our personal and property rights, honoring the culture and history of farming on our farm for three generations, but also all of agriculture since the beginning of our nation, while ensuring that upcoming generations can farm too.

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Picture Source: Ranch House Designs

As the America’s Farmers NW Region Farm Mom of the year, I have big plans to continue to do the things I have always done… work on the farm and raise a family on the farm developing work ethic, responsibility, respect and understanding of business and the growing and processing of food, fiber and fuel. I will also continue to share my story of city lights to prairie nights and how my life living in the city has provided an enhanced respect and heightened commitment to telling the story of farming and agriculture through my experience and on- going learning! This “title”  helps me stay dedicated to reaching out within my own community and to people around the country.

With that, I ask that between now and May 4th, that you submit your vote each day for America’s Farmers, National Farm Mom of the Year .

This vote will identify one of the five Farm Moms as the 2016 America’s Farmers Farm Mom of the year! The winner will be announced on May 6th , 2016!

Happy voting!

Vote  by clicking here: (http://www.americasfarmers.com/community-outreach/farm-mom/)

Farm Mom

 

 

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