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Honoring the Past, Working Today, Preparing for the Future

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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!

A Bag of Beans and More….

As I started making chili the other night, I wish I had taken a few minutes to soak some our farm raised Pinto Beans before heading off to work. I didn’t, so I used canned beans. Then I got to thinking, Beans…. who eats pinto, black, kidney, and white beans?  I always thought that beans were a sign of economic status- aka poverty. Meal kits and food baskets from food pantries and government food programs always provide and push eating them because they were cheep and nutritious- right? Is this true or my thoughts based on ignorance? And what are a bag of beans saying today?

fullsizerender-14
Pinto Beans

My thoughts then traveled through various memories. I reflected on the years when I was starting school. I remember money being tight. I remember my mom making some of our clothes and hand making Valentine’s – (how embarrassing). Often we ate scrambled hamburger and buttered noodles or a consisting of a canned soup, rice and a meat. I remember having pea soup made from a bag of 59 cent split peas, a bit of chicken broth, and a bay leaf. I remember swapping clothes with relatives and the “new to us” items.  During the same time I know that we received free or reduced lunch and I had to tell my teacher once that I couldn’t the pay the $3.50 field trip fee. Times were tight and tough. So, why do I share this back story? Because these experiences of homemade, a bags of beans and peas, and second-hand items still exist, but in many cases they carry very different meaning and value today than 30 years ago.

My thoughts then traveled through various memories. I reflected on the years when I was starting school. I remember money being tight. I remember my mom making some of our clothes and hand making Valentine’s – (how embarrassing). Often we ate scrambled hamburger and buttered noodles or a hotdish consisting of a canned soup, rice and a meat. I remember having pea soup made from a bag of 59 cent split peas, a bit of chicken broth, and a bay leaf. I remember swapping clothes with relatives and the “new to us” items.  During the same time I know that we received free or reduced lunch and I had to tell my teacher once that I couldn’t the pay the $3.50 field trip fee. Times were tight and tough. So, why do I share this back story? Because these experiences of homemade, a bags of beans and peas, and second-hand items still exist, but in many cases they carry very different meaning and value today than 30 years ago.

img_7546Trends have made the idea of homemade and rustic fashionable. Beans have become the alternate protein and highlighted in high-end restaurants and magazines. Online rummage sales and second-hand stores are popping up all the time. Fads and trends made popular with the influence of a few with people with some previlence of social status have made my experience of the less fortunate or financial challenged into the best “new” practices.

So, what do I think? I think the trend is great! Why? It encourages support for products that often went to the way side. It encourages creativity. It looks at options and provides variety. It can help people save money and potentially reduced stigma for the scenarios and people who have lived in the darkness of being less fortunate or going trough tough times.

Depite what I see as the cutain in which I hid behind and was emabarrassed of I see an open door of new chances. I have embraced this. I am working to help my children embrace this and help others see that what was doesn’t always have to be and some trends and fads are fabulous opportunities to break free! img_7542
Take time and visit a local second-hand store. Look up a quick bean recipes ( hint: many freezer meals include beans!). Have you thought of making your own halloween costume or birthday cards? A little bit of homemade and refurbished shows love and interest. Give it a try! Besides isn’t saving a few bucks, using your imagination and spending time with family making a few things something we can all do a little more of?

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