The INDEPENDENT (…)

I didn’t even want to put the full phrase in the title, because so many people would roll their eyes and not even open to read.

It’s taking over your social media feed, posts about “changing lives” with products and opportunities.

The Independent Consultant.

I know. You’ve sworn yourself away from following back any friend or account that has those dreaded “before and after” pictures, or the picture of the “company card” at your near-by furniture store with the caption “Thanks, *so and so company*!” or even worse, THE ONLINE PARTY facebook group. Ugh, right?

Like you, I hated these companies. I thought they were a joke, and I never wanted to buy from, or be part of one, until my sister joined Jamberry. I decided to support her and sign up as a consultant under her. And although nails weren’t my thing, it opened my eyes to these companies I previously thought were so stupid.

Fast forward a year and a half, and I just joined an amazing team with Arbonne(click on it. See what I did there?) . Although, I still believe that direct sales aren’t for everyone, and some do it just for “quick money,” I signed up because I love the product and believe in the company.

What got me started with my interest in direct sales, was my interest in supporting my friends and family. So what if the posts are annoying because you see 5 people on your news feed advertising for the same company? As a friend, or as family, it takes less steps for you to hit that like button to support them in their journey, even if you don’t believe in the product, than it would to unfollow their posts.

I believe in the “independent” part of “independent consultant.” A lot of these men and women are looking to better their life. To get out of a corporate job that is taking over their life, to spend more time at home with their children or family, to make new friends, or to find financial freedom and happiness that they have never had. Why wouldn’t you show your support for them?

13342184_1050418645004251_155577040_n

You heard me. When you support a small business, you support a dream.

So, next time you see that facebook post with a before and after picture of someone who made the choice to better their life through a program or product one of your friends sells, give it a like. Comment to show your support. It wont kill you, I promise.

Who knows, maybe you’ll even fall in love with that free sample. I know I did. 😉

To all of my independent consultants out there: Keep believing, “today is the day.” Even when it doesn’t look like anything is changing, God is working behind the scenes. It’s easy to get discouraged, but one touch of God’s favor can suddenly turn any situation around. Keep believing.

We have the opportunity every day to reach out and love someone, we have the chance to be kind and joyful, and yet, we seem to think that it’s the job of someone else to do that for us. It’s time we decide if we are going to be active in what we want, or destructive in what we will not do. You must be brave when it comes to initiating love, you must be willing to lay down your pride and say “I choose to extend the hand of peace first, I choose to show love in the way it was meant to be shown, with hands open and a willing heart. Today is the day to do something beautiful.

 

 

 

 

Expect it, and Expose it.

A friend recently shared the Elevation Church app with me, which allows anyone to listen to the sermons of Pastor Steven Furtick. As the app finished downloading, I quickly scrolled through the sermons, and one caught my eye: “Haunted Heart.”

For a long time now, I’ve felt the heavy weight of ghosts and guilt. I was always running and making my biggest mistakes out of fear. When I recently went off my God-guided path, I lost all my fire. My passion. I couldn’t tell why I wasn’t loving as deep as I used to, or laughing as hard, or living as full. I knew something was wrong with me, and inside, I was screaming for an explanation that made sense. So, I started working harder, staying busier… I went off the grid as I tried to figure this out on my own. Even the advice of loved ones didn’t cut the way I needed. I couldn’t explain the battle inside of me, but then I listened to this sermon.

As I was twenty or so minutes in, there was something that Pastor Steven said that caused me to pause, and replay the segment. As soon as I listened to it a second time, I went back to the beginning because I knew that I had to get this down in writing and repeat it to myself. As I was pressing pause, play, pause, play, jotting it down as fast as I could, the words hit me harder. Here’s what he says:

“And I would run, but how can I outrun what’s within? What’s happening in my heart may be so hard for me to deal with, that maybe instead of just living from my heart, I live from my head. Because I don’t really want to deal with what’s happening, so I don’t really love anymore. I don’t really laugh anymore. I don’t really live anymore. Because to live and to love and to laugh, I have to be at home in my heart, but with the home of my heart is haunted, where can I go? If it were the enemy, I could run. If it were a bomb, I could step away. But what about when the detonation is within? I can’t chase it, I can’t escape it, but maybe, just maybe I can expect it, and maybe I can expose it.”

Wow.

He goes on later saying, “The Lord told me to tell you that fear only operates effectivey by the element of surprise. The reason stuff keeps defeating you is because stuff keeps surprising you…The Lord wanted me to tell you something about all these ghosts you’ve been living with, all this guilt you’ve been living with, telling you that you can’t, telling you that you wont, telling you you never will. God says ‘Now that you know they’re there, you know exactly what to do with them. Now that you can expect it, you can expose it. Since you have to live with it, prepare to be scared. Arm yourself. Put on the full armor of God.

Expect it, and expose it.”

I know there are some of my readers out there who need to hear this, just like I did.

I didn’t know the weight until I felt the freedom. The freedom of knowing that I’m not alone. The freedom of knowing that there is a God who knows the aches of my heart, and who will help make a haunted house a comforting home.

There’s a lot I’ve got to change, but it starts with my heart. Vulnerability is so important. So much growth comes with keeping your heart open.

Expect it, and expose it.

12386486_950585448320905_1367709453_n

 

Allow Me To Re-introduce Myself

Hello Front Porch Gossip, its been a while.

This year has been hard. Looking back on the past 11 months, it’s probably been the hardest year of my life. I won’t go into details, but just know that I lost my way and faced the consequences of my own actions. I hit rock bottom, and rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I’ve re-built my life.

CS Lewis once said, “We all want progress, but progress means getting nearer to the place where you want to be. If you have taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man.”

So, allow me to re-introduce myself.

I’ll start off by saying that I’m not perfect. I’ve worked really hard these last 5 months, but I’ve still made so many mistakes. There’s always much to learn.

Agriculture is still my greatest passion, and my wisest pursuit. I am still an Agricultural Communications major at Missouri State University, though I have stumbled quite a bit with that one. I’m actively pursuing internships with many agricultural companies, and always praying for the one that lands me in my favorite place: Colorado. I can’t wait to continue actively with this blog, and turn it into the agricultural outlet I started in the beginning.

Agriculture isn’t my only passion, though. I love to travel, backpack, hike, fish, play music, and newly love to ski. You’ll never see me without a camera if there is a beautiful view in front of me.

11403117_878784735500977_721016975982621307_n

One of my greatest strengths and greatest flaws is my love that I have for people. I never want to hurt anyone, and because of that, I’ve kept quiet many times that I shouldn’t have, but that is changing. I love to communicate, educate, and motivate others.

My main passion though? God. Through all my flaws and all my mistakes, He is ever loving and ever forgiving.  I’m thankful for the storms in my life that have left me shaken, shattered, and hopeless. Those trials brought me to my knees and helped me find my strength to go on in Christ alone. Looking back and looking forward, I would rather be what God chose to make me than the most glorious creature that I could ever think of.

ezekiel-36_26

Despite the difficulty of this last year, I’m ready to prove them all wrong, and prove all my doubts wrong. I’m ready to push harder than I’ve ever pushed before.

After this week, you’ll be seeing weekly/monthly posts on this blog about all things agriculture, and more about the progress and successes in my life. So, keep a look out!

May the next few months, and the start of this new year be a period of magnificent transformation. It’s time.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

858012_432109283534765_2037174390_o

Winter has finally hit! With as much as 6 feet of snow in Buffalo, NY to barely an inch in Springfield, MO, winter is in full effect. Temperatures have reached an all time low for this time of year. Last year, on November 17th it was 57 degrees….this year, a record breaking 9 degrees in the town of Springfield. But, enough with the weather report…

I’m writing this blog post as a reminder to keep you and your livestock warm. This winter is predicted to be a bad one, so you want to make sure you’re stocked up on supplies. I know all too well how hard it is to leave the warmth of your home to go out for feeding, but feeding your livestock on time is just another part of what is going to help keep them warm this winter! The LOWEST temperature livestock can withstand without any additional source of heat or energy is 20 degrees, so you’re going to need to add additional energy (hay or grain, something with glucosamine and soy bean mill) to their diet to ensure that they have the energy to keep their body warm. All dietary changes with the seasons should be made gradually.

Also, make sure you’ve purchased stock tank heaters, or base water heaters to keep your water from freezing. The average horse will drink 5-10 gallons of water a day, and cattle up to 8-15 gallons a day, so you want to make sure that they’re able to access the water they need. If the livestock are consuming water that is not 37 degrees or above, it’s going to lower their body temperature, making it harder for them to stay warm in the freezing temperatures. If you’re not wanting to purchase a stock tank heater, be sure that fresh water is provided several times a day.

Blanketing your livestock (mostly for horses) can become a problem if moisture builds up under the blanket. Horses naturally insulate themselves, and are made to last in cold temperatures. They naturally regulate their own temperatures, so blanketing them throws off their whole natural cycle, causing them to overheat in the places covered by the blanket. If you do decide to blanket your livestock, you’ll need to check on them frequently to make sure that the blanket stays dry. If the sun comes out, pull the blanket and let them roll and dry off.

As for shelter goes, livestock are able to last in low temperatures if you’re providing the energy they need to keep their body temperature up, but shelter from wind and rain is essential in the overall health of your livestock. Horses are thin skinned, so an adequate shelter really helps when they have a hard time staying warm. Be careful leaving your horse shod in the winter. If the shoe gets cold, water and dirt could freeze and form a ball on the hoof, making it hard for them to walk. With winter weather, there is likely to be mud, so be sure that you keep dry bedding down at all times to help insulate animals from the cold ground. Also, make sure your shelter is spacious enough for all livestock to stay warm.

As for yourself, LAYERS! You might look like a marshmallow, but long underwear, insulated bibs, boots, wool socks, coat, gloves, and hat, will keep you from getting too cold. If you have a larger herd, and feeding takes a long time, keep a warm cup of coffee or hot chocolate in your truck.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, so stay warm!

20 Confessions of a True College Ag Student

1. We spend class looking at pictures of trucks, funny goat videos, guns, and sports scores. We’re not sorry.

2. Until it comes time for the test…then we’re sorry.

3. If your class is in the morning during hutin’ season, we’re gonna be a little late…No empty seats? No problem, we’ll use our hunting chair. We think we’re cool.

4. Even though we may not always pay attention in class, or be on time, you can bet your bottom dollar we’ll work our hardest because hard work is what we know best. We just like to do things our own way.

5. If there’s free food, we’ll be there.

6. If it’s a nice day outside, we’re less likely to enjoy being stuck in a classroom. Being in a college town is bad enough. Let us free.

7. If we’re in a non-ag class, that teacher better pray that she doesn’t say anything wrong about agriculture. It’s soil, not dirt.

8. Despite being stuck in a college town, we still know how to have a good time.

tumblr_n4rhf7AbRu1txt2n8o1_500

10. We do things at our own pace.

11. We love all of the friends we’ve made in the Ag Department like they’re our family.

tumblr_nc7iihtD2W1rmdodwo1_50012. Monday.

tumblr_ndi8tzMjmS1r0ykpto1_50013. Tuesday & Wednesday.

tumblr_nbi1rf65xZ1qf24ngo6_500

14.  Thursday-Saturday

tumblr_n5y96qXnSp1qb6t6wo1_500

15. Sunday.

16. Breaks mean going home. Going home means we get to see our livestock and pets. tumblr_n5m8hhIakB1senj7bo4_500

17. Our life goals are a little different than others.

tumblr_n2mobnUOjJ1r9ptzno1_500

18. What other college students think we look like:

tumblr_n1zuknboKb1qmayvjo1_500

19. What we actually look like:

10391003_10154422273620576_2993026227200503578_n20. At the end of the day, despite all of our craziness, we are the proudest, funniest, most respectful, and down-home people you will ever meet, and we wouldn’t change it for anything.

Battle Won, Chronic Illness Overcome

I apologize in advance, but this blog post isn’t necessarily going to be ag related, but it’s a huge milestone in my life that I just have to write about.

They say you might have to fight a battle more than once to win, but I won.

Nearly three years ago, I was diagnosed with an Auto Immune Disease. Now, most people don’t know what that entails, so let me tell you. I spent three years fighting against chronic fatigue (sleeping 19-21 hours a day,) chronic idiopathic urticaria and angioedema (swelling and pain), joint pain, additional sicknesses because of a compromised immune system, migraines, and stress upon stress. Instead of spending my junior and senior year of high school going to classes and making memories, I spent it in doctors offices and in bed. If you thought my first year of college was going to be better, you’re wrong. It was actually recommended by my doctor that I drop out of college and come back at a later date when my health situation was stable. But did I listen? Of course not. 😉

Let me take a second to make this ag related before I tell you the big news. They say that there is nothing better for the inside of a person than the outside of a horse, and boy howdy, are they right. For my FFA SAE, I worked in equine placement and those horses kept me smiling and happy when I had the chance to get out and work on my SAE. It gave me a chance to relieve my stress and do something that I love at my own pace.

Now, for the good news! This week, I went off my medication that has kept my symptoms under control for the last 2 1/2 years so that I can be a functioning member in society. That’s right, I went completely off of it, and I have no problems! No symptoms, no sudden illness. In fact, I haven’t even had so much as a cold in the last 5 months! (knock on wood) Do you know what that means? I have beat my chronic illness. I’ve gone against the odds, and in three years time, I’ve gone from basically being bed ridden, to traveling the United States, following my dreams, and pursuing my passions with every ounce of fight I have in me.  I couldn’t have done it without my family, my friends, and all my loved ones that have supported me. Now it’s time for me to make up for the last three years of my life, and it’s going to be one crazy, adventure filled ride.

“You get mad, you get strong, wipe your hands, shake it off…then you stand.”

me

Interview Dr. Melissa Remley

In my Public Relations in Agriculture class, we are currently learning the interview process and how to turn audio recordings into pod-casts to share on our blog. This is a great way to add variety to social media marketing, and a great way to spread information in a creative way!

I had the opportunity to interview Dr. Remley, a Plant Science professor at Missouri State University. I decided to take a look into the courses she teaches and why she is passionate about her career. She has done extensive research in plant nutrition and soil fertility at University of Missouri (Mizzou,) after she had received her Masters from Missouri State University. What does she hope to see at Missouri State University in the School of Agriculture? “I see so much potential…I hope in the next 10 years we become a College of Agriculture…the future is boundless. I would like to see continued growth in students and facilities and research programs across all of our units and eventually into the College of Agriculture.”

Adventure. Life. Agriculture.