The Day of and the Moment Before

The Day of and the Moment Before

I wrote this Facebook post at 10:35 a.m. the day that Jeff and I met:

Tonight: Panel discussion on ag opportunities like agritourism, farm diversity, local food, and more. Writing up some notes this morning. Come join us from 6-8 at the Extension office.

Then I continued typing up my notes and printed them out. I tucked them into my backpack and drove to the Extension office, settled into my seat, talking with my fellow panelists. The event began, and one of the Extension educators present asked us all to introduce ourselves.

And soon after was a moment where my life was poised on the brink of total change, and I didn’t know it. Continue reading “The Day of and the Moment Before”

Sunday Afternoon Banana Bread

Sunday Afternoon Banana Bread

This is how Sunday afternoons should be: reading a fascinating story about Alaska from American Nature Writing, 2001, during a light lunch after church, critters asleep on the living room floor, my husband asleep on the couch, me clacking away on the WordPress editor.

I just put a couple of loaves of banana bread into the oven. Soon, the house will fill with the smell of bananas rescued and resurrected, and we’ll enjoy tea (the drink) and bread in a midday snack the Scots and Kiwis sometimes call “tea.”

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Sheep, a Cow, and Scottish Flags

Sheep, a Cow, and Scottish Flags

Winter birthday parties nowadays require sitting outside, which worked out quite well on Saturday because Jeff and I were working with the sheep in the barn that morning.

We’d dropped off some Christmas trees a little while ago, trees that neighbors had wanted to recycle. It’s said there are some beneficial properties to evergreens that will help sheep rid themselves of parasites, and so we’ve been trying this the last couple of years.

So far, the Shetlands like the pines, but not the firs.

Continue reading “Sheep, a Cow, and Scottish Flags”
2020 Has Been Tough, but Not Terrible

2020 Has Been Tough, but Not Terrible

Courtesy of Death to Stock.

2020 has been tough, but not terrible.

And I say “has been” and not “was” because there are still two weeks left: two weeks in which to celebrate the holidays with family, take some time to reflect and relish in candlelight, to soak in the sweet pine smells, to enjoy music filled with hope and joy in Christ’s coming.

Yet, I am constantly being told by media and others around me that we should say, “Good riddance, 2020,” or “There was nothing good about 2020,” or “This was the worst year ever.”

But I just don’t believe that.

Continue reading “2020 Has Been Tough, but Not Terrible”
Then and Now (Could also be considered Guardian, Part 3)

Then and Now (Could also be considered Guardian, Part 3)

A week after I returned home from New Zealand, a high school friend, L, and I drove around the county to see the annual Covered Bridge Festival and visit bridges we didn’t often see. We took our photos in front of nine of the 31 structures.

Of course we stopped by West Union.

Who knew that two and a half years later, we’d be standing on the same bridge as bride and bridesmaid.

Continue reading “Then and Now (Could also be considered Guardian, Part 3)”
Guardian, Part 2

Guardian, Part 2

It’s been difficult to sit down and write the continuation of my last blog post because I’ve known what it has to be about. I cannot compose another blog post until I write about this. I have told some of these stories on Facebook, on Twitter, but not here. For some reason, writing it here, admitting here that it happened, makes it even more real than I want it to be. It wasn’t what I planned Part 2 to be, but this is how it turned out.

On September 20, two days after posting Guardian, one of my best friends collapsed during a CrossFit session and died of cardiac arrest. He was three days older than me and seemingly in the best shape of his life.

His name was Rob, and he was one of my teammates during my Indiana FFA State Officer year. Each of us played a role on the team, both in an official capacity and as a team member. Officially, he was stationed by the flag as the reporter, writing stories and taking pictures that would inform others about the FFA. As a team member, he was our encourager, whether he was sitting up late to help us with speeches or giving us directions over the phone when we became lost on a back road. He dreamed up crazy ideas and persuaded us to follow him in implementing them. Rob encouraged us to be ourselves and saw potential in everyone he met.

The last picture Rob and I took together, on the stage at Purdue University’s Elliott Hall of Music after the final gavel tap at the 2016 Indiana FFA State Convention. I had just finished up my year of teaching agriculture and was six days away from leaving for New Zealand. Funny how you never know when a picture is going to be the last one.

And, in some ways, he was a guardian.

Continue reading “Guardian, Part 2”


This is another edition of Joint Blogging with L, where my fellow blogger and I go on adventures and then write about them. This time, we found a way to have an adventure long-distance. Here is L’s version. Other installments in this series are from Purdue’s Spring Fest and the Covered Bridge Festival.

A few weeks ago, my friend L and I set aside a day to work on a 20-paragraph piece for a short-story contest from Owl Canyon Press (it’s still going on if you want to participate). In this competition, the organizers provide the first and twentieth paragraphs, and the participants connect them with eighteen paragraphs that each contain at least fifty words.  

Often when writing, I type furiously on the laptop, but this time, I wanted to try something different: writing my first draft by hand. This story seemed to be one that needed paper and pen.

The process revealed why.

The song, “This is the Greatest Show” from The Greatest Showman stuck in my head.

Continue reading “Guardian”
A Special Announcement

A Special Announcement

I wrote this announcement on Facebook and Instagram and wanted to share it here, too.

With the horses on our wedding day, May 16, 2020. Photo by Rainstorm Photo.

The 16th of each month is special for Jeff and me (Elise), as the day marks how many months we have been married. So it only seemed fitting that today be the day for a Special Announcement.

As we began our new life together, we knew we wanted to farm. We also knew that we wanted to both preserve my farm heritage and incorporate Jeff’s specialties, creating a new path with an exciting future.

So today, we wanted to share the name we have chosen for our farm and agritourism endeavors:

Continue reading “A Special Announcement”
A Speech and Some Sheep: Sharing Joy from the Indiana State Fair

A Speech and Some Sheep: Sharing Joy from the Indiana State Fair

“State officers!”

Our heels spin in the dust of the infield. The grounded hot-air balloons to the right form dark silhouettes against the silver sky. I squint in their direction, looking for the source of the voice.

A 4-H member in a red t-shirt emerges from the early morning haze, a wide blue lanyard swinging around her neck. Her short brown hair frames an excited grin.

“Meg!” I exclaim. “Hi!”

“Hi! I saw the jacket and knew it had to be you, so hi!”

“I’m giving a speech at the Opening Ceremony. It’s starting soon, we need to go.”

“I’ll be there, too!”

I wave, she gives me her usual salute, and my teammates and I spin again and rush to the FFA Pavilion to meet our supervisors.

Continue reading “A Speech and Some Sheep: Sharing Joy from the Indiana State Fair”