Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I just couldn't put my finger on what I was thankful for this year, until Monday morning. I was listening to a K-State press conference on the radio on my drive back from my doctor's appointment. The press conference where my alma matter announced a new football coach to lead our stumbling program - Bill Snyder was to return and take charge.

At first, I was disappointed in the university. Surely, they could be more visionary than this, right? Were they so scared that they had to turn backwards? Reach for the only security the football program has really ever known?

Afterall, is not this the time to be craving something more hopeful, more progressive, more symbolic of change? Seems to be the message in America these days...

But as the day went on, and I mulled over this news, I began to feel thankful. Thankful to be a Kansan. Thankful to be a K-Stater. Thankful to have been a student in the stadium on the night K-State defeated Nebraska for the first time in decades.

And in a bigger sense, thankful to be associated with a university that refused to be lured by the mere propsect of hope and change, but one that had the conviction to trust in a proven man, a proven leader. For in troubled times, why gamble? Why risk so much? Fans, family traditions, positive experiences for student athletes.

We know what we're getting with Snyder - absolute dedication to the job, an ability to attract quality coaches and student athletes, a tenacios defensive effort on the field, and a few "delay of game" calls.

Don't you wish you had that same feeling of security in the bigger world these days? Don't you wish you could turn on the TV and see a national or world leader you could trust? Someone saged, tested, proven?

I am thankful, this year, to live in a place that honors and respects leadership, families, traditions, education, and Saturday afternoons in the fall at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.


So...just as soon as I said I would update my blog from the early morning hours, it was as if my kids read the blog and began scheming. Scheming a plan to begin waking up at 5:30ish every day for the past 10 days. And then Tucker also decided to kill my afternoon blogging plans by taking abbreviated naps. Just write in the evening then, you say? You've got to be kidding! After beginning the day at 5:30, chasing around 5 kids, all the while being very pregnant, I can't even speak a sentence past 8:00pm.

There is one good thing that has come out of all this sleeplessness. Tucker fell asleep on my lap at church on Sunday. He was getting a bit tired, so he snuggled on my lap with his blankie and paci, and I rocked him right to sleep. I even had to carry him to communion. Which was a bit like lugging a feed sack with a little pair of cowboy boots stuck to the end across the church and back.

The kids are still battling coughs from the cold that began on Halloween. The cough really only bothers them at nighttime, so I don't think it's much to worry about. Still, it is enough to make me worry. I have humidifiers running, and I smear Vicks all over their chests each night. I will give it through the Thanksgiving weekend before I drag them to the pediatrician.

Here's hoping we all get some sleep tonight...

Friday, November 14, 2008

Eggs for breakfast

Good morning, everyone! I am going to try updating the Potted Goose from the front side of the day. I have reached the point in my pregnany where too much of anything - including sleeping - begins to get uncomfortable. So, I thought I would get up, log on, enjoy a cup of hot chocolate, and make the kids some eggs for breakfast.

Speaking of eggs, I want to shed a little light on a recent California ballot issue. In case you haven't heard...and you probably haven't because the media does not seem to be able to take their eyes off our president-elect...but the State of California recently passed a piece of legislation referred to as Proposition 2.

Prop 2 is a bill that will now "phase out the use of modern housing methods in the production of eggs, pork and veal," according to American Farm Bureau. Still uncertain? Here's the way this Goose sees it...

You and I, for the most part, go to the grocery store to buy the food we need to feed our families, with little thought given to where that food came from or how it got to the grocery store. And that's okay, for the most part.

You see, you and I have made a choice to be a part of a modern society. We have chosen careers, and suburban or town living, over living on a farm and working to grow the food we need to feed our families. We have left that task behind...to American farmers. But here's where I take issue.

There is such a great chasm that exists in our country between those who produce the food and those who consume it. Even in the more rural State of Kansas, population 2.7 million, there are only about 64,000 farms in this state. That means each farm feeds about about 42 people.

And in California, where there happens to be a large concentration of egg production, an even larger disconnect exists. A majority of the people in that state, with little to no connection or understanding of production agriculture, voted to approve Prop 2 and essentially put the egg farmers out of business.

Egg farmers, over the course of the last century, have raised chickens in small, housing units. They have achieved great levels of efficiency while maintaining ethical treatment of the animal, and all the while producing eggs for all of us who don't want chickens in our back yard.

This legislation will drive egg farmers out of business and shift egg production to places outside of the US. Places where we have little control over the safety and quality of those eggs.

So, enjoy your eggs while you can, and in the meantime, I encourage you to watch this on Monday night...


It will air Monday evening, 9:30 pm, on your local PBS station.

Have a great day!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Up and Down

Up and down. In and out. Home and away. The past six weeks have been a blur.

Either Brent or I, or all of us, have been away from home 11 nights in the past 35 days. We are presently entering a calm two and a half week period between now and Thanksgiving with no nights away, no meetings, nothing. Just time together at home.

Here's a look back at the ups and downs of the past six weeks.

The Changing Seasons agriculture student leadership conference was this past weekend. It's an event for K-State College of Ag students that I have been a part of since college.

Up: Changing Seasons always helps me to renew my focus, connect with old friends, and reenergize my passions for agriculture and building rural leadership.

Down: This was the fourth time in six weeks I was away from home overnight. And while it may have also been the fourth time in three years that I was away from home overnight, it was nonetheless wearing on my family, especially Noah Grace.

Up: Happy Halloween! Noah chose to be a pig this year - all by herself. She also decided her brother should be a turkey. I gently convinced her that her brother should be a pig as well. (I knew I could wing a snout and two ears out of craft foam; but an entire spread of turkey feathers seemed a bit impossible!)

Down: Halloween brought about our first cold of the season. Sore throats, fevers and yucky coughs landed us in the doctor's office the Monday following trick-or-treating.

Up: Our baby girl turned three years old last Saturday. That smile on her face perfectly captured the night. My kids' birthdays have truly become my favorite holidays.

Down: I wanted to give her the world, but I decided a purple care bear would be more sensible.

Kansas Hometown Prosperity is my first "work outside of the home" experience in three years. I traveled to three communities across the state working on the issue of youth retention. (It should be no surprise to you that our bright and talented rural Kansans are choosing to leave their homes for bigger places.) I spent the past two months working with a team of very sharp people who want to make our rural Kansas towns better places for young people and all people.

Up: I got my hands dirty working again, working with real adults, talking about real, challenging problems. And I made good money doing it.

Down: I spent four nights away from home and many, many hours working from home to get the task accomplished. While Tucker seemed to truck along through all of this, it really took a toll on Noah Grace. She learned that "meetings" are bad things; and I even think the anxiety caused her to start biting her nails.

Up: Conservative women across the country - much like myself - found political leadership and inspiration in a women named Sarah Palin. Personally, I renewed my conviction to voting for common-sense leadership, for those who respect life, and for those who will encourage us to be self-reliant and courageous.

Down: The majority in this country didn't see things my way. And presidential history was made.

And in the end, I'm up because I am down. Down at home, that is. Down on the floor, playing with my kids. Sitting down at my computer, trying to write my own little piece of history. Down in the back because my family has been blessed with life once again. Downtown, in a small town, reconnected with my hope for rural people and rural places.