Putting up calendar prompts look at the past year

Putting the calendar up for not only a new month, but a brand new year, I think back and ponder the year, reviewing it in my mind. Touching on the highs and lows, I know that, along with major happenings, even seemingly small or insignificant events add yet another layer to my life story. Rehashing local, state, national and worldly events I find are broader, but may not be any less important, to myself and others.

Personally, last January I had an encounter with a sick, 500-pound steer who we were trying to help. My husband and I were in our outside heifer barn where we had cornered the animal, attempting to herd him toward the headlocks so my husband could inject him with a dose of penicillin. He just didn’t want to cooperate and instead, went after me, lowering his head and hitting me square in the chest, flinging me back against a cement embankment like a rag doll. After a trip to the ER, I came out stitched and stapled, with a little less blood and a whole lot of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Our daughter graduating from college this past May realized our dream of all three kids extending their education beyond high school. Such a blessing. Our son in California took the train home to attend his sister’s graduation. When momma has all three chicks back in the nest at the same time, she is a happy hen indeed. Plus it made for a convenient Christmas picture card. Family photo op!

When I passed a test a couple of years ago to project me professionally to a career-level position within the United States Postal Service, I was transferred to a fill-in-when-necessary rank. This past summer brought work Monday through Saturday and that just about did in this very-close-to-retirement-age-employee. Whew. How does a woman run a household and work full time? I realized if I prioritize, I have the stamina to handle just about anything, which gives me the confidence to rock on.

We are a sports-minded family, so I must include the year’s review of the sporting arena. Our Brewers gave us a thrilling season. The dark-eyed, dark-haired, smiling (doesn’t he have a fantastic smile?) Christian Yelich bringing home the National League’s Most Valuable Player was an honor for our Milwaukee Brewers and fans. With our Brew Crew a game away from landing a ticket to the World Series, it overlapped football, which helped soften the edges of watching the Packers desperately trying to win a road game.

Speaking of the Packers, they ended a dismal 100th year in a wet fizzle. Ugh. The entire season was downright painful to get through, with a few brilliant plays thrown in to keep diehard fans hooked. Releasing Mike McCarthy before season end was debated by many, but what is not debatable is the fact that he is just a class-act guy. His thank you to Packers’ fans published in a number of state papers was humble and dignified, displaying the full nature of this amazing man. Who will take over the reins of this storied franchise, is a million dollar question at this point.

The Wisconsin Badgers men’s basketball team looks promising. While Ethan Happ is without a doubt the team’s most valuable contributor, I like watching the gritty little sophomore, Brad Davison. He plays with toughness and tenacity, reminding me of a farm kid’s work ethic. Badger Basketball ended the year with promise, but the football team basically fell as flat as the Packers. Getting a bowl win helped, but they really didn’t meet season expectations. (Despite husband hollering at the TV.)

Farming has been tough this past year, what with the mid-April blizzard, late summer flooding, unusual tornadoes in August. Along with weather woes, the ever-rising costs of maintenance, seed, fertilizer and fuel, they’re also dealing with low milk prices. No business can stay in business very long when costs exceed income. Fluctuating incomes are a detriment to creating a financial plan. How can one figure out a budget when the income bounces around like a yo-yo?

Putting up a fresh calendar to begin a New Year, I am brimming with optimism but if I’m fully honest, in the back of my mind, there is concern — just what exactly will the New Year bring? I am not in control and I often have to remind myself who is. I put my trust and faith in God and whatever I or my family encounter in the New Year, he will have his hand on it all.

Happy New Year, Everyone!

(“‘For I know the plans I have for you’, declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” Jeremiah 29:11)