Missouri


     Rifling through a random box in my basement, I encountered this photo of my Gerald Elementary Kindergarten class.   There is no reason that it should be kept in the particular box and as I held it in my fingers, my memory had to reach far back in time to recall faces and experiences in Mrs. Reel’s classroom.


     Mrs. Reel.  First off, it seems she was the best teacher of all time, that’s how I recall it to this day as I travel through my memories as a five-year-old little girl.  She always seemed patient, even with the few that were always causing trouble in class.  Her voice sounded calm and soothing, she introduced us to many fun activities and urged me, but did not push me to come out of my shell.


    Scanning the faces of our class, many names will not break through the time barrier and surface to the top.  Each face brings to light an emotion about how that child make me feel during that year I spent with them.

     All make me smile, whether I remember a kind gesture from the Grob twins or little blond haired Scotty, slumber parties at Dana’s house, or the boys that were always getting into trouble like Jeramey, Jeffery and Dallas!  I can’t forget the playground game of boys catch girls and vice versa.


     My shyness was in full force during that first year of school.  Always kind and soft spoken, willing to interact with everyone in class, but most of the time too introverted to start the conversation.  I loved everyone.

     Now being a woman of forty years, very little of my personality has changed.  I am still shy and introverted, but I have consciously challenged myself to break that shell and it seems I enjoy starting up random conversations, because I realized most of you don’t bite!
     So where are my classmates now and what are you doing?  What accomplishments have you made since we sat in class together so many years ago?  
     I wish you all happiness and thank you for many cherished memories!

Boys Catch Girls


     Rifling through a random box in my basement, I encountered this photo of my Gerald Elementary Kindergarten class.   There is no reason that it should be kept in the particular box and as I held it in my fingers, my memory had to reach far back in time to recall faces and experiences in Mrs. Reel’s classroom.


     Mrs. Reel.  First off, it seems she was the best teacher of all time, that’s how I recall it to this day as I travel through my memories as a five-year-old little girl.  She always seemed patient, even with the few that were always causing trouble in class.  Her voice sounded calm and soothing, she introduced us to many fun activities and urged me, but did not push me to come out of my shell.


    Scanning the faces of our class, many names will not break through the time barrier and surface to the top.  Each face brings to light an emotion about how that child make me feel during that year I spent with them.

     All make me smile, whether I remember a kind gesture from the Grob twins or little blond haired Scotty, slumber parties at Dana’s house, or the boys that were always getting into trouble like Jeramey, Jeffery and Dallas!  I can’t forget the playground game of boys catch girls and vice versa.


     My shyness was in full force during that first year of school.  Always kind and soft spoken, willing to interact with everyone in class, but most of the time too introverted to start the conversation.  I loved everyone.

     Now being a woman of forty years, very little of my personality has changed.  I am still shy and introverted, but I have consciously challenged myself to break that shell and it seems I enjoy starting up random conversations, because I realized most of you don’t bite!
     So where are my classmates now and what are you doing?  What accomplishments have you made since we sat in class together so many years ago?  
     I wish you all happiness and thank you for many cherished memories!

Boys Catch Girls


     In late 2014, I attended a Women in Ag conference in Columbia, MO that was hosted by the MU Extension called Pearls of Production.  One of the extension reps was speaking with me about my disabilities and gave me a contact from their AgrAbility program. 

     That was the best call I could have made for myself.   The Missouri AgrAbility program has helped me continue to work on our farms in a more safe and creative manner. 

     Their mission: The purpose of the AgrAbility Project is to help increase the likelihood that farmers, ranchers, farm workers, and farm family members who are limited by any type of disability or chronic health condition employed in production agriculture or agriculture-related occupations become more successful. It’s about cultivating success in agriculture, employment, and rural life for people with disabilities and their families. The AgrAbility mission is to enhance and protect quality of life and preserve livelihoods. The AgrAbility philosophy represents the very ideals that define American agriculture. It’s about supporting and promoting growth and independence. It’s about no-limit thinking and the can-do spirit. Ultimately, AgrAbility is all about hope!

     I agree with their mission statement wholeheartedly because I have seen it in action.  

     They partner with your local Vocational Rehabilitation  to find ways to keep you employed and should you need special equipment to do this, Vocational Rehab contributes greatly with that factor. 

     Both organizations are passionate about ensuring we can still be independent, their job is to assess how to do that. 

     They travel to your farm, you take them through your daily chores, the reps ask questions and offer advice of better, safer ways to accomplish the same task. 

     In my case, special equipment was suggested to keep me out of harms way when working with our cattle.  One piece of equipment that has been essential to my safety is a UTV with a grain feeder that sits in the bed.  We have installed a switch inside of the cab to open the feeder door, I pull up beside the bunks and let 'er rip until I reach the end and am assured I have the correct amount of feed distributed.

     Now there is no way to absolutely measure the amount of feed unless you only put that amount into the portable grain bin, but I have been feeding 150 lbs of grain to these heifers for so long, I had to practice a few times so I could gauge timing and how high to raise the bin door.   

     Not once do I have to exit the vehicle and put myself in any danger.  If you are new to my blog, I have severe, permanent lower body injuries from a car collision and three of my joints are now fused. My balance is an issue and my lower legs are delicate.  I, in no way want to be re-injured, but I love my job. 

      This Polaris Ranger keeps me from being bumped over by cows, I do not have to walk on uneven ground, especially over frozen hoof prints and there are no calf hooves flying in my direction.  It has been the most essential piece of equipment I have received. 

     There are some other pieces I will show you in later blogs, but today I wanted to concentrate on the UTV. 

     Here are a few videos to showcase how I use this little masterpiece.  I urge you to contact either of these organizations to help in your farming career!

National AgrAbility 
MO AgrAbility
Vocational Rehab
Rolla, MO VR    



How AgrAbility & Vocational Rehab Keep Me Safe while Working ...



     In late 2014, I attended a Women in Ag conference in Columbia, MO that was hosted by the MU Extension called Pearls of Production.  One of the extension reps was speaking with me about my disabilities and gave me a contact from their AgrAbility program. 

     That was the best call I could have made for myself.   The Missouri AgrAbility program has helped me continue to work on our farms in a more safe and creative manner. 

     Their mission: The purpose of the AgrAbility Project is to help increase the likelihood that farmers, ranchers, farm workers, and farm family members who are limited by any type of disability or chronic health condition employed in production agriculture or agriculture-related occupations become more successful. It’s about cultivating success in agriculture, employment, and rural life for people with disabilities and their families. The AgrAbility mission is to enhance and protect quality of life and preserve livelihoods. The AgrAbility philosophy represents the very ideals that define American agriculture. It’s about supporting and promoting growth and independence. It’s about no-limit thinking and the can-do spirit. Ultimately, AgrAbility is all about hope!

     I agree with their mission statement wholeheartedly because I have seen it in action.  

     They partner with your local Vocational Rehabilitation  to find ways to keep you employed and should you need special equipment to do this, Vocational Rehab contributes greatly with that factor. 

     Both organizations are passionate about ensuring we can still be independent, their job is to assess how to do that. 

     They travel to your farm, you take them through your daily chores, the reps ask questions and offer advice of better, safer ways to accomplish the same task. 

     In my case, special equipment was suggested to keep me out of harms way when working with our cattle.  One piece of equipment that has been essential to my safety is a UTV with a grain feeder that sits in the bed.  We have installed a switch inside of the cab to open the feeder door, I pull up beside the bunks and let 'er rip until I reach the end and am assured I have the correct amount of feed distributed.

     Now there is no way to absolutely measure the amount of feed unless you only put that amount into the portable grain bin, but I have been feeding 150 lbs of grain to these heifers for so long, I had to practice a few times so I could gauge timing and how high to raise the bin door.   

     Not once do I have to exit the vehicle and put myself in any danger.  If you are new to my blog, I have severe, permanent lower body injuries from a car collision and three of my joints are now fused. My balance is an issue and my lower legs are delicate.  I, in no way want to be re-injured, but I love my job. 

      This Polaris Ranger keeps me from being bumped over by cows, I do not have to walk on uneven ground, especially over frozen hoof prints and there are no calf hooves flying in my direction.  It has been the most essential piece of equipment I have received. 

     There are some other pieces I will show you in later blogs, but today I wanted to concentrate on the UTV. 

     Here are a few videos to showcase how I use this little masterpiece.  I urge you to contact either of these organizations to help in your farming career!

National AgrAbility 
MO AgrAbility
Vocational Rehab
Rolla, MO VR    



How AgrAbility & Vocational Rehab Keep Me Safe while Working ...



It is mid-March, I am pale from never leaving the confines of my home and cabin fever has taken its toll on me.  Grocery shopping needs to be done, my husband suggests I accompany him and see how I feel while riding in the front seat.  Then we will be able to gauge how often I can make trips from home.   It is certainly a hassle to transport me because I am of no help getting into and out of our truck, but my man never complains.

As we head to Cuba, Missouri, just twelve minutes from our home, my heart clenches as my husband does not turn left towards the interstate, instead continuing to drive on the outer road, knowing we will drive the exact route of our collision.

 I have never questioned him about this decision, although I do wonder if this was an oversight or his way of urging me to overcome this obstacle.

Passing the turn off, I mentioned that I was becoming nervous due to the direction we were traveling.  Instinctively, he reached for my hand, holding, caressing my clammy skin the entire drive.  Not being clear on exactly where our desecrated pile of metal landed, Greg softly said, “Right here.” 

My eyes moved to the right side of the road, the scene looking different in the
daylight as our wreck happened under the cloak of darkness.  Railroad tracks, pine trees, pain.  Three vague memories create an ache deep within my heart.  That night, the impact, our girls quivering voices brings a heaviness to my broken soul.  Throwing me into a silent, lonely place filled with immense heavy sadness.  Each time pained thoughts of this chaos chisel through my protective wall, it overwhelms me with these emotions and I wonder how long it will take my spirit to heal.

Quietly, slowly bringing in long, deep breaths as we pass the spot in mere seconds, my body releases as if it broke from a fever.  Reaching our destination, I release my grip on Greg’s hand, rip my jacket off due to the profuse sweating happening underneath and announce, “We made it.”    

Just a week later we again headed to Cuba, but this time night has fallen.  We were attending a fundraiser my family had organized for us.  

Before I knew what was happening, I was staring into a huge set of white head lights passing by us.  Mesmerized by their intensity, my eyes becoming huge, my breathing stopped, reliving the impact at that exact moment.  As the truck was equal distance to ours, my head jerked hard to my right just as it did when we were hit that frigid evening.  Quickly realizing I was staring out my own window, we were not actually colliding and that this was just a flashback, I forced my heartbeat to slow. 

Eyes tightly squeezed shut, softly I urged,  “Greg, I need to travel more at night, to get over these feelings that I have.  I did not realize I still have so much anxiety about traveling in the dark.” 

Although this is my first expedition into the night, it would not be my last flashback under these circumstances.  If I conquered this episode of apprehension and survived to tell it, surely I could conquer the ones to come.


My largest challenge is just that, challenging myself too hard, too early.

Driving by my "Moment in Time"



It is mid-March, I am pale from never leaving the confines of my home and cabin fever has taken its toll on me.  Grocery shopping needs to be done, my husband suggests I accompany him and see how I feel while riding in the front seat.  Then we will be able to gauge how often I can make trips from home.   It is certainly a hassle to transport me because I am of no help getting into and out of our truck, but my man never complains.

As we head to Cuba, Missouri, just twelve minutes from our home, my heart clenches as my husband does not turn left towards the interstate, instead continuing to drive on the outer road, knowing we will drive the exact route of our collision.

 I have never questioned him about this decision, although I do wonder if this was an oversight or his way of urging me to overcome this obstacle.

Passing the turn off, I mentioned that I was becoming nervous due to the direction we were traveling.  Instinctively, he reached for my hand, holding, caressing my clammy skin the entire drive.  Not being clear on exactly where our desecrated pile of metal landed, Greg softly said, “Right here.” 

My eyes moved to the right side of the road, the scene looking different in the
daylight as our wreck happened under the cloak of darkness.  Railroad tracks, pine trees, pain.  Three vague memories create an ache deep within my heart.  That night, the impact, our girls quivering voices brings a heaviness to my broken soul.  Throwing me into a silent, lonely place filled with immense heavy sadness.  Each time pained thoughts of this chaos chisel through my protective wall, it overwhelms me with these emotions and I wonder how long it will take my spirit to heal.

Quietly, slowly bringing in long, deep breaths as we pass the spot in mere seconds, my body releases as if it broke from a fever.  Reaching our destination, I release my grip on Greg’s hand, rip my jacket off due to the profuse sweating happening underneath and announce, “We made it.”    

Just a week later we again headed to Cuba, but this time night has fallen.  We were attending a fundraiser my family had organized for us.  

Before I knew what was happening, I was staring into a huge set of white head lights passing by us.  Mesmerized by their intensity, my eyes becoming huge, my breathing stopped, reliving the impact at that exact moment.  As the truck was equal distance to ours, my head jerked hard to my right just as it did when we were hit that frigid evening.  Quickly realizing I was staring out my own window, we were not actually colliding and that this was just a flashback, I forced my heartbeat to slow. 

Eyes tightly squeezed shut, softly I urged,  “Greg, I need to travel more at night, to get over these feelings that I have.  I did not realize I still have so much anxiety about traveling in the dark.” 

Although this is my first expedition into the night, it would not be my last flashback under these circumstances.  If I conquered this episode of apprehension and survived to tell it, surely I could conquer the ones to come.


My largest challenge is just that, challenging myself too hard, too early.

Driving by my "Moment in Time"