The world is a weird place filled with uncertainty. Last year illustrated this, but sadly we were only a handful of days into the new year when 2021 documented this, too. Truthfully, it is easy to feel like the sky is falling to some extent.
If this is the case for you, too, I urge you to stand up and look in the eyes of those you kiss goodnight. My guess is that is where the bright ray of hope exists. I know this holds true for me.
Just last week, my daughter, Cassie, was all snuggled next to me on the sofa, ahead of our 8 p.m. Tuesday night show. This is "our show," and we had been looking forward to watching it. But then, her father came inside and said the vet was on the way. Scott and an employee were having a hard time pulling a calf and they needed help. Without any hesitation, Cassie jumped up and said, "I'll go out and help, Dad."
So, she pulled on coveralls over her pajamas, and outside the father-daughter duo went. Later, Cassie called and told me with excitement, "They are going to have to do a C-section!"
The pair was outside until 11 p.m., assisting the vet with a successful cesarean birth that ended up with a live cow and calf. Cassie documented the evening with pictures, and her father gave the Jersey/Limousine crossbred bull calf to Cassie to raise for her willingness and ability to offer a helping hand.
The next morning, when I was told all about what unfolded, for whatever reason, my eyes glossed over with tears. That evening, when chaos in our U.S. Capitol unraveled on the television, I cried again. But then, my kids, without being summoned, went outside to do their evening farm chores.
I rose from the sofa, shut off the television, and watched outside the farmhouse window as they bottle-fed calves. I took a deep breath and smiled. When the world seemed so off and so scary, I found instant peace from watching my kids do simple farm chores.
Yes, I worry about the world we live in, and truthfully, the last year I have carried a lot of concern on my shoulders and in my heart. But when I look outside my farmhouse windows, this beam of hope bursts in, and my worries become small.
Friends, we must focus on what we believe in, and for me, that is cultivating good human beings. Truthfully, this is my most important job. My kids are learning life's best lessons by living on our family dairy farm. It's the small acts of responsibility that will allow our kids to walk big with purpose. This is what my daily farmhouse view documents.
So, every day, in some little way, I try to look at the view that my farmhouse provides. When I do, I'm never disappointed. That beam of light always shines through, instilling hope that expands my heart.
Karen Bohnert is a second-generation dairy farmer, born and raised on her family dairy in Oregon and moved east after graduating from Oregon State University. Karen and her husband work in partnership with family, and they along with their three children live and work on the family's 500 Jersey cow dairy in East Moline, Ill. Karen's pride and love for dairy could fill a barn, and she actively promotes dairy anyway she can.