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The Many Methods of Making Merriment & Memories This SummerOn the farmer’s office desk sat a very creative wedding invitation collage. Four photos in progression portrayed the casually clad couple holdings signs….we are in love, we are getting married, come join us! The accompanying text said, “join us for love and merriment.”

Merriment isn’t an everyday kind of word, but it sure stuck with me.

Let’s resolve to make merriment in our hearts this summer. It’s going to be a short season…weather wise that is. Merriment is not dependent on the weather. If we get lots of cool cloudy days, we can still hike, pick wild berries, or explore some new pasture trails. External factors like weather can’t keep us stuck, just our internal desire to have fun can. Brides will still get married if it rains.

Catching Up with Old Friends

I drank peppermint tea from my friend Elizabeth’s mum’s Snowdrop china collection. Elizabeth pulled out the bone-handled knives that we had scored at a summer auction sale over 35 years ago in Boissevain when we were re-connecting as college friends. Our friendship over the years has brought much joy with sharing the farm report, the urban design outlook, and witty conversations about the crazy things people choose to do or ignore. There was much merriment in a meal of quinoa, based on a 20-year-old recipe. The time spent with a cherished friend validated the saying “old friends are the best antiques.”

Celebrate Loved Ones

Celebrate and show up!  If the proverb that says “we teach what we need to learn” is true, then I am still learning to lighten up and make a conscious effort to seek out times of merriment.

Sometimes my head feels like I have written one of those nasty, three hour provincial June exams. I need rest and renewal. I am teary thinking about my father’s birthday in July. We lost dad in 2011, at age 87, in what is termed “the ambiguous loss of Alzheimer’s.”  I am so glad we gave Dad a large garden party for his 80th birthday, on the river at my sister’s home years ago, when things were merrier and bright. We created wonderful memories.

[Tweet “#Farmers, let’s resolve to make merriment in our hearts this #summer using these 5 methods.”]

A Bouquet on an Ordinary Day

I usually enjoy cuttings from my flower bed to make an arrangement for church on Sunday.  During the Sunday service, I listen for clues and promptings as to who would really delight in receiving an arrangement. I don’t care if the vase comes back; vases are always finding their way to my cupboard, and I have enough to share.

Flowers bring lots of joy and beauty to our life, so “if you have just two pence, spend one on bread and the other on hyacinth.” I remember my mother talking about the time Dad brought her a bouquet of wild roses from the pasture, just to delight her on an ordinary day.

Memories are made every day, so I guess there really are no ordinary days, just extraordinary people who make memories whenever they get the chance.

Forgiveness, Gratitude, and Communication

Mindsets this year will need to shift. Mothers will forgive adult children who disappoint them, dads will offer apologies, and all will feel the lightened load of burdens released. A farm mother blessed me with a journal and a thank you card for helping her find forgiveness in a highly conflicted family situation.

That’s really why my head hurts so much. It is full of family stories, of folks just like me who want harmony and need to find a better way to communicate what is really important in their family and their farm business. Forgiveness, gratitude, and communication are all important steps in finding merriment.

Life’s Simple Pleasures: Singing, Dancing, and Eating

I am also digging now for my King peppermints, another gift from a family who listened to my childhood memory of these wonderful “Dutch” candies that I enjoyed with my teenage camping buddies. Sugar is bad for us, yet chocolate and peppermints have really comforted me, in small doses. This is what Dr. Jan Chozen Bays, the writer of the book “Mindful Eating,” calls heart hunger. Food that is tied to a memory comforts us.

Music is wonderful therapy for the soul too. Figure out how to add more songs to your playlist on your iPod, and crank up the stereo CDs. Let the songs in your heart, become vocalized. Dance in the kitchen while the cookies are baking and make melodies in your heart. Get a copy of Jennifer Buchanan’s book, “Tune In: A Music Therapy Approach to Life.” Use music intentionally to curb stress, boost morale, and restore health.

The time of singing, playing and making merriment has come. Find ways to picnic in the rain. Enjoy your summer, and make it a wonderful season, regardless of the weather.

Fixing Your Time Stress Mess

60 minutes

Workaholics will discover helpful strategies for managing their time stress. Gain understanding for the tensions of your age and stage on the farm. Learn why some problems are not solvable, but just need to be managed as polarities. Self-renewing people are joyful and productive producers.

$15

Rave reviews

“A joy to work with, heard loud and clear. When the farmers laughed or asked a great question, I knew they were listening and really wanted to learn from her. Her tips were easy to understand. It was just about understanding that conflict happens, and to have the confidence in yourself to ask for what you want. In the glowing review from farmers after her presentation, I knew they had heard that loud and clear.”
Maddy Berner, Event Planner & Communications Coordinator, National Milk Producers Federation National Milk Producers Federation
“I wanted to say a HUGE thank you for your virtual kitchen table chat with Arlan Academy. My wife and I signed up as it was exceptionally relevant to our current journey with potentially transitioning to her parents’ farm. The session was able to cover so many aspects of these crucial conversations and hearing you speak to both sides of the conversation was eye opening for my own perspective on this topic. It seemed to be very well attended and sounded like there were many other people who would echo my thoughts and feelings on it.”
N. Oakley, Farmer, Ontario
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Don Forbes, Forbes Wealth Management
“I recently joined in and listened to your Healthy Farmer Agriwebinar for FMC. I truly enjoyed hearing your perspective and even went and grabbed my Mom, away from her work, to come and listen in on some of your main points as well! One area that really stood out for me, both personally with our own succession plans and with our clients, was your discussion involving "Instant Influence" and how ready are you to change? I loved this concept!”
Annessa Good, FCC Transition Specialist, Alberta
“Elaine Froese truly is the Farm Whisperer. With her big heart and stern resolve, she guides families through uncharted waters and helps them arrive safely at their desired destination. She has been there, done that, and has helped hundreds of families come out on the other side. With your family and your farm legacy on the line, you owe it to yourself to start this conversation. You do not need to do it alone. Let Elaine Froese guide you through. Your legacy is being written day by day. How will you be remembered?”
Tracy Brunet, Host of The Impact Farming Show & CEO of Farm Marketer
“You speak like you’ve been sitting at our kitchen table! You know our family issues well. I am feeling more comfortable understanding what we now need to do. Elaine Froese is real.”
Audience Member,
“I attended the meeting you spoke at in Stratford Ontario recently. We held an emergency family/farm meeting today because of issues that I had enough of. We used a 'talking stick' like you recommended and wrote a chart of rules. The rest of the family thought the idea that we needed a meeting was worth rolling their eyes over, until we got started. The younger ones were quick to clue in that they now have an opportunity to be bluntly honest. The older ones took a bit longer to believe they could truly say what they think. In the end, the meeting needed two sessions because there was so much to talk about… and so many things people didn't realize were a big deal to the others. Your lessons and encouragement have given us the tools we need to get to a better place in our relationships and our business. Truly thankful.”
Kim Martin, Dairy Farmer, Ontario
“Helped me develop my framework to start having constructive and meaningful conversations around the farm.”
Tennille Wakefield, Farm Partner
“Some great lessons, Elaine! You continue to do some remarkable and potentially life-changing work.”
James Mitchell, Principal, Conversations Consulting
“Our family had a good farm meeting yesterday afternoon. Your Fairness video was a great topic of discussion. One of the action items after the meeting was to have my two non-farming siblings watch the video before the next big meeting they are involved with on the farm. It will be a great conversation starter as we catch them up on our current plan. As they are younger, we also hope it will help them to ask new questions that may not have been on their mind.”
G.G., Farm Family Legacy Coach, Alberta
“Elaine gives me excellent tools that help me work with my clients!”
Laurianne Osmack, Financial Planner / Partner, Doell Osmak Wealth Management
“She has a sense of “knowing” quickly what is happening in the family dynamic. Her messages to her audiences drive home what needs to be done next to solve the complex issues of farm transition and conflict resolution.”
Audience Member,
“Eye-opening. Excited to open the door of communication with my spouse and farm family.”
Ashley Hoppe, Farm Partner
“The Strong Farms, Strong Families session gave farm families an opportunity to meet face to face with Elaine Froese... hear her own story, experiences and skill set. From this information packed session and related materials, families could identify areas of success in their journey and other places they need assistance. The greatest take away was that participants could see that Elaine Froese is someone they can trust with the things that they hold most precious.... their family and their farm.”
Nancy Atkinson, Nobleford Ag Society, Alberta
“Elaine’s real-life scenarios help her audiences know they are not alone, knowing there are creative solutions to help them get the life on the farm they have always wanted.”
Audience Member,
“A long time female client who had refined the art of procrastination was so moved by the end of your presentation that she accepted your permission to “drop the bananas.” She contacted me soon after for an appointment to do some planning which included the selling of the family “Century Farm.” A very, very emotional decision on her part that was not likely to have occurred without your presentation.”
Don Forbes, Forbes Wealthy Management
“I just have to say… that your work is amazing and I have never forgotten your teachings from our session in Williams Lake at TRU. It is super important work. I know so many people going through the trauma of succession. I hate to use that word, but I was an “out-law” and know it can get terrible. I continue to forward your emails on to others. Keep doing what you do! You are amazing. You kind of walk into the fire regularly… and with a smile. Proud to have met you.”
Megan, BC Rancher
“As my husband and I eagerly started the course we were optimistic and excited to be taking this next step in our Farm Transition. We were starting to question ourselves and whether or not we were just being selfish and greedy, and if this Farm Transition was still an option for us. We barely got through the first Module and were already having such a huge relief. As we moved through the modulus there were so many times that we just sat back with our hands in the air and thought YES. My husband and I would smile with relief because all of the concerns that we have been struggling with were relevant and came up in the modules. We really enjoyed the course and are excited to move on to the next stages to find our farm resolution.”
Shannon Gilchrist, “Get Farm Transition Unstuck” online course participant
“My hubby farms with 2 brothers and parents, and it’s become a really toxic place. No communication, no respect, etc. Twelve months ago, my husband’s brothers told him they don’t want to work with him anymore and offered him a pay out. His parents did nothing to stop it! He had no choice but to leave. Three months later, we moved off the farm and into town. He has been offered heaps of jobs and is now truck driving and carting hay and grain. We have tried communicating with his parents about what happened but they are not interested. So basically my hubby has lost his family. Very sad but we as husband and wife are overall in a good place and moving on to create our own life. Please continue on with all your wonderful work in helping families on the farm. I continue to tell any farmers I know about you, that they must ‘google’ you, and read your books.”
Donna, Farmer, Australia

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