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Making Your Own Contentment on the FarmA few years ago, as part of the redecorating project of my flooded basement, I took an ancient, faded mountain picture with a gold frame to the glass guys and had a mirror put into the frame. The mountain picture had faded to blues, but the story behind the picture prompted me to “re-purpose” what other designers might label as “junk.”

The framed picture was my mother-in-law’s left-behind treasure from a catalog purchase sometime in the l960’s. My mother-in-law came to this country as a young toddler, with parents, siblings and a suitcase. She shared her life story with a thankful heart, content to share what she had with others in need: her health, her wealth, her wisdom, and her cookies!

“When you have enough, when you have the basics, it is good to be content,” is the gist of what Mom Froese believed. The “new” mirror reminds me of my beloved mother-in-law and her ability to be content.

What Does Contentment Mean to You?

I asked a few other farmers about what they would say about contentment. One fellow had tears well up as he awaits the surgeon’s report. Others just shrugged their shoulders and said “it’s been a tough year…50 years of work is now in jeopardy.”

Circumstances may be critical, yet God is still in control. Is this a key to being content a matter of what life crisis you are facing?

Being content calls us to reflect and cherish the gifts we choose to open. We each have the chance to accept and open up a vital, dynamic relationship with God for our lives, for the present, and for our eternal well-being.

[Tweet “#Farmers, find out why making your own #contentment is so important.”]

Contentment in the Bible

In God’s word, the Bible, Paul writes to the Philippians about contentment:

”…I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what is it to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well-fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:11-13. NIV.

Wow…what a gift!

Other parts of the Bible also speak about contentment.

“We can be content with what we have and not worry,” (Matthew 6:25-35).

“We can be content because God will never leave us no matter how tough the situation is,” (Hebrews 13:5-6).

“Those of us who reverence the Lord will never lack any good thing,” (Psalm 34:9).

How to Make Your Own Contentment

There might not be a new sofa in the design plan this year, or a trip, or new patio stuff. The gifts may be letters of love, thankfulness, and affirmation. It might be a cup of tea shared, in a spirit of friendship and caring, with your neighbor. You might want to make an ordinary day extraordinary, even if you aren’t celebrating a birthday or anniversary.

Mom might re-arrange the furniture and dig to the back of the attic or closet for long-forgotten treasures that need new light and perspective. I like to spend some days “putzing” where I dedicate the search to finding forgotten white glass collections, linens, or art that can find a new place to bring beauty and energy to our home sanctuary.

Some gifts to the kids “coming home” may be a family heirloom or book that needs to be passed along to the next generation. Share the story that goes along with your treasure, and do some house cleaning in the process. When you are storing things as you clean, take a few extra moments to pack away the story that goes with the special clock, ornament, or photo.

What if we, as women, were content with a kitchen that was “good enough” and spent our time, energy, and financial resources helping other women locally and globally who are strapped for time and resources?

“Relationships, not achievements or the acquisition of things, are what matters most in life.” says Rick Warren, author of the best-selling Christian book “Purpose Driven Life.”

I agree. There are a million ways to make your own contentment, including:

  • Tuck a love note and Bible verse into your loved one’s lunch bag.
  • Bake cookies together or deliver treats to a lonely person.
  • Go trail riding, hiking, or walking. Look up!
  • Share memories around a scrapbook, photo album, or family history book.
  • Tell stories. Build an outdoor bonfire and roast wieners.
  • Laugh lots.

You have many tools and resources in your home to be content. Recycle those decorating magazines, and volunteer at the local thrift shop. In New Zealand, they call them “OP Shops” which is short for opportunity shops. We have lots of opportunities to re-purpose our stuff and be content with what we have. It might also be a good idea to shut off HGTV to curb your “house envy” episodes.

Open the good book and be content in going God’s way.

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
“Elaine helped me allocate $1 Million of assets the night I listened to her. Elaine’s presentation brings value to the use of my services in my office.”
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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