So, I thought it would be fun to go back in my blogging archives and see just how many of these “secret santa” blogging events I have been a part of. I was surprised by a couple of things.
#1. This was the 4th year of participation.
#2. The names and blogs of the people who I have had interaction with over the past years started because of this participation.
I will admit, once the gift has been thought about, purchased and sent, I tend to forget about reading the blogs. I’m just being honest. The reason I started mine was simply to write my stories and for my family/friends to know where we are during our harvest adventures. I had NO CLUE how many virtual friends I would get to “meet” due to this silly blog!
The biggest surprise…Nicole Small of A Kansas Farm Mom!! Nicole has become a pretty darn good friend – both online and in person. She’s someone I can call on the phone and know that she’s there for me. How many times have we actually been together in person? I think twice – the past two Commodity Classic conventions have brought us together. Who would have thunk?
So, I’m going to list the names of the women and their online sites who have been included in this journey called “Christmas in the Country”.
And now…I can share with you the results of the 2016 gift exchange. This year, there was a changing of the guard…so to speak. The previous gals (Jamie and Laurie) decided they needed a break (and I don’t blame them). Rather than doing away with it all together, Jenny and Darleen wanted to continue the tradition. It was because of Christmas in the Country they became friends. The name has changed (from Christmas in the Country to The Country Christmas Connection) but the reason for doing it has not. Thank you to the gals who had the vision and made it happen and to the gals who realized just how important it was and are willing to continue it!!
The recipient of my gift this year was Wanda Patsche of Minnesota Farm Living. I am going to be honest again. I was a bit anxious about sending a gift to Wanda. She is such a rock star in the Ag blogging world. I really wanted it to be something she could feel good about. You can see what I ended up sending her by visiting her most recent blog about her gift. My most favorite item I included was the DVD, The Great American Wheat Harvest. It is an honest depiction of our lifestyle and the producer, Conrad Weaver, did an outstanding job of telling our story. I also included something I received last year from Kristin – seeds from her zinnia plants (which she sent to me). I’ve never had zinnia’s grow; even though I have planted them with the hope they would grow (they are my most favorite annual flower). The seeds she sent me actually grew while we were away on harvest and their bright shining faces greeted me when we got home. I hope the seeds I included in Wanda’s gift do as well!
My box came while I was away from home – driving school bus. When I saw it sitting on the steps, I was excited. Mostly because I am like a kid when it comes to gifts. 🙂 I carried it into the house, went to drawer to get the scissors and began opening it like Ralphie on A Christmas Story. And this is what I found:
I fell in love with each piece that was so carefully thought out and planned just for me. Coffee (yes, I love coffee) from a local store, locally made soap (lavender/lime, pumpkin spice & cocoa espresso) and a beautiful bracelet expressing who I am!
Who would have known taking a picture of a bracelet would be so difficult?! It says, #HARVESTHER on it and there’s a rhinestone cross right next to it.
I immediately went to Jess’ Facebook page and what should I see? This is her cover photo…
I messaged her. I thanked her for such awesome gifts and then I asked her if she knew the picture she had on her FB was mine. She did not. She responded with, “I’ve had that picture up for a long time. I just happened across it one day and absolutely loved it!”. What a quinky dink! And then I saw that she was at the National FFA Convention (so was I). So I asked her if she stopped by the New Holland booth and got her free copy of The Great American Wheat Harvest. She did not. Have no fear…I sent her a copy of the special edition made specifically for FFA – she is an advisor. I’m hoping, by now, she’s had time to watch it and maybe share it with her group. We continued with a fun online conversation. A new friend. And her last name is Tracey – spelled differently but one more quinky dink. The world is such a small one!!
Jess has a blog but she says she posts on it when the mood strikes. I hope the mood strikes again soon because I enjoyed reading what she has written!
Again, thank you to everyone who is responsible for taking on this “adventure” in bringing a few of us Ag bloggers together! It has certainly become one of my most favorite look-forward-to event during the Christmas season. And now…I have two more online friends to add to the list of “one day I will meet in person”!