christmas in the country 2015 – gift reveal

IMG_0265I took this about five minutes ago. It’s January 13 and it’s still Christmas in my house. It may be a good thing that I can still wake up and plug in the Christmas tree and other lights of the season to remind me of the reason for the season.

I’ve been quite busy the past couple of months. If someone were to ask me if I’d like to have a “do over”, I would very excitedly tell them I would. My reason may not be one that you would think. Although, I would for that reason, too. The reason?  So I could simply stop and enjoy the season as it should be enjoyed. I feel like that was robbed from me this year. As Executive Director of the US Custom Harvesters, I have been solely focused on getting a job done. But, you see, that’s who I am. When I’m given a job, I tend to focus on it until it is complete. The large undertaking that I have and had over the Christmas season has been the planning of the annual convention – which happens to be in Omaha this year.

IMG_0267I did what most do at this special time of year but it wasn’t with the same mental focus as it should have been. I knew that. I knew I wasn’t putting as much of me into what Christmas is all about – not like I usually do. I still bought the gifts and went shopping and made cookies and wrapped presents. It was done, though, when I felt I had time to squeeze it in. And that is what I would like to have a “do over” for. I want to do it and enjoy it and take it all in…as it should be. My family suffered because of my focus on a job. Unfortunately, with the timing of the convention (which is next week), I had to remain focused and push through to make the event happen.

IMG_0264So…I’ll just leave my sights of the season around for a bit longer. Mostly because I haven’t got the time to take it down yet. Not until the job at hand is complete.

One part of the Christmas season that I also have put aside is my involvement in the Christmas in The Country gift exchange. I think this is the third year I’ve participated in this fun part of what the season is all about. Laurie, Jamie, Lara and Kirby simply amaze me. Maybe it’s because they are younger than me. Maybe it’s because they are more organized than me. Maybe…who knows why or how but they are able to organize this secret santa (maybe I should say blogger) experience with ease. I’m in awe at how easy they make this appear. They have every single detail worked out and then someone like me sort of creates a bit of a kink in the road. Sorry, girls! I really am. I know my deadline was YESTERDAY. Thank you for doing this! For putting so much of your time during this time of the year into something you feel passionate about. It shows and you’re simply amazing!

Now…this is how it goes.

I was paired with another blogger and another blogger was paired with me. There were 53 bloggers and 19 states involved in this party. What a small world and even smaller now with social media! My gifts were thought about and purchased for my new friend in Minnesota. Janet is married to a farmer. Her statement, “I’ll never marry a farmer. Farmers work long hours, and rarely get a day off” reminded me of the one that my grandma once told me, “whatever you do, don’t marry a harvester”. Seems we both have something in common. 🙂  When I received my list of what Janet likes, I thought…this will be a piece of cake. Chocolates, crafts, anything MN Vikings and cows. Cows. I’ve seen lots of cows…I’ll just get her something fun with cows on it. WRONG! Apparently I wasn’t looking in the right place or I was being too picky. I found nothing. So, this is what I did send:

IMG_0170A box of locally made chocolates (which are the BEST), a pair of Cornhusker socks, a corn ornament and a picture I took this summer while we were in Colorado. I love that picture because of the clouds. It’s just too bad it didn’t have a cow in it! And, of course, I had to send this too:

IMG_0171What better way to explain what we do than to show what we do? 🙂

The day I received my gift from my secret blogger friend was a day that I definitely needed a reminder of what the season was all about. When I came home from running a few errands and found another box on my step, I sort of felt angry. Angry? That’s a funny feeling to have upon finding a box on your doorstep, right? Well, I had been receiving plenty of boxes prior to this one which meant work and I didn’t want more on my plate. Not right now.

After better examination, I realized this wasn’t a work related box. This was a fun box. I was 8 years old all over again! I was so excited to see what I had been sent. I immediately dropped everything else in my arms and took my box in the kitchen to unwrap.  OH. MY. GOSH! It was amazing! Kristin, you are my newest best friend! My gifts were so much more than you can even imagine. The box had a wooden box inside which included a candle, salsa, strawberry preserves, a cute coin purse, HOMEMADE VANILLA and flower seeds. Homemade vanilla? I never even knew this was something you could do.


The best part of this was my girls’ reactions. Each one of them wanted to take it home with them. It was a hit and you made my day, Kristin! Thank you so much for taking the time to find out more about me and know that what you sent was going to be well received!

Kristin can be found by visiting The Rice Roundup.  She wrote in her blog, “Hopefully it got there! There was a big storm up there and it was delaying packages being delivered.  Tracking said it was delivered on a front porch, so hopefully she received it in good shape!” It got here in perfect shape and it made my day. I think I’ll take a few of those flower seeds (hand picked from Kristin’s garden) and plant them in my new wooden box and they will join me on the harvest journey this summer. Every day I water those flowers, I will think about you, Kristin! Thank you and God bless you! (and I hope one day we can meet in person)

11 comments on “christmas in the country 2015 – gift reveal

  1. J. Rhoades says:

    Oh Tracy, I hope we didn’t haggle you too bad about the exchange! We try to make it fun, there’s quite a bit of commotion behind the scenes (Laurie has lots of stories on me I’m afraid), but we do it because I know more times than not it works out just so – when someone needs a blessing or a friend or just a minute to stop and reflect – that’s when the box shows up and it makes me so happy to have a small part in making someone’s day 🙂 I feel you on wanting the Christmas redo – I didn’t decorate or bake much because of all the home construction and knowing I needed to take it easy on myself this year, but I don’t think next year will be much better with a little one in the house! All we can do it remember the real reason for the season and look forward to the warm weather, right?! Blessings to you Tracy!

  2. Linda says:

    Oh Tracy, I have been wondering how you are doing with the preparation for your conference. I hope it goes perfect! You just keep enjoying those Christmas lights in your house. It makes a little joy to look at. What a fun box to receive! I imagine your girls did want it.

  3. Debra Johnson says:

    What a beautiful tree! I don’t blame you at all for wanting to leave up as a I too love to hold onto the season just a bit longer as it always goes so fast! Wishing you and your family a Happy New Year!
    Hope the Annual Convention goes as planned!

  4. Tracy, you made me tear up! I always love reading what you have to say, but this one really is beautiful! I am so glad this little box of treasures from Kristin made it to your front porch at just the right time. I can only imagine all of the planning and preparing you have been doing, so to receive a gift like this, had to have been wonderful. Now I want to send you something so that you can take it with you on wheat harvest. 🙂
    Blessings to you dear friend!
    Laurie – Country Link

    • Nebraska Wheatie says:

      Aw, Laurie…you’re the very best! Thank you for organizing this project. It all happened because of you and the others.
      Love ya!

  5. Kristin says:

    Yay!!!! I am so glad to read your post. I got your Thank you card and I read it often. Such a sweet card!! I am so thrilled that you liked the gifts. I had fun figuring out what to send you. I hope you can take sometime for YOU when that time comes. Much love and hope your year is a good one. It would be fun to meet you on down the road someday I would agree!!!

    • Nebraska Wheatie says:

      You did such a great job of finding gifts I love. And they blessed me beyond measure! Thank you so much, Kristin! ❤️

  6. Benny Benschoter, Omaha says:

    Tracy, that presentation you and Jim made to us antique tractor guys was wonderful and enjoyed by all. Thanks for sharing your family’s experiences with us.

    • Nebraska Wheatie says:

      Thank you, Benny! I certainly appreciate your kind words.
      Be sure to watch here for more updates of where we are and what’s going on.

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