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Why Did This Happen?

22 Dec

This morning as I sat in the kitchen putting my work shoes on, I turned on the TV news.  The news anchor woman was interviewing another woman who was supposed to be an expert on how to handle tragedies.  They were talking about the terrible tragedy that had happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.  Twenty young children along with six adults were killed by a lone gunman.

The anchor woman shared how her young daughter asked her, “Why did this happen?”  To which the mother replied, “I don’t know.”  The anchor woman then turned to the expert and asked her the same question, “Why did this happen?”  The expert’s reply was the same, “I don’t know.”  The expert went on to say that we need to talk to our children and ask them, “Why do you think this happened?”  She thought it would be good to get the children to talk about it.

The next thing that came up was that a lot of children all across America are not going to feel safe going back to school.  The expert’s response was that we need to tell the children that it will be safe for them to go back to school because we have lots of policemen, teachers, principals and others to protect them.  By this time, I had put my shoes on so I shut the TV off, shaking my head in disbelief as I headed out to take care of my cattle.

When we as a family heard of this great tragedy on Friday afternoon, I immediately turned to my family and said, “I can tell you exactly why this happened.”  Then I went on to say, “This nation has put God out of the schools and out of public life as much as possible.  They want nothing to do with God and His ways anymore.  When you put God and His ways out, then the devil and his cohorts work totally unobstructed in their ways.  Their ways are lying, stealing, cheating, drugs, immorality, death and destruction.  This nation put God out of the public schools many years ago.  When He got put out, the devil had free rein to do his work.  Now, after many years, it’s come to all this death and destruction.”  The Bible sums this up very well in John 10:10 when Jesus said, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy:  I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

The experts second answer about telling the children they will be safe going back to school because of all the policemen, teachers, principals and others out there to protect them is so hollow and empty.  Those people were all present in Newtown, Conn., but it didn’t save the lives of the twenty children that perished that day.  Likewise many other children have died in school shootings over the years.  So why do we think they will be able to save the children in the future?

Why can’t a teacher in public school today put on the blackboard the commandment from God, “Thou shall not kill” or “Love thy neighbor as thyself”?  It would help children to grow up right. To respect life and to help others, not kill them!  But in America today, a court would rule that the teacher couldn’t do that because it would be violating somebody’s constitutional rights!  If the teacher didn’t remove God’s Word he/she would be fired and maybe end up in jail!

So today,  God is out of the public schools and the devil is firmly entrenched there.  Is it any wonder that we see so much immorality, drugs, violence, suicide and death among our students today?  The Bible says in Hosea 8:7, “For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.”

Will things get better in America now that this has happened?  Absolutely not.  It will only get worse.  We as a nation will continue to reap the harvest of putting God out of our public schools and public life.  It is very, very sad to realize this, but I say it with tears that it is most certainly true.

What should we do seeing we live in such dangerous times?  We need to be reading our Bibles and teaching our families the Word of God.  We also need to obey the Word of God.  This will teach our children to do the same.  Last, but not least, we need to pray for God’s protection over us and our children every day.  God can and will watch over our children when we ask Him to, even when policemen, teachers and others cannot.  I realize we live in dangerous times, but I know God is more than able to take care of us and our children.  We must look to Him and trust Him every day.

Tom Heck, his wife Joanne, and their two children, Catherine and Joshua, own and operate a 35 cow, 159 acre dairy farm in northwestern WI.  Contact Tom at:  lifeonthefamilyfarm@gmail.com  Copyright © 2012 by Tom Heck.  All rights reserved.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

22 Dec

                The most wonderful time of the year for us is Christmas time.  The crops to feed our cattle are all put up for another year.  Even though we had a drought this year, the Lord still blessed us with enough to see us through another winter.  For which we are extremely thankful.  We know of farmers and ranchers in other parts of the country that suffered much more than what we did, and our hearts and prayers go out to them.

We are also blessed to have our firewood all put up for another year.  We have one very large pile of it this year.  We heat our house and all the hot water we use in it and in our milkhouse with an outdoor wood burning furnace.  So, needless to say, it takes a lot of wood.  But, it also saves a lot of money.  What’s more, we as a family enjoy working together doing it.

So here we are now in December, we just cut a Christmas tree out of our woods a few days ago and have it decorated in our living room.  As I write this, it is lit up with all different colors of lights.  It also has all kinds of different ornaments on it along with plenty of tinsel.  Joanne and Catherine did a beautiful job of decorating it this year again.  So far it only has two presents under it, but I know there will be many more coming. It is always a blessing buying good gifts for the ones we love.  Our tree also gets extra presents under it, since Joshua’s and my birthdays are both in December.  Our birthday presents always end up under one side of the tree separate from the Christmas presents.

It always seems like there is extra love, joy and peace in our home at this time of year as we prepare to celebrate Christmas.  It’s a privilege to go out every day and take care of the cows and all the youngstock.  Catherine has once again set up a small Christmas tree outside the barn for all the cats.  The cats seem to enjoy it every year!

And then it comes, Christmas Day.  We once again go out and milk the cows and feed all the cattle.  We always try to treat them extra special on this day and they know it.  The cows will moo softly and nuzzle us with their noses.  We put our arms around their heads and pet them softly.  We treat them special because they are special to us.  And of course we treat each other extra special too.

Once we have our chores done, we go in and have a wonderful Christmas dinner that Joanne has so lovingly prepared.  After this, we sit down and read the Biblical account of how God gave the greatest gift ever given to us.  Jesus.  He is the whole reason for Christmas.  Without Him there would be no Christmas.  No giving gifts to each other.  No Christmas tree.  There would be no peace with God.  There would be no answers to our prayers.  There would be no relationship with Him and certainly no thoughts of making heaven our home.

But because Jesus was born in a stable for us, we have the greatest gift in the whole universe.  Because He came we celebrate Christmas.  We have life and that so much more abundantly.

It has been a privilege sharing our lives with you this past year again.  We hope this has been a blessing to you.  From our home to yours, we wish you the most blessed Christmas.

 

Tom Heck, his wife Joanne, and their two children, Catherine and Joshua, own and operate a 35 cow, 159 acre dairy farm in northwestern WI.  Contact Tom at: lifeonthefamilyfarm@gmail.com  Copyright © 2012 by Tom Heck.  All Rights Reserved.

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Photo caption:  Tom petting Bossie.

An Old Veteran

5 Nov

Recently, Catherine and I attended a farm business meeting in Jim Falls.  As we drove into that town we saw a large statue of a famous Civil War Veteran.  This brave veteran took part in 42 battles and skirmishes with bullets flying all around him.  This leader was so popular that they changed the name of the regiment from Badger to Eagle after him.  Who was he you ask?  Old Abe, the war eagle.  There has never been another bald eagle like him before or since.

Old Abe was born in the early spring of 1861 about 25 miles north of Jim Falls.  The Chippewa Indians that resided north of there a ways would always collect maple sap and boil it down to maple sugar to take down river in their birch bark canoes to trade for supplies.  On the way down river, Chief Sky’s group saw an eagle hovering around a tall pine tree.

So one of the young braves climbed up the tree to get the young eaglets in hopes of trading them for supplies also.  As the man got close to the nest, the mother eagle attacked him to protect her young ones.  The Indians shot her dead and the brave proceeded to get the two young eagles out of the nest.  God, the Creator, put it into the heart of the mother eagle to protect her young at all costs, even to the point of death.  It is sad to see that so many parents don’t protect their children from the evil and dangers in the world today.  Because of it, the children pay a terrible price.

The Indians proceeded down river and stopped at a small farm owned by Dan McCann and his wife.  The McCann’s had just finished planting their corn and had about a half bushel of seed left over.  The Indians offered to trade one of the young eagles for the left over seed, but when Mrs. McCann saw the bird she was convinced it was a crow and wanted nothing to do with it!  Young eagles are solid black and do not get their white feathers until they are two to three years old.  The Indians insisted that it was a bald eagle and went down to one of their canoes and brought up the dead mother.  When she saw it, she changed her mind and made the trade.

Dan McCann played the fiddle very well and the eagle loved it.  He would walk around and dance and flutter his wings to the music.  The eagle grew and by late summer had become a large bird.  A company of soldiers was being formed in the area to go and fight.  Dan wanted to go but couldn’t since he was a cripple, so he sent the eagle in his place.  The company gladly accepted him as their mascot and changed their name from the Badger Company to the Eagle Company.  They also named their new member, “Old Abe” in honor of President Abraham Lincoln.

Old Abe rode on a special perch next to the flags.  This usually put him in the worst part of the battle.  Most birds at the sound of a gun would seek to fly away to safety, but not Old Abe.  He lived for battle!  History tells us that the hotter the battle got the more he would flutter his large wings and let out shrill screams that could be heard above the sound of battle.  His courage gave the men great inspiration to fight even harder, sometimes against overwhelming odds.

Confederate Generals, Price and VanDorn commanded their armies to take Old Abe dead or alive.  They knew if they could get him it would have a very demoralizing effect on the union armies.  Old Abe was kept up front by the flags at all times and had tons of bullets flying around him, yet he only lost some of his wing feathers.  I think the Lord must have preserved his life, especially when you consider that in the battle of Corinth the regiment lost fifty percent of its men.

When General Grant and other Union Generals would pass by Old Abe they would salute him, like he was President Lincoln and raise their hats to him.  At this the Wis. Regiment would let out loud cheers and Old Abe would spread his magnificent wings.  The generals along with all the other men loved it; it motivated them to keep going on, even on bad days.

After the war, Old Abe returned to Wis. and made many public appearances to raise money for veterans.  He was always the honored guest at such meetings.  On his last appearance in Milwaukee in 1880 he met his old friend General Grant.  The two old warriors had a great love and respect for each other.  In March of 1881 the famous war eagle died.  It is said that many veterans cried when they heard about his death.

If Old Abe would have been left in his nest when he was young, he would have had a normal life like other eagles.  But circumstances beyond his control totally changed his life.  So it is in life for many people, circumstances beyond our control change our lives radically.  I know that has certainly been true in my life.  I am so glad though to know the Lord.  The Bible says in Romans 8:28, “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”  Since I belong to Him and follow Him, He makes all things to work out for my good.  He will do it for you too, if you will give Him your life.  I must say it is the most exciting and rewarding life possible.  I’m sure Old Abe would agree with that.

Tom Heck, his wife Joanne, and their two children, Catherine and Joshua, own and operate a 35 cow, 159 acre dairy farm in northwestern WI.  Contact Tom at:  lifeonthefamilyfarm@gmail.com  Copyright © 2012 by Tom Heck.  All rights reserved.

Catherine standing in front of Old Abe’s statue.

Having Fun With The Kids

18 Oct

We have an old Gehl chopper box that we use for filling our silos with haylage and corn silage.  We also use it for putting up lots of corn stalk bedding in the fall for our dairy cattle.  We bought it about twenty years ago used.  At that time it was at least ten years old already.  Since we were heavily in debt then, we couldn’t dream of buying new!  But that didn’t bother us, we were so thankful to find a nice used one in excellent condition.  We knew that we had to live within our means, so we got it.  We’ve never regretted it.  If more Americans today would live within their means, it would save them a lot of heartache and grief.   Continue reading

The Aerial Show

18 Oct

One of the jobs that I really enjoy doing on the farm here in the summer time is cutting hay. It is wonderful to get out in God’s beautiful creation. There’s always an exciting, beautiful aerial show to watch. It amazes me how our Creator made so many unique and beautiful birds. There are many different birds that are attracted to my hay fields.  Continue reading

Tractor Fire!

18 Oct

On the farm here, we have many jobs that we do together as a family.  Being able to work alongside each other and help one another is a privilege that we don’t take for granted.  It is priceless to us.  One of those in the spring of the year is rock picking. Continue reading

She’a A Dead Cow – Don’t Call Me Anymore

18 Oct

We have a small herd of dairy cows on our farm here.  Each one has her own name and she knows it.  Whenever a heifer calf is born here, we give her a name that she will have the rest of her life.  We always like to give the calf a name that starts with the same letter as her mother’s name does.  That way it is easier to keep track of each ones lineage.  Sometimes, it’s a challenge coming up with new names for new calves.  Sometimes we come up with some real unique names.  Years ago once, when we had a beautiful heifer calf born here we came up with the name, “Kangkle”. Continue reading

Bless Your Wife

18 Oct

May is a very special month of the year for us up here in the “north country.”  Summer has finally arrived and the wonderful planting season has come again.  As a farmer, I enjoy putting seeds into the ground, and seeing new life come forth.  With the miracle of new life coming forth, comes the promise of another harvest. Continue reading