Showing posts from 2019

Enjoying the Simple Things in Life

In September I celebrated a significant birthday – the big 50!   I’m not one who gets too worked up about getting older, I would rather focus on being thankful my feet still hit the ground each morning.   When my husband asked how I wanted to celebrate my milestone birthday, I requested to keep it simple and fun.   After pondering a few options, my party of choice consisted of the following: Guest List:   My husband and myself Location:   Clay County Fair Party Food: Concession Food Birthday Cake:   A Spudnut Doughnut (more concession food) Present:   A $28 ticket to see Maddie Poppe in concert that evening.   If you don’t know Maddie, she won Season 16 of American Idol and is from Clarksville, Iowa. As the celebration came to a close and I reflected on my day, here were some takeaways:   1) you must pick your corn dog stand wisely; 2) a walk through the animal barns resulted in a miniature horse and Holland Lop bunny being added to my “someday” wish list; 3) Maddie is

IBA Board

In May I was selected to be a board member for the Iowa Bankers Association and my 2-year term as a board member started in October of this year. I am honored to serve the association in this capacity, and I am looking forward to the opportunity. Before I was elected to the board, I served on the Legislative Committee for the association. In this roll I helped select positions the IBA would take on certain political issues. I had several opportunities to work with our elected officials at the state level and went out to Washington D.C. once to meet with our federally elected officials. The legislative committee was a very interesting roll and I learned a lot about the association and issues that were important to our industry. The legislative committee was a passion of mine and I will continue to work with our elected officials to advocate for our industry. In my new roll on the board of directors I am looking forward to giving back to the banking industry which has provided me wit

….where the deer and the buffalo roam! Where seldom is heard…..

This past week I got the amazing experience to travel to Montana with my Aunt Jill and my mother Laura. I have always wanted to take a trip out there, especially after my aunt and mom had been out there a few years ago. This trip was filled with new experiences, amazing people, beautiful scenery, and a lot of laughter. When we got to Montana my mom and my aunt Jill’s friend picked us up at the airport in a truck and trailer loaded with a horse.   Needless to say, I felt at home from the beginning. Sadly, the weather did not cooperate with us the first few days. We spent some time seeing the amazing scenery full of mountains, valleys, and all sorts of wildlife. Eventually when the weather did clear up, we got to go riding. This was easily the best part of the trip for me. I could spend my life in a saddle, and I would be happy. We spent the first half of our week at a beautiful ranch of one of our friends, riding, shooting prairie dogs, spending a lot of time with some great

Steps to a Budget-Friendly Holiday Season

Shopping for the holidays can be a stressful experience, but it doesn’t have to be. Planning ahead can help make sure that you don’t overextend yourself when shopping for loved ones. Check out these steps for a holiday season that won’t break the bank. 1.        Make a list. Write down the names of everyone you wish to buy a gift for this holiday season and the items you would like to purchase or the amounts you would like to spend on each one. 2.        Set a budget and stick to it. Decide how much you can afford to spend on gifts for your loved ones this season, and make a pledge to not go over that amount. 3.        Research. Start checking prices on the items you listed in Step 1. Go window shopping at stores and check prices online. Add them all up and compare this amount to the amount you budgeted for in Step 2. If it exceeds the total you want to spend, it’s decision time. Go back to Step 1 and either cut some items off your list or choose less expensive gifts for c

“We Bought My Sister at the Airport”, Our Adoption Story

A doctor’s mis-diagnosis nearly took my life when I was eight years old.  It wasn’t until I was in my twenties that I learned the full extent of the damage that was done from a ruptured appendix.    After eight attempts at in-vitro fertilization, we began the adoption process.  This will be easy, right?...…wrong.  There are so many things to learn, decide and complete.  What type of adoption, domestic or international?  What country?  It costs what?  We have to fill out an application.  What paperwork?   More paperwork?   It takes how long?  We have to wait?  Fingerprints at the Federal Building in Des Moines.  A physical exam with a doctor and a blood test, seriously?  A social worker will visit us, and we need personal recommendations.  We must attend a class?  Why doesn’t everyone who wants a baby have to go through this?  This must be like the application process for a job with the FBI!  This is not fair! The paperwork started and the wait began.    We had a checklist that I re

State Fair Camping

I’ve been going to the Iowa State Fair for as long as I can remember.   Up until just a few years ago it was typically just a single day trip up to Des Moines to watch a pig show with a return trip home at the end of the day.   A cinnamon roll, a meal at the Pork or Beef Producers, and about half a dozen lemonades made it a day.   I’m big on routines and this was my state fair routine. The last few years I’ve been actively involved helping Jacob and the Scotton family exhibit their pigs at the state fair.   The first year they showed in Des Moines I planned be at the fair for 3 or 4 days with them. My wife asked me where I planned to stay at night.   “I’ll drive back and forth from home or stay at a friend’s house in Des Moines”, was my response.   “Well, they’ve offered to let you stay with them in their camper on the fairgrounds” was my wife’s response, meaning, my idea wasn’t very good, without saying so directly. I wish I could remember the exact words of my response, but

Love and Loss

Up until the last year, I had been very fortunate that I have not lost anyone significantly close to me. Like most, I thought I knew what to expect.   How very wrong I was. My experience was scary, numbing, exhausting, and incredibly soul shaking.   I lost my mom on Oct 16, 2018.   She was a kind loving individual, who gave without expectation. Her last few years were a health struggle, but that did not stop her wonderful smile and ornery attitude. She was gracious until the end. I cried everyday for over a month after her death. I still cry and think of her daily. I wonder what it is like in heaven.   I have questions that will never be answered. I wish I knew how to cook and garden as well as she did, I wish I knew how to can, I wish I knew how to make homemade jelly, I wish… By: Jill Burnett

Small Town USA

LSB is using the “Small Town USA” theme for our parade entries this year. To me it is very fitting as I grew up in a small town and back then we were a thriving little town. Two grocery stores, two gas stations, a hardware store, grain elevator, and a bulk oil company. Then, like so many small towns around, businesses started closing as people were shopping in Fairfield and it gradually seemed to be dying. This year Ragbrai announced their route in February and our little town was the breakfast stop on day 6.    A committee was formed and we met monthly until July, organizing what we would provide for the 20,000 visitors that day. I didn’t know what to expect regarding who would come forward and volunteer. To say the least I was overwhelmed by everyone that came forward and helped do “whatever” to get our small town ready. We cleaned the streets, pulled weeds, painted buildings etc. and it wasn’t only one or two people it was a group that has pride in our community and doesn’t wa

Banzai Financial Literacy

Libertyville Savings Bank (LSB) has been sponsoring financial literacy programs at 4 local schools for the last several years, most recently through a company called Banzai that focuses on making the tools fun to use. Each student runs through real life scenarios where they must make budgeting decisions in order to “win” the game. When asked about the program; Kylie Martin, a student at Fairfield High School commented, “I think Banzai was a helpful learning tool in my intro to business class. It gave examples of scenarios that could happen in real life and provided real life decisions you would have to make. It was enjoyable to use because it gave you a real perspective on real life scenarios and how you can be prepared for and handle them.” Teachers love the Banzai program as well. Many classes are required to provide some level of financial literacy to students and the Banzai program meets those requirements. One of the classes that LSB sponsors is the 3 rd grade at Pence Elem

Strengths and Weaknesses

I’ve never touted myself as an acclaimed farm wife.   You’ll never see me baling hay, driving the combine or pulling a calf.   I wish the desire to be hands on came naturally for me, but it doesn’t.   I love living on the farm and it’s my favorite place to be, but I’m a better behind-the-scenes person.   I like handling the other responsibilities that keep the day to day running of the farm flowing smoothly, leaving my husband free to focus on the big stuff. There are many times when being more hands on would come in handy.   This spring we had four heifers get out, and of course I was home alone.   I think the cows wait until they know I’m the only one home and plot their escape, then they just sit back and watch me, laughing at my ineptitude.   How hard can it be to get 4 heifers back in? For me, impossible.   I got two of the four back in, but 50% doesn’t cut it in this situation.   The other two seemed content walking down the gravel road, heading to town…opposite direction f

Lacey Trail Labs

My husband and I had lived in town for 35 years when we found a house out by Lake Sugema that we decided to buy.   Not only was there a house, but there was a big shop located on the property.   My husband Bob had always wanted to raise registered labs, and this building was the perfect spot for this.   And so, it began.   We’ve had numerous litters over the last four years and every time a new litter is born it’s so exciting. The first couple weeks the Mommy takes care of the puppies all on her own.   When the puppies are two weeks old their eyes are open, and they are ready for their first worming.   We give them a liquid dosage, according to their weight, and then they don’t need to be wormed again until they are four weeks old.   At the next worming, they are playful, and are a little harder to convince that the wormer tastes good.   They are strong and try to spit it back out.   By the time they are 5-6 weeks old the pup’s mom is happy to go back outside to her normal life and b

Round #2

Three summers ago, I was preparing for my oldest son Zach to start his senior year of high school.   I remember it being a busy summer as we began making college visits, having senior pictures taken and Zach taking the ACT.   Then the school year started and with a blink of the eye the year was over, and I was sitting at graduation wondering how I had survived it all.   Well, I am about to embark on round # 2 with my son Drew.   I clearly remember saying to myself after I dropped Zach off at college, that I was on easy street for a while and could just sit back and enjoy the next few years.   Well those few years have flown by and I must admit that I am not looking forward to this next embarkment.   I was spoiled with Zach, as he just took care of everything.   Being the eldest child, he always took charge and handled responsibilities.   Now we know as parents, that none of our children are ever the same and that is true with my boys.    Drew is my fun loving, always has a smil


My childhood was shaped by the 1980s farm crisis.   My dad had (and still has) a passion for farming.   His dream in life was to have enough land of his own to support a family and a small cow-calf herd.   My dad started out farming with my grandparents near Boone, Iowa.   My parents married in 1974, and bought their first farm near Fraser, Iowa around 1977.   They slowly grew their herd and acquired more land and had three children along the way.   Though I was young, I remember this time being a happy and peaceful time.   Then, disaster struck – crop prices fell, interest rates climbed, farm debt soared, and land values bottomed out.   I remember vividly the moment that seemed to push our family to the brink – lighting struck our new barn, causing a fire. We lost the barn, equipment and cows right in middle of calving season.   Just as I was finishing kindergarten, my dad was giving up on his dream.   What followed was our family moving from town to town as my dad tried to find wo

Getting Ready for the County Fair

My sisters and I were never involved in 4-H or FFA when we were young, so going to the county fair to me was nothing more than watching the pig show and maybe eating a corn dog.   Now that I’m a parent of three 4-H / FFA youths, I realize that it’s not that simple.   A lot of time and effort goes into putting on a successful County Fair! Just at our house alone, the list of things that need to be done between now and Fair time is unbelievable.   The goats need washed, groomed and their hooves need clipped.    Fourteen chickens need to make a visit to the vet clinic for their disease-free certification.   All the associated equipment needs to be located and organized in the show boxes according to species.   We need to order more feed, so we don’t run out halfway through the fair.   Fair grounds cleanup day is coming soon so the entire family will spend the day sprucing up the grounds. The list goes on and on and we’re just one family! The Fair Board members, the County Extension an

Hawaiian Honeymoon

October 28th, 2017 Marcus Giltner and I got married. This past winter we went on our honeymoon. We went to the Big Island of Hawaii and it was amazing. We had been wanting to go to Hawaii for awhile and we were so excited to finally go. Options were endless when it came to doing things and the weather was perfect. Snorkeling almost every day was a must.   The fish were beautiful, and the turtles were so cool to see.   Both of us love nature so we went hiking a couple of times and got to see a black sand beach, a green sand beach, beautiful flowers, wild hogs, dormant volcanos and great views. One day we took a helicopter ride.   The waterfalls that we saw were unbelievable and we got to see a rainbow that made a complete circle. We also relaxed while we were in Hawaii by going golfing, getting a couple’s massage, lying next to the pool in the sun, and in the early morning getting a coffee (the Big Island is known for coffee and trust me, it was so good).   We would sit on our balco


Growing up I loved to be outdoors. I was very involved in sports and was pretty “tomboyish”. When we found out we were having a girl, I thought, “Oh I hope she isn’t going to be a dancer!” (No, there isn’t anything wrong with that, but I had NO clue about dance!).   She has grown into the most soft-hearted, kind, outdoorsy little girl. She just goes with the flow and sometimes gets her heart hurt from feeling so deeply about things, but I wouldn’t trade her for the world! She likes to play basketball too!! When we found out we were expecting another girl, I thought “Oh man, that’s 3 of me in one house, my poor husband!”. She has all the spunk and sass that her sister doesn’t have and then some! She’s sassy, yet shy, and is so kind to others as well. They are so much alike yet are so different at the same time! I can only hope as they grow up they remain close and if one needs a shoulder to cry on they are there for each other and should someone cross their paths wrong, they have e

Hospice Volunteers Needed!


Give Thanks!

Spring time… It is a time when the grass turns green and the flowers begin to bloom. All the grays and browns turn to green and many other beautiful colors. For me spring brings field work and many hours in the tractor. Sitting in the tractor gives me a lot of time to think. It is amazing how many thoughts go through my mind when I have time to reflect. This spring as I was planting I had an overwhelming feeling of appreciation for everyone who helps make it possible for me to spend countless hours jumping from the planter tractor to the sprayer and back again. It is hard to even begin trying to thank the people who make “spring” happen in an agricultural community, but I am going to give it a try. ·          First and foremost, my amazing wife Holly and every farm wife out there. Holly is always making sure that I have supper and keeping clean clothes for me to wear to the field. She gets the kids up and to bed and everything in between. She is my Wonder Woman.   ·          My

Exciting new title... Grandma!

The anticipation for the arrival of our first grandbaby was worth the wait.   Our son Miles and his wife Emilee announced they were expecting last summer. I was so excited for them and the next step or adventure in their lives and mine.   They opted not to find out boy or girl and let it be a surprise.   I thought that was great, we never knew before our kids were born.   It made it difficult for those friends and family who love to shop and had to stay gender neutral.    That wasn’t a problem for me.   I’m not much of a shopper and there would be plenty of time after. I told the kids, I don’t need to be at the hospital.   This is your time.   Just call me when the baby is here.    Didn’t want to be the annoying mother in-law. As the time grew closer it was agreed it might be nice if Emilee’s mother, Shelley, and I were at least close by if Emilee needed her.   I was sure Miles wouldn’t need me! 😊    We agreed we would go up to the hospital together just to be close. Well, we are

Hometown Heroes

If you were deciding who is a hometown hero in your town, who would it be? It’s a great thing to recognize people for caring about others. I’m thinking that there are a lot of heroes, even in small town Keota. The problem is, the heroes just don’t want the notoriety.   I have seen farmers in the Keota, Harper, West Chester, Wellman, Richland, Sigourney and Washington help their neighbors when they need it most. The farming community is an amazing group of people.   During the storm of 1998, farmers brought trucks and tractors into the town of Keota, helping to clear the trees and debris left by the storm. It was a massive job and the farm community voluntarily pitched in to help. There are other times that farmers plant and harvest crops for a sick neighbor. They look forward to helping every time they can. The United Church of Faith has a food pantry providing much needed assistance to local individuals and families. This is an ongoing effort to give help to folks of all denomina