Work hard and count your blessings

Building a fence

Today I’m cleaning floors and scrubbing bathrooms and ironing tablecloths. I’m hoping to get a couple of pies baked, too … and while I do that, the snow is coming down. Reports say 4 to 8 inches by tomorrow, and that’s fine by me. It’s toasty inside, my kids are working on their own ‘to do’ lists, and pumpkin spice candles flicker gently here and there. I have this playing while I work. And as snowflakes fall and minutes pass I can’t help counting the amazing amount of blessings that envelope me at every turn. Oh, I am so thankful!

Because I haven’t taken the time to photograph anything new I thought I’d share these scenes from a couple of weeks ago. It was the last warm day … the last day of short-sleeved shirts and sunshine. Everyone was working for the gift.

Farm girls building a fence

The lesson here: every gift requires effort. When we want something we have to work for it. And if you happen to receive an early Christmas present in the form of a horse corral, you are still required to help make the thing a reality. Nothing is free … no matter what you may have been told.

Breaking ground

There is joy in the satisfactory sweat of putting forth great effort. When you work for something you appreciate it more and assign the gift a greater value.

Digging post holes

There’s a learning curve involved, too. It takes resolve to succeed at something you’ve never tried before. Sometimes it seems too hard, too strenuous, nearly impossible. Digging deep down into the earth multiple times is a daunting task, especially if you’re a skinny 13-year-old.

But here’s the thing about impossibilities …

Hole in one

Those holes aren’t impossible if you have a bit of gumption. You simply have to try, to be stubborn enough to succeed and strong enough to keep going. That’s how you learn that there is honor and pride in the doing. That’s how you learn, with certainty, that you will get it done if you dig in your heels and grit your teeth … even with pesky brothers in way. Yes, it is easier with a little help from those you love. Anything is easier with the help of those you love.

And here’s where my extreme gratefulness comes in. I’m so very thankful for the hard work and responsibility taught and modeled to us by parents and grandparents and people in our midst. Their examples motivate us to do the same, and to teach it to our children. And it’s crucially important, especially today. Because they’re not going to learn it unless we teach it to them. This isn’t a world that glorifies responsibility and manual labor. Handouts should mean offering a helping hand to someone who is trying to DO on their own, not giving everything to someone who chooses to do nothing all day.

So this Thanksgiving, I’m glad for my work. I’m glad my kids know work. I’m glad they have chores at 7 a.m. morning and night. I’m glad they have to put on insulated overalls on frigid, snowy days to feed animals and make sure water isn’t frozen. I’m glad their father asks them to dig post holes for their arena and stack the firewood that will keep our home warm and cozy. I’m thankful they’re learning that every gift has a price, that small luxuries cost effort, and that nothing is free.

What makes a successful person? What makes a grand life? The ability to say, “I worked hard every day and treasured the gifts that followed.” That is a goal to be set. That is a prize to achieve. And that bit of “doing” is what teaches us what it truly means to be thankful, grateful and blessed.




  • comment-avatar
    Caitlin @ The Siren's Tale November 26, 2013 (4:20 pm)

    I love this perspective. Growing up, my mother always taught me that nothing in life is free and you have to work your butt off sometimes to just keep afloat. Work has never scared me off because of that and I now long for a farm life like yours! Working hard with your hands is a beautiful thing, especially when you can take a second to stop and count the blessings.

    • comment-avatar
      Jennifer Kiko November 27, 2013 (7:49 am)

      Sounds like you had a wonderful mother, Caitlin! Keep counting your blessings — and I wish you many more. Happy Thanksgiving!