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'Tis the season to remember the gifts already received

Katie Pinke reflects back on the life changing moments that have shaped her current Advent season.

Red and white Hereford cows in a snowy pasture with frosted over trees.
"The season we’re in brings joy and goodness if we’re willing to see and experience right where we are planted," Katie Pinke says.
Hannah Wine / Grand Vale Creative LLC
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In a season of preparation, Advent, I am reminded, as I sit in public high school gymnasiums, to soak in, celebrate and enjoy the season we’ve been given with those around us.

No matter where you are rooted, I think all can relate to this time of reflection. I am guilty of getting caught up in the hurry, the materialism of the season, and forgetting the simple gifts, often not what we planned or prepared for in this season of life.

On Tuesday night, I watched 14 quarters of girls’ basketball from the seventh grade through the varsity level. In five days, our three kids — ages 13, 15 (this week), and 25 — played in 11 basketball games. Those who have been in the depths of juggling schedules of work, home, and kids, you can relate to this experience.

Four of my son Hunter’s games were at the University of Missouri in Columbia, and we didn’t attend. But the other seven games, of our teen daughters, we did. Through technology and streaming, I could rewatch Hunter’s games we missed while our girls played.

Later this month will be three years since our son’s spinal cord injury as a result of a skiing accident . I watched what was his last college football game three years ago, a game we rented an RV to drive from North Dakota to Louisiana to watch as a family . I never knew then it would be the end of college football for us, yet we made the most of the game and experience. This life experience taught me to celebrate what we have today compared to looking ahead to the next season.

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Today, Hunter is a seated athlete for the University of Arizona, playing a new sport, wheelchair basketball, and in his second year of graduate school. A few years ago, I would have fast-forwarded to think of Hunter at his sister’s basketball games with us in this life stage, possibly working as an engineer, which was his undergraduate work as a college football player.

I never planned or imagined our three kids, spanning a 12-year age difference, to all play the same sport in one season, 1,800 miles between our home and Tucson, Arizona, where Hunter lives.

After Hunter’s accident, amid unknowns and brokenness, I wasn’t ready to accept there could be positives and blessings resulting from a life-changing accident. I try to predict or plan for a future season I cannot see or know, but I now know from life experience to celebrate the season we are given.

Working and living in and around agriculture, agriculturists prepare always for the season ahead. I encourage everyone to also celebrate the season we’re experiencing.

For many this year, celebrate your bountiful harvest, the timely rains that brought lush forage to your livestock, the successful marketing you completed for your crops or livestock. Prepare to celebrate with those around you, even if your surroundings or experiences look and feel different than you would’ve planned. The season we’re in brings joy and goodness if we’re willing to see and experience right where we are planted.

Pinke is the publisher and general manager of Agweek. She can be reached at kpinke@agweek.com, or connect with her on Twitter @katpinke.

Related Topics: PINKE POSTRURAL LIFE
Opinion by Katie Pinke
Katie Pinke serves as Agweek and AgweekTV's publisher and general manager and since 2015 has written a weekly column. Pinke resides in rural North Dakota with her husband and children where she is a 4-H leader, active community volunteer, and a proud fifth-generation farmers' daughter.
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