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Motivation fuels 'Denim' participants

Monday, January 28, 2013

Jill Swanson at Women in Denim
Those attending the popular Women in Denim conference Friday and Saturday were entertained and enlightened by two guest speakers selected to encourage them to make their lives better. Susie Oberdahlhoff spoke Friday evening and Jill Swanson on Saturday.

Susie Oberdahlhoff (better known as Susie O) was so in love with her farmer husband that at her wedding, she says, she must have missed some of the vows she agreed to - like she would allow calves, lambs and piglets in her basement when they needed some extra tender loving care and that she would never, ever touch anything on the dash board of the farm truck.

She didn't know much about farming, she told the room full of mostly farm wives at the recent Women in Denim conference, in fact the closest she had ever been to a farm while growing up was when her preacher dad would include, "give thanks for a bountiful harvest" in his prayers.

"But I was in love and I wanted to learn," she said,adding she should have had an indication of being a farm wife when it came time to decide on a wedding date.

She had always wanted a February wedding but because there were things going on at the farm during that time of the year - and all the way to September - an early fall wedding it was.

She was excited to learn they would honeymoon in Minnesota, somewhere in a cabin by one of the 10,000 lakes, she envisioned. She had no idea that Minnesota hosted one of the largest hog auctions in September! (They even brought a boar home with them.)

She learned early on in her new farm life that "life is not how fast you run or how high you jump but how well you bounce."

She shared many farm experiences - all of them she learned from.

Like warming a cold baby pig in a cake pan in a warm oven isn't the best thing to do - especially when the aroma coming from the oven smells like ham.

She also learned the importance of looking back every so often while running the tractor and disk - just in case.

She could blame her husband; she doesn't remember him telling her that when he gave her lessons.

She thought she was going right along when he came driving into the field at a high speed trying to get her to stop.

Entangled in the equipment were six fence posts and a half-mile of fence wire which had ruptured a hydraulic hose causing a black circle of smoke over head.

"Do you know what you are doing?" he asked her.

She knew, she said, that she was most likely not doing something right but quickly she thought the best way out of it was to throw humor into the situation and responded, "looks to me like I struck oil."

That was the wrong thing to say, she said but her episode got her out of disking again - for at least the rest of the year.

"If it's got wheels or whiskers, it's going to give you trouble," she said.

"A farm is a wonderful place to raise a family," she said, adding that she knows that for sure each time her grown kids come back home and share stories "that I never even knew about."

Learning to bounce, and not take things so seriously, she said, will get you through life.

She shares her seven-ups for a good life:

* Wake up to a new day

* Dress up with a smile

* Look up for heavenly guidance

* Listen up and say nice things

* Speak up for yourself

* Reach up for something greater

* Life up someone less fortunate.

And she shares the four Ps of prosperity.

* Be proud. This is an important link in the chain of life.

* Be positive about life.

* Be patient. Anything worth having is worth waiting for.

* Be persistent. Keep trying and trying and trying.

"Without laughter and a sense of humor, life would be a struggle. Life is like riding a bicycle; you don't fall off unless you quit pedalling. Life is a challenge; live the experiences."

Motivational speaker and image coach Jill Swanson's topic was, "When Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!"

"Our mood sets the tone for the rest of the family, and some days we can all use a little 'attitude adjustment.' Maintain your inner beauty by learning how to keep your life in balance.

She shares three steps that make her life better.

* Evaluate. Evaluate life. Remember your dreams and your goals.

The author of, "Simply Beautiful Inside and Out" said her life has not always been like this. She shared she was "born inside out" and when only a few minutes old, was whisked off to surgery and has since had many, many surgeries.

"I was blessed with the gift of life for a reason."

* Eliminate negatives. Also a farm wife, she used the analogy of three things farmers hate to see in their fields with three things we need to get out of our lives.

Weeds - are worries. "A worry is putting down a payment on a problem you may never have.

Rocks - are criticism. Don't criticize.

Insects - are compared to complaining. "Insects will effect your yields. Stop complaining."

* Accentuate. Most New Years resolutions made are never carried through but she suggested to the women in the group to make a one-word resolution this year to describe who you want to be this year. Do one nice thing a day, it works miracles in your own heart.

In summary, she said, "You can choose your attitude. You have the ability. Somedays you're the bu and somedays you're the windshield. Evaluate, eliminate and accentuate - these will change your life."

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