This week is an exciting week for our family, as it is our county fair. County fairs are often the highlight of the summer for rural kids as it’s a week of animals, projects, hanging out with friends and lots of “fair food”. This is the first year the boys have exhibited animals, so it’s especially exciting, and we spent most of this morning cleaning and packing our chickens to the fairgrounds, checking them in and getting them settled. After our fair being pretty nonexistent last year because of Covid restrictions, the excitement in the air at the fairgrounds this year is palpable.

Fond Memories

I am also a bit nostalgic as the county fair brings back lots of memories for me. I enjoyed showing horses and dairy cattle and competing with my artwork. While my county fair was considerably smaller, it was still exciting and the highlight of the summer. I hope my boys make lifelong memories and someday look back at their county fair experiences with fondness as I do.

Getting it Right

However, preparing for the fair can be a bit stressful to say the least. Growth of any kind can be painful, especially when it comes to skill sets and organization. I wont lie, there has been more than a couple of heated moments between my oldest son and I over his carelessness of keeping his paperwork and supplies organized or his effort in completing a project. He has a much different approach in his quality of his work than I do.

My grandfather was a stickler for doing things “right the first time” and not “half a$$ing” something. If you were going to do something, you were going to do it right.  For some things that came easy- I was dedicated to doing my very best when it came to showing horses- I soaked up every bit of knowledge I could and tirelessly worked for hours to make sure my horses were trained and prepared for the show. I also did all my own grooming, packing the trailer and prep work. Some things took a little more outside motivation, but I soon learned that it was worth it in the end. Win or lose, I knew I had done my best and that was really all that mattered.

Lasting Impact

This skill has carried me through life, whether it was at a job, or caring for my home, or my artwork- I am constantly striving to create the best work I can and am always looking for ways to improve and learn. If I could only get my boys to understand that this character trait would serve them the rest of their lives….

Recently I had to chuckle when I noticed my father-in-law had taped little strips of paper all over his house with a verse printed on them that read:

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters”

-Colossians 3:23 NIV

Yes! I knew this verse, but this is exactly what I want my boys to learn. That in everything they do they are serving the Lord, even as kids. This verse needs to be at the heart of everything we do, whether it be serving in ministry, our community, working in our homes or our farms, or in a job. Even if “man” doesn’t notice, God does, so you should always give your best effort.

Are there areas that you are not giving 100%? (Talking to myself as much as anyone here!) Maybe you don’t think those things matter much, but maybe you are setting an example for someone around you? I know my kids are quick to call me out when I don’t “practice what I preach”. How would you life look differently if always did your best? May we recognize that everything we do can be service to the Lord and we work at it for His glory!