As we enter the month of November “thanks” is a word heard pretty regularly. The word “thanks” is simply an expression of gratitude. I was very recently asked what I was most thankful for and many things came to mind. Of all of the wonderful things in my life, the gratitude I have for my home is one of the dearest to my heart.
Where I call home isn’t much. In fact, I am not too sure I can even classify it as a map dot. The small village of Hamlet, population 48, is where I am proudly from and where most of my family members still reside, tending our family farm. Being able to grow up in such a small, close knit, community made up by surrounding rural towns has been one of the best things to ever happen to me. That statement may puzzle many of you who are not from a setting such as this. How could living in such a small place with so little going on be so great?
Let’s talk about work…it’s not often viewed as an enjoyable activity but in this area, working is considered family time. Family farms work with true synergy, accomplishing goals greater than what a singular worker could handle. Families survive by working as a team to successfully plant and harvest crops or raise cattle and hogs. There is an unexplainable, warming, sense of pride found in looking out over what you and your family have built together, knowing that it is not only your work bettering the world but it is your name bettering the world for years to come. I am so grateful to be apart of something I can be so proud of, not just for today but for the rest of my life.
(Photo Credit @thefarmerswife71 (Susan) Instagram Follower)
We even attend schools that accept and allow missed days of class for things like field work, opening day of hunting/trapping season and the evaluation and showing of livestock, just to name a few. All of which instill skills that lay a foundation that will last a lifetime on both a personal and professional level. In other words, I am thankful to be apart of a community that understands not all lessons can be taught in a classroom or read in a book.
Just like anything else in life, practice makes perfect. With over 75,000 farms in the land of Lincoln alone and each farmer feeding about 156 people, our schools understand the importance agriculture holds and allows practice and learning opportunities in order for the job to be done the right way. As someone in a farming family, I am thankful to be in an area that supports the growth and development of something I am so invested in.
(photo credit Marla Thrall (Instagram follower)
They say home is where the heart is and if that is the case, my home is pretty huge. While the population is small, the heart of rural Illinois is warm, loving and big enough to truly touch the lives of anyone who lives there. It has turned work into a family affair and supported mine along with many generations of families alike to be proud and confident in our meaningful life’s work. I could not have more gratitude or express more thanks to the place I get to call home; Hamlet Illinois, population 48.