Three Gifts for You

Originally published in the Manitoba Co-operator December 24, 2019


I don’t think anyone in agriculture will dispute 2019 was a year for the record books. The challenges kept mounting throughout the growing season – all of them beyond our control.

Drought followed by untimely, excessive rains and snowfalls. A long, difficult harvest with conditions causing many crops to be left in the field. Poor yields and livestock feed shortages. A lengthy power-outage. Add to all that, trade disputes and a railway strike. It’s been discouraging and exhausting – physically, emotionally and economically.

With Christmas just around the corner, I wish I could do something to make a difference. I’d love to wrap up gifts of financial stability, fair trade deals and the promise of a stress-free, productive year in 2020 for all.

Unfortunately, I can only offer three simple wishes. They have no financial value, but are priceless commodities for the human spirit.

My first wish is serenity. I hope you have a place to find serenity. It may be a peaceful walk in the country, a drive to see Christmas lights, visiting a library or art gallery. Maybe a fireplace where you can curl up with a cup of tea. Perhaps a favourite chair in a quiet room – add music, candlelight or that book you’ve been meaning to read. You might find serenity in the face of a sleeping child or in the beauty of a sunrise or sunset. Or maybe it’s hidden in the glow of Christmas lights casting a peaceful and warm feeling over your home.

My second wish is faith. Faith means many things to many people. We are fortunate to live in a country where we have the freedom to choose our faith. But faith is more than religion – it is what keeps us going when times are difficult – believing things will get better; believing in the resiliency of the human spirit. You may find your faith in a place of worship. Your faith could be restored by a visit at the kitchen table with a good friend. You may find faith in the kindness of strangers or in the excited eyes of a child on Christmas morning. Faith may be buried deep inside you or found in the beauty of nature. When you gaze upon a magnificent prairie sky or watch the northern lights and millions of stars above, how can you not have faith?

My third and final wish is humour. Where would we be without laughter? It provides both a physical and emotional release, reducing stress and increasing relaxation, as well as boosting our immune systems. Laughter can re-energize you, give you strength and put life into perspective. You may find humour in a television show, movie, old pictures, a favourite comic strip or meme. Or how about a visit with that one friend that can always make you lighten up and laugh? Having a sense of humour helps us cope and keeps us moving forward.

Imagine these gifts under your tree this Christmas, beautifully wrapped, for you and your family. May serenity, faith and humour be with you always and help you deal with the many challenges farming and life bring your way.

And as you celebrate this holiday season, may you be surrounded by people who understand, support, uplift and encourage you. Merry Christmas from our family farm to yours.

Three Gifts for You

This is an edited version of my first published article. It was printed in the Farmers’ Independent Weekly in December 2003 after an exceptionally difficult year in our industry.  At that time I wrote:

“To say it has been a challenging year for agriculture would be an understatement.  BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy), combined with the usual factors out of our control, including Mother Nature and market prices, has placed economic hardships on many farm families across the country. If I could offer three gifts to them it would be financial stability, high record setting commodity prices and ‘true’ free trade. Unfortunately, all I can offer are three simple wishes. My wishes are not gifts that can be wrapped and placed under a tree. They cost not a penny, yet are priceless commodities for the human spirit.” 


With Christmas only days away, everyone is out searching for the perfect gift. The stores are bustling with people purchasing presents for those they love. However, in my eyes, the best gifts cannot be found in any store. If I could offer anything, it would be three simple wishes.

My first wish is serenity. I hope you have a place to find serenity. It may be a peaceful walk in the country, visiting a library or art gallery. Maybe you have a fireplace where you can curl up with a cup of tea. Perhaps you have a favourite chair in a quiet room – try adding music, candlelight or that book you’ve been meaning to read. You might find serenity in the face of a sleeping child or in the beauty of a sunset or sunrise. This time of year the glow of Christmas lights adds a peaceful and warm feeling to your home. Serenity is food for the soul and both you and those around you will benefit from it.

My second wish is faith. Faith means many things to many people. We are fortunate to live in a country where we have the freedom to choose our faith. There is also another type of faith. It is the faith that keeps us going when times are difficult – believing things will get better and believing in the resiliency of the human spirit. You may find your faith in a place of worship. Perhaps a visit at the kitchen table with a good friend can restore your faith and renew your spirit. You may find faith in the kindness of strangers or in the eyes of a child. Faith may be buried deep inside you or found in the beauty of nature. When you gaze upon a magnificent prairie sky or watch the northern lights and millions of stars above, how can you not have faith?

My third and final wish is humour. Where would we be without laughter? It provides both a physical and emotional release, reducing stress and increasing relaxation as well as boosting our immune systems. Laughter can re-energize you, give you strength and put life into perspective. You may find humour in a television show, movie, old pictures or a favourite comic strip. Or how about a visit with that one friend that can always make you lighten up and laugh? Having a sense of humour helps us cope and keeps us moving forward.

Imagine these gifts under your tree this Christmas. May serenity, faith and humour be with you always and help you deal with the many challenges life brings your way.

gifts