There’s Always More to the Story

Gratitude Day 415

Tues., Mar. 3, 2020

Acts 26:1: Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Go ahead. Tell us your story.” So, Paul, with many gestures, presented his defense:

It saddens me how often this happens.

We hear one or two sentences of a story, news article or gossip … and assume we know exactly what is happening. Before we hear the end of the story, we jump to conclusions about how the story will turn out. We assume we already know what did happen, what continues to happen and how it will turn out in the end.

But too often, we don’t really know.

There’s always more to the story than meets the eyes. Or what we heard. We get an itty-bitty slice of the story and are so sure we know “the rest of the story.”  

Before you jump to conclusions, take a deep breath. Pause. Stop.

There’s always more to the story.

Someone tells you some juicy bit of information and you create the “right” scenario of how something plays out.

Problem? There is always more to the story.

A few weeks ago, this news story broke:

The latest blow to the downtrodden dairy industry was delivered by none other than Starbucks Corp., with the coffee giant looking to condition customers to use milk alternatives in a bid to reduce its carbon footprint.

While Starbucks accounts for just 0.3% of U.S. milk production, the decision to formally declare an emphasis on non-dairy options may encourage other food-service outlets to follow suit. That could add momentum to the shift toward oat, nut, soy and other alternative beverages for health and environmental reasons.

Immediately, folks within the dairy industry began saying they were done going to Starbucks. Dairy companies issued statements. The ongoing debate about whether almond and soy and other liquids that are planted-based should be called milk reignited. Dairy farms cited how they are very aware of their carbon footprint.

Here’s the deal. There is always more to the story.

On Monday, Creekside Dairy, located in British Columbia, Canada, shared their story. Two weeks before the Starbucks story hit the media, they hosted a farm tour for Starbucks top executives. The tour’s intention was to learn more about the environmental sustainability of dairy and dairy farming. When the news broke that Starbucks was planning to phase out dairy, the Creekside Dairy folks were confused. They had been one of seven dairy operations Starbuck’s executives toured on Feb. 11.

While at Creekside Dairy, the Starbucks folks heard Creekside’s family generational dairy farming story. They shared their passion for stellar animal welfare and how they embrace the latest animal care research. Creekside detailed how they tend the land so it will be in better shape for the next generation. Creekside explained how milk produced on their farm could be consumed at a Starbucks just a short distance from the dairy. They felt Starbuck’s executives asked great questions and were genuinely interested in their farm.

When they asked the Starbucks representatives about the recent media story, a VP assured them that Starbucks will continue to serve dairy products while looking for options at ways they can be more environmentally sustainable. The dairy farm tours provided an opportunity for top executives to explore this. The executives were impressed how local dairy farms impact the local economy as they experienced agriculture’s human side.

There’s always more to the story.

Because Creekside Dairy shared their experience, we get to see how Starbucks is doing more than making statements.

My purpose here is not to take a stand on whether people should buy coffee from Starbucks. Or whether or not Starbucks is committed to offering dairy milk.

My point? There is always more to the story.

How many times have we jumped to a conclusion after we heard one or two sentences of a situation? Too often, we stop listening because we believe we already know how the story’s end.

Do we repost things on social media because they sound good … without taking a few minutes to discover if the information is accurate?

Have you experienced something you said being taken out of context when someone focused on just a few words without understanding what was said before and after the highlighted quote? If so, then you know how President Obama feels after a couple sentences from his audio book were lifted out of context and offered as a “oh, my gosh!” media story.

How many times have we looked at a person and served as their judge and jury on their current situation without knowing the rest of the story?

There’s always more to the story.

Often, we share misinformation about a situation in which we are convinced we know the “truth.” Sometimes, it’s not our story to correct … but then again, is it appropriate to assume as well?

There’s always more to the story. It’s our responsibility to seek out the correct information or not share information that may or may not be true.

When Paul became an early missionary of the Christian Church, there were lots of talk and rumors. This man had previously persecuted Christians. Now he was teaching about Christ. How could have this happened?

In today’s verse, we hear Paul sharing some of his rest of the story. I believe he did this carefully, in certain situations. When it would be helpful.

During this Lent, can we be just a bit more careful about jumping to conclusions … when we know there is more to the story? This is one of my growing edges as a Christian. Yesterday, I was reminded again how easy it is for us to assume we know the story … when there is always more to the story.

For knowing a God that is far more patient and less assuming than I am, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Holy God – why is it that we piously assume we know what is going on in a situation when there is always more to the story? Help us express more grace. More patience. More restraint. May we embrace that there is always more to the story. Amen.

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Filling out Hearts with Good Things

Gratitude Day 367

Sat., Nov. 23, 2019

Psalm 107:8-9: Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for humankind, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.

It’s the weekend before Thanksgiving … and time to just be a wee bit reflective about the upcoming holiday. Today, I’m thinking about some of the traditions that I have experienced today and how they relate to life now.

In Wisconsin, it’s opening deer hunting weekend. Growing up, my Dad went hunting with the neighbors. Sometimes, I went with him. Other times, I stayed back and helped take care of chores on our family dairy farm with my mom and sisters. I really preferred the later of these two choices.

This morning, Hubby Rick headed out with our eldest grandson to go deer hunting. Truth: Rick outgrew a need to go hunting years ago. Another truth: when your grandson asks you to take him hunting, you go hunting. My role? Pack a cooler with snacks and make a thermos of hot chocolate for Braeden before they left. Wish them well and pray that they, and all the other deer hunters, remain safe today and throughout the week hunting.

While many of us will gorge ourselves with too much food this week, there are other families who are trying to figure out how to make sure they have a traditional Thanksgiving meal. We live in a fantastic community. On Thursday night, our local food pantry provided 50 meals to local families who might not otherwise have a real Thanksgiving dinner. Our local grocery store, Piggly Wiggly, partners with our local food pantry in helping provide these meals. While people are checking out, they are encouraged to donate towards this cause. The Pig helps provide the meals. Each meal is valued at $60. This means, $3,000 was put towards making sure 50 families will have a Thanksgiving dinner this week.

Ruth Ann and her husband Mel manage our well-tuned food pantry, along with a huge group of volunteers. Extra volunteers showed up this week to help get the turkey dinners organized and ready for distribution.

While at the pantry on Thursday night while families were picking up their dinners, Ruth Ann shared that four families, who previously have received turkey dinners at Thanksgiving, contacted her this year. They said that they do not need a dinner right now and wanted another family who really needs the dinner to receive one.

This type of attitude and desire to helps others makes our little community a great place to live.

Read the envelope. I don’t know Bridget and I don’t know the farm where she works. What I do know is that the dairy industry right now is struggling … and has been for five years. Record numbers of farms have declared bankruptcy in 2019. Farms are not only struggling with low milk prices; this year’s crops have also been a huge disappointment because of poor weather and growing conditions.

Yet, this dairy farm went out of their way to thank an employee for making sure their animals are well-cared for. They are being thankful no matter what their current situation is. Hats off to this farm. You are teaching others how to be a good employer.

One of my favorite Thanksgiving memories involves my Grandma Deaton. A number of years ago, my parents came to my house for Thanksgiving. They brought along my Grandma Deaton, who is in her late 90’s at the time. When they arrived at my house, she was so excited to help prepare the meal. We baked pies and peeled potatoes and prepped the stuffing. This little 115-pound pint of a lady wanted to get her hands into rolling out the pie crust. She laid out the newspaper on the counter for the potato peelings like she had thousands of times previously. She chattered non-stop about how she was so excited to be at my house for one night.

At this point in her life, Grandma was living at a nursing home. I think she felt like a little child on a big adventure because she got to leave the nursing home for a night. All the ladies at her meal table were jealous that she got to pack an overnight bag and split the joint, if only for one night. We lad a lovely Thanksgiving dinner that year. But looking back, I think watching my Grandmother help me make the dinner was even more precious.

What are your family traditions around Thanksgiving? What are the aspects of this week that you LOVE? What is a way that you might change-up how to celebrate the many blessings in your life? How can you create a special memory this year, whether for a grandchild, a local family, someone you work with or for yourself?

Rather than making sure the gravy has no lump or the turkey is “just right,” let’s contemplate how we can feed others, whether with food or a good deed or a special memory, this Thanksgiving week.

Dear God – No matter what is going on in our lives right now, I pray that we give thanks. Thanks for a place to live. Thanks for family and friends. Thanks for food. Thanks for clothing. Thanks for a vehicle to drive. As we encounter someone who may not have these things, soften our heart towards them. May we help create a special thanksgiving blessing for someone else this year. Amen.  

Blessings –

Dianne

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