UT Beef and Forage Center

Forage Management and Production- Article

Gary BatesDr. Gary Bates, Professor and Director, UT Beef and Forage Center    

(865) 974-7324

gbates@utk.edu

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Most mornings I drop my son off at school before I head into work.  He reads a Bible devotion for us on the way.  This mornings devotion was about the things in God’s creation that we should be thankful for.  Now that I am at work, trying to write this article for the November issue, I remember that this month we will celebrate Thanksgiving.  The devotion is fresh on my mind.  Here are things I am thankful for.

My parents- It is a blessing to have parents that loved me, cared for me, disciplined me, and showed me how to live.  All that work that my dad made me do wasn’t appreciated at the time, but it helped develop my work ethic that influences me today. I’m glad to still have my dad.  I miss my mom and wish she could have seen Jed and watch the girls grow up.

My family- I could never have imagined loving people as much as I do my wife and kids.  I don’t know how I spent my time prior to having them.  However I did, it wasn’t as interesting or fun as it is now.  Even my in-laws are a blessing to my life. I love them dearly.

Living in America- I sometimes think about how different my life would be if I had been born in another country.  The opportunity to worship freely, get an education, work and make money are blessings I shouldn’t take for granted.  Plus, have you traveled around to see how many beautiful things there are to see here?  The beauty we have in this nation is absolutely stunning.

My relationship with God- I believe there is more than just the life I have on earth.  God wants to have a relationship with me, but I am not good enough to earn it.  He came down and made a way for me to have that relationship. He has forgiven me of all my selfishness, loving me as only a perfect Father can. I go to church not because I have to, but because I want to show my appreciation for that.

Southern food – One time at a family reunion, my cousin brought his new wife to meet the family. I was behind her in the potluck food line and had to tell her what each dish was.  When we got to the dessert area and she didn’t know what banana pudding was, it was almost more than a middle school boy could take.  I asked her what she grew up eating and she said, “Meat and potatoes.”  Fried okra, black-eyed peas, cornbread, biscuits and gravy – yummy blessings.

Baseball- I love the chances I had to play the game growing up.  I now love the opportunity to watch my son play it, and to go to games with him.  The strategy, discipline, and chance to fail but try again make it a wonderful sport. Some people think it is too slow, but I absolutely love this game.

Working in agriculture- The opportunity to study the field of forage production, and to help people that feed the world is very much a blessing. I love what I do, and look forward to each day and the chance to make a difference in someone’s life and operation.  A job that lets me learn each day, and teach others is one that I enjoy.  It allows me to sleep good each night.

Technology – The things we can do today due to technology are amazing.  I can travel anywhere, or search for any sort of information because of technology.  I can keep food cold, heat it up, cook it quick or cook it slow because of technology.  My house stays cool during summer and warm during winter.  My car cranks every morning, I have lights in my house, and I can type this article, all results from technology.  People sometimes say the old days were better.  I’m not so sure I would give any of these things up, however.

This article could go on and on.  There are so many things to name I don’t have space to list them all.  But as we celebrate Thanksgiving, remember that, regardless of your situation, you have been blessed.  Be thankful for those things, and remind yourself and others of them.  Thinking about blessings can bring joy to your soul, and help brighten your day. 

Enough writing. I need to go find some fried okra, pecan pie, and watch a baseball game. Maybe a hotdog also.