Focusing on your HAVES, instead of your HAVE NOTS...

Dear Friends,


Happy Holidays! I am sure, by the time you read this, things will be in full swing at your house.  Cookies will be in the oven, decorations will be scattered all over the house and the snow will be starting to fall. In between chores and holiday commitments you will be wrapping gifts, trimming the tree, hanging stockings and checking things off the list.

And, you will be longing for a moment to come when you can finally put your feet up with a cup of coffee, glass of wine or hot chocolate. And when you do, I ask, “What is it that you are going to think about? Are you going to set your sights on the New Year?”

One of the traditions that the kids and I have is that somewhere between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day we sit around the kitchen table, each of us with a piece of paper, and write down the things that we want to do in the coming year. I try to lead them to set goals in different areas of their lives: school goals, fun goals, family goals, etc. Our lives are multi-faceted and giving attention to different compartments is important. You really have to be intentional.

During this time we also have fun pulling out the goals from the previous years and checking what we did against what we set out to do. It’s all a work in progress in my book and carrying over goals is totally, 100 percent acceptable.

The Christmas season always brings in a new year for me, too. I am reminded that the clock keeps ticking, when my age goes up by another year, and I get reflective. I think about the dreams and goals I have had in the past. I realize that some of those goals morphed into good intentions rather than resolutions that hit the mark. Is that ok?

Well, change does happen and morphing is ok, too. It’s perfectly fine to change your mind.  After all, we are women.  It’s our prerogative. 

Something I have found to be super helpful in getting me closer toward my goals and intentions is finding a word or phrase that I want to define the year ahead with. I find that it sets a good tone moving forward, and the word or phrase ends up to be my guiding light to see me through it all with every choice and fork in the road. Every decision is met with the test as to whether or not it supports the word. The word or phrase is my escort, ushering me toward the next year.

So last year, as the kids and I were sitting around the living room figuring things out for 2018, I decided to choose this phrase: “The Haves.” 

This was an idea that stemmed from my couch. As I was sitting on the couch, I was writing down some of the things that I wanted out of the coming year and one of the things that I had written down was to buy a new couch. And I thought, “Do I really need a new couch?”

You see, I have one of the most dated, sort-of-ugliest couches in the world. I really do. It is quite the joke with the kids and I, our family and close friends. But, like all jokes, there always seems to be a thread of truth, of insecurity that is hidden behind the giggles and laughs. I will be speaking in total honesty here, baring my soul, but I have always been kind of sensitive about my couch, making excuses whenever someone new walks into the living room.

You can laugh. It is ridiculous, right? Why am I even sharing this with all of you? Such a menial thing to get stuck on when there are school shootings, poverty, disease…yup, simply dumb, and I am kind of embarrassed to even own up to this.

But I have to share, because I think my couch tells a little something about the nature of being human that maybe some of you can relate to.

Many of you are thinking I should just go out and buy a new couch, right? In today’s world of plastic and home equity credit lines you would think that would be the course of action for a 43 year old woman who is sensitive about the look of her couch.

But really, it’s not the answer right now. Spending money on the couch is not the most responsible thing to do, and that is what I am trying to teach my children. There are much more pressing matters in our old home that are on the list to be addressed. Things like electrical grounding issues and bathroom repairs. These are home improvements that come in much higher on the priority list over the vanity issues that I have with my couch.

What I figured out, while I was sitting on the couch last December, is that when I had a bad day, or I didn’t feel like things were going quite right, it seemed that the couch took the brunt of all of my frustrations, and I tended to focus in like a laser on it’s pure ugliness


Truthfully, the ugliness was coming from within me.


This is a couch that I never had to pay for. I acquired it from a family member when I moved into my house. It was clean, barely used and has been successfully filling a need: a place to sit. It is extremely functional and appropriate for three boys who on occasion spill something and a dog that once in a while gets over excited in play and pops her front paws up on it. 

So last year, as I was sitting on it, planning the intentions of 2018, I decided that enough was enough with the couch. I took a deeper look within myself and announced to the kids that I was done being so hard on the couch. We were going to focus on the fact that we had a couch. They kind of laughed at me and rolled their eyes, but I think that they got what I was saying.

The fact is I focused way too much negative energy on calling out the ugly couch when life handed me challenges. So when 2018 came rushing through the door I decided that it was going to stop. And it did.

I shifted my thinking to focus on the fact that I have a couch instead of dreaming about the couch that I have not. It was more about the daily gratitude for all the things that are in my life rather than what I didn’t have. And all of those obstacles and challenges that I faced on a daily basis, yeah well, they just needed to be faced with patience and love because in the end it all adds up to one great big blessing: life.

This thankfulness is a fundamental that I knew, was raised with and always try to instill in my children, but when life just keeps coming at you, it’s easy to lose sight and let something like a couch bug you. By setting a word for myself that I used as my focus for the year, things shifted, the tone was changed, and now when I have a bad day I look at my couch and say “thank you” instead of snarling at the poor thing.

I share this story with you at the holiday season, as we get ready to jump into 2019, because I am sure that there is something in your life that gets the negative attention when you are at war with yourself or the world around you. Maybe it’s the squeaky door, or the tractor that needs a tweak every time you start it up. Is it a cupboard that won’t close right, getting into a cold car in the winter, or the short days and long nights?  

We are all human beings, give yourself that. It’s ok to find these silly little things frustrating. But now, with this piece of knowledge, try to be better. Do yourself a favor and let those have nots, or just not rights go. And when you do, you will find the beauty in your haves instead and the whole world will look a lot brighter.

You may use my 2018 intention for the year if it applies to you. Or, figure out one that is more appropriate. Use it as a guide to help you be the best you possible in the coming year.

Write it down and put it in a place where you will see it often, and perhaps, when you see it, you will be able to take pause and think about it for a moment, to remind yourself to keep driving toward your intentions always with your word or words in mind.  

The years are rolling by.  We need to make the most of each and every one of them. Enjoy the season of giving. Try not to stress too much over all the little details. I guarantee a sit in your comfy chair by the tree, singing Christmas carols at church and decorating cookies with your kids is far more important than running around like a mad woman trying to sew up all the loose ends. Miraculously, it always comes together.

Cheers to 2019! So many things to do and share, with the best heart that you have.  

And please, don’t hold the silliness of the couch against me!  My reflection in 2018 made me see it clearly again.

With love and thought,




Kate Ziehm, President of Morning Ag Clips, is originally from New Hampshire. She is a 1997 Cornell University graduate with a degree in Animal Science and a concentration in Business Management and Marketing. Kate's love of agriculture began with her 4-H dairy cow project and has grown and diversified ever since. With the birth of her children she turned her efforts to motherhood while she took the opportunity to broaden her knowledge and understanding of the agricultural industry. Since 213 Kate has owned and operated the Morning Ag Clips, a daily e-Blast that gives the latest breaking local and national agricultural news to farmers and ag industry leaders across the United States. In addition she dabbles in writing to connect with her audience on the Just Me Kate page of the website. Currently Kate resides and works in Greenwich, NY with her 3 sons, Tyler, Jacob and Samuel. 

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