Cultivate the Fields

Cultivate the Fields of Your Life–Plough On

It is said that many people break their New Year’s resolutions by the end of January. In fact nearly 40% of the New Year’s resolutions made will have been abandoned by this time. There is even a day designated as “Ditch Your New Year’s Resolution Day” on January 17 to alleviate the guilt that often accompanies the giving up on these good intentions. The year has barely begun and people have stopped walking on the path they set for the New Year because they fail to realize that the harvest they want to see is dependent on time for its season.

The truth is that we still stand at the threshold of the year. Agriculturally speaking the seeds haven’t even been planted for this year’s harvest. We still remain in the season of planning and preparation. Giving up on this year’s harvest before it has even been planted reflects a lack of awareness on how harvests come to bear fruit. The harvest takes time and work. Indeed you will reap what you sow but the reaping comes in due season. It doesn’t happen overnight.


Women Pulling a Plough circa 1917

In this picture circa 1917, three French women took it upon themselves to bear the burden of pulling the plough because their lives and the lives of their children were dependent upon the harvest. The men were off at war and the retreating German army took the horses which were relied upon to carry the burden of pulling the plough. Planting needed to be done but the ground could not take the seeds until it was cultivated. So the women themselves took on the necessary task of pulling the plough because nothing was going to stop them from receiving a harvest.

Are you willing to do what needs to be done to see the harvests in your life? Start by looking upon the year as the farmer does. The farmer takes time to develop a harvest strategy in order to receive what is needed. What if you looked upon all those things you want to accomplish as potential harvests in your life? A harvest requires some planning and p-l-o-u-g-h-i-n-g and cultivating along with a lot of hard work long before one can even begin to see a harvest.

Is the goal you want to accomplish as important as the harvest was to these women whose families depended upon it to survive? Maybe your survival doesn’t depend on your goal—or maybe it does? The point is that your goal will produce a harvest in your life if you approach it as something that is planted into a field that in turn needs planning, ploughing, planting, cultivation, and harvesting.

It remains that this picture inspired other nations to send women out into the fields to insure there was a harvest while men fought in the war.I pray that it inspires you to do the hard work that needs to be done so that you receive the harvest you have been wanting for. Should the time come for ploughing and there is nothing to pull the plough with, may you remain determined to overcome any difficulties in order to cultivate the field for planting. I hope this inspires you to find a way to put your hand to the plough and plough on.

A Call to the Harvest

Plough on dear friends. Plough on.

Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

~ An Old Irish Blessing ~

Marian McCoy Boveri


Copyright: Marian Boveri @
Picture copyright:


Celebrate Traditions–Plough Sunday and Plough Monday

The first Monday after Epiphany is known as Plough Monday in certain parts of England and can be celebrated anytime from January 7 to January 14.  Plough Monday is preceded by Plough Sunday.  Both of these days were considered to mark the start of the agricultural year.  Ploughing of the fields began at this time and continued into March in preparation of the season’s planting.  These days also signify the end of the Christmas Season and a time to get back to work.

Ploughing the Field

In the early 1400s it was tradition on Plough Sunday to bring the ploughshare to church for a blessing upon it and the land.  The ploughshare is the portion of the plough that is the cutting or leading edge.  The Reformation put an end to this practice.  However, there has been resurgence in the celebration of Plough Sunday with liturgical prayers even written for “Blessing the Plough” and “Blessing the Seed”.    In this day and age, the connection to farming for most people has changed.  Plough Sunday and Plough Monday have now become a time to celebrate, recognize, and honor the work of farmers and farming.

Written references to Plough Monday go back to the beginning of the 1400s.  Farmers would take the plough around to houses seeking donations to keep the plough candle burning in the church.  Plough guilds were formed and each often had its own plough light in the church.  On Plough Monday they went out together with their plough to raise funds for the church and to maintain the plough lights’ burning.  The plough light most likely served as a continuous vigil that was initiated at the Plough Sunday church service prayers for blessings on the year’s coming harvest.  With the Reformation, the burning of the plough light was abolished.  Shortly thereafter the plough guilds were suppressed as well.

Despite the church connection to Plough Monday having been lost, the tradition of going door-to-door asking for money survived.  As there wasn’t a lot of plough work available at this time of year, the ploughmen would seek donations to sustain themselves and their families.  The plough was decorated and the ploughmen would parade through the town stopping at houses and asking for money.  Those who did not give were threatened with having the front yard ploughed over.  These threats were rarely carried out but in some instances were.  Plough Monday traditions fell out of practice in the 18th century but have seen resurgence in recent years.   Costumes and dances and all types of celebrations accompany the parading of the plough.

The significance of Plough Monday as the beginning of the preparation for the year’s harvest as well as the first “back to work in the New Year day” certainly brings things into perspective.  The holidays are over, the New Year has begun, and it is time to put the hand to the plough and start cultivating the fields.  For it remains that the preparation of the land is what allows it to be fruitful and bring forth its yield.

Therefore consider what you need to plough into this month in order to be preparing for this year’s planting.  Do you know what harvest you want to see this year?  Do you know what seeds you need to plant in order to yield that harvest?  Taking time now to determine what fields need ploughing in ready for planting will help to bring forth an eventual harvest.  As this tradition holds, it is time to plough into the new year.  It is time to put the hand to the plough and move forward in cultivating the fields of your life.

Plough on dear friends.  Plough on.


[In order to stay consistent with the tradition outlined this post, the use of the UK spelling of “plough” instead of the US spelling of “plow” was used.]


Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

~An Old Irish Blessing~

Marian McCoy Boveri


Photo credit:

Harvest Time: It’s Time to Move On!

1-11.I'm Moving On #allthingsharvest

Winter Harvest–Decisions Like Seeds Determine the Harvest

The way to experience a bountiful harvest is to decide on what you want to see yielded in the field.  Harvests need to be created purposefully through planning and making the right decisions.  On the surface this may appear to be an easy thing to do.  Yet proper decisions do require some heart-felt reflection.  Without taking the time to reflect upon the true harvests you want to see in your fields, you may be planting the wrong seeds. It is in planting the wrong seeds that you first run the risk of reaping the wrong harvest.   Indeed as you well know–you reap what you sow.  Each decision itself becomes a seed planted in the field.

Each decision is a seed.

Each decision is a seed.

How do you determine the right seeds that need to be sown in the field?

Start with asking yourself:

  • What is the purpose of the harvest?
  • What do you want to see growing in your field?
  • How will this harvest impact your life?

This will help you formulate the proper decisions that will determine the direction of your planting.  Knowing the purpose of the harvest determines the decisions on what to plant in the field.  In the end the outcome of the harvests is dependent upon the choices and decisions you make regarding the seeds that are planted in the fields.  Strategic decision-making and planning is necessary to achieve the harvests you desire.

It is essential that you continually assess what is growing in the fields in order to make the right decisions on how to cultivate, nourish, and protect the harvest.   If what you have planted isn’t growing and bearing fruit, make sure you take the time to stop and reassess the field.  If you find something growing in the field that you did not expect or want, it may be that you have to plow the field under and begin again.

The key is to take the time to make the decisions that are needed to insure a bountiful harvest.

  • Take the time to reflect on your life and what you want to see in it.
  • Gather the seeds that need to be planted in the different fields of your life.
  • Make sure that what you want growing in your fields is actually growing there.

Remember, it is up to you to decide what harvests you want to see in your life.

What will you decide to plant in your fields?

Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

~ An Old Irish Blessing

Marian (McCoy) Boveri

Winter Season–Preventing an Accidental Harvest

As January comes to a close, the planning time for this year’s harvest should be well underway.  If you want to see a bountiful harvest in your life–it will require planning.  Taking the time to actually sit down and decide on what you want to see growing in the fields of your life is essential to successful harvests.

Deciding on the direction you want your life to go in and the results you would like to see at the end of the year depends upon you.  Your harvest is directly dependent upon what you do or do not plant and cultivate in the fields of your life.

What will your barn store?

What will your barn store?

Whether or not you take time to plan the harvests you would like to see in your life–it remains that something will indeed grow within the fields.  Even fields that lie fallow grow something–though it may only be weeds or leftover fruits from a harvest past.

  • Do you want to harvest what you desire in your life or will you end up with an accidental harvest?
  • How often have you come to the end of the year, looked back on the goals you hoped to achieve, and realized that the cupboards were bare?
  • How often have you planned the harvest but failed to cultivate or plant the seeds?
  • How often have the fields in your life produced an accidental harvest?

If you don’t take the time to figure out what it is that you want growing in your field, the time will still pass and the growing season with it.  It is possible that some of what you want to see in your life will pass you by if you don’t use the opportunity to be deliberate about what you plant in your fields.

Take time to review the fields of your life and reflect upon the past harvests.

  • Did you plan the harvest or receive an accidental one?

In order to maximize the potential of your harvest:

  1. Identify the field
  2. Determine the harvest and its timing
  3. Select the seeds
  4. Prepare the field
  5. Plant the field
  6. Cultivate the field
  7. Watch over the field

Will this be the year that you grow a bountiful harvest or an accidental one?

Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

~An Old Irish Blessing

Marian (McCoy) Boveri

Winter Season–Developing a Harvest Strategy

Winter is the time to live off the harvest of the previous season.  It is also the time to develop a strategy for the next harvest season.  Even when the fields are covered in a blanket of snow the farmer is planning the harvest.  This can make the difference between a successful harvest that can sustain you or a failed harvest that leaves you without proper sustenance.  Winter is the time to develop a harvest strategy.  It is the time for planning the next harvest.

Even when the fields are covered in a blanket of snow the farmer is planning the harvest.

Even when the fields are covered in a blanket of snow the farmer is planning the harvest.

Looking ahead brings life and meaning to the season of winter.  It cultivates hope and anticipation for all the blessings that the harvest can bring.  Without developing a strategy, however, the harvest is in danger long before the planting is to begin.  Knowing what seeds need to be planted in order to grow the crop that will yield the desired harvest is essential.

Your life is a farm that has various fields within which you can grow a successful harvest.  Just as the fields on a farm require planting with certain seeds in order to reap a specific harvest, the different areas of your life require the same.  It is essential that the farmer knows what he wants to harvest in order to do so.  It is essential that you know what you want to harvest in order to reach your destination.  If you don’t know the crop that you want planted in a field, how can you expect it to grow?  Planning can bring clarification.

The farmer takes time to plan the crops he will be planting for the upcoming harvest season.  He is intentional about what he plants.  He plans the sowing of his crops so that he can receive the harvest he desires.  Just as the farmer plans his harvest, you too need to take time to plan the harvests you want to see in your life.  Determining the goals you want to see accomplished will help you to determine the seeds you need to plant to receive the desired harvest.  You need to plan the harvest you want to see in your life.

Considering the various fields within each of the areas you want to see a harvest in your life can help you determine what seeds need planting and what fields need to be put aside for another season.

  • Fields of Faith
  • Fields of Family
  • Fields of Home
  • Fields of Health
  • Fields of Business/Career
  • Fields of Finances
  • Fields of Friends
  • Fields of Leisure
  • Fields of Self Development

Start planning your harvest by asking yourself some basic questions:

  • What fields need cultivating?
  • What shall the harvest of these fields be?

Once you know the fields you want to cultivate, you will know what to plant in those fields.  You may discover that there are fields that need to be put aside this year.  When a field is put aside and left unsown it is considered to lie fallow.

  • Are there fields that need to lay fallow this year?
  • Are there fallow fields that need to be reclaimed this year?

Just as a farm has different fields that can yield a harvest depending upon what is planted within, your life has different fields that yield a harvest depending upon what you plant and cultivate.

What do you plan to harvest this year?

Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

~An Old Irish Blessing

Marian (McCoy) Boveri

Winter Season–Living Off the Harvest

Fall harvest celebrations were traditionally held to express thanksgiving for the abundance of plenty that could be stored up and lived on during the scarcity of the cold and dark winter.  Historically winter’s survival was dependent upon the harvest.  A poor or lost harvest meant certain desperation as concern for survival was indeed a real and pressing problem.

Winter's Harvest in the Barn

Winter’s Harvest in the Barn

Winter is a time for living off of the harvest.  In modern life, full dependence upon what can be harvested and stored is uncommon as food is pretty much accessible year-round.  If you look at the harvest as the results you have in the various aspects or fields of your life; however, the harvest does indeed once again become important to store up in order to survive life’s winter seasons.

What do you do if you find that your time of plenty was not so plentiful?  How do you live off the harvest when all you can see are lost hopes and dreams?  What do you do when your daily life has become a struggle just to survive?

Being caught up in the need to survive–even on an emotional level–can lead you to living in a suspended “crisis mode” known as “fight-or-flight”.  This primitive protective mechanism was important when confronted with a saber tooth tiger that required actual physical activity in order to survive.  However, today’s saber tooth tigers and failed harvests are oftentimes psychological stressors such as missing a deadline, traffic delays, financial issues, and such that do not require actual physical activity to escape immediate danger.  Nevertheless, the same “crisis mode” of “fight-or-flight” gets activated.

What you may not realize is that constant stress can cause you to actually get stuck in this “crisis mode” and start living everyday in mere survival.  When you get stuck in living in survival your decisions become impacted negatively.   Your ability to cultivate the seeds needed to have a good harvest is inhibited.  In essence, you get stuck living in the winter with no harvest stored in the barn to sustain you.  Excessive stress and a life lived with continual short-term emergencies lead to becoming overwhelmed.

So how do you change out of this “survival mode” and back into cultivating positive attitudes and beliefs?  How do you move away from focusing on just the short-term survival and start focusing on long-term results?

  1.  Increase your physical activity.  On the surface you may think, “How does exercise change my world?”  It gives your body a chance to engage in the “fight-or-flight” and burn off all the excess stress hormones.  This will lead to a clearer mind and more introspective thinking.  Even 10 minutes of activity will help regain clarity.
  2. Change your environment.  What you surround yourself with will impact your stress level. Changing your physical environment to reflect a more peaceful reality is essential.  Sometimes this may be getting out of toxic relationship or leaving a stress-filled job.  Changing your spiritual environment by seeking an understanding of your God-given purpose and direction will change your focus from just surviving to long-term thriving.  Spending time in prayer will help to bring peace and clarity.  Resolving to release negative feelings of worthlessness, shame, and guilt will help to build a more positive environment.
  3. Change your perceptions.  One of the easiest and effective ways to change your perceptions is to use affirmations.  Affirmations have the ability to change your beliefs through continuous repetition by replacing the negative thoughts with more positive ones.  Focusing on affirmations can also help to quiet the mind which is key to moving beyond the anxiety and fears into a place of clearer understanding, truth, and love.

What ways will you start storing your harvests in order to survive the winters of your life?

Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

~ An Old Irish Blessing

Marian (McCoy) Boveri

Harvest–What are You Sowing Into Your Life?

What are you sowing into your life?

Cultivating the Field of Gratitude Brings Blessings

Gratitude has a way of changing your perspective and leaves you open to the blessings that are within each day.  It is through thanksgiving that we open the doors to more blessings in our lives.  When we are grateful our perspective changes in that what we have becomes enough.  Instead of yearning for more we can appreciate what we have.  It’s the old “the grass is greener on the other side” syndrome that creates unhappiness in our lives and essentially blocks blessings from flowing.  Certainly if we watered the grass of our own field–it too would be greener!

Gratitude brings blessings

Gratitude brings blessings.

Take time to be grateful today for all the blessings in your life as well as all the lessons in your life.  Water the grass of your fields and you will find that you have more than enough.  Do you have a barren field in your life?  What do you need to do in order for that field to start producing a yield?  Is the soil ready for planting or do you have to ready the soil?  Did you plant seeds and they didn’t grow?  What we tend to will grow–be it happiness or bitterness–it will grow.  Did you tend it properly or was it just a failed harvest?  Sometimes harvests do fail despite all that we do.  It is then that we must reflect upon the lessons learned in order to replant the field.

Today cultivate the fields of your life with gratitude and watch how your fields change in reflection.  Watch how blessings grow in fields nurtured with thankfulness.  It’s a basic law.  You reap what you sow and the harvest is always more than the planting.

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.

It turns what we have into enough.

It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.

It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.

Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today,

and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

~ Melody Beattie

Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.  ~ An Old Irish blessing.

Gratitude is a Daily Thing

Mini Gratitude Book Free Printable from website

Mini Gratitude Book Free Printable from website

Gratitude has a way of changing your perspective and leaves you open to receiving the blessings that are within each day.

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgiving, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”

~ William Arthur Ward