Dr. Val Farmer
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Rural Mental Health & Family Relationships

Yup! These Are My Readers

August 3, 2009

Letter one. In response to your column in our farm paper, I want you to know I deeply appreciate you!

As a mother of three sons, the wife of a farmer, a marketing consultant (with an old psychology degree), and an amateur writer living on a farm in the middle of nowhere, your column is a spiritual connection to others in rural communities for me. I have clipped many of your columns and pinned them to our bulletin board, left them conspicuously in the bathroom, and mailed them to our sons at college.

Gazing out of my office window on our farm, I feel blessed that I have a feeling of freedom and independence instead of being confined in a corporate cubicle, but I also feel a little lonely because I am so often by myself. There's no "water cooler" conversation, no coffee or lunch breaks with colleagues; it's just us chickens! When I read your column, I know there are others "out there" in the same isolated, rural situation and that I am not alone.

Writing is a challenge and to have the talent to express thoughts into words woven into a coherent, relevant message is a gift. Your gift is very much appreciated! You give us guidance and a rural code of ethics that our city neighbors need to read, too. Your column should be syndicated beyond the rural, Midwest market, and you should be on Oprah!

Having been in the marketing and advertising business for over 30 years, I am beginning to lose the exhilaration of the challenge and sense of accomplishment that work once gave me, so I can relate. As you said in your column, it is "hard to keep focus on grand projects when the simple things of life become more appealing."

Yes, I would rather be in the field cutting my sunflowers instead of stressing about the next deadline for one of my clients, but if life gets too easy, you can lose your way. It is okay to slow down, but don't stop working completely! We need you! Never, never give up writing your column.

If you run out of ideas or need new inspiration, just send me an email. I'll think of something. - An Illinois reader

Letter two. I have three boys between the ages of fifteen and twenty one. As I try to impart wisdom on many subjects that come up many times I find I don’t always explain things in a way that lets them see the whole picture. However, you, on the other hand, have a talent for explaining a subject in a way which, when reading the column, I think to myself, "that’s exactly what I’ve been trying say."

Many times shortly after having talked to one of the boys on a certain subject, your next column would expound on the same thing. Whether it was on a personal family relationship or whether it was farm related. One column I really enjoyed was on the timing and requirements that are required for the next generation to return to the farm.

You have a way of putting good common sense into words. Keep up the good work. - a farmer from Missouri

Letter three. Just a note of appreciation for the many columns you’ve written and for your wife’s sacrifices. It’s truly a good work if you can guide folks and encourage them.

We have been through the different stages of life. We’re grandparents and feel our cup overflows sometimes. At one time, I helped care for my father who had a lung disease and was not easy to care for. And when we had teens and school-age children, we needed advice in those areas.

I really appreciate the columns on marriage. We’re dairy farmers trying to survive. The part I like best is that my husband also reads your column! I like to hear about your family too.

So keep on as the Lord leads you. Sorry to take you for granted.- a wife from MO.

Letter four. Your column is the first place I turn to read. I have clipped your columns to hand to friends regarding things they are going through - situations that mirror the column’s subject. You have an impartial view point that always sheds light on the proper way to handle life’s issues.

When I was teaching, I remember a column I clipped about education that I had on my bulletin board for probably a year.

God has blessed you with wisdom and you have shared your gift with us hard working people that appreciate it. I can understand why anyone would want to retire, but I believe you have helped more people than you will ever know. Well done! - A faithful reader

Letter five. Thank you for all your articles on rural health and life issues! You have so much wisdom! Keep on with your good influence. You’ve been a lifeline. - ND. organic farmer

Postcard. Your column has been helpful to me and has made a real difference in my life. Please keep writing, Val! - A Minnesota reader.

One sport’s columnist saves the most lewd, crude and morally depraved letter for the last entry in his mailbag and then states sarcastically and almost proudly, "Yup. These are my readers."

Thank you for the time you’ve taken to write these letters, e-mails and notes of appreciation. They mean a lot to me and my wife. When I get letters like these, I am proud to say, "Yup. These are my readers." Thank you for the wonderful reminder of how important and special you are and why I am doing what I am doing. - Val Farmer