My father grew up on a farm on a winding back country road in Ohio. His was a large, Catholic, hardworking family. Some of the nine kids got out the first chance they could, the others continuing to live the horse and farm life. I was on the “city slicker” half and my farm cousins I visited each summer made sure I realized that. Some of their favorite games included clipping me by my belt loops to the horse training walker, serving warm goat milk directly from Nana in the garage to my cereal bowl in the kitchen, hide and seek in the grain silo, which I later learned was more death defying then we knew, and cow bait.

I was standing in the backyard, innocent as can be.

My cousin casually walked over and seemingly just as innocent, asked me to hold two tin pails holding who knew what; one thing I learned quickly was do not ask what food or feed is on the farm. “I’ll be right back,” he said before walking back around the house.

Cows started wandering into the yard, which wasn’t unusual, so I didn’t pay much attention. They headed in my direction. I started moseying further into the yard. They picked up their pace toward me. I started getting a little nervous and picked up my pace. It didn’t take long to realize these dumb sides of beef were actually coming for me. I was in a full sprint, as were they, when I realized it wasn’t me they were chasing, it was the damn pails. I whipped them away from me in both directions and kept running for the tracks across the field. Sure enough, the cows split up going for each pail. I didn’t get far enough to escape hearing the roaring laughter from my cousins. I’m pretty sure cow bait is their favorite torture game for me, too bad it only took once for me to figure that one out.

Although I caught on to that game pretty quickly, it has taken me over thirty-five years to figure out the point is what’s in the pail.

It’s as basic as whatever you are using for bait, is what you are attracting. Whatever you put in the pail, good or bad, positive or negative, attracts what will chase you.

If you want to change, change what you put in your pail.

If you are unhappy, unlucky, unfulfilled, empty out your pail, clean it, be aware of it, and purposely fill it with positive thoughts, better surroundings, enriching people. Fill it with prayers, dreams, hopes. Fill your pail with enough of what you want, to not have room for what you do not want.

Opportunity knocks, doors open, winds of change, freedom rings, ….. These are all actions. Opportunity, luck, chances, dreams, just don’t sit there waiting for you to stumble upon them. Plans are just words or thoughts. Plans need action to be accomplished.

Change means stop what you are doing and DO something else. Fill your pails with what you want so deeply and passionately that you want it to chase you.

If you are unfulfilled and stagnant in your job, and want a new job, fill your pails with hard work, dependability, a track record of being on time and loyal, more education.

If you want a partner in life, fill your pail with respect, love, comfort, loyalty.

If you want a better attitude, fill your pail with happiness, openness, joy, love.

If you want better general overall health, fill your pail with healthy options, exercise, vitamins, minerals, education.

If you want to get closer to God, fill your pails with bible verses, visits to church, prayers, and fellowship.

To fill your pail, it must be clean and empty. Get rid of negativity. Lose whatever is weighing you down. Eliminate whatever is just taking up space. Cleanse yourself so bigger and better changes fill in that space. Organize, clean, scour if you have to. There is always going to be something filling space, time, energy, and your heart. If you take out, something is going to fill in so make it what you want. Scraping off grime allows sparkle and shine to take its place.

I only carried cow bait once, and boy did I get cows. For a while I carried around sad memories I thought I couldn’t shake, so hurt and pain chased me. As a teen I carried pails of aloofness, a poor attitude, and selfishness and I lost a few years of growth, fun, love, and family. As a mother my pails are full of love, encouragement, security, trust, and thankfulness and blessings chase me faster than my grandson in new sneakers.

Empty, clean, and fill your pails.

Get ready to run with friends, loved ones, and others with similar pails.

Be open to what will come your way.

Jenean M. Roth is a lover of words read, written, spoken, dreamt, and arranged in entertaining ways. Her professional career reflects being a mother, grandmother, librarian, and court clerk, in that order. Her personal life is almost as fun and includes, pets, reading, writing, art, and laughing, not necessarily in that order.



Image courtesy of Nicole De Khors.