Moving On…

When my husband was working ranches early in our marriage, I knew moving was part of the deal. Cowboys often move, but I thought once we started our own production, that would stop.

I’m a girl who loves roots. Deep roots. As in, I have wished we had land that was handed down, complete with the house my grandmother was born in. However, this has not been our experience. I am not upset that hasn’t been our path, but I have daydreamed about what that would be like to have that kind of heritage.

However, I have heard the stories about my grandmother’s family traveling from Missouri to Montana, hoping to find land. Their path was hard. They made a difficult journey and things never really got “easy”. My grandmother’s family had sheep and some cows, but they mostly farmed. I don’t think they had much land. Anything they had was gone before my dad came along and from then on, everyone worked in town.

When I think of people traveling in the 1800’s and early 1900’s to find a better way, it impresses me. Many people moved 100 miles away from family and never saw their family again. Others moved across the US for “free” land or the hopes of having something of their own. Their tenacity is commendable.

Our current culture isn’t doing that kind of moving anymore–exploring unexplored land or mining in the hopes of striking it rich are gone. However, I think we still long for more, for something better. Those of us who have started out on our own in agriculture certainly look for new opportunities.

A new opportunity brought us to our place here in Montana.

A new opportunity will take us to another place.

I will tell more later, but for now, what I can say is: We are moving again. We sold our little ranch.

I’m sad. I’m sad we aren’t staying here forever. YET–we can’t stay in the same place if God’s plans are for moving on.

I’ve poured my heart into this place. It was in need of so much TLC. We gutted the house, refenced the place, built new gates, etc…only the exterior of the buildings stayed the same–well, except for some paint.

Making a home is part of my DNA. I want a place where people feel welcome. I want to pour into my community. Hopefully we’ve done that and will do it again.

I’m also excited. We are on an adventure. A big adventure with many unknowns–not to mention Covid unknowns! We look forward to being a part of something new again and hopefully the love we poured into the place we are leaving will be felt by the new owners.

Fortunately, we get to stay until our middle daughter graduates in May. We have a few months. I’ll be in touch.

Anyone want to guess where we will land?

God has a plan!

World View

San Pedro

Our oldest daughter just got back from Guatemala. She spent three weeks in a Spanish immersion school with a friend and toured part of the country. She saw things I may never see. This thrills me. World views tend to be the small “world” we build around ourselves: our immediate family and surroundings, our day-to-day circumstances, the food we consume most commonly. None of this is bad per se; it is just that it can be very small.

Having a chance to experience cultures and languages different from our own broadens our perspective. It helps us appreciate our own heritage, while valuing the experiences of another. My daughter found she really enjoyed the beauty and color in Guatemala, along with some of their traditional foods. Homemade tortillas, ground fresh every meal, are something she will remember. Her deepest treasure though is friendship. The amazing people she met–her host family and friends from the school– are people she’ll likely connect with for the rest of her life. She made cultural connections that shape how she values people and hopefully how they value her.

I’d like to say I remained peaceful the entire time she was away, but I didn’t learn until the last week to trust. I prayed and talked to her, but I finally the last week realized my perspective is often limited. It is much too easy to concoct a world view based on fear or the unknown. Yet anything based on fear isn’t rooted in the truth of who we are and Whose we are. The reality is God loves all people across the globe and until we see what their lives are like, we may live in a world we create in our minds. Seeing the pictures helped me broaden my horizons, but I’m so thankful my children are getting to experience something outside their daily routine.

The world is harsh in many ways, but it is also beautiful. Realizing that circumstances don’t revolve around us brings a lot of intentional focus to the situations we encounter on a daily basis–even things like irrigating. How wonderful to have good water!  May your day and your perspective be rich!

Transportation: a Tuk-Tuk 
World View from Guatemala

Country Girl in the City

Our daughter recently had an opportunity to attend a track camp in LA. I drove her and we stayed for a few days while she attended camp.

Everyone kept asking me why I would want to go to LA. I actually like the city as a place to visit. It gives me fresh perspective. Most of us are afraid of what we don’t know. We build a case around unknowns in our minds, while never having seen it. We form judgments without experience.

This happens between city and country folk I think. We tend to imagine what the other’s life is like and then form our thoughts and perceptions from that imagined baseline.

I actually found quite a bit of beauty in the city. It was far from my normal, but I found that I could appreciate people and places that weren’t like me. I also could see how easy it would be for city people to form judgments about ranching.

In fact, two girls mentioned to my daughter how cows were ruining our environment. My daughter offered her perspective and how we live. It was difficult for the girls to imagine. They could only view cattle as biohazards.

We could become frustrated or we could understand their current mindsets and seek to build bridges. Unfortunately, some of the population sees ranching as cruel and harmful. Sadly, there are some who give ranching a bad name. However, overall, ranchers take pride in caring for cattle while simultaneously stewarding the land.

We’d love to be a part of creating a healthy mentality toward the cattle industry. We work diligently to provide the best for our cattle and land–we’d like others to know that it isn’t a cruel animal factory, but a nurturing environment.

The city and the country have the opportunity be a thriving, symbiotic environment.

LIFE

I have not been consistent with blogging. Maybe you’ve encountered a similar obstacle: LIFE.

It’s a beautiful gift to be alive, but sometimes things get overwhelming.

Here’s our most recent life change: our oldest daughter graduated from high school and is heading off to college soon. Big changes!

We’ve also had multiple injuries this year and while that isn’t something I want to focus on, it does play a huge part of my time–I’ve spent the hours of a part-time job in doctor’s offices the last six months.

I’ve struggled with what to write about because you can search the internet and find a blog or comment about any topic under the sun, so I don’t want to write just to write. It doesn’t mean much if there isn’t intentionality behind it. Deep down we are all yearning for and longing for something that will make a difference in our lives–something that says, you’ve got to read this!

So here is the truth: I’m a fake.

I’ve created a false self and now my real self is really tired.

Yes, we actually do have cattle and I’m not a 40-year-old living in the basement of my parents’ condo. Not that kind of fake.

Fake in that I have tried to create a version of myself that doesn’t get tired or frustrated or hungry. Not because those things are bad, but because they slow me down.

Fake in that I will try to help out anywhere I can because I truly want to love people, when I have committed to things that just weren’t me.

Fake.

I really try to be authentic. Authenticity is my buzz word. Yet I don’t want you to know if I’m scared or nervous because you might reject me.

And rejection isn’t something any of us want.

Although it might be something we all need.

Can you imagine if everyone accepted us? Our circles would be too large and our commitments overwhelming. Maybe rejection is therapeutic.

What else can cause us to figure out who we really are and be strong in it? It’s usually the no’s that push us on to search for creative solutions–not the yes’s.

Yet it’s an ugly word, rejection. It means someone didn’t want me. That hurts.

Yet for every one that rejects, there are more that affirm. I must focus on the affirmations, the hope, the joys and not the disappointments.

Life does happen. Accidents. Busyness. Life changes.

Yet surprises and rejection can also refine our focus and help us zero in on what is really important.

You know what’s really important? Life. Not the stuff, the commitments, the titles. Just breathing in and out. It truly is a gift.

The Perfect Gift

It’s the season. Everyone is busy and we are all searching for the perfect gift.

Finding a meaningful gift is important because it shows that we care.

There is some pressure involved: What if I don’t get something they like? Will they wonder if I know them at all?

There is the reality though that the gifts don’t matter, it’s the heart behind them.

Yet our hearts will not be seen in a single gift. The right gift isn’t going to mend a broken relationship. Our hearts are seen in our every day moments. Moments like a kiss before work, saying good morning before checking your phone, or getting someone a soda or water (without them even asking) communicates that they are important.

What is behind these moments? Love.

Certainly gifts at Christmas mean something. But they don’t mean everything.

So let’s enjoy those gifts and the gift giving. It’s another day to show those around us they are important. It’s another way to show the ultimate gift–redemption through Jesus coming to Earth for us!

Thanksgiving Isn’t Just for Thanksgiving

 

affection appreciation decoration design
Photo by Carl Attard on Pexels.com

It’s the week after Thanksgiving and I’m still full.

We had more food than we needed and enough laughter to lift the roof. We are beyond blessed.

And yet…

If I’m honest, there is still a lengthy prayer list.

There are a lot of things I’d like to fix… or do… or see happen.

There are some problems I’m not sure have good answers.

BUT, I do know this:

HE IS BIGGER.

I’ve spent much of my life worry praying. Maybe you’ve done it too: Staying awake at night begging God to hear you.

Worry prayer is still prayer, but it lacks a Kingdom component: PEACE.

How do you get peace? I mean, listen to the nightly news and you’re liable to raise anxiety.

True Peace only comes from the Prince of Peace. There is psuedo peace and I’ve tried it. It helps some, but that deep ache, that internal longing, can only be filled by God.

Yet, even so, if I am honest, I sometimes still worry. A lot of that comes from making the problems bigger than the solution. I’ve spent too much time mulling over problems without looking at my blessings.

If I am to truly combat the issues in front of me, I must maintain a mindset of peace and focus on all the good things. Thanksgiving in a sense becomes a weapon–a way to train my brain.

May Thanksgiving continue all year long. There is much to be grateful for!

 

 

Figuring Life Out

Fall photos 2018, cows and land 065

When the cattle get out, we always find where the fence is down or if the gate is open. We repair the fence and put them back. We look for why the fence was down or why the gate was open…was it a hunter going through the gate? Did the cows find a weak spot in the fence? Once we’ve discovered the why, we try to prevent it from happening again.

Don’t we do this in life too? Sometimes it’s something quantifiable, such as why is this bill so high? Often times though, it isn’t cut and dry. Why did my mom get cancer? Why did that person act so mean? Why can’t I seem to connect with that group of people?

Recently, our friend’s horse got severely injured with no obvious reason why. None of the other horses were hurt. They woke up and found him badly hurt in a safe pasture. There is no explanation.

Sometimes, despite all our efforts to find a reason why, there isn’t one. Life can’t be figured out or calculated.

It can be lived.

Maybe we don’t have answers, but we do have breath in our lungs. May we live without being paralyzed by why’s and free to stand in wonder and awe of all that God created.

 

It’s Been a Long Time

Mags 8th grad, summer, ranch photos 197

Oh dear, it’s the second day of Fall and I’m afraid I was inconsistent with my blog over the summer. My goal is going to be to put out a blog once a month from here on out. I’m terming the blogs, “blog-ets” because I intend to make them short and sweet. I’m not sure with video, Instagram, and such that blogs are overly relevant. People are busy and they don’t want to sit down and read and read.

Unless it’s a book.

We are now in a culture that values instant.

We can cook faster, move faster, and produce faster than ever before. Therefore, we want a few bolded items or something quick because there is too much stimulus in front of us at any given moment.

Trying to keep up on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Linked-In can be a part-time job. With the line of work we are in, we spend a fair amount of time outside and as you all know from my absent blogs–life can get away from you.

My goal, although I have another job and many “hats”, is to simplify.

What better way than to simplify the website as well. It is too easy to watch the calendar float by without actually feeling present in the moment.

Somehow it is too easy to not savor my fingers on the keys, but be thinking about my work hours this evening or my meeting tomorrow.

Relationships aren’t made by jumping from one thing to the next like a bungee cord. If I’m to be relational, I must be intentional.

I’d like to be intentional about moving slower, even if there is more to do.

Blessings on you all! May you find the pace that works for you!

 

How To Be Like the Big Boys

just like the big boys

This photo is of our bottle calf. Well, it’s actually some friends’ bottle calf. We tried to graft him to a cow who her lost her calf, but she wouldn’t have anything to do with him. He’s aggressive, smart, and he’ll be anyone’s buddy… I’m bummed the momma wasn’t interested.

We are feeding him a bottle until he can be re-homed. Bottle calves are fun because they always love to see you. He loves back rubs, scratches behind the ear, and long walks on the beach… Ha, ha.

After it was clear the momma who lost her calf wouldn’t take this amazing one, we had him behind the barn. He could see some other pairs, but he wouldn’t go out with them. Instead, he wanted to be with the 4-H steers. He stood at the gate into their pen and bawled. The poor kid was lonely!

He bounded into the steer pen like a bull at a rodeo. He ran up to the steers and the three of them started playing. The calf was so happy to have friends!

Obviously the steers eat a bit more and a different variety than the calf, but every time the steers get fed, he comes over to the bunks. He nibbles on hay and a bit of grain, but not much. He’s simply happy to be included.

Aren’t we like that too?

I know I like to be included. I also try hard to included others. It hurts when we are deliberately left out.

Yet it also shows who is important in our lives. Who we hang around will determine our own course. This calf is copying the behavior of the bigger boys around him. We often do the same.

It doesn’t take much to be like the big boys–just hang around them!

WINTER IS WINNING…

April snow

Winter’s End??

Snow, snow, snow…I want to wash my hands, my face and hair, with snow…

That is a line from a song in White Christmas.

It’s a great song.

Except it is April.

A-P-R-I-L.

We are in Montana, so this isn’t abnormal, but I’m ready for spring. I’m ready for rain instead of snow anyway.

Lack of sunshine causes somber moods, weariness, and seasonal depression.

On the upside, I took my kids skiing four days ago.

We started calving on April 1st. The weather can fluctuate in April, but we had a full on snow storm with seventeen degree temps that first weekend. Now it’s 35 degrees and blowing snow sideways.

I miss you sunshine!

Yet last night I saw a wheelchair bound friend of mine. She’s relegated to only going outside if the weather permits. No putting on boots. No layering up.

You know what she did?

She asked how my life was going and wanted me to tell her everything we were up to.

Talk about humbling.

I know life is challenging and we can’t compare our life story to someone else’s. Yet it helped me put it in perspective. I’m thankful I can go outside.

We are all missing the sunshine. But it will come. The earth does in fact rotate and we can’t stay in perpetual winter. It may feel like it, but our feelings will sometimes deceive us.

Enjoy your day, whatever it looks like. I’m going to crank the heat up, turn on the lights (pseudo sun!), and maybe put on some music…