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.


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

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:


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!


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.


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…




Optimistic Pessimism…What Do I Focus On?

Feeding, first calves 2016 026
Calves do what they were meant to do


Recently, one of my kids struggled with something. This kid practiced for a year, worked hard, and had been consistent. Until it came to game time…gulp. Things did not go the way they had in practice…

In my mother’s mind, I’m wracking my brain trying to figure out how I could’ve helped, what I could’ve done differently…Did I encourage my child in the right way?

The coach said the game got in the head too much. She said stop thinking about it so hard, just play.

How often do we try to prepare for everything that could go wrong?

If this happens, then I’ll do that…

To some extent we need to be prepared–after all, vehicle repairs happen, cattle sometimes get sick…

When does it cross a line though?

I’m a planner, so I excuse my over-thinking as “planning”. I’m pretty sure it’s optimistic pessimism.

Being an analytical thinker sometimes keeps me up at night, even though my heart is to trust and pray.

So what does an analytic mind do when they need to teach their child to stop thinking too much? (Talk about an oxymoron!)

Yep, I Googled it.

How to stop over analyzing…

Google did not disappoint. There was everything from meditating to “let go”. The one that really caught my attention though:

Start focusing on what could go right instead of what could go wrong.*


Stop planning on what might happen that you’ll have to fix. Start thinking about what might go right.

We actually have to retrain our brains. The Bible calls it taking every thought captive.

I call it hard.

It’s not impossible though.

Graham Cooke says, “What we focus on grows within us”. It’s a quote I use often, but still haven’t quite mastered.

Whatever we are facing today friends, be it cows, people, fences, or other…may we learn to focus on what might go right.





*Lolly Daskal,

Simple Joy

winter cow trail, feeding in March 2017 036

Cows have personalities. That’s why I love this picture.

These girls have really gotten friendly during feeding season. I’ve patted their backs even.

When I go out to feed, we cut the net wrap off the bales before we unroll them and these girls are eager to get the first few bites.

These cows don’t push on me and they aren’t rude, they’re just there, ready to eat as soon as possible. They seem to enjoy life and they don’t care who is watching them. They don’t even notice they’ve got food all over their chins.

They’re purely content.

Granted, animals are simpler than humans in many ways, but watching the cows is a blessing because it reminds me to keep life simple.

It’s easy to over complicate.

Perhaps it’s too many plans in the schedule or relationships that require more attention than anticipated. Maybe we complicate life with our thoughts–worrying about what other people think or accidentally gravitating towards performance rather than authentic living. So many factors filter into overcomplicating.

Cows just live.

They soak in the sun. They eat when they’re hungry; they drink when they’re thirsty. They rely on us to bring them food when it’s not available to forage.

The simple life.

I long for simplicity.

Snapping this photo of these girls is a fun reminder to keep life simple. To me, they look happy, uninhibited. May we all proceed with sincere joy in life’s simple moments–they often remind us of what matters and what doesn’t.

What reminds you of simplicity?



Ranch Hibernation


I’ve been in hibernation mode.

It’s snowing. It’s the last day of February and we’ve had sub-zero temps for a good part of the month and a fair amount of snowfall. I’m thankful for the precipitation after last summer’s drought. We need it. I hope we get rain this spring. However, it does make a person want to hibernate. Or fly south.

The cows tolerate the weather fine, although they eat more with the harsh temps. We even had a big surprise–a cow that was preg tested to calve in April calved a couple weeks ago! A nice big steer calf!

The record keeping part of me is embarrassed; how did this happen? We are better cattleman than this. However, it’s a fairly new-to-us cow, so she could’ve calved early last year and rebred right away. (Plus, we didn’t do the preg checking.) The other part of me is excited because I love seeing new life and watching the babies reminds me what this life is really all about.

winter feeding, cows, January calf 031

Sometimes we need the reminder.

Ranching is tiring. Around the clock care. Always on call. Surprises. It is the simplicity and joy of this life that keep us on track with the call we have to live like this. We love it, but I think it’s time for a vacation.

Since that isn’t going to happen right now, I feel like hibernating. I’m working in the house and I’m not being lazy, but I am enjoying some excess netflixing as time allows.

In our fast paced culture, it is hard to go against the flow and slow down. However, I think slowing down is needed in order to appreciate all the small gifts we are given each day. If we rush constantly, we miss the bird on the windowsill, the brilliant sunset, or the fog hovering over still water.


I haven’t totally figured out how to be slower paced in a fast paced culture–especially since ranching, working other jobs, and having kids (high school is busy!) keeps us hopping. That’s why sometimes I just feel the need for a time-out, a hibernation. Take care and rest up this winter! Irrigating is coming!