DON’T COMPARE! There is no other you.

This is a continuation of last week’s blog. Sort of.

Last time I threw out my vulnerability in a blog. I had a day when I felt I wouldn’t measure up. This isn’t the norm, but I had a moment and wanted to use what was really happening: Comparison. When I look at other ranch wives, am I good enough?

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I didn’t do it because I’m depressed or insecure. (I used to be years ago, but that’s a blog entry for another day.)

I didn’t share because I felt inadequate, although it has happened before.

I shared because recently I’ve heard a lot of women and girls talk about how they couldn’t do something because someone else was better than them. I’m sure we all feel that way sometimes, but we should never let that drive our actions. I was hoping that by sharing what I felt, it might change something.

When things are shared, their power is often broken–like a secret that’s no longer a secret. We are all in this humanity boat together and I can’t imagine there is a single person who hasn’t compared themselves to someone else and fallen short.

I wanted to share the reality of comparison in the hopes that by being real, its power would be broken. I desire to be authentic and raw because I just can’t do fake. It’s exhausting.

Lisa Bevere in her book, “Without Rival”, states, “In life there are no neat categories. Life at its best is messy. The truth is that everyone’s life is much more complex than what we see.” She speaks of the dangers of classifying people.*

Classifying people (in my mind) puts them in places they may never want to be. In school there are popular groups and if you aren’t in the popular group the message is…well, you just aren’t as good. This couldn’t be further from the truth. There aren’t people who are better than anyone else. We are all human.

There are people who are more driven. People who work hard. People who love one activity more than another. But at each of our cores? Human.

Why do we do it then? Why do we compare?

My belief is that we do it to belong.

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We were created for relationship. Humans long to have a place to belong–a place where they feel comfortable and “fit in”. When we look at others, sometimes it is simply trying to figure out our place. “Is this person someone I feel good being around?” We don’t have to share the same interests or have the same opinions to befriend someone, but our closest friends will be the ones who know the true us, our authentic selves. These are people with whom we must feel safe. My circle of friends I go to bat for, stand up for, and I know they’ll do the same for me. I can’t compare myself to them. They need me to be me and I need them to be them.

The same is true for others outside our inner circle. Not everyone will be safe. Not everyone will understand you. I know people who don’t understand me. That doesn’t mean I mold myself to what they need me to be. It doesn’t mean I hide from them either. It means that I hold on to my identity and be me. Without comparing. Without measuring my talent against theirs. We all have strengths and weaknesses and they aren’t going to be the same as someone else’s.

My friends, ranch wives and city friends alike, you and I were made for a purpose. There is much we CAN accomplish. It will never be fulfilling through the eyes of comparison.

Let’s stay strong. Life isn’t easy. But I’m so glad we’re in it together.

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*Lisa Bevere’s book is a great read for Christian women looking to embrace their identity.

Powerful Lessons Never Forget Authenticity

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Lodisa Frizzell, telling of her family’s travel to California in 1852,

wrote: “On the 30th day of the wagon train, we passed several graves. . . .

I do not think there would be as much sickness as there usually is for we

have passed less than 100 fresh graves . . . hope [wolves] will not disturb

the graves.”17 A few pages later in the diary, she wrote:

Saw . . . one old cow, a paper pinned on her head. It stated

that she had been left to die . . . but requested that no one

abuse her as she had been one of the best cows. . . . It called

up so many associations to mind that it affected me to

tears. . . .(italics mine)

 When I read excerpts of diaries from the westward expansion in the 1800’s, it is mind boggling the trials these people faced. They either made it or didn’t. Can you imagine dying with nothing left except a cow, so you pin a note to her?

I read this today and it caught me.

Here Lodisa Frizzell pours her heart on the page and it isn’t happy.

Am I allowed to do the same?

Perhaps that sounds ridiculous. After all, we are in modern America and we have so many blessings. True.

Yet don’t you ever feel like the fight you are fighting takes the best of you? Certainly I don’t believe this is God’s best for us, but aren’t there days when you feel like you just don’t know if this dream will live or die?

I’ve also been reading about the hard paths many people took to achieve their dreams. Slept in their car, sold their last belonging, etc… We are certainly not that down and out, but during this year, we’ve lost so much, been challenged so much, and I’ve not even had the health to “deal” with it. We are having one of those days when you wonder, IS IT WORTH IT?

I assume it is. There are good days when you know it is. Yet when you’re in the trenches and nothing goes right, more problems happen than you have answers for, and the cash flow isn’t a’flowin’… it is hard to determine that this dream you have is worth it. Did the settlers headed west convince themselves to keep going? I suppose it was their only option.

It seems to be our only option too. We are too far in to go back.

Eric Johnson said in a recent sermon (my paraphrase) that sometimes faith looks like continuing on in what is your only option.

Is it ok to say you’re facing huge struggle? Isn’t that authentic? I often wait to blog so I can give you the happy ending or a boost of encouragement at the end. It’s still coming because we believe in handing this situation over to Someone bigger than ourselves as we pray and wait for answers. Yet, I’m being real in the fact that the struggle is real, like seeing the graves on the trail west and wondering if you’ll make it or not. We are on the trail friends. Aren’t we all at times? We will give it what we’ve got, while dreaming of what lies ahead. KEEP MOVING FORWARD

Why the Silence?

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Oh the pipe we have buried! We will irrigate!

My goal is weekly posts, but you may have noticed that the “week” since my last post has been very L O N G…

I’ve been debating about sharing my personal life in a blog because so much of what I share is agricultural. Do you really want to hear what happens “off the record”?

Since I believe in authenticity, maybe I’ve been cheating myself and my friends (online ones count too!) by not sharing reality. I’ve shared some struggles, but I’ve candy coated a lot and tried to end on an encouraging note because it is imperative I find the silver lining.

We love our new place. Love it. The sunrises and sunsets are gorgeous. We hardly miss one. I love the people and the land. I love what we are pursuing. I love what we are fighting for and what restoration we hope to see.

I do not love the battles.

Battles come in all forms, but lately nothing works. The tractor broke again. Our irrigation system still isn’t running after weeks and weeks of blood and tears. (Yes, we know it’s June!!) We are fighting in every regard. Including health.

I’ve struggled with endometriosis for decades. Not many people know. I don’t talk about it. It’s gotten horrible lately friends. So much so that every day life tires me out. I’m embarrassed to even admit that because I am an active person. I can put on a good front for awhile. Yet, just getting through our issues with the ranch, kids, and part-time work has left me tired. My hubby is a rock star.

It’s time I share because I am realizing I’m not the only one. My silence isn’t helping anyone and it isn’t strengthening relationships to tell everyone “I’m fine or I’m good, but busy.” I won’t promise you I’ll omit those lines from my vocabulary, but I’m reaching towards authenticity in a new way.

Thus, the long stretch of silence on my blog. Also, there may be more silence to come because I’m headed to the Mayo Clinic shortly for appointments and I’m scheduled for surgery. It seems my endometriosis may have stuck together organs that shouldn’t be touching… It’s not been a comfortable year to say the least.

I’m the type that likes to avoid pain. You know, pretend it isn’t there–maybe it will go away. I still believe in miracles and I’m still praying for healing, but it looks as though it will come through the hands of a physician. I’m praying that this pain is productive and leads to a greater outcome than we can imagine right now.

In the meantime, I’ll try to check in as I can. May your summer be off to a good start!

 

PASSION

What qualifies us to ranch?

Perhaps I should answer with fact: My husband has degrees in animal science and agricultural business, as well as a Masters degree. He has twenty two years of experience in various states. Together, not one moment of our married life has separated us from agriculture. We’ve made money in cattle sales. We constantly read: new studies, stats, economic projections…

A plaintiff could argue: You grew up in town. Your family name isn’t present in generational agricultural heritage. No one gave you land or cattle. Start-up funds are minimal in comparison. You’ve lost money in cattle sales.

Both perspectives are true.

“A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What a man can be, he must be.”Abraham Maslow

What fuels a musician, an artist, or a poet fuels us.

Passion.

Many think we’re crazy. Hard work, fencing, manure, gain/loss, time, money, effort…it all adds up. Last year was our hardest year ranching. We’d done well in years prior, but last August we sold short-term pairs the day the stock market crashed. At that point, we berated ourselves for our stupidity, questioned our sanity, and at the very best, doubted our hopes. We considered selling everything and never buying another cow or horse. Our pendulum swung in opposition to our desire.

It took time before we saw the light again. As we imagined life without cows, urban sunrises, and our children growing up without any ranching, the thought crushed us more than the blow of loss

We didn’t feel like continuing. We lost steam. Yet passion kept us from quitting.

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The first baby this year.

 

Right now, our small little herd is calving. (To read why we chose spring calving, click here.) Spring brings the gift of life. In the morning, we head to the window to watch the calves bopping through the field. Do we get irritated? Yes. Do we grump? Sometimes. However, we desire to grow in thankfulness and keep fueling our passion.

How do you fuel passion?

Sometimes you don’t have to, it just naturally flows and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. Lately though, in my personal goals, I’ve let a voice slip in: You’re never going to make it. Others will do it better than you. What are you thinking?

 It’s very difficult to press on listening to the ugliness of doubt. Doubt steals my energy, my hopes, and my dreams.

Thus I’m convinced: to fuel passion, I must ignore doubt. In addition, I must give myself permission.

I know that sounds basic. Give myself permission. How many of us, though, feel like we need permission just to live? How many people long to know their intrinsic worth outside of performance? This is a bigger topic than today’s blog, but allowing myself to have permission to breathe, to live, to love, to dance, to dream, and the freedom to pursue what I enjoy… Well, it’s added a few logs to the fire of my passion.

Here in our cyber connection, I am unaware of the challenges each of you face. Just know something: You are worth it. Your passions are needed in the world, just as ours are needed in the pasture.

 

I’d love to hear your comments on how you keep passion alive. Or your current challenges.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Transition

I haven’t written for awhile. I miss journaling about life outdoors, even if it has only been a of couple weeks since my last tidbit. However, we find ourselves in transition again…or still, rather. As I’ve written before, we left Montana two years ago because we leased our ground there and we had an opportunity to move to Idaho and buy a place. My husband also got a job in Idaho that allowed him to be more involved in the cattle industry. The past two years have not gone anything like we imagined, but I wouldn’t change them.
Things didn’t work out in Idaho for us to buy a place and today we find ourselves packing boxes to move to Montana. It isn’t the same place we used to live, but who would’ve thought? Doors opened for my hubby to have almost the same job and we signed papers on a little place of our own.
I can’t believe the blessing of having some land of our own. We’ve always dreamed about it. We’ve had cattle on leased land for years and years. We are quite excited to have a place of our own. It needs TLC, so we will be busy, but we are blessed.
My blog may slow down a bit until we move in and get settled…(In winter…in Montana… 🙂 ) My heart is still here though!

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My new view!

 

 

Harvest

Ok, so I know it is cliche to say, “You reap what you sow”, but it is true! It is harvest time so the application is quite literal. A few months ago, tiny seeds were planted. ..Seeds that held the entire DNA structure of a full grown plant. Some seeds were so small, I wondered if we even got them in the right spot. However, here we are during harvest and we have fruits and vegetables, bounty–produce–from the full grown plant.

I suppose I’m easily amused since the act of gardening seems so amazing to me. One tiny seed, dirt, water, and sunshine… A small act with repetative tending. The process has the potential to fill a pantry for the winter.

Maybe it excites me because it gives me hope. Maybe watching this cycle truly gives me hope for myself and life around me.

Perhaps your thoughts take you to places like mine have before: “Will this ever change?” “Why are things looking like this?” “My daily actions seem to be unnoticed or not needed.” But then: Then a tiny seed, seemingly insignificant, when dropped in the right environment produces a harvest.

Is it possible that the DNA of something bigger is planted in me? Absolutely! Not only me though, you too!

Something to consider however: sometimes my dreams are like an orange tree. Unfortunately, an orange tree cannot grow in cold climates. Neither will I thrive in every situation. Each season, I must take a look at what God placed inside of me for that time and make sure I’m planting in the right spot. If I’m in fertile soil, there will be fruit. If I’m not, then I must plant in a different spot.

This doesn’t mean that I pack up and move every time I feel a tug in a new direction. It just means that I look at the resources around and invest in what will bring fruit. Is it a certain person? An activity? Often it changes, but it will be rewarding. Quite often, it will not be what onlookers expect.

I don’t always know what I harvest internally, but as I pick a plethora of  tomatoes and peppers, I have tangible evidence that big things can come from small beginnings. Let’s look around and see where we are best planted in our current season. Imagine the fruit!