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?

 

 

Who Am I? They say I’m a ranch wife…

one sunset, marci on horse 015

Here’s who I want to be: I want to be an amazing horseback rider, cattle entrapenuer, business woman, writer, friend, and encourager. I want to rope and drag without missing, load every shot gun with vaccine in record time, and have strength to wrestle calves. In my wild imagination, I’m Annie Oakley, Martha Stewart, and Sacagawea. I climb rough terrain, wrangle every last cow, and know exactly when to buy and when to sell.

Enter reality.

I’m really good at dreaming.

I’ve never roped and dragged anything. My riding skills are currently nil due to trepidation after a mishap awhile ago. My husband is the brains, brawn, and bravo behind most business deals. (I’m super proud of him; this is not said with angst.) The last calf I attempted to wrestle laughed at me. I haven’t shot a shotgun in years and my vaccine shotgun sticks frequently. My home is my peaceful refuge, but nothing Martha would endorse. My exploratory and navigational skills are top-notch–but only to scout out my kids or a good deal.

We recently watched “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”. In the film, a man finds adventure only in his daydreams until circumstances arise that excite him to a point of actually embarking on adventure.

To some extent, I’m completely happy in my daydream land. I’m somewhat quiet and reserved, especially in agricultural circles. What if I say the wrong thing?

This is why I loved the idea of this ranch wife blog, but sometimes find it difficult to write it. I admire you Annie Oakleys, Martha Stewarts, and Sacagaweas of the west. I’m amazed by the skill of you women who ride and rope.

I enjoy cooking and studying market trends. I like giving vaccines. Although it sounds weird, my favorite thing in agriculture is to pray blessings over the land and cattle–mine and yours. I don’t rope. I don’t ride anything with more kick than a carousel horse.

For this, I’ve always felt inferior. Afraid to step out.

Then we moved to Idaho for a couple years. No one knew me, so I tried to put my best self forward. The only thing was I was afraid someone would find out my secret that I didn’t possess true ranch wife skills. I didn’t intend to hide it–I don’t believe in being fake–I just hoped it wouldn’t come up. (Is there a difference?)

During an Idaho Cattle Association meeting, I stepped out and attended the Cattlewoman’s Meeting. I didn’t know anyone, but found them all to be nice. At one point in the meeting, someone said something like, “We’re trying to reach all ranch wives. Some work out of the home to support the ranch. Others are outside with their husbands. Some are stay-at-home moms. Still others cook and clean, taking care of whatever they can to help their ranch.” My heart nearly stopped. You mean I didn’t have to be Annie Oakley, Prairie Woman, and Sacagawea? I could be me and still be a “ranch wife”? It was shortly after I started this blog.

The demons of doubt didn’t flee though. I struggled to keep writing because our ranch is minute compared to other places, my talents meek in comparison.

Yet, no one else can be me.

Friends, if you have ever found yourself in a similar arena–others’ talents mounting past your own, your worth fragile in comparison’s light–maybe we can help each other by reminding ourselves that who we are isn’t determined by who someone else is.

I’ll probably never gallop up steep hills like Jim Craig (The Man from Snowy River). Yet I’m willing to try and I love to bless. So friends, may our cattle increase, may our land produce. May new opportunities find us and solutions spill out of us. May love and gratitude be our foundation and evil never prosper. May good things happen in the agriculture industry. In Jesus Name, Amen.

 

Happy New Year!

East view
East view

 

It’s been too long…

I haven’t blogged for awhile. You will not find me offering polite excuses. We all have busy lives. What I will offer is the truth:

This fall was a struggle.

My mom is fighting cancer. I’ve had some health issues. Cattle prices dropped. More obstacles arose on this new place of ours…and so forth.

I didn’t know what to say without sounding like I was whining. So I said nothing at all. I’m not absent; I’m just climbing a few mountains.

After visiting with others, I realized something. I’m not alone. Many people closed the year 2015 feeling battered, bruised, and beat-up. Fortunately, we are not defined by our feelings. Hard times aren’t the end. Perhaps they are opportunities to re-route us.

We’ve been working hard trying to bring our place back to life. It’s now been just over a year since we purchased our fixer-upper and we’ve experienced multiple surprises. We knew there would be a lot of work to do, but the extent has been challenging. The financial output to fix things? Excessive. You just don’t know these things until you find indoor wiring buried outside or inadequate piping spewing geysers in December in an outdoor water-line or… I could go on, but the problems aren’t the point. I’m sure each of you could name off a list of your own battles.

The point now is: Where will I put my focus?

Challenges certainly overplay the negatives in life, so doing a 180 ought to point my nose to where I want to go. For example: poor or wrong supplies were used on our place. The fixing is frustrating, but it directs me to the obvious: the right tools must be used in the right places. Taking this a step further, our time and energy is more effective when we put our talents and skills into areas that will propel us forward.

I also want to focus on being thankful. Not only does thankfulness put my focus in a good place, but studies have shown successful people practice gratitude.

What are you thankful for?

I’m thankful for: my hubby and kids, all my family, amazing friends and neighbors, beautiful views, a place to call home, opportunities yet to come, increasing health, my writers group (plus words themselves!), sunsets, increasing daylight, the moisture we’ve received this winter, new ideas to try, LIFE, God-given perspectives, for being drained to empty so that I can be filled back up, for livestock, blueberries and coconut (and other yummy favorites), and so much more…

May each day in this New Year bring opportunity to see beauty and creative solutions!

I'm so thankful for my views!
I’m so thankful for my views!