Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Stayin' alive, stayin' alive....

Ok, really, I can't believe I used that as a title as I absolutely hate that song... done by the Beegees (or however you spell their group name). However, it does fit. Folks, I AM alive still! I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. I realize it has been a looooong time since I've really posted... and I'm truly ashamed of it. Life has just been such that things like blogging fall by the wayside.

In any case, yes, I am here. Life has been going on as usual, but it just feels slightly busier than normal. Don't know why that is... Perhaps it's because it IS busier... My brother, Josh, just graduated and got himself a full time job, so perhaps having 5 adults in the house now with different schedules makes it much busier. I don't know. =)

So what's been going on over here at the ranch? Well, let's see. We've gotten quite a bit of rain, so the pastures are looking green (which is just fabulous.) In fact, as I type, it looks like rain clouds are rolling in! =) Yay!  Green grass makes for happy cows, which makes for happy ranchers. =)

On more personal news, I'm very excited to announce that I was able to get another nanny position! As some of you know, I have a one day a week nanny job with a fabulous family that only lives about 30 minutes from me. This job has been a huge blessing in more ways than one. For thing, they are a Christian/homeschool family, so it's great that our values line up already there. Secondly, the kids are just a blast. I always come home with funny stories to tell my family. And secondly, it helps me put some money away into savings. =) However, I really wanted another one day a week (or two days a week) job someplace. I wasn't really wanting to work 5 days a week because I do have other things going on (drama, fiddle lessons, writing, ranch stuff, etc). Well, I was recently convicted that I haven't been very good about sharing prayer requests. If people ask I tend to just say everything's going well.. not because I don't want to share, but usually because I have a hard time remembering them off the top of my head. So in any case, I decided I would share the prayer request on Face Book for my friends to pray for me. Well, about 2 minutes after I posted, a mother friend of mine messaged me saying they were looking for a nanny one day a week! I was so excited. Once again, a wonderful Christian family that homeschools and who has a bunch of wonderful kids! =) So naturally, I was just THRILLED! =D
Of course, the best thing was how God totally orchestrated it.

Needless to say, it's good to share your prayer requests.

On a second note, we've been having a lot of fun on Tuesday nights attending a swing dancing group in ABQ. It has been a blast to learn swing better. We know the basic steps and a few moves, so it's been fun to learn more and swing with other people. =) Usually a group from our area goes in, which makes it a lot more enjoyable (having friends in strange places is always awesome!). Met some new people, reconnected with old friends. It's been a blast!

One of Caleb's ducks hatched out a little duckling this week. It's SO cute! Course, I'll let the pictures speak for themselves. I want to name it Jemimah, but we haven't agreed yet.. not to mention we don't know if it's female or not.. lol

And now, just a few random pictures to show what else has been going on. =)

 We just have awesome clouds out here. Don't know what it is.. but we do. And the bottom pic turned out super cool!!!

 Muh dog. Ain't she purdy??

 This little fella came all the way from Tucumcari.. Was Caleb's pet for a bit until he ran away (or slowly crawled away) when we were busy with some stuff...

 My latest embroidery project... taped up to our window so I could trace the pattern onto my cloth. This window is awesome for tracing! =D

 Working on figuring out our volleyball court that we are putting in...

 Muh sister's dog.. who is adorbs!

Playing monopoly with Caleb on his birthday. 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

In Which I Give Fair Warning

Hello friends!

I haven't posted here in a while because, quite frankly, I wasn't sure what I would post about. Life has been normal, and more than likely quite boring for all of you to read about. So, I didn't have much of anything else to say. Rambling, though fun, can be a bit boring, too, I realize. So, I've decided to make a slight change to this blog.

Don't worry. It isn't *too* big, but big enough. See, I've begun to suffer from something lately.. it's called 'fear'. I'm afraid to post certain things because I don't know what others will think of me. I don't want to post anything controversial, because I don't want people to get into a huge blog debate and use my posts to knock one another down. So, instead, I've just sat quietly, only posting things which were 'good' or 'biblically based'. Now, don't get me wrong. Those are very good, I know. And when the Lord is teaching me something, I like to share, so I'll continue to do so. But, I'd also like to use this as more of an online journal, so to speak. To post questions I have about varying things in life, to ponder over different things that have been going on. To use this blog as more than just a hobby writing place, but as a place I can share my thoughts and views and not worry so much about what others will think.

I suppose all bloggers have to face the 'big question' at some point. That question being: Why do I blog? So that is my answer. I want to blog because I want to share my thoughts on ALL of life, not just a little scope of it now and then.

With that being said, I've been pondering over a rather funny question lately. I hope that I don't sound too weird or pushy or something for saying it, but it is something that has been foremost on my mind lately.

How much do you think a young man needs to have before he marries? In terms of money, house, job, etc? Just as a general question. Where do you base your opinion (biblical or just personal preference)? I'm just curious to know your thoughts on this. =) Also, what about the young women? What do they need to have/be in order to get married and why?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Discussions are more than welcome here.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

When Life Hits You Full Throttle In the Face

Life.. ah, where to begin? It has been especially hectic over here for some odd reason. The oddest thing, though, is that one really can't put an exact finger on what we've been doing. We've just been busy.

Actually, I suppose I could recount a few things... For one thing, last Tuesday my brothers and I went swing dancing in Albuquerque. This group meets every Tuesday night. They do a lesson beforehand, and then free dancing time afterwards. It was a lot of fun and we learned some good basic steps. =) It was also really cool to watch those who have been doing it for a while really get into the dance. Some pretty good dancers out there! And the best part? My brothers enjoy doing it! =D Which means we got to come home and practice!

Friday I nannied all day, then went putt-putting with a local young adult group. We went out for some frozen yogurt afterwards and had a good time all around. Made some good memories and had lots of laughs.. =)

Saturday night we went to another dance, though this was an English country dance, so quite a bit different than the swing dancing, but still loads of fun! There were only a handful of guys, so I got to dance the guys part a couple times. Its really fun to exercise your acting skills by playing up the role. While I danced the virginia reel with a friend of mine, we had a very extended conversation about my recent 'hunting trip to Africa' and all that. She did marvelously to play along and I had a blast playing a posh old gentleman. =)

Other than that, we started landscaping our yard this weekend. Our poor front yard is so hard that it refuses to grow grass. So we finally gave up this year and decided to just do gravel and pretty rock. I think it will be much better this way.. more low maintenance, too, and since we already have about 6 acres around the house to keep up, it will be nice to not worry about the yard, too. We will grow some grass around the side of the house where our 'sitting area' is, just to add something green and soft and cool.

This Sunday, for father's day, dad decided he wanted to work more on the landscape. So we did that, then headed into town in the afternoon to go watch The Amazing Spider Man 2. It was pretty good, but I'll tell ya something... modern movies seem to focus more on filming cool action sequences and forget to do some character development. Not totally bad, but not totally awesome either, on that scale.
We went went to Rudys for supper, so really, it was a good day. Although, I was so tired this morning I really couldn't keep my eyes open for several hours after getting up... yikes. However, it was a great day to celebrate an amazing person. My dad is just... awesome. There's no other way to put it. He stays up until the wee hours of the morning talking with me if I have some big problem to figure out.. He jokes and teases with me. He gives the best hugs and shoulder rubs. He works really, really hard for our family. He is just amazing!

This week we have quite a bit planned, too. Busy, busy week. Most notably, though, are probably Monday and Wednesday. Monday I get to go to lunch with a dear friend of mine, and then on Wednesday we have our last filming day! Well, what should be our last! If all goes well, we will officially be done filming our movie and I can get on with the editing. Should be a fun, but crazy day. Going from 8AM to 8PM... yup. =) At least we'll feel like real actors... hah!

So what's been going on with your life lately? Anything new and exciting going on in your life?

Monday, June 2, 2014

Quick Update From The Long Lost Girl

I feel as if I haven't blogged in forever... oh wait, I haven't. =P

Well, I'm back again. Glad to see me? Maybe... maybe not. Who knows? In any case, I'm back again. Hopefully I'll keep up with promises of all these fun posts. My life has been slightly out of order lately.

For one thing, we just arrived home last night from a week long trip up to California. Our dear friends (aka adopted cousins!) were celebrating the graduation of their eldest daughter. It was so much fun to be able to go up for a mini vacation and enjoy spending some time with them. =) Many, many memories were made. For the graduation party, my siblings and I sang, along with a few others, as part of Kara's 'graduation choir', so to speak. We sang several songs, including one from Celtic Thunder called 'Place in the Choir'. It was LOTS of fun!! =) I got to play guitar for a couple songs, so that was double score. After a wonderful speech from both parents and the graduate we made room for dancing! Calling English Contra dancing is something that I've enjoyed for a while now. I had offered to call dances at Kara's graduation, so that was a lot of fun. Everyone really seemed to have a good time, too. =)

While we were up there, we got to meet one of their real cousins from Texas. That was loads of fun and we all decided we fit in as one big crazy group. We made several 'scenic' ventures and got to go to the coast, Burney Falls (a BEAUTIFUL waterfall that Becca and I got to see last time we went up), saw the Redwood forest, and got to eat at the 'mess hall' that was used for loggers way back in the 80's/90s. That was really neat. Basically the set up was a bunch of long tables and then your server just brought out plates and bowls of all sorts of yummy goodness. Orange juice, coffee, bacon, toast, eggs, biscuits and gravy, and potatoes. If we ran out of something, we just asked for more and she brought it out. It was really cool. Perfect place for hungry boys, methinks. =) It set us up perfectly for a long day looking at the redwood forest and the ocean.

I think that the ocean might have been my favorite spot we went to. Mainly because no one else was there but us and well, quite frankly, it is just beautiful. I'd love to get a little beach house and just go and write. Mom said she'd tag along and cook and clean for me... hmm... thinking that might be a pretty awesome deal. (both photos were taken with my cell)

Hanging out, though, was truly the best. Fun to just visit, laugh, visit, laugh, play music, laugh, dance, laugh, swim, laugh. Yeah, basically a lot of laughing. However, the awesome thing is that we also had many wonderful discussions. But, our lifesaver was the pool. Their house, which is just beautiful, has an awesome backyard with an awesome pool. We pretty much spent a lot of time in there.. It was just SO hot! =)

Also, another neat thing was that, two days after the graduation party, was Meri's birthday! So we got to stick around for that as well! (Meri is the second daughter). Naturally, we had lots of fun. That morning, we got up and Josh and Dad fixed her their famous biscuits and gravy. Then, we opened gifts... she received a recurve bow and arrows to go with it from the men in her family, so she spent a good portion of the morning shooting. Then, while her cousin Abigail and uncle took her off to go buy some targets, the rest of us girls went out and decorated the deck in Hawaiian fashion, then surprised her with it when she got back. =) We did some dancing until about 8ish, and then we decided that it would be fun to just go for a late night swim. So we did! It was the most impromptu, silliest (in a good way!) thing I have ever done! Ok... actually not. But it was still fun! We swam until around 10:30. It was crazy fun! Definitely helped us cool down after the intense heat from the day!

However, despite the heat, we really enjoyed our time there. It was a big bummer when we had to leave. Hopefully I can steal some pictures from my sister so I can post some later.

Yet, it is also really nice to be home again. There is so much to do and I'm really looking forward to getting back to work again! We've got some landscaping in the yard coming up (finally gave up on trying to grow grass in the yard, so we'll just be bringing in some pretty gravel), putting in our volleyball court, and cleaning out the shop and such for Joshua's graduation party!

On that subject... wow. I can't believe he's this old already! Makes me feel.. super old.. lol!

Also, before I close, I'd like to make mention of a friend of mine who is working on getting his book published. The awesome news? You can help! He's currently entered in a contest and all he needs are lots of votes. Go visit HIS SITE to check out a synopsis of the book and to vote. If he gets enough votes, he could be up and running for a publishing grant. Also, check out his blog!

Alright! Off to my crazy life! Hope to see you all around here again soon!

Monday, May 12, 2014

"For The First Time in Forever..."

"For the first time in forever, I'll finally go outside! For the first time in forever, I'll enjoy a new sunrise!
Don't know if I've been too busy, but I'm going to change that now! 'Cuz for the first time in forever!!!!!! I'll be doing something fun!"...

Ok, if you were able to sing along with that and actually keep it in rhythm, then you, my friend, are one amazing person... kinda like me for being able to write that all out.. But who's keep track anyway? ;-)

However, to go back to my little diddy, I was finally able to get outside and do some work today in my flower garden! I haven't done a flower garden in about 2 years or so because time just got away from me. And lately I haven't had much of a chance to enjoy the outdoors because 1) it's very windy out or 2) I was busy doing other things.

So, today I resolved that I would go out and work. So very glad I did!! The weather is so lovely... a few lazy clouds hanging in the sky, gently floating by. A light breeze teasing my hair from it's braid (which is actually really annoying but yeah... sounds fun to say). Oh! and the birds are singing sweet melodies to one another. It really is so very lovely out.

In any case, Caleb and I decided to go out and work on some stuff. He didn't realize I would put him to work when I invited him to, ahem, come outside with me... lol! But he seemed to have a fairly good time as we worked together.

Gardening/landscaping/working outside is one of my all time favorite things to do. But I never get a lot of it done. Silly, right? Well, I've been reading through this really neat book, "Be Well, Live Well: 14 Simple Ways to Excellent Health", authored by a friend of mine, Jeanne Drennan, and I've really enjoyed all the practical things she gives to help you on your way to, well, excellent health. One of them was to get out and do something you enjoy. That's far better than sitting around doing nothing. So, I decided that that would be the first change I make. It helps my overall attitude during the day to get out and 'get dirty', so to speak. But since I love the outdoors so much, it seriously does put me in a positive mood. (There are scientific facts that would show WHY I feel this way afterwards and about how great it is for your body to be outside, barefoot in the cool dirt... but I'll save that for another time).

In any case, I'm following one of the 'simple ways' and already today I feel fantastic. =) My lilac buds are doing so well (and for anyone who doesn't know me or hasn't gotten it from my blog title already, those lilac bushes have played a fairly big role in my growing years!). We're supposed to freeze again tonight, so I'm thinking I'm going to go out and take some extra precautions with my bushes to keep them from dying again.

So, what have you done on this lovely day? =)

Also, I'm really excited to get some new blog posts underway here. I've got some fun ideas up my sleeve so stay tuned!!

(dear me, I hope I don't say that too often without following through!)

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Desiring is Desirable

Lately I seem to have gotten this very odd idea in my head. Not really sure where it came from, but it just planted itself and I've been having a rather hard time getting it out.....

This little thought is that it is wrong to long or desire for something. To be specific, that it is wrong to desire and long for marriage someday.

See, when I was younger, I had this idea that as soon as I graduated, I would get married and start raising a family. I mean, that that was something that was incorporated into my daily training: how to be a helpmeet. Now, I've still got a long way to go on that one, but I am training for it. So I figured I would get married right after highschool and move on with my life.

Apparently God had other plans. Two years later, still single but (and this is hard for some to understand) I'm rather content with it. God has given me a place in my home, has given me a task to do, and I'm really very content with that. In fact, several years ago, I was praying really hard for God to bring my husband and I really felt like God clearly answered that I needed to learn to be content in my singleness because I wasn't going to be getting married any time soon.

So, I have learned to keep myself busy, focusing on serving others and seeking the Lord's will. I may not be doing it perfectly every day, but at least I am striving for it, and that is all He asks of us.

However, to get back to my earlier point, I do still find myself wishing for a husband. Yet any time that desire comes up, I try to shoot it down, thinking it's wrong of me to want it.

I recently realized, though, that I hadn't prayed for my husband in a long time. You know how you pray for that "someone, whoever he may be"? Well, I hadn't done it in a long time. See, I kind of took God's message of "not right now" to mean "never, ever, therefore you must never ask again.".

Reality check here... I don't know God's plan for my life beyond what He has currently given me to do. I can't see my whole future and I don't know if it includes a husband and family. So why should I stop praying and desiring?

I think for me, I stopped praying because I was afraid it would take my focus off of God and onto husband hunting or something crazy like that. So instead, I just stopped thinking of it all together. I didn't want to dream of it, I didn't want to imagine it, I didn't want anything to do with it because I was afraid. Yet, I've begun thinking that perhaps that was the wrong course to take.

Praying and desiring are good things. Praying, we all know, is good because we need to tell God our hopes and dreams and desires and then ask Him to change those to match His perfect will. And desiring isn't wrong, either. I mean, God made women to desire a home and family of their own. That's how we're made. Where it gets wrong is if I let it take control of my life. When that's all I can think about, when it's all I can talk about with friends, when it's all I ever dream about, then it's become a god. And we all know that THAT is wrong. =)

So my recent life lesson has been to not be afraid of desiring or asking for things, but to remain content with where I am at and let the Lord guide me. If I remain completely submersed in Him, then I'm not going to stray. It's a tricky, thin line that I don't want to cross.

Learning to be content has probably been the hardest thing I've ever done... especially when I'm waiting for God to give me something to do. I don't really care for waiting with nothing to do and especially when it has to do with my life! But I've also learned, through many struggles and trials, that God's timing truly is the best and He really has my best interest in mind. Just like any father, He is watching over me and wants me to be happy, but He wants me to happy and joyful and content in the things that He has given me.

Have you had any life lessons so far this year?

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Convention Surprises

This past Thursday, Friday, and Saturday were filled up. The CAPE homeschool convention was on! =) It's always a favorite time of year for me. Not only do I get to see friends and visit with them I also get to... well, see friends and visit with them. lol! Actually, it's a really great time to see friends, yes, but you also get to hear great speakers, see awesome vendors, and really get encouraged. =)

For the past two years I've had a table at the vending hall with a friend where we have sold our books. This year I wasn't as excited about it as I was the first year. I was disappointed that I hadn't gotten another book published and I was feeling a bit like a flake. Not only that, but I had a head cold, so I wasn't feeling all that great.

However, I got to convention, set up my books, started feeling a little excited about it, and settled in for a long weekend. When the first day ended with no sales, I was feeling a bit discouraged. However, I hadn't sold any books on Thursday of last year, either, so I figured it was just because mom's were looking around before they decided what to buy. So Friday dawned bright and early... way too early. I hadn't slept well, so I was feeling worse. With a somewhat bad start to my day, I was letting it affect the rest of my day. I only sold 4 books by the afternoon. I was feeling really discouraged. On top of that, I had a couple of people who weren't very nice stop at our table. Normally I would have been able to at least smile and try to encourage them (knowing they must be having a bad day or something). That day, however, I failed to be cheerful and let the bad moods of others affect me.

Saturday morning I woke up feeling a little better. I had been encouraged the day before by my wonderful mother, reminding me of my purpose and Who I needed to be glorifying. With her words in mind, I got to convention feeling much better. When I went to the exhibit hall to set up the table for the half day, I was greeted with a beautiful package, wrapped in newspaper (a writer's favorite!!) and a little note that read: "To Sarah Elizabeth, Authoress". No signature or any other indication of who it could be from. Inside was a beautiful journal and a homemade hair scrunchie. My curiosity was peaked to a high level. Who could have given that to me?

I inquired from friends, but no one really seemed to know. A few hours later, I stepped away from the table for a bit and, when I returned, my friend informed me that I had been left another package. This time it was a little bag of peanuts, some chocolates, and a note saying: "To Sarah, from ??" Now I was REALLY curious!! Who was doing this?? The Handwriting didn't match the other note, but if someone was trying to keep their anonymity, they certainly wouldn't use their own handwriting....

So I pondered over this for another hour or so before I left the table again to say hello to a friend. When I came back, my friend once again informed me that someone had dropped something off at our table. This time, however, there was a slight clue. The person who had dropped it off had simply tossed the note on the table, said, "The name's Paul" and ran off. The note was a folded up napkin that read: "Hey Sarah, I hope you sell lots of books today! =)". I scanned my brain trying to remember anyone I knew with the name of Paul. It came up blank. I really had no idea what was going on! A group of friends came up to the table and I told them about the new mystery. We all tried to figure it out for a bit... None of us had any ideas.

At lunch, a runner came up to me (for clarification, "Runners" are homeschoolers who have applied to help out at the convention. They kinda of have 'special' tasks like setting up, tearing down, helping vendors, etc, that other volunteers don't do, necessarily.). So a runner came up to me and said, "excuse me, ma'am, but I'm supposed to give this to you from Paul." It was a Dr. Pepper. I was totally floored. Not many people know that I *really* like Dr. Pepper. I don't have it very often, so it's a rare treat! I puzzled over this during lunch. My dear friend was laughing at me as I tried to figure this whole thing out. Who in the world??

Later, as I was looking at all the pictures of the graduates who would be graduating that afternoon, another runner came up and said, "I'm supposed to give this to you," It was another napkin note. I asked her who it was from, and she said she couldn't say.

At this point I thought I was going to go crazy! I really wanted to know who was doing this. I figured it had to be a friend, but I just didn't know who!

Finally, the culprits were revealed. Two of my good friends had pulled the whole thing off... Rachelle and Kelsey! They planned everything out, delivered the notes, got runners to do the little things for them, etc. It was totally awesome. And you know what? It really made my day. Not only did it add some interest to the rather slow day, but it really made me happy to think that they did that for me. I was totally floored. It was a blast hearing about how they pulled everything off!! I was completely clueless!!! =D

And then, my dear friend Sarah (who I lovingly call my 'conscience'- since she and I share names) was the one who got me the journal! =) So very sweet!!!! =D

So, thank you my lovely friends! Y'all are amazing and awesome! =) Now I just have to try to top it off next year!! =D  =D

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Just Your Typical Day on the Ranch ~#4

Hey y'all! Another Typical Day on the Ranch post!

Yesterday afternoon my brothers and I were charged with a task: To run all the cows through the chute, get hair samples, put patches on them, and give them their dose of bug medicine.

No problemo. The cows are really quite gentle and work fairly easily. So when Dad gave us this task Sunday night, we were ready to go. The plan was to get up early and get started right away to get it done. We had two set of corrals that we were working cows: headquarters and 'up top' corrals. Thankfully, the guys had gathered all the cows that night, so we didn't need to worry about that in the morning (that seems to be the hardest part sometimes). Deciding we would work the house first, then come in for lunch, and head up top, we went to bed, figuring we'd want a good rest before the next day.

The day started out slightly later than we had hoped (as one of us, ahem, wasn't able to get to sleep until about 2am)... However, we decided we wouldn't let that stop us. Dad had headed into work already, and mom was getting ready to leave for her day in town to do some things. Josh fixed us egg burritos while I went over the plans again to make sure everything looked right. So far so good. I was rather excited about getting the hair samples. =)

As we were about to head out, a friend who leases some pasture with us came by to pick up some of his cows. So Josh and Mr. S went up top to get his cows while Caleb and I prepped everything for working the cows at headquarters. After making several runs back the house then out to the corrals, we finally had everything (not that there was a whole lot but we just kept forgetting things...) Josh got back right as we were about to start. Glad to see our third cowpoke, we met him half way to see how his morning had gone so far. He brought us bad tidings. The cows had either knocked open a gate, or one of them didn't closed properly and they were now scattered in two pastures.

Pause for great big sigh.

We decided the boys would go ahead and go regather the cows before the spread out much further and I would wait down at the house. They left and I decided that, instead of wasting time, I'd go start working the cows on my own. There wasn't a whole lot to do per cow, so I figured it would be fairly easy. Slow, but easy. I headed out, intent on my mission and getting at least a couple handfuls of cows done before the boys got back.

Lesson learned.

When I got out to the corral, I realized that the cows needed to be pushed from a holding pen into the alley so I could push them into the chute. May not seem like a big deal, but when you're trying to push a bunch of bovine, you need at least two people else they just run past you in all directions. I attempted to push them from behind, but that ended rather quickly when I realized I was fighting a losing battle. So, racking my brain for ideas, I finally came up with a brilliant idea that, amazingly, worked quite well. I then began the process of gathering them into the chute (much easier now that I was in a narrower alley!).

I had done three cows by the time the boys got back. Not quite the handfuls I wanted, but hey, it was a start. Once they got there, we all jumped in and got to the task at hand. Josh dosed them, Caleb put on patches, and I collected hair samples.

I will go into a bit of detail on how we did the samples.. It was really cool. I simply had to grab their tail, take a section of the longer hair at the tip, and pull upwards, against the 'grain' of the hair. This pulled the hair, roots and all, out in neat form. I then placed the roots in a clear sticky pad. These will be sent into a lab for testing so that we make sure the cows don't have any illnesses or some other genetic defect that will affect their calves.

As we were working cows, we enjoyed joking around with each other, laughing about 'inside jokes' (none of which needed explaining because we were all on the 'inside'), and liking how smoothly things were going... Guess we thought that too soon. Before we knew it, a heifer had decided she didn't want to go forward and had succeeded in turning herself completely around inside the little alley leading up to the chute. Lovely. Thankfully, though, we didn't need her to go head first, since none of the things we were doing required her head to be caught. However, it's always a little scary when they are in the process of turning around as they can get stuck... Not to mention that you simple stand there looking at her helplessly, knowing you can't do anything to stop her. Getting near only makes her more frantic. So we backed off, silently praying she wouldn't get stuck. She didn't and must have had an interesting time going through the line backward.

Another cow later on almost broke her leg in an escape attempt by trying to jump up and out of the chute. Brilliant idea, cow. What was I saying about our cows being quite gentle? ;-)

Other than those little incidents here and there, everything really did go smoothly. A couple times, when reaching to get the tail for samples, my hand met with 'wet stuff'... *sigh*. All I could imagine was Adrian Monk doing that... (if you've ever seen "Monk", you know what I'm talking about).
But then, I suppose that's why I live on a ranch. It didn't bother me too much (or maybe it's because of living on a ranch that it doesn't bother me... hmm...) You just have to keep going. No stopping to 'get it off! get it off!'... =) Yup, bonafide country right thar. =)  Anyway, back to my story...

So, we finished the cows at the house and went inside for lunch at about 2:30. Finished eating and checking a few things for mom, then got ready to head back out. We took all our gear with us, drove up to the top corrals (takes about 5-10 mins to get up there). As we went to gather the cows, poor Caleb walked right into a metal pole/bar that is sticking out horizontal to the ground. It is part of a fence, but we haven't finished building that fence yet, so it sticks out... he's not the only one that has done that. Poor guy. He really hit it hard. After he recovered a bit, though, we joked about him 'walking into a bar' and tried to put on shocked faces... Yeah, that helped a little. He's such a trooper, though, and got right back to work.

We had done about 5 cows when Josh realized he was out of the meds he was giving the cows and had forgotten to grab the new container from the barn. So, we paused operation and headed back down. Worked out fairly well, actually, as the boys wanted to grab some protein bars from the house (don't know why they were hungry, though. It's not as if they were working really hard....). =)

On our way up, I had taken off my jacket, as it was getting a little warm. When I hopped out, I guess I knocked over my water cup and later, then it got a little windy and I needed my jacket, I realized it was soaked and wouldn't do a whole lot of good for keeping me warm. =P So my new routine of getting hair samples went from 'get them and stand in the open while I'm putting them in their sticker' to 'get the hair as fast as you can, rush back and hop in the truck to stay warm while you now put the hair in the sticker'. =)

During all this, we did have a couple times that some cows got out and we had to chase them around the pasture a bit... or sometimes we'd actually analyze the situation to see how we could outsmart the cows to get them back in. Usually that worked better.. lol!

And so, after a day that we had hoped would be a morning/part of the afternoon project, we finally got home at 8pm. However, dad was really sweet and went and got us Taco Bell so we didn't have to cook anything. =)

So that, my friends, is just another typical day on the ranch. Do your days look similar to this? (I've found most people's do, whether they live on a ranch or not).=D

Your Ranching Friend Out in the Middle of Nowhere

P.S. Keep an eye out! I'm planning on doing a blog post of our recent trip to Montana (pics included!)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Measure of a Man

I've had several discussions lately with my young lady friends about a certain topic: guys. Now, I'm not meaning the ridiculous "I think he likes me" and "He's so cute" kinda talk. I'm meaning really serious, deep conversations on our perspective on what men should be and what the world says they should be. It has been very interesting, I will say. =)

One of the things that has always bothered me with young girls is that they seem to have this extremely romantic perception of how a guy should treat them. Now, I'm not saying that married men aren't romantic, but I'm talkin' about the 'He will sweep me off my feet and catch me when I fall and say all the right things and everything will be just perfect' kind of talk.

So what's wrong with this expectation? Pretty much everything. Now, before you jump ahead, let me explain. Yes, guys can be romantic (my dad is pretty romantic, and so are my brothers sometimes). Yes, they will sweep you off your feet on occasion.. but it isn't all the time. Yes, they will say the right thing, but again, not all the time. But, no, not everything will be perfect. Let's break this down.

Women tend to lean on the more romantic side of things. We like the chick-flicks, the flowers, the sweet sayings, etc. Guys aren't built this way. They are built to provide, protect, and lead. Now that doesn't mean they can't be romantic. It just means that sometimes their idea of romance is far from our own.

Sweep you off your feet? Of course! But ya know what? I've noticed that when married women talk about being swept off their feet, it isn't by the usual 'we'll waltz 'til midnight' type of thing. It's usually something like "He did the dishes for me when he knew I was tired" kind of sweeping. But ya know what? That's much better in my opinion.

Say the right thing? Sometimes. But guess what? You, as a woman, won't say all the right things to him either! Everyone's idea of the 'right thing' is different, so it really does vary on the scale. However, this doesn't mean it won't happen. Men who really know their woman usually know the 'right things to say'... but, quite frankly, I'd much prefer if he were honest and mean it than to say what I want to hear just because its the 'right thing to say'. (unless we're asking if we look fat. Then you'd better say we look beautiful.. lol!).

So what's wrong with the idea of thinking a guy will do all these things? Well, for one thing, high expectation on certain things like this will often lead to disappointment and a breaking of relationships. This is also caused by lack of communication, but yeah. Another topic. =) So we have this high expectation going into marriage and then we find out that not all of it is true. When husband comes home from work and he's dead tired, he may not want to sit and snuggle on the couch. Instead, he may eat dinner, saying about ten words throughout, and then hit the sack. But in the same way, we woman can often disappoint the men in our lives in the same way. He might have planned a romantic evening after the kids have all gone to bed and his wife comes in, gives him the 'yeah right' look and heads off to finish folding laundry.

I'll come forth and confess that I tend to be rather romantic... yet I also tend to go 'ew' to romance.. weird mix, I know. Perhaps the 'ew' romance is what I used to like.. but after visiting with wiser, older married women, I've discovered that my ideas were totally off.

So, ladies, you may find that as you get older (and I pray this is so!) that your idea of romance has changed.

Now, since I've gone over that, I'd like to share a few of my own ideas about the measure of a man. See, I used to think it was about how many times he brought me flowers, send me sweet notes, or took me on long walks. Um.. yeah. Thank goodness for wonderful parents who have helped me change those ideas!

I want to give my ideas in an example. I'm bragging on my dad, so brace yourselves. =)

A couple years ago, we had a rather big snow storm come through. Now, this wasn't so bad, really, except what it did to our SUPER long road. Our road is about 1 and 1/3 mile long. It is set slightly lower than ground level, so when we have snow, the drifts just blow right in and settle down. Rather annoying. So, this particular winter day, we had spent the afternoon/evening with our friends. We headed home and, upon discovering our road, decided we would just drive through the pasture where the snow wasn't so deep (that's countrified for ya). Well, just as dad was about to turn off onto higher ground, the car got stuck in a deep drift (I should say, the Excursion, not car. Now you get a better picture of how bad the road was). Well, we were definitely stuck... So, dad decided he would walk back the house, get the tractor, and come pull us out. Only problem was that he didn't have much on for walking through freezing cold wind and slick snow. He had on his nice boots with the slick bottoms, his thin coat, his docker pants, etc. No hat, no gloves, nothin'. We all began passing items up to him. Someone had a pair of gloves, someone had a scarf. We had a towel from carrying the casserole dish earlier that day, so we wrapped it over his head... yeah, a funny sight, to be sure. But ya know what? He walked that entire distance, in the slippery snow (falling once or twice, I might add) and freezing cold. Now, he could have sent one of us spry kids who were more prepared with thick coats and such, but instead he did the job himself. He was the man and did what it took to provide and shelter his family. Finally, past midnight, we got home safe and sound. (approx. 2 hour the whole thing took).

Now, that may not sound like the cozy, warm feeling romance that most girls envision, but I can tell ya that it was a whole lot better. Period.

Then, just recently, my dad made me cry. In a good way. He was dealing with an extremely frustrating situation and, instead of yelling and getting angry, he calmly dealt with it and kept his cool the entire time. I was crying for two reasons, actually. One was that he told me later that he really wanted to get upset, but he realized it wasn't going to help. This made me ashamed of myself, for one. I realized that I don't always do so well when dealing with frustrating situations. The other reason was that, for some unexplained womanly feeling, I just felt so proud of him. This particular situation would have tested many a man to be weak and crack, but my father stood strong and tall in face of the beast and conquered it in the best way. He was leading in the best way, too: by example.

See, it isn't about how romantic you want your man to be. Instead we need to be seeking and praying for strong, Godly men who are humble leaders, teachable, and willing to fight for what's right, no matter what. If you can find that sort of fella, then, young lady, you are definitely blessed. In today's society they are becoming rather rare.

Now, here's something I've learned, too. While I may pray for this sort of man for myself one day, I also realize that some future sisters-in-law are also praying for the same thing. I now have the opportunity to help my brothers becomes those wonderful leaders by allowing them to lead me. (we get to practice on each other, right? Because I get to learn to respect them like I will respect my husband someday). So, if you have brothers, whether they be by blood or in Christ, encourage them. And no, this doesn't mean you're flirting or anything like that, but sometimes a simple "Thank you" for them treating you like a lady goes a long way.

So, ladies, don't let Disney and fairy tales and 'fluff' books turn your head in the wrong direction about romance. Instead turn to God's word. Everything you need in a man is listed for ya, right there.