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.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Assuming for the Lord

How many times have we prayed 'Thy will be done'? I don't think I could count how many times I've said it. I've said it in church when reciting the "Lord's prayer" and probably prayed it many a time (just not those exact words).

We say it... but how much do we really mean it? I've realized that whenever I pray that God's will be done, I tend to assume that His will is going to match up with what I'm asking for. We have gotten this idea in our heads that when we ask the Lord for something, it will be given to us. Before I move on, I will say that yes, I know the verse in the bible that speaks of asking and we shall receive... but do we really know if what we are asking for is good?

Often times we commit things to prayer and we really expect a 'yes' in reply. We aren't ready for a 'no' and we certainly have a hard time accepting it when it's been given to us.

I remember, when I was much younger, I would ask my mom for something and, when she said no, I would simply go and ask Dad. Sometimes he would say yes (not knowing that mom had already said no).
Or, if they answered no, I would still go ahead and do said thing (or have said thing) and then later pretend that, "oh, I didn't hear you say that".....

Ok, enough about my childhood confessions.. hah! Seriously, though, I just recently realized that I do this to God... a lot. If He gives me an answer I don't like, I tend to pray about it several more times 'just to be sure'.

When I pray for God to give me a yes to buy that equipment, or write this book, or publish this story, or allow me to get married, I always have this little sub-conscience thought in the back of my mind.

He'll bring it to pass.

Why do I assume that? I'm not God. I don't know what God has willed for my life. I don't know if it includes getting married, raising a family, publishing hundreds of books, or getting fancy equipment to do recording and filming. I don't. But I assume that it will happen. I assume because it is what I desire and somehow I've allowed myself to think that if I pray for it hard and long enough, it will actually happen. The reality is, however, that God's will is perfect. Mine is not.

Now, it sounds great to say, "Oh, wow. I didn't realize I was doing that. No problem. Won't make the same mistake twice!"... nope.

It. Is. So. Hard.

It isn't easy to change! It isn't easy to realize when you're in the wrong. It isn't easy to confess and ask God's forgiveness for putting Him in a box and thinking I could make Him give me what I want. Nope. Not easy. In fact, I'm still working on getting over it. When we've formed a habit, it's difficult to 'un-form' it...

Now, here is a funny thing about God's perfect timing... We have recently been doing a bible study of sorts with 3 other families called "The Truth Project". Don't know if any of y'all have heard of it, but we are really enjoying it. The funny thing is that we got this study several years ago and never actually started it... yet, I realized that I'm not sure I really would have gotten a whole lot out of the study if we had done it back then. "Back then" I didn't really pay attention to bible studies, sermons, etc because I honestly wasn't really concerned about my personal growth. I really didn't like the idea of giving up everything to God. I really didn't. So, I didn't. I went to church with my family and all that, but usually I let my mind wander to other things. During Bible study before school, I honestly couldn't wait for it to end. I hated having to sit and listen to other's talk about the Bible. I really didn't care. It sounds terrible, I know, but I find it amazing to see how God works. I have gotten SO much out of The Truth Project (and we've only done 3 sessions so far!).

So, random bit there, but I thought it sort of applied. =)

Back on track again, I have made it another goal of mine to not assume with the Lord. I know there will be MANY times that I fail... but, as a wise person once told me, "'Failed' is just another word for "I have learned my lesson and now know how to do it differently'." Amen?

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Trust Me Not

When you have a secret, be it big or small, you don't want to tell just anyone about it. You might tell a very close friend or family member, but you're not going to tell that 'friend' who you see on occasion. Why? You haven't built up a "Trust-Relationship" with them.

In order to share important or 'awkward' things with people, you have to know you can trust them. If you know a person is a blabber mouth, you aren't going to trust them with your secret or struggle because you know that by the end of the week, everyone else will know about it, too (and, more than likely, not in the real sense of what is going on).

There have been times when I have trusted a friend with a struggle or personal prayer request, only to find out later from a different friend that said first friend had told several other people about it. That hurts. It hurts to know that something you told a person and trusted them to keep secret didn't end up being so. Raise your hand if you've had that situation. I imagine all of us have.

It really does hurt, doesn't it? And once that trust has been broken, it's very difficult to build it up again to the same level it had been at before. Friendships are often times ruined because of these incidents.

I was remembering some of those incidents today and it got me to thinking. The only reason I don't tell certain people about personal struggles any more is simply because at one time they broke that trust. It may have been accidental (even I'm guilty of letting something slip without meaning to!), but it is still that image that you get from it that seems to stick in your mind.

I then realized that, if I don't share my burdens with others because of a lack of trust, I really have *no excuse* for not trusting God. When has He *ever* broken my trust?? When has He *ever* failed me? Never, never. Yet I have such a hard time trusting Him with things in my life. Will He provide for my daily needs, my spiritual needs, my desires? Can I trust Him with this certain thing I'm struggling with?

Hah. It makes me chuckle to think about the irony of it. Here He has NEVER broken my trust (if anything, He has always been building it up!) yet I can't even trust Him *completely* with small things like life decisions, relationships, books, etc. Terrible, ain't it? Yet there is the awful truth.

It also seems ironic to me that He gave us life, yet we somehow think we can take control of it. We somehow decided that we could make our own life decisions and take our own paths. And yes, we can, because He gave us that freedom, but if we are following Him, He has taken that freedom and is holding it to mold it into a better form for His will. Yet, He does it with our permission. How many times, when you're praying for a certain something, has His quiet voice asked you to give it to Him? How many times does He patiently wait while you struggle with handing your will over to Him so that He may mold it to match His? He asks, yet He still allows us the choice to give it to Him, or to hold on to it. Which makes us more joyful? I certainly don't feel joyful when I'm hangin' on to it!

As humans, we seem to crave this desire for chaos, drama, distraction, and stress. Before you protest, let's just think about it for a moment. What does your calendar look like? Do you feel your heart rate going up a bit when you think of all the things you need to accomplish today? Do you begin to feel overwhelmed with the looming task for school project?  We've all had our moments. Yet, if we were to give all of these completely to God and trust that He will give us the strength to follow through and get it done, life suddenly becomes clearer. You begin to feel like maybe you don't have such a mountain of work after all. It all comes into perspective.

But, the problem is... we rarely gave it Him. We might pray about whether we should buy that house or car and whatnot, but do we pray for small things like "Lord, help me to bless others today,"    "Lord, please use me to Your glory and let Your will become my will,". I know I don't do this every day. Sometimes, if I'm thinking about it, I'll send up a quick prayer, but I don't start out each morning thinking about how I can serve Him. I read my bible, do my devotion, check it off the list and move on to other tasks.

Now, I'm not saying other tasks aren't important. Unfortunately, we still have to fold the laundry, clean house, and feed our families. But is our main focus on serving Christ throughout the day? I tend to forget that just by treating my sibling nicely even when I'm really irritated with them is still serving Christ because I'm showing love to said sibling. Or that by doing the grocery shopping is blessing my worn out mother. Or that rubbing my sister's shoulders after she's had a stressful day helps to lighten her mood and makes her feel better.

Isn't this what Jesus would be doing for us? Didn't He wash the disciple's feet? That seemed like a small, unimportant task, yet it was magnified because of serving attitude.

So, are we trusting God to give us strength for these tasks? Are we trusting Him that His will is better than our own and that our life is really His and His alone? I know I struggle with this daily, and I greatly covet prayers that God would continue to mold me into His form. Yet, fleshly desires set in and I find the struggle becomes harder.

Next month my goal is start out each morning by placing my trust in God in things that have been bothering me. I won't do it all at once as that can sometimes become overwhelming, and I want each one to be a serious, heartfelt decision. Then I'm going to focus on keeping that trust and not taking it back. I would greatly appreciate your prayers, brethren, as I do this. I know that the enemy waits and does not falter in his watching for opportunities to snare his prey.

However, with a 'little help' from the Lord, I think I'll be just fine.... oh wait... I mean, the Lord will give me the strength to guard myself against the enemy. =)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Escapades of Josh and Sarah ~Ep. 1

Josh and I are siblings, yes.. but we like to call each other P.I.C (Partners In Crime). Ever since we were little, we got into a lot of scrapes together. Or, as we both say to one another, "... and most of it was your fault..." lol.

Well, I figured it would be kind of fun to share a few of those as they happen. I have my other 'series' called "Just Your Typical Day on the Ranch" but this won't always have to do with ranch stuff.

So, today I got to do something super scary and super exciting. I had my first 'solo' drive in Albuquerque. If you know the area, it's a pretty busy town. Not like L.A. or Denver or anything, but still busy for a New Mexico girl. Especially when you've only driven through it once (staying on the freeway the entire time). This time I actually had to get *into* town... Driving with a bunch of other crazy drivers.. yeah. Josh and I needed to go to voice lessons. Usually Becca drives us (as she's taking too) but this week she was gone. Anyway, point is, I had to drive into town without any other experienced driver in the car...

Josh is, however, really good at remembering streets. In fact, he's often times guided my sis around town (one a few, rare occasions when she needed it). He's got awesome memory. Well, I knew where we needed to go. Had the directions. Really simple. We needed to go to voice lessons, then go get lunch at Panda Express, then head home. Simple, right?

Wrong. We got to voice lessons, da da da da, finished up, and began to head back. First thing to go wrong? I turned left when I should have turned right. So we ended up going the wrong way on a main road. No prob. Just turn around. We turned around and got to the next street we needed to go to. I turned left again and Josh began saying, "Oh wait, we're going the wrong way. We need to turn around again." We laughed about it, and I turned around. Then, we got confused which way I would turn next so we called mom and found out that we were actually going the wrong way. The first way I had turned was correct. Of course, I teased Josh about that (and said, "That was your fault, I'll have you know!"), turned around, and headed back South again... We were laughing about it and all that, finally got to our destination, got lunch, and began to head home.

When we got back on the road again, this car decided to merge into my lane... unfortunately, the nose of my car was past it's bumper... another car on my other side was right next to me, so I was sandwiched in the middle.. Thankfully, nothing happened (Praise the Lord), but it was *very* scary. However, as we passed, we noticed it was two teenaged girls just chatting away... *sigh*.... People! Pay attention on the road! =P

So we made it back on the freeway to head back home. As we were driving along, I glanced back in my rear view and noticed the trunk was sort of... flapping or something. So I was able to pull off the highway and, as soon as I stopped, it popped open all the way. Josh hopped out and shut it.

As soon as he hopped back into the car he just looked at me. Then, with a very serious face he said, "By the way, that was your fault.." lol! Ah, gotta love brothers with a sense of humor. So we laughed about it again. I mean, it was quite a hilarious day. What else could have happened? Thankfully those were not 'famous last words' and we got back safely.

But, we both decided that, even though we were older, our escapades are far from over. :-)

Sunday, February 16, 2014

When God Teaches You Flexibility

Hardly a week has passed since I did that big post about how the Lord changes your desires and how He'll teach you to be content, etc, etc, etc.

Well, I guess the next thing on my list of training in "Spiritual Growth Bootcamp" was to learn flexibility. Now, I will be honest and say that I have always considered myself as being rather flexible. Living on a ranch sort of trains you to that, I 'spose. However, there are some things that I have a harder time being flexible with... I'm a perfectionist in many areas, but those are usually the 'odd' areas.. if my room gets a bit messy, it can stay like that for a week before it finally drives me nuts... But! If I have planned a special dinner or tea party, it had better go off without a hitch and everything *has* to be perfect... yeah.

So, all that to say that, yes, there are a few areas in which I have a harder time being flexible. Well, the Lord certainly taught me about it this week.

At Drama, we found out one of our young thespians was unable to stay for the semester because of some major scheduling issues. We were all very sad to see her go and she will be missed in the group. However, mom and I realized that we now had open spots in our plays (she was in both my group and mom's). My "main" character now needed to be recast, and another fairly large role in mom's needed to be as well. What to do??

I called a friend who was in mom's group that had told me earlier on that she would be happy in whichever group she was put in and didn't mind being in both. So I called her up and asked if she could play the Queen in my play. She said she'd think about it and give me an answer soon. Fantastic! (because I was just informed last night that she CAN do the part for me) Now we just needed to figure out mom's play...

One girl was originally playing "Ginger", a small role, but very fun character. She's your typically ditsy, gum-chewing wife of a mafia guy (set in the 40s and 50s y'all!). The character that now needed to be filled again was Terri. Larger role, sweet person, girlfriend to another guy. So, we asked the young lady playing Ginger if she would want to do Terri, or keep her role as Ginger. She thought about it and decided she would really like the role of Terri. So, that was fixed... only, now Ginger was 'empty', so to speak....

So what do we do? How to we fill this part?? We couldn't do doubles because at certain points all characters are on the stage at once.. The decision??

I would play Ginger.

Bam. Flexibility right there for ya. I was content to have no part in the play, quite happy, in fact, and then this comes up and I end up needing to play the part anyway. Am I excited? Am I stressed out now? Am I wishing I didn't have it?... Yes, Yes, and Can't Decide Yet.

I'm very excited about the part. I think it will be loads of fun. However, I was also ready to buckle down and not have a part in the play... *sigh*. Yet, although I'm stressing just a bit because now I've got double work, I'm still rather thankful. I really do enjoy acting and I'm glad that I have an opportunity to do it again.

So there ya have it, folks. Just when you think you're ready to hunker down and get the job done, you might want to be prepared for curve ball that could come your way. =)

And those are my little ramblings for this morning... =)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

When the Lord Teaches You to Let Go

Learning lessons is never easy- especially for me, it feels like. I seem to have the hardest time just learning and accepting. But ya know what? God never gives up on me. He continues to give me things that I can keep learning from.

Yeah, imagine that said in whatever way you want. The point is, I really don't like it when I know that my will is bounced out of God's will. When they aren't running in two straight lines together (or rather, when mine isn't running inside of His!)

The beginning of this year has already been bringing that feeling back.

In early January, my mom approached me with a question. She said she had really been praying and considering and felt that our drama group really needed to 'make the next move'. I've already mentioned something about our group splitting into two, so y'all probably know about that already. :-) However, what y'all don't know is that when my mom asked me to consider stepping up and directing the group, I knew my answer right away.

Have you ever had those "God Moments" where you just know God's answer right away? Sometimes it takes a long time and lots of prayer to understand what God wants you to do, but this was one of His 'right away' answers.

I knew that I needed to direct the group. However, I didn't want to admit it. I really didn't want to direct. I'm not cut out for directing, I thought to myself. There's no way I can do this! I act! I don't direct! Besides, I wouldn't even know where to start.

Doubts filled my mind for the next couple of days, but I couldn't get the little voice out of my head that said I needed to do it.

See, there was a little something that was having a major battle with that voice. It's called "Desire". Lots of us are pretty familiar with it, but we often forget that it comes in many forms. It isn't just a lustful sort of thing, but it can also come in more subtle ways. I desired to act. I desired to be part of the play, to be on stage, to do what I knew best.

Well, what I thought was best, that is.. Guess the Lord had some different plans in mind. So, over the weekend, I wrestled with the knowledge of what I knew I needed to do, and my desire to continue acting. I had to have any answer for mom by the time she returned from a business trip with dad. Pressure sometimes helps me take things a bit more seriously.

I prayed about it the first night and felt very strongly that I needed to accept. I denied it. I prayed the next morning, and the afternoon, and the evening and repeated it for the rest of the weekend. I still felt the same answer every time. I guess I figured if I prayed over and over, God would finally give me the answer I wanted to hear.

Well, as most of y'all know, I finally got off my high pedestal of 'I know better' and listened to what God was saying. And, quite frankly, I now agree with Him. I realized that this sort of thing would really help me mature in different areas that I had been feeling I needed to work on. It would pull me up and make me realize that I can't act like a 16 year old any more. It would teach me to step up to the challenge and do the best that I can, whether I fail or not.

I hate saying all that because it kind of makes me sound ill-equipped for life. Well, really, I am, I suppose. Taking my own words that I told the group today: "When we think that we have reached a point that we have learned all we possibly can and no one can teach us anything, then we have already failed."

So, all that to say that I told mom I would step up to the plate and direct. For the next couple of weeks after I accepted, I still had the desire to act. I desperately wanted to join mom's group, but I also felt that it wasn't the wisest idea. Not this semester anyway. I needed to separate myself, to set myself aside as a director. Yet I still really wanted to act. As mom began figuring out what play she was going to do and talking about it, I would feel rather upset that I wasn't going to act. The play sounded so fun and hilarious. I wanted to be part of that. Up to audition day, I wanted to be part of it.

Well, after auditions when we were deciding parts for both groups, Mom said that, if I was ok with it, she might need to pull me in after all because she wasn't sure she had enough people audition to fill the parts. Well, I jumped on that. I thought for sure this was God's answer to my desire to act.

Should have thought again.

Mom decided that I would do this very small part (9 lines). I accepted with alacrity. I was going to still be able to act!! Yet, as the days passed by, I kept feeling like it wasn't right. I just couldn't do it. And suddenly, I realized something...

I no longer had the desire to act.

It felt rather strange, and yet, it felt so right. I realized that God had replaced my desire to act, with a desire to be a director instead.

And it taught me a lesson. If we can give our desires to God, He will change those desires to meet His will. He doesn't want His children miserable, but sometimes we just don't want to follow His will. So, if we are willing to give it up, and give it ALL to Him without holding back, He will make us joyous and happy again by changing our desires.

It doesn't matter if you have a desire to marry, go on a missions trip, go volunteer at your local food bank, if that desire doesn't match up with God's will, you need to give it up and give it to Him. It isn't easy, I know, but it truly is the best thing in the world.

And, what would you know, God found us another actor to take the part that I wasn't going to be able to do. He provides everything in His plan. :)

So, onward Christian soldiers! Let us learn to follow HIS will, no matter what! And may we continue to pray for each other as we continue on our journey.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Will You Build a Life With Me?

I don't do a lot of topics about marriage because, quite frankly, I have zero experience when it comes to it. However, today the topic was brought up while we sipped on coffee with a friend. The boys were wrestling in the background and having nerf-gun wars in the midst of us as we talked on this serious subject. Must have made for an interesting picture.

This friend, mother of two boys, was talking about how the standard of living for her boys when they grew up and got married would be much more different than that of her and her husband's at the current time. We were all agreeing and it got me to thinking about it.

Quite honestly, I think that many young ladies in general are a bit spoiled. MYSELF INCLUDED! I'm most certainly not pointing fingers (or if I am, it's at myself). :-) See, we've grown up in homes where we each have our own sewing machine, or computer, or car, or whatever. Now, maybe your parents didn't buy those things for you, and in that case, then I commend you for making those sorts of purchases on your own. However, there are several things that we can allow ourselves to be spoiled in. We can buy clothing, makeup, hobby supplies, etc with our own money because we have no other purpose for it (except to put some by into savings, but we're not talking about that). The point is, we don't have to care for a family. We're not feeding six children, clothing them, and buying their school books. We're not making house, car, or insurance payments.

So, what is our expectation going into marriage? Quite honestly, if I were a young man, I would be rather intimidated by girls who 'had it all' because I would wonder if they expected those things on my low-income after we were married (I honestly have no idea if that's how guys feel, I'm just saying it from my perspective)

Now, before I go further, I want to share a bit of a story. Most of y'all may not know, but 9 years ago, our family moved from a 4 bedroom, 3 bath house into a 2 bedroom, 1 bath house. Quite a difference. Now, 9 years ago, I was a pretty bratty kid. Maybe not terrible, but let's face it, none of us are perfect, especially at a young age. Needless to say, I didn't have much of a relationship with my siblings, and moving into a tiny house where there was no space to 'get away' just about drove me crazy. That's where my lilac bushes came in (as most of y'all probably know about). In any case, it really stretched me. I had to learn to love those around me even more than I had before, to accept them for who they were and love them still. It was tough, but it certainly grew and matured me in a way that nothing else could.

Then, not long after buying the ranch, the mortgage business plummeted. My dad was a mortgage lender and, naturally, we felt the brunt of the economy's down slide pretty hard. We came very close to the bank foreclosing on us (as it was rather difficult making loan payments for the ranch when there was no money coming in). Living off of beans and rice taught us a lot. We had to live with the bare minimum. No 'pleasure' buying. No ice cream. No 'fun food'. Literally, the bare minimum.

But ya know what? I'm so very glad we went through that time. Not only was it an awesome testament of God's amazing power and love for us, but we, as a family, bonded together in an amazing way. We had nothing except God and each other to lean on. Our spiritual lives were strengthened as we learned to trust in God completely to provide for us.

However, one of the things that I look back on now, as a young woman, is that it taught me how to live with nothing. To be content with very little, and to make do with what I had. I honestly was so very thankful for that time because I feel that it has maybe prepared me a bit for the future.

If God sends me a husband, I don't know what our financial situation will be. I know that my husband will provide for me, but 'provide' doesn't mean that I'll get to buy lots of fun gadgets or clothes any time I want. Providing means that there is food on the table, clothes on our backs, and a roof over our heads (whether it be a small or large roof!). What more do you really need?

So, as we were having this conversation with our friend, I was thinking about how our family grew together during that hard time with the ranch and I wondered how young, newly married couples grew together. No doubt, what strengthens them together is the fact that they stick together through thick and thin, that they trust one another and grow over the tough things, the rough parts in life.

"House Hunters" is a TV program I like to watch when I get the chance to. I find it extremely interesting to watch the different couples finding houses. The ones that drive me nuts the most are these young, newly married, or 'pregnant-with-their-first-child' couples. They can be the pickiest people alive! They are looking for houses in a budget of several hundred thousand, and that means they are going big and grand. One couple I remember in particular was looking at one house and didn't like the paint color. They were complaining about how they didn't think they could live in a house with that particular color on the walls.

I was flabbergasted. Really? You would be so discontent with a paint color, something so easily changed, that you don't want to consider that house to buy?? Really?

As Americans we are fed this lie that we deserve the best, when in reality we don't "deserve" anything. We can work and save for luxuries, but we most certainly do not deserve them. Yet so many young couples go into marriage thinking that they deserve the best. 

When I think about "building a life" with someone someday, I don't want to expect that I will have everything that my parents do now. I want to 'build up', starting with the foundation. Although I wouldn't say that you 'can't' build a relationship when you have everything right off the bat, I will say that I have seen stronger relationships forged on very little.

Now, I won't lie and say I don't have a 'dream house' with the perfect kitchen and porch, or that I don't enjoy buying a cute shirt every now and then, because I do. However, I don't want to set up this expectation of my future husband to provide those things for me in our first year, or first half, even, or our marriage. In fact, I may never get those things, but ya know what? I could live with that. So long as we were happy, following Christ, and growing stronger together each day, then what more can I really ask for? And right now, I can be practicing that sort of thing by being content with my life right now. As it is that this very present moment.

And that, my friends, are just a few randomly put thoughts that went through my head today. What are you thoughts on the subject?

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Give Away!

Everyone loves giveaways, so I'm kinda glad to be here to say that I'm sharing one with you. :-)

I don't like to spend tons and tons of money on makeup products. However, I have also been learning more and more about all the chemicals that go into cheap makeup. It's pretty nasty, let me tell you. So, this year I made the resolution to go ahead and try some 'natural and organic' makeup. I figured, it wouldn't hurt to try. Well, so far I've been really pleased. However, it does run a tad on the expensive side (But you just have to remember that it lasts longer!).

Well, a friend introduced us to an Etsy shop that sells very natural and organic makeup. Willow Tree Minerals is giving away an eyeshadow trio over at Samantha's blog. You might want to go check it out, read Lora's story, and enter!