Wednesday, February 17, 2010

It's Gettin' A Little Western

"O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!" Romans 11:33

Have you ever just sat and thought about the things the Lord has done in your life? Have you ever ventured to wonder why he did them? Or maybe only why He did them in the order that He did them? I think that it is easy to say that the Lord does things and we often doubt why, or why us, or why them... and on and on. It is so hard to remember in times of trouble or stress that He is responsible for those situations and He is pressing us for a reason. Maybe... you are struggling with a class, or seeking a job, maybe you aren't happy with the way things are currently or maybe you are in my position wondering where He will lead you next and what He will have you doing next. A wise person once told me that the Lord is always three steps ahead of us. This is hard for me to imagine, I know that the Lord is all knowing, but to try and think about what will happen three situations from now hurts my brain. I have no idea! I have no idea what I will wear tomorrow let alone where I will be living in 10 years. Not the slightest clue, I know that He has a plan, but as of yet He hasn't filled me in!

We are not to worry, Jesus tells us in Matthew not to worry about anything, He says "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all things shall be added unto you, therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of it's own." Matthew 6:33-34

Isn't it so hard to truly have that much faith everyday, day in and day out worrying about nothing! Keep in mind we aren't to quite working hard, or planning for the future, or dreaming about things to come, or to disregard our obligations, or to break commitments, we are merely to do all these things without worrying. Sounds like a tall order to me!

I am a single, white, female, 21 years old and finishing up a degree in animal science, what am I to do next? I don't know, but what I do know, is that he has a plan and the his plan includes the choices I make today, many of which will effect me forever. I know that the opportunities I take advantage of, and the success that I find while I am in school and as I graduate will in fact someday make me a better wife and mother. I would encourage you in this season of Lent to seek him eagerly, serve him honestly, and trust him to fulfill his promises and his perfect will. Because his plan is perfect, it is so perfect that we can't fathom it, follow it or begin to figure it out! His plan is a crazy windy road, full of twists, turns, steaks and coffee breaks; buckle up...."It's gettin' a little western!"

Monday, February 15, 2010

The View From Here

"Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity." 1 Timothy 4:12

There is nothing like a good friend on the phone to encourage you to do something spontaneous! It was Friday night and Amy, Michelle and I had just gone to see the new movie Dear John. Which, ps, follows the book rather well until the ending. Anyway, Amy and I were sitting in the Wal Mart parking lot talking to Lyndsey on the phone when we decided that we would in fact head to Stinnett for the weekend. While it was 10 pm the thought of spending the weekend in Texas was very appealing. We made a quick decision we would leave in as soon as possible and we did just that. From the time we got off the phone with Lyndsey to the time I was picking Amy up at the dorm and we were headed west was literally 20 minutes. Keep in mind prior to leaving we gathered up clothes, checked the oil and tire pressure and called RA and Griffin to let somebody know we were coming. We wanted to surprise her parents, but thought it best that one of the boys knew we were coming, to let us in, and also to cover our bases in terms of safety. So we came smokin into Texas with the hammer down at about 1:30 am and made it to the ranch by about 3:00 am. A minor detail we had forgotten was the gate lock, but luckily RA had a good idea and we got in through the neighbors pasture.

Talley and Rob A. were in fact surprised and so were Amy's siblings. We had a wonderful time and spent the weekend relaxing working on homework and having fun. There is nothing quite like watching a 4 year old boy help to gather first time heifers on his own little mare. Ike is a good cowboy! Four years old and already making a hand.

From where I'm sitting, on the back of a horse, The Lord is blessing us daily! He has blessed me with amazing friends and their families who enourage me to be who I am, to serve the Lord and to work hard like my own family encourages me. From sage brush and sand to the foothills of the west, we truly are blessed and that's the view from here.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

All We Need Is Love

It is fast approaching.... the day when people everywhere experience one of two situations....the first being a wonderful date with their significant other whom they absolutely adore, and the other well....a rare steak and An Affair to Remember in your pajamas sharing the couch with your dog. I am leaning toward the later due to the fact that I currently have no significant other. However, for my friends reading who will someday give hints to THE GUY.... I prefer fresh wild flowers and a nice 14 oz. rib eye medium rare with sauteed mushrooms and a Shiner. Just FYI.... anyway, with all this "love" in the air, I can't help but to think of my post last week about loving others. "Whoever does not know love does not know God, because God is Love."-1 John 4:8

The Lord has called us to be love to others. While there are several definitions of love and a few meanings of the word love, Paul clearly describes the characteristics of love in his first letter to the Corinthians. Paul is writing to the church at Corinth and advising them about how to love, encouraging them to pursue love, and explaining to them the importance of love in our everyday lives.

This week the "Love Chapter" (1 Corinthians 13) as it often is referred to, has been on my heart. So often I find myself trying to love as I have described it, not as the Lord has described it. I pick out portions of chapter 13 to apply to my life ignoring the others. It is much easier to only apply the parts of the passage that I feel like applying to my life on that given day at that given time. You see I am waiting on THE GUY to come along, I have specific criteria outlined, as most girls do, but being patient for the Lord to cross our paths is the hardest part. I believe in the Lord's divine timing, and right now is not it, but I pray that when the time is right my love will be just as Paul described it to be.

This prayer (which I derived from 1 Corinthians 13) has been mine this past week, and I pray that you will make it yours as well, whether you are in a relationship or not, loving our neighbors, friends and enemies too, is what we are called to do.

Heavenly Father,
Give me patience and help me to be kind.
I will not envy, I will not boast.
Take my pride, rude and self-seeking ways.
Guard my temper, and help me to forgive.
I will not delight in evil, but only in your truth.
Help me always to trust, protect, hope and persevere.
In all these things I pray that I will be LOVE to others.
It is By Your Grace. ~Amen.

The last verse of chapter 13 says "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love." 1 Corinthians 13:13

In the words quoted by my amazing little sister.... "All we need is love, love, love."

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Motions

There are some things that I absolutely love to do. Cooking for example... love it! Playing the piano, singing to the radio, in the shower, in church or really anytime, a cup of coffee or three, talking on the phone, talking in general, public speaking, crafty things, decorating, being in the middle of nowhere, and taking pictures... especially of ranch life. Inevitably, there are some things that I don't enjoy. I really don't like to clean, I hate doing the dishes, I am awful at folding laundry, I can't keep my pickup clean ever, and i might could lose my head if it wasn't attached. I don't enjoy homework for most classes and I don't enjoy applying myself to things I have no interest in. The Lord has given me the gift of passion. I am passionate about agriculture, ranching, music, crafts, cooking, and life out of town. It is easy for me to do the fun things, the things I enjoy because I am passionate about them.

I think that it is often hard to remember that even the things I don't enjoy doing are tasks He has given me to do. For instance, English, I absolutely hate writing papers, I hate having rules about writing and I really just don't like liberal philosophy. However, He put me in an English class on purpose to fulfill His will. Even though it often is difficult it is important to realize that we don't do things for ourselves, for our instructors, or for institutions, but in all things we do them for the Lord. He has given us tasks and has asked that we fulfill them even though they may not be enjoyable. They are put in our paths for a reason. There is a song that I love, a line states, "I don't wanna go through the motions, I don't wanna have one more day, without you're all consuming passion inside of me. I don't wanna spend my whole life asking, What if I had given everything, instead of going through the motions."

I am reminded of my business and my innate ability to set things that I don't enjoy aside or to only do them partially because I don't necessarily want to be passionate about them. It is a goal that I have set for myself to be passionate about all tasks, obstacles and opportunities He has given me, not to only be passionate about the fun things, the cooking, and the crafts, but to strive to be passionate about laundry, dishes and boring homework as well.

Instead of handling the tasks, obstacles and opportunities He puts on our path like a Democrat handles their taxes, let's actually do them, do them well and give every opportunity our everything, instead of just going through the motions.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Woman of The Ranch

My sunday shopping this week involved a much appreciated suprise. For the first time in my life I was able to purchase frozen steaks in the meat case at Wal-Mart. Six individually vaccum paccaged frozen rib eye steaks! My excitment was not fully appreciated by mother, probably because she always has some sort of steak in the freezer. I did not fully appreciate the fact that we always had meat in the freezer growing up until I came to college.

See ranch girls grow up a little bit different. Never a shortage of meat on the dinner table. Including alot of beef in our cooking is never a question because it is what we have, what we raise. A ranch girl knows how to cook a good steak whether on the grill or the stovetop. Not only can she cook a great steak, but she can also use just about every cut of meat in the freezer, from bone tips, to sirloins, to skirt steaks and rib eyes...we can use it all, and if we don't have a good ideas Grandmom surely will. We eat a lot of beef, and often don't understand why others do not. Maybe it's because they don't know how to cook it well, or even how to use it as an igredient. Maybe it will take a ranch girl's help to get the general public consuming large quantities of beef!

Cooking with alot of Beef is not the only thing that ranch girls do a little different. We love to cook! We grew up cooking for cowboys and love to do it! There is no one more thankful than a cowboy who has worked all day and just enjoyed a great meal! There is always room for a neighbor at the table, and we never run out of food. A ranch girl is the only chef I know who can be expecting only her family and 15 minutes prior to serving lunch welcome half a dozen neighbors with ease. We love to get dressed up! We don't get dressed up very often, so for most ranch girls the opportunity to put on a dress is well recieved! We often wear make up, contrary to popular belief ranch girls enjoy wearing make up. It makes us feel like we are going to town, not going to the barn. Ranch girls are taught to act like ladies. We often are musical and often love to dance. We rise early and stay up late, we work hard and love to have fun!

Ranch girls who live for the Lord strive to show the love of Christ in everything we do. Our couch is always a welcome place for a friend to stay, friends and family are always welcome in our homes, we give to others more than we expect to recieve, and we use all of everything we have knowing that it isn't ours but is of the Lord.

Ranch girls aren't crazy, we don't think of ourselves as better than the rest, we just realize that ranch girls are a little bit different!

While others strive only to be women, someday I will be the woman of the ranch!

Monday, February 8, 2010

It Is Precipitation... Be Thankful!

Oklahoma has had an unusual amount of snow this season. Cities that were not built to handle snow and students and residents not used to having so much snow to deal with are facing frustrations daily. Ranchers across Oklahoma are not used to dealing with much snow at all. They are having to use tractors to feed and equipment is breaking down. Ranchers up north might find this situation to be amusing, they deal with feet of snow from October to April or May. To talk to an Oklahoma farmer or rancher here lately, you might find underlying tones of frustration, exhaustion and disbelief. The snow is trying their patience and wearing them out.

The flip side of this coin is that Oklahomans are getting precipitation. Ranchers across the country are praying for much needed precipitation. While Oklahoma has received it's fair share of moisture, other ranchers, north of Amarillo for instance, are just now receiving the precipitation that they desperately need to get through the summer. Unfathomable to Oklahomans is the fact that not all states or regions of the United States get rain during the summer. Many states rely on winter rains and snows to provide them with enough groundwater, snow runoff and tough grasses to get them through the summer. Cattle grazed on ranges west of green Oklahoma rely primarily on the retainment of water and the growth of forages who gain their strength and grow the most during the snow laiden and wet months of the winter. To run cattle in the spring and summer months following a dry winter is something I wish on nobody. Imagine having to feed hay all summer...or having to move cattle monthly to try and saver what range you have...or for a minute try to imagine what it might be like to run momma cows in a place like Tucumcari N.M. after a dry worries me plenty just thinking about it.

Oklahoma is getting precipitation, it might be in the form of rather annoying wet snow, but snow is moisture none the less. Thanks to the help of El Nino ranchers out west who are just now coming out of long periods of drought are receiving their best recorded rains in years. Praise the Lord. If you've ever lived to see a drought, or had to sell cows for lack of feed, or had to take cows hundreds of miles to find irrigated lease pasture, or seen a cow belly deep in mountain grasses once the snow melts, or lived on snow runoff for water from April until October or November, you might not complain so much about the snow or rain. If you've ever run cows on a dry dessert in the summer or stockers on a wheat pasture suffering from lack of rain in the panhandle of Texas in January, or even run cows in a place that wasn't green all summer, you might tolerate the snow. You may even be thankful for the snow.

Next time you find yourself wanting to complain about the hassle of feeding cows in the snow or calving out heifers in the snow, or even something as silly as wet pant legs, think about the ranchers, many of whom are just like you, who pray daily and desperately need the precipitation. Whether rain, snow,ice or sleet It Is Precipitation....Be Thankful!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Cowboy

I have been recently thinking about The American Cowboy. Cowboys are not anything new to me, I have been around them my entire life, however the definition of a good cowboy is different to many people. The men in my family, and the men I consider to be good cowboys are some of the most amazing guys you will ever meet. A good cowboy is as tough as the crossbred cow grazing the Nevada desserts. Whether thrown from a bucking horse or gone days without sleep, they get the job done with dedication and determination. Good cowboys aren't afraid to get back on when things get rough, or to ride through the storm for just one calf. They've never lived a day in town that they enjoyed, yet when the time is right, they will dress to impress. Although, a true cowboy never seems to "fit in" in town, a girl (with a trained eye of course) can spot him a mile away. Girls I'm not talking about the guys with under slung rubber soled boots and a curled up hat. I'm talking about the true blue, rough handed, hard headed, stubbornly sweet and handy roping guys. The kind that are worth bringing home. A cowboy is a "little bit of outlaw and a little bit of Jesus, He gets a little rowdy a little out of hand, but when he's around your mamma he says Yes Ma'am." Trisha Yearwood. Long sleeved shirts, a good looking hat and he probably could sit a saddle before he could walk. They value their freedom and appreciate soldiers. Cowboys may not be as much a part of popular culture as they once were, but they still exist. Day in and day out feeding cows and checking calves. Caring for their animals and supplying us with the safest protein source in the meat case. I am reminded of the song where Chris Le Doux says, "As long as there's a sunset, he'll keep riding for the brand, you just cant see him from the road."
This morning when I was in the Word I was reminded of cowboys when I read "Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth" Colossians 3:2. You see good cowboys don't care for money or material things. They care about their families, their relationships and they love the Lord. There is nothing quite as sweet as a little baby happy in a cowboy's rough hands. We ought to have the spirit of cowboys, knowing that things in this life aren't the important things, instead... we should focus our efforts on serving the Lord, helping our families and treating animals as well as loved ones with utmost respect and affection. Hebrews fittingly tells us to "spur on one another in good works" Hebrews 10:24. Just as a cowboy encourages his trusting horse to work hard, so we too should encourage one another to serve the Lord in all we do not clinging to things of this earth but anticipating the things that truly matter on the other side.

By His Grace..... Q or C

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. Psalms 91:11