Yellowstone, Belt Buckles and Ownership

Has everyone had their turn with winter’s vicious stomach bug? It seems to be a gift that will make its way through the entire family one person at a time, generously and thoughtfully missing no one! It is spreading through our house faster than we can say Christmas!

We had a blissfully long fall! We enjoyed beautiful light-jacket weather for some time and my favorite walking trail remained walk-able far longer than usual.

While enjoying my walking trail one day last week, I found myself turning off the podcasts and switching on my mind. Cue my husband bristling! He does NOT like it when I start a conversation with “I’ve been thinking…” He actually and visibly braces when I start with that! On this beautiful December day though, I was thinking about our dear neighbor who is in the hospital fighting for his life. For some reason, I remembered about five years ago when our son was just getting his feet wet in the horse competition world. He went shopping with my parents, who would very generously buy him the world if he asked. Yet, on this shopping trip his desire was simple: a belt buckle.

For some crazy reason, they asked my opinion on the belt buckle purchase. I don’t know why they involved me…typically their conversations are their own and my participation is as unwelcome as ants at a picnic!! As my Dad likes to remind me “grandchildren and grandparents have one common enemy…the parents!” I didn’t want my son to purchase a belt buckle nor did I want someone to purchase one for him, no matter how sincerely generous and wonderful. I wanted him to work for and eventually earn one. I can report I was the only one happy with this decision…and no one went quietly into the night with their opinions on my decision…

Eventually, our son earned a belt buckle and then another and then another…each time he earns one, the old one is lovingly placed in a special spot as the new one takes its rightful place on his belt. There is pride, there is ownership, there is responsibility, there is something that earning a belt buckle does for a kid that buying one never could. Something very important for that kid!

Winter, like the stomach flu, hit this area with a vengeance last week. The temperatures turned bitter cold! Taking care of cattle in these conditions is not exactly fun! Yet, Friday morning as I was on my way to an appointment I noticed the electric fence around our neighbor’s cows was sagging just a bit with the weight of the gloriously wet snow from the night before. I was already quite late to my appointment (no surprise here…) so I reached for my phone to let my husband know about the fence because I knew he would drop everything in an instant to come help our dear neighbor.

Before I could get my husband on the phone, I met the neighbor’s youngest son. He was almost to the area. I knew all would be taken care of and taken care of right. No matter how bitter cold, no matter the personal discomfort and effort required, everything would be handled correctly and efficiently. And, on my way home later I noticed that everything was indeed perfection.

This is the lesson I hope my son learns from things like earning his buckles. Ownership and intense responsibility. These are qualities we all desperately need to reach our own heights!! I pray we are instilling them in our children and ourselves!

Meanwhile, Trent Loos says China is taking over…check out his report on their ties to Yellowstone TV and some of their interesting real estate exploits at the link below. Thank you, Dad, for sharing this with me! A great read!!

https://www.hpj.com/opinion/why-must-we-shoot-ourselves/article_dd1c93da-5527-11ec-a092-eb3fdf87b098.html

The Un-wasted Life

Do you ever wonder if you’re wasting your life? Are you maxing out your potential? Are you on the right path? Are you clear on your goals? Do you feel like they are the “right” goals for you?

My Dad & his brothers. Thanksgiving 2021.

I have many great examples in my life of people who max out their potential. I’ve been blessed to have such examples for as long as I can remember. My Dad and his brothers are definitely some of these and most prominent examples. Raised by parents who survived the Great Depression, they were taught to work like their lives depended on it! Because they did! But, they continue to work like their lives depend on it well into their sixties and seventies! It is an example that brings reverent tears of pride and awe to my eyes. It is lives lived knowing true value: contributing, producing, striving, stretching, never giving up!

I’m working through this book. It is fabulous and I recommend the Study Guide, too! This morning I was struck by Mr. Piper’s inclusion of some of early American theologian and minister Jonathan Edwards’ resolutions which he penned in his early twenties in an effort to “intensify his life for the glory of God.”

Here they are as shared in Mr. Piper’s book on page 29:

#5: …never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.

#6: …to live with all my might, while I do live.

#17: …that I will live so, as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.

If I apply these to my own life – I come up woefully short!!!

#5 – I waste FAR TOO MUCH TIME scrolling mindlessly through social media!! And because of this I am definitely not improving my time in “the most profitable way I possibly can.”

#6 – I am definitely not living with all my might! I’m letting myself be distracted to no end! I think to live with “all my might” I must be intentional and present!!

#17 – There’s SO MUCH MORE I want to accomplish before “I come to die.”

So – I’m going to do better at emulating the fabulous examples God has filled my life with and GET TO WORK!

Wycliffe, Lincoln and Hate

Have you ever hated anyone? Throughout my formative years my mother didn’t like us to use the word “hate” so we settled for “strong dislike.” Instead of saying “I hate you” we were supposed to use “I have a strong dislike for you.” Doesn’t pack the same punch, does it?

I can tell you these rules for speaking did NOT apply in the cotton field! Hate speech between family members abounded! My Dad, almost laughing with what seemed to be cruel taunting at the time, would say “you hate me don’t you?” When my answer was a resounding “YES!!” He would laugh and say, “well good, that means I’m doing my job!” It was nothing short of completely infuriating…which was his objective, I am certain of it!

In our defense, you try chopping cotton for hours, days, weeks, months on end in 120+ degrees and let me know how much love is felt and spoken…

Daniel Hannan has written a very compelling book about Freedom. It is truly fabulous! He is also a very dynamic speaker. If you get a chance to read or listen to him – do it!! It will not be wasted time!

In this book he writes wonderfully about Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg speech on November 19, 1863. Quoting Lincoln Hannan writes on page 32 “that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Hannan explains that “of the people, for the people and by the people” was not Lincoln’s original idea but was borrowed from John Wycliffe. Wycliffe’s words, according to Hannan, first appeared in 1384, proof that truth and freedom are eternal concepts! Hannan writes that the words came from the prologue of what is “probably the earliest translation of the Holy Scriptures into the English Language.” (Hannan, 34.)

Hannan writes that the prologue stated “This Bible is for the government of the people, for the people and by the people.” Powerful, isn’t it? And, fitting that Lincoln would borrow these words. James 1:25 tells us that God’s law is “the perfect law of liberty” (KJV).

Interestingly, according to Hannan, the church hated Wycliffe. No brotherly love to be found there – AT ALL! Wycliffe believed and professed that people should read the scriptures for themselves rather than just trusting their local priest to tell them what the scriptures said. Rebelliously, he thought the church was too wealthy and was no longer resembling the example of Jesus.

Powerfully, Hannan writes “The Holy See considered him [Wycliffe] such an abominable heretic that, forty-four years after he had died, his bones were dug up, ground to powder, and cast into a river.” (Hannan, 33-34.)

Now – THAT is some serious hate! And, what were they hating? FREEDOM. LIBERTY. PERSONAL EDUCATION AND CHOICE. Contrast that to today. What is it people are hating?? FREEDOM. LIBERTY. PERSONAL EDUCATION AND CHOICE.

The lessons of history apply today! Let’s not let those lessons be lost! AND – read Hannan’s book! It reads very fast! It is never boring! Its message is soooo important RIGHT NOW to each of us!!

To be, rather than to seem…

The saying “to be rather than to seem” powerfully struck my brain and if I’m being truthful, my conscience, when I first heard it while driving tractor and listening to Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Covey explained that the powerful idea – actually being rather than just seeming – has Latin roots and is the motto for the State of North Carolina.

These days seeming is the name of the game. What am I posting on my social media? How does my family seem when we are in public? What does my life seem like? I know countless individuals who wrap their lives around seem.

But, it’s the be people we really want in our lives. It’s the be people who accomplish meaningful and desirable objectives. We need to be BE people!! Who cares about how we seem? And, who are we fooling anyway? God knows exactly who and how we are. In the end, we fool no one!

William Paca was a be person. He was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Most striking about Mr. Paca is B.J. Lossing’s characterization of his life. On page 156 of this book, which I hope everyone has obtained for their personal libraries:

Lossing explains that Mr. Paca “was a pure and active patriot, a consistent Christian, and a valuable citizen, in every sense of the word. His death was mourned as a public calamity; and his life, pure and spotless, active and useful, exhibited a bright exemplar for the imitation of young men [and women] in America.”

Paca didn’t just seem he actually was. Look at Lossing’s characterization – Mr. Paca was a “consistent Christian.” I’m thinking this means Mr. Paca was his God-fearing, believing and acting self – all seven days of the week, not just the Sabbath Day or when it looked good. Consistent – that’s a dirty word these days, isn’t it? Rare is instant gratification for the consistent person, but abundant is lasting gratification!

New goal: to heck with perception and all in with genuineness!

A Merry Heart

The sight of one of our ponds full of water, in a non-drought year, makes my heart merry!

“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” Proverbs 17:22 KJV.

In this book pictured above, B.J. Lossing writes of Irishman turned American and later signer of the Declaration of Independence, Matthew Thornton. Lossing observes that “Dr. Thornton was greatly beloved by all who knew him, and to the close of his long life he was a consistent and zealous Christian. He always enjoyed remarkably good health, and, by the practice of those hygeian virtues, temperance and cheerfulness, he attained a patriarchal age.”

Thus, through the ages the Biblical truth is played out that a merry heart really does do good – like a medicine.

The great statesman Winston Churchill said “there is nothing better for the inside of a man than the outside of a horse.” Our daughter is on the white horse near the center of this photo. Her horse’s name is Holly. Just to the left of them in the center of the photo on a bay horse is a girl named Meadow. Meadow is no longer a girl, but a beautiful grown woman in her twenties.

Meadow rode up to us with a smile as big as the Rocky Mountains illuminating her face as she joyously told us about riding Holly when Meadow was a girl of just eight years old. Holly had left a hoof print on Meadow’s heart that Meadow had not only never forgotten, but held dear. Her continued love for this special horse showed in her sparkling eyes while she talked to us.

Holly has a merry heart. Her merry and true heart has done much good throughout her life. And, sensing that she still has great purpose, Holly continues having a merry heart and doing so much good – even sharing her grain with Minnie, the goat – every day. Holly has also had a very long life and is still in vibrant, excellent health! There’s a lesson in this for us! Let’s be merry and do much good!! Not only will we bless countless others, we will reap great rewards of invigorated health and happiness!

Big Hell & Little Hell

About seven years ago my husband was invited by his brother and nephew to go on an adventure.

Adventure – to Alpha Males, as they are calling REAL MEN these days – looks like this captivatingly gorgeous slice of nature above wherein somewhere lies a “trail” – using that word VERY loosely – dubbed Big Hell and part of it Little Hell – with places so tight they couldn’t have turned around once they started even if they had wanted to!!!

Their mission: pack in some hunters. The catch they didn’t know until deep into their adventure: the spot to which they packed is typically only accessed by HELICOPTER!!! No sweat for these rugged Alpha Males!! But – YIKES for my nerves!! My husband is fearless – truly fearless!!

This horse above took a tumble somewhere along the way. Unfazed, my husband, his brother and nephew fished the completely unharmed horse out of this canyon. At this point – they evaluated their options and with impending nightfall they made the hard – albeit right – decision to turn back. My husband is T.O.U.G.H.!!! I love him something fierce!

Big Hell & Little Hell sounds a lot like what the American Colonies were hit with when the Stamp Act and other attempts at control and carnage came into their view, pocket books and lives.

This book is an excellent read!! David Barton’s company, WallBuilder’s, reprinted this 1848 original. It gives about two to three pages of insight into each of the signer’s lives. Did you know that for almost the entire first month of its life the Declaration of Independence bore ONE single signature…John Hancock! The rest of the signers signed on August 2, 1776 and some even after that! This book is a quick and insightful read. It is a MUST read for freedom lovers and truth seekers everywhere!

Every single one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence would be dubbed Alpha Males today! They were so very committed and courageous! And, they put their courage and commitment into ACTION!!! That’s the key – ACTION!!! Intelligent, committed, thoughtful, ACTION backed by the time and effort devoted to LEARNING TRUTH so that the ACTION taken is INFORMED BY TRUTH AND CORRECT!!! Every single one of the lives of the signers of the Declaration of Independence offers an example pertinent to us today.

There’s an IMPORTANT lesson here for us. We – ALL of us! – are taking action every moment of every day. Even our inaction – is still action! Let’s get ourselves motivated to seek truth! Expend EFFORT!!! And make sure our actions count for the actual bettering of our lives, our families, our communities, our country and our world!!!

Decision

I’m reading a book (details on this coming soon!) about some of the founders of our Country. The theme is constant…decision…men of great decision…

Photo Credit: Laurie McClain

Our son, after calf-roping at his second high school rodeo. It was the first time he caught at a high school rodeo. He fell while running from his horse to the calf… in front of a stadium full of people, but that didn’t stop him. It didn’t even faze him! He had set out to rope and tie the calf and that’s exactly what he did – regardless of any obstacles! He was [and is!] a young man of great decision.

Our son, heading on his beloved horse, Lizzie, at the state high school finals May 2021.

God is also a fan of decision. James 1:6 states “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” (KJV).

Webster tells us decision means “a determination arrived at after consideration.” Not something to be taken lightly. It also states decision is “promptness and firmness in deciding.”

It’s choosing a goal, putting in the effort to learn…

Humbling yourself to be coached by those with more knowledge…

And, emerging victorious!

Every day. Every single day – it is about commitment. That handsome man in the picture above shows up every day of his life, committed. He is a man of great decision and let me tell ya – he sticks with those decisions!! We are the blessed and lucky immediate recipients of his decisions!

So – today – how are your decisions manifesting in your life and the lives of those around you? Does it look and feel the way you want it to? If you’re like me – and falling massively short daily – we can commit to becoming people of great decision NOW! The positive impact of this might be felt hundreds of years from now just like we continue to feel from the founders of our great Country!!

A Love Letter

Do you write or receive love letters? Does anyone anymore in this day of texting and instant everything?! My husband wrote a love letter to me – once – many years ago. I’m sure it was a beautiful letter, but the only quote I remember from it… after he listed some of my attributes and his undying love for me is “…even though we are always late to church…”

Yeah….I thought at the time I’m thirty-however many years into my being late to church streak…lotsa luck changing that! I’m forty-six years into it now…and I received another love letter…of sorts…

We moved our cows on Saturday.

My task was very important…take the tractor to the hay shed. Get a bale of hay. Bring it to the two hay sheds. Wait…I HATE waiting and I forgot to bring a book…

FINALLY, the Cow Boss (my husband) and our son arrived.

Then it was my time to shine! My task…wait for my family to push the cows up to the bale of hay, then back the tractor through the gate showing them the way out…

Once they found the way out – they went with gusto!

So – I followed them, because I thought my tractor and bale might come in handy at some point.

It didn’t…and I wondered what in the heck my purpose was?! While also thinking about the millions of things I have to do!! AND – demanding – eloquently to myself – my own horse next time we do this!

But then – a message from my husband…a love letter farmer style…

They left the fence down! This means “follow us.” I decided what it really meant was “Hello Beautiful, please follow us because I can’t wait to see you and spend time with you!

It also means – Once you cross over the fence, put it back up in all the places we lowered it…despite your bladder’s immediate and total reaction when shocked by the electric fence…

As it turns out, the fence wasn’t on yet…BUT no one shared this fabulous knowledge with me! Plus, they were clearly tooooo far away to care about my internal strife and apprehension regarding this hot issue!! So – I very carefully put the fence back up!

I caught up with them eventually!

We then spent nice quality time together! Just like this! And, I wouldn’t trade a single bit of it – except next time – I want my own horse!!

A book you need!

A must read!!

I LOVE books! I absolutely love them! I read them. I collect them. I buy them (cue my husband’s jaw clenching a bit when Amazon boxes show up at our house during the drought years!). I treasure books! I write down quotes from them in my journals. I keep a book with me at all times. I have one in my purse. One in my pickup. Stacks of books by my bed, on my desk, by the guest-bed, piled high in my office, bookshelves filled with them, etc. I even dabble in writing them. It thrills me to no end when I see my husband and children reading them! I am book-crazy!!

A field we were blessed to custom-disk to bring in income during the drought.

My love of books comes from my Grandmother. She had beautiful books including leather-bound copies of Louis L’Amour in her over-flowing bookcases. She read voraciously! This helps prove my theory about book-lovers everywhere…they are wonderfully interesting, lively and some of the best conversation partners you’ll ever have!

Dryland corn.

My Dad is also a huge reader when weather drives him away from his farming to the air conditioned land of the indoors. He has fabulous taste in books! We often share books – using the term “share” loosely because if we really like a book, we keep it and the other one of us who has “shared” has actually (and most unintentionally!) gifted – leaving the “giver” to buying another copy. He and I have a long-standing dispute over the ownership of David McCullough’s book The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal, 1870-1914. Spoiler alert: I wound up buying a second copy…

The Sleeping Ute Mountain

My Mom also enjoys reading, but she’s more into self-improvement books. We do enjoy reading a Richard Paul Evans book most years during the Christmas season which is always so fun to discuss! Clearly though, my book interest comes from my dad’s side of the family…we apparently either see no need for self-improvement or do not care! Probably a healthy mixture of the two! Let’s just say the self-improvement books are few and far between… if they exist at all in our personal libraries! No ownership disputes on those…ever! Message: We. Need. Help!

Order this TODAY!!

This book – The Law by Frederic Bastiat – is a MUST have! It is widely available on Amazon for less than $10. Mr. Bastiat was a Frenchman who was enamored with America’s governmental experiment. He wrote this book in 1850, shortly before his death. It is 55 pages! See – you can totally read this! AND make sure you do! It is full of pertinent information on liberty! Mr. Bastiat was not a fan of socialism nor legislators. His take on both is fabulous and so captivatingly educational!!

Liberty lovers everywhere need to buy and read this book! He writes on page 53 “Which are the happiest, the most moral, and the most peaceable nations? Those where the law interferes the least with private activity; where the Government is the least felt; where individuality has the most scope, and public opinion the most influence; where the machinery of the administration is the least important and the least complicated; where taxation is lightest and least unequal…”

Read this book! Share it with your friends and family…well – coming from my Dad’s school of book sharing…give them their own copies! BUT – do it! You won’t regret it!