Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Stockman's Wife

This is for you, 
Stockman's Wife.

The Stockman's Wife. 
Not a job for the faint of heart, soul or mind.
It's a rare breed, those who can turn the bull-sale-season title of "Weekend Widow" into "Weekend Warrior" and get far more done than just ten loads of laundry, whole-homestead window-washing, grocery shopping, temporary fence tear-down and accurate book work.

The Stockman's Wife.
She knows who bred who, Who Made Who and who rode who due to her impeccable ability to memorize the pedigrees of every female on the farm. She knows their dam, their full sibs and their due date. She can tell you the year the female came open (2011) and the exact reasons why she wasn't shipped. And three years later, she can still convince you that you made the right decision to let that female stay. 



The Stockman's Wife.
She knows - and enforces - the importance of one check. The one check that her husband is authorized to carry in his wallet, unsupervised. The one check that he can use at his discretion, as long as it's not spent, but rather invested. The Golden Ticket, per say, to the next best thing to stir dust in a stock trailer coming down the lane. The one check that she knows won't be spent on jewelry or flowers or even a new dishwasher. The one check that hopefully brings to the ranch new animals - or genetics - that will build the program. 



The Stockman's Wife.
From states away she celebrates the profits made by the family program, as reported from the texting-fingers of her son, caught up in the action. Three hours later, The Stockman's Wife does not apologize when she absolutely loses her head because her husband - and son - decide to "invest their profit" into yet another breeding program addition. The Stockman's Wife had every intention of "investing their profit" somewhere else; such as the Farm Account. 

The Stockman's Wife.
She welcomes with a beautiful smile - coupled with a strong handshake - the guests who stop by to see sale cattle just minutes after her husband has left for the airport to fulfill an out-of-state Breed obligation he's committed to. She uses her best judgement as she discusses the animals and speaks as a family. She is honest, and upfront and proud. She uses humor and grace. Potential buyers sort stock with ease because of The Stockman's Wife's presence. 

The Stockman's Wife.
She rarely exceeds the speed limit, but if done, she's on her way to the vet clinic or the parts store. Upon arrival she tries to read the abbreviated words she scribbled down, but soon learns she can't tell differentiate between a 
G or a 6, a
1 or a 7 and even a 
B from an 8
She proceeds to drive  home even faster, convinced she'll be making a return trip due to her shoddy penmanship. 

The Stockman's Wife.
She misses obligations for which she bought new clip-on earrings because she noticed a calf with blood in it's stool. Her schedule isn't by her own design, but rather an accumulation of gestation cycles, 4-H meetings, sports schedules, feed truck deliveries, vet appointments and herd visits - none of which belong to her.

The Stockman's Wife.
She cries at the kitchen sink watching watching her favorite cow get shipped to town, and no one knows. 
She visits her Daddy's old friends at the nursing home in town and no one knows. 
She watches the ceiling fan at 2:27 AM worrying about the price of corn and no one knows. 
She also has a stash of Hershey Chocolate with Almond bars in the the back of the deep freezer and no one knows. Thank goodness. 

The Stockman's Wife.
She knows the difference between a heat and a hot heat. 
And I'm not just talking about Arizona. 

The Stockman's Wife.
She doesn't leave the farm or ranch much, but she does dress up to go to the bank, the grocery, the post office and her Momma's house - all of which she visits in the same day. She baffles the bank tellers with the adventures on the range and puzzles the Post Master with the strange things she ships to places that he - at 74-years-old - never knew existed. She spends extra change out of her own purse on insurance, tracking and delivery confirmations for things that will eventually arrive a day early. The Stockman's Wife cannot associate a price with peace of mind. 



The Stockman's Wife.
She makes cookies for the UPS driver and thanks him for not shaking the semen tank as he walks it to the house. She then proceeds to talk his ear off because he's the only adult she's spoken to in five hours. 

The Stockman's Wife.
She prays. 
She prays for her family, their herd, their land and their future. 
She prays for doors to open and rain to fall. 
She prays for healthy calves and healthy doctor reports. 
She prays for strong markets, strong fences and strong kids. 
She prays for our Country and for her grandkids who will one day have to clean up this mess. 
She prays for her best friends she hasn't found time to see in two years and also the women that drive her absolutely crazy, bless their hearts. 

The Stockman's Wife. 
She's never been one for crying over spilled milk. 
But a busted bottle of Draxxin? Oh yeah, she'll cry over that. 

The Stockman's Wife.
She is no longer the young lady anxious to receive a diamond ring from The Stockman, because her long, slender hands have been tainted by callouses and knuckles that simply won't back down. Her wedding band won't come off and hasn't in 36 years. She does, however, still appreciate pendants. And also dinners in town in which she does not have to prepare. Christmas is coming...you're welcome. 

The Stockman's Wife.
She has a special love/hate relationship with Shorthorn Country magazines, Angus Journal editions and other stock publications. She understands they offer her husband monthly anticipation followed by profound joy, but they become a nuisance to dust under (or simply around in the case of last-minute company). She sorts through the new issues to see what other families are doing, what other ranches have to offer and quite frankly, what is suitable to wear to the next Auxiliary breakfast. She can count on one hand - - OK, two hands - -  the times she has been quite tempted to use these publications as kindling in the fireplace. But her Momma never went that far, so she never does, either. 

The Stockman's Wife.
She keeps close watch on fuel prices, 
coupons, 
the radar and
Gazette wedding announcements 
knowing that she may be called to react to any of the above at any given moment. 

The Stockman's Wife.
She latches every gate. 
Closes every door.
Rolls up all pick-up windows. 
Double checks hydrants. 
Keeps track of all syringe caps. 
Monitors the toilet tank ensuring it fills properly. 
And double checks the oven and stove top. 
Because her nightmares entail what could happen if any of the above were neglected. 

The Stockman's Wife. 
Not a job for the faint of heart, soul or mind.
It's a rare breed, those who can reveal every emotion while preparing food for a funeral dinner, then turn around and assist in the delivery of a calf in the same afternoon. 


LindaSharee and all the Stockman Wives of the world,
we salute you. 









Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Snagged Sweaters

There are days when I wonder if I forgot to push "English" when I got out of bed. No one seems to understand what I'm trying to say?
There are Farm Work Saturdays when I don't comprehend a single instruction coming out of my husband's mouth.
There are times when the customer service rep on the other end simply doesn't understand the frustration I'm trying to convey through our conversation. 
There are times at Meijer when I'm fairly certain the cashier hasn't spoken to an adult in three weeks. So eager to talk. About weird stuff. 
There are times when I'm explaining an idea and my boss looks at me like a dog hearing a high pitched sound. 

There are times when communication is flat out tough
Anyone else?

Sometimes, people just need to know that they're being listened to. 
Understood. 
Heard. 
No more prelude for this week or the video. 
I think it's a great "watch and consider" in the middle of a draining week.


It's Not About The Nail



Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Phil Takes On Alaska & Cody Takes On Phil

Unsure of how to preface this entry any other way, I'll begin here:


In August - after several conversations - husband Cody decided to do what no man on the face of the Earth has ever done before in documented history:

He traveled with my Dad to Alaska. 

And while that may not sound like much of a feat - or even blogworthy - let me give you a little background on traveling with Dad and also he and Cody's relationship:

1. I remember a "vacation" once when we never stopped for lunches. Dad packed a gallon of milk and some cherries (with pits) in a cooler and we ate that. 
2. I remember thinking as a little girl that we were rich because our towels had an embroidered "H" on them. "Howman"????.......nope, Holiday Inn. 



3. I remember "vacationing" in Turnip Hole,PA for goodness sake. 



Every trip with my Dad is a lesson. Or a series thereof. 
Dad made our childhood amazing. 

(Doing so will make you feel better about yours.)

4. Cody and Dad have been alone together very seldom since since we met. Generally, their conversations include Luke and cattle, both in words and presence. My initial thought when Cody told me he was going to invite Dad to the Last Frontier: 
"What on earth could Cody and Dad talk about 
for 6 days in the land of reindeer and rouge??"

Good news: 
They both survived. 
Cody and I are still married. 
I'm still in Dad's will (premature assumption).



Through the duration of this entry, understand this:

  • I will refer to Phil (Dad) and Cody as "Phody". 
  • I will also document this as told by Cody. 
  • I will use real screen shots. 


August 12:
Phody flies from Indianapolis to Anchorage, then rents this deal:



August 13:
Cody spent the day facilitating a showmanship clinic in Palmer with Alaska's youth. Phil disappeared with a guy named Rayne (pronounced "rain") to see the sites around the city. 

Mid-afternoon Phody headed to the Kenai Peninsula, where Cody would eventually judge the stock (beef, sheep, goats, hogs, yak and reindeer). At some point, Rayne told Phil to stop at the Portage Glacier. As true adventurists, they decided to do so along their trek and came upon the path to Whittier: a one-way tunnel shared with a  freight train. 



As Phody pulled up to pay their toll, the toll gate guy took their money.
Dad: What's on the other side?
Toll gate guy: Nothing. 
Dad: Then what the hell are we paying for?
Toll gate guy : I have no idea.........

Turns out, at the end of the tunnel they found a blue-collar-fish-town which may be Phody's personal version of Alaskan Heaven. Phil made friends with locals and Cody made sure they could continue their trek...which eventually turned into a bar crawl southbound on the Kenai Peninsula. 

They saw an Eagle snatch salmon, and Phil got a better look:



Phody arrives at the Captian's Retreat for the duration of their stay. (<- HIGHLY RECOMMENDED)

August 14:
Phody headed south to Homer for the day where Cody put on fitting clinic. Halfway through the clinic Cody realized Phil had disappeared. He found him off the fairgrounds at American Legion Post 18, making friends and telling stories of raising cattle in beautiful Indiana to the local men and women. Phody spent the evening at the Inlet Bar, continuing that story-telling. Can you imagine the number and extent of fishing stories?






August 15:
 It was on this day that Cody called me asking if I'd heard from Dad. 

JeanWhat? No. You're with him in Alaska. I'm at home. Why are you asking me that?
Cody: Well....because I  judged the stock all day and Phil was with me, but now it's over and I can't find him anywhere.
Jean: ...........hesitation. Do they have that big beer garden like they have the last two years? Right by the turnip display. To the left of the reindeer meat sausage deal. Did you check there?
Cody: ................I'm walking there now.............Oh boy...
JeanWhat?? I asked, maybe now a bit worried that Dad went on a self-guided tour of the Last Frontier
Cody: Found him.... in the beer garden.......with, actually, the most attractive women I have ever seen in Alaska, sitting around him......
Yeah, Phil! I'll take one - Thanks!

In the same breath that Cody had found Dad, he was ordering a beer with him - and the prettiest women of the Last Frontier. 
It was it that moment that I knew all was right with the world; and that I'd sleep better if I hung up now.



That evening Phody dined at Patty's Fish House (A FAVORITE) then bought beer. They enjoyed the local brews as the waves rolled in during the Alaskan sunset. Phil, 63, got his feet wet and cold. 



August 16:
Phody drove to Seward for a much-anticipated whale-watching boat trip. 






But the waters didn't cooperate and the pair was forced back to beautiful Anchorage early to shop for their wives.  

Legend tells that it took Phil 45 minutes to find something for his wife of 36 years.



Turns out, he may have found several things in that time:

After shopping, Phody enjoyed world-famous Moose's Tooth Pizza. As it turns out, there were leftovers. And - as you may have caught onto - Phil doesn't take leftovers lightly (one of twelve kids). He had the leftover awesomeness packed in a cardboard box, the night before Phody arose at 3:30 AM to fly back Indianapolis. 




(OOC = Out Of Control)
There is more...



Dad just really liked the pizza in Alaska. 

Cody says that he showed Phil the stuffed moose that he bought niece Bayler, and Phil may have felt a bit guilty that he didn't pick up anything for baby Oscar back home. So, as a last-minute souvenir, Phil packed a Delta blanket in his pizza box for his grandson. 




In August - after several conversations - husband Cody decided to do what no man on the face of the Earth has ever done before in documented history:

He traveled with my Dad to Alaska.

It was an adventure.
...One that is over. 
I'm grateful that, at 63, Dad was able to check one major thing off his bucket list. 

They've been home for a month and Cody still stays up late, telling me stories like he has just returned from summer camp. 


Also, he has yet to ask why we're still eating two-week-old leftovers. After six days "vacationing" with Dad, I think cody now 
gets it. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Fiercest Competitor

There was a time in my life when I thought Eli Young Band's song, Guinevere, was written about me. 


She don't hold onto nothin' new for very long
Yeah she writes you in as just one more tale
and then you're gone



But then something changed. 
I found something I didn't want to let go of. 
I found something that completely captivated my attention. 
I found something that I've actually held onto - quite closely - since it came into my life.


A Fitbit.



Yep. A a small rubber bracelet with a tiny chip inside that daily tracks my water intake and  steps, all while basically gauging my self perception and appreciation. 
I'm serious. 
It's come to that. 

Maybe we should rewind. 
I've never been a really competitive person. 
I know what I want, I go after it and all works out in the end. 
I also believe this to my very core:



I think my lack of competitive spirit began in third grade when Torri Richardson and I agreed to race across the gym and the first to reach Jason Ward was his girlfriend (unbeknownst to him). I got half court and realized 1) I was out of breath 2) I had too much to live for rather than have a boyfriend. I lost interest and moved on to the next third-grade-amusement. I think it was lunch. 

But then Fitbit rolled into my life three weeks ago and I've found myself doing crazy things to compete with it, to beat it, to conquer it, daily. You see, a Fitbit tracks your goals for exercise and activity, so each morning I wake up with a blank slate and a bazillion steps to take.
Maybe not a bazillion, but pretty darn close. 

On the weekends I can fly right past my activity goal. Building fence, chasing cows, running errands...all contribute to a gal on the go. 
But come Monday morning I'm as sedentary as a headstone. A heavy, ugly one, going nowhere. 
So I've found ways to increase my walking during the day. 
Working out, you ask?
Using the Cardinal Greenway, you ask?


Nope:

Two weeks ago I got into the habit of eating my lunch in shifts:
Walk down to the break room, get out my hard boiled eggs, take them back to my office, eat them. 
Walk down to the break room, get out my string cheese, take it back to my office, eat it. 
Walk down to the break room, get out my yogurt, take it back to my office, eat it. 
Walk down to the break room, throw away all of my trash.
= 311 steps and comfortable shoes
(I really hope my boss doesn't read this entry.)

For three straight Sundays I've walked to the mailbox to get the mail, then had to act surprised when there was nothing there. 
=284 steps and some good acting

When we're together, Cody now has to park in the farthest parking spot from our destination. Annoying for him, especially when we got to church late Sunday and someone was in our familiar pew. I guess that's the problem with a service full of back row Baptists? We went up to the balcony. 
= 210 steps, stairs included (which should count for double)

Last week we had lunch at the local Mexi joint and Cody was on the phone when we arrived. He stayed in the truck to finish his conversation. I hopped out of the truck and proceeded to walk circles around it; circling the truck like a shark waiting for a canoe of kittens to capsize. By the time we got into the restaurant I was so dizzy Pedro seated us in the handicap booth. 
= 437 steps and an annoyed husband

But the problem with this strange obsession isn't with my newfound commitment to taking the long way. The problem lies in how often I check my steps. Last Sunday I checked my Fitbit three times during the one-hour service. Turns out standing and sitting for hymns doesn't count towards steps. Dang
I've even checked it while riding as a passenger in a car, and while my steps didn't increase with each mile traveled (dang) I did catch myself daydreaming at the thought of turning the miles into steps...


Just imagine how bright 
those little lights 
of approval and success 
would twinkle

As the song Guinevere says, I generally don't hold onto anything new for very long. I move on. But I have yet to get there with my Fitbit. Being down 7 pounds from the day I began using it may have something to do with it, despite still eating pork rinds for breakfast. 
FACT: I'll stick with anything that cancels out pork rinds.

Now, if you'll excuse me...I'm 417 steps away from beating my personal goal for the day and all of the chores are done. This means I'll need to make 138 laps around the coffee table before I'm allowed to sleep tonight. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Gratitude Challenge

I'm so not into social media fads. 
No matter how philanthropic and brilliant they appear to be...


But then the the Gratitude Challenge - where you're supposed to say three things you're thankful for each day - began.
And the "challenges" began rolling in:


I've read, considered and smiled at each of them. 
And until this morning, I've not yet replied. 

Let's just knock this deal out in one post, shall we?

My Gratitude Challenge

1. I'm grateful for Pyrex dishes with lids to store leftovers: Growing up we used the heck out of foil and rubber bands. As a "newlywed" I take matching lids quite seriously. 
2. I'm grateful for leftovers: Do you know how many men, women and children will never know what it's like to throw away spaghetti with green fuzz on the top?
3. I'm grateful for spaghetti: Thanks, Momma, for teaching me how to add "a bit of this and a pinch of that" to bring comfort food home. 
4. I'm grateful for  home: You don't know home until you look out the window and see (ONE) Shorthorn (I call her Wife Insurance) and Angus cattle in view. I have always wished this for my life.
5. I'm grateful for cattle paraphenila:
 

6. I am grateful for a riding lawnmower. I remember well times without one (my legs were far more trim!)
7. I'm grateful for a husband who knows how to repair everything I wreck. 




8. I'm grateful for Mr. Lumpkin: The best teacher I ever had in seventeen years of education. He was my small engines instructor in high school, but amongst a classroom full of guys, he taught me incredible confidence. How many young ladies can say they acquired self confidence as an awkward teenager learning something new in a classroom full of boys?
9. I'm grateful for small town education: In our little hometown, we're quite fortunate that our Agriculture Department is one of the best in the state - perhaps the nation. Do you understand where your food and wine comes from?
10. I really appreciate Malbec wine.
11. Later this year I'll travel to Argentina - the motherland of Malbec wine and (not nearly as great as US) beef. I would have never imagined that working for the local cooperative would have opened these doors; I'm grateful for these opportunities.
12. 
I'm grateful for my job: It's rewards far outweigh it's challenges. (Ask me again in November - Annual Report Month)
13. I first experienced Malbec wine in Texas, during dinner with a friend of mine. I'm grateful for many lessons from Terri.
14. Speaking of Herefords - I'm grateful I don't have pinkeye.
15. Lauren Echols - I'm grateful for her friendship and spirit. 

16. I'm grateful we found a home in the country. I just don't think neighbors would appreciate me throwing expired refrigerator food into their yard. 
17. I'm grateful that the Greens Fork post office is still operational. I never have to stand in line and Priscilla is the definition of customer service with a smile. 
18. I'm grateful for early mornings, up before the sun, checking on our cows. There is a certain peace to be found when your day begins while the stars are still visible. 
19. I'm grateful for two active, funny, hard working parents who define integrity. 
20. I'm grateful for my two nieces and two nephews. Who knew these tiny little creatures could bring so much joy?
21. I'm grateful we got our water softener fixed before it killed one of us or our houseguests. 


22. I'm grateful that The Original Jean is still around, making us laugh and buying us ice-cream. 
23. I'm grateful that the previous owners of this farm invested in good fences. Good fences make for a happier wife and life. 
24. I'm grateful for fall and all the things - changing leaves, cooler weather, football and harvest - that it encompasses.  



25. I'm grateful for the dictionary/thesaurus and calculator apps on my phone. I know I shouldn't use them, but I do - and often. I also remember Mrs. Dilley making us learn multiplication tables in third grade, telling us over and over - and over - that we must learn multiplication because we'll never just walk around with a calculator in our pockets. Really
26. I'm thankful you're reading this blog. 

(Disclaimer: This list is not a result of everything I'm thankful for. I only have so much time in a day and quite frankly I'm already running 20 minutes late.)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Main Thing Is: Don't Panic

This may be the most discombobulated blog I've ever written. 
At least, I hope so. 
Never before have I begun writing at 10:07 on a Tuesday night.



We'll each live great days;
the kind that carves a place in our memory and one day we'll look back with fondness and smile far beyond our reach. 

Conversely, 
we'll each also experience the kind of day that erodes a place in our memory and for several years we'll look back and think: How in the hell did I survive that?

That was my yesterday. 
Not the entire day, just once I left work. 
In true Jean's Boots fashion, I want to share with you a few lessons learned:



LESSON 1. If you dress yourself and say, "Jeez I hope I don't see anyone I know" - - you will always see someone you know

That sentiment is just a reputation death wish. 
I got home from work yesterday and replaced my (somewhat) professional attire with what I like to call "White Trash Johnny Cash":
black Meijer tank top (faded)
black athletic shorts (thighs touching)
black Muck (though I will never buy another pair) boots
All Black; None of which was flattering. 
I really did look at my reflection in the mirror and shutter. 
I left the house anyway. 


LESSON 2. If your husband calls from an out-of-state business trip and asks what you're doing...Lie

With great honesty, told Cody I had just gotten home and was sitting down to watch the Indianapolis 5:00 news. 
Wrong answer. 
He asked if I would make a trip south to check on part of our herd that is grazing "remotely". 
"Sure," I told him. 
What could possibly go wrong? I thought to myself.

LESSON 2.5. Never - EVER - ask yourself what could possibly go wrong

Unless you'd like to know the answer.

NOTE: 2.75: Since I was small, cattle getting out has sent me into complete shock. Crying, puking, shaking - no matter if I'm 12 or 30 - my reaction is the same. 

LESSON 3. Good Fences Make Good Fences

I traveled south to check on the "remote" group, oblivious to just how "remote" they had become. 
Call #1: Momma...no answer. 
Call# 2: Luke...he was in Chicago. 
Call #3: Dad...Saves the day, Every. Single. Time. 
Call # 4: Cody...I let him know it would not be in his best interest to come home. For a month. 

LESSON 4. Main Thing Is: Don't Panic.

My Dad has told us this for years. Anytime we got emotional and worked-up (98% of the time this lesson was geared towards me), Dad would recite that familiar verbiage: 
Main Thing Is: Don't Panic. 
Panic, emotion, irrational decisions; none of these things could help the matter at hand, Dad always taught us. 
Yeah, well, that's easy for Dadio to recite when it isn't his cattle grazing the perimeter of a cornfield.

LESSON 5. Bad Fences Reveal Good Friends

We have a great family friend, Prent, who - for some unknown reason - continues to show up to Bowman Superior Genetics to help us operate. He gets treated like a shoddy hired hand, but supports us like a loyal friend. When I called Dad with a shaking, broken voice asking for help, Print showed up - ready to help - too. 



Granted, Prent showed up in suede boat shoes and a Hawaiian shirt paired with khaki shorts - 
but he showed up, nonetheless. 


LESSON 6. Text Messaging Translates Emotion Worse Than A 15-year-old Boy

Big miss on my part. 
Aggressive thumbs can be far more abrasive than any verbal conversation. 
If you really want your husband to know you're upset, send these texts (over thirty minutes): 


Cows out. 
Dad on his way to help!
Call you when we're done...MAYBE. 
How many head are supposed to be down here????
???
!
��
First year was awesome. Second year is SHODDY SO FAR!!!

If you want to feel like a terrible wife, read the above texts hours later, after you're done chasing cows and finished gagging from considering lost livestock. 

LESSON 7. You're Never Too Old For Your Dad

I learned last night: No matter where, when or why: My Dad is going to show up. He put his chores before mine (our's) and walked twice as much fence (looking for the escape route) as I did. 
He missed spending the evening his newest grand baby because his "youngest baby" needed help. 
Finally, last night, I realized that I'll never - ever - outgrow my Dad. 
My need for he and his support is everlasting. 

LESSON 8. If You Want To Hear God Laugh, Tell Him Your Plans 

I was at barn at 5:57 yesterday morning thinking how awesome my Tuesday night was going to be because I took care of so many responsibilities early in the day. 


Show up early;
Leave early. 


Agriculture doesn't work that way. 
Neither does life. 
Some of life's best days are those that teach the greatest lessons. 
LATE. 

And Remember:

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Turning Thirty: I've Lied To You

I need to tell you something. 

I have a confession to make. 


I've lied to you. 


For months I've written about my fear of turning 30. 

The fear of getting "old" and transitioning into a new decade in my life. 
The fear of my plans not working out as I once, naively assumed they would. 
I've written with humor, detailing how priorities change as I creep closer and closer to "the dreaded" thirty. 


But the truth is, 
I've never been afraid of turning thirty; 
I've been somewhat concerned 
that I never would. 

You see, for years I've had the same, short dream.

I never saw myself in the reoccurring dream.
The scene was always the same, the script identical.
There was only one person, crying, and through their tears they said:


"She wasn't even thirty..."

Referencing me, leaving before I had the pleasure of turning thirty.

I've had this same dream four times over the last five or so years. 
Not frequently by any means, but frightening, none-the-less.
The person speaking those words has changed each time.
Once a cousin.
Once a sorority sister.
Once a neighbor.
Then a family friend.
The dream has physically awoken me, and I've never made it back to Snoozeland afterwards.
I've never told anyone about it because, well, why should I? I've lost sleep over it; my family - my husband - doesn't need to.
(Though, I did reveal the dream to Cody last night, on the eve of my thirtieth birthday, before this blog went public. He was not entirely thrilled.)

Rather than tell my family, I've just lived my life.

Still crossing Hwy 35 at dusk to get the mail.
Still using Merthiolate that "expired" the same year I began kindergarten. 



Still exceeding the speed limit on occasion.
Still enjoying wine with friends.
Still using this blog to connect to people I'll never have the pleasure of meeting.
Still eating salad dressing that tasted much better in 2012. 
Still  believing that it was just a strange, short dream.


And guess what...
It was!

Today is my thirtieth birthday and I'm pretty darn happy about it.

Cody woke me up this morning to tell me I'm still alive.
Twelve minutes before my alarm went off.
Not annoying....At all..............

I'm thirty - and rather than continue this illusion about dreading the idea of entering my third decade, I plan on celebrating big time!

Yep. We're going to a cattlemen's meeting tonight at the local joint in town -  Willie & Red's - sponsored by our local vet clinic.
PAR-TAY!

I'm thirty now...
So there is a chance my life may begin revolving around shoes with high arches and switching over to energy-efficient appliances. 

However...

When someone has strange dreams about missing out on life's big moments, they may write down a few things that they may want to pass on. The things that matter to them.
And by "someone" and "them,"...I mean me. I still want to share the things the 29-year-old me found worth passing on:




Being Different Is An Awesome Thing

We're each fortunate to be born an individual, then sadly we spend a large part of the rest our lives trying to be like everyone else. 

What is the sense in that?
Being Different Is An Awesome Thing. 
Confidence in yourself is the most attractive thing one can wear - men or women. 
Trust me:
Your future spouse isn't going to fall in love with you because you're like everyone else they've known.
Your future boss won't hire you because you're just like the person they're trying to replace. 
That college you're trying to get into? They won't accept you when your application falls into the "normal" pile. 
Those customers you want to maintain or gain? They're not going to do business with you when you offer something that everyone else does. 
Being Different Is An Awesome Thing. 

Profound contentment can be found 
when you're confident enough in your unique self 
that you're not concerned with 
others' evaluation of you. 

This being said, I am so not advocating going out in public in your pajamas. Pull it together and show a bit of respect for yourself, folks.  

Be Grateful

Remember, the things you take for granted may be the same things someone else is praying for.  Always extend a "thank you" when necessary - which is quite often throughout a single day.

Gratitude 
turns what we have right now, 
into enough.
....And that's living right. 





Eat Well

If you're ordering your steak medium-well or well-done, you're doing it wrong.
For the best tasting vegetables, grow your own. 
Truly fortunate are the folks who have the opportunity to pick, shuck, then enjoy American Mid-West sweet corn. What a treat. 
Butter is not a bad word. In fact, it's one of my favorite words and most-used kitchen accessories. 



Be Kind



Be kind: I can't say this enough. We live in a tough world and our grandkids are only going to have it worse. Make it your mission to leave things - places, situations and people - better than how you found them.

Get Up Early


There is a certain joy in getting up before the rest of the world's demands tug at your mind and obligations rearrange your personal clock. Take advantage of early mornings, where peace and quiet allow you to prepare for the day ahead. 
There is so much a person can get done in one day, if they're organized and rise early. 

And here is where I racked my brain trying to think of a witty one-liner about another perk of getting up early....but darn it - sometimes sleeping past 6:00 AM is good for a person. 

There you have it: 
The five things I found useful in 
surviving 29 rockin' years. 


Oh, 
so back to that strange, short, reoccurring dream 
in which my friends and family were crying 
because someone didn't make it to thirty-years-old. 

There is clearly only one explanation. 
You get it now, right?
It is quite obvious that
they were undoubtedly referencing 
Amy Winehouse

YIKES.

As for life in my thirties: 
Bring. It. On.