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. 

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: 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. 

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.

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. 


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.

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. 

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


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

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

When A Good-Hearted Woman Marries a Good-Timing Man

Maybe last week's blog was a bit premature; we hadn't yet been married a year when I wrote it.
Nothing much changed to affect the accuracy of the things in which I journaled.
I gagged Saturday morning cleaning the bathroom and Cody's starched jeans still adorn our bedroom floor.

"Are those your jeans?" I asked (again). 
"Why do you keep asking me that??"

This is where I post a happy photo before lose my head: 

Since last August I've been asked surprisingly often why we didn't post wedding photos or an album onto social media.
Frankly: We didn't want to.
Cody and I don't enjoy looking at photos of ourselves and it's strange to think of promoting our day of sacred vows in that very public, impersonal way.
We have two photos of ourselves in our home: both were very kind wedding gifts.

The other day I saw where someone posted their wedding video to Facebook.
What a very personal event to share with 3,000 folks, 560 of whom you actually know.
I couldn't bring myself to watch it, though I'm sure it was an incredible day for that couple.
We just didn't get an invite.
I'd post our wedding video, but our videographer never gave us our wedding video.
Just kidding.
I'd never share that amazing day with strangers.
Though, I'm very serious when I say we never got our video back from the videographer...

I do think Cody and I experienced some interesting things in 24 hours of wedding that may be blog-worthy.
Our wedding will never be on Pinterest.
There will never be a movie or book written about our story.
But our wedding day was remarkable, and it encompassed so much our of heritage.
My hope today is that you'll see some of that - and perhaps incorporate ideas into your own life.

Life's Good Stuff: Pass It On.

Grandma's Dress

Preparing for the wedding, Grandma said she was “too old” to go shopping and try to fit into a new dress. So that afternoon, we raided the old closets in her farmhouse. When I saw the dress she’s wearing, I knew it was the one: it matched our colors of ivory and white perfectly. 
Grandma Jean smiled and said, “I haven’t worn that dress in such a lonnnnnng time…since the day your Mother married your Dad.”

Thirty-five years later, she still wore it well.

All Things Green 

We kept the flowers and centerpieces simple, remembering the strong sense of heritage and appreciation for things that get better with age. Both ferns and The Growing Tree were incorporated throughout everything.

Harvest Jar

Unity candle? Not us. Cody's family brought Kansas wheat to the wedding that weekend and my Uncle Steve brought us corn directly from Granddad and Grandma's home farm. Rather than light a unity candle, we combined the two crops, symbolizing our passion for production agriculture, the love for the (very different land) on which we were raised on and those places that we still consider "home".
I actually saw this idea at a wedding a photographed two years ago - Happy Anniversary to the Shepherds!

All Your Mama's Love

Cody's grandmother Barbara Laflin married us. What a remarkable service. The closest I've ever come to meeting Jesus was the day I met Mama, or Barb Laflin. 
Words can't describe the power in her faith.

A Wish Come True

It was a few months before our wedding day and I was having a glass of wine with momma at BSG.
We were discussing music for the wedding.
"If you could have anyone sing at your wedding, who would it be?"
"Anyone?" I asked.
"Yep," she responded, sipping her perfect soft red from Oliver.
"Ryan Wotherspoon......Hands down."
"Well....let's get him. Or try, at least."

Having beautiful music at the wedding was one of our favorite details. Ryan beautifully incorporated family favorites into our ceremony and made a few songs so personal to Cody and I.

Ryan sang the Lord's Prayer - among other songs - during our ceremony:

Surely Goodness and Mercy

Sadly, I had no Bowman grandparents alive to see Cody and I wed. But there is certain verbiage that runs through a family. These words span generations and create a familiarity that covers time. 

On the Bowman side, the words that have traveled decades and generations come from Psalms 23:6. We sing the chorus of Surely Goodness and Mercy at every gathering of my large Bowman family: reunions or funerals. The music and harmony bring a certain peace to my heart. We included that verse in our ceremony, though few folks - outside of our Bowman family - understood the meaning. 

To read what the other side of my family lives by, Read This. 

A Photo (Really) Is Worth A Thousand Words

That cliche is right. 

I believe it to be so important that you know, understand and like your photographer.

If we didn't have that - by the incredible Christine Boake - this shot of Dad's medicine cabinet would not have been documented. 

For years I've left dad notes in his medicine cabinet. My dear friend - and idol - Christine Boake knew this, and documented these from-daughter-to-father loves notes in this photo. I'll keep this forever. 
Dad will, too. 

The Story of Us

We made our programs worth reading, just in case anyone did. 
They showed the humor behind each of the (forced) participants of our wedding party. 


We danced to Wade Bowen's "Who I Am" - 
When we dated, Cody would twirl me around my living room floor in Greens Fork, with this song on repeat. 
It was as this song played, that we fell in love. 

It was a month later when we truly found the other and realized that 
"Good Hearted Woman (In Love With A Good Timing Man)" may have been written about us. 

So following our obligatory first dance, Cody & I two-stepped with our parents to our inherited  theme song:

As much as I appreciate the focus that folks put into weddings these days,
I'm here to tell gals yet to wed:

No wedding day will be perfect. 
I overslept. 
My parents barely spoke to me the day of our wedding due to emotion. 
We forgot to have a receiving line at the church. 
Cousin Josh twirled me around the wet dance floor only for me to face plant in my dress. 
We have no photo of the 5 Bowmans. 
At the reception, a dear family friend greeted me by giving me the biggest bear hug - from behind.....While I held a glass of Malbec...the entire front of my dress was stained red most of the night. 
We ran out out of cups. 
We have no wedding cake left, due to 2 a.m. hunger. Cody bought me a DQ ice-cream cake on our first anniversary, instead. 
We forgot to invite three very important families. 

But - Ya know what?
The wedding went on. 
Life went on. 
It was just one day, not a lifetime - which is what lies before us. 
Thank goodness. 

And We dance through this world -
hand in hand. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

(We Survived The) First Year of Marriage

I can't believe that this weekend 
it will be one year since 
Cody's grandmother Laflin married us 
under the tall steeple 
of an old brick church 
in a little Indiana town. 

First Year of Marriage...Frankly, We've Both Survived.

Everyone warns couples about how tough the first year of marriage is. And while our first year has experienced far more sunburn and thistles than it did sunshine and roses, it's been a pretty great ride. The fact that Cody was on the road 364 nights over the last twelve months may have had something to do with it. We were always strangely glad to see one another. 

We lived by this. Weekly. 

Except for the day he realized I had sold his grill in the garage sale. That was a day that I worked quite late at the office then drove the long way home going 30 mph. 

First birthday milestones seem to be a big deal. Just ask Pinterest (<-- you can follow this blog, there):
Cakes, hats, excessive gifts and homemade paper plates made of recycled dryer sheets and organic glue made from free-range horses. 
We'll likely spend our first anniversary at church, then El Rodeo, then mowing and then capped off by a pasture ride to check the herd. 

Perfect. Day.

But as one does with any milestone, one year of marriage has us sitting down to reflect on the past year and the lessons learned:
Living together. 
With tiny closets. 
And one bathroom. 
With water that - at any given moment -  turns Kool-aid purple. 

Bottled. Farm Fresh. 

And two barn cats, which only one of us feeds. 
Wanna guess which one?
...Starts with "C" and ends with "ody".

Three Things Learned from 
One Year of Marriage

1. We communicate our needs differently:

When Cody needs me to do something he communicates it in this (interesting) way:

"I'm going to start moving hay this afternoon. If you have any time later, I need you to pick up rocks where we buried that electric line. Can you do that, please?"


My way to  communicate my need for he to do something:

"Are those your pants on the floor?"
....referencing the pair of men's starched Cinch jeans laying on our bedroom carpet. 
Which are obviously his. 
That he left on the floor. 
And he needs to pick up and put in the laundry. 

We both look at the jeans, then each other. 

"Who else's would they be?" he asks. 

Somehow, he misses the point, every time. How could I be more clear?

2. We are no longer the exact same person: 

When we were dating, I found our similarities to be remarkable. 
Same beliefs, 
and love for travel that included people watching. 

Now we sit down to enjoy a TV  show and it's like we're strangers at completely different stages of our lives. 
While he's got the remote, the commercials revolve around Gatorade, The Dollar Shave Club, and Taco Bell. 

This day and age, who doesn't Shave Time, Shave Money?

 ^A Must Watch

When I'm in charge of the remote, I remember to take my fiber, find the Life Alert commercials all too real and begin to strangely - yet seriously - consider a Colonial Penn plan.

Reason 385,694,672,115 why I dislike cats. 

3. Some Acts of Kindness(Actually Do) Go Unnoticed

I remember well when last winter Cody came home late. Like any new wife, I put on a new perfume, sure to impress. 
It was called Pure White Linen - (I thought) it smelled as though our house was spotless and perfect. 
I heard Cody bust through the doors downstairs, kick off his boots, brush his teeth, climb the rugged stairs, set his alarm, lie down and take a deep breath. 
Five seconds later he asked:
"What the?......Have you been cleaning with Lysol wipes?"

NOPE. Just trying to impress. 

Two weeks later Cody was proud as an overly-confident peacock as he reported that he saved me a trip to and from the next town over by taking our homestead trash to demolition. Until I pointed out that he forgot any trash bag that had come from the inside of the house.......he had transported farm trash, only. 

Good news, Buckaroo: The four heat detect patches and two Coors Light bottles you tossed last week made the journey. 

But the 
Coffee grounds. 
Toilet paper. 
Junk mail.
Dirty paper plates. 
Banana peels. 
Bad onions.
Are. All. Still. Around. Under. The. Kitchen. Sink.

Nice try, Marcus Stewart. Maybe next time. 

Our first year =

365 short days.
1 diamond. 
3 rings.
6 (little) rooms.
48 Angus prints; 12 available walls.
884 tears of frustration and learning.
2 (too many) barn cats. 
4 vet appointments.
8 pairs of jeans mended.
3 proud American flags. 
8,864 laughs. 

And one blog to record every bit of it. 

Forget the sunshine and rainbows...
Anyone else gag when cleaning the toilet?

It's only been one year: 
I'll get over that, right?