{Disappointment} Means I Have Values

Someone once asked me if I thought I was setting myself up for disappointment by expecting so much from others. He also told me that I needed to loosen up, have more fun at work, and that I would be a lot more likable if I just wasn’t such a hard worker.

True story.

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Yep, true story.

While this particular conversation happened about a year and a half ago, it crosses my mind once in a while and makes me shake my head. He was a gem of a boss- needless to say he didn’t stick around much longer after we had this little heart to heart.  But he is not the point of this story- he could be so many people anymore.

Imagine his horror when I told him I am often disappointed by people- including him- because I was raised with an apparently naive idea that people should have to work for the things they want in life; that I believe that you have to start climbing the ladder from the rung closest to the ground.

That I am often disappointed by others who say one thing, and yet do the total opposite, or do nothing at all.

That I am often disappointed to be treated strangely by others because I come to work and, well, work. This is not to say that I don’t screw off my own fair share, but my work is done before I waste time on the company’s dollar. That’s my choice, and that is my responsibility.

If I remember correctly, he about fell out of his chair when I said I didn’t mind being disappointed, because that meant I still held true to my own values and that while he might not find me to be as much fun as a barrel of monkeys to be around, the feeling was mutual. Perhaps if we had more in common, or if he would have had an inkling of work ethic or even a little bit of motivation to do more than discuss football scores, we could have gotten along. Anyways….

After a very rare weekend spent helping my husband at home, getting to play rancher while my parents got to go on a mini vacation to a bull sale (Yes, going to a bull sale during calving season is very much a mini vacation for my parents), I had a good reminder that there is nothing wrong with being a hard worker and being a productive member of society. My husband was raised in town- his dad was a railroader and his mom worked at different office jobs through the years- and very easily could have refused to embrace my family’s lifestyle.Instead of denying me of living on our ranch, he has grabbed the bull by the horns and has become quite a hand. He is hard working, responsible, and respectful of my dad’s sometimes crazy ideas. He is patient, and to be completely honest, has taught me a few things about ranching that I never knew. I guess in my heart I always knew he had it in him; he proved me right and I love him more everyday for that. I love to be proud of others- it brings me so much joy to see others blossom and succeed.

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These guys. Both ranchers, two very different ways of getting here.

I wish more people were like him– willing to be a sponge, to learn everything they can, and to be the best they can be in the situation they are in. I believe that we can all do so much more than we think we can, and if the people around us expected even just a little bit more from us, we might try a little harder to exceed their expectations. But if no one expects anything from us, what do we have to prove?

 

Being raised on a cattle ranch taught me that actions speak louder than words. Hard work, hustle, and independence will take you farther than any bullshitting gene you may have been born with. My parents expected my brothers and I to help do chores, take care of our animals, and when it came to my 4-H animals, I was the one getting drug around the corral, not my dad. I had to do the ground work with my colt, had to teach him respect, and had to feed and care for him. I was the one getting up before school to feed my steers, and working with them after school and work so they wouldn’t stomp me into the arena dirt at the fair. And this was done all summer- not the week before the fair, like some kids I knew.

Unless I had to work in town, I was expected to help out at home- that meant either cooking meals, driving the grain truck for dad while picking bales, bunching bales for him when the truck broke down, or helping clean pens during calving. We were the “hired men”. Our wage was our meals, a house over our heads, and clothes on our backs. We fenced, picked rock, and had lots of “character building” opportunities. And looking back at it now, I am eternally grateful for all the blood, sweat, and tears we shed all those years. It wasn’t just livestock that we gave our attention to either. If we hunted, we walked our asses off to find, shoot, and haul our kill out. We helped mom cook, clean, and saddled our own horses. We had responsibilities, and though they weren’t always fun, they got done.

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Even pregnant, I worked my rear off for what I wanted.

I know not everyone was raised the same as me- and while I respect that and am okay with that fact, I have to accept that I will always be different than everyone else. I am okay with being the workhorse. With being the quiet leader. With being labeled the worker bee, rather than the social butterfly. I not only accept those titles, I embrace them!

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Embrace being different!

Someday, I will be back on the ranch- and am sure that wandering aimlessly through my days will not be on the agenda. The cows don’t care whether I was a manager or a janitor, as long as they get fed. My horse could care less if I used to wear high heels and rubbed elbows with “really important people”… she’ll kick me just the same I don’t put forth the effort to train her not to. You can play once the work is over- celebrating a job well done makes life so much sweeter!

~Much love, Richelle

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The Little Mare that Will

Lucy b&w

(This post was originally published for CavvySavvy.com)

I worry that I am not going to know what to do
Where to start
or how to begin

I worry that you won’t like me
that you will see through me
and take advantage of me

I worry that I won’t be patient enough
That I won’t be disciplined enough
That I won’t devote enough time to you

I know there is so much you will teach me
Much more than I can teach you
I know that you will put me in my place, and remind me to be humble

I know that I will be sore
That I will curse your name
Yet go to bed at night, dreaming about riding you

I know that you and I are going to fight
I also know that you and I are going to be a team
Your gentle eyes remind me that I can do this, and you can too

Little filly, I look forward to learning from you
To finding myself again; in the feel of your muscles, the scent of your hide, and
The grace in your beauty

I look to you for guidance, for although you might be young and small,
you are mighty and full of leadership
I need that in my life right now

Even though I worry that I will mess everything up
and am afraid that I am more than a little rusty when it comes to breaking colts
I know that you will teach me- if I just listen- and you will show me what to do

Because that is why you are here
why God made our paths come together
I need you and you need me, Lucy

I will lead you, trust you, and guide you as best as I can
You will lead me, trust me, and guide me as best as you can
and we will become one; a girl and her horse; a rider and her steed
And we will love the journey together.

Thirty Years?!??

“The Thirties: Cut the Bullshit and Go Be Awesome!” ~ Olivia Wilde

I just celebrated my thirtieth birthday this week. Thirty years worth of watching sunrises, laughing until I cried, crying tears of joy and sadness, and just living and being. I have never been one to worry about my age- getting older has never been something that scared me or caused me to get all freaked out. Of course, I have never turned thirty before, either.
Truth be told, I had some reservations about this birthday. I always thought that by the time I was thirty, that I would have my shit together and have life figured out. I figured my lack of self- esteem would finally go away; that I could finally accept that not everyone is going to like me or understand me and that would be okay. I was sure that I would get over my social anxiety and awkwardness- that finally, I would be able to walk into a room full of people and find more than one person I could talk to. That I would finally understand what the hell is so entertaining about “The Bachelor”… apparently, I have yet to figure any of this out.

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Socially awkward, except with horses and dogs.

If being blond could be a full time, paying gig, I would never have to work another day in my life. Unfortunately for me, being awkward is an everyday occurrence in my world- I never quite what to say to other women when they complain about the chips in their nail polish and the terrible dye-job done to their hair, how to sympathize with their diet plans, or even how to wear girly clothes. I embrace my own style so much that I am rarely offended when people give me strange looks when I walk through the grocery store in boots and spurs, or when sitting down at a restaurant table covered in manure after shipping calves; but I still feel weird wearing a dress, leggings, and tall boots to work. Not to mention that I still can’t figure out how to wear infinity scarves or eye liner. Seriously.

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At least my boots are stylish...

And quite frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn. (If you don’t know what movie that is from, we can’t be friends. Just sayin’…)

The older I get, the more I realize that being a woman ain’t for the faint of heart.
That no matter what you do, you are going to step on someone’s toes and piss them off.
No matter how hard you try to fit in, there will always be people that judge the book’s cover and always treat you differently because they are too self absorbed to appreciate your differences.
That people will use you to fit their agendas– they will tell you they love you as you are, that they will always support you, and be there for you. Until they don’t. No one needs you more than when they have their own personal crisis and they think you can, or will, fix it. That might be why I like horses and dogs so much…
More importantly, though, I am learning that the best thing I can do- which is also the hardest- is to be myself. Every strange, awkward, quirky, crazy part of me is something that makes me exactly who God wants me to be right now. I have learned you have to love yourself first, because if you don’t love yourself, there isn’t anyone that will do it for you.

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At least my kids love me!

When it comes to motherhood, well, I have the combined experience of 8 years as a professional rug-rat-wrangler. I have learned you have to do what works for you and your kids. Who cares if you can’t breastfeed? Who cares if it takes forever to potty train your little ones? As long as you take the time to be present and be a loving, involved parent, it is nobody’s business how you raise your kids. Take the crazy and sometimes unwanted advice with a grain of salt and remember, kids don’t come with a manual, and there isn’t anyone that has this parenting gig figured out. Learn to have a sense of humor; and I have found that drinking (in moderation, mind you… hangovers help NO one!) also helps when your mini-me’s make you crazy.

Thirty years has taught me that the love of a good man is something to never take for granted. If he is honest, makes you laugh, makes you cry (in good ways- like he does romantic things like makes dinner once in a while, tells you that you are beautiful when you feel like a bloated sea cow, and stands beside you through childbirth), hold on loosely! Nobody likes to be nagged at, bossed around, or given an inferiority complex, so don’t be that way. Laugh at his stupid jokes, listen to his stories no matter how convoluted or boring they are, and share yourself with him. Life is better spent with someone who absolutely loves and lives for you. Reciprocate that.

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I love this guy.

At this age, good friends are hard to find. I have been blessed to rekindle old friendships with women that mean the world to me, and make new friendships with gals that are now like sisters to me. I have also learned to let go of people that never were friends, and to accept that you can’t put all the effort into a relationship and expect it to last. Be a good friend, and good friends will find you.

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Happy. Birthday. To. Me!

I never imagined that I would be celebrating my oldest daughter’s fifth birthday, my tenth wedding anniversary, and my thirtieth birthday all in the same year. To say that the woman I am today is very different from the woman I was ten years ago would be an understatement. In a lot of ways, I have gotten better- being a mom has made me realize there is more to live for than myself, and my heart has never been more full of love and pride.

I also know that time has jaded me- that having to go to jobs that I don’t care for, working with mean girls, and giving up a part of myself to raise my kids as best I can has changed me. And that is okay. As I enter this new decade of life on this planet, I realize that nothing lasts forever- all good things must come to an end, and yet the bad times never stay for too long. I hope that when I grow up, I will learn to love myself a little bit more. To stop using the F*bomb so much, and start smiling more. To find more humor in things that would normally irritate me. To learn to tell people to shove their self-righteous bullshit up their ass with a smile. To just enjoy my next thirty years- because I can’t believe how fast the first thirty have gone by.

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I hope I have many more sunrises to enjoy!

So to my next thirty years I say: bring it on!
Much Love ~ Richelle

Why the world needs more Equine Therapy…

This post was originally published here, on the Cavvy Savvy website.

Spend enough time with horses, and they become a part of you. The horsehair, the sweat, their smell-  it covers the body and fills the soul. Just like a drug, it only takes one encounter to become hooked for life.

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There have been so many horses that have left their footprints on my heart. Horses that have stolen my breath, kicked the crap out of me, reminded me to be humble, taught me to enjoy the ride, and forced me to be patient. Some have hurt me, some have healed me, but they have all taught me more than any human ever could.

Horses are, in my opinion, the greatest gift that God gave to mankind. He planted a seed of hope in these beasts; and I believe that when we look to a horse for comfort and strength, we find more than just hope; we find pieces of ourselves that were missing, lost, or just hidden down deep. I have heard that time heals all wounds, and that when life gets too hard, a doctor can prescribe a nice little pill to put you back together. Truth be told, there is no drug, no person, no book in the world that can put a person’s broken pieces back together. Whenever my heart has been broken, I could always count on my horse to push me past the pain. To guide me towards the light. To give me a shoulder to cry on, and provide me shelter from the storms when I so desperately needed it. No doctor could ever prescribe a medication that could even come close to the benefits of equine therapy.

I recently read an article in a major horse magazine about how there are several programs where horses are being used to help Veterans overcome PTSD. Through the tears, I read how horses and mules had helped a young man find his way through the darkness of depression. How being responsible for the lives of animals forced him to worry less about himself, and by becoming their leader, he found pieces of himself he thought he had lost. I realized that these creatures can soften the hardest of hearts, and the love they give becomes unconditional once we earn their trust. If they can teach someone that has been to hell and back how to live again, then the rest of us would do well to spend a little time getting some horse therapy, too.

Nowhere am I more accepting of who I am as a person, as when I sit in the saddle. My horse and I share a bond that nothing can break; he understands me and reminds me that we are all a work in progress. To stare into his eyes, to smell that earthy scent of his hide; that is where I find my true self. Where I find my solace in a world that has gone crazy. Where I can just be me, flaws and all. My horses are my muses, my saviours, and my best friends. They are my drug. They are, after my children and my husband, the best gifts God has ever given me.

I don’t know about all of you, but I can’t wait for the days to start getting longer so I can saddle up and leave these winter blues in the dust!

Much love,

Richelle

Finding Faith during the Ride

Moving heifers always requires at least one more person than you plan for, strong fences, and a keen sense of reading into the future. One day you might ride out into the herd, and the calves don’t even raise their heads or pay you any attention; the next, it is like you have a magnet stuck the side of your horse, and those same critters literally run over top of you to check you out. Point them in the direction you want, and watch them scatter like dust in a windstorm. Take it nice and easy, let them have their space, and watch them run away at Mach-3 like you zapped them with a hot shot. Pretty much no matter how hard you try to keep in charge of the situation, these young ‘uns tend to end up being the ones calling the shots. A sign that God blessing you with a teachable moment.

In my experience, raising children (especially girls, about the ages of 3 and 5), is a lot like working heifers every day of your life. Just when you think you have this momma gig all figured out, one of your kids crawls right through the proverbial fences you thought were tight and strong; leaving you standing a few lengths behind wondering what in the world just happened. Moms and dads are the ones that are supposed to be in control, to give their kids room to grow, to be able to anticipate their children’s every move; but sometimes it feels like no matter how hard you try to keep them safe and teach them to be a respectable member of society, they are the ones teaching you a lesson. These are the tests that the good Lord gives us to see how well we can perform as parents… like it or not.

In my house, “free time” is generally spent snuggling a child through a nap, folding laundry, or doing dishes. Between a full time job in town, running the books for our trucking business, blogging, photography, and being a wife and mom, the time I actually get to spend riding my horse and working on my family’s ranch is few and far between. Because of this, I find myself struggling to find my faith day in and day out. When you don’t get to do the things that give you an outlet away from the hustle and bustle and demands of “city life” (we live on my mom and dad’s ranch, but my kids go to daycare in town, and I spend 8 hours a day in a cubicle; therefore, I am stuck in a city-fied life), taking time to have a grateful heart and really speak with the Lord seems almost unattainable most days. I pray best when in the saddle, but I would guess that God has forgiven my poor lack of prayer practice as of late. I used to struggle with prayer, because it always seemed like such a one-sided conversation. I would tell God “thanks” for everything, ask him to help me with some issue I was facing, and that was it. I never gave it a lot of thought or put much effort into it.

I have been a “part-time single” mom since our oldest daughter was born five short years ago. I can’t claim to be a single mom, because I have no right to claim that when my husband is home at least three out of seven days of the week. Even so, much of our daughter’s lives have been spent being bossed around by mom, and mom alone.  I have never been very good at setting aside time for myself, or to talk to God; and when my babies were in bed and the only company I had were sleeping dogs and Facebook, our little farm house felt awful lonely.

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I realize, now, though, that God has been here all along.

He has been with me on those long nights, when the tears wouldn’t stop and the toddler wouldn’t go to bed. He was there when I was hurting, because of people that were hateful and unkind. He was there when the kids were sick, and I was sick, and daddy was on the road. I might not have been able to see him, or hear him; but like that extra rider when the heifers got a little crazy, I know that he was always there, riding herd. Tending to this house. Tending to me; not because I said the perfect prayers, or always had a gracious heart; but because that is what He does. He was there the morning my husband rolled his truck when I was six months pregnant with our oldest daughter; and the day he decided to strike it out on his own as a self employed trucker and rancher.

Being a parent is hard work. No matter if you are in a great partnership with your spouse, going it alone, or doing the part-time single parent gig, it isn’t for the faint of heart. I truly believe that if you open your heart to God, he will help you get through the tough times. He will fill your heart with so much joy that sometimes, you think it is going to explode. And just when you think you can’t keep up, he gives you a fresh horse to ride; a new day, a new chance, to start fresh. No one is perfect; especially not our kids. We are all a work in progress, so swing your leg up over the saddle, sit tall, and enjoy the ride.

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With Love,
Richelle