Roll on…

As Alabama’s “Roll On” began playing through the car stereo the other night, I tried to really listen to the words of that song. I know it, word for word, because the song has been on the radio longer than I have been alive. But it seemed to really hit home while my oldest child was sleeping after a long week at school and a complete and utterly embarrassing meltdown at daycare, and her little sister sat quietly next to her in the back seat, peering out the window into the fading daylight.

As I took a quick peek in my rear-view mirror, silent tears started streaming down my face as I realized how this song has become my family’s anthem.

Their dad  was still on the road, heading home from hauling cattle to the sale a hundred miles away for some good friends of ours. He’s been on the road for what feels like forever; in reality it hasn’t been that much, and he has been home at night more than before he became a self-employed trucker.

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Loaded up and ready to roll.

That said, it doesn’t make life in our house any easier.

The girls miss their daddy, and I do too. Not only do they tell me on a pretty regular basis, but I see it in their eyes that they know things are different. It is a strange thing for me, because my dad was always around growing up. The good thing is that it isn’t always this way.

I miss our semi-normal routine when their dad is gone; and although I maintain a pretty tight ship whether my husband is home or not, it is tiring to do it all alone.

I secretly worry every time the wheels on our truck turn. I worry he hasn’t had enough sleep, I worry about other drivers, I worry about the weather; even though I know my husband is more than capable to handle anything the miles under his tires might throw at him. Worry does no good, but just like a child, I can’t help but worry a little about him. I guess that’s what happens when you love someone a hell of a lot.

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I am blessed to have a man in my love that loves his family very fiercely.

I pray for the scales to be closed, yet I know and appreciate the importance the DOT workers do to keep all of us safe- no matter the headache it causes my husband and the other drivers we know.

I both despise the sound of the phone ringing, yet can’t help but wish for the work to steadily pour in. Sometimes I struggle to not tell the guy on the other end how self-absorbed he is, calling my house at supper time, asking my husband to leave his wife and kids; while I can hear his family in the background of the call. But the truth is that we signed up for this when we went into business for ourselves.

I hate when he is gone, yet sometimes (secretly) wish for him to be gone for a couple days; you know, so I can have some time to myself…

When he is gone overnight, I never sleep very well.  The kids hate the fact they don’t get to see their daddy in the morning, and the drama seems more constant. I know there are a lot of kids and wives that see their dads and husbands a lot less, and I don’t want to sound ungrateful- I admire the hell out of Shane for busting his butt day after day to help us chase our dreams. If it takes him being on the road, I guess the kids and I will keep on singing these words:

“Roll on family, Roll on along; Roll on Daddy till you get back home; roll on family, roll on through; roll on mama like I ask you to do, roll on eighteen-wheeler, Roll On!”

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To all you wives and mommas out there, holding down the fort; and to all you guys making a living on the road: God bless you. Thank you for all the work you do behind the scenes to keep America rolling on!

~Much love,

Richelle

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Why You Owe It to Yourself To Read this Blog Post

Newsflash:   The world doesn’t owe you anything.

You know who does owe you something? You.

That’s right, you. You owe it to yourself to get off your butt and go for a walk once in a while.

You owe it to yourself to call your grandparents, or your parents, or your sibling, just to say “Hi” and see how they are doing.

You owe it to yourself to get a job, to pay your bills, to be a responsible and functioning member of society.

You owe it to yourself to “Let it Go”. To ignore the dumb shit you disagree with on social media, or to unfollow people that upset you.

If it offends you, grow a spine.

If you don’t understand it, research it.

If you don’t agree with it, fine; but step out of your ignorant bubble and put yourself in the other guy’s shoes.

Don’t like a song? Change the channel. Don’t like a show? Change the channel. Don’t like your job? Figure out a way to do something that you do like. Chances are, it is going take time. Trust me- it doesn’t happen overnight. I am still working on this one.

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We all have things we dislike, can’t get on board with, disagree with, or downright despise. That’s ok. You don’t like my religion? That’s ok. You practice yours and leave me alone. You don’t like my photography? Fine- don’t look at it. You don’t like me? Join the club. Move on.

I have worked with the public long enough to know everyone wants everything right now, for free, and exactly how they want it. Well, life ain’t Burger King. It ain’t always a walk in the park or a bouquet of fresh cut roses. Get the hell over it. Don’t be a jerk just because you have to follow the rules like everyone else. Believe it or not, most business policies are made to keep you from getting screwed… just accept it, and grin and bear it.

Tough times make you tougher, and if you use your head, they don’t stick around forever. Hard work isn’t a dirty word-  No one ever died from a few blisters or a few hours of overtime. Don’t be the guy that missed an opportunity because it knocked on the door dressed in blue collar clothes.

Start thinking for yourself. Stop blaming everyone else for all the crappy things that happen to you. It ain’t your parents fault, your third grade teacher’s fault, or probably even your boss’s fault. Take some responsibility for your crappy decisions. You made the choice, so claim that shit.

Politicians never tell the truth. Hell, they don’t even know what the truth is anymore. That happens when you make promises to everyone you meet, and follow through on none of them.  Do some research, be intelligent, and when you have the opportunity, vote for the person that is the least likely to wreck our country. You don’t need to plaster it all over the front of your house- I don’t care who the hell you vote for, as long as you vote. At least you have reason to complain when the jackass you voted for screws up. And if you don’t vote, then shut your face. You can’t have your cake and eat it, too.

Not everything you read on the internet is Gospel truth. Shocker, right? Listen to the radio once in a while. Turn on the local news. Talk to another human being… kind of like the government- what you see isn’t always what you get. If it seems too good to be true, it is. If it is seems to easy, it is. God (or, if you prefer, evolution) gave you a brain- use it. 

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Be nice. Be humble. Laugh once in a damn while. Work hard for what you want, mind your own business, and remember- if it doesn’t affect you directly, then, by God, keep on keeping on. You might think you are important, but even that well trained high horse you ride on is bound to have a bad day at some point. When reality bucks your ass off, are you going to be able to pick yourself up off the ground gracefully and keep your pride? Or are you going to have to eat some real bitter crow once the dust settles? Be careful how you treat others; because you never know who might be standing at the end of your rope when you need help climbing out of a hole.

Stand up for yourself, and never let anyone treat you less than how you treat them. You owe it to yourself to take pride in yourself. No one owes you anything, if you don’t work for it first. Set some goals, chase your dreams, and make yourself proud. You owe it to yourself to be awesome!

~Much love, Richelle

Why You Owe It to Yourself To Read this Blog Post

Newsflash:   The world doesn’t owe you anything.

You know who does owe you something? You.

That’s right, you. You owe it to yourself to get off your butt and go for a walk once in a while.

You owe it to yourself to call your grandparents, or your parents, or your sibling, just to say “Hi” and see how they are doing.

You owe it to yourself to get a job, to pay your bills, to be a responsible and functioning member of society.

You owe it to yourself to “Let it Go”. To ignore the dumb shit you disagree with on social media, or to unfollow people that upset you.

If it offends you, grow a spine.

If you don’t understand it, research it.

If you don’t agree with it, fine; but step out of your ignorant bubble and put yourself in the other guy’s shoes.

Don’t like a song? Change the channel. Don’t like a show? Change the channel. Don’t like your job? Figure out a way to do something that you do like. Chances are, it is going take time. Trust me- it doesn’t happen overnight. I am still working on this one.

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We all have things we dislike, can’t get on board with, disagree with, or downright despise. That’s ok. You don’t like my religion? That’s ok. You practice yours and leave me alone. You don’t like my photography? Fine- don’t look at it. You don’t like me? Join the club. Move on.

I have worked with the public long enough to know everyone wants everything right now, for free, and exactly how they want it. Well, life ain’t Burger King. It ain’t always a walk in the park or a bouquet of fresh cut roses. Get the hell over it. Don’t be a jerk just because you have to follow the rules like everyone else. Believe it or not, most business policies are made to keep you from getting screwed… just accept it, and grin and bear it.

Tough times make you tougher, and if you use your head, they don’t stick around forever. Hard work isn’t a dirty word-  No one ever died from a few blisters or a few hours of overtime. Don’t be the guy that missed an opportunity because it knocked on the door dressed in blue collar clothes.

Start thinking for yourself. Stop blaming everyone else for all the crappy things that happen to you. It ain’t your parents fault, your third grade teacher’s fault, or probably even your boss’s fault. Take some responsibility for your crappy decisions. You made the choice, so claim that shit.

Politicians never tell the truth. Hell, they don’t even know what the truth is anymore. That happens when you make promises to everyone you meet, and follow through on none of them.  Do some research, be intelligent, and when you have the opportunity, vote for the person that is the least likely to wreck our country. You don’t need to plaster it all over the front of your house- I don’t care who the hell you vote for, as long as you vote. At least you have reason to complain when the jackass you voted for screws up. And if you don’t vote, then shut your face. You can’t have your cake and eat it, too.

Not everything you read on the internet is Gospel truth. Shocker, right? Listen to the radio once in a while. Turn on the local news. Talk to another human being… kind of like the government- what you see isn’t always what you get. If it seems too good to be true, it is. If it is seems to easy, it is. God (or, if you prefer, evolution) gave you a brain- use it. 

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Be nice. Be humble. Laugh once in a damn while. Work hard for what you want, mind your own business, and remember- if it doesn’t affect you directly, then, by God, keep on keeping on. You might think you are important, but even that well trained high horse you ride on is bound to have a bad day at some point. When reality bucks your ass off, are you going to be able to pick yourself up off the ground gracefully and keep your pride? Or are you going to have to eat some real bitter crow once the dust settles? Be careful how you treat others; because you never know who might be standing at the end of your rope when you need help climbing out of a hole.

Stand up for yourself, and never let anyone treat you less than how you treat them. You owe it to yourself to take pride in yourself. No one owes you anything, if you don’t work for it first. Set some goals, chase your dreams, and make yourself proud. You owe it to yourself to be awesome!

~Much love, Richelle

{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

Unfiltered

“There’s two dates in time that they’ll carve on your stone, and everyone knows what they mean; what’s more important is the time that is known, in that little dash in between…”- “Pushing up Daisies”, by Garth Brooks

On the day that the good Lord chooses to call me home, I hope I am doing something that fills my heart with happiness. I hope on the day that my family chooses to return my body to the earth, that they saddle up my ashes on top of a good looking horse and lead him to a green pasture overlooking the land my family has tended to for years. As they quietly unload the remnants of what was once my body, and scatter my ashes along the edge of the creek, I pray that the only sounds they hear are the birds singing their happy songs, the rippling of the water over the rocky creek bottom, and the swishing of the horse’s tails. No chirping cell phones, no music blaring from an Ipod. I hope they speak kindly of me; telling stories of how I lived and of the legacy I am leaving behind.

A legacy that is more than stacks of laundry, dirty dishes, and an 8 to 5 office job.

A life full of laughter and love for my husband and kids, horses and dogs, friends and family members.

I hope to raise children that know there is an entire world beyond their fingertips; beyond the  Facebook status updates and Twitter feeds. Young adults that can figure out that sometimes the only evidence of their idiot mistakes they need are memories; memories that fade with age and heal with time. Adults that can carry on conversations with other adults face to face and that can deal with hardships on their own, without needing the input from the rest of the world.

Because experiencing life second hand is not living (thanks to the doctor’s office hold music for that reminder!). Life is too short to be spent trying to live vicariously through our “friends” Facebook updates. A good life should not be judged by your Instagram photos or number of songs downloaded from Itunes. Get out from behind the lens once in a while, and learn to value what you are seeing #unfiltered.
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I want to live a happy, prosperous, love-filled life; so when the time comes to start pushing up daisies, I will be missed for so much more than a social- media presence. We all deserve to live this one trip around the sun to the fullest, and I intend to start living it for myself.

I hope you can live your life for yourself, too. #Unfiltered. #Uninterrupted. Un-hash-tagged.

Until next time,

Richelle

The Next Generation

This post was originally published on the Progressive Cattlemen guest blog. See it here.

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Four generations. As I sit here writing this, it dawns on me that I represent the fourth generation in my family to raise my own cattle and participate in agriculture. It is more than a lifestyle- being a rancher is who we are, not what we do. I am proud that my husband and I have been able to join my parents on the family cattle operation. We may have taken the long way back, but I always knew that I wanted to come home and work with my parents. Ranching is tough- long days spent in the heat, the bitter cold, and in the saddle. Hours spent fixing fence and doctoring cattle. The wages don’t always cover the expenses, so I suppose it is a  good thing we generally have a good sense of humor. Ranchers are not strangers to hard times. We endure volatile markets, violent weather, disease, drought, and people that have no idea about what it takes to feed animals and other people. If you didn’t grow up in a ranching family, it is hard to understand why anyone would go back and live this way. It is a daily occurrence for me to get strange looks from people that ask me what I want to do when I grow up and I answer with “go home and ranch with my family”.
According to the USDA,  the average age of an American rancher is 57 years old. These are people that have been busting their humps their entire lives; people that have shaped the face of agriculture as we now know it. Although they may be aging, they are still very much in control of their operations and are facing new challenges every day. They may have a little more gray hair and may look a little more weathered than when they started out, but they are still here, still laying the groundwork for the next generations to come. Who is going to fill those shoes? Who is going to continue their legacy of conservation, sustainability, and animal husbandry?
I have to admit that when it comes to people my age and younger, I am often left shaking my head and wondering where our parents went wrong. Very few young people can carry on a conversation unless it is via text message, and if it isn’t found online, it can’t be true. When I hear my parents and friends discussing the future of the cattle business, it saddens me to know that there isn’t a lot of faith in my generation. We have given ourselves a black eye thanks to our penchant for technology, electronics, and lack of face-to-face interaction. Even though it feels like that is the majority, there are plenty of  us that believe in things like hard work, morals, and respect for  those that came before us. It is hard to be told we will never be as good as our parents; that the future of agriculture is in a precarious position. I hope that we can wisely overcome and flourish like generations before; our generation is going to have to work twice as hard to do an even better job than those before us thanks to social media and an increasing population that is scared of the things they don’t understand. So to our parents and other elders, I have this to say: thank you for sharing your wisdom with us;  for involving us in your operations, and for being such positive influences on us that you have made us want to come back and work alongside you. Thank you for working your butts off to provide for us and the rest of our country. I hope we can prove to you we care about our livestock and our crops as much as you do. That we are committed to carrying on the legacy you have passed on to us. We might go about things in a completely different way, but I hope you know we couldn’t do this without you, that we don’t want to do this without you, and that we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you. Thank you for believing in us. I hope that we make you proud.
​~Much love, Richelle