Living My Best Life

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Alright ladies, have you ever just had one of those days?  You know that day, that one where you just aren’t feeling it.  As soon as you wake up, you just already know it is going to be a long day.  When you are tired before you even get out of bed, even though you had 8 (okay let’s be honest), a solid 6 hours of sleep. When you can feel your patience running thin.  When you constantly eat all day, even though you are not hungry.  When you just want to scream for no reason at all what so ever.  When even though everything in your life seems to be going perfect, you just want the day to end.  Hormones, they can be something tricky.  That being said…  someone told me that the 30’s were going to be some of the best years of my life.  Boy, were they absolutely right.  Granted, I am only a few months in, but this year has been phenomenal and it is only getting better with each day that passes.

 

IMG_2778These past few weeks have been splendid. I’ve met new people and felt like I instantly connected with them. I know that having them in my life is going to be a great thing. I’ve reunited with friends, the ones you have not seen in a while and how you can just pick up where things left off.  God sure does have an exciting plan laid out for me and I am beyond stoked to see what the future holds.  It is amazing how things seem to start falling in place when you thoroughly enjoy life.  It is kind of crazy how one girl at A&M who wore a Texas Aggie CattleWomen t-shirt, pretty much changed my whole life around.  Gretchen, I thank you by the way if you are reading this.  I am so blessed to be able to have so much passion and love for an organization that I can actually participate in.  Another thank you “Shout Out” to my parents for helping make that possible as well.

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The rest of this month is going to be crazy busy.  This coming week The Texas CattleWomen have our brand-new event.  It is our “Women In Ranching” Program that we are hosting in Decatur, Texas.  I am beyond pumped about this event and this opportunity for women in the industry. Shortly after that my baby graduates Kindergarten.  Yes, you read that right, Kindergarten.  Time definitely needs to slow down however, I know that it will only start going faster from here on out.  Make sure to give those loved ones an extra hug and kiss and tell them how much you love them.

As always spread some love, we could all use a little more love!

Oh The Places I Will Go…

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These last few days have been amazing and they have continuously reminded me how wonderful God is.  I got in the truck last week and headed to Burlington, Colorado.  If you have ever had a doubt in your mind about His existence, get in the truck and go for a drive.  Don’t just drive around town, drive somewhere new.  Drive out in the country. Drive all day and see where you end up. Drive somewhere and watch the sun set.  Take the time to see how beautiful the world actually is.  Take some time to go somewhere new, explore, be adventurous. Roll down the windows, let the wind blow through your hair and take some time for yourself.

IMG_5432Burlington, Colorado.  A new place that I had never been before.  I went to the American National CattleWomen Region IV meeting.  While it was a little drive to get there, it was exactly what I needed.  When you are on the road for that long, you get time to clear your head and look at all the spectacular things in life.  Burlington was a different side of Colorado that I had not seen yet.  There were lots of pastures and open spaces and hardly any trees.  The weather could not have been more perfect.  I was a little worried as there was a rain storm forming but it turned out phenomenal.  Being with my CattleWomen is never a disappointment and I continue to look forward to every meeting that I have with them!

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If you have never been to Burlington, you have to check out the town.  It is a pretty small town but they have a historic carousel there.  It was built in 1905 and is a hand carved wooden merry go round.  This thing is definitely special!  It has quite a few oil paintings and when you walk on it, you can tell that it is hung up on suspension.  It also goes around quite a bit faster than the normal carousels that they have now.

Another very interesting thing that you need to visit is the Old Town Museum.  This place is stellar! There are a bunch of old style 1900 buildings and you can walk around checking out all the buildings. It is like a small little town!  They have a saloon and even a huge barn that people can gather in.

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We were also able to visit some feedlots and have some great speakers present to us.  The comradery is my favorite thing in these events.  Each event I meet more people and gain more friendships.  Heck, most of the people to talk to at the meetings live multiple hours away or even states away!

Find something that brings you joy and do it!

As always spread some love, we could all use a little more love.

Friends…More Like Family

IMG_3704Life can be really funny at times. Sometimes you get those curve balls thrown at you and you just expect the worst to happen.  You get ready to put on your brave face and your big girl panties because you can get through this just like you have gotten through everything else. All the sudden, that curve ball you were thrown actually turns into a really great thing.  All that stress and the questioning of things that you thought you needed to do, didn’t really need to happen at all. At times like this, I just like to sit and chuckle. Yes, you read that right, I sit and chuckle to myself.  God has to have an amazing sense of humor.

IMG_1896While I was working myself through this curveball, I took some time to sit and reflect.  You see, I have been told that at times I can have tunnel vision.  I did not believe this at first but then I took some more time to think about it.  I can get so focused on certain people or projects in my life that I forget to stop and smell the roses.  The last four years have been some great ones at A&M, but this year, 2018 has been the best so far.

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If you know me at all, then you know that I have always been “one of the guys”.  I would rather go out in my baseball cap and watch some kind of sports over a few beers than shopping any day.  For some reason it has not always been easy for me to have girlfriends.  This may be because it just takes me a while to let people in.  Well, tonight I took a step back and widened my tunnel vision and some unexpected things came to light.  I have made some amazing friends these last few years, but especially this last year.  I would not even call them friends, I would call them family.  They have not only taken me in as family but the kiddo in as well.  Now that my friends brings me to tears.

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I am so thankful for all the wonderful people that God has put in my life.  Whether it be brand new people that I am still getting to know or people that have been there from the beginning.  You know who you are and I hope you know how much each one of you means to me and I thank you.  Sometimes you just need to stop and smell the roses and look at all the tremendous people you have in your life.  You might be amazed at what you see.

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As always spread some love, we can all use a little more love.

Doing What You Love and Loving What You Do….

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They say absence makes the heart grow fonder and I will have to agree.  I was able to return to one of my most absolute favorite places this weekend and participate in a Grilling 101.  Yes, you read that right, the famous Grilling 101’s I have talked about before.  I do not think it can be much better than being surrounded with people and an organization you have so much passion for and being able to cook an amazing steak.  The famous Grill Master was there, showing us the skills on how to cook the steak properly.  I will have to admit, I still got it.  The steak was phenomenal and the food was astounding as always.  If you have never tried grilled angel food cake then you need to add it to the list of things to try!

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Being there brings back some wonderful memories and I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to experience my internship with the Texas Beef Council.  The last two weeks have been a roller coaster ride of ups and downs, but I think the struggles that we go through only make us the people that we are today.  That struggle tends to push me to do more and make more of myself.

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As I was sitting at the table yesterday, talking to the incredible women that surrounded me, I realized that things were starting to fall in place.  The connection between local chapters across the state was slowly but surely starting to happen.  That brings so much joy to my heart.  I am thrilled to see where the future of CattleWomen is going and I know I will be along for the ride.  Find something you love to do and invest in it and only make it better.  Life is too short to be unhappy or hold grudges.  Take time out of your day to do something special for a stranger. Be caring to everyone regardless of what may have happened and try to be a positive impact on someone’s life.  I have met some remarkable ladies in my life who have left a lasting impression upon me.  I only hope that one day I can do the same for someone else.

As always spread some love, we could all use a little more love.

When Life Happens

IMG_1314                            What do you do when you don’t know what to do?  I believe everyone has reached this point at some point or another in their life.  What do you do when it seems like you can’t go anymore?  What do you do when it seems like every time you take a step forward, you end up taking two steps back?  What do you do when you finally decide to take a chance and open your heart up for someone only for them to walk away?  How can you carry on when you have a heart so big and so much love to give? What do you do when you begin to question yourself on every decision you have made so far?  What do you do when you don’t know if you are on the right track?  What if you feel stuck and wonder if maybe you should have taken a job instead of going to graduate school?  What do you do when all you want is to make sure that your kid is happy and has more and better opportunities than you do? What if you don’t know if you are doing anything right? I hate it when life gets hard and the days come when you just don’t understand.  What if you know what you want in life but you don’t know which step to take to get there?  What do you do when you don’t know what to do?

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You shed a few tears.  And then you probably shed quite a few more.  You slowly begin to pick up the pieces and you hit your knees hard.  You pray. You pray hard and you pray daily.  You have faith that the Lord has an amazing plan for you.  You trust in Him and the process no matter how hard or how much you may not understand.  You pick up those pieces and you begin each day with a smile.  You laugh. You laugh hard and you laugh often.  You grab a good book and dive in to clear your head.  You reach out to the people who mean the most to you.  You talk to that best friend at 3 o’clock in the morning because they know you need them.  You spend time with the one who believes in you the most, who sees more potential in you than you could ever know.  You reach out to the one who lives in another state to have them remind you that life is hard and everyone struggles, but it is about owning that struggle.  You even reach out to the ones who tell you what you need to hear, even though it may not be something that you WANT to hear.  You be yourself because you are special just the way you are.  You continue to love because that is who you are.  You continue to push forward because that is what you know how to do.  You keep going and one day, one special day, you will be amazed at how much you really have accomplished.

As always spread some love, the world could always use a little more love.

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One Big Milestone

IMG_1093Well…today is the day.  The first anniversary of my 29th Birthday.  This day has been on my mind for the last 6 months at least.  Mostly I just panicked. I was obsessively thinking about what I am going to do? Is this the end of my world or something? Overly dramatic I know.  I felt panicked because I am not married yet, and not even close to it.  Panicking because I am still in school.  Panicking because I do not have my own place to live in yet.  Panicking because another year is coming which means my baby girl is getting another year older.

IMG_1801Holy Cow, that is a lot of time spent panicking over something that is bound and determined to happen regardless of how I feel about it.  This last year, I put a lot more stress on my life than I needed to.  I spent so much time worrying about things that honestly do not really matter in the grand scheme of life. Most of my worries are just things that need to happen in this chapter of my life in order for me to take the next step.

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This New Year something changed.  I realized that I had discovered that I loved my life and the way it was.  I finally realized that when God wants things to happen they will happen on his time, not mine. I learned that I need to do what is best for Mattie and myself and not worry about what other people think.  Seriously, let us think about this for a minute.  How many of us, sit and think about what we do before we do it because we care about what other people think about us?  Stop it right now.  Be yourself. If someone does not like you because of who you are inside and out, drop them, you do not need them in your life anyway.

IMG_0517So, who cares if I still live with my parents? Who cares if I am still in school or if I am an unmarried woman with a child?  I know that I am doing the best I can right now for this chapter of my life.  The first anniversary of my 29th birthday…. It is upon me.  Funny thing is, I feel like these are going to be some of my best years yet.  It is incredible how much such a small thing, like surrounding yourself with people you aspire to be, can change your thinking on things.  Take some time to surround yourself with people who love you and lift you up and only want the best for you.  Take some time to sit and listen; Whether it be in a church pew or your special place at home.  Make some time to think about things and listen. THE message will hit you when you least expect it.  Also, learn to love music.  Music for me cures almost everything. What music does not cure, laughing sure does. So, laugh loud and laugh often. Yes, even have some of those laughs that involve tears streaming down your face. The big 3-0 year is going to be one for the books, I can already feel it.

IMG_1084As always spread some love, we could all use a little more love.

1st Timer

27751743_1710199699002582_2993604091170085740_nMan oh man! My trip to Phoenix was simply magical!!  This was my second year to attend the American National CattleWomen (ANCW) annual meetings, but this was my first year to attend the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) annual meeting. First and foremost, wow. Just WOW!  I did not realize how big this event was or how many attended this convention. Even if it is only for one day, the trade show is worth it.  In the market for a job? The trade show is where it is at.  So many different companies were represented. From equipment companies to insurance companies to feed companies; Whatever your interest in agriculture is, there was a booth for it.

My first day I was able to attend the ANCW meetings and meet CattleWomen from all across the country.  This is probably one of the more special parts of the convention.  Seeing all the different women who are working hard in their communities spreading their story and their love for beef.  The more you are able to see these women, the more friendships are formed and relationships are built.  It truly is marvelous!

27657675_10160629144290347_1324125336082093514_nBesides meeting new people and being nominated to serve on the Board of Directors for ANCW, I had one more piece I really enjoyed.  Believe it or not, I loved being able to hear Colin Woodall speak.  He is NCBA Chief Lobbyist on Capitol Hill. He is an astounding speaker and has given me the drive to become more knowledgeable about the current legislature affecting our agricultural industry.  If ever given the chance, I highly recommend attending any meetings where he is speaking.

In addition to the ANCW meetings, I was also able to attend some of the NCBA meetings.  Some of these meetings were broken up by Regions, some were broken up by committees.  If you are ever interested in the Beef Checkoff, this is a great place to get information.  What is the Beef Checkoff you ask?  Every time cattle are sold, 1 dollar is taken for every head and sometimes 2 dollars depending on whether the state is set up that way or not.  For example, in Texas, 2 dollars are taken.  This money is used to come up with programs to promote beef, educate consumers, and do research.  There are several meetings that occur containing anything and everything that is happening with the Beef Checkoff.   If you are interested in learning more about the Beef Check off, be sure to check out this website. https://www.beefboard.org/producer/CBBFinalUnderstandingBrochure.pdf

Besides the stunning tradeshow, there are also live demonstrations that occur as well.  There are equipment demonstrations as well as live cattle handling and colt breaking, just to name a few.  These demonstrations were done by Dr. Gill and Curt and Tammy Pate.  I learn something every time I listen to them and it is always great to keep improving.

unnamedI wrapped up my convention by attending an emerging leaders luncheon.  This is an incredible opportunity for college students and the youth coming up in the industry.  We were able to sit down with some of the more knowledgeable people in the industry and learn what it takes to succeed.  There was also a notable speaker there by the name of Bruce Vincent. He is an impeccable speaker, so please make sure to check him out as well.

This was a remarkable opportunity and I urge everyone in the industry to attend this convention at least once, especially for any students or young people wanting to get in the industry.  I know I am already looking forward to New Orleans next year!

As always spread some love, we could all use a little more love!

Delayed Flights and Window Seats

IMG_1493As I sat looking out of my airplane window, a lot of thoughts went through my head.  First, I have this minor birthday coming up which makes me another year older…… Yikes!!  Second, I truly needed to get home and see my baby. I thought about how much I need to really start working harder on my goals and making a name for myself. I work pretty hard now, but you can always work harder. I pondered about how much the Women In Ranching program is so special to me.  Most of all, I thought about how fortunate I am.

I am SO lucky to be able to go and travel and be involved in an industry that I am so passionate about.  I am so fortunate to have parents that are able to make all of these things happen for me.  These small but significant things show the true love a parent has for a child.  There are so many people that are not as fortunate as I am. Some have just been told over and over to just get a job that makes the most money regardless of the fact that they may not even enjoy the job.  Now, do not get me wrong, I know every job has its ups and downs.  However, I have often heard the saying; “Do something you enjoy and you will never work a day in your life.”

IMG_1472This past year has been an amazing ride and one where I became more and more involved in an industry that I love.  I went from being just a member in a collegiate organization to the Vice President of Texas CattleWomen. From there I am now privileged to serve on the Board of Directors for American National CattleWomen. As time has passed, I have gotten to meet more and more people who are just as passionate about the Cattle Industry as I am.

Thankfully, I now find that the things I worried and stressed about do not seem as important anymore.  I know that I have finally found a place where I fit, regardless of the fact that my background may be quite different than a lot of other people in the industry.  If you have the passion, anything is possible.  From here on out, it is only UP!  I have found my true happiness and I am holding on to it dearly.

As always spread some love, we could all use a little more love!

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Graduate School

IMG_1545Graduate school. My next big step.  Grad school officially started last week and I was a big ball of emotions. First of all, I was relieved that I was accepted.  I was also ecstatic that I can continue my education in the field that I love and am passionate about.  I was nervous.  I am the new kid on the block so to speak.

As I sat in class that first day and looked around, everyone seemed to know everyone else.  I could almost feel myself withdrawing, but NO, not this year!  This year is about meeting new people and trying new things.  This year is about continuing to step out of my comfort zone. How else can you get better if you never challenge yourself?  It looks like I will have quite a few people to meet.

DSC_0504Almost on cue, I began having the “questioning” feeling.  Am I doing the right thing?  Am I supposed to go to graduate school?  Is this all part of my plan?  While I pondered my whole ball of feelings last week, I was really stuck on this last feeling, questioning.  I sat down and decided to write out my goals and dreams. Here is a trick I learned from Gary V……… Write out the top goal you have, no matter WHAT it is.  From there, work backwards until you get to the present time.  You then have somewhat of a schedule or agenda on the steps you need to take to get you to your ultimate goal. After writing everything out and working through it in my mind, I do feel that graduate school is a step in the right direction for me.

I think we all want great things in our life and we often question whether we are making the right decision or not.  I, however, got the message I needed as I sat in church.  Listen for Gods call.  The immediate thoughts that went through my head were something along the lines of; How am I supposed to hear God? How long do I have to wait to hear Him? What am I supposed to be doing in the mean time? Then I went back to, how am I supposed to hear Him?  If you can imagine, all of these thoughts were going through my head at the same time as I was trying to listen.  It was very interesting to listen to other people and how they have felt God speak to them.  For some, they were awakened in the night and heard Him speak to them.  For others, it was not until after the fact that they realized that this is what God intended for them to do.  Still for others, it was just a nudge in a general direction, a gut feeling.  This left me to do quite a bit of thinking.  I think it comes down to prayer.  If you include prayer in your life, especially when it comes time to make those big decisions and whether you can actually hear Him or not, He will be there with you.

DSC_0289I know that all of the decisions I have made in the past have led me to right where I am today.  However, I feel that this is exactly where I am supposed to be.  I am super excited about the amazing things that are coming this year and I know He has so much more planned for me.

As always, spread some love.

2018

IMG_1436             Wow! I am having trouble coming up with the words!  My trip to Ireland was simply amazing.  I do not think it was from all of the beautiful sights or the wonderful food that I tasted.  I think stepping out of my comfort zone and doing something new made it exciting.  I think being able to disconnect from the phone, social media, people in general from time to time helps.  While I did not unplug as much as I wanted too, I did some.  I do not think people realize how hard it is to unplug until they actually try and do it.  Give it a try, it does put things in perspective.

IMG_1269               Hanging out with the locals, meeting new people and just listening to what people had to say made the trip worthwhile.  My favorite part on every tour we went on was learning about all the history.  Most importantly though, I had the time away to think and re-evaluate my goals, my passions, what I want in life, and what I want for Mattie.  While there was no ringing in the New Year, I welcome this New Year with a huge smile on my face!

DSC_0332              2017 was one of those years to remember and to cherish. It was a year where I felt accomplishment, many blessings, joys, along with heartache and disappointment. 2017 was a year where I took a chance and decided to step out of my comfort zone. It was a year where I learned that it is perfectly fine and acceptable to not know ALL of the answers. I learned to trust and have faith in a plan that is bigger than me. It was a year full of being able to spend time with the people who mean the most to me. 2017 was a year of learning and discovering my passions, and taking those passions and making something out of them despite how crazy they may seem.

IMG_1486                Most importantly, 2017 was a year of a tremendous amount of growth.  Growth in being able to look at yourself in the mirror and love the person looking back at you.  Growth in knowing that despite the past, you are right where you were supposed to be.  Growth in knowing that the future is bright and there is so much more out there for you.  Growth in learning to love here, and now, in the present.  2017 was a hell of a year and here is to 2018!

IMG_1463              I started 2018 off with a bang and am looking forward too many more new adventures. I’m going to take more chances and continue to step more and more out of that comfort zone. I’ll be taking extra time to cherish all of the little things. Honestly, they are the only things that matter. I’m going to follow my passions, even if it means going against the grain. My passions burn like a fire in my heart and given enough time I can explain why they matter to me. I’m going to laugh every day and multiple times a day.  Laughing is good for the soul. If you do not laugh, you definitely need to start.  Most importantly, one has to love.  Love as often as you can and as deep as possible.  And pray.  Pray hard and pray often.  Only the Big man upstairs knows what plans He has for me.  However, I am betting that it is something spectacular.

IMG_1573Smile-Laugh-Love.  We could all use a little more love.