Sliding into 2019

2019 started with my foot on the gas pedal!  A quiet New Year’s Eve evening with Mattie popping fireworks with my dad and me, which has turned into a tradition, has turned into a non-stop roller coaster from Mattie’s extracurricular activities to starting a new job to my CattleWomen to school starting.  My life has been busy busy busy but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

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I am definitely excited to see what is in store for 2019.  2018 was amazing overall but I was glad to see it go.  A new year always means a new slate to me.  A new year to make a difference and to live life to the fullest. 2018 started off with a bang and slowly dwindled down so I can only imagine what 2019 has in store.  It is true, my thirties have already been better than my twenties and I am just getting started.

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It is crazy how your path can take you to different places, with different people, and you learn and become interested in different things.  I always knew that I had a creative side in me.  I mean, I did originally want to go to College for a photography degree. The more time I spend working the more and more I fall in love with it. I was sitting at my desk the other day working on a design for a new website and I thought to myself, I should have been a communication major or something equivalent.  I wish I would have gotten more experience in that field in school but one of my classes this semester is Ag Design so I am super excited about that.

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God continues to bless me every day and I am so thankful for all the wonderful opportunities that I have been given and my amazing parents for making those opportunities possible for me.

2019 is going to be a year of rebuilding for me, a year of growing up, a year of finding new hobbies and pursuing them, a year of traveling (gotta love my CattleWomen ladies), a year of making new memories and a year of cherishing everything and everyone around me.

Here is to 2019 and I hope your year is the best that is can possibly be!

As always share some love, we can always use some more love!

Texas CattleWomen

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This past weekend something spectacular happened.  I received an award that I held in high regard.  Texas CattleWomen of the Year.  To make the event even more special, one of my best friends was able to present this award to me.   Not only has she taken me under her wing, but she has become more like family to me.  I am so thankful for her and will forever be grateful for the time she has given me.

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I fumbled through a speech at the presentation of the award but I can express my feelings through my writings better.  Receiving this award was one of the greatest experiences that I have had with CattleWomen.  It is nice to get recognized and know that the work that you are putting in gets noticed.  I know that sometimes I can be a little impatient when it comes to things.  I, however, have so much passion, love, and drive for CattleWomen, that I want it to be the best it can be.  I hope that everyone knows that all the work I do is for the good of the organization.

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CatttleWomen is not just an organization to me, it is another family.  I honestly do not know where I would be without CattleWomen.  I joined this organization at a time when I was discovering myself.  This organization let me belong regardless of my background, my views, and my past.  From day 1, I have felt nothing but love from the women of this organization.  It is an amazing feeling to know that you have family across the state of Texas to call upon.

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I am beyond excited about the future of the organization.  I feel great things are in the work for us.  Thank you again for all the people that have a passion for the organization and want it to succeed.  Thank you to my family who helps me out so that I can do the things that I love.  Find your drive and your passion.  Find what brings you joy, explore it, and do everything in your power to not lose it.  You only have one life, make the most of it.  CattleWomen, you will always have my heart.

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

Cattle, Cattle and More Cattle

There are no words to describe our first Women In Ranching Fall Tour.  My heart is full of joy and happiness. You know when you go to church and you come out feeling high on Jesus, or that feeling you get when you get back from a church retreat? On fire for Jesus! Well, after this event, I am on fire for BEEF!   Even though there were some things we had originally planned that fell through, I believe the event was a success.

43241591_1872149859571776_6003269557068759040_nWe started out in good ole’ Decatur Texas.  We left the infamous NRS store and made our way for the Bradley 3 Ranch.  I have to say; the good Lord was on our side as the forecasted rain held off and we were able to get to tour the ranch.  Bradley 3 Ranch sells Angus cattle and even a few Charolais.  During the tour, we even had the pleasure of getting to hear Minnie Lou Bradley speak.  She was the sweetest lady with a great sense of humor!

43301715_1872149879571774_7197624495216001024_nOne of my favorite things is being able to tour other people’s ranches and see how they have their facilities set up and the way they run their operation.  One day, I hope to take all this knowledge and put it into play at my own ranch.  On a side note, I decided I definitely wanted to raise bulls after leaving this ranch!

Lakeview, Texas.  If you have never been there, you need to go.  Only make sure you go on a Saturday evening between 5-9.  There is a restaurant called Lakeview Grill.  My mouth is watering thinking about the superb meal they provided for us.  There is no menu.  They serve a salad bar, beans, a ribeye, and potatoes.  It is worth the drive no matter where you live and the history of the place just tops it off.  We made our way to Amarillo as we stopped there for the night.  Sunday morning started out with a nasty drizzling rain.  However, as we made our way to Channing, the drizzle stopped and we were able to enjoy the tour of the Barber Ranch.  Mary Barber got on the bus and we were able to actually take the bus and drive through the ranch.  We were able to get out and see some Hereford’s and Mini Hereford’s before the rain came.  The trip began to wind down as we made our way to our last stop.  The Pullen-Mayfield Ranch.  The hospitality was phenomenal.  The information that I was able to learn over the weekend was something that can’t be taught in the classroom.

43296381_1873263359460426_2742397413758074880_nI am so grateful for the opportunities to visit ranches and meet and empower women in the industry.  One of my favorite things was to sit on the bus and just talk to the women I met on the trip.  I love hearing and learning about them and their operations.  Thank you to all the ladies that attended! I am already looking forward to the next one.

I am looking forward to this coming weekend, Texas CattleWomen Fall Convention at the Texas Beef Council Offices!

On a side note, the tooth fairy came to visit our house while I was gone.  My baby isn’t so much of a baby anymore!

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As always share some love, the world could always 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.

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!

Mountain Tops & Belt Buckles

IMG_3456Words cannot describe the beauty seen from the top of a mountain. It seems as if you can see the whole world from up top on that mountain. The beauty and love that God put into making this land is incredible. Peace is up there and it surrounds you and wraps you up tight like a blanket. Take a minute to close your eyes and imagine walking a trail in the mountains. Imagine the sun rising up over the mountain tops and bouncing off the lake hidden in a valley. The birds are chirping and flying around and as you glance over you can see a herd of elk grazing peacefully. Now just take a moment and let it all sink in. Let that peace come over you and settle way down deep inside you. I know I did.

IMG_3505My trip to Colorado was one of the best trips I have had in a long time. Any trip where you get to meet with your CattleWomen friends is awesome, but this one was different. I took the time to appreciate all the amazing things around me and came back with that peace. I came back knowing that there is so much more to life. There is so much beauty around you but people fail to see it as the daily grind overtakes them. Take that time and see that beauty and find that peace.

IMG_3542In Colorado, I attended the American National CattleWomen meetings. I love going to these functions and meeting and learning from all the women across the United States. It is so motivating to see how many passionate women there are who support the Beef Industry. Many of them are Ranchers themselves. One of the exciting new programs that they have out is the National Collegiate Beef Advocacy Program. This is a wonderful program that takes Collegiate Leaders and helps them develop their leadership skills as well as giving them educational opportunities. An added bonus is introducing these young people to industry professionals. This is one program that if you are in College you do not want to pass up. There is even a scholarship associated with it. If you are wanting more information on this program be sure to check out ancw.org and click on the “Programs”. The deadline is October 31st, so make sure you get your application in soon.

IMG_3543Needless to say, I was not ready to come back home. I was not ready to get back into that daily grind. I was having a hard time (again) adjusting back to the daily grind knowing that there is so much more out there. This time I decided to do something about it. Do you know how powerful it is to watch the sunrise every morning? Taking in all that beauty has really grown on me and I do my best every morning to make sure I am up to see that sunrise. It puts a whole new perspective on my day and something that I am very grateful for.

IMG_3455This past week the Texas Aggie CattleWomen, held our annual Steak Dinner and Dance the night before Beef Cattle Short Course began. The event turned out to be everything I hoped for and more. The Texas A&M Hall of Champions was immaculate. We more than tripled our attendance from last year, and as always, the food was amazing. Nolan Ryan himself supplied the tenderloins and he was kind enough to attend! My fellow CattleWomen gave me the honor of being named, “Texas Aggie CattleWoman of the Year.” It is truly an amazing feeling to be acknowledged for doing something you love. However, every one of the girls from the officer team deserved this award as well. We all put in a lot of hard work and not because we had to. We did it because we love doing it. We have this passion for the Beef Industry that is indescribable. It is a fire that burns deep down in our bellies and all we want to do is teach and educate people as well as learn ourselves. This week was a great opportunity for learning. If you have never been to Beef Cattle Short Course and you want to learn, this is the best place to go. The classes are all spectacular and they feature some of the best speakers in the United States. This course happens once a year and will be held again in August 2018. I was unable to attend the classes this year, but I was there as a displayer and I loved every minute of it. The people you meet are brilliant and the networking opportunities are endless.

Belt BuckleNo matter which path you take in life, make sure you find something that you love doing. Make sure you make time to find that peace and to stop and appreciate the beauty around you. Take a chance and watch that sunrise, I know I will be.

“The Rarest of Them All”

If you have never been to Austin Food & Wine Festival, I highly recommend making the trip and trying it out. I was able to attend this year with the Texas Beef Council and it was quite an eye-opening experience. There were so many different types of food and so many things that tasted so GOOD! One of my favorites had to be the pork and waffles. Yes! You read that right…… it was delicious! My reason for being at the Festival was even better.

IMG_2848This event is a brand-new event that the Texas Beef Council sponsored and we were looking for the “Best of the Best” Butcher in Texas. Not only were we able to showcase butchers and their amazing talent, we were also able to shed some light on the industry. All of the activities help consumers become aware that butchers are still out there and they are a very important part of the meat business.

IMG_2846This contest started back in March where we had three regional semifinal rounds. These rounds took place in Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio. At each of the rounds, there were four to five contestants competing. For the competition, the contestants were first given a whole shoulder clod and a top sirloin with a time amount of thirty minutes to break the meat down with cuts that they would merchandise in their store. These were cuts that would fall into the full service and self-service case. This was very interesting to watch as each competitor did different cuts because of the different types of cuts their clientele ask for. For the second part of the competition, they were given a wide range of cuts that had been laid out and then they had to properly identify the cuts. For the last part of the regional, they were given a whole strip loin and had a small amount of time to cut out ten 12oz strips that were cut to order. The contestants had a scale that they could use to weigh them if needed, but the ones that were weighed could not be counted. This was remarkable to see how many actually hit 12 oz. exactly.

IMG_2845The top winners of each regional moved on to compete in the finals. The finals were a two-day competition and took place here in Austin at the Texas Beef Council office and at the Austin Food & Wine Festival. The top three contestants were; Michael Majkszak from Majkszak Meat Market, Shawn Knowles from Old Town Market, and Bryan Butler from Salt & Time Butcher Shop. These contestants had already won $2,500 at the regional events but they were competing for $5,000 and the title of Best Butcher in Texas.

IMG_2844For the final competition, the contestants were given a full loin and had an hour to break this down to cuts that they would merchandise to their customers. This part was done at the Texas Beef Council office, where they also had to have an interview done as well. At the Austin Food & Wine Festival, the contestants were given a 103 Rib or a bone-in ribeye and they also had to break this down into cuts that they would sell to their customers. Each time this was done they had to explain to the judges exactly why they used those particular cuts versus other cuts. Once again, the contestants did a wide variety of different cuts all based on their clientele. It is pretty amazing to watch them in action and if you have never seen it before, I suggest finding some way to watch. It truly is a work of art!

IMG_2849One of the best things that came out of this contest was all the beef that was donated! After ever regional and the final, all of the beef that was broken down into cuts was then donated to the local community. Not only was the contest fun and enjoyable but we were also able to give back to the local community.

So, who won you may ask? Well, while all of the contestants are winners in my book, the best butcher is Texas is Bryan Butler from Salt & Time Butcher Shop. If you are in the area of any of these butcher shops, I suggest you stop by and meet these gentlemen, they are truly great at what they do! In the meantime, support your local butcher shop!

Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”

 

That Reminder You Need When You Least Expect It…

Rhome3As another weekend started out, I was excited about going on yet another adventure with the Texas Beef Council. I woke up to a cold front that had blown in and I had forgotten my jacket, however none of that seemed to matter by the time the day was over. This was a very special day and even though it may not have started out that way, it will be one that I cherish for a while. It was a day that we all needed; One to remind us why we do the things we do and who we do them for.

I was super excited when the morning began because we were in Rhome! Rhome, Texas that is. We were on our way to visit Dr. Ron Gill’s Ranch. This was very special for me as Mrs. Debbie Gill has truly been an inspiration, mentor and guide to me this last year. Being able to grow my relationship not only with her but her husband has been amazing!

We were headed to the Ranch to do a Farm to Fork Tour. A what?? You are probably asking yourself. Well, a Farm to Fork Tour is a program that consists of dietitian and students who are working to become dietitian. They all gather in the morning and normally have breakfast. This time they were able to visit the National Cowgirl Museum, which I am sad to say I missed! Our registered dietitian, Hawley Poinsett, gave an overview on the nutritional importance of lean beef. Include red meat in your diets! It is not bad for you and there are 38 lean cuts of beef to pick from. The group was then given an introduction to beef production and how/what beef production is. The group then finally arrived at the Gill’s Ranch. Our grill master, Jerry McPherson, was able to do a Grilling 101 class with the ladies. They were all able to cook their own steaks and have lunch. I am sure you may be curious to know what Grilling 101 is, but it is basically an introduction to the art of grilling. Jerry and I headed out to the next gig we had lined up for the day.

Rhome.jpgAs we traveled to the city of West, we discussed the upcoming event. I knew it was going to be another Grilling 101, however I did not know how much of an impact that specific event was going to have on me. As we arrived at Brookhaven Youth Ranch, the boys had already started their 5K run! After the 5K run Jerry and I (mostly Jerry) were going to do a Grilling 101 for the boys. At the time, I was so focused on getting everything set up for the event that I did not really know the importance of exactly where we were. I knew we were at a youth ranch but this youth ranch was a special one. Brookhaven Youth Ranch is for teenage boys who have been in unpleasant situations. It was not until we gathered around to do the Grilling 101 that I really began to understand the situation. These boys were so excited to have us there! They could not wait to grill a steak, and some of them had never even tasted a steak before. This was probably the biggest Grilling 101 I had done so far so it was quite an experience as well. Everything turned out amazing and the boys really enjoyed themselves. It was so great to see how one small event can impact them so much and they were also all so very polite!

Rhome2Now the event was special, but it was not until last week that I realized how special the event was. Last week the thank you letters all came in. They had even made some out to me personally! It was reading the thank you letters that really made that day special for me. To see how one small act could make such a positive impact in their lives. Our small event could have potentially changed their lives for the better. It was not just about the steaks they ate, it was about showing them that people cared for them. Having people who care about you beats everything.

So, do not forget that while sometimes life’s events may seem to all run together and you may not be quite sure why you are doing something, think back to the people you are impacting. You may be making great changes in people and not even know it. This internship has been better than I ever dreamed it would be. Even if this was the only event I did all year this still would have been the best internship. Being able to have a positive influence in someone’s life, especially someone who has been through so much, is a humbling experience. I mean how can it get any better than that?

Until next time …

“So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away
You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held”- Casting Crowns

“For with God nothing shall be impossible” – Luke 1:37

The Road Goes on Forever…

Literally…. When driving across the State of Texas, the road goes on forever. Yet with each mile marker passed I was blessed with an opportunity to see the raw beauty by God’s handiwork. This year has been an amazing one and I am so thankful for the opportunity He has given me to see the beauty in the little things, because when it comes down to it, it is the little things that mean the most. One day this week take the time to take that detour home, roll down the windows, smell the fresh crisp air after a rain storm, pull over and take that picture with the bluebonnets, do NOT miss all the amazing things that surround us.

As I climbed up into the Beef Council Truck to head out of town Friday, I will admit I was a little nervous. I have never been to South Texas and was not quite sure what to expect. But climbing into that truck with the trailer loaded down gave me such a sense of pride, that any doubts or mixed feelings were soon thrown out the window as I knew this was going to be another great trip. I am so fortunate to work this Texas Beef Council internship, to show the producers and consumers all the wonderful things we are doing for them.

I was headed to Rio Grande City to help assist in the cooking for the Beef 706 program. Jerry McPherson of the Texas Beef Council and I got the opportunity to pull the grill out and cook some steaks. (On a side note, if an opportunity arises and there is a chance to eat a steak cooked by Jerry, do it! This is a must! He has a special touch and the steaks are always amazing.) The flat iron was the cut of steak that we cooked. Did you know that the flat iron is the second most tender cut of meat next to the tenderloin? If you have not tried this cut yet, it is a must do as well! Picture it, the grill smoking outside the auction barn while the steaks sizzled. The aroma of the steaks drifting to the front door as all the attendees started to arrive, mouthwatering, stomach growling, eager and ready to start their program.

The BEEF 706 program is an AMAZING opportunity and if it occurs in an area where you are producing cattle, you definitely should attend. This specific program has three separate sessions. At this particular session, the attendees were broken up into groups. As a group, they had the opportunity to go out and study the steers before a mock auction was performed. Each group bid like it was a live auction, hoping to be able to purchase the steer they thought would perform the best. These steers are then taken and will be put on feed to continue out the rest of the program. There are two additional sessions to this program. Later on, the attendees will get the opportunity to tour a feedlot and see their cattle on feed. They will also get the opportunity to visit the Kane Beef processing plant. In the end the groups will be able to assist in the fabrication process and will be able to tell how their steer ranked against all the other groups. In the ranking process, the cost of the steer, how much the steer sold for, and the quality and yield grade are just some of the many factors that are taken into consideration.

This is an awesome experience for our producers to be able to really tell how much genetics, frame size, and muscling play a factor into their everyday decisions. While I was only at the first session today, I highly recommend it to anyone that is producing cattle. Whether that producer is a seasoned veteran or someone who is fairly new to the cattle business it never hurts to hear about the current information that is being taken into consideration when the cattle are sent to the auction barn or processing plant.

I survived my first trip to South Texas and I am ready to go back…….even though that road does travel on forever! If you are ever down in Rio Grande City, stop by the R.Y. Livestock Sales. Mr. Sam Rodriguez is the owner. Sam and his wife are so nice and welcoming. If you are want more information about the BEEF 706 program, be sure to check out TexasBeefCheckoff.com or reach out to one of your local Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Agents.

While I was driving home, George Strait’s song “Take Me to Texas” came on, it just reminded me of how amazing the State of Texas is and how amazing the Lord is.

Until next time…

 

“And these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

1 Corinthians 13:13