Gratitude turns mountains to bumps

“There is a calmness to a life lived in gratitude, a quiet joy.” ~ Ralph Blum

Living with gratitude hasn’t always been my norm. In an industry where so much is outside our control, negativity finds plenty of fissures to infiltrate. Yet, the single greatest change I’ve made in recent years is making the practice of gratitude my default.

Sunset in a Blum Ranch hayfield.

That doesn’t mean I don’t still cuss like a sailor with fury or frustration occasionally. It doesn’t mean I don’t feel sad, anxious, or defeated sometimes. Instead, learning to live with gratitude as my default means I’m actually learning to live an authentic life … one full of real feeling and emotion but not controlled by the swings of it all.

Practicing gratitude daily means welcoming a peace I once believed had to be chased. Gratitude doesn’t change the uncontrollable factors in farming and ranching, but for me, it makes those factors less of a mountain and more of a bump. #WeAreRanchers #findthegood #bethegood

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“We must not allow other people’s limited perceptions to define us.”

~ Virginia Satir💞

I find this affirmation true and meaningful; however, I’ve come to believe the most dangerous, the most limiting perceptions are those we hold about ourselves

Other people do not limit us. We do that to ourselves.

The two pictures I’ve shared are both me.

I enjoy ranch life. I like feeding cattle. I am grateful for the opportunity to be part of my husband’s dreams. I am a rancher, and I occasionally get annoyed by it all.

I also appreciate my diamonds, enjoy getting my hair fixed, and make sure my brows are done. I am an empathetic visionary who enjoys chatting about the power of mindset, sharing other people’s stories, and diving deeply into psychology, law, and a bunch of other topics. Occasionally, I feel annoyed by it all, too.

I am unapologetic about my high expectations, and I continue to grow more comfortable moving through disappointment and failure rather than holding on to them. I deeply appreciate moments of quiet simplicity that counter our full life.

The thing is, even though I’ve spent decades not believing this, I get to be and feel all of that and more, and so do you.

I don’t know why anyone really follows this page, but I do know why I share our life on it. We all deserve to find connections — with ourselves, other people, and the world around us. I routinely find meaningful connections thanks to sharing on this page. Maybe you can, too! #WeAreRanchers #nolimits

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Dirty Laundry

Lessons in the laundry

There’s a lot to see in this overstuffed washing machine. I see lessons that will be offered again about sorting clothes and a reminder to unwad socks, but mostly, I see the load of laundry our 10-year-old washed without being reminded or told before he headed outside to play and help with chores.


Each of our kids does his or her own laundry to some degree. They also do their own packing if ever they have a trip away. I’ve even been known to turn over cook duties when it seems the crew has forgotten the value of appreciation. And yes, our kids work outdoors each day in addition to school and extracurriculars. I don’t subscribe to the philosophy that working outdoors or being kids means you are somehow absolved of basic self-care related chores.🤷

Our kids also watch too many videos on their Kindles, repeatedly test me regarding what I allow on said devices, and think I’m the worst mom ever for not allowing them to buy an Xbox, for treating them like babies, and for a long list of other grave offenses. And, in case there’s doubt, they receive help when it’s needed; I still handle 90% of household chores with zero guilt for what I don’t , and unconditional love lives here always.


Our home and parenting style are FAR from perfect, and I highly recommend not using us as any kind of measuring stick regarding your own performance. Instead, I share this as a gentle reminder to see the good in your own life … To know our children are capable of what we encourage … To heed lessons from the little red hen … To know you aren’t alone in your desire to share the burdens of daily life alone. #WeAreRanchers#laundryday

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Oh Christmas Tree

Oh Christmas tree!

For the first time in our nearly 20 years together, our tree is not laden with totes of ornaments tied to memories and stories through the years. Generally, The Rancher preps and places the tree. I fill it with lights. Then, the kids spend a night laughing and chatting as they recant memories and ask for reminders about each ornament while a Hallmark movie or Christmas music fills the background.

This year though we took a vote and found ourselves in agreement. Likely stressed by life, our tree seemed too delicate to bear the weight of tradition. Instead, it will stand tall and shine bright while we keep it watered, enjoy its simple presence, and carry on through the Christmas season.

Maybe we’re the only family who feels like this tree, but I’m guessing not. Though life has stressed us and some ceremonial traditions feel too heavy, we find tremendous gratitude for those dear ones who keep our souls nourished and spirits bright. Thanks to our tree and some quiet time to think, we’ll continue to shine as we’re able in hopes of reminding others to do the same💞 Wishing all who read this God’s peace and good tidings. #WeAreRanchers#ohchristmastree

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Calling BS

You know what happens when you have cows? Shit. That’s what.

Please don’t misunderstand. There is purpose and reward in feeding and supplying the world as cattle ranchers. There are idyllic rides through favorite pastures, picturesque scenes in each season, and memories that can’t be made in any other line of work. There’s also reality. 🌄

Breeding heifers on the Blum Ranch.

Cattle and all they require don’t care if you had a long day or a rough night. They pay no mind to the clock, the calendar, or your plans. Cattle have no regard for your daily intentions and no aptitude for your personal well being. Even our kids know if there are cattle in the yards on the day we die, chores need done; tractors are pretty great places for tears and thinking. 💝

The longer I’m part of this business the more sure I am that, for all the frustration and disappointment, ranching is one of the last great professions. 🐮

Because of cattle, we know quality of life matters more than quantity. We know our attitude is absolutely the only thing we can control. We know the people in our circle matter, and the company we choose to keep either makes our life simpler or harder. Most importantly, we know for all the bad there will be lots of great, and those are the moments to cherish. 💕

As we move fully into the Christmas season, I hope we can all let go of the perfect and ideal. I hope we can embrace the real, the messy, and the beauty in it all. And, because I’m a dreamer, I hope the cattle stay in, the water works, and the tractors start all season long!😊#WeAreRanchers#cows

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Fall Giveaway Winners

Congratulations to J. Vanderwerff, A. Fuhrer, and D. Nesselhuf for winning my random drawing for subscriptions to South Dakota Magazine, The Pioneer Woman Magazine, and a comfy, fun T-shirt from my friend Calee at Blue Sky Boutique respectively!!

Private messages have been sent via Facebook, and I look forward to connecting with each of you before Friday, November 6 in order to get your gifts ordered and mailed out.

Cheers to fall and remembering to be grateful even in times of real change!


Congratulations from The Writing Rancher!!
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Purposeful rest

“Take rest. A field that has rested yields a bountiful crop.”


As ranchers, our first priority is being good stewards of the land and animals in our care. A huge piece of that stewardship is giving rest to fields and pastures. In fact, at our house, we have plans specifically for letting the land rest and replenish.

Do you know how often we apply such a principle to our own bodies and minds? A shamefully rare amount, and it shows most vividly in our interaction with those we most love.

I won’t share the laundry list of work, responsibilities, and obligations staring at us. We all have such a list and most items on it are self-induced ways of avoiding something else.

But, I will share this belief I hold: Our greatest potential, our most meaningful growth comes not from the busyness we choose but from the rest and reflection we allow. Cheers to purposeful moments of rest that lead to meaning-filled hustle❤#WeAreRanchers#rest

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Fall Ranch Giveaway

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

Winston Churchill

I’ve been in a funk, and one of the best ways I’ve discovered to boost my mood is giving to others. So, let’s celebrate fall on the ranch with a simple giveaway!

First, go to The Writing Rancher on Facebook. Find the post I added on October 1. Love THAT post on Facebook, comment either ‘SD’ or ‘PW’, and tag at least one friend. Then, I’ll enter you in a drawing for either South Dakota Magazine or The Pioneer Woman Magazine.

Plus, you’ll all be entered to win this cute, comfy tee from my friend Calee @Blue Sky Boutique right here in South Dakota! Bring on fall y’all — Love, Comment, and Tag to win! #WeAreRanchers #southdakota #pioneerwoman

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Family Growth

Every day since my last post has presented opportunity to write about something, to share a lesson or glimpse into our lives as parents/partners/ranchers/friends in central South Dakota.

Yet, I held back and decided those lessons and glimpses were not for public viewing. They were moments for our family to process, live, and then to grow. 💞

Then, bam–these pictures from Focus Marketing Group came out, and I felt what was right to share. 💞

I share not for the win but for the look of joy on our oldest son’s face. So often, The Rancher and I still see our son’s tiny 3# face; photos like this remind us our kids are growing up quickly!

Not the wins, not the prizes. These pictures showcase the work, the drive, the frustrations, the maturity, and the value of everything we do. We are not show cattle people. In fact, for all the time show cattle require, that part of our life receives the least attention. However, that part of our life is also what highlights what’s most important to who we are and who we are becoming. 💞

Six years ago, our twins fell in love with Herefords and Simmentals, and my brother devoted himself to guiding them while my parents re-committed themselves to the show circle. Then, South Dakota Jr. Hereford Association and South Dakota Junior Simmental Association friends became family. Combine that with a whole lot of prayers from people who love us, and we fully realize exactly how blessed our life is no matter how overwhelming it can feel.

Without showing cattle as part of our state’s junior breed associations, we wouldn’t have developed “ride or die” relationships with people who not only understand us but also hold us accountable to our values. Showing cattle at state and national events has opened up a new world of friendships and opportunities, the kind that transcend industries and influence lives.

Showing cattle helps us make what can be a lonely, misunderstood ranch life stronger and more fulfilling. 💞 I don’t expect everyone who crosses this post to agree or to understand. I do hope, however, anyone who finds this message also finds inspiration to discover and appreciate life-giving people or activities in their own lives. #WeAreRanchers #grateful 💞

The family that shows together grows together.
This photo represents so much more than the titles won that day. Thanks to showing cattle, we will look back one day and realize some of our best memories really did start in a barn.
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Brave by Reflection

Our hearts grew with worry as the skies grew dark and the weather warnings screeched. We had both prayed and prepared as best we could. As the winds blew, those dark skies opened up. Like tears of gratitude from a weathered heart, nearly two inches of rain poured relief onto the scorched earth. 💞 We are rejoicing in today’s rainfall. We are renewed in our perspective. We are using the past days and those yet to come to increase our focus. Above all, we are giving thanks for strength and perseverance, and we pray those blessings continue to flow for our fellow ranchers. 💞 Your prayers for ranch country continue to be appreciated; many folks received only a little and still more received nothing. Your thoughts as our rural water system shuts down tonight for what we hope is a permanent fix continue to be welcome. Rain doesn’t wash away all challenges, but it does offer a much-needed bath from it all! 💞#WeAreRanchers#drought#rain

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