We Love Teachers

Day 2: I’ve realized the past few days merely represent “a weekend at home”. Tomorrow begins reality.

I don’t mind the slower pace. I don’t miss the social pressures of doing everything or going everywhere. It doesn’t bother me to be socially distant. Even though I joke, I enjoy the kids and all the projects both inside and out.

I am grateful we are ranchers with plenty of work and space despite the stress of no market. I am grateful my work doesn’t hinge on in-person connections.

Yet, my dog’s face is surely the expression I made when the notion of having to homeschool hit me: “Well played God. It appears teaching–the last thing on my youthful list of ‘nevers’–might come true also.”#weloveteachers

Copper's face surely looks like the face I made when homeschooling was mentioned!
The look you make when you realize the last item on your youthful list of ‘nevers’ might become reality!
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Laughter is Contagious

Day 1 Highlights of Self-Quarantine (kidding–with the children’s social activities halted, we just actually go nowhere):

A) My husband survived another day of communicating telepathically during chores.

B) I spent seven hours after chores painting a bedroom with an eight-year-old.

C) On a paint break, I learned boys made a deal to change beds from upstairs to down. A bunk bed set currently sits in my living room.

D) It was our middle son’s night to cook supper; he sweetly made yummy egg salad sandwiches with a side of scrambled eggs.

Please send reinforcements. I may not survive (P.S. We do take the current world situation seriously. I also believe in laughing when we can because I know how quickly it can all change.) #laughterismedicine #grateful

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Be kind. Be patient. Be present.

“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.”

~ Thich Nhat Hanh

We aren’t the infirmed left worrying about a virus for which they couldn’t prepare. We aren’t yet the hotel or stadium workers or many others left with sudden financial insecurity. We are, however, in the eye of a storm.

We will be attentive to the moments we’re in because we must. We will disconnect as we can. We will look for joy and happiness because doing so will keep us going.

So, enjoy our preemie calf and my dopey dog. These two were exactly what I needed today. They’re cute, kind of funny, and right in front of me several times a day.

Be kind. Be patient. Be present. #WeAreRanchers

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Reality and Romance

“I do not believe there was ever a life more attractive than a life on a cattle farm.”

~ Theodore Roosevelt

I’m guessing Teddy was referencing the romantic notions of cows grazing an open plain while calves buck about playfully, and he isn’t wrong. There’s an awful lot to love about this life we choose.

Reality rarely means all sunshine, green grass, and ease though. The preemie in my porch and chain currently required to feed aren’t all that attractive … I mean, the baby’s adorable and all, but they’re a lot cuter outside😉

I chose to be a rancher and willingly accepted all that means. Most days, I’d choose it all over. BUT, there are days when it’s hard … when the reality adds difficult stress to a marriage, to a family dynamic, to a life outside of cows and land.

It’s all still worthwhile. Yet, if you’re living this life, don’t think you have to love every single minute and don’t think you’re alone. And, if you don’t live this life, please remember the grass isn’t always greener and the babies don’t always make it.

#WeAreRanchers

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Put your head in the clouds

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.”

~ Rabindranath Tagore, Stray Birds

We’re ranchers, so this quote doesn’t fit all the time … No one watches clouds better than a rancher with hay on the ground or calves making their way into the world😉

BUT, one of my most treasured things to do on the ranch is to cloud gaze. Sometimes, I find clarity for big decisions. Other times, I reflect. Most of the time, though, I just sit. And guess what? No matter how I felt before I started watching clouds, I feel better, more grateful when I’m done.

The work, the good fights, the hard battles, the responsibilities don’t seem quite so heavy after all. #WeAreRanchers #bepresent

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Light the Candle

Thank you, Audra Scheel, for inviting me to visit with Teen Leadership Academy members yesterday! 🍀 Part of me wants to share all the things I’m not, but in the interest of taking my own advice, I’m sharing my gratitude for the opportunity to meet a few of our next promising leaders. 🍀 We all have gifts, strengths, and talents, and I firmly believe we are meant to share them with others. My perspective, experiences, and advice aren’t “right” or for everyone. You and yours aren’t either. But, that’s the beauty of it all. 🍀 I learned more from these kids than they probably did from me. My outlook for the future of our agriculture industry is renewed. My belief in the power of human connection is strengthened. 🍀 I don’t know where these young leaders will go in life, but I do know they are well on their way to traveling with grace, purpose, and skills. Thank you all for becoming part of my network and helping me light my candle in your knowledge! 🍀 #WeAreRanchers #teenleaders

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Ripples of Kindness

“There is no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.”

~ Scott Adams

Our sons are some of Mason’s teammates. We experienced this story in real life, and I’m telling you, IT WAS SPECIAL. 🤼 I know it’s easy to get wrapped up in the discord around us, but I’ve personally experienced two of these selfless acts of kindness by young men in a span of about 10 days. The first was with my nephew’s basketball team. ❤ There IS good out there. Kids ARE still kind, caring, and thoughtful. I’m not saying bad stuff doesn’t happen or need addressed swiftly when it does. However, I am sharing this because I firmly and wholly believe the ripples of kindness can and do overpower the bad. #kindnessmatters #bekind #WeAreRanchers

https://www.capjournal.com/…/article_94939212-574a-11ea-a11…

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Ranch Dates

“Married people should not be quick to hear what is said by either when in ill humor.”

~ SAMUEL RICHARDSON , ENGLISH NOVELIST

😜 Tonight’s photos are brought to you courtesy another date night with Mr. Romantic himself! By the time office work, cattle sorting, chores, and a visit with our auction man were done today, there wasn’t much daylight left for hay hauling. But, we’ll be ready for the hay grinder come morning, and we might even be talking to each other again by then😂 Owning, managing, and working in a business with your spouse isn’t the easiest or wisest choice sometimes, but if both of your hearts are in the dream and your relationship is clothed in mutual respect, even the tough stuff is worthwhile. Stay safe, my friends! #WeAreRanchers #ranchdate #frosty

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Beauty Lives Where We Look

“We are so busy watching out for what is ahead of us that we don’t take time for where we are.”

~ Calvin and Hobbes 

After a full day with chores, wrestling, and even some football, the rancher and I ended the daylight putting hay out to cows and fixing a tank that gave the kids trouble. Thank goodness for a crockpot and helpful kids!

It’s awful easy to get caught up in the busy of our life’s season. Tonight’s gorgeous sky and calm–though wicked cold–air was a good time for us to connect, to pause, to enjoy where we are and who we’re with. #WeAreRanchers #sdbeef

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Writing for the Brand: A note to you, Rancher.

South Dakota rancher overlooks green pastures and the Missouri River.
“Trust in the Lord and do good. Dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.” ~Psalm 37:3

Dear Rancher,

Yes, you—the one who cares for livestock and land. The one who gets up and gets to work every day. The one who ponders the possibility of a beach vacation or night out with friends but refuses to make plans because, well, cows.

Welcome to a new decade!

It’s a time when you’re encouraged to leave behind last year’s baggage and move forward with purpose, with hope, with a blank slate. However, you’re also coming off one of the most difficult years you’ve ever faced. Your baggage clings to you in the form of upgrades you couldn’t make, maintenance you couldn’t perform, progress you couldn’t accomplish.

By the time you got done fixing or recovering from whatever the latest round of weather or markets brought, it was time to face the next round.

You’ve been kicked in the teeth repeatedly; yet, like the steadfast, honorable person you are, you don’t stay down. You get up, dust off, and keep moving.

And right about now, when it feels like the rest of the world is celebrating with a kind of joy you can’t muster, you wonder if it’s really worth the wear and tear. After all, once you dealt with the stress of a ranching business you couldn’t control, there was still the stress of health, relationships, and life in general. It’s ok to wonder if what you’ve been doing remains something you want to keep doing.

But, before you go further into the year, I want you to know this.

Crops across South Dakota, like this corn field, were spotty in 2019 due to a wide range of weather challenges.
Gratitude for a crop, for health, for safety, for God’s beautiful landscape doesn’t mean there’s no frustration.

Rancher, you are seen, and though the weight of what you’re feeling is heavy, you are not carrying it alone. It’s ok to be proud, be sad, be tired, be worried … but please, take care not to get stuck in those feelings.

Many of us are moving into a new decade carrying old burdens. Burdens we minimize by saying things like, “Well, that guy over there has it tougher, so my troubles are just silly.” I know quite personally and oh so intimately the pitfalls of glossing over those burdens … avoiding the feelings around them … getting stuck in their heaviness.

I can also attest to the power you possess when you share those burdens with someone. Your someone might be God alone, a pastor, a partner, a best friend, a best dog, a favorite horse, or even a professional listener. No one else in the world needs to know. However, you do need and deserve to express and address what weighs you down.

Rancher, read this and know it in your heart.

You matter. You are seen. You are not alone. You deserve to be surrounded by people who believe in your greatness; yet, people who will also fearlessly and lovingly call you out on your BS.

The new year is ours for the taking, Rancher, and I hope we take it all, even if only one day at a time! From our ranch to yours, happy new year; may it be full of hope, strength, and growth.

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