Yesterday morning we shipped the final pens of cattle from the feed yard to Tyson. A calm wind with temperatures in the mid-20’s provided an easy ship out environment. Mother Nature also rewarded us with a beautiful sunrise toward the end of the process.
As I watched the last cattle truck pull away from the load-out chute, my emotions threatened to get the best of me. I took a moment to remember back to the first of the lasts as I experienced the last of the lasts. This particular shipment marked the end of our feed yard era, and the finality of the moment left me drained.
I wasn’t quite sure how to feel with the knowledge that, for the first time in twenty years, I had no cattle directly depending on me for care. An internal struggle waged as the uplifting element of freedom fought with the deep rooted desire to be needed.
Recognizing the necessity and wisdom in change is sometimes easier than living it out. Watching the cattle truck pull away forced me to face the reality in a way that I had not yet done. I took a brief moment to feel sorry for myself before I packed my FAITH and went back to work.
In that transition moment from self-pity to resolve, I made the decision to be happy.
While that decision does not preclude me from experiencing difficult moments tinged with sadness, it focuses my attitude on the positive and grants me the strength to make the most of the future. LIFE is a verb, and I recognize that my ability to achieve happiness is directly related to how I chose to live it.
- Staying true to my core values
- Trusting both myself and God on the journey
- Recognizing that there is so very much more left to do on the journey…
All of these things give my life purpose, and I am looking forward to cowgirling up to make the most of it.
My favorite farmer gave me a diamond ring on my 20th birthday — a beautiful single solitaire with a thin gold band. I loved that ring. I loved it because Matt chose it for me. I loved it because it represented the promise of tomorrow while verifying the love of today.
I wore the ring all of the time – for 21 years. I remember being heartsick when the hospital made me take it off when my first two daughters were born. I remember laughing when my finger was so swollen when Karyn was born that they had to leave it on and just put tape around it…
Matt and I will celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary in a few days. About a month ago, he asked me if I wanted “something pretty” to commemorate the two decades of marriage. I told him “no”, that I had everything that I needed.
About a week after our conversation, an accident happened while I was shipping cattle to Tyson. As my cowboy and I brought the 1400# steers up the alleyway to load on the semi-truck, one of them kicked a gate into my left hand. I reacted quickly, but my engagement ring was bent beyond repair. I’m still not really sure of the details – I tend to get into a “zone” while shipping cattle – but we successfully got all of the boys onto the bus with my engagement ring being the only casualty.
My heart hurt a bit when I showed Matt the annihilated ring. His response was classic –
“Anne, at least it was the ring and not your finger.”
He has always had a knack for putting things into perspective. It is one of the many reasons that I love him. Over the last twenty years, we laughed together, cried together, lost our tempers together, and found peace together. Through it all, we have learned that the secret to success is the ability to make lemonade out of lemons.
- I have a beautiful new gold ring to showcase the gorgeous diamond that Matt gave to me 21 years ago.
- I have a functional finger to put the ring on.
- I have a loving husband who inspires me to see the beauty in life each and every day.
- Together we have built a meaningful life on the farm to share with our three greatest blessings.
Keeping things in perspective is likely one of the most important life skills. It takes effort and faith, patience and time. Lucky for you all, Emily had just begun her visit when the cattle shipment incident occurred. Her role as “guest blogger” provided just enough time for me to make that lemon into lemonade…