Tag Archives: personal strength

A Legacy of Strength…

Fourteen years ago today, I entered the world of motherhood.  After a battle of wills that lasted about 16 hours, Ashley Grace entered the world three weeks early weighing 6 pounds and 3 ounces.  I have wondered many times over the past 14 years which one of us is more tenaciously obstinate—I believe that the jury is still out

We make quite a pair...

We make quite a pair…

Motherhood has proven to be both my greatest joy and my greatest challenge.  Balancing discipline and guidance as my girls journey their way through childhood and adolescence provides an ongoing personal search for me.  While I love my girls unconditionally, I know that it is my duty to raise them to be strong, hard-working, and compassionate young women.

They also make quite a pair...

They also make quite a pair…

Ashley Grace is a wonderful enigma and, every once in a while, I find the need to step back and marvel at this child that is such a part of both Matt and I.  The take-charge personality that is so much like me, combined with the intellectual mind that is so much like Matt.  Add in the quirks and sarcastic humor that make her uniquely Ashley Grace, and the result is a fascinating package.

Worn with pride as she realized success through hard work and dedication...

Worn with pride as she realizes success through hard work and perseverance…

Whether she is running her heart out on the cross country course and the basketball court, or dazzling me with facts and philosophical ideas that her sponge-like mind seems to absorb at an astounding rate; I thank God each day for the ability to share my life with her.

A good brain and a love of learning earned her national honors in the Duke University TIP program...

A good brain and a love of learning earned her national honors in the Duke University TIP program last spring…

Three days from now, my favorite teenager will climb the steps to the pulpit at Bethesda By the Sea Episcopal Church and to read at her Granddaddy’s Memorial Service.  She will do this with both grace and composure despite the fact that she will look out amongst hundreds of family members and friends as she shares from the book of Revelations.

Bethesda By The Sea Episcopal Church: Palm Beach, Florida

Bethesda By The Sea Episcopal Church: Palm Beach, Florida

Her innate sense of compassion and self-confidence will lend her strength as she takes an active role in the celebration of the tenacious man who will always hold a special place in our hearts.  This act of selflessness will be performed out of love and respect for her grandparents—both the one that we say goodbye to, and the strong woman who will now persevere through life without her husband of 45 years.

I know that as I watch Ashley Grace give this gift, my heart will warm as my dad smiles down with pride.

Handing down his passion and skill for fly fishing...

Handing down his passion and skill for fly fishing in his beloved Absaroka Mountains…

It will be a beautiful continuation of the legacy of strength that was born with the life of her Granddaddy…

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Filed under Ashley Grace's Corner and The Chick Project..., Family, General

I Am Only Human…

I tell my own children and the children that I coach that I will never ask them to do anything that I do not fully believe that they can do.  I am notorious for challenging my young athletes, and we always end each swimming practice with 25 yard freestyle sprints where there is no breathing allowed.  It is amazing to watch both the strength and the confidence of my athletes build as they learn to believe in themselves.

My favorite 7 year old takes in some oxygen after a 25 yard freestyle race that she is able to complete without breaking her stroke for a breath!

As both a mom and a coach I have found that as I raise the bar higher, the kids always rise to the challenge and perform better.  I am training not only their bodies, but also their minds.  Self-confidence and the ability to work through physical and mental challenges to reach victory are vitally important life lessons that my athletes will remember long after each season is over.

If you look carefully at the back of our team shirt that I am wearing, you will read the caption “Oxygen is Overrated”. My favorite 12 year old (pictured here) knows that as she builds her lungs in the pool, she also builds her confidence and toughness…

In my own life, I also raise the bar pretty high as I juggle being a mom, a youth athletic coach, a caretaker of close to 3000 cattle, and an advocate for agriculture.  Most days I am at the feed yard just after 6:00am and am still going strong as the sun sinks below the horizon sometime after 9:00pm.  I fall into bed at night exhausted and wondering what the next day will bring.

Watching the sun rise over the feed yard is a beautiful way to start the day…

There is no doubt that entering the world of advocacy has lengthened my days.  I often find myself thinking of my swimmers as the mental challenge of adding one more thing to the list pushes the limits of my abilities.  There are days when I think to myself, I am only human, how will I get everything done?

My plate is pretty full…

My experience with popular media outside of agriculture and my blog site is limited.  I have spent most of my efforts connecting with people outside of my farm on a personal level. I rarely have allowed a reporter the ability to have a glimpse of my life and then given him the right to portray that glimpse to others.

Recently, I took a leap of faith and opened the door to my life, my family and my farm to a Washington DC reporter.  He spent about a day with our family, in addition to several phone interviews.  A consulting photographer visited our farm two different times to take pictures.  When I agreed to the interview, I never dreamed how vulnerable I would feel as the story was being written.

The reporter visiting with Matt about the business side of our crop farm…

It is one thing to sit down at my own computer and write about personal experiences.  It is something entirely different to allow a stranger to write about his perceptions of both my family and our farm.  Throughout the entire process, I have experienced a myriad of emotions.

It appears that this Friday the story will go to press…

  • I wonder if I was successful in conveying my life and my livelihood in a meaningful and understandable fashion?
  • I worry that the story that will go to press might not accurately portray who I am and what I believe in.

Throughout this process, I remind myself that I am only human and the story that gets told is now out of my hands.  It has taken personal strength for each member of my family to go through this experience, and I am very thankful that Matt and my girls were willing to rise to the occasion.

They make sacrifices so that I can do all of the things that I do…

I will post a link to the article once it is published, as well as offer my own thoughts on the contents of the article in a blog post next week…

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Filed under Feed Yard Foodie "In The News", General