Tag Archives: worry

The First Lap…

Wednesday Wisdom 🙂


Inspiration this week comes from Hebrews 12:1

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”


I’ve started running 2-3 times per week on our local high school track. The track surface is soft and the path is clear and flat so it sets me up for success as I embark on this new chapter of the healing process. There’s been a large amount of “unknown” over the past 14 months relative to my leg and I’ve had to learn to do two things: trust that the Lord loves me and walks with me, and put in the work to do my part on the “race” that we travel together. Fear exists in the unknown, but that fear can be replaced by peace and hope when we allow faith to guide us.

It’s surprising to me the things that I notice now that I never used to see before. One of these is the first lap or the start of each run. Since I am accustomed to measuring my runs in miles, the beginning used to be simply a blip on the radar screen. I’d walk out the back door of our house and turn north onto the gravel road with my feet automatically falling into cadence. Easy. No thought required, and little challenge or fear to be found in those first steps.

It’s not that way anymore. The first 300 yards are filled with discomfort as I try to plant my foot properly on the ground and bridge into the next step. The notable thing is that if I keep going, if I continue to run with endurance the race God has set before me, then it gets better. I eventually settle into a rhythm and foot pattern that works so that I can run around the track. With each step that I take, I am able to strip off the weight of the pain and move forward believing in my heart that I can do it.


In light of the COVID-19 virus, I think there is a universal lesson to be found here. There currently exits a HUGE amount of uncertainty and fear. It can stymie our lives and wreak havoc with our emotions. Most importantly, it limits our ability to move forward in faith. Emotional stress is just as crippling as the pain that I feel in my leg. It has the power to trip us up and thwart our ability to trust both God’s greatness and His goodness.

Where can we look when fear threatens?

I had this discussion on the pool deck recently with my swimmers. We talked about three places “to look” in order to live in faith during times of uncertainty:

  1. We look up, to God our heavenly Father who commands us to be strong and courageous and promises to always be with us (Joshua 1:9).
  2. We look out, with a focus on the needs of our neighbors to see how we can serve.
  3. We look within, to find the guiding hand of Jesus in our hearts to inspire and fuel us in love.

How do we start?

It’s hard to pack your faith when times are hard. Instead, it is tempting to give into stress and fear. But, that’s not what God asks us to do. I have found that the more I share my burdens with Jesus in prayer, the more the Holy Spirit inspires me to use my energy to serve others instead of worrying about myself. Once I find the courage to start, then over time I find a rhythmic pattern:  looking up to hear the guidance of the Holy Spirit, looking out to share and serve others, and looking within to let Jesus guide my steps.

As an actively recovering “worry-a-hol-ic”, this is something that I have to be very intentional about. In the midst of these troubling times, don’t be afraid of the first lap! Let’s come together and lean into our faith 🙂 I am praying that each of you stays healthy — in mind, body and spirit as we go forward into these uncharted waters.

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The Boss Lady…

My crew of guys at the feed yard call me the “Boss Lady”.  Most days the term is used with a smile.  Occasionally, it is accompanied by a boot kick to the dirt and a bit of grumbling.  It is always used with an underlying current of respect.

Checking the quality and mix of feed just delivered to a pen of new cattle...

I am frequently asked how a young woman was able to be successful in the predominantly male world of cattle feeding.  The short answer to that question is simply “hard work”.  Respect is earned—it is not a gift—and my crew respects me because they know that I work just as hard as they do.  I have slowly climbed my way from the bottom of the “useful” scale to the top.  Today, the success of the feed yard is intrinsically tied to my leadership.  My guys know this, and hence, the term “Boss Lady” was formed.

I am very proud of the term “Boss Lady” because it signifies that I have proven myself to those most important to me.

My father-in-law took a tremendous leap of faith when he gave me a job at the feed yard in June of 1997.  I had a cum laude degree from an Ivy League institution; however, as he so eloquently pointed out, I knew NOTHING about caring for cattle and growing beef.  The icing on the cake was the fact that I was a young woman wanting to enter a man’s world.

Taken in 2006, my father-in-law with one of the new generation of strong and opinionated young women that Matt and I have blessed the family with...

My father-in-law is a very smart man.  He knew that I was going to have to earn respect, and he started me at the bottom of the crew working for $6.85 an hour because that was where I deserved to be.  I honestly cannot tell you the pivotal point in my career where I became the “Boss Lady”—it was a slow transition that occurred over many, many years.

There is both an art and a science to good feed delivery...

  • I learned to “run” a scoop shovel…
  • I learned to run the tractors…
  • I learned to run the feed truck…
  • I learned to “read bunks” and understand nutritionally what our cattle needed…
  • I learned to vaccinate and care for the health of our cattle…
  • I learned the psychology of cattle handling…
  • I learned how to load and unload cattle off of semi-trucks…
  • I learned about environmental stewardship…I learned about governmental regulations pertaining to the environment (unfortunately they are not always one in the same)…
  • I learned how to do bookwork and accounting (something that still challenges me)…
  • I learned how to buy and sell cattle…
  • I learned how to buy feed ingredients…
  • I learned that the volatility of the markets leaves my business vulnerable…
  • Of all of the things that I learned, the most important was never to judge a group of people or an industry that you do not understand…

    Here I am mixing a bottle of vaccine that I will use to stimulate the immune system of my cattle upon arrival at the feed yard. This keeps them healthy...

The list could literally go on and on and on…I already knew how to sweat and work hard from my years of athletic training, I just needed to learn how to apply that to managing a feed yard.  I spent the better part of a decade watching and learning.  Today, I not only watch and learn, but I also lead my team.

I am responsible for every single one of my animals..They need me...If you eat beef, you need me too...

I no longer worry about gaining respect.  Rather, as the Boss Lady, I worry about shouldering the responsibility of 3000 animals, making payroll for my crew, and keeping my business afloat despite the ever increasing volatility of the markets and further reaching tentacles of government regulation.  I added blogging to the list when it became apparent to me that if I did not share my story with you, then someone else would tell an inaccurate version in an attempt to dissuade you from buying my beef.

Testifying at a House Agricultural hearing in Washington DC...

While I take great pride in wearing the “Boss Lady” hat, some days my shoulders are bent under the weight of the responsibility that comes with it.

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