Admire

From the time we are children, we admire people, places and things. We all have someone we look up to and aspire to be like. For most it is a parent, teacher, grandparent, athlete or another professional in a given field. I have personally admited many people over the years including my parents, grandparents, teachers, riding coaches and other barrel racers.

As I started competing in youth event, “Watch what the winners do,” was a phrase I heard several times. I took it and ran with it, working with trainers, coaches and more experienced horseman. Needless to say, I learned A LOT! My performance improved probably every time I was out, I practiced and worked my horse nearly everyday and it paid off. I started researching supplements and found what worked best for my horse’s joints and body. For several years, I was very competitive.

My trusty steed retired, I worked with other horses and people. My admiration shifted as I learned more and more. My eyes were opened to another world of training and starting colts, perfecting turns and working with my horse’s natural movements to improve. It has totallly changed my performances for the better!

There are many people out there that are MUCH MUCH better than me! I stil have many that I admire, but maybe for different reasons than when I first started racing. I strive to have the patience that others have shown with me. Someday maybe I will be close, but I still continue make improvements.

Outside of the horse world, I admired teachers and started working on myself to be able to learn to teach. I know it sounds crazy, but there is an easy way and a hard way to go about teaching and helping. I learned that relationships are far more valuable than any placing or ribbon and I started investing more and more into them. It was intersting being on both sides, and still being on both sides, learning and teaching. Without helping others, when they ask, I am not using others’ investment in me to its full potential. Others invested in me, and I am gladly willing to help others.

One of the first kids that I started coaching when I was younger, is now one of my best friends. We ride together and race together still. It is such a blessing to watch her with her horse, she has learned so much and is always asking me about different things to learn more and improve her races. We have so much fun because we bounce ideas off each other now.

Admiration is a good thing. Hopefully everyone has a good rold model to look up to, and I encourage you to continue the tradition and strive to be a positive role model to others in your life. Everyone needs someone to look up to!

Admire

Advertisements

The Wind

When I think of Wind, I think of freedom. With freedom, comes responsibility. The winds of change affect everyone, especially in their late teens and early 20’s.

Change is a big deal, especially when it comes to life lessons and life decisions, like going to college, what job or profession to choose, where to live, purchasing a car and the best way to spend your money. I have always avoided making decisions and the above listed were no exvception.

When I was younger, I was very involved in 4-H, Impact Girls Ministries, and busy with school along with other programs like Junior Leaders and Junior Fair Board. Going away to college was a big decision for me and one of the hardest things I have done. I remember thinking how I was going to get through it, but then I got a hold of myself. I made my mind up to take it one day at a time. I went home almost every weekend and took care of my horses that my sister looked after through the week. It was a big comfort, even though the 2 hour drive was not always pleasant.

I started looking for an internship as part of my degree, and I loved working with the horseman that took me on. I do not think he realized the challenge he was in for, but I learned more in the 2 summers that I worked with him, I returned for a second summer after college, than I had in many years prior. It was a decision that I had to make and it changed me.

Upon graduating I started looking for a job. It was not the easiest process, after sevveral interviews, and working at a horse barn for several weeks, I started working where I am currenly employed. It was a big decision, and it changed my life. It was the plan He had for me though and the job has been a good fit for me. I have been able to grow as a person and I have been able to push myself outside of my comfort zone.

Wind has blown change my way, from vehicles, when my trusty Chevy got traded, to jobs, to horses and even friends. It took me awhile to learn, but God puts me right exactly where He wants me. As long as I am open to Him, I am a tool for Him to use as a light for those around me. Today I encourage you to roll with the wind and take the challenge of change in stride so that you are able to grow and learn about yourself, and so that He can use you right where He puts you!

Wind

Unstoppable

Many things in life are unstoppable. This morning I got a good reminder of that. The things that I find the most frustrating are things that are out of my control, that I cannot change.

Yesterday I excitedly wrote about operating hay euipment, learning to run the mower and preparing to bale they hay today. I worked the early shift this morning, and the weather moved in even earlier than meteorologists had predicted. I made a couple phone calls, and my conclusion was confirmed, that there would be no work in the hay field today.

For me today it was a good reminder, that God is in control, not me. We desperately needed the rain, pastures are dry, gardens are dry, the rain was a blessing, even if it did come a few hours early for me. Even though my plans were stopped, I serve a God who is UNSTOPPABLE! He has a plan for everything, including the rain and my hay field. I have been assured things will work out, funny, they always do! In the meantime, my pasture is going to grow and crops that surround me are getting much needed rain.

Having patience is sometimes difficult for me, especially when it comes to things that I cannot control or change, but God is teaching me a day at a time to trust Him and know that things will be taken care of. He has never let me down to this point and I can not imagine Him starting now. God is unstoppable in any and all situations and He works things for our good!! My faith is growing and I hope that I can encourage yours to grow to as I share my experiences.

Especially when things are frustrating, and my determination is dwindling, God has a way of reminding me that He truly is in control. All I have to do is trust Him. This morning was rather frustrating, especially considering lack of sleep and not feeling 100% this morning, even though my plans are on hold for today, I know that through Him, I am unstoppable!

 

Unstoppable

Keeping Up with the Farm

The past week and a half have been crazy here. Last week was the county fair, and even though I no longer show or have livestock there, it is always a full week for me. I got to see many kids that I coached just a few years ago meet goals and accomplish major achievements. Square dancing every night kept me dragging myself to work and pushing myself to keep up with the farm.

Fair was busy, but fun thanks to great friends! I would not trade it. Making memories has been a priority this summer and last week was no exception.

New week, new chores, new struggles. This week brings cutting another hay field. Working more with Grandpa to learn about operating equipment, running the tractor and so far unplugging the mower/conditioner. I have been working to expand my knowledge and experience in general this year and this week I have already learned a lot. Like when you put the tractor in gear, make sure its the right one. I thought I was in 2nd and was indeed in 4th, plugged the mower right up and strained the clutch. Lesson learned. Fortunately nothing broke, and after cleaning out the teeth the mower was good to go once again.

I have helped make hay numerous times before, but it is a little different this time. Stepping up and taking the initiative and responsibility to make decisions and push myself to getting the job done has been a little stressful to me, but I will feel very accomplished when it is all said and done. I do not know of any better way to learn other than just jumping in with both feet. Fortunately I have been blessed with an awesome Grandpa who is gladly there to help, guide and direct, teach and patiently work with me as I learn to operate the equipment.

Tonight it is a waiting game, so I am going to get my horses work and prepare for the longer day tomorrow. Full day ahead with hopefully very rewarding results!

Drive

Drive is important in life. It pushes us harder, to try, to work, to compete, to live fuller. Drive is what helps us persevere when we are ready to quit, and helps us step up our game when we are ready to throw in the towel. Drive is motivation and it can push you to success.

Being homeschooled, I learned to push myself and get assignments done. I am the type that likes things done early over late. This habit was important when I went to college. I kept all of my assignments written in my agenda book along with appointments etc and I made myself stay on top of them. It payed off big time when it came to staying on top of course work.

Those of you following these posts have probably come to realize that horses are my passion. I have a drive for them that pushed me to work harder, longer and more dilligently to reach my goals. I remember one year, I begged for carhartt bibbs for Christmas, and then I rode my paint horse every morning before school. I started conditioning him and getting him ready for the season. When we went to our first competition in April or May he was ready. The payoff was I earned my way to the high school rodeo national finals. I will never forget that summer.

My drive pushes  me to work my horses now, even when I am tired and sore. I am not nearly as dilligent about it now as I used to be, and it shows. I miss having the drive that I used to. Usually at the beginning of the season I am a lot more driven that later in the season. I am hoping to renew that drive with my colt over the winter. He needs work and I am hoping to start competing with him next season. That is a new motivation and a new level of drive for me.

God gives each person their own drive, it keeps things interesting and keeps the world going around. He gives us drive for a reason, and it is up to us to pick it up and see where it takes us. He has a plan for us, and a reason for the drive He gave us, if we choose to use it.

I hope that you are able to find your drive and continue to stay motivated, as I challenge myself to stay driven and keep working toward my goals!

 

Drive

Pallet Floor

This idea was the intitial idea that started my bedroom make over and got my mind started on blogging. I have been asked numerous times for pictures of this project, so here they are!

I started researching making a floor out of pallets, after reading a blog from a building we will go, who has asked that the blog not be shared without permission. I read how they did it and jumped in.

Let me say first, that it took many hours and much help from numerous friends and family members to complete this and I never could have done it without them! SO the first step was collecting pallets!! And I collected them for about a year, 2 or 3 at a time, because not all the slats were usable, I had pallets everywhere! Friends delievered them as they were passing through, I picked them up, people now tease me about my pallet obsession.

To take them apart, this was probably the hardest part of the projext. My neighbor helped with his sawsall and 10″ construction blade. We went through several to get them all done. After doing so many of them we figured out that if we stood the pallets up to where the slats ran horizontally and cut all the ends of one side, then the other, and then worked down the middle it was the fastest. I would put pressure on the slats and make a small gap for the blade to start it, and the slats were off in no time. Just took some muscle and time.

Next, all the nails had to be punched out of the slats, because the wood tools do not care for metal. So I sat in the barn and using a punch, pounded all the nail ends out, again my neighbor was a good enough sport to help! The last few pallets were taken apart by me, another friend and my grandpa, because I was laying the floor and ran out!

Once I thought I had enough slats, I loaded them in the truck and hauled them to my Grandpa’s basement where his wood shop is set up. I sorted them, wide and narrow and started plaining them. Took 2-3 days of work, but we got them all to be 1/2″ tall.

1231151244

Quite a pile of boards! Once the boards were planed, we joined one edge of them. The joiner was probably the scariest machine to run! After the boards were square on one side we used the table saw to make them square on the other. Believe it or not, I started with a pick up truck bed pretty full of boards! We lost a few along the way that were too narrow, too thin or too broken/split, so more is always better than less.

0114161532

Once the boards were ready to lay, Grandpa pulled the carpet up, while I was at work, and I helped to lay a new subfloor. A bad subfloor was the culprit all along, but the carpet was in bad shape too. The subfloor I chose was 1/2″ board.

0121161649

This is just over the halfway point. There were more boards that came out to be about 3″ then the wider ones are closer to 8″ if I remember right. We staggered the seams also. One the back we used an adhesive, like you would for tile, then just nailed through the existing holes since the nails had large enough heads to cover the holes, this kept the slats from splitting.

0202161158

The closet was the hardest part of laying the floor, since we had to cut almost every single board, and it was the leftover ones that wer not as pretty. This little section actually turned out to be my favorite! I love the darker and variated tones of the wood.

0131160900

Here it is! I used an oil base clear stain. I wanted the natural colors of the wood to show through. This is right after I stained it, so it is not so shiny now, but I put 2 coats of the apoxy stain on for many years of durable life. Not only do I love my floor, but everyone who has seen pictures has thought it turned out well. All the hours of elbow grease and time was more than worth it!!

Storms of Life

As a Christian, my perspective may be different of the storms in my life. We have all been through our share, some longer than others, some more intense, some rougher and some that make us wonder how much more we can take. The saying is true, what does not kill you makes you stronger.

My family and close friends know about a horse accident that I had several years back. God taught me so much through that storm! I found comfort and strength not only from my church family, my blood family and friends, but from reading my Bible and feeling His presence with me. Through the healing process, I had several frustrating days, and when I would sit down and read my Bible in the evening before I would go to sleep, He would show me new verses that He used each day to speak to me and encourage me as I fought and struggled.

There were verses that I kept being drawn back to, these included Psalm 62, specifically verses 1 and 2. These verses remind us that God is our fortress and as long as we rest in Him, we will never be shaken! There is no battle too great for God!

Another verse that I review often is Ephesians 6:11-12 which talks about being ready for spiritual battle by preparing and using our armor. Verse 12 goes on to remind us that our battle is never against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, authorities and powers of this dark world, in other words the devil himself.

I did not truly understand spiritual warfare until I stood in the middle of this storm. Things that I never imagined would be a struggle became enemies that I had to fight everyday. There was a span of time that I could not let my mind be idle because it wondered where it should not go.

I found peace in knowing my LORD and SAVIOR was right there beside me, holding my in His arms, protecting me from the enemy because He was not done with me, and He still isn’t!! I believe God has a plan for me and for you! He uses every battle, every situation, every struggle to teach and prepare us for what He has next. By learning the lessons that He had to teach me, I have been able to help several others in recent years fight their own battles and encourage them as they tired. God has you where you are for a reason and I hope that you find encouragement through this post to continue on your path and keep the faith. He is right there with you through the storm!

Storm

Enjoying My Guineas

The past few weeks, the Guineas have been flying around. The other day, one flew on the roof of the henhouse, before jumping on the roof of the other house and flying over the fence to their run. It has since become a game to them, I have 2 that enjoying playing, hang out on the roof and squawk and chirp at the top of our lungs! It has been a bit of an adventure getting them down to roost for the night.

IMG_20160712_214909_624

The Guineas keep me entertained all day! One minute they are chasing the poor barn cat across the yard, the next they are scratching in the dirt and pecking bugs. Next thing you know they are chasing each other and playing with the chickens.

This evening I went out to round them up for the night, and they were not by any means ready to come in. As soon as I walked into the run, they started sounding the intruder alarm, despite the fact that I am indeed the one that feeds them, waters them etc, I was unwelcome. It did not bother me a bit, I enjoyed listening them as I stood in the run and watched them flut around, chasing each other around and under the henhouse.

The past few days, the Guineas have been doing better about going to bed and staying off the roof. Tonight however, the one was back to the usual routine. Fortunately for me, tonight the shennanegans did not last long. The Guinea was easily convinced to come down before his comrades in orneriness had a chance to join her. It is so much easier convincing one to come down than two. The other two have no interest in flying up there, which strikes me as a little odd. I thought for sure it would be a monkey see monkey do type of thing, and for two of them it is. I think the other 2 are convinced they are chickens and not Guinea hens.

Regardless of how much noise they make or what kind of stunt the Guineas decide to entertain me with today or tomorrow, I am thoroughly enjoying having them! They are the first to alert me when the cat happens to run through the yard or whe the dog gets too close. They enjoy playing with each other and the chickens. I will admit they are noisy, but I thoroughly enjoy listening to them. It is like listening to turkeys cluck and chirp without even having to go hunting!

Making Memories this Afternoon

This afternoon, I was reminded of one of the greatest blessings I have, my grandparents. Many of you have followed my projects, which I could not have gotten done alone. My grandparents along with others have held my hand every step of the way. Today was no different.

I drive a little 4 cylinder car, that is a ’97 model… making it almost as old as me! Anyone can guess it takes a little, or a lot, of maintenance to keep the old girl, lovingly named ‘Matilda’ running. While I dabble in projects, mechanicing is not something I am good at. Grandpa once again came to the rescue. Tildy started making a new noise a couple days ago, so I drove her out to see him. After a test drive and a look, he could see what the cause of the problem was, and I got to help jack her up while he fixed the problem. Now she is running 🙂

While Tildy was being test driven, I got a chance to talk and visit with Grandma. I have been throwing around the idea of a garden. If it was not for getting chickens this year, I would have attempted a garden, but chickens was enough of a project to tackle. I picked Grandma’s brain for a while about the research I have done on things like raised beds, weed control, starting plants indoors and then transplanting to an outdoor garden and also things like canning and freezing. I loved being able to talk to her, bounce ideas around and learn from her experience, ironically she was cleaning squash as we talked!

I spent much more time with them when I was younger, and I am already kicking myself for not visiting nearly enough. I was so glad to hear that Grandma is willing to help me learn as I put my own garden in next year, so that I do things properly. I can’t wait to try my hand at gardening for the first real time, and the best part of it will be spending extra time with people who are very important to me!

There is no better feeling than knowing, if I need anyting, anything at all, Grandma and Grandpa are always there. They have my back. I am truly blessed! and loved more than I could ever realize!

The Chickens experienced Freedom!

A couple days ago, I let the chickens out of their run for the first time. Then I of course watched! The Guineas were naturally the more adventurous, followed by the rooster and a couple hens. They have slowly been more curious and expanding their range of search.

0702161343

They ventured all the way across the yard yesterday, and the best part is they are coming as a group back to the henhouse for the night! I am so glad that they are doing that on their own. Makes evening chores a lot easier!

0702161343a

I have enjoyed just standing outside and watching these birds. My coworker sends donuts home for them and I break up a couple at a time to feed them. Not only do they love those, but bread and buns are their favorite treat. The one hen picked up a hunk yesterday and carried it off for later before returning to the feed pile for another. Poor hen, the others had discovered her hidden piece while she was searching for another. The chickens enjoy their daily feed and corn, and are scratching away for bugs and weeds.

These guys are so entertaining, they talk and fly. The Guineas were going to roost on the roof until I started letting them out. They would roost and squak until it was time for me to put them in for the night. The past couple days they have stayed down off the roof, which has made it easier on me. Nonetheless I have enjoyed them!

I have a few small upcoming projects for the hen house, including a PVC pipe feeder and a buildling a better roost, that they hopefully like better. Right now they are roosting on the ledge of the nesting boxes, which I wish they would not do, but that is heir preferance. I can only hope a different roost will change their minds.

The Guineas are undoubtedly at the top of the pecking order, followed by the rooster naturally. But the Guineas keep the rooster in line! Poor guy was being chased around the yard yesterday.

They also chase the barn cat, when it happens to venture by their coop. They chased the lil gray cat all over the yard day before yesterday too. At least they are getting their exercise! Poor cat has decided it is easier to leave them alone. I can not wait to see what they do tomorrow!