Tag: family

The Stock Show Life

Each year somewhere around January 15th we attend an event.

stock show 2

This event is made up of a slew of animals, kids, anxious parents (mainly dads) and controlled chaos.

Stock show dad

This event is full of crazy emotions like, “Did we do enough, pick the right animal, feed it properly, will it stress out or just act a fool? Will it pee or poop on one of the kids this year? Who will have the first melt down…the kids, the animals…the parents?”

For mom, it usually goes like this, “Do the kids have decent clothes to wear? Do they have boots or a belt?  Pants that are long enough because they grew a foot from last year? Oops, I forgot new clothes.”

Yep, it’s stock show season.

stock show pig

And it arrives each year with a bang! Even though we have had animals since summer time, this event seems to sneak up on us right after the holidays and I never feel prepared.

Why do we put ourselves through this craziness? It truly is an exhausting weekend full of roller coaster emotions for kids and parents.

I can’t give you an exact answer of why we do it. It’s just what we do. We live in rural Texas. We are 4-H people. It’s what we did as kids. We enjoy animals. We joined the club and drank the kool-aid! ha

stock show chickens

But, that is not what I want to talk about. I want to talk about something rare that I saw this weekend at the show barn.

Friday there were about two dozen kids at the barn getting animals settled, weighed in, etc.  Many of the kids had not arrived, some had school and there were just a few there. That afternoon it had finally warmed up enough to be outside. The set-up crew (the dads) had brought in round bales of hay and placed them against the tarp on the open end of the barn to hold it down and keep the wind out. The hay bales were in a line down the side of the barn about 5  yards apart. Do you get the picture?

On one of my many trips to the car, I see a young man jumping from bale to bale. Sometimes he makes it with no problem, sometimes he doesn’t and slides down the side of the bale.  It was a picture perfect moment, but my camera wasn’t handy at the time. (I kept telling myself I would come back and snap a picture,  but I never did.) It truly was something you would see in a magazine depicting a country setting.

A little later, I saw the entire group of kids outside playing catch with some kind of a ball… I don’t even know what kind of ball it was because that is not what caught my attention.

This small group of kids was made up of all different ages, from different schools, boys and girls, playing catch…together. They were scattered all over the parking lot throwing the ball from end to end. In the background was a new kid jumping from bale to bale.

No one was on their phone.

No one was snapping a picture.

I didn’t even see anyone sitting on the side lines. They were all engaged in the game.

They were laughing, running, playing and acting like kids…even the teenagers! All different ages, playing in unison and having a blast while they were doing it.

All the hard work is really not about the animals. For me, it’s about that exact moment. Seeing your kids put down their device and interact with others and have old-fashion genuine fun and making awesome memories…that’s what it’s all about.

Everyone survived the weekend and came home fully exhausted. Some came home with ribbons and others with buckles.  But, we all came home with new stories, new friends and new family memories.

stock show life

That is the stock show life.




A Miracle Took Place Last Night

It was not something I could see, but certainly something I could feel. Something had shifted in my heart, and today was a new day.

The night prior I took a muscle relaxer. It was prescribed that day by the doctor for a pulled muscle. (Honestly, it’s a rib that has moved out of place, but the doc said muscle so I did what he said.) I ended up sleeping that night and all the next day. Maybe I should have started with half a pill! Oops. While the sleep was glorious, my rib is still causing quite a bit of discomfort.

To add insult to injury, we have a gas leak at our house and the gas has been turned off until this can be fixed. Our hot water heater and our regular heater that heats the house both run on gas. Luckily it’s not in the teens as it was last week, but still getting down to 32 at night. No hot showers. No warm house.

Not to mention I’ve just been in a funk lately. Maybe it was because I was unknowingly breathing in gas fumes – this is very dangerous I hear! Whatever the reason, my mind has not been a pretty place lately.

Last night, as I was laying in bed, complaining about something to myself, I was reminded of something very simple.

“Put your focus on God, not your problems.” 

As simple as it was, it was a lightbulb moment for me.

I thought to myself, “Oh yeah, why am I not doing what I know to do?!”

I immediately started praising God. Repeating things to myself like, “Thank you Lord for all that we have. Thank you for all my blessing. Even when it looks crazy, you are there. You are an awesome God. You deliver me from evil.” And, I fell asleep.

This morning I woke up a new person.

I’m not kidding.

I honestly was thanking God for the no-heat situation. I remembered that situations like these are opportunities to teach my kids alternative ways to keep warm, take baths, heat water, etc. Things I know how to do, but never have to practice; therefore, my kids would never learn.

I learned these things the same way. When it would get extra cold, and the heater could not keep up, my dad would turn on the oven or a burner (take caution if you have a gas stove). Mom would heat water on the stove for a bath if our water was frozen. She would remind us to turn on our electric blankets before bed so our beds would be nice and toasty. This was important because our bedroom doors stayed closed. We didn’t heat those rooms because the blankets would keep us warm.

It’s was not always the most comfortable or ideal situation, but it was certainly good to know how to do these things. Even taking time to put extra blankets on the bed, are things my kids never think about. And, they have never even heard of an electric blanket. Do they still make such a thing?

This morning before school, I was also reminded to pray with the kids. I used to be really good at this, but I have been so consumed with my thoughts lately that I haven’t even taken the time to do it.

After getting to work, I even sent my husband a sweet text message to let him know I was praying that God would bless him today and that I loved him. While this is a simple thing, I fail to do it very often. (Good intentions?)

A few simple words of praise, lifted up to God in the night, have turned my mourning into dancing. I have so much to be thankful for. I know this, but it is even sweeter when God moves it from my head down to my heart.

“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them. He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago), Luke 1:68-70 NIV (biblegateway.com)



In marriage there are many “firsts”.

A first kiss, a first fight, a first child. And, unfortunately, a first major tragedy.

On December 16th, our phone rang at 1:00 a.m. with the terrible news that my mother-in-love had passed away from a massive heart attack. She was one week shy of her 62nd birthday. She had no major health complications. It came as a major shock.
The best Grandmother in the world! (1950-2012)
It is so hard to even imagine life without Grandmother. I’ve only been in the family 14 years come January, and I am going to miss her terribly. I can’t imagine the pain my husband and sister-in-law will face. It will be a first to experience anything of this magnitude with my husband and my children. Grandmother was the apple of their eye.

This experience gives me new insight into older folks or elders. They are wise. But not just in knowledge, also in life experiences, much like this one we are going through. They know that no one can take the place of a mother. They know our lives are forever changed. They know the pain in the coming days ahead. And they hurt for us because they know we will never be the same.

I’m reminded again that death is unpredictable and inevitable. We assume tomorrow will come. We are never prepared for death. We are never ready to say goodbye.

I’m also reminded to be more thoughtful when people lose a loved one. It is hard to know what to say or do, but do something. Those small acts of kindness are never forgotten. Never assume people are too busy to see you or take a call from you. It matters.

Another first for me was living out this tragedy on social media. Not just for me, but my sister-in-law, husband, and most of all my daughter were connected to a larger group of people all feeling our pain with us. Long standing friends and coworkers of my mother-in-law “friended” us on facebook to express their sadness and to “meet” the people they had always heard her speak so fondly about. All of a sudden, brought together by tragedy, we were connected.  

Consoling brokenhearted children proved to be our hardest “first”.  Children feel the sadness but are not sure how to articulate it. Therefore it comes spewing out in the strangest places, usually at a sibling or parent. As if our hearts were not already broken, this heaviness was almost too much to bare. 

And, to add insult to injury, we have already survived her first birthday and Christmas without her. Needless to say, it wasn’t the same. But we made time to enjoy each other and savor the family connection. 

Firsts. Sometimes they are a new adventure, but sometimes they are just hard.
‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:4


This is Why I Believe

Some people simply do not believe in God. But honestly, there are just too many amazing stories within my own family for me NOT to believe! God has done some amazing things that are undeniably HIM beyond the shadow of a doubt. 

I hijacked my sister-in-law’s facebook post (with her permission) because it is yet another amazing God story! 

On Saturday her husband went into the hospital with some kind of an infection. They thought it was originally a spider bite, but the bacteria from the infection spread and started deteriorating the flesh. He had to have two surgeries to remove this bacteria. I don’t have all the details yet on the medical definition of what exactly was wrong with him, but it was very serious. 

The rest of this was written by my sister-in-law. I have inserted a couple of comments in parenthesis to expand on some things. I have italicized her words.    

Ever have doubts? I do… I doubt I am a being a good Christian…I doubt that I should be blessed…I doubt I am a good wife mother, daughter, sister, niece, friend.. But then something happens and I am completely dumbfounded! 

I got a call Saturday that Scott was sick. I got on the phone with him and I knew something was terribly wrong. He just kept saying, “This man is coming to get me in 3 days!”. 

I said, “Okay, but right now I need you to go with Roger to the doctor.” He agreed to go. 

My mom and I got everything taken care of so I could head to Round Rock, Texas. ( Scott had been working in East Texas and she had to travel 5 hours to get to him.)

My father-in-law and I drove into Round Rock knowing that Scott had no idea who we were (if this was permanent-then I could embellish our past as I saw fit). Scott didn’t recognize me, but thought his Dad looked familiar. 

He again began to tell me about the man who was coming to get him in 3 days. The man’s name was Edward and there was a woman with him named Mary. He asked if I knew them. I said “Yes, of course I know them.”

Scott said,” Who are they?”. 

Those two beautiful people taking care of my husband were his grandparents. 

You might think he was hallucinating. But you would be wrong. Here is where the story becomes the miracle. 

I told Scott about us and our four children. He was amazed and excited. He said “I can’t wait to meet them” He turned his head and began to talk, but not to me. He said “I love you and I want to go with you, but I can’t. I have babies!”  He began to cry and didn’t say anything for a bit. 

He looked at me and said, “Jake was sick, and this woman named Mary took care of him.” (Jacob is their son who miraculously recovered from bacterial meningitis three years ago. Doctors told us all to say our goodbyes because he would not survive.)

Are you amazed yet? I was! 

We continued to catch up..there was a lot to tell him. 

Scott began to run fever, the nurse came in and gave him some Tylenol. Within a very short time… like minutes….,. Scott broke out into a sweat. I bet you know what I’m going to say next! Yes, that is right. Mary had come to Scott again and said to him. “I am going to break this fever!” He was so overwhelmed with emotion when he told me what she did for him. 

Mary past away when Scott was about a year and a half. Edward past away just a few years ago. He was their first grandchild. He talks highly of them and from what I learned this past week they love him dearly too. 

I think my husband doubts his worthiness along with the rest of us. God doesn’t.

God’s Mercies are New Every Morning!

Isn’t that a great story? That family has seen some crazy miracles! Not sure what God has in store for them, but he is certainly making believers out of them and strengthening all of our faiths. 🙂 

Maybe you don’t believe in God, but I do. These miracle stories (and we have more!) are too hard NOT to believe! We know beyond the shadow of a doubt that God has been there through some dark hours in our lives. We can’t make you believe, but God has sure made us believe. If you want to believe, just ask him to show you. 


What I Learned While Flipping a House

My sister has always been bitten with the construction bug. She’s that girl who asks us all to get her tools for Christmas. She is a Post Master by day and a construction diva by night. She never turns down a chance to build or remodel something. So, when my niece got a new job and needed a place to live, my sister instantly thought about my grandmother’s old house. Of course it would need just a wee bit of remodeling. (I personally thought bulldozing it was the better choice, but she saw potential.)

Kitchen before. 
Kitchen after cabinets out and sheetrock up.
Like all construction projects, this one started out as a small facelift. Pulling off the paneling and painting the sheetrock was goal number one. Replacing the kitchen cabinets, goal number two. Then, resanding the old wood floors, goal three.  And finally, a little paint job to freshen up the outside of the house, last and final goal number four. 
Stripped walls all the way down to the 2x4s.
Same wall after sheetrock went up. 
The paneling came off with no problems. However, the sheetrock she discovered underneath was in terrible shape. Due to past roof leaks, the majority of it was crumbling. The result? A total sheetrock tear down! Luckily, the house is small; however, the first thing we all learned: There were a lot of nails holding that sheetrock in place! Pulling nails took a couple full days, then we continued to find them for days after. Small children think pulling nails is fun! So, remember that on your next project. 
The cleaning, and the cleaning, and the rest of the cleaning seems to never end. I’m not sure why there is so much sweeping, but it’s best to give one person a broom and just make that their primary job! 
Once the nail pulling was over and we sent the drunks home (that is a blog for another day!), the real work seemed to begin. My sister and great nephew hung sheetrock during the day, then after 5 the second shift arrived. It consisted of her husband, two son-in-laws, myself (I’m the baby sister!), and her mom. With all of us working, we cranked out some major work! While two hung sheetrock, two of us taped and bedded. My sister would go to the next room and “prep” for sheetrock. Her mom would come through periodically (she lives next door, and no, we don’t have the same mom) and sweep and pick up scrapes. It was great! 
As it stands tonight, the sheetrock is almost complete. Only one wall left to go. All walls have been taped, bedded and sanded with just one layer left to go! 
Two excellent nail pullers that worked great…
for one day! lol
While I have become a proficient “mudder” in just a couple of days, the real lesson I’ve learned during this flip is teamwork. It reminds me of the scripture
No one has to be told what to do, we all just find a spot and go to work. None of us are paid professionals. We are merely rookie, volunteer carpenters.  We have come together for the unified goal of getting this house finished before school starts on August 27. 
Regardless of how the house turns out when it is finished, we have made a great team. Not to mention it has been fun to hang with the family. And, we have made memories that will last a lifetime. 
Of course, none of this would have been possible without our fearless leader! 🙂  She pushes us all to do things we probably would not have done otherwise!  
~  Stay tuned for the final makeover! ~
All the white spots you see are little nails
holding on to what is left of the sheetrock! 

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