Gratitude is Our Attitude

Today is a good day for a good day.

Let me paint my scene for you. As I write this post I am sitting on the edge of a nice full tree row looking out at our pasture full of healthy cow calf pairs. The temperature is 76 degrees, but probably a bit cooler here in the shade. A gorgeous breeze blowing through the leaves above me is creating my favorite sound in the whole world. It is very dry and there are a few flys out to bug me but today couldn’t be more beautiful. I am surrounded by my four followers, Boss, Clyde, Sherman and Sadie and it seems that they are enjoying the day as much as I am. No one else is around, just me and the pups here to reflect on our life in the country.

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As this summer slowly turns to fall, Jason and I have had a lot to reflect on. We have been together for seven plus years now and it seems that none of them have been very easy. If there is one thing I am learning from J, it is that there is always time for gratitude.

It’s weird to think that this year we have embarked on a journey that has and will continue to change our lives forever. This year is the year that we can officially start turning our small farm opporation into a full fledged business. We have launched Steer Cattle, a business we both have dreamed of, planned for and prayed about for over 7 years now. Ranches don’t just pop up out of nowhere. Equipment is expensive, land even more so and it takes years to turn one good cow into a proud cow family line. We have been chasing this for what seems like forever.

This year, though it’s not been easy, looks like it might actually be turning out better than projected. Jason has always wanted a few pigs, 🙄 don’t ask me why. I have never wanted pigs, they are cute and all but they stink. Years ago we made a plan that when we reached a certain business goal J could get his pigs… well it looks like that might actually happen this year! And though I am happy about our goal can I just say, “Yikes!” 😳.

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(Thanks Pinterest! I'll try!)

Challenges

Jason and I often talk about things. Our relationship is as open as it could possibly be, something I’m not only proud of but thankful for. Don’t get me wrong, we disagree like anyone else, but we try to remember to care about each other before the argument gets too big. Sometimes I find it harder than he does. When our life gets stressful, we find that talking things out and making a plan is what works best for us. I struggle with this a bit more than J, I like to move faster and get results, and he likes to let time calm things down. Maybe my city girl pessimism starts bleeding out once in a while but he always brings me back to center and together we figure it out.

We have dealt with some crazy things in years past, things that have knocked us down and wiped us out. Accidents, medical bills, unsustainable debt, disabilities, homelessness just to name a few, and then there are the regular stresses that life throws your way to add to the pile like job, family and friend drama. None of this has been fun, in fact it has felt like we have been sitting on rock bottom and stuck there in limbo for sometime… but every night we remember we have our pups, we haven’t lost the cows, we are alive together, and that we will make it.

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Gratitude

It might sound cliche but we like to think that our daily business motto and life motto is “Gratitude is our Attitude.” Just think about that, what is your attitude today? Are you happy, mad, stressed or frustrated? Are you dreading the work week in front of you? Are you always chasing Fridays? Do you seem to chunk life into segments to get through them or do you live for today and the things happening right now?

Jason and I sit on both sides of this fence most of the time. He is a “live for today” guy, I am a “plan for 5 years from now” gal. I don’t think there is anything wrong with either, in fact most people think we have a good balance, but trust me, this can also be a good set up for disaster. Early on in our relationship we acknowledged this and decided to compromise. We plan 😊, and  whether it’s 1 year, 5 years or 1 day ahead we also live for right now knowing and preparing that things will change. You see God also has a plan for us and we have to listen openly to those ques when they come.

We set plans into action and reflect on what we have achieved. I honestly believe that is the only way we have made it this far together. Most of the challenges we have faced would send people running in separate directions but we are stronger than ever before!

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The most important thing you can do everyday is to stop and look around. See the beauty somewhere. The wind blowing in the trees or the baby calves jumping. Maybe it’s in a friend who stopped by unexpectedly. Try seeing your job or chores in a different light. If you can’t find happiness in your everyday efforts, try doing them differently even if it’s just changing your attitude towards them.

Thankful for more than just pigs.

Besides pigs, Jason and I are grateful for many things this harvest season. We have seen how the drought has devistated the central U.S. and how ranchers all over are having to sell off their cattle because they can not feed them. Well our grass is brown in some places, but we were able to get two decent hay crops up this year, plus the gov’t decided to open CRP for haying to add some relief. This was an answer to prayer for sure! As were the few short showers of rain we got keeping us just green enough to survive. Our corn and soybeans look good too, what a difference a year makes. Last year we combined through lakes of water, this year we were lucky to see anything grow.

This year Jason and I are building a new home on the farm. Something we have envisioned for  what seems like forever. Soon we will be able to walk out our door and see our livelihoods right there in front of us with only a few short steps for a commute. Dreams are coming true.

Equipment has always been a borrowing and sharing game for us. Recently we were able to buy a tractor and upgrade to better hay equipment. This is huge for us as it will drastically change how long it takes us to do things around here. Newer and better equipment will hopefully cut down on breakdowns and such, thus giving us the opportunity to spend time in other much neglected areas of our lives.

We hold so much gratitude in our hearts for our buyers who are making our dreams possible. Without them purchasing bulls, heifers and of course steaks and hamburger we could not do this amazing job. I only wish you all knew how much our hearts jump to recieve your calls, orders and feedback.

We recognize daily the efforts of Jason’s parents who have help form Jason’s dreams and love of cattle since he was a young boy. His father has demonstrated a love for these giant animals like no one else could. Both Russ and Laurie have gifted the opportunity to live on this legacy in more ways than we could ever describe. We only hope we can make them proud someday.

In the end it is the lifestyle as a whole that we are most thankful for. Wide open spaces for our animals to run. The ability to take a long 2 mile walk and never be bothered by a single soul. Dog leashes don’t exist out here and neither do parking spots. Good neighbors and close family provide exceptional support. Never ending nature opens our eyes to Gods world, lifts our hearts and propels us to our goals. I think what I appreciate the most is the layed back lifestyle of being able to just sit in the trees with my pups and write with a clear mind. Oh! and the wind in those leaves…

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