Thursday, October 31, 2013

Positive Thinking

A lot of my friends have joked that when judging is over I will not have much to write about on my blog. Not true, but while I can write about judging I intend on taking full advantage of it!

Tomorrow, hundreds of livestock judgers in junior and senior college will fight for their fate at winning the 2013 American Royal. We all know that only one individual, and one team will become victorious. Prizes are not awarded for everyone. An average day is not recognized. Yet, we all hold the same fire in our hearts.

I think, more than anything else, livestock judgers (and competitors in general) have to be positive. But, here's the deal: positivity is not only hoping for the best, but believing whatever God chooses to give you IS the best - winning or losing.

Preparing day in and day out has brought a team bond and unbelievable joy to my heart. No  matter what happens tomorrow, everyone is champions at heart, if you choose to believe it. We all have to remember that the good fortune God chooses to bestow upon individuals should be handled humbly - with or without the trophy in hand.

Good luck tomorrow to all teams! And especially to my two favorites: Texas Tech Red Raiders and Butler Grizzlies! Go teams!

"Today, you are going to battle against your enemies. Do not be fainthearted. Do not be afraid. Do not panic. For, the Lord your God is the one who goes with you, to fight for you, fight against your enemies to give you victory." -Deuteronomy 20:3-4

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sweet Sunday: Luke 1:45

"Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished."
Luke 1:45

Man, don't we all know this?! Sometimes we pray for God to send us answers, yet, we don't listen for the answers, because we are afraid of what God might tell us. You bet, it's a scary feeling hearing some of the things God tells us to do, and knowing it has to be carried out!

But, we know that God only gives us what we can handle. Only He knows what is best for our lives, despite what we might think.

This week, let us rely on God's promises and prayer, let our days be sun-shiny, and God's truth's revealed in every positive, uplifting light!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

National Food Day

Today, Thursday, October 24 is celebrated as National Food Day! The glorious part? Every one of you are celebrating a national holiday, and you didn't even know it. Go you!

National Food Day is a product of Animal Agriculture Alliance's "Real Food Real Farmers" campaign. And here is where we are all the same - whether we are agriculturalists, consumers, red meat lovers or vegetarians - it's a celebrated day of ALL food, which is ALL produced by farmers.

Today, I encourage all agriculturalists to get out and spread the word, to help celebrate Food Day, in any way you can. Here is an example of what we are doing in west Texas. As an agvocacy effort, Texas Tech Block and Bridle club is going to Market Street (in Lubbock - come on out if you're around) to hand out food samples, and discuss with consumers where their food comes from.

This is an example of the steak my teammate Kevin will be cooking us all tonight!

We are very excited to get one-on-one contact with the consumers who love food just like we do!

Get up....get out....go share your passion for agriculture!

Have a food-filled, passion for agriculture shining bright, wonderful day today!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sweet Sunday: Philippians 3:13-14

Happy sweet Sunday! Today has been a day full of church, pumpkin picking and judging practice! Life on a judging team - it never ends! A couple days ago I stumbled upon this verse and found it entirely too fitting for the next 28 days we have left as collegiate livestock judgers. (I told y'all my blog would be filled with judging this fall - didn't I?)

Today's verse comes from Philippians. I know - Philippians again, don't hold it against me!

"Brothers, take hold of this one thing: forget what is behind and strain towards what is ahead. Press on toward the goal to win the prize, which God has called you."   -Philippians 3:13-14

There are things in our lives that are overwhelming. For myself and my team, it's livestock judging, in the fall when we are oh so close to clenching a national championship (go team!). But, then God sends us reminders that there are things greater than the present. Taken literally it's pushing harder and working longer to win the national title; taken as the bible puts it, we have a heaven and God waiting for us, loving us continually.

Only 28 days left following our passion, living the dream, and holding a team bond in our hearts. Time to soak it up, love what we have, and push onward.

May your voice be smooth, your pumpkins the biggest, and bible crisp this fine evening!

The boy and I at the pumpkin patch this morning! He wasn't nearly as excited to sort through hundreds of pumpkins as I was....must not be in the fall spirit yet....

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Prayer For South Dakota

Well, I guess I will join the bandwagon and blog about the South Dakota blizzard. But, here's the fact: it's not a bandwagon, "cool thing to blog about", "everyone else did it, I will too" type of blog post. Actually, it's more of a heart-wrenching, how could this happen, farmer-to-farmer prayer.

In case you didn't know, here's the lay down: a blizzard, Atlas, hit South Dakota, Thursday, October 3 - Saturday, October 5. With 58 inches of snow, and 80 mph winds recorded in places, Atlas hit western South Dakota like a thief, stealing the lives of approximately 75,000 cattle. (That's a rough guess, courtesy South Dakota Stockgrowers Association.) Here's the even worser (yep, worser) part, thanks to the government shutdown, cattlemen could've lost 20-50% of their yearly income to the second worst recorded snow storm in the history of South Dakota, with no insurance guarantees.

Before I precede on, let me share a couple photos to try and show just how bad it really was:

            In the aftermath of the storm, ranchers had to dig through the snow to find their cattle, to record who had passed, who was still alive, 
and who was still out there.....
                                                    This photo is from:

Current reports and photos show deceased cattle lining the highways
   This photo is from: Rapids City Journal

Alright, now that we've established the heart break story, let's establish the next fact: no matter who you are, this hurts. Anti-meat activists love to stress how farmers and ranchers don't care about their animals. Yet, it is times like these that allow us all to realize just how precious those lives are. Whether it be cattle, swine, sheep, and ranchers' livelihoods depend on these animals.

This is more than just a pocketbook investment, it's a total, all-in, heart and soul commitment. You think it's bad looking at sad pictures from a nice, comfy couch inside? Try living it. Try being the farmer, out in the cold, digging through snow and finding a frozen baby calf ear, cutting the tag out to record the death, then moving on to the next grave. Is it a heart break? You bet.
But, here's the next fact: we wouldn't trade our lifestyle for the world. Tragedies happen, just as in any other profession. But, farming and ranching is so much more than just an ordinary profession. Being a farmer means getting to see the sunrise more than any one else and knowing that it brings promise - like melting five feet of snow away. Being a farmer means seeing lives being born every day. Being a farmer means surviving the tough times, and prevailing forward with hope in your heart, and passion in your soul.

Farming and ranching is not for the faint-of-heart, but for the bold, for the ones that love their lifestyle more than anyone else. So, let's take a moment to say a little prayer for our fellow cattlemen, our fellow American's. Just because farming and ranching holds more tragedies than most, it still hurts every time, even if it's not your own cattle.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the opportunity to live in a country born on freedom. Thank You for the opportunity to pursue our passion. Thank you for the time we get to praise You, and Lord, strengthen us in our time of weakness. May Your peace and everlasting comfort clothe those whose pain we cannot imagine. Father, help us to find hope in a time of hurt, and to grow closer to You in every circumstance. Amen.

Today, may your blessings seem greater, your courage a little bolder, and your cows closer to your heart than ever before.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sweet Sunday: Philippians 4:6

Hello again!

Well, I have decided to start a "tradition" on my blog....Sweet Sunday! Every Sunday, (please hold me accountable, hopefully I don't forget!) I will post a favorite verse, or a verse I heard in church, or just a little motivational, uplifting verse for the day!

I think far too often, consumers look at farmers and ranchers as cruel, money-hungry individuals that don't respect their animals. Yet, quite the contrary is true. Farmers and ranchers have just the same beliefs, religion, and lifestyle as everyone else - minus sleeping in on Saturdays, having time to go on vacations, being able to stay inside on rainy/snowy/hot/yucky days, oh yeah, and our lives revolve around stock! Hopefully, Sweet Sunday's will give everyone the opportunity to see how we are really all the same.

So! Today's verse comes from Philippians - one of my favorite books!

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."   -Philippians 4:6

I love this verse for three reasons:

1. God is telling us to not worry, just give everything to Him! Whew, great to be reminded of that!

2. I think of this as "preparation for the day". We need to be prepared to spread the word of Jesus to others, and the way to be prepared? Prayer.

3. God loves everything we do (as long as it is in His name, of course). So when I am preparing for anything, whether it is school, judging, speaking, or spreading the word of agriculture, I know I can pray for peace, comfort, and strength.

Man, we serve a mighty Lord! Today, may your strength in the Lord be boundless, your worries be few, and your hair fabulous (even in the pouring rain)! Have a super Sweet Sunday friends!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The 38th Floor

The first blog. Whew, what a relief! I set my blog site up a couple weeks ago, and have stressed for two weeks as to the topic of my first blog. Then, I realized that I was just going to jump in and write whatever I was feeling.

So here it is. It's not an "about me", hopefully through my blog posts y'all will get to know me, and all about what I stand for. I hope this blog will be an informative place to learn about beef, agriculture products, and the general life of a farm girl fighting untruths about agriculture. But, first, a couple important parts of my life:

Part 1: I'm from Texas, as evidenced by the "y'all" in the prior sentence - that's a word y'all know!

Part 2: livestock judging. Livestock judging has been such a big part of my life for ten years, now I only have ONE month left judging with some of the most amazing people I know (aka prepare yourselves for sad, sappy blog posts in the preceding months). For those of you that don't know, livestock judging is basically a contest where we evaluate cattle, sheep, goats and hogs based on their market potential, and their efficiency in saving producers and consumers money! Always important! It's also a high stress, high time-intensive, road tripping, steno and pencil required, teammate bonding, memory making, late nights and early mornings love affair.

Recently, we traveled to Tulsa, Oklahoma and Dallas, Texas for two of our last four contests EVER - no, please tell me it isn't true!? Anyway, after the State Fair of Texas contest, our team quickly realized (thanks coach) that we had not set ourselves up to win the contest. In fact, we ended up second - congrats Aggies, we'll get ya next time. 

Losing is never the goal. But losing is what makes the next win so much fun. Monday night, for the awards banquet, over 300 coaches and contestants rode the Sheraton elevator up 38 floors, to the very top where we were greeted with the most gorgeous sight. Surrounding the banquet hall were solid glass walls, allowing us to look out over the lit up Dallas night sky. Talk about taking your breath away!

In that instant, standing over the top of the Dallas skyline, surrounded by livestock industry leaders, and the most passionate group of people, I realized that had to be what life is about! We travel, we do what we love, we may not always succeed, but there is always something to learn, something to love and something to strive for. Whether it is livestock judging, sports, competitions, family, or life in general, we always have to remember to cherish the moment we're in!

 Have a blessed day, may your coffee be bold, your worries subtle, and and your happiness 38 floors high!

P.S. I can guarantee not all my blog posts will be deep and thought provoking! But hey, when the shoe fits, rock it like Lady Gaga.

P.S.S. Because I think it is a sin to post without a picture, check out my fantastic team! This picture was taken a few weeks ago in Illinois (I think) when we "spotted" a spot gilt!