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We Are In This Together

Is this week over yet? Physically I am doing so much better. Just about 90%. But life on the ranch has not been easy. We had a blizzard hit really hard this week and we are right smack in the middle of calving. Roy worked from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. most days and would still do 2:00 a.m. heifer checks. Nita had nearly a dozen calves in and out of her house trying to warm them from freezing to death, we bottle fed too many to remember right now, the guys pulled four heifer calves, they brought horse trailers down to the barn pasture and loaded nearly two dozen calves inside them to try to protect from the severe blowing snow and now we are trying to clean up this mess. There are cows and calves running all over trying to find one another and no one recognizes one another. (Quick explanation for at least my Vegas family: cows rely instinctively on their sense of smell to find their baby, so when we had to separate them, all smell was lost…) As a family we all played our part. Even Jake and Matt loaded up in the pick-up with me on Thursday to take the Hydrabed (a transformer type truck that has arms on the back of it to lift large round bales) and we fed cows for four hours. My prayer the entire time I was down in the Meadow picking up hay is that I wouldn’t get stuck and cause yet another issue for the week. I did some AWESOME mom-with-two-kids-mud-bogging-with-3000-pounds-of-hay-on-the-bed though. If I hadn’t hit my head on the roof that would have been better – the seats have very good springs. (That reminded me of being in Ol’ Blue, Dad’s old ’71ish Ford – now, that has goooood springs.)… Anyhow, we even got Jake and Matt out at 7:45 last night to try to graft two calves on to two foster mom’s. This is a pretty labor intensive process, but the boys sat on top of railroad tie posts under a dark night sky, all bundled up like marshmallows, waiting for Roy and I to finish. We came home and put the boys to bed and Roy went back to check on the pair that was in the barn and found the little red calf not doing well. He came home so depressed, exhausted and just completely at the end of himself. Despite being showered I felt like I needed to get dressed back in my goobered pants (from bottle feeding calves earlier in the day) and go lay hands on that calf. I was NOT going to let this calf die! The blizzard has taken 17 calves already and we are not allowing any more deaths. PERIOD! On top of the blizzard, taxes are due, I have a cough that won’t quit, the saddle needs finished so I was helping in the shop and tried to cut off my thumb with the headknife and ended up at the doctor’s office yesterday to see if I might need stitches, we are about to start foaling 24 mares, and we are needing to make a few other major life decisions right now. And you thought I just had cancer…

The boys working late at night...

The boys working late at night…

But here is the thing: We are not the only ranchers in Northeast Colorado who faced the blizzard. We are not the only Americans who are overtaxed. I was not the only one who tried to cut my thumb off last week (maybe, but I would really prefer to not be the only one). I was really convicted earlier this week reading an article Beth Moore wrote. I cannot seem to find it again, but she mentions the idea that everyone is dealing with some sort of pain. I don’t know why this seemed like such a foreign concept to me. Of course, everyone is dealing with something, something that is hard or painful. It is such an opportunity to look at ways we can bless one another instead of hurt one another. I had an INCREDIBLE experience today. I was working a Pampered Chef booth and about 1:00 p.m. Ardith Gillham (who may want to remain nameless, but will not) stopped by. We visited for a bit and then she went on her merry shopping way. Around 1:30 Ardith stopped back by asking if Roy was going to help me load all of my inventory. I told her that I had insisted he stay home and work on blizzard clean-up. She then offered to help me pack everything into the truck. I couldn’t possibly let her help me. The booth didn’t end for another 90 minutes and I didn’t want her to waste her time waiting for me. “I don’t care, I’ll just sit here and visit.” Ardith is about the sweetest lady in the world, and I have loved her since I first met her on the Peetz football field with her husband back in the late nineties, but she is also 82 years young (and may have wanted to remain ageless). I really worked to try to convince her to head home and that I could easily do this by myself. Then, the Lord took a 4×4 and hit me over the head. “Let her bless you.” I am still terrible at accepting help. So clearly the Lord is continuing to prepare me for the journey ahead because a beautiful, kind, gracious, thoughtful, strong 82 year young woman helped me load out 9 large totes and about twice as many bags today. Ardith and I joked about how she might very well be healthier than I am right now. I was so incredibly blessed by her willingness to serve and her outstanding kindness. I know Ardith would not want me to blog about her, but too bad, the experience was too good to pass up. We finished our time together with Ardith reminding me that, “We are in this together. We are praying for your cancer together and we have now loaded the truck together.” What a steward of God’s loving kindness. I know the lesson to learn today was in receiving help – thank you Lord! Ardith, thank you for being His vessel.

The booth Ardith helped break down - clearly not a light load.

The booth Ardith helped break down – clearly not a light load.

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