Friday, April 30, 2010

Ranch Wife 101

Wyoming Ranch Wife posted these guidelines on her blog recently; I still think they're applicable to most women in ranch situations whether you're married to a cowboy or not. Y'all know that I'm far from married, yet I can still vouch that these really do happen!

1. Always load your horse last in the trailer so it is the first one unloaded. By the time he's got his horse unloaded, you will have your cinch pulled and be mounted up and ready to go - lessening the chance of him riding off without you with your horse trying to follow while you are still trying to get your foot in the stirrup.

2. Never - and I repeat never - ever believe the phrase "We'll be right back," when he asked you to help him do something out on the ranch. The echoing words, "this will only take a little while" have filtered through generations of ranch wives and still today should invoke sincere distrust in the woman who hears them.

3. Always know there is NO romantic intention when he pleadingly asks you take a ride in his pickup with him around the ranch while he checks waters and looks at cattle. What that sweet request really means is he wants someone to open the gates.

4. He will always expect you to quickly be able to find one stray in a four-section brush-covered pasture, but he will never be able to find the mayonnaise jar in four-square feet of regrigerator.

5. Count every head of everything you see - cattle especially, but sometimes horses, deer, quail or whatever moves. Count it in the gate, out the gate or on the horizon. The first time you don't count is when he will have expected that you did. That blank eyelash-batting look you give him when he asks "How many?" will not be acceptable.

6. Know that you will never be able to ride a horse or drive a pickup to suit him. Given the choice of jobs, choose throwing the feed off the back of the pickup. If he is on the back and you are driving, the oportunity for constant criticism of speed, ability and your eyesight will be utilized to the full extent. "How in the *$&# could you NOT see that hole?"

7. Never let yourself be on foot in the alley when he is sorting cattle horseback. When he has shoved 20 head of running, bucking, kicking yearlings at you and then hollers "Hold 'em, hold 'em" at the top of his lungs, don't think that you can do it without the loss of life or limb. Contrary to what he will lead you to believe, walking back to the house is always an option that has been used throughout time.

8. Don't expect him to correctly close the snap-on tops on the plastic refrigerator containers, but know he will expect you to always close every gate. His reasoning, the cows will get out; the food will not.

9. Always praise him when he helps in the kitchen - the very same way he does when you help with the ranch work - or not.

10. Know that when you step out of the house you move from the "wife" department to "hired hand" status. Although the word "hired" indicates there will be a paycheck that you will never see, rest assured you will have job security. The price is just right. And most of the time you will be "the best help he has" even if it is because you are the ONLY help he has.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Night and Snowy

No, I do not mean Snowy Night. Haha. Night and Snowy are the two beautiful chickens that my nephew and niece showed at the Verde Valley Fair tonight. It was their first time showing through 4-H and the entire family was proud of their performance. Despite the gale force winds and sand in my eyes (the wind is a sure sign that it is fair time), the night still proved to be a memorable one. I sometimes forget how nostalgic the fairgrounds of my youth is - lots of familiar places and smells. Fairgrounds bring back great memories for lots people, what's your favorite fairground memory?

D did great showing Snowy. (Please don't be confused by Snowy's dark appearance.) D showed in the booster class - we were confident that she would win it, but they announced that all booster's were winners. :) Great job D!

J was so relaxed while he held Night outside of the showring but as soon as he got his chicken set up he tensed up a bit; please note his left hand firmly holding Night to the table. J did enjoy himself but he finally needed a little break while the judge took his time (45 minutes for seven novice members) to thoroughly question each member about their chicken project.

I ran into my good friend from high school, Amy Badger. It was great seeing her! Dad is holding G and P was taking a break on my lap from kicking the dirt and dancing like a crazy man. Please don't hold my crazy wind blown hair against me.

G even had a chance to enter her drawing of a caterpillar in the art contest - her caterpillar was "really big and pink." Yep, that's her direct quote folks. She wasn't willing to pose for a picture, but even I had trouble smiling since it was 7:30 and my blood sugar was dropping...we ended the night with dinner at Hacienda, a local Mexican food place that holds a dear place in my heart.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Katy's Cakes

I couldn't resist posting pictures of the cake I made for one of my best friend's bridal shower today - it was a four-layer chocolate round cake with buttercream frosting. Holly's wedding colors are chocolate brown with pink and orange accent colors. I left the buttercream white and then did orange and pink polka dots around the side and placed pink roses on top. I think it turned out pretty good if I can say so myself!

I am just starting to dabble in cake making and am starting to think that I could moonlight as a cake decorator on my weekends...okay, maybe not because extra time is non-existent in my life, but it's a thought. I pray about my future lots and I would love to eventually earn money through food preparation someway - a small catering business, bakery or coffee shop could eventually be in my future. For the time being though, say hello to the humble beginnings of Katy's Cakes! If you know of anyone in the West Valley who is interested in buying small to medium cakes that are affordably priced, please give them my number.

My next goal is to make and decorate a multi-tiered round cake...and don't you worry, I will definitely post pictures of that!

PS - I wanna give my sister a shout out because she threw an incredible shower - beautiful in every way including the invitations, food and favors. Check out her blog here for her posting of the details...if they're not up, check back!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Strawberries and Cream Popsicles

I don't recall where I found this recipe, but it's a delightful treat especially in the heat of summer! I couldn't resist making it last night because I bought a HUGE container of luscious strawberries at Costco this past weekend. Enjoy!

Strawberries and Cream Popsicles
In a blender, whirl 2 cups rinsed, hulled strawberries until smooth. Push through a fine strainer into a 1-quart glass measure; discard seeds. (I usually skip that step because the seeds don't bother me and I'm usually in a hurry.) Return berry puree to blender and whirl in 1/2 cup light sour cream, 2-3 tablespoons sugar (to taste), and 2 teaspoons lemon juice until smooth. Pour into popsicle mold; freeze for three hours and up to one week.

Keep on Keepin' On

One of the first things we do in my bible study every Thursday night is review the things we have learned thus far about the book of Hebrews. I'll share a couple of these truths:
  • It is a letter of exhortation written to Jewish Christians.
  • The recipients of the letter were being severely persecuted and were in danger of shrinking back to their belief in Old Testament practices.
  • The recipients were well versed in Old Testament scripture.

We typically spend several minute doing this; the repetition has cemented a lot of truths in our minds as we review and repeat the same things each week. Something new that hit home last week was the basic premise that when the outlook on life looks really bleak, we need to remain confident in Christ by keeping our eyes firmly on Him and the promise we have been given. This is a great reminder because we've all been there when our week is going terrible and it only seems to be getting worse. However, as I briefly mentioned in my previous post, our lives look pretty sweet compared to some of the persecution referred to in biblical times. Consider Hebrews 10:32-34:

"But remember the former days, when, after being enlightened, you endured a great conflict of sufferings, partly being made a spectacle through reproaches and tribulations, and partly by becoming sharers with those who were so treated. For you showed sympathy to the prisoners, and accepted joyfully the seizure of your property..." (emphasis mine)

While the great conflict of sufferings is not described in detail, we can be sure that their property was seized. This could mean that their home had been taken away and maybe all their livestock. Can you imagine having your home, vehicle or business seized simply because you confess to be a Christian? While this may not happen in America today, the reality is this still happens in countries across the globe; praise God for the freedoms we often take for granted. As a way of encouraging the recipients of his letter, the author goes on to quote Habakkuk 2:4a, "But my righteous one shall live by faith." Why would this small quote be so significant or encouraging?

The prophet Habakkuk was questioning God about the current state of affairs in Judah - there were many evil people and he wanted to know why they were not being punished. He cries out in the first couple of verses of chapter one stating that the wicked are surrounding the righteous and justice is never upheld. God replies, "I am doing something" (1:5) for "I am raising up the Chaldeans" (1:6). The Chaldeans (Babylonians) are described as the fierce and impetuous people who came for violence and to mock kings; Babylon was the world's rising super power at the time. God was making it clear that Judah's impending judgment would come at the hands of a nation more wicked than Judah? How is that encouraging? While this seems to be at odds with the very nature of God, Habakkuk trusted God's purpose in using the Chaldeans to accomplish His purpose in His time. He ends the short book of Habakkuk with this (3:17-19):

"Though the fig tree should not blossom and there be no fruit on the vines, though the yield of the olive should fail and the fields produce no food, though the flock should be cut off from the fold and there be no cattle in the stalls, yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, and He has made my feet like hinds' feet, and make me walk on my high places."

As I mentioned at the beginning of my post, the Hebrews were familiar with Old Testament scripture. When the author of Hebrews referred to Habakkuk, they fully understood that Judah's judgment was fierce and ugly yet the prophet remained hopeful in spite of this knowledge. How can we too be hopeful with the knowledge that our walk as Christians may get harder before it gets easier? Like Habakkuk reminded us at the close of his book, we must rejoice in our Lord knowing that He is our strength, and in all things He is purposeful. Not everything in our life will be good, but God will work all things for our good in the end (Romans 8:28).

While applying this to my own life last week, I described it as being something kind of like an out of body experience. I have to endure the struggles and challenges that I face with my physical body in the temporal world, knowing that Christ is purposeful in all that we experience. We have to keep our eyes and mind on the things of above so that we can exult in the Lord, and rejoice in the God of our salvation. We must be confident that we can endure all things if we choose to live by faith in God (Habakkuk 2:4/Hebrews 10:38a).

I pray you are encouraged by God's reminder; I am going to re-visit the idea of living by faith in an upcoming post so if you get a chance, check out Hebrews 11 in the next couple of days.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Worth Quoting

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
Edmund Burke

I'm not sure if Mr. Burke ever thought of Jesus when he said this, but I sure do. Praise God for Jesus doing something and His subsequent victory over death.

I'm sorry I've been AWOL for awhile - I no longer have internet at mi casa, so I type blogs and then post them at work before or after school. I have a blog ready to go but am having trouble copying and pasting it into the blog. (Sorry, I'm a techno peasant sometimes!) Anyway, I promise to get another blog up by weeks end.

God bless!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

By Faith

I am nearing the end of my year-long study of the book of Hebrews and it has been so rewarding. Challenging at times, but mostly rewarding as I have gleaned greater depth of understanding into the word of God which so masterfully illustrates why and how Jesus became the better sacrifice allowing us to enter God’s presence. I entered chapter 11 this week where the author begins recounting the faithfulness of past individuals who lived in faithful expectation of receiving God’s promise. I love this chapter. It is motivating, encouraging and renewing. Too often I get bogged down in thinking about how hard or miserable my situation is when in reality I know my situation is pretty sweet compared to Old Testament times. I don’t have much more to say in light of the scripture I share below, but I pray you also are encouraged by reading it today.

Hebrews 11:32-40

And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jepthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, in order that they might obtain a better resurrection; and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground. And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they should not be made perfect.

(emphasis mine)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Happy Easter

In light of the upcoming celebration of the ressurection of Jesus, I wanted to take a moment to reflect upon what He has done for me. Through my (almost) year long study of the book of Hebrews, I have learned so much about the sacrifice that Jesus made and the symbolism involved in the Old Testament system of offering gifts and sacrifices. God never desired the sacrifice of calves and goats for they never cleansed the consciousness of the sinner. Jesus was the one time, all-perfect and all-satisfying sacrifice that cleansed our consciousnesses of sin. When Jesus returns a second time, He will do so without reference to our sin. Praise God for His mercy and the merciful provision of His perfect Son.

I pray you have a restful Easter holiday. Don't forget what we are truly celebrating - the death and ressurection of Christ our King. May the following hymn remind you of what was completed in Jesus.

The atoning work is done,
The Victim's blood is shed;
And Jesus now has gone
His people's cause to plead.
He stands in heaven, their great High Preist,
And bears their names upon His breast.

He sprinkled with His blood
The mercy-seat above;
For justice had withstood
The purposes of love:
But justice now withstands no more,
And mercy yields its boundless store.

No temple made with hands
His place of service is;
In heaven itself He stands,
A heavenly priesthood His:
In Him the shadows of the law
Are all fulfilled, and now withdraw.

And though awhile He be
Hid from the eyes of men,
His people look to see
Their great High Priest again:
In brightest glory He will come
And take His waiting people home.

by Thomas Kelly

For more information on why or how Jesus replaced the Old Covenant system of sacrificing calves and goats read the book of Hebrews. The book is wonderfully saturated with explanations on how Jesus is the better sacrifice; I'm studying chapter nine at the moment and this chapter has helped prepare my heart for the celebration of Jesus' ressurection.