Thursday, May 30

Missing My Passion

I have decided to write this somewhat "random" post today because...ican'tgetawayfromit!
But, seriously.
I can't.
In at least half a dozen instances this week I have seen some form of the phrase, "Find what you are passionate about and do it!", and, "The key to success is figuring out what makes you happy and then making money at it!".
Soooooooo....I sort of feel like maybe this is already something I have written, like in my head.  Maybe predestined?
I'm not sure, but you're getting the raw end of the deal, I'm afraid.
Since I left the dairy last December and began working for Dr. K, I have had a lot of soul-searching time.
Let's all take a collective sigh...
To really understand what it means to be me, you have to first of all grasp the fact that I wake up and do life.  For real, I don't wait for things to happen, I do them.  I'm not a sit-and-wait-er.  I'm a dooooerrrr.
I get up, go to the gym-where if I don't sweat my ever-lovin butt off I am so disappointed.  After that I get ready for work and during the 30-minute drive I am anywhere from, how could I have a greenhouse in the backyard? to, I could totally do professional figure! 
Not impressed?  I'll go on...I really need to go on a mission trip, I wonder how long it would take me to get a degree in ______?, I should really be doing 2-a-day workouts.  When is the best time for me to start building my gardens for next year?  andonandonandon...
Maybe it sounds like I'm not settled...actually it does.  You're right.
I recently figure out the reason I love working for Dr. K.  I like helping him. 
That's it. 
It doesn't matter if I am billing his clients or dehorning 70 calves...I just like helping him. 
I feel like I have been given the opportunity to help someone with such great faith, and who helps so many others, that how could I not want to?
Once I wrapped my mind around why I like working for him, I realized that something is still missing.
That "passion" thing.
You know what that is?
It's cows.
How odd, right?
The fact that something...some animal..can work its way into your soul that you aren't truly complete without them, is kind of crazy.  Am I right?
Some, non-fetching, no-command-knowing, anti-cuddly creature makes
Maybe you knew that already.  I didn't.
I knew I would miss my cows, but not cows in general.
What a revelation!

Maybe I am meant to be a CowLady afterall:).
We'll see!


Monday, May 13

What Being a Stepmom Has Taught Me

I certain little boy turns the big 1-2 today!!
Happy birthday Caden!

I feel so blessed to be a part of his life.

When I first started dating Chuck I can remember Caden being:
Less smelly-er.

Now he is:
Much tall-er.
Waaaaay smelly-er....because boys just are. Sorry.
...and I can wear his old clothes-er.
Boy, that last one is such a WIN!

Anyway, life has such a funny way of working out doesn't it?  I mean, the day that Charles(sometimes I use his proper name, justsohecanrollhiseyes) and I met at the gym, I totally had never given any thought to being a step mom.  Yeowza.
Now looky here!  I am stumbling my way through it quite nicely...ish.
you get credit for trying, mk?

I had never given any thought to the amount of space some little person, a stranger to me, would take up in my heart.  I cannot fathom the amount of trust that Chuck had to have in me to introduce me to his son.
My hat is off to all of the single parents out there looking for that someone to become a part of their family.  You have such a tremendous job ahead of you!
Accepting someone not only into your home, but into your children's life takes great courage.  I am so thankful that Chuck allowed me into their lives a few years ago.

Now, for the record I will never say that Caden and I have been super close since the beginning, or even now.  He was a little leery at first, I mean what child wouldn't be?  I wasn't his mom.  He didn't know me from Adam.  I was this person who suddenly showed up everywhere his dad was...and talked.  Seeing as I am not super outgoing, I took a back seat and just tried to be there.  Be available.  Be nice.  Bake treats for him.
Getting to know Caden has taught me that above all else, just being there is so important.
Smiling, asking him about his day, helping him with English and holding my phone under the table with "Google" pulled up in anticipation of a math question.
Caden has this huge heart.  He talks a mean game, but his heart hurts just like mine.
He remembers things in great detail and has the ears of an owl.

I am lucky to have such a wonderful mom, because occasionally I will think, "what would mom do?" and be able to act accordingly.

Having this opportunity to be a step mom to such a loving boy, has put my priorities in place.  I used to enjoy going out on the town and having a big time, but now all I want to do is help provide this stable life for him.  I want him to know that no matter what else happens, his dad and step mom are always going to be here.  They always want him.  He is never an inconvenience to our lives.

I think that children who are used to being "shuffled" from place to place, like nomads, have security issues.  Maybe I'm wrong, it's just my opinion.  That is my greatest fear.

Life is so not about me, and that is one of the greatest lessons I have learned.  Being able to help Chuck have the family he has always wanted for himself and his son is honestly all I want.  I was put here for this purpose, and if all I need to do is love this little boy...then psssshhhh!


Saturday, May 11

The Stuff I Said at Church Today...

I was asked to speak at the Mother-daughter banquet at Church, and I just wanted to share my "speech"...that's a very loose term used here....
Anyway, my mom was not able to come so this is mostly for her, since I know I will not stand up and do it again:).
I love you mama.

Making Your Cake and Eating it Too

Happy Mother’s Day!!
For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Rachael and I have been a member here at Rio180 for a couple of years now.  A few weeks ago Tammy asked me if I would be attending the mother-daughter banquet, and if so she would like for me to speak…me….speak.  Yeah. My internal response was oddly enough the same way my husband reacted, except he actually said, “Ok, so why did they ask you to speak?”.  I gave him the same answer I’ll give you today…I have no idea.  But I will give Tammy credit; she knew what she was doing when she caught me right after service one Sunday morning.  I am totally the first one to leave.  Hi, I’m that person.  So suddenly I have this small obstacle standing between me and the exit and what am I gonna do?  Of course I will name my daughter after you.  Need a kidney?  We can make that happen!  Speak at a banquet?  No problemo senorita!  Just scootch a bit to the left there…all righty, seeyabye. 

So here we are.  Before I tell you a bit about this person standing in front of you, thinking they’re all somebody, I will tell you what Tammy asked me to speak about, and that’s balance.  Not standing-on-one-leg balance, but balance in our lives and how important it is.  Like I told you a minute ago, my name is Rachael, I am 30 years old and I am frighteningly far from perfect.  Chuck and I have been married for over a year now, and my stepson Caden turns 12 Monday.  I am a fitness fanatic, baking enthusiast, avid blog reader and I work cattle for a living.  My closet is a wreck, I never wash my truck and I am a serial plant murderer.  I have been through some things in my life that have taken their toll on me.  A genuine fear of meeting new people, anxiety over being talked about and a desire to go unnoticed are just a few of the things I struggle with each day.  But each day I remember how much God loves me, and each day I get better at being me. 

So let’s talk about balance and what that means.  I actually entitled this talk, “Making Your Cake and Eating it Too”, maybe if I was talking to a group of men I would change it to “Having” instead of “Making”…because we all know how that goesJ.  The reason I entitled this that way is because when Tammy approached me, she really wanted me to hit on how I bake so much yet still manage to keep a healthy lifestyle.  I would love to tell you that I have this awesome metabolism and I can eat anything I want, but I don’t.  For me it’s a system of checks-and-balances.  I know how good I feel when I have worked out in the morning, so if I am going to have a big hunk of cake, then I make a deal with myself that I will enjoy it immensely, but hit the gym.  We are all busy with our own schedules, then you have your kids activities and friends who want to get together…the list goes on and on…I know.  Caden doesn’t always eat a good, nutritious meal, especially when he has ball games.  Keeping that in mind, I buy no junk from the grocery store.  Occasionally Chuck gets bummed about it, but oh well.  At least I can make every effort to have a nutritious option for both of them while they are home.  Checks and balances.  I have gone from not in shape, to competing, to where I am now…which is pretty content.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I come home and look in the mirror and poke and prod myself to death, but I have to remember that I am not perfect, and I’m not going to be.  If I ate too much candy today then I will make a conscious effort to try harder tomorrow.  When I started a new work schedule last year, I went from working out around lunch to now, where I am waking up 4 hours before I have to be at work to get to the gym.  NO I don’t like waking up that early, but I don’t like the way I feel not working out more.  Checks and balances.  I have a good friend who has no time to workout early or after work, so at lunch she walks around her building.  Maybe that doesn’t sound like much, but it is!  Making an effort to exercise creates the likelihood that you will make healthier decisions during your every day routine.  Ladies, our health is just as important as the health of whomever you are worrying about!  Don’t act like you’re not worried about so-and-so and how she is doing…take care of you so that you can take care of them!   

Women are a lot harder on themselves than men, we hold ourselves up to such high expectations, yet we don’t always expect the same in return.  Why is that?  Is it because we want everything to run smoothly, so if we are in control then maybe nothing will go wrong, and if it does we can just blame ourselves?  I think this happens more often than not.  Marriage is an area where balance is constantly changing.  There is this huge misconception that marriage is easy.  It’s so not!  Marriage is work, and anyone who says otherwise is single.  Boom.  It’s not like working 60 calves work; it’s like tending a garden.  It’s fulfilling to watch it grow and be able to reap the benefits, but as soon as you neglect it you start having trouble.  When the communication stops you might as well invite the weeds in and let them take over, and before you know it you don’t even know where the problem started in the first place.  My husband would agree that not only am I a plant murderer, but I can torture a problem until it screams “uncle!”.  I don’t like for the air between us to ever get cloudy.  I just can’t stand it, because then we get so far out of whack that neither one of us knows exactly how to fix it, and at the end of the day all I want is my best friend to smile at me when I come home and tell me he loves me.  One of my friends told me that something she continues to remind herself is that, “marriage is never 50/50, it’s 80/20, but it’s never one-sided”.  I like that perspective.  Learning our love language has helped me a lot as far as expectation goes.  I now recognize how Chuck shows me he loves me, and that helps me to not have unrealistic expectations.  No one wants to be let-down.  If you realize that your husband’s way of showing he cares is by putting new tires on your truck, instead of hand-holding and touching, then you are saving yourself from being let-down.  We are constantly changing, and so is our love.  If we don’t check in on how “we” are doing from time-to-time, then we get out of balance. 

One last thing I want to talk about is something that has truly changed me.  This may sound futile but I credit it with where I am now as far as mindset goes.  One day, about 2 years ago, I was driving my brother home from school and I turned the radio to a Christian rock station that I knew he listened to.  I had never really listened to it before, but after that day I found myself going back to it periodically.  Finally one day I needed some help, and I turned it to that Christian station and it has been there ever since.  This station balances me out.  The words speak to me, I relate to them.  When I am stressed out about work or life 99% of the time it’s because I don’t have the radio on and I am not putting the emphasis where it needs to be.  Think about it, if we took 3/4 ‘s of the problems we spend our time worrying about-problems that we can’t do anything about but worry-and asked Jesus for help, how much more time would that give us to enjoy what we can change?  Philippians 3:13 says, “No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: forgetting the past and looking toward what lies ahead.  I press on toward what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us”. 

What in your life is keeping you from a sense of balance?  What can you afford to let go of that is really just another ball you are juggling?  He has given us this beautiful life ahead of us, one that He sacrificed for, not for us to spend worrying, stressing or thinking we aren’t good enough, but for us to learn from and grow stronger as we push towards the goal…the “cake” if you will. 

Sunday, May 5

Visiting the Outdoordogs

My dogherdingcousinAmy lives in a little town called Fuquay-Varina in North Cakalacky.
Ever heard of it?
Yeah, me either, but it is close to Apex and Cary...and probablyotherplaces.  My geography is not so good, but I can sing the "50 States" song!
ANYway...back to my lovely dogherdingcousin...

One word really sums up Amy, or Amo as some people call her..that word is "lovely".
She really is very lovely.
Lovely smile.
Lovely personality.
Lovely to be around.
Just gosh-darned lovely!

Amy has a fantastic blog which you can find here, called "Running With the Outdoordogs".  She is funny, charismatic, and...well...lovely.

Amy is married to Steve, who is every safety-patrol kids DREAM.
They have two boys, Beaux and Spruce, 3 dogs and one cat.
You might remember TomCat...from here.  
He's pretty much a celebrity.

When I arrived he was determined to show me he still has the moves...and a slight waddle.

Strangely enough Tom's favorite toy is Onyx..the black German Shepard.
They get along famously.
Onyx puts Tom in her mouth and he goes all feral and swings from her neck.

My dogherdingcousinAmy also has two Italian greyhounds, Thunder and Flash.
They are lean.
They are mean.
You can see through them.

This is a prime example of their favorite game...hide-and-seek.
This guy is the "hider"...all.the.time.
I got attached, I won't lie.

I had the opportunity to meet a lot of Amy's friends whom I had been wanting to meet!
Listen, Facebook stalking only gets you so far...don'tactlikeyoudon'tagree.

One thing is fo sho Amy has an awesome group of people to keep her entertained, and they are ALL now educated on how to collect semen from a bull.

She is blessed, but then again anyone who knows her could say the same.
Now, what you've all been waiting for....


Love and tiny see-through dogs,