The Single Person’s Least Favorite Day

I’ve started this post and deleted it, and started it again, and deleted it again. Wrote it out in my head, typed it out and realized it read differently than it thought.

Friday is Valentine’s Day, people. And it’s coming fast. Even faster because I procrastinated on this post.

Maybe it’s because this upcoming holiday has always been my least favorite. The only good thing about Valentine’s Day was February 15 and I could buy all the dark chocolate I wanted for a buck a box.

I haven’t completely jumped ship on Forced Affection Day, but I can now tolerate it better than I used to. It ranks next to New Years for me. Why should people make it a point to show love on one day because it’s the national norm?

Now, I’d never turn down flowers, chocolate, and romance. Believe me.

Especially not from the sexiest Cowboy in the world.

But instead of getting something on a day you expect to, I love a handful of flowers on a random day. A box of chocolate as we walk through the store, hand in hand. A picture of an interesting cactus he found.

He was going to give the whole thing to me when he got home, but decided the pokes weren’t worth it and settled for a picture of it instead. Welcome to cowboy romance, everyone.

I’ll post a picture of that cactus and the caption he put on it when I can find it. It’s stored…somewhere.

Last Valentine’s Day, the Cowboy and I were barely together a month when the holiday rolled around, and we hadn’t yet made our relationship public. I must admit, I had the butterflies of a newly no-longer-single girl as the holiday grew closer.

The Cowboy’s little brother had district wrestling that day and I hadn’t been invited to ride along…he was still too shy to ask me, I think. So I spent the holiday alone, no big deal. It had happened all the other times February came along.

Of course I got a phone call and a text of him, (smiling!), telling me Happy Valentine’s Day.

And the night they got home, my Cowboy showed up at my door with a heart shaped box of chocolates hidden under his coat.

I can’t believe it’s been a year since that day already. A year since he shyly pulled the candy out and presented it to me, telling me how much he’d missed me over the weekend.

There’s district wrestling again this year. But I’m invited along. While I know it can’t be a wonderfully romantic day in a high school gym watching sports, I’m excited to see what my Cowboy does for me. I know he’ll do something special.

And there’s always next year when there won’t be any more wrestling. You never know what he has in mind for a day when we don’t have to be somewhere. I’m looking forward to that, too.

Now I’m no expert on anything. I can’t give marriage advice because I’m not married. I can’t really even give relationship advice because I’ve only had the girlfriend status for a year. I do know the pain of being single, especially on Valentine’s Day. And I still hate the cliche sayings people give you to make you feel better.

All I know is what’s in my heart and what I’m led to write.

So, whether you’re happily married, or an excited new girlfriend. Whether you’re the mother of three little girls going through a terrible divorce with a breaking heart, or the young man at work who only “tolerates” his wife, says nothing about her with any shred of love or respect, and is only staying with her for their three year old’s sake, or the old couple who just advised me to never her married because it’s not worth it, this is for you.

If you remember one thing this Friday, please remember this.

You are loved.

And it’s a love deeper than a bouquet of roses and a box of candy.

There’s Someone who loves you so much he bore a cross for you 2,000 years ago to demonstrate the depth of his love. And He’s close no matter what you’re going through.

And, you know what, I love you too.

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Country Princess

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This image is one of my favorites and it immediately came to mind when mom came up to me last night and asked, “Are all six pairs of boots by the door yours?!”

Um. Guilty. In my defense, I am going to get rid of a pair I never wear anymore (can’t stand the short Ropers…but they were given to me and had bling on them!) and a pair are work boots on their last legs after being resoled several times.

What can I say? I love boots.

One Year

Today is a pretty special day.

Today marks the one year mark of my relationship with my Cowboy. It’s been a whirlwind year of fun and laughter, of days riding in a tractor or on horseback, of travels and adventures on a grander scale.

And of one emotional breakdown by yours truly, brought on by a week of disappointments and slight sleep deprivation. But he loved me, even after seeing me cry. And I loved him even more after he held me tight and made sure he wasn’t doing something that was hurting me, that there wasn’t something he could do differently to make it better. He’s just pretty much the best.

Better than Superman, really. He’s always protecting his lady or saving lives. Just doing his thing.

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New Beginnings

It’s a new year and with the calendar turning over to 2014 comes the flurry of short-lived resolutions, plans, and expectations. I’ve never really gotten on board with resolutions because it seems as though everyone makes a huge push to change right away, but after the excitement wears off life goes back to being lived as normal. My opinion.However, I’ve been spending some time reflecting on 2013 and what I’d like to see different in this coming year.

I’m going to get in the habit of posting regularly and using this blog to promote my photography and artwork, as well as my life as a farm girl and being the sweetheart of a ranch boy. Balancing this crazy busy, amazing life with many other hobbies and working a [more than] full-time job as a parts girl at a local implement dealer will make it a once a week post, with a few extra, random posts here and there when the circumstances allow.

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I’d like to take this moment to announce that I am a John Deere girl, and always will be, even though I’m surrounded by New Holland tractors. But I bleed green. And Husker red. Which kinda makes me resemble Christmas all year round. Anyway….

Along with the previous statement, I’m going to find more time to get my art supplies out and draw, paint, and make prints along with expanding my photography. I didn’t spend four years in college for a degree that won’t turn a profit!

I’m going to watch my budget more closely. I’m regretting my past a little because the years I’ve lived with my folks after my mom blew her knee out, I should’ve found a good paying job right away to save money hand over fist while in a small expense situation. I loved my part time jobs, but a couple hundred dollars a week just doesn’t really save up. So I’m going to try and make up for lost time and hoard that stuff away!

Looking back on 2013, I’m completely humbled by how much God blessed me in 365 short days.

  • My relationship with my baby sister went from semi-rocky over an unintentional misunderstanding to a newer, deeper mutual respect for each other as we grow into the women we’re meant to be. We’re still working on fixing hurt feelings and trust, but each day is better and more similar to the closeness we used to experience.
  • I found my best friend and the love of my life in a neighbor boy just down the road. 26 years of waiting and hoping and praying and frustration and trying to trust God’s plans resulted in Him providing the man who is exactly what I ever wanted and more than I could have ever dreamed. Each day we’re together brings a smile to my face and a prayer of thanks through my heart.
  • I went on an amazing two week trip to Scotland, where much of my family heritage is buried. Some dear friends and I did a flying sightseeing trip of practically the entire country, and I’m ready to go back and really delve into the culture.
  • I stuck out a terribly boring, soul-sucking job needed to pay off said trip that God provided with, and was later rewarded with another company approaching me, asking me to apply. I’m now around the agricultural people I grew up around and love, and back into the farming lifestyle. I may not be driving the tractors myself, but at least I’m dealing with what is in my blood.
  • I watched my little sister graduate nursing school and step out into adult life confidently with a grace and humility that is beyond comprehension. I watched her deal with heartache of her own and blossom as God is providing for her in ways that amaze us both.
  • I’ve gone on vacations with my Cowboy and others and had a wonderful time watching the final round of the National Finals Rodeo,etc. but I’ve also filled my days with special moments. With long conversations with my mom, helping dad out in the fields, shopping and having girl days with my sisters, and riding along in tractors and ranch pickups, just being with the Cowboy. Moments like that were the best; living life while enjoying all the little moments that memories are made of.

I am truly blessed.

Choices

It’s interesting how an experience in a foreign country can affirm a choice you made at home and help you realize you really did choose correctly.

I just recently returned from a two week vacation in Scotland and after the majority of those 14 days spent in Skye and lowly populated areas, being dropped into Edinburgh for the final five days was a very unwelcome shock. In the midst of the bustling traffic, congested crowds and dodging busses on busy streets I knew that environment wasn’t where I’d be content. Even though Loveland had beckoned me with visions of adventure, I don’t believe I’d truly have been myself in the city. Sure, I’d have had fun and taken every opportunity of a place where you can shop and there are shows to see, etc., but it would have worn off. Very quickly. That my slightly boring, no stop-light town where local activities include benefit dinners at the American Legion and life moves at a much slower pace is where I can stay me to the truest sense.

As I drove homeward through Colorado after flying into DIA, a slight melancholy descended as I zoomed up the interstate through Loveland/Fort Collins. This was my dream. I was going to live here nestled at the foot of those mountains, exploring the reservoirs and local running paths, taking part of the artistic and musical culture. Even though I have something so much better, it’s still hard to let go of what you’ve been planning and dreaming about.

Choices. We face them every day of our lives, every minute of every day. What will we decide to do? What will we stand by? If we knowingly make the wrong choices just because we can, what amazing blessings are we missing?

This thought passed through my mind at a bonfire this past weekend after a day of branding calves. Across the fire was a friend I’d wanted to date for nearly four years. He had seemed like the guy I wanted to spend the rest of my time with. We always had fun, had so many similarities and always enjoyed being in each others’ company. But there were also so many differences, many of them irreconcilable and even though it always broke my heart, I stood by my decision that dating him would never work. And after holding to my choice, everything fell into place with the absolute perfect Man of my Dreams.

And on Saturday night under an enormous sky illuminated by billions of sparkling stars, sitting on a pickup tailgate with my Cowboy’s arm around me, the knowledge I was where I needed to be was solidified even further. The mountains of Colorado faded a little more into the distance behind the campfire sparking into the sky, the sound of frogs as they began their chorus over the sound of someone’s radio playing a country song, laughter of friends listening to a story being spun, and the feel of a gentle kiss on the tip of one ear. This wide open middle of nowhere is my home. This is where I belong.

With no traffic, no people, no pollution or noise. Just the beauty of the land and staying in the arms of an amazing man. This is my next adventure. And Scotland helped remind me of that.

Choose Your Own Adventure

Ever wonder what it feels like to be someone’s regret? I can’t say I have, but I now know what it feels like. And I can say I’m not a fan.

Is there a sense of vindication? Yes. It’s vindicating knowing I actually did mean that much to him, even though he never acted on it while knowing how much I cared about him and wanted to be with him. But there’s also pain and heartache.

It took me dating my Cowboy to really get over the heartache of wanting someone you can’t have. And this man had four years to date me, but he chose to keep me on the back burner until he found I was dating someone else. Then, once he couldn’t have me, he was willing to open up how he felt about me. When it was too late. I’m relieved to have closure, but hurting still. I don’t like being partially responsible for someone’s pain.

But I’m more than thankful to have found a man willing to tell me how he felt about me from the very beginning and who tells me what I mean to him every single day. That is the kind of relationship every girl deserves.

Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3:6

But sometimes those paths aren’t ones you think you want. I was supposed to find out 2+ weeks ago if I got a full time job at a local bank as a bookkeeper. Not the most glamorous job and my creative side was quite irate, screaming at me that I spent four years in college to create, not to chase numbers. But something about the job appealed to me. I don’t know whether it was the solid schedule of a 7:30 am – 4:30 pm, five-days-a-week job after being part of the part-time-job world for the past 2.5 years or what. Losing my freedom would be quite an adjustment, but knowing I had a steady job had quite a bit of draw. Especially with a two week trip to Scotland in April needing funded.

Long story short, I never heard back. And through the small-town grapevine I learned they had filled the position. Time to switch mental directions again and think of other options. But I figured I’d wait until after my trip to begin job hunting with a vengeance. Maybe the coffee shop would need help when I got back…maybe the flower/wine shop would be open. I’d love both of those. Especially the coffee shop.

The grapevine rang again and I learned the bank had moved the previous employee to another floor and the position was still open. And I wasn’t sure if it was what I wanted. I wouldn’t be able to drive down to the ranch to help my man work cows, wouldn’t be able to go to the sale barn with him at a moment’s notice, would miss out on “life” in general. So I laid it in God’s hands and told him the desires of my heart and said if He wanted me to have that job to have them call. And if He had something better in mind that they wouldn’t even bother to contact me.

This morning, as I was cleaning up to-do piles, I decided to throw away the job requirement papers that were given to me during my interview. And after lunch, I got a phone call from the bank saying they would like me to come in if I’m still available. Ugh.

So I am now a full-time employee of the bank. After a slight temper tantrum, I hate to admit. I don’t want to be inside five days a week, I don’t want to miss out on impromptu trips, I don’t want to miss on sunshine and fun, I don’t want to miss out on any moments with my blue eyes sweetie…

Time will tell where this new adventure will lead. At least I know it is in Hands more knowing and trustworthy than my own. And even this may have beauty hidden in the ordinary.

Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. Psalm 103:2