Life on the X-Bar Ranch...

I am an ordinary woman, with an amazing family, serving an awesome God.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

4 weeks of Bed Rest

Today I shall give you an update on the home situation around here. It may be boring to some of you - so feel free to pass. :)
It's been 4 weeks since I was put on bed rest.
Really? In a way - it doesn't seem that long, on the other hand - I feel like I have been laying on my couch the whole summer.
I have been laying here all of August.  That's a long time, baby. Of course, I have been under restrictions since the first week in July, so I haven't really been 'normal' since then. 
After 4 completely normal pregnancies, I never figured it possible to have such a complicated pregnancy. 
Boy, was I wrong! I guess it's true when they say that 'every pregnancy is different'!  
Am I depressed? No.
Well, ok. It does seem long. Some days I struggle with boredom and/or loneliness. But I can say that the grace of God has been abundant. I feel so blessed to still be carrying this baby.
They didn't give me much hope, back at 9 weeks when I was in the ER.
Or at 12 weeks when I had another ultrasound.
Or at 18 weeks. 
But here I am: 27 weeks, baby is measuring normal size, and from all appearances is a healthy, growing baby! Thank you, God!
I am being taken care of by my wonderful, amazing family: my handsome husband, my sweet kids... they  all pitch in and run the house, fix me food, and care for my hobbies (chickens/garden) while I can't.
                                      Beautiful flowers from My Cowboy and the kids.

Then there's my kind friends.
1.  My friend Karmen drove over an hour one day to visit me. She stocked my fridge and freezer with food, loaned me a stack of books, books on tape, dvd's, and her laptop!! and she placed her adorable baby boy on my lap, so I could snuggle with him. Sometimes it's the little things in life....

2.Then my friend Jodiann drove up another day...also an hour's drive. (yeah, we kinda live far from anyone) She brought loads of delicious food, goodies for the kids, books, books on tape, and of course, conversation! She also did a big stack of ironing, and cleaned out my fridge!!! Ok, there are seriously only a handful of people in this world who I would allow to clean out my fridge. Jodiann is one of them. :) It was really, really bad, too. Thanks, Jodi! Every time I walked past the fridge for the next 2 days - I opened it, just to admire the clean-ness of it! lol!

3. One Sunday Phil & Katie drove up.  1.5 hour drive for them. They brought some of the kids' friends along, which was a nice surprise. They also brought food, and conversation, and Katie made popcorn! :) I am a huge 'popcorn-on-Sunday-afternoon' freak, and we've been missing the cord to our popper for several weeks. So when she asked what I was hungry for, I said popcorn. :) I loved it.

4. Gretchen (Cliff's boss' mom) brought a yummy meal one day. (The best brownies ever!) She lives in town, and has a pretty full schedule - I was honored that she took time to make a homemade meal.

5. A neighbor, Kaley, who I had only met once or twice, offered many times to pick up anything in town that we needed. One evening she brought milk and cereal for us. She's a good American. A good neighbor.

                                                    Flowers from my mom.
6. Then there's my cleaning girl, Heidi, who comes every week and deep-cleans my bathrooms and kitchen. She doesn't even like to accept pay - even though she drives 3 hours round-trip. Her mother sent a delicious meal yesterday - thanks, Karen!

7. There has been various friends and neighbors who have offered help, and there are many friends who pray on a regular basis for our family and this baby. It is all much appreciated. On Sunday, My Cowboy came home from church with food for our freezer...lots of food from friends. And a book from yet another friend. 

8. Last but not least:  when I was first put on bed rest, the first person to call me was my brother. The next day another brother called. I am so blessed to have loving brothers and sisters that care about me, and faithfully call and help pass the time. I just wanna give a shout out to my siblings... Jerry, Jason, Darrell, Jane, Carol, and Rose. What a wonderful family I have! 
Of course, my mom and Cliff's mom keep track of me too.

Are you still with me? :) Ok. All that to say: How could I possibly be depressed?!? I have wonderful, caring friends, loving family, and an awesome God. My needs are provided for, my wants are catered to, and I have the privilege of carrying daughter number 3! 
I can be nothing but grateful. 

                                                 ~27 weeks pregnant~

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Laramie Jubilee Days Ranch Rodeo

One day in early July, we loaded the horses into our old trailer, packed some sandwiches into a cooler, and headed west to Laramie.
The annual Laramie Ranch Rodeo was on, and My Cowboy was on a team with 3 of his buddies.

Coming over Sherman Hill, into the Big Laramie Valley.

Getting the event rules...

Waiting their turn... My Cowboy is hiding in the back, with a blue-check shirt.

 I missed them coming out the gate. Here My Cowboy is already on the ground, ready to brand the calf.

Roger Lorenzi - the local brand inspector.
 Lorenzi again...
 My Cowboy was behind the trailer while he was branding - so I just got a glimpse of him.

                                                  Lane Stevenson handing him the (cold) branding iron.

                                                My Cowboy returning the brandin' iron to the bucket.

                                Lane has the steer that needs trailered on the end of his rope.

 And how many cowboys does it take to trailer a recalcitrant steer?

 At least four. Caught My Cowboy jumping off his horse to add some manpower to the action!

Push 'em in, boys!

Oh, this one was not at all interested in going into that trailer!!

Finally. Got him in.

Now to hightail it back to the finish line, so the timer can stop...
Lane politely waited to hand My Cowboy his reins. Cowboys are so mannerly. They show respect and deference to their peers. I like that about them. (Catch me going to a sport where guys get paid millions to knock each others teeth out!)

Makin' the run to the finish line!


They didn't place - but they did pretty good! Four events in 3.6 minutes. Not bad! They came in #6 out of 14 teams. A nice way to spend your day off. :)

Friday, August 3, 2012


"The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore."
Psalm 16:5-11
     It is amazing what just a week of stillness will do for your spirit.
     I never wanted to be stuck on the sidelines - especially not in the middle of a busy summer, while trying to prepare for a new baby! I don't enjoy giving orders from my couch all day. However, there is an element of stillness that is hard to experience when life is rushing along at break-neck speed!
     But now.

     Now I am restricted to my couch or bed for 24 hours a day. I haven't washed dishes or walked to my garden for a week. I am not allowed to buy groceries or make the beds. I cannot toss a load of laundry from the washer to the dryer - let alone hang them on the line to dry in the warm summer sunshine. I cannot jump in the truck and go put out salt with My Cowboy, or even fry his eggs in the morning.

     While my flesh and soul cries out to be able to serve my family - I have been learning what it means to be still. Quiet. 
     Sometimes you will hear a pastor or someone in a church service encourage everyone to "quiet their hearts before the Lord". I always think to myself; "How am I supposed to do that?"  There's the toddler tugging at my skirt, the person behind me poking buttons on their cell phone, and the sudden siren outside the window. It's pretty much impossible to really get quiet before God in a public place. At least  for me. I try - I really do. I can definitely praise Him in a crowd. I can pray to him. I can hear from Him, certainly. But get really still before Him? Quiet my heart? No. Not really.

     This forced stillness of body has given time for reflection. For soul-searching. Thinking. Reading. ( I would like to sound spiritual and say praying, but I have spent a lot more time in reflection, meditation, and reading, than I have in prayer.) And it's been good. I am taking time to see the things in my life that I would secretly like to ignore or dismiss as unimportant. Like how impatient I can be with my children. (It just happens once in a while, and after all, that's life, right?)  Or how self-serving my conversations can become. (Oh, you have stories and feelings and happenings in your life, too? I really only want to talk about ME!)
    I am ashamed when I think how much ME there is left in me. While I can brush it aside in daily busyness, I cannot avoid it when I have nothing to do but lay in bed and think about every word I say all day. Every phone conversation, and every family interaction. 

Then I said; "Woe is me, for I am ruined!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I live among a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts."
                                                          Isaiah  6:5   

When I see the King, I see myself for who I really am. The Light shines on my heart and reveals the innermost parts that I don't want to acknowledge. I am irresistibly drawn to the Light.  I am repulsed by my own uncleanness. That is a good thing - for only when I see my need for redemption and grace, can it be given. When I repent of my sin, I can be forgiven. When I see a lack of power to overcome sin in my personal life, I can humble myself and come boldly before the throne of grace to receive mercy and grace.

Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.  Hebrews 4:16

I am thankful for this time of stillness in my life. It is certainly not my chosen path, but already I can see that it will be an invaluable time of learning, growing and instruction in my life.
 I can echo the words of the Psalmist, when he says:

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore."

Note: I am on strict bed rest for complications with my pregnancy.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Reason For My Life

Amazing love
How can it be
That you, my King, would die for me?
Amazing love
I know it's true
It's my joy to honor You
In all I do, I honor You.

I’m forgiven because You were forsaken,
I’m accepted, You were condemned.
I am alive and well, Your spirit is within me,
Because You died and rose again.


     After a very pain-filled and worrisome night, I woke to the soothing strains of this song drifting in through my bedroom door.
     If you know me well, you will know that I am not a fan of contemporary Christian music, as a whole. However, that is the only kind of Christian music they play on the radio out here, and sometimes we turn it on for lack of anything better! Of course, like many churches - our church has taken to singing primarily contemporary songs, so I have learned to appreciate a few of the songs.
     As I lay there on my bed, I listened to this song, and was reminded again of the why of my life. The reason I live the way I do. The goal of my life.
I am not a free-wheeling, self-pleasing person. I serve a King. A King who died for me. A King who laid aside His Kingship for 33 years to live as a human - same body, same faults I face. He showed me the Way. He showed me an example. He didn't sit on His throne and say: "Be perfect, like me."  No, He came as a human, lived as a poor, misunderstood, mocked, un-appreciated Person, and then said: "Follow me."
He died for me - I must follow.
He loves me - I must follow.
His Spirit lives within me - I must follow.
I have one consuming goal in my life; To honor God.
One purpose; To be a disciple of Jesus.
And the second purpose is the same: To love my fellowman as myself.
This is the basis for my life. This sets the tone for all I do. I am not where I want to be. I fail often. I still act selfishly, unkindly, arrogantly, and despicably at times. But this is my goal. Above all else. I want to honor God, be a devoted, humble disciple of Jesus, and live in love and compassion toward my fellowman.

And it is a joy!