We all should keep a list of past accomplishments handy to draw strength from when we need it, like when entering a performance horse competition for the first time or driving a triple-axle stock trailer through Las Vegas.
There’s a list I keep in my head at all times. It’s a short list, and I like to swap out the items on it from time to time. It’s not a grocery list — that one is written down and forgotten on the kitchen counter like God intended. It’s not a list of all the ranches I’ve lived on with my cowboy husband — that is a long list, and I have to start at the beginning and count on my fingers every time.
No, this is a list of reasons why I feel like a winner.
I lived at Mahone.
What is “Mahone,” you ask? Good question. It’s one of the most remote cow camps in the country and located on the O RO Ranch in northern Arizona. Nicknamed “the Moon” and “Camp Far Far Away,” it’s 4 ½ hours from the nearest town. We lived there during the winter of 2016-’17 and were stuck for three weeks due to weather with dwindling supplies and two kids under 4. We didn’t see another person outside of our family for 17 days. I didn’t receive a trophy buckle, but just surviving that experience made me feel like a winner.
I wrote a book.
A whole book — with words on every page! This was hard because I wrote my book, “Never Burn Your Moving Boxes,” while raising three young kids with a husband who worked away from home. Also, I chose to write about personal topics, like my marriage, miscarriage and this one tall guy who drank too much and called me “honey.” Also, I’d never written a book before. But I persevered and filled all 256 pages with stories from our big outfit days, so you’re welcome. Or I’m sorry? That one probably depends on the reader.
I work out while my kids are asleep.
I never worked out a day in my life until two years ago, when I realized I was still carrying the baby weight (mostly around my midsection and thighs), yet the baby was riding a bike and speaking in complete sentences. I designed what I call my “prison workout,” which basically consists of push-ups, sit-ups, and jumping rope. I assume jump ropes aren’t allowed in prison, but they’re in all the “Rocky” movies, which follow the same bare-bones philosophy I’m going for, mostly because I’m cheap and don’t want to buy workout equipment. A bonus of my new muscles is that riding my horse, swinging a rope and helping my husband shoe our horses are now much easier. I’m not winning any arm-wrestling tournaments, but I don’t get winded after trotting two laps around the arena anymore.
I cowboyed for a living.
This might not qualify as much of an accomplishment to some since every ranch hires cowboys all the time, but I was 23 years old and had no connections when I moved to Nevada, seeking a job on a cattle ranch in 2010. I drove a Ford Ranger and had the wrong kind of saddle. My one bit had soldering on the mouthpiece, and I didn’t know what a get-down rope was. Also, I was (and still am) a female.
But when I trotted out before first light waiting for the boss to drop me off on my place in the circle, I knew I’d accomplished a goal I’d set for myself at age 12.
I roped in a branding contest.
Lots of people rope competitively all the time. But I roped at a county fair with a grandstand full of spectators, many of whom I personally know and value their opinion of myself and my roping abilities or lack thereof. I practiced all summer, then roped in the last heat of the mixed division in the dark of a late-summer night. I mean, they turned on the arena lights, which was nice because then I could see the calves, but it was also a bummer because it meant people could see me.
I missed a bunch of heel loops in a row on a hopper, snagged a dragger right quick and our team got a time in the middle of the pack. Most importantly, I proved to myself that I could do hard things.
What’s on your list? Leave a comment with a reason you feel like a winner.