Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Love & Bulls

With it being the season for cattle sales, I think it is only appropriate to announce that I have found my prize bull.

Referring back to my column, Bulls & Boys, published last February, “The cattle industry has taught me a lot about life. Everything from responsibility to life and death, cattle are good teachers. In a conversation with my dad, I discovered that dating is a lot like finding a good herd bull.”

I would like to fill you in on a very special person in my life. RA Brown is the most amazing, kindhearted person I’ve ever met.

I’ve always held very high standards for the guys I dated. That is probably the reason that most of my past relationships lasted for two months maximum. I’m a firm believer in culling them quick if they don’t perform to the set standards.

But RA is different. We met in January but didn’t see each other again until March when he happened to be around Wellington helping work cattle and I happened to be home for Spring Break. We spent time together at the Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association convention in Fort Worth later that week and then he visited me in Lubbock while passing through on his way home from a college rodeo the next weekend.

There was something intriguing about him and that was the fact that I couldn’t figure him out. He wasn’t like the typical rodeo cowboy or even the typical guy for that matter.

In April, he went skydiving with me. It wasn’t until a few weeks after our jump that I found out that he was scared of heights!

He’s my best friend. He is the one that I can’t wait to talk to in the evenings. He is the one that just gives me a big hug when I’m upset because I got food poisoning on his birthday. He is the one that reminds me to simply do my best and God will take care of the rest. He is the one that makes my cheeks hurt because I smile every time I think of him.

I am excited about our future together and all that God has in store for us. I just hope that my dad didn’t drill him too hard on his EPD’s and Gene Star DNA scores!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Six Degrees of Separation

The more experiences I have and the places I go, the more I believe in the idea of “Six degrees of separation” – the theory that we are all about six people way from any other person on Earth.

As an industry information intern for Certified Angus beef, I had the opportunity to pack my notebook and camera and head to Littlerobe Angus, near Higgins, Texas, during Spring Break. Duane and Donna Jenkins have been in the Angus business since 1948 and have since made it into a family operation. And yet again, the world gets a little smaller. One of the Jenkins sons, Dale, and his wife, Brenda, along with their four daughters, live out on the ranch.

I met Dale when I was a junior in high school through the Northwest Texas Conference Council of Youth Ministries. One of his youth, who is now a youth minister himself, was very involved in our group, therefore Dale became very involved.

There are those people you meet in life that have a last impact on you – Dale is one of these in my life. His love for God is evident the moment you meet him and is family are some of the kindest people that I know.

While having dinner the family told a story about a Mother’s Day picnic adventure they had in Palo Duro Canyon. Upon entering the park, they turned down a map offered to them at the entrance since they had been there many times.

After they finished with their early evening meal, the girls wanted to explore so Dale, along with one of the girls boyfriends, and the girls took off.

After walking for a while, they decided it was time to head back but realized they were quite a ways away from where they started. With the hopes of finding a short cut, they continued around curves hoping to find one that cut back left, but all went right.

As the sun went down and the air cooled off, Brenda became worried because it was not like Dale to get lost. Search parties were sent out and after several hours of walking, no water, blisters, and a few tears, everyone was found.

How many times does this happen, figuratively speaking, in our daily lives? We turn down the offer to spend time studying God’s Word and taking it along. Then, we try to do things our own way, which can lead us further away from where we really need to be. And then after time, sometimes hours, sometimes days and sometimes years later, after a lack of spiritual water, physical and mental wear, and maybe even a few tears, we get found.

I encourage you to stop, examine where you are and see if you might need to grab that Map and head a different direction.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Teaching and Learning

As an agricultural communications student at Texas Tech, I get to take a class called introduction to agricultural education. Before the semester started, I wasn’t too excited about this one. It is a lower-level class and I don’t have much interest in teaching. However, it has turned into one of my favorite classes of my entire college career.

It is interesting because we are studying the theories of how people learn and I love learning why we do things a certain way or why we think the way we do.

The Father of experiential learning, John Dewey, once said, “An ounce of experience is worth more than a ton of theory.”

In a recent lecture, we studied about how past experiences affect other knowledge that is gained. The example my professor used was learning to drive – when you turn 15 and are taking drivers education, most people understand that red means stop, green means go. We bring in prior knowledge and apply it to the new information. We have experience in others stopping at red lights and going when it turns green.

The point was brought up that one of the best ways to learn something is to teach it to others. As a teaching assistant (TA) for an ag communications technical writing class at Tech, I have the opportunity to lecture occasionally. I have taken the class once, sat through last semester’s class as the TA but when I teach, I not only learn about the topic that I’ve been exposed to at least twice, but I truly understand it.

“Teaching isn’t about what you know; teaching is about what you can learn and share with others.” – Dr. Rudy Ritz, professor of ag education at Texas Tech.

That is my hope with this column – that I can take what I learn through my experiences in life and share it with you to encourage and uplift.

The word ‘teach’ appears 361 times in the New International Version of the Bible.

Psalm 25:4 says, Show me your ways Lord, teach me your paths.

I look forward to sharing more about what I’ve learned in this class and how the knowledge can be applied to every day life and our walk with God. And maybe that is the reason that I love the class so much – because what we are learning is applicable information that I can use right now, this very day.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Memorizing vs. Understanding

As a college student, I take tests quite often. The week before Spring Break and finals week are two of the toughest because of midterm and final exams.

Tests frustrate me. It’s not the fact that I am actually tested, but because I sometimes feel like I’m just memorizing information and not actually learning and gaining the knowledge.

Projects, although time consuming, are great because I have to apply what I know and have learned and produce an outcome.

I think that studying scriptures is the same way. I can memorize tons of Bible verses and regurgitate them, but what good does that do me if I don’t comprehend and apply what I read and say?

James 1:19-25 says, Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what is says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it – not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it – they will be blessed in what they do.

It sounds so simple – apply scripture to your life – but sometimes it is harder than we think it will be.

Matthew 5:44 tells us, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. When someone makes me mad or treats me badly, loving them and praying for them isn’t always the first thing that comes to mind.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 17:20, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

How amazing is that! I know sometimes I get so caught up in analyzing my situation that I don’t give it to God.

This is something I am going to work on – not just memorizing what the Bible says, but learning to apply it to my every day life. I’m going to work to love everyone, even those who frustrate me or aren’t nice. I’m going to have faith in God and his plan. I’m going to love my neighbor as I do myself.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Miracle of the Moment

Last week, Kristen’s Corner was about making every moment count. We spend so much time focusing on the next step or phase in life that we tend to miss the opportunity and magic of the present moment.

This week, I want to share with you some of the ways that help me to focus my attention on where I am here and now.
Practice saying, I enjoy this. Each day there are things we have to do – brush our teeth, comb our hair, take a shower and eat a meal – so why not enjoy each of these to the maximum amount?

As I put my makeup on in the mornings (sorry guys, bad example for y’all), I used to try to hurry. There was no need to rush, I just wanted to get it on as fast as possible and move on to the next part of my day. But now, I truly do enjoy putting on my eye shadow and mascara each morning. And the funny thing is, it doesn’t take me any longer, I just have my focus on the present task.

Another way to focus on enjoying the moment is by not trying to multi-task all the time. This may in fact be the hardest thing for me to do. I multi-task ALL the time! As I brush my teeth, I used to read my email. While I eat, I read a book or play on Facebook. As I talk on the phone, I straighten up my apartment. But now, I’ve really tried to work on this area. When I talk on the phone, I sit down on my bed and even turn off the light sometimes. As I brush my teeth, I thank God for my health ability to wake up each morning. In class, as my professor lectures, I give them my undivided attention instead of thinking about another class. I enjoy the present task and learn what God has for each moment of my day.

The story of Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42) hits the nail on the head when talking about living in the present moment. Martha was “overly occupied and too busy” to sit down and enjoy the present moment of Jesus being in her home.

And lastly, enjoy people. Life is too short to be too busy to visit with friend. As a college student about to graduate, there are lots of friends that I probably won’t see after I leave Lubbock. Take the time to go grab lunch or even a coke. Sit down and visit.

Don’t miss the miracle of the moment.