Category Archives: cows

desparation then devastation

there is a time in my life where I need to realize some truths and accept them.  I am working on this – every day.  there is a long list and I don’t feel like this is the time to divulge that list in it’s entirety, but rather just glance at that list.

with the infertility journey and the adoption journey one of the truths that I have learned is that in the grand scheme of things I have no control.  I have no “real” say in my life.  yes I make decisions about what I am going to wear, what I am going to eat, what I am going to do, but this journey has opened my eyes that I can’t control everything, despite my best effort I just can’t.  I can make lists to control the happenings in my life (and the organization of my home), but in reality I don’t have control – just an illusion of control that I cling to with every breath.  if I had control I would have said “listen ovaries – you have one job – it is time to do it” and it would have worked.  if I had control I would have looked at my doctor and said “you have no option but to make this procedure succeed.”  but I don’t have control and I am learning – still – that there is nothing that I could have done differently or additionally to change the course of our journey.

this is where I feel like I should say “in reality we don’t have any control because God should be in control of our lives.”  whereas, yes I agree God should be the center of our lives and our decision making, this isn’t that type of post.

as stated in my last post we have been officially waiting for a year.  we have been passed over numerous times – for an entire year.  with that type of response or in this case lack there of,  I can’t help but think.  that thinking often leads me down a dark and narrow road full of doubt and sadness and longing.

a road that causes my imagination to run wild with “what ifs” and “what is.”

what if we are never placed?  what if I never get to be a mom and andy a dad?  what if I have robbed family of having the experience of us as parents?  what if andy will really one day regret not taking the “out” when he could?  what if he starts to resent me?  what if my life never feels complete?  what if that longing and desire never goes away?  what if I never get to experience all the things that fuel my fears?  what if I sink into misery and allow me not being a mother to destroy my soul?  what is so wrong with us that we haven’t been placed?  what is it that caused people to skip over our profiles?  what is the big picture and can I survive not having the control to understand right now?  what is the reason God gave me this desire to be a mother and paired that with bad ovaries?  what is the point – is there a point?  is this some sort of punishment from above?

that dark road is sometimes dotted with street lamps – glimpses of hope, answers, or things that get me back to the sunshine.  talking with other people that are waiting to be placed and hearing that they have the same fears – that I am truly not alone in some of those thoughts.  when andy tells me that he loves me and doesn’t resent me despite all the reasons that I have given him to feel the other way.  when I know someone looks at our profile and passes us by because they want a family that already has a child.  a beautiful sunset or sunrise over the mountains.  street lamps that brighten up my mind.

but sometimes the things on my road aren’t street lamps, but rather lanterns.  a little light that shines bright enough to tide me over.  not nearly as bright as the lamps, but still light enough to get me through.

these things usually show up right before I have a breakdown full of complete and total doubt and tears.  when I feel like I have come to the end of my road.  when i start to question why we are doing what we are doing.  when I am grasping at straws.  desperation for that normalcy and control.

desperation: a state of despair, typically one that results in rash or extreme behavior

synonyms: hopelessness, anguish, agony, distress

usually my desperation manifests in lists.  lots and lots of lists.  I clean things and organize things.  I constantly am trying to reorganize and make better.  trying to drown my thoughts with lists so that I can’t do anything but focus on what is in front of my face.  I write, take pictures, and create new projects around the house to occupy my mind.  it helps.  in the process of focusing on anything else, those doubts and sadness ebb away.  that longing is still there, but without the doubt it just turns back into “just waiting.”

once I realized that we had been waiting a year and that we had to update a bunch of our paperwork I started to feel overwhelmed and to be honest – sad and a little (ok a lot) mad.

**side “semi relevant” note**

there are times where I start to wonder if God is “doing” this to us because he thinks I would be a terrible mother.  or that other people think I would be a terrible mother so God is like “i agree.”  there was this time that I was with a group of people (and a young baby just a few months old) and everyone, except me, was being called away for just a moment.  the parents were trying to decide who would miss out and stay to give the baby the bottle.  I offered since I was not leaving and both of the parents looked at me like I was crazy.  like if God didn’t trust me with a baby, they weren’t going to either.  the parents exchanged looks and did let me feed their baby the bottle, but their looks and doubts just fueled that thought process.  it is possible that I was over sensitive to the situation and that I misread the looks and the hesitation, but in the moment those looks emphasized that God thought I would be a terrible mother and everyone agreed.

**end semi relevant side note**

so in my sad and a lot mad state I found myself thinking back to those events, of possibly not being trusted to give a baby a bottle, and to the thought process that God thinks  I would be a terrible mother.  my thoughts are fueled by fear of the unknown and once it takes root desperation sets in.  hopelessness overcomes rational thought and where my behavior isn’t always rash or extreme my thoughts tend to become that way.  I found myself on my dark narrow road, running.  running into the darkness looking for a street lamp to ease off the desperation.  I found a lantern.

at dinner saturday night dad told me that he was going back to the farm.  there was a calf down and he was going to have to bottle feed it.  I had been a hermit in my house working on various projects and told him I would be glad to go with him.  andy ended up getting home before we left to go to the farm and he joined in with us.  we loaded up our gear and headed into the muddy abyss.  the calf had gotten stuck in the mud and was weak but drank the bottle (and a little more).  dad made sure that it was in a nice bed of hay and warm and we left.


sunday after church, dad, mom, and I gathered our gear and went back to check on the little calf.  as we drove up he was stretched out and his head was semi back  I leaned forward and said – “doesn’t look like good news,”  dad agreed.  as we got a tad closer he blinked.  I was ecstatic – he was alive.  we gave him another bottle and repositioned him to be more comfortable and in more warm hay.  dad decided that the little guy needed to be moved to the barn.  later sunday gene (live in farm hand/manager) was able to take the tractor and get the little calf to the barn; however, his mother was no longer interested in following her baby or the tractor to the barn.  it was left to us humans to nurse him back to health.  after youth on sunday andy and I headed to the farm to check on the little guy.  he was in the stall with his legs tucked under him and he was dry and warm in his bed of hay.  I sat on a bucket and fed him his bottle and he was my little “mud pie.”  cows normally moo but a little cow with pneumonia purrs like a little kitten.  he was given several shots to make him feel better.  I rubbed his fluffy little head and ears and told him that I loved him.  I put my hand under his chin and lifted his head up and made eye contact with him and told him to have a good night and that I would see him Monday.  dad sent me a message Monday morning that he drank his bottle and that he wanted to stand up but was still too weak.  he was still purring a little bit too.

I told andy that mud pie had to live.  he became my desperation.  I didn’t have a list this time, I had mud pie.  he had to live.  he was my way of proving to God and to the rest of the world that I can take care of a living thing.  that I could give a bottle and love.  that I could be passionate and that I could be the role of a mother.

Monday night after work I went to the farm and got there before my dad got back.  I went into the stall and mud pie was in a weird sling that dad and gene strung up to help insure that his legs were getting blood flow.  I grabbed my bucket and sat down in front of him and rubbed his head and said hello.  when I was rubbing his neck he leaned into my hand like a dog would do.  I told him about my day and he listened – he is after all a cow that couldn’t go anywhere even if he wanted to.  I noticed he wasn’t purring as much and was tap dancing with his front legs.  I informed him that he had to get better.  he had to at least try.  he mooed at me.  it was a moo filled with passion and anger and rebellion.  a moo that told me that he was a fighter.  after that I talked to him about my desperation and I rubbed his ears and he semi mooed in understanding.  dad showed up and we gave him his bottle and he drank most of it, but it was too early to let him out of the sling.  so we came back a few hours later and freed him and propped him up in his bed of hay.  I told him good night and we turned the light off bathing the stall in darkness.  my Tuesday morning update was about the same as the morning before.  Tuesday after work we went to check on him and dad said that he had been in his sling but was out for the night.  I walked into the stall and found little mud pie snuggled in his hay.  he tried to stand.  I tucked his feet under him and held his head up and talked to him while he drank his bottle.  we made eye contact and I told him how much I loved him and what a good and handsome boy he was.  we had to go to a meeting and I knew we wouldn’t be back Tuesday night so right before we left I went in and rubbed his head, told him good night and sweet dreams and walked away from my little mud pie.


Wednesday morning I got my morning update.  the subject of the e mail was mud pie.  I opened my e mail and read “I am sorry!  We tried.”

devastation: severe and overwhelming shock or grief

I sat facing my computer and silent tears escaped the rims of my eyes rolled down my face.  I reminded myself to breathe and stared at the words.  mud pie was gone.  my lantern burned out.  my desperation morphed into devastation.  I was devastated that he was gone and that my attempts failed.  I couldn’t even do right by a cow.  I couldn’t save him.  my thoughts quickly went down the road that maybe God is right, maybe I am not fit to be a mother.

Wednesday night, with those thoughts circling in my head, I curled up in bed and cried.  my eyes filled with tears that rolled down my face and puddled on my pillow, followed by choking sobs.  a soul drenching cry.

I woke up Thursday morning with a throbbing headache – remnant of my tears from the night before.  as we drove to work I watched the clouds play on the tops of the mountains and with no other rational thought – other than it made me smile, I had found my street lamp and was finding my way back to the main road.

it was during this time of desperation that I realized a few things.  one is that I have no control.  I can cling to the illusion as much as I want, but it will always just be an illusion I create for my peace of mind.  another is that this process, from start until present, is just a constant ride of ups and downs: the waiting, the emotions of being rejected, the unknown, the way a person will walk by with a stroller and my heart almost leaps out of my chest, the looks of pity from other people, the hope that we will be the family that we always envisioned.  something that is difficult to explain and difficult for people to understand is that sometimes there are no words to make me feel better about this stressful time of just waiting and of the unknown.  that sometimes even the most rational comments and insight will not sound rational to me.  this time, my little mud pie, taught me that in my times of desperation, stick to the lists.

going once going twice sold…

on april fifth we got to do something we have never done before.  we went to a bull auction.

it was impressive.


we had our brochure and dad did his research to see which one to go for.


the bidding started and it went fast and high.  the bulls were fun to watch.  some of them kicked the railing and some of them stood there looking at us all like we were fools.  once they said sold the door was open and they went back into the field until it was time for the bulls to leave their home and move to another one.

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they even served lunch (don’t worry regardless of what dad says this isn’t one of the bulls that was “bad”)


while dad was finishing up I went outside and took a look around the farm.

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my parents said that if we got a bull at auction since andy went we would call him andy.  andy didn’t love that idea so he has named him dozer (for bulldozer).  when dozer gets to the farm I will post some pictures of him at his new home!

spring round up

sorry for the delay in posts (no excuses – well there are but I will spare you the details)

back in march (the 27th to be exact) we worked cattle.  I didn’t get out there until right after work but I rushed out as soon as I could.  it was amazing.  I had a new outlook on working cattle from last year.  from my perspective I am in constant awe.

all of the cows are rounded up (with the exception of a handful that eluded the round-up process).

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when I get out of the car I walk cautiously through the gates towards the yelling and the moos.  I approach the barn and wait until I hear the shoot open and a cow comes flying by like lightning pausing when it sees me I can only imagine that it is worried that the humans are playing a joke and that it has to go through more “torture” but that hesitation doesn’t last long as it runs for the green grass and bales of hay waiting as their rewards for new ear tags, fly tags, shots, and medicine.  I stand still and wait until I hear the shoot catch again.  I know it is safe to cross in front of the barn.  I walk up to see everyone in their place doing their assigned tasks and watch for a minute the well oiled machine that has become known as “working cattle.”  because of dad’s foot we had some new people stepping in and I quickly took my place to help betsy load ear tags (and it is harder than it looks – we are going to have a few practice meetings before our next cattle working day).

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 betsy and I tried to have tags and shots loaded (betsy did most of it because it took me forever to get the ear tags loaded).  jack was in charge of manning the gates and keeping the direction of the cow in the right way.  andy writes down the important information.  William and Mitchell give the shots and do the tags.  randy and ryan and another Mitchell help move them through the shoot and load them.


each person has their own way of dealing with the cows.  I am sure that the cows believe they are being tortured but it really is to help them, but it is hard to reason with a cow.  my cousin William, that has always been a quiet one, leads the charge and give orders.  Mitchell my other cousin (who just graduated from ETSU by the way) is extremely tall.  if you were walking down a dark alley in the middle of the worst neighborhood and saw him in the shadows it would freak you out because he looms over everything – it would freak you out until you heard him talking to those cows.  he talks to them and tells them that they are ok.  he calls the adult ones mama and the little ones tiny’s.

this year there were two crazy cows  that jumped the fence a few times and were very agitated (it is instances like this that has everyone talking about how crazy dads cows are).  William kept telling me and betsy that if she came in our area to run.  I had my escape plan worked out but betsy looked at me and was like what does he mean get out.  where do we go?  I showed her the gate I was going over or through and she picked her gate too.  in the end they went through and everything was ok.

not everything went as perfectly as it could but at the end of the day we made it.  gene had to go to the hospital before I got there.  everyone was pulling away and William led us in making sure the cows were watered and fed.  andy tossed hay out of the barn, we moved water troughs, counted cows, I opened gates for the tractor.

  as the sun was going down you could hear the pleasant moos from the back field of cows that were reunited with their babies and the images of the last cow that was pushed through the process.  it was a “tiny” and randy carried it over to where we could tag it.  he held it and everyone gathered around it and watched as it got his new earrings and my giant cousin talked to it and when tiny stood up everyone looked at him and several people patted his head and he was on his way.  that cute face looking at us like we were aliens.

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until the next round-up.

hey hey hey a farm photo post

this past weekend me and mom were farmers.  we went to the farm to feed the animals and ended up herding cows.  we didn’t get them where we wanted them…but we tried and will try again.

we have been trying to get to the farm a lot but with the cold weather and it getting dark so early it has been rough getting out there.  i will say when we do go it makes me so happy to be with the furry animals.

now for some pictures (most of these are from feb with some from last weekend).

new resident

new resident

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amazing sky.

amazing sky.

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debating on nibbling the camera.

debating on nibbling the camera.


a man and his horse.  (we got him so far before he got spooked and ran back to his mom)

a man and his horse. (we got him so far before he got spooked and ran back to his mom)

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my buddy coming to see me.

my buddy coming to see me.

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moving the horses to a different field.

moving the horses to a different field.

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me and andy on "our" hill.

me and andy on “our” hill.

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sometimes it frustrates me that the camera doesn't capture as good as real life.

sometimes it frustrates me that the camera doesn’t capture as good as real life.


breath taking views

breath taking views

always looking for a treat

always looking for a treat


jack is fun to take pictures of because he reminds me of eeyore.

jack is fun to take pictures of because he reminds me of eeyore.


hold me

hold me

silly boys (notice pancake sticking out his tongue)

silly boys (notice pancake sticking out his tongue)


jack and pancake (notice how jack is listening for pancake to attack)

jack and pancake (notice how jack is listening for pancake to attack)

argyle growing up

argyle growing up

andy and the furries

andy and the furries


poor jack looks fluffy

poor jack looks fluffy


it is time to work the cattle which means shots, vaccines, and new tags.  that is why they are in the barn, but fear not they will be turned out again soon and will be back to eating grass and mooing.