Tuesday, June 2, 2015


I rolled the window down as I was leaving the dairy. It was almost dusk and in all honesty I was feeling a little down because I had hoped to get home in time to enjoy working in my yard a while this particular evening. 

It had been one of those days.
I can't really remember now what events had transpired that kept me working late that day, I just remember fighting the whole way home with that nagging little feeling.

That little feeling that says "why do you keep doing this?"

Thankfully sheer exhaustion, and an enchanting scent of roadside honeysuckle, won over my brain that night and I went home happy enough to just eat dinner.

As graduation season has been upon us, I have been thinking a lot about success. 
When I myself was a graduate, it seemed like it would be more cut and dry by the time I was 26 years old. I guess I never realized that when I took off the cap and gown, never again would there be a clear, one size fits all,  path to "success". 

So a few weeks ago as I sat at my cousins law school graduation, fidgeting in my fancy dress and southern lady hat that in no way shape or form insinuated to the world that I make a living playing with cows, I was caught a little off guard when the speaker got up and said a few lines that struck me like an arrow. 

To this group of new lawyers he had chosen to speak to the topic of something most of them would likely encounter in their chosen career, losing.

Mr. Ronald Klain not only told them to expect it, he suggested they learn from it.
"Winning is a sloppy teacher", he said.

I'm suprised the light bulbs going off in my head didn't blow that snazzy hat right off. 

I'll be pefectly honest friends, I sometimes hesitate to write about the things that don't end well, or the things that left me feeling a little defeated or bitter.  Who likes to share the battles that they lost?

I want to tell you the stories of success, the stories of how this neat thing happened and this cow is so cute and how much life is amazing and we all love each other.

But the truth is sometimes there are a lot of days that feel
just a little bit...
kind of like...

We lose a cow.
Lose a calf.
Lose a temper.
Lose sleep.
Lose heart.

But that moment in a chair on a law school lawn 752 miles away from home, someone pointed out something amazing to me. 

Maybe winning shouldn't be how we define success.
What a relief.

You see that evening as I drove home, I remembered that speech.
And indeed it had been a week of losing.
We did lose a cow, and we were busy cutting alfalfa.

There was a heifer that calved very early and we couldn't find her calf-  meaning most likely he was not alive. We looked all over the field three times.

Another cow that I had spent much time caring for had twins- and one was so tiny and weak he couldn't hold up his head. You had to hold him in your lap just to get him to eat. 

I didn't feel like going to get lunch so the guys could keep chopping alfalfa and I felt like giving up.

But thankfully, just in the nick of time, it all turned around and all that losing made the winning so much sweeter.

Because that tiny guy started to hold up his head and soon he could stand.

And with gratitude we harvested a good crop of alfalfa - together.

I was quietly followed by this sweet girl on Sunday morning until I noticed her.
She had no motive other than for me to give her a hug.

And miraculously- we found this guy in the tall grass.
He had barely made it, but he was alive.

Thanks to this sweet heifer who took care of him because there was no one else to do it.

May we all lose enough to learn, but win enough to keep going.

"The difference between winning and losing is most often, not quitting."
-Walt Disney