My attitude about life – this cowgirl spirit – was formed in my childhood. No silver spoon here – we were hard-working, God-fearing people. My family farmed rice and raised cattle in Katy, Texas when Katy was a small farm town. Much of who we are – what we think – truly is built into us in those formative years. So I was privileged to grow up in a very loving home with very involved parents – very “hands on” if you catch my disciplinary drift. Trust me – my independent spirit started out at a very young age. My Dad would buy me horses and guns while my Mom insisted I go for piano and ballet lessons. There were not enough teachers or books on social charm and graces to convert me from my tomboy ways. I wanted to be a cowgirl. But the combination did teach me that I could be all that I wanted to be. I could be that cowgirl I wanted to be, but I needed to maintain my femininity. Until my Dad took his last breath, he would say – that reining me in was part of his life’s work. My endless energy and enthusiasm for adventure exhausted my Mother. But they loved me unconditionally.
We didn’t live in a town or a neighborhood – we did live in a community of other farmers and ranchers. Ranch families have each other – food and a good cup of coffee, story-telling, laughter, hugs and kisses – the sharing of life – and lots of prayer. Our families love us – ground us – hold us – comfort us – laugh together – get mad – get sad – forgive – and teach those valuable life lessons. My Dad used to say “we were like homing pigeons – we kept the back door swinging.” It didn’t matter – good news – bad news – we were going home with it. Ranching families – your family – there is nothing more important. Cherish every moment of what really is important. As my story unfolds, you will see that my life went from herding cattle in Texas to herding “cats” in New York City. My career lead me into a fast paced world of fashion – many weeks of travel to New York – Paris – St. Tropez – London – Madrid – Athens – Tel Aviv – Cairo – just to name a few. Ranchers are quick to tell you that everyone puts their pants on the same way. So my Dad did not care who – what designer – dignitary – celebrity I had dined with. Nor did he care about the chic new restaurant or club we had dined in. Week-ends belonged to the ranch. There was hay to haul – pastures to mow – fences to mend – cows to work. So I spent Monday through Friday in a fast paced world of fashion but home was always back at the ranch. It certainly kept me grounded. I would go from whistling down cabs to whistling in my horses – skyscrapers to barns – executives to cowboys – delis and 4 star restaurants to campfires and chuck wagon cooking – drivers and limos to pick-up trucks and trailers – fast talk to slow talk – Broadway stars to star studded night skies at the ranch.
So you see – each one of us has a story and that story is worth telling. Life is not for existing – life is for living – ALL OF IT – from our childhood to our aged years. That’s right – “aged” – because there is only one alternative to growing old – so stop whimpering about it and just live every day positively with purpose and enthusiasm. Growing up on a ranch taught me so much about life – how to handle life and death – success and failure – wins and losses – getting what I wanted and the disappointment of not getting what I wanted. Better yet – it taught me that it was better to get what I needed which would eventually lead to strength of character – dignity – self-worth – value.
I know about hurt – heartache – disappointment. It seems like today we all deal with more of that than joy – happiness – love and laughter. Ranching is like life. Ranching is life and all it’s experiences. Everyone – family, friends, the cowboys – all played a part in teaching me how to be a person that was strong of character and yet have a heart filled with compassion. My cowgirl lifestyle and my faith in God have taught me how to ride THROUGH the storms. Yes – we will be different on the other side. We have become so negative – always complaining – and yet we have so much to be thankful for. I want us to learn how powerful our words and actions are – how we influence others – how we can change the way we think and act – how we can change one life, a community, a nation, the world. Cowgirl thinking is positive – can do stuff!! And since I am from Texas – it is BIG thinking!!
There really is the rancher (cowgirl or cowboy) in all of us. I have some great stories – great life lessons to share with you. I know who you are – I know where you have been – I know where you want to go. I have traveled the road of board rooms – designer clothes – stiletto heels. But I have also lived on the trails of open pastures with cattle grazing – Wrangler jeans – and a comfortable pair of boots and spurs. Location does not matter. What matters my “co-hearts” is who we are – the lives we touch – how tall we sit in the saddle no matter the adversity.
So ride with me for a spell (as the cowboys say). I know there is something inside your soul that wants to saddle up and join this ride of a lifetime. That’s what it is – life!! This is one story – one trail that you don’t want to miss.