Personal

I Went To Vancouver and My Movie Moment

vancouver in the morningpastriesflower treedinnerolympic cauldronseaplanesgiant rhubarbbreakfastvancouver at nightwaterfallOh my gosh hi, it’s me, Cassidy.

I wrote several “No, I didn’t quit blogging! Life is just crazy!” posts and not one of them was ever finished.

Life got crazy for a bit, but I’m so glad that it seems like it’s winding down back to normal. We’ve moved, I’m home from traveling, we’re mostly unpacked, we have food in the fridge…things are good.

So, I was in Vancouver last week for the Sustainable Brands conference and oh my heavens it was amazing. Not just because it was in Vancouver, but because it was a great conference full of people I never, ever would have been connected to. I have some big, major things to share about the actual content of the conference, but that’s a post that’s best not written on the fly so I’ll save it for later this week.

In the meantime, I’m going to tell you all about the fun parts of my trip, in list form, of course.

  1. Vancouver is amazing. I want to go back there with Bert and the boys so badly. The weather is cool, it’s not too humid, and it’s beautiful. I loved watching the seaplanes fly in and out, and I think it would be so fun to go on one!
  2. Candians are so nice. I don’t think it’s necessarily that their manners are so much better, but that they have a calm and ease about them that you don’t see in the States. Even when people are in a hurry, they’re not rushing, and they’re courteous and friendly.
  3. Eating at local restaurants is always a must. I love long, leisurely dinners (another quality that is often lost on us Americans), with plenty of food and conversation, and the group I was with in BC felt the same way, praise the Lord.
  4. That being said, I love a Starbucks. I love having something reliable and familiar, even if they do make fun of my gigantic Yeti tumbler.
  5. The weather. The weather, the weather, the weather. It was unseasonably cool when I was there and I loved every second of it. The locals told me, though, that even when it’s not unseasonably cool,, it never really gets hot or cold. Being by an ocean means it’s very moderate and now I’m trying to find a way to start a company and have an office in Vancouver so I can travel there regularly.
  6. French everywhere, even though most of French-speaking Canada is in the east. It made me feel like all of those years of French through college were worth it!
  7. In addition to being so kind, the Canadians are also very well turned-out. I didn’t see a lot of sweats, or messy hair, or disheveled-ness. Even when it was apparent that someone was being leisurely and comfortable, they still looked so put together and classy–much less athleisure than in the US. Like an outdoorsier French. Which, I suppose, is sort of what they are?
  8. It was such a treat to be able to tourist just a little bit while I was there. The last day, some of the other folks in my group and I went to explore this park that is actually basically a botanic garden. We had our heads on a swivel and our phones outstretched the entire time, and it was the perfect start to a long day of traveling. It did make the transition back to the dry, dusty desert that much more stark, though.
  9. So much diversity! Everywhere we went there were people of different ethnicities speaking different languages, and I loved it. That’s another reason I want to take the boys there–it will be good for them to see so many different kinds of people speaking so many languages in one place.
  10. It was so fun to wear “fancy” (read: business casual) clothes for a few days, but golly I need some comfier shoes. Heels are fun, but I’ll take boots any day of the week.
  11. I want to see so much more of BC, and Canada in general. I never really thought of Canada as a vacation destination (sorry aboot that, eh?) but now I want to go back to Vancouver, and spend time in Montreal and visit a ranch in Saskatchewan and go to Nova Scotia and on and on.

 

And I’ll leave you with this tidbit about the time when I had my very own movie moment.

On the way back, the first flight was delayed (nothing direct from Albuquerque to like, anywhere) and I had a tight connection in Denver so I was a little apprehensive at takeoff. Fast forward two and half hours and I’m sort of freaking out because it’s apparent that it’s going to be really tight but there’s no point in really worrying because you can’t make the plane fly faster, right? So we land, and I must have looked a little anxious (was it the immediate throwing-on and cinching down of my backpack? The nervous hand-wringing? The jitters that rivaled a four-year-old in need of a potty break? I wonder.) and the guy next to me was like, “You okay?” and I was like “Yep, totally fine, I just don’t want to miss my plane.” He asked when the plane left and I told him, and everyone around me was like “Oh God.”

You know where this is going, right? I totally missed that plane.

Nope. I totally didn’t miss that plane. What I did do was legit run through Denver International Airport, thanking my lucky stars that I wore tennis shoes, checked my suitcase, and that I know the airport’s layout really well (you have to train a freaking train between concourses), with my backpack bouncing like a kid in elementary school. I ran down moving walkways yelling “ON YOUR LEFT!” like some demented on-foot bicyclist and almost ran over an old man whose name was evidently Ralph since his a lady near him yelled at him for standing on the “walking” side of the moving walkway. I made it to my gate literally as they were closing the door, quite actually yelling “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! DON’T CLOSE THE DOOR! NOT YET NOT YET NOT YET!” and shoving my crumpled, damp (how? I ran for like, seven minutes) boarding pass at a very shocked attendant (hey lady, don’t pretend you haven’t seen this level of desperation of obvious lack of regular running before). Needless to say, they let me on the plane, at which point I took my sweaty, red-faced, hard-breathing self allllllll the way down the aisle to row 22, at which point the man in my seat audibly groaned because he’d already had his heart set on sitting in the aisle and having more room to stretch out with an empty seat next to him.

Not today, pal. Not today. Sorry to disappoint you, but I’m a badass.

When you started this, I bet you didn’t think by “movie moment” that I meant the running-through-the-airport scene of Home Alone.

Sorry to disappoint you, but I’m a badass.

 

Home · On The Ranch · Personal

Lists Are My Jam. Like Space Jam, But Hipper.

Happy Monday! And happy late Cinco de Mayo! And Derby Day! We spent our weekend caking cows, eating pico de gallo, and getting ready for another crazy week–someday we’ll have fun social things to share here, but this weekend was more about getting ahead for this week, which in real life is sometimes necessary! I’m going to do another list, because that’s the easiest way to keep organized these days.

Wacey at branding 2moving cows back

  1. Bert’s finished branding calves here! I love branding season, y’all know that, but it’s been weeks of really early mornings and frantic days, so it feels satisfying to close the books on this season. We have a good friend who is branding across the way this coming week, and then we’ll be pretty close to being done! I’m fixing lunch for the crews next week (lasagna + breadsticks and enchiladas), and I’m excited about making (okay, mostly eating) dessert #priorities.
  2. The press release for the US Farmers and Ranchers Alliance Council of Sustainability Officers was released, and like I’ve said all over everywhere, I’m so excited, so grateful, and geeking out every five minutes because gosh, sustainability and telling the story of ag is my jam. I promise I’ll stop mentioning it every day eventually.
  3. I ordered these shoes on Saturday and I’m so excited. I need a pair of sneaks to just wear around that aren’t straight-up running shoes but allow for running, you know what I mean? Just file under #momoftoddlers. I’ve had my eye on a pair of New Balances (my old ones mysteriously disappeared a couple of moves ago apparently?) and these are less than $40. Come on. I want all of them. Also pink. Also I may have ordered gray ones too.
    dusty rose new balance
  4. Sneaks-related: I started week 3 of my first round of BBG this morning and omg jump squats and burpees have arrived and I’ve never felt so earthbound in my life. How do kids jump around all the time? Did I do that? Why did I stop? Kids: never stop jumping. One day, you’ll be trying to exercise when you’re 29 and you will thank me. Actually, you won’t be trying to exercise, you will be exercising, because your body never forgot how to jump. What can I say except you’re welcome?
  5. I’m hooked on Louise Penny Inspector Gamache books. The best part? The library has almost all of them on Kindle so that I don’t even have to drive 25 miles to get the newest one! I’m picturing sitting on the porch this summer with something delicious and the aforementioned pico, reading away. I love a good whodunit a la Dame Christie and ole Sherlock, and these books being set in French-speaking Canada make me feel like I’m using the French I studied so hard to become fluent in and use precisely once a year when we lose the English directions to something.
  6. Speaking of porches: we’re getting a new one! Actually, we’re getting a whole new house! That’s right, folks: the Johnstons are moving again. Yep. I could write a whole post about it, and maybe I will, but suffice it to say that three times in less than a year is basically three too many, and I hope this is the last time for a long, long while. We’re staying in the area, but going to a different ranch. I won’t lie though: I’m way excited about the new house. It’s got a lot more windows and a lot more living space, two things I love in a house that we don’t have in our current one.
  7. Speaking of speaking of porches, I stumbled across this recipe via Grace’s blog, and tell me it doesn’t look amazing! Perfect porch-sitting-with-friends drink. Now I just need chairs for the porch.
    marg
  8. Mother’s Day is on Sunday. I have nothing planned, because we’ll be in a car on our way to Denver. I’m thinking we’ll make a stop to scoop up some fresh flowers on the way for our mamas, at the very least! This year is the year of late gifts, apparently.
  9. Can I complain for a minute? K thanks. We’re going full stream of consciousness here. Why are boys’ shorts so long? I mean, I don’t want my children to wear booty shorts, but I would like their shorts to be not Spanky pants. (Spanky from the movie version, ps.)
  10. Over the weekend, we watched The Shape of Water. I can’t explain why, but I actually liked it. I mean, it was weird. But I loved how well done it was! Bert fell asleep about halfway through but I was riveted. It’s definitely not family-friendly, though, what with some nudity and an unsuccessful finger reattachment surgery and some pretty intense violence and the fact that the protagonist falls in love with a humanoid amphibian. Juuuuust so you know.
Family · On The Ranch · Personal

Lately, Otherwise Entitled “Life is Crazy, It’s Beef Month, and I’m Slightly Obsessed with my Children.”

So, apparently I took an unintentional break from blogging. For awhile, I think things are going to be a little sporadic than I’d like round these here parts, but you never know, I might find some as-yet-undiscovered reserve of energy and time management and just get allll the things done! I’m trying to balance everything, and this is truly one of my favorite spaces, but when time gets short it’s one of the first things to go because time is usually short due to things that can’t go. I have faith that I’ll be back on a good schedule in a month or so! Until then, some things!

  1. First of all, Happy May! It’s Beef Month, so I hope I can get all my ducks (cows?) in a row and actually plan content for this month because I love May and I love beef and I love you so I want to combine all those things. But see #10 for why I might slack major.beef brockle cow
  2. So much cooking! We’re branding calves, which means feeding hungry cowboys, which means in the last week I’ve cooked three lunches for 15+. It may  not sound like a big deal, but having a full-blown lunch done (plus house picked up and tables clean and floors cleanish because #toddlers) by 10:30-11 is tough. But, we’re done branding Bert’s calves, so I don’t think I need to cook until next week when I’m fixing lunch for a neighbor’s branding. I enjoy it, but it takes up a lot of time.
  3. Sustainability! I have SO much amazing stuff to share with y’all, I’m honestly just having a hard time organizing it all. We’ll get there, though. I’d like to do a series about it, maybe starting at the end of May when things die down a little. Here is the link to the page about my position as a Sustainability Officer with the U.S. Farmer’s and Rancher’s Alliance!
  4. We have a pacifier-free toddler! Wacey has been in love with his Wubbanubs since the moment he was born, and we were stalling on getting him weaned from them because we were pretty sure it would be tough since transitions–formula to milk, bottle to cup, crib to bed, etc–have been hard for him, but nope. We started kind of gradually, first by implementing the “No wubs at any time except sleep time” rule, then mysteriously losing one (he had two, and we legit lost one. I thought we just sneakily left it in the truck but nope, that monkey’s gone), and talking about how it’s going to be time to get rid of them soon, but we were still stalling for sure.

    On Monday evening, we were playing and while Wacey had his head thrown back in laughter from a tickle attack, Bert said (quietly to me) “Yikes, his teeth are pretty bad.” And yes, y’all, they are. You can definitely tell that he’s a pacifier kid, and that’s okay, and I know his teeth will move back, but it’s pretty dramatic and I don’t want to set him up for any dental problems in the future, so we decided right then that it was time. We cut the pacifier off his last remaining Wubbanub, talked a little bit more about it, and that was that. He had a hard time falling asleep the first night, and wanted to keep the animal part of the wub with him, but since then it’s been smooth sailing. He’s talked about it a little bit, mainly in the context of Buster’s being okay to have a wub since he’s still a baby, but it seems like a nonissue and I’m so gosh darn proud of that kid.

    Next up: potty training because he really, really wants to go to preschool in the fall (I suspect because he thinks all school buses are “magical” and he’s obsessed with other kids) and he’s required to be potty trained for that (which is annoying, but I do get it). Wow. Apparently I had a lot to say about that.

  5. I started BBG last week, and guys? I kind of love it. I don’t love the half hour that I’m doing it, but I love how hard it is and how much it’s making me work in just a short period of time. Three workouts in and I’m so sore I can barely move, and it’s amazing. I’m not doing it to lose weight, really, but more to get some muscle tone back. Babies have made me soft and I want to feel strong again and feel good in my body. I’ve tried other workout programs in the past, but I think this is going to be the one that sticks because it’s so hard. Three days a week is about all I can manage for formalized workouts (I walk most of the other days, but I need weights with my “cardio” #notarunner). I’ve got the app and it’s great! It’s 12 weeks, so my goal is to stick with it for 12 weeks and then take progress photos and re-assess. I can’t wait to see how it goes!
  6. I’m obsessed with–I guess they’re called snapbacks now? Lord help me I’m getting unhip in a hurry. Anyways, they fit my big ole noggin better than a regular ballcap, and I want 500 of them to wear when I can’t be bothered (or it’s too windy) to fix my hair which–let’s face it–is nine out of ten days. So I ordered this baby, and I love it. Next on the wishlist: this cheetah numbermmb hat
  7. Every now and then there’s a day that works out way better than I planned, and we had that day on Friday. We had to drive to Ruidoso to the MVD and I wanted to get there at 8am when they opened because last time we had to wait for nearly four hours and it’s the only place to get a VIN inspection and woof. Anyways, we got it done and were left with way more time to kill than I thought. So, I stuck Bub in the stroller, and Wacey and I pushed him around midtown Ruidoso which is pretty adorable. We ate delicious multicolored ice cream, did a little shopping, and let every lady ever hold Buster and shake Wacey’s hand because how can you not? We didn’t step foot in a grocery store (only because Bert and I had a date night planned for the very next night so I knew I’d run into the store then ha) and just toodled around and it was lovely.
    ice cream
  8. I needed a few new items of more professional clothing for my upcoming USFRA trip to Vancouver, and I ordered this beautiful top to wear with skinny slacks (or nice jeans if it’s a little more casual) and heels and it’s perfect.peach embroidered top
  9. Buster still isn’t walking, but let me tell you what: tiny fat boyfriend is an indestructible climber and general wrecking ball. He is so much more wild and fearless than Wacey is–I think he’s just waiting on walking because he knows he’s going to give us a major run for our money once he’s vertically mobile. I know I already shared this picture on social media but can you blame me for posting it again??Buster the beautiful Ralph Lauren model
  10. I have some big stinkin’ news to share later this week (NO I am not pregnant), so stay tuned for that little piece of oh-so-exciting information. We need to inform all interested parties before I spill the beans on social media, ya feel?
  11. Another thing I’m excited for? This.
let's visit · Personal

What I Learned When I Met USFRA in St. Louis

st louisimage source because I always forget to take decent pictures

I’m writing this sitting outside of the Starbucks at gate E18 in the St. Louis airport. It’s 6:15 in the morning, I’ve been up for about two hours, and an espresso frap has never tasted so good!

I’ve spent the last few days in St. Louis with the US Farmers and Ranchers Alliance in training to become a Sustainability Officer, and I think I might sleep for a week when I get home (okay, except not because Bert’s been flying solo and that would be a very unkind thing to do to him) because I don’t think I’ve had this level of sustained excitement and human interaction since our wedding!
20180412_084543

I’ll talk more about what I’ll be doing as a Sustainability Officer in a future post, but while it’s still fresh, I wanted to express a few things I’m taking away with me from these past few days.

  1. We are all connected. Farmers, ranchers, food companies, consumers, and on and on. Sometimes we can get stuck in our own little industries, or feel like what we produce is very different from what someone else is doing, but that’s not the case. We’re all connected, and we should behave as such. I naively (stupidly?) thought that there’s no way I could share much with a soy farmer or even a dairy farmer outside of the very basic things, but oh how wrong I was.
  2. Sustainability is really, really complicated. It involves not only the practices on the ground on the farm or ranch, but it’s also being incorporated into marketing and business plans, and is a key part in consumers’ perceptions of our products and businesses, and consumers have high expectations for all of us in this area.
  3. We need to do better sharing our stories, but more importantly, we need to do better sharing our stories effectively, and remembering that the way we share our stories and the kind of information we provide changes depending on our audience. I’m putting together (another) future post about some things that resonate with certain audiences and other things that don’t–I was really surprised about some of these.
  4. We can always do better.
  5. We all have a stake in this. Everyone’s opinion has value. If you are reading this post, you have a voice in this conversation!
  6. This conversation is not going to be over any time soon. I hear a lot of “Sustainability is just a buzzword. Why are we still talking about this?” And maybe it was a buzzword at one time, but now it’s becoming a (hard to define but very real) thing that is taken into consideration all the way from farm to fork (to landfill/compost heap/the toy bin in your kid’s room where they stash weird little trash treasures). If we ignore it, we’ll get left behind and someone else will take our place or be our voice and we know that’s no good.

So. If you’re reading this, I don’t care who you are or how you feel about agriculture. I want to hear what you have to say because it’s important. Comment with how you feel about sustainability, or what you want to add to the conversation. Ask a question, tell me what you’re doing on your farm or ranch, let me know what you think is important for me to know!

 

On The Ranch · Personal

Scrunch Faces and Springtime

Buster scrunch editeswacey editedboys playingbrandingWace at parkbubDSC_0497helpingHi, world’s worst blogger here.

Well, not the worst, but certainly not the best documenter. I didn’t get a single picture of the boys on Easter! Not a single one. I got great video of the first egg hunt, but I didn’t get any pictures of us all spiffed up or the boys in their matching outfits so chalk that one up to a major fail and we’ll just have to do a dramatic re-enactment.

Anyways. Easter was great. We kicked it off by having no power the night before, which actually turned out to be fun, after I robbed all of the remotes of their batteries because we didn’t have any in the flashlights. Which is something I need to remedy ASAP because power outages are fairly routine out in the sticks. It was almost business as usual, just without all the electronic noise (has our fridge always been that loud?) and, well, electricity. We have a gas range, so I could cook, and our water is gravity-fed from a storage tank up on a hill so we had plenty of water, just not a ton of water pressure. It’s actually pretty handy! It was so dark, and so, so quiet and very peaceful.

It also means we showed up to an Easter party with chips and salsa from the store because I didn’t have an oven to bake anything in like I’d planned (our stove is electric start but you can light the range burners with a lighter, not so with the oven!) but you know, it worked out juuust fine.

Sunday morning we gave the boys their baskets, Wacey egg-hunted to his heart’s content, and we had a wonderful morning together before getting all fixed up and heading to a friend’s house (70 miles away, haha. #Rurallife). There were twelve kids total (although three of them are older so they’re more like really fun, energetic adults with beautiful skin), tons of food, lots of our favorite people that we’ve met here so far, and it felt so nice to be included and watch our boys be loved on by so many people. Cue the waterworks! It was really, really great. We went to bed super late, the boys slept in till 8 Monday morning, and the angels sung on high.

I am really starting to enjoy Easter and the message of hope and renewal it brings! I listen to Easter sermons allll year long and I’m finally getting it.

Other highlights from the Week Without Social Media:
I’m finally winning the war on the mice in my kitchen. Mice are just a fact of life on a ranch, but these guys were like mutants. They got into Wacey’s juice bags, all of the drawers, and one even ate itself free from a glue trap. Needless to say, we broke out the old school traps and caught four in less than 48 hours.

Wacey is talking up a storm and I. LOVE. IT. I was watching videos from Easter last year, and he didn’t have many words–mostly “Mo mo!” for “more” and it’s the biggest night-and-day difference. He talked a little later–around 2 1/2–and we love hearing what he has to say. I also love that when other mamas say “Oh my gosh, he speaks so well, when did that happen? My (son or daughter) still doesn’t talk!” I can reassure them that everything happens in its own time, and that even if a kid is “later” by whatever stupid standard someone came up with, he’ll probably be just fine!

I made this and it was delicious, although I think you could probably omit some of the heavy cream and butter and still have a heavenly dinner. Bert even asked if I could put it on the meal plan again this month, which is huge considering he really doesn’t like “fruit and meat together.”

Buster still isn’t walking (and no one is surprised or fussed by this, ps) but he has really perfected the major scrunch face and big ole cheesy grin, and has started to say “Mama” so I’ll take it and be so happy. I’m also convinced he tried to say “Hi everybody!” yesterday, buuuut I suppose it might be more of a gleba situation.

It’s branding season for the reals, which you know if you follow me on Insta, of course! Bert is gathering cattle as we speak! I love spring. Our neighbor (and the mother of the children with whom Wacey is currently obsessed) wrote a great blog post about this season that we all love, check it out!

Exciting stuff coming next week–I’ve been waiting for weeks to let y’all in on something I’m super excited for, but the folks in charge keep delaying the public announcement, but they won’t be able to after next week! So. Stay tuned! You may not be as thrilled as I am, but maybe some of my over-the-top excitement will rub off on you and you won’t have to drink so much caffeine. Or something.

Buster · Celebrate · Family · Personal

Happy Birthday Buster!

As I’m writing this, it’s been almost one year to the minute exactly since Buster was born! I remember that day a year ago so well–it was fast but not too, and easy as far as births go, and the recovery was so darn quick that I still can’t believe it. And that’s sort of how things have gone since then! Fast but not too, and easy.

Our biggest little cowboy is the happiest, silliest chunk I’ve ever had the privilege to know, although I do know I’m biased. His checkup is next week, but at his sick visit a month ago he weighed in at 28 1/2 pounds, so I’m putting my best on a prime 29 for his current weight. He wears mostly 24 month clothes, but finding pants to fit around his thighs is an adventure. He loves food (except whole fruit and juice, oddly?) and eating is the best part of his day. He’s not walking or even standing unsupported yet, but we’re not fussed because this kid is just not ergonomically designed for vertical movement currently, but it will happen. But, he can speed crawl and pull himself up a cruise a little bit, and his fine motor skills are top-notch. Also hilariously, he doesn’t speak. He just smiles. He has words he can say, he just doesn’t, and that’s how he rolls. He also has the most expressive little face–he scrunches and puffs and crinkles and grins and oh, I can’t even.

He, like his brother, is a pretty great sleeper, but also like his brother gets multiple teeth at a time (he’s currently working on all four top teeth) so sleep is rougher when he’s teething and I don’t blame him. We never actually really sleep-trained him; the big kicker for us was to get him OverNites diapers and once he stopped peeing though his pajamas at night, he stopped waking up (imagine)! He goes to bed around 6:45-7, and wakes up between 6:45 and 7:45 usually. He likes to sit and squawk and play in his crib for a bit in the morning, and is the happiest darn baby when he wakes up. He still takes a morning nap from about 9:30-11:30, and an afternoon nap from 1:00-3 or 4, depending on the day.

He and Wace are best friends so far, unless Wace is taking his stuff or dragging Buster around by the feet of his pajamas. They sit and make each other howl with laughter in the car and it’s even more hilarious because they laugh exactly the same, and from the front seat it’s impossible to tell who is actually laughing! He loves to play with everything, but especially blocks, doors, bigger trucks, books, and bead mazes. His favorite foods are spaghetti, peanut butter sandwiches, smoothies and fruit pouches (but no solid fruit?), quesedillas, chicken noodle soup, turkey, cheese–anything that’s  not sweet (besides ice cream and cake), mainly, he doesn’t discriminate! Oh and no carrots. Hates those things. Again–cooked carrots. Don’t blame him.

He’s such a joy. His bad moods are always hunger- or sleep-induced, and he’s so easy going. He’s still a major snuggler, and loves to be carried around. He will let any human every carry him, and is such a good sport when Wacey wrestles him.

Buster Jacob, I can’t imagine our family without you, and I can’t wait to see what sort of adventures we get up to this year!!1 Buster in cowboy hat2 swaddled buster3 buster in stroller4 mirror selfie5 buster carseat6 dino onesie7 buster branding wrap8 flapping9 bandana91 both boys branding92 cactus blanket95 rolls911 bronc riding bub922 brother kisses94 cowboy hat9111 stroller kisses93333 with daddy933 asleep at the wheel966 happy kid9666 toy car944 brother friends9222 fat rolls selfie96 rolls97 daddy smush98 bathtub fat rolls93 hugs977 lashes9777 blue eyeesz1halloweenz2feeding bubbaz3bathtunz4shoez5thanksgivingz6 mirror slefie oso9333 bed snuggles20180112_181650(0)20180214_124621(0)IMG_20180122_161943_541IMG_20180127_140310_628IMG_20180214_220025_736JohnstonFamily2018-17JohnstonFamily2018-35JohnstonFamily2018-32

Personal

Social Media Reality Check & Going For It.

I think you should just go for itImage source

We’re light on the ranchy stuff this week, since we have been mostly inside with sick babes! But, you know, in addition to being ranchy, I’m also a mama and a person and all those things, and so I don’t think every post on here is going to be related directly to ranching, since that’s not my entire life.

Does everyone have a “Social Media Reality Check” awakening? I think it’s not just me, but I’m unsure whether or not it’s a widespread phenomenon or is limited to those of us who are slow on the uptake. I mean, we all  see the “Don’t compare your life to someone else’s highlight reel,” “comparison is the thief of joy,” “you are fearfully and wonderfully made so be yourself”-type things, and the exposés about how much effort the big Instagrammers use to get those oh-so-candid shots, and the ridiculous lengths people go to in order to look good and “on” all the time.

But darn if it hasn’t just started to sink in for me. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve given up Facebook for Lent (maybe forever? Except the groups? How does one do that?), or the fact that it finally rained here last week and it woke up something in my soul because man that dust and wind will get you down, or a Bible verse or a new book or what, but I think I’m finally starting to understand.

Granted, it’s been a rough…half a year? Whole year? I don’t know. I’ve had a hard time with this move, as I’ve mentioned before, and finding my worth and getting into the swing of things (something that is a big part of my mental state) has felt so hard in this new place that I don’t love yet. Making new friends (friend dating gives me fits, btw. Why am I so awkward? Why can’t we just look at a gal and say “Hey, I’m hip to your jive, let’s be friends?” Or can I do that?), learning where things are, trying to feel sort of at home…it’s worn me out.

But you know, it’s okay that I don’t love it. I don’t have to love it. I don’t have to want to live here my entire life and sing with gusto about it from the rooftops (barntops?). Just because I don’t love it doesn’t mean I can’t like it, and grow here, nor does it lessen the love that others have for it. I do, however, have to appreciate and be thankful for what I can about it (the sunsets! No nosy neighbors! Wonderful people! Lower car insurance rates! Being able to be outside playing in the winter without being freezing!), and use my time here to help my future self, which for me means setting up or getting involved in some sort of business that I can take with us, since losing my job in the move was a big contributor to my feelings of inadequacy. I like to have a purpose outside of our family, and for me, raising children and being a wife is my best job, but it can’t be my only job.

Social media, though, has also contributed to those feelings, and I’m ashamed it’s gotten so far. I realized, with the help of the app I talked about a few weeks past on IG, how much time I have really been spending on social media and y’all, it’s not pretty. And I realized how damaging that’s been in this season.

So, in addition to adios-ing Facebook, lately I’ve spent time unfollowing. That feels strange, considering I want to grow my own following on IG, and it feels sort of like a breakup because there are accounts that I’ve followed on IG or on their blog for years. I feel like I  know them, which is the magic of social media, but they no longer make me feel good, and sometimes they make me feel, well, bad, and it’s obvious that I’m not really part of the community they’ve built. Which is not on them, of course. Just because it works for someone else (hi, BBG and “clean eating” and those weird studded Valentino pointy shoes and overalls and overly opulent lifestyles and weird 90s bucket hats and cleanses) doesn’t mean it works for me, and that’s okay. Maybe in the future we can meet again but not right now. Unfollow, unfollow, unfollow.

Instead, I’m focusing on accounts that lift me up, or make me laugh, or make me think, or have great Bible verses, or feel aspirational in a way that’s inspirational instead of disheartening or completely unreasonable.

I’ve already felt a change, though. I’ve noticed it in how I’ve reacted to the boys being sick (I’m not stressed, I’m oddly zen about it), and how my mindset has changed about my side hustle (“I’m worth it, I’m qualified, it’s a good idea, it has a place, and it will take time to get off the ground but it’s worth it and I can do a really, really good job and make some money”). I think it’s also helped me react better to a situation in which someone was being little silly and unkind, and where I would have been angry or offended before, I chose not to take it personally, because the way someone reacts to a situation is a reflection of them, not me.

I’m not sure why I wrote this other than this is the sort of thing that speaks to me when I see it. Like yeah, I’m a ranch wife and a mama and a (budding) business owner, and I spend so much time raising my boys and trying to be the best wife I can and cooking and sweeping and cleaning and sweeping and also sweeping. But I’m also a person, an autonomous unit unto myself with interests and worries and hopes and dreams. And juggling all of those roles in this uber-connected world we live in can be so hard, especially when you see the gals who seem like everything is perfect. Or the ones that show a “real life” shot every now and then that feels so token it’s not even funny. Really, totally, unfunny.

Also, Brene Brown (and Jen Hatmaker and Tsh Oxenreider and Jamie Ivey and all those other amazing women I look up to) tells me I need to be more vulnerable, which is a word that actually gives me the shivers (like “moist” does for a lot of people), but when I hear her talk about it, she’s got a point. I mean, heck, even IG and Facebook have changed their algorithms to foster “community” and the only community I want to be part of is a real one, and I believe that can exist online if we let it.

And can we please let it? Because my closest friend live like a power of ten miles away.

Happy Thursday! Both of my children are napping, the sun is shining, and I’m spending some time on work and the Word before the chaos of dinner ensues, while also praying that we don’t have to go back to the doctor tomorrow.