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After the smoke clears: How to help when it really matters after a crisis

Long after the news crews left, we were still there, making the drive to our land every evening to work on the house. We'd gotten the windows in and electricity on after almost a year. We stood in the yard to admire the work. The light shone on the new sheetrock that had yet to be painted. Our high school boys were scribbling on their homework after they had helped us lift windows into place. They see us standing in the yard and decide to join us.

"Just look at it…isn't it beautiful?!" I say. The men in my life and myself are lined up, staring at barebones of a house, as if we are seeing the premier of the newest flick. We stand motionless as the light softly gives a welcome feel. A sight we had been longing for, "We will be home soon, she's coming along."

When I hear that song, "The House that Built Me," by Miranda Lambert, I'm overwhelmed. In the song a lady is returning to her childhood home and recalling certain memories. Her room where she did her homework and learned to play guitar, her handprints on the front step, her favorite dog that’s buried in the yard. She says, "If I can just come in I swear I'll leave. Won’t take nothing but a memory, from the house that built me." Where she was returning to a home from her childhood, we were rebuilding our lives after a wildfire had taken our home.

The day was dry, without rain for months. The winds were particularly high as we left church to grab a quick bite to eat. We saw a fire in the distance, too far to be concerned. That's what we thought anyway. We never knew what that day would hold. But we– along with several families–would not return to our own beds to sleep. We would lie down at a friend's, a pastor's, a trailer that nobody lived in…a place that was not home. All the while with the unbelievable thought of losing everything is pulsing through every inch of our minds. It was one of the hardest things our family had been through. It was one of the longest recovery periods in our lives. And for our family it was one of those times we witnessed the help of others in unbelievable ways.

We had the help of our community, our church, our family and strangers. We received everything a person could need–money to replenish our home goods, a place to stay for free while we figured it all out and rebuilt. Our boys were gifted a new guitar and drum set since they lost theirs in the fire. We also were brought meals, gift cards, and clothing. Our biggest monitory gift was a house that was to be torn down in town but instead would be moved to our place. Every step of the way, as scary and unstable as it may have seemed, was met by the unbridled love of people and our mighty God who provided (Phil. 4:19). An electrician offered to do new electrical, a plumber friend offered his services as well. The outpouring was incredible!

Here's the best advice we offer to those who want to help someone whose recovery from a major life event.

  1. Show Up. Many times people don't want you to say the perfect thing. They honestly just want you to be there. They want you to walk through life with them, especially in a time of uncertainty. People who showed up and grabbed a shovel, brought us water or food, or just gave us a hug made the biggest impact. Do keep in mind that this will be a long process so jot their name on your calendar for the next several months. Our church did this for us by assigning people to help as long as needed. We will forever be grateful for everyone who showed up!
  2. Ask. Sometimes we assume that people want the ugliest couch we own just because they lost theirs. After the fires I saw so many ugly, peed on, dusty couches that hadn't seen the light of day since the '50s hit the streets. Someone who already has too much on their plate now has to fake being polite and accept it. Now don't hear me being ungrateful but honestly the amount of broken, unusable stuff we received made an overwhelming time even more overwhelming. Ask what they need or give a gift card to a supercenter or hardware store.
  3. Pray and offer support. Other than the work that you can physically do, pray for them. Prayer is the worker we can't see and accomplishes plans that we know nothing about. Take time to listen, lighten their load, and even be comic relief when appropriate. The people closest to you know when it's needed. Laughter is good like a medicine and gives us much needed relief! Prov. 17:22

If you can do these three things for someone, you will be effective help to them. Most importantly don't forget about them when the news crews leave. Believe me; they will never forget the love you show them in the follow-through.

We will leave you with this:

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?

Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food.

If one of you says to them, "Go in peace; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?

In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

James 2:14-17 (NIV)

We'd love to hear from you and you can do that by visiting our websites at http://www.pastorinthepasture and http://www.thecowboypastorswife.com

The Cowboy Pastor’s Wife Norma Elliott: How Real Help……Really Matters

Long after the news crews left we were still there, making the drive to our land every evening to work on the house. We'd got the windows in and electricity on almost a year later. We stood in the yard to admire the work. The light shone on the new sheetrock that had yet to be painted. Our high school boys were scribbling on their homework after they had helped us lift windows into place. They see us standing in the yard and decide to join us.

"Just look at it….isn't it beautiful?!" I said. The men in my life and myself lined up staring at barebones of a house, as if we are seeing the premier of the newest flick. We stand motionless as the light softly gave a welcome feel. A sight we had been longing for "….we will be home soon, she's coming along." When I hear that song, "The House that Built Me," by Miranda Lambert, I'm overwhelmed. In the song a lady is returning to her childhood home and recalling certain memories. Her room where she did her homework and learned to play guitar. She recalls under the live oak her favorite dog buried in the yard. She says, "if I can just come in, I swear I'll leave wanting nothing more than a memory from the house that built me." Where she was returning to a home from her childhood, we were rebuilding our lives after a wildfire had taken our home.

The day was dry, without rain for months. The winds were particularly high as we left church to grab a quick bite to eat. We saw a fire in the distance, too far to be concerned. That's what we thought anyways. We never knew what that day would hold. But by midnight that night, we along with several families would not return to our own beds to sleep. We would lay down at a friend's, a pastor's, a trailer that nobody lived in….a place that was not home. All the while with the unbelievable thought of losing everything pulsing through every inch of our mind. It was one of the hardest things our family had been through. It was one of the longest recovery periods in our lives. And for our family it was one of those times we witnessed the help of others in outrageous ways. You may wonder what we mean?

We had the help of our community, our church, our family and strangers. We received everything a person could need ….money to replenish our home goods, a place to stay for free while we figured it all out and rebuilt. Our boys were gifted a new guitar and drum set since they lost theirs in the fire. We also were brought meals, gift cards, and clothing. Our biggest monetary gift was a house that was to be torn down in town but instead would be moved to our place. Every step of the way, as scary and unstable as it may have seemed was met by the unbridled love of people and our Mighty God who provided (Phil. 4:19). An electrician offered to do new electrical, a plumber friend offered his serves as well. The outpouring was incredible!

Here's the best advice we offer to those who want to help someone who is recovering from a major life event.

1. Show Up.

Many times people don't want you to say the perfect thing. They honestly just want you to be there. They want you to walk through life with them, especially in a time of uncertainty. People who showed up and grabbed a shovel, brought us water or food, or just to gave us a hug made the biggest impact. Do keep in mind that this will be a long process so jot their name on your calendar for the next several months. Our church did this for us by assigning people to help as long as needed. We will forever be grateful for everyone who showed up!

2. Ask:

Sometimes we assume that people want the ugliest couch we own just because they lost theirs. After the fires I saw so many ugly, peed on, dusty couches that hadn't seen the light of day since the 50s hit the streets. Someone who already has too much on their plate now has to fake being polite and accept it. Now don't hear me being ungrateful but honestly the amount of broken, unusable stuff we received made an overwhelming time even more overwhelming. Ask what they need or give a gift card to a supercenter or hardware store.

3. Pray and Offer Support.

Other than the work that you can physically do, pray for them. Prayer is the worker we can't see and accomplishes plans that we know nothing about. Take time to listen, lighten their load, and even be comic relief when appropriate. The people closest to you know when it's needed. Laughter is good like a medicine and give us much needed relief! Prov. 17:22

Pastor in the Pasture: Stop comparing and keep walking

It's easy to compare. You daywork for your neighbors and immediately you start comparing your rig, your trappings, your horse, and your performance. You pull up and see 'ol Fred's 2nd Gen Dodge pickup that is used but it's nice. His trailer is used as well but the newness hadn't worn off the paint yet. You've gauged what you know, as well, against other folks. "What does he know that I don't?" You start to measure what kind of hand you've become over the years. Then the neighbor you hired out to, calls your name to get your horse, because it's your turn to throw a loop. You are now the one being watched and they are comparing themselves to you. NO PRESSURE!

We all know what it's like to compare and measure our performance against someone else by asking some questions. That comparison may not be helpful, however just a plain, bare bones audit of ourselves could be something to consider. We may need to ask questions of ourselves about our faith and walk with Christ.

These might include:

• "How much do I know about Christianity and the Bible?"

• "What kind of Christian am I?"

• "What have I done for Christ?

• "What am I doing now for Him?"

• "What is He leading me to do?"

When we are able to objectively look at our level of productivity horseback or in our walk with Christ we can see areas for improvement. How else can we see that we have fruit in our life?

So what do we do if we weigh those questions and find we might be a little short? We sure don't need to beat up on ourselves but we definitely need to see growth in ourselves. Peter, one of the Twelve, wrote:

"His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." (2 Peter 1:3-8 NIV)

We see immediately that Jesus' "…divine power has given us…," which should give us relief from pressure that we might feel and understand we can never earn what He's given us. However, we also see Peter write, "…make every effort…," that shows that we do have a responsibility that is ours.

My encouragement is simply this, if you find yourself comparing your walk to others, instead look at this list of qualities that Peter says to possess. Then take those qualities and ask yourself honestly, "Do I have them and if so are they qualities that are 'increasing in measure,' in my life?"

Stop comparing and keep walking…

I'll see ya'll out in the pasture!

The Cowboy Pastor’s Wife: Making the cut

It was something I had done for years. Cutting my boys' hair. I did it mainly because we needed to save money. It was my way of contributing to our budget. Cowboy life is not about money- we all know that.

When they were little, it took every ounce of will power for them to sit still. I tried my best to get it all straight! Lord knows they just wanted to get down and play…….they had stuff to do! "Mama, why do I need a hair cut anyways?! I'd do my best barber shop routine to keep them entertained for a little while, but not quite long enough to do a "professional job."

"Mama, are you done yet?" I'd finally hope for the best and set them loose only to see strays I had missed. I tried to keep the scissors nearby by for quick snips to even things out! I don't know how good it looked, I just remember being thankful they wore hats! Hats do a lot more than protect little boys from the sun!

But as they got older I actually treasured this time with them. It would be a time they'd talk…and ask questions. Questions about girls and things their friends were doing. They'd share unbridled dreams, you know the ones they wouldn't dare share with their friends, only moms have access to such things. I was their captive audience and they were mine. I got to share all my mom advice and laugh and dream along them, all while being their in-home barber! "I want to own my own ranch someday, and have a pretty good string of horses!" or "Mom, I'd like to ask her out on a date….do you think she'll say yes?"

I would slow down, tell them I just needed to "recheck" for strays just to freeze the moment.

And once again I'd get the infamous question… "Mom…are you done yet?"

"Almost," I would say.

How quickly it passed- these times one on one. From squirrely boys, to adolescents in awkward stages, to men making decisions about life, and all while cutting their hair. I'd like to think this is how a barber feels, his particular set of clients who he shares life with. Might be a pretty good career choice…it might even be similar to a mom. But whatever the case it was a little way to slow down enough, to have some extremely important time with my boys.

Then I wonder…does God feel like this? Does He desire to have time with us? To hear about our day, to ask question or pray for our friends. To share with Him our dreams…and to wait to hear back what He thinks. When I've been rushing through life I have let my prayer life struggle. I have said a quick "Hi God!…We can talk later," "Do I really need this anyways?" We've all murmured those quick prayers for friends….and there's nothing wrong with that but It's not "haircutting" time. It's not a time when I'm sitting and waiting. But I want it to be. I want to share all I have with Him because He's the one who gives me the desires of my heart. He's the one who fills me like nobody can. I don't even want to ask Him…. "Lord, are you done yet?"

I hope not. I want for Him to work on me and get all the strays out of my life. I want Him to cut away the unnecessary so I can get up from time with Him looking better than when I came in.

It may sound silly…relating cutting my boys hair to time with God. I just use what I have and I am thankful that God uses things like this, to get His message through to me. So what about you? Can you remember something you've done with your children that brought you closer? Maybe it was working in the round pen, to teach them how to rope. Maybe it's conversations on the way to school. Whatever it might be, remember the most important conversations in your life.

Always love hearing from you thecowboypastorswife

The Cowboy Pastor’s Wife: Do you make a fuss if they cuss?

Isn't it funny how a bad habit seems to stick quicker than a good habit sometimes? Why is that? Probably because the bad habit requires more drama and kids notice drama. The pot licking dogs got in the door and stole dinner off the counter…you chase them off, while poppin' them in the butt with a dish towel….cussing while you do it! Little Johnny decides that looks pretty cool…and exciting… and besides he loves chasing dogs, so there he goes….cuss words and all. And it doesn't help that his two year old cuteness made you laugh and now he just thinks he's cute….he thinks he's stinkin' cute! The final straw is that you decide he needs to do it again so you can YouTube, Insta, and Facebook the whole thing and have it go viral! So as you replay and show all your friends lit'l Johnny is now a star!! Ahhhh ain't he cute!?!

NO…NOT REALLY!

And in a couple of years his vocabulary and rudeness will grow with him. Whose fault is this? Your own and now no one wants their kids to hang out with Johnny because he's rude and has a potty mouth that would shame even the gas station toilet!

And yes, my boys did get their mouth washed out! It wasn't considered abuse, or terrible! It was considerate!! It was considerate of the men they would become and of others around them. Even real men know you never cuss in front of women or children. I will never forget the time my husband got up from eating dinner at a restaurant and asked the teenage boys, at the next booth, to quit cussing. It went something like this, "Fellas, I'm going to ask you not to cuss in front of my boys…" And their response was actually polite. "Yes sir." That's all it took and we didn't hear another inappropriate word out of them.

I can imagine now a days, although not always, young men that have never learned to respect their elders, may even cuss out a dad, with the same request. To which, it's time to take them out back and show them a few things. I'm old school…you'll get over it. I imagine washing kids mouths out may be a thing of the past as well but here's how we did it.

Mouth Washing 101:

1. Lit'l Johnny, I'm going to explain to you that is a bad word. It's not a good word or a kind word, it's not considerate of others and you don't need to use it. In fact if I hear you say it, I will wash your mouth out with soap!

2. Lit'l Johnny is feeling quite spry and he's been out cowboyin' all day with dad. One of the day hands lets a word slip, when he was kicked in the wallies by a calf. Johnny thinks .."he's a pretty punchy guy, so when I get to the house to wash up for dinner…I'm gonna share my new word with mom and dad!"

3. "Lit'l Johnny, did you understand that I told you not to say those words? And even in his nod…. that neither resembles a yes or no….you know he understood you fully…. it's time for soap and water.

4. Tooth brush and liquid soap…just a dab will do! Let the brushing begin.

Now some people will say, "How can you do such a thing?" and I can respond that same question back to you. "How can you do such a thing, to not discipline your own child?" I'd rather do soap and water now than pay bail later. I tell you what, the counting thing…full name thing….the "next" time thing that you've already repeated a billion times doesn't work. Why not try something ole' school, it worked for us.

Let me leave you with this as a challenge to us all…

2 Tim. 4:12 puts it like this, "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity."

Always love hearing from you but please don't send your empty soap bottles….thecowboypastorswife.com

The Cowboy Pastor’s Wife: How to do your best work

Do you ever have too many irons in the fire? Maybe that doesn't happen to you…..but for me all those irons can look confusing when I'm trying to grab the right one. When this happens to me, I may drive right by that windmill that is no longer pumping because I now have the "rancher stare" going on. You know the look, you're checking on things in the pasture and your eyes widen, you haven't blinked in five minutes, and you've lost track of what you're doing. Laughter would break out if you could only see yourself. Then suddenly something snaps you back to reality… maybe a bull that steps out onto the ranch road…so this might have happened but all is well, nothing a welder can't repair. And no bulls were injured in the making of this ranch life.

That "rancher stare" is the first sign, then you forget, then you snap back. So how do you overcome such symptoms and do your best work? It all begins with asking yourself a few simple questions.

How To Do Your Best Work

1. Ask Yourself What's Important: More than likely you have come to the place where you are adding more of the unimportant. Asking what's important can clarify, I might add, what's important to you? Is having a family with values important? Then make time around the dinner table with your family a priority. Values can't be built if you never see them.

2. Am I Saying No to Guilt Trips: Is guilt the motivation behind my response. Some of us might need a vaccine for going on this trip. You even know the person who will buy your ticket before they even approach. You're eyes meet….then from across the room they glide towards you…..NO!!! Not a romance novel!! You just want to duck and run, but what you really need to do is face it head on. You don't even have to be rude. The first "no" is always the hardest.

3. Do I Think Before I Say Yes: These are the yeses that support your life missions and goals. Deciding what's important, saying no to guilt trips, and then building in the yeses that are supportive of who God created you to be. Those "yeses" will no doubt take work. It's not work that we are trying to get away from but if we want to do our best work, these "yeses" will reinforce our best work.

By asking yourself these questions, your best work will begin to take shape. We all get sidetracked, we often have good intentions but our best work helps us to stay focused and benefits those around us. Can you imagine what that looks like to avoid the "rancher stare" in your own life? I know for myself it will mean happy bulls and a happier husband who doesn't spend his afternoon welding up a trip hopper feeder door.

Ecc. 3:12-13

"I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live.

That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God."

What causes you to do your best work? I always love hearing from you and you can find me at http://www.thecowboypastorwife.com

Pastor in the Pasture Wendel Elliott: Coincidence?

It was just a chance meeting while standing in line to order a quick bite to eat. Or was it? We have those countless times at the feed store, ranch horse sale, coffee shop/cafe, post office, or on a trip. You've had that time you say a simple, "Howdy," to the person in front or behind you in line. You may even strike up a conversation. If you allow, you might even introduce yourself and ask if they're from around here. Or if you're traveling through and they're a local to get a recommendation of other places to eat or a good place to stay. You may never meet that person again, however what perspective do you put on this meeting? Do you see it as a mere coincidence or happen stance? Perhaps you have a different view of a God ordained meeting? "Well, I don't know if I buy into that preacher."

I used to think, "Well it just happens or we were there at the same time. Nothing else to read into it." I had one of those meetings (one of many since my perspective changed) the other day. There was a young couple about the age of our sons that was sitting at the next table and was in line with us prior. We really didn't have any conversation but I made eye contact with the young man and nodded and said "Howdy" to him. Norma and I finished eating and headed to the car. Then I remembered I had brought some of our books with us on the trip. I reached in the back seat and grabbed a copy and took it back to the young man. I introduced myself and asked him if he and his wife would read the book and let me know what they thought. I left him my email address, thanked him and wished them well. Since that time I wondered if they had read it and what they thought. I recently received an email from him and he thanked me for the book. This is a portion of his email and I left it the way he wrote:

"But it come at a great time ,knowing what I should be doing as husband and father but falling short, with you doing Gods work at the right time was the best wake up call,

I will write you again when done. God is great for you to know to give me the book."

The point isn't about me and Norma or that we wrote a book. The point is are we available. Are you and I making ourselves available to God and His infinite wisdom and plans?

"But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect," (1 Peter 3:15 NIV)

"For we are Godʼs handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." (Ephesians 2:10 NIV)

Don't look at those regular everyday meetings the same way again. God just may have a special purpose and plan. Are you going to be available?

I'll see ya'll out in the pasture!

Pastor in the Pasture Wendel Elliott:

Fresh shod hooves, thunder from the pens, on fresh horses that have had a good rest since the fall works. The horses that have broken out in front begin to be checked by the lead riders. The first few miles can be a little fast and furious but then it starts to happen. The horses settle into a long trot with a feeling of knowing what's ahead. It's a trip that ends at one of the camps that starts the spring works. The remuda consisting of 60 to 80 head strong is back at it again. As they make their way to camp the remuda finds a big round water tough where they crowd around in a circle. The sound of horses hooves hitting the ground in a long trot have halted momentarily. Only the sound of geldings gulping water with nostrils flaring as their sides go in and out. Sweat drips off of their necks, withers, down legs to their fetlocks, and off their bellies. It's a good break but there's more trotting ahead and so they start again headed to camp.

If you've had that experience of moving the remuda then you know what I'm talking about. There's a whole lot of lessons we could learn from the remuda. One of them is in that first day of starting the works. Once you've gotten finished moving the remuda, then you turn your horse lose back into the remuda. Then the cow boss, jigger boss, or someone appointed ropes you out a fresh horse.

Sometimes in life we feel like we've been ridden to move the remuda, make the gather, dragged calves, and move the drys. We get tried, exhausted, and spent. Maybe you're a workaholic not taking adequate rest. You see that the beauty of the remuda and having your own string of horses. Those that aren't being used can leisurely graze, rest, and recuperate. You may dream of being able to take a good rest from the rat race. Maybe it's been a while since you and your wife spent a day together just enjoying each other's company. She might have a job and career and you're busy with the ranch and it's hard to connect during the week. Just like having a strategic cycle with your horses in your string, you need a strategic plan in regard to rest and recuperation for yourself and you and your family.

The prophet Elijah found himself in need of some rest and we find part of his story: "Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, "Get up and eat." He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, "Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you." So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. There he went into a cave and spent the night. And the word of the Lord came to him: "What are you doing here, Elijah?"" (1 Kings 19:5-9 NIV)

Elijah needed rest and sustenance. Where are you needing to pull back a little? What is the Lord leading you to do that you may need to rest because, "the journey is too much for you" in your current state. Get the rest you need and be prepared better to face what God has ahead.

I'll see ya'll out in the pasture!

The Cowboy Pastor’s Wife by Norma Elliott: Don’t leave the gate open for disrespect

Knowing he had a particularly busy schedule, I was trying to help my cowboy pastor husband by taking on a few more chores. I was actually going to surprise him but I needed a little more information before I could pull it off. I asked, "Honey, is our bull at the neighbor's pens?" And after 27 years of marriage he was on to me. "Don't go pick it up." What…..? Was I that obvious? Yeah, not to good at surprises.

He had a meeting in town and was speaking at an event this weekend. We have had a few long days lately, but I'm sure you've been there. It happens, where you are doing everything at once and shipping some yearlings and cleaning up some pastures was right in the middle of it.

He continued, sarcastically… "Yeah, that's what I want! Send my wife over to pick up our bull."

It seems as though convenience had stepped on the toes of respect and almost instantly I understood his point. It wasn't that I was incapable of running over to the neighbors with a trailer. It was that he wasn't sending his wife in his place. For some couples this may not even be an issue but something we can all agree on, is the area of respect, in our marriage.

Here's 3 areas where I struggle and maybe you do too

• I get in a hurry. Just like what happened with the bull, I want to help. By nature I want to nurture, I'm a woman, it's part of the DNA…but when it comes to my marriage, my husband wants a wife not a mother. He has one of those and he loves her very much! I love her too!

• I fail to ask his opinion and then listen to his response. I hate to admit that sometimes I'm already thinking about the next thing to say, instead of intentionally listening to him. I may even assume he feels the same way I do, when in reality his opinion may be totally opposite.

• In tough times I sometimes forget to ask, "How can I help?" If I feel he's tense about a situation, sometime I get tense as well. Imagine you're best cow dog barking at a heifer in the white brush, that would be me, when I'm in panic mode. I resort to barking out orders, thinking it's the quickest way to clean it up.

Marriage can sometimes look like, "Man, all the cattle are accounted for, it just rained, and everyone calved out." Other days it may look like, "Who left the gate open?!" But whatever our situation, respect can be the factor that helps us focus on what's important. Just look at what the Word said when I looked up the word respect.

Romans 12:9-11

"Let love be genuine. Hate what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord."

Can you imagine that, marriages that outdo one another in showing honor? That sounds like less counseling calls, that sounds like a good design for a happy marriage. So with that being said, let's help each other out….what would be a way to "outdo" each other in showing honor? I always love hearing from you, find me at http://www.thecowboypastorwife.com

The Cowboy Pastor’s Wife Norma Elliott: 10 Things Ranch Women Do That Other Women Don’t

Yep she's a certain breed of women all right. Her closet may have more boots than heels. Her resume may include ranch wife extraordinaire, able to hook up trailers with the help of a ball ping hammer and a crow bar, number one calf puller, or camp cook of the year, but her title "Ranch Women" means she's cut from a different cloth. A ranch women is always on call and equipped with a different set of skills than most women.

10 Things Ranch Women Do That Other Women Don't

1. Count cattle everywhere they go. Even when dropping kids at the school bus, she gets a count on the way back to the house. She will be asked, "Say, how many cattle were in the middle pasture?"

2. They look at bags, no not those nicely stitched, over priced ones, shined up on the isles at Dillard's. But the bags on cows, those that have been nursed, those that are dry, even front quarters nursed, back ones full!

3. They open gates, close gates, and drive through pastures and watch their husbands or kids open and close gates. They yell at their kids that ride on gates!

4. They never leave the house without water, chapstick, a gun, jacket, and a snack…or maybe that's just me!

5. Know the exact amount of diesel she will need in the ranch truck, to make it to headquarters and back.

6. She looks for the rider to her left and to her right in the pasture

7. Strap their kids on a sheep and hoop and holler when they open the gate

8. Make town lists

9. Counts going calling as being on a date

10. Let their kids eat cake from the feeder

These are just ten things and yet they're are so many more!! Some ranch women were born with these skills because they were past down from their ranching mothers. Since I wasn't raised on a ranch, like my husband, I have learned the hard way. For example, I have gotten ahead in the drive when gathering a pasture, or walked to headquarters because I ran out of diesel. I've even ran off and have forgotten my gun on the day I see a group of hogs! DANG IT! Never fails, right?

As women, ranch women or not we get this amazing opportunity to be women and what's not to love. I like that I took my husband's last name, I like that the two shall become one flesh! (Found in Genesis by the way) I like that I can be both tender and tough. I rely on him and he relies on me…that's what we do when we're married. I don't ever feel like I'm less than because I feel like I'm part of him and he a part of me. I like when he get's a compliment because I feel like I got one too. Just look at all the benefits, a prayer partner, encourager, sharer of the work load, including taking turns opening the gate. And let's not forget …someone to pull off your boots when you're to tired to do it yourself.

This month as we get ready to celebrate Valentine's, figure out the top 10 things that he's good at and let him know. A compliment goes a long ways and is even quite helpful before you step on your horse to work cattle. Watch out, it may even cause him to be in a good mood. It may even mean, the old horned cow, that tries his patience, will cause him to laugh instead of cuss. It may not….but a ranch women can always hope!

What else do ranch women do that other women don't? Love hearing from you thecowboypastorswife