Hands On

There’s something to be said for a man who can actually do stuff. (Yes, I understand women can also do things and take care of themselves, as I most definitely can, but that’s not the point here.) The point is men have changed. How many of you have a man in your life who can actually do practical, useful things? Fix things, make things, use his hands for more than scrolling through his phone? I live in a small town in the south, so I feel like it’s more common here in a farming community than it is in the larger town I grew up in. But even here, it’s becoming less and less common. Like everything else, men are evolving with the times and technology. I get that. But it makes me even prouder of the man I call mine and the little man we are raising that seems to be following in his footsteps.

I sat for about two hours today watching my husband and his friend work in their shop. It constantly amazes me to see the things these two dudes can do. I give them hell on a daily basis, but I swear between the two of them, they’re unstoppable. Today they were working on trucks for a truck pull this weekend. One was attaching a custom made bumper, which he made from scratch I might add, to his truck. The other was working on various projects on his truck, while occasionally stopping to help his friend. These two never slow down. They are constantly thinking of something else to do to whatever project they’re working on and then figuring out how to make it happen. They drive their wives crazy on a regular basis with truck talk, late hours in the shop, and mysterious charges to their credit card, but it’s hard to hate it. We also never have to call a repairman or take our vehicles to the shop. After close to eighteen years, I’m spoiled to it. I can do a lot of things myself, but how awesome is it that I don’t have to every single time?

As I sat there watching my 5-year-old work diligently to split a wood block while the big boys worked on their trucks, I couldn’t help but be relieved that he seems to have the inclination to do things with his hands. Yes, more times than not that means destroying something, but still… at least he tries. He came home yesterday hot, tired, covered in grease and dirt, and happy as a clam, much like his daddy. Hopefully he will always know the satisfaction of being able to do things with his hands.

Cows

I love cows.  I mean I really love cows.  So much that I have a cow picture in my office so I can see cows when I can’t really see cows (see below – don’t you just love her?)  I especially love my cows.  I love that I can recognize them by just looking at them.  I know them and they know me.  They aren’t afraid of me and let me get close to their little ones with no concerns and I cherish that trust.  Before I became a mommy and ran out of free time, I used to ride my 4-wheeler out there and just sit with them and watch them eat.  It is so soothing.  They’re all just calmly going through their lives eating and raising babies.  They’re curious about everything and they’re really patient mamas.  I can hear you saying, “Well, duh, Katie.  You live on a farm.”  But see that’s the beauty of it – I didn’t grow up like this.  I grew up in a decent sized town in West Tennessee.  It wasn’t a booming metropolis, but it would blow this little town out of the water.  Looking back I honestly feel like I just survived there.  I went to school and church.  I had friends and we did things for fun.  There was always something to do there.  But I never quite loved it or felt like “this is where I want to live forever.”

I’ll start by saying I went to college with no idea what I wanted to do.  At all.  Until late in the summer I hadn’t even intended to go to that college.  I was enrolled somewhere else with several of my friends.  But I didn’t have a good feeling about it and my mom suggested I visit this college.  The minute I walked on campus I knew I was going there.  I just had a feeling it was the place.  It didn’t hurt that the dorm rooms were twice the size of the other college and bathrooms were shared in each suite and not by the whole floor.  I coasted through a semester of two undeclared, but then people start insisting you pick some direction and go with it.  I decided to try social work.  I’m going to pause here for a minute so you can’t stop laughing and wipe the tears from your eyes…  I quickly realized that was not the life for me, which is no surprise to any of you that know me.  Then I tried political science, because why not, but I hate history, so that didn’t fit either.  The only thing I cared about in my free time was learning everything I could about horses.  From genetics to character traits across breeds, I read it all.  I was studying more at home than at school.  I think every little girl living on a lot in a subdivision dreams of a horse.  But I was twenty years old and dreaming of a life with horses.  The summer before my senior year my mom convinced me to take a chance and change my major again.  This time I went in to agriculture, specifically animal science.  At the time my college did not have an equine program, but I was already there and loved it, so I stayed.  It was a big deal for me to tread into something totally foreign.  My body starts throwing up at the first sign of change.  That’s a fact.  And all these other kids grew up in this.  They came to get an education to go home and apply it.  I was clueless.  I just knew I hated what I was doing and wanted to enjoy school and hopefully enjoy my future.  I didn’t know it then, but my life was about to change for the better.

I didn’t realize, but that very first day, in the very first class, my future husband was also there.  I’m glad I didn’t know that, because it would have probably made me bolt.  I was already terrified.  I knew nothing and no one.  But I was determined that I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life in an office doing something I hated.  And I loved it.  I loved every class and every single thing we did.  Well, I didn’t love processing baby pigs, but everything else was great.  We did labs at the swine research barns and with real live cows at the experiment station.  And I was good at it.  So my life changed.  And I met the one.  But that was not home either.  I loved it.  I was happy there.  But I didn’t want to stay there.

After school I interned on a farm that bred, foaled and trained race horses.  It was awesome.  I loved everything, but the snow.  But again, not home.  I missed the green of Tennessee and I missed my other half.  I came home and after what seems like forever job hunting and not having any luck, I got a job at a law office of all things.  I hired in as the receptionist (yes, really) and moved up to assisting the bankruptcy attorney.  They told me once they hired me because they thought it would be cool to have someone with an agriculture degree working for them.  Whatever the reason, it worked and I loved it.  I made some lifetime friends in that office.  I moved into a little house in my home town and worked while my future husband finished school.  I got my very first real dog, Buck, and life was good.  But I was restless even then.  It had been home at one time, but it wasn’t home anymore.  We had dated a long time and I had been to my current home many times.  I loved it as much as he did.  It was so different from everything I knew and I knew he would never settle anywhere else.  And who could blame him?  I knew we would end up here eventually.  I just had to wait and survive.

We got married in October of 2005.  It was the happiest day of my life and we had a beautiful day.  We had remodeled his grandparents’ old house and were ready to be grownups.  I literally never looked back.  People ask me sometimes if I miss the city and all the conveniences it affords.  No.  No, I do not.  I love that we are out here away from all the problems of the city.  I love looking out my windows and seeing green hills and my beloved cows.  I have a son and dogs that can run wild here.  This little community is family.  We all survived a tornado here.  Nothing bonds like rebuilding.  It is the home I always dreamed of, but had no idea how I would get to, living in town.  One leap of faith and everything changed.  And I don’t just intend to survive here.  God made me to thrive.

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