I am really not sure how to begin this: with my first life, or my second life. No, I don't mean reincarnation. I mean pre-30 years old, or post-30 years old. They really were two different lives. I guess, for lack of a better approach, I will follow the self-biographical norm of chronology. I grew up on what is now a 110 year old family cattle ranch outside of Ekalaka, Montana. To say that being raised on a ranch molded me into who I am today, would be the understatement of the century, but I will not go into depth on that on this post. 😉 I grew up with an amazing mother and father, and two younger sisters. I graduated high school in 2005, and college in 2010 (yes, I know that gives you the opportunity to make a fairly accurate guess at my age 🙂). I spent my college years drinking way too much Coors Light, and staying up way too late way too many nights. But I also managed to spend it getting an undergraduate degree in mathematics. After I graduated, I became a high school math teacher, for three years in Hulett, Wyoming, then for three years in Buffalo, Wyoming, where I also taught part time at Sheridan College. Somewhere in that time frame I managed to get my graduate degree in math education. I also met the love of my life, and married him on a hot summer day on my family's ranch in Ekalaka. My life was easy, and it was wonderful. My most memorable memories were spending time with my Mom, Dad, husband, sisters, and their husbands. The eight of us did a lot together, and thoroughly enjoyed those times. Then, on May 3, 2017, with me eight months pregnant and my sister seven months pregnant, my Dad died, very suddenly and unexpectedly. This was the end of my first life.
And so begins my second life. I am 432 days into my second life. Yes, I mostly measure in days now. I was not aware how precious life is until May 3, 2017. I took for granted how wonderful my life was. I complained about small things, and did not spend enough time being happy, and interacting with the people in my life. Yes, it has been 432 days of hard knock life lessons. But here I am. I have lost my Dad's dear cow dog, spent eleven days in the hospital with my tough little cowboy while he recovered from pneumonia and a respiratory virus, watched cancer slowly dull the glow in my dear aunt's smile, watched my baby sister and brother in law lose their sweet baby girl after a severe brain bleed was discovered on her one week birthday. It has been 432 days of extreme trials and tribulations. But this is when you truly find who you are. When you have no other choice. This is where you fine tune your belief system while grasping for air. THIS is where you learn to count your blessings. And so, I must tell you about the wonderful things that have happened in the last 432 days. My darling son was born in June of 2017: the highlight of my life. My sweet and adorable niece (my middle sister's first child) was born four weeks later. They truly are the happiest, most wonderful parts of my life. My husband, son, and I also moved home to help run our family ranch, and I was offered and accepted a job as a loan officer at our local bank. Amongst all that, in the middle of calving, I also took a leap of faith and started Here On Lily Creek. So, here I am, a rancher, a banker, a boutique owner, and a mother. My life is never dull, and my "to do" list usually fills up multiple sticky notes. As the old saying goes, sometimes I'm not sure if I found a rope, or lost my horse. But this is the life I have come to love. I'm blessed beyond measure to live in an incredible community full of wonderful, giving, caring people, to have friends who have seen me at my best and my worst and still love me, and a family that means the absolute world to me. This is the life I would choose over and over again. This is my story.