You are in our thoughts

In light of the massive fires happening in multiple states and taking a huge toll on agriculturists, I am going to hold off a week to begin my marketing series.  Please keep those affected by the fires in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas in your prayers.

If you are in the position to help I encourage you to find a reputable organization and offer your services or finances. I will be doing the same.

Our county fair week has come to a close and I have so much to reflect on. There are some things that are very heavy on my heart. It was a great fair. The success we enjoyed is nothing short of amazing and I think the kids have really learned how important hard work and dedication is. I've read posts online recently about what it is like to be successful and feel like you have a target on your back. I am choosing to look at it differently (admittedly it took me a few days to have this perspective).

I could let a great fair be overshadowed by hurtful stares, comments made under others breath and sometimes glaringly shouted as we are passing but I am not going to. I know how hard we work as a family. I know the hours we spend in the barn. I know the morning and evening routines. I know how tired we all are and how hard it is some days to continue but no matter what we do. This matters to us and we wouldn't do it if it weren't for a true love of this life. 

In reflecting on the past week, I thought of a few things I wanted to share here, a little food for thought before you travel to your next show.

Stop Making Assumptions

Don't automatically assume people who are successful are doing anything unethical. When you assume the worst you are assuming someone is raising their kids in a dishonorable way. Put yourself on the other side of the coin and think of how you would feel if you heard some of those things being said about you.

People, in general, are good and wouldn't do anything harmful to their livestock let alone teach a child how to break the rules. Always assume the best rather than automatically falling into the negative trap.

Find the good in everything

Instead of looking for the bad look for the good, always try to stay positive (I am guilty of this too). Criticism seems to roll off tounges so easily, maybe we all need to keep it positive and always find something good to say.

When you hear negative things being said about good people defend them. Think about how that family or child will feel when hurtful rumors make it back to their ears (and they always do). If we all are the best we can be in the show barn imagine how much better the experience would be for everyone.

Can you learn something

Ask yourself what you could learn about a person's program and implement at your barn. Chances are a person who is successful is more than happy to help you out, I know if anyone came to me asking for tips or advice I would certainly give it to them. I have nothing to hide, we are an open book. When you receive that advice don't doubt them or look befuddled when the answer often times is hours in the barn or repetition. I can't tell you how many times people have asked me for a shortcut only to have me tell them there are none. It is hours of practice and repetition that will reap big rewards.

Don't Judge My Investment

Understand everyone participates at different levels. Some people have livestock as a fun summer project for their kids to learn responsibility. Others are like us, all in. We make choices, invest in our kids and their livestock both financially and more importantly with our time.

Don't criticize either side of the spectrum. We all have different goals and want our kids to learn different things. When I hear a parent say they are done because they can't beat someone else makes me sick to my stomach. You clearly aren't in it for the right reasons and aren't teaching your kids the real purpose of this project.

Watch & Learn

Step back and watch, take it all in. My kids have been showing sheep for 7 years now. We had absolutely NO knowledge when we started and look at how far we've come. ANYTHING is possible. I am not ashamed to say we have spent plenty of time watching others, trying to learn and implement what we've seen be successful.

The Gift of Time

When an individual invests their time in a role they are not doing it for their own kids, if anything it actually takes away from their family. They aren't doing it because they are power hungry. They aren't doing it for nefarious reasons. They are doing it for one and only one reason. To help others.

Find ways to help your agents, superintendents and volunteers. Rather then tearing them down see if you could do something to make life easier. One of the kindest gestures I received was a pan of homemade lasagna, salad and loaf of french bread this summer. I know that family values what I am trying to do for kids in the county and my family appreciated the real dinner!

As show season is upon us I thought it fitting to venture into the world of show day hair. Almost everyone will tell you the number one rule for girls is have it out of your face. Beyond that there is so much you can do!

I love the tutorials found at Miss Sue, hair or makeup she's got you covered. She has some great pony tail styles and cute updos  right here to choose from. If you are a fan of the ponytail with just a splash of style don't miss the criss cross pony, chic ponytail

Like big hair? we've got you covered! This double ponytail will do just the trick! Maybe you have curly hair and just need something fast.... well here you go 2 minute updo for curly hair.

If you love braids and want to incorporate them into your look don't miss the adorable dutch fishtail side pony, gorgeous lace pony or the double braid bun. Perhaps you are one of the lucky ones who can't braid (I am not pointing fingers) This faux braid tutorial might help you out!

Don't miss our Pinterest board dedicated to showing fashion & hair! Wishing you loads of good luck this show season, I hope this is one of your best!

1. Meet new people

One of the greatest things about the stock show life is we get to meet people from all over the country! Shake hands, say hello and make new friends! You never know when your livestock loving paths will cross again and when they do it will be nice to have a smiling face by your side.

2. Make memories with your family

How many other activities do you see parents and siblings so deeply involved?  I am not placing a higher emphasis on livestock, but I do think it molds families into vessels of greatness. We could not be any luckier; we have a hobby and in many cases a lifestyle, that builds on family values and instills in our children the importance of hard work and integrity.

3. Grow and improve

 How many times have you left the ring thinking I conquered that mountain? Perhaps you slayed an inner dragon you have been letting eat up too much of your head space. Every time you enter the show ring YOU have the chance to improve. Embrace the moment and learn everything you can. Celebrate your achievements no matter their size!

4. Learn a new method or technique

Don't be shy, stand back and take it all in. There is always more than one way to do everything. You might pick up on a shortcut or an easier method to do something. Keep in mind people are always rushed at shows and may not have the time to go into detail the moment you ask. Make a mental note and remind yourself when timing is a little better.

5. Inspire someone else

There is always someone watching. Usually, they are in a different place on their journey. Embrace their journey with open arms. Even if that is only a smile, it will make them feel noticed and welcomed. If someone asks you a question take a moment to kindly answer them.

6. Mentor another person

We all need a refresher course, and one of the easiest ways to do that is by teaching someone else. Take a young child under your wing and show them the ropes. You will make a huge impression on this individual and will have an enormous sense of pride each time you watch them improve.

7. Conquer your fears

Stepping into the show ring is not for the faint of heart. It takes bravery, confidence, and commitment. We are not always as prepared as we want to be and rarely are our animals exactly as we want them to show. However, in the end, every small step gets you a little closer to the top of that mountain.

8. Set a new goal

Maybe it is a show ring goal. Perhaps it is a goal you need to achieve at home. Hopefully, every time you enter the ring you learn something new. Sometimes it may mean doing more of what you are doing because IT IS working. Other times it might mean a change of course, a new path. Either way just getting out there will help lead you closer to your goals and in the direction you need to go. Don't give up on the journey, see it through to the end. You will be surprised at the person looking back at you in the mirror when you reach the end of the path.