Category Archives: Beyond the Gate

Shaping Lives

When I was 14 years old I got lucky and somehow ended up as the alternate on the Missouri 4-H Horse Bowl Team (like a quiz bowl for everything horse). We ended up winning state and got to go to Nationals in Colorado. Most exciting thing in my life at the time, but come to find out, that part didn’t really matter that much.

One of the girls on that team and I became close friends almost immediately, and their family all but adopted me over the next year or two. We shared barn dances, Horsebowl trips all over to compete, and the Heart of Missouri Brangus Cattle program (she went on to raise Brangus the rest of her life) and the subsequent cattle shows, plus we got to experience the American Royal Horse Show together.

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Up and Out

Oh. Right. This is what they meant. This is why my friends kept asking if I was doing ok and handling our daughter Katie moving to South Dakota alright.

“Well of course I am!” I thought. I said “Who wouldn’t be? I’m even a little jealous, getting to live in the heart of the Black Hills? I wish I could swap places with her!”

Until she packs up her pickup truck and rolls out of the driveway at 5am and I suddenly, heart-wrenchingly, feel like I should stop her. Tell her that her dad and I can’t run this damn farm and a branding shop without her. Want to ask her if she’s sure, if it’s right, if she’s thought it all out. If she’s thought of ME, and what I’ll do without her. My right arm. Just gone. Continue reading Up and Out


I overheard someone say the other day “Thank you for giving me my wings.” I didn’t think a lot about that statement, but apparently my subconscious did, because I went home, went to sleep, and had an interesting dream in which I told my mentor just exactly what he had done for me, and my life. And when I woke up that’s when it occurred to me. Maybe he doesn’t know. I’ve never been great at verbal communication, writing is my gig, and maybe there are others out there that haven’t put a lot of thought into making sure that special person knows exactly how special they are. Or how important it is to just tell them. To say it. Just to make sure. So. This is mine, and this is me encouraging you to do the same.

Continue reading Wings

Girlfriend, you don’t even know!

I’ve got some stuff I need to get off my chest, and it’s about my gal pals. You see, in a woman’s life, girlfriends come and they go. In every way imaginable, and for every reason under the sun. We tend to focus on the ones that stay for a lifetime and laud the indescribable and incredible part they play in our lives, as well we should, but I’ve got something to say to ALL of them, from our soul-sisters, to our childhood friends, and even those female friends that stay for the briefest of times.

You’ve all had an impact on my life, how I carry myself, and how I conduct myself on a daily basis, and on who I am. Continue reading Girlfriend, you don’t even know!

A Farrier’s Tribute

My husband is a farrier, or more commonly known as a horseshoer. He spends his days bent over underneath a horse. To be clear, many horses. People ask him all the time “Can you really do that full-time? Are there that many horses out there?” He always answers with a smile and a quiet “Yep.” But what’s he’s not saying is that it’s more than full time. It’s around-the-clock and always-on-call.

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Mini-Mules and the Devil

One thing we’ve never been short of in our twenty year marriage is adventure. One of my favorites happened in the winter of 2011, and it all started with an ad spotted in the local paper: “Team of Mini-Mules, Complete with Harness and Wagon”. Our close friends, Wes and Melissa, already owned several mules, which they loved dearly and thought highly of. When Wes spotted the ad he decided this one-of-a-kind opportunity warranted investigation. So on a cold early December day the four of us packed into a vehicle and did just that.

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A Cowgirl’s Top Five Makeup Picks

Life on the ranch can be, well, a little hectic. One minute I’m pulling calves and the next I need to throw on dinner for 8 or 10 people, or run to town for supplies, etc. Some days it’s a total luxury to have that 20 or 30 minutes to get my appearance whipped into shape. I keep five items in my truck AT ALL TIMES, to throw on in case such a need arises. I only have to use my stash, ooohhh, I’m guessing five times a week or so. These are my secret weapon in the constant fight to not be ‘that girl’ that city folks look at and cringe. Don’t laugh, that’s actually happened to me…

So here we go…

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Need a Dose of Christmas Cheer?

It’s so rare that I have these, that I want to shout it to the world. I’m talking, of course, about moments of brilliance. While brainstorming on how to run a cool and engaging Facebook contest on our small-business page ( it somehow came to me exactly how to do it.

Stick with me, I’ll give you some background on why I am pretty tickled with myself…It’s our insane, rush season for all small businesses, but it’s also the time of year to tell all those incredible customers THANK YOU. It’s hard to keep the Christmas spirit, and look at December 25th as anything other than a deadline we need to have orders delivered by, but I’m always determined to do both. Thus my self-proclaimed moment of brilliance (I’m kidding about the brilliance part, but I do love this idea, and it will probably become OUR Christmas tradition). The contest we opted to run was simply “Tell us your Favorite Christmas Tradition” to be in the running for one of two $50 gift certificates. It’s pretty hard not to get in the Christmas spirit and remember the reason for the season when reading through these incredible posts. Here are my favorites, just TRY reading these and not smiling!

Continue reading Need a Dose of Christmas Cheer?

Kim’s Easy Jalapeno Poppers

Can you tell all I think about is food this time of year? But I digress, my close friend Kim brought these to a party we had, and it was all over. They are incredible, and you only need a few ingredients for an appetizer that anyone is sure to love. Despite the main ingredient, they aren’t hot, like I assumed they would be. Apparently all of the heat from jalapenos are in their seeds, which we remove to make these yummylicious little treats. You can make these ahead of time and just pop in the oven right before the party or dinner. Love that about them!

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Leftover Turkey Egg Rolls

These amazingly delish Turkey Egg Rolls are a new tradition in our house. I was searching for something easy and quick to do with my big bowl of leftover turkey from Thanksgiving, I was inspired after eating Chinese the other day, so I came up with these. They filled my requirements for the recipe I needed, they were quick to make, definitely out of the ordinary (i.e. weary of turkey soup & sandwiches), and they used up all my leftover turkey, but most importantly, my entire family LOVES them! Continue reading Leftover Turkey Egg Rolls