A Cowboy

From Scott’s FB page

I wrote this a few years ago when I was writing an agricultural blog for The Journal Record. You can find it here. I read on Facebook that Harv died this afternoon.

Living in the panhandle has given me the opportunity to know quite a few cowboys. They are a breed unto themselves. A cowboy hates to farm, and hates to be stuck indoors. He loves his horse, and likes to ride. A cowboy is his own man.

I had times in my life that I went through a “cowboy” phase, but I never was a real cowboy. I always said that, “I farmed like a cowboy, and cowboyed like a farmer.”

When I think of a cowboy, Harv comes to mind. He wore a hat and boots, and he walked and talked like a cowboy. His language was laced, and his gate had a gimp from too many days in the saddle.

Harv used to do day work for us. (Day work is when a cowboy hires himself and his horse out for the day to help work cattle.) One day, Harv was helping us move some calves. The boys, Harv, and I were riding to the back of the pasture beside an electric fence. As we were riding along, Reid’s horse brushed up against the fence, and he started bucking. Reid wasn’t very old; I’m guessing about ten. His horse was bucking pretty hard, but Reid was hanging on. As quickly as the bucking started, it stopped. I jumped off my horse, and grabbed Reid’s horse by the bridle. Reid had that frightful look on his face that said, “I want off this horse now!”

Before I could say a word a voice shouted loud and clear behind me, “Wow! You sure cowboyed up and rode him, by god!” It was Harv. He bragged on Reid for a couple of minutes; talking about how hard the horse bucked, and how well Reid rode him. The frightened look disappeared from Reid’s face, and was replaced with a look of confidence.

I got to see a little bit of cowboy wisdom first hand, and Reid got praised by a bona fide  bronc bustin cowboy.

May God Bless you Harv.


Read more: http://journalrecord.com/2012/02/16/ag-blog-a-cowboy/#ixzz2zZyd8aAJ


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Are you comfortable?

Photo by Susan Newbauer

He is risen! Alleluia!

The season of Lent is behind us, and the celebration of the Easter season has begun. I want to thank you for accompanying me on this Lenten reflection journey. Many times, I had to make myself sit down at the keyboard. Many times, I felt like I didn’t have anything to say, nevertheless it was good for me. Your many comments and kind words of encouragement are always a great blessing to me.

Lent is a time to shake us out of the normalness of life. Many of the Lenten practices make me uncomfortable, such as fasting, abstaining from meat on Fridays, and making a Lenten promise. The Church just finished celebrating the Easter Triduum. The celebration begins on Holy Thursday and concludes at the Easter Vigil on Saturday night. There are many things about the Triduum that make me uncomfortable. Things like washing of the feet, venerating the Cross, the reading of the Passion, a service that begins and ends in silence, the priest prostrating on the floor, the many times we kneel and stand in the prayers of intersession, being clothed in darkness at the beginning of the Vigil, the many readings at the Vigil (and they’re long too), and for our parish the Triduum is bilingual. I’m uncomfortable with it all.

But if I listen to the readings, the psalms, and the prayers, I hear of a people of God that is not comfortable either, from the Israelites exodus and wandering in the desert to the fear that overcame the followers during the Passion of Christ and the Resurrection. Following Jesus is not about being comfortable. In fact, if I am feeling comfortable in my faith, maybe I should ask myself, “Why”?

May the Lord bless you during this Easter season, and may we all get uncomfortable together.

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Jesus loves you

Photograph by: Sailko

The intervention of God, in the man of Jesus, was the ultimate participation of God in His creation, for God became a man. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) Through Jesus, God showed man the definitive action of love by humbling Himself to death in a most humiliating way, the cross.

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Leonardo da Vinci [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

In the same night,

One turns Jesus over to the authorities, and the other denies Him.

They both betray Him.

One humbles himself, and seeks repentance and forgiveness.

The other dies in his anguish.

One is buried with dogs. The other is buried in Rome.

Judas the betrayer,

Peter the rock.

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We’re closer than we think we are

I heard a news story about some of the Boston Marathon bombing survivors and victims. It talked about how they are coping with the tragedy. How they are helping one another, and receiving help from friends. During the story an observation was made that some of the families had connections before the bombing that they hadn’t realized, and one of the men made the statement, “We’re closer than we think we are.”

Last night was the Chrism Mass in the Amarillo Diocese. All of the priests, deacons, religious, and laity came together to show support for the priests. The priests renew their baptism vows and a vow to the bishop, and the bishop blesses the oils that will be used at all the parishes in the diocese. It is a beautiful ceremony that has happened for centuries.

A woman sat down beside me, and we greeted one another. She was visiting Amarillo on retreat, and she was Santa Fe, New Mexico. Teague leaned over and told me that she recognized her. On drive home, we decided that we must have seen her at mass in Santa Fe sometime.

St. Mary’s Cathedral was full. There were many people that we knew, and many we didn’t know. As we drove home late last night, I thought, “Why do we go? Why do we make this drive right after work and celebrate a two hour mass, and turn around and drive back home?” I’m tired this morning, and I have a full day ahead.

As we walked out of the cathedral, Teague asked if I had got to talk to everyone that I wanted to. I told her that was impossible, but I did get to see them even if from afar. That alone was enough. You see the Chrism Mass as is every mass is also about unity. The people united in Christ. Just our presence was a sign of that unity.

We are closer than we think we are.


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Two Natures

Two natures beat within my breast,

One is foul, the other blest,

The one I love, the one I hate,

The one I feed will dominate. 

I received this poem on a card when I attended at Walk to Emmaus. Yesterday, I was watching a Ted Talk titled “David Brooks: Should you live for your resume… or your eulogy?” In the talk, Mr. Brooks speaks as our two natures as Adam 1 and Adam 2. Adam 1 is bent on success, and Adam 2 looks at the deeper things in life and after life. Adam 1 lives for today; Adam 2 lives for eternity.

He says that one way to help develop our Adam 2 nature is to look deep in our past and identify and recognize that sin, that deep sin in our life. Once it is recognized and confessed, we are then able to grow from it. Our Adam 2 nature develops not from our strengths but from our weaknesses.

Before my first confession, the priest told me not to try and remember every sin that I had committed in the past forty years. He advised me to reflect upon the sin that I had committed and from where my other sins were rooted. As I reflected, I was taken back in time, when I was a young boy, and I remembered the sin I committed. I knew it was wrong, but I did it anyway. At the moment I was doing it, it seemed to give me pleasure. That’s how sin works. It seems pleasurable for a fleeting moment, but it can scar you for the rest of your life.

But just like a wound that has healed. A sin that has been forgiven and healed can be your strength.

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Forgiveness is a decision

How can I forgive when I still feel the way I do toward that person? When I think about what they have done to hurt me, I feel anger, rage, bitterness, malice, and sadness. I can’t forgive them while I’m feeling this way.


The key is you. It’s not wrong to feel the way you do. Feelings are gifts from God. They are emotions that we have spontaneously inside us. Emotions are neither right nor wrong. They just are. Emotions should not be the decider in how we act. They are just a part of who I am. My will and my feelings are not the same thing.

Forgiveness like love is not a feeling or emotion. Like love, forgiveness is a decision. It is something that we consciously do. Jesus has shown us how to forgive. How do you think He felt when He was on the cross and the soldiers were casting lots for His garments? We might not know exactly how He felt, but we know what He did. “Then Jesus said, ‘Father forgive them, they know not what they do” (Lk 23: 24).

Jesus made the decision to forgive, and so should I.

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