“cowgirl is a condition of the heart” ~joyce gibson roach

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I’ve watched movies about ’em. I’ve read books about ’em. I’ve heard stories about ’em. And, you know, not a whole lot of people know this about me, but ever since I was little, I wanted to be a cowgirl. Not the seductive model type that wears boots and a cowboy hat you see in magazines everywhere, but a real cowgirl.

The dream lives long within my heart.

A dream, I think, that will never die.

I told people this, when that aching fire first sparked and crackled and glowed within me. Yes, I have been laughed at. Yes, I’ve been told that “that won’t last long”. Yes, I’ve been told that it’s too much time and too much money and even though I have this yearning that won’t go away it just…won’t…be…worth it. And yes, this will probably not be the last time I am told these things. But did this discourage me? Yes, actually, it did.
For a long time.
For a long, long time.
A part of me died, those agonizing words bouncing around the inside of my skull for years to come.
And then I was invited to stay in Idaho.
That definitely was going to change things.
My mom was smiling at me, waiting for my response at this piece of good news as Uncle Jimmy patiently waited on the other line of the phone.
I smiled slightly, and a small part of me came alive. But then I smothered that small spark, afraid it would burn long and hard again only to be smothered by someone else’s painful words.
I inwardly shrugged my shoulders and continued washing the dishes.

But what I didn’t realize was…I didn’t put the fire completely out.

Packing was a pain, and shopping was even more of a pain (for those of you who don’t know…I don’t really care for shopping…). I bought six (?) pair of socks, a pair of new boots, five pair of jeans, six or seven new shirts, and lotsa kleenex (yes, LOTS of kleenex, because of the smoke from all the fires).
We meet close to Burns.
I take a deep breath, then sigh slightly. It was a long drive. I see her drive up in a big pickup truck with a big, friendly smile on her face. I feel like a bother, because it suddenly hit me that everybody– everybody, my uncle, my cousin McKatee, cousin Ty, my parents, everyone– was doing all this for me. Because they knew I wanted to be a cowgirl, not aware that I had lost hope.
So I say my goodbyes, and head down a dirt road with McKatee and her boyfriend. I didn’t know whether to be excited or to be afraid. However, no matter how I felt, I was afraid that I would humiliate myself in some way or other because of my lack of knowledge. But, man, could I ever be more wrong. That very first night, they invited me to play volleyball with them and we played in the dark except for the stars, the moon, and the front lights of two pickup trucks.
I had the time of my life.

{my uncle’s barn}

{idaho sunset}

         I learned how to doctor calves, horse-back ride better (including how to post!), and to not care what people think of me. I learned how to work hard. I learned that when someone offers you bug spray to keep the mosquitoes away, to not try to look tough and brave it out. (I guarantee you will be eaten alive.) And, more than anything, I learned not to let people’s biting words squelch my dream of being a cowgirl someday.

          I don’t know if it’s God’s plan for me to own a ranch. To ride horses into the sunset with a handsome cowboy *grin*. I don’t even know if it’s His plan for me to ride horses, rope calves, and milk goats the rest of my life. But what I do know? A cowgirl is more than just a girl who wears boots and chaps and ropes cattle from sun up to sun down. A cowgirl is a condition of the heart. Always strong, always reliable, not afraid to get dirty for the glory of God, but yet can look as fresh as a daisy in half an hour (or more ;)) just in time for church. She’s feminine, but tough. She’s strong when her world is falling apart, she works hard at any task the Lord has for her. She girds herself with strength. She reaches her hands to the needy. She always speaks with kindness. She is a lily among thorns. She is clothed with strength and dignity, and can laugh at the days to come. And she fears the Lord with all her heart, soul, mind, and strength. This is who I wanna be. This is the way to live. This is the heart of a cowgirl.*
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