My Heros Have Always Been Cowboys

I was born and raised on cattle and horse ranches. My Father, Jim Craig is a cowboy as is his brother Bob Craig, and as was their dad Ed Craig. My husband was born and raised on ranches and so was my son and our daughters. I have uncles who were true cowboys, and cousins, and now a days even have some grandsons following that lifestyle.

They are all my heros. But today I am going to talk about the cowboy who raised me. His name is Jim Craig and today is his 95th birthday! They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I am going to let pictures tell most of this story.

Dad was born and raised on the family ranch in Bruneau, Idaho.

His childhood was a nurturing ground for his love of horses, cattle, dogs, and all animals.

Dad and Nick
Dad on Nick
Dad on Nick with chaps his father made him
Dad and Clara Bell
Dad with his dad Ed
Jim Craig, Rosalie, & Shirley Hawes
Best friend Shep
Dad, Buster and pet rabbit
Chore time
Jim Craig 10th birthday
Dad fishing with brother Bob at Pole Creek
Jim and 4-H steer
More 4-H
Jim Craig, 15 years old on Pinky
Jim and younger brother Bob
Jim served his country in World War II in Hawaii
Jim in Bruneau, ID
A cowboy’s life is more than riding horses, It’s working and doctoring cows
And branding
And feeding and teaching your kids to love this way of life
And Sorting
My Dad Jim Craig, trained Quarter Horses. This picture was on the Double J Bar N Ranch in California.
Dad showing Dorado Pledge in California
Showing him at halter
Branding at Beartooth Hereford Ranch, Columbus, MT
Such a handsome man, my father!
Taking his grandson, Dustin for a ride on Roany
He always dressed in classic cowboy style
Because that is what he was
And what he always will be!

This has been just a glimpse of a man and the era he lived in. He has blessed me in more ways than I have words for.

He is the best father I could have asked for. He was kind and gentle and funny. He taught me to be honest, giving, and loving. He has helped me to accept whatever surrounding I am in and find the good and beauty around me.

It is because of this man, the way he lives, the way he treated not only me but everyone around him, because of his integrity and love of God’s creation of all kinds….This is why I can say MY HEROS HAVE ALWAYS BEEN COWBOYS!

Happy 95th Birthday Dad!

Johnny

I know he was your world, Donna, because your love for him showed in your face. Your smile for him, and your sparkling eyes were truly a reflection of his love for you.  Together you both showed us what love, should be. Love for our spouse, family, and especially for God.

Johnny was so much more than a friend to us.  Speaking for myself he was a mentor.  No, he didn’t give me advice as to how to live. He didn’t give me advice on how to treat others or how to live out the love of Jesus in my daily life.  But he was indeed my mentor.

 He mentored me by his example.  His genuine, warm and caring smile every time I saw I him, made me feel loved. His hug which always followed gave me encouragement and a feeling of peace knowing I belonged in his circle of friends. And when he had no words for us when my husband and I were going through one of the hardest times in our life, his tears of compassion gave me comfort.

I know he treated everyone the same, because I witnessed it. That is how I know that there are so many who feel the same way about Johnny as I do.

I was going to say he will leave a hole in my heart, but I can’t. He filled me with so much love and so many good memories, that even death can not take them away.  They will walk with me forever on this earth, and I will take them to heaven with me where I can tell him thank you in person.

My heart hurts because I miss him so much, but it is so full of gratitude to God for letting him be a part of my life.

I pray God comforts you and your family Donna. Know we love you as well, and know that even in these hard times, as Johnny always said, “God is good.”

Old Glory

Independence Day was yesterday. Because of Covid-19 many city sponsored fireworks celebrations were cancelled. Our country is at an unrest like I have never witnessed in my 69 years of life. There are violent protests across our nation and people burning our flag to supposedly make their point of view bring awareness to their cause.
But in my opinion they are making that divide wider, and stirring up anger in many hearts that were never there before. Our flag stands for sacrifice, courage, and bravery of all those who fought to bring our nation to what it is today; the home of the brave, land of the free..United States of America ! Although many public firework shows were canceled, our little town was aglow with every other house setting off their pride and respect for our Nation’s Independence Day Celebration! That is why I am resharing this blog post from a couple of years ago. There is love, respect, and meaning behind and for our flag. Don’t trample on, spit on, and burn Old Glory!

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The United States of America.  Land of the free, home of the brave.  This is where I am blessed to live. I was born and raised on cattle and horse ranches.  I lived a simple country life.  It was a life learning to admire the beauty, grandeur, and awesome peacefulness of God’s creative hand.

We didn’t grow up admiring beautiful skyscrapers built by the hand of man.  We grew up admiring majestic mountains created by the hand of God himself.  We weren’t privileged to visit neighborhood museums where we could be awed by paintings of world renown artists.  We were awed by the beauty of creeks, and rivers rushing over rocks, soothing us with stress relieving sounds more beautiful than any orchestra.  We didn’t admire paintings of flowers, we were awed by wildflowers growing on a mountainside or prairie. We had the real thing.  God said of flowers in the…

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Somebody Did Something

Somebody did something. Yes they did! Eighteen years and this day still overwhelms me. We as a nation vowed we would never forget. I for one never will. Facebook is flooded with posts honoring those who died, and also those who survived that terrible day.  So I know I’m not the only one who has not forgotten.

There are some I fear however who have, or at least have become so sensitive to “political correctness” that they can’t call a spade a spade.  The fear of offending someone has resulted in efforts to change our National Anthem, remove “In God we trust” from our National monuments, buildings, and our money, and on and on.

Our government is allowing elected people to take their oaths on the Koran instead of the Bible, and erase Israel from the map in their office.  Don’t think they don’t plan to “erase” America as we know it also.

Please don’t get me wrong. I am not against all middle eastern peoples who happen to belong to the Islam religion.  It is not the people with good hearts I’m talking about. It is the religion itself and the radicals who follow it and its commands to kill all infidels who  won’t submit to their Allah. This is who attacked on Sept. 11.  This is the Somebody who did something! This is what we are Never to forget!

 

Some People Did Something

“Some people did something.”

That was said for all to hear.

Four little words

Which I heard very clear.

I saw and heard the aftermath.

We’ll never be the same,

People jumping from the towers,

To escape a death by flame.

Their screams, and ours too,

Who watched in disbelief,

Haunt me and always will..

Let our souls have no relief.

For if we forget the evil,

We can’t recognize the good,

Of the bravery and sacrifice

On which 3000 stood.

Heroes arose that day,

And more than just a few.

There were firefighters, medics,

And New York’s finest dressed in Blue

Doctors, nurses, equipment operators,

Pastors, and strangers on the street;

So many doing what they could

So many needs to meet.

Some people did something

Eighteen years ago.

And others answered back

Are you ready guys? LET’S ROLL!

Yes Somebody Did Something…

NEVER FORGET!

Sheryl Craig Russell

if you don’t like it…

I am sharing this from a fellow blogger..couldn’t agree with her more.

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Among those who dislike oppression are many who like to oppress.
Napoleon Bonaparte


(a mud dusty turtle/ Julie Cook / 2019)

In the news recently, I’ve read where our President has responded to the
Speaker of House’s fab four darling freshmen members…

It seems that they have been not shy about spouting their disdain for the handling
of the illegal immigration issue, the border crisis, the impending ICE raids,
and even a disdain for the office of Homeland Security…

Their disdain is coming via twitter.

In a counter tweet, the President responded with something along the lines of
“if you don’t like it, go back from where you came form”
Of which for a couple of them means they’d just be going back here to the US,
but not so for a couple of the others as he later added
“if you don’t like it, you can just leave”

Now…

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Old Shep

Shep by ditchJust about everyone has a pet that was a best friend.  I know  I did. Old Shep was my Dad’s. They grew up together on the family ranch in Bruneau, Idaho.  They worked and played together, and shared all of life’s little lessons along the way.

Through the years Dad talked often of Old Shep with much affection.  A couple of years ago I was visiting Dad. He came out of the bedroom with a book of old cowboy songs. His eyes were full of tears as he handed me the book opened to the song, “Old Shep.”  I knew this song from my childhood. What I didn’t know is how closely it mirrored the story of my father, Jim Craig, and his Old Shep. By the time I finished reading the lyrics, we were both in tears.

Happy 93rd birthday Dad!   I love you..

Old Shep

When I was a lad

And Old Shep was a pup,

Over hills and meadows we’d stray.

Just a boy and his dog

We were both full of fun.

We grew up together that way.

I remember the time at the old swimmin’ hole

When I would have drowned beyond doubt.

But old Shep was right there

To the rescue he came

He jumped in and then pulled me out.

As the years fast did roll,

Old Shep, he grew old.

His eyes were fast growing dim.

And one day the doctor looked at me and said,

“I can do no more for him, Jim.”

With hands that were trembling,

I picked up my gun,

And aimed it at Shep’s faithful head.

I just couldn’t do it. I wanted to run.

I wished they would shoot me instead.

So I threw down that old gun,

Ran right up to his side.

He laid his faithful old head right on my knee.

And friends, I stroked the best pal

A man ever found.

I cried so I scarcely could see.

Now Old Shep knew he was going to go,

‘cause he reached out and licked at my hand,

Then he looked up at me

Just as much to say, I hate to

But you understand.

Old Shep, he has gone where the good doggies go,

And no more with Old Shep will I roam.

But if dogs have a heaven there’s one thing I know,

Old Shep has a wonderful home.

Songwiriters: Arthur Willis/Clyde J. Foley

White Lace and Promises

I want to tell you about a walk of promises…white lace and promises.  It started forty seven years ago.

Mike and Sherry dad walking me down aisle

It started with my arm in my Dad’s. Both of us with mixed feelings of joy and anxious anticipation. We both knew that at the end of that aisle, our relationship would forever be changed. He would always be my Dad, and I would forever be his little girl, but it would be different from here on out.

Mike and Sherry dad giving me away

As we neared the end of that aisle, all I could see was the face that would become my partner in the walk of the rest of my life.  My heart was overflowing with happiness!

Mike and Sherry wedding Mr. & Mrs

And just like that we were married!

Mike and Sherry Yay!

Not yet knowing what all that meant, but we were just excited to start the journey.

Mike and Sherry weddin rings

Rings on our fingers, my hand upon his, we had no idea that this would be the picture that would define us.  Hand in hand, in good times and bad, in sickness and in health..we have hung onto each others hands through it all.  And through it all God who joined us together has never left us nor forsaken us.

Mike and Sherry wedding. rice

So we left that church, hand in hand, rice in our hair and good wishes from friends and family.

White Lace and Promises was one of the songs sang at our wedding.  The other was He. We started a new walk that day. A walk that would rely on promises made in a white tuxedo and white lace. And it has been He who sustains us to this day.

This was the best walk I’ve ever taken.  The years between then and now have somehow flown so quickly. We have three beautiful children who have blessed us with nine wonderful grandchildren.

Our life has been a good one. I am so thankful for the man that walked me down that aisle, and so in love with the man who walked me back.

I love you Michael Russell and so glad for God and White Lace and Promises!

 

The Morning Light

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My Mom Harriett Wells Craig 1948

My Mom, my beautiful sweet Mom, how I miss her! As you can see in the picture above, she had the most radiant, sweet smile.  She just oozed of love and tenderness.

She was the greatest mother, and was my friend. She was the example I will strive the rest of my life to be like, even though I know I will never succeed.  She was one of a kind.

Mom has been with Jesus for many years.  I no longer mourn for her, but sometimes I miss her so much it hurts. But when I do I try to think back on this poem I wrote for her a few years after her death.  It reminds me that she is still, and always will be with me. She lives in my memory and in my heart.

Happy Mother’s Day in Heaven Mom!

The Morning Light

There’s a place in the morning light,

A moment…there just for awhile,

when the newness of the day shines through,

I see your caring smile.

And it gives me hope for the day at hand,

courage to look and see,

at all God has blessed me with,

especially my family.

There are times when a warm wind stirs,

and the trees so gently sway.

I feel your faith sweep over me,

and it blows my cares away.

When I’m feeling stressed, and out of sorts,

in a rush with no where to go,

I sit by the side of a quiet stream,

and your patience begins to flow.

If I try to give up, and my strength fails me,

your hand I feel on my shoulder.

Like a granite rock, your courage and grace

hold me up, and I feel much bolder.

I sit in the calm of the evening hour,

amazed at the setting sun,

feeling overwhelmed that the day has passed,

and your life on earth is done.

When the empty hollow in my heart

seems more than I can bear,

heaven’s stars shine through your eyes,

and I feel your presence there.

I close my eyes and drift in sleep,

blessed more than any other,

for everything the day beholds,

is touched by the love of my mother.

Sheryl Craig Russell

My Barrel of Fun!

Mike Bucking Barrell
Mike, just a kid at heart…on his grandsons’ bucking barrel

This man I am married to…what a blessing he has been to my life.

He is the father to our three children and Grandpa to our nine grandchildren. He is loved by them all.

But no one could love him more than I do. He was my friend before we were married and still is.  However he is so much more than just my “friend.”  He is truly my soul mate. Half the time he knows what I’m going to say before I get through half a sentence and will finish it for me.  Other times he can look at me and say, “You were thinking about______ weren’t you?… so was I.”  He can read me, he knows me, he feels my pain, and he is the best thing that ever happened to me.

He knows when I’m mad…I usually make that very obvious.  He can make me laugh when I am mad enough at him to spit!  And just like that my anger melts and we are laughing together!

He is always my shoulder when I’m going through trouble or disappointment.  His is the hand I hold when we walk.  His is the smile that lights up my life.

But it is his heart…his light hearted inner heart, with the spontaneous joy of a child, that made me fall in love with him and keeps me there today!

Mike has blessed me with his love. He has made my life not only complete, but he has made my life a barrel of fun!

Happy birthday Mike!

 

Crown of Thorns

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The crown of thorns.  Why did Jesus wear the crown of thorns?  I’ve read the Bible…more than once.  But I don’t always connect the deeper symbolisms that are hidden in God’s Word.

My simple mind never thought of it more than a way to humiliate and torture him.

Matthew 27: 29 (Amplified Bible ) And after twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head, and put a reed in His right hand [as a scepter]. Kneeling before Him, they ridiculed Him, saying, “Hail, (rejoice) King of the Jews!”

I recently purchased “The Book of Mysteries” by Jonathan Cahn.  I have only started it, but it is already opening my mind and helping me to understand how simple are the complexities of the Bible. Everyone should get this book, especially if like me you want to have a deeper understanding of the Bible and a closer relationship with God.

Why thorns? It goes back to Genesis and the fall of man.  God told Adam that because of what he had done, “the ground is now under a curse, both thorns and thistles it will grow for you.”

The curse, the thorns, brings pain, piercing, blood, tears, and destruction.

As Mr. Kahn explained, the crown is a symbol of royalty, power, authority, wealth, and glory.

It may seem as if they placed the crown of thorns on the head of Jesus to ridicule Him and torture Him, but in reality it was God, Jesus himself, who placed it there as a symbol.

He became the King of Thorns for us; the King of the broken, pierced, wounded, and rejected, all those whose eyes and hearts are full of tears.  He took our curse upon himself. He took authority over it. He did it so that whosoever should call upon His name might have everlasting life and share in His glory!

Because He took authority over the “thorns” we are no longer under the curse, but under His Grace.

Why did I never understand the importance of the Crown of Thorns?