So I sat in a barn..


Yesterday after cleaning house, shuttling children, and spending the better part of an afternoon fixing my tractor (something I hadn’t planned on) a feeling of failure for accomplishing none of my daily goals swept over me yet again. Frustrated and tired, I fight a daily battle of just giving up. Wanting more than anything to walk into the house, climb into bed and pray that maybe I’ll just sleep until this is all over. Lucky for me my will is stronger than my lazy ass, feel sorry for myself attitude so I did something I haven’t been able to do in a while.

I walked into the barn and just sat down.

Now for some there could be no understanding of just how important that moment was for me. You see with life running at a hundred miles an hour there is one thing that has been cast aside day after damn day. My horses.

Jake is doing a good job. He is riding them when it’s not raining, making sure stalls are cleaned and they are fed in the morning. One of our borders Ms. Lisa takes care of them all in the afternoon, spreading the very same love and care I would lay upon them if I were here myself. But I am not and that is my mental meltdown.

Mornings of days past haunt me like an elderly hunting dog who can no longer hunt yearning for one more chance. Feeding, walking, riding, cleaning stalls then heading over to another ranch where the rest of my morning and early afternoon are filled with more horses to ride/train and of course working cows. To enter a show ring, scared to death and no matter the score when it’s over ride out having learned something new. A dream constantly plaguing me, that one day I will ride into Fort Worth on a good sound horse, under the lights with fresh cows. It’s all there, teasing me, feeling father and farther out of reach.

So what does sitting down in the barn have to do with anything?

It is where it all begins. We move so fast every day we forget about our dreams, putting them aside as life throws roadblock after roadblock in our path. Every second centered on the next dollar, the next moment with our children, appointments, sports and well LIFE. Our priorities and supposed priorities.

So instead I chose to stop and sit in my mares stalls. Cassie is my rock, she is a special horse for me. Most stories about people and horses for some odd reason revolve around little girls. I am sure it has to do with ponies, then unicorns, oh wait, pink unicorns and of course countless books written about a girl and her horse! Yet I have seen more than my fair share of grown, tough, grizzled men shed a tear over the loss of their riding partner, their friend. The same dynamics apply for us boys/men as do the girls/women, these animals we’ve spent countless hours riding, training, growing to know and understand become a part of you. As a boy you are John Wayne or the Lone Ranger, Quigley down under or the Man from Snowy River! As a man they are your roping partner, cattle mover or cutting friend. They become a sounding board for your day, they listen to your frustrations without arguing back and keep you in check when your emotions filter into the riding experience. These four legged beasts continually teach us every single time we are around them, whether its patience, empathy, kindness, sharing, determination or love. It’s all there every time they are around, and if they get sick of your attitude because you are the one not listening to them, well you just may find yourself looking up from the ground as a muzzle is looking down upon you. If we are smart, we slow down, take measure of ourselves and reward them for all they have given to us.

Sitting in Cassie’s pen, she snorts at me, walks a few circles as if to ask what the hell I am doing there in her space. Then realizing there was much more on my mind than just occupying her space, she walks over, tips her ears forward and slowly leans up next to me. Once my hands are upon her neck her head drops and she leans a little more. For the next 30 minutes she listened as I apologized for having not been around. She is a funny horse, if she knows you she will talk back, little grumbles here and there but for me it’s like sharing a cup of coffee with an old friend.

I looked around the barn, not at the barn, but actually looked around it feeling disconnected. I think I needed to feel that moment to help me reconnect and reaffirm that although this journey has been a very long two years, in the grand scheme of things it is only a blip in time. Leaving Cassie’s stall she whinnies at me as if to say; hey dad, don’t go! I gave her some fresh hay and moved on, heading over to my daily rider, my amigo Mr. Tank. Checking in with him was much the same, except this old boy is still a proud stud, therefore he doesn’t have much to say unless you are a mare. Then, well he is the Barry White of the barn. Walking around I checked on the other 15 horses in our barn, said hello to each one with a little pet/scratch time in between and by the time I was done, my world was a bit more centered.

I am blessed for all that I have. A great family, good kids, a wonderful place to call home and barn full of some of the coolest animals on earth. Tomorrow is another day, so we will keep trying.

Jacy is still fighting hard. As I have said before we are in for a long tough battle. We were lucky enough to participate in an E-wing Christmas party the other day and it really brought some wonderful Christmas spirit to those who attended. Christmas Carrols, hot coffee and cookies, plus handmade stuffed animals for everyone! I never tire at the caring that comes from each and every staff member in this wing. In a place where it would be easy to only see the negative there is nothing but positive all around! It is never a place one would dread to be, and I am speaking from the patient/family member side of things. I can only image how it must feel to work there, they are all truly special people.

Jacys bladder continues to bleed, we are still hoping for a miracle but know this invasive procedure is right around the corner and as Ms. Jacy says; if it gets me outta here well then so be it! Her diet has been increased again and as of yesterday I watched her eat a turkey burger!!!! It was awful and she could only stomach half of it, but what an incredible step towards walking out! She almost has a full covering of hair upon her head and she is walking a little more each day! Her lungs are still giving her trouble but the breathing treatments she receives twice a day seem to help. What an amazing fighter my wife is, she inspires me everyday.

So hopefully we continue gaining ground, nothing would make our family and of Ms. Jacy happier than seeing her at her dads sometime in January! Please keep us in your prayers.

Christmas is coming, be thankful for all you have for it is not a gift that makes your life wonderful it is the gift of life that makes it all worth living.



12 thoughts on “So I sat in a barn..

  1. I’m glad you took that time to regroup, rejuvenate, and remind yourself that you can do this. My prayers are with you. Stay as strong as you can you are an amazing dad, husband,Christian and caring and feeling man. God Bless you today as you put one foot in front of the other. Hugs, Debbie


  2. I want to ditto what Debbie Duncan said…couldn’t express my feelings any clearer than what she wrote! Thanks so much for sharing with all of us. God bless you James!
    Sending many prayers a day up for you, Jacy and your family.:-) Susan Joyce


  3. Though I don’t know you, I am praying for you and your family. My dad had CLL and also got GVHD after a bone marrow transplant. I remember these feelings so vividly…..
    Prayers that God will sustain each of you through the battle and that you will come out victorious in regards to Jacy’s health. Thank you for sharing your story.


  4. James, I do not know you or your family but through mutual friends I have stumbled on your blog and I check back for regular updates. My prayers are with you and your family during this time and I will be sure that my family is made aware of Ms. Jacy as we sit for dinner together and realize that the things we take for granted others would do anything for. You have humbled me with your blog on so many levels. Just know that your community is behind you and never be afraid to ask for a little help! We are at your families beckon call, don’t be afraid to let us help you even if it’s with one item on your checklist 🙂


  5. Thanks James for your wonderful blogs & information. Want you to know Gary & I are following all & check everyday. Know you feel blessed for family. I feel very blessed also, especially for family & Special friends which helps keep one connected. We know there will be hills and valleys ahead. Just want you to know you both are in our prayers and special good thoughts Keep news coming. Sending hugs and kisses. Gary & Judy Mazzera
    A Chinese cookie fortune from today——a feeling is an idea with roots.
    Kisses& hugs to you both


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