Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Cowboy Church

Hunter and I have recently started attending a "Cowboy Church" here in the hill country of Texas. What is a cowboy church? According to wikipedia:

Cowboy churches are local Christian churches within the cowboy culture that are distinctively Western heritage in character. A typical cowboy church may meet in a rural setting in a barn, metal building, arena, sale barn, or old western building, have its own rodeo arena, and a country gospel bandBaptisms are generally done in a stock tank. The sermons are usually short and simple. Some cowboy churches have covered arenas where rodeo events such as bull riding, team roping, ranch sorting, team penning andequestrian events are held on weeknights. Many cowboy churches have existed throughout the western states for the past forty or fifty years, however just in the past fifteen or so years has there been an explosion of growth within the “movement”. Prior to 1980 there were no less than 5 cowboy churches in Texas, now the number exceeds 200, and there are an estimated 750 nationwide. There has been no definitive group that established the movement; rather it seems to have had a spontaneous beginning in diverse areas of the country at nearly the same time. Some of these cowboy churches are an outgrowth of ministries to professional rodeo or team roping events, while the roots of many can be traced back to ministry events associated with ranch rodeos, ranch horse competitions, chuck wagon cooking competitions, cowboy poetry gatherings and other “cowboy culture” events.

Cross and Spurs is the name of the particular church we are attending. The photo is of their own country gospel band. The music was wonderful and brought you "right into the presence of God"! The congregation was extremely welcoming and you could "feel" the atmosphere of love. I felt like I was "back home" in the country where I grew up and at the same time out west where I spent summers as a horse wrangler. The only thing I missed was my own cowboy hat and boots! And, of course, a horse to ride!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The "daredevil" in me!

A daredevil is defined as a reckless person who enjoys doing dangerous things.
   Now, I do not think of myself as a reckless person, in fact, I feel I'm the opposite in most situations.  I carefully examine my position and cautiously proceed only when I feel all is "safe". Or at least I thought this was my view of life, at least compared to those who participate in ultimate sports like skydiving or skateboarding, or wind surfing. 
    So why would a 63 year old "skinny" female buy a dirt bike and attempt riding dirt trails, some with rocks and protruding tree roots? What kind of conservative lady would do that? Me? Yes, me! So am I, then, a closet daredevil? I began to reflect over the years of some of my past "exploits" and finally came to the conclusion that, yes, I am a daredevil or at least I possess a daredevil gene somewhere in my makeup. Here's the proof:
    -Growing up on a farm in Iowa we relished our bag swing in the barn. Summers were spent swinging from one side of the barn to another jumping or rather diving across the open spaces grabbing onto a rope suspended from the rafter attached to a straw stuffed bag. Your legs would encircle the bag while you hoped you could hold on until the bag swung over the ledge where you'd jump to safety. I was known as the one who would jump the farthest and pile onto at least four other riders before letting go and landing either on the ledge or plummeting down to the barn's floor. 
    -During two summers of my college years I worked on my aunt's dude ranch in Wyoming as a horse "rangler". I rode a wonderful horse named "Boy". He was a barrel racer and a cutting horse, which means he was trained to cut cows away from the herd. Both of these skills defined him as a fast horse. And I rode him fast when I actually got to "cut" some cows with a local cowboy. I still remember the thrill of galloping Boy along side a real cowboy, the wind pushing my cowboy hat back on my head, the adrenaline tightening my hands on the reins. Barrel racing was also a stunt I tried now and then in my free time.
    -Iowa farm girl marries New York city "slicker"-is that a daredevil move or what! Ha!
    -Living 3 years in Beijing, China: riding taxis with drivers who had no idea where you wanted to go, teaching English to Chinese nationals, shopping in local markets while attempting to speak Mandarin, navigating a culture full of a multitude of  taboos.
    -Scuba diving-me? Never! I get seasick. But wait a minute. My husband is doing it and loving it. What am I missing? OK-try it. I did. I got sick but wouldn't give in and pushed my way through the classes, got certified and went on my first dive. Got sick again! But I refused to give up. Tried it again and again and finally had success with lots of meds and grit. Going 100 feet under and discovering a sunken ship-another adrenlin rush worth all the hardships getting there!!
    -Dirt bike in the hands of a retired teacher-safe-no-fun-yes!

    I guess sometimes I do dangerous things and I may be a bit reckless but that is what makes life exciting. If each of you honestly examines your life I bet there would be at least one example of a daredevil stunt in it somewhere.