Who let the cows out?

Today was upper body day at the gym of my front porch. The last week has been upper body day if I’m being honest, because I officially have an injury. You heard it here first people, I’m an athlete who has an injury! I’ve been called a lot of things in my day, but athlete has never been one of them. So I’m settling into the title… that I’m calling myself.

So y’all know I’ve taken up running for St. Jude’s. Well, I’m running because I felt like God was telling me to run. I was in a training in Oklahoma, of all places, and I heard not one, but two people who would have never called themselves “runners” talk about a season in their life where they felt called to run 1/2 marathons. Well, my friend Dana has been talking to me about running since I met her a year ago and I have proudly clung to the fact that I am a lot of things, but a ‘runner’ is not one of them. That is until I sat in that cold training room in Oklahoma. I felt God ask me the same question I’ve asked my kids and my business partners over the years, but never myself…

“Why do you think you can’t?”

So I’ve set out to prove to myself what I learned to be true in Kindergarten… whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right!

And then, since I committed to running, I figured I better commit to pushing myself WAY beyond my comfort zone. And so I signed up for the Memphis 1/2 marathon in support of St. Jude’s research hospital (a cause that has always been on my heart since I was a kid putting change in the charity deposit at McDonald’s). And since I signed up, I figured I had better make the biggest impact that I can, because I adamantly believe that if you can make an impact, you must, and so I signed up for the maximum amount you can fundraise, which is $3000- even though I’ve never been one for fundraisers and most certainly have never done one personally outside of my daughters never ending Kindergarten fundraising. And since I signed up for that goal, God told me that He had even bigger plans and He suggested I raise $5000. And so here I am…


I don’t know if you know this about me, but I don’t joke around! Actually, that was a joke. I joke around pretty much constantly. But I also commit to things with my whole heart and I go all in, no matter the consequence. I started my 1/2 marathon training as a gal who hadn’t run more than a mile in my entire adult life. Basically, when teachers in high school gym class stopped making me run miles, I stopped running miles. And over the course of about 5 or 6 weeks, I went from running zero miles, to running six miles. Now, when I think of ‘training’ for something (and let me just preface this by saying I’ve never trained for anything athletic in my life), I think of getting to the final destination as quickly as possible. And because I’m so determined to run this race and raise this money… I may have gone a bit too much too fast.

I pulled my hamstring.

I’m not going to lie, I basically started feeling the pain within my first week or two of running, but I figured that going from no running to some running would cause soreness, so I didn’t think anything of it. I proceeded to run the next 5 weeks on the leg without any rest, and about a week ago, while I was coming down the stairs in my house, my body told me that I had pushed it too far. It felt like I had taken a sore muscle and popped it just beyond it’s breaking point.

Dang it!

And so I sent a message to some of my more experienced running friends to ask for some advice. They didn’t seem to think my plan of one week off of running would make much of a difference. They said the hamstring is no joke. They said I needed to take a 3 to 4 week break! WHAT???? Do you know how excited I was to be up to six mile runs in such a short amount of time (at a great pace I’d like to add)? This feels like the saddest situation!

AND to make matters worse, I signed up for a 5K this 4th of July to practice. My friend Dana thought it would be a good idea for me to get a feel for what a race weekend would look and feel like- apparently there is adrenaline and excitement and, you know, other humans. It’s always good to know what to expect.

I haven’t run for about a week and a half. My idea is this: I’ll run a mile on the 3rd to see how it goes. If my leg- which is still bothering me (but much less I will say) to even walk around- is irritated after the mile, I will skip this 5K and hope for another one between now and December. If it’s not bothering me after the run, I’ll squeeze in the 5K and then go back to resting for the rest of the 4 weeks. Thoughts on this from my running friends would be greatly appreciated!

In the meantime, did you hear that God told me to raise $5000 for the kiddos of St. Jude’s? Help me out, friends, if you’re able, and donate… even if it’s just $10/$20. Every little bit helps us reach our collective goal (because I’m including you in this goal if you’re reading this blog) and ALL of it helps fund this amazing hospital and their research!


Meanwhile, back at the ranch I am not running on, we’ve been having a rough go of it. Speaking of running, my first born boy- Harper, our Golden Retriever- ran a little too long and too far on my last longer run. I ran almost six miles, and he generally calls it quits right around mile one, but I was surprised to see him still hanging in there at mile three. My friend Dana joined me at mile five and so he got reinvigorated to run, and basically, he’s just too old and has never had the hips to be taking on such ambitious running goals. Harper was born with bad hips- he runs like a rabbit- and to make matters worse, he was hit by a car when he was six months old. I’ve always know that would be the end of him when the time comes.

Sidebar: I realize that Harper is a girls name, but here’s the deal: Thomas and my first dance at our wedding was to a Ben Harper song and so to us, our dog- our first fur baby and first born boy- was named after HIM. So now you know.

The night of the run, a few hours later, I came in from the yard to find Harper laying on the back porch. This was not uncommon. But when I tried to summon him inside, he made to get up and just couldn’t make it happen. He could get his front feet under him, but it was as if his back legs wouldn’t work at all. I have to tell you, I almost immediately burst into an ugly face cry. If you’re a pet owner, you know exactly what I mean. I literally prayed in that very moment, “Oh Lord, please no. Not this. Not now.”

He eventually heaved his body up onto his legs, but it wasn’t pretty, and the hobble walk that followed wasn’t pretty either. My heart broke. But after calming down a little and looping my husband in, he reminded me of the times that I’ve worked out too hard and too long. Have you ever worked out only to not be able to sit down on the toilet the next day? Of course! That means you’ve done a good job. He suggested that Harper was likely just sore. This made perfect sense.

That was a Thursday night. By Sunday, Harper had made little to no improvement. Readers, I was not in a good headspace about it. When this sweet dog goes, it will not be good. I realized this week that I am just not strong enough. I have only had one other dog in my entire life (I’m not counting Scout who was our foster dog that we had to put down). She was a German Shepherd and she lived from the time I was 8 until I was in my early 20’s! Fourteen and a half years! And I could hardly overcome the grief when we had to put her down because she couldn’t walk anymore. It was easily the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. This will be worse.

Monday, Harper found himself in the vet’s office. Thank you God, it was as simple as some anti-inflamatory pills and a shot of steroids in the hips and about 24 hours later, he was back to his old self. Yes, he was sore. But it wasn’t the muscles, it was the joints. They weren’t going to heal on their own like we were expecting. But now we know, and praise God for modern medicine, I am now cherishing every last second of this sweet doggie’s life.

That is until today, when I thought he was a goner for sure.

So as I said at the beginning of this blog, today was upper body day. Because I’m injured and can’t work out anything below the waist, I will likely have the sexiest arms this side of the Mississippi come the end of this next four weeks. But that’s besides the point. I was holding plank, and Harper was laying beside me as he does, and something caught my eye in the garden. It was a cow. My first thought was, ‘Is that cow supposed to be there?’ There was this moment where I looked at her, and she looked at me, and then the trance was broken as my two goldens burst into a sprint, barking and freaking the heck out- as they do when animals are not where they’re meant to be, which unfortunately happens here more than I’d like.

I screamed for my dogs to stop, but before I could even do a thing about it, Harper had caught up to Clementine and started her running. And because he has zero experience in herding anything, leg alone cows, he quickly found himself underneath her. And as fast as anything, the cow had trampled my newly renewed first born boy. I literally watched as he did a summersault underneath her feet.

Clementine jogged away and then came to a slow stride off into the woods, while Harper laid in the grass where he had been clobbered, staring back at me, which was surely not the direction he was expecting to be facing.

And then he hopped right up- almost as surprised that he could walk as I was. Honestly, I was braced for the absolute worst case. I was nearly sure that he had broken his back under her giant pregnant cow self. But alas, God must have some future plans for this beautiful dog, because he came trotting right back over to me as if only a little embarrassed, if anything.

“THOMAS!!!! YOUR COWS ARE OUT!” I screamed at the top of my lungs. We’ve had pigs out more times than I can count, and yes, Harper has responded similarly. I think he just didn’t have enough time to process the fact that the giant black cow was not a small black pig until he was underneath her. Either way, we’ve never dealt with cows out of their pasture before. And I could tell by the look on Tom’s face as he came running around the front of the house that this was not something he had really thought out much either.

Luckily, it wasn’t nearly the fiasco I was expecting. They were relatively docile and not at all opposed, exactly, to going back into their fence. But before we could get them back home, they had made it all the way through our woods and out the other side onto our neighbors property and into their horse pasture. The horses were quite surprised at the intruders, I will tell you.

So yes, our neighbors have now had our pigs in their pond, and our cows in their horse pasture, but in fairness, we’ve also woken up once to their horses in our backyard, so we’re not the only one’s who can’t seem to keep a fence around our fur friends.

Once the cows returned home, and we realized that our sweet Harper boy had avoided an untimely death for the second time this week, all peace was restored here at Shalom farm.

I tell you what, there is never a dull moment around here. My favorite part was when I had to message one of my business partners and cancel our conference call due to the fact that my cows were out and I had no idea how long it would take us to get them back. We shared a good laugh over that one… #farmlife #thestruggleisreal

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