Honor, Leadership and Building Relationships

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This week I was able to attend the John B. Armstrong Lectureship on Systems Thinking at the King Ranch Institute of Ranch Management in Kingsville, TX. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from the lectureship, but after attending it I have an incredible new approach to solving problems.

The Systems Thinking approach to solving problems really makes you sit back and admire the question at hand. I believe we as an instant gratification society get so caught up in wanting the fast answer, that we forget to look at the underlying issues causing the problem. If we look ahead to the long term, and solve those underlying issues, then the problem will be much easier to solve.

Throughout the week I wondered several times how this all tied together with leadership. If leadership is the ability to get others to follow your lead throughout a lifetime, you have to be able to successfully manage them and have them come together at solving problems. The systems thinking approach is dynamic at doing this. Rather than focusing on the solution, let’s branch out and as a group focus on the underlying issues causing the problem.

I attended the lectureship as a participant in the KRIRM and NCBA beef leaders program. I am honored to be one of the 18 selected for this program. It has been an amazing experience and I am looking forward to applying what I have learned this week at home, my job at Aurora Coop and with our Cattlemen’s Association.

We were able to have a private group tour of the King Ranch. The highlight of the week was definitely having supper at the pool house at the ranch. The history of the place absolutely amazes me!!

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Kingsville Bound!!

This morning I was up bright and early to catch a plane to south Texas. Yes, south Texas in August. I’m headed for the first time to the historic King Ranch in Texas. I’ve always wanted to have the chance to visit there, and am grateful for this opportunity.

I am attending a weeklong seminar at the King Ranch Institute of Ranch Management, part Texas A&M-Kingsville. I am participating in a beef leadership program through NCBA and the Institute.

I am super excited about this opportunity and what the week will bring. Hopefully I can update my blog a few times while I’m there.

Can’t wait to get to Kingsville and all my BEEF peeps!!

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All About Beef!

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Last weekend I had the amazing experience of running in the 37th Annual Lincoln National Guard Half Marathon. The sign up for the race opens on New Years Day and reaches the maximum 13,000 runners in a few hours. This was the first time I ran in the race and have never ran with so many other runners. Earlier this year, I also made the decision to run with TEAM BEEF, sponsored by the Beef Council. We participate in several informative meetings and in return proudly run with a TEAM BEEF jersey during the race.

Team Beef pre-race picture in Cook Pavillion

Team Beef pre-race picture in Cook Pavillion

The whole atmosphere in Lincoln on that first Sunday in May was true excitement. It was like a Husker game in May. The streets were lined with folks cheering, passing out water and gatorade throughout the course and even bands keeping everyone entertained. The final two mile march up 10th Street to Memorial Stadium was an amazing experience. I was so excited to finish the 13.1 miles on the 50 yard line inside the stadium!

This was my second half marathon. I had a goal of finishing at 2 hours and beat that goal by 3 minutes. I was absolutely stoked!

It was an emotional finish for me. As many of you know, my mom passed away unexpectedly in February. As I entered the stadium, I felt the wind pick up and I had a sudden burst of energy that carried me at a sprint to the finish line. After I finished, I fell to my knees with my emotions overcoming me. I really felt my Mom inside the stadium as she has been so many times before with us on Husker games!

My sister in law, Neile, and I proudly displaying our medals after finishing

My sister in law, Neile, and I proudly displaying our medals after finishing

I contribute part of my finish with my healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and of course BEEF! With a busy schedule that includes a full time job, a toddler, helping Troy with cows, running and all my other hobbies, I needed plenty of healthy foods to fuel my body. Everyday I balanced my diet with beef.

Research shows that beef is a vital source of protein, iron and many other important nutrients that sustain a healthy diet. In fact, calorie-for-calorie it is one of the most nutrient-rich foods to fuel an active and healthy lifestyle. Here are some interesting facts on the healthy benefits of beef:
1.There are more than 29 cuts of beef that meet government guidelines for lean, including consumer favorites like Tenderloin, T-Bone and 95% lean Ground Beef.
2.USDA defines “lean” as less than 10 grams of total fat per 3-ounce serving.
3.Lean cuts of beef have 4.5 grams or less of saturated fat and less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol (per 3-ounce serving).
4.Additionally, 20 of the 29 lean beef cuts have, on average, only 1 more gram of saturated fat than a skinless chicken breast per 3-ounce serving. Discover which cuts of meat are certified lean.
5.Beef is a naturally nutrient-rich food, helping you get more nutrition from the calories you take in.
6.Beef has 8 times more vitamin B12, 6 times more zinc and 2.5 times more iron than a skinless chicken breast.
7.A 3-ounce serving of lean beef contributes less than 10% of the calories in a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet.
8.A substantial body of evidence shows protein can help in maintaining a healthy weight, building muscle and fueling physical activity — all of which play an important role in a healthful lifestyle and disease prevention.
9.The cut of beef with the lowest amount of calories, saturated fat and total fat is the eye round roast and steak, with only 144 calories, 1.4 grams of saturated fat and 4 total grams of fat in a 3-ounce serving.

The above data is courtesy of beefnutrition.org

Beef really is natures perfect multivitamin!

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Happy May Day!

Happy May Day! May is my favorite month. The weather finally straightens out, the flowers bloom, the grass greens and farmers and ranchers are in busy mode! May has so many activities that I love. The Kentucky Derby, Cinco de Mayo, National Beef month, a trail ride with my best friends and of course Memorial Day to name a few. Since I don’t have any blooming flowers, my May Day picture is of our cows and calves finally grazing on green grass! Cheers to a fabulous month!

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Wonderful Wednesday

Spring must be in the air! Moved cows home today and musta shook a few loose. I was able to get home from work with enough daylight to ride through the cows. Found the first 3 calves! Happy dance!

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For My Mom

Mom and Zane

Mom and Zane

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Mom and her most favorite horse, Newt

At Zane's baptism

At Zane’s baptism

It’s with a heavy heart that I write this. Finding the motivation to write this blog was hard, but I’m ready to do it.

Three short weeks ago, Troy and I were in Nashville at the Cattle Industry Convention. We were having a great time with colleagues and friends. We were home two short hours when I answered the phone call we all dread. It was my brother and he didn’t have good news. Mom was headed to the emergency room via ambulance and things weren’t looking good.

My brother is a former member of the local Fire and Rescue department. When he was a senior in high school, there was a devastating house fire that destroyed a lot of our home, however there was no loss of life. My brother thinks highly of his friends on the squad and all they have done for us over the years. It was comforting knowing Mom was in good hands, but there was very little they could do.

Mom was out feeding her horses on a very cold Wednesday evening and she experienced a suddenly cardiac arrest as she was finishing up her feeding routine. She passed away in the barn she loved so much, with her two favorite mares, Crafty and Jill, not far away.

Our family has no history of heart disease and at her and Dad’s physicals last fall her blood pressure and cholesterol were great. Live life to the fullest because you never know when it’s your turn. Mom did exactly that – she loved life, her family and friends and of course all her many animals.

It’s been three weeks since I talked to her last – about a half hour before she went out to chore. I think about her constantly – rewinding our last few conversations and everything we had to visit about.

I talked to her everyday, sometimes two, three or four times a day. She was always wondering what Zane was doing. She loved her grandson so very, very much.

We had so many plans for the spring and summer, horse shows and family gatherings. Mom loved her family and she shared family news where ever she went.

She loved coming out to visit Troy and I, and she had a great passion for learning as much as she could about the cattle. Since we had Zane, she doted on him and always was bringing him new toys. She wanted to know about the bulls, cows and heifers. She enjoyed naming the bulls because she wasn’t good at remembering freeze brand numbers!

Every summer she supported me at my horse activities. She loved watching me and my friends ride and of course helping with what ever needed done. Mom could talk the ears off all my friends, and other horse show parents. She definitely had the “gift of gab!”

I miss her terribly and I know that it’s something that takes a lot of time to heal. I ache for one more visit with her.

If you are lucky enough to have your Mom, call her and tell her how much you love her. It’s something that sometimes we can take for granted and you never know when God is going to call them home and take that chance away.

I’m going to share some of my favorite pictures of Mom. She loved pictures and sharing them with family and friends and even random people she met in line at the grocery store!

Mom and Zane

Mom and Zane

At a Husker game

At a Husker game

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Mom and her mare, Little Red Onion, hooked up to her sleigh

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She loved riding with me

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Mom and Dad on their wedding day

Mom and Dad on their wedding day

At the Kentucky Derby

At the Kentucky Derby

At the Kentucky Derby

At the Kentucky Derby

At Claiborn Farm in Kentucky

At Claiborn Farm in Kentucky

Secretariat's stall at Claiborne Farm

Secretariat’s stall at Claiborne Farm

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Mom and dad and her beloved team of shetland ponies

Mom and dad and her beloved team of shetland ponies

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River City Roundup in Omaha

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One of the racehorses they raised, Legal Night

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Family picture, a golden oldie

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The stable at AkSarBen and her racehorse, Policy Ryder

Always love you Mom, miss you bunches.

Always love you Mom, miss you bunches.

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Are Leaders Born or Made?

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This week, I traveled to the Cattle Industry Convention #CIC14 and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association #NCBA @beefusa in Nashville. There are 7500 cattlemen and women pre-registered for the convention from around the globe, and they estimate another 1000 attend with late registration. This isn’t just a US convention, but folks from across the world come to this. Needless to say, it’s a pretty big deal. The leadership at the convention is enormous. This was my first convention, and whew what an experience it was!

One of the main reasons I attended was being accepted into the prestigious King Ranch Institute of Ranch Management inaugural Beef Scholars program. This program selected 20 young industry leaders with the goal of developing their strong leadership skills into something extraordinary. This is a two year program, and we had our first of many seminars. I am truly humbled to be part of this.

I was lucky enough to have my best friend (the hubby!) along with me during the trip. He isn’t able to get away from the ranch very often, so when I was making flight reservations and he said to get him a ticket, I was thrilled! It was a fun trip but I’m excited to get home and see my little man.

We were invited to the NCBA-PAC (Political Action Committee) VIP Jack Daniels Whiskey tasting reception and live auction while we were there. It was an interesting experience to find out how they still their different whiskeys and also taste them. I’ve been to a wine tasting but never a whiskey tasting. A rather unique evening!

The trade show reception was an awesome time also! Lots of very tasty beef sponsored by Certified Angus Beef (CAB), live music and of course world class networking. Everything that defines the cattle industry all under one roof with the major players right there.

The 2014 convention is held at the Gaylord Opryland resort. I really only have one word to describe it, WOW! An amazing place. The building itself amasses 54 acres, and hosts restaurants, bars, thousands of hotel rooms and the convention center. Even though 8500+ were attending you wouldn’t know it with how enormous the building is. The complex sits on around 130 acres. Truly an amazing experience!

Troy and I were able to play tourists a little bit and experienced the nightlife in downtown Nashville and the Grand Ole Opry House.

As part of the Beef Scholars program, we have two seminars this year at the King Ranch Institute in Kingsville, TX and I look forward to traveling to south Texas to the historic King Ranch.

One of the points during the seminar this week I have thought quite often about is the question, “Are leaders born or made?” Some can argue that certain people have the genetic makeup to become great leaders. But I truly believe leadership in life is what you want to make of it. Instead of dwelling on a weakness, develop your strengths into something extraordinary. And that is exactly what NCBA and the King Ranch Institute are doing by investing in 20 young leaders, preparing for the future of industry leadership.

Below are a few snapshots of the past few days. The first pic is one of my fellow King Ranch Institute classmates, Travis, at the KRIRM booth at the trade show. He is pictured with one of the professors in the KRIRM

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