The Sagebrush Sea

Ramblings from a Cowboy-Girl.

Category: Sagebrush Sea (page 1 of 29)

This Day

I am a worrier. If I am not mindful of my internal state, I am easily consumed by anxiety.

I worry about the food I eat.  Is it healthy?  Is it produced in a sustainable manner?  Does it taste good?

I worry about the clothes I wear.  Is it  comfortable?  Does it cost too much?  Was this t-shirt produced with slave labor?

I worry about the situation in North Dakota.  I know people on both sides of the argument and I see validity in both sides, where is the civil dialogue? Why must we resort to violence?  Will this support or damage the Native peoples platform?  Is oil essential to our economy?

I worry about cancer.  Am I doing enough to reduce my risk?  Could I have done more to help my mother?  Are pesticides truly safe?

These are just a few of the things that trigger my anxiety.  I’ve struggled with anxiety my entire life. I worry so much, I worry about what my worry says about me.  Until now, it wasn’t something I shared with many people.  Only those closest to me know just how much I worry.   My worry is a side effect of sensitivity.  Over the years, I’ve developed tools to handle my anxiety, it seldom spirals out of control or drives my decision making.  When it does, I am able to step away from the stress, examine it objectively, and strip it down to the root cause.  Being an empath in today’s world is difficult.

Lately,  my stress revolves around today’s election.  I don’t care for either presidential candidate.  They set my teeth on edge and my ethical center (my gut) flips with distaste at the thought of either of them in office.  I will go to the polls and I will vote anyway, because doing so will, at the very least give me the illusion of control.  Whatever the outcome, I will settle into the choice and the changing environment of our country the best I can.

I will invest in things I know I can influence in a powerful way and I will breathe into and release the idea that I have control.

I will invest my consumer dollars in businesses that reflect my values.  I will exercise kindness everyday, regardless of the election outcome we are all still Americans.  We can all choose to engage in one simple, random act of human kindness.   I strive to create space for listening with respect, whether I agree with someone or not.  My opinions are my own, grown out of my experiences and rooted in my conscience.  Whether your feelings align with my own or we meet across a partisan lines and political divisions,  I chose to give your opinion the same understanding.



To My Cousins. . .


We are the red scoria roads and ponderosa covered hillsides of the Tongue River Valley.   We are every flavor of Shasta, slurped down in the midday sun, outside of the dusty branding corral.   We are tree forts, baling twine, and lost matches with green beans out of a can.   We are the Mayflower landing at Plymouth Rock in 1620 and Montana of 1882.

We are all of these things.  The accumulation of childhood memory and generations of American experience.  We are all of these things and so much more.  Our lives have blossomed and spread beyond the soil of our youth.  We have grown far and we have grown apart, yet we are still the sum of the years that proceeded us and the years we shared on the Quarter Circle U.

Regardless, of how far we go and how far we grow, we will always be rooted in those experiences.  We gather around the familiar green cookhouse table and share particular versions of our childhood, each with our personal biases and understandings.  All together for the first time in however many years,  we are comfortable with the people we have become.  Comfortable enough to let down our guard and layout our individual fears and insecurities, too build a more complete picture the childhood we shared in this place.

I sit and listen, as our stories begin to overlap.  Each story rises in the air above us,  melting into the those that came before.  Each story, enough to stand on it’s own, creates something greater as it  joins the others around this table.  I sit and watch, as these stories grown out of childhood, create the scaffold of irrefutable strength that frames our adult lives.

Like the stories we tell, we are enough to stand alone.  We have gathered friends, spouses, and children around us.  We created lives of purpose and love, I am proud of the people we have grown into, but together we become something greater than our wholes.  Thank you for this evening around the cook house table, thank you for a childhood filled with magic and dirt, thank you for being outstanding human beings.

I love you,



A Good Girl

I didn’t know my soul needed to recharge,  that was until my heart began lifting with an effervescence in my chest,  as I stood with my face to the wind on the hilltop facing the setting sun.  Not twenty minutes ago, I was sitting in  my pick-up cursing myself for forgetting to bring a book along, as I waited for the stock tank to fill with water.  I had found the large metal tank nearly empty, when I arrived and knew I had some time to kill.   The unseasonably warm weather, combined with the lack of moisture, had driven the horses and heifers to consume more water than usual.  The sixty-mile round trip drive to check the water and fill the tank must be done several times a week.  I chafe at the necessity, it isn’t because I begrudge my livestock fresh, clean water, but because of the fuel  and time the chore costs us.

This negative cycle of thoughts continued for some minutes, as I sat in the pick-up to escape the biting cold wind.  I chastise my children (more often than they’d like) with this statement, “You can’t control everything, but you can control your attitude.”  Clearly, I also need to hear this reminder.  I grabbed my husband’s denim jacket out of the backseat and stepped out of the pickup to check the tank level.  It would be a few more hours, before there is enough water for me to leave.  Leaden rain clouds whipping across the sky to the North with the fierce Wyoming wind, but the sun is backlighting softer clouds hanging on the Western horizon.

My life has felt out of my control too often this past year.  I hadn’t realized just how confined I felt by familial obligations and the dangerous self-pitying  narrative I’d attached to them, until we chose to walk away.  In a new space, together with my family of choice, I’ve reconnected with the core of myself.  My most primal self, detests dogma, obligation, and confining labels.  In my attempt to be the “good girl” this past year, I’ve lost sight of these truths.  Good girl’s respect their roles in the hierarchy of family, despite the cost to their soul.  Good girls put the needs of others ahead of self-care.  Good girls burnout and I did.

I can’t be a good girl anymore.  Unfortunately, I had to learn this the hard way.  I have learned and I have turned what felt like a rejection into a reawakening of my truest self.  My sensitivity is not weakness.  The empathy with which I view the world, is the truest expression of my energy.   I am enough, just as I am.  I do not need to shape myself to the narrative of my extended family, because I write my own story.  A story, like this moment, on this windy hilltop that makes my heart rise and sing.


There are, I hope, some subtle changes going on here on the website.  In an attempt to support this labor of love, I’ve created space for advertisers in the sidebar.  Carefully chosen to reflect my values and ethics, please check them out.

Duckworth Wool features Montana raised wool-American made garments.  I’ve been wearing my Duckworth tank and hoody literally every day since they arrived.  I can’t recommend them strongly enough and if you act as soon as possible you’ll receive 40% off their regular prices until Friday.

Yeti coolers (American made!) saved us loads of grocery money, while living in remote cow camps without electricity.

Last, but not least REI Outlet is an awesome source for quality outdoor gear at affordable prices.


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