Thankful for my prince

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There’ve been so many times in my life when I’ve wondered how and why—how is this happening and why is it happening? You ask God for answers. You fret, you cry, you worry, you want answers.

Years ago, when we where interviewing for a new position at Gypsy Soule, I had a meeting with the man who is now the CFO of Twisted X Boots, Jeff Jones. Jeff and I have become very dear friends, a kind of support and advice team to each other over the years. But, during one of our meetings, I will never forget the advice he gave me, and I kind of thought it was ridiculous at the time. He told me I needed to get a hobby.

I looked at him and said, “I do have one, I love my job. It’s my passion, my everything.”

He explained, “No, a hobby away from ‘my passion, my job, my company.’”

With a smile I took his challenge and promised I would work on that. Within a couple weeks of that conversation my old college friend Janel came back into my life. She was visiting in Texas and she dared me to hop a flight to Vegas and ride a barrel horse at the NBHA’s June barrel race.

I’m not gonna lie, I thought she was crazy. I hadn’t run barrels in almost eight years. At the same time I thought, “Why not? Let’s do it!”

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I spent four days there, and those days were amazing. It felt like I’d never left. That Monday morning flying home, I felt wonderful. I had attended an event I loved with all my heart, and it had nothing to do with work. It was just about me, my horse and my friends.

The weeks following I went right back to my busy life and my “hobby” being all about my work. Then one late night I had a long phone conversation with Janel. She informed me that she was sending me a big white horse named Prince. To my surprise, he was here in Texas by the first week of August.

My favorite hobby was back, and this time it was real. It’s ironic that his name was Prince, because that’s what he was to me! He brought me back to myself. He delivered me to a time and place I’d forgotten—the freedom of riding and competing. I say freedom because when you’re riding horses or barrel racing, it’s all encompassing. There’s no room for life’s stress to sneak in, horses demand your total concentration. The time I spent with Prince was a respite from the demands of my hectic life. In my mind, he saved me.

Today, when I look back over all that I now know, I understand why God placed all those people in my life at that time. I always thought Jeff and I would work together, and we may still some day. But he was sent to help me find my lost hobby.

Janel has been a friend for more than 20 years. Somehow, she’s always in my life when I most need a friend to help me down the right path. She was sent to remind me there’s more to life than work—and what a gift Prince was.

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So Prince changed my life and made me realize work isn’t everything, but he did so much more than that. I’ve reflected on how incredibly tough it was when I was told Gypsy Soule was closing—but I’ve thought over and over again, “What if Gypsy Soule had closed, and I hadn’t had Prince in my life?” The blow would’ve hit me twice as hard, because losing my company—without having had Prince in my life—would’ve left me with nothing to challenge me.

The same week Gypsy Soule closed, I had to leave to attend the Elite Barrel Race, a gentle reminder that life goes on in spite of setbacks and trauma. That horse was put in my life to give me my life back. This past summer Prince made a huge impact in another person’s life. The lady Janel bought Prince from suffered a major life-changing personal event. She had given in to the idea that she would never run barrels again.

I reached out to her on Facebook and months later she finally answered me. It was so cathartic to tell her how much I loved Prince and how much he had done for me emotionally. But I also told her I had given him several months off due to an injury and I didn’t think he could run anymore. She was sad because she felt the same about Prince and never wanted to sell him. So Janel and I got together and decided we would give Prince back to her.

I’m happy to report Prince and his original owner, who raised and trained him, are running barrels again.  It’s pretty amazing when God brings things full circle with such a Thankful heart.

If you wait for it, He will show you. If you quietly listen, you will hear him.

“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalms 46:10