Thursday, June 29, 2017


Last summer, my daughter cared for and trained a lamb to show at the county fair. This summer, she is training Lamb #2. Once again, I am learning much from Helen's lamb project. I am learning things like...

Our greatest strength is also often our greatest weakness.

In the ring, an owner wants her lamb to brace. Bracing is a precise, tensed stance that displays the lamb's musculature and conformation. It's sort of like a body builder striking a show-off power pose.

Last year's lamb - Bertie - was a sweetheart. He loved Helen and snuggled up to her like a puppy. That sweet temperament, however, was devoid of the somewhat aggressive physicality needed in the show ring. Bertie was so completely chill that "flexing his muscles" was a completely foreign idea to him.

Last year's lamb - Bertie - was a sweetheart!

This year's lamb, Reginald, is a beautifully-muscled powerhouse full of spunk and spit. He's the cocky sheep version of "Hey, Baby, check out these glutes!" Reggie braces perfectly, almost instinctively. The down side of Reggie's great physicality and energy is that there is no "Chill" setting on his temperament gauge.

This year's lamb - Reggie - is an aggressive stud muffin.
(Um, well, except that he's not actually a stud.)

The challenge Helen faces - the challenge we all face in some area of our lives - is: do I see my circumstances as a blessing/opportunity, or do I see them as a problem/curse? And, am I mindful of how my strengths are also my areas of weakness, so that I can correct my weaknesses as I endeavor to develop my strengths?

Tenacity: the stubbornest girl/lamb wins.

Reginald is not very smart. He IS very stubborn. As Helen leads Reggie around the yard each day for exercise, he bucks, jumps, sits back on the lead and resists her every way imaginable.

If you watched Helen working with Reggie this morning, you would have wondered if that lamb had ever been handled by a human before. Yes, he has. A lot. Still, Reggie begins each workout with the resist-at-all-costs mentality of a 3-year-old human.

Reggie has tried Helen's patience to near the breaking point. She has at times wanted to throw in the towel. But this morning, she was back outside, wrestling Reginald around the yard until he calmed down enough to behave like a civilized lamb. This afternoon, she'll do the same thing again. And again this evening. And again tomorrow morning... (Thanks to Reggie, Helen is developing some awesome muscles herself.)

I admire Helen's tenacity. I am confident she will succeed in training this ornery lamb, because she is determined that - as stubborn as Reggie is - she will be even more stubborn.

Yes, size does matter...and mamas will do almost anything for their kids.

Have I mentioned that Reginald is a moose? And that he's super muscular? And that he has a lousy attitude?

Have I also mentioned that he weighs nearly twice as much as his trainer? That often, it looks more like Reggie is dragging Helen around the yard than the other way around?

If you have ever been to a livestock show, you have probably wondered how on earth tiny little people manage to lead great huge animals around the show ring. Well, let me tell you...

Somewhere in the process of that animal's training, Mama or Daddy looked out the kitchen window and saw her/his precious little baby being dragged across the yard by a stupid, stubborn, ornery excuse of a show lamb/calf/whatever, and Mama or Daddy decided - That's enough of that!

For every kid you see in the livestock show ring, there is a mama or a daddy who has gone smack-down with an animal.

Me - I've got weight, stature, and brains on that lamb. He's got nothing on me. And after raising seven kids, let me tell you, I don't have any problem going head-to-head with his sass.

When life's circumstances drag you through the weeds and brambles, sometimes you just need an almost-200-pound woman with gray hair to step in and yank a knot in somebody's tail. God gives us parents - and He gives us older, wiser, more-experienced Christian friends - for a reason. We all need help sometimes, and it is okay to ask for help.

Pray about everything.

One of the things I love about my daughter Helen is that she prays about almost everything. No concern is too small or too big to take to her Heavenly Father.

Helen and Reggie have their first show on Saturday. That's only two days away. Will Reggie be ready to behave himself in the ring? I don't know. But I'm certain of one thing: Helen - and Helen's mama - will be praying.

If you think about it on Saturday, would you please pray for Helen and Reggie, too?

* * *

What did I learn last year from Bertie? Click on these links to find out!

No comments: