Road to Ranching: 2015 was a year of lessons and taking time to appreciate the good things | TheFencePost.com

Road to Ranching: 2015 was a year of lessons and taking time to appreciate the good things

Shelli Mader

This has been quite a year for my family, and one full of all kinds of surprises and challenges.

My kids turned 10 and 7 this fall, making me feel old and pushing my husband and I completely out of the era of having "little" kids. The sadness about kids growing up has also come with the excitement of all the fun things that we can do together.

My 10-year-old daughter is still horse crazy and loves to play dolls. For her 10th birthday she wanted a Cinderella party and I was thrilled to oblige. I was actually jumping up and down inside, so excited that she still likes little girl things. I know the days are numbered.

My 7-year-old son has become quite the artist and draws at least 4 or 5 pictures of pickups, tractors or wheel loaders every day. He loves to play mechanic with my husband and it is fun to watch them work together. It will be interesting to see how they continue to build and fix things in the future. My husband is very clean and organized and my son is a little more like me, scatterbrained and messy when he is working on something. Hopefully they can learn something from each other. I personally think being scatterbrained is a mark of a very intelligent and creative person, and being messy is a byproduct of that. Some — namely, my husband — may disagree.

I thought that when we moved to Texas I would easily get a teaching job, just like my sister did in Dumas, Texas a few years ago. I completed the same awesome alternative teaching program here in Texas that she did, but since I live in a much more populated part of the state, the teaching jobs are scarce and it seems like everyone wants to be a teacher. I write one or two articles a month for the local paper, but other than that, I am still looking for direction for the future. I plan on working on my blog, roadtoranching.com, more in 2016.

This summer the kids and I went to Colorado to visit my folks and while we were gone, our beloved 11-year-old dog died. We were all so sad about the loss, and we still are. But, we did get a sweet puppy this summer and are enjoying her now that she is out of the dreadful chewing everything in sight stage.

Recommended Stories For You

I learned a lot about being content this year, and have realized that true success isn't so much about my bank balance or social status, but is really about taking time to invest in relationships that matter. Every person I talked to this year stressed how important relationships are and how their biggest regrets surrounded not taking the time for things that matter.

If nothing else, we have all learned a lot this year, met some great people and learned to celebrate the most important things in our life.

I'm looking forward to 2016. It may include another big move for us, possibly to Colorado, Kansas or somewhere else in Texas, and who knows what that will bring. We all still have this ranching dream and I can't help but think that every move we make — I think there has been 4 since I started writing this column — brings us closer to some version of the dream. ❖