Meet Jeannie Hackleman! I first met this beautiful lady when I started attending Northern Colorado Cowboy Church. Jeannie has always helped out with the children's ministry and when I had my little guy Traycen, he grew up in the kid's class with her. She instilled so much into him and I can't thank her enough. It truly means so much to me that she loved on him so much and helped him grow and learn in Jesus. I am so excited to share her life with you. If you ever think of that person that always has a smile on her face, thats her! She is by far an all around rancher's wife, artist, lover of Jesus and so much more. Jeannie grew up outside of Colorado Springs, where her parents had a small acreage around the Black Forest area. She told me that when her dad asked her mom to marry him she said yes on one condition, that he buy her a horse. Her dad kept his promise and it allowed her to grow up with horses. Jeannie did 4H in which she showed and did some roping. She says that she literally lived on the back of a horse, (wouldn't we all love that)! Growing up, her family spent most of their time outdoors, fishing, camping and hunting. Amazing!!!
Jeannie, like a lot of woman always wanted a husband and knew that God had the "perfect" one for her! It's so great to be able to wait for the one the Lord has for you and this is what she did. She first met her husband Mark at church. She knew his sister Amy first, and then Amy introduced the two. Jeannie says that after being introduced to Mark, it took awhile for him to ask her out. Mark had never thought it was right to ask a girl out at church. He had stated that it wasn't the reason he was going to church and Jeannie loved that integrity in him. (Ladies aspire for a man with this much integrity!!) His sister told him one day he should ask Jeannie out, and Jeannie was sure glad he listened to her! Their first date was on his birthday. Jeannie says, "I kinda like to think I was a pretty good present." They then were married a year later on Valentine's Day.
I love asking people questions about their life because we are all in different stages of our life and in different seasons. So take a look!
Q & A:
Cooped Up: What's a day like in the life of you? Is it always the same every day?
We both have jobs out side of ranching and will continue until we are able to just ranch. Both of our jobs give us the freedom to give as much time as we need at the ranch. I guess it's not so much about the days, it's more about the season that dictates what we are doing. Calving starts the first of April and is finished the end of May. We then brand, check and fix fences then turn the cows out to summer pastures. Irrigating starts soon after, then hay season begins around the first of August. We only get one cutting of hay since summer is short. September we're bringing cattle home. November starts with vaccinating and weaning the calves. The first of January we sell the calves, and after that it's pretty quiet except for feeding.
Cooped Up: What made you guys decide to move out where you are now and will you be there for a while?
Jeannie: My husbands family homesteaded in the North Park area. His great grandfather walked from Colorado Springs with 18 head of cattle to start his dream of ranching in the late 1800's. The family bought and sold land but finally settled on a spot north of Walden, close to the little town of Cowdrey (population 78) .When I married my husband I knew that one day we would be ranching. We waited. Paid off all our debt, saved as much as we could so we would be ready when God opened the door for us. My husband saw an opportunity to buy part of his family's cattle. It's a great start for us. We knew God was in it, so we went for it. We can't say if this is where we will settle, our hope would be to continue on at the family's ranch, we will just have to see what God has in store. Right now, we are open for opportunities that would allow us to grow. If it means moving, we move.
Cooped Up: What's your favorite part about living a ranching lifestyle? What's one thing that you miss since you don't live close to town anymore? Jeannie: I love everything about it. People ask how we are doing all the time, my answer is, "it's a good fit, everything just feels right." I spent years desiring this kind of life and not knowing how I would ever get to where I'm at now. I'm blessed beyond belief that God is allowing me to live this way. We keep our life simple and that works for us. Days are quiet and there is always a lot of work to be done but nothing can beat being horseback on a beautiful day or seeing a calf being born. I love being in the hay meadow on a tractor, it's so peaceful. Being outside is a constant reminder to me of how creative God is. Some days I think He does things just for me. We live in an amazing area with tons of wildlife and beautiful mountains. I never leave home with out a camera. I don't miss anything about town but I do miss the church we attended.
Cooped Up: Do you have a specific job that's just you on the ranch or do you and Mark work together all the time?
Jeannie: We try and do as much as we can together. I'm still learning and thankfully Mark is a good and patient teacher. He spent years working on ranches in California, Nevada, Utah and Colorado so he has seen and done a lot. In order for us to grow we both need to be able to do what ever it takes.
Cooped Up: How do you get groceries and other necessities in town? How do you stay organized to make the most out of your time when you leave the ranch?
Jeannie: We keep a list of things we are running low on. I try to buy in bulk the things we use all the time. If we are out of something I don't just buy one I usually get 2 or 3, we have an extra refrigerator and freezer for that reason. I've learned to keep things on hand for unexpected guests. In the winter roads get closed all the time so if you run out, you improvise, thank goodness my husband is not a picky eater. Since all errands need to get done in a day it usually takes a whole day to shop. I always have big plans to go to a bunch of places but after about 3 stops I'm done fighting traffic and ready to come home. Cooped Up: How would encourage another wife or woman that's going through a hard time? Things will change, they always do. Season's in your life don't last forever.
Jeannie: I recently heard a message that encouraged me, - Don't ever ask God, "why" when things don't go as you had planned. Ask Him, "What's next?" We can't avoid hard times, they happen. But we can learn to respond to the hard times in a positive way, we can choose to learn in them, we can choose to find good, we can choose to seek Godly wisdom. I wrote this in my Bible in the beginning of the book of James - "Your biggest problem is not the one that is staring you right in the face. Your biggest problem is your lack of wisdom about how to deal with that situation." I love the Word of God, there is an answer for everything we need in this life.
Cooped Up: What are ways you encourage your husband in life, spiritual and work?
Jeannie: I let him know continually how much I appreciate him and thank him for working hard for us. His vision for our future is large, I do my best to support it 100%. I also let him be the head of our home. I will always give my opinion but once a decision is made I don't question him about it. It's also important that I don't put undue stress or expectations on him. His way is not always my way of doing things and that's OK. As a wife it's important to learn too understand how your husband thinks, reacts and sees things and accept that about him. I know my husband seeks the wisdom of God, I know he prays, I know he wants to do God's will, it up to me to trust God in him. My source is not my husband it is God, I keep that perspective in our relationship.
Cooped Up: Do you have a piece of wisdom.... in or about anything you have walked in, gone through in life or on the ranch?
Jeannie: personal wisdom - If you don't know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you should. The best thing I ever did was to give my life over to Him, submit to His will, let Him love on me with an unconditional love, let Him mold me and shape me into what He created me to be. Let Him guide me on a path that is beyond what I ever knew. Let Him teach me that there is more to this life than what this world could ever offer. At times I am lonely, but I'm never alone because I have HIM. Wisdom concerning ranch life - remember what you "get" to do everyday is a dream for others, count it a privilege that you "get" to do it.
Cooped Up: Are you still drawing/painting, etc.? Are you selling any of your pieces? Jeannie: I'm still drawing, mostly I do it in the winter. I have a hard time sitting in the house on a nice day. I've done commission pieces but mostly, I do it for me. Im waiting for the weather to get cold, I have a couple of projects ready to draw.
Jeannie: We were apart of an amazing church (Northern Colorado Cowboy Church) and loved our church family. This change has been the hardest change for me. We haven't found a fit for us yet but we have been able to meet with fellow believers for a bible study a couple times a month. Thank goodness for the internet. I have several ministries that I follow that feed my spirit. You just have too make that personal commitment to keep in the Word. If God truly is first in your life you will find the time for Him.
I just want to thank you Jeannie for sharing a little part of your life with us! There are so many amazing things to remember in here and I know this will truly minister to other ranchers wives, moms and other woman. I love your advice about spiritually encouraging your husband in all things. I know for myself sometimes I let myself get in the way of supporting my husband in decisions and that is such a great reminder to myself and others to not question the final answer! I know God protects my household and holds that covering over us and the decisions made and He has so much grace for us! I took this to heart because I am always willing to receive any wisdom, knowledge of any sort from someone who has been walking it out longer than I have! I appreciate you and all you have done in my life! Thank you!
Jeannie Ride tall HE is always watching!