The other night my wife and I were on a date. We were delivering a colt we had sold and stopped for a bite to eat. We’ve been married nearly 20 years and this has always been our kind of date. Always business oriented, always going somewhere with a trailer in tow, never ever wanting it any different.

Marry someone with the exact same interests and goals and you’ll have a lot better odds at staying married. And always put your spouses wants before your own.

With that being said we stopped at Panda Express. My wife loves that place, and I love her. So we ate there. Men like me don’t eat at Panda Express. But I would eat out of a garbage can to see her smile.

My restaurant circle stays about the same. Uncle Julio’s in Ft Worth, Hard Eight BBQ in Stephenville, Del Friscos and Salt Grass Steakhouse. When I’m on the road it’s Texas Roadhouse and or Applebee’s.

We got our chow and sat down and made the usual small talk n chit chat about the colt we had just sold, what brood mares we liked best and maybe what to breed what to next spring.

My Mrs has always had a knack with the babies. We talked of what mares to keep showing and where to show them and what wasn’t cuttin’ good enough and should be made a barrel or rope horse. All of our rodeo horses are cutting horse rejects.

When we got done we both cracked our “fortune cookies” and read what some happy little guy had written to promise us good fortune. We always joke about what those things have to say.

I think on that particular occasion mine said I’d meet a new friend and my Mrs had one that said how inspiring her presence was.

It was then I actually thought of it.

How many poor souls actually believe that stuff? To think that we are predestined or to think that good or bad will befall us without some sort of action?

I will tell you this, every situation, good or bad, that I was in, was a result of my own choices.

Now we all have had some bad luck but usually bad luck is a direct result from a bad choice.

I do however think that we must fail in order to grow.

Take for example roping, we’ve all broke out. Every single one of us has broke the barrier. That deafening buzzer that can be heard above all other noises and crushes dreams of early retirement or a summers worth of jackpots paid for. One step too soon and there it all goes. Next time you’ll watch the cow instead of the gate.

I see so many that want good fate to pave the way. They want a good fortune cookie to come true. They want an easy life with no work.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but it ain’t gonna happen.

Them good guys that don’t buckle and handle the pressure like a shark in a fish bowl…they got that way from being under constant pressure. They learn to handle it because it’s just a part of life. They kick down doors they were not meant to walk through.

I got a call a while ago and a guy I’d never met wanted me to come over to his ranch near Weatherford, Texas and work some cuttin’ horses with him. I’d never met the man but I knew who he was.

One day I went over and we worked some cuttin’ horses together. His ranch was phenomenal. His horses were good. His help was great, the ground, the cattle, the pen, all of it was just outstanding. This man was extremely polite and friendly and has a great business, a nice wife and good family. From the outside looking in you’d think he literally has no problems. But as I drove away that day I wondered what his demons were, because he’s got em. We all do. And we all struggle.

God didn’t send us here to have it easy. In essence, being an American should make it easy enough.

We are free to choose and work how we may and that is enough. That’s the best part of being American is that we can go or come, be drunk or sober, work or sleep however we choose.

I don’t need any cookie telling me what my life is to become. I hold the pen to write my own book of life.

I watched a good portion of the National finals rodeo and I saw some outstanding roping. I don’t think Tyler Wade was worried when he saw Chad Masters there. I don’t think Chad Masters was worried when he saw Riley Minor there. I don’t think Riley Minor was worried when he saw Matt Sherwood there. They are all winners. They are all capable of a new world record. They are all capable of winning every go round. And they are all there to do their best. Winners focus on winning. Losers focus on winners.

They learn to be winners because they learn to handle pressure from being under the gun constantly.

If you are constantly winning it’s time to expand your circle. When you are the biggest fish in the pond it’s time to head for the ocean.

I find myself always setting goals and always wanting to make each year better than the last. As my expectations for success rise so do my obligations. I’m fine with that. I like to work.

I know that as life goes on it doesn’t get easier, I may get wiser, mostly because of past failures.

But one thing I know for certain is that I will never ever let every one else tell me how to live or what to do. I don’t pay no never mind to what a paper in a cookie says. If I ask God to move a mountain for me I’d imagine he’ll be kind and give me a shovel.

You are the holder of your own pen. You are the one who writes your own page in the history books. It’s all in your hands.

Either do something worth writing about or write something worth reading.

In the end I didn’t care what the paper in the cookie said. I’ve created a life for me and my family that has become what I always wanted. I was so busy staring at her,  I really didn’t care what the cookie said.

Don’t ever stop swingin’ til’ they ring the bell and always play like an underdog.

From somewhere down in Texas
Scott Hulme

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