Thursday, August 2, 2012

STOP!! Smell The Roses!

Home = A Place to Hang Your Hat
I love hats! And the hats I wear typically have a story or a sentimental reason or I just wouldn't adorn them. Until recently, I hadn't realize how attached I had become to one particular hat of mine until I misplaced it or simply lost it! I couldn't pinpoint when, but suspected missing my 131st Kentucky Derby hat around the same time I had traveled back to western Nebraska for the American Agri-Women Informational Summit and stayed at my new "home away from home" the Scottsbluff Barn Anew Bed & Breakfast.

Scottsbluff Barn Anew

The Long Shot

For at least the past 20 years, my cousin who lives in Indiana takes a short drive south across the Ohio River and crosses the Kentucky border to Louisville. She heads to a gift shop near the historic Churchill Downs horse racetrack and gets my dad his April 18th birthday gift in the form of the current Kentucky Derby's souvenir logo t-shirt and hat. 

In 2007 after accumulating quite a collection, my dad gave me his 131st Kentucky Derby souvenir hat ~ a black colored baseball cap with the the famous Twin Spires embroidered in white stitching and a red rose. On May 5, 2007, a gray three-year-old colt named Giacomo, a 50-1 long shot, came down the center of the historical race track with hall of fame jockey Mike Smith to win the second-greatest payoff in Derby history. Giacomo's owner received a first-place check of $1,639,000 for the victory.

Giacomo, a 50-1 long shot winner of the 131st Kentucky Derby

The 2010 Kentucky Derby, Kentucky Oaks and Churchill Downs holds a special place in my heart as my dad and I were able to attend both horse racing days that year. When I was younger, we owned Quarter and Thoroughbred horses, on and off the track. And every Labor Day weekend, we've traditionally made our way to a racetrack ~ to hear the Call to Post, see 120 pounds of jockey maneuver 1,200 pounds of muscle down the stretch and cheer the winners across the finish line. So, it should be no surprise that I have nearly every word of every scene of the movie Secretariat memorized. 

More than three thousand years ago a man named Job complained to God about all his troubles and the Bible tells us that God answered. 
"Do you give the horse its strength or clothe its neck 
with a flowing mane? 
Do you make him leap like a locust, 
striking terror with his proud snorting? 
He paused fiercely, 
rejoicing in his strength and charges into the fray. 
He laughs at fear, afraid of nothing, 
He does not shy away from the sword. 
The quiver rattles against his side, 
along with the flashing spear and lance. 
In frenzied excitement he eats up the ground. 
He cannot stand still when the trumpet sounds."

So, for the record, to have lost my favorite Kentucky Derby hats was disappointing.

Back at the Barn

Last month for the third time this year, my Great American Wheat Harvest business partner and I traveled back to Nebraska and stayed once again at Barn Anew. We worked for four days. We traveled two days for the documentary film to meet with potential corporate sponsors. The remaining two days, we carved out time in the Barn's newly renovated Bunkhouse meeting room to concentrate on our own personal projects.

My project has been four years of researching and writing in the making. It was a blessing to finally set aside time specifically devoted to a mission and passion I believe only God could have placed on my heart. To add a special touch to our environment, we arranged with the Barn Anew owner, Cher Maybee, to have a vase of fresh flowers each placed in our working area. The flowers of her choice ~ a fresh bouquet of roses.

As I paused a moment that afternoon to "STOP, Smell the Roses" and take a picture of the beautiful arrangement, I noticed a black colored baseball-style cap on the Bunkhouse wall. Taking a closer look, I realized and exclaimed through joyful tears, "THAT'S MY KENTUCKY DERBY HAT!!!"

I verified with the owners that it had been left there about a month before by one of the guests ~ ME!! 

Moral of the Story:

Had my business partner not convinced me to invest time in developing my own personal project, goals and deadlines; 

Had my husband and family not been fully supportive and believed in my skills and abilities 110% like they always have; 

Had I not taken that one to two seconds of time to just stop and smell the roses;

I may never have found my Kentucky Derby hat and realized that gentle nudge of assurance that I was right where God intended me to be that day. It was a great reminder to not take any day or any person in my life casually and to enjoy and cherish every minute. As the saying goes, Life is not a dress rehearsal!

I'm excited and grateful to be heading to the Ag Media Summit in Albuquerque, NM, later this week for an opportunity to network, learn and connect with my agricultural media, agency and business friends. And to meet and make new friends. I plan to savor each moment. May your week be as equally blessed. 

And remember, Stop!! Smell the Roses!
You never know what treasure awaits you!

Calling my dad to let him know that I had found my 131st Kentucky Derby hat!