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VIP’s #10 – Cliff & Charlene Taylor

Obviously my VIP Blogs are not listed in any order of importance. If they were these two would be right up there toward the top of the list. Cliff and Charlene….that’s my Mom & Dad. I wish you all knew them. They’re two of the most incredible people you could ever meet. They’re now in their 80’s and live only a few blocks from us. I like that. I’ll go there at least a few times a week and have coffee and visit with them. They amaze me in that they’re still telling me stories that I’ve never heard before….and they can do it with nearly total recall.

Now seems like a proper time to write them up as VIPs since just about three days ago they celebrated their 66th Anniversary! Pretty amazing when you think about it. That’s setting the bar up there pretty high for the rest of us Taylors’. Good job, Mom & Dad! There’s no way I could come close to telling all the good qualities they have…and the good qualities they’ve passed along to Mont and I. It’d take a good sized book to get that done. But for the sake of time and space, I’ll try to give you a little insight on ‘who’ they are.

They have been the hardest working pair I’ve ever seen. Dad has always been a cattleman so we learned at a very young age to handle cattle and horses with the best of ’em. Dad had Mont and I doing things that most men couldn’t do when we were just little kids. We learned how to do it right. When I was 12 I started riding colts for other people for pay. I did that successfully, at least at some level, for the next 25+ years. Most of our  lives were spent on a ranch. It was a great life. Besides handling every aspect of the cattle business (receiving, shipping, gathering, doctoring, buying and selling) we learned to build fence, repair windmills and water gaps and about every other thing you need to do to run a ranch the right way.

Mom was the best! I can remember as a little kid, her pulling broomcorn to help make ends meet. She’d come home tired, dirty and worn out but always managed to get us one heck of a supper cooked, without fail. Later on in our rodeo days there were many times we’d roll into the ranch in the middle of the night with a carload of buddies. She’d get up even if it was 2 am and cook us up some chicken fried steak, french fries and gravy. There are retired rodeo guys all over the United States and Canada who spent time at our house and who have the greatest amount of respect for my Mom & Dad. Oh, and incidentally, when we’d come in to the ranch in the middle of the night and have that great meal….Dad was always gracious to let us sleep in ’til 5:30 or 6 in the morning before we started whatever project he had planned for the day…….and there was always a project! Most serious ranchers work their cattle according to the Zodiac signs. Dad always said that when there were a couple of carloads of rodeo friends at the ranch……that the ‘signs’ were right!

They sacrificed, and went without, to haul us to junior rodeos all over Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. They gave us a ‘leg up’ that way and enabled us to have a successful career in professional rodeo. We were both inducted into the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2008. And in our acceptance speeches we made sure that they got the credit they deserved. In all actuality……they’re the ones who should’ve been inducted.

I could go on and on with those kinds of things but they gave us far more important things than teaching us cattle and ranch work. In my 62 years I haven’t seen them do one person wrong. I have seen them wronged plenty of times but they always handled it with class. They’ve lived their lives with the highest degree of integrity. Their ‘word’ has been their bond in the truest sense of the term. We didn’t go to church but they somehow instilled in us that God was ‘real’.…..and that He was good!

All those things are important but the most important thing of all is that we were loved……in word…..and in deed. We let them down plenty of times with some of the dumb stuff we did….but they hung in there with us, always having our back and always believing in us, and never, ever wavering in their love.

In the final analysis I’d say if, when it’s all over, if I’ve been half as good a person as they have been…..I’ll have done pretty decent.

Cliff & Charlene Taylor, VIP’s to anyone who’s had the good fortune of knowing them!

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VIP #8 – Monty Taylor

I have an unlimited pool of people to write about when I write about VIP’s. There’s been so many people throughout the course of my life that have had a profound effect on me in one way or another. I’m grateful for the things I’ve learned from all of them and grateful for the deposits they’ve made into my life.

Monty Taylor, or ‘Mont’ as I’ve called him since we were little kids, is my brother (there’s just the two of us) but he’s been my best friend since the day he was born 59 years ago. Oh, we had our differences when we were growing up like all siblings do but neither one of us ever tolerated anybody else mistreating the other one. We’ve been ‘partners in crime’, so to speak, all these 59 years. We’ve had about every kind of ‘wreck’ with horses, cattle and bulls that you could ever imagine……and some you just couldn’t imagine no matter how hard you tried. We’ve even had a couple of car wrecks; one when we were headed to school in little Allison, Texas and hit a patch of black ice and rolled my pickup up on the side. Another the night before I got married. We’d had way too much to drink and ran off a bridge on the Oklahoma line. It was a miracle that me or Mont….or Ken Henry weren’t killed. Then there was the time when I was about a 3rd grader and  Mont hadn’t started to school yet. Dad had gone to shoe horses at a neighboring ranch and he didn’t let us go. We weren’t happy about that so we got on a big ‘ol tractor. We somehow got it started….and it took off. I bailed out! (Sorry Mont!) But Mont rode ‘er on out…until it hit a cattle guard and spun out ’til it died. It could’ve easily killed us both! And, let’s just say that Cliff Taylor wasn’t too happy when he got back to the ranch and the tractor had run through the fence.

We had no choice but to be cowboys and we took to it full blast. We started our bull riding careers on the arm of the chairs and couches in a little one bedroom ranch house on the Washita River 35 miles SE of Canadian, Texas. We graduated from the chair arm to riding on the back of our dad on hardwood floors. They don’t call ’em hardwood floors for nothin’! You learn early on to try as hard as you can to not get bucked off and bang your head off the hardwood. We went to our first rodeo when I was 8 and Mont was 5. We were determined to practice riding but we had no bucking chute….but we made do! When we’d see the dust from Dad’s pickup go over that last hill….we’d gather every cow, calf and bull we had and ride every single one of them. We’d run ’em in a big pen, rope ’em, snub ’em to a post, put our rope on ’em….and the rodeo was on!! Dad started gettin’ kinda suspicious when the cow herd wouldn’t even come in when he fed….and when he noticed how bad we were bruised and skinned up!! Rodeo was a pretty important part of our lives for the next 20-25 years. We rode in every major rodeo throughout the United States and Canada…..and won money at most of ’em! We were both inducted into the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2008.

Mont Taylor is a ‘Man’s Man’! He’s a man of his word, treats every single person with dignity, hard worker, great husband and Daddy, has a thousand really good friends and I doubt if he has an enemy on the whole planet. He’ll ‘loosen up’ with the best of ’em….but wouldn’t ever cause anybody any harm. We live 300 miles apart but I talk to him a couple of times a week. I have a ton of respect and admiration for him. His impact on my life has been immeasurable…..Mont Taylor is definitely a VIP!!

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Check out some more VIP’s:

VIP #1 – Booger Bryant

VIP #2 – Sarge Cook

VIP #3 – Ronnie Chadwick

VIP #4 Paul Luchsinger

VIP #5  & 6 – Edith Yowell & Nellie Millar

VIP #7 – Rick Hudson

 

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There Is Such a Thing as ‘Extreme Sports’ ……But This Is Ridiculous!

I’d never heard the term, ‘Extreme Sports’, until about 10-15 years ago. Now you hear it all the time. If you look at the list of extreme sports you’ll find a pretty extensive list of things that any normal person really wouldn’t want to do. I mean, if common sense is involved, you just wouldn’t want to risk your life for this stuff. But there’s plenty of people out there who aren’t satisfied with just a normal existence….they have to test the limits! And nothing, it seems, can stand in their way.

I can relate to that, somewhat. I rode bulls for 20 years…..starting as a kid riding calves, then steers right on up to 2000 lb bulls. And there’s no denying to most that bull riding has to be counted as one of the most extreme of the ‘extreme sports’. Add to that, when we were riding in the ’70’s and early ’80’s there was no such thing as helmets and protective vests. And really, most of the guys back in those days wouldn’t have worn them anyway. It would’ve been wise, I guess, but those who are extreme sports enthusiasts have considered the danger…and the potential for complete disaster, and are still willing to do it.

There’s a growing list of extreme sports; hang gliding, base jumping, motorcycle jumping (flips/back flips, etc), snow skiing (I’m not talking about the ‘bunny slopes’! I’m talking about getting dropped out of a helicopter on a mountain with nothing but jagged rocks and snow!), white water rafting, mountain biking, etc. And, I’ve seen enough on TV of these guys attempting to climb Everest…..and I’m thinking, “Hell no!””. *(click on any of the highlighted links for more information/videos)

The list of extreme sports could go on and on….but of all of them out there this one chills me the most! Free climbing! And this guy, Alex Honnold, (You really must click the link and watch!!) who is the ‘poster boy’ for free climbing/free soloing, is one incredible guy. I first saw him on a segment of “60 Minutes” and could hardly believe what I was seeing. He climbs these ‘unclimbable’ rock faces, some of them inverted, with nothing but his bare hands. Being several thousand feet up with nothing but rock below means absolute ‘certain death’ should he make the slightest slip! But he still insists on doing it time and time again.

I don’t know what Alex would say about bull riding….but I do know what I’d say to an opportunity to do what he does…..NO!! Some would call it machismo, others like me would say, “it’s just crazy”! But it’s a shining example of the human spirit. We’re created to conquer and overcome…..and a few like Alex Honnold really, really believe it!

 

 

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$$$ – Being a “Thousandaire” Might Just Be Better Than Being a “Millionaire”!

It goes against logic, I know. But after 60 + years of observation….I think it’s true. Now, for starters, I haven’t yet had the experience of being a millionaire….but I’ve been a ‘thousandaire’ for years. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve dropped below the qualification limit a few times down through the years…..especially during my illustrious rodeo career. But for the most part I’ve be a steady thousandaire.

I’ve noticed the last few years as I’ve gotten older that I don’t need as much ‘stuff’ as I use to think I needed. All those things that we ‘needed’ and thought would make us happier……didn’t! I think it’s part of actually growing up and maturing and learning in part, what’s really important in life.

I’ve observed throughout my lifetime those who had lots of money. Even had friends growing up whose parents were very well off. There’s nothing at all wrong with that. In fact it’s to be commended in most cases. It’s America; we can do just about whatever we want to do. And for those who really find their niche and do well financially, it’s a very good thing. I did notice that some of the rich kids didn’t try near as hard at sports than some of the less fortunate.They had enough athletic ability, alright,…..but the ‘try factor’ was lacking. It really showed up during my rodeo career. It’s a broad statement,….and not always true, but the rich kids weren’t nearly as gritty as those who had nothing to fall back on. 

The human spirit is an amazing thing. We’re created to conquer and to succeed. Everybody loves the story of those who overcame extreme odds to succeed in life. It’s a very good thing to ‘have’ to get up and go to work and put in a good day…every day. It’s good to learn to manage our finances and resources and to live within our means. We can do a lot more than we think we can….but if it’s always been done for us….we’ll never know.If we never have to really ‘try’, we might just not ever do it.

I recently told a friend that, “This time next year I’ll have 9 grandkids”. He jokingly said, “You’ll never be able to afford Christmas”...to which I replied, “I’ve never been able to afford Christmas yet!”(We raised 5 of our own!) But, you know what?? We’ve had great Christmases for, going on now, 39 years! We have somehow survived….just being ‘thousandaires’!

Paul said it in the Bible. “I’ve been hungry and I’ve been full; I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor. I’ve learned to be content in whatever state I’m in”. He’d found the ‘secret’ to true happiness and contentment. His ‘joy’ was in the Lord!

I’m only a thousandaire but if family and friends and relationship with the Father were measured in money……I’d be millionaire many times over!! I’m really, really rich in the things that matter most to me!

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25,000; Twenty-Five Thousand; 25K; 25 Large!

That’s how many “Views” I’ve received on my blog, “The Way I See It”, since January 1 (25,145 as of this post!). I’ve posted 130 times. Whoever you are, where ever you are….I appreciate you taking the time to read the blogs! It’s my deepest desire that the blog has blessed you in some way. Give me some feedback! What are your favorite blogs? Mention two or three that have helped you in some way. Hit the “Share” button on FaceBook so your FB friends can access the blog.

Listed below are the Top-Ten Blog Posts ranked by how many times they’ve been read. If you haven’t read them….do it now! If you have….you might want to read them again. I’ve also included a few that are some of my very favorite. *By clicking on the red link you can go straight to that blog. I’d like to grow the, “The Way I See It”, family so I’m asking you to “Share” when you like a post and recommend that your friends become “Followers”.

Lady Gaga, Little Monsters & Jesus!

All I Know is God Loved John Very, Very Much!

VIP #4 – Paul Luchsinger

VIP #1 – Booger Bryant

Quit Telling Me What the Problem Is!

Bless the Lloyd!

“Keith” – It Was a Short Friendship….But a Good One!

Branson to Cherokee – The Longest Night I Ever Spent

Maybe You Should Quit Whippin’ Your Own A#$!

You’re Not Welcome Here!

………..and a few of my very favorite ones.

“Obviously, I’m God’s Favorite”!

You May Not Know This, But I’m Kind of a Big Deal!

It Ain’t Grace’s Fault!

Tee-Ball…..The #1, Undisputed, Very Best Team Sport of ‘Em All!!

How Gunnar Payne Changed the World!

……….or if you just need a good laugh!

The ‘Baddest’ Dang Turkey in Arkansas!

That Whole, “Greet the Brethren With a Holy Kiss” Thing, is Waaay Overrated!!

Just Some Friendly Advice: Always Approach a Possum With Extreme Caution!!

Thanks again for reading the blogs!! Weigh in on your favorites and spread the word!!

THANKS!!   

AT

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Listen More …….. Learn More!

Someone said it this way, “We have two ears and one mouth, therefore we should listen twice as much as we talk”. I don’t think that’s bad advice. It’s actually some advice that I should take myself. I’m a ‘talker’. That can be good …..and bad. Because of what I do I’m expected to talk in a lot of different situations. So, in that respect, talking can be a good thing. But there are times when the ‘talkers’, like myself, need to pipe down and just listen. It’s something I’m working on.

I’m actually a decent listener when I’m in a personal counseling session. It’s important in spiritual counseling to discern what the real issue is so that we can pray specifically and strategically. Oftentimes a person will talk all around the issue without ever disclosing the ‘real’ problem. A good listener is able to discern what’s at the core and then, with the help of the Holy Spirit, approach the solution.

My achilles heel is when I’m in a room with several people and the discussion is in full swing. I have a tendency to talk too much. I’ll cut people off sometimes in the middle of their conversation; sometimes I’ll talk over people. I don’t mean to be rude or disrespectful. It’s really a bad habit….and like I said, “I’m working on it”. Communication, and being a communicator can sometimes collide. Healthy communication involves a good balance between talking and listening.

I want to be a lifelong learner. I even encourage others to be learners. It think it’s important. I know that if we’re learning….we’re growing. I don’t know that it’s impossible to learn while you’re speaking, but it’s a no-brainer that it is much easier to learn something if you’re listening. Listening is an art! It’s something that we can all work on to improve. So, I’m going to commit myself to “Listen More – Learn More”!!

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Posted by on July 31, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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There’s Just Something About ‘That Name’!!

After we had moved from the ranch in the Texas Panhandle into Oklahoma, we still went to church for a time in Allison, Texas. This particular Sunday we had come back the 30 miles to our house. Our great friends, Daryle and Carrie Perry and their daughter Micah came to our house for lunch. After lunch we were just sitting around, hanging out and visiting when one of our boys yelled at us from our bedroom. Clay, who at the time was about 2, had taken the lid off the toothpaste and in trying to taste it had swallowed the lid. He was choking and gasping for air when I got into the room. You can imagine the panic that ensued!

By now we’re all in the room as I grabbed him and tried to reach in his mouth for the lid. No luck! I handed Clay to Carrie who is a very proficient nurse and she did everything she knew to do to dislodge the lid…..but to no avail. Just so you can grasp the chaos of the situation, there was total panic on all of us. It was the worst feeling you could possibly imagine. Clay had turned blue and the clock was ticking!

I grabbed him from Carrie and went to the floor with him. I reached into his mouth as deep as I possibly could (Afterward I had bite marks high upon my wrist!) and could just barely touch the lid with the tip of my finger. There was just no way I was going to be able to get it out that way. Clay had become limp and blue…and beginning to be lifeless. The situation was getting dimmer! Out of total fear of the worst-case scenario, and utter desperation I yelled at the top of my lungs, “In the Name of Jesus, Come Out!!”.

I no sooner got the words out when that toothpaste lid shot out of Clay’s mouth like a missile onto the floor! He took in a huge breath of air and immediately everything was OK! We all just sat down on the floor crying….out of relief.

The Name of Jesus has power! Using that Name ‘saved the day’ for us there on the bedroom floor 25 years ago (and a lot of other times since then, too!), and It’ll save the day for you too!

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Camp of Champions XIII

The Camp of Champions is an amazing project. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s the most unique church camp you could ever find. It’s a Christian Rodeo Camp for kids ages 6-16. This year marked the 13th year for the COC. In the previous 12 years there’s been no less than 1000 boys and girls who’ve given their lives to the Lord during the camp. It’s the largest camp of it’s kind on the planet It’s a camp hosted by our church, Trinity Fellowship in Sayre, Oklahoma.

There’s been many Junior rodeo champions, High School champs, Collegiate champs and even a PRCA World Champion Bull Rider who  have been enrolled in The Camp of Champions. We’re proud of all the boys and girls who have attended and have gone on to success in the rodeo arena….but we’re more proud that we have been able to influence, in a small way, kids who learn to be successful in life due to their relationship with the Lord. We’re “Developing Champions in, and out, of the Arena”!

The Instructors at the COC are literally a “Who’s Who” of the rodeo world. But they’e not just great rodeo hands…..they’re great hands for the Lord! They’re men and women who understand what their career is/was actually about…..INFLUENCE! They don’t come here for the money. To be honest…it’s not all that much. They come here to help give these kids a ‘leg up’ in their rodeo events, and a ‘leg up’ in their relationship with the Father.

Unlike a lot of Christian youth camps we intentionally do not try to scare them with hell so they’ll make a decision for salvation. We don’t try to manipulate or coerce them in any way. We believe that the Holy Spirit is good enough at His job that we don’t have to resort to those funky, non-Jesus, tactics. If I were a parent of a kid in the COC….I’d really appreciate that.

It takes a lot of people working selflessly to pull it off each year. We’ve got the greatest bunch of volunteers around here that I’ve ever seen assembled anywhere! Many take their vacation to help with the COC.

Highlights of Camp of Champions XIII: 

* 50 + decisions to receive Jesus as Savior

* Young adults who have came up through the camp and are now top notch instructors…and great speakers in the tent

* A lot of tired, but extremely rewarded helpers who were instrumental in kids experiencing relationship with God

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We Oughta Get Our Ducks in a Row!! Part 3 – Parenting Our Children

Getting our ducks in a row involves setting our priorities in proper order. #1 on that list is to give our spiritual life the attention that it needs. #2 is making your relationship with our spouse as important as it’s really supposed to be. It just makes sense that #3 would be to work on our responsibility as parents.

Being a parent is one of the greatest blessings that we can experience in our lifetime. Children are a ‘gift’ of the Lord. I’ve often said, and I totally believe it’s true that the love we have for our children is exactly like the love the Father has for us. We don’t love our children because we’re supposed to; we don’t love them because it’s the ‘noble’ thing to do; we don’t love them because it’s right; No, while all those things may be somewhat true…..we love our children just exactly like the Father loves us…..because He can’t help it!!

This is not a conclusive treatise and I’m far from an expert on parenting but I have learned a few things in my 38 years of being a dad. Some of  those things I’ve learned the hard way….by doing them wrong first. Maybe I can pass along a few tips so you won’t have to learn them that way. 

Everything we’ve done down through the years, we’ve done as a family…..I mean the ‘whole crew’! That’s one of the things that I think we really got right! We hardly ever missed any activities that our kids were involved in. That’s quite a challenge when you have as many kids as we had! There were a lot of days I’d come home from work to find a note from Julie that she had gone to one of the kid’s soccer games. I’d head out and make a baseball game of one of the the others. Those things, I think, are really important!

We all have to work for a living but our jobs are never more important than our children. It’s a challenge but we need to learn to adjust our lives so we’re able to spend quality time with our kids. We’ve done a good job in showing and telling our kids that they’re loved. We’ve disciplined them. We’ve tried to release them so they could each be the person the Lord wants them to be. All those things say loud and clear, “I love you”!

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Tee-Ball…..The #1, Undisputed, Very Best Team Sport of ‘Em All!!

It might not be your favorite sport, but there’s on doubt about it…it’s mine! There’s nothing I don’t like about Tee-Ball It became my favorite sport when my kids started playing, years ago. In fact, one of the very first practices our boys attended, Clay….now 27, took a major league swing at the ball. He missed the ball, did a full 360 spin, let go of the bat and it flew like a guided missile and hit the coach square on the ankle bone! He hopped around for a few seconds, limped for a few more and through the tears said, “Clay…..try to hang onto the bat!” I still laugh when I think about it….but I’ll bet the coach still thinks it wasn’t all that funny.

I missed Crockett’s (my next to the youngest Grandson, age 4) very first Tee-Ball game today. Hated to, but I had a meeting that I couldn’t miss. I did find out, however, that after his very first hit, he headed straight to third base! I’m thinking, “Heck, yeah! If you can get a triple that way…get it on!”  And THAT, is exactly why I love Tee-Ball!

You gotta be on your toes if you’re the coach; (I did get there for game #2 today!) The catcher is checking the stands behind him and making sure his people are watching. Outfielders are chasing butterflies and the second baseman and shortstop are on the ground wrestling with one another. There are a lot of spectators….probably more than at a lot of high school games. Why? Easy question; parents, grandparents love to watch their kids excel. Our Father is like that, too! A few dads are giving ‘expert’ instructions from the stands……as if there’s actually something at stake. Serious business to some!

I was asked later who won the game. I have no idea but I think, no I’m sure, they both won! Not a sad face, one, on any of the players, coaches or spectators. I don’t care if you have kids or grandkids playing Tee-Ball or not, you need to go to a game. You can have the worst day you’ve ever had, go to a Tee-Ball game….and get home just right!!

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Posted by on April 22, 2015 in Americana, Children, Mentoring, Sports

 

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