Dear Ellen, Thank you. From a cattle farmer.

Dear Ellen,

Thank you. As an active member of the agricultural industry I want to say thank you.

Because of your comment I am reminded I am only annoyed about things because I care. And when it comes to agriculture I care a lot.

Thank you for reminding me of the reason I got the degree I pursued feverishly over. I cried, laughed, yelled and cursed over that degree. Thank you for my renewed focus.

Thank you for reminding me grace. You have reminded me not everyone in my industry is graceful, especially when their way of life is being bashed. I know you, as a celebrity, have your whole life and career under scrutiny and your way of life is always being bashed too. You still handle it all with grace, often better than others in my industry.

Thank you for learning to use your fame for causes YOU BELIEVE IN. If people loved causes and lived their life dedicated to things they truly cared about instead of the next fad, we would probably be in a better position within society.

Thank you for caring. I’m sorry I do not agree with you and that I am upset. But I’m upset because I care. And you are upset you care. Let’s care together instead of apart and see if we can find some common ground.

Thank you for reminding me everyone is human. We are humans. We are quick to judge and criticize without thinking. We are humans. Thank you.

Thank you for reminding me that working on the defense time and time again makes people ruthless and sour and rude. That when one lives backed in a corner forever it changes you.

Thank you for reminding me that I love agriculture. That this industry has heart. That we love and love hard and love deep. We have pride and passion and we do it all without making a dime. We do it as a hobby, as a part-time income, as a career, as a livelihood, as a fulltime income for a family.

Thank you Ellen,

Because sometimes I just need a reminder.

To The Little Girl I Photographed Today…

Little girl, I hope you keep your smile. It was big. It filled the room and my frame to perfection. It had dimples and it put a light in your eyes. Little girl, I hope you keep your smile.

Little girl, I hope you keep your joy. The way you spun in your tutu and laughed and joked made me smile and want my own tutu. Little girl, I hope you keep your joy.

Little girl, I hope you keep the love you have for your brother. When I asked you to stand next to your big brother, you ran up to him and gave him a big hug and that big grin with those big eyes filled with love. You were looking at your best friend in life. You will sneak in puppies and sneak out for dates – and he will help you and you him. He is your protector and you will be his confidant. Little girl, I hope you keep the love you have for your big brother. 

Little girl, I hope you keep watching your daddy. The way he held you told me you are a joy in his life. He said the pictures of you two were his favorites today. I hope you watch him love you and treat you like the princess you are – even if you go through a tom-boy phase. The way you watched him today tells me you are close. Little girl, I hope you are always close – or that if it gets hard to be close that you still love. 

Little girl, I hope you watch how he dances – with and without mommy. Watch what he drinks – for every girl knows a man who prefers whiskey is a keeper (and he should always have a cheap beer preference, because even if it is a bad drink, make it the best decision possible) simply because our fathers taught us a man who drinks vodka cannot be trusted. Little girl, I hope you watch how your father treats mommy. Little girl, I hope you keep watching your father.

Little girl, I hope you keep watching your mommy. You watched her walk in her heels today knowing she was someone you wanted to be. You watched her smile and hold you. I hope you always see her as a creature with class and love – two things that will get you far in life. 

I watched you watch her and your daddy as they took their couple shots – laughing with them as they flirted with each other to the camera. Little girl, I hope you watch your mommy to learn how to flirt with grace – not with a crass meaning – because little girl, I want to flirt like your mommy too. Little girl, I hope you keep watching your mommy.

Little girl, I hope you keep your awe and wonder. The camera, the lights, the props, the stools. You looked at them in the way I want you to look at every opportunity that comes your way. I want you to look at new things, then your life and those around you for support as you did today. They will help you with the questions but you must keep your curious spirit. Little girl, I hope you keep your awe and wonder.

Little girl, I hope you keep your humor. When your awe and wonder puts you on a stool, you will fall off a few. In fact you did. And you giggled and got back up after looking around for an audience who will laugh at yourself with you. Little girl, I hope you keep your humor.

Little girl, I hope you keep your strength and spunk. Little girl you could be a doormat but I do not see you as one to be walked on. Someday you will thank your family for that. Little girl, the world is hard. The world is rough. There are mean people who will love you and there will be loving people who are mean to you. Your strength and spunk will help you find your place and be a light in a world of dark for yourself then for others. Because little girl you have to take care of you before others. Little girl, I hope you keep your strength and spunk.

Little girl, I hope one day and find some other little girl to remind you of all these things. Because little girl, you did that for me.