Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Today I would like to remember my great grandmother Mary Stovell. She passed away late Sunday night. She was 97.

January 7th, 1913 - December 12th 2010

For the past several months, since February I believe, my grandma has been bed ridden from numerous health problems. At times she would be really sick and at others she wouldn't. It just went back forth, day to day. We are thankful that she went peacefully, and we hope and pray that she is walking with the Lord today.

If you think about it, people shouldn't be sad at funerals if we know where that person is going. If we are, we are feeling sorry for ourselves. It should be a joyous occasion because we are remembering and celebrating that person's life. All the while knowing that someday, hopefully, we will get to join them.

I don't really remember my grandma Mary as a child. She lived here in Alpine most of her life I believe, which, back then was 900 miles away. Frequent phone calls and cards were the extent of our relationship with her. We did get to see her once a year a Christmas every year however. Every year, she would play a game with us, saying that everyone would get some money, based on how they behaved that year. O and I can't forget that every year she would tell someone that they had "gained a little weight." In other words she said we were fat. Luckily, she never told me that, mostly my dad and my grandpa and one time my mom!

From what I understand she lived a full life. She was a teacher in hereAlpine for almost 50 years! That's amazing! We will certainly miss her! We love you Grandma Mary!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Life is a Story

Life is a story, that's for sure. I haven't had much to write about lately because I write like I'm writing a story. I guess that's not true because plenty has gone on in the last couple of weeks or so that I have blogged, I just don't know how to make a story out of it!

Let's see. I turned 18 this week! It's funny because I didn't really have a big party or anything, just supper with the family. 18 is a big number and it's hard to believe that not long ago I was playing cowboys and Indians with the neighbor kids. We would chase each other horseback through the trees next to the river where we lived, pretending to shoot each other with sticks. We then proceeded to run into the river and fall off our horses into the water. O great times!
My boyfriend drove into town Tuesday night and had supper with us for my "party." My grandpa cooked the most amazing ravioli stuffed with cheese And Parmesan chicken! My mom made a chocolate swirl cheesecake for dessert that was amazing as well. I was so overly stuffed it wasn't even funny!

Yesterday morning I got a phone call from my boyfriend at about 8, which I thought was odd because usually he doesn't call me in the mornings, and when he does it's at about 6. I could tell something was wrong when he said hello. Turns out he had been throwing up since 4 that morning and he wanted someone to talk to. Poor guy! I told him that I would come see him but he didn't want me to get sick, so we both had to suffer. He was feeling better this morning, but I still worry about him.
I just hope that I don't get what he had. Today I have been watching what I eat because I can feel my stomach acting up and I'm just praying that I don't start getting sick.

On a good note, I have been in an artistic mood lately. I sketched a picture that other day that isn't bad, it was made from memory, not looking at a picture like I usually do.
This is the picture I sketched. It looks smaller but that particular sketching pad is 14"X17"
I don't know if I'll do anything with it, just get it matted and go from there..

Oh yea, I finally finished my senior year today! I'm so excited but I have no idea what I'm going to do now! I have a little part time job working 2 days a weeks but I think I might try to find something else. 

Well that is all I have right now. I'll try to pay attention more each day and see if I can't get a good story together! Ya'll have a great week!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


 I haven't really felt like writing anything so I thougt instead I would just put pictures up. The pictures below are of the branding in New Mexico that I wrote about a while back. They were taken by my aunt Marilyn. Hope you enjoy!

My brother Lj and his little mare



I think that this is my favorite one!

Me attempting to do a hullahand loop!
My aunt's horse, Stubby

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Little Bit About Me

Good morning ya'll! It's a beautiful morning here in Alpine America! Not to hot and not to cool, just how I like it!

Well, I thought I would share with ya'll what I've been thinking about here lately. Roughly five years ago this month I had a doctors appointment at The Children's Hospital in Denver Colorado for my monthly check-up. I was both nervous and excited about it because they last time my doctor had told me I might be able to stop taking medication. He was a funny ol' guy, long gray beard and white hair, not your usual children's doctor. As I'm sitting on the little table he performs all the little tests on me that I was accustomed to. Everything was normal as it always has been. "Alright Miss Jaelyn, I think it's time to take you off your medication, the Epilepsy is gone," is what he told my parents and I. I was absolutely thrilled at the news. I mean what 12 year old kid wouldn't be? God really blessed me.

It all started in first grade, I will never forget the day. I was sitting in class listening to the teacher when my tongue started to get tingly, like when an arm or leg goes to sleep. (I don't know how else to describe it) I remember putting my head down on my desk as my face started to go numb. A couple seconds later my teacher saw what was happening and toke me down to the nurses office. The nurse didn't find anything wrong with me and she sent me back to class. Typical right? I didn't tell my parents either, but the next time it happened I was with my parents. So what do worried parents do? They schedule all sorts of appointments with doctors who told them to go see neurological specialists based on my systems. When we finally met the doctor who I mentioned early, he wanted to do an MRI scan and and ECG (Electrocardiogram) test. We agreed and got them done as soon as we could. When the results were in he told us that I was having seizures due to Rolandic Epilepsy.

They immediatley put me on some medication that they thought would help, but it didn't. I can remember one summer having 15-20 seizures a day. Seizures have different levels, depending on how big it is. The 15-20 I was having a day were on the littlest level, but they still scared me. I will never forget my dad telling me to pray when I would start to have a seizure. The familiar tingly feeling in my tongue warned me that one was coming, followed by my face going numb. I couldn't talk, or see, but I could still hear. Only a couple of times did I have the highest level of a seizures, the grand  mal seizure. When I first heard the term I thuoght it was the grandma seizure, because of how bad it was, the mother of all seizures. I had one 3 times, all waking up in the morning and half your body is numb. They were caused by the brain going completely asleep instead of just partially, and having to "reboot" itself.

Years went by and different medication was tried but nothing seemed to be working, until I went and did a study at the hospital in 2004. They put all these silly electrodes on my head, connected to wires and made me spend the night in the hospital. The point? They wanted me to have a seizure so they could record and study it. When they had studied it, they decided to put me on yet another type of medication. "Three pills a day for the rest of your life," is what my doctor told me. Well he was proved wrong in over a year when the epilepsy just "disappeared."

I have been seizure free for the last five years but I didn't get off that easy. About every six months I dream that I'm having a seizure and I wake up in a panic. Those dreams are no fun but there's not a whole lot I can do about it. I also get really bad headaches but by going to the chiropractor on a regular basis I can somewhat control them. I really do think that God blessed me because I later came to find out that rolandic epilepsy in other patients doesn't just disappear like mine seemed to do. The Good Lord was certainly watching out for me and I thank Him almost everyday.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Freestyle Reining

Well as many of you may already know, the Alpine Open Freestyle Reining was held this past weekend at the Sul Ross rodeo arena. A day of fun and visiting with friends, laughing at costumes, and having a good ol' time. For most at least... I will say this; I don't know if I have ever been more nervous in my life! Sounds silly doesn't it? Anyways, here is my story of how the day turned out for me!

My horse PD is standing there half asleep as I'm sitting on her bareback more awake than ever. We are patiently waiting our turn to enter the arena and perform our routine, as we practiced the whole week before hand. With each passing second the butterflies become so bad that I have to look down at the ground and concentrate on a rock. Usually I can handle the nerves but for some reason they were really getting to me this time. I guess I put a lot of time and effort in getting ready for this day; starting six months ago. Before I know it the rider that just finished is walking out of the arena and I know that it's my turn. "Up next is number 270! Pink! Are the judges ready?" I hear from the announcers box. As the judges nod their heads, the gate opens and I walk in.

My heart is pounding in my chest when I wave my arm, signaling for my music to start. As soon as I hear the music start, all my nervousness disappears and the adrenaline kicks in. I run PD down to the center of the arena and signal her to stop. She doesn't stop the greatest in the world but when you say "Wow" you better be holding on because she's guna stop. We continue to do our spins, 4 in each direction. I learned a cool trick a few years back that when you are doing anything in the arena that is being judged, you want to show off your horses good side last. When the judges are watching you, they tend to remember what goes on last. PD doesn't spin very good to the right so I spun her that direction first, then to the left, which is her better side. After the spins I start my circles, to the right first because PD does a better lead change to the right than she does the left.

She is a very complicated horse and it has taken me many years to learn how to ride her. When we first got her she was a 3 year old that had just won an open snaffle bit futurity so she was pretty high strung. I didn't like her one bit and complained when I had to ride her. It wasn't until a couple years ago that I really started riding her and we have taught each other a lot since then. She is now a 9 year old and still frisky as ever.

Anyways, back the reining. PD was definitely feeling good today because she was fighting me the whole time we were doing our circles. On top of that she missed her lead change both times! Well partly missed them. She switched in the front but not in the back and everyone knows that riding a cross-firing horse is not very comfortable. When our circles were complete we made one last big circle to do a rollback. We ran down the fence and I said "Wow!" She stopped so hard and fast I almost lost my balance and came over her neck, but luckily she did her rollback hard  and I was able to catch myself. The  next rollback I was ready for her and it was perfect. We circled back around and did one last stop and a couple more spins, to finish out my music.

I was breathing hard when we walked out of the arena, and was very glad that it was over, but at the same time I wanted to go back and do it again. PD did excellent but since I did it bareback there were quiet a few mistakes that I could have avoided. Oh well, I did the best I could and everyone said that it was really good, the best one they had seen in my age group. The next three hours were just terrible as the rest of the riders went and everyone filed back into the arena for the award ceremony. First they read off all the sponsers and thanked them, and named the judges and thanked them. What is cool about this deal is that everyone gets a prize and as they read off last place first, everyone received some sort of award. Sub-juniors went first, then juniors, then it was my age group; seniors. There were nine in my group and when they got to third place, I thought for sure they would call my number, but they didn't. They did however, call it for second place. I was both thrilled and disappointed. I placed better than I did last year, but I wasn't first. That was all ok though because it's all about having fun. The kid that won first place had won for the last couple of years. Tell me if I'm wrong but somehow it didn't quite seem fair that he won again, but I'm not complaining.

When all was said and done, only two awards remained; A gift-certificate for a brand new Spradly hat and the saddle. These awards are only for 4H members who are currently enrolled in 4H. I wasn't expecting anything but when the kid who had won first in my age group was awarded reserve grand champion, I couldn't help but smile to myself. People kept looking at me and my friend Stormie said "It's going to be you!" I said I doubt it. "And the winner of the saddle and highpoint champion is number 270!" I don't remember my first reaction but they made me walk in front of everyone and they put the saddle on PD. I was absolutly thrilled!

 This is my dad and I and PD! As you can see our costume was pink!

It toke me quite a while to paint the Aerosmith logo on PD, she just stood there and toke it like a champ! Not to mention tying all those ribbons in her mane and tail.

Stormie and I waiting our turn to ride! Before the show even began, Stormie, her sister-in-law Chelsey and I carried the flags during the National Anthem! I carried the Texas Flag.  

The saddle that I won. It says "Freestlye Rening 2010 4H Highpoint, Alpine, TX" It's actually a pretty good saddle and I can see it sitting in my room for a while!

Ya'll have a good day now!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Branding in New Mexico

It's roughly 6 o'clock on Friday morning as I'm sitting on top of a hill out in the middle of no where, New Mexico. A steady breeze is coming out of the north and my horse paws the dirt, anxious to get moving. In front of me is 500 head of Corriente cattle scattered somewhere in eleven sections of rough country. Off to my left, three figures lope off to the west side of the pasture and four more lope off to the east. I can't help the feeling of excitement that is slowly welling up inside of me: it's branding time!

My brother, LJ and I drove up to New Mexico to help our uncle work cattle for the weekend. His ranch is about 40 miles north of Roswell where he and his wife run Corriente cattle on a little ranch off of highway 285. Loaded with three horses and my brother we headed out of Alpine Wednesday at noon. It's about a six hour drive pulling a trailer so we made it there in time for supper.

Thursday we got up not early and I spent the morning fixing the lights on my trailer. (the rough roads and my driving caused the wires to pull out of the adaptor that you plug into the truck) I was very proud of myself because I managed to put all the wires in their right places, or so I thought. After dinner, LJ and I rode my aunts horses for her because she hadn't in three months and they all were feeling their oats. Luckily, no one bucked and my aunt was very pleased.

Friday morning came and eight riders loaded in two rigs made the long trek to the very south end of the ranch. Two more riders stayed at the pens and rode to the west to 15 mile draw and my uncle on his 4-wheeler when east to 5 mile draw. The pasture was roughly eleven sections so we spread out as best as we could, riding on top of hills for the first mile. The riders on either side of me were blobs of color moving along the hills, that's how far apart we ended up being. The first set of cattle that I came to caught wind of me and ol' Curly and high-tailed it out of there. Those cattle hadn't been worked in over a year, since the last time Lj and I were up there in August of 2009 so they were all feeling very frisky. What makes it even worse is that there were many cases of a yearling and a new calf being on the same cow. After abut an hour, I topped a hill and saw almost all the other riders trailing cattle on both sides of me. I was in the direct middle and it was quiet a sight to see that many black dots moving in the same general direction. . I just loved it!

The gather went very well considering that my uncles cattle had a tendency to run off and we had everything penned by 8:30. Now the real work began. It toke the rest of the morning to sort mother cows, yearling bulls, yearling heifers, and calves. I was assigned the job of counting mother cows as they filtered them out into the main trap. What fun right? It wouldn't have been so bad except every time a group of cattle went out the gate, I was sourrounded by a cloud of dirt. When we had had some dinner, we started back up, this time setting up the branding pot, shots, and tagging guns. I got to give shots the first set of calves which isn't a bad job but it's not my favorite either. The second set I got to rope and drag calves. Usually I can catch a set of heels quicker than anyone but that day I wasn't roping worth a darn. I think it was the dust.... The third set I had to flank. Today I counted 8 bruises on my arms and legs from flanking calves. One because most of the calves weighed more than I do and two because I was on the tailing side. Stinking calves were big! Set number four I was allowed to brand. That was a relief and it gave me time to recover from flanking.

The fifth and last set of calves I got to rope again. I was just plain tired at that point and was not really paying attention. I had roped a pretty good sized bull calf and toke off knowing I had him when I heard a snap. The honda on my rope had broke in two when the rope came tight, and everyone knows to get out of the way when a rope breaks. Well I didn't have time to react and undally when what was left of my honda popped Curly right on the rump, sending him leaping forward into the awaiting flanker's faces. It was kind of funny seeing them fly out of the way like that, but I felt bad. Curly was pretty skittish after that but thankfully there were only a couple of calves left.

When we all came in that night for supper, we all looked like very tanned Mexicans. No offense to anyone but we did. There was so much dirt and dust on us that when we toke off our hats, the white showed up very clearly. What made it worse is that my uncles house doesn't have any running water, save a water faucet to water their horses, so no one could get a shower. It was pretty bad, we all went to bed covered in dirt...

Saturday morning rolled around at about 5 as we got up and had to haul all the yearlings we had sorted off to another set of pens, the ones with the chute in them. How convenient... and it was about a ten mile drive on dirt roads to get there And we only  had three stock trailers. So.... 6 hours later, 150 yearlings were at the other set of pens, ready to be worked. The yearlings were very big and it toke most of us to work one at the chute because it was manually operated. After spending a half hour looking for a lighter or match to fire up the branding pot, (we ended up using a hot shot) we cracked down on working the yearlings. Somehow it went faster than the branding yesterday did and it only toke us 3 hours to get it done. I was all excited when we finished because I thought it meant supper and sleep, but I was sadly disappointed when my uncle said that there were 22 more calves to work.

The registered cattle that my aunt and uncle had were on the very east side of the ranch, across the highway. There were no pens over there so we had to set up a make-shift branding pen. Luckily they weren't hard to gather and we got them done right before dark. I was so tired then and was paying attention.. again, when someone dropped a panel and it hit me in the back as we were trying to put them on the trailer. I was thinking I was pretty much ready to go home at the point. I think it was about 11 when I finally crawled into my borrowed bedroll, (my sweet boyfriend lent me his because I didn't have one of my own.)

When the sun came up on Sunday I refused to get out of bed, but I had to or miss breakfast. We had donuts because my uncle was out of eggs, but that was ok with me. The plan for the morning was to gather the trap that the mother cows were in and sort off 125 cows that were white, red, spotted or old to take up north. It toke 3 hours to get that done and by that time I was not feeling good at all. One of the guys made me go back to the house to take a nap because I had to drive home that afternoon. I felt much better after my nap and everyone was done by the time I woke up.

Lj and I loaded up the trailer and all the horses and left for home at about 4 that afternoon. Remember me fixing the trailer lights earlier? Well, I wired three wires wrong so when I went to turn on my lights, the trailer breaks came on, and when I went to use the trailer breaks my lights came on. I was not very happy at this point so when we got to Wal-mart in Roswell I spent half an hour fixing the lights. When I finished I didn't have breaks but I had turn signals and running lights.. all I needed to get home. I thought we were making pretty good time when my brother fell asleep and I was left driving by myself. It was about nine at night when I was only an hour away from home when I started to get sleepy. I ended up calling my dad to come get me and drive us the rest of the way home..

I still love branding and working cattle and enjoying cool mornings on horseback, but I have certainly had my fill for a while.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Beyond the Saddle

Howdy ya'll! This is my first time blogging so I'm not real sure how to start. I thought maybe I would just have to jump into it as if I've been blogging all along. So here goes...

This past weekend has been a wonderful one, full of friends, fun, and fellowship. Big Bend Cowboy Church had its first Cowgirl Gathering "Beyond the Saddle: Restoring the Western Lifestyle through Faith, Principles, and Good Horses." I was on the team that helped to put the gathering together and that alone was a lot of fun. We had our first meeting back in August I believe, with seven or eight ladies on the team. At first I thought I was just here because my mom was and I didn't want to be home alone, but as I listened to what everyone had to say I wanted to jump in and help. So, I was assigned the task of creating an invitation and putting together a scavenger hunt. (I wasn't able to get a copy on here.. haven't figured it out yet)

I have to admit, I had fun putting the invitations together. When I went to public school I was on the design team, or was the design team, for the high school newspaper. I like doing that kind of stuff. The scavenger hunt was also fun to put together. I had help from my mom and a friend and we toke 25 questions from a Bible Quiz that my friend had and printed them out individually. Since we didn't really have a prize for first place, we decided to put out different colored beads with each question, and the instructed each team to take a bead. In the end, they would end up with a colorful bracelet to take home with them. Clever huh?

Anyways, enough about my part in the gathering. Friday we showed up in the afternoon with our horses and camp beds. Mom had to work so she came later in the day, about 5 I think. I helped to get everyone with horses settled in, watered and fed. First off I met a sweet lady named Babs who was so talkative and funny, I really enjoyed listening to her as I helped her settle in her old gray horses named Smokey. She could never get my name right though. She kept calling me all these different variations of my name, but I knew she was talking to me. It made me smile. After that we made our way to the Hall where we would be staying, for supper and the grand opening. We had the most amazing cook out there too! The first night she made enchiladas that were incredible, but a little to spicy for me. I'm a big baby when it comes to spicy foods, but they were still really good.

After supper we went down the gym and a member of the planning team had put together a low ropes course, so we could get to know each other a little better. The first thing she made us do was stand on 2X4's in a long line and try to arrange ourselves alphabetically by last name without stepping off the boards. Let me tell ya, it was quiet the challenge but it was fun, and we successfully managed to do just that! The next thing she made us do was stand on the boards again, pick an animal and arrange ourselves from smallest to largest animal. Sounds easy right? Well here's the catch, we couldn't talk to each other this time. Instead we had to make our animal's sound. First of all, I don't know what a zebra is supposed to sound like and I was not about to embarrass myself like that, so I went with a bird.

When the games were done and we knew each other a little better we went back to the Hall and started a big fire. It was wonderful sitting there by it's glow and chit chatting with people. We had a musician there, Jean Prescott, who played the guitar and sing some songs for us and a speaker, Kim Rieman, who told us a wonderful story about her life. She told it in two halves, one Friday night and one Saturday night. It was interesting listening to her story and how she had come to know Christ, but it was a little difficult for me to decipher what she was trying to get at. I think mostly because she was older and I was the youngest one there. But that's OK because I liked listening to her.

Saturday we got up early and had a Bible lesson/roping lesson. Since I'm a pretty fair hand with a rope, I helped some of the other people who weren't. I had really wished my mom was there (she had to work again) because she's a pretty good roper herself. We then saddled up our horses and went on the ride up into the mountains. We followed a trail up the side of one mountain and when we got up there, there was a little valley that opened up and you could see forever. It was just wonderful. We rode again after dinner and had our scavenger hunt after that. Now, I didn't know what people were going to think of the scavenger hunt, but I guess they enjoyed it. It was actually kind of funny to watch each team hunt for the questions, read them, then get all different answers.

Sunday morning we got up early again and had a little church service around the fire. We had communion and our pastors wife gave a little talk. I think for the most part that this past weekend has been the best thing for everyone there. I know it was for me. I enjoyed the short break in life from the everyday worries and stresses, and I hope that we get to do it again.

 The ride up to the valley.

 The pastor's wife, Norma/ photographer