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100 Percent Cowboy

His life had always been wild. Then he settled on an unexpected career—and found happiness!

Cowboy finds happiness and success as a nurse

Who knew that two simple words could change one’s mindset, perspective and approach to work and life?

Just two words have the potential to enhance joy, productivity, performance and change a complaining voice to an appreciative heart.
 
So often we say things like, “I have to take the kids to practice.” “I have to go to this meeting.” “I have to finish this project.” “I have to go to work today.” “I have to take care of this customer.” “I have to share this new information with my team.” “I have to see my family this weekend.”
 
We act as if we don’t have a choice. As if we are imprisoned by a paycheck and the expectations of a world that forces us to do things we don’t want to do.

But in reality we do have a choice. We can choose our attitude and our actions. We can choose how we view our life and work. We can realize that every day is a gift. It’s not about what we have to do. It’s about what we get to do.
 
We get to live this life while so many have left this world far too early. We get to drive in traffic while so many are too sick to drive a car. We get to go to a job while so many are unemployed. We get to raise our children even if they drive us nuts at times.

We get to interact with our employees and customers and make a difference in their life. We get to use our gifts and talents to make a product or provide a service. We get to eat three meals a day while millions of people are starving.

We get to work on projects, answer phone calls, serve customers, participate in meetings, design, create, share, sell, lead and suit up every day for the game of life.
 
Yes there will be challenges and life isn’t easy but each day we wake up we get another opportunity to make today better than yesterday and tomorrow better than today.

We get to uplift, inspire, encourage, and impact others. We get to live this life. Let’s make the most of it by remembering that life is a gift not an obligation.

Download your FREE positive thinking ebook!

Home, wife and a baby on the way.

For most guys that probably described an ordinary life. But washing up for dinner after chopping wood for the fireplace, it hit me again how new and strange it was for me.

I’d spent my life outdoors, working on oil rigs and herding cattle. Nothing would have tempted me into a nice, safe house like this one. Nothing, that is, until I met Debra.

I’d always loved the life of a cowboy—using my hands, the camaraderie I felt while cutting up with the guys at the end of a long, honest day’s work. Most of all I loved the thrill of working with powerful machinery or strong animals.

That’s all in the past, I reminded myself, buttoning up my shirt. You’re a family man now. And the wild, adventurous life just won’t do.

Debra smiled when I walked into the kitchen. I put my hand on her belly. A wonderful wife, and a baby on the way. Lord, I thought, that should be thrills enough for one man. So why do I feel like something’s not right?

Debra filled our plates while making small talk about her clerical work at a doctor’s office. I listened but didn’t say much. Debra threw herself into whatever she did one hundred percent. I could only imagine the wonderful mother she would be to our baby.

I’d looked for a woman like her for a long time. In fact, I’d stopped working on oil rigs because it separated us for weeks at a stretch. Since then I’d been working construction for Debra’s father.

But it just isn’t the same, I thought as we cleared the table. I’m not one hundred percent.

Lying in bed next to Debra that night I felt like a heel. Lord, I asked, what the devil’s wrong with me?

The next morning I grabbed my hard hat and climbed in my pickup to head to the site. “Got a project for ya,” my father-in-law said when I arrived.

That day I was in charge of cutting angles into some wood for kitchen cabinets. I had to run the boards under a miter saw. After the first few my mind wandered. The saw jerked. A pain shot through my arm. I cradled it and looked at my hand. Two fingers were mangled. I’d run them under the saw!

Stay calm, I told myself. You’ve been in jams like this before. Man up! Oil rigs and cattle prepared a man for emergencies.

I wrapped my hand in my shirt, and my father-in-law drove me to the hospital. I winced as another sharp pain raced down my arm. “I’ve seen a lot of nasty accidents. You’d be amazed what those folks in the ER can do to patch a man up. It’s truly a miracle.”

I guessed now it was my turn for one.

The attendant at the ER put me right into a room. A man in green scrubs walked in. “Hey, doc,” I said.

The man pointed to his name tag with RN in capital letters. “I’m not a doctor—I’m a nurse,” he said. I was surprised. I’d never heard of a guy being a nurse. “Let’s have a look at that hand.”

Careful to move slow, I held it up. It was a pretty gruesome sight. But the guy didn’t flinch. He examined my hand like it was a routine injury. “You’ll be fine,” he said with an even confidence, and I believed him.

He outlined the doctor’s course of action: reattach fingers, splint while they healed, physical therapy to regain mobility. That must be some job this guy has, I thought. Every patient was in a different fix, and in pain, but he knew he could help them all. Rounding up cattle seemed almost tame by comparison.

A racket came from a room down the hall. “John!” someone yelled. “We need you now!”

John the nurse looked me straight in the eye. “We’ll get you into surgery in a moment,” he said. “And don’t worry, you’re in good hands.” He was off to another emergency.

The doctor patched me up, except for one fingertip. Soon I was back to doing everything I did before the accident. Except that I couldn’t get that day out of my mind. And it wasn’t the sight of my injuries I couldn’t shake, but that nurse.

I’d prayed to find out why something felt so off in my life. Could my injured hand have led me right to it?

“I want to be a nurse,” I told Debra one night over dinner. She nearly spit a mouthful of salad across the table.

I explained how I missed a sense of adventure, but how much I also wanted to be a proper family man. Why had God put two such strong desires in one heart, when they seemed so contrary? Now I knew.

There was plenty of action in an emergency room, and my life experiences had prepared me for it. I believed I might have found my calling. Debra thought it made perfect sense. If we needed confirmation, we got it with the one opening for a technician at the hospital.

It was an entry-level position—in the emergency room! “No experience necessary, but must be strong, calm and quick on your feet.”

A few days after applying, I was working in the same emergency room where I’d been treated for my injuries. Our baby girl was a toddler when I graduated from nursing school. Then Debra became a nurse herself, and we had three more kids.

Family man/emergency room cowboy—one hundred percent, that’s the life for me.

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