Incredible Western Women Series
For those of you just joining us, here’s a little background…
Born in the small town of Colville, WA, I was raised in the Spokane suburbs and moved to rural America with my husband a little over three decades ago. Country life is an amazing place to raise our sons and grandkids. Here on the Colville Reservation, we have lakes, rivers, and creeks to fishing and swim in, hills and mountains to ride horses and hike on, and plenty of space to enjoy family time.
Four generations have grown up and enjoyed this land and all it provides.
I’d like to share rural America with you through the words and photos of incredible western women.
And if you are a western woman or have someone in mind who can share their stories with us, please pass on their name and contact information to me. I’d love to include them on this journey.
So now, let’s open the corral gate and hear from this month’s western woman!
Jessica Hedges is one go-getter! She’s an entrepreneur, homeschool mother, rancher wife, and cowboy poet. And she’s one of the sweetest gals. I look forward to getting to know her better.
So without further ado, here’s Jessica.
Today, my SUV hauled the dead body of our Siamese cat and 5 bags of groceries, but not at the same time. Please cut me some slack- I’m feral, not uncouth.
It was a jam-packed day started with coffee, prayer journal and devotional. Then onto breakfast and homeschooling my boys and a short workout. I loaded more dirty dishes from last night’s dinner party into the washer and continued the never-ending cycle of laundry. Finally, when I was satisfied that my wife and mom jobs were momentarily stable, I sat down at my desk to work for my clients.
But, I couldn’t focus. Emails from customers dealt me a few rough blows yesterday but in preparing for last night’s guests, I didn’t process why these riffs had happened or what my response should be. It was embarrassing, frustrating and left me feeling worthless. My selective memory ignored my accomplishments because it was easier to run with a false narrative about how unqualified I was then to find a long-term solution. At least this time, I remembered how God had closed painful doors so we could accept blessings behind ones He would soon open. It was that solace that got me through the days’ work.
Midafternoon, I frantically threw things in the rig for the 60-mile trip to town. We needed groceries and a friend, her forgotten coat. I made no less than 3 trips back into the house for things I forgot, fighting an insistent corgi each time, but finally, put the car in drive. Not 200 yards from the house, I saw her.
Fuzzy was a long-haired, Siamese barn cat that wasn’t quite a year old. She was a good mouser who constantly snuck in the back door of the house because she genuinely liked people. It was a daily occurrence to see her in the menagerie of critters following my boys from the barn to the haystack to the night lot and back again. Her frozen, slightly bloody body with a bulged-out eye was not how I expected to see her.
I turned the car around to warn my husband, Sam, before the kids or dogs found our feline friend. He assumed Fuzzy tried to ride on his pickup that concluded with a horrible dismount. Sam directed me on where to dispose of the body to protect the rest of our cats from predators and so I started out the driveway again. I loaded the cat, thankful, that I was not responsible for telling our 7-year-old his beloved playmate caught a fatal ride in the rig I was driving.
I said a prayer as I laid the cat to rest and spent the next hour haunted by my thoughts. I was sad for the cat, sad about my client process gone wrong, and still had so much to do. I drove on.
I parked at the grocery store, turned off the car, unsnapped my seat belt, took the keys out of the ignition, and then frantically searched for my wallet. The wallet that did not make the 60-mile trip. I wanted to cry but what good would that do? I drove to our small-town bank, praying for one of the gals I knew to be servicing the drive-up window. After 30 minutes and an amazing teller, I headed back to the grocery store with a stack of fresh twenties in my pocket, to break the cardinal rule of shopping while hungry.
A few errands and a snack later, I was headed home. I watched a storm blow across the Steens but the sagebrush at golden hour wasn’t enough to distract me from a harsh reality. The groceries were sitting where a frozen longhaired cat with a name rode a few hours before. I felt like a horrible person, one that should have sanitized the car or post phoned my trip for another day. Unfortunately, that’s just not how life works.
Life is putting one foot in front of the other even on the days that suck. Even on the days we’re uninspired. And especially on the days we have to haul the cold, lifeless body of a friend you’ll miss on the same day you’ll haul groceries to feed your family.
Sister, keep moving your feet because that’s the only way to arrive at the next door God built for you.
Connect with Jessica
Jessica Hedges is wife to a full-time cowboy, mama of two buckaroos in training and a day working cowboy every chance she gets! Based in the high desert of southeastern Oregon, Jess helps cowboy gear makers and western lifestyle brands increase their incomes through photography, web design and strategy with Branded in Ink. Seeing a need in the market, Jess put her design skills to use for the public with a graphics line focused on the aspirational, inspirational, and real side of ranch life- Dally, Sister! She loves to read, run and serves in her local cattlewomen’s organization.
Jessica and her husband, Sam, recently purchased the Hitching Post Supply. Check it out here.
(woman on horse) Jessica Hedges by Morgan Kromm Photography
(boy holding rope) Quirt Hedges modeling for Lane Creek Custom Hats and Alden Leather by Jessica Hedges, Branded in Ink
(portrait of boy) Cinch Hedges modeling for Lane Creek Custom Hats and Alden Leather by Jessica Hedges, Branded in Ink
(headstall buckle) Headstall buckle by Pat Horlacher, Custom Silversmith taken by Jessica Hedges, Branded in Ink