S: ~ Cowboy Wisdom by Lynn E. Stevens ~
BC: The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the the valley of the Shadow of Death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. | PSALM 23:
FC: Lynn E. Stevens May 3, 1947 - July 8, 2012 | compiled by Josh Stevens | Cowboy Wisdom
1: This is a collection of poems and notes written by Dad. After he passed, we found many of these written over and over again in several notebooks – each the same – and each different in meaning. I am putting these together with a little personal commentary to share with all of you. This is a small gift that has a large meaning to me. I hope you enjoy reading through it. These short rhymes illustrate the meaning of Faith, Family and Friends as taught by my Dad. Rest in peace, Dad. We love you and miss you every single day. Thanks for the Cowboy Wisdom. – Josh.
2: The first one I personally find the most special – written to Lucas and me. It really sums up Dad’s unquestionable love for us and the men he raised us to be. I read this often and still hope to make Dad proud. I’ll share this with Jackson one day – and hope to instill in him the same lessons.
3: Boys Remember... With all of my mistakes I loved my children, & I’m proud of you both. I hope neither of you ever go thru divorce or separation from your kids. Respect your parents (both of them) and yourselves...demand it from your children (try to earn it). First – Find & Praise God in your life & family Take time for yourself as well as family Know that you can never say or do anything that changes the fact that I love and respect you both. -Dad.
4: The next poem was given out at Dad’s funeral. Dad was born a cowboy, grew up and lived his life a cowboy, and never once wanted to be anything different – even though today's “cowboy” might be a bit different than in the past. I loved that about my Dad. Here is how he explained it and why I would be honored to be considered a cowboy myself.
5: Today’s Cowboy by Lynn E. Stevens Today there is a difference between a cowboy and a cowhand... One tends cows and the other wears his own kinda brand. Cowboys can be found in every walk of life, Usually facing some kinda strife. They live by their honor; their own kinda code... Working real hard with their shoulder to the load. They are no longer just cowhands, yet the work just as hard... They may not look it, nor say it, but they’ll still be your best Pard. Today’s cowboy may never have seen the back of a horse... Yet when you meet him he’s still honest and fair – a real quiet force. Mama’s, don’t you listen to what Ol’ Willie had to say... Do let your babies grow up to be cowboys; that’s what I pray.
6: Stress from work, from marriage, from health took a toll on my Dad. It didn’t change him – but it caused him a lot of pain. I think the next poem is the end result of all of that stress – and how he wanted to live his life – focusing on faith, family, and friendship and really calling out their importance.
7: Worry Free by Lynn E. Stevens Name one thing important to you... We know there are several but you can narrow it to just a few. But again I ask you, one thing important to your heart... Money, Happiness, Health, Bliss, God, Family...all are on our chart. But let me put this thought in your mind... Everything else can put you in a bind. For all the right reasons one thing is for me... To choose God first, then love of family, and enjoy good health - is to be Worry Free! Free to make decisions and hopefully to choose Right... I’m at a point in life I want peace – no longer wanting to Fight.
8: This poem asks for forgiveness. It’s simply stating what we all need to say – I am not perfect and hope that you forgive me as He has. It’s short and simple – but very much to the point. I don't think there is anything else to it. I don’t recall Dad ever doing anything that would require my forgiveness, no matter how frustrated I may have gotten. Sure – he wouldn’t stop smoking, would constantly trade vehicles and such...and rarely went without a dog - that was my Dad. When my mother and he divorced – that was rough on me – but it never changed his love for me and if anything made it stronger. As the years passed – a lot of Dad’s closest friends seemed to have drifted out of his life. I still don’t know all of the reasons – and I likely never will – but I do know that it bothered him quite a bit. From my vantage point – he always seemed to reach out and never ask for much in return. That wasn’t always reciprocated. Almost all of Lewis County turned their backs on him after he left the bank – with the exception of few. Some even lied to aid in their own gains. I don’t have much nice to say about those folks, and I hope I never have to run into them. Dad raised me to ask for forgiveness and in that instance, I believe I’d need it.
9: Forgiveness...My Prayer by Lynn E. Stevens Forgive me, please, all of you... I’ve done wrong, I didn’t really want to. Help me gain strength to do what is right... Help me try with all my might. And while I ask for a helping hand... I really need you to just understand... I need to get straight and on the right track... Even tho I know I cannot go back. I want to start over and begin anew, So, again, I ask forgiveness from Him and from all of you.
10: The next little bit of knowledge is about chasing your dreams and going after what you want. The cold reality is what you may think you want isn’t always best for you and it may not work out. You really aren’t living, though, if you’re too scared to try. Dad knew this as much as anyone – from chasing his dreams in Colorado to a few loves of his life in marriage. He wasn’t afraid to try. I like his viewpoint on this. It’s the best we can do – tis better to try and fail than to never try at all.
11: Dreams by Lynn E. Stevens I believe in dreams and I want you to believe in them too... I want those dreams to work and I want them to come true. But – the danger is there and that danger is real... Some dreams do shatter causing a terrible ordeal. But it is better to have had the dream even if it becomes bad and surreal, Than NOT have had all the hope, the drive, and being able to FEEL.
12: I grew up very blessed. Dad had a great job and provided well for our family. Mom worked as well and also contributed resulting in a youth full of horses, dirt bikes, toys, dogs, guns, and family vacations. I went to California and Canada and everywhere in between. I was given a lot. I was always taught the value of work and earning what you wanted. After I left for college – things changed. My little brothers grew up with horses, dirt bikes, dogs, and guns – because Dad wanted that for them. After a series of health problems, legal implications, and leaving the bank – Dad was out of work and on disability. The income simply wasn’t there. He tried to shelter me and my brothers from this – but as I grew older things were clearly becoming more and more difficult. That struggle never ended but he made the most of what he was given. He never missed a birthday or Christmas for us. He made sure we never went without and when I tried to help him – he didn’t want it. All of that being said – the next poem shows just how successful Dad was – more than a lot of men. This truly is the only success I want to be measured by.
13: Success by Lynn E. Stevens Success is what we all want and work to achieve, But really what is important is what we believe. Put Him and family first and put Him out in front... You will do better; feel better, nerves not being so taunt. When we strive so hard to be the best... There always is another test. And if you think you’ll never fail... You must be living in a fairytale. You may think – now – that this is funny, But remember success is not measured just by Money.
14: This next one is one of my favorites for sure. It speaks volumes of the friends that come in and out of lives and those rare few that are there throughout. Dad taught me the value of those friendships and I truly cherish them. Trav, Eric, Belz, & Duane – I consider you all my family as did my Dad and think he may have written this about you. You boys are rare.
15: Friends by Lynn E. Stevens Friends are few, true friends, that is to say... Ones that stand by you when there’s the devil to pay. There’s a lot of people you get to know, And they want your help, but help you, oh heck no! And that’s OK if you know the Rules, Otherwise it makes you look like one of the fools. But a friend that is there and remains real true, Is the kind, I’ve found, that are very rare and all too few.
16: I thank his close friend Art Cullifer who took him down that old gravel road to that little white church on the corner. With Andy in the pulpit – Dad found a new sense of comfort that I think he had lacked. That place meant so much to my Dad; I don’t even think the folks there know. He wrote this about Prairie View – and it is a wonderful tribute to an amazing little church. | Dad really found a church home late in life. I knew he believed in God and we went to church in IL when I was much younger but never really went once we moved to Missouri. I went to church the last few years with Dad a few times. We had a few conversations about faith which really solidified my own beliefs.
17: I came to Church because by Lynn E. Stevens I came here for the wrong reason, but it sounded so right. I came to find God on this very site... But soon I found what you all know... God’s been with me wherever I go. So now I’m here to learn and to give praise... Knowing God’s with me all of my days. Yes, I’ve done wrong and; unfortunately, still do... But I try harder and, really, with faith I continue to renew. And for this I give thanks and my heart has soared... I accept God, through Christ, as my eternal Lord.
18: Anyone that knew my Dad knew he loved horses. Since he was little – he had horses. I can’t remember the first time I rode a horse – but I know it was before I could walk. Horses were a huge part of our life. They were Dad’s passion. Dad’s best friends were horses. I heard about the horses mentioned in the poem many times - and have a favorite picture of my Dad as a boy on Ol Princess
19: Best Friends Friends ‘n Broncs Cummin ‘n Goin By Lynn E. Stevens My best friends, over the years... Give me fond memories and fill my eyes with tears. They’re all gone now, but I remember them well, Don’t know if they went to Heaven but they’re not in Hell. There was Missy ‘n Spooks, Buttons ‘n Vickie, but first there was Princess. She gave me more but asked for much less! Now you know...but of course, Each of these were a very special horse. Oh there were more like Sonny, Austin, ‘n Mexican Man... Their names I cannot easily ban. Horses that gave me so very much... Friends of mine, at least to me, they were such. I honor their memories and friendship so fast... I remember each one with a happiness that will always last.
20: Dad was married three times in his life and each ended in divorce. I’m not sure of the reasons, nor will it help anyone to place blame. I just know for a man that had a poor track record in marriage – he really did love women. He didn’t pass up a chance to flirt with any of them – and did it in a way that was not offensive and would always make them smile. I found some notes he left weighing the pros/cons of his life. Living without a partner did not make him happy. He openly spoke bitter towards women, as you’ll read, based on his past - but had a huge heart and had he had the time on this Earth – he would have gladly paid the high fee for love once again I’m sure. I’m confident this was written about my mother, Luc’s mother, or both. Either way – I read it with a chuckle. Sometimes you have to vent - so here it is...
21: Women, Love, & Relationships by Lynn E. Stevens Women, relationships, starting over or to renew... All I know I now impart just unto you... Women are vicious, mean, self-centered, always with a need... Hateful, dishonest, and very full of greed!!! As you can now all plainly see... Women and relationships come with a very high fee!!! These lines of knowledge are very, very few... They are; also, sadly, so very, very TRUE!!!
22: This one has hung on my fridge since 2008. Dad gave this one to my wife when we got married. I’m so blessed to have had him there for my wedding. He was a proud Dad that day. I’m still lucky to be married to my best friend – or she’s lucky – however you want to look at it...
23: Stacey Though we really haven’t seen each other all that often... You have to admit our feelings really have begun to soften. At first we “feared” what the other might think – And that kept our guard up nearly to the brink. But now I know and feel you do too... I’ve come to love you just for you being you. I’ve always wanted the very best for my son... And I think he’s found it as you seem to be the one! We’ve had some private talks and some private times... And missing those would have been the worst of crimes. The best, most priceless things you will ever own... Are loving moments and sweet memories and you set that tone. Finally, thank you for becoming a part of the family... As years go by, I hope you won’t think it was a total calamity! -Dad, Ol’ Man, Lynn...whatever!
24: The final poem is a bit political. We’ve covered Faith, Family, and Friendship. This one is for our Washington leaders. I only found this one written once - in a small notebook where I also stumbled upon his final resting wishes. I didn’t find it until after the fact, but it turns out he wanted to be buried in Warsaw, near Travis ‘n Mom & Dad. He wanted Andy to do the service. Thank God we got that right. That’s a sidebar note and has nothing to do with this last poem – but I guess this is as good as place as any to mention this little notebook means the world to me.
25: There was a time when 60% of this country’s wealth was held by 40% of the people... The country was strong, not in debt and feeble. Now over 90% of our wealth is held by less than 10% of our own... And we wonder why we’re hurting clear to the bone. To pay for things you have to get it from those who have it... That’s real simple, Congress..some common sense – a bit. Common sense, something we’re lacking, Common sense, just takes some backing. We have the vote but not the leaders... To stop the greed and tax the bleeders. Those that take far more ’n they’d give... Make it harder for others to live. The fires of passion we have to ignite... And to do so we’ll all have to unite. To keep a Democracy has to be our goal... Yet we also have to make all pay the toll. | There are those who say I’m too radical... But I say down with those who’ve been so tyrannical. We’ve been held hostage long enough... It’s time to call their economic bluff!!! More bailouts is not an answer – Limit the economic drain against us & cure the cancer. As Congress allows only the big corporations to survive... Small business, which is our financial backbone, will cease to be alive. And the President should NOT fire an Exec... Instead tax the hell out of his huge paycheck! Plug the holes in the Tax code... Reduce his take and reduce the debt would be a good mode. Same can be said for all those who created this mess. This appears unfinished as this is how it stopped...non-typical of his other poems. I think a good ending to this might be: That we might be humbled and prosper, and to all – God Bless. | Who Pays?? Who Leads?? By Lynn E. Stevens
28: I hope you keep these and refer to them now and again – bringing a smile to your face or maybe a tear to your eye. I know I will cherish them forever. Grandma – I love you so much. Dad loved you. He taught me to love and respect my Mother, as well as Grandmother. I know Grandpa, Dad, and Travis are watching over us now. Uncle Jim – You will always be Dad’s big brother. You two were different men, but had many similarities. I see them. You were more than a big brother – you were also one of his closest friends. When he referred to family – you were at the top of that list. Aunt Sheila – You will always be Dad’s baby sister. He was always so proud of you. You lit up his smile every time he talked or saw you like very few folks could do. Lucas – I remember when you were born. He was so incredibly proud to have another son. You have done nothing but make him proud since day one. He’ll be watching over us for the rest of our lives and he won’t miss a thing. I promise. Nate – You were a little guy when Dad and your mom got married. Dad always thought of you as one of his kids. I know that divorce and step-families are awkward; but know that just as I consider you my brother, he considered you a son. He loved you and was proud of the man you’ve become and is watching over you.
29: Leah – Your relationship with Dad was troubled. It doesn’t change the fact that he was your Dad too. He loved you until the end – he wrote it down and told me. Not once did he have a bad thing to say about you and losing contact with you was something that caused him pain. He only wished the best for you and is watching over you, as his other children, as well. I hope one day you find forgiveness in your heart. Liberty - You are Dad's GrandDaugter. He loved you like his own and was proud of the person you are. Please cherish the times you got to spend with him and some of the laughs we shared. You could always break the rules with Grandpa. He's smiling down on Heaven for you everyday. Jackson – Your time with Grandpa was cut too short. I will do my best to make sure you grow up knowing where you come from and knowing how much your Grandpa loved you. I can only hope to be as good of a father to you as he was to me. To the rest of our Family and Friends that is reading this – Thank you. Thank you for helping us through this difficult time with your love and prayers. My Dad is incredible and special to me and to you. His stories, his laughter, his warmth and understanding are missed by all. Please don’t remember him by this book...allow this book to trigger some of your own memories – some of the laughs and all of the stories. | Lynn E. Stevens - An old horse tradin', story tellin', flirtin', smilin' Grandpa that left us all with a little Cowboy Wisdom. 5/3/1947 - 7/8/2012.