Trust the Bull Fighter

Trust the “Bull Fighter”



All other rodeo events have come to a conclusion, many cowboys and cowgirls are loading up their rigs heading home, and yet the crowd is still completely in tact. Each spectator is hanging on tightly to their seat. There is one thing they have talked about since the RODEO signs were posted in town. One event excites the crowd more than any other. Can you guess it?…That’s right…Bull Riding!  There is something so unique about bull riding that is extremely intriguing to people all over the world. Bull riding is pretty special to me too. It paints an incredible picture of God’s love for us! Yes sir, that’s correct… Bull riding tells a story about God. Pull down your hat and hang on tight. We’ve drawn a good one today!

I want you to imagine that you are a bull rider. Dream big, go ahead and wear those fancy spurs, blingy chaps, and your shiny gold buckle! You’ve drawn this nasty bull they call “Life”. They’ve had a hard time predicting him. Some rodeos he has no pattern, jumping left then right. Other rodeos he’s just what you like, bucking hard and spinning into your hand. Every cowboy that has ridden him went on to win the prize. You’re best friend is the bull fighter at the rodeo tonight. You know he is the best of the best. Because he’s out in the field, you’re able to rest assured that no matter how your ride goes…He’s got your back!



I want to take a closer look at your friend, the bull fighter. We’re going to imagine that the bull fighter is Christ. You are putting your trust into him, knowing that he will help you through the ride. He is your life guard! Because of him, you’re not going to hesitate to get on “Life”.

Psalm 62: 8

” Trust in him at all times you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.”

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It’s time to start preparing for your ride. You have put complete trust in your friend. After saying your prayer of protection, you gently begin settling into the chute. “Life” is already bucking, showing you how difficult the ride is going to be. You get your rope pulled tight,  and the gates bang!  1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi, 3 Mississippi, 4 Mississippi, 5 Mississippi, WACK!!! “Life” manages to get you off balance and slammed you to the muddy arena floor, but he’s not finished. It appears as though “Life” is coming back for more. You yell for the bull fighter, knowing you are in trouble. Luckily your friend, Christ, quickly grabs your vest and lifts you to your feet. The two of you make it to the fence in just the nick of time!

Psalm 40:1-2

“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.”



Although you bucked off of “Life”, you’re safe.

There are times in life when things seem to be spinning totally out of control. You can sit there and worry yourself to death, or you can pray, telling the Lord all of your concerns and struggles. He is waiting on you to call out to him. He is always there in times of need. Are you going to yell for the bull fighter or be stomped by “Life”? Trust in him to help you to firm ground. God is listening, he’s ready to help you. Please keep in mind that the bull fighter may not save you immediately, sometimes you have to put forth much effort in the meantime. Have faith, know that he’s working!

Philippians 4:6-7

” Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” 

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Think about the job of a bull fighter. What characteristics do you see in them that relate to Christ? I challenge you to create a facebook status that tells how a bullfighter is Christ-like. Add your favorite bull fighting pictures and tag the Houlihan Homestead! Don’t forget to check copyrights! If you would like, you can private message me with your connection statement and photo. Pictures will be featured on our next Bull Fighting segment.

Example) A bullfighter makes me think of how Christ…laid down his life for me.


A special thanks goes to Mike Goodall, Brittany Drawdy, Mike Driver, Shane Esco, and Ross Hill for the amazing photos!


**For more Mike Goodall pictures follow the link to see his homepage:

**For more B Blessed Photography action shots, check out Brittany Drawdy’s website:







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I am fortunate to call this week’s homemaker a great friend of mine, Mrs. Mary Ellen Lawrence. Mary Ellen is one of the most creative visionaries that I have ever seen.  I can’t wait to share with you how she incorporates western details into her modern chic home. Not only have her and her husband created an immaculate homestead, but she reveals their DEAL BUSTING secrets. Mary Ellen manages to balance a well-kept home while being a full-time business owner and operator, team roping wife, and barrel racing competitor. This little lady has a full plate. Tighten up your saddle cowgirls, this is one homestead for the record book!

Interview with Mary Ellen:

1.First off tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m a business woman by day, running a trucking company, and a barrel racing junkie in my spare time.  If you asked my Dad or Kyle it would be “Barrel Racing Junkie” 24/7.
2. Whenever you started decorating your new house, what was the first step you took in order to form a vision of what you wanted?

I love to be different and make a statement. I LOVE the western/rustic theme, but I also adore that pop of girly. As you can tell  from the pictures, turquoise is my favorite color.

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Lawrence Homestead: Dining Room 

3.Do you use sites like Pinterest to help you generate ideas? If so, what sites do you use most often?

I love Pinterest for decorating, and also a favorite is Cowboys & Indians Magazine.

*You can subscribe to Cowboys & Indians Magazine for as low as $19.95 a year. Follow the link below to start receiving one of Mary Ellen’s top inspirations.**PBP&
4.What part of your house is your favorite and why?

Honestly I spend more time at the barn, on the road, or outside. Nothing like being in your own bed, so I’m guessing the master bedroom is the answer.

5.What would you say is the most important thing to keep in mind while you are in the decorating process?  

We purchased our house, and it was so 1980’s. Yes, the dreadful pink bathtub and sinks. There was wallpaper galore and the ugly fixtures to go with it. I knew knocking down some walls, fresh paint, and deco would do the trick. I started with my paint colors which are all in the brown family to make the house seem bigger and flow.
6. What is your favorite store to shop at when purchasing home decor items?

TJ Maxx, Ross, Tuesday Morning, and Harold’s Furniture. I love the hunt of finding things at a DEAL.  You can do cheaper items, but then make it pop with some more expensive accessories. Antiques will always give you that old feel with a little western touch. The majority of all my pictures came from TJ Maxx and Ross, so never be scared to mix and match some.

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7. Do you have any tricks or hacks that help you keep your homestead organized/clean?

Probably that we are rarely in it. Lol

I love to wash clothes. Folding clothes is probably a little too much enjoyable to me. I have a friend that always says, “let me guess, you’re washing clothes?”.

8.Can you give us advice on picking color schemes or themes?

Go with the flow of your house and what works for you. I’m one that likes to venture out, but with my house it’s a little more traditional on the outside. Because of my traditional outside, I had to incorporate western feel with a pop of chic on the inside. If you have a big house you can go with more colors on the wall, but I personally like to chose neutral colors and accessorize with color.    

9. What is your favorite kitchen item?

The sink because I love to wash things. I knew when remodeling I had to get a copper farmhouse sink, and I’m so glad I did. I am not a big cook, but Kyle loves to grill. I’m the wash girl! 🙂


Cabinet secrets revealed below! 

10. What is most special to you when making your house a “homestead”?

Kyle and I did the remodeling as a team. There is nothing like coming home to your homestead that you transformed into a beauty from a beast.


Take a look at this amazing ceiling!!! Find out how to DIY below!

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Turqouise Ceiling:

Items needed:

Nifty Turqouise paint

Copper paint

Latte Glaze paint

Roller Brush


*You’ll need something to pour your paint into. Your local hardware store should have plastic containers for this purpose. SHOP LOCAL 😉


First use a roller brush to paint the ceiling with the turqouise paint. After giving the paint plenty of time to dry, use the sponge to dab on the copper paint. Finish up by lightly dabbing on the Latte Glaze. WAH~LA!

Lawrence Homestead Gallery


Championship Corner

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**Did you love the antique style cabinets? I sure did! The most amazing part of all is the fact that they were a DIY project. Yes, that’s right…YOU CAN DO IT YOURSELF. No big box store involved. **

Antique Kitchen Cabinets DIY

Items Needed: 

Antique White paint

Latte Glaze

Paint Brush


*You’ll need something to pour your paint into. Your local hardware store should have plastic containers for this purpose. SHOP LOCAL 😉


*Prior to beginning make sure cabinets are smooth and ready for paint. If there are scuffs or rough spots, you may need to sand the cabinets before beginning. If cabinets are painted already with a bright color, you will need to prime the cabinets before beginning with the Antique white.

  1. Paint cabinets with the Antique White paint. You can paint multiple layers for the desired coverage.
  2. Give paint plenty of time to dry. Be patient! 🙂
  3. ONCE THE WHITE IS COMPLETELY DRY….Using a rag, wipe on the latte glaze

(The more layers you glaze, the darker the tint will be.)


For questions concerning any of the DIY projects or decorating tips, please feel free to comment below! Mary Ellen and I will be more than happy to assist you. 

Happy Trails!

❤ Katie @ the Houlihan Homestead






The Alley Way

The Alley Way

alley way


How many of you have sat at the back on an arena, watching as the barrel racing horses approach the alleyway? I know, I know, it’s safe to watch from a distance. There are many types of entrances. You may witness the horse who runs backwards, the one who runs away, or the one who bows out his or her chest ready for battle.

I find it amusing how we as Christians can be related to those horses. When God is calling you, do you run backwards, run away, or are you pumped up & ready? Let’s examine the three different alley way reactions.




First off, let’s vision the barrel racing pattern as the route God is calling us. It is composed of straight paths as well as turns. There are many things that can cause us to stumble or fall. The ground conditions may be deep, muddy, hard, or just right. The straight paths are the easy or smooth times on God’s path. The muddy, deep, or hard turns are the areas on the path that cause us to work a little bit harder. One thing is certain about the pattern, it is always different. The same thing goes for each path that God paves for us, different routes for different people.




Now this one may be a little difficult, but I want you to think of the rider as God. He is asking you to take on the challenge (the pattern). He knows that you are prepared for the battle that lies ahead. He knows what the ground conditions are like, he knows how many turns are up ahead. He knows that he has worked endlessly, preparing you for the task. He has conditioned you with workouts, drills, and tests. How you going to enter the arena?


The Horse


I want us to imagine that we are the horse. Are you going to run backwards, telling God that you are not ready to run? Are you going to run away, ignoring what you’re being called to do? Are you going to be the horse who bows his chest out and prances down the alley way?


-Running backwards: There are times in life when we want to “run backwards”. We are afraid of failing, losing, or trials that are up ahead. Most of the time it is because we have been hurt or have fallen in a prior experience. We can’t let the past or the fear of the future hold us back. We have to be the gritty little horse who runs even though they may feel a little pain or have fallen.

Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all of your ways submit to him, and he will make your path straight.”

Proverbs 3:5-6


-Running away: This is usually the road in which leads to many more hardships and frustrations. Even if you are scared and are making baby steps, that is better than completely running away. The barrel racing horses who will not go in the pen receive a No Time. Don’t run away from your passion, your dreams, or goals. God has placed those feelings and emotions in your heart for a purpose. Don’t be the horse who gets a no time for a 4D time is better than no time at all.

“For the Lord did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, love, and self-control.”

2 Timothy 1:7


-Prancing toward the alley: For we all fall short of the glory of God, but this is the horse that I want to be. Take a second to think about the horse who bows his/her chest out and prances toward the alley way. They are confident and ready to run their race. Although they know their job, they don’t know what the ground is like, how big the pattern is, or even what their rider is going to ask of them. Think of how they trust in their rider (God) to help them through the clover leaf. They don’t seem fearful, they appear ready! They trust that their rider will guide them safely around each turn (trial). The horse isn’t able to make a flawless pattern without their rider. Okay, I know some of you may be thinking that some horses can do it without their rider. True, but in this scenario the flawless run with no rider is when God completely takes over in your life. This is when things are happening that are totally out of your control and solely dependent on God, miracles. I want to be that horse who prances down the alley way, ready to take on the challenge. What about you?

Jesus looked at them and said, With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible”.

Matthew 19:26


Trula Churchill of Valentine, Neb. begins her ride during the Barrel Racing competition in the fourth go-round of the 2012 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas on Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012. (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal)



Dear heavenly Father, I come to you today with a grateful heart. I am thankful for the love of horses you have placed in my heart. Even more than that, I am thankful that you have placed such a beautiful animal on this earth for us to enjoy. It amazes me how we can relate barrel racing to our lives. I pray that you will mold and make me into the barrel horse who prances down the alley way, chest bowed out and ready for battle. Condition me Father to trust you in all areas of my life. I don’t want to be the horse who runs away from your path, pursuing my own selfish desires. This life is not about me, it’s about you & building your kingdom. I also don’t want to run backwards,living in the past or fearing my future. You hold my future. You’re the only one who knows what tomorrow holds. Give me peace for tomorrow and help me live in the moment. I thank you for the joys and blessings you have given me. I know I owe this life to you. Show me how or where I can honor you, bless me with the confidence to fulfill the call, and humble me so that it is always about you. I pray that I would have a strong conscious, honoring you in all of my words, my thoughts, and my actions. Use me as a light in the horse community, honoring you completely.

In Christ’s name I pray, Amen.

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In the wise words of Fallon Taylor, ” The world is your alley way, so you better PRANCE!”

You can purchase the PRANCE pillow for $28.00 by following the link below:

May God bless you as you approach your next alley way!

❤ Love ❤

Katie @ the Houlihan Homestead

**COMING UP NEXT: Pork Tenderloin on the grill, and homemaking with Mary Ellen Lawrence!

Hilley Homestead

I am so excited to introduce to you an amazing western homemaker and great friend of mine, Mrs. Gretchen Hilley. You’re going to be blown away at the creativity and vision this cowgirl has. Gretchen manages to keep a gorgeous home while being a mom and a wife of two rambunctious cowboys. On top of that, she’s a full time elementary school teacher. Whew! For all of you teachers, moms, and wives of cowboys, you know how difficult it can be to manage a schedule and keep your homestead running. Sit back and relax! She’s going to spill all of her homemaking secrets and advice, as well as give us a tour of her amazing western palace!

Interview with Gretchen Hilley 

  1. First off tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m on my 13th year of teaching elementary school…

**Enough said 🙂

  1. Whenever you started decorating your new house, what was the first step you took in order to form a vision of what you wanted?

Color. I really thought about a color scheme. Since my big project was chalk painting my kitchen cabinets turquoise the rest of the house needed to flow.


*Turquoise chalk paint can be found on Amazon! This is not her exact color, her color is CC Caldwell Santa Fe Turquoise .

  1. Do you use sites like Pinterest to help you generate ideas? If so, what sites do you use most often?

Yes! Pinterest is the best! However, we need more blogs like yours to pin western inspired homes for decorating ideas!

  1. What room is your favorite and why?                                                                                     Since our house has an open floor plan, the whole bottom of the house is my favorite. We don’t have curtains and the sun shines in the windows all day. It’s cozy, colorful and just a happy place to be.
  1. What would you say is the most important thing to keep in mind while you are in the decorating process?

Have fun and throw the rules out of the window! When we were building our house lots of our friends were building or just finished building as well. We’d stop by their beautiful new homes and the first thing I would notice is that they were all the same. The same things you see on pinterest over and over, the same bathroom cabinets you get at lowes… everyone is safe! Forget about the rules! Grab interesting furniture, make bathroom cabinets out of odd pieces. Have fun!


  1. What is your favorite store to shop at when purchasing home decor items?

Sadly enough, we are lacking in the western decor department here in GA. I’d have to say Hobby Lobby is my go to place for decor. You can usually find lots of rustic pieces and typically at a decent price. Whenever we go out west I’m sure to snatch up anything I love and know I’ll never get a chance to purchase otherwise!


  1. Do you have any tricks or hacks that help you keep your homestead organized/clean?
    I was once told, “There’s a place for everything and everything has its place”. Those are words of wisdom. Just doing a little bit each day will keep your home under control. The fact that we don’t have a TV in the house might help the situation as well! 😉


  1. Can you give us any advice on picking color schemes or themes?
    In the western world I think we can get caught up in everything being too colorful or too blah! If you aren’t careful, you can look around and realize your whole house is barnwood brown! My mom taught me a good lesson with my first house. She said my furniture and decor was so neutral and “blah” so we painted my walls wild colors! In our new home, I knew I wanted fun, turquoise kitchen cabinets, so I kept the walls a neutral color.


Check out the adorable chairs with the back numbers!!!

  1. What is your favorite kitchen item?
    I’m not sure the name of it, but there is this little round knife contraption. The blade is a circle. It rolls… I use it to cut up our frozen pizzas! Haha! No really, I’m not much of a cook, but after reading your first crockpot recipe and how simple it was, I think I’ll try it out!

*This link will send you to Gretchen’s favorite little round knife contraption. 🙂

Western Palace Tour


Cow Canvas Link:

Turquoise Arrow Link

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Hope everyone has enjoyed the Hilley Homestead! Please feel free to comment below if you have any questions about this homestead. Tune in next week for a cowgirl devotions followed by another Houlihan recipe!


Katie @ the Houlihan Homestead