managing expectations with succulents

A house is not home unless you have flowers on the porch.

This statement became part of my life when I moved to Oklahoma City in 2010, when adulting seemed impossible. 

Because in my experience weekend warrior happenings are always followed natural disaster happenings, this year I kept things in perspective.


Goal: use the decorate pot gifted to me by my mom when I joined the Oklahoma Pork Council team.

Simple enough.

After a gym session (working on that undergrad fitness level, y'all.), I headed straight for my happy place - Home Depot. Succulents, in my mind, need less work and fit right in Texas. Please, Lord, let this be true.

I lack self control.

There, I said it.

I couldn't stop at one pot. The little pig, who we shall all call Kevin, needed a friend. 


Build roots, they say.

So far this year, I have been away from home 35 days. Per our #TeamHaney shared calendar, Travis has been out of town 36 days. Basically, 25.36 percent of 2015 I have lived out of a suitcase.

That’s not too bad, right?  

Since we’re data nerding here, when referencing said calendar there have been 61 days this year we haven’t seen each other, which relates to 44.2 percent. 

Only 9 days overlapped, which means for only 9 days did we need to call on our trusty dog sitter. 

Build roots, they – the fictional people in my head – say.

(insert laughter)

My life is organized chaos. If not for the ability to just go with it we’d be in a world of hurt.

A few things keeping my life sane:

  1. Our church
    Man, they get us. We’ve found the most loving and caring group of humans in Austin. You rock, Gateway.
  2. Shared calendar.
    Travis caved mostly because he couldn’t plan adventures not knowing which state I might be in.
  3. ClassPass
    Exercise helps manage stress. Class pass allows me to jump from yoga studio to barre class to pilates classes without paying the extreme Austin prices. 
  4. Adventures
    Although I test as an extrovert, I absolutely need an introvert night at least once a week; however, if my husband wants to see Dave Matthews on school night I just say yes. Because, we’re working against the 44.2 percent, man. 

We saw DMB on a school night

Last Wednesday, we ventured to the Austin360 Amphitheater for Dave's first concert in his 2015 tour. Although I only know a handful of songs, I can appreciate a break in the storm - literally - and live music. 

Since I'm allotted one photo per year, this is as close to proof that we were at the concert you'll get. Related: fingers crossed he still doesn't read RGU. The posting of these photos would be highly frowned upon. 


PTO Request: to Look at Cattle

As an adult, the most precious commodity in your* professional life is PTO.

How many hours do you accumulate?
How many roll over?
How many weddings are this year?
Baby showers?
Save a few for a yet-to-be-named virus to knock you off your tracks.
Do you need a travel day for Thanksgiving?
Don’t forget the 10-year high school reunion.

To be fair, these questions are typically reserved for those who leave all that is comfortable of hometown living. Read as: the Haneys. With my family in Oklahoma and Indiana, his in Tennessee and our zip code in Texas – my PTO is as fiercely guarded as the gold in Fort Knox.

Friday, I cashed in the first of my 2015 PTO allocation.

My family's ranch has taken a new spin since I left the Rural Route 3** property. Cliff’s notes: my family is an off-ranch operator for a certain Texas ranch. Because of this, you may have consumed Akaushi beef that hit the ground in Oklahoma.

As a natural inquisitive human, I reached out to the executive director of the American Akaushi Association, who happens to be an Oklahoma State alumnus. Questions. I had so many questions. 

Smiling the smile of a six-year-old child,  I drove an hour southeast of Austin driving against the grain of early-morning traffic. 

Following the curves of the dirt roads, mud splashing on my car, Conway on the radio it occurred to me how quickly I can slip into the urban of my life. Too quickly.

That changed as I drove through the ranch gate.

As I sipped my black coffee, history, industry tidbits and thoughts on consumer research were swapped over a rustic, kitchen table. Our conversation paused intermittently to gaze out to the front pasture. The lush vegetation and overflowing waterways were a drastic comparison to the drought-ridden areas of the country.  

I pulled up the hood on my NorthFace rain gear and we headed to the truck.

With each pasture, I learned more about the Akaushi history in the United States.

With each turn, I was once again reassured the American rancher is doing the absolute best in animal care, nutrition and sustainability.

With each conversation topic, my soul became more grateful for the opportunity to work as a communicator in the agricultural industry.

With each 'grammable moment, I realized I should use more PTO days.


** Per the 911 address system, Rural Route 3 Box 175 has been replaced by a series of characters that I can’t seem to remember. 

What's your kitchen personality?

My first full-time paid position post-graduation took me to downtown Oklahoma City where I promoted Oklahoma’s pork farmers. Although checkoff programs can be a hot button issues for some (looking at you non-internet using Grandpa Compton…), I was grateful promote the state as a whole instead of one specific farmer. The impact was greater.

Commodity research and promotion programs, also known as checkoff programs, are established under Federal law at the request of their industries. Checkoff programs are funded by the industries themselves, with the goal to increase the success of the businesses and farmers that produce and sell certain commodities.

These programs allow farmers, ranchers and other stakeholders to pool their funds and develop a coordinated program of research, promotion and consumer information to improve, maintain and develop markets for their products. They also yield many additional benefits for public health and nutrition, local and global economies, as well as humanitarian efforts.
— USDA Agricultural Marketing Service

In that first position I learned to lean in before leaning in was a buzzword. My boss[man] pushed me to do more by pretty much throwing me to the ocean and seeing if I was going to sink or swim.

I also learned to work with like-minded humans in similar positions in other states. Queue the most significant professional relationships of my career.

When I joined Charleston|Orwig I tapped those friendships and professional networks because promoting hog farmers is important to me. I’ve seen firsthand how they care for their animals and how their presence in rural America makes communities richer by their contributions to programs and initiatives.

Also, bacon. 

#PinkPork Pinterest Sweepstakes

How can you truly encompass all that is great about perfectly-cooked pork? By perfectly-cooked pork I mean pork that is cooked to 145° F before removed from heat and allowed to rest for three minutes before slicing. Cooking to 145° results in tender, juicy pork that has a blush of pink in the center. (After 5 years, I have this elevator speech on lock.)

Let's cut to the chase. Have you ever wondered what type of kitchen you would be if you were to be a kitchen? Sure you have! Well, you would if a quiz were to exist on site like Buzzfeed. 

It's simple. Take the quiz, pin your results and enter the sweepstakes. For every entry, Ohio's hog farmers are donating one meal of pork to a local food back (up to 25,000 meals!). 

Personality results

I'm a sucker for personality quizzes and assessments. I'm ENTP, Di, Orange and now a rustic kitchen. 

Rustic interiors have a sense of connection to the past that's hard to resist. Which is good, considering that heritage is important to you and you find unique ways to incorporate family heirlooms into your everyday life.
The aroma of Apricot-Glazed Ham radiates from your oven, bouncing from the exposed beams. This, of course, causes your heart palpitations. The love affair you carry on with dinner is evident in each and every serving, filled with love, passion and commitment.

recipe: apricot glazed ham (serves 20)

Not only do you help make a donation to a local food bank and learn about your personality you also receive a corresponding recipe. 

5 pounds full cooked whole boneless ham
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
2/3 cup apricot nectar
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Place ham on rack in a shallow roasting pan. Bake, uncovered, in a 325°F oven for 1-1/4 hours or until meat thermometer registers 140°F (about 15 - 18 minutes per pound). 

For the glaze, in a small saucepan combine brown sugar, cornstarch, nutmeg and cloves. Stir in apricot nectar and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat until thickened and bubbly, stirring constantly.

Brush ham with glaze. Continue baking 15 - 20 minutes more, brushing occasionally with glaze. 

Full Transparency

I worked with Ohio Pork Council on behalf of Charleston|Orwig for this project. I gave this project real-estate on Rural Gone Urban because of the impact the pork industry has made in my professional career. I was in no way encouraged or compensated for this blog post. Although, I wouldn't mind if someone sent me a gift card to buy a few pounds of bacon. 

You're My Superhero.

How great is this iStock photo? So many of y'all have shared this post I thought I'd give you an image to help populate those link previews. :-)

How great is this iStock photo? So many of y'all have shared this post I thought I'd give you an image to help populate those link previews. :-)

In a world where being busy earns a badge of honor, I’ve found myself striving to be the first person at the office, the last person to leave and the person sending emails on the weekend, which, by the way, is a Millennial’s way of saying, “look! I’m working on the weekend!”

I’m the girl using app after app to organize my life often telling my husband, “Did you put it on the shared calendar?” Because heaven forbid something in life happens that isn’t planned and documented on a Google calendar. 

Try as I might, I can’t turn off work and turn on life when I leave the office. No such switch exists. There is only one 24-hour compartment: life that includes work. It’s blended – good or bad. 

After set work hours, I spend my evenings preparing for upcoming projects and staying on top of industry news and current events (thank the sweet stars for you, theSkimm). 

Those are in addition to attempting – unsuccessfully, I might add – to see the inside of the gym three to four times a week, talk to my parents, at least one aunt, my sister, friends comprising at least seven states, have real conversations with my husband, take the dog for a few walks and make new friends in Austin.

To be fair, for me – in this stage of life – working significant amounts is the only way I’ve been able to keep my to-do list from depriving me of oxygen. This is what you’re supposed to do in this stage of life, I tell myself. Pay your dues. 


Maybe I see the mom balancing work, leadership roles, her marriage and children Instagramming her perfect marketing-term-of-the-month dinners.

I see emerging career leaders knocking down walls, being overly-prepared for meetings and quoting scholarly articles and case studies released within the past 48 hours.  

Everything looks so perfect from the outside. I see you nodding your head, reader. It’s just smoke and mirrors, they must be struggling like the rest of us, but are they? 

While filling my soul with today’s sermon, my mind was anywhere else. I was creating to-do lists, referencing my short-term career goals and analyzing my current work performance.

In that moment I realized I am not a superhero. I cannot – and will not – be able to do it all. 

I want to be known as the woman who is deliberate with her time – not busy.
I want to be successful at work – and at home.
I want the moon.

Most of all, I want all women to know you don’t have to be a superhero. Superhero mom most likely has a village to help and support her. An incredible, selfless village. Emerging career leaders are making sacrifices and feel uncertain about their decisions – just like you. 

You’re good enough.
You’re making waves and changing lives.
You’re my superhero.