Cross-Dubya’s Caretaker

What’s the first three things people notice when you hand them a business card? According to research by business card designers it’s the logo, name, and title. Like most business cards, the ones for our Cross-Dubya ranch includes those things; along with address and contact info.

I like to tell people “My brand is my brand.” I chose my ranch’s registered brand to be the logo. Not only do I use it for my cattle and my business, but you might have noticed I use it in the marketing for my Christian writing too. When people see it for the first time, they remember it. More than a great ownership symbol on the side of my livestock, it tells the story of our ranch.

To most, the “Cross” is self-explanatory. It represents the most influential human in the history of mankind. Our Lord, Jesus Christ, is the man who died on a cross to ransom us for His Father.

The word “Dubya” (pronounced dub-yah) confuses many; even here in Texas. “Dubya” is how Texans pronounce the letter “W”. Since our last name is Wininger, the Cross-Dubya ranch just made sense in my simple mind. The important thing I want everyone to know about our ranch is right there in its name. At the Cross-Dubya ranch, we put Christ first in everything we do. In every seed we plant, calf we produce, and bale of hay we cut; we do so for God’s glory.

Our names are straightforward, but there’s one thing that makes people look at the card, look at us, glance at the card again, and then ask us the question. For Diane, her job title is “Chief Cook & Cardmaker.” It’s what she does. When we purchased our first home together, we made the deal we honor to this day. Diane is in charge of all things inside the house, I’m in charge of all things outside the house. While she’ll sometimes open gates for me around the ranch, or hold a greasy rag while I tighten something up, mostly, she stays inside our air conditioned home.

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Likewise, my job title defines my position. It’s one word, but it speaks volumes. That word? Some of you may have already guessed, is “Caretaker.” It’s who I am, it’s what I do, and it’s the most amazing conversation starter you could ever imagine. Remember the question I alluded to earlier? Every time I hand someone my business card, I’m asked the same question. “Who owns the ranch?” I smile and state “God. God owns the Cross-Dubya ranch and all that’s on it. I’m just tryin’ to take care of it the best I can until He returns.”

Some of you just let out a breath and commented to yourself about how cheesy that sounds. It might, but it’s the best way I know to have someone invite me to share my testimony for God’s glory with them. I remember the day I made my deal with God and gave this ranch its name. It was a few weeks after we closed on the property and I drove into the northeast pasture near the barn. It wasn’t fenced and had a round pen for the horses. Deep crack covered the late July ground. Where cracks had not yet formed, the ground was covered with every weed imaginable.

As I sat there in the ATV, I thanked God for leading us here. As I prayed, I stated “Father, there’s so much potential here. If you will send me the knowledge needed, resources required, and the strength to do it, I will work to restore this land to all You created it to be.” As I sat in silence, a cool breeze began to stir. I felt my chest tighten; and I listened to this thought reverberating in my head. “For My glory, you must place Me first.” In that moment, the Cross-Dubya ranch was born.

From that day forward, I knew my job was to be this ranch’s caretaker. I’ve learned to take better care of the soil and restore it to its most productive state. God has sent wonderful teachers and mentors to help me learn how to care for all living things here on the ranch. The best lesson of all is my increased reliance on prayer. I’m certain people driving by wonder how crazy that old farmer is when they see me standing out in the middle of a field or pasture with arms raised in praise at the start or end of a day.

When friends and neighbors come to visit, they’re no longer surprised to hear me speaking to each animal by name. They know that if I’m leaning on a fence with my head down to approach in silence. They also know they’re always welcome to join me in prayer.

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I’ve led companies, served as President, Director, and held lots of other job titles in my life. Besides being Diane’s husband, and one of God’s adopted children, the job title I cherish most is Caretaker. For as long as God chooses to leave me here on this special little plot of land I refer to as “God’s Country”, I will do my best to care for the land and all that’s upon it; as caretaker of the blessings He’s given me.

All I do, all I want, all I desire is to give Him the glory due… for all He’s done.

God’s blessings,


28 thoughts on “Cross-Dubya’s Caretaker”

  1. I liked the simplicity of your logo when I first saw it. I like it even better now that I know how you use it to witness to others.

    And this Georgia girl understood dubya from the get-go.

    1. Aww shucks. Somehow I just knew y’all understood me right from the start Ms. Candyce. It always tickles me how many people can’t pronounce something they’ve used all their life. They understand it as soon as they hear it. They just never knew how to spell it. 😀 God’s blessings ma’am.

  2. What a beautiful post, J.D.! I would like to think I can have the same approach to what God has given me. May I hold loosely to my blessings and pour into each one as a servant of Christ only seeking to give Him the glory.

    Peace and grace,

    P.S. I love your cattle brand.

    1. Thank you Ms. Tammy. We like it too ma’am. It’s distinctive; and I love how it becomes a conversation starter. I place bookmarks for my web site (look like the header on my page) at my local Farmer’s Co-Op. I love how so many people pick them up and leave comments for me. Sunday schools, local elementary school teachers, etc. That brand sure gets around. 🙂 For His glory my friend.

  3. J.D., my husband read your post, too. He is not a social media kind of guy…He loved it. We so identify with the things you wrote. I love your heart and I am certain God does too! <3.
    We hope to spend a meal or two with you at Enrich since Mike is coming with me.

    1. I knew I wasn’t alone in this world my friend. I somehow think that me and your Mr. Mike are going to hit it off right away. Am so looking forward to meet all y’all, and so many other writing friends, and Enrich in a few weeks. God’s blessings ma’am. Who’s taking care of the duckies why y’all are away? 🙂 I’ve met “dog sitters”, “pin setters”, and “babtsitters”, but I ain’t never met a “Duck-Sitter” before.

  4. J.D., your passion for the Lord is evident in everything you do, and I know that I for one am so inspired by that with the words you pen. Your mindset that it all belongs to Him and you are the caretaker is impactful, and I am sure you are a witness for all that you come in contact with. May He continue to bless your sweet ranch, as well as you and your wife!

    1. I need extra insulin after all that sweetness Ms. Julie. Thank you so much ma’am. I share these with my wife Diane; and often tell her “I sure hope God continues to make me into the man these folks think He already has.” You are too kind dear friend. Thank you; and God’s blessings.

    1. Much more kindness than I deserve Ms. Melissa. Thank you ma’am. I only hoped people would understand how to pronounce our ranch’s name and they would understand how important God is in my family’s life. Somehow, I think God had other plans. Thank you ma’am; and God’s blessings.

  5. J.D., I loved this post. First, it made me think of Wendell Berry’s writings about the caretaking of the land. Second, Genesis 2:15 says, “The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to WORK it and KEEP it.” Those 2 verbs are so rich in Hebrew.
    WORK, cultivate, serve, dress, take care of, tend it, minister.
    KEEP, guard, protect, watch over, celebrate, do
    Same verbs are used in Numbers 3:7 & 8 to describe what the priests were to do in the tabernacle. There’s a deep connection there. Blessings on you & your work.

    1. WOW! To even be thought of in the same breath as Mr. Berry. What a blessing Ms. Dottie. Thank you so much ma’am. I have a painting in my workshop office that reads “And on the 8th day God looked down on his planned paradise and said ‘I need a caretaker”, so God made a farmer.” I try my best to live those words ma’am, as do many around he here in the Red River Valley. God’s blessings; and thank you again for such kind words ma’am.

    1. Such sweetness from such a tiny little soul Ms. Robin. Thank you so much for blessing me today ma’am. Heard you and Mr. James are doing well. Answered prayers. God’s blessings little lady.

  6. I’m so glad you told Cross-Dubya’s story. I was a bit unsure about the “dubya” but it makes perfect sense now. (I knew dubya = W; I just didn’t know what it stood for.) Nonetheless, your title of caretaker suits you well. Your post warmed my heart. I could practically feel the sincerity and sacrifice of praise leap off the page. I pray the Lord not only enables your care of the land and livestock but that He richly blesses it double-fold.

    1. Awww… thanks Ms. Karen. That means the world coming from you ma’am. Am so glad you enjoyed it ma’am. Isn’t it wonderful when we become attuned to all that God does in our lives? Can’t speak for others, but it sure does make the joy easier to maintain. 🙂

    1. Well Mr. Jim; I sure preshate y’all for sayin’ that. I’m proud as punch you can write Suthin’ too. I especially glad you enjoyed it sir. Haven’t seen anything new come across on the Vine and Fig blogspot in a week or so. Did I do something wrong perhaps? Please reach out and let me know sir; I greatly enjoy your perspectives and your writing.

  7. J.D., both your business card and your perspective here are both amazing! How interesting to hear the story behind the ranch you are a caretaker for :-). “Cross-Dubya” is definitely a great name and would spark a wonderful conversation. I do desire to continually evaluate my part in God’s kingdom and what He’s given me to take care of.

    1. Am so glad you enjoyed Ms. Karen. It always fascinates me when people stop me in parking lots, etc. and ask me about the name of our ranch and the brand. I have it on the back window of my pickup, on my trailers, etc. It draws attention; to Him I pray. God’s blessings ma’am.

  8. I love your heart that shines through your words. Thank you for sharing. Love hearing the history of your place.

    1. Thank you so much Ms. PJ. I love sharing about how God has helped me through all this. I never get tired of sharing how gracious and merciful He is; even to folks like me.

  9. J.D. , you challenged me today to survey all I have and all I do for the purpose of ensuring that each of God’s blessings are used for His glory. Each of us is indeed a caretaker for His gifts. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful example in the way you and Diane live.

    1. I’m both honored and humbled by your words Ms. Jeannie. Diane and I simply try to live the way we believe God has led us. I can’t begin to tell you the number of times we’ve been asked “Why did you come to Cooper, TX of all places?” Our answer has always been “Because this is where God led us.” Of course, since we’re in Texas we’re obliged to add “We got here as soon as we could.” That always brings a smile and instance acceptance. Thank you so much for your kindness ma’am.

    1. Am glad you enjoyed the post Ms. LuAnn. I’d be honored for you, or anyone else for that matter, to use that word to refer to yourselves or others. I believe God wants each of us to be “Caretakers.” Some, of His land. Some, of His blessings. All of us for His most highly treasured possession, His flock. God’s blessings ma’am. You and your Mr. Kenn are certainly God’s caretakers also.

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