I am sitting in the front room of the farm house, finishing my second cup of coffee. I am contemplating having a third cup, a rarity. This room used to be a porch, once upon a time. At some point, it was screened in and then fully enclosed and incorporated into the house. It still feels like a porch to me with its slightly sunken floor.
I have been up for a few hours now. I have a whole list of things I need to do today and I need to get cracking before it gets too hot. The schedules around here revolve around the heat of the day and how to avoid it. That usually for me means getting a terrible case of cabin fever come mid afternoon and then having a hard time falling asleep at night. Luckily for me, I have had no troubles getting to sleep and staying asleep the last few nights.
I use this sleep tracking app on my phone that tracks my sleep cycles and utilizes that information to nicely and gently wake you up in the optimum window and grade your sleep. I apparently got a perfect score of 100% quality of sleep last night. As I sit here and watch the world long past it has woken up, it does not feel like I had the best quality of sleep.
August has apparently always been an extremely reflective and anticipatory time for me. I would guess that has something to do with the heat here in Texas and perhaps most Texans feel this way. This is usually the hottest month. Although this year is a little different in that June and July were quite hot and I think some records were even broken.
Anyway, come August I am usually looking forward to fall and everything that brings. I have written about this before. I am also apparently thinking about different anniversaries. I have also written about this before. Both good and bad. On this particular day, and for weeks now (really every day of the last year), I am thinking about H.
I really have no grand thoughts or revelations for you today. I don’t even really want to go there. On another day I will be back to that super positive person and have better things to say. Life is just hard sometimes. You just crack on. That is it. That is the secret. You do the chores. You cross one thing off the list and do it again tomorrow. If that is all you can do, that is ok. You did it. You won. It changes every day, that is how grief works. I take great comfort in days when things happen and I have no choice but to just get it done. No thinking. Just doing. When I got here to the farm Thursday night, I discovered when I woke up that our bull had found his way next door. I called him a few choice words when he gave me some trouble, but I eventually got him back without too much hardship…and a wasp sting. I then spent some hours just going down the fence line fixing every spot that looked inviting to his wanderlust. I played music and got lost in the monotony and sweat. I reveled in having that sweat stream into my eyes. Bring it on, I said. I was tired by the end of it and looked forward to being sore.
I will say this. It is all for a reason. There is always the light. Focus on that while you do your one thing.
You do not have to make excuses to do what you want to do.
Just some Monday morning coffee musings. Or rather, I actually thought of it on Saturday while riding, but who is counting. Your any day AHAmoment.
You do not have to make excuses to just stroll around from shade tree to shade tree in the early morning summer breeze while letting your horse take bites of grass. To watch Merle run. To enjoy a big herd of deer off in the distance. To watch the fish in the pond. You don’t always have to ‘work.’
We both had the same idea about what we wanted to do. The difference was, Lito was not worried about making excuses.
I found myself trying to justify what we were doing on our ride. Justify, to myself I suppose. Sounds silly. I didn’t even realize I was doing it until the conscious thought came forward that I don’t have to do that. I don’t have to or need to make excuses for this.
You don’t have to make excuses to watch a movie or read a book. To treat yourself to something. To a nice lunch on your own just because. To rearrange your furniture. To sleep in. Or. To wake up early to have an extra cup of coffee. Or go to bed early. To take a trip. To have a lie down in the shade of a tree. To take a bike ride. To not spend your time with people that do not value you or do not make you feel comfortable. Or say no to what you don’t want. You name it.
Have I done this bit before? Sorry, not sorry if I have!
But, seriously. It has been a long time! Time is funny that way, as I am sure you are tired of hearing me say.
Side note, being the ‘youngster’ that I am, I used to live in this world without ever really understanding why Willie Nelson is as popular as he is. I know, crazy, right? See what I did there? Anyway, hear me out. I just really didn’t. He never seemed to really sing in the songs that got played on the radio. Well, one day, I was driving our old farm suburban, affectionately named The Dun, down the road that leads to the farm. Through the lovely little bend that has the shady hollow under a grove of oak trees. There I was, driving along, listening to the local radio station croon a velvety song out of the radio my Pops installed one afternoon in the driveway of the Long Shadow house where I grew up. I thought to myself, “Dang. Who is that? I know who that is, but I don’t really.” I tried to soak up the rest of the song while I anxiously awaited the DJ’s announcement to my ignorant ears. Once I learned that it was the great Willie Nelson singing to me, I spent the next week large amount of time doing a deep dive into his whole discography, starting at the beginning. Suffice it to say, I get it now. I really get it.
Did I already tell you that story?
Anyhoo! How are you? How have you been?! Tell me!
How am I doing? We are doing more than fine! The month of May (and, uh, the beginning of June too!) has been gloriously busy. We went on some adventures in our spare time while also slowing down and soaking up some personal time.
I looked at the forecast today and it looks like the summer heat has plans to show up with a bang. There is one of those at every party it seems.
Take a ride with us and have a look at what we have been up to. To set the mood, here is our drive soundtrack.
Mr. Dirty Toes Merle was a Merle and got into…stuff. He was happy and proud about it.
We took a walk and picked wild dewberries. They got baked into a pie by Aunt M for Mother’s day. I did not get around to a second pick to bake into muffins. We will get to that next year!
We watched some sunsets. There is nothing like that Texas sky, I tell you! Prove me wrong.
It does not matter where you are standing, it just strikes you.
We have obviously been putting in some saddle time. We have mostly been slowing down and taking it easy. Enjoying the farm. The breeze in our hair. The blue sky. Green grass. Colorful wildflowers before the mowing.
My Lito Man has the prettiest ears!
We also had sunny afternoons where we were so sleepy we could not keep our eyes open! He has been looking more relaxed lately. More grown up. More round. I like it.
I sometimes wonder where this man horse came from. His dam, Cheetah, also turned 18 a couple weeks ago! With each passing day and year, I am enjoying all my time with her and her colt that she gave me.
We celebrated another anniversary. I miss My Darcy Girl every day. Some days, I shove the images and memories to the back and pick something else up after I pick myself up from the kick in the gut. But some days, I find myself looking for her light in different places. Some times I make myself do it. I could not be more blessed to have Merley Bob. He really and truly is a gift beyond measure in addition to unconditional love.
We celebrated life and love and family and memories by going fishing. We kept a couple dinners worth and released the rest while being glad at the number of young fish we saw building our fishery back up. Are not my parents the best?!
We watched the sunrise while the birds flew.
We felt the breeze in our hair some more. It has been very breezy this spring!
We rode some more and watched a storm come in! We even got a little bit of rain. Every little bit helps to grow the grass and get us through. It has been very dry here.
A different kind of magnificent painting.
We went to the beach and relaxed this past weekend! As cliché as it may sound, I do love a long walk on the beach, especially at sunrise with my pup. The water was…was…from somewhere else? I really do not have the words. Our beach does not usually look like this. I almost felt like we were in a different country.
It was nice to sit and truly relax without a thought of what needed to be done.
Merle loves long walks on the beach too!
We drove back to town early yesterday morning, wonderfully tired. I will not lie, it was a little difficult to get out of bed this morning! That could also have something to do with deciding to assemble a fountain for my patio at my usual bed time.
I find myself in this season, blissfully grateful and saying thank you. I once thought that I was not very good a praying and someone told me I was wrong. That I was indeed actually more than OK at it. It was like that time I said I was lucky and someone corrected me and said I was blessed.
“Naw I ain’t too good at prayin’ But thanks for everything”
Thanks for everything. Amen! It is a simple as that.
Thank you, dear readers, for being you and being here. Walk in love and have a great day!
It is on my heart this morning to tell you a little something today.
We have talked about taking a moment several times over the years. A minute. A breath. With the little things and the big things.
Take a moment this fine Friday, spring morning with the green grass growing and the wild flowers growing and the fresh pecan tree leaves against the morning sky to say a little prayer. Or three.
A prayer of thanksgiving for being alive and breathing. For being where you are and looking where you are going. For the lessons you have learned and have aided to teach.
A prayer for God’s will to be done. You and I both know that if things had gone our way, oh boy, we would not actually be where we are today on the path we were meant to walk. How narrow our world would be!
A prayer for you and yours. For whatever it may be today. To be vulnerable, brave, and strong. For a little baby to find a healthy home and shelter, protected to grow big and strong. To feel, see, and hear the Spirit as you take the next step without fear. To take each others’ hands and do it together in love. To fly free without pain, such as a butterfly does.
It is a glorious thing. Everything is so pretty! And fascinating.
I have both the green and some blue for you.
First the blue.
This past Sunday, the sky was almost impossibly blue. There was a slight breeze. The ruffling kind. It was a spring cleaning kind of day. Lito and I rode with friends on Saturday and everyone wanted to bask in the warmth of the bright sun on Sunday. So, that is what happened. I mucked the barn out and cleaned the feed room before joining the horses in the sun with a shedding blade. Everyone lost a lot of hair that day!
There is just nothing like that Texas sky, no matter what dime of day or year.
Now, for the green and your inspirational poster.
Do you see that there?
Yes, it is more than a bit in shambles. Yes, I have to do something about those leaves.
But, do you see all that green there? Those are volunteer plants.
You know the kind. The kind that just grows up in the most seemingly impossible and interesting of places without you doing a single thing. In a tree stump. A crack in the side walk. On a brick wall. Or, in this case, a seemingly barren pot.
You see, right before the covid shut down, I took some time to spruce my patio up a bit. Why not? Anyway, I planted some herbs! I had three pots at the time, the two you can see and the one in in a broken heap on the bottom shelf. I watered and talked to them hoping they would flourish.
Well long story short, without sufficient sun (thanks to a lovely large oak tree that provides all those leaves) and water (the before mentioned shut down during which I lived at the farm) my little herbs took a turn for the worse and did not make it.
My fresh pots turned to just dirt.
Over time, I had some volunteer plants take up residence. “How lovely,” I thought and I would water them when I thought of it and enjoyed them being there just because.
Then one day, a certain shade of green and texture caught my eye. Do you see that herb?
Yes, that there would be sage!
I had sage in that pot once upon a time two years ago! And what do you know, here it is again!
I have just a little something, something for you.
If you forget something, just take a little moment, a little breath, to retrace your steps, or thoughts as it were. It will come back to you! Almost like magic.
And like my Grandmother, and likely my mother too, has always said, “If it is important, it will come back to you.” There is truth to that to be sure, but you can maybe help it along with just a little retracing.
This is true for a little thought and for life in general.
If you have forgotten where you are going, take a little moment (or several) and a breath (…or several…), and retrace your steps. Remember where you came from. That is how you got to where you are now. It will help you to see how far you have come and to see where you need to go from here. Or at least the next step! It is OK to slow down. It will also strengthen your foundation!
Walk in love, dear readers! Take today to remember how far you have come and to enjoy the journey!
Is winter over yet? I thought it was with the last cold front, but apparently that is not the case. I jinxed it when I went so far as to say, “winter is over! This is it!.” You would think I would know better by now. Yet, here we are in another freeze.
That is not really the point of this post though. In truth, today I do not really have a point. This time of year I am just so ready for the cold to be over that my brain does not really move on to much else. I think if you have been around here for a little while, I think this time of year is when I post the least. I am so ready for sun, warmth, daylight, and more riding. I will not say anything more about whether or not winter is locking up for the season, but I do know it is really starting to green up and the daylight changes tonight!
All of that said, you might find it funny that I am currently sitting on the patio of a restaurant, by a river, in 33 deg F weather. I have a problem. It is just so pretty. I almost can not feel my fingertips as I write. There is a slight breeze with ducks playing in the water. The sun is just breaching around the buildings. The sky is blue and the high is supposed to be above 60 today. However this is a vacation of sorts. I am out of town with my family for my little cousin’s wedding. It may be cold, but it will be stunning.
It reminds me of a breakfast on a patio I had in Paris, France, watching the passers by.
Coffee and a mimosa brunch are in order for sure. I just poured a fresh, steaming cup. In the natural way of things, I have been up for over an hour waiting for my family to wake up and get moving. This is normally my favorite time to write to you! Since they are related to me, I just got a message that half of them are up and coming down, so I might have to leave for a minute.
Anyway, I just want to remind everyone to take a breath and love themselves. Forgive yourself and those around you.
It is interesting being out in public. Especially driving. People are all in such a rush and a hurry with seemingly no regard for anyone or anything else. Slow down. Take a breath. Try not to cut people off in your haste and hurry. That is how you hurt people and damage things. Dramatic, I know, but it is truth.
I am just reminding myself and all of you, dear readers, to slow down. Take a breath and smell the roses! Life is so very short. You will get there when you get there. Try to brighten the world with the steps you take. Smile at people. Wave when you change lanes.
We have forgotten how to be neighbors. I think that is the point.
We are all together in this world. If you are late, you’re late, that is OK. You will get there when you get there, but don’t make others late.
I think that is all for today. I had much more to say, but in another natural way of things, they have all left me as I enjoy the beauty around me. Be happy dear readers. Enjoy who is around you and what you have today.
As always, walk in love, dear readers. I will be back soon!
Did I actually find this song last night while watching the new season of Sweet Magnolias on Netflix? Yes, I absolutely did. You can judge me all you want. I had to rewind the show so I could figure out what the song was. I listened to it while driving into work this morning. Over and over. Very, very loudly. Did I cry in my car? Yes, I did. And for a lot of reasons.
Validation. This is what it feels like. It is real. I am not the only one.
There is something about driving and listening to music, I swear. I did not even know the name of the album was Crying in Cars. I can not make this stuff up and neither could you. I was actually wondering while I was driving what the music video would be like for this song if it had one. Music videos are a funny thing to me and I would think it would be very hard to do. It would be hard to not paint the picture for every listener and have to put the song in a box because so many songs are applicable to a myriad of life situations. I was thinking the music video for this song should be the singer driving and crying. And hitting her steering wheel. Maybe pulling over because she is finally overcome. Then I find out what the name of the album is.
I am unfolding I am not holding on Shattered in pieces I am the broken one If you only knew the chaos inside my head Wish that I could run but I’m just not ready yet
Just let me hurt a little longer I’m in a war with no armour Need to cry an ocean before I’m stronger Just let me hurt a little longer Just let me hurt a little longer
Don’t need a rescue Don’t want a lifeline I need to crumble Cannot save me this time Used to think that being brave just meant moving on Now I sink into the pain until it’s all gonе
Just let me hurt a little longеr (Longer) I’m in a war with no armour (Armour) Need to cry an ocean before I’m stronger (Stronger) Just let me hurt a little longer (Longer) Just let me hurt a little longer (Longer)
Heart is in stitches I burned all my bridges I’m at the end of my rope My stomach is twisted I can’t resist it Don’t know where else to go, so Just let me hurt a little longer I’m in a war with no armour
Just let me hurt a little longer (Longer) I’m in a war with no armour (Armour) Need to cry an ocean before I’m stronger (Stronger) Just let me hurt a little longer (Longer) Just let me hurt a little longer (Longer) Just let me hurt a little longer
Take your time. Let it in. You have to go through it. Is it bloody hard? Absolutely. But it is the only way.
…Or, ‘That Time My Photos Almost Broke The Blog.’ This one is pretty apt as it has taken quite a bit of time to get all of these up and I was worried I was going to lose the draft from crashing! As in, it did crash at one point.
If you follow all the goings-ons on Instagram and Facebook, you probably saw (a little while ago now) some of the play by play action of our trip, but I did not show everything! It has been crazy busy over here ever since I got back…so here we are looking back at my amazing trip. Texas is currently doing crazy winter things down here and I am sitting here with my second cup of coffee trying to get warm after feeding, watering, and mucking. We had frozen in shards falling from the sky yesterday and it is still stuck to the ground, fences, and deck. I am not going to lie, I have been having flash backs to last year’s winter-pocalypse. Anyway, enough of that. Let us dream of a tropical paradise by horseback, shall we?
Here is the thing. I know I have shared this before, but life is about taking advantage of the opportunities that come your way. You have no way of knowing what will still be available or what will happen tomorrow, in a week, next year, or five years from now. I have been kicking myself ever since Cousin A and R moved back to the states from Germany. Lost opportunity!
I love to travel and want to do more of that and experience local life, food, drink, and music. I love to ride horses and I want to not only do more of that, but I want to do it everywhere I go.
So, when Aunt M said to me, “Hey, I am going to visit K and B and go whale watching, you should come,” I quickly found myself saying, “You know what, I really should. Let us do it.” That is how the ‘plenty more huger’ Hawaiian adventure was hatched.
You see, K and B live on Maui and have for many years. K and B are my Uncle K and Aunt B, Aunt M and my Pops‘ Brother and Sister in Law. I had been to Hawaii once before many years ago as a kid with my family to visit and I basically only remember bits and pieces. They have always been so generous in always having their home open to family and friends for a visit. They also have this very close friend, L, who has horses on the island. Over the last few years hearing about K and B’s niece that loves to ride horses, L has told them several times that if I ever make it out for a visit, she would take me riding. Now, people say that kind of stuff all the time. I won’t lie, I have found myself doing it too. People do not always mean it, but every time I would talk with K and B, they would tell me about L and her horses and how she will take me riding.
I got to thinking, how many times does not only the offer of a place to stay, but also the offer to ride have to be made and not taken advantage of for me to come out the dummy? No more times, that is the answer! Once I committed, I quickly went and sent L a Facebook message so we could get to planning.
That is basically the back story. I wanted to ride and, well, do all the things and Aunt M wanted to see whales and the volcano. So, we planned for all of that!
We will skip over the Covid frenzy part of traveling and move straight on to the fun. While it may appear that fun was had all the way from conception to the time we landed upon our return, I will not lie and say that I was still very concerned and reserved until the moment we were on the last leg of our journey from Honolulu to Maui. I was very worried about not being granted entrance to Hawaii because of Covid. Blessedly, all that worry was for not….what is that I have said many times before about worrying for not? Something about a bunch of wasted energy?! Yes, that.
Anyway, I worried for not and enjoyed a mimosa with my breakfast while Aunt M and I waited to board the plane departing Houston.
After we boarded the plane, we then turn ourselves around and deplaned to keep things interesting. They said there was some mechanical problem. There was also a large connecting flight from somewhere that was delayed. And, I suppose, there is also Covid. This gave me time for another mimosa back in the airport! We ended up getting a new plane and were finally on our way.
With all the ‘keeping things interesting’ in our flights, we ended up being quite delayed. I do not even remember when we were originally supposed to land, I think 4 PM, but we did not get to K and B’s house until close to midnight.
All was quickly forgotten with local takeout at home followed by the first sunrise, a hot cup of coffee on the deck, and the first ride of the trip later that morning.
So, ya, the first ride. Um. I had never met L in person. We became Facebook friends when I knew I was coming. We messaged some back and forth about scheduling and experience, etc. I met her that morning when B dropped me at the driveway of her house.
But. She took me riding at Peahi. Just, you know, to casually view Jaws from up on the cliff horseback. No. Big. Deal.
Epic does not even touch the experience. Pictures also do not do it justice.
I mean. “Welcome to Hawaii,” L said with a big smile. I mean, is that Hawaiian for, “Hold my beer?”
I rode a lovely bay paint mare named Dreamer and she seemed to have as much fun as me. I felt somewhat like a kid in a candy store. I had already had this idea that I want to build all my travel around riding, and this ride just pretty much cemented that. If you can not ride there, I am just not so sure I want to go there. Horses are pretty cool in that way though, they are entrenched in society and human history, they are almost everywhere!
The waves were up and the pictures just do not show it. We could literally see the little ant sized surfers on the crazy waves.
To say L and I got on well would be an understatement. We are just two crazy little horse girls on the inside. The age difference meant nothing. When M and K picked me up after riding, M said we were both just beaming and I am not one bit surprised.
Driving around after the ride, I was just so struck by how scenic and dynamic this place is. Both the landscape and the weather. I was fascinated.
The crazy thing is, many views made me think of Ireland. My next place to go is either Ireland or New Zealand.
We all cooked dinner together at the house a lot so we could enjoy the sunsets on the deck. One does not have to twist my arm to do and enjoy that.
The arc of the sun this time of year from the house is amazing as it rises and sets symmetrically over the mountain.
For the second ride, L wanted me to try her young horse Carino, which means sweetheart. A super cute four year old bay, polo bred gelding. We just had a relaxed time doing horse things. Grooming, talking, riding. It was off and on raining while we were playing and it did not matter. We were just enjoying being able to ride and enjoy each other and horses and the scenery. I swear, you can see the ocean from pretty much everywhere. I suppose logically, that is not really a surprise, but it was kind of a surprise to me. Or, maybe just more fascination.
We had picnic lunches on the beach with wine while the whales blew in the distance.
We went on a Humpback whale watch boat with the Pacific Whale Foundation. Stop now if you are looking for a picture of a whale and just go google it or something. While we did see many whales, we chose not to waste our watching trying to take pictures of them. The pictures are in my memory! In real life, most of the whale action was far enough away to just not be worth the shutter click. We just did not want to miss anything and take away from the experience by trying to catch it on the camera. It really was super exciting though. We were in the moment and all had fun. It was fun to see kids and adults alike act like kids, me included, the minute we saw a whale. And, goodness, the views. I did snap some pics of the view. That evening’s sunset was enjoyed on the boat surrounded by whales.
They do call it the rainbow state and I did see one little piece of a rainbow. Better than none!
On another ride L took me to ride with one of her friends at this sustainable farm. Again with the ocean view! We also saw a couple NeNe, the Hawaiian state bird. It is some level of endangered or was? They have one mate and breed for life. Anyway, it is apparently a big deal to see one. On this day we saw two! I rode Carino again and L said she wanted me to ride him the rest of my visit!
We went on a dinner cruise with Champaign and cocktails being serenaded by whales, you know, no big deal. The whales were literally right by the boat.
Uncle K and I hiked some of the crater together…and we saw A WHOLE FAMILY OF NENE. An adult breeding pair and two very small goslings. You can not really see the babies in the pictures, but trust me, they were there.
After the hike, we picked up Aunt M and enjoyed a wine flight tasting at the vineyard. Then L and I had another relaxed horse afternoon. It is just a jungle everywhere!
Another beautiful sunrise. Sitting on the deck watching the sun never got old. That will never change no matter where I am.
I am not really quite sure what I loved most about this trip. Well, obviously the riding, but our day trip to the big island to visit the volcano was pretty dang, um, epic. What other word is there? It was a bucket list item for Aunt M. We hopped on a commuter plane for a day trip. It was a long day, but boy it was something. We could see whales playing from the sky. We saw the steam and vents. We drove the crater and all the way to the coast through the old lava flows. We saw another breeding pair of NeNe! We watched the sunset and the reflection of the lava on the steam with cocktails and dinner. No big deal. The red glow in the darkness around the last of the sunset reminded me of a pit fire here in Texas.
I tried to take pictures of our flight back to Maui that night, but they did not turn out. The moon was almost full and you could see the waves on the shore of Maui as we were flying.
We went to a luau in Lahaina and watched the sun set there.
On our last ride, we rode the pineapple fields. I was being silly apparently and did not take an actual picture of said pineapples in the fields. Oops. I was distracted because it smelled like pineapples and of the view up ahead.
We went for a lovely dinner out on the water in Kihei. Afterwards, I went to the moonlit beach to stick my feet in the water. I went to bed with sand still on my toes. Judge me if you wish!
We watched the moon set and the sun rise on our last full day morning.
We went up the hill to enjoy the view and watch the parasailers and then went to the lavender farm.
We had a little hike to some waterfalls where the young and old alike were having grand times.
We had my new Aunt L over for our last sunset and her birthday dinner. I baked a pomegranate cheesecake to celebrate her birthday and as a little thank you for all of her generosity in taking me riding almost every day. We got to ride so much, I did not even take pictures every time. I do not think I could do anything to thank her enough.
A welcome back to stateside with the moon over San Francisco. It was a long ride back!
E hele aloha e na makamaka heluhelu.
Walk in love, dear readers!
I am out of words and pictures for this trip. I think that is a blessing!