“War With Myself”

When people ask you, “how are you?” or any other derivation of such a question, is your default answer ever, “man, I have just been so busy” while you shake your head and look away, hoping they don’t ask you more? I hope it is not just me.

For some reason, the busy answer has been my default answer these days. I am not really busy at all. I wish I was actually busy. I would fall asleep faster, sleep better, wake up brighter, and get more things completed if I was (man I miss college!). I am so ‘busy’ and wrapped up with my thoughts that I can not seem to accomplish anything, both in and outside of work. These mind clouding thoughts are typically about the future and what I ‘should’ be doing. That should word always jumps in there. Rude. It is the root of the war…which brings me to the song portion of today’s post, brought to you by the great Drew Kennedy (for best results, listen around a fire pit way past cocktail hour. The album Sad Songs Happily Played has the background story to this song)…

(Thanks Drew Kennedy – Topic on YouTube)

This naturally, or unnaturally, morphs into what the people around me are doing compared to me (need to stop doing this! I don’t compare myself to other riders or my horses to other people’s horses! Insert all of those motivational riding posters).

Thanks to this internet driven age, everyone APPEARS to be so successful and have everything together. It is an interesting conundrum. It feels as if I lack purpose and direction and that these thoughts are keeping me from moving forward. Everyone has their own path to walk and nobody’s path is straight and smooth. I am down in a circuitous valley at the present moment. I can see the mountains, but the path there is not so clear. I am so focused on getting through it to the other side that I am forgetting to be present and enjoy the process.

All of that to say, I really need to get back to reading my bible. I had a New Year resolution this past January to read the bible in 365 days. I have been getting several not so subtle signs for a while now that I need to get closer to God’s word (kind of like the idea of this blog) and they sure seem to have started around the time I started feeling this way. Well, you know how those resolutions go. Today, I am going to get back to my daily reading, reflections, and prayer. I am going to be purposeful and intentional in my prayer and resting my worries and troubles with Him. Enjoying the process. I am using you to help keep me accountable.

From me, to you.

I hope everyone had a great weekend! Here is a snipit of my ride yesterday on Ike, my father’s Tennessee Walker gelding. He is so great. He felt a little off, probably because of me, so we just took it easy and had a nice, relaxing ‘on the buckle’ walk. It was as beneficial for me as it was for him. With my brain being as scattered as it has been lately, just mounting up and reconnecting is what I desperately need and can not seem to get enough of. Does anyone else ever feel this way?  IMG_8842

For those of you that did not get to ride this weekend, I give you Valerie Ashker and 2nd Makes Thru Starting Gates. She is riding her two OTTBs across the country from California to Virginia to raise awareness for off the track thoroughbreds. She posts multiple videos and pictures a day of her rides east. I’ll tell you it helps me get through my day from my office chair. Share her with your friends and let us support her. Doing a cross country ride is definitely on my list of things to do in life. I dare say I will do it one day. Maybe in the year 2020 ;).

About me. In a minute.

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Giving my Lito man a hug. Look at that tongue!

As promised, today I have brought you a little something about me, but first I want to do a little bragging. Yesterday I went out to ride Bella the buckskin. Man was she great! They always get worse before they get better, as they say. She was very relaxed, was better about keeping her shoulder up, and was straighter. Her walk and trot are really coming along and getting more adjustable. The canter/lope has a ways to go, especially to the left. It will come with time. OK, OK, on to what I promised.

Oil & gas geologist by day (hey, it pays for…hay. Ha! See what I did there?) and seeker of the flame by, well, all the time.

A few things you might be intrigued to know about me:
~I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I try to live my life the way He intended and walk the path He created.
~I struggle with what my true vocation is.
~I have a masters in geology.
~I am a 9th generation Texan and yes, I am proud of that. Love this great state.
~I am a horse person. I have two heart horses of my own. Self trained…Well, really they train me.
~I am also a dog person. I have one dog.
~My animals make me a better human.
~My family and friends are my world.
~I am a self-proclaimed music junkie. I dig Texas, Red Dirt, Western, and Classic Country and Americana…and R&B…and Classical…and Gospel…Mariachi…Most of what I listen to does not fit in any one box. Go figure.
~I read incessantly about horse training, horse/human relationships/history, and faith. Throw in a few sappy romance novels, too.
~The parallels between horses and life are astounding to me.
~I never want to stop getting better and growing as a rider. I do not limit myself to one riding discipline.
~I like to share what the Lord and my animals teach me. Those are both one in the same, aren’t they?
~I do not like to have my picture taken, but I LOVE to take photos and I secretly want people to like my photos.
~Sometimes I think I was born in the wrong generation. However, air conditioning sure is great.
~I love to cook and bake.
~I can not spell!…and my grammar can be rather sketchy. Please be gracious and forgive me my mistakes.

I love my job and career, do not get me wrong, but horses are my true passion. People ask me all the time why I did not turn horses into a career. I made the conscious decision when I went off to school to study something that I both liked and would ensure me a good career, awarding me the freedom to follow my passion wherever it led. In my life, I have met a few people that turned their passion into work and lost the love in the process. It was both visible and palpable. I also know people on the other side of that coin. People that have built a career from their passion and have not lost the love. I did not want to lose the love, so I chose a different route. Was this the right choice? I do not know. You can bet on one thing, I will let you know when I learn the answer.

I believe that God speaks to everyone in a different and personal way. For me, it is through animals, nature, and music…horses in particular. One day, I hope to figure out why that is and use it for good. The similarities of working with horses and living life is a truly beautiful and astounding thing.

They say my love for horses began the moment I first saw a horse and has only grown since.  I was that kid that everyone knew as ‘that horse girl’ and I just never grew out of that ‘phase.’ I am probably more horse crazy now than I ever was. It stems from somewhere deep in my genes, I think.


After much begging, my mother finally allowed me to start riding when I was about six years old. I started out showing Saddlebreds with my sister, the same way my mother and grandmother learned to ride. I only got 30 minutes a week, but I lived for that half hour. We showed lightly on the local circuit. I must go find these photos. I was so wee sized on those tall horses and I thought you had to completely stand up in the stirrups while posting!

My family then purchased a farm and some ranch horses when I was nine years old so we could be raised as they were; spending every weekend out in the country. Those horses, one of which we are fortunate to still have at over 30 years of age, taught me what it means to be a horsewoman and a better human being. I rode, and still ride, at least once a week. Yay for weekends! I spent three summers in Mexico taking dressage and jumping lessons from three different international trainers. I really took to the dressage and am still passionate about learning more. I am eternally grateful for this experience because it made me the rider I am today and taught me that in every ride we are teaching the horse something, good or bad. There are some of these photos somewhere too…I am the youngest kid…my parents were tired!

In high school, I joined the local 4-H Horse Club where we participated in clinics and shows in various performance and speed events.


When I went off to college for my undergraduate, I was not able to bring a horse with me, so I joined the polo club my freshman year. I still love to stick and ball! I then interned for the director of the university’s equestrian center where I trained program and sale horses, assisted in horse sales, led summer horseback riding camps, and helped run local horse shows. I got to ride two to three horses a day! Every day! I still dream about it *sigh*. While working there, I found and worked off the payment of my dun Appendix Quarter Horse mare, Cheetah. Her name suits her personality.


The fourth and final year of my undergraduate degree, I helped my friend start and run her private boarding and event horse training facility. When I moved back home with my mare, I bred her to a PRE (Pura Raza Espanola/ Pure Spanish Horse/Andalusian). The perfect thing to do while in grad school! My father would still beg to differ with me on that one. She foaled in 2013 and gave me the best dun colt a gal could ask for. His name is Manolito, I call him Lito. I now have the breeding bug bad!


He has grown to over 16 hh. and likely has more to go. I have lightly started him under saddle and, eventually, we will go to some dressage and working equitation shows. I might even bring his dam along and put her through her paces. These days I am just trying to figure out how to have my career and advance my horses while navigating life…trying to fit in a social life here and there. It has it’s challenges that I am sure many of you can relate to.

Man that is A LOT of talking about myself. Now I am tired. This weekend is my nephew’s 4th birthday party and I will then be running away to the farm to unplug and ride my horses! You will definitely not hear from me till Monday. Have a great weekend, interwebbers!

Why this blog…

 

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My Darcy gal, being a setter and contemplating the complexities of life.

Now that I have somewhat gotten the hang of this blogging thing, maybe, I thought I would share why I started this blog and a little bit of what it is going to be about. Really quick, for those of you that have stopped by AHAmoments or have started following it, I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to you! I am grateful that you are here. To the newcomers, welcome! Whether it is inspiration, comfort, distraction, hope or humor, it is my hope that everyone finds something useful here. Horse stories will be involved. Great music will be involved. My AHA moments about life and what it is really about will most definitely be involved.

Here is a little background for you. This blog has been on my heart for quite some time. Four years to be exact. I initially struggled with the idea of it because I thought it was a bit, what is the word… narcissistic. A strong word, maybe, but stay with me for a bit. This was my thought process. Who wants to hear the things going on in my head? Who cares about what happened with my horse or dog? Who am I? What makes me think I am qualified? There are many people out there smarter, wiser, and a great many more words than me. What do I have to say? Off and on I walked and sat with the idea of this blog. Then the thought occurred to me that it is not about being smart and it is not about me, despite the fact that I indeed do have a lot to say. It is about connection and learning. Conversation. I am constantly trying to learn new things and be better. Increase the positivity and decrease the negativity. To connect dots that I could not, or would not, connect before. I want to reach out to and connect with like-minded people! To know that I am not alone and for you to know you are not alone! We all have struggles we can learn from. The desire to feel that flood of comfort and relief akin to the sensation upon hearing a song that speaks directly to you at that exact moment and knowing that someone else has felt that exact same way. To feel the light bulbs illuminate your life when you finally get what your horse, dog, and God have been trying to tell you. Knowing you are not alone with the honest feeling of just flat out trying to get through some days so you can move on to what you love. These are my AHA moments. And really, there can never be too many pictures of cute animals! Fast forward and, well, here we are. There is a reason this blog thought never left my heart.

If you have read this far, boy, am I glad! I hope you join me on this journey of positive personal discovery! When I am not getting deep and philosophical about life around the figurative, proverbial fire pit (usually with music), this blog will often be hijacked by my quadrupeds. They are cute and have larger than life personalities. The majority of my time outside of the office is spent with them. I try to take my dog everywhere with me and when I am not riding and training my own horses (which I wish I could do every day), I am riding and training other people’s horses. They are my true passion and my best teachers. They are always positive, keep me grounded, and remind me of what is important. That in itself is an AHA moment. I want to share the love they give me, the lessons they teach me, and the process of trying to figure out how to combine my career and passions into one cohesive lifestyle with all of you who can relate or need it. It takes some tricky navigation for this country girl at heart stuck in this concrete jungle of opportunity. Too corny? …oh well…

Tune in next time for a little ‘about me.’

The best day of the week!

Wednesdays have become my favorite day. What is that you say??? Wednesdays are not your favorite??? Well, I have a pretty good reason…

Wednesdays after work I make the hour long drive to the farm to see my ponies for the evening! No, they are not technically ponies for all you technical folk. They are all taller than 14.2 hands. Well, except for Petunia the donkey, but her ears make up for it. I have not seen them since last Wednesday because I went to the bay this past weekend, and I am DYING! It is like I have reverted back to childhood, bouncing off the walls till my horseback riding lesson. It will make for an interesting work day. My Darcy dog is also full of herself for lack of full out running. Darcy and I did go out to ride a client’s horse yesterday after work. A cute as a button buckskin mare. Her name is Bella. Bella the buckskin.IMG_8740She clearly wants cookies…which she got. She is fun to ride. She tries really hard and wants to be good in addition to being a quick learner. Oh, and she is so smooth! I could trot fence lines on this horse all day. Bella was distracted yesterday and was not the best, but that is OK. Every day is a new day. I know her potential. The other barn horses were also acting funny and the mosquitoes were BAD. We just did our work and ended on a good note. The next ride will be better!

Going to go work hard so I can enjoy myself this evening!

 

Have a chuckle.

You know that time when you make a public mistake? Something like misspelling a word? Misspelling a word publicly…in the title of your post? Yes, like I did this very morning!!! Have a little chuckle at my expense today, ladies and gentlemen, because I sure did!

I wish I could enjoy my piece of humble pie with a cup of coffee and my dun duo…
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“Why am I so haunted…

…by anything that I don’t know?”

I have a friend that I have known for quite some time. She has been on my mind because I am worried about her. Her life has taken her on an interesting path, but more than that, it both looks and feels wrong for her. It is hard to find the words to describe the feeling. She is fighting for it so hard like she is trying to prove a point and make it fit. This is what troubles me and what I do not understand. I worry for her because I want the best for her. I pray that she finds the right path that not only fits her, but that also she fits the path. I also pray for my own understanding. Maybe it is right for her and it is my viewpoint that is skewed and blinded. It is a struggle for me to accept the things I do not understand.

Some things we are not meant to understand. This I know. There are things I do not understand and alone, I can not change. This immediately makes me think of two things: the Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr and the song “Horseshoe Lake” by Will Kimbrough and Tod Snider (It was also recorded by the band No Justice).

Serenity Prayer
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”
~Reinhold Niebuhr

Whether it is about work, a friend, or anything else, prayer helps me with these things. Over time (sometimes a very long time), prayer gives me the serenity and understanding. Getting away, unplugging, and recharging also helps. Naturally, this makes me think of another song, but that will be another story for another day. Anyway, I try to get out of town and in the countryside or by water for at least a few hours every week. Doing this clears my mind of all the clutter and I am able to hear and see God more clearly. My prayers become deeper and I can really feel His presence.

Please enjoy these versions of “Horseshoe Lake” with the lyrics posted below.

(Thanks to Chris Sweeney on YouTube for posting)

(Thanks to this Tod Snider – Topic on YouTube for posting)

“Won’t work this morning
I can’t punch in
There’s too many questions
Under my skin
My back is achin’
I’m so confused
I can’t help feeling like
I’m being used
I did like they told me
I settled down
Now I’m going crazy
Workin’ down town
What do I do here
Why do I stay
Who are all these people
I check in with every day
[Chorus]
I need room to think this over
I need a ride out to Horseshoe Lake
I wanna feel like it makes a difference
What difference one man makes
They say that one man makes the money
One man makes the time
I need time to think this over
I’ve got to make up my own mind
I don’t need a psychic
I don’t need a shrink
I need time away from all of this
I need a drink
How did I get here
Where will I go
Why am I so haunted
By anything that I don’t know”
~Will Kimbrough & Tod Snider

Make it a party

I spent this weekend at the bay with some gal pals. We had some great times, but I am sworn to secrecy. Something about aerobics and Footloose….I will turn you loose with that one! Needless to say, I am not quite ready for…dare I utter it…MONDAY. However, we all have a choice, so I am going to make this fine Monday a party! Join in with me and make it great!  Can you hear my determination???

Anyhoo, enjoy this little gem to get you started off right. I personally prefer the original version. Which do you like better? I am dancing in my office chair as I type this. OK, I am getting back to work now. Happy Monday!

(Thanks YouTube)