Begin As You Mean To Go On.

Or you know, a recipe for a good year!

But first (do not you just LOVE when I do that to you?!), back to Christmas real quick.

Happy Christmas, dear readers! Happy Hanukkah! Happy Kwanzaa! Happy New Year! Happy NEW DAY!

We can not just let Christmas slide right on by, even if that is what it seemed like it was going to do. I mean, can you even believe that I almost did not put up a tree?! Just so you know, I still have my tree up and the ornaments are still hanging and the lights are plugged in right now during my coffee time for my enjoyment and it will stay that way for several more days. Why not? It brings me joy! Happy Christmas! I told you I would get there.

Anyway, here is where we left off, lest you forget. The horses were less enthused with their annual Christmas portraits.

Merley Bob also got his turn by the tree and he was also not feeling it. At all!

He would not look at me.

At.

All.

Just look at that face. How anyone could not recognize animals’ personalities is beyond me.

Between horses and dog, I am not sure we could handle any more personality around here.

If you remember from when when we spoke last, I mentioned a little predicted winter weather before Christmas and, well, that prediction did come true. However, there was no precipitation and that alone was and is cause for celebration! Even if some snow can be pretty and fun for a little bit, the wet cold is so hard on the animals…and their caretakers. The weather we did have did mean that I had to be at the farm from the Wednesday (I think) before through to the day after Christmas to cover all pipes, break ice on water troughs, feed all the horses and cows, haul water, muck stalls, and blanket and re-blanket. Rinse and repeat and do a dance! I learned long ago from this man that dancing is how to get through winter, even our little Texas winter spurts.

I am just so blessed to have a working manure spreader, warm clothes, and that I have the ability to stay and work from the farm for the duration. To not have to spend valuable time burning up the highway to and from the office. At its coldest this time it was 16 degrees F with a feel like temperature of 1 degree, but it was definitely not as bad as the big freeze. I will say, these cold mornings are stunning and warming your hands on the horses is hard to beat.

I of course got some baking and cooking in as I am sure you guessed. I baked a pomegranate cake for Cousin H’s party before the winter set in. Then from the farm for Christmas day I baked a chocolate peppermint cake and a ridiculous pumpkin pecan pie cheesecake Aunt M sent me from facebook. I also put together a baked brie with homemade cranberry fig jelly.

I do love to do all this baking! It is a lot of work, especially to get it all done between winter chores to then get them undamaged an hours drive into town for our Christmas Day celebration, and then after all that, drive all the way back to get everyone fed and set for another cold night. I would not change it for a thing. It is so much fun to get everyone’s reaction to the treats.

To end a great Christmas Day that I got to start with my horses, I got to give all the horses a Christmas peppermint before dark. It is like insert peppermint quarter for a good time!

OK, now on to the point of this post! Here is your first AHA moment of 2023. Begin as you mean to go on.

This is the part where you take notes.

“Begin as you mean to go on, and go on as you began, and let the Lord be all in all to you.”

― Charles H. Spurgeon, All of Grace

Think of this as a recipe for a good year, if you will.

This is how I spent the first day of the year 2022. You can substitute whatever makes you happiest.

I remember thinking that this seems better than black eyed peas. I said a little prayer of thanksgiving for the blessing of being able to ride my best boy.

Fast forward through a lot of good times to December 31.

This is how I spent the last day of the year 2022.

I rode and spent some good time with R.

I think the year came out of the oven pretty alright. I think I did something right. 2022 I think was a pretty dang good year!

Were there hard times? Surely, everybody has them. Nobody is immune to the hard times.

I backed my car door into a tree, did several things I did not want to do, cried for and with friends and family, saw our vet (and others!) more than any other year, battled Mother Nature, WordPress lost some very important additions and edits on this post, and experienced grief in waves. Many waves.

There were more not so fun things I could mention, but at present I do not recall them or do not wish to. All of that is OK though because we are here today, surviving and doing it, and that is what matters. The thing is, no matter what you do you can not avoid the hard and the difficult. If you try to, you will miss and not experience the good bits. You can not selectively dull emotions. You dull one, you dull them all, including the happy.

I choose to focus on the good parts, and there were many.

I rode a lot, I rode alone, with friends, and in new places, played with my dog and watched him run and hunt and swim and smile, listened to a lot of music and books, traveled to Hawaii and spent time with family and made new family and rode, created art, experienced and enjoyed art, cooked, baked, one of my best friends that I had not seen in years came into town for the best visit, I went fishing, went to the beach, visited long time human and horse friends in my college town, got my own truck, learned a lot, made new friends, spent time with family and my people, celebrated, prayed, made memories, I looked a little bit past my grief.

I said YES.

Every day we wake is a blessing we were not promised and we should be grateful for each day we are granted. Every day is a new day. New Year’s day is not the only chance for us to start new. Every minute of every day we have the chance to make a choice. A choice to see the light, to be positive, to say yes, to do the right thing. To live in gratitude.

Thank you to 2022.

Happy 2023!

I have not said that much here since I carved this little corner of the internet.

Tell me about your holiday if you were celebrating! Tell me what you are grateful for this past year! Tell me what choice you are excited for this coming year!

Walk in love, dear readers!

Insert peppermint for a good time! I already have some exciting things in the works for this year.

I promise to use less commas and explanation points next time!.

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