Your Moment.

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.

Walk in love, dear readers!

The Colors of a Volunteer Spring.

Spring.

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!

Let us see. What saying should we attach here?

Walk in love, dear readers!

Retrace.

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!

To The Point.

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!

THE herd. The crew. Minus one who is just out of view.

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.

My boys and me. Just us three.

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.

Lito and I enjoying the sun.

Anyway, I just want to remind everyone to take a breath and love themselves. Forgive yourself and those around you.

Just enjoying a moonlit farm evening.

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.

Just sitting with my Cheetah in the sun. Can you see Merle on the run?

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!

Tune Tuesday Time Out.

Have a listen.

For real.

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)

(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

~Emily Rowed


Take your time. Let it in. You have to go through it. Is it bloody hard? Absolutely. But it is the only way.

You are not alone.

Walk in love, dear readers.

E Hele Aloha.

Aloha, Hawaii.

Or, ‘A Plenty More Huger Hawaiian Adventure.’

…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.

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!

Mahalo.

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!

Say yes to the opportunities and adventures!

A Tale of Two Christmas Cakes.

Well, not so much as a tale tale but a Merry Christmas everyone!

Just a few days late…

Merriest of Christmases to each and every one of you and yours. May the many blessings of our Lord shower upon you. Peace, love, and joy. Keep the Christmas spirit alive all year long. 

It has been rather hot down here in Texas and Christmas day was north of 80 degrees F I believe. My horses were sweating on Sunday just grazing. I think we are supposed to get a cold snap here this weekend, but it does not generally feel very winterey to me. I for one and perfectly OK with that after last year. I know there are many that feel the same and we are all praying that we do not have the same experience this coming year.

Even still, I attempted to create a little winter with my Christmas desserts. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Or something like that?

I present to you a gilded Christmas, winter forest in the form of a chocolate cheesecake cake complete with decorated trees. Two rich, dark chocolate cake layers with a creamy and sinful cheesecake layer in the middle, all wrapped in cream cheese frosting.

This cake was actually for a party the weekend before Christmas. I figured, so long as the inside is good, it does not much matter what the outside looks like. Just do it! I think it turned out pretty well! It is abstract, OK?! If you don’t bid, you don’t win. I think I won.

Christmas morning brought a cookie for the Merley before completing my next cake.

The ultimate Christmas morning scene in the form of a cheesecake (my friend blamed me for the cream cheese shortage…). A spiced cheesecake with a gingersnap crust, glazed in white chocolate ganache, and decorated with homemade gingerbread cookies.

It was all worth it in the end, even if I was cursing myself by the time Christmas morning actually did roll around. I baked the cheesecake and prepared the gingerbread dough on Thursday evening. Merle and I danced and listened to music in the kitchen while I went about the mixing and baking.

Then on Friday, it was gingerbread cookie central. They are worth it, take my word for it, but man! Rolling and cutting cookies…and then decorating said cookies is so much work! It took all morning and then I had to wrap the presents! Luckily for me, it was not too many and I was able to get them all quite quickly. I do not often make cut out cookies for the simple reason that it takes so long. I forgot apparently when I saw the cover of Southern Living and came up with this plan. I remembered about the time I had two trays left to bake and realized how much decorating I needed to do. Anyhow, for a first time attempt at gingerbread cookies and royal icing, I think they turned out pretty great! I am glad I did it. It was fun and it all tasted delicious.

What is a dreamy Christmas morning without horses under the tree?

I really wanted to put an ice skater on top of that white chocolate ganache.

I hope you enjoyed! Did you make or do anything fun this year for Christmas??? Fun fact, I actually have a couple cakes to make for people because of these cakes!

Walk in love, dear readers!

The Dad Approach.

Or, ‘The Friday Night Bubbles.’ You choose. Brace yourselves for an evening post…and a Friday night post at that!

I am normally a morning poster. Sue me, I am a morning person, it is my time of day, but the mood struck so here we are. One must capitalize on the mood, right?! That is what it is all about. I remember when I first started this blog, I did a bunch of research on how to create a successful ‘site.’ Much of the advice centered around making sure you post at the most opportune time to get the click traffic. This is decidedly not that time! There is quite a bit of advice I did not follow! Enough about all of that.

I have been baking this fine Friday evening for a Christmas party tomorrow night. A chocolate cheesecake cake with cream cheese frosting. Say that five times fast, I dare you. It will be ‘abstractly’ decorated like a winter forest. You know, since we do not have white Christmases down here. More on the cake later.

This has historically been a very festive and fun weekend to stay in town with all the parties, especially when the weather will be less than agreeable (you know I will make it out the farm at some point or…points, do not worry). I almost wrote about a Texas Christmas because of our very Texas weather, can you imagine?! How boring. Except, really, our weather is very Texas-ey this month). On December 1st I had intentions of posting almost every day with joyful Christmassy things to make everyone happy and joyful. I got as far as a couple fun and festive photo shoots and the rest just did not happen. Sigh. Life happens, what can I say? I apologize for the let down!

These are the only new pictures I have. This is real life. The real faces of Christmas ponies. Covered in molasses protein tub…and a human shadow…

Yes, you see Twinkle Toes glitter. Judge me. I dare you.

You really can not not love a molasses covered horse face.

Anyway, I have been baking and dancing in the kitchen with my Merle while the music plays. I would like to say that we are jamming to Christmas music (which I am sure all of you would have guessed), but in truth, we are listening to music from my ‘college days’ (lawd, so good. I swear, it is still the best music I have ever listened to). That seems a strange statement as university seems like only yesterday…it has been about ten years since I graduated. That is very strange. Again, not the point.

Get on with it. Ya, sorry.

OK, there are a couple of things.

As I sit here sipping some bubbley while the chocolate cake layers cool (the cheesecake layer is already baked, cooled, and in the refrigerator), there are a multitude of things that get my memories and thoughts flowing…and, er, bubbling.  

Blame it, all of this, on the bubbley. It would not be the first time the bubbley was blamed for something.

It occurred to me at some point today that I have purchased almost zero presents. Yikes. Although, these days we have generally all agreed to only really get gifts for the kids, but those are the most important ones! I have a couple of things that I purchased months ago, but that does not cover the need. I have some work to do! It reminds me of my Pops’ approach to purchasing gifts. He always seems to buy ALL of his gifts the week of Christmas. Yes, I know. I do not know how he does it either. Do not ask. I have always wondered, do other fathers do this? I think this is just a man thing?

When I was younger, there were times I would go with him that very week of Christmas to purchase and then deliver his gifts after I wrapped them. It was a marvel to me, and I wondered if all dads did that. One time, I was with him when he purchased my Christmas gift. It was most likely all three of our gifts. We were at REI and he pulled several high quality wool socks of the shelf and had me carry them as we shopped and then checked out. After we got home, he had me wrap them, as per usual. All of them. Side note, I have always liked to wrap gifts. Cousin H and I used to wrap all of my Grandmother’s gifts for her. We discovered that she would unwrap my cousin’s wrapped presents and have me rewrap them because I was better at it. Anyway, back to the story, I am not quite sure how I never realized it, but my Pops had me wrapping my own present! I remember myself laughing so hard when I opened that present and then Pops having a good chuckle. I have always liked the socks he got me. They have certainly come in handy over the years. I have always thought that a dad should buy their children good wool socks because you just never know when you will need them. I have needed them quite a bit. He gave me more when I went off to college. One birthday while I was away at school he messaged me to tell me happy birthday. I thanked him and told him I was wearing a pair of the socks he gave me. He said he was happy I was warm.

My Eldest Sister A has done this too, except I did not have to wrap this one. She was purchasing Breyer model horses for me and for a barn kid she was babysitting. She took me along when she was shopping to try and get a feel for which one I would like best. Well, I remember that Breyer pony she ended up giving me quite well to this day. She was a pony. A very refined and fine boned specimen. She possibly had some Arabian blood. You could tell by the profile of her head. All my Breyers are packed away in a closet upstairs, but she was like a greying, flea bitten chestnut in color. So loved by me, at least one of her legs had to be glued back on, likely two legs. You did not love your Breyer horses unless you broke a leg or two.

I digress. I am clearly following in the footsteps of my forebearers and utilizing the dad approach in the present buying. I have some work to do!

What really has all the memories and thoughts flowing is that I was smacked in the face today when I got home. I love this time of year getting Christmas cards in the mail. One of the cards I got today took my breath away before I even took it out of the mailbox. The handwriting on it looked just like H’s. I just stared at it for a long while and could not breathe for a bit. I almost swore that it was her until I saw the return address label which actually caused some great confusion in my brain. I took a deep breath and snagged my mail like a thief before a neighbor thought something was amiss. The card was obviously not from H, but she would always send a Christmas card with their Border Collies on it. I just loved that she did that and that I always got one from her and M. She was also so good at sending people cards in the mail in general, whether or not it was a special occasion. Just because. She had reason to hate this time of year, but she did not. This was H’s time of year and she brought us all such joy. I also used to talk to her while I baked or cleaned. I do not have anything else to say about that other than I just miss her. Still. Always will. I look forward to when I see something like that and I just smile.

Thanks for being here for me and for reading to the end of this Friday night holiday ramble. What is this holiday season bringing to your mind?

Walk in love, dear readers. Have some holiday fun this weekend!

Oh Christmas Tree!

Oh Christmas tree!

We had to work for the Christmas tree this year. I tried to get my table top tree the Sunday after Thanksgiving, as is my tradition. Well, it turns out that I was not the only one hunting up a tree on that Sunday. I went to two different places, but the lots were almost empty. No worries, I will just wait a few days until they get some more trees. Wait a few days I did and the situation was not much different than it was before. I am not sure that I have ever seen it like this before, but hey, I am just glad that people are getting festive and into the spirit!

I decided that this past Sunday was going to be the day no matter what. I had to go to three different places. I really was not overly excited at the prospect of spending the price of a full size tree for a table top one, so going to all the different places to get a good price was well worth it to me (although, I would have absolutely gone back and spent through the nose just so I could have a tree). I think I found a good one! He stood out among the others and it was a quick in and out. It lists a little in one direction, but that gives it character. Maybe next year I will get a potted tree I can then plant after Christmas or make an event out of going to a Christmas tree farm and cutting one fresh. Something about that seems kind of funny down here in south central Texas though. Or maybe I will get a full size tree. The possibilities are endless!

Anyway, the finding of the tree is only part of the fun. Growing up I was always with my parents to pick out the tree every year, being sure to get cuttings to decorate the house with. We would listen to Christmas music on the way there and then there was normally a trip into a store to pick up some eggnog for Pops and maybe something special to cook for dinner that night. Then there was more Christmas music once we got the tree set up inside and worked on decorating the tree and the whole house. I have probably told you all of that before. I know I have told you about how all of us cousins would go to our Grandparents’ house together to help my Grandmother decorate her tree, listen to Christmas music streaming out of the study, drink hot chocolate, and play.

I finally got around to decorating my little table top tree late last night. Sunday evening I was at my Aunt M’s for dinner and Monday night I was visiting and having dinner with my Grandmothers. I had the Christmas music playing (with a Hallmark movie on mute in the background) and enjoyed a fun cocktail while I decorated and Merle supervised. Sadly it does not take long to decorate a little tree with not many ornaments, but every year or so I buy myself a new addition for the tree. This year I actually had two new ornaments. A gold, lacey aspen leaf with a moose on it from our trip to Wyoming and a carved wooden cross accented with chalky white. See if you can spot them!

A fun thing we used to do with my Pops’ side of the family was a ‘where’s Waldo’ with a certain ornament on my Aunt M’s tree. In my memory it was a green pickle. It was something funny and obscure like that. It was seemingly always hidden very well. The kid who spotted the ornament won some money I think it was. I remember always feeling duped when it was finally found. I should ask her where that tradition came from.

It has become a tradition now (how long does it take to make a tradition?) for me to benchmark Merle (and his mohawk) in a Christmas tree photo. It started with Darcy (you can see some of her pictures that I posted the other day). This is Merle’s third Christmas and this year we had to create the same photos. His mohawk is bigger and more obvious in person, I promise. Now, if only I could bring the horses inside! Just kidding, I think that is even beyond me. Maybe. Maybe one day I will have a Christmas tree in a barn. That would be so fun!

Click play and have a scroll! A little side note, I think my Grandfather would have quite loved this version of this song for the drum arrangement.

Do you see the drool starting???

It is a Merry Merley Christmas Tree!

I could not resist that last one! I am aware that most of these look exactly the same, but I just could not include all of them! You can never have too much cuteness.

Maybe next year we should do something like this. I know Merle would be game!

Walk in love, dear readers! Spread the joy! For those that need it and those that do not.