Animals. They never cease to amaze me. I know I probably sound like a broken record at this point, but I do not care. I have no doubt in my mind that they are all gifts to us. Angels in their own right, sent here and given to us for a specific reason and purpose. Even if only for a short period of time in our eyes.
I think Mr. Dirty Toes Merle might just have one of the most beautiful souls out there. He wants to be a friend to everyone and he does not give up until he gets just that. I have watched it with my own eyes.
Just look have a look for yourself.
He has finally started to win a few of the heifers over. I was taking care of some chores in the barn when I looked over and saw MUTUAL LICKING. Never have I seen any of our dogs do this. Not even my Darcy.
Now if only I could capture his antics with the cat……..
I hope each and every one of you and yours had a very merry and happy Christmas and New Year.
I hope your bubbly was cold, feelings warm, and family and friends present (including all the animals!).
May the many blessings of our Lord shower upon you. Peace, love, and joy. Keep the Christmas spirit alive all year long.
Here we are. 2020 (well, a few days in, but who is counting). A new year and a new decade. Apparently that is a big deal to a bunch of people, bringing a whole new perspective and pressure to New Year resolutions.
New year, new you. New decade, new…what? NEW new you? Bestest you? That is a whole log of a lot if you ask me when just regular new year resolutions are hard enough for most.
I feel like for many people, myself over here included, 2019 what a doozy of a year. It felt like a decade in itself with everything that happened and interestingly enough, did not happen, as it…uh…happens. I do not think I have ever been more happy or relieved to see one year go and another come into view.
Then, just as I thought the corner was turning on this new year and new decade, it all balled up, really skidded out, and crashed and burned right as the celebratory, welcoming fireworks were starting. And there was nothing I could do about it.
I have never been a fan of celebrating on NYE because there are just too many expectations and pressures that lead to let down. However, this really was not the way I intended on it going or spending it.
Indeed I could probably be more vague. Frustrating I know. It is just not for right now. The what and the how and the why are not for right now. And that is OK. One day I might tell more. Will probably tell more. I just need more time to sit with it, you know?
Luckily for me, I can. I have that time. I can pull my own car over and shift it into park. Take a breath as I take my foot off the break. Look into that rear view mirror. Then. Not look back at the mess. The wreckage. Lay my eyes out the windshield on today. And tomorrow. Learn what I need to learn. Take the good and leave the bad.
Here is the thing and the point for today. The AHAmoment. Sure January 1 is a new year. BUT. It is also a new day. Every day is a new day.
A NEW day.
Do you hear me?!
A new day to be your best self. Be better than you were the day before. To do the right thing. To follow through. Anything, you name it. We are not promised it. Take that right there to heart.
I am not making New Year’s resolutions this year (which really will not come as much of a surprise as I typically do not). I am however making a resolution to wake each day grateful to be here. To allow myself time to breathe and do what is right for me. To take care of me and my animals. To step forward, one step at a time each day, with “grit anchored in grace.” That is me, leather and lace.
“I don’t know exactly what the future holds, but I’m stepping forward with grit anchored in grace.” ~Julie Graham
Nobody but the Lord knows what the future holds. I am more than OK with that. I am here! I am focusing on today. He has me. Has my back. He is the light and the path. He knows the way for me. I will stay focused on Him and pray for His comfort, grace, peace, strength, and guidance. To have the eyes to see.
Enough about that for today.
Let us talk about Christmas and food since we completely skipped over that!
For one of our Christmas gatherings, I made an exorbitant amount of these cinnamon rolls…so we could enjoy them all week. I did not roll the dough out thin enough, rolled them up sloppily, could not get them to look like the picture, and I OVER BAKED them. Sigh. However, I think they still had very good flavor and will be better the next time. Breads like this can be tricky. I think it was a win for a first time bread attempt. It will happen again and they will be even better.
I also had fun with cream cheese fruit tarts because I am crazy and wanted to make all the things. ALL. THE. THINGS.
This punkin’ pumpkin pie was another first time for me and it was totally worth it! Also…so very easy. The saying ‘easy as pie’ is pretty funny to me because pies are pretty dang easy…way easier than cakes!
Merle and I had a festive patio lunch after playing with friends. You can see evidence of such in the mud spot on his back leg. I think he looks smashing…even if is collar does not really go with the bow tie and his coat is, well, let us just say needed a bath and a good brushing. The bow tie is now dead post Christmas fun. That just means he will need a new one for next year!
For Christmas day I made a savory herb cheesecake with sage, thyme, and rosemary as the main part of a cheese board. Y’all. Do this. So worth it. So very good.
It is also very pretty in my opinion.
Merle was very worn out with all the preparations! …and so was I!
I made my favorite Pomegranate cake for Christmas day as well and it is always a winner. It is a great cake base and you can substitute the pomegranate flavor for any other that you wish. I used ice cream cones to create a snowy forest for the decoration. A bit abstract, but those are my favorite types of cakes.
After all of the Christmas festivities, it was time to lay low to rest, relax, recoup, and rejoice through the bringing in of the new year. Through it all. Even still, there is much to celebrate. I reflected on the old and looked forward to the new. I tried to focus on rooting myself in the present as I waded stepped into the New Year.
Then of course, I enjoyed some quality time with the horses and my Merle. They are my blessings. How I get through.
We took every day to try and celebrate life in whatever way we could. This is one way I like to do it with my people. I like to go to the trouble and make it nice for everyone.Candle lit alfresco is my favorite way to dine and I have a thing for setting tables. Even if we were having a seemingly simple meal of chili and cornbread. It is the little things.
We had a couple of really foggy mornings. It makes for nice exercising weather. Well, any weather is nice for to be on the back of a horse. I have a theory about fog. God likes Sunday mornings to be foggy so we remember to slow down and enjoy Sunday. More often than not, Sunday mornings at the farm are foggy. I think those two foggy days after Christmas were a reminder to do just that. Slow down and remember the reason. To be quiet and still just like the weather.
So. That is what I did.
My ever happy Mighty Merle Man while doing the farm run around.
We savored sunsets.
Enjoyed endless velvet muzzles.
Soaked in sunrises.
Even if they were a bit cold and frosty. After all that fog, we had a couple of chilly mornings.
It is time for our Christmas Daily Dose Of Cute, but you have to get to the end here to see it. I have to share all the ones I have done over the years, obviously!
Nobody gets tired of all of these. NOBODY! Especially me, clearly!
Get another indulgent whatever-number-cup of morning joe and have a scroll! You will not regret it.
OK. Are you ready now? I am sure you are.
You are welcome.
I mean. Merle was not really a fan of this idea, but he is still turbo cute! I had a lapse in mental math when I planned to have him on the table…he has gotten quite big!
I probably should have brushed him…oh well.
His mohawk. Seriously.
Dear Santa, all I want for Christmas is for his mohawk to stay forever.
I may or may not have made sure it was standing up.
The photos are a little blurry, but I had to work quickly! The model was ‘over it’!
Naturally, there needs to be an accompaniment. Everyone has a soundtrack that goes along with them. You know, their personality. Their attitude. Merle is no different. I feel like this is the personality of Mr. Dirty Toes himself. I mean, his mohawk! I can see him wearing a leather jacket or, ha, even a gold chain. Play this song and look into Merle’s eyes.
Now, do not get me wrong. I love me some Merle. A whole heck of a lot. And I am not necessarily saying he is naughty. Only just a titch naughty. It is really just his very personality. A certain mischief behind those sultry eyes of his. Always working something! Using that brain of his.
You can even see it as early as just a few weeks old! It was one of the things that drew me to him I think.
“Old Kringle felt a tingle runnin’ up his spine. He saw me then he run and hid.”
Gets me every time!
Does your animal have a song that suits their personality?
You think I sound crazy, don’t you? Well fine, that does not bother me one bit.
Walk in love, dear readers, and have a great day! Go love on your animals and tell your people you love them. What I would give for one more day with those that have gone on to our Heavenly Home. There are three of them in those photos above. Then there are the people. How I miss them so this time of year.
Well, I guess that would be a happy belated Thanksgiving, but who is counting? Not me. It is the season, you know?!
I just wish we had more days to bask in it.
Oh well. In all seriousness, I have so much to be grateful for. I can barely count them all.
I am obviously thankful for this guy. He was worn out before Thanksgiving even started!
All of our holidays, not just Thanksgiving, mean a lot of cooking. It is something we all love to do and…to enjoy! Everyone brings something when we all gather together. I am thankful for that! And the simple fact that we can be gathered together. I am also thankful that I can do my part and that I can share my creations with everyone.
This year for Thanksgiving, I was on point for cranberry sauce and dessert.
A good cranberry sauce, to me, looks like a party in a bowl.
Cranberries. Apples. Green chili pepper. Orange juice and zest…Grand Marnier. Sage. Noms.
I told you, a party! You will not have much left after the meal.
We took a break from the cooking to play. It is hard work for a puppy!
Then it was time for pie. Chocolate pecan pie, to be precise. Made Thanksgiving morning. I don’t know about anyone else, but I love to make a dessert the morning of a holiday in my pajamas. It is more fun. It brings it more meaning to me. Gives it the proper perspective of doing it unto Him for my loved ones. Made with joy and love. It makes the unveiling and enjoying that much sweeter to me.
Anyway, I digress. This pie. I have never really made a pie before (I know, this is surprising to me too), but this one is a total winner. I even made my own pie crust. That is worth it if you were wondering. Just saying. Next time I think I will freeze the butter and shortening. I also think I might do a slight pre-bake of the crust before adding the filling for baking.
I am not the biggest fan of the salted caramel on this pie though. I think it was the added lemon. Not sure why you would do that, but I suppose the point is to keep it from being too sweet? Anyway, I did not really care for it when I tried it and did not really notice it much on the pie itself. I much prefer this one I made for a different dessert. I could eat it all by itself.
I followed the recipe mostly. I used a mixture of molasses and honey in place of the corn syrup. I do not keep corn syrup around and prefer not to use it if I do not have to. There are substitute options out there if you are like me. I also could not help it and added coconut to the fulling. Whoops. What can I say??? I am shameless. I think I also baked it for longer than stated in the recipe.
The filling is divine right off the spoon! If you are not licking the spoon and or bowl, you a’int no baker! It is the only way.
Fortification for pie baking. There is a little known life fact that coffee, well all beverages, taste best out of a fun and festive vessel. I know. I know. You are so glad to learn that. You can count on me for those little life secrets.
The finished pie sprinkled with flaked salt!
My mouth is watering now. Too bad there were not any leftovers. That is a sign of a good pie I guess!
After our Thanksgiving lunch, I quite literally sneaked out in a mad dash, grabbed Merle, and made to the farm before dark. I sure am thankful for the farm. Our horses. And that I have the ability to be mobile! To see different things and visit different people!
I woke up early on Friday and had a lovely foggy ride on Chance before hitting the road with Merle again for more Thanksgiving fun with M.
We all went for a drive around the property and Merle just could not contain himself. He clearly loves driving around! And hey, who doesn’t?!
The face of a happy dog. He is all boy, this one.
This is quickly becoming his signature look.
The weather was cloudy, windy, and drizzly, but that did not dampen our spirits whatsoever.
Merle was so tired, he could barely keep his eyes open past 6 PM. A tired dog is a happy dog! Catching some z’s is hard for a pup when his mom does not sit still for very long. Poor guy!
Who knows, maybe Merle will start moonlighting as a model.
He sure is handsome. I am not biased at all.
I am thankful for the eyes to see the joy in this pup. And how serious he takes his fetch.
In case y’all did not know, pure and utter luxury is going for an early morning swim, in the drizzle, in the wee hours before the sun is ready to play. Or anyone else for that matter, human or canine.
And moving so fast the camera can not catch you.
Maybe this is his artistic expression for his modeling portfolio. Ghost dog.
He swam about five times before anyone else was awake. I had two cups of coffee. We like to wake up early.
It was only a quick twenty four hour visit, but we sure had the best time. It was fun and relaxing. No agenda. No pressure. Just good company and fellowship. And dogs (four in total! Merle had a blast)!
It did not matter that the weather was rather gloomy. We were just out and enjoying everything. Giving thanks for it all. That we could. Why we could. How we got here. For family, friends, loved ones. For country and dogs. For food. For comfortable, warm, dry places to rest. For horses!
The next day brought the blue skies out in full force while I rode my Cheetah girl down the road. Merle and I had zero desire to go back to town.
I hope each and every one of y’all had a great Thanksgiving. Did you count your blessings? What are you grateful for?
Look around you. There is so much to be grateful for. Not just this time of year. All year. Yes, it is the reason for the season, but it also too is the reason for all the seasons. For this very life.
Now we are in full on Christmas season! My decorations are out and I have planned what I will be making for our gatherings! You will have to wait for those though. To tide you, you can check out last year’s creations!
I have some fun things to share soon to help get you in the spirit, so there is a lot to look forward to. Check back soon!
Who blinked and made it half way through November???!!!
I know you are out there somewhere. Just come forward and make yourself known.
How is it already half way through NOVEMBER?!
Even more disturbing is that I have not written to you since LAST MONTH! Err, what? It feels as if it was just yesterday that we returned from our ride.
What have I even been doing, do you ask? A whole lot of the same…Living life. Taking time to breathe. That ADULTING thing (I am literally staring at a mountain of clean laundry over my computer screen that needs folding…I prefer to write to you! Hey, at least it is clean…). Wading through it while remembering to smile.
Sometimes life can just be hard, you know? Things seen and things unseen. Things talked about and things left unspoken. Sometimes, your capacity is just full and that is OK. AHA moment. Do you hear me!? That is OK. You are OK! This life has seasons, and as the globe goes around, so too does this life we live, giving you seasons. Seasons are for praying. Waiting. Listening. Learning. And changing before the season itself changes.
That is what I have been doing. That and, well, avoiding laundry clearly. I mean, I do not even know how I accumulate so much!
Work has been crazy. The farm has been the farm. A constant rolling list of work (which we are tackling!), but it is my blessing.
Friday evening at the farm, when it was full on winter blowing through these parts (which it is doing again! Half way through November and all the way into winter), I cooked some version of ratatouille. Really, I combined two recipes and put my own spin on it because Lord help me, I just can not follow a recipe. Go figure. It was pretty good though! I will make some changes next time and follow the recipe a little closer.
We watched the sun rise and set as we do.
Sunrises in the cold, especially after the first real fronts, are the prettiest. Merle thought so too as he sat just like a setter does, right in front of it. So, I did the only natural thing and took his picture.
Next to a big Texas sunrise (I sure do love those random pine trees), he does not look quite as big as he actually is.
He has been living his best puppy life (wonderful, joyous, and glorious proof below!). Growing and raising all kinds of naughty trouble as he should (he is a puppy after all). Learning all the things. Growing into my wingpup. Boy howdy, I will tell you this puppy has the biggest and strongest personality. At present he is jealous of my computer and he is showing as well as telling me about it. I have deleted several of his ‘comments.’
I can almost not keep toys he goes through them so fast. I am not exaggerating when I tell you he has blown trough toys that Darcy had her whole life. He also tries to make everything a toy. His preferred wake up time is 4:45 AM, but he is generally kind enough to stay quiet until 5:15 AM. He leaves water and drool all over the house. He has a loud voice completely his own and so very different from Darcy. He is very much attached and watches my every move, but he seems to also have opinions on what we spend our time doing. Very loud opinions. He is also a fetch machine. Darcy never seemed to care for the simple game of fetch for lack of point. She was much too practical for that.
I will be honest. After all, that is what I do here. My heart is still more than aching over my Darcy girl. Still more than broken and almost completely open. Almost every day and truly as I type these words to you I get tears in my eyes with a storm brewing on my insides. Almost tormented by images, memories, and feelings. The whole thing is so wrapped in so many emotions, at times I do not even know where they come from or what they even are. Anger. Anguish. Sadness. Sorrow. Loneliness. Dolefulness. Despair. Despondent. May God help the person that ever tells me she was just a dog. Luckily for them, we have not crossed paths.
I told you. What joyous proof.
Given all of that I just told you, would you look at that face on that puppy. The joy. My heart almost can not handle it, and at the same time, it is the only thing that seems to help. Do you want to know what else I almost can not handle? Do you see the collar that Merle dog is wearing? That is one of Darcy’s old collars. My Merle man is good for my soul. My heart. Even if he tries my patience almost on the daily.
Do you want to know what is even better?
Merle with my horses. He thinks is is every bit one of them. (Let us not mention the bur filled tail on my Lito.)
It really is a sweet thing to witness. He seems to really have a special bond with Lito and Petunia. The above image is not a fleeing moment, but a scene that goes on for minutes multiple times!
While that love scene was unfolding, I turned into a crazy lady on the run with a pair of clippers and roached Cheetah’s mane again. I used to keep it that way when I first got her.
I was just staring at her mane shaking my head at the burs and the ragged, scraggly look of all the hairs as she stuck her head and neck through the fence. Before I knew it I was shaving her mane off. Boy we both felt good after. She looked and felt so clean and sharp! While I did not, covered in her mane!
Afterwards, we had a nice, relaxing ride. Another great thing for the heart and soul.
You can not see them, but there are at least six white tail does under the changing pecan trees in the distance. Do not miss the moon there though! Or the fiery sunset light!
So, whoever is blinking out there, just stop already! It is almost Thanksgiving! I have gifts to find and desserts to bake! Sunrises to catch and horses to ride! A Merle pup to watch grow!
Slow down and find the joy in the season you are in, even if it feels like you have been in one hard season after another.
Where do I even begin. I truly am not even sure. The Monday blues were real and hardcore on the struggle bus yesterday.
Years 1, 2, and 3 were all so different and this year was, well, no different! It was indeed the best year in my estimation and I believe in several others’ as well.
I suppose starting at the beginning is the natural way of things. It just seems so long ago!
I was able to skip town pretty early on Friday. I already had my things packed and Merle with me at the office. All I had to do was drop him off (more on that later) and I was off scot-free! Well, as scot-free as one can be in Friday traffic, but hey, I was on my way!
There were only a few stops I needed to make on the way for necessary long road trip things. Shavings for Ronan and Lito in the trailer and breakfast kolaches (both sausage and fruit) to go and nacks (that is ‘snacks’ for all you people without a cute niece) for R and me.
R and Ro made it to the farm Friday evening with just enough time to get Ro settled and for us to get into town for a Mexican food dinner. We were both starving and decided loading all of my stuff could wait till the morning.
Morning came quick enough, as it does, and there was plenty left to do before we could leave, but we got it all done in not much time or having to rush too badly. After loading Ro and Lito and before pulling out, R warmed up the sausage kolaches while I turned the rest of the horses out.
Our farm cat, clearly a bit miffed that he was going to be missing out on the fun and the kolaches, decided he would take matters into his own paws by snagging and eating our fruit kolaches off of the truck dash. He clearly enjoyed them! After having a good laugh, the first of many, we were on the road by around 10 AM.
The drive was going smoothly enough.
Long time horse people never actually think that thought though because it is just a matter of when something will happen, not a matter of if.
Is that not so subtle foreshadowing you read?
Spoiler alert, there were incidents.
This was the first incident. Blown tire.
Doesn’t that just look like a party?
There are several great things about this incident. Both the horses and us were just fine. We had all the things we needed to change the tire. AND, go figure this, a friend just up the road to help. We were on the road in very little time at all. By all accounts, this part really could not have gone any better.
That was the first part.
Once we got to the next town about 45 minutes down the road, we spent the next hour trying to find someone to check the rest of the tires and replace the blown one. After trying three places, we finally got the others checked and decided to get on down the road. We started the drive with two spare tires and knew we would have better luck replacing the one in a bigger town or come Monday morning.
Feeling pretty alright about our good fortune, but still someone shaken, we drove on.
I will spare you some of the details of what happens next, but we almost got in a bad wreck…Like slam on the breaks and horn and basically come to a stop on a major freeway bad. And feel the horses get smacked around in the trailer behind us bad. All because someone was not paying attention and was entering the freeway incorrectly! (Let us all make a pact to help educate people on driving the road with horse trailers, OK? Thanks). It could have been much, much worse. I do not want to focus on that.
The point is, we were and are still OK.
I can tell you one thing, we were praising the Lord during and after this drive.
Us humans were pretty shaken by the day’s events and we have never been so happy to unload horses in our lives. Oh, and bless these two boys of ours. They unloaded calmly and seemed to comfort us and not the other way around! I think at that point we would have been happy to never leave that hilltop ranch. At the end of the day, the drive took about twice as long as it should have.
We put the horses in their pens to settle and went to settle ourselves. That later on included an evening stroll with the horses before dinner with some of the other early arrivals.
The Sunday sunrise the following morning was stunning as per usual. R and I climbed on top of the trailer with our coffee for a better view. This basically set up the rest of the day.
I stayed in my pajamas until 11 AM. This will likely not be a shock for you to learn, but I never do that. Ever. It was glorious. I probably had four cups of coffee too.
Later on, in real clothes, we went for a much needed ride.
We then watched the sunset before heading down the hill for dinner in town with friends.
At dinner, our great friend and hostess read that day’s devotional aloud.
Boy howdy, if that did not speak right to me, I do not know what does.
It was a great evening and we all awoke on Monday morning rested and ready to make it to our final destination for the main event! …Sans incidents!
However, R and I first needed to replace our blown tire which took some time. This was actually kind of nice because we got to have a nice breakfast in town while we waited. Once that chore was finished, we went back to the ranch, loaded up (again, I praise these boys that loaded very well despite how their last trip went!), and headed out!
I am happy to report that we made it without any problems and got our ponies all settled for the week of fun!
And fun we did have in a big way.
Fun. Fellowship. Sisterhood. All with our horses. I can not share too terribly much because it is all, you know, secret and stuff, but here is a little taste of what went on.
Just look at my cute boy. He looks happy, yes? He had this face on pretty much the whole week.
We enjoyed a movie out on the lawn after dinner the first night, complete with popcorn and candy…under the full moon! It took me right back to childhood and camp. We watched The Man From Snowy River. Great movie if you have never seen it!
I had late night and early morning hangouts with my guy.
Lito striking a pose while looking for the strange animal that made a scary noise.
We rode the hills together.
Those are my friends R and H. And Lito’s friends Ronan and Chica.
We crossed a lot of water and we loved it.
We rode through the shady, idyllic groves.
We hung out in the river and watched the fish.
Lito took many naps. I did not. I did not sleep much all week!
We saw, experienced, and felt God’s creation from the back of God’s gift to us. It could not have been any better.
We caught the sunrise each morning and the sunset each evening.
I felt transported to a different place at times. Which was much needed.
I do believe my Lito had as good of a time as I did.
My horse. My Lito man. He was amazing and seemed to be very happy (even if he did get bored and frustrated when we were going too slow or stopping too much). He wanted to be friends with everyone. I could not be more proud of him. He is not the horse for everyone, but he is for me. We have our own thing.
I lost count of how many times I laughed until I cried with my fellowship and horsemanship sisters. My stomach and my eyes hurt! Y’all have no idea how much I needed that. How much we all needed and still need that.
We rode together. We prayed together. We laughed together. We cried together. That is what it is and was all about. That is what IT is all about. AHAmoment. They call the Hill Country God’s Country and it sure did feel that way!
Now I can not share any more about that! BUT. I do have one more thing for y’all.
Did you wonder about my Merle while we were away? Well, wonder no more. He was in excellent care. I had to board him because all of my people were busy or out of town. He did not seem to mind and clearly had fun! Does he look like he is practicing his face for Halloween, missing baby teeth and all?!
By the time we got back to the farm and unloaded, I wished R a good safe rest of her drive, took a much needed bath, and then took a two hour nap (another thing I do not do).
I still have not caught up on sleep! We are all happy to be safely home even though we were not quite sure we wanted the trip to be over. This week is major catch up and now I just want to go back!
You know what it is going to be? Alright. Everything is going to be alright.
I used to hate it when sister K would say that. Mostly because she would say, “you know what it is going to be?! Fine.” Something about that ‘fine’ word would just…stick…stick in my craw, you know? Still does as a matter of fact.
Maybe you don’t know what I mean, but I do. Trust me.
Do you need to hear that everything is going to be alright right now? I have been, so I am going to tell you. I know I am not alone and neither are you!
Let me tell you how and why I know everything is going to be alright.
I could go on and on with a multitude of reasons, but I will just limit it to the reasons my eyes have been shown as of late.
So today (it would be today, such a Monday thing to do), pretty much just now, I started some laundry. Do you feel the bad omen? One of my sets of bed sheets if you must know. Also if you must know, they have been sitting on my bedroom floor acting as a play mat for Merle covered in toys (his doing, not mine) waiting to be washed for a week (some good adulting right there, let me tell you), but let us not speak of that.
Back to the story. Said sheets are now in the machine. We, Merle and I, are going about our business about to go on a walk when I walk in to the kitchen (that is where my washing machines live) and I see suds streaming down the face of the washer onto the tile floor. I told you there was a bad omen. Apparently I got overzealous with the soap. Admittedly, this is not the first time this has happened.
I curse myself for not being more careful AGAIN and stomp off to the front door with Merle confused (after trying to lick up the aforementioned soap suds) and running after me. We left the sorted mess to be dealt with later. After our walk and after I run an extra rinse cycle.
I opened the door and it was hot and humid and so very muggy. I roll my eyes and just start walking. Eventually at some point down the street I looked up and saw a beautiful rainbow. Not bold and distinct and in your face like you might think, but subtle and quiet and soft, just like its message (hardy har har). A, “hey, you, yes you. Open your eyes and see. Forget about all that other stuff and see all your blessings.”
I could not help but smile. Then I started to notice the after rain blue sky. The green green grass as a result of all these rains. The beauty in the aftermath.
I took a deep breath and knew it was all alright.
Every day I come home to this (as in that. That puppy up there with the toys) little orange and white puppy named Merle. This little Merle just explodes with unconditional love the second he sees me. A kind of love us mere humans can barely fathom or even hope to express. His tail wags so fast I can not even see it. He has his own smile and language. He tries so hard not to use his teeth on me because he knows he is not supposed to, even though he still does sometimes. I love this little pup and he makes my heart smile even if I still shed tears at the slight passing thought of my Darcy girl.
I stumbled upon these pictures of her the other day and just could not keep it together.
I got angry and down right mad to be honest. Then that little mighty Merle came and plopped himself in my lap and looked up at me with those dark, soulful eyes as deep as the biggest ocean while he pressed his body and head against me. Just like Darcy would sometimes do.
I knew in that moment Merle was meant to be mine at this time and that everything was going to be alright.
Even if I am not over Darcy (which. I do not think I ever really will fully be). Even if Merle is a slower learner. Even if he is worlds beyond smarter than me. Even if he is into and chewing everything. He is a puppy and that is what they do! And you want to know what? He loves my travel bag, just like Darcy. And he loves to sleep on my feet, just like Darcy.
He lets me know everything is going to be alright.
Two weekends ago Lito and I went to ride with friends. I woke up early to feed, load, and hit the road not too long after sunrise to beat the coming heat. We were greeted with a full moon and a clear, starry sky. There was a slight ‘chill’ in the air. I could see the fog not too long off down the valley and the way it reflected the moonlight. I could see the long moonlit shadows of the pecan and oak trees. I could smell the distant aroma of the previous night’s cooking fire.
The sights and smells stirred up a lot of feelings and emotions. Excitement for the day to come with my boy. Joy and anticipation in the change of seasons. The end of summer and the beginning of fall. The excitement and promise of the future and things to come. The small feelings of that moment and how they reflect the bigger picture of life.
I knew in that moment, walking to the barn to feed with Merle at my feet that everything was going to be alright.
Then there is this guy. This guy right here. I am not sure I can even find the words to express the feelings and emotions and I do not even know what. The gratitude and the love. The pride.
I have written some about our struggles over the last year and a half. The difficulties and set backs and trials. The ‘phase’ my Lito has been in. I just stopped writing about it after a while, just trying to give it time to play out and for him to come around. Giving him his time and not putting more energy into the situation. And because honestly, I did not understand it. I raised this horse. He was a consummate professional from the minute he was born until this whole thing started. It was not ‘supposed’ to be like this.
I do not think understanding it is the point. I think the point was and is to let it go (go figure that one there!). To just accept him where he is and the situation and let it be. Give him his time and work through it and allow our relationship to be better than it was before. And I really think it is. I am not going to say we are completely over it, but man oh man, we have come so far. And getting even better every day.
Just being in his presence lets me know everything is going to be alright.
That is a lot of words for tonight, especially after my prolonged silence. I suppose that is the natural way of things! There has been a lot going on and yet, at the same time, not much going on.
I know I have already said thank you, but I really do appreciate y’all. More than anything, I want each and every one of y’all to know everything is going to be alright. This I know.
Sometimes life just is not fair and we do not understand it. Stuff happens. Or does not happen. No matter what, everything is going to be alright. AHAmoment. Trust me. Take a very deep breath and hold it. Have faith. Pause. Have faith. Then slowly, very slowly let it out. Have faith. Being completely aware of every molecule and how your body reacts. Have faith. Where those molecules go. Have faith. Rinse and repeat.
Then see and count your blessings. Blessing number one is the fact that you are awake and breathing. Open your eyes and see and feel the rest. There are so many.
Everything is going to be alright.
Tell me, how do you know everything is going to be alright?
Y’all are a large part of the reason why AHAmoments is still here.
You have been here with me through it all and I thank you for that.
You have brought me light when I was feeling like I was in the dark. You have brought a smile to my face. You have helped me focus on the positive. You have encouraged me and inspired me. You have helped me be brave. You have reminded me that I am not alone. You have let me be me. Let me share my story.
You have watched this guy grow up into a real horse. A really big horse that barely fits into that trailer.
And you have let me share countless pictures just like these. I hope you do not get tired of these pics because I never seem to tire of them.
My only hope is that I can do the same things for y’all that you have done for me.
So, thank you. Keep being you. Keep being brave. Keep sharing your story. Keep being your best self. And keep walking in love, dear readers. That is what makes the world go round. AHAmoment.
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I was outside with Merle after I got home from work yesterday when I heard what I thought was distant thunder roll. I looked up at the sky to some gray clouds and then down at the patch of grass Merle was standing in. I thought to myself not for the first time how crunchy and dry it looked. How it felt under my bare feet. How it might feel on Merle’s puppy paws, without the wear and tear of running and dog life, all brand new and soft.
We really needed some rain. I might have said as much out loud as Merle took care of his business, likely looking at me with a cocked glance as only a dog can do.
It made me think on how wet this past fall and winter were. All the grass growth we got because of that. How things have seemed to change so much since then. I shut the door behind us as the first drop of blessed rain fell from the sky on the hot, concrete walk that leads to my front door. I sure hate when good rain is wasted on concrete.
I turned around to look out the window and watched as more drops came down. Then the sky opened up on that dry grass. A smile sneaked up on my face even if I did not want it to be there, and not just because the weather now seemingly matched my mood. It was a doozey of a day that smacked and whacked me around a bit in a lot of ways.
My girl would have been six years old today.
You know how you avoid certain days on the calendar, even though you believe that every day is just a day like any other? Yesterday was one of those days. I tried to avoid it like the plague. Try as I might to stop time, it came rolling on by, as it does.
I miss her like I would miss, oh I don’t know, my arm? Something more than significant. I really and truly do not have the words. It is still a punch in the gut when I think about it. Which, I try not to. I still get mad about it, the whole thing.
But, you know what? I have this little guy.
I also have his big brother. And his big brother’s mother.
They make everything all OK. No matter what. They are always there with unconditional love. They are my blessings.
8:30 AM rolled on in on time while I was working. My phone rang. It was my horse vet. They were scheduled to be out there to give some vaccines and check teeth. It was too early for a call, but I knew what it was about.
It was his time. I had been waiting for it. Watching its glacial pace, giving him his time. I told him goodbye the evening before, like I have been doing the past several weeks. I thanked him. I told him that it was OK, that he could go if he was ready.
He was down when my vet got there. We decided it was best to help him on his way. Certainly a hard thing to do, but it is also too the easiest thing to do.
He was the last of the originals. The third horse we ever got. It is the end of an era it feels.
Funny how it seems certain days seem to really stack on the things. Mix in some more life things in there and it can get pretty heavy. Lay it on me if you’ve got it.
After that much needed evening rain storm passed, a full rainbow shone against the dark sky in full glory. They say we will have a break from triple digit temperatures the next few days.
Red wine and chocolate pie, anyone?
Today is a new day, as they say. AHA moment. Start fresh and clean, like the rainbow shining above your head. Look up. Take a breath or ten, and make them deep. Make them count. Say a prayer. If you messed up yesterday, it is OK. Make it right today and tomorrow. See the blessings around you. They are there and they are plenty.