It Is A New Year.

Yes, indeed, that is fact. It is a new year.

This morning I am sitting in a warm house with coffee and homemade pumpkin bread after feeding and mucking out the barn. A perfect time to talk with you, dear readers!

Say peace out to 2020! Say it all you like if that is what brings you joy. I won’t lie and say it does not bring me joy.

Peace out like Merle flying out of this water trough.

But, today is a day just like any other though, and many things in this earthly world we live in do not exist within our human schedules and boundaries. A new year in itself, this new year or any other, or a new day for that matter, does not guarantee change on its own or forgiveness from the very life we live. Forgiveness from its hardships or its joy. Its light. Its peace.

That my dear readers, is up to you.

Every day you have a choice. A choice to see and be good or not. A choice to love. A choice to see the joy. A choice to be happy. It is that simple. That is the AHAmoment. One of those keys to life.

Be the change you want to see. If you want greater change of any kind beyond yourself, look within your very person first.

Live the life you wish to see.

Peace.

Love.

Joy.

Be grateful for every morning you wake.

New Year’s Day sunrise.

New Year’s Day or any day that I wake up and am able to breathe and see the sunrise, is a blessed day.

I thank Him for it.

Be grateful for the cleansing and growing rain. For the warming and invigorating sun. Both that give us life. Being happy in it and all the gifts of life like this dog. Even if it means wearing rubber boots more than not, trudging through the mud scooping up horse poop. Really, it could be worse! It could be flooding, for instance. Or burning.

I thank Him for it. The gifts of rain, sun, and my Merle. And yes, the poop too!

Oh to be happy like a dog! That is our ultimate goal!

Be grateful for your very life. Take time for yourself and do not be selfish. You can do you while still showing up for your people. Considering them. Be grateful for the people in your life and be grateful for the things in your people’s lives! Each of us in on a unique walk together to the same place. You are not meant to go through exactly what someone else is. Embrace and enjoy it! Community and fellowship is a big part of what makes this life what it is all about.

Classic head shadow does not distract from that mover and shaker.

I thank Him for the people and animals in my life. To be able to do what I love with people I love is one of the greatest blessings!

Slow down and enjoy the little things. Build your life around what brings you joy. Ride more horses. Fish more waters. Hike more paths. Drive more roads.

Seriously though, these blue skies!

Lay in the leaves with your dog. When was the last time you played in the leaves??? Inspire the kid within you!

Take more pictures of your actual life. Your actual view. Or draw. Or paint. Or play.

Take the time to hand graze your horse and have quality time. Have quality time with your people. Linger over your coffee. Slow down and enjoy the meal. Count all the colors you see.

Be grateful for your perspective. You are unique and uniquely made for a reason and a purpose!

I thank Him for it!

Do what makes you happy. Be with who makes you happy. Brings you joy. Sparks inspiration. Sees the best in you. Does not take you away from what is good and right. Supports you. Sees life the way you do. Does not shrink from challenges.

You only get one life. A life made up of days, hours, minutes, and seconds. Do not waste a single one. You don’t get any of them back. You might not have tomorrow.

Mad or angry?

Forgive! And then step on.

Find yourself frowning?

Smile!

Are you seeing the dark? Or the negative?

Look for the light! The positive!

Getting mad at someone who just cut you off?

Blare some happy music!

It is all about perspective. Your choice!

Walk in love, dear readers. Embody it!

Let others see and feel it.

They will in turn do the same.

That is the way you inspire change.

The 9 Days of Christmas, Day 8.

Day 8.

Happy Blessed Christmas Eve!

Alas, here we are with the best transformation Thursday, Merle edition. Just wait for what I have saved for you tomorrow.

Same mohawk.

Same attitude.

Same drool (refer to photo 1).

I wouldn’t change or trade him for anything!

He is every bit of boy setter.

Be with your people, whoever they may be. Tell them you love them. Smile. Be joyful and feel the spirit. Cook and bake together.

Happy Christmas Eve.

Walk in love, dear readers.

The 9 Days of Christmas, Day 1.

Day 1.

OK, yes, I made this up, but who cares. Get into THE SPIRIT with me.

In years past on the Facebook page and here on AHAmoments, we have done a run of Christmas music, and while I am not promising I will not share some of that great music, I think this year calls for a bit more ammo.

Less words.

Clearly, I have not had many of those recently!

So. Spirit. Emotions. Smile. Joy.

Share them with me.

Day 1.

Maybe some tears with my smile, but still joy!

See you tomorrow for day 2!

Walk in love, dear readers!

P.S. Pray for more words after Christmas.

Onward & Upward

Yes, 2020, you have been a gem so far.

I can not help it with these memes, sorry, I am not sorry. They are just so apt.

Really though, at this point, I want to scratch out ‘2020’ in that first one and put in its place, ‘The Whole Of The Past Twelve Months.’

Well actually, ‘The Whole Of The Past Twelve Months And One Day.’

A year ago yesterday was one of the worst days of my life. I had to make that terrible awful decision and actually act on it. My life has not been the same since and I do not think it will ever be the same again, and not just because of that fateful day.

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened." - Anatole France

I miss everything about her and us. The words will not even come now, a whole year and a day later. That fateful day I had no choice. None.

That day I had to set my Darcy Girl free from her pain of this earthly realm. There was absolutely nothing else I could do. I had to do it for her. She was not even six years old. That is one of the hardest parts I think. We were supposed to have so much more time.

I have been doing a lot of thinking over the last year and a day (and not so much writing). It has been quite a year and it went by in a flash, but lot has happened.

That thing there I mentioned earlier. Choices. Yes, that one. We take that right and privilege for granted. That is one thing I know. Choices and time, that is what I have been thinking a lot about.

A little after Darcy’s day, before traveling all over kingdom come of this country over the summer (hey, I rode horses, caught fish, and got a Merle pup!), I blathered on here on AHAmoments about how life is about saying yes. Not just yes, but YES. Remember that? No? It does not matter, it seems silly in retrospect, but I did. I went on about saying yes to things and people and living what is left of your life because it is a gift that can be taken away at any moment. You know, beyond our control, out of our hands, not our choice.

Not long before Darcy’s day, I made a big bet (completely unrelated to Darcy) that had a very big chance of not working out.

An incredibly long story short, that bet did indeed turn out to be a losing bet. I was lied to and cheated on. Deceived. Taken advantage of and disrespected. My time was wasted. I got severely disappointed (hey, still kinda am). Mad. Angry. Sad. Mad at myself as well.

But you want to know what? Yes, I know you do. I have no regrets. I still believe those things about a yes life that I mentioned even still. That is the only way to live a life. It is too short not to. There are more important things than all that other stuff. I would not have a Merle pup or a Lito man if I did not believe these things. Where would I be without those two!? Or my Cheetah!? Even with Darcy. What if I did not get her when I did? Who would I be and where would I be without having had her in my life???

"No philosophers so thoroughly comprehend us as dogs and horses."~Herman Melville⁠

The truth is, just like this very life itself, none of it is on our time frames. That is for the Man Upstairs. AHAmoment and do not you forget it.

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My loving boy, Merle. A more beautiful soul never existed. He is a lover of all beings. My chief blessing.
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They seem to like him just as much.
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You see, I indeed did make that choice. Or choices, rather. Nobody else. That is on me. The choice to bet on a person knowing it had a high chance of not working out. If I am being honest, I even felt it deep inside in that hidden place, despite all the words, that it was not going to work out (hey there, gut feeling Holy Spirit, sorry I did not listen you. I am still learning.). I did not listen to it, I wanted it to be different. The way the words (not actions) sounded. It was supposed to be great. You do not win if you do not bid, right? That is what they say. I trusted and said yes. It was my choice. I believed and fought for it.

Here is the thing. I can make another choice right here in the story. And I have. I vowed to myself to continue to say yes and be open in life and opportunities and adventures and, yes, people. To live life in the front row. To learn and be better. Like I said then, I will say it now, I have lived a third of a lifetime (if I am blessed enough to live to old age). I have zero desire to waste any of it, or any more of it.

Lito wanted a rest under his favorite pecan tree. I always oblige. I am generally feeling the same. This is me, not wasting my time.

I have learned and am still learning from my past and all the life that I have lived over 31.5 years. That is what is making me smarter and wiser, so long as I listen to my gut feeling. Learning what He needs me to for His purpose. You have to ‘watch their actions,’ as a wise women told me. Not the words. Believe what you see and what is shown to you. Make the choice to learn it and leave it.

Do not take your time or choices for granted.

Life is still going on all around us whether or not we are going with it. The choice is yours no matter the situation, do not waste it. You can get wrapped up in all the rest if you want. Get mad and angry. I did for a little bit. Then step forward and on. Forward is always the answer, just like with horses. Leg on.

This is also me not wasting my time and my life. Churchill put it best. Except, I was riding bareback.
I have ridden this road since I was 9 and it never gets old.

All of that to say, that, even with all of that, the storms we go through (and we all do go through storms), they do not last. For anyone. We have so many rainbows. So many silver linings. So much wonder and light. So many blessings. That is right, WE. All of us. There is a reason for all of it, a greater purpose. We are learning through the journey to that purpose.

Like I said, I would not have Merle for not that awful day a year and a day ago.

Onward and upwards, my friends.

Learn from yesterday, live for today, and tomorrow is a new, blessed day! Go be your best self and be good to people.

Walk in love, dear readers, I hope these images of my loves brighten your 2020. Or Last Twelve Months And One Day.

Anyone still there? Tap. Tap tap.

Look! The pecans are coming! It is all in the natural way of things.

Muesday

Happy day, dear readers!

Yes, say it with me.

You can do it.

Yes, I know it is Monday.

Wait, what?

Err….by Monday, I clearly mean Tuesday. It is Tuesday. All day. It was Tuesday all morning and it will still be Tuesday all afternoon. Or, just a second Monday.

OK. Now that is clear…

Sigh.

I am back in the office. Well not at this very actual moment. I am at home for lunch, but I am back working in the office. I have not been in since I do not remember when. It feels odd. Strange.

Anyone else back in the office?

I mean, I obviously knew this day was coming and I could not work remotely forever.

I just.

I just really got used to it. That small taste. It felt right. More in the right direction.

Life got more pleasant. I turned off the news and ignored the media. I had so much quality time with Merle. My breaks were outside petting the horses and giving them treats. I worked outside on the porch half of the time. There was fresh country air and sunshine. Walking and fetch. Riding. Clear views. No concrete or buildings. Even for the days that I was in town last week, I was on my patio with Merle at my feet.

I mean, I had to put real clothes and makeup on for the first time since this all started! My left eye has been protest twitching all morning! You should have seen the look Merle gave me this morning.

One day, dear readers, one day.

For today, I have a job.

For today, I am recharged and realigned.

For today, I have all these happy memories of these guys to remind me.

Perspective, my people! They are my muse anyway, on this Muesday and every other day.

I am not sure who has it better, the horses or Merle.

He is such a dude.

Nothing like a good ride on a spring day with the egrets.

He says there are birds over there.

That look, I tell you.

Tell me, how is your Tuesday going?

Walk in love, dear readers. Smile at someone today, even if it is just with your eyes.

May Show & Tell

Happy Monday, dear readers!

What is the word from the bird? Have you had a good day? How the heck are you?

It is May, right? How did that happen??? I have something to show and tell you, but it will have to wait just a minute.

Let me be honest here for a quick sec. I have no idea most days what day it actually is. I no longer know how long this has all been going on. Anyone else?

I have not worn makeup this whole entire time (my eyes I think have never been happier). I have trimmed my own hair twice (I was over due for a trim in the beginning of March). Once, I cut it with dull scissors. Whoops. Luckily for me, there has been no need to put work clothes on so I have lived in farm clothes. When this all started my house was a mess and I just left it that way. Unorganized. Things not in their places. Laundry. Yikes, the laundry. It was EVERYWHERE and in all states (a luxury as I live alone. I can do that if I want. Even if it drives me crazy). Also very dusty as it has been sitting, not lived in. I will not mention the pollen I had tracked in from walking through my patio when I came to check on it. And the hay and cut grass.

No, I will not do that.

Wait, I just did. Eh, whatever.

Yes, I just said that. All of it. You can judge me.

Anyway.

In spite of all of that, life is chugging along. Not much has changed since the beginning of this ‘rona time (sorry, I am not sorry, I like calling it the ‘rona) and I do not think I would have it any other way.

I have pretty much only seen my family. I have gotten a lot of fresh air and horse time as I have been living at the farm this whole time. I am also a bit tanner because I have been bad by not putting sunscreen on and wearing a hat at all times. I am getting a lot of the sunshine vitamin! I go to bed early and wake up, well, moderately early for me. I am normally a 5:30 AM riser. Lately, I have been staying in bed till almost 7! I manage to get my work done and have gotten pretty good at working just about anywhere. I did break down and get a monitor, keyboard, and mouse at some point and that makes it easier to work from my laptop. I get to see the horses graze across the pasture as I work. You can give me this view over any downtown, high rise CEO office. I have been trying to soak every moment in.

I avoid most all news (real, fake, or any other kind). I had the most extreme case of the Sunday ‘What Day Is It’ blues at the prospect of going back into the office soon. I should just be grateful that I still have a job at this point. I came back to town yesterday to get my life house back in order and begin getting my regular schedule back in place.

I have zero desire to put work clothes back on or start wearing makeup again. I am however, looking forward to getting my hair cut by the one and only person I let do it (besides, uh, myself) at some point. My house is looking like its old self again after my mad woman cleaning spree and I am mostly l caught up on laundry. My patio is all raked and clean of pollen and leaves and I have gathered all the clothes I need to donate. As much as I love being at the farm at with my horses (and these past weeks have been basically a dream living out there), I have missed my own space.

Enough about all of that. There are more important things to show and tell, especially for those that are unable to get out. How about some of my views over the past few weeks?!

These sunrises, man. The Lord does not mess around with His paintings! The only thing that makes them even better is a posing Lito. I even had a mug of coffee in my hand.

And egrets. They add a special touch, do they not?

I picked dewberries while drinking a glass of rose. Mamma said picking dewberries is as fun as an Easter egg hunt. I do believe she must be right because I had a joy of a time. She even went out and picked some more berries to make sure we had enough.

I then put those little gems of dewberries into a dewberry crumble pie. Boy howdy, that is one dang good pie. In addition to these wild dewberries, we also have wild mustang grapes growing here. Lots of them. Later this summer when they are fully ripe, I am going to make some jelly. It has been fun watching the grapes emerge on the vines.

The sunsets also never disappoint and watching them every evening does not take away how special they all are. Just look at that sun shining down on my ponies.

The beauty of spring continues to spring for the cactus blossoms.

Another view of spring and summer that I love is the storms. Y’all know I love watching storms. It does not matter where I am, but being a witness to them at the farm is really special.

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This particular storm mostly avoided us and gave us very little rain, but it gave us quite a show to watch.

I had a very special ride on my best boy Lito right before I came back.

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It was the right amount of spring breezy and we had a great lope out in the meadow pasture. The kind that makes you just grin from ear to ear and get giddy. And makes you giggle like a kid and remember all those memories and feelings and just what that special thing is inside you. He reads my mind. I do not even think I asked him for it. We just felt it one moment and just as lovely as you please we were dancing down the fence line.

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Now. For the absolutely most important thing that I have to tell you.

Y’all.

My Merley.

He is back! And just. Look. At. Him. My life feels right again.

My life has had an emptiness about it without him.

And without his look.

He seems just as happy to be back.

I just love that setter stride.

I have to admit, having him away was even harder than I thought it would be with everything going on. Even with being able to visit him.

I am so glad to have my buddy back.

Walk in love, dear readers. Tell me something, anything!

Beautiful Souls

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.

Merle and my Lito man
Merle and Petunia

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.

Merle and Blaze
Merle with Billy and Blaze
Merle with Bendita and Blaze

Now if only I could capture his antics with the cat……..

Love.

God is love. Never forget it.

Walk in love, dear readers.

“And love will run to meet me and call me his own”
“So love can live to tell the tale”

Joy

Not quite ready for Monday morning? Or do you already need a break?

Shh. Me too. I got your back. I am here for you.

My quality time with my menagerie at the farm this past weekend is calling me back! Even with the crazy weather, but enough about that.

Grab a quick cup a coffee and have a scroll through what brings me joy and serenity. I want to share it with you to bring you joy and a smile. And well, possibly to motivate you if you need it! Enjoy!

How can you not smile at that cute face?!

Joy really is all around us, always. We just need the eyes to see, you see? God is great in all times and seasons.

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Walk in love, dear readers. Have a fabulous Monday.

New Day

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.

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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 brake. 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.

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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.

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Merle was very worn out with all the preparations! …and so was I!

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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.

But. Cold and frosty makes for very pretty!

I rode several times and took walks.

Just enjoying some quality time with my guys.

Cuddle time is our favorite.

Walk in love, dear readers. Today is a new day.