Baby.

Last Tuesday I became an Aunt again and then this past Sunday my Grandmother peacefully rose into Heaven. She lived a beautiful and long life of 92 years. Even through the sadness, blessings and joy abound! I am reminded of the ever present circle of life and to never forget your prayers.

My Grandmother’s nickname growing up was Baby. I always thought that was somewhat funny because I was the baby until the greatgrandchildren were born, of which I believe there are 18 in total, but I did not put overly much thought into it for a long time. Now when I do think of it, she did always seem small to me and in more than just physical stature. She had very small wrists and fingers that Sister K got. Her rings barely fit on my pinky finger. Everything about her was seemingly small. Her build was dainty and her movements small and fluid, her voice and touch both soft and sweet. I can hear her now calling each one of us ‘deary.’ I remember she had very soft skin. Everything seemed soft about her, even the air around her. Like her aura. Maybe she had a white aura? I do not know much about that kind of thing, but it seems fitting even though she wore and painted with bold and vibrant colors. Anyway, it sounds odd, but it was very comforting to just look at her even if you were not close to her. Comforting like the feeling of getting blessed while taking Communion. To me, it does not matter who is serving Communion, but the touch and the feeling feels the same to me every time. Alongside all of this smallness, there was a presumed frailty to her. I learned later in life that this loomed from childhood. She of course was a child of the depression and the youngest child of three, but she also suffered greatly from severe asthma which caused her parents to be very protective of her. To keep her from doing certain things, things Baby wanted to do, for fear of an attack.

However, that presumed frailty from her childhood did not align with my Teeto, with the person I knew, or her aura. I will not lie, the line from the movie Dirty Dancing, “Nobody puts Baby in a corner” is what I came to think of a while back any time I would think of her. And I will tell you exactly why.

What was not small about her was her presence. People make that mistake all the time about a lot of people. My Grandmother, Antoinette who went by Toni, but we called her Teeto, had a large presence. Her softness and quietness and sweetness spoke volumes because it was pure goodness. Her strong and unwavering faith and spirituality, devotion to her family, and generosity to her people and the world are her legacy. That is not a Baby in a corner if you ask me. Teeto found her Johnny in Harry and I think one of the things that must have drawn him to her and them together was her very presence.

Tributes can often make a person seem better on paper than they were in real life. I can tell you without a doubt that that is not the case here. One of my honorary Aunties, Aunt C, sent me a message after Teeto passed that said, “She was a loving, sweet, beautiful woman…From my perspective she gave to the world more than she took which is a great thing to witness.” I could stop right here with that. Talk about a mic drop.

That is truly who she was.

For my Pops, Aunt M, and Uncle K, she was the best of the best Moms. Apparently it was voted on and she won. She always had homemade cookies in the jar and the back door was always open to everyone’s friends. Weather or not you wanted a cookie. Speaking of cookies, her molasses cookies are our standard for making them. I believe I have told you this before, but molasses cookies are a tradition in our family because of Teeto. Practically synonymous. They appeared at every family gathering. All of us kids would hunt down the coveted foil wrapped plate because we knew we could sneak a cookie. We knew it would be OK because Teeto brought them for us and that there would be enough remaining for after the meal. When my dad or his siblings got sick, Teeto would apparently roll the only television in the house into their bedroom to entertain them while they rested. She would cook and bake special things just for them. She was the spiritual leader of their family. I see that in all three of them.

She was a lifelong student of art and loved to sketch and paint. I in fact have several of her paintings hanging in my house. She even had a local glary show a few years ago. We also have painted Christmas ornaments and wine glasses. She was creative and crafty. I feel like some of my creativity comes from her. Some of my fondest memories of my time with her revolve around going to the craft store to pick out fun materials and tools, painting and crafting, and quilting on the weekends I would stay at their house.

She often took me to the toy store and would indulge me in my Breyer model horse addiction. Speaking of toys, she had the best bath toys. Bath time was always a party for all of us. She had the coolest carved and painted wooden Noah’s Ark toy we all played with. She was always taking us to the museums and the movie theater where she would sneak in snacks and candy for us in zip top bags, packed away in her purse. She would record on VHS any and all movies that showed on the television (Interesting fact, my Grandparents were one of Netfilx’s first customers. She was also a texting Grandmother, if you wanted to know.). I still have some of these tapes because we still have a working VHS at the farm. I have an obsession for Seven Brides For Seven Brothers because she recorded it and somehow I ended up with it. I don’t even know if I ever watched it as a kid, but at some point she offered it to me and I took it to the farm, and now I have watched it so many times that I am surprised it still works. She gave me my most favorite stuffed animal horse named Ginger, named after the best mare in Black Beauty, that I slept with for years.

I remember the drives to and from their house where she would play country music on the radio and sing along out loud because she knew we loved it. She was also very funny. It is hard to describe how she was funny. It was in the way she said things and the faces she made. Sister A gets that from her.

If you were here when my Grandfather passed, you know we loved to go out to breakfast and that was our most recent tradition to spend time together. I like to think that this tradition and my love of waffles stems from Teeto’s superior ability to prepare Eggo freezer waffles. I have no idea how or what she did, but they were always better at her house than anywhere else. Maybe it was because she cut them into bite size pieces for me, in line with the squares, all neat and tidy. Maybe it was just that she did it with love. Maybe it was the margarine, but I refuse to concede to that. Even the orange juice from concentrate, the kind in the cardboard tube in the freezer section, poured out of an ancient and stained plastic pitcher was pure magic. I sometimes today will treat myself to a Klondike bar because she always had those in the freezer for us.

More than anything else (I am saving the best for last, so if you are still here, congratulations, here is your reward!), I remember this that Teeto told me once and I believe it forever changed me and my perspective on life, and she sure taught me a lot over the years.

I am not sure if I have told y’all this before, but I come from a long line of cattle ranchers and the use and love of horses runs deep in my blood on both sides of my family. Teeto’s father was one of the many ranchers in my lineage.

One day not too far back, when I was out to breakfast with Teeto and Harry, she quietly said to me, “You know, I always loved horses. I always wanted to ride them. It was one of my dreams. I just thought they were so beautiful and free. But my father, mother, and my brother Kermit always said I could not because I was a girl. Because I was Baby. I think they just did not want me to get sick, but it was never going to be allowed.” I am pretty sure I just stared at her for a good several seconds before I could respond. I exclaimed with something really smart like, “You did!?” I actually do not even remember talking much more about it, but it had a profound affect on me. Baby always wanted to ride and be a horse girl, but she was told she couldn’t. To this day I still get my back up just thinking about it and I am taken right back to that booth in Le Peep. You probably did not hear it here first, but I am going to tell you, take this lesson and do not let anyone tell you no if you have the can and the will. Never give up fighting. Keep knocking at that door. I guess I get some of my independence and ‘don’t tread on me,’ my Texas spirit, from her.

This earthly walk is an everchanging place, dear readers. Give of yourself and try to make it better for those around you like my Teeto did. Receive His blessings so you can be a blessing to others through Him.

It is not lost on me that I am extremely blessed to have had two full sets of grandparents into adulthood.

Walk in love, dear readers, and hold your loved ones close.

Well, Hello There…

My, it’s been a long, long time…

Have I done this bit before? Sorry, not sorry if I have!

But, seriously. It has been a long time! Time is funny that way, as I am sure you are tired of hearing me say.

Side note, being the ‘youngster’ that I am, I used to live in this world without ever really understanding why Willie Nelson is as popular as he is. I know, crazy, right? See what I did there? Anyway, hear me out. I just really didn’t. He never seemed to really sing in the songs that got played on the radio. Well, one day, I was driving our old farm suburban, affectionately named The Dun, down the road that leads to the farm. Through the lovely little bend that has the shady hollow under a grove of oak trees. There I was, driving along, listening to the local radio station croon a velvety song out of the radio my Pops installed one afternoon in the driveway of the Long Shadow house where I grew up. I thought to myself, “Dang. Who is that? I know who that is, but I don’t really.” I tried to soak up the rest of the song while I anxiously awaited the DJ’s announcement to my ignorant ears. Once I learned that it was the great Willie Nelson singing to me, I spent the next week large amount of time doing a deep dive into his whole discography, starting at the beginning. Suffice it to say, I get it now. I really get it.

Did I already tell you that story?

Anyhoo! How are you? How have you been?! Tell me!

How am I doing? We are doing more than fine! The month of May (and, uh, the beginning of June too!) has been gloriously busy. We went on some adventures in our spare time while also slowing down and soaking up some personal time.

I looked at the forecast today and it looks like the summer heat has plans to show up with a bang. There is one of those at every party it seems.

Take a ride with us and have a look at what we have been up to. To set the mood, here is our drive soundtrack.

Mr. Dirty Toes Merle was a Merle and got into…stuff. He was happy and proud about it.

We took a walk and picked wild dewberries. They got baked into a pie by Aunt M for Mother’s day. I did not get around to a second pick to bake into muffins. We will get to that next year!

We watched some sunsets. There is nothing like that Texas sky, I tell you! Prove me wrong.

It does not matter where you are standing, it just strikes you.

We have obviously been putting in some saddle time. We have mostly been slowing down and taking it easy. Enjoying the farm. The breeze in our hair. The blue sky. Green grass. Colorful wildflowers before the mowing.

My Lito Man has the prettiest ears!

We also had sunny afternoons where we were so sleepy we could not keep our eyes open! He has been looking more relaxed lately. More grown up. More round. I like it.

I sometimes wonder where this man horse came from. His dam, Cheetah, also turned 18 a couple weeks ago! With each passing day and year, I am enjoying all my time with her and her colt that she gave me.

We celebrated another anniversary. I miss My Darcy Girl every day. Some days, I shove the images and memories to the back and pick something else up after I pick myself up from the kick in the gut. But some days, I find myself looking for her light in different places. Some times I make myself do it. I could not be more blessed to have Merley Bob. He really and truly is a gift beyond measure in addition to unconditional love.

I kept an eye on my blessing reminder that has persisted in this young oak tree.

We celebrated life and love and family and memories by going fishing. We kept a couple dinners worth and released the rest while being glad at the number of young fish we saw building our fishery back up. Are not my parents the best?!

We watched the sunrise while the birds flew.

We felt the breeze in our hair some more. It has been very breezy this spring!

We rode some more and watched a storm come in! We even got a little bit of rain. Every little bit helps to grow the grass and get us through. It has been very dry here.

A different kind of magnificent painting.

We went to the beach and relaxed this past weekend! As cliché as it may sound, I do love a long walk on the beach, especially at sunrise with my pup. The water was…was…from somewhere else? I really do not have the words. Our beach does not usually look like this. I almost felt like we were in a different country.

It was nice to sit and truly relax without a thought of what needed to be done.

Merle loves long walks on the beach too!

We drove back to town early yesterday morning, wonderfully tired. I will not lie, it was a little difficult to get out of bed this morning! That could also have something to do with deciding to assemble a fountain for my patio at my usual bed time.

I find myself in this season, blissfully grateful and saying thank you. I once thought that I was not very good a praying and someone told me I was wrong. That I was indeed actually more than OK at it. It was like that time I said I was lucky and someone corrected me and said I was blessed.

“Naw I ain’t too good at prayin’ But thanks for everything”

~Larry Fleet

Thanks for everything. Amen! It is a simple as that.

Thank you, dear readers, for being you and being here. Walk in love and have a great day!

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!

Music Monday

It is long past time I share some lyrics with you.

I get asked all the time, “What is your favorite song?”

That is a very hard question! It depends! I will say that right now, one of my favorite bands is this band right here, Needtobreathe. That have been at the top of my list for a while. I could go on and on about them, but I think you should just check them out for yourself. I believe I have told you about them before. A really good place to start is right here with today’s song. Give it a listen and tell me that does not hit you right in your core. Go ahead! I dare you.


You’re uncertain and you’re unwell
Rags to riches but your heart can’t tell
That don’t mean you’re going to hell
But that’s how the story goes

You’re like a phoenix rising from the ashes
But all you care about is death and taxes
And being famous takes too much practice
I wish it wasn’t so

I spent my ’20s in the lights of the disco
Trying to prove that I could be a hero
And there were times when it felt like I was winning
But looking back it only lasted a minute

I watched my friends take over the radio
All it did was drill a hole in my ego
I forgot what goodness was outside my window
Ain’t that the way the story goes

I don’t need silver linings
I don’t need so much more

I just need room to be wrong sometimes
That’s all I’m hoping for
I feel like we could find it
If we knocked on heaven’s door
I’d say God I’m only human
You’d say that’s what I’m here for

I spent my teens making out in the stairwell
Inside a church that went long ‘cause the spirit fell
I was really trying to mean something to someone
But at the time I just thought that it was fun

I don’t need silver linings
I don’t need so much more
I just need room to be wrong sometimes
That’s all I’m hoping for
I feel like we could find it
If we knocked on heaven’s door
I’d say God I’m only human
You’d say that’s what I’m here for

I don’t need silver linings
I don’t need so much more
I just need room to be wrong sometimes
That’s all I’m hoping for


Have a blessed Monday, dear readers, and walk in love.

Be thinking about what you are grateful for! I want to hear! I am glad to be back with you.

Nudges.

I have one more thing to say about that, call it, ‘emotional awakening day’ last week.

Call them nudges. Feelings. Ideas. Messages. Whatever you want to call them, follow through with them. I have told you this AHA moment before, but I am reminding you. I know, I am nice like that.

When you get those ‘nudges,’ follow through with them.

For this particular case, say you get a nudge to call someone. Maybe it is not that fully formed, maybe you just think of someone you do not always think about or have not thought about in a while. Call them or go visit them. Send a card, note, or flowers. Then say a prayer.

You see, last Wednesday I made it through the rest of the work day pretty alright. I went about my business. I got as much done as I could manage. I set out to come home and tackle some ‘adulting’ house things that I have been putting off. We all have those chores.

Still churning inside with more than just energy, I got the best idea. I recently got a new dresser chest of drawers for my bedroom. It was my Grandfather‘s. The old chest I had was falling apart and was not of good quality. Well, long story short, the new dresser made it in, and the old never really made it out. At the time when we brought the new one up, there was not time to deal with the old one. Well, you know how that goes. So the old one has just been sitting empty in my room, too heavy for me deal with on my own. Well, too heavy to deal with in one piece! I decided to take a hammer to it!

You heard me. I just started whacking that thing. Man, it felt good. Whack. Whack. Whack whack! I had it broken up into about ten pieces when I heard my phone start ringing.

Gosh, who could that be?! How dare they interrupt me during my therapeutic activity!? I looked at the screen and froze. I almost could not even answer it.

You see, this friend and I do not speak often and pretty much never on the phone. We are connected through H and our riding group. I swiped to answer and offered a tentative, “Hello?…”

I will make this another long story short. She had one of those nudges and followed through with it. On that day of all days, when I most needed it. We talked and I cried I ugly cried and we talked. No matter that I sound like a dying animal when I cry. I do not remember how long we talked, but it was enough. It worked better than whacking the dresser.

When we hung up the phone, I carried the pieces down and took my Merle on a walk in the fall weather.

I am so glad she followed through on that nudge.

Walk in love, dear readers! Check in on your people!

Also, I highly recommend the physical destruction stress reducer!

Rain Like Tears.

Sounds like a sad country song. Sometimes it just hits you. I would not go so far as to say when you least expect it. One expects this to happen at some time and place given the situation. I have been wondering where it was. I have been walking along, day to day, as if…well I do not know. Not as if everything is the same. That is obviously not right. It is not the same and never will be. My mind and body know that. It is some form of shock. Delayed or like a second round. For over 65 days.

I was on my way into work Wednesday morning. Why does it seem that memorable moments always seem to happen in the car? I feel like I have said, “Well, I was driving the other day and…” so many times. It is probably because I spend so much time in the car.

Anyway. I was on my way into work that weatherey morning. My heart is racing and my throat is closing just now thinking about it. I was absently listening to an audiobook of Nora Roberts that I have already listened to at least once while thinking about the day and the coming weekend. How time is moving so quickly. There was a strong cold front blowing in that day, hard and fast with rain and very strong winds, and possibly more. Some would say it was the first ‘real’ cold front to really mark the end of summer down here. I personally would not go that far. That already happened even if we have had a handful of warm days after it.

I wanted to talk. The feeling was more than just what my sister K and I call the ‘dialies,’ that default feeling of wanting to call somebody just because you are driving and not because you really have anything to say. I wanted to talk about everything in and on my mind, but I was stuck. The question of, “Who do I call?” stuck in my mind and my throat. I could call anybody. I told myself as I was stopped at a red light and looking at the graying sky, “Just pick up the phone and call.” But I could not. I just stared at the phone there in the well, like I did not know how. Blank.

I wanted to call H.

And it just hit me. Right there at that red light. Everything got tight as my eyes started to swell. Bam. I could not breathe. I wanted to throw the truck in park and get out of there. Just get out and get some air. To move. To turn around and just head west. Maybe just keep going. Start running.

I could not do that either. The light turned green and somebody honked at me. I jumped in my seat and I may have even shrieked.

I needed to get to the office before the rain. I had things to do and the week was already half over. Nothing else stops just because we do. I drove on, choking on myself. I just rewound the book and I did not call anyone as I got on the freeway.

I wanted to call H and I can no longer call her. It is still so strange and foreign. Such an emptiness. It all happened so fast and inexplicably. It was beyond our control.

She was my person. The one that was always there. The one I could and would call no matter the circumstance. Either to talk about how pretty the day was or because I was on the verge of tears.

Well I have not been able to call her for over 75 days now. I sat there in my office trying to catch my breath as the rain slowly streamed down the window pane and the pine trees whipped back and forth like you would expect in a hurricane. The streaming rain looked like tears to me at the time.

Watching the pine trees outside my office window made me think of this one time not that long ago that I was still talking to her on the phone from my drive in as I came into the office, something that happened often. There was a squirrel in one of those pine trees that I could see building a nest. We probably talked for ten minutes about that dang squirrel as I described to her every move that I could see. She always did that. She really listened to me and did not judge and just let me be me. Accepted me and appreciated me for who I am. Actually asked me about me. We were very different but we were also too the same. She appreciated the silly and weird stuff I had to say, like my squirrel observations. We had real talks about everything under the sun. Silly squirrels or the hard, serious stuff.

Her person and spirit were never closed and she openly shared her life and experiences. She was unfailing in her boundaries that were learned only out of a life lived. She fully lived, up until the last minute she was gifted on this earth. She was fiercely protective of her time, her marriage, her people, and her animals. She was the most true servant and soldier of our Lord. She was real and told it that way, without losing understanding or empathy. If you were her’s, you were just that. It mattered none how much time had passed since the last time you spoke or what had happened, she was there, no matter what.

I have never been one of those people to have many in my inner circle, but she was in there from the beginning. It just was. She is and will always be one of my best friends. Her memory will live on in every single one of us that were blessed to be touched by her. I can only pray to be as open and serving as she was.

All I have to say is this, do not take your time here for granted. For you or for others. This is the biggest and grandest AHA moment for every single one of us. We are only blessed with one life here and none of it is promised. You may not have tomorrow and we do not have control over any of it.

People say the phrases ‘live life to the fullest’ and ‘carpe diem’ and the like all the time in passing. Have you ever really taken those meanings literally given the simple fact that you might not have tomorrow? Take that in. Let it sink in. It is not just something that people say. It is fact. Life.

Say yes and do all the things you have ever wanted to do. Love your people and animals and tell them you do. Think about why you are doing the things you are doing. Ride the horse. Take the trip. Have the meal. Sleep in. Say the words. Smell the flowers. Feel the wind. Walk barefoot in the grass. Get dirty. Buy the clothes. Anything.

We were recently blessed to be able to have our annual ladies ride in the hill country (more on that later). Given the recent state of affairs, we were unable to have our ride in the year 2020. That also made 2019 feel like a very long ago time. Needless to say, we all needed this ride. H was palpably and dearly missed and there were times when I really felt I could not handle it. Literally sick to my stomach. But she was there. She was very much there. I felt her and I saw her and I was not alone. We were not alone. We were serenaded by butterflies every moment on horseback.

When Lito and I were safely back at the farm, I was thinking of the ride and of H and of the butterflies when my gaze was pulled. I looked up, up into the sky. What do you think I saw? A rainbow. And I am not talking a normal horizon to horizon rainbow like you always see. I am talking an up high, heavenward rainbow like I have never before seen in my life.

I have no doubts in my mind where she is and what she is doing. There are so many things we will not understand in this earthly life and that is OK! Just know, that however hard, it all happens for a reason. We will all know one day.

Walk in love, dear readers.

Do you remember anything you just read? Go back and read it again. Go live it.

Just Keep Swimming.

Right?

Just keep swimming!

I AM swimming! Swimming. Swimming. Swimming.

I am still here. Still alive. Do not you worry.

It has been a long three months since I have last written.

You do not have to tell me that. I already know. I know real well!

Let us just say that I have been…watering my mustard seeds?

It feels more like, um, maybe just sitting and watching them most days. You know what, though? That is OK!

There are some seasons in life where you just take things one breath, one step (or stroke, as it were), one day at a time.

So, here I am. One everything at a time.

One everything in love, at a time.

Walk in love, dear readers. We will talk soon!

He Was Ours.

What words does one find and use for a man that stepped up when he didn’t have to? There really are none. Sometimes I really do wish I was an animal so I wouldn’t have use such a measly form of expression. I have been wracking my brain and avoiding this ever since I was asked to put some words down. The truth is, my Grandmother would not have chosen a different man. Harry was that man. Harry was my Grandfather. He was our Grandfather even if blood did not make it so.

My Grandfather Harry went to his Heavenly home last week after a long and blessed life. He was almost 99 years old. It was not that long ago that he was still mobile and independent and his mind was his pretty much until the end. He is now whole and free. There is no more of the pain and suffering.

He lived quite a life. He was a decorated war veteran. He was a career man. There is much that can be said, but more importantly than all of that, he was a family man. A Son, a Brother, a Husband, a Father, a Grandfather, a Great Grandfather.

We were blessed with and by him. He was ours and we were his. I always felt this. Sometimes when I would call them and he would answer the phone, he would immediately say, “Hold on, I’ll go get her.” My response would always be, “Harry, I want to talk to you too.”


There is a picture somewhere of him that shows him. Him. Who he was to the core to all of us, if I can be so bold as to speak for others in my family. It is somewhere and I can not find it. It wasn’t staged or posed. He wasn’t wearing a suit or a uniform dressed with medals. He wasn’t alone. He didn’t have a young man’s head of hair. Although, he always had good hair. It was that beautiful white gray. Oddly enough I do not think my Grandmother was even in the picture, which is crazy because they were always together! She might have been behind the camera. She is always taking pictures.

It was at a long ago birthday party of ours at some big venue I think. There were kids everywhere, visible even in the tight frame.  They were not the focus of the photo. It was one man and one birthday kid. Full of smiles and love and life and color. Vital. He was always smiling.

Man that just smacks me right in the chest right now and has fresh, solitary tears streaming down my cheeks.

I can’t even find the photo.

It seems almost a wonder that the photo was even snapped and caught because in my memory it was somewhat blurry and out of focus with faint streaks of light across it. Taken in a quick flash in low lighting. I think there was even a disco ball hanging from the ceiling. The photographer trying to enjoy the moment and create a lasting memory at the same time.

There was a big slide wherever this party was being held and right there in the middle of it, sliding down the slide like a kid himself, was Harry with one of us three girls in his lap. Both smiling in delight. I don’t even think you’re supposed to do that with kids these days. Something about ripping their arms and legs off. I think kids are supposed to wear harnesses and seatbelts now. Anyway.

I can’t find the picture.



My Grandmother used to always have freezer waffles for me in the mornings when I would sleep over as a kid. Nobody could prepare them like her and it could not be recreated at home. At some point in time, and I do not know why, Harry started making waffles and I never gave another thought to freezer waffles. Every time after that when I would sleep over, we would have Harry’s waffles. He made the world’s best waffles. We all loved his waffles. He whipped the egg whites by hand to fold into the batter. That made them light, and airy in texture on the inside, but they also had a lovely crisp on the outside.

They loved to go out to breakfast as a couple. When I stopped sleeping over at their house, I started to join them for breakfast sometimes. Harry found the best waffles at Le Peep and that came to be the only place we would go as the three of us so Harry and I could get waffles. I still think they are the best waffles if you can not have Harry’s waffles. They used to also have a standing date with a big table at a local Tex-Mex restaurant on Sunday evenings. It was almost like a revolving door dinner in my mind, even if I did say I was crashing their dinner when I would invite myself to come. Whoever wanted to come could come. Like when he would go to breakfast, he generally ordered the same things for dinner there too.

Harry knew that I liked to cook and bake and experiment in the kitchen. At some point before he married my Grandmother he had collected recipes and organized them in a recipe box. Every time he saw an interesting recipe, he would just store it away. He told me that he had not even looked at them since he married my Grandmother. He gave me his box of recipes that he had held on to for all those years. I loved to get Harry’s feedback on my desserts at our family gatherings. He was always very thoughtful and honest. He was a great listener and not just of words.


He always did the dishes. I don’t ever remember not having an awareness of him doing the dishes. It was his thing. There was nothing to ‘get’ or understand about it. It was his thing. The first time I tried to help him, he all but shooed me out of the kitchen. It was his domain after a meal was prepared. I don’t know if it was his little quiet in our family craziness or just what he did. He finally did let me help after my insistence, but we had to do it his way. So we did. He taught me how to use the disposal. I always wondered how he did the dishes so quickly!


When my Grandparents would come to the farm, Harry would always take time for a walk down the lane. Before he would bring a cane, he would find a sturdy and straight stick of pecan wood to use as a walking stick. Sometimes others would join him on his walk and sometimes he would go by himself, but he would always come back with a gathering of pecans. I think the pecans he gathered on one of his last walks a few years ago entertained my cousin’s daughter, L, for a good long while after we taught her how to use a nut cracker.


At my Grandmother’s birthday celebration last year, we gathered in their back yard to have sandwiches and cupcakes. You see they have one of the best yards. Harry meticulously cared for their yard and flower beds for as long as I can remember. There was always something beautiful to look at and, man, their lawn! It is a great lawn. We had many great Easter egg hunts in that yard. I think all of us cousins look at a yard and think what it would be like to have an Easter egg hunt there because of our memories there. Anyway, we celebrated my Grandmother’s birthday out there. Covid gave us an excuse to. My cousins were there with their kids and I was there with Merle. Harry came over to me in his wheelchair and told me to go shut the driveway gate so I could let my pup off the leash. He wanted him to play with the kids in the yard and on the lawn. To be free, like the kids in that way of kids. I do not really even know if he was really a dog man, but he always was happy to let me go on about my animals. I gladly did as he asked and shut the gate. As the two of us watched kids and dog play in the yard he said to me, “Your Grandmother and I always dreamed of having all the kids play in this yard.” I do not think his smile ever looked so big and bright. I wonder if that is why he always kept it just so.  

Well, Harry, your dream came true. At least in my eyes.


Ever faithful. Ever constant. Ever present.

He was a presence in our lives.

I remember him like he was in this video. He was 91 in this video. What a man! What a life!

Walk in love, dear readers.

Go be with your loved ones. Share your love and memories.

10 Years.

I was not sure if I was going to post this or not. I feel like I should ask for forgiveness or offer an apology for this post now.

Has it been ten years?

It feels like it has been ten years. That I have been out of town for ten years.

That is what this last year has felt like.

Is that what was intended?

Do you remember the time in between? I think I do, but honestly it is somewhat hard.

It has felt like a time warp. Does anyone else feel the same way? I know many people who do feel the same way. Just the other day I was talking with a friend who’s husband was celebrating a birthday. “Wait, didn’t he just have a birthday?” I asked. “Yes, he did just have a birthday, it is the covid time warp.” “Must be,” as I pondered in reply. Except that it was a whole year ago!

I was talking with my riding friends about a conversation we had with another friend. Or maybe it was about when the last time we had seen this other friend. Anyway. “Just the other day,” I swore it was. “That was over a year ago,” they said with a sweet chuckle and a gentle shake of the head. “I suppose it was,” I mused as I tried to brush off that nagging feeling. Was it really over a year ago? It felt like just a few weeks ago. Although, I will admit, I am prone to those ‘just the other day’ feelings anyway. I get it from Pops.

Then there was Easter. Easter was even more strange. We finally were at the point where everyone was comfortable enough in some capacity to gather. We did not celebrate Christmas or Thanksgiving or any other holiday together this year. That is where I really felt like I was an ‘out of towner.’ An outside family member. One that moved away long ago and does not make it back often enough. Strange to the point where I almost did not know how to act. It was somewhat stiff and not quite comfortable. Very different than our usual.

Yes, it was strange because it had been a while, sure. We ‘normally’ all gather at every holiday. We are not used to that. Not gathering. At least I am not, I did not care for it one bit. But, really, it was that very question of why. Why did we not? Why did we voluntarily forfeit such precious time and moments? Memories? Love? We are not promised time. Ours or theirs. We are not promised tomorrow. How can such a vital and important truth be so easily forgotten even now? Especially now? After all of this? What if they were not here tomorrow?

I do not mean to make light of a serious situation. I really do not. But does it not make you wonder if it is worth it? Giving up your precious gift of time and everything that means? Not seeing the people you love when you might not see them tomorrow? Or similarly not doing what you love? Many people read right over those questions and just not go there. Go there. Really think about it. Which situation is more serious?

As I drive in the traffic again that has built to almost its pre-covid levels here in the big city, to and from work with everyone else, I feel as though I have forgotten what that too was like. The traffic and the hustle and bustle and fast pace. That one singular thought of ‘progress’ above all else or any one at any cost. As I yet again get sped around by an irate person laying on their horn and flipping me the bird for not driving over the speed limit to then slam on my brakes at a backed up line of bright red tail lights stopped at yet another red light. Just for them to get one car ahead and skidder to a stop. I always wonder if people feel better after behaving in such a manner. Does that make their day better? Make their problems go away? Bring their time and energy back? I do not know how it would, but I hope it does.

Or maybe it is rather, that I have a much lower tolerance for it now than I did before. Years ago or even just before covid. Which, admittedly, before my tolerance was pretty low for a person that grew up here.

Again I question why. Questions that plagued my mind before, are ever present in my mind as the days go on.

Why is it that I live here? How much more of my precious gift of time will be wasted sitting here in traffic? Fighting someone else’s fight to get…where? How much time has already been lost? And yet, here we all are, sitting here wasting more? Or anything else that we give our time to. It is not lending. We do not get it back. Worrying about things that can not change. Giving to people that do not give back. Doing anything that is not additive to your life.

That is why I talk with family and friends on the phone while driving. Or listen to uplifting music and podcasts. Or mind broadening books. Even if they are romance novels!

I live here now, but I can tell you I will not forever. I am dreaming and planning. Formulating the adventure. Planning on less time wasted.

Why say no?

That is why I say yes. Carpe diem now more than ever before. People say that lightly all the time, It is my prayer that it will become a truth for more people. Say yes. This is your time to spend. It is a gift not to be wasted. Go ride. Get the horse or dog. Go be with friends. Travel. See all that you can. Enjoy the journey. The adventure. The experience. And. Create the memory to share. Spark joy within your heart and the hearts of those around you. Adjust the priority. That is up to you. You are the banker of your time.

Dream the dream. Plan the adventure. Work towards that shared sunset and a tall grass turnout for your ride or die. Each step and each day you have made it. You have already won.

Think about what you are fighting for every day. Are you happy? Is it sparking joy? Is it actually getting you where you want to go? Why? Is it giving you more time with your family? Time to do what you love?

Every post I begin to pen becomes so overwhelming and heavy that I can no longer write it. I feel it even now. I am practically paralyzed to even put another letter down. Blogging has become hard. In part to having difficulty in just putting the right words around my thoughts, but in truth, the other part is that I am scared of people’s reactions. It is too hard to avoid this. I might lose readers for saying these things, but that is not what I created AHAmoments for.

I wrote a whole post after the freeze about perspective after seeing so much complaining. Granted, there were things to complain about, I will not lie about that even if I will not go into that because that is more of a political matter. And this, my dear readers, is still no place for that. But back to the topic at hand, the majority of the complaining was coming from blessed people in their homes with many layers and groceries to eat. How many farmers and ranchers were outside day and night fighting to keep their animals and operations alive to provide those groceries? How many people were alone or without a home or layers to be in? It is all about perspective. It could always be worse. Somehow, people still do not get it.

Should not this be a turning point? A grabbing and shaking of the shoulders for all man kind. A slap to the face. To wake up. To open eyes.

At a time when we are all so seemingly desperate to get back to the basics and foundation, to what is really important and what makes this life worth living and meaningful, what has changed? I hear people express this sentiment with ever more increasing frequency and yet, they do nothing. After all of this. After all that has been taken. I fear in reality nothing has really changed. Have we learned nothing from this past year? Are we just going to go right back to the way things were?

I am not.

I have spoken here a lot about saying yes and living your life for you. I am doing it and working towards being able to do more of it. I feel like part of what I am here on this earth to do is to remind you and myself of that. So here I am. Reminding you, should you need that reminder. Look out for my boot, it is coming for your backside and friend, it is covered in mud. Do not think you are alone in wading through it.

Make the changes. Do the work and do it for yourself. Get back to the basics. It is your time and nobody is promised any of it.

Do not let fear govern your life. ESPECIALLY after all of this. Make this past year count for something good. You can handle anything. It is hard. If you really think about it, we let fear make a bunch of decisions. That is how we have gotten where we are today.

Spend your time like it is going out of style because it is.

Thank you, dear readers, for allowing me my mini rant. As always, walk in love. Remember those around you and keep perspective. Say yes and go live your life. Do not waste your time. Back to our regularly scheduled programing later.