So, Let It Shine.

“Nothing can dim the light that shines within.”
~Maya Angelou

Just a little Monday motivation for you if you need it. Yes, yes those are burs in his forelock. It is his new fav thing to do.

Walk in love, dear readers, and have a great day!

In All Seriousness.

Just an average Thursday over here, do not mind me.

So, do you remember how back in September I told you how I get reflective at the beginning of fall? Well, once we hit November 1, I reach a whole new level. Ya, news flash, I know. Alert the media. What media? Never mind.

Anyway, every time November rolls around I want to do something serious here in this space. Serious. Meaningful. Something to express the true meaning of Thanksgiving and Christmas as we come into the season. You know, the real reason for the season. That always seems like a very large task. How does one tackle something so grand? Something with such gravity and brevity?

Typical me taking everything so seriously and making it such.

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Here is the deal. The AHAmoment in it all.

It is not really all that complicated. It is very simple and basic. Something everyone can grasp if you allow yourself. Open your eyes. Remember that whole KISS rule your teachers taught you way back when? Spoiler alert. That one is for life too. Keep. It. Simple. Silly. Go figure. It also has nothing to do with the season or time of year. That is just a happy convenient reminder. To get you intentional about it. It is something to be lived every day and carried on throughout the year.

What it all boils down to is being thankful. Experiencing the gratitude and the blessings and where they come from. Seeing them. Feeling them. All around you. They are there all around us. It is us who have a hard time seeing what is right there in front of our faces. Feeling it as we would feel the ever present wind against our skin.

We all live very complicated, intertwined, and busy lives. Surrounded by distractions. Going through life with not only blinders on, but with blindfolds on. Thinking we are getting somewhere without actually seeing.

What it is all about is the journey. Walking your path. Seeing, experiencing, and enjoying all that is around you.


“Lord, give me the eyes to see
Exactly what it’s worth
And I will be the richest man on earth”

Being grateful for today and celebrating it. For the very life in your veins. The food in your belly. The sun shining outside. The rain that reinvigorates the earth. The people around you. The family you create, blood or not. Those that are with us, both physically and spiritually.

Being grateful for your past because it has made you who you are today and brought you to where you stand this very minute. A step in front of yesterday. To be built up by the struggle. For the journey. YOUR path.

Being grateful for a wet dog nose or a soft, velvety horse muzzle against your skin. For green pastures with enough grass for the horses and cows. A full pond. For being able to see the sunrise and sunset. For getting to the beginning of November without yet having a frost and blanketing temperatures like last year. For a functioning manure spreader. Being able to share my love with fun desserts to serve my family. To laugh and share with people you love.

Being grateful for feeling time slow down, during a time of year when time does nothing but rush past, when you can see just one of your many blessings.

I could go on.


“That is what this time of year, the holiday season, is all about. Seeing and feeling your many blessings. Being grateful and thankful for them. Doing things for others. That and The Reason for The Season. Giving God the glory. Doing your best to carry that attitude through the rest of the year.”
~Avery~

Serious, I know. But in all seriousness. Life, man. It is a beautiful life and we are all blessed to live it. See and feel your many blessings so you can be a blessing to those around you.

The most interesting thing about all of this is when you start to see, those around you catch a glimmer too and start to see a little for themselves.

Just some things to stir around in your pot of thoughts on this fine Thursday. Clearer than mud, I hope? Too early? Well, at least I am not sharing Christmas music yet!

I think this is going to be a great month. Are there any anvils and pianos over my head?

Walk in love, dear readers!

P.S. I am grateful for y’all. Yes! Each and everyone of YOU that comes here to AHAmoments. For allowing my to share my thoughts. For engaging in conversation. For sharing your story. For making this a great place to be.

Light

Let us talk for a minute about light. Y’all know I have a thing for it. That sounds like a funny thing to say, but you get what I mean. Especially there at the farm.


“In nature, light creates the color. In the picture, color creates the light.”
~Hans Hofmann

On Thursday of last week I went out to the farm for a delayed midweek visit because I was going to be out of town over the weekend to attend a baby shower for Sister K. The ground was soup again (or still, I guess) and there was no riding to be had, so I just fed everyone and hung out. Enjoyed the clean, clear, and cool air and the sounds of happily eating animals.

The cows were a bit miffed to only be getting hay to eat. As if they do not live on an all you can eat buffet.

After turning the horses out I walked out into the pasture with them and then on down to the pond. Thinking to myself all the while, “maybe I will get some good sunset shots over the water.”

What a passing thought to have.

You could already tell there was something special in the air that day. In the very light itself. It was like a magnet pulling me in. A veritable beacon. Can you see it there? Down the valley? In the tip of Cheetah’s tail?

I mean. Just look at that mare next to that pecan tree.

This little one was intrigued by me crouching in the grass. Or she just wanted to model. Only she knows the real answer.

I turned back around to see that the horses had meandered down and a gaggle of calves had moved in.

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Anyway, I went a little further down, closer to the pond and looked to my left. I raised my phone camera and snapped two pictures.

I just stood there in wonder for a few moments.

Do you see it? In these two photos together? What if you imagined them together, combined into one image? One on top of the other?

Do you see the cross in the light?

I do not even have words for that.


 “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

~John 8:12



“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.”

~1 John 1:5



“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

~John 1:5



“The obviously well kept secret of the “ordinary” is that it is made to be a receptacle of the divine, a place where the life of God flows.”

~Dallas Willard


Ordinary. Extraordinary.

Darcy was feeling it too.

But then again, Darcy is always feeling it. Animals get it.

What a moment.

Thank you for letting me share this moment with you.

Let your lights shine. It is bright within you!

Walk in love, dear readers!

Wednesday…

Listen up happy people. I have a song for you.

Usually I share songs on Tuesday or Thursdays so I can sound clever by titling said post with Tuesday’s Track or Thursday’s Tune. You know, alteration and all of that. I am a fan. However, this one popped up this very morning and dang if I can not wait till tomorrow to share it with you. And y’all can prolly tell I have a thing for Blackberry Smoke and Charlie Starr.

So have a listen to this Wednesday…uh…Whistle? Ya, I will work on that, but go ahead and give it a listen.

This is life. I have a song. You have a song. We have to share our songs. It is what life is about. AHAmoment. Let your pearl shine, man. It is yours.


“These days, the good days are fewer and farther between
Sometimes the hard times a shadow on my my sky-blue dream
I don’t have much if you look through the eyes of the world
Open me up and you might find just one shinin’ pearl

I’ve got this song, a story to tell
About the good times and bad times, heaven and hell
Well it might not be pretty, or have much to say
But it’s all I’ve got left at the end of the day
It’s the one thing they can’t take away
I’ve got this song

I’ve got a short list of good friends I can count on to answer my call
And a long list of bad things I might not be proud of at all
Show me a man who hasn’t yet learned how to fall
There is a man who doesn’t know much yet at all

I’ve got this song, a story to tell
About the good times and bad times, heaven and hell
Well it might not be pretty, or have much to say
But it’s all I’ve got left at the end of the day
It’s the one thing they can’t take away
I’ve got this song

I’ve got this song, a story to tell
About the good times and bad times, heaven and hell
Well it might not be pretty, or have much to say
But it’s all I’ve got left at the end of the day
It’s the one thing they can’t take away
The one thing they can’t take away
I’ve got this song
I’ve got this song”


Let that one stir around in your pot of thoughts and sink in.

Walk in love, dear readers!

You Know What?

Sometimes, beauty just finds a way to smack you in the face and take your breath away. AHAmoment. It makes you stop and take note. For good reason.

Sometimes even before you have finished your first cup of morning coffee, so you better wake yourself up and be ready for it!

I walked out of my parents house with a cup of coffee after feeding Sunday morning and I was smacked in the face with this beautiful sight. I could not help but snap a quick photo of it. It had me smiling all day.

You know me and that light and those long shadows.

You see those pine trees there? Legend has it they came all the way from Georgia. Random, yes, but I love these pine trees more than any other. I never knew I could be so sentimental over some random pine trees in Texas that are said to be from Georgia. What a story I am sure they could tell.

I love how after twenty years of coming here, I am still amazed and taken away by the beauty. God’s beauty. The interesting thing about it is that it is never the same. It is dynamic and ever changing. From day to day, season to season, year to year. Like God’s love. Ever present and eternal, always taking you by surprise and reminding you of His presence. It brings your feet right square down to the ground.

Anyway. While Sunday was a stunner of a day, Friday and Saturday were wet, cold, and windy. We got quite a bit of rain ourselves and the ground was basically soup (not the best for riding). It had us all in an eating and drinking mode. Convenient since I really had zero desire to organize and clean all my things from my trip.

We all had been craving molasses cookies. Presumably all suffering in silence until I broke down and stated my craving aloud and everyone desperately agreed. Naturally, I had to bake some. If you have never tasted these delights, you are missing out. We all grew up on them.

It is as simple as that. Or, as this rather.

Make the dough.

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Ball the dough (directly, if you are too impatient to chill the dough first).

Roll the dough…in sugar. Making sure to get some on the counter with the help of a little person. You are not doing it right if you do not.

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Bake the dough.

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But not too long!

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Then you eat an exorbitant amount of them! So so good. They got me thinking. I should try these with pumpkin!

Want the recipe? I will share it with you soon!

After baking, we took a stroll to the river to see how high it had gotten.

There is a beach under there somewhere.

It is still supposed to rise up a bit more, but it should stay in bank even still.

All of that work made us thirsty. I made myself a ginger orange margarita.

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By then the day was almost over and it was evening feeding time.

These two just tickle me to death. This is definitely not the best photo in the world, but I sure do love it. I often find them like this. Five and a half years later and they still choose to share a stall.

Then with a Sunday like this…I just have to show you again.

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What else is there to do but hop on the best mare and call for the kids to come out and join you.

Such a contrast of weather in two days.

Walk in love, dear readers!

Middle Of Nowhere

Nowhere I tell you.

You know, grief and loss are some interesting things.

Or rather, that moment is interesting when they smack you like a mac truck out the middle of nowhere.

WHACK!

Did you feel that?!

Where the heck did that come from??!!

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The middle of nowhere, that is where.

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Well, I guess not quite exactly.

There I was today, in my office. At my desk. In the middle of the long afternoon on an innocent Wednesday. Just working away doing my thing while listening to music.

Then all of a sudden…this song comes on.

And then, BOOM!

WHACK!

I was smacked in the face and straight through to the heart. It all almost came right out my eyes, but it got lodged right there in my throat, above my chest, in a knot for a good ten minutes. Practically choking me.

And this had nothing to do with Merle Haggard (although, yes, that is sad too) and everything to do with the memory of my grandfather.

No Sir, he will never be gone. He lives on in us in so many ways.

Man oh man. That was exhausting! Excuse me while I go bawl my eyes out. Be back later.

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Has that ever happened to you? Seemingly out of the blue?

I told you I get this way this time of year.

Walk in love, dear readers.

Happy Friday

Happy Friday, happy people!

Only one business day between you and the weekend.

YOU can do it!

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Be happy.

Weekends are a beautiful thing. You can clear your head. Recharge your batteries. Remember what is important. Get away from stressful things. If yesterday was any indication, this is desperately needed. All this desk riding is getting to me!

There are many different ways to do this. For some people it is just sleeping in. For others it is taking some quiet time to read a good book. Or go for a walk. Or a drive. Go fishing.

For me, it is getting out in the country with my Darcy dog. Feeling the air. Seeing the light. Breathing in my horses’ scent. This does not always mean riding. My relationship with my horses is not always about riding. Sometimes it is just hanging out and grooming that we need. Sometimes it is just being in their presence doing nothing at all but just being present.

One reason I like to share my time at the farm with you is because of what it means to me. What it does for me. Another reason is because not everyone has the opportunity to experience what being in the country and with horses does for a person. If I can give you just a tiny picture of what it is like and make you feel something positive like what I feel, I feel like I have done something good in this world.

If you have been around here a while, none of the above is news to you.

Remember this?

Or how about this?

Or this, this, or this?

Clearly, I write about this a lot.

This weekend though, I need some solid hours in the saddle and some time crossing things off the to-do list. That ever present list that never goes away or gets shorter.

What does it for you? That recharges your batteries? Makes you feel refreshed and new? Feeds your soul?

Walk in love, dear readers!

The Season Of Fall

It is about that time of year and I am not talking about hurricane season. Although we really need the rain. We almost got some this weekend. Hopefully this week we actually get some.

But back to the season at hand. It is more than just entering the ‘ber months and entering fall. More than baking all the fall things, which I am very excited about. More than family time, which is everything.

It is the season of reflection. Of being grateful and thankful. Remembering those that are no longer with us and also too of those that still are. Cherishing every moment we have with them. Thinking of the future.

It always seems to hit me right at September first. With the start of dove season. College football. The distant promise of cooler temperatures. Finding new recipes for fall baked goods and sides to present at holiday meals. Thinking about Christmas presents and the real reason for the season.

It makes me want to drink red wine while I eat chocolate pie and listen to prayer and gospel songs. They have a healing effect I swear. You should try it some time.

What does fall mean to you? How do you remember those that are no longer with us?

Walk in love, dear readers!

And because I have to, I have a song to share with you.


“All my love is due Him”


Intention

You want to know what is really important? Like really, really important.

Intention.

Not only in life, but also in horsemanship. This is something that I have always known logically and in my heart and it is something I try to actively live. It is all fine and good to say yes, I know this but it is something entirely different to actually feel it and live that truth. Generally speaking, I think I do a pretty good job of doing that, especially on the horsemanship side (which is just another reason why working with horses is good for me…to bring these concepts full circle in my every day life). Some days are better than others, absolutely, but it is something I try to work on and I have told y’all that before.

What is truly amazing to me though is how the horses always seem to find ways to remind me just how important intention and self talk really are and broaden my awareness or perception to a whole new level. As if I did not even have a clue of the concept before.

Has anything like that ever happened to you before?

Anyway, this past weekend was one of those next level awareness weekends.

I went out to the farm on Friday after work and decided to do some mowing. It was too hot to do anything else and the horses were on the other end of the property anyway. Darcy quite literally sat in the shade staring at me like I was crazy. When I decided I had mowed enough (uh, hello itchy skin and watery face. Allergies are a real thing for me now), I went to get cleaned up, make a cocktail, and sit with my Pops for the sunset and dinner.

The moon was bright and full after the sun went down. It was one of those crazy bright moons where you can see anything and everything. I probably could have read a book. It has to be some magical time I swear because cool and amazing things seem to always happen when the moon is like that. Powerful. Remember that time I rode with a friend during a full moon like this one? Or that frigid night riding my favorite polo pony in college?

I was on my way into the house to call it a night and decided to head out to the barn for a bit instead. The next thing I knew, I was out with Lito doing ground work and going over obstacles. No pressure. Just the two of us hanging out going for a walk under the moon. It was the most relaxed he has been in months. I know this may sound silly, but I swear we both thought, “finally.” I gave him a little extra feed under the moon and a thank you pet before going inside.

Saturday morning I decided would be Lito’s morning and Lito’s morning only. I fed him his breakfast where we were the night before. I spent extra time grooming and tacking up. My music playing in the background. We did the same ground work we did the night before and then I read out of my devotional before mounting up. The memories of our full moon night and the words of the devotional dancing in my brain, I made a conscious effort not to jumble my communication. To make the conscious choice and put it into action. To keep my energy and my core low, grounded. To keep my heart and my intention true. To stay positive, connected, and a source of support. I even talked to us both out loud to make sure.

He rewarded me by acting on my every thought. Practically saying, “I got this, let’s go!” We did the same exercises we did on the ground. We did some new ones. We rode out in the pastures. All the while being soft, responsive, and willing. Before I knew it we were both covered in sweat and it was time to quit for the day, but neither of us seemed to be ready to stop.

I do not even think any words can come near to describing the feeling, but just to suffice it to say that this is just another reason horses are such a gift from God.

It was what we both needed. For me to be hit with this AHAmoment yet again to stay present and with the horse. To stay true to yourself and have faith. To have an open heart and clear intentions. To stay positive and think the right thoughts so your actions are right. That is how the horse lives and that is what we should strive for. Both horses, dogs, and people respond better when we do.

Sunday morning I decided to take a sunrise gospel walk to the river with Lito instead of riding. We had not done that in a long time and I wanted to take the time to just be with him and be grateful for Saturday’s experience.

We saw these three cuties scurrying up a pecan tree.

There is always that one!

I feel utterly blessed and grateful.

When I returned Lito to the paddock upon our return, Cheetah walked up to me seemingly saying, “hey mom, is it my turn yet?” So I grabbed her halter and we had a quick bareback ride followed by a hose down before I tacked up Chance for his ride.

And just like that it was time to pack up and head home for the weekend was over.

Quite a big weekend if you ask me!

Walk in love, dear readers!