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 break. Look into that rear view mirror. Then. Not look back at the mess. The wreckage. Lay my eyes out the windshield on today. And tomorrow. Learn what I need to learn. Take the good and leave the bad.

Here is the thing and the point for today. The AHAmoment. Sure January 1 is a new year. BUT. It is also a new day. Every day is a new day.

A NEW day.

Do you hear me?!

A new day to be your best self. Be better than you were the day before. To do the right thing. To follow through. Anything, you name it. We are not promised it. Take that right there to heart.

I am not making New Year’s resolutions this year (which really will not come as much of a surprise as I typically do not). I am however making a resolution to wake each day grateful to be here. To allow myself time to breathe and do what is right for me. To take care of me and my animals. To step forward, one step at a time each day, with “grit anchored in grace.” That is me, leather and lace.


“I don’t know exactly what the future holds, but I’m stepping forward with grit anchored in grace.” ~Julie Graham

Nobody but the Lord knows what the future holds. I am more than OK with that. I am here! I am focusing on today. He has me. Has my back. He is the light and the path. He knows the way for me. I will stay focused on Him and pray for His comfort, grace, peace,  strength, and guidance. To have the eyes to see.

Enough about that for today.

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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.

 

More Than Pie

Happy Thanksgiving, dear readers!

Well, I guess that would be a happy belated Thanksgiving, but who is counting? Not me. It is the season, you know?!

I just wish we had more days to bask in it.

Oh well. In all seriousness, I have so much to be grateful for. I can barely count them all.

I am obviously thankful for this guy. He was worn out before Thanksgiving even started!

All of our holidays, not just Thanksgiving, mean a lot of cooking. It is something we all love to do and…to enjoy! Everyone brings something when we all gather together. I am thankful for that! And the simple fact that we can be gathered together. I am also thankful that I can do my part and that I can share my creations with everyone.

This year for Thanksgiving, I was on point for cranberry sauce and dessert.

A good cranberry sauce, to me, looks like a party in a bowl.

Cranberries. Apples. Green chili pepper. Orange juice and zest…Grand Marnier. Sage. Noms.

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I told you, a party! You will not have much left after the meal.

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We took a break from the cooking to play. It is hard work for a puppy!

Then it was time for pie. Chocolate pecan pie, to be precise. Made Thanksgiving morning. I don’t know about anyone else, but I love to make a dessert the morning of a holiday in my pajamas. It is more fun. It brings it more meaning to me. Gives it the proper perspective of doing it unto Him for my loved ones. Made with joy and love. It makes the unveiling and enjoying that much sweeter to me.

Anyway, I digress. This pie. I have never really made a pie before (I know, this is surprising to me too), but this one is a total winner. I even made my own pie crust. That is worth it if you were wondering. Just saying. Next time I think I will freeze the butter and shortening. I also think I might do a slight pre-bake of the crust before adding the filling for baking.

I am not the biggest fan of the salted caramel on this pie though. I think it was the added lemon. Not sure why you would do that, but I suppose the point is to keep it from being too sweet? Anyway, I did not really care for it when I tried it and did not really notice it much on the pie itself. I much prefer this one I made for a different dessert. I could eat it all by itself.

I followed the recipe mostly. I used a mixture of molasses and honey in place of the corn syrup. I do not keep corn syrup around and prefer not to use it if I do not have to. There are substitute options out there if you are like me. I also could not help it and added coconut to the fulling. Whoops. What can I say??? I am shameless. I think I also baked it for longer than stated in the recipe.

The filling is divine right off the spoon! If you are not licking the spoon and or bowl, you a’int no baker! It is the only way.

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Fortification for pie baking. There is a little known life fact that coffee, well all beverages, taste best out of a fun and festive vessel. I know. I know. You are so glad to learn that. You can count on me for those little life secrets. 

The finished pie sprinkled with flaked salt!

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My mouth is watering now. Too bad there were not any leftovers. That is a sign of a good pie I guess!

After our Thanksgiving lunch, I quite literally sneaked out in a mad dash, grabbed Merle, and made to the farm before dark. I sure am thankful for the farm. Our horses. And that I have the ability to be mobile! To see different things and visit different people!

I woke up early on Friday and had a lovely foggy ride on Chance before hitting the road with Merle again for more Thanksgiving fun with M. 

We all went for a drive around the property and Merle just could not contain himself. He clearly loves driving around! And hey, who doesn’t?!

The face of a happy dog. He is all boy, this one.

This is quickly becoming his signature look.

The weather was cloudy, windy, and drizzly, but that did not dampen our spirits whatsoever.

Merle was so tired, he could barely keep his eyes open past 6 PM. A tired dog is a happy dog! Catching some z’s is hard for a pup when his mom does not sit still for very long. Poor guy!

Who knows, maybe Merle will start moonlighting as a model.

He sure is handsome. I am not biased at all.

I am thankful for the eyes to see the joy in this pup. And how serious he takes his fetch. 

In case y’all did not know, pure and utter luxury is going for an early morning swim, in the drizzle, in the wee hours before the sun is ready to play. Or anyone else for that matter, human or canine.

And moving so fast the camera can not catch you.

Maybe this is his artistic expression for his modeling portfolio. Ghost dog.

He swam about five times before anyone else was awake. I had two cups of coffee. We like to wake up early.

It was only a quick twenty four hour visit, but we sure had the best time. It was fun and relaxing. No agenda. No pressure. Just good company and fellowship. And dogs (four in total! Merle had a blast)!

It did not matter that the weather was rather gloomy. We were just out and enjoying everything. Giving thanks for it all. That we could. Why we could. How we got here. For family, friends, loved ones. For country and dogs. For food. For comfortable, warm, dry places to rest. For horses!

The next day brought the blue skies out in full force while I rode my Cheetah girl down the road. Merle and I had zero desire to go back to town.

I hope each and every one of y’all had a great Thanksgiving. Did you count your blessings? What are you grateful for?

Look around you. There is so much to be grateful for. Not just this time of year. All year. Yes, it is the reason for the season, but it also too is the reason for all the seasons. For this very life.

Now we are in full on Christmas season! My decorations are out and I have planned what I will be making for our gatherings! You will have to wait for those though. To tide you, you can check out last year’s creations!

I have some fun things to share soon to help get you in the spirit, so there is a lot to look forward to. Check back soon!

Walk in love, dear readers!

 

What In The Blink?

Who blinked and made it half way through November???!!!

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I know you are out there somewhere. Just come forward and make yourself known.

How is it already half way through NOVEMBER?!

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Even more disturbing is that I have not written to you since LAST MONTH! Err, what? It feels as if it was just yesterday that we returned from our ride.

What have I even been doing, do you ask? A whole lot of the same…Living life. Taking time to breathe. That ADULTING thing (I am literally staring at a mountain of clean laundry over my computer screen that needs folding…I prefer to write to you! Hey, at least it is clean…). Wading through it while remembering to smile.

Sometimes life can just be hard, you know? Things seen and things unseen. Things talked about and things left unspoken. Sometimes, your capacity is just full and that is OK. AHA moment. Do you hear me!? That is OK. You are OK! This life has seasons, and as the globe goes around, so too does this life we live, giving you seasons. Seasons are for praying. Waiting. Listening. Learning. And changing before the season itself changes.

That is what I have been doing. That and, well, avoiding laundry clearly. I mean, I do not even know how I accumulate so much!

Work has been crazy. The farm has been the farm. A constant rolling list of work (which we are tackling!), but it is my blessing.

Friday evening at the farm, when it was full on winter blowing through these parts (which it is doing again! Half way through November and all the way into winter), I cooked some version of ratatouille. Really, I combined two recipes and put my own spin on it because Lord help me, I just can not follow a recipe. Go figure. It was pretty good though! I will make some changes next time and follow the recipe a little closer.

We watched the sun rise and set as we do.

Sunrises in the cold, especially after the first real fronts, are the prettiest. Merle thought so too as he sat just like a setter does, right in front of it. So, I did the only natural thing and took his picture.

Next to a big Texas sunrise (I sure do love those random pine trees), he does not look quite as big as he actually is.

I told you it was a pretty sunrise.

Speaking of Mr. Merle.

He has been living his best puppy life (wonderful, joyous, and glorious proof below!). Growing and raising all kinds of naughty trouble as he should (he is a puppy after all). Learning all the things. Growing into my wingpup. Boy howdy, I will tell you this puppy has the biggest and strongest personality. At present he is jealous of my computer and he is showing as well as telling me about it. I have deleted several of his ‘comments.’

I can almost not keep toys he goes through them so fast. I am not exaggerating when I tell you he has blown trough toys that Darcy had her whole life. He also tries to make everything a toy. His preferred wake up time is 4:45 AM, but he is generally kind enough to stay quiet until 5:15 AM. He leaves water and drool all over the house. He has a loud voice completely his own and so very different from Darcy. He is very much attached and watches my every move, but he seems to also have opinions on what we spend our time doing. Very loud opinions. He is also a fetch machine. Darcy never seemed to care for the simple game of fetch for lack of point. She was much too practical for that.

I will be honest. After all, that is what I do here. My heart is still more than aching over my Darcy girl. Still more than broken and almost completely open. Almost every day and truly as I type these words to you I get tears in my eyes with a storm brewing on my insides. Almost tormented by images, memories, and feelings. The whole thing is so wrapped in so many emotions, at times I do not even know where they come from or what they even are. Anger. Anguish. Sadness. Sorrow. Loneliness. Dolefulness. Despair. Despondent. May God help the person that ever tells me she was just a dog. Luckily for them, we have not crossed paths.

I told you. What joyous proof.

Given all of that I just told you, would you look at that face on that puppy. The joy. My heart almost can not handle it, and at the same time, it is the only thing that seems to help. Do you want to know what else I almost can not handle? Do you see the collar that Merle dog is wearing? That is one of Darcy’s old collars. My Merle man is good for my soul. My heart. Even if he tries my patience almost on the daily.

Do you want to know what is even better?

Merle with my horses. He thinks is is every bit one of them. (Let us not mention the bur filled tail on my Lito.)

 

It really is a sweet thing to witness. He seems to really have a special bond with Lito and Petunia. The above image is not a fleeing moment, but a scene that goes on for minutes multiple times!

While that love scene was unfolding, I turned into a crazy lady on the run with a pair of clippers and roached Cheetah’s mane again. I used to keep it that way when I first got her.

I was just staring at her mane shaking my head at the burs and the ragged, scraggly look of all the hairs as she stuck her head and neck through the fence. Before I knew it I was shaving her mane off. Boy we both felt good after. She looked and felt so clean and sharp! While I did not, covered in her mane!

Afterwards, we had a nice, relaxing ride. Another great thing for the heart and soul.

You can not see them, but there are at least six white tail does under the changing pecan trees in the distance. Do not miss the moon there though! Or the fiery sunset light!

So, whoever is blinking out there, just stop already! It is almost Thanksgiving! I have gifts to find and desserts to bake! Sunrises to catch and horses to ride! A Merle pup to watch grow!

Slow down and find the joy in the season you are in, even if it feels like you have been in one hard season after another.

Walk in love, dear readers!

Remember Me?

Yoohoo. Hi. Over here.

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Ya. Remember me?

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Yes, me. Your long lost friend. Hi, ya. I have missed y’all!

How is it May? And how has it been two weeks since I have written you? Not sure how that quite happened. It was not intentional, that is for dang sure. I have not fallen off the face of the earth. Maybe you wish I had! Anyway, it is not for lack of goings ons. 

There has just been a lot of life going on over here in my world. Now is not the time for that though.

Not to worry and they say worrying is fruitless anyhow (spoiler alert, it is true). God has it all and me. And you. This I know with great conviction. He has been ever present throughout it all and is still here.

I will do my best to get back to writing to y’all regularly, but in the meantime, enjoy some photos of the past couple of weeks.

Life and time go on, man. It is how you use it. How you live it. How you share it. AHAmoment. Taking each and every day to be better than you were the day before. Letting God work through you for the blessings of others.

Walk in love, dear readers!

Work trips are not all that bad.

But being at the farm is better. Especially to catch the moon setting in the morning.

I do, I love you.

Getting our steps in.

Boop.

Magic.

Easter eve yoga for the Darcy dog.

A new view.

Easter morning sunrise.

Tuners with all the words to say.

Cooking is always a good idea. It is good for the soul. Roasted red pepper soup from scratch. Pretty dang good.

Until next time…which will be soon! I am spending the weekend with some of my best friends riding horses here in the great state! Even if it rains, it will be a grand time!

 

Happy New Year?

No, no, no. Not ‘Happy New Year?’

Happy New Year!!!!!

And Merry Christmas!!!!! Since I am pretty sure I missed saying that to you before.

Yes, all of those exclamation points are more than necessary.

I hope each one of you and yours had a very merry and blessed Christmas and New Year. May the many blessings of our Lord shower upon you. Peace, love, and joy. Go forth keeping the Christmas spirit alive all year long.

Aunt M asked me the other day if I was sick or something since I had not shared any AHAmoments in a while. No, no, not sick. Just still reeling from a busy Christmas season. I have lost count of how many naps I have taken. A little tidbit about me, I do not really take naps.

I have been spending my time watching the rain re-hydrate the mud. Trying not to get mud everywhere. Watching the horses roll in the mud. Scooping poop in the mud. Watching the horses slip while walking in the mud. Not riding enough. Losing my mind a titch. You know, normal 2018 stuff.

It rained this weekend. It rained yesterday and it is raining today.

But hey, speaking of Christmas…I did a little baking. It is one of my favorite ways to celebrate and share love with my family.

Apple Cranberry Pie with Pecan Shortbread Crust.

Chocolate Spiced Rum Cake.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Cake.

Pesto and Prosciutto Christmas Tree and Cranberry Pepper Baked Brie.

And that was just my part. We ate well to say the least. For days.

I made Lito dress up like a reindeer a few days before Christmas. I had a good laugh…or ten. Him, not so much, but he put up with it!

I will be perfectly honest, I am still laughing! He is so dang cute, even when he pouts. There is your daily dose of cute, dear readers!

Anyway, in my opinion, the best way to close out a year and ‘ring’ in the new is to watch the sunset and be in bed long before midnight. Then wake up early on January first, saddle up the best mare, and strike out down the road because that is the only dry stretch of ground for miles. So, that is exactly what I did.

“Stop taking pictures, food lady, and get in here to feed us!”

My Mamma came with on foot.

Hopefully 2019 will bring more ride time for me and my dun duo. It might just be after winter before the rain slows a little. Only the good Lord knows! And you know what? It is all good! Eventually, my riding will be back to normal. Until then, the horses are being horses. Doing what they do best. So, I am going to take this time and focus on myself. Be present.

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Here is to 2019.

‘Rise with lifted eyes’ every day. Ride more when you can. Worry less all the time. Focus on the journey and the path and allow it to create your momentum. Live in the moment and see the light and blessings around you. Do not ‘live on the surface and in between the lines.’ Go find the ‘deepest part of you’ and let your heart fight for the truth.

You are not flying alone.

Cheers, y’all!

Go walk in love, dear readers.

Why, Hello There

Um, hi. Ya. It’s me.

What happened to December? It is already half way through. When in the world did that happen? Jolly old Saint Nick is coming faster to town than ever before!

I have not yet finished my Christmas shopping. I used to get all of my gifts before December even hit. How did I ever manage that?

Anyway.

Clearly I have been really busy. Busy doing what, I am not overly sure about, but sure, yes, busy. Busy enough to barely be writing to y’all! Busy with work, family, laundry (duh!), and watching Christmas movies. Lots of them. You know the ones I am speaking of. They are your favorites too, even if you dare not admit it. Hallmark Christmas movies! I am not the only one who loves them!

Trying to ride as much as possible which has proved overly difficult. It rained so much last weekend that the varmint holes were full of water two days later! So far I have spent more time scooping poop and pulling burrs out of manes and tails than riding. Although I did get some good riding time around Thanksgiving, so there is that!

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I did bake pumpkin bread last night. And ate some last night…and again this morning. I have to tell you, there is nothing like a house that smells like fresh baked pumpkin bread (or my Mamma’s rolls)! I walked downstairs this morning and it still smelled that way! Put a big ol’ smile on my face it sure did! As did eating it, but I am sure you guessed that.

Have you heard all the great Christmas music being shared over on the Facebook page?! I am going to give you some valuable life advice. If you have not clicked over there and had a listen, you are truly missing out. I bet you there are a few on there already that you have not heard before and there are even more to come, along with some great classics. Honestly, there are not enough days before Christmas to share all of my favorites. It has been hard to pick and choose which ones to share. One song a day is hard!

This version was new to me this year!

Christmas music really gets me into the spirit. Now all I need to do is find the rest of my gifts, get to wrapping, and figure out what I will bake for our family gatherings. What do y’all think? What should I make? What is your favorite holiday dessert?

Here is hoping I can finish out the year with more ride time and ring in the new the right way! I am just over here, trying to live in the present.

Walk in love, dear readers!

Starting Tomorrow…December

Being as it is the last day in November and tomorrow is the first day in December.

It is officially time to get into the Christmas spirit!

And these guys here, they agree with me. It is a fact.

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The best time of the year!

The reason for the season. The music. The decorations. The traditions. The family time. The food.

All of this means I have something for you. Yes, YOU! Starting tomorrow. On December 1st. Do not you forget!

So. For you.

To help get you in the spirit of The Spirit, I have arranged a series of my favorite Christmas songs to be posted on the AHAmoments Facebook page starting tomorrow and continuing all month long (you can click the link above or on the ‘f’ Facebook icon on the right side panel of your screen)!

I know, just what you wanted for Christmas!

You know how I love to share music. Do yourself the favor and check back in over there often and have a listen. It will not disappoint! You may even hear some of your favorites or gain a new one! It is going to be a fun month of some of the best Christmas songs. Do me a favor and share your favorites with me!

But, wait, there more! And you will not have to pay $19.99 to get it!

I answered this questionnaire last year about Christmas since, you know, I love it, and I figured I would share it with you again here. I liked reading it again. It may give you ideas for your own Christmas and help put it all in perspective.


1. What´s your favorite thing about Christmas?
Um. All of it? It is not about the things. It is what it all adds up to mean. The reason for the season. What IT is all about. His coming for us. His presence. Fellowship. Getting together with family and friends in honor of Him.
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2. What´s your favorite Christmas memory?
There are so many, it is hard to pick just one. I do think my favorite memory is actually one that I wrote about the other day. The post was supposed to actually be about Elvis, but laced in there was the story of how all the grandchildren would go over to my Grandparents’ house to decorate their Christmas tree, listen to Christmas music, and drink hot chocolate. I miss those days!
3. Are there special traditions your family has for Christmas?
There have been many special traditions over the years. Like going together to pick out the Christmas tree or decorating the house or wrapping the gifts. Traditions are special to me. They are meaningful, if you are doing them for the right reasons, but they are really not what IT is about. Time goes on, people grow up, families grow, and life changes. And, so do our traditions. They fade away, change, or we make new ones. It is the natural way of things. To change, whether we like it or not. I have written on this before. However, the root of the tradition, what makes it special, stays the same. Everyone who is able comes to the designated house for a grand meal made with love and enjoyed with togetherness and faithfulness. It does not matter when or how or what, just so long as we get together. Grow in our faith and fellowship. Feel and see the reason for the season. His presence. To spread our joy and cheer with those around us.
4. What´s your Christmas wish? (can be personal or general)
Can’t tell you or it won’t come true? No. That is not how it really works. But I have already told you my wish. My wish is the same now as it was then. Faithfully waiting. Am I right, BBB?
Next question.
5. What´s your favorite Christmas dish?
Um. How long do you have? It is my favorite meal. So. Every dish? Really though, my favorite is my Mamma’s homemade rolls. They are only made on special occasions and I have never had a better roll. What can I say, I like carbs OK. Don’t judge. If you had ever had them you would know
6. What´s your favorite Christmas decoration?
The tree! The smell. The feel. The look. The lights. The ornaments. That explanation above that I found this year. This one below that I just found.
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It brings meaning to the minutia. Changes the way today’s ‘world’ thinks about it, takes the marketing and today’s Santa out of it. It is no longer a chore.
7. What´s your favorite Christmas song?
Um. Way to pick the hardest question. I really dislike when people ask my favorite song. Can I have more criteria. What day? What mood? What situation? I have so many favorites of all kinds. Have you heard the Christmas songs I have been sharing over on the Facebook page?! Most all about the true meaning of Christmas and great pieces of music. If I HAD to pick a favorite, right now…
Hard to not cry.
8. Where do you usually celebrate Christmas?
Honestly? In my heart. Hokey and corny and all that, I know, but it is true. It is they way we are meant to I think. You know how I just explained changing traditions? Well, where we physically celebrate also changes. We also have multiple celebrations. Big family. Church Christmas Eve, followed by dinner at someone’s house. These days it has been at my oldest sister, A’s house. So the little people can go to bed at a reasonable time in their own beds and wake up to Christmas morning at their house. Then Christmas Day lunch at either my Parents’ or my Aunt and Uncle’s house. This year, my Aunt and Uncle’s. We used to always do it at my Grandparent’s house.
9. What does the “Christmas spirit” mean to you? and I will add Anne’s extra question because these two questions are tied together for me…Do you believe in Christmas?
Yes.
I believe in the Christmas I have described through the answers to this Christmas Tag. I believe in the reason for the season. The coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for us. The forgiveness of our sins. In remembering and living that. Doing His will and walking His path for me every day of the year.
That is what the Christmas Spirit is to me. Remembering the reason for the season. Being a source of joy and cheer for those around you. Letting Him be a blessing to others through you. Giving and doing for others. Forgiveness as Christ forgave us. Growing that in your heart and letting it last all year.
10. Who out of anybody in the world would you want to spend your Christmas with?
My family. Especially the ones who do not live here and I only get to see every now and then.

I hope you enjoyed it!

Share with me your favorite Christmas songs or what you do to get into the Christmas Spirit!

Walk in love, dear readers.

More

I meant to write to you yesterday. Sigh. This week after Thanksgiving has started out as a busy one. Seemingly as busy as Thanksgiving itself.

But enough about that.

I know what you really want.

…A cheesecake fully dressed for the party…

By the way, making chocolate ganache and salted caramel is super easy. You should give it a try. Especially the salted caramel. More than worth it. Yikes, so good!

Oh, sorry. I can not give you any of that. Darn. You are just going to have to go and make it for yourself.

Do not fret about that though. I have something else for you.

How about ride time videos? Between the ears photos? Two great sunsets? A special lunar surprise? You ask, and I shall deliver. I am here for y’all, dear readers.

After we did the big Thursday Thanksgiving meal and all day hangout thing (lots of drinking, lots of eating, lots of talking late into the night), we headed out the farm early Friday morning for more of the same.

First I rode Chance to go check the cows and make sure he was all ready for the kids. He was lazy, just like I like him.

 

There is nothing like the wind in the pecan trees.

 

No such thing as too much of a good thing, as they say, so naturally I hopped on Cheetah after Chance.

She was a bit on the feisty side on Friday. It was a bit of a screaming mare day!

I can not ever get enough of my sunsets which is why I share so many of them with you. Truly a unique painting directly from God’s hand every time. The clouds got in the way of all the sunrises though.

I have not shown you one of these in a while. The moon rising. It was pretty dang epic until the clouds decided to come back for another party. I am just glad they cleared up for the beginning of this.

Saturday morning was for the kids. Niece L helped me groom and tack up before we walked all over the horse pasture. Then Nephew H had his turn going to check the cows and riding all on his own in the round pen before untacking, grooming, treat stuffing, and turning Chance back out with the others.

Cheetah was an angel on Saturday evening. I swear she may have given me a look that said, “thank goodness you are more relaxed today. I really just wanted to stroll around.”

Sunsets, creaky saddles, and the dun colored ears of the best mare.

 

Sorry, not sorry! More sunsets.

I got home later than my usual last night with full intentions of cooking dinner for myself and even doing laundry. You know, being a good adult and all that. Between the hour and the darkness of winter evenings, I walked in the door and threw that plan out the window as I was finishing up a phone call. Now that is what I call being a good adult! Ha, I jest.

But, hey, I did unpack my car (mostly) and put some things away. At least there is that!

For nights like those, having a freezer stash, a cheesy Christmas movie, and some quiet down time is where it is at.

So, I did just that while putting a few Christmas decorations out.

I am grateful to have had the quality time with the family that I did, enjoy some great meals, be at the farm, and have some much needed saddle time.

It left me wanting more. More of all of the above. More time with my people. All of them. More time at the farm. More time behind those dun colored ears. Less minutia.

I hope everyone had a grand Thanksgiving if you celebrate it.

Walk in love, dear readers!

 

 

Slow Down

Do not forget to allow time slow down this time of year! Take a deep breath and enjoy it, whatever Thanksgiving brings your way this year.

I somehow forgot until Sunday afternoon that Thanksgiving is indeed this Thursday. As in a few days from now. Completely slipped my mind. Go figure that and get back to me. It is not like I have been talking about Thanksgiving and the season and being mindful or anything.

Anyway. I remembered while I was in the grocery store to pick up a couple things to make some chili. I do believe I made it out with everything I need. Here is the kicker. Without a list! Another fact you could spend more than an iota pondering, but I will not spend my time doing that.

This year I am making the best cheesecake, but with a twist this time. A topping of chocolate ganache and salted caramel with pecans. I am also making my fancy cranberry sauce as per usual (if you have never made or had cranberry sauce from scratch, you are missing out) and the best sweet potatoes. Then, for Thanksgiving round two, I will be making some kind of gluten free dessert for my Pop’s birthday. Stay tuned for more recipes and final results!

If you are reading this and are surprised much like I was that Thanksgiving is this week, fear not, you are not alone! Do not feel bad! You have buckets of that thing called time. Trust me.

So.

Being as it is the Monday before Thanksgiving and life is crazy and time is trying to speed by and you may find yourself wanting it to go away and memories and and and, I have something for you. For all of us.

A Thanksgiving prayer by Ralph Waldo Emerson set to views at the farm. I hope you enjoy and get into the spirit. Allow time to slow down and feel the beauty and blessings all around you.


For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,

For health and food,

For love and friends,
for everything Thy goodness sends.

For flowers that bloom about our feet;
For tender grass, so fresh, so sweet;

For song of bird, and hum of bee;

For all things fair we hear or see,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee!

I think Chance liked it.

How do you allow time to slow down this time of year?

Walk in love, dear readers!

Show & Tell

Remember when you were a kid in elementary school and you had show and tell? I used to think (and still do actually) that was a pretty dang cool deal. Now I look back and wonder if I liked it so much because it shed another fresh light on the hearts of the people I saw every day. My kid brain would not have thought of it that way, but I think of it that way now and wonder.

I remember one certain show and tell when Pops agreed to bring Rosie, our Brittany (used to be known as a Brittany Spaniel) that we grew up with, to class for show and tell. I thought that was just the coolest thing in the world at the time. I do not think anyone had brought a dog to show and tell before and certainly not one that their father had hunted with.

Pops must have liked show and tell too because he tries to get my nephew to take dragon flies we find at the farm to school for show and tell.

Today feels a little bit like a show and tell day. Just one of a slightly different nature. Remember when I made those molasses cookies and that margarita over the weekend? These ones?

Well, I have been asked for both of the recipes and naturally I am going to share them with you! Not just because I was already going to share the cookie recipe. I think I have also been asked for my marg recipe too.

Anyhow.

It feels straight up like show and tell because everyone must experience these cookies. I will remember them and the memories till the day I die.

Here is the thing about these recipes I like to share with y’all. They are more than just tried and true, sure to please recipes. They are basically part of the family and who we are. They tell a story within themselves and the traditions they hold. They share the love and memories.

Do you remember when I shared the pumpkin bread my mother has baked for us our whole lives? She would even send us back to college with a couple loaves. Or the best cheesecake recipe she wrote on the inside flap of a well worn cookbook? The best for many reasons, but chief among them just being her favorite cheesecake? Yes, those. And that little life secret about them and where to find others like them?

This cookie recipe is one of those. Hand written, well loved, and stained. Telling the story of generations and while bringing them all home. No small feat, I tell you.

Not only were us kids raised on these, but Pops and his siblings were raised on these. My Grandmother used to keep a jar full of these in the kitchen. The back door was always reportedly always unlocked and all the neighborhood kids would run and and out taking cookies throughout their play time.

My Mom and I once made these in an old, shallow wooden bowl with two forks for stirring implements at a Texas century ranch of friends while on vacation. Ironically or not, that weekend produced a lot of rain and we thought we might not make it out with the road conditions. Good thing for four wheel drive and Pops’ driving skills!

What I find most interesting is how each person puts their own spin on this recipe to make them theirs. Make them right. Make them like our Grandmother’s. But the funny thing is, we all talk about how they are not as good as our Grandmother’s. Everyone also has a theory on why hers were better. Maybe it is just because she actually followed the original recipe. Or maybe it was the love and wisdom she baked into them. Who is to know?

Anyway, this particular handwritten version is my mother’s. Karl is my uncle and my mother was collecting and writing recipes that he grew up on to give as a wedding gift.

My Grandmother used Oleo (margarine for you youngsters that do not know. Yes, I know I am a youngster, but I know these things) and baked them on the top rack of her oven. My mother believes that is THE secret.

My Aunt says to chill the dough before rolling and bake 8 – 10 minutes at 375 deg F.

My sister and I use real butter and roll the whole dough ball in sugar. Or, at least I think A rolls the whole ball. I do it anyway. I also add vanilla and I would put money on A doing that too because she is my sister and I know her that way. And it is vanilla. Vanilla goes in everything and makes everything magical and better, duh.

I myself have not actually seen the ‘original’ recipe before.

Last weekend only took 7 minutes to bake these scrumptious morsels at 375 in my parents’ new oven. I tried, valiantly, to chill the dough, but I think I only lasted about a minute before I gave in to get them in and out of the oven quicker. And my nephew had walked into the house and I recruited him as a dough ball roller. He happily obliged.

You can not really mess them up so long as you do not over cook them.

Go bake them. Right now. I will wait.

Finished? OK good. Now for your libation.

This one, the simple and classic margarita, Pops taught me along with the love of tequila. Follow the simple ratios and stick to only a few flavors and you can not go wrong with most variations of this cocktail.

2 parts tequila.
1 part triple sec (or your favorite orange liqueur).
1 part fresh lime juice (absolutely not the pre bottled stuff. Use real limes and squeeze them. It is a crime otherwise. Trust me).
Shake vigorously in a shaker with ice.
Pour in a chilled martini class or over ice.

For the ginger orange marg all you have to do is sub part of the triple sec with a ginger liqueur to your taste, keeping the total liqueur quantity to 1 part (keep to the ratios!). Then use fresh squeezed orange juice for the lime if you are Pops and if you are me, do about 1/3 lime and 2/3 orange (still only 1 part in total!). Add a dash of a cinnamon syrup and shake away. Garnish with some orange peel and enjoy!

Now. Go have a cookie and cocktail party and tell me all about it! It is show and tell after all.

Walk in love, dear readers!