It is a rainy morning here on the farm while I enjoy my coffee in the loggia with my Merle wet and lying at my feet. I managed to get the horses fed before it started raining again. Mother Nature truly put on a light show with the heavy rain storms last night and there is a good chance for more today. I am smiling contentedly as I think of the horses and cows on their happy, lush pastures.
Good Friday is turning into another one of those reflective days for me. I mean, it should be a day of reflection already of course with the coming of Easter, but it is even more so for me now. Good Friday was one of my days with H.
I am not sure when it became a tradition of sorts, but it just did. It was one of the days we would regularly try to schedule a ride together. I think it was a day that she always had off from work and she did not feel as bad taking that time away from her husband, other animals, and home. Sometimes we rode with other friends and sometimes it was just the two of us. It just depended on what everyone had going on. In the more recent past, it was usually just the two of us.
I really miss her today and that seems to make me even more grateful that it is raining like this. Like we are not really missing another ride together as the years accumulate.
However, as sad as I feel at the present moment have felt for the past few days at times coming up on today, I have also found myself smiling at the same time. While on the one hand I am not quite sure how I feel about that, the whole dichotomy of feelings I mentioned yesterday, on the other hand I am beyond grateful that I am here. That I am able to look back on all our time together so happily and be glad that we had it. That I can really feel the gratitude that we were even friends at all, even if it feels like her time here on earth and our time together as friends was cut short.
Being in this new and improved and bigger, but hey the same great thing, space of gratitude while I am remembering my H, I am beyond grateful for my life and my time in this earthly world. I know this probably sounds odd and possibly I could have worded it in a better way, but it is true. Case in point being H. We do not know how much time we have and we can not create it or get it back. My point is, this ever repetitive AHA moment, use your time wisely!
I do not know what exactly I set out to write today, but I am grateful. I am grateful that H and I were friends. I am grateful to FEEL. Whatever the feelings may be. Happy, sad, you name it. They are not independent of each other anyway. You can not have one without the other. I am grateful for my grief because I think it makes the joy bigger.
Walk in love, dear readers! Go live your time while you enjoy the memories! Dance in the rain!
I find myself often these days overtaken by an overwhelming feeling of gratitude.
For so many things. Both big and small. So much so that nothing seems small except my very person in this world. Similar to how storms and mountains make me feel. It is almost as if I am a tiny bug observing this big old world. Not in a scary, I’m going to get stepped on way, but in an awestruck way. Everything seems bigger, not just in size, but in feeling and color.
Heck, I am even grateful for feeling grateful. I don’t care if it sounds ridiculous!
Is it just spring? I don’t think so.
I do not think I can even pin point when this newer shape of gratitude and gratefulness really took hold. I try to always be in that space, but this, this is different.
When I wake up in the middle of the night, or really any time before my alarm goes off, I smile and am grateful to have the opportunity for a little more sleep. This particular gratitude goes even further to being grateful for opening my eyes and drawing breath. Or, rather, the other way around? Anyway, you catch my drift, grateful to be alive, but not in a morbid way.
In the ample time I spend driving (always with the driving thoughts), I am often shaken to realize how grateful I am for my life. For what I get to do. Who I get to spend my time with. For my freedom and independence. That I am no longer in school. Ha! No matter how hard being an adult can be, every life stage has its struggles and some more than others, but I would not trade where I am at for anything.
I am as grateful for the rain we are having right now as I am for the blue sky days.
I rode the other day in the rain, twice, and it was glorious. The first time was somewhat on accident. I was attempting to beat the rain.
We started early in the heavy morning fog, as it only can be in the river bottom. Lito was a bit full of himself, so we set to work in the meadow pasture to bring his attention back to center by doing many transitions within and between gaits while doing circles and serpentines around cow pies, trees, and weeds.
I am not sure when it started to rain really. It started so gradually with just the heavy wetness of the fog that morphed into a mist and then to a drizzle. I think I noticed it in the drizzle phase. I figured we were already getting wet and in the middle of things, why not keep going? So we did and so did the rain. It was wonderful really. When it seemed we were on the same page, we were loping down the fence with the rain coming at our faces. Not in a pelting way, but rather just an increasingly wet and beautiful way. It was still falling softly, but it was accumulating in my eyelashes and I was having a hard time seeing! I laughed out loud and wiped my eyes with the fleeting thought that windshield wipers would be nice before giving my boy a pat and coming back down to a walk.
We made our way back up to the barn where Lito seemed content to stand tacked in his stall and have a little nap. Not ready to commit to being finished for the day, I gave him some treats and left him there while I went inside to have some breakfast. My mom was getting ready to give a walk down the road a chance with a rain jacket and being already wet, we decided to accompany her. We then proceeded to get even more wet when it decided to off and on rain for real! It was still wonderful though. None of us seemed to mind. Lito was having as much fun as I was! It made me appreciate my good hat that I was wearing.
I could not stop smiling the rest of the day and I was so very glad that we rode in the rain.
I was hauling Lito to our favorite place to ride with friends a couple weeks ago and I found myself smiling while driving. I had the windows down and could feel the last remnants of nip in the air. The fog was singing and the sun was painting around some deer in the distance. It made me think of one of my favorite songs and how beauty has a sound.
I was reminded of many years ago one of the first times I did this. I was borrowing my Pops‘ truck, hauling to go meet my friends to ride. I even remember I was listening to a Texas song. I can almost remember the exact one. I had to stop and call my parents to thank them. Thank them for everything. That I am able to do all things I do. I thought then as I thought on this day, that I was living the dream.
I am still living that dream. Back to that day a couple weeks ago, I arrived early as I always do. I dearly hate to be rushed, especially when I am with my horses. I took my time and I groomed Lito, much to his chagrin, for over forty minutes. We rode all over that ranch with our friends surrounded by the big, blue Texas sky, green spring grass, and wildflowers. All while being serenaded by the birds, the wind, and sounds of our horses and laughter.
I am finding myself even at times, grateful for my grief. I do not even know how I got here. The dichotomy of those feelings is so strange and foreign. But alas, that I think is a story for another day.
Anyway, I think y’all have had enough of my rambling for today. My AHAmoment for today is to be grateful for every today you have. Again, not in a morbid way, but in a joyous and comforting way. There is more than one way to make a life. There is always enough time for what is important. It if is a broken record that I sound like, it is a pretty dang good record I think.
Walk in love, dear readers. Look up and see the sky, smell and feel the air!
Alas, here we are, at the beginning of another month. Several days in, actually. It feels spring as sprung, as they say. The Bluebonnets and Indian Paintbrushes have arrived. They are the first of the wildflowers to show their colors. The Bluebonnets in particular are only here for a short time, so one must get out and enjoy them while they are here! I have not taken a close look at the Pecan trees though, they are the real tell on if we are here for good. The grass has really turned on which I always love to see. And, the horses are in real shedding mode, another thing I love to see! There is nothing more satisfying or exciting. Especially since we are knocking on Daylight Savings’ door. One week and we are really in business for more riding.
Time is relatively just flying right on by as evidenced by the fact that I have again not written to you in over a month. As I utter those words here I cringe. That is about as riveting a topic as the weather, and yet, here we all are, continuing to discuss them! One may ask why do we keep bringing it up? Is not there anything better to discuss? To be perfectly frank, many times there is not anything better or safer to discuss with darkness and negativity ever at the forefront. However, that very point is the lovely thing about time and weather. Intertwined they are like infinity. One does not exist without the other. They are ever present. They are one of the things that controls us, that brings us back down to the ground, and reminds us that we are only mere humans. As time staunchly marches forward and the globe makes its revolutions, the weather does the same from one season to the next. From one leads to the other. From the dark and cold reflectiveness of winter bursts forth a bright, young spring, beaming with light and life. The light of the sun and moon are always there regardless of the darkness of the clouds. And again, no matter how dark the clouds are, the clouds are what bring the rain, and the rain is what brings the life and the light.
I suppose the point of all of that rambling, the AHA moment, is do not let the darkness get you down. Between the world and the people, there is very little we have control over. People are going to disappoint you. You will disappoint you. Other circumstances will disappoint you. That disappointment, or any other word, is on you. What you do have control over is you. The negativity and darkness are always going to be around, but if you look for the light and focus on it, you will begin to embody it. You will begin to emit it. Try every day to just block out what is not light, what is not truth, what does not bring you joy. Those other things are not for you. It is like that saying, you are what you eat. Garbage in, garbage out. The laws of attraction. What you focus on is what grows. It becomes easy to lessen judgement and follow the golden rule we are all taught as children. To treat others as you wish to be treated. To only say nice things and not just nothing at all.
Stand up as a light against the darkness and fight for the truth. Let it grow like the spring. Take a deep breath.
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.
I am sitting in the front room of the farm house, finishing my second cup of coffee. I am contemplating having a third cup, a rarity. This room used to be a porch, once upon a time. At some point, it was screened in and then fully enclosed and incorporated into the house. It still feels like a porch to me with its slightly sunken floor.
I have been up for a few hours now. I have a whole list of things I need to do today and I need to get cracking before it gets too hot. The schedules around here revolve around the heat of the day and how to avoid it. That usually for me means getting a terrible case of cabin fever come mid afternoon and then having a hard time falling asleep at night. Luckily for me, I have had no troubles getting to sleep and staying asleep the last few nights.
I use this sleep tracking app on my phone that tracks my sleep cycles and utilizes that information to nicely and gently wake you up in the optimum window and grade your sleep. I apparently got a perfect score of 100% quality of sleep last night. As I sit here and watch the world long past it has woken up, it does not feel like I had the best quality of sleep.
August has apparently always been an extremely reflective and anticipatory time for me. I would guess that has something to do with the heat here in Texas and perhaps most Texans feel this way. This is usually the hottest month. Although this year is a little different in that June and July were quite hot and I think some records were even broken.
Anyway, come August I am usually looking forward to fall and everything that brings. I have written about this before. I am also apparently thinking about different anniversaries. I have also written about this before. Both good and bad. On this particular day, and for weeks now (really every day of the last year), I am thinking about H.
I really have no grand thoughts or revelations for you today. I don’t even really want to go there. On another day I will be back to that super positive person and have better things to say. Life is just hard sometimes. You just crack on. That is it. That is the secret. You do the chores. You cross one thing off the list and do it again tomorrow. If that is all you can do, that is ok. You did it. You won. It changes every day, that is how grief works. I take great comfort in days when things happen and I have no choice but to just get it done. No thinking. Just doing. When I got here to the farm Thursday night, I discovered when I woke up that our bull had found his way next door. I called him a few choice words when he gave me some trouble, but I eventually got him back without too much hardship…and a wasp sting. I then spent some hours just going down the fence line fixing every spot that looked inviting to his wanderlust. I played music and got lost in the monotony and sweat. I reveled in having that sweat stream into my eyes. Bring it on, I said. I was tired by the end of it and looked forward to being sore.
I will say this. It is all for a reason. There is always the light. Focus on that while you do your one thing.
You do not have to make excuses to do what you want to do.
Just some Monday morning coffee musings. Or rather, I actually thought of it on Saturday while riding, but who is counting. Your any day AHAmoment.
You do not have to make excuses to just stroll around from shade tree to shade tree in the early morning summer breeze while letting your horse take bites of grass. To watch Merle run. To enjoy a big herd of deer off in the distance. To watch the fish in the pond. You don’t always have to ‘work.’
We both had the same idea about what we wanted to do. The difference was, Lito was not worried about making excuses.
I found myself trying to justify what we were doing on our ride. Justify, to myself I suppose. Sounds silly. I didn’t even realize I was doing it until the conscious thought came forward that I don’t have to do that. I don’t have to or need to make excuses for this.
You don’t have to make excuses to watch a movie or read a book. To treat yourself to something. To a nice lunch on your own just because. To rearrange your furniture. To sleep in. Or. To wake up early to have an extra cup of coffee. Or go to bed early. To take a trip. To have a lie down in the shade of a tree. To take a bike ride. To not spend your time with people that do not value you or do not make you feel comfortable. Or say no to what you don’t want. You name it.
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.
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”
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!
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!