Merle

So, I did a thing and now I have a story to tell.

There was a hole in my heart and it needed to be filled.

If you have been following along on that social media thing (it was fun, you should give it a try), the pup is already out of the bag…but, if you have not been…I have some news!

Just when you thought I was going to share yet another Merle Haggard song (which I actually am because I slacked on sharing those and they are worth sharing), I am going to share a little something about Haggard’s new namesake, Merle the puppy! Likely soon to be Merle Man and Merle Dog and any other logical nickname. My favorite of those nicknames so far is Mighty Merle. It suites him!

So, without further adieu, I introduce to you, Merle, my new wingpup.

Naturally, that begins with where he came from. He comes from the same place Darcy’s sire, King, is from. And, King is actually one of Merle’s grand relations. This is all a full circle deal full of connections. Signs I tell you. The only difference is I did the drive this time instead of C and J. But this Merle’s story and it could not have been any other way.

This is his dam mamma, Nugget. I call her Nugg. You know how I am about nicknames.

A good and proud mamma she is.

After the pups were weaned, she escaped multiple times to get back to her pups. I love that about her.

This is the proud sire, Scotch. Handsome guy.

My Merle man seems to take after him.

This is a Merle pup from early on.

The cutest stinker.

He looks like a thinker.

Here is where the adventure part comes in…We flew up to North Dakota to pick him up! We almost missed our connecting flight, but we made it right before they closed the doors. And then…rented a car and drove all the way back to the great state, special package in tow!

If you are thinking I may or may not be crazy and that whoever would choose to come with me on such an endeavor is equally as insane…you may or may not be right! Let me tell you though, it was indeed a grand adventure and we had fun seeing parts of the country we have never seen before. On top of that, Merle is already a road tripper just like Darcy!

Friday evening in North Dakota we enjoyed watching the sunset after a taking a tour of the kennels. Sunsets in North Dakota are pretty! It was so great to be with the people that made my Darcy girl and Merle man happen.

Mighty Merle had bath time Saturday morning before hitting the road!

A dirty puppy is a sign of a happy, playing, outdoor puppy.

Look at all those spots under there!

He took pretty well to the road tripping and developed his riding preferences, like they do. The initial shotgun riding position that makes for a good dog.

The pretty Dakotas through an increasingly dirty windshield.

Driving.

The preferred shotgun riding position which makes for a great dog!

Pretty!

Posing or taking care of business?

Boop!

Driving some more.

Keep on keeping on.

Really so very pretty. All I wanted to do was ride a horse here…and clean the windshield.

The only evidence of Nebraska was a picture of a sleeping puppy.

Merle met some bikers headed to Sturgis.

By this point it was just put the pedal to the metal and get us all home.

Somewhere in here was Kansas…zero photo evidence. Just trying not to speed.

We finally made it to Oklahoma and the big dog had a big dog time! He was in two different random photo shoots with random people we ran into. There were two girls in a car that screeched to a stop in the middle of the street to jump out and ask if they could pet my Merle.

There was speeding from this point on to get us back to Texas.

We are finally home now and playing during coffee time. Learning what are toys and what are not toys.

He is already a brave a smart boy. Exciting times are to come!

Walk in love, dear readers, and enjoy both Merles!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tune Tuesday

What day is it today?

You guessed it.

It is Tuesday. Tune Tuesday.

Do you know what that means? It is time for another Merle song.

OK, so maybe you do not know what that means outside of the fact that I am a crazy Merle Haggard fan.

You just do not know YET. Y’all will know here soon though! In just a few days.

You just have to keep checking back here!

Walk in love, dear readers!

Colorado

You know what? It is hard to get off mountain time twice in one month.

Ha!

What a statement! Can you believe I can say that? I certainly can not complain about it one bit.

This summer has been so great and it is not even over yet.

The thing is, I was too busy being in the moment, breathing in the mountain air, and enjoying just being in the mountains that I did not take very many pictures.

However, we went on a little hike after an attempt at yoga on the mountain and saw this sweet, little big view.

There was a lot of stunning storm watching. You know how I feel about storms.

There was a lot of marveling at God’s creation. How can a person not in a place like this?

We went on a bike ride to eat lunch.

And. We saw a rainbow. What is it about this place and rainbows? I see one every time I am here.

I blinked my eyes and here we are back in Texas. Is not that just the way?

Trying (not really THAT hard) to get off mountain time and back into real, adulting life for a few days. No more than that though because there is something exciting happening at the end of this week.

I told you this summer was going to be an adventure. We have been on two so far and the biggest one is yet to come! Here is your hint (ha! What a hint!). There will be a song for each day leading up to the big reveal. You do not want to miss this, I promise!

Walk in love, dear readers!

Montana

Want to know where this gal was last week checking out? I guess the title up there kinda sorta gives it away…oh well!

Montana. And well, some of Wyoming too actually. 

I sat by that trout pond and listened to the birds sing and frolic. Those swallows how they play while catching bugs! We watched the cotton of the cottonwood drift on the breeze while the green grass swayed. We watched the dynamic mountain storms come and go from a porch rocking chair and felt the change in the air. 

I myself am partial to my Texas skies as I am sure y’all already know. You know they do not lie about that Texas sky, but man oh man, the Big Sky country of Montana is pretty dang special.

I am not the only one who feels this way either. Many Texans have strong feelings about the Montana and Wyoming skies, no matter where they call home. Especially from the back of a horse.

 

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I got to cover some country on the back of this Quarter Horse named Flash. He worked his magic and got us some fabulous weather to be out in and to watch. We rode to wide open hills, the sides of mountains, down in the valleys, and up in the trees.

Hard to not see the Lord at work here.

 

 

It sprinkled on us a little bit.

You cannot tell what we are doing here, but we were fly fishing the Yellowstone hunting up the Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout. That was fun! I was sore the next day, I will not lie, but it was so worth it.

Just look at that view. Imagine being here 150 years ago on the back of a horse.

We watched the horses get turned out.

Then we actually rode part of Yellowstone National Park! Who can say they have done that?

Flash getting us back before the storm behind us hit.

Words and photos do not do it justice!

It was such a pleasure to be in new country and be as unplugged as possible on the back of a horse. It does a soul good. I could have used more days, but let me tell you, I actually slept in when I got home!

I will be forever grateful for being invited on this once in a lifetime trip! Thank you!

Summer may be about half way over, but the adventure is only just beginning! Stay tuned for the next one!

Walk in love, dear readers!

 

The Best Of Views

I have seen some pretty amazing views in my life, in this country and others, and I am blessed to be due to see some more soon.

The thing that always gets me though, is this.

This is still one of the best views around and one I want to come back to. That is what I was thinking in that exact moment.

Even with the stormy skies.

Storms never last anyway and this one was no exception.

Hey, speaking of…

Great song. Don’t tell anyone that this is my favorite version of this song and not the original.

It is good, OK?!

Walk in love, dear readers!

 

Yes.

You know. I have been thinking lately. As I do.

Someone might actually be filling out a little bit.

Which, ha, thank goodness. I was beginning to wonder if my AHA moments were going to come back. They have been seeming a little few and far between in life these days. BUT, not to worry, they are still there! I just have to write them down again!

Do you remember the heart in the tree I told you about?
Look closely there. From here it looks like there are actually two hearts. The heart has been there since the tree was planted and has persisted through the seasons.

Anyway, enough about that.

More about this. It is pretty simple, really, and it keeps coming up.

Life is about saying yes. Well, more like YES.

No regrets. Whatsoever. When an opportunity comes your way, say yes. Do it. As trite as it may seem, you really do only live once. Same as everyone else and you do not know what tomorrow will bring. You can cross whatever bridge tomorrow brings tomorrow.

Life is a very fragile thing. That is as apparent to me now as ever.

I was driving the other day and, funny as it does, it occurred to me. I am thirty years old. Ya, ya, ya it is just a number and I still believe that, but that is a third of a life. A third of a lifetime. What? How did that happen? It feels like just yesterday I was still in high school. How many times have I put things off or said no to something for a silly reason? What if it does not come back again?

Things do not always take their time to happen. You do not always see them coming like a West Texas storm off in the distance. The same can be said about the opportunities that come your way or fall in your lap. They will not always be there and you often do not even know they are coming.

Say yes.

Take the trip. Do what makes you happy. Ride the horse even if it is raining. Make the time and take the time, it is yours. Be with the person or people that make your heart smile. Sing the song out loud. Eat the cake. Whatever it may be. Stay hungry. Keep seeking and striving. Finish your business.

Do not put things off any more.

Make a decision and go with it.

Act.

Say yes!

This year and especially this summer for me is about saying yes. Tomorrow, things could change and a lot of that is out of my control. I can not hold on tight and make things stay. I have to let go so my heart will remain open.

The scenery around here is going to look a little different here pretty soon over the next couple of months and y’all are going to be seeing some new things.

But, alas, you are going to have to check back here later to find out! You’re going to like it, I can tell you that, and I am excited to bring each of you along.

Walk in love, dear readers!

My Darcy Girl

There are sometimes things that happen in this earthly life that we do not understand, and it is likely that we will never know why on this side. This will most probably go at the top of that list.

A week ago tomorrow, I looked at my Doolittle and I knew it was time for me to let go. In the way that people always say it happens.

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I had done everything up to that point to keep her comfortable and she told me that it was no longer enough, but more meds did not mean living. I did everything I could to slow if not stop this freight train, but I found it had no brakes.

I could go on in details, and I will privately for anyone that is in the same position if it would be helpful, but I do not want that here. I do not want that on her remembrance.

So. I did the only thing I could do for her. The last, greatest and hardest gift I could give her. To set her free. To let her go home free of pain and suffering. To let her be happy.

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My mom drove us out to the farm that Friday afternoon where my Pops was waiting. It was threatening to rain and the clouds were growing darker. We took one last short walk in the pasture to greet the horses. Darcy was not much up for it, but I needed them. My Lito buried his head in my chest and Cheetah looked at me in that way only a special mare can. In that knowing way.

We sat on the porch and watched a light rain sprinkle and dry before our eyes while we waited.

The vet and tech arrived and they were as kind and nice as they could be. It was all very calm and peaceful. There were a lot of tears.

Then the most amazing thing happened. I have no words to explain it other than I know it was God. Those dark and threatening clouds parted in the very moment that Darcy left this earth and the sun shone through so very bright and strong. The intensity I felt I have never known and I can not describe in words. I could do nothing but smile up through my tears.

I carried her down to her final resting place with the others on the far side of the pond, under a great Pecan tree. I dipped her paws in the pond one last time so she could be farm dirty like she is supposed to be.

Back up at the house, I sat on the porch with my parents looking down the valley. I found myself looking through a heart shaped hole in the leaves of an oak tree with the sun twinkling and winking through.

I do not know how I did it other than I knew that was what I had to do.

She loved unconditionally. She more than spread joy everywhere she went, she was the living embodiment of it. An example to be made. She taught me about life and perspective. She taught me more than I could write about, here or otherwise. She was independent as heck fire and tough as nails, but she was also supremely sensitive, perceptive, and gentle. She was unabashedly herself. She was Darcy. She was my wingpup.

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She was more than just a dog.

I may not know much or why, but I do know where she is, who she is with, and where she will be waiting, putting her own spin on that angel band up there in the sky. I have no doubt that her great spirit was needed for His good. Even if it does feel like a double barrel kick in the guts. Even if it does feel at times like my heart might not even be there anymore. I am so grateful to have had her for those almost six years.

I want to thank all the vets and techs who have worked so hard to help and comfort us through all of this. My Pops who called and arranged everything because neither my Mom or I could do it, both of them for being there for us in the moment, and my whole family for checking in on me. And, I think most importantly, the vet and tech who met us out at the farm to do the job. I can not thank them enough for just being them. I do not have the words to thank you properly. Just, thank you.

Interestingly enough, this poem popped up today.

Get your tissues out, you will need more than one.


If it should be that I grow frail and weak
And pain does keep me from my sleep,
Then will you do what must be done
For this – the last battle – can’t be won.
You will be sad I understand
But don’t let grief then stay you hand.
For on this day, more than the rest
Your love and friendship must stand the test.
We have had so many happy years,
You wouldn’t want me to suffer so.
When the time comes, please let me go.
Take me to where my needs they’ll tend,
Only, stay with me till the end.
And hold me firm and speak to me
Until my eyes no longer see.
I know in time you will agree
It is a kindness you do to me.
Although my tail its last has waved,
From pain and suffering I have been saved.
Don’t grieve that it must now be you
Who has to decide this thing to do.
We’ve been so close – we two – these years,
Don’t let your heart hold any tears.
~Unknown

 

 

Walk in love, my dear readers, we all need it.

When It Rains

This world has a lot of sayings, many that are often misunderstood. Have you ever heard the one about when it rains?

Something about it pouring?

Ya. I have heard that too. When it rains, it pours. A lot actually. I even use the phrase myself, lightly and in passing, never really giving it much thought. It has a whole new meaning to me now.

It truly is a shame that sometimes, as in right now, my life can not be like a music video. At least there would be some laughing matter.

Yes indeed, something quite like this. This looks lovely, would not you say? Kinda funny.

However, in my particular case these days, when it rains…..

It pours…

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Sorry, I am not really sorry. I do not know how to even say it without trying to make light while my heart is in my throat choking me.

This is my reality. Part of the ‘whole lotta life‘ I have been living. A curve ball so far out of left field, it came from the right, just as the fast ball barreled through the heart of home plate.

I can’t believe I am having to write this. Never did I ever think in a million years this would happen.

I have some not so good news to share. The worst possible kind.

The silent kind.

My Darcy has been diagnosed with cancer.

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What the literal heck fire on God’s green earth?!

My sweet and innocent Darcy girl. Not even six years old.

It is quite advanced and pervasive. Between ultrasound and test results, her current status and lack of appetite, my own research, and separate vet opinions, there is not a viable treatment option.

I am completely gutted. It has taken us by storm, the likes of which I have never before known. Not like a slow creeping hurricane. It feels more than rude and unfair. Human life is hard enough on its own without making the animal lives hard.

I could go on in this manner, and admittedly I have had those moments (completely broke down while driving and again on a restaurant patio with my mom), but we must be strong and positive for her. View the world and live life the way she does. Give her the best of the best. Keep playing. We have not struck out in the game of life.

So.

We celebrate the life we have, every day, and take each day as it comes. I am going to do everything I can to give her the best quality of life possible until it is her time. She can eat whatever she wants to eat, healthy diet out the window. She is going to go with me everywhere possible. We are going to have as much farm time as I can manage. We find a reason (and there are many) to sing a song through it all.

All the prayers, positive thoughts and vibes would be greatly appreciated by us both.

I do not understand this and I do not think I ever will.

Such a happy dog that brings endless joy to every being she encounters. So much greatness must be shared. Her spirit must have a greater calling.

If you have any tried and true proven ways to keep a dog eating, lay them on me. I need more tricks up my sleeve.

There is a life lesson somewhere in here. I am just working on unpacking it.

Walk in love, dear readers, even when it is dang hard. I am taking my time.

 

 

A Heart Beat Apart

Good morning, dear readers!

Yes, I know that is a sunset picture, but I like it and it makes my heart smile. So there.

Anyway, today is Tuesday. Tune Tuesday. So, tune in.


“So take what you got and do something with it
Don’t waste your money on cocaine and whippets
And watch what you say at the end of the day
You get less for your dollar and more heck to pay
Well my grandpa said
Living and dead
Are only a heart beat apart”
~The Damn Quails

Walk in love, dear readers.

No moment is promised.

Give up what you are holding on to. Pray for the faith to be generous, vulnerable, and courageous. Give of yourself to others. Everything is possible.

Afraid

Do not be afraid. Fear, no matter how seemingly small or insignificant, is no way to solve a problem or live a life.

Know what is in your heart and have faith. Stand your ground against the dark and fight for what you know is true. Pray about it and then let it go.

It is not about how much faith or having enough faith. Faith alone. Period. A drop of faith is all you need. An ounce. Or, rather, a mustard seed.

When the wolves bring in the darkness, stand up and stand your ground against it. What may seem small at the time will soon grow beyond. Have faith, pray, let it go. Be patient. Be a support to others in addition to yourself. It will all come together. You will see.


“The howlin’ moon would cry
I’d sleep the sun away
I was just a child
I knew I was afraid
There was nothin’ to gain, I found
By runnin’ the other way
I had to stand my ground
And keep the wolves at bay”

Walk in love, dear readers!