September 13

I have already told you about September and how it, and the start of fall, get me in a reflective mood. Today is one of those reasons.

The 13th of September will always be a special day and a day I will always remember. A sad day at times, yes of course, but also a special one. A day for red wine and chocolate pie. To remember the happy memories and be grateful. Why do you ask? Because I say so, that is why. It is Mansebo’s day.

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Mansebo was the horse that started it all. Is it still hard? Absolutely. But he is in the best place of all now and free from any pain and suffering. I am forever grateful for him.

This is Mansebo’s song. Every time I hear it, I think of him, and every time I think of him, I hear it.

I can not help but think that it is because of him that we have horses today. It makes me even more grateful for my dun duo.

Speaking of the dun duo…

 

 

Lito and I had a great weekend of riding and he continues to get better and better, heading in the right direction to his regular self.

Both Cheetah and Lito pretended to be race horses on Saturday when I tried to bring them in for the evening, galloping all around the pond pasture multiple times. This video was only the beginning. I did not catch the best and fastest parts. They took turns with who was in the lead, Cheetah talking to Lito the whole time. Quite funny really. After several minutes they decided they were finished and would come in, but only if I came and got them. Naturally, that is what I did and they met me half way, the looks on their faces seeming to say, “gee, that sure was fun!” At least for Lito, the cheeky guy! Cheetah looked a bit happily worn out with her out of shape, grass fat body.

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Have some wine and pie with me today, won’t you? And go love on your horses! Remember the happy times!

Walk in love, dear readers!

Happy Friday

Happy Friday, happy people!

Only one business day between you and the weekend.

YOU can do it!

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Be happy.

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

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

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

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

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

Remember this?

Or how about this?

Or this, this, or this?

Clearly, I write about this a lot.

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

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

Walk in love, dear readers!

The Season Of Fall

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

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

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

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

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

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

Walk in love, dear readers!

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


“All my love is due Him”


Problems

Problems, I ain’t got none.

How do you like that English? I did that for effect, you know. Just for you. To give you a laugh.

Anybody?

Tap, tap, tap?

In all seriousness, continually I am reminded that the things we see as problems in this life, are not really problems in the bigger picture. They are just experiences and lessons. They are gifts.

Remember yesterday’s list of possible topics that got quickly brushed aside in favor of food and wine? Ya, that. We are going there. Here is why. Stick with me.

Wednesday was not a very good day at work. The details are not really important, but emotions are high right now as we are about to drill a well (not really the best time to be leaving the country for vacation, but this trip has been planned for a year…) and somehow I got caught in the middle. Like a side effect or an accessory. Honestly, if I could have done something about it, I would have, but it was out of my hands. (Even though I am still kinda beating myself up about it.) It put me in a foul mood and I was ready to book it before it was even lunch time.

At the end of the day, I left quicker than I ever did when the 3 PM dismissal bell rang at school, and I was the kid that counted the seconds till it was time to leave. I changed my clothes and grabbed my dog in record time to drive out to the farm. I had already planned to go out there for my usual midweek visit.

When I arrived, the horses were in the far corner of their pasture. Go figure. I took a deep breath, stepped out into the sun, and started walking. I didn’t even put a hat on. No time for that.

With each step, I felt a little tension leave. It began to feel blissfully hot as the sun beared down. The grass was green and sky was blue. The breeze was soft through my hair and the trees. I started to hear the birds chirping and Darcy romping around off to my right.

She caught Lito’s eye as he stood in the shade with a hind leg cocked, tail floating on the breeze, playing with the tips of the tall grass.

Then they all, one by one beginning with Lito, started to look at me as I approached. They knew. They always know. Looking at me with their big soft eyes. Nuzzling me with velvety muzzles.

We were just a short walk away from bliss by this point. The answer to everything. It doesn’t take much.

I grabbed Cheetah’s bridle off the bridle rack. I walked up to her side, stroked her golden neck, and began bridling her. She graciously accepted the bit as I slipped the headstall I won in 4H with my old mare Fresca all those years ago over her long ears. Just as I have done countless times. Fresca is the only other horse to have worn that bridle. It has a cross on the side buckles. I found Lito a similar headstall. It was and is important to me.

I will not mention the sweat and dirt all over her body as that would clearly ruin the picture. No, I won’t do that. But she is indeed, covered in dirt. No matter. Dirt brushes off and my hands did a good enough job of that to clear a spot just big enough for me to sit.

I threw myself up on her broad, dorsal striped back and off we went.

Nothing else is needed. Our shadow danced around us as we turned around the ring. On and on. Around we went without a care. Whatever happened earlier in the day a distant memory, not given another significant thought.

(How is this the only video of this song?)

I dismounted feeling lighter, almost wondering if the day had really indeed been all that bad. The answer was probably not, but it did not matter anymore. I thanked my big dun mare for letting me borrow her freedom and setting everything to rights before I made the hour long drive back home.

The drive was pleasant as I was serenaded by Texas music and the views of the coastal plain.

The following day was peaceful as I worked, fueled by the high from the ride, YouTube videos playing in the background. At some point, a string of videos about near death/death experiences came up. It began with the stories of a career hospice nurse. Interesting turn of events, I thought to myself, but I will listen on. I do not doubt that these are true stories. Indeed they are common enough. We hear about them all the time.

I looked up when I heard a familiar voice and story. Eben Alexander. I have heard an interview of his before. Have you heard of him? He wrote the best seller, Heaven Is For Real. Have you read it? I have not, but I will tell you I ordered the book at the end of yesterday. His story is worth a listen. Take the time. I would not share it with you if it was not. I will not spoil it, but the short end of it is he was basically a dead man. Believed to be a vegetable for a week and on his way to death. He awoke and had a lot to share about his experience. About God and Heaven and love.

It brought me to tears, but maybe not in the way you might be thinking. It was an overwhelming feeling. A feeling of knowing. Of love and truth. It is no wonder to me that music and nature and animals and relationships play such vital roles in our lives here on earth. It is all about love. God’s love. God is love.

No, no I do not have problems.

Focus on the bigger picture. The Lord’s journey for you. Spread his love and light. Forgive and forget. Life is short. Tomorrow is a new day. Do not let what you view as problems bring you down. You are here and alive!

Share with me your thoughts! I want to know!

Walk in love, dear readers!

Pops

Pops.

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Teaching me how to shoot.

That is what I call my Dad. That is now what my niece and nephew call him.

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With baby Nephew H.

When I wrote about my Mamma for Mother’s Day, I thought to myself, “words. These are just words. They do not do her justice.” Now I naturally have the same thoughts as I try to pen something in honor of my father.

 

 

 

As a Texas outdoors man with three daughters, he raised us the way he knew how. With a love and respect for the outdoors and God’s creation. We get our love of Texas and dogs from him. He taught us how to fish and hunt and how to be good stewards. To sit around the fire pit, watch the sunset, and contemplate life.

He worked his butt off for us. Honestly, I am where I am today because of everything he has done. One time when I was younger, on our way to south Texas, I asked him what exactly he does for a living. The resulting explanation and conversation lasted longer than the five hour plus drive.

His friends tell me, among many things, how he is a fine sportsman and not your average CPA. I certainly always knew the first one. That last one always makes me laugh to myself. He is a socks and Birkenstock kind of guy sometimes, even if Mamma tells him he should not wear that.

He allows us to be who we are and celebrates it. It is no wonder I march to the beat of my own drum and can seem by some respects as a walking, talking oxymoron.

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I may be a walking, talking oxymoron, and people may not quite know what to think of me at first. I can sometimes be found wearing a silly, wide brimmed straw hat with a feather stuck in he brim, fishing shirt, tall western boots, polo belt, red lipstick, and dirty finger nails all while riding in a dressage saddle. Good horsemanship, is good horsemanship, no matter what you wear, the horse you ride, or what you ride in. Just like being a good person. Thanks to @exquisiteequineapparel for this great mantra shirt. A strong foundation in the basics is what takes you places. Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast. ~~~ ~#basics #foundation #horsemanship #mantra #oxymoron #walkthetalk #walkyourpath #goodperson #slow #smooth #fast #horsesofinstagram #appendixquarterhorse #quarterhorse #ranchhorse #dressage #equestrian #equestrianlifestyle #equestrianlife #equestrianapparel #horseperson #blogger #lifeblogger #ahamoment

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When I was little, he would tuck me in at night while we sang the Lord’s Prayer together. I can’t sing it any other way than the way we sang it. (Side story, Nephew H once told me I sang it wrong because it was not the way his mother sang it to him at bed time. I laughed and halfheartedly told him he sang it wrong.)

I learned how to be safe around horses from him. To love the country and agriculture. To drive and pull trailers.

More than once he took me out of school to head to the hunting lease with one of the dogs. Just the three of us. I thought that was the coolest thing.

He taught me how to fish with a top water and then proceeded to tell me that if I cast it that far out there, I would have a hard time setting the hook. I just smiled as I turned and said, “like this?!” as I hooked a big speckled trout. I can still hear him saying, “keep your rod tip up.” For years, his reward for teaching us to love fishing, we got to land every fish he caught while he untangled our crossed lines. Luckily for him, we can now catch our own fish without tangling our lines. To this day, fishing is my second most favorite thing to do next to riding horses.

On our way to church, we would drive a certain way to go over this train track on a hill because we thought it was fun. It was on top of a big hill in my memory, but it is not a very big hill at all in adult reality. Anyway, we got a kick out of it to drive really fast and bounce up and down in our seats over the tracks. We would laugh and yell. On the way home, we would stop at the filling station to get a Big Gulp. That’s a fountain Coke for all you people that do not know.

Often times, he would let me pick the route we drove home from the farm. Crisscrossing our way through the countryside on the back roads with the windows down. Just listening to music, enjoying the country, and delaying getting back to town. Then we would stop and get a chocolate cinnamon milkshake to share before we got home. We would throw the evidence away before Mom could find out. Although, I am sure she always knew.

One weekend he did laundry at least three times at the farm as my friend and I slid down the muddy slope of a hill into the pond over and over spreading wild flower seeds for him.

 

To celebrate him, we will do what we do. Have a family dinner. Listen to music. Thank the Lord while Pops says the prayer.

I know days like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day can be hard for some who’s parents are no longer with us in this life. Indeed it makes it hard right now to even write these words. The thing is though, they are all still here with us in our hearts. In what they taught us. In their memories. Never far away. And you will see them again one day, in their finest form.

What is your favorite memory with the father from your life?

Walk in love, dear readers! Peace, love, and joy.

Something To Remember: Your Own Advice

Sometimes, remembering and taking your own advice can be difficult.

It can be hard.

Time marches on and a new day comes, you turn around and it is like you never made the revelation that time before. You have to do it all over again, but luckily though, it reveals itself quicker than the last time.

One day though, it finally begins to stick. That old time feeling comes back and you remember.

All of this to say, remember that time I shared with you the story of the wardrobe? It is an important life lesson and it is one that has been circling back around for me of late. So, I figured I would share it with you again.


“My mother always says that the people in your life are like a Wardrobe… There are some people that are in your life for only a season. There are some that are in your life for a few seasons or several years. Then there are some that are, as they say, timeless, that are in your life for the long haul. For the rest of your life.”

Things change. That is how this life works. It is part of the human condition if you will. Part of the blessing when you choose to see it that way. It is part of what makes us who we are and gets us where we are going. Part of our journey. Everyone has experienced this.

Interestingly, this American Aquarium album was recently released. On it, is this track. PSA, there is some ‘adult’ language in the first half. Sorry, but hey, we keep things real here, and this is just that. At the beginning, he shares the story behind the song. Y’all know how I love that. It really brings the lyrics to life and makes you think.

The funny thing is, I was listening to this album on repeat and I did not even realize it or why. It hit me Sunday before I headed home from the farm. Do yourself a favor and have a listen to the whole album. Buy and listen to it on repeat.

Then naturally, I had to go and listen to this song.


“Oh, but seasons come for moving
Forces greater than ourselves
But there’s nothing we are losing
Keep it right there on the shelf
I guess I’ll see you when I see you
And pray you’re safe and well ’til then
And all the miles that lie between us
Will be a way back in the end
Oh, the time we shared was a blessing
I’d love to live it all again
I guess I’ll see you when I see you
Happy travels, my old friend”

And then the whole album because, hello.

Music, man. If need another form of proof that we are not alone in our struggles, music is it.

I said it then and I will say it again today because it is still true for me.

I am beyond grateful for all the people that used to be in my life, the people that are in my life, and for all the people yet to be in my life. You are all a blessing to me. You are part of what makes me who I am and part of what makes my life, my life. Thank you for everything you have taught me or given me. Thank you for making my life richer, bolder, and full of color. Thank you for the smiles and laughs. Thank you for being there and being you.

I hope I did the same for you.

Walk in love, dear readers!

What Just Happend

That is more of a rhetorical question because nothing really happened, but still. It feels like a time warp of sorts and I am not sure if I am happy about it or not. How odd.

Anyway. The first thing. How is it already Wednesday? Yesterday was the Monday-est Tuesday ever being the Tuesday after Memorial Day weekend (which was great, by the way). It drug on and on and now here we are at Wednesday. It is like I feel duped. Yet another odd feeling! We are already half way to the weekend again!

You know what else has snuck up all of a sudden (or is it sneaked? Ugh, grammar is hard, man)? Summer. Like triple digit, humid town, reminiscent of 2011, SUMMER. I heard on the news that the next few weeks are going to be like the summer of 2011 (I sure hope he said next few weeks and not this whole summer!). I am almost shaking in my boots. Seriously.

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The summer of 2011, as anyone from down here knows, was brutal. I think we broke the record for triple digit days. Given how humid it is here, that is a hard thing to do. Oh and the bugs. So so bad. And practically no rain while being in the worst of the drought. That was the summer I graduated from undergrad and brought Cheetah home. She would have run all the way back if she could have I think. Every time I saw her she looked at me with an expression like, “GET ME OUT OF HERE, TAKE ME BACK, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE!” It is a good thing I had a lot of time. I went to the farm practically three times a week and she would gallop up to me each time I drove up to get hosed down and scrubbed. I did not even need a halter. We would stand under the shade of one of the oak trees as I ran the cold hose over and over her.

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Anyway. I can not think about that anymore.

Speaking of Memorial Day weekend, it was great. It started off with a dinner show by Radney Foster, at one of my favorite places, with some of my favorite people R, H, and M.

I have been a Foster fan for basically my whole life, but surprisingly, I have never seen him live. He surely did not disappoint.

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Playing new and old songs, sharing stories, and reading excerpts of pieces he has written. I did not want it to end. I could have sat there all night and listened. I ended up buying his book when the show was over and I can not wait to read it. If you have never heard of him, you should really go check him out. His work transcends all boundaries. I have so many favorite songs of his, we could be here for a week, so here is a new one he played that I can not get enough of. He just gets IT. For you to really see the light, you have to know the dark. AHAmoment.


“It’s gotta get dark enough
For you to see the stars”
~Radney Foster


I woke up early Saturday morning in a daze and Darcy and I booked it to the farm to meet my parents and cousins who arrived there Friday evening. Listening to Radney Foster the whole way, of course.

I had another one of those great compliment weekends I told you about before multiple times over. Girls and horses (and Petunia) and it was great. I am so proud of both girls and horses. R even rode both Cheetah and Chance bareback. There is just something about girls and horses. The horses, they just know what is expected of them when it comes down to it.

It was really hot and we were thankful for the moving cloud coverage. The horses were sweating in the shade! An unwelcome promise of more heat to come.

I do not have any more words for you, dear readers.

Other than to say I am overwhelmed with gratefulness for the blessing. For the family, the horses, and the music.

And. Of course. Walk in love!

I am going to go sit on my hands now so I do not post every one of Radney’s songs. Go listen now!

Keepin’ It Real

I read something the yesterday that was pretty spot on and I wanted to share it with you. You know, because that is something I like to do.

My friend, M, shared this article over on the book of face and, intrigued, I gave it a click. You should do the same and give it a read. It does not matter if you chase cans, jump pretty painted sticks, dance inside a rectangle, or stroll the trails. It does not really have anything to do with horses.


“We show the world a version of ourselves. But rarely the whole picture. We give everyone a glimpse of the bright moments, the triumph, and the fun. But what about the rest of the story? What about the defeat, the heartache, the sin and loss? Where is the real stuff?
Transparency is scary stuff. Baring your soul to the world is not for the weak hearted. But what if we all were a little less guarded?
Does transparency invite judgment and criticism? Probably. But it also invites grace, empathy and compassion.”

This, my dear readers, is about life and what IT is all about. The greatest of all AHAmoments. This one of the main reasons I started this little blog of mine.

Why I share the good, the bad, and the ugly. And, hopefully, sometimes funny. This is why I share my stories and my struggles. My victories after challenges. What I learned after failure so it is not really failure. Why I try to fight the negativity with positivity, the dark with the light. This is why I share the music I do. Why I share the love of my animals.

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To reach just one person and maybe help them. So they know they are not alone and, honestly, so I know the same. That is real, and that is life. So they know that we are all in this together, walking this walk. And dang, it is hard sometimes. Just ask anyone who will tell the truth. We are all more alike than we think.

Life is about speaking the truth and sharing your story. Your testimony and what gets you through. Being brave and vulnerable, even if it does not feel brave because it feels scary.

This article made my day.

Here is what real life for me is like sometimes on Mondays. I woke up yesterday after hitting the snooze button for at least thirty minutes, cussing as I shuffled through the shavings on the floor (that spilled out of the cuff of my jeans on Sunday for the umpteeth time)(I also won’t mention all the burrs scattered all over all the floors. Wherever the Darcy goes, so go the burrs), took my dog out, threw on work clothes (some of which I pulled from the laundry piles covering my bedroom floor….the laundry that I did not do Sunday), and ran out the door to go to work. Stopping to get coffee because I did not have the time, or the milk, to have coffee at home. All the while feeling guilty about all of the above and dreading the list of things that awaited me at my office desk. Some days are just like that. They can’t all be rainbows and roses.

Today I awoke with a new vigor while aiming my arrow, and not just because I now have milk for my coffee. A positive attitude is all it takes, seeing the bright side. To keep praying and keep knocking, putting it out there and believing. Sharing that story. I actually saw a rainbow after the rains at the end of the day yesterday. As if that is not proof positive enough! Is it easy, no, not at first, but just like everything else, it gets easier the more you do it and make it a part of your everyday thinking.


“Revelation 12:11 tells us that we overcome the enemy by the blood of Jesus and our testimony.
Let your real story, your testimony be heard because even when you are living in the thick of it, it could be the very thing that helps someone else overcome.
Be bold and transparent because of the free gift of forgiveness and salvation. None of us have done a darn thing to earn it, so let’s all be a little more real with each other.”

Go on. Go give it a read. And maybe you’ll be inspired to pass it on to the next person.

I am happy to have each of you to share and celebrate with.

Walk in love, dear readers!

It’s A Bird…Birthday Edition

It’s a plane…

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It’s a Cheetah!

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Wait, what? No, no, no.

Not that kind of cheetah.

This kind of Cheetah!

A birthday Cheetah!

My gal pal is 14 today. That is quite a big number considering I started riding her when she was only 4.

We have been through a lot together, and we ain’t nearly through! Name that reference! No? Uh, OK, never mind then. I guess I will just give it to you. You’re in for more, so you might as well just give it a listen. If you knew it already, I would like to be your friend.

If you do not know her story, you should give it a read here.

Her heart is seriously as big as Texas and her lungs, well, they are built to match. She has taken me everywhere and given me the best gifts.

She is special and unlike any other around. I knew it the first time I met her. She already has some gray hairs starting above her eyes and I am not sure if that makes me feel happy or melancholy.

She keeps me on my toes and I bet she will continue to do so until well into her twenties.

She is my gal pal and I would not trade her for anything. Even if she is opinionated and does not like to walk. I only wish I could ride her everyday again, preferably in a cotton field.

Walk in love, dear readers, and for your listening pleasure, I give you this…I just do not understand why people do not sing about line back duns.