Well, Hello There…

My, it’s been a long, long time…

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.

I kept an eye on my blessing reminder that has persisted in this young oak tree.

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”

~Larry Fleet

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!

Tune Tuesday Time Out.

Have a listen.

For real.

Did I actually find this song last night while watching the new season of Sweet Magnolias on Netflix? Yes, I absolutely did. You can judge me all you want. I had to rewind the show so I could figure out what the song was. I listened to it while driving into work this morning. Over and over. Very, very loudly. Did I cry in my car? Yes, I did. And for a lot of reasons.

Validation. This is what it feels like. It is real. I am not the only one.

There is something about driving and listening to music, I swear. I did not even know the name of the album was Crying in Cars. I can not make this stuff up and neither could you. I was actually wondering while I was driving what the music video would be like for this song if it had one. Music videos are a funny thing to me and I would think it would be very hard to do. It would be hard to not paint the picture for every listener and have to put the song in a box because so many songs are applicable to a myriad of life situations. I was thinking the music video for this song should be the singer driving and crying. And hitting her steering wheel. Maybe pulling over because she is finally overcome. Then I find out what the name of the album is.


I am unfolding
I am not holding on
Shattered in pieces
I am the broken one
If you only knew the chaos inside my head
Wish that I could run but I’m just not ready yet

Just let me hurt a little longer
I’m in a war with no armour
Need to cry an ocean before I’m stronger
Just let me hurt a little longer
Just let me hurt a little longer

Don’t need a rescue
Don’t want a lifeline
I need to crumble
Cannot save me this time
Used to think that being brave just meant moving on
Now I sink into the pain until it’s all gonе

Just let me hurt a little longеr (Longer)
I’m in a war with no armour (Armour)
Need to cry an ocean before I’m stronger (Stronger)
Just let me hurt a little longer (Longer)
Just let me hurt a little longer (Longer)

(Longer)
(Longer)

Heart is in stitches
I burned all my bridges
I’m at the end of my rope
My stomach is twisted
I can’t resist it
Don’t know where else to go, so
Just let me hurt a little longer
I’m in a war with no armour

Just let me hurt a little longer (Longer)
I’m in a war with no armour (Armour)
Need to cry an ocean before I’m stronger (Stronger)
Just let me hurt a little longer (Longer)
Just let me hurt a little longer (Longer)
Just let me hurt a little longer

~Emily Rowed


Take your time. Let it in. You have to go through it. Is it bloody hard? Absolutely. But it is the only way.

You are not alone.

Walk in love, dear readers.

Music Monday

It is long past time I share some lyrics with you.

I get asked all the time, “What is your favorite song?”

That is a very hard question! It depends! I will say that right now, one of my favorite bands is this band right here, Needtobreathe. That have been at the top of my list for a while. I could go on and on about them, but I think you should just check them out for yourself. I believe I have told you about them before. A really good place to start is right here with today’s song. Give it a listen and tell me that does not hit you right in your core. Go ahead! I dare you.


You’re uncertain and you’re unwell
Rags to riches but your heart can’t tell
That don’t mean you’re going to hell
But that’s how the story goes

You’re like a phoenix rising from the ashes
But all you care about is death and taxes
And being famous takes too much practice
I wish it wasn’t so

I spent my ’20s in the lights of the disco
Trying to prove that I could be a hero
And there were times when it felt like I was winning
But looking back it only lasted a minute

I watched my friends take over the radio
All it did was drill a hole in my ego
I forgot what goodness was outside my window
Ain’t that the way the story goes

I don’t need silver linings
I don’t need so much more

I just need room to be wrong sometimes
That’s all I’m hoping for
I feel like we could find it
If we knocked on heaven’s door
I’d say God I’m only human
You’d say that’s what I’m here for

I spent my teens making out in the stairwell
Inside a church that went long ‘cause the spirit fell
I was really trying to mean something to someone
But at the time I just thought that it was fun

I don’t need silver linings
I don’t need so much more
I just need room to be wrong sometimes
That’s all I’m hoping for
I feel like we could find it
If we knocked on heaven’s door
I’d say God I’m only human
You’d say that’s what I’m here for

I don’t need silver linings
I don’t need so much more
I just need room to be wrong sometimes
That’s all I’m hoping for


Have a blessed Monday, dear readers, and walk in love.

Be thinking about what you are grateful for! I want to hear! I am glad to be back with you.

Tune Tuesday

It is Tune Tuesday today.

I can not skip it. You have to hear this and soak it in.

It made me smile.

So, take a load off for four minutes and thirty six seconds. A less than five minute break. Yes, I realize it is not even nine in the morning. Shh. Get another cup of coffee or treat yourself to a tea with lemon.

I’m going down on the Nueces River
Gonna call my brother, ask him to meet me there
On the surface will be two men fishing
Down below we are brothers with a love to share

I’m gonna lay my burdens down now
Gonna ask the Lord to watch them a while
I’m gonna walk where the sun is shining
I’ll be home when I have found a smile

There is a salt cedar tree that I know of
It can take a breeze and make a melody
I’m gonna climb up in those branches
And ask if it would whisper its secrets to me

I’m gonna lay my burdens down now
Gonna ask the Lord to watch them a while
I’m gonna walk where the sun is shining
I’ll be home when I have found a smile

There’ll come a time when the world is level
There was a time when the mountains grew
Then there is all that is here in the middle
And how it’s spent is up to me and up to you

I’m gonna lay my burdens down now
Gonna ask the Lord to watch them a while
I’m gonna walk where the sun is shining
I’ll be home when I have found a smile

~Max Stalling

Are you smiling?

Walk in love, dear readers, where the sun is shining.

Get Out

OUT.

As in outside.

The answer to a lot of things many times is to just get out and ride. Even if you did not even know you were looking for answers.

Forget everything else.

Ignore your phone. (Except for to take pictures, duh).

Leave all your worries and troubles far, far away. They will be there when you get back, if you want them.

Don’t have a horse? Go for a boat ride or a bike ride. Go for a drive. Or a walk. Anything.

Get outside. Feel the air. Smell the smells. Listen to the birds. Let that horse run and stretch her legs under you.

Just get moving.

Climb the hills or mountains.

Take in the inspirational vista in front of you and get close.

Then go back down, get to work, and maybe move some cows.

She holds a lot between those ears of hers.

Embrace all the feelings.

Climb the hill again.

Breathe.

Remember what and who IT is all about.

Oh, it also works best with just girls. Humans, horses, and dogs. Mr. Merle stayed behind and had man time this time.

Let me know how it works out for you!

Walk in love, dear readers! I hope you are inspired and motivated this Monday Tuesday.

“We go to the mountain for strength and peace and power. To know God. Then you move to the valley where life is lived. For service.”

Beautiful Souls

Animals. They never cease to amaze me. I know I probably sound like a broken record at this point, but I do not care. I have no doubt in my mind that they are all gifts to us. Angels in their own right, sent here and given to us for a specific reason and purpose. Even if only for a short period of time in our eyes.

I think Mr. Dirty Toes Merle might just have one of the most beautiful souls out there. He wants to be a friend to everyone and he does not give up until he gets just that. I have watched it with my own eyes.

Just look have a look for yourself.

Merle and my Lito man
Merle and Petunia

He has finally started to win a few of the heifers over. I was taking care of some chores in the barn when I looked over and saw MUTUAL LICKING. Never have I seen any of our dogs do this. Not even my Darcy.

Merle and Blaze
Merle with Billy and Blaze
Merle with Bendita and Blaze

Now if only I could capture his antics with the cat……..

Love.

God is love. Never forget it.

Walk in love, dear readers.

“And love will run to meet me and call me his own”
“So love can live to tell the tale”

Winter Wisdom

Winter. There is a ton of symbolism in the season. Whether it be the actual weather and Mother Nature or a very real reflection of a season in your life.

I have a wise friend who wrote some great winter words that I wanted to share with you.

“I will be honest, there’s a lot I don’t get right now about a lot of things & the more I work on it, the more frustrated I feel. I literally post something similar to this every single season because I am forever stubborn and continuously forget the basics of God & faith.
That said, I am all the more thankful that the consistency of seasons is a reflection of God and the steadiness of His character. If you stop and really “consider the lilies,” you can’t escape how Creation reflects the detail oriented nature of God. It shows how He created us to see Him & find Him not just in religion, but in snails, twigs, monarch butterfly migrations, and sunflowers that tilt upward so they can face the sun.
I took a bunch of pictures on a walk through Camp Allen this last weekend at my church’s women’s retreat. I made my friend stop every 3 minutes of our walk because I was distracted by how oddly beautiful dead-looking things become when light shines on them. Romans 1:20 talks about how seeing the visible helps us understand the invisible. What appears to be dead actually isn’t dead, it’s just winter. Winter doesn’t last forever – it stays awhile & through the shorter days, lack of color & seemingly barren/exposed trees all contrasted with light, winter reminds me how paradoxical God is- how my weakness is actually His strength.”

Good, no?

Like I have said before, take comfort in the consistency of the seasons. Of the sunrises and sunsets. No matter what, they show up to party every time. They go on over and over without fail. Whether or not you can see them!

There truly is beauty in all things, even and especially in winter.

Take pecan trees for instance, because we all know how I love them, with or without a Merle man in the frame.

Many on first glance may think they are dead in the winter. They are the first to lose their leaves and they are the very last to get them come spring. Even I start to wonder if they ever will get their leaves as spring might start to feel like summer.

Even still, I can never stop being amazed at the raw beauty in the bareness of their branches in winter. Against a sunrise. Or backed by the strong, bright, and grass growing winter sun. Or reflected in the sunset’s light on the pond. There is beauty even on the dreariest of gray winter days.

Indeed they make an inspiring frame for a sunset of any kind!

Dead pecan tree among the live oaks? Nope. A beautiful and unique one, standing strong waiting out winter for its bloom.

And you know what? They always do get their leaves. Every spring. And I am just as amazed every time.

The same happens for us when winter comes to a close and spring starts to bloom. It may likely feel as if you are wandering aimless in this winter. Trust me, I know. Your feeling of wandering is not without reason or purpose. It is your winter season of waiting. Preparing you for your spring. Take your time and be patient. Have faith. Rest. Be ready. Remember what you are fighting for and hang on tight. Keep your focus on the light.


When your world’s of madness
And you’re burned at both ends
Your walls are closin’ in
Won’t you remember?
Open up your heart
Let yourself unwind
Find peace of mind
Among the wandering
Step into the unknown
Where your path rewinds
See if you can find out
What you came here for
Roll one from the green vine
Disregard the time
Find your peace of mind
Among the wandering
Don’t fear the vendors
Dreams can’t be bought
As long as you don’t sell
What you’ve been fighting for
As long as you don’t sell
What you’ve been fighting for
If your heart’s of anger
And you’re helpless in the end
Won’t you let your friends
Help you remember?
With every box of poison
There’s a ribbon tied
Don’t believe them eyes
When they deceive you
Take a look inside
If you’re so inclined
Just leave some time
For the wandering
Find your peace of mind
Among the wandering
~Ryan Bingham

Walk in love, dear readers, and see the beauty in your winter. Spring is coming, and not just because I am covered in horse hair shed and counting down the days for more daylight.

Music Monday

 

…There’s no need for anger, there’s no need for blame
There’s nothing to prove, everything’s still the same…
~Bob Dylan

Dear readers, nothing in this world is as it seems.

What in this world actually makes sense?

Don’t judge books by their covers. You have no idea what is on the inside of those pages.

Stay in your lane. Do you. Do not worry about others. Keep your focus on The Man Upstairs. That is how you keep your perspective. That is when things do make sense.

Walk in love, dear readers, and have a blessed Monday!

Pearls

Just some thoughts for today.

I talk a lot on here about sharing your story. How important it is not just for your personal being, but for those around us as well. It is what connects us. Brings us together. Helps us wade through. It is one of the boldest and bravest things a person can do. It turns negatives into positives. It opens you up and shines your light. Just ask Brene Brown.

I try really hard to do that here. For me and for you. That is kind of the reason for this space after all! “We are wanderers and seekers just the same.”

It is not easy, I know, trust me. We are all in the same boat though.

I read something a little while back that Warwick Schiller wrote about being present in life and sharing your story that really struck me. He shared a quote from one of his followers, “sharing your mess is your message.”


“Sharing your mess is your message.”

Did you catch that?

Boy howdy.

I know many feel like their life is a mess and don’t want to share their story or only want to share the things that look good to others. To try and make others think that everything is ‘as it should be’ and all alright. To paint a certain version of the truth. That is pride. Ego.

A’int nobody got time for that, y’all.

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Let that go.

It is OK for everything to not be alright. Let go of what you think you and your life ‘should’ look like. What anyone else thinks. Life is not easy or pretty for anyone.

Y’all. Your story, the whole story, especially including the mess, is your message. Your whole truth. Your string of pearls, to wear with a smile. That is what IT is all about. The AHAmoment.

This next part is just as important as sharing your story and is often forgotten in the all or nothing.

You yourself have to get comfortable with your story, your ‘mess.’ Give yourself that time. It is yours. Take that time to breathe and walk around it. Look at it from all the angles. Get the different perspectives. That is part of dealing with it and understanding it. Learning from it. Healing. Forgiving.

Take the time to string your pearls together as to not cast them to the pigs, as they say. Then, when you are ready, put on that pretty string of pearls confidently and share them with the worthy ones.

I am taking my time, are you?

Walk in love, dear readers.

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 brake. 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.