E Hele Aloha.

Aloha, Hawaii.

Or, ‘A Plenty More Huger Hawaiian Adventure.’

…Or, ‘That Time My Photos Almost Broke The Blog.’ This one is pretty apt as it has taken quite a bit of time to get all of these up and I was worried I was going to lose the draft from crashing! As in, it did crash at one point.

If you follow all the goings-ons on Instagram and Facebook, you probably saw (a little while ago now) some of the play by play action of our trip, but I did not show everything! It has been crazy busy over here ever since I got back…so here we are looking back at my amazing trip. Texas is currently doing crazy winter things down here and I am sitting here with my second cup of coffee trying to get warm after feeding, watering, and mucking. We had frozen in shards falling from the sky yesterday and it is still stuck to the ground, fences, and deck. I am not going to lie, I have been having flash backs to last year’s winter-pocalypse. Anyway, enough of that. Let us dream of a tropical paradise by horseback, shall we?

Here is the thing. I know I have shared this before, but life is about taking advantage of the opportunities that come your way. You have no way of knowing what will still be available or what will happen tomorrow, in a week, next year, or five years from now. I have been kicking myself ever since Cousin A and R moved back to the states from Germany. Lost opportunity!

I love to travel and want to do more of that and experience local life, food, drink, and music. I love to ride horses and I want to not only do more of that, but I want to do it everywhere I go.

So, when Aunt M said to me, “Hey, I am going to visit K and B and go whale watching, you should come,” I quickly found myself saying, “You know what, I really should. Let us do it.” That is how the ‘plenty more huger’ Hawaiian adventure was hatched.

You see, K and B live on Maui and have for many years. K and B are my Uncle K and Aunt B, Aunt M and my Pops‘ Brother and Sister in Law. I had been to Hawaii once before many years ago as a kid with my family to visit and I basically only remember bits and pieces. They have always been so generous in always having their home open to family and friends for a visit. They also have this very close friend, L, who has horses on the island. Over the last few years hearing about K and B’s niece that loves to ride horses, L has told them several times that if I ever make it out for a visit, she would take me riding. Now, people say that kind of stuff all the time. I won’t lie, I have found myself doing it too. People do not always mean it, but every time I would talk with K and B, they would tell me about L and her horses and how she will take me riding.

I got to thinking, how many times does not only the offer of a place to stay, but also the offer to ride have to be made and not taken advantage of for me to come out the dummy? No more times, that is the answer! Once I committed, I quickly went and sent L a Facebook message so we could get to planning.

That is basically the back story. I wanted to ride and, well, do all the things and Aunt M wanted to see whales and the volcano. So, we planned for all of that!

We will skip over the Covid frenzy part of traveling and move straight on to the fun. While it may appear that fun was had all the way from conception to the time we landed upon our return, I will not lie and say that I was still very concerned and reserved until the moment we were on the last leg of our journey from Honolulu to Maui. I was very worried about not being granted entrance to Hawaii because of Covid. Blessedly, all that worry was for not….what is that I have said many times before about worrying for not? Something about a bunch of wasted energy?! Yes, that.

Anyway, I worried for not and enjoyed a mimosa with my breakfast while Aunt M and I waited to board the plane departing Houston.

After we boarded the plane, we then turn ourselves around and deplaned to keep things interesting. They said there was some mechanical problem. There was also a large connecting flight from somewhere that was delayed. And, I suppose, there is also Covid. This gave me time for another mimosa back in the airport! We ended up getting a new plane and were finally on our way.

With all the ‘keeping things interesting’ in our flights, we ended up being quite delayed. I do not even remember when we were originally supposed to land, I think 4 PM, but we did not get to K and B’s house until close to midnight.

All was quickly forgotten with local takeout at home followed by the first sunrise, a hot cup of coffee on the deck, and the first ride of the trip later that morning.

So, ya, the first ride. Um. I had never met L in person. We became Facebook friends when I knew I was coming. We messaged some back and forth about scheduling and experience, etc. I met her that morning when B dropped me at the driveway of her house.

But. She took me riding at Peahi. Just, you know, to casually view Jaws from up on the cliff horseback. No. Big. Deal.

EPIC.

Epic does not even touch the experience. Pictures also do not do it justice.

I mean. “Welcome to Hawaii,” L said with a big smile. I mean, is that Hawaiian for, “Hold my beer?”

I rode a lovely bay paint mare named Dreamer and she seemed to have as much fun as me. I felt somewhat like a kid in a candy store. I had already had this idea that I want to build all my travel around riding, and this ride just pretty much cemented that. If you can not ride there, I am just not so sure I want to go there. Horses are pretty cool in that way though, they are entrenched in society and human history, they are almost everywhere!

The waves were up and the pictures just do not show it. We could literally see the little ant sized surfers on the crazy waves.

To say L and I got on well would be an understatement. We are just two crazy little horse girls on the inside. The age difference meant nothing. When M and K picked me up after riding, M said we were both just beaming and I am not one bit surprised.

Driving around after the ride, I was just so struck by how scenic and dynamic this place is. Both the landscape and the weather. I was fascinated.

The crazy thing is, many views made me think of Ireland. My next place to go is either Ireland or New Zealand.

We all cooked dinner together at the house a lot so we could enjoy the sunsets on the deck. One does not have to twist my arm to do and enjoy that.

The arc of the sun this time of year from the house is amazing as it rises and sets symmetrically over the mountain.

For the second ride, L wanted me to try her young horse Carino, which means sweetheart. A super cute four year old bay, polo bred gelding. We just had a relaxed time doing horse things. Grooming, talking, riding. It was off and on raining while we were playing and it did not matter. We were just enjoying being able to ride and enjoy each other and horses and the scenery. I swear, you can see the ocean from pretty much everywhere. I suppose logically, that is not really a surprise, but it was kind of a surprise to me. Or, maybe just more fascination.

We had picnic lunches on the beach with wine while the whales blew in the distance.

We went on a Humpback whale watch boat with the Pacific Whale Foundation. Stop now if you are looking for a picture of a whale and just go google it or something. While we did see many whales, we chose not to waste our watching trying to take pictures of them. The pictures are in my memory! In real life, most of the whale action was far enough away to just not be worth the shutter click. We just did not want to miss anything and take away from the experience by trying to catch it on the camera. It really was super exciting though. We were in the moment and all had fun. It was fun to see kids and adults alike act like kids, me included, the minute we saw a whale. And, goodness, the views. I did snap some pics of the view. That evening’s sunset was enjoyed on the boat surrounded by whales.

They do call it the rainbow state and I did see one little piece of a rainbow. Better than none!

On another ride L took me to ride with one of her friends at this sustainable farm. Again with the ocean view! We also saw a couple NeNe, the Hawaiian state bird. It is some level of endangered or was? They have one mate and breed for life. Anyway, it is apparently a big deal to see one. On this day we saw two! I rode Carino again and L said she wanted me to ride him the rest of my visit!

We went on a dinner cruise with Champaign and cocktails being serenaded by whales, you know, no big deal. The whales were literally right by the boat.

Uncle K and I hiked some of the crater together…and we saw A WHOLE FAMILY OF NENE. An adult breeding pair and two very small goslings. You can not really see the babies in the pictures, but trust me, they were there.

After the hike, we picked up Aunt M and enjoyed a wine flight tasting at the vineyard. Then L and I had another relaxed horse afternoon. It is just a jungle everywhere!

Another beautiful sunrise. Sitting on the deck watching the sun never got old. That will never change no matter where I am.

I am not really quite sure what I loved most about this trip. Well, obviously the riding, but our day trip to the big island to visit the volcano was pretty dang, um, epic. What other word is there? It was a bucket list item for Aunt M. We hopped on a commuter plane for a day trip. It was a long day, but boy it was something. We could see whales playing from the sky. We saw the steam and vents. We drove the crater and all the way to the coast through the old lava flows. We saw another breeding pair of NeNe! We watched the sunset and the reflection of the lava on the steam with cocktails and dinner. No big deal. The red glow in the darkness around the last of the sunset reminded me of a pit fire here in Texas.

I tried to take pictures of our flight back to Maui that night, but they did not turn out. The moon was almost full and you could see the waves on the shore of Maui as we were flying.

We went to a luau in Lahaina and watched the sun set there.

On our last ride, we rode the pineapple fields. I was being silly apparently and did not take an actual picture of said pineapples in the fields. Oops. I was distracted because it smelled like pineapples and of the view up ahead.

We went for a lovely dinner out on the water in Kihei. Afterwards, I went to the moonlit beach to stick my feet in the water. I went to bed with sand still on my toes. Judge me if you wish!

We watched the moon set and the sun rise on our last full day morning.

We went up the hill to enjoy the view and watch the parasailers and then went to the lavender farm.

We had a little hike to some waterfalls where the young and old alike were having grand times.

We had my new Aunt L over for our last sunset and her birthday dinner. I baked a pomegranate cheesecake to celebrate her birthday and as a little thank you for all of her generosity in taking me riding almost every day. We got to ride so much, I did not even take pictures every time. I do not think I could do anything to thank her enough.

A welcome back to stateside with the moon over San Francisco. It was a long ride back!

Mahalo.

E hele aloha e na makamaka heluhelu.

Walk in love, dear readers!

I am out of words and pictures for this trip. I think that is a blessing!

Say yes to the opportunities and adventures!

Oh Christmas Tree!

Oh Christmas tree!

We had to work for the Christmas tree this year. I tried to get my table top tree the Sunday after Thanksgiving, as is my tradition. Well, it turns out that I was not the only one hunting up a tree on that Sunday. I went to two different places, but the lots were almost empty. No worries, I will just wait a few days until they get some more trees. Wait a few days I did and the situation was not much different than it was before. I am not sure that I have ever seen it like this before, but hey, I am just glad that people are getting festive and into the spirit!

I decided that this past Sunday was going to be the day no matter what. I had to go to three different places. I really was not overly excited at the prospect of spending the price of a full size tree for a table top one, so going to all the different places to get a good price was well worth it to me (although, I would have absolutely gone back and spent through the nose just so I could have a tree). I think I found a good one! He stood out among the others and it was a quick in and out. It lists a little in one direction, but that gives it character. Maybe next year I will get a potted tree I can then plant after Christmas or make an event out of going to a Christmas tree farm and cutting one fresh. Something about that seems kind of funny down here in south central Texas though. Or maybe I will get a full size tree. The possibilities are endless!

Anyway, the finding of the tree is only part of the fun. Growing up I was always with my parents to pick out the tree every year, being sure to get cuttings to decorate the house with. We would listen to Christmas music on the way there and then there was normally a trip into a store to pick up some eggnog for Pops and maybe something special to cook for dinner that night. Then there was more Christmas music once we got the tree set up inside and worked on decorating the tree and the whole house. I have probably told you all of that before. I know I have told you about how all of us cousins would go to our Grandparents’ house together to help my Grandmother decorate her tree, listen to Christmas music streaming out of the study, drink hot chocolate, and play.

I finally got around to decorating my little table top tree late last night. Sunday evening I was at my Aunt M’s for dinner and Monday night I was visiting and having dinner with my Grandmothers. I had the Christmas music playing (with a Hallmark movie on mute in the background) and enjoyed a fun cocktail while I decorated and Merle supervised. Sadly it does not take long to decorate a little tree with not many ornaments, but every year or so I buy myself a new addition for the tree. This year I actually had two new ornaments. A gold, lacey aspen leaf with a moose on it from our trip to Wyoming and a carved wooden cross accented with chalky white. See if you can spot them!

A fun thing we used to do with my Pops’ side of the family was a ‘where’s Waldo’ with a certain ornament on my Aunt M’s tree. In my memory it was a green pickle. It was something funny and obscure like that. It was seemingly always hidden very well. The kid who spotted the ornament won some money I think it was. I remember always feeling duped when it was finally found. I should ask her where that tradition came from.

It has become a tradition now (how long does it take to make a tradition?) for me to benchmark Merle (and his mohawk) in a Christmas tree photo. It started with Darcy (you can see some of her pictures that I posted the other day). This is Merle’s third Christmas and this year we had to create the same photos. His mohawk is bigger and more obvious in person, I promise. Now, if only I could bring the horses inside! Just kidding, I think that is even beyond me. Maybe. Maybe one day I will have a Christmas tree in a barn. That would be so fun!

Click play and have a scroll! A little side note, I think my Grandfather would have quite loved this version of this song for the drum arrangement.

Do you see the drool starting???

It is a Merry Merley Christmas Tree!

I could not resist that last one! I am aware that most of these look exactly the same, but I just could not include all of them! You can never have too much cuteness.

Maybe next year we should do something like this. I know Merle would be game!

Walk in love, dear readers! Spread the joy! For those that need it and those that do not.

Happy December.

Onwards and upwards, right?!

I am dubbing this December, “Happy December.”

Just go with it, it is a thing, OK!?

I do not know about y’all, but this 2021 year is trying to finish out worse than that other year. So, I have decided to just not let it be that way. December does not have a choice. With your help, we are going to make this a rockin’ awesome December! Trust me, we can gang up on it and make it so! Check back here all month for happy things! We are going to use this month to solidify our Christmas spirit so we can take it with us into the new year 2022. (Yikes, that sounds funny! 2022! How did we already get there?!)

So, just for you, on this first day of this joyous month, I am dragging out the tried and true.

Yes, I know I share these every year, but they are so dang cute and happy. I am just gearing you up for this year’s pictures! Besides, how do these not make you joyous?!

Walk in love, dear readers, have a great Wednesday and an even better December 2021!

If you have anything happy and joyous to share, share it with me!

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.

At Long Last.

Now for some fun stuff.

I have to say, I am more than happy we were able to have this year’s annual ladies hill country ride. If we were unable to have it, which we were in danger of not being able to, I would have very likely had a complete breakdown. I mean, OK, I am using that term a little flippantly, yes, but only really a little given recent events that you are now privy to. I needed it so bad and so did everyone else.

Last year the year 2019 and that year’s ride feels a life time ago, both in actual time and in events as so much has happened since we were last able to ride together. Those salient details we do not need to belabor as I am sure each and every one of you are grateful for.

So, back to the ride. I will admit, I do not have overly much to offer you in words (good thing I did take some pictures!). Most of that week now seems a blur to me. Quick to arrive and quick to go. I spent most of my time on horseback up front by myself, in my own little world (sorry, K!). Just me and my Lito. Who, by the way, was absolutely fabulous. Part of my lack of words is that there really are none to describe how great he was.

Given how, um, ‘eventful’ our drive up in 2019 was, I was just overly grateful to have an uneventful trip this year. I did not even care that we could not stop to shop at the big tack store that is on the way.

For a horse that really does not generally enjoy being in a stall, Lito quite likes his tent stall while we are there. He gets the five star treatment. A deeply bedded and banked bed. Unlimited fresh and clean water. Salt block. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner in bed. Spa treatments. Room service and turn down. How could a guy not like it?

I did do a funny thing.

You see, this ride is more than just for fun and vacation with your friends. More than just an escape. It is a chance for us to be like kids again. To be that horse crazy girl again. To get in touch with that horse crazy girl if you have forgotten.

Each year I seem to take that to a new level. This year was no different. Although, you might not believe me as there appears to be no photo evidence.

I brought out the Twinkle Toes. You heard me. Yes I did.

Let me tell you something, the glitter is more fun than it used to be! They have more products than they used to! They also have some more subtle color options! It is just that little something extra that catches your eye and then adds a twinkle to your own (see what I did there?!). The copper body spray for Lito’s coat is where it is at. I also got some gold feathers to put in his mane and tail. Which I did, but again, I somehow do not have it in any pictures! Oh well, I did it, OK, and trust me, it was all worth it. Even to end up with glittery reins. I also got the glitter hoof polish, but I never did get around to using it as applying it out there is a little tricky. Anyway, if you are looking for something fun just because, go and get some glitter! It will be fun, trust me.

You can maybe see just a hint of the copper glitter in his mane here.

We were blessed with great weather. It was not too hot, not too cold. Not too humid. It rained some, but it did not get in the way of the riding…even if we did get a titch wet the first morning. It was foggy and then the skies cleared to brilliant blue.

I wish I had been wearing a go pro camera to catch all the butterflies that serenaded us.

A lot did happen that week. Sisterhood and friendship. Fellowship and blessings. Horses, horses, and more horses. Fun and silliness. Memories and sadness. Grief and togetherness. Beyond that, I can not say, dear readers. That is for us and nobody else. Secret society and all that, you understand.

Each year is a blessing and this year was no different.

The sunset at the farm the first night back was as stunning as usual. This photo really does not do it justice. The sunsets here are something that is almost as comforting as a hug from a family member or a close friend.

After looking through the photos I was able to get that week on my phone, I was somewhat gobsmacked at how the view from Lito’s back has changed since I started riding him. From age three to now a little over eight and a half, the view has changed a lot! And I am not talking about the scenery.

You see that photo there on the left? That was when he was four. It was from his first big trip. It has been my phone background ever since then and I smile every time I see it. Anyway, I was scrolling through the photos from this most recent ride on my phone and I stopped at the one there on the right and admired it for a while. I quite liked it I thought and wished we could go back. After a sigh, I closed the photo app and saw my phone background. My jaw practically dropped. I had to blink a few times to reorient myself. To my eyes, he looks like a different horse. And he is different in so many ways, but he is also too that same baby boy in so many ways. Look though at the differences. His ears. His neck. His way of carrying himself. It has been quite the journey and I am blessed to still be on it with him.

I was forced to get a new phone recently and I went ahead and made the new photo my new phone background. I smile every time I see it too.

Walk in love, dear readers!

Nudges.

I have one more thing to say about that, call it, ‘emotional awakening day’ last week.

Call them nudges. Feelings. Ideas. Messages. Whatever you want to call them, follow through with them. I have told you this AHA moment before, but I am reminding you. I know, I am nice like that.

When you get those ‘nudges,’ follow through with them.

For this particular case, say you get a nudge to call someone. Maybe it is not that fully formed, maybe you just think of someone you do not always think about or have not thought about in a while. Call them or go visit them. Send a card, note, or flowers. Then say a prayer.

You see, last Wednesday I made it through the rest of the work day pretty alright. I went about my business. I got as much done as I could manage. I set out to come home and tackle some ‘adulting’ house things that I have been putting off. We all have those chores.

Still churning inside with more than just energy, I got the best idea. I recently got a new dresser chest of drawers for my bedroom. It was my Grandfather‘s. The old chest I had was falling apart and was not of good quality. Well, long story short, the new dresser made it in, and the old never really made it out. At the time when we brought the new one up, there was not time to deal with the old one. Well, you know how that goes. So the old one has just been sitting empty in my room, too heavy for me deal with on my own. Well, too heavy to deal with in one piece! I decided to take a hammer to it!

You heard me. I just started whacking that thing. Man, it felt good. Whack. Whack. Whack whack! I had it broken up into about ten pieces when I heard my phone start ringing.

Gosh, who could that be?! How dare they interrupt me during my therapeutic activity!? I looked at the screen and froze. I almost could not even answer it.

You see, this friend and I do not speak often and pretty much never on the phone. We are connected through H and our riding group. I swiped to answer and offered a tentative, “Hello?…”

I will make this another long story short. She had one of those nudges and followed through with it. On that day of all days, when I most needed it. We talked and I cried I ugly cried and we talked. No matter that I sound like a dying animal when I cry. I do not remember how long we talked, but it was enough. It worked better than whacking the dresser.

When we hung up the phone, I carried the pieces down and took my Merle on a walk in the fall weather.

I am so glad she followed through on that nudge.

Walk in love, dear readers! Check in on your people!

Also, I highly recommend the physical destruction stress reducer!

Rain Like Tears.

Sounds like a sad country song. Sometimes it just hits you. I would not go so far as to say when you least expect it. One expects this to happen at some time and place given the situation. I have been wondering where it was. I have been walking along, day to day, as if…well I do not know. Not as if everything is the same. That is obviously not right. It is not the same and never will be. My mind and body know that. It is some form of shock. Delayed or like a second round. For over 65 days.

I was on my way into work Wednesday morning. Why does it seem that memorable moments always seem to happen in the car? I feel like I have said, “Well, I was driving the other day and…” so many times. It is probably because I spend so much time in the car.

Anyway. I was on my way into work that weatherey morning. My heart is racing and my throat is closing just now thinking about it. I was absently listening to an audiobook of Nora Roberts that I have already listened to at least once while thinking about the day and the coming weekend. How time is moving so quickly. There was a strong cold front blowing in that day, hard and fast with rain and very strong winds, and possibly more. Some would say it was the first ‘real’ cold front to really mark the end of summer down here. I personally would not go that far. That already happened even if we have had a handful of warm days after it.

I wanted to talk. The feeling was more than just what my sister K and I call the ‘dialies,’ that default feeling of wanting to call somebody just because you are driving and not because you really have anything to say. I wanted to talk about everything in and on my mind, but I was stuck. The question of, “Who do I call?” stuck in my mind and my throat. I could call anybody. I told myself as I was stopped at a red light and looking at the graying sky, “Just pick up the phone and call.” But I could not. I just stared at the phone there in the well, like I did not know how. Blank.

I wanted to call H.

And it just hit me. Right there at that red light. Everything got tight as my eyes started to swell. Bam. I could not breathe. I wanted to throw the truck in park and get out of there. Just get out and get some air. To move. To turn around and just head west. Maybe just keep going. Start running.

I could not do that either. The light turned green and somebody honked at me. I jumped in my seat and I may have even shrieked.

I needed to get to the office before the rain. I had things to do and the week was already half over. Nothing else stops just because we do. I drove on, choking on myself. I just rewound the book and I did not call anyone as I got on the freeway.

I wanted to call H and I can no longer call her. It is still so strange and foreign. Such an emptiness. It all happened so fast and inexplicably. It was beyond our control.

She was my person. The one that was always there. The one I could and would call no matter the circumstance. Either to talk about how pretty the day was or because I was on the verge of tears.

Well I have not been able to call her for over 75 days now. I sat there in my office trying to catch my breath as the rain slowly streamed down the window pane and the pine trees whipped back and forth like you would expect in a hurricane. The streaming rain looked like tears to me at the time.

Watching the pine trees outside my office window made me think of this one time not that long ago that I was still talking to her on the phone from my drive in as I came into the office, something that happened often. There was a squirrel in one of those pine trees that I could see building a nest. We probably talked for ten minutes about that dang squirrel as I described to her every move that I could see. She always did that. She really listened to me and did not judge and just let me be me. Accepted me and appreciated me for who I am. Actually asked me about me. We were very different but we were also too the same. She appreciated the silly and weird stuff I had to say, like my squirrel observations. We had real talks about everything under the sun. Silly squirrels or the hard, serious stuff.

Her person and spirit were never closed and she openly shared her life and experiences. She was unfailing in her boundaries that were learned only out of a life lived. She fully lived, up until the last minute she was gifted on this earth. She was fiercely protective of her time, her marriage, her people, and her animals. She was the most true servant and soldier of our Lord. She was real and told it that way, without losing understanding or empathy. If you were her’s, you were just that. It mattered none how much time had passed since the last time you spoke or what had happened, she was there, no matter what.

I have never been one of those people to have many in my inner circle, but she was in there from the beginning. It just was. She is and will always be one of my best friends. Her memory will live on in every single one of us that were blessed to be touched by her. I can only pray to be as open and serving as she was.

All I have to say is this, do not take your time here for granted. For you or for others. This is the biggest and grandest AHA moment for every single one of us. We are only blessed with one life here and none of it is promised. You may not have tomorrow and we do not have control over any of it.

People say the phrases ‘live life to the fullest’ and ‘carpe diem’ and the like all the time in passing. Have you ever really taken those meanings literally given the simple fact that you might not have tomorrow? Take that in. Let it sink in. It is not just something that people say. It is fact. Life.

Say yes and do all the things you have ever wanted to do. Love your people and animals and tell them you do. Think about why you are doing the things you are doing. Ride the horse. Take the trip. Have the meal. Sleep in. Say the words. Smell the flowers. Feel the wind. Walk barefoot in the grass. Get dirty. Buy the clothes. Anything.

We were recently blessed to be able to have our annual ladies ride in the hill country (more on that later). Given the recent state of affairs, we were unable to have our ride in the year 2020. That also made 2019 feel like a very long ago time. Needless to say, we all needed this ride. H was palpably and dearly missed and there were times when I really felt I could not handle it. Literally sick to my stomach. But she was there. She was very much there. I felt her and I saw her and I was not alone. We were not alone. We were serenaded by butterflies every moment on horseback.

When Lito and I were safely back at the farm, I was thinking of the ride and of H and of the butterflies when my gaze was pulled. I looked up, up into the sky. What do you think I saw? A rainbow. And I am not talking a normal horizon to horizon rainbow like you always see. I am talking an up high, heavenward rainbow like I have never before seen in my life.

I have no doubts in my mind where she is and what she is doing. There are so many things we will not understand in this earthly life and that is OK! Just know, that however hard, it all happens for a reason. We will all know one day.

Walk in love, dear readers.

Do you remember anything you just read? Go back and read it again. Go live it.

10 Years.

I was not sure if I was going to post this or not. I feel like I should ask for forgiveness or offer an apology for this post now.

Has it been ten years?

It feels like it has been ten years. That I have been out of town for ten years.

That is what this last year has felt like.

Is that what was intended?

Do you remember the time in between? I think I do, but honestly it is somewhat hard.

It has felt like a time warp. Does anyone else feel the same way? I know many people who do feel the same way. Just the other day I was talking with a friend who’s husband was celebrating a birthday. “Wait, didn’t he just have a birthday?” I asked. “Yes, he did just have a birthday, it is the covid time warp.” “Must be,” as I pondered in reply. Except that it was a whole year ago!

I was talking with my riding friends about a conversation we had with another friend. Or maybe it was about when the last time we had seen this other friend. Anyway. “Just the other day,” I swore it was. “That was over a year ago,” they said with a sweet chuckle and a gentle shake of the head. “I suppose it was,” I mused as I tried to brush off that nagging feeling. Was it really over a year ago? It felt like just a few weeks ago. Although, I will admit, I am prone to those ‘just the other day’ feelings anyway. I get it from Pops.

Then there was Easter. Easter was even more strange. We finally were at the point where everyone was comfortable enough in some capacity to gather. We did not celebrate Christmas or Thanksgiving or any other holiday together this year. That is where I really felt like I was an ‘out of towner.’ An outside family member. One that moved away long ago and does not make it back often enough. Strange to the point where I almost did not know how to act. It was somewhat stiff and not quite comfortable. Very different than our usual.

Yes, it was strange because it had been a while, sure. We ‘normally’ all gather at every holiday. We are not used to that. Not gathering. At least I am not, I did not care for it one bit. But, really, it was that very question of why. Why did we not? Why did we voluntarily forfeit such precious time and moments? Memories? Love? We are not promised time. Ours or theirs. We are not promised tomorrow. How can such a vital and important truth be so easily forgotten even now? Especially now? After all of this? What if they were not here tomorrow?

I do not mean to make light of a serious situation. I really do not. But does it not make you wonder if it is worth it? Giving up your precious gift of time and everything that means? Not seeing the people you love when you might not see them tomorrow? Or similarly not doing what you love? Many people read right over those questions and just not go there. Go there. Really think about it. Which situation is more serious?

As I drive in the traffic again that has built to almost its pre-covid levels here in the big city, to and from work with everyone else, I feel as though I have forgotten what that too was like. The traffic and the hustle and bustle and fast pace. That one singular thought of ‘progress’ above all else or any one at any cost. As I yet again get sped around by an irate person laying on their horn and flipping me the bird for not driving over the speed limit to then slam on my brakes at a backed up line of bright red tail lights stopped at yet another red light. Just for them to get one car ahead and skidder to a stop. I always wonder if people feel better after behaving in such a manner. Does that make their day better? Make their problems go away? Bring their time and energy back? I do not know how it would, but I hope it does.

Or maybe it is rather, that I have a much lower tolerance for it now than I did before. Years ago or even just before covid. Which, admittedly, before my tolerance was pretty low for a person that grew up here.

Again I question why. Questions that plagued my mind before, are ever present in my mind as the days go on.

Why is it that I live here? How much more of my precious gift of time will be wasted sitting here in traffic? Fighting someone else’s fight to get…where? How much time has already been lost? And yet, here we all are, sitting here wasting more? Or anything else that we give our time to. It is not lending. We do not get it back. Worrying about things that can not change. Giving to people that do not give back. Doing anything that is not additive to your life.

That is why I talk with family and friends on the phone while driving. Or listen to uplifting music and podcasts. Or mind broadening books. Even if they are romance novels!

I live here now, but I can tell you I will not forever. I am dreaming and planning. Formulating the adventure. Planning on less time wasted.

Why say no?

That is why I say yes. Carpe diem now more than ever before. People say that lightly all the time, It is my prayer that it will become a truth for more people. Say yes. This is your time to spend. It is a gift not to be wasted. Go ride. Get the horse or dog. Go be with friends. Travel. See all that you can. Enjoy the journey. The adventure. The experience. And. Create the memory to share. Spark joy within your heart and the hearts of those around you. Adjust the priority. That is up to you. You are the banker of your time.

Dream the dream. Plan the adventure. Work towards that shared sunset and a tall grass turnout for your ride or die. Each step and each day you have made it. You have already won.

Think about what you are fighting for every day. Are you happy? Is it sparking joy? Is it actually getting you where you want to go? Why? Is it giving you more time with your family? Time to do what you love?

Every post I begin to pen becomes so overwhelming and heavy that I can no longer write it. I feel it even now. I am practically paralyzed to even put another letter down. Blogging has become hard. In part to having difficulty in just putting the right words around my thoughts, but in truth, the other part is that I am scared of people’s reactions. It is too hard to avoid this. I might lose readers for saying these things, but that is not what I created AHAmoments for.

I wrote a whole post after the freeze about perspective after seeing so much complaining. Granted, there were things to complain about, I will not lie about that even if I will not go into that because that is more of a political matter. And this, my dear readers, is still no place for that. But back to the topic at hand, the majority of the complaining was coming from blessed people in their homes with many layers and groceries to eat. How many farmers and ranchers were outside day and night fighting to keep their animals and operations alive to provide those groceries? How many people were alone or without a home or layers to be in? It is all about perspective. It could always be worse. Somehow, people still do not get it.

Should not this be a turning point? A grabbing and shaking of the shoulders for all man kind. A slap to the face. To wake up. To open eyes.

At a time when we are all so seemingly desperate to get back to the basics and foundation, to what is really important and what makes this life worth living and meaningful, what has changed? I hear people express this sentiment with ever more increasing frequency and yet, they do nothing. After all of this. After all that has been taken. I fear in reality nothing has really changed. Have we learned nothing from this past year? Are we just going to go right back to the way things were?

I am not.

I have spoken here a lot about saying yes and living your life for you. I am doing it and working towards being able to do more of it. I feel like part of what I am here on this earth to do is to remind you and myself of that. So here I am. Reminding you, should you need that reminder. Look out for my boot, it is coming for your backside and friend, it is covered in mud. Do not think you are alone in wading through it.

Make the changes. Do the work and do it for yourself. Get back to the basics. It is your time and nobody is promised any of it.

Do not let fear govern your life. ESPECIALLY after all of this. Make this past year count for something good. You can handle anything. It is hard. If you really think about it, we let fear make a bunch of decisions. That is how we have gotten where we are today.

Spend your time like it is going out of style because it is.

Thank you, dear readers, for allowing me my mini rant. As always, walk in love. Remember those around you and keep perspective. Say yes and go live your life. Do not waste your time. Back to our regularly scheduled programing later.

The 9 Days of Christmas, Day 8.

Day 8.

Happy Blessed Christmas Eve!

Alas, here we are with the best transformation Thursday, Merle edition. Just wait for what I have saved for you tomorrow.

Same mohawk.

Same attitude.

Same drool (refer to photo 1).

I wouldn’t change or trade him for anything!

He is every bit of boy setter.

Be with your people, whoever they may be. Tell them you love them. Smile. Be joyful and feel the spirit. Cook and bake together.

Happy Christmas Eve.

Walk in love, dear readers.