God’s Country Ride

Where do I even begin. I truly am not even sure. The Monday blues were real and hardcore on the struggle bus yesterday.

Years 1, 2, and 3 were all so different and this year was, well, no different! It was indeed the best year in my estimation and I believe in several others’ as well.

I suppose starting at the beginning is the natural way of things. It just seems so long ago!

I was able to skip town pretty early on Friday. I already had my things packed and Merle with me at the office. All I had to do was drop him off (more on that later) and I was off scot-free! Well, as scot-free as one can be in Friday traffic, but hey, I was on my way!

There were only a few stops I needed to make on the way for necessary long road trip things. Shavings for Ronan and Lito in the trailer and breakfast kolaches (both sausage and fruit) to go and nacks (that is ‘snacks’ for all you people without a cute niece) for R and me.

R and Ro made it to the farm Friday evening with just enough time to get Ro settled and for us to get into town for a Mexican food dinner. We were both starving and decided loading all of my stuff could wait till the morning.

Morning came quick enough, as it does, and there was plenty left to do before we could leave, but we got it all done in not much time or having to rush too badly. After loading Ro and Lito and before pulling out, R warmed up the sausage kolaches while I turned the rest of the horses out.

Our farm cat, clearly a bit miffed that he was going to be missing out on the fun and the kolaches, decided he would take matters into his own paws by snagging and eating our fruit kolaches off of the truck dash. He clearly enjoyed them! After having a good laugh, the first of many, we were on the road by around 10 AM. 

Lito in his road gear. Am I ridiculous? Maybe, but I do not care.

The drive was going smoothly enough.

Long time horse people never actually think that thought though because it is just a matter of when something will happen, not a matter of if.

Is that not so subtle foreshadowing you read?

Spoiler alert, there were incidents.

This was the first incident. Blown tire.

Doesn’t that just look like a party?

There are several great things about this incident. Both the horses and us were just fine. We had all the things we needed to change the tire. AND, go figure this, a friend just up the road to help. We were on the road in very little time at all. By all accounts, this part really could not have gone any better.

That was the first part.

Once we got to the next town about 45 minutes down the road, we spent the next hour trying to find someone to check the rest of the tires and replace the blown one. After trying three places, we finally got the others checked and decided to get on down the road. We started the drive with two spare tires and knew we would have better luck replacing the one in a bigger town or come Monday morning.

Feeling pretty alright about our good fortune, but still someone shaken, we drove on.

I will spare you some of the details of what happens next, but we almost got in a bad wreck…Like slam on the breaks and horn and basically come to a stop on a major freeway bad. And feel the horses get smacked around in the trailer behind us bad. All because someone was not paying attention and was entering the freeway incorrectly! (Let us all make a pact to help educate people on driving the road with horse trailers, OK? Thanks). It could have been much, much worse. I do not want to focus on that.

The point is, we were and are still OK.

I have shown you this cross before.

I can tell you one thing, we were praising the Lord during and after this drive.

Us humans were pretty shaken by the day’s events and we have never been so happy to unload horses in our lives. Oh, and bless these two boys of ours. They unloaded calmly and seemed to comfort us and not the other way around! I think at that point we would have been happy to never leave that hilltop ranch. At the end of the day, the drive took about twice as long as it should have.

We put the horses in their pens to settle and went to settle ourselves. That later on included an evening stroll with the horses before dinner with some of the other early arrivals.

Lito wanted to make donkey friends, but they were not so inclined.

The Sunday sunrise the following morning was stunning as per usual. R and I climbed on top of the trailer with our coffee for a better view. This basically set up the rest of the day.

I stayed in my pajamas until 11 AM. This will likely not be a shock for you to learn, but I never do that. Ever. It was glorious. I probably had four cups of coffee too.

Lito and one of his many girlfriends, Jazzy.

The longhorn wanted to make friends too.

Later on, in real clothes, we went for a much needed ride.

I have shown you this cross before too!

We then watched the sunset before heading down the hill for dinner in town with friends.

At dinner, our great friend and hostess read that day’s devotional aloud.

Boy howdy, if that did not speak right to me, I do not know what does.

It was a great evening and we all awoke on Monday morning rested and ready to make it to our final destination for the main event! …Sans incidents!

However, R and I first needed to replace our blown tire which took some time. This was actually kind of nice because we got to have a nice breakfast in town while we waited. Once that chore was finished, we went back to the ranch, loaded up (again, I praise these boys that loaded very well despite how their last trip went!), and headed out!

I am happy to report that we made it without any problems and got our ponies all settled for the week of fun!

And fun we did have in a big way.

Fun. Fellowship. Sisterhood. All with our horses. I can not share too terribly much because it is all, you know, secret and stuff, but here is a little taste of what went on.

Just look at my cute boy. He looks happy, yes? He had this face on pretty much the whole week.

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We enjoyed a movie out on the lawn after dinner the first night, complete with popcorn and candy…under the full moon! It took me right back to childhood and camp. We watched The Man From Snowy RiverGreat movie if you have never seen it!

I had late night and early morning hangouts with my guy.

Lito striking a pose while looking for the strange animal that made a scary noise.

We rode the hills together.

Those are my friends R and H. And Lito’s friends Ronan and Chica.

We crossed a lot of water and we loved it.

We rode through the shady, idyllic groves.

We hung out in the river and watched the fish.

Lito took many naps. I did not. I did not sleep much all week!

We saw, experienced, and felt God’s creation from the back of God’s gift to us. It could not have been any better.

We caught the sunrise each morning and the sunset each evening.

I felt transported to a different place at times. Which was much needed.

I do believe my Lito had as good of a time as I did.

My horse. My Lito man. He was amazing and seemed to be very happy (even if he did get bored and frustrated when we were going too slow or stopping too much). He wanted to be friends with everyone. I could not be more proud of him. He is not the horse for everyone, but he is for me. We have our own thing.

I lost count of how many times I laughed until I cried with my fellowship and horsemanship sisters. My stomach and my eyes hurt! Y’all have no idea how much I needed that. How much we all needed and still need that.

We rode together. We prayed together. We laughed together. We cried together. That is what it is and was all about. That is what IT is all about. AHAmoment. They call the Hill Country God’s Country and it sure did feel that way!

Now I can not share any more about that! BUT. I do have one more thing for y’all.

Did you wonder about my Merle while we were away? Well, wonder no more. He was in excellent care. I had to board him because all of my people were busy or out of town. He did not seem to mind and clearly had fun! Does he look like he is practicing his face for Halloween, missing baby teeth and all?!

By the time we got back to the farm and unloaded, I wished R a good safe rest of her drive, took a much needed bath, and then took a two hour nap (another thing I do not do).

I still have not caught up on sleep! We are all happy to be safely home even though we were not quite sure we wanted the trip to be over. This week is major catch up and now I just want to go back!

Walk in love, dear readers! I sure missed y’all!

 

The Change of Fall

Do you feel it?

You know it. What I am talking about.

The feeling in the air.

The days are getting shorter.

Fall is here. Or. At least coming to these parts!


To celebrate, I will share with you the ultimate fall song. Remember this one?


It is October! And I felt it in the air this morning while taking Merle out.

Well, actually, I have been feeling it in the air for a few days now and it has been just slightly, ever so slightly clicking up. Not just because we have now hit October 1st. You can only really feel it at dawn and dusk and if you try hard, throughout the morning. That soft, drier air. It has a different feel. A different smell. It makes me giddy inside. Just downright giddy, I tell you. For the change in more than just temperatures. For freshness. For the setup of the reason for THE season. The reflections of the past seasons and the ones to come. You know how I get this time of year.

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I have been out of the state for work for a few days drilling a well. With how busy and ‘full’ life has been the last few months, I was not looking forward to having to be away from home and my Merle. As it happens, like it always does, my eyes were opened while I was away. I was driving myself to dinner after my sift was over one night when I was caught in awe.

I was headed into the sunset down an old, old road that had been long cut through the tall pine trees of the rich timber country. I first noticed the way the light was forming the sunset and the time of day. It made me realize how the days have been getting shorter and the sunsets earlier, and earlier. Then I noticed the ever glow of the golden color of the rays. They were clear rays that bounced off of everything they touched, illuminating anything in contact, but at the same time, my eyes could not tell the difference from one to the other. How they shone between the trunks and the long shadows they created. The rays were seemingly suspended there, caught in that moment and time. Still. I like to think of them being captivated, much like I was. Rewarding me for seeing them. There was promise held in that golden light suspended in those trees.

The camera could not see what I was seeing.

It made me even more excited for fall and what is to come.

My cousin and I have already done an ‘all the fall things’ cooking session. She made a pumpkin chili and I made a pumpkin toffee dump cake. Um. GOOD. We have even picked more things to make for another fall evening and I can not wait. The date is not even on the books yet. Nothing gets me more excited for this time of year.

Sister K texted me yesterday reminding me that tomorrow (meaning today) was October 1st. Which really only means one thing. That we can start playing Christmas music. I know, I know, settle down. We will only play it for ourselves and BIL T, don’t worry. She is married to him so he has to listen (joking!). I promise to not share any Christmas music here until December.

There is another thing about this time of year. The thing that makes me the absolute giddiest of all giddy. If you have been around here for a little while you might be able to guess. It is something that happens for a week every October. A week that I live for. Now that my work commitments are complete (and I can feel myself breathe again) and we are in this fine fall month of October, I am thinking of nothing else.

Walk in love, dear readers, and do enjoy this fall! Embrace the change and allow it to happen like the change of the seasons.

Remember Me?

Yoohoo. Hi. Over here.

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Ya. Remember me?

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Yes, me. Your long lost friend. Hi, ya. I have missed y’all!

How is it May? And how has it been two weeks since I have written you? Not sure how that quite happened. It was not intentional, that is for dang sure. I have not fallen off the face of the earth. Maybe you wish I had! Anyway, it is not for lack of goings ons. 

There has just been a lot of life going on over here in my world. Now is not the time for that though.

Not to worry and they say worrying is fruitless anyhow (spoiler alert, it is true). God has it all and me. And you. This I know with great conviction. He has been ever present throughout it all and is still here.

I will do my best to get back to writing to y’all regularly, but in the meantime, enjoy some photos of the past couple of weeks.

Life and time go on, man. It is how you use it. How you live it. How you share it. AHAmoment. Taking each and every day to be better than you were the day before. Letting God work through you for the blessings of others.

Walk in love, dear readers!

Work trips are not all that bad.

But being at the farm is better. Especially to catch the moon setting in the morning.

I do, I love you.

Getting our steps in.

Boop.

Magic.

Easter eve yoga for the Darcy dog.

A new view.

Easter morning sunrise.

Tuners with all the words to say.

Cooking is always a good idea. It is good for the soul. Roasted red pepper soup from scratch. Pretty dang good.

Until next time…which will be soon! I am spending the weekend with some of my best friends riding horses here in the great state! Even if it rains, it will be a grand time!

 

Once Upon A Time

Once upon a time…

Sounds like the promise of a good story, right?

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Ha! I shall leave you to be the judge of that. There are at least some good pictures! 

Once upon a time, it rained and rained and created all kinds of mud all over the state of Texas. And everywhere else across the land. A gal named Avery was kinda busy and losing her mind for lack of riding time.

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What is that? You have heard this one? No, no, no. The ending is good. Just stick with it. OK. Where was I? Oh ya…

Then it got cold while it continued to rain. That gal named Avery became even more busy (in a good way) and wondered if she would ever be able to really ride her horses again or write to her dear readers. Please forgive that gal named Avery for falling off the face of the earth and going MIA. Time kept passing her by.

This is where it gets good.

Then one fine day, spring appeared. The rains let up. The mud dried. The horses started to lose their winter coats. The pecan trees started to bud. All of a sudden, the stars aligned and the time was right. That gal named Avery loaded up that dog named Darcy and booked it out of town. She rode by herself. She rode with important people in her life. They rode. And that is what they did. And it was glorious.

The horses lost more hair.

Darcy took some naps when she was not running or getting dirty.

They rode by the river.

They rode under the clouds and across green pastures.

They rode down to the river on the beach.

The sun came out and sunsets were watched and it was magical in more ways than one.

They rode under the trees, over logs, and among favorite blue flowers down in the river bottom listening to the breeze and the light rain in the leaves.

They watched a little rain storm roll by and felt the drops cool their skin with the threat of the last cold snap.

Then more rain and wind and cold came. But that did not stop them. Still they rode.

It got even colder, but fun was still had by all.

Manes and pony tails went everywhere.

And that is what they did.

Then all was right in the world again.

They could not be more thankful or blessed.

The end.

Best story you have ever heard, right?!

I knew it.

How is it already April?! APRIL!!!

I am back, y’all, I promise.

Walk in love, dear readers, and I will talk to you soon.

Daily Dose Of Cute

Brace yourselves, dear readers.

I am not too sure y’all can handle this.

Really and truly I am not.

You think you can?

Are you sure?

OK, then. I did warn you.

SMOOCH!

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He got you, didn’t he? Sneak attack, I know. I bet it just made you smile though. Even if you were trying not to.

Any kiss from a Lito Man will do that, but a kiss from an awkward and gangley baby Lito will especially do it.

I just love that guy.

I have been able to wake up at the farm these last two days because of the cold snap we got. You know, feeding and blanketing and shoveling poop. My other day job. There really is nothing like seeing the horses first thing in the morning to get you going on the right foot.

Walk in love, dear readers, and have a great day!

Happy New Year?

No, no, no. Not ‘Happy New Year?’

Happy New Year!!!!!

And Merry Christmas!!!!! Since I am pretty sure I missed saying that to you before.

Yes, all of those exclamation points are more than necessary.

I hope each one of you and yours had a very merry and blessed Christmas and New Year. May the many blessings of our Lord shower upon you. Peace, love, and joy. Go forth keeping the Christmas spirit alive all year long.

Aunt M asked me the other day if I was sick or something since I had not shared any AHAmoments in a while. No, no, not sick. Just still reeling from a busy Christmas season. I have lost count of how many naps I have taken. A little tidbit about me, I do not really take naps.

I have been spending my time watching the rain re-hydrate the mud. Trying not to get mud everywhere. Watching the horses roll in the mud. Scooping poop in the mud. Watching the horses slip while walking in the mud. Not riding enough. Losing my mind a titch. You know, normal 2018 stuff.

It rained this weekend. It rained yesterday and it is raining today.

But hey, speaking of Christmas…I did a little baking. It is one of my favorite ways to celebrate and share love with my family.

Apple Cranberry Pie with Pecan Shortbread Crust.

Chocolate Spiced Rum Cake.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Cake.

Pesto and Prosciutto Christmas Tree and Cranberry Pepper Baked Brie.

And that was just my part. We ate well to say the least. For days.

I made Lito dress up like a reindeer a few days before Christmas. I had a good laugh…or ten. Him, not so much, but he put up with it!

I will be perfectly honest, I am still laughing! He is so dang cute, even when he pouts. There is your daily dose of cute, dear readers!

Anyway, in my opinion, the best way to close out a year and ‘ring’ in the new is to watch the sunset and be in bed long before midnight. Then wake up early on January first, saddle up the best mare, and strike out down the road because that is the only dry stretch of ground for miles. So, that is exactly what I did.

“Stop taking pictures, food lady, and get in here to feed us!”

My Mamma came with on foot.

Hopefully 2019 will bring more ride time for me and my dun duo. It might just be after winter before the rain slows a little. Only the good Lord knows! And you know what? It is all good! Eventually, my riding will be back to normal. Until then, the horses are being horses. Doing what they do best. So, I am going to take this time and focus on myself. Be present.

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Here is to 2019.

‘Rise with lifted eyes’ every day. Ride more when you can. Worry less all the time. Focus on the journey and the path and allow it to create your momentum. Live in the moment and see the light and blessings around you. Do not ‘live on the surface and in between the lines.’ Go find the ‘deepest part of you’ and let your heart fight for the truth.

You are not flying alone.

Cheers, y’all!

Go walk in love, dear readers.

Slow Down

Do not forget to allow time slow down this time of year! Take a deep breath and enjoy it, whatever Thanksgiving brings your way this year.

I somehow forgot until Sunday afternoon that Thanksgiving is indeed this Thursday. As in a few days from now. Completely slipped my mind. Go figure that and get back to me. It is not like I have been talking about Thanksgiving and the season and being mindful or anything.

Anyway. I remembered while I was in the grocery store to pick up a couple things to make some chili. I do believe I made it out with everything I need. Here is the kicker. Without a list! Another fact you could spend more than an iota pondering, but I will not spend my time doing that.

This year I am making the best cheesecake, but with a twist this time. A topping of chocolate ganache and salted caramel with pecans. I am also making my fancy cranberry sauce as per usual (if you have never made or had cranberry sauce from scratch, you are missing out) and the best sweet potatoes. Then, for Thanksgiving round two, I will be making some kind of gluten free dessert for my Pop’s birthday. Stay tuned for more recipes and final results!

If you are reading this and are surprised much like I was that Thanksgiving is this week, fear not, you are not alone! Do not feel bad! You have buckets of that thing called time. Trust me.

So.

Being as it is the Monday before Thanksgiving and life is crazy and time is trying to speed by and you may find yourself wanting it to go away and memories and and and, I have something for you. For all of us.

A Thanksgiving prayer by Ralph Waldo Emerson set to views at the farm. I hope you enjoy and get into the spirit. Allow time to slow down and feel the beauty and blessings all around you.


For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,

For health and food,

For love and friends,
for everything Thy goodness sends.

For flowers that bloom about our feet;
For tender grass, so fresh, so sweet;

For song of bird, and hum of bee;

For all things fair we hear or see,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee!

I think Chance liked it.

How do you allow time to slow down this time of year?

Walk in love, dear readers!

From Me To You

Here is a little between the ears time from last weekend.

Just me, my horse, and my dog.

Just a little something from me to you. To brighten your day, if you will. For anyone who has not had enough of this in their life. Or any of it. To help make it a good Friday.

Memories of moments like this help get me through tough days or weeks. I am grateful for them.

Work has been crazy and ride time has not been very plentiful for me lately. Between the weather and life’s crazy schedule it has been difficult, and this weekend will be no different. I am hoping to get out there for at least a couple hours.

It is just the way it goes sometimes.

 

I hope you enjoy my dirty, happy dog. The creaking of my saddle. That moment where Cheetah tries to snag a bite of grass. The muddy pasture and green grass. The dynamic clouds.

Walk in love, dear readers!

In All Seriousness.

Just an average Thursday over here, do not mind me.

So, do you remember how back in September I told you how I get reflective at the beginning of fall? Well, once we hit November 1, I reach a whole new level. Ya, news flash, I know. Alert the media. What media? Never mind.

Anyway, every time November rolls around I want to do something serious here in this space. Serious. Meaningful. Something to express the true meaning of Thanksgiving and Christmas as we come into the season. You know, the real reason for the season. That always seems like a very large task. How does one tackle something so grand? Something with such gravity and brevity?

Typical me taking everything so seriously and making it such.

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Here is the deal. The AHAmoment in it all.

It is not really all that complicated. It is very simple and basic. Something everyone can grasp if you allow yourself. Open your eyes. Remember that whole KISS rule your teachers taught you way back when? Spoiler alert. That one is for life too. Keep. It. Simple. Silly. Go figure. It also has nothing to do with the season or time of year. That is just a happy convenient reminder. To get you intentional about it. It is something to be lived every day and carried on throughout the year.

What it all boils down to is being thankful. Experiencing the gratitude and the blessings and where they come from. Seeing them. Feeling them. All around you. They are there all around us. It is us who have a hard time seeing what is right there in front of our faces. Feeling it as we would feel the ever present wind against our skin.

We all live very complicated, intertwined, and busy lives. Surrounded by distractions. Going through life with not only blinders on, but with blindfolds on. Thinking we are getting somewhere without actually seeing.

What it is all about is the journey. Walking your path. Seeing, experiencing, and enjoying all that is around you.


“Lord, give me the eyes to see
Exactly what it’s worth
And I will be the richest man on earth”

Being grateful for today and celebrating it. For the very life in your veins. The food in your belly. The sun shining outside. The rain that reinvigorates the earth. The people around you. The family you create, blood or not. Those that are with us, both physically and spiritually.

Being grateful for your past because it has made you who you are today and brought you to where you stand this very minute. A step in front of yesterday. To be built up by the struggle. For the journey. YOUR path.

Being grateful for a wet dog nose or a soft, velvety horse muzzle against your skin. For green pastures with enough grass for the horses and cows. A full pond. For being able to see the sunrise and sunset. For getting to the beginning of November without yet having a frost and blanketing temperatures like last year. For a functioning manure spreader. Being able to share my love with fun desserts to serve my family. To laugh and share with people you love.

Being grateful for feeling time slow down, during a time of year when time does nothing but rush past, when you can see just one of your many blessings.

I could go on.


“That is what this time of year, the holiday season, is all about. Seeing and feeling your many blessings. Being grateful and thankful for them. Doing things for others. That and The Reason for The Season. Giving God the glory. Doing your best to carry that attitude through the rest of the year.”
~Avery~

Serious, I know. But in all seriousness. Life, man. It is a beautiful life and we are all blessed to live it. See and feel your many blessings so you can be a blessing to those around you.

The most interesting thing about all of this is when you start to see, those around you catch a glimmer too and start to see a little for themselves.

Just some things to stir around in your pot of thoughts on this fine Thursday. Clearer than mud, I hope? Too early? Well, at least I am not sharing Christmas music yet!

I think this is going to be a great month. Are there any anvils and pianos over my head?

Walk in love, dear readers!

P.S. I am grateful for y’all. Yes! Each and everyone of YOU that comes here to AHAmoments. For allowing my to share my thoughts. For engaging in conversation. For sharing your story. For making this a great place to be.

Daily Dose Of Cute

I figure it is about time for a daily dose of cute. You can never have too much of that, right!?

Well, this weekend I snapped this photo of Lito man and it got me thinking.

Uh, who is that manly looking thing? How did we get here?! I swear just yesterday he looked like this!

Full disclosure, since I try to keep things real over here for the both of us, he did look like this a few moments before he looked like a real horse and not a giraffe.

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But in all seriousness, sometimes the transformation is astounding to me.

It is just a reminder that if you look back from where you are, you can see exactly how far you have come. AHAmoment. No matter what you are going through in the moment, tomorrow is always a new day.

The last few months with Lito have been a little difficult, but lately we are really starting to come out of whatever that phase was. He still has little moments, but each day gets better. The only thing to do in the moment was give him the time he needed to work through the issues. Slow and steady wins the race and it seems to have paid off.

So, let us look closer at the physical transformation, shall we? Because why not? And next week is Lito’s week, so…

I can not wait till he is even older and he fills out. Still waiting on that part!

If you did not know, in honor of going on our ride next week and not blogging, I am sharing your favorite horse related posts and the posts from the last two years’ rides over on the AHAmoments Facebook page. If you missed yesterday’s share, here it is! Go check it out and don’t miss the coming shares over the next few days!

Seriously though, I pinch myself! Now, if we can just keep him from rubbing his mane (and me from roaching it), his mane will be super long. Like the weeds in my round pen.

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Walk in love, dear readers, and take a moment to realize how far you have come!