August 14th.

August 14th.

I was outside with Merle after I got home from work yesterday when I heard what I thought was distant thunder roll. I looked up at the sky to some gray clouds and then down at the patch of grass Merle was standing in. I thought to myself not for the first time how crunchy and dry it looked. How it felt under my bare feet. How it might feel on Merle’s puppy paws, without the wear and tear of running and dog life, all brand new and soft.

We really needed some rain. I might have said as much out loud as Merle took care of his business, likely looking at me with a cocked glance as only a dog can do.

It made me think on how wet this past fall and winter were. All the grass growth we got because of that. How things have seemed to change so much since then. I shut the door behind us as the first drop of blessed rain fell from the sky on the hot, concrete walk that leads to my front door. I sure hate when good rain is wasted on concrete.

I turned around to look out the window and watched as more drops came down. Then the sky opened up on that dry grass. A smile sneaked up on my face even if I did not want it to be there, and not just because the weather now seemingly matched my mood. It was a doozey of a day that smacked and whacked me around a bit in a lot of ways.


My girl would have been six years old today.

You know how you avoid certain days on the calendar, even though you believe that every day is just a day like any other? Yesterday was one of those days. I tried to avoid it like the plague. Try as I might to stop time, it came rolling on by, as it does.

I miss her like I would miss, oh I don’t know, my arm? Something more than significant. I really and truly do not have the words. It is still a punch in the gut when I think about it. Which, I try not to. I still get mad about it, the whole thing.

But, you know what? I have this little guy.

Kisses for Tuners.

Cheetah back there was jealous or something.
Lito loves Merle and Merle loves Lito.

Loving his first farm visit.

These are my favorite shots of these funny dogs.
He is obsessed with my bag. Also, how is he already so big?!

I also have his big brother. And his big brother’s mother.

They make everything all OK. No matter what. They are always there with unconditional love. They are my blessings.


8:30 AM rolled on in on time while I was working. My phone rang. It was my horse vet. They were scheduled to be out there to give some vaccines and check teeth. It was too early for a call, but I knew what it was about.

Apache.

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It was his time. I had been waiting for it. Watching its glacial pace, giving him his time. I told him goodbye the evening before, like I have been doing the past several weeks. I thanked him. I told him that it was OK, that he could go if he was ready.

He was down when my vet got there. We decided it was best to help him on his way. Certainly a hard thing to do, but it is also too the easiest thing to do.

He was the last of the originals. The third horse we ever got. It is the end of an era it feels.

Funny how it seems certain days seem to really stack on the things. Mix in some more life things in there and it can get pretty heavy. Lay it on me if you’ve got it.


After that much needed evening rain storm passed, a full rainbow shone against the dark sky in full glory. They say we will have a break from triple digit temperatures the next few days.

Red wine and chocolate pie, anyone?

Today is a new day, as they say. AHA moment. Start fresh and clean, like the rainbow shining above your head. Look up. Take a breath or ten, and make them deep. Make them count. Say a prayer. If you messed up yesterday, it is OK. Make it right today and tomorrow. See the blessings around you. They are there and they are plenty.

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.

Blessings

I hope each and every one of you and yours had a very merry and happy Christmas.

I will say basically the same thing as I did last year because the same is true today.


May the many blessings of our Lord shower upon you. Peace, love, and joy. Keep the Christmas spirit alive all year long.


Despite having a bad head cold, I had a very merry Christmas myself. Lots of family. Lots of cooking and eating. Laughter and joy. Togetherness and fellowship. I did not want it to end.

The weather ended up not being as bad as predicted which is great for me. Makes my life a whole lot simpler to not have to run back and forth from the farm during a busy holiday.

I made a quick trip out to the farm the Saturday before Christmas to see everyone and feed. Unfortunately for me and probably everyone else, I did not have time to ride, but even just seeing them is worth it.

Real life ’round here for ranch horses. Mud and hay on our faces and in our hair. And a barn full of muck. Thanks, guys.

Hey, hi. How are ya? They sure make it hard to get a photo when they are all up in your business.

Also real life…holes in our hay nets.

Didn’t get enough horse muzzles in your face? Me either.

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How about a donkey muzzle?

Because everyone loves a gaggle of babies…

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Remember the whole mud in our hair bit? Ya. Worst part is, I did not do a single thing about it. It looks like this season’s latest updo trend.

The minute I got back to town, the cooking and festivities began. Middle Sister K and Bro-in-law T got in Saturday afternoon. The three of us had dinner with my parents and then went off to bed.

Christmas Eve I made an apple cranberry pie with a pecan shortbread crust. Lawd. Go make this now. Worth every bit of effort. Seriously. I have made this several times before and each time I am blown away. In fact, I made it for thanksgiving last year. Anyway, we all went to the kid Christmas Eve service at church and then came back to Oldest Sister A’s house to exchange gifts and have dinner with family and friends.

So, so good. The pie and the evening.

Then Christmas morning I woke up early to make this pomegranate cake for our big Christmas Day lunch with my Mom’s side of the family. This is another one I have made several times. I guess I am going to have to shake things up for next year and do something different, but they are so good!

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Sadly, Middle Sister K and Husband T had to go back home early Christmas Day. No rest for the weary. I do not even want to write this because I know K is reading, but we all hung out together until dinner time.

The day after Christmas, I did my most favorite thing to do after Christmas. Go to the farm, duh. I know what you are thinking. “Man, I sure wish I had another horse muzzle in my face.”

Your wish, my command.

Boop.

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I do what I can just for you.

It was cold and raining. The ground was slick and by the looks of the barn, the horses have not been out much. Another barn full of muck. Yay.

So, no riding for me again. Slightly fair weathered of me? Yes, but I am also coughing up a lung every few minutes, so I thought it best not to get cold and wet. And it was my Sunday and had major post holiday blues. And nobody has been ridden in a few weeks between the weather and holiday festivities.

Excuses? Maybe. Probably. Who is this person?

Anyway.

Is it me, or has Lito grown MORE?

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Even when he is wet he is cute.

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So you know how I showed you Cheetah’s mane tangled with clumped mud and confessed to not doing anything about it? Well, I still didn’t do anything about it. But, who cares, just listen to them eat hay. She doesn’t mind her mane.

I have always found the week between Christmas and New Year odd. Maybe odd is the wrong word. It is very slow. Things get quiet and not much is going on. It is a very reflective time for many, and I am no different.
I reflect on the real reason for the season and my many blessings. How I can keep hold of the joy of the season, the feeling.
I reflect on the past year. What has happened, changed, or stayed the same. The good, the bad, the ugly.
I think about what the next year will bring. What His plan is for me. The desires of my heart. What I want to change.
So I will be over here, reflecting and postulating. Tap tap. Anyone still there?
Walk in love, dear readers!