Does today feel like Friday to anyone else?! It sure feels like Friday to me, but alas, it is Thursday for all of you who have not figured that out yet. Happy Friday eve! Ike and I leave Saturday for my week long trail riding vaca! This is why it feels like Friday to me, I guess. I am so excited…and anxious, but it will be fun! It is getting real. Have to pack today so I can leave straight from work tomorrow to get to the farm and pack our stuff there.
Anyhoo, I got crafty yesterday and created some gifts to give my compadres who are going with me on the ride. If any of you are reading this, STOP. I mean it. OK, now back to business. I will not show what I actually made or bought in case they are not listening to me.
The crafty part that I created was a photo transfer to wood. I used The Saw Guy‘s method (there is even a video!). I have actually done this now three different times. There are a few different ways to do this apparently, but I have only used this one method with the recommended products. Mainly because I still have all said products and I like the way it works. In my research done previously, it appeared that there are a few different products that can be used to create the same or a different look. Here are some examples of her
finished work from the post.
I never seem to accomplish the level of antiquey look that she gets, but I am guessing she applied filters or edited the photos prior to printing. I have not watched the video or read the post in a while, so she might explain that there. I just really like the look of these! The next photo transfer I do will be of my dun duo and my Darcy dog on pecan wood from the farm. It will be big ;).
The second part of a couple of the gifts came from a local gift shop here in town. I do not know how I got lucky enough to find these! I have been racking my brain trying to figure out what to get to finish out my gifts. I kept coming up empty. Then I went into this shop figuring I would not find anything that I felt was good enough, and bam. There they were. There were only two, which is exactly the number I needed. They perfectly fit the bill. They practically spoke to me and told me to buy them for my friends. I just love when that happens. To me, the best part of gift giving is finding that little something that screams that person’s name and seeing the joy it brings the person when they get it. That feels like an AHAmoment. I love gift giving. I suppose it is one of my love languages. I take it very seriously. Anyway, I digress as usual…the pieces I bought were created by artist Alex Ladner. I hope the gift shop gets more of his work because I would like some pieces for myself. The pieces I got were no bigger than a 4×6 photo and have a block of wood as the canvas! Again, I am not going to show what I got or made until after I give the gifts, but here is a teaser of his other creations (his photos).
Does anyone know how to accomplish this look? Is it like a plaster? Clay? With glaze? I want to figure it out. I just love these! Alex, if you ever read this, I just love your work!
Tomorrow or Saturday morning will most likely be my last post until I return from my trip. Do not lose faith in me! I will return and with many photos!
I am excited to show you what I created and bought! Until then, walk in love, dear readers!
Happy Monday Morning! I hope everyone had a great weekend! As promised, (here is your teaser)
I have for you all the fall things my cousin and I did yesterday (although I have to warn you, I was bad and forgot about taking photos), but first I just have to tell you about the rest of my weekend.
I had a great dinner with a dear friend of mine on Friday. I have not seen her in about five years. She was in town looking at a possible second horse to buy. She did not end up buying the horse (sad for her), but we had the BEST time catching up on all the things! It was so lovely. After dinner I drove out to the farm to spend the weekend with family and horsing around. Saturday morning, I went for a walk ride with my mother. I ride and she walks. It is our thing. We had AMAZING burgers for lunch. Instead of a nap (which I really wanted) my nephew and I went for a drive around the property and down the road. That boy is so sweet. We had a grand time with the fall air in our hair. I got a blister from mucking, raking, and cleaning the barn. Cheetah and I had a nice lazy dink around the arena. After feeding the evening feeding, my mom, sister, and niece came out to the barn to have some horse time for my niece. She LOVED it and got and gave many kisses with the horses and Petunia the donkey.
Sunday morning was my Lito time. That horse. Man. He is just amazing. It was his 8th or 9th ride and he has not been ridden in about a month. First ride with a bit. He was great. Never offered anything bad and seems to really enjoy riding. He was little confused at the ‘new’ communication form as to be expected (he as been wearing the bit for a while and we have worked with it on the ground), but he was his usual steady eddy, lazy self. We took it easy because of the bit introduction and the fact that he as not been ridden in a while. He makes me want another youngster. Not that I need one. By the way, my news feeds have been full of nice Spanish fillies for sale. It is just not nice to me. Then my nephew had his turn to ‘ride’ on Chance. He rides, I lead. We had a grand time. How profound, I know, but it just was. Between family, horses, Texas countryside, and weather, it is hard not to have a full heart and be happy.
OK, on to all the Fall things with my cousin yesterday evening. I made a roasted butternut squash flatbread pizza for dinner. In addition to the squash, it had pesto, bacon, goat cheese, balsamic red onions, arugula, and sage. It was so good! Sorry I do not have a picture. We were too excited for photos. We then made this Magic Pumpkin Cake for dessert. It was naughty and pretty good. I am usually more of a made from scratch kind of gal, but it is nice to do easy things sometimes that just require dumping and stirring. I think it will be better today after sitting in the fridge over night. I also would use a white cake mix instead of a yellow cake. Then we painted some pumpkins for table centerpieces. I was pretty conservative with my painting. I just thought their natural beauty should be able to shine and I also did not want to get wrapped up in something really detailed and intricate…which is what I usually do. I used some metallic paint and glitter that my cousin brought. I mixed them in a bowl with some unpainted pumpkins. My favorite is the little orange one with the metallic accents in the creases and on the stem. Very simple, but complimenting and pretty. What are your favorite fall things? My cousin and I always do baking and or crafts the minute the weather cools.
Brandon Rhyder is still as on point for me today as he was on Friday. This song written by Jon Randall was basically my weekend (sorry, this is not the best recording). I sure hope you have read this far and can enjoy this song. He gets me. I may have been born and still live in the big city, but being in the country has made me into who I truly am. I am so grateful to my parents for that.
FRIDAY, FRIDAY, FRIDAY! Sending good vibes to you, dear readers, to have a great Friday and then a great weekend to recharge your batteries. OK, yes, I am proudly listening to Brandon Rhyder today. It is helping me get all the works checked off my list! Give him a listen and cross all the things off our list!
Tonight I am having dinner with a horse friend from college! I have not seen her in about five years. She drove 9 hours to come look at a horse. Very exciting. We will probably hit up a tack store or two and then have a fun dinner catching up…and talking horses. Off to the farm for me after that. Sunday afternoon, my cousin and I are going to do all the fun fall cooking, baking, and crafty things we have been waiting to do! Get ready, come Monday (name that Jimmy Buffet song) I am going to tell you about them all. Then next week, it is buckle down time for wrapping things up at work and packing/getting ready for my week long trail ride vacation. Leaving a week from tomorrow!
To me, evening feeding time with the horses is the most peaceful of times. Do you ever just sit and listen to them eat? It does not matter if it is feed, hay, or grass. It is so relaxing. All feels right to listen. It is the same with cows grazing in the evening, right at dusk.
I do not ever remember not feeling this way. When we first got the farm, I would ride down just before dusk bareback on my palomino mare, Fresca, and just sit there on her back listening to the cows graze. Then I would come back to the barn, tuck her back in her stall, toss feed to the horses, and just sit on a bucket listening. An old soul at 10 or so years old, I dare say.
All the noises just combine to music in my ears. The sound of chewing, lips moving, breathing, snorting, shuffling hooves, swishing tails, the evening bugs, the wind in the trees. Combine that with the golden glow of dusk on the dust and I can not help but feel God’s presence and be grateful. When I was homesick away at college, I would sit in the barn in the evening to listen to the horses eat and I would feel comforted. Even now, back in town for the work week, I remember a moment from this weekend and I am humbled and overwhelmed with love.
I snapped some photos Saturday evening as the horses were finishing their feed because the light was so magical playing of Lito’s golden, dun coat. He was so calm and relaxed after his fun filled Saturday at my friend’s house.
It reminds me of a little while ago when I went for a walk with Lito down to the river at dusk. It was about a year ago. I had to stop by the pond to marvel at his glowing coat. I snapped a few photos during our walk to remember the moment. I was overcome with gratitude for this horse, and his dam, this Godly farm, and for this life I am blessed to live. At times, I get so wrapped up in the deep and get bogged down by everyday life things that do not really matter. All the little things that add up to a weight that not only makes me feel immobile, but it blinds me at the same time. It is like my life is passing me by. I feel stagnant. I temporarily lose sight of what is important (I think some call this a transition time. Woof. I will let you know when I figure that out). However, this weight is not a weight that we have to bear. God, through this place, these horses, and my dog give me regular AHA moments of what IS important. They slow me down. Rejuvenate me. Open my mind, body, and spirit. I try to pray more. I am reminded to get in His word. I listen and hear more. I am returned to a place of thanks and giving. The little things start to go away and I can see the path. Keep my eye on the prize. I am working on keeping in that place all the time, no matter where I am or what is going on. It will make me a better person and horseman…err lady. It is sometimes hard. It is sometimes easy. That is the life we are blessed to live and it is beautiful! There is beauty in all things, even the hard stuff. Enjoy and embrace the process.
My phone told me this weekend that I could not take any more pictures. How rude. Now I have to take photos off my phone to make room. I guess I could delete some old messages. Woof. I need to get a new phone anyway. My current one is on it’s last leg. I was able to get these darling images on my ride Saturday morning. Ike’s ears…nothing cuter.
I am getting him in shape for a week long trail ride in the middle of October, which is why I have been focusing my ride time on him. Let us not talk about the rain issue. I have to prioritize my riding because with the weather I can not get it all done. I rode Bella the buckskin last week. She regressed by several years it seems, so here is hoping that this week is closer to par. My dun duo unfortunately for all involved has been pushed to the back burner. My Cheetah girl is downright miserable in our hot, humid, and buggy summers. Her temper is quite thin towards the end. I hate not riding her regularly, but our relationship seems less strained when I give her the bad part of the summer off. Being a fair weather rider is not my jam as I ride regularly all year, but sometimes you have to change your norm or make sacrifices for the better of the horse. My poor not so little Lito. My family and friends have been otherwise occupied for much of the summer and I have frequently found my self alone at the farm. I have a rule of no riding freshly started horses alone. You know, if it is not safe it is not fun and all that. There is also that whole rain thing that I said I did not want to talk about. However, I do not worry about him much and I am in no rush. He is a star. When it cools down and my life slows down a bit (hopefully) I will get them both going again.
I have not been able to really feel the fall air come in, but I have seen some leaves on the ground. That is something, right? What have y’all done to get you through the summer dregs?
In other news, I baked a chocolate cheesecake for my Grandmother’s birthday Saturday evening. I did not get a photo because the dumb phone told me I couldn’t and it was not the prettiest thing. It sure did taste good though! I am going to make some changes to the recipe and see if I can make it better. I also made a strawberry, lavender, and mint margarita. Interestingly enough, my phone let me take a picture…priorities??? Oh man, it was so good! I mean, if you were wondering.
Last night I made a roasted tomato, pepper, and butternut squash soup with basil and a cheese crostini. No pictures there either, but boy oh boy, it tasted sooooooo good. Super healthy and satisfying too.
Apparently when I do not get my ride time, I cook or do other crafts. What do you do when you can’t ride or do your ‘thing’???
As promised, today I have brought you a little something about me, but first I want to do a little bragging. Yesterday I went out to ride Bella the buckskin. Man was she great! They always get worse before they get better, as they say. She was very relaxed, was better about keeping her shoulder up, and was straighter. Her walk and trot are really coming along and getting more adjustable. The canter/lope has a ways to go, especially to the left. It will come with time. OK, OK, on to what I promised.
Oil & gas geologist by day (hey, it pays for…hay. Ha! See what I did there?) and seeker of the flame by, well, all the time.
A few things you might be intrigued to know about me: ~I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I try to live my life the way He intended and walk the path He created.
~I struggle with what my true vocation is.
~I have a masters in geology.
~I am a 9th generation Texan and yes, I am proud of that. Love this great state.
~I am a horse person. I have two heart horses of my own. Self trained…Well, really they train me.
~I am also a dog person. I have one dog.
~My animals make me a better human.
~My family and friends are my world.
~I am a self-proclaimed music junkie. I dig Texas, Red Dirt, Western, and Classic Country and Americana…and R&B…and Classical…and Gospel…Mariachi…Most of what I listen to does not fit in any one box. Go figure.
~I read incessantly about horse training, horse/human relationships/history, and faith. Throw in a few sappy romance novels, too.
~The parallels between horses and life are astounding to me.
~I never want to stop getting better and growing as a rider. I do not limit myself to one riding discipline.
~I like to share what the Lord and my animals teach me. Those are both one in the same, aren’t they?
~I do not like to have my picture taken, but I LOVE to take photos and I secretly want people to like my photos.
~Sometimes I think I was born in the wrong generation. However, air conditioning sure is great.
~I love to cook and bake.
~I can not spell!…and my grammar can be rather sketchy. Please be gracious and forgive me my mistakes.
I love my job and career, do not get me wrong, but horses are my true passion. People ask me all the time why I did not turn horses into a career. I made the conscious decision when I went off to school to study something that I both liked and would ensure me a good career, awarding me the freedom to follow my passion wherever it led. In my life, I have met a few people that turned their passion into work and lost the love in the process. It was both visible and palpable. I also know people on the other side of that coin. People that have built a career from their passion and have not lost the love. I did not want to lose the love, so I chose a different route. Was this the right choice? I do not know. You can bet on one thing, I will let you know when I learn the answer.
I believe that God speaks to everyone in a different and personal way. For me, it is through animals, nature, and music…horses in particular. One day, I hope to figure out why that is and use it for good. The similarities of working with horses and living life is a truly beautiful and astounding thing.
They say my love for horses began the moment I first saw a horse and has only grown since. I was that kid that everyone knew as ‘that horse girl’ and I just never grew out of that ‘phase.’ I am probably more horse crazy now than I ever was. It stems from somewhere deep in my genes, I think.
My Great Uncle took this photo of my Grandmother on her pony, Pinto. I just love it.
My Grandmother with her pony, Pinto.
My maternal grandmother.
My father’s side of the family.
After much begging, my mother finally allowed me to start riding when I was about six years old. I started out showing Saddlebreds with my sister, the same way my mother and grandmother learned to ride. I only got 30 minutes a week, but I lived for that half hour. We showed lightly on the local circuit. I must go find these photos. I was so wee sized on those tall horses and I thought you had to completely stand up in the stirrups while posting!
My family then purchased a farm and some ranch horses when I was nine years old so we could be raised as they were; spending every weekend out in the country. Those horses, one of which we are fortunate to still have at over 30 years of age, taught me what it means to be a horsewoman and a better human being. I rode, and still ride, at least once a week. Yay for weekends! I spent three summers in Mexico taking dressage and jumping lessons from three different international trainers. I really took to the dressage and am still passionate about learning more. I am eternally grateful for this experience because it made me the rider I am today and taught me that in every ride we are teaching the horse something, good or bad. There are some of these photos somewhere too…I am the youngest kid…my parents were tired!
In high school, I joined the local 4-H Horse Club where we participated in clinics and shows in various performance and speed events.
Fresca, my palomino ‘heinz 57’ mare I had growing up. We were good at carrying the flag in the opening ceremony.
Fresca, y palomino ‘heinz 57’ mare I had growing up. Here we are competing in western pleasure. She was not a western pleasure type horse!
When I went off to college for my undergraduate, I was not able to bring a horse with me, so I joined the polo club my freshman year. I still love to stick and ball! I then interned for the director of the university’s equestrian center where I trained program and sale horses, assisted in horse sales, led summer horseback riding camps, and helped run local horse shows. I got to ride two to three horses a day! Every day! I still dream about it *sigh*. While working there, I found and worked off the payment of my dun Appendix Quarter Horse mare, Cheetah. Her name suits her personality.
Stripes for days.
The fourth and final year of my undergraduate degree, I helped my friend start and run her private boarding and event horse training facility. When I moved back home with my mare, I bred her to a PRE (Pura Raza Espanola/ Pure Spanish Horse/Andalusian). The perfect thing to do while in grad school! My father would still beg to differ with me on that one. She foaled in 2013 and gave me the best dun colt a gal could ask for. His name is Manolito, I call him Lito. I now have the breeding bug bad!
Love at first sight.
I lied, there can be too much cuteness.
He has his mother’s ears!
He has grown to over 16 hh. and likely has more to go. I have lightly started him under saddle and, eventually, we will go to some dressage and working equitation shows. I might even bring his dam along and put her through her paces. These days I am just trying to figure out how to have my career and advance my horses while navigating life…trying to fit in a social life here and there. It has it’s challenges that I am sure many of you can relate to.
Man that is A LOT of talking about myself. Now I am tired. This weekend is my nephew’s 4th birthday party and I will then be running away to the farm to unplug and ride my horses! You will definitely not hear from me till Monday. Have a great weekend, interwebbers!
Now that I have somewhat gotten the hang of this blogging thing, maybe, I thought I would share why I started this blog and a little bit of what it is going to be about. Really quick, for those of you that have stopped by AHAmoments or have started following it, I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to you! I am grateful that you are here. To the newcomers, welcome! Whether it is inspiration, comfort, distraction, hope or humor, it is my hope that everyone finds something useful here. Horse stories will be involved. Great music will be involved. My AHA moments about life and what it is really about will most definitely be involved.
Here is a little background for you. This blog has been on my heart for quite some time. Four years to be exact. I initially struggled with the idea of it because I thought it was a bit, what is the word… narcissistic. A strong word, maybe, but stay with me for a bit. This was my thought process. Who wants to hear the things going on in my head? Who cares about what happened with my horse or dog? Who am I? What makes me think I am qualified? There are many people out there smarter, wiser, and a great many more words than me. What do I have to say? Off and on I walked and sat with the idea of this blog. Then the thought occurred to me that it is not about being smart and it is not about me, despite the fact that I indeed do have a lot to say. It is about connection and learning. Conversation. I am constantly trying to learn new things and be better. Increase the positivity and decrease the negativity. To connect dots that I could not, or would not, connect before. I want to reach out to and connect with like-minded people! To know that I am not alone and for you to know you are not alone! We all have struggles we can learn from. The desire to feel that flood of comfort and relief akin to the sensation upon hearing a song that speaks directly to you at that exact moment and knowing that someone else has felt that exact same way. To feel the light bulbs illuminate your life when you finally get what your horse, dog, and God have been trying to tell you. Knowing you are not alone with the honest feeling of just flat out trying to get through some days so you can move on to what you love. These are my AHA moments. And really, there can never be too many pictures of cute animals! Fast forward and, well, here we are. There is a reason this blog thought never left my heart.
If you have read this far, boy, am I glad! I hope you join me on this journey of positive personal discovery! When I am not getting deep and philosophical about life around the figurative, proverbial fire pit (usually with music), this blog will often be hijacked by my quadrupeds. They are cute and have larger than life personalities. The majority of my time outside of the office is spent with them. I try to take my dog everywhere with me and when I am not riding and training my own horses (which I wish I could do every day), I am riding and training other people’s horses. They are my true passion and my best teachers. They are always positive, keep me grounded, and remind me of what is important. That in itself is an AHA moment. I want to share the love they give me, the lessons they teach me, and the process of trying to figure out how to combine my career and passions into one cohesive lifestyle with all of you who can relate or need it. It takes some tricky navigation for this country girl at heart stuck in this concrete jungle of opportunity. Too corny? …oh well…
You know that time when you make a public mistake? Something like misspelling a word? Misspelling a word publicly…in the title of your post? Yes, like I did this very morning!!! Have a little chuckle at my expense today, ladies and gentlemen, because I sure did!
I wish I could enjoy my piece of humble pie with a cup of coffee and my dun duo…
I spent this weekend at the bay with some gal pals. We had some great times, but I am sworn to secrecy. Something about aerobics and Footloose….I will turn you loose with that one! Needless to say, I am not quite ready for…dare I utter it…MONDAY. However, we all have a choice, so I am going to make this fine Monday a party! Join in with me and make it great! Can you hear my determination???
Anyhoo, enjoy this little gem to get you started off right. I personally prefer the original version. Which do you like better? I am dancing in my office chair as I type this. OK, I am getting back to work now. Happy Monday!