It Is My Fault

You know.

It is all my fault.

And you will not be able to convince me otherwise.

You know that spark of terror that comes when you see a skunk and you have a dog running loose?

You see, I was just saying to myself…

You know how you do…

After seeing a baby of what I can only assume is a family of skunks around our barn several times…That I am pretty sure live under our barn if you ask Merle…If you can get him so stop paroling every hole that goes underneath said barn long enough…

Anyway, like I said, I was just saying, “Man, I can not believe Merle has not gotten skunked by that baby skunk yet. It must be some kind of miracle for a dog as into everything as he is. What a wonder.”

Off I went on my day.

Big mistake.

BIG.

Fat.

Mistake.

You see.

Merle has not only now been skunked, and quite properly I might add, he has now been skunked twice in as many months.

Now that has got to be the real wonder!

Never fear! I am an expert now.

If you ever find yourself in this same boat, I have some information that will really help you. A home remedy that will actually do the trick.

It only takes three common household ingredients.


The recipe goes something like this…depending on how desperate or frantic you are. The quicker you do this, the better.

~Some liquid dish soap…somewhere between a teaspoon or two and two big fat Tablespoon squirts.
~Some baking soda…about a 1/4 Cup or a fist full or a dumping.
~Some hydrogen peroxide…a whole Quart bottle. Take stock of your resources to make sure you have enough in case you need to do this a second time!

Mix together in a bucket or bowl or bottle. Whatever you have! Cover the effected areas…or the whole dog…in the foamy mixture, let it sit for about 10 minutes, say ‘I am sorry’ to your dog’s coat, and thoroughly rinse everything out. An ‘I’m sorry’ to your dog for practically water boarding him might be beneficial as well if they get sprayed right in the mouth and nose. Both times.


You are welcome! Write it down in that secret book that contains the keys to life.

Luckily the second incident from Sunday morning was not quite as bad as the one a month ago.

Have you or your dog or cat ever been skunked?

I am hoping we have no more of these incidences!

Walk in love, dear readers!

An Empty House Is A Quiet House.

I have to tell you that a house without a dog in it is a really quiet house, and not in a good way.

I knew this already, but I kinda forgot. Not sure how. That is what brought me Merle, that quiet after Darcy.

I just recently went a on an adventure trip with R (Weee! More on that later) and returned home on Sunday.

Yes, yes, that IS exciting! But back to the point.

The bad part about this trip was that my Merle could not come along. That could all be fine and good because he does like it at his kennel where he is boarded, but the kennel does not do pickups on Sunday because they are technically closed. You know, Sunday and all.

So I had to wait until yesterday to go pick him up.

A WHOLE DAY.

That is a long time to be in an empty, quiet house. And I do not mind being the only person, seemingly alone. You could turn the volume up as loud as you wanted on the television or the music and it would still be quiet. And it brought back that awful, empty quiet that you want to forget.

You see, a dog has a certain energy that they exude. Even if they are just sleeping in their bed, not even at your feet, their energy just fills a room. Then it is the lack of jingling collar tags. That one is a real heartbreaker. No little boop of a cold nose. No moaning and groaning and talking back in protest. No, well, I do not know if I can even describe it. It is like there is no feel or reciprocation of energy.

It is similar to that feeling you get when someone is watching you, you know? And you just feel it and turn to that feel to find who is looking at you? It is like that. When they are there, you can just feel them. When they are not, you feel that loss or empty and you find yourself looking around for them. Like they should be there but they are not.

Does anyone else ever feel that way?

No?

Oh well.

Before I dropped Merle off at the kennel on Wednesday, we went to the farm to check on the horses and had an early birthday game of fetch in the pond.

He turned two years old on Thursday the 17th!

I figured if he could not come along with us, then he deserved some extra fun for his birthday!

I think he enjoyed that extra fun!

I mean. Just look at him.

Happy dog.

Walk in love, dear readers, and stay tuned to hear about our trip!

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.

The 9 Days of Christmas, Day 1.

Day 1.

OK, yes, I made this up, but who cares. Get into THE SPIRIT with me.

In years past on the Facebook page and here on AHAmoments, we have done a run of Christmas music, and while I am not promising I will not share some of that great music, I think this year calls for a bit more ammo.

Less words.

Clearly, I have not had many of those recently!

So. Spirit. Emotions. Smile. Joy.

Share them with me.

Day 1.

Maybe some tears with my smile, but still joy!

See you tomorrow for day 2!

Walk in love, dear readers!

P.S. Pray for more words after Christmas.

Joy

Not quite ready for Monday morning? Or do you already need a break?

Shh. Me too. I got your back. I am here for you.

My quality time with my menagerie at the farm this past weekend is calling me back! Even with the crazy weather, but enough about that.

Grab a quick cup a coffee and have a scroll through what brings me joy and serenity. I want to share it with you to bring you joy and a smile. And well, possibly to motivate you if you need it! Enjoy!

How can you not smile at that cute face?!

Joy really is all around us, always. We just need the eyes to see, you see? God is great in all times and seasons.

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Walk in love, dear readers. Have a fabulous Monday.

Daily Dose Of Cute

It is time for our Christmas Daily Dose Of Cute, but you have to get to the end here to see it. I have to share all the ones I have done over the years, obviously!

Nobody gets tired of all of these. NOBODY! Especially me, clearly!

Get another indulgent whatever-number-cup of morning joe and have a scroll! You will not regret it.

OK. Are you ready now? I am sure you are.

You are welcome.

I mean. Merle was not really a fan of this idea, but he is still turbo cute! I had a lapse in mental math when I planned to have him on the table…he has gotten quite big!

I probably should have brushed him…oh well.

His mohawk. Seriously.

Dear Santa, all I want for Christmas is for his mohawk to stay forever.

I may or may not have made sure it was standing up.

The photos are a little blurry, but I had to work quickly! The model was ‘over it’!

Naturally, there needs to be an accompaniment. Everyone has a soundtrack that goes along with them. You know, their personality. Their attitude. Merle is no different. I feel like this is the personality of Mr. Dirty Toes himself. I mean, his mohawk! I can see him wearing a leather jacket or, ha, even a gold chain. Play this song and look into Merle’s eyes.

Now, do not get me wrong. I love me some Merle. A whole heck of a lot. And I am not necessarily saying he is naughty. Only just a titch naughty. It is really just his very personality. A certain mischief behind those sultry eyes of his. Always working something! Using that brain of his.

You can even see it as early as just a few weeks old! It was one of the things that drew me to him I think.

Old Kringle felt a tingle runnin’ up his spine. He saw me then he run and hid.”

Gets me every time!

Does your animal have a song that suits their personality?

You think I sound crazy, don’t you? Well fine, that does not bother me one bit.

Walk in love, dear readers, and have a great day! Go love on your animals and tell your people you love them. What I would give for one more day with those that have gone on to our Heavenly Home. There are three of them in those photos above. Then there are the people. How I miss them so this time of year.

Alright

You know what it is going to be? Alright. Everything is going to be alright.

I used to hate it when sister K would say that. Mostly because she would say, “you know what it is going to be?! Fine.” Something about that ‘fine’ word would just…stick…stick in my craw, you know? Still does as a matter of fact.

Maybe you don’t know what I mean, but I do. Trust me.

Do you need to hear that everything is going to be alright right now? I have been, so I am going to tell you. I know I am not alone and neither are you!

Let me tell you how and why I know everything is going to be alright.

I could go on and on with a multitude of reasons, but I will just limit it to the reasons my eyes have been shown as of late.

So today (it would be today, such a Monday thing to do), pretty much just now, I started some laundry. Do you feel the bad omen? One of my sets of bed sheets if you must know. Also if you must know, they have been sitting on my bedroom floor acting as a play mat for Merle covered in toys (his doing, not mine) waiting to be washed for a week (some good adulting right there, let me tell you), but let us not speak of that.

Back to the story. Said sheets are now in the machine. We, Merle and I, are going about our business about to go on a walk when I walk in to the kitchen (that is where my washing machines live) and I see suds streaming down the face of the washer onto the tile floor. I told you there was a bad omen. Apparently I got overzealous with the soap. Admittedly, this is not the first time this has happened.

I curse myself for not being more careful AGAIN and stomp off to the front door with Merle confused (after trying to lick up the aforementioned soap suds) and running after me. We left the sorted mess to be dealt with later. After our walk and after I run an extra rinse cycle.

Let us admire all that color and the way he sprawls out…and my pink socked toes…

I opened the door and it was hot and humid and so very muggy. I roll my eyes and just start walking. Eventually at some point down the street I looked up and saw a beautiful rainbow. Not bold and distinct and in your face like you might think, but subtle and quiet and soft, just like its message (hardy har har). A, “hey, you, yes you. Open your eyes and see. Forget about all that other stuff and see all your blessings.”

I could not help but smile. Then I started to notice the after rain blue sky. The green green grass as a result of all these rains. The beauty in the aftermath.

I took a deep breath and knew it was all alright.

Every day I come home to this (as in that. That puppy up there with the toys) little orange and white puppy named Merle. This little Merle just explodes with unconditional love the second he sees me. A kind of love us mere humans can barely fathom or even hope to express. His tail wags so fast I can not even see it. He has his own smile and language. He tries so hard not to use his teeth on me because he knows he is not supposed to, even though he still does sometimes. I love this little pup and he makes my heart smile even if I still shed tears at the slight passing thought of my Darcy girl.

I stumbled upon these pictures of her the other day and just could not keep it together.

I can not.

I can not EVEN.

I got angry and down right mad to be honest. Then that little mighty Merle came and plopped himself in my lap and looked up at me with those dark, soulful eyes as deep as the biggest ocean while he pressed his body and head against me. Just like Darcy would sometimes do.

I knew in that moment Merle was meant to be mine at this time and that everything was going to be alright.

This cuddle bug.

This guy…

Even if I am not over Darcy (which. I do not think I ever really will fully be). Even if Merle is a slower learner. Even if he is worlds beyond smarter than me. Even if he is into and chewing everything. He is a puppy and that is what they do! And you want to know what? He loves my travel bag, just like Darcy. And he loves to sleep on my feet, just like Darcy.

He lets me know everything is going to be alright.

Two weekends ago Lito and I went to ride with friends. I woke up early to feed, load, and hit the road not too long after sunrise to beat the coming heat. We were greeted with a full moon and a clear, starry sky. There was a slight ‘chill’ in the air. I could see the fog not too long off down the valley and the way it reflected the moonlight. I could see the long moonlit shadows of the pecan and oak trees. I could smell the distant aroma of the previous night’s cooking fire.

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The sights and smells stirred up a lot of feelings and emotions. Excitement for the day to come with my boy. Joy and anticipation in the change of seasons. The end of summer and the beginning of fall. The excitement and promise of the future and things to come. The small feelings of that moment and how they reflect the bigger picture of life.

I knew in that moment, walking to the barn to feed with Merle at my feet that everything was going to be alright.

Then there is this guy. This guy right here. I am not sure I can even find the words to express the feelings and emotions and I do not even know what. The gratitude and the love. The pride.

Look at that face and proud stance. He marches right up into that trailer now. We were listening to a Ken Burns interview on his Country Music Docuseries before going out to ride with friends.

He is my love bug.

I have written some about our struggles over the last year and a half. The difficulties and set backs and trials. The ‘phase’ my Lito has been in. I just stopped writing about it after a while, just trying to give it time to play out and for him to come around. Giving him his time and not putting more energy into the situation. And because honestly, I did not understand it. I raised this horse. He was a consummate professional from the minute he was born until this whole thing started. It was not ‘supposed’ to be like this.

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It is hot and humid here. We all sweat.

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Pecan trees offer nice shade and the sun offers nice shadows and reflections.

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Any time is a good Lito nap time.

I do not think understanding it is the point. I think the point was and is to let it go (go figure that one there!). To just accept him where he is and the situation and let it be. Give him his time and work through it and allow our relationship to be better than it was before. And I really think it is. I am not going to say we are completely over it, but man oh man, we have come so far. And getting even better every day.

Just being in his presence lets me know everything is going to be alright.

That is a lot of words for tonight, especially after my prolonged silence. I suppose that is the natural way of things! There has been a lot going on and yet, at the same time, not much going on.

I know I have already said thank you, but I really do appreciate y’all. More than anything, I want each and every one of y’all to know everything is going to be alright. This I know.

Sometimes life just is not fair and we do not understand it. Stuff happens. Or does not happen. No matter what, everything is going to be alright. AHAmoment. Trust me. Take a very deep breath and hold it. Have faith. Pause. Have faith. Then slowly, very slowly let it out. Have faith. Being completely aware of every molecule and how your body reacts. Have faith. Where those molecules go. Have faith. Rinse and repeat.

Then see and count your blessings. Blessing number one is the fact that you are awake and breathing. Open your eyes and see and feel the rest. There are so many.

Everything is going to be alright.

Tell me, how do you know everything is going to be alright?

Walk in love, dear readers.

 

 

A Thank You

A thank you, to you, dear readers. Yes, YOU. Every single one of you.

As a token of our appreciation over here, you get to watch this guy grow up in this big world. Aren’t you lucky?! The absolute luckiest!

He thanks you too.

Three years ago today I created this little space on a kinda sorta whim.

With this post.

Can you believe it?!

Y’all are a large part of the reason why AHAmoments is still here.

You have been here with me through it all and I thank you for that.

You have brought me light when I was feeling like I was in the dark. You have brought a smile to my face. You have helped me focus on the positive. You have encouraged me and inspired me. You have helped me be brave. You have reminded me that I am not alone. You have let me be me. Let me share my story.


You have watched this guy grow up into a real horse. A really big horse that barely fits into that trailer.

And you have let me share countless pictures just like these. I hope you do not get tired of these pics because I never seem to tire of them.


My only hope is that I can do the same things for y’all that you have done for me.

So, thank you. Keep being you. Keep being brave. Keep sharing your story. Keep being your best self. And keep walking in love, dear readers. That is what makes the world go round. AHAmoment.

Do you know anyone who might like to be a part of this great community we have created? Send them this way and let us keep the conversation going!

 

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.