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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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!
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.
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.
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.
Today is going to be a good day! I just know it. For me and for you.
We had a cold front blow in last night. All the way down here in the southern half of the great state of Texas. In late July.
It must be a sign.
I know, but indeed stranger things have happened. Too bad I am not at the farm right now to ride. Although, all my horses are probably farting horse kites this morning.
I have been dog sitting at my Aunt M’s house since I have been back from Montana. I awoke long before 6 AM and decided to just get the day rolling. That is how many a good day have started long before time (or at least long before this little space of the internet). This fine day (and yesterday too in truth) already had a different feeling in the air as I strolled down the stairs to let the dogs out. I opened the door and to my surprise felt a dry, cool breeze sneak past my face. I looked up in question and peered out into the darkness (or as dark as any backyard can be in the middle of a neighborhood, in the middle of a big city, with a pool lit up like a Christmas tree) as if I could see what I was feeling. I stepped outside and smiled as that cool air enveloped my entire being. I felt a giddiness rise inside of me.
Naturally, I had a little dance with a sideways glance from the dogs, turned on some Merle Haggard, opened all the doors, and got the coffee going. Now, I sit here writing to you. A great start to a great day, or any day for that matter.
This day however just so happens to be my Friday. Why do you ask? Well, as I promised, the adventure continues!
I am off early tomorrow morning to fly to Colorado for a long weekend with my parents! Where every morning will be cool and dry and invigorating and filled with the sounds of the Aspen leaves! And, and, and!
If you have been following along on the AHAmoments Facebook page, you have known about this trip for a couple of days and have been reliving the last time we were there. If you have not been, well, you can do that here too! I am just so nice that way!
There is just something about the mountains that brings you closer to God. In more ways than one. But alas, more on that later. The morning is going quick like and I need to get going with it. The house is now cold (how is that a true statement???) and it is time to get ready for work.
It is going to be a great day and we are going to make it such together! It is our choice. AHAmoment.
One more work day, a packing session, and a sleep…AHAmoments is off to Colorado!
There are sometimes things that happen in this earthly life that we do not understand, and it is likely that we will never know why on this side. This will most probably go at the top of that list.
A week ago tomorrow, I looked at my Doolittle and I knew it was time for me to let go. In the way that people always say it happens.
I had done everything up to that point to keep her comfortable and she told me that it was no longer enough, but more meds did not mean living. I did everything I could to slow if not stop this freight train, but I found it had no brakes.
I could go on in details, and I will privately for anyone that is in the same position if it would be helpful, but I do not want that here. I do not want that on her remembrance.
So. I did the only thing I could do for her. The last, greatest and hardest gift I could give her. To set her free. To let her go home free of pain and suffering. To let her be happy.
My mom drove us out to the farm that Friday afternoon where my Pops was waiting. It was threatening to rain and the clouds were growing darker. We took one last short walk in the pasture to greet the horses. Darcy was not much up for it, but I needed them. My Lito buried his head in my chest and Cheetah looked at me in that way only a special mare can. In that knowing way.
We sat on the porch and watched a light rain sprinkle and dry before our eyes while we waited.
The vet and tech arrived and they were as kind and nice as they could be. It was all very calm and peaceful. There were a lot of tears.
Then the most amazing thing happened. I have no words to explain it other than I know it was God. Those dark and threatening clouds parted in the very moment that Darcy left this earth and the sun shone through so very bright and strong. The intensity I felt I have never known and I can not describe in words. I could do nothing but smile up through my tears.
I carried her down to her final resting place with the others on the far side of the pond, under a great Pecan tree. I dipped her paws in the pond one last time so she could be farm dirty like she is supposed to be.
Back up at the house, I sat on the porch with my parents looking down the valley. I found myself looking through a heart shaped hole in the leaves of an oak tree with the sun twinkling and winking through.
I do not know how I did it other than I knew that was what I had to do.
She loved unconditionally. She more than spread joy everywhere she went, she was the living embodiment of it. An example to be made. She taught me about life and perspective. She taught me more than I could write about, here or otherwise. She was independent as heck fire and tough as nails, but she was also supremely sensitive, perceptive, and gentle. She was unabashedly herself. She was Darcy. She was my wingpup.
She was more than just a dog.
I may not know much or why, but I do know where she is, who she is with, and where she will be waiting, putting her own spin on that angel band up there in the sky. I have no doubt that her great spirit was needed for His good. Even if it does feel like a double barrel kick in the guts. Even if it does feel at times like my heart might not even be there anymore. I am so grateful to have had her for those almost six years.
I want to thank all the vets and techs who have worked so hard to help and comfort us through all of this. My Pops who called and arranged everything because neither my Mom or I could do it, both of them for being there for us in the moment, and my whole family for checking in on me. And, I think most importantly, the vet and tech who met us out at the farm to do the job. I can not thank them enough for just being them. I do not have the words to thank you properly. Just, thank you.
Interestingly enough, this poem popped up today.
Get your tissues out, you will need more than one.
If it should be that I grow frail and weak
And pain does keep me from my sleep,
Then will you do what must be done
For this – the last battle – can’t be won.
You will be sad I understand
But don’t let grief then stay you hand.
For on this day, more than the rest
Your love and friendship must stand the test.
We have had so many happy years,
You wouldn’t want me to suffer so.
When the time comes, please let me go.
Take me to where my needs they’ll tend,
Only, stay with me till the end.
And hold me firm and speak to me
Until my eyes no longer see.
I know in time you will agree
It is a kindness you do to me.
Although my tail its last has waved,
From pain and suffering I have been saved.
Don’t grieve that it must now be you
Who has to decide this thing to do.
We’ve been so close – we two – these years,
Don’t let your heart hold any tears.
Do not think too hard now. You will think right on past the answer quicker than you could drive through a one stop light town.
Do you have an idea? I will give you a few more moments to ponder.
It is not quite as difficult as you may think.
Alright, I will tell you.
Love and laughter.
AHAmoment. Simple as that.
Everyone understands them. No matter what kind of words you speak or don’t speak. Every being gets them. Especially animals. They know them better than us. Which is why having animals in our lives makes us better humans. Better communicators.
Go walk in love and laughter, dear readers! Have a happy Friday.
Let us talk for a minute about light. Y’all know I have a thing for it. That sounds like a funny thing to say, but you get what I mean. Especially there at the farm.
“In nature, light creates the color. In the picture, color creates the light.”
On Thursday of last week I went out to the farm for a delayed midweek visit because I was going to be out of town over the weekend to attend a baby shower for Sister K. The ground was soup again (or still, I guess) and there was no riding to be had, so I just fed everyone and hung out. Enjoyed the clean, clear, and cool air and the sounds of happily eating animals.
The cows were a bit miffed to only be getting hay to eat. As if they do not live on an all you can eat buffet.
After turning the horses out I walked out into the pasture with them and then on down to the pond. Thinking to myself all the while, “maybe I will get some good sunset shots over the water.”
What a passing thought to have.
You could already tell there was something special in the air that day. In the very light itself. It was like a magnet pulling me in. A veritable beacon. Can you see it there? Down the valley? In the tip of Cheetah’s tail?
I mean. Just look at that mare next to that pecan tree.
This little one was intrigued by me crouching in the grass. Or she just wanted to model. Only she knows the real answer.
I turned back around to see that the horses had meandered down and a gaggle of calves had moved in.
Anyway, I went a little further down, closer to the pond and looked to my left. I raised my phone camera and snapped two pictures.
I just stood there in wonder for a few moments.
Do you see it? In these two photos together? What if you imagined them together, combined into one image? One on top of the other?
Do you see the cross in the light?
I do not even have words for that.
“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.”
~1 John 1:5
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
“The obviously well kept secret of the “ordinary” is that it is made to be a receptacle of the divine, a place where the life of God flows.”
Darcy was feeling it too.
But then again, Darcy is always feeling it. Animals get it.
What a moment.
Thank you for letting me share this moment with you.