Be Gracious.

Today I am starting to really feel better! For those of you just now tuning in, I have been sick with a nasty upper respiratory something or other for the past week. It really got me down. I have not missed any work, but the end of every day pretty much left me totally spent. Today was the first day I was able to wake up at my normal time and not be totally exhausted.

Last night Darcy Doolittle and I met up with a friend (who I have not seen in FOREVER because she has been off being awesome and because life) at a local ice house to catch up, have a couple beers, and eat some tacos from a taco truck. Nothing says comfort food to me like tacos! Seriously. Do not give me soup. I want tacos. Confession. I LOVE tacos. Anyway, I think that visit, even more than the tacos, gave me the final boost I needed to start really feeling better. I felt like a new person this morning.

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A friend of mine shared this on the ‘book of face’ this morning and I saved it for myself for later reference because I liked it. A few short minutes ago I received an email from another dear friend of mine who I email with regularly to keep in touch and up to date on life’s goings ons when we do not get to see each other. She was telling me about a conversation she had that was full of negativity that left her feeling negative and down. About how it can be hard to shake that off.

I then decided to share this with her and with all of you. Since it spoke to me and felt like it would help her, I am sure someone else needs to hear it too! It can be hard to not let someone else’s negative view of the world affect you and bring you down to that level or get caught up in it yourself. I know because I struggle with it.

Try to be a source of positivity to those around you today with me. Do not engage in the spreading of negativity. It can be like a disease that robs the life out of you. A kind word or gesture goes a long way. You will be amazed by the change that takes place, not only to those around you, but within yourself.

Walk in love, dear readers! Have a great Thursday!

On My Mind.

Now that I have had a chance to thaw out from the crazy Texas freeze, here are a few things on my mind. We are covering all the topics in my AHAmoments. Mostly, things I am grateful for all wrapped up in a weekend recap.

First. My Darcy dog that keeps my spot on the bed warm while I get ready for bed. Just look at that Llew-ball.

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Second. Do not forget to thank the people that make your dream work and be grateful for them. For me, being a horse person, my veterinarian and farrier are two of the many keys to what I do. My form of thank you is baked goods. Usually of the cookie variety.

I am blessed to have them on my team because they work with me and my situation. The vet came out on Friday to give all the horses their annual checkups. As I mentioned before, it turned out to be the worst weather as always. It was worse than expected and that is why I do not have any pictures of said visit. 3/5 horses he wanted to float. Given that water is involved in floating a horses teeth, the temperature did not get above freezing, Apache’s advanced age, and that he had some sensitive situations he was monitoring on other farms, we decided that Friday was not the best day for it. He said he would do whatever he needed to do to get the three horses’ teeth floated soon however it worked for me, even if I could not be there, which included not charging me an extra trip charge. I am just so appreciative that they both work with me and our needs. If I had it my way, I would be there every time they came out.

Third. Fire. Confession, I am a slight pyromaniac. I also just really love a good pit fire. Saturday, the wind finally quit blowing in a hurry and the conditions were perfect for fire sitting, even if it was in the 30’s and going down. All the animals were warm and fed. I had the feed trailer loaded and ready for the following morning. I had just pulled a lemon blueberry cake breakfast bread (go make that now and add more blueberries to the bread and more powdered sugar to the glaze) out of the oven. The sky was clear and the fire glorious.

Which brings me to my next point. Four. Music. Good and great music comes in all different forms. On Saturday evening with fire and cocktail, these two songs really spoke to me. I hope they speak to you too. Have an open mind and a listen.

Thanks to No Justice – Topic on YouTube for the vid.

Thanks to the man himself, Corey Smith, and his YouTube for the vid.

Fifth. You guessed it. This farm and my horses in which I see God’s unending blessings, beauty, and grace. They clear my mind and vision and carry my troubles away. Not to mention all the great paintings!

Sixth and final for the day. The great Texas weather. What? Yes, you heard that. Great. It may be crazy at times, and yes it was really, really cold. However, as quick as it gets bad, it gets good. Saturday, albeit a weee bit cold, was down right gorgeous. By Sunday, it was perfect riding weather.

Today I am grateful for the above great music to dance in love my way through work, dear readers.

If you had to pick five things you are grateful for today, what would they be?

 

Our Love & Our Souls

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Breaking news, it is warming up. We are out of blanket territory for a while. Now I can buckle down for Christmas.

Your AHAmoment today is brought to you by Sean McConnell. His song ‘Our Love and Our Souls’ is what IT is all about. He says it better than I ever could. Have a listen below. It is an amazing feeling when a song like this pops up on your shuffle and just speaks to your soul. You may not have been paying attention before, just looking out the window, lost in your thoughts or following that long white line. Then all of a sudden, you snap to and realize He is speaking right to you. If you are me, you listen to it on repeat, so grateful to listen and be receptive to the message.


“Sometimes it all comes down at once
Sometimes when it rains it pours
But I wouldn’t trade my troubles for any one of yours
Cause money’s just money
It comes and it goes
And things are just things baby
So breakable
Ain’t nothing lasts forever except our love and our souls
Cause I ain’t that hungry
And I have a home
I ain’t fighting for my life
And I’m not alone
So may I pray every morning
As I make up the bed
‘Lord, all I need today is my daily bread'”

Thanks, Doug Morrison, on YouTube for the vid.

Walk in love, dear readers.

Grocery shopping today after work for Christmas! Wish me luck! Cranberry sauce, Pomegranate cake, and pumpkin bread. Then wrapping all the presents for my loved ones.

Listen Linda!

Today is Friyay if you did not know! Now you do. I read day 12. On to day 13. Next week is a short week and middle sister and her hubby are in town!

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I am flyin’ solo in the office today. I do not like flyin’ solo in the office. It is too quiet. I am playing Christmas music out loud to compensate though, and I had Christmas coffee this morning! Out my office window I can watch the cold front blow in. I am to head out to the farm with my Darcy pup directly after work. Then on Sunday, I ride Bella the buckskin and do my Thanksgiving grocery shopping. I might even get the Christmas decorations down and ready to put up.

I hope each and every one of you have a great weekend. Enjoy the cold weather if you have it. We will! Get rest and ready for Thanksgiving! Think about what you are grateful for this Thanksgiving.

What are y’all doing to get ready for Thanksgiving? What are you grateful for???

Prayers from Dip to Pie.

First thing. To all the equestrian bloggers, thank you. I am missing my horses this week since I have not been able to get out to them. Thank you for your horse posts, they are getting me through this week.

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Second thing. This Jalapeno Popper Dip that I mentioned yesterday…you can not go wrong! Put those ingredients together and it is bound to be good. This is naughty delicious appetizer was more than good. I used half fresh roasted and half canned jalapenos. I mixed it up yesterday to be ready for our office Thanksgiving lunch later this week and planned to just leave the topping off till I bake it the day of. Whilst mixing it up, I really wanted to try it to make sure it was going to be good. I took a little bit of the filling mixture and put it into a small, single serve baking dish, added a little topping, and baked it off. I approve and I think the picky eaters at the office will too. I was a bad blogger and forgot to take a picture of it fresh out of the oven…one of these days I hope to get the hang of this! What is that? You have heard me say that before? Uhhh…look! Does that dip not look like it tasted great! I did not eat all of that…I had some test subjects. I only had tortilla chips and those water crackers, so I put them both out. Tortilla chips are where it is at, trust me.

Third thing. My favorite to make for Thanksgiving is this Apple Cranberry Pie with Pecan Shortbread Crust. I will let that sink in for a minute…are you finished sinking?! Great idea right?? The recipe comes originally from Southern Living, go figure. I use fresh cranberries instead of dry. I like the added color, juice, and tartness. I also stick some in the top while it bakes so you can see them. Additionally, I probably double or more on the cinnamon and add nutmeg. That is probably not a surprise to you by now. That shortbread though. So good! The whole pie is a labor of love, but it is so worth it. Make it in your pj’s with your family around and it will be ready before you know it! It travels exceptionally well and tastes great left over. If you need to bring a dessert, try this.

Fourth thing. As they say, last but certainly not least, A Prayer of Thanksgiving. Whatever is going on in your life during this upcoming holiday season, remember to be thankful. We all have something to be thankful for even if it is hard to see at times. That is what we should focus on, being grateful and thankful. Not the bad things, the hard things, the busy things, the have to do things, the I do not have time things. That is not what IT is about. AHA moment.

The prayer before the holiday meals is a big thing in our family. I love how everyone has a different style of prayer as individual as they are. Last year, I found a perfect Prayer of Thanksgiving and brought it to our gathering to post by the lovingly prepared food. It really got me thinking about what I am grateful for and to say a thank you to God for them. It got me in the right attitude just like that quote I shared a while back about working with horses. I unfortunately can not find the one from last year, but I found this one for my closing greeting to you, dear readers. Lead with love. Tune in tomorrow for Darcy’s front and center spotlight.

God of all blessings,
source of all life,
giver of all grace:

We thank you for the gift of life:
for the breath
that sustains life,
for the food of this earth
that nurtures life,
for the love of family and friends
without which there would be no life.

We thank you for the mystery of creation:
for the beauty
that the eye can see,
for the joy
that the ear may hear,
for the unknown
that we cannot behold filling the universe with wonder,
for the expanse of space
that draws us beyond the definitions of our selves.

We thank you for setting us in communities:
for families
who nurture our becoming,
for friends
who love us by choice,
for companions at work,
who share our burdens and daily tasks,
for strangers
who welcome us into their midst,
for people from other lands
who call us to grow in understanding,
for children
who lighten our moments with delight,
for the unborn,
who offer us hope for the future.

We thank you for this day:
for life
and one more day to love,
for opportunity
and one more day to work for justice and peace,
for neighbors
and one more person to love
and by whom be loved,
for your grace
and one more experience of your presence,
for your promise:
to be with us,
to be our God,
and to give salvation.

For these, and all blessings,
we give you thanks, eternal, loving God,
through Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.

~Vienna Cobb Anderson

 

 

Sundays are not for working…

…Sundays are for cooking. Family. Friends. Pets…

How was the weekend for y’all?! I did not get any horse time, but I had a great time with family as my middle sister was in town. It was so nice to just spend time with her. We ate, drank, and just had family time. I am having a bit of a hard time this Monday morning because of it, I dare say! I should not be having a hard time as I came into the office yesterday to catch up and get a head start for this week. This is Darcy’s best “Sundays are not for working” look from my office chair. Speaking of Darcy, stay tuned for her story coming up this week!

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When we left to head back home, I treated myself to a special, seasonal peppermint coffee. Why? Because I could! Going to work on a Sunday and not getting to see my horses earns me a special coffee.

My Thanksgiving cooking has already started! Every year here at the office, we have an office Thanksgiving lunch party the week before Thanksgiving. We order turkey and everyone makes/brings the sides. It is always a grand time. This year I am in charge of bringing the cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, and an appetizer. I agreed to do the appetizer for our office manger.

Yesterday evening I made the cranberry sauce. Cranberry sauce is so easy to make at home, I do not know why people buy it. It also tastes much better homemade. I never liked it until I had the real stuff. Just buy a bag of cranberries and follow the instructions on the back of the bag as your base. I would advise doing 1/2 or 1/3 of the usual 1 cup of sugar that it recommends. That is way too much for me. It is dependent on how you like it, I guess. From there, get creative! I like to think about eating turkey while I make it and if an ingredient sounds or smells like it would go well with turkey, I add it! Or, look at some other recipes to get inspiration. I subbed a little of the white sugar with brown. Salt and pepper. Cubed apple. Apple juice. I just add a little less water to accommodate the added liquid. Orange juice and zest. Lemon juice and zest. I wanted to add some thyme and poultry type herbs this time to make it more savory, but we did not have any. Instead, I ground up some dried herbs de provence. Then I added a little dash of Grand Marnier and Limoncello. It smelled and tasted divine. In previous years, I have added pecans to it. It is a pretty good idea. I decided to leave them out this year and see how it goes. I put some sauce in a container in the fridge for Thursday and the rest in a container in the freezer for our family Thanksgiving next week.

Do not tell anyone, but I also made the mashed potatoes yesterday too. Look, I had the time to both cook and clean yesterday, so I made them yesterday. Trust me though, no one will be able to tell. This ‘recipe’ I get from my mother. Her secret is cream cheese. Naughty! Naughty delicious! I like to add some fresh grated parmesan cheese for some nice salty bite. I put them in a baking dish, covered them with foil, and stuck them in the freezer. I will pull them out the night before and put them in the fridge. The day of I will let them get to room temp before I put them in the oven to get heated through. They will taste just as good as the day I made them.

The appetizer I am making is a jalapeno popper dip. I am going to try and make that today or tomorrow and will chronicle that later. It looks pretty tasty and I am excited to give it a try.

For our family Thanksgiving, I am baking a dessert and possibly doing the sweet potatoes. Boy howdy, I can not wait to share my dessert with you. It has become a must every year. It is a little bit of work but it is totally worth it, trust me.

I also need to bake pumpkin bread for my farrier and my vet. Do not forget to thank those people in your lives!

Have y’all thought about what you are making for Thanksgiving?!?! Tell me! One of my favorite parts of the holidays are cooking, especially because my parents kitchen is a hangout area for us. It brings us all together and our food is an expression of our love. Made with love, it always tastes better. AHA moment. What is your favorite part?

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

 

New day, new week.

Thank you to everyone that commented with support on Friday! I really do appreciate it more than you know. I am going to focus on taking it one day at a time and try not to worry about things that are out of my control. I am going to focus on remembering to pray and tell Him about my worries. Give it up to Him. Why is that so hard??? New day, new week, new attitude. I am starting this work week out well. I came in early today have gotten a lot of work done while listening to Nelo, Penny & Sparrow, and The Head And The Heart to keep me on track.

This weekend was good to get away and get my center/focus back. I got in some chores and rides, but I spent most of my time just absorbing the essence of horse: watching them graze, listening to them eat, breathing them in, and spending an exorbitant amount of time picking burrs out of everyone’s manes and tails. My fingers still hurt. While on a nice bareback ride with Cheetah, I noticed this little guy, just chilling.

The niece and nephew were there as well. Niece LOVES horses. A girl after my own heart!

When I got back to town Sunday, I got the Darcy dog bathed. She truly hates baths, but man does she love the toweling off part! It is so funny. This is Darcy’s day light savings look while I waited for the pumpkin bread to bake and laundry to do itself. I think day light savings is harder on them than us. She wanted her dinner earlier than the old time! Poor Darcy, she has it so rough.

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That face just gets to me, I tell you. I almost caved and fed her early. I said ALMOST.

What is that you say? You heard me mention baking pumpkin bread? Yup, you are correct. I baked pumpkin bread yesterday! No experiments this time. This is a tried and true recipe that I grew up on. You can tell by the state of the cook book. Just look at all that love. I am pretty sure it was me that colored scribbled on those pumpkins. Thank you to Frances Robinson of Mobile, Alabama for this recipe in the Southern Living 1985 Annual Recipes cookbook!

We eat pumpkin bread all year round in our family. We always make a double batch because more pumpkin bread is always better and it makes everyone happy. You see those lines there crossing off two items in the recipe? Those two items are chocolate chips and pecans. My mother is strictly against those in her pumpkin bread. It does not sound all that bad to me, but somehow I can not bring myself to add them. Funny how that works. If we do the glaze, it is for Christmas or Thanksgiving…and we add chopped pecans. Pecans are OK on the outside, just not on the inside according to mother. It makes a really nice Christmas gift. Just picture it: beautifully baked pumpkin bread, drizzled in a spiced pecan glaze, wrapped up in clear cellophane and both red and green ribbon. Gets me all excited for Christmas! Sometimes, like yesterday, I do half all purpose white flour and half whole wheat flour. I think it adds a lovely texture and makes you ‘feel’ like you are healthier…ha. I just love these loaf pans. They show as much love as the cookbook.

Well, that is all for today. Thank you, dear readers, for being you. I wish I could share this pumpkin bread with you. Oh well, more for me! What did y’all do this past weekend?

Stay tuned this week for Lito’s story. Click here for his dam’s story and here for the intro to this new series I am doing if you missed them last week!

Walk in love.

My supervisor…

Please allow me to introduce you to my supervisor…He answers to Lito, but his formal name is Manolito.

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He thought I was doing the fence repair all wrong. He was sure to tell me that if he only had thumbs, he would show me the proper way to do the work. He watched my every move to ensure his paddock was fixed to his high standards. In the end, he approved of my work.

I just love this guy. The feeling appears to be mutual, I think. He seems to always want to hang out with me. I could not ask for more. I am so blessed to have him in my life and, of course, to have the awesome mare that gave him to me. Seriously, the two of them, I am without words. Funny thing for a blog, no??? I promise to give them both their own posts soon. I tried to take some pictures of them this weekend, but I am not happy with what I got. I did get to ride my girl and give Lito some work. Lito was great. Cheetah was pretty good. I kept getting in her way. She had a little bit of the season change snots, so we took it pretty easy. Honestly, I need more work than she does. Going from riding multiple horses a day to only once a week when I am lucky sure makes my body do stupid things when I ride. I often find myself saying, “uh, hello, what is your outside leg doing?!!?” Or, “uh, your hands, have you ever done this before?!” I need rider boot camp and for life to slow down. Does anyone else feel this way???

I also gave my family’s other gelding, give me a chance, Chance a work and got several chores crossed off the list. The list never seems to get smaller though. It is like a roll that keeps rolling while things just keep adding. That is the way I guess. It keeps us busy!

Yesterday, instead of doing an All The Fall Things session, my cousin (I suppose now that we have gotten here, we shall call her Cousin H), another cousin (Cousin T), and I went over to our grandparents house to cook them dinner and spend some quality time together. We made burgers, hash brown casserole, roasted veggies, and apple crisp a la mode with caramel sauce. It was a winner of a dinner, I tell you! Sorry folks, no photos. Wah waaa. I know, but I was being present. We have to be. Every day is a gift, especially with my grandparents, and tomorrow is not promised. AHA moment right there…maybe the most important one to date. We are soaking up as much of them as we can. This grandmother (and really my grandfather too, but mostly her) is where most of my horse gene comes from. It is one of our special bonds. I showed her all my new photos of Cheetah and Lito and could not help but love them. She especially loves the Lito man. Let us be honest though, who would not? To me he exudes love. I feel I named him well! More on that in his own post ;).

Alright, on that note, I must get going. Go get with your family, either by blood or not, and share a meal. Share the love. Be present with them. Enjoy it!

Go lead with love!

TGIF

I have made it to Friday, y’all. This post vacation week back at work has gone better than expected. However, it has all caught up with me now and I am sure glad today is Friday. I am feeling it, whatever it is, and am a wee bit draggy.

I still have not figured out exactly what I will be doing this weekend. I am feeling some veg time with some fall themed Hallmark movies. You know you love them, even if you will not admit it. I am a proud Hallmark lover!

I will absolutely be getting out to the farm at some point. I need some quality time with the dun duo like I need air to breathe. I also need to get them both back into regular work now that my trail riding vaca is over. What is your favorite way to get your horses back into regular work after life has taken over? I like to rotate round pen, riding, and lunging work until they are a little more mentally and physically fit. Then I transition into more riding work. I think this will be a Cheetah round pen then riding weekend and a Lito lunge and walk to the river weekend. I believe I am going to be by myself, so I have to be safe and not ride the youngster alone. Bummer. But, better safe than sorry. If it is not safe, it is not fun. It does not matter how much I trust him or believe that he would not do anything bad (I am nodding my head). He has less than ten rides on him and all horses are unpredictable. My game plan moving forward with Lito is to get a schedule going with family and friends so I always have someone with me at the farm. The sooner I do this, the sooner we will graduate to trusted equine citizen.

I think Sunday my cousin and I will do another All The Fall Things craft/bake/cook session. Earlier this week I was feeling the need for fall pumpkin flavored things. How 4f9bd57fdf06c591fbb3174fb379b2ddstereotypical of me, I know, but alas the NEED was real. I attempted to make pumpkin cinnamon rolls. I did not exactly follow the recipe…again, who is surprised??? Not a single person. I picked these partly because I wanted instant gratification. It called for the use of store bought dough! I could not handle the time yeast needs, I tell you. Anyhoo, I actually used the recommended dough and I think it is too buttery. Strange, right? It takes over the flavor. I did more on the spice front. More cinnamon. More nutmeg…the fresh graded…I can not go back to the pre-ground stuff. I added some ginger and cloves. Why not, right?! I added a dollop of cream cheese to the filling instead of milk. I skipped on the icing to conserve my calorie budget and I figured they would be rich enough. I was right, they are good enough without the icing. Do not hate me. I believe I will make something like this again, but I will spring for homemade dough. They both need and deserve it.

I also attempted making a pumpkin spice White Russian for a desert cocktail. I will let you know when I perfect that. It is not there yet. It might also morph into a pumpkin spice Milk Punch…I prefer Milk Punch to White Russians I think.

This best thing that came out of this pumpkin spree is that I made extra milk/pumpkin/spice base (you know, sans alcohol) for the White Russian…for coffee! You need to do this. Right now. It is good. Better than any pumpkin spice anything you can get at a coffee shop. I do not think I can ever order one anywhere again now that I have had the real deal.

Here is to hoping for some good horse time this weekend! What are y’all doing?!

All the Fall things.

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 ebd0047a16213671db5f7b90cce21ea4cheese, 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.

Thanks to 98.1 KVET out of Austin for the vid.

Go out and kill it this week!