A Big Thanksgiving

Or rather, a long Thanksgiving. Big and long.

Big in thanks and giving, yes, much gratitude. We have much to be thankful for.

Also big in numbers. Number of people. An abundance of family and friends. Tons of conversation and laughter. Bucket loads of love. Many dogs. Food, food, and more food (and booze). And not just any food, great food. I have to say, I am surrounded by talented people. Pretty much all of them are great cooks!

Some sadness, yes. That can not be denied, but I have to say, I think we all did a great job focusing on the positive and being grateful for each other. Which is what Thanksgiving is all about.

This particular Thanksgiving was long in a sense that it felt like it lasted from last weekend to today. Even with all the regular day to day things, like work, and all the preparation and cooking, it somehow felt like vacation.

Now, I know some of you will be in disbelief upon reading this. Or even rolling your eyes at me. But in all honesty, it did. I am sitting here with my coffee trying to psych myself up for this work Monday.

The weekend before Thanksgiving week (after the Charlotte Dujardin clinic…which I still need to write up for you…sorry, I will get to it. In short, it was great and I shattered my phone screen) I spent at the farm by myself. It was a terribly therapeutic weekend. Strong and funny language, I know, but stay with me. It was both releasing and restorative.

After taking care of some errands and chores during the day on Saturday, I quickly saddled up Chance and went for a sunset ride.

Then I built a fire in the pit, hit play on some great music, made a cocktail, and sat down with my dog to watch the last of the sunset with the northern front at my back. Drew Kennedy has a live album titled Sad Songs Happily Played which acted like my own personal concert in the best venue.

Sunday started early and chilly.

I took a little drive in my pajamas while the horses ate with my dog, coffee, and music. Because I could. I started listening to Dani and Lizzy’s ‘Dancing In The Sky‘ on repeat (I am weird like that) and just allowed the tears to flow. It feels …strange, I guess, to say that. To admit that. But hey, it’s the truth, so there. Sometimes a girl just needs a good cry or two…or three, as was the case on Sunday.

I got dressed and headed out into the sun to catch up my first horse of the day.

I came upon the horses and discovered the three young geldings laying down, having a post breakfast nap with Cheetah standing guard over them. I just could not resist the temptation and sat down with them. The most wonderful thing happened when Cheetah decided she felt comfortable enought to lay down with us. I have no idea how long I sat there with them snoozing, but it was simply glorious. One of them broke the spell and they all got up, so I haltered Cheetah and started grooming.

Keep scrolling for this cow’s newborn on Thanksgiving weekend!

Cheetah decided she was a saucy mare, but her son made up for it by giving me the best ride on him to date. Lito is really starting to put the pieces together and it feels really great. Really learning to travel between my legs and reins and lift his shoulder. Yielding his hindquarters and shoulders. I just need to keep reminding myself he is not farther along because I can only ride on weekends. I need to not push too hard and have it not be fun for him. Well, both of us. He is seriously the most comfortable horse I have ever ridden.

I had a quick ride on Ike after a late lunch on the porch. Then I built myself another fire to close out the day. As one of my dear readers said, I just sat with my feelings and reflected. That is what time alone at the farm is about for me.

I stayed at the farm until Monday morning to meet the farrier before heading back to town and into the office for the short holiday work week.

I took the day off of work on Wednesday to get my cake baked at my parents house and the kitchen cleaned before Thanksgiving. Middle Sister, K, her husband, T, and their dogs were staying at my parents house for the holiday so Darcy had ample entertainment. She is currently passed out after I made her go outside.

Baking is one of my favorite parts of the holidays. This pumpkin cheesecake cake was worth all the work and calories, trust me. It really was not even that much work. Do yourself a favor, and go make it for yourself. Decorating it is also easy peasy, if you want to do that. Which you should because it is fun. And pretty.

My mom’s side of the family and a few friends came to my parent’s house for Thanksgiving lunch. And oh, the food. The food was so good! I am still dreaming about it. We all had a grand time and then loaded up and headed out to the farm just in time for sunset.

I give to you the post Thanksgiving sunrise if you missed it.

Remember that calf I mentioned? We all got to see it right after it was born. You are welcome for the cuteness. I do what I can for you, you know.

Another stunning sunset from the weekend.

On Saturday my dad’s side of the fam came out for lunch and some much needed togetherness and fresh air at the farm.

I took three kids on lead line rides and one solo ride all on Chance. There was so much fun and cuteness, I almost could not even handle it. Chance was so well behaved and we stuffed him with carrots and gave him lots of love.

My cousin got to harvest his first deer which was very exciting for everyone in the family.

I came back out to the barn before bed to give Chance another carrot and to thank him for giving those kids his gifts.

You haz carrot?!

This is a terribly long dump of a post, but there it is. The point is, I am thankful this Thanksgiving and wish I had another day before going back to work.

Thankful I got to enjoy it. Thankful to be surround by loved ones. Thankful to spend time at the farm and create memories. Thankful to ride all the horses. Thankful for cows and calves. Thankful for my happy dog. Thankful to see the sunsets and sunrises. Thankful for music and reflection and fresh air. Thankful that I got to pick out a Christmas tree with my parents and begin decorating. And even thankful for my job that I need to go get ready for.

That is all. Up next, all about the Charlotte Dujardin Clinic!

Walk in love, dear readers! Thank your lucky stars today and every day. Keep in the spirit of thanks and giving.

The Season

Time seems to travel faster this time of year, don’t you think? I mean, Thanksgiving is NEXT WEEK. How did that happen?! It has snuck up on me as I am sure it has everyone. For more than one reason.

And now, it is already Tuesday. It still feels like Monday.

Anyway, I am sitting here with my coffee, as I do, you know, reflecting.

Surprisingly enough, wishing it was still Monday. I made a quick trip out to the farm yesterday after work since I did not go out this weekend. At this time of year, I get barely an hour out there with the early sunset, but it is enough to get my fix to get me through the rest of the week.

I did have a great time with my sister and her husband this weekend. It was incredibly relaxing and indulgent. She is having a holiday party next month that we are both getting excited for. It got us both in the spirit. We even made peppermint ice cream from scratch.

When I got home on Sunday, I baked two batches of cookies while drinking coffee with cinnamon and nutmeg. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it? Chocolate chip oatmeal with pecans and coconut and while chocolate macadamia nut. I owe my farrier a lot of cookies because he is great. I am going to bake my mother’s pumpkin bread this evening for gifts. I just love this time of year!

It all got me thinking how blessed we all are. That we are here and awake this morning. That I got to go up there to visit and stay the weekend. For the quality time with my sister. That I got to see the sunset and love on the horses, however quick. That I have a dog I can take everywhere with me and that she got to have her run time at the farm. That I have a good car to get me where I am going and get me home safe.

That is what this time of year, the holiday season, is all about. Seeing and feeling your many blessings. Being grateful and thankful for them. Doing things for others. That and The Reason for The Season. Giving God the glory. Doing your best to carry that attitude through the rest of the year.

Walk in love, dear readers.

Thanks. 

I awoke a full hour before my alarm was to go off at 6:30 AM. An extra hour of sleep would be nice before a long road trip. 

But. Here I lay. Fully energized and rearing to go. Excited to get where we are going. However, I am forcing myself to stay in bed because that was the plan. No sense in getting everything finished early just to sit and wait again. Silly, right? 

Anyway, here I am, writing to you since clearly the prospect of sleep is leaving as quick like as the sun is about to rise. And because Darcy dog is not here to cuddle. Which, is not so fun, not having my dog with me. 

I played on my phone a bit when I first realized there would be no more sleep. Then I put it down and tried again. No luck. Picked it up again. I was reminded of a song. You know how that happens. 

Here I am, laying in bed. Having the luxury of lounging in bed for an hour before I need to do anything. About to gather everything my horse and I need for a week, load it up, and head out with R for a week of riding and fellowship. 

How did I get here? How am I able to do these things that I love? Have these horses that I have? How blessed am I? 

I get to do all these things because my parents worked their tails off and did everything they could for us. Because they taught us to work our tails off. To do the right thing. To not give up on our dreams and wishes. To do what makes our hearts happy. To have faith and give thanks to the Man upstairs for it all who makes it all possible. 

Even when we didn’t realize or appreciate it. 

So. 

I give thanks to the Lord. I give thanks to my parents and family. And I give thanks to my horse. 

Corny as it may sound, it is all true. 


Time to get up and get moving. R will soon be on her way! 

Walk in love, dear readers! I will see you in a week! 

Sorry, Not Sorry.

Today I am straight up giddy with the prospect of fall and winter.

Why does it seem like I only ever write about weather lately?

Anyway, slightly, or not so as established above, random, I know. And before you ask, yes, I am aware that it is not even October yet. But a girl can get excited. We are almost there.

Here is what I am ready for:

Holidays, duh. Even if this year will be hard.

Sitting around a fire wearing a sweater. I love sweaters. I love fire. Throw in a cocktail, some great music and people and you got it made.

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Baking and cooking and holiday cocktails and getting crafty with my family. And, and, AND!

Frosty mornings with fuzzy horses. Although, I pray not too frosty and cold. Old horses and hard winters are tough. Last winter was pretty bad.

And, dare I say. Christmas and Christmas music and Hallmark Thanksgiving and Christmas movies and Christmas decorations!!! And family time. And food. Man, we have the best Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts. My mouth is watering.

Shhhh. I know.

You are thinking that I am crazy and that we are far off from that and hey, don’t forget Thanksgiving. Nope. Not crazy, just excited for one of my favorite times of year. And I never forget about Thanksgiving. They go together. It is the season and spirit of thanks and giving.

Do not you worry, I won’t play a Christmas song now. Even if I did think about. OK fine, I am only not playing it because I can’t find a good video of it.

Sorry, not sorry. People are already starting to decorate for fall!

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

I will be riding and organizing for my trip this weekend…and dreaming of cooler weather. Interestingly enough, we will have slightly cooler weather this weekend.

Whopper

Welp. I dare say that was (well, still is) a whopper. A doozy whopper of a hurricane. I just came up with that. Just roll with it. 

(Disclaimer…blogging from your phone is difficult and annoying. Please forgive any spelling or grammatical errors.)

Words really can not describe the magnitude of devastation. EVERYWHERE. 

I had a friend ask me if I or my parents had ever seen anything like this. My response? My grandparents haven’t ever seen or heard of anything like this. And my family has been in this area for a long time. 

It will take me a little while on this one to gather my thoughts and put them into words. To be honest, I am not even sure if I can. I will try though, not just for me, but for my people, my city, my region, my state. Please know that me and my animals and my people are all well. We are safe and on the right side of the worst of it. We have been blessed and I am more sure than ever that God provides. And He is here. Always. I so appreciate all of the comments and messages from you, my dear readers. It means the world to me. 

I apologize for being MIA since my last post. That was not my intention, but in circumstances such as these, your prioraties change pretty quick. 

I hope you are all well. I do not even remember the last time we spoke. That is how long this storm, horrible Harvey, has been going on. 

There is much work to be done now, but until then, please enjoy our aftermath of the storm. 


I needed that cocktail! 





Because everyone loves Tuner kisses…








Looking forward to all the new growth. 

Walk in love, dear readers. 

Elemental

Earth, air, water, and fire. 

And the Oxford comma. Ha! Hey, I’ve got jokes today! 

No, for real. 

Something so Elemental as to embody all four of those concepts. More than just words. They are senses. Images. Feelings. Emotions. All in themselves. 

The sun rises in the east and sets in the west. God’s paintings twice a day, every day, no matter where you are. Both at the beginning and the end. Of everything. Yet different every day. New. 

Seeing and smelling the earth, feeling the air across your skin as you lope your horse around, praying for those clouds to produce some rain (at least where we are, they have had more rain than us!), and having your soul set on fire. 

Blessed and grateful. 

The reflection of the sunset on the eastern sky Saturday evening with horses and friends. Clearly no better at focusing for photos than I’m sure we were as kids…






Please take a moment to enjoy Lito’s expressions. Seriously, that horse. I just can not contain myself.

Sorry. Where was I? Right.

Sunrise progression Sunday morning. I told you God likes Sundays to be foggy…



Two things that inspire me most next to my horses and my dog. 

Have you caught a sunrise or a sunset recently? Share if you have! If you have not, do yourself a favor and watch one soon. 

Walk in love, dear readers!

Getting into the Spirit.

I have finally finished the Christmas decorations at my parents house. It took me way longer than normal 3d4fe84470994b9f872f56b306727792817f5428f6b4afeec3b45e5877920d71because I have had a case of the bah humbugs. I will not go on about this because I want them gone and I have already versed y’all. I am going to focus on the good and positive right now. One step at a time. I will say the decorating helped along with the Christmas music. I confess, I also had some bubbly. Why not? It is the season to celebrate the waiting for Christ. If you are having a case of the bah humbugs, get to decorating while playing your favorite Christmas music. Baking also helps. Christmas cookies! Pumpkin bread! Oh, and look here for some cute photos of my critters getting into the spirit. I snapped a few photos of the finished look to help inspire you if you need it. I am also going to share my favorite Christmas songs/music if you need or want help in that department.

Let us not talk about how the table is not in the middle. Look at that Darcy dog being fire side bird dog. Such a Llew.

The reason for the season…

Vince Gill (hello, his voice) is a great go to for Christmas music. Chris Isaak (again, his voice. Yowza) and Aaron Neville (is this a theme? His voice. So soulful) are also very good. I first heard Mindy in store while shopping. I went up to the register and asked someone to go find out who was singing. Why I did not use my iPhone I do not know.

Eden’s Edge has a very good version of ‘O Holy Night’ that I can not find on YouTube.

I have many more that are high on my list, I just can not name them all at the moment.

Check out my Spotify playlist for more.

Happy listening. Remember the reason for the season.

What are your favorites?

 

The Aftermath

Have you ever thought about the word ‘aftermath’ and actually looked up the definition? That word came to me this morning of this new day after my Uncle’s funeral service.

A cold front blew in yesterday during the service and it is chilly today. I am now emotionally exhausted after the last 2 days. What comes now is the real hard part I imagine. That is what people say. We are in the aftermath of this terrible, awful event and now that the service is complete we have to find the ‘new normal.’ I think I really dislike that word, normal. What is normalcy?

I do not want to talk about normal because it does not exist, I do not think, but I do want to talk about aftermath. Have you ever looked it up? I just did:


Merriam Webster:
1. a second-growth crop —called also rowen
2:  consequence, result <stricken with guilt as an aftermath of the accident>
3:  the period immediately following a usually ruinous event <in the aftermath of the war>
Origins: Aftermath dates to the late 1400s and was originally an agricultural term. Its two parts are transparent—but only if you’re familiar with an ancient word math that is now used only in British dialectal English and that means “a mowing of a grass or hay crop” and also refers to the crop that is gathered. The original aftermath came, of course, after the math: it was historically the crop of (usually) grass cut, grazed, or plowed under after the first crop of the season from the same soil. It wasn’t until the mid-late 1600s that aftermath developed its other meanings, both of which are now far more common than the first.
Synonyms: aftereffect, effect, backwash, child, conclusion, consequence, corollary, development, fate, fruit, issue, outcome, outgrowth, precipitate, product, result, resultant, sequel, sequence, upshot
Related Words: ramification; denouement (also dénouement), echo, implication, repercussion; afterclap, afterglow, aftershock; blowback, by-product, fallout, offshoot, ripple, side effect (alsoside reaction), spin-off

Dictionary.com:
noun
1something that results or follows from an event, especially one of adisastrous or unfortunate nature; consequence: the aftermath of war; the aftermath of the flood.
2a new growth of grass following one or more mowings, which may begrazed, mowed, or plowed under.
Origins1515-25; after + math a mowing, Old English mǣth; cognate with Old HighGerman mād (German Mahd); akin to mow1
Synonyms: outcome, result, upshot.


Is that not interesting? Two completely different meanings. I only ever thought of it in a negative light. I never knew about the agricultural derivation. There are two sides to every coin and this word has two sides. Well, really, it is like a coin spinning on the counter like a top. This life, this world, and everything in/on it is continuously revolving and evolving. Life keeps going whether you move your feet or not. The plants keep growing and changing with every season just like us. Everything comes full circle on their own timelines. You cut the grass, gather the crop, and it grows back anew with new life. That crop feeds the stock. With fire or torrential storms comes new growth. With death comes birth. That is the light and the life. Look at the synonyms in the Merriam Webster definition: child, fruit, outgrowth. AHA moment.

I have been struggling with the why and the questions without answers (I admit most of my prayers have been for my Aunt and Cousins). The why does not matter and the answers are not there. That is for God. We must however, look for Him, His light, and His will in all things. I do not believe that God wanted my Uncle to die in this way. I do believe that it was not my Uncle that did that. He was sick and not in his right mind. He was not treating his illness. I do believe that God was there with my Uncle at all times. He could not see Him there with him.

How can we see the good that can come out of this? He was a man of God. This I know with all my heart. He was a CPA in both his career and in his faith. He was a Certified Public Accountant. He was also certified by God, Public in his faith, and gave his personal Account of God (I took that part from the service, and it is all true). We will never know, in this realm, why this happened. I know he is survived by his siblings, his wife, his three children, and his three grandchildren. There has been new life. Those babies. AHA moment. We must all be certified by God, public in our faith, and tell our account for the children. Children are resilient and and have full faith and trust. We need to learn to be like that as the adult children of God and show the kids the right path. He is our Faithful Father. Trust in Him and leave our burdens with Him. We all have so little understanding and this earthly life, however hard, is short.

This story, however hard, can also save somebody’s life. It is not a dirty secret to be kept in a closet next to that itchy sweater your cousin once removed knitted for you that your mother makes you wear and you wish you could burn. It must be told to those worthy of hearing. You never know who is currently or has dealt with this exact same thing and has felt alone. No person is alone here and we all have a story. We all have more in common than anyone wants to believe. Be proud of who you are where you come from. It makes you who you are. We are all divinely and uniquely made in HIS vision.

Please share your story.

Harvest the crop and fruit from the bad and grow the new life into good.

Lead with love, dear readers. LOVE.