God’s Country Ride

Where do I even begin. I truly am not even sure. The Monday blues were real and hardcore on the struggle bus yesterday.

Years 1, 2, and 3 were all so different and this year was, well, no different! It was indeed the best year in my estimation and I believe in several others’ as well.

I suppose starting at the beginning is the natural way of things. It just seems so long ago!

I was able to skip town pretty early on Friday. I already had my things packed and Merle with me at the office. All I had to do was drop him off (more on that later) and I was off scot-free! Well, as scot-free as one can be in Friday traffic, but hey, I was on my way!

There were only a few stops I needed to make on the way for necessary long road trip things. Shavings for Ronan and Lito in the trailer and breakfast kolaches (both sausage and fruit) to go and nacks (that is ‘snacks’ for all you people without a cute niece) for R and me.

R and Ro made it to the farm Friday evening with just enough time to get Ro settled and for us to get into town for a Mexican food dinner. We were both starving and decided loading all of my stuff could wait till the morning.

Morning came quick enough, as it does, and there was plenty left to do before we could leave, but we got it all done in not much time or having to rush too badly. After loading Ro and Lito and before pulling out, R warmed up the sausage kolaches while I turned the rest of the horses out.

Our farm cat, clearly a bit miffed that he was going to be missing out on the fun and the kolaches, decided he would take matters into his own paws by snagging and eating our fruit kolaches off of the truck dash. He clearly enjoyed them! After having a good laugh, the first of many, we were on the road by around 10 AM. 

Lito in his road gear. Am I ridiculous? Maybe, but I do not care.

The drive was going smoothly enough.

Long time horse people never actually think that thought though because it is just a matter of when something will happen, not a matter of if.

Is that not so subtle foreshadowing you read?

Spoiler alert, there were incidents.

This was the first incident. Blown tire.

Doesn’t that just look like a party?

There are several great things about this incident. Both the horses and us were just fine. We had all the things we needed to change the tire. AND, go figure this, a friend just up the road to help. We were on the road in very little time at all. By all accounts, this part really could not have gone any better.

That was the first part.

Once we got to the next town about 45 minutes down the road, we spent the next hour trying to find someone to check the rest of the tires and replace the blown one. After trying three places, we finally got the others checked and decided to get on down the road. We started the drive with two spare tires and knew we would have better luck replacing the one in a bigger town or come Monday morning.

Feeling pretty alright about our good fortune, but still someone shaken, we drove on.

I will spare you some of the details of what happens next, but we almost got in a bad wreck…Like slam on the breaks and horn and basically come to a stop on a major freeway bad. And feel the horses get smacked around in the trailer behind us bad. All because someone was not paying attention and was entering the freeway incorrectly! (Let us all make a pact to help educate people on driving the road with horse trailers, OK? Thanks). It could have been much, much worse. I do not want to focus on that.

The point is, we were and are still OK.

I have shown you this cross before.

I can tell you one thing, we were praising the Lord during and after this drive.

Us humans were pretty shaken by the day’s events and we have never been so happy to unload horses in our lives. Oh, and bless these two boys of ours. They unloaded calmly and seemed to comfort us and not the other way around! I think at that point we would have been happy to never leave that hilltop ranch. At the end of the day, the drive took about twice as long as it should have.

We put the horses in their pens to settle and went to settle ourselves. That later on included an evening stroll with the horses before dinner with some of the other early arrivals.

Lito wanted to make donkey friends, but they were not so inclined.

The Sunday sunrise the following morning was stunning as per usual. R and I climbed on top of the trailer with our coffee for a better view. This basically set up the rest of the day.

I stayed in my pajamas until 11 AM. This will likely not be a shock for you to learn, but I never do that. Ever. It was glorious. I probably had four cups of coffee too.

Lito and one of his many girlfriends, Jazzy.

The longhorn wanted to make friends too.

Later on, in real clothes, we went for a much needed ride.

I have shown you this cross before too!

We then watched the sunset before heading down the hill for dinner in town with friends.

At dinner, our great friend and hostess read that day’s devotional aloud.

Boy howdy, if that did not speak right to me, I do not know what does.

It was a great evening and we all awoke on Monday morning rested and ready to make it to our final destination for the main event! …Sans incidents!

However, R and I first needed to replace our blown tire which took some time. This was actually kind of nice because we got to have a nice breakfast in town while we waited. Once that chore was finished, we went back to the ranch, loaded up (again, I praise these boys that loaded very well despite how their last trip went!), and headed out!

I am happy to report that we made it without any problems and got our ponies all settled for the week of fun!

And fun we did have in a big way.

Fun. Fellowship. Sisterhood. All with our horses. I can not share too terribly much because it is all, you know, secret and stuff, but here is a little taste of what went on.

Just look at my cute boy. He looks happy, yes? He had this face on pretty much the whole week.

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We enjoyed a movie out on the lawn after dinner the first night, complete with popcorn and candy…under the full moon! It took me right back to childhood and camp. We watched The Man From Snowy RiverGreat movie if you have never seen it!

I had late night and early morning hangouts with my guy.

Lito striking a pose while looking for the strange animal that made a scary noise.

We rode the hills together.

Those are my friends R and H. And Lito’s friends Ronan and Chica.

We crossed a lot of water and we loved it.

We rode through the shady, idyllic groves.

We hung out in the river and watched the fish.

Lito took many naps. I did not. I did not sleep much all week!

We saw, experienced, and felt God’s creation from the back of God’s gift to us. It could not have been any better.

We caught the sunrise each morning and the sunset each evening.

I felt transported to a different place at times. Which was much needed.

I do believe my Lito had as good of a time as I did.

My horse. My Lito man. He was amazing and seemed to be very happy (even if he did get bored and frustrated when we were going too slow or stopping too much). He wanted to be friends with everyone. I could not be more proud of him. He is not the horse for everyone, but he is for me. We have our own thing.

I lost count of how many times I laughed until I cried with my fellowship and horsemanship sisters. My stomach and my eyes hurt! Y’all have no idea how much I needed that. How much we all needed and still need that.

We rode together. We prayed together. We laughed together. We cried together. That is what it is and was all about. That is what IT is all about. AHAmoment. They call the Hill Country God’s Country and it sure did feel that way!

Now I can not share any more about that! BUT. I do have one more thing for y’all.

Did you wonder about my Merle while we were away? Well, wonder no more. He was in excellent care. I had to board him because all of my people were busy or out of town. He did not seem to mind and clearly had fun! Does he look like he is practicing his face for Halloween, missing baby teeth and all?!

By the time we got back to the farm and unloaded, I wished R a good safe rest of her drive, took a much needed bath, and then took a two hour nap (another thing I do not do).

I still have not caught up on sleep! We are all happy to be safely home even though we were not quite sure we wanted the trip to be over. This week is major catch up and now I just want to go back!

Walk in love, dear readers! I sure missed y’all!

 

The Change of Fall

Do you feel it?

You know it. What I am talking about.

The feeling in the air.

The days are getting shorter.

Fall is here. Or. At least coming to these parts!


To celebrate, I will share with you the ultimate fall song. Remember this one?


It is October! And I felt it in the air this morning while taking Merle out.

Well, actually, I have been feeling it in the air for a few days now and it has been just slightly, ever so slightly clicking up. Not just because we have now hit October 1st. You can only really feel it at dawn and dusk and if you try hard, throughout the morning. That soft, drier air. It has a different feel. A different smell. It makes me giddy inside. Just downright giddy, I tell you. For the change in more than just temperatures. For freshness. For the setup of the reason for THE season. The reflections of the past seasons and the ones to come. You know how I get this time of year.

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I have been out of the state for work for a few days drilling a well. With how busy and ‘full’ life has been the last few months, I was not looking forward to having to be away from home and my Merle. As it happens, like it always does, my eyes were opened while I was away. I was driving myself to dinner after my sift was over one night when I was caught in awe.

I was headed into the sunset down an old, old road that had been long cut through the tall pine trees of the rich timber country. I first noticed the way the light was forming the sunset and the time of day. It made me realize how the days have been getting shorter and the sunsets earlier, and earlier. Then I noticed the ever glow of the golden color of the rays. They were clear rays that bounced off of everything they touched, illuminating anything in contact, but at the same time, my eyes could not tell the difference from one to the other. How they shone between the trunks and the long shadows they created. The rays were seemingly suspended there, caught in that moment and time. Still. I like to think of them being captivated, much like I was. Rewarding me for seeing them. There was promise held in that golden light suspended in those trees.

The camera could not see what I was seeing.

It made me even more excited for fall and what is to come.

My cousin and I have already done an ‘all the fall things’ cooking session. She made a pumpkin chili and I made a pumpkin toffee dump cake. Um. GOOD. We have even picked more things to make for another fall evening and I can not wait. The date is not even on the books yet. Nothing gets me more excited for this time of year.

Sister K texted me yesterday reminding me that tomorrow (meaning today) was October 1st. Which really only means one thing. That we can start playing Christmas music. I know, I know, settle down. We will only play it for ourselves and BIL T, don’t worry. She is married to him so he has to listen (joking!). I promise to not share any Christmas music here until December.

There is another thing about this time of year. The thing that makes me the absolute giddiest of all giddy. If you have been around here for a little while you might be able to guess. It is something that happens for a week every October. A week that I live for. Now that my work commitments are complete (and I can feel myself breathe again) and we are in this fine fall month of October, I am thinking of nothing else.

Walk in love, dear readers, and do enjoy this fall! Embrace the change and allow it to happen like the change of the seasons.

Colorado

You know what? It is hard to get off mountain time twice in one month.

Ha!

What a statement! Can you believe I can say that? I certainly can not complain about it one bit.

This summer has been so great and it is not even over yet.

The thing is, I was too busy being in the moment, breathing in the mountain air, and enjoying just being in the mountains that I did not take very many pictures.

However, we went on a little hike after an attempt at yoga on the mountain and saw this sweet, little big view.

There was a lot of stunning storm watching. You know how I feel about storms.

There was a lot of marveling at God’s creation. How can a person not in a place like this?

We went on a bike ride to eat lunch.

And. We saw a rainbow. What is it about this place and rainbows? I see one every time I am here.

I blinked my eyes and here we are back in Texas. Is not that just the way?

Trying (not really THAT hard) to get off mountain time and back into real, adulting life for a few days. No more than that though because there is something exciting happening at the end of this week.

I told you this summer was going to be an adventure. We have been on two so far and the biggest one is yet to come! Here is your hint (ha! What a hint!). There will be a song for each day leading up to the big reveal. You do not want to miss this, I promise!

Walk in love, dear readers!

My Darcy Girl

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
~Unknown

 

 

Walk in love, my dear readers, we all need it.

Remember Me?

Yoohoo. Hi. Over here.

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Ya. Remember me?

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Yes, me. Your long lost friend. Hi, ya. I have missed y’all!

How is it May? And how has it been two weeks since I have written you? Not sure how that quite happened. It was not intentional, that is for dang sure. I have not fallen off the face of the earth. Maybe you wish I had! Anyway, it is not for lack of goings ons. 

There has just been a lot of life going on over here in my world. Now is not the time for that though.

Not to worry and they say worrying is fruitless anyhow (spoiler alert, it is true). God has it all and me. And you. This I know with great conviction. He has been ever present throughout it all and is still here.

I will do my best to get back to writing to y’all regularly, but in the meantime, enjoy some photos of the past couple of weeks.

Life and time go on, man. It is how you use it. How you live it. How you share it. AHAmoment. Taking each and every day to be better than you were the day before. Letting God work through you for the blessings of others.

Walk in love, dear readers!

Work trips are not all that bad.

But being at the farm is better. Especially to catch the moon setting in the morning.

I do, I love you.

Getting our steps in.

Boop.

Magic.

Easter eve yoga for the Darcy dog.

A new view.

Easter morning sunrise.

Tuners with all the words to say.

Cooking is always a good idea. It is good for the soul. Roasted red pepper soup from scratch. Pretty dang good.

Until next time…which will be soon! I am spending the weekend with some of my best friends riding horses here in the great state! Even if it rains, it will be a grand time!

 

Gray World Of Today

Hello my fellow ducks in the rain on manure mountains! How are you today?

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Part of learning how to be one of those successful ducks is not letting up on what you know to be right and wrong. AHAmoment. No matter what. No matter what the other guy is doing.

It means holding steadfast to your morals and your ethics in the gray world of today. Doing the right things for the right reasons. Sticking to your guns as they say. Listening to your gut. This is something that has been on my mind recently and is something I have been reminded of several times in the past few weeks. Interestingly enough, I stumbled upon this great little read today and it is the inspiration for today’s AHAmoment. I could not have put it better myself. Go read the whole thing. And then do some more reading. She has some good writings over there!


“Nowadays, the lines between good an evil have become so fuzzy. The world is one giant gray area of differing beliefs and lifestyles.
As someone who still believes in hard lines between right and wrong, I’m often put in a position that I don’t want to be. Making the choice between the easy thing and the right thing.”
~Emily Gernaat

It means not lowering yourself to the level of the people who are ‘winning’ right now or who are ‘above’ you right now.

Not letting go of your light and ability to see the colors.

Not questioning your path and journey that is set forth for you.


“What struck me most was “take delight in the Lord, and he will GIVE YOU THE DESIRES of your heart.”
I think I have read that verse wrong for years. In my shallow little head I thought, so if I desire a black corvette, then surely the Lord will deliver on that right? Or what about that own son of Dash Ta Fame I have been eyeballing?
What I’m realizing now is that the Lord is putting NEW desires in my heart. Righteous desires, real, fulfilling, godly desires that only come from taking delight in Him.
When that transformation happens, my desires to win a gold buckle or a million dollar check slowly fade away and are replaced with the desire to serve, to be a good steward of the horses in my care, to develop my skills, and to add value to other people’s lives.
When those desires are placed at the forefront of my mind, then success will just be a side effect of walking in faith and chasing the godly desires that Jesus puts in my heart.
So whether good or bad people are winning, in the end it doesn’t matter much. Base your success and fulfillment on Godly desires and every day you will be winning at life.”
~Emily Gernaat

A lot of things to stir around in your pot of thoughts!

Do you get what I am getting at?

Anyway. Speaking of pots.

I went to the grocery store on the way home from work today in the actual rain. I thought to myself, “self, today feels like a good cooking day.” I strolled on in there got ALL the things I needed to make roasted tomato soup and Shepard’s pie. I was confident I did not need a list.

Well. You can see where this is going I am sure.

I forgot an ingredient I need for both dishes.

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Way to go me! That is what I get for not writing a list. I am just not one of those people. One of these days I will learn.

So you know what?!

Tomorrow looks like an even better cooking day than today for this duck!

I will just be dancing in the rain over here until then. Figuratively speaking of course, it is too cold for that.

Walk in love, dear readers!

Nowhere To Discovery

That is the way.


“The urge to run away into the wilderness and get lost, is in fact the urge to be found by nature, or yourself. It Is the embodiment of discovery.”
~The Wild In Us

 


“When I think about that sunrise that I woke up to that morning, I just feel like I got as close to nowhere as I could get, and found out that it was more of a place than anywhere I’ve been in a long time.”
~Hank Green

Not all who wander are lost, or however that saying goes.

Go get yourself out into nowhere.

Walk in love, dear readers!

 

In All Seriousness.

Just an average Thursday over here, do not mind me.

So, do you remember how back in September I told you how I get reflective at the beginning of fall? Well, once we hit November 1, I reach a whole new level. Ya, news flash, I know. Alert the media. What media? Never mind.

Anyway, every time November rolls around I want to do something serious here in this space. Serious. Meaningful. Something to express the true meaning of Thanksgiving and Christmas as we come into the season. You know, the real reason for the season. That always seems like a very large task. How does one tackle something so grand? Something with such gravity and brevity?

Typical me taking everything so seriously and making it such.

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Here is the deal. The AHAmoment in it all.

It is not really all that complicated. It is very simple and basic. Something everyone can grasp if you allow yourself. Open your eyes. Remember that whole KISS rule your teachers taught you way back when? Spoiler alert. That one is for life too. Keep. It. Simple. Silly. Go figure. It also has nothing to do with the season or time of year. That is just a happy convenient reminder. To get you intentional about it. It is something to be lived every day and carried on throughout the year.

What it all boils down to is being thankful. Experiencing the gratitude and the blessings and where they come from. Seeing them. Feeling them. All around you. They are there all around us. It is us who have a hard time seeing what is right there in front of our faces. Feeling it as we would feel the ever present wind against our skin.

We all live very complicated, intertwined, and busy lives. Surrounded by distractions. Going through life with not only blinders on, but with blindfolds on. Thinking we are getting somewhere without actually seeing.

What it is all about is the journey. Walking your path. Seeing, experiencing, and enjoying all that is around you.


“Lord, give me the eyes to see
Exactly what it’s worth
And I will be the richest man on earth”

Being grateful for today and celebrating it. For the very life in your veins. The food in your belly. The sun shining outside. The rain that reinvigorates the earth. The people around you. The family you create, blood or not. Those that are with us, both physically and spiritually.

Being grateful for your past because it has made you who you are today and brought you to where you stand this very minute. A step in front of yesterday. To be built up by the struggle. For the journey. YOUR path.

Being grateful for a wet dog nose or a soft, velvety horse muzzle against your skin. For green pastures with enough grass for the horses and cows. A full pond. For being able to see the sunrise and sunset. For getting to the beginning of November without yet having a frost and blanketing temperatures like last year. For a functioning manure spreader. Being able to share my love with fun desserts to serve my family. To laugh and share with people you love.

Being grateful for feeling time slow down, during a time of year when time does nothing but rush past, when you can see just one of your many blessings.

I could go on.


“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.”
~Avery~

Serious, I know. But in all seriousness. Life, man. It is a beautiful life and we are all blessed to live it. See and feel your many blessings so you can be a blessing to those around you.

The most interesting thing about all of this is when you start to see, those around you catch a glimmer too and start to see a little for themselves.

Just some things to stir around in your pot of thoughts on this fine Thursday. Clearer than mud, I hope? Too early? Well, at least I am not sharing Christmas music yet!

I think this is going to be a great month. Are there any anvils and pianos over my head?

Walk in love, dear readers!

P.S. I am grateful for y’all. Yes! Each and everyone of YOU that comes here to AHAmoments. For allowing my to share my thoughts. For engaging in conversation. For sharing your story. For making this a great place to be.