Middle Of Nowhere

Nowhere I tell you.

You know, grief and loss are some interesting things.

Or rather, that moment is interesting when they smack you like a mac truck out the middle of nowhere.

WHACK!

Did you feel that?!

Where the heck did that come from??!!

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The middle of nowhere, that is where.

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Well, I guess not quite exactly.

There I was today, in my office. At my desk. In the middle of the long afternoon on an innocent Wednesday. Just working away doing my thing while listening to music.

Then all of a sudden…this song comes on.

And then, BOOM!

WHACK!

I was smacked in the face and straight through to the heart. It all almost came right out my eyes, but it got lodged right there in my throat, above my chest, in a knot for a good ten minutes. Practically choking me.

And this had nothing to do with Merle Haggard (although, yes, that is sad too) and everything to do with the memory of my grandfather.

No Sir, he will never be gone. He lives on in us in so many ways.

Man oh man. That was exhausting! Excuse me while I go bawl my eyes out. Be back later.

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Has that ever happened to you? Seemingly out of the blue?

I told you I get this way this time of year.

Walk in love, dear readers.

Daily Dose Of Cute

I figure it is about time for a daily dose of cute. You can never have too much of that, right!?

Well, this weekend I snapped this photo of Lito man and it got me thinking.

Uh, who is that manly looking thing? How did we get here?! I swear just yesterday he looked like this!

Full disclosure, since I try to keep things real over here for the both of us, he did look like this a few moments before he looked like a real horse and not a giraffe.

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But in all seriousness, sometimes the transformation is astounding to me.

It is just a reminder that if you look back from where you are, you can see exactly how far you have come. AHAmoment. No matter what you are going through in the moment, tomorrow is always a new day.

The last few months with Lito have been a little difficult, but lately we are really starting to come out of whatever that phase was. He still has little moments, but each day gets better. The only thing to do in the moment was give him the time he needed to work through the issues. Slow and steady wins the race and it seems to have paid off.

So, let us look closer at the physical transformation, shall we? Because why not? And next week is Lito’s week, so…

I can not wait till he is even older and he fills out. Still waiting on that part!

If you did not know, in honor of going on our ride next week and not blogging, I am sharing your favorite horse related posts and the posts from the last two years’ rides over on the AHAmoments Facebook page. If you missed yesterday’s share, here it is! Go check it out and don’t miss the coming shares over the next few days!

Seriously though, I pinch myself! Now, if we can just keep him from rubbing his mane (and me from roaching it), his mane will be super long. Like the weeds in my round pen.

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Walk in love, dear readers, and take a moment to realize how far you have come!

 

The Gal I Am

I feel the need to tell y’all something.

Celebrate your individuality. Not only today, but every day. There must be something in the water…or something. You know, be you. Love what you love. Not to worry about what other people think because it has no bearing on you. No hold. What other people think has more to do about them than about you.

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So, in that spirit.

I am the kind of gal that gets surprised by the new noises that can be heard on the north wind after the first cold front of the year. That happened this morning.

I am a complete album kind of gal. To me, whole albums are a complete work and I have more complete albums than single songs in my music library. How many times can I say complete? This also means I am a music buyer and not a streamer.

I am a go to the grocery store hungry and buy all the things I do not need kind of gal. This turns into me being surprised at the check out every time.

I am the kind of gal that likes to drive on the line rather than between them. There may be some kind of deeper life metaphor in there. Apples don’t fall far.

I am a turn the gospel music on in traffic so I do not get Traffic Tourette’s and yell at people kind of gal. I really helps.

I am an early to bed, early to rise kind of gal with a full night’s rest in between. You know how I am about my sunrises and sunsets. Besides, they just said on the news that sleep deprivation leads to Alzheimer’s. Must be true, right?

I am a sit around the fire pit kind of gal and always have been. I can not wait for the first fire of the year.

I am the kind of gal that gets only mildly surprised and greatly amused when I discover I am many times over a product of where I come from. Fascinating, right?

I am a cross wall gal. As in I have a wall of crosses in my house. So does my oldest sister, A.

I am a close the cabinets and drawers all the way kind of gal.

I am the kind of gal that wears more than once necklace at a time because I can not just pick one.

I am a set the table for dinner gal. I actually keep my dining room table set, complete with cloth napkins and napkin rings all times, but I eat on my couch 99% of the time. I just have a thing for table settings. And lots and lots of candles.

I am a color gal. Lots of color. My closet looks like a rainbow. ‘Winter’ colors are not really a thing for me.

I am a flavored coffee gal. Get of your high horse, coffee people. Pecan coffee is good, I do not care what you say.

I am the type of gal that smiles when I come home and there are dog toys scattered all over the house behind my dog greeting me at the door with her wagging tail.

I am a planning and dreaming gal. I am not spontaneous as a general rule, not that I can not be, I just prefer to plan…the whole day. Every day. But I am also capable of adjusting. I also day dream a lot. Little dreams and big dreams. Close ones and far off ones.

I am an ask all the questions kind of gal. I love my details. I was told once that I should be a lawyer because I like details. I found this more than mildly amusing.

I am a gal that prefers animals to most people. Although, I think you already know that.

I am a gal that does not mind getting dirty and using her hands.

I am an independent gal. A do not tell me what to do kind of gal. I have been told that this intimidates people. What people? Who are these people? I also find this amusing. I do not think of myself as intimidating. Maybe I am. Strong, sure, but like I said, I am a product of where I come from. Most of the people in my life are this way, related or not.

I am a helping gal. I like to help people. To be of service.

I am a gal that has an easy to read face. There is no hiding my thoughts if you can see my face. I am no poker player, that is for sure. I also have a tendency to roll my eyes. Very loudly. And normally I do not even know I do it. I had a teacher in high school call me out for this one time. It made me laugh.

I am a homebody type gal and I need my alone time sometimes.

I am a gal that knows she is a child of God and was made this way for a reason. Even if it is hard sometimes.

What kind of person are you? Let us celebrate it! Thank you for being you and being here!

Walk in love, dear readers!

Amusing

Sometimes, I find myself amusing, and I am not talking about funny as in laughing at my own jokes. Although, ha, there is that. I do do that.

Maybe not as amusing as the faces this guy makes.

I spent the majority of this weekend crossing chores of the list at the farm. Literally, all day Saturday. I did not sit and stop until after 6 PM.

First I mucked the barn out and spread the manure which was a feat given all the rain we have been getting. Then, after that, I decided to actually clean the inside of the barn. You know, actually sweeping all the dust and cobwebs off the walls and then hosing everything down. Just on a whim. Which left me covered in dust and cobwebs thinking I had spiders and other things crawling every-which-where.

Somewhere in there I also cleaned the feed room, moved the cows up to the horse pasture, and put more flags on the electric fence. I drove to town to run a couple errands and grabbed a cherry limeade from Sonic because I felt like it and thought it would be nice to have while I did some mowing when I got back to the farm.

I hopped on the mower and my cherry limeade promptly fell out of the cup holder within the first five minutes. After stopping and staring angrily at the wasted nectar and contemplating going inside for a beer, I laughed at myself and kept on mowing.

Finally, I brought the horses in after they ran around like sillies in the slightly cooler, rain threatening air. I hosed off Apache, sprayed everyone to ward off the bird sized mosquitoes, put some shavings in the stalls, and fed everyone before going inside for a much needed shower, cocktail, and dinner.

Sunday morning greeted me with this beautiful sunrise as I fed the horses, a promise for the day to come.

It was a very pretty morning on the farm once everything woke up. It felt like fall with a cool breeze! I lingered over coffee with my Mamma as we watched the four new calves bounding up the terraced horse pasture with their mothers before I set to cleaning and straightening the house.

I quickly mucked out the barn and unloaded my tack from the trailer from last weekend, since you know, I did not do that last weekend. Then I cleaned the tack shack as I started to gather things together for my upcoming trip with Lito. Side note, he saw me holding his shipping halter, pricked his ears, and walked up to me. I swear he looked excited like it was time to go somewhere. Unfortunately for us both, we still have to wait a couple of weeks.

Anyway, I looked around, thought for a second, and made the important life choice to fit in a ride instead of cleaning tack before I had to leave. Life is short, kids, choose the ride. The chores will wait. AHAmoment.

Bareback on the Cheetah Beetah while ponying my Lito. We had fun, but Lito had the most fun trying to play with me. Silly kid.

This is about the time I find myself funny. Don’t you just love how I finally get around to the point?

I do all of that and then come home and can not bring myself to do any of the mountains of laundry or cleaning that needs to be done. I can barely even motivate myself to unload my stuff from the car. Which, I made myself do and then also too clean out my storage closet in my car port. The closet that has basically nothing in it. Still no laundry.

I would rather wake up at 5:30 AM, like I did this morning. Take a shower, take Darcy out, start a load of laundry, go get coffee (because not only can I not do the laundry like a normal person, I can not go to the store and have milk on hand like a normal person. BUT I got to see that big, beautiful moon! Anyone else see that?),  talk to friend H on the phone during her morning commute, and then hang up that load of laundry. This is often how I end up doing laundry, one load at a time, at the last minute, and early in the morning. This is how much I dislike it.

I sat down after all of that to finish my coffee and was ready to go back to bed after realizing I needed to get dressed and go to work.

I actually talked to another old friend, N, this morning who laughed at me for my early morning charade and wondered for the umpteenth time how we are so different and can still be friends. What can I say, I am just that way!

Normal is over rated anyway. Life is too short not to laugh at yourself. AHAmoment.

Walk in love, dear readers, and go laugh at yourself!

Happy Friday

Happy Friday, happy people!

Only one business day between you and the weekend.

YOU can do it!

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Be happy.

Weekends are a beautiful thing. You can clear your head. Recharge your batteries. Remember what is important. Get away from stressful things. If yesterday was any indication, this is desperately needed. All this desk riding is getting to me!

There are many different ways to do this. For some people it is just sleeping in. For others it is taking some quiet time to read a good book. Or go for a walk. Or a drive. Go fishing.

For me, it is getting out in the country with my Darcy dog. Feeling the air. Seeing the light. Breathing in my horses’ scent. This does not always mean riding. My relationship with my horses is not always about riding. Sometimes it is just hanging out and grooming that we need. Sometimes it is just being in their presence doing nothing at all but just being present.

One reason I like to share my time at the farm with you is because of what it means to me. What it does for me. Another reason is because not everyone has the opportunity to experience what being in the country and with horses does for a person. If I can give you just a tiny picture of what it is like and make you feel something positive like what I feel, I feel like I have done something good in this world.

If you have been around here a while, none of the above is news to you.

Remember this?

Or how about this?

Or this, this, or this?

Clearly, I write about this a lot.

This weekend though, I need some solid hours in the saddle and some time crossing things off the to-do list. That ever present list that never goes away or gets shorter.

What does it for you? That recharges your batteries? Makes you feel refreshed and new? Feeds your soul?

Walk in love, dear readers!

The Season Of Fall

It is about that time of year and I am not talking about hurricane season. Although we really need the rain. We almost got some this weekend. Hopefully this week we actually get some.

But back to the season at hand. It is more than just entering the ‘ber months and entering fall. More than baking all the fall things, which I am very excited about. More than family time, which is everything.

It is the season of reflection. Of being grateful and thankful. Remembering those that are no longer with us and also too of those that still are. Cherishing every moment we have with them. Thinking of the future.

It always seems to hit me right at September first. With the start of dove season. College football. The distant promise of cooler temperatures. Finding new recipes for fall baked goods and sides to present at holiday meals. Thinking about Christmas presents and the real reason for the season.

It makes me want to drink red wine while I eat chocolate pie and listen to prayer and gospel songs. They have a healing effect I swear. You should try it some time.

What does fall mean to you? How do you remember those that are no longer with us?

Walk in love, dear readers!

And because I have to, I have a song to share with you.


“All my love is due Him”


Intention

You want to know what is really important? Like really, really important.

Intention.

Not only in life, but also in horsemanship. This is something that I have always known logically and in my heart and it is something I try to actively live. It is all fine and good to say yes, I know this but it is something entirely different to actually feel it and live that truth. Generally speaking, I think I do a pretty good job of doing that, especially on the horsemanship side (which is just another reason why working with horses is good for me…to bring these concepts full circle in my every day life). Some days are better than others, absolutely, but it is something I try to work on and I have told y’all that before.

What is truly amazing to me though is how the horses always seem to find ways to remind me just how important intention and self talk really are and broaden my awareness or perception to a whole new level. As if I did not even have a clue of the concept before.

Has anything like that ever happened to you before?

Anyway, this past weekend was one of those next level awareness weekends.

I went out to the farm on Friday after work and decided to do some mowing. It was too hot to do anything else and the horses were on the other end of the property anyway. Darcy quite literally sat in the shade staring at me like I was crazy. When I decided I had mowed enough (uh, hello itchy skin and watery face. Allergies are a real thing for me now), I went to get cleaned up, make a cocktail, and sit with my Pops for the sunset and dinner.

The moon was bright and full after the sun went down. It was one of those crazy bright moons where you can see anything and everything. I probably could have read a book. It has to be some magical time I swear because cool and amazing things seem to always happen when the moon is like that. Powerful. Remember that time I rode with a friend during a full moon like this one? Or that frigid night riding my favorite polo pony in college?

I was on my way into the house to call it a night and decided to head out to the barn for a bit instead. The next thing I knew, I was out with Lito doing ground work and going over obstacles. No pressure. Just the two of us hanging out going for a walk under the moon. It was the most relaxed he has been in months. I know this may sound silly, but I swear we both thought, “finally.” I gave him a little extra feed under the moon and a thank you pet before going inside.

Saturday morning I decided would be Lito’s morning and Lito’s morning only. I fed him his breakfast where we were the night before. I spent extra time grooming and tacking up. My music playing in the background. We did the same ground work we did the night before and then I read out of my devotional before mounting up. The memories of our full moon night and the words of the devotional dancing in my brain, I made a conscious effort not to jumble my communication. To make the conscious choice and put it into action. To keep my energy and my core low, grounded. To keep my heart and my intention true. To stay positive, connected, and a source of support. I even talked to us both out loud to make sure.

He rewarded me by acting on my every thought. Practically saying, “I got this, let’s go!” We did the same exercises we did on the ground. We did some new ones. We rode out in the pastures. All the while being soft, responsive, and willing. Before I knew it we were both covered in sweat and it was time to quit for the day, but neither of us seemed to be ready to stop.

I do not even think any words can come near to describing the feeling, but just to suffice it to say that this is just another reason horses are such a gift from God.

It was what we both needed. For me to be hit with this AHAmoment yet again to stay present and with the horse. To stay true to yourself and have faith. To have an open heart and clear intentions. To stay positive and think the right thoughts so your actions are right. That is how the horse lives and that is what we should strive for. Both horses, dogs, and people respond better when we do.

Sunday morning I decided to take a sunrise gospel walk to the river with Lito instead of riding. We had not done that in a long time and I wanted to take the time to just be with him and be grateful for Saturday’s experience.

We saw these three cuties scurrying up a pecan tree.

There is always that one!

I feel utterly blessed and grateful.

When I returned Lito to the paddock upon our return, Cheetah walked up to me seemingly saying, “hey mom, is it my turn yet?” So I grabbed her halter and we had a quick bareback ride followed by a hose down before I tacked up Chance for his ride.

And just like that it was time to pack up and head home for the weekend was over.

Quite a big weekend if you ask me!

Walk in love, dear readers!

Somewhere In There

Welp.

You know what they say about when you are busy? Ya, I don’t either, but man, the time sure goes by pretty quick like and then you look back and have no idea how you got so far. That is how it has felt since I got back to town for good at the end of July, after all my gallivanting about. The good thing about that is at some point, it won’t be so hot!

So. I have a new niece! Stubborn thing was not ready to come and was holding out as long as possible. I guess she comes by that honestly. Ha.

We all spent the first half of the week waiting and waiting and waiting. Then, FINALLY, little girl decided to grace us with her presence in the wee hours of Wednesday. I had a conference/expo for work (that we have twice a year…yes, the one where I have spilled coffee on myself in the past) starting that afternoon, so I went up to the hospital for the morning before heading over to the show.

Between the expo and helping my mother with my new niece’s older siblings, there was not much time for anything else. Then I caught some kind of virus on Friday and spent the next twenty four plus hours couch hopping between my parents house and mine.

By Sunday morning I felt well enough to get myself to the farm for a ride. The last six months have been very slow on the riding front and Lito really needs more work to get over this hump and get back to where we were. He is still in this ‘phase’ and I am not the biggest fan. Every day he seems a little better, but this whole process is taking much longer than I expected.

I keep having to remind myself that he is young and we are in no rush. He never did act like a young horse. He skipped that whole bit. And he is allowed to act like a young horse. We have all the time in the world. It is going to take the time it takes and that is up to him. He needs to get his old confidence back. That is very hard for me to admit, that he seems to have lost it, but it is okay to not be okay. He will get it back.

I have started a new thing. I found this devotional specifically for horse people: Unbridled Faith: 100 Devotions From The Horse Farm. (Funny side note, I bought this for myself a while back and then my friend, H, unbeknownst to me, also bought it for me! I just love that.) Anyway. This new thing I have been doing. I have started reading an entry from this book out loud with him before every ride. To get myself in the right mind set, to get centered. To remind myself to keep the faith. I used to keep certain quotes in mind when I first started riding him and I need to get back to that. It kept my intention true and all outside factors away. The horses can really pick up on that.

(This is how hot it has been…nice and sweaty before the ride. Luckily the breeze picked up mid ride and that helped a bunch.)

Anyway, the ride was pretty good overall and you could tell he was trying. That is what matters most. And at the end, everyone was tired and happy.

The good news is, I have nothing on the books but riding in the near future, so eventually we will get there. Slow and steady wins the race and that I know to be true.

Somewhere in there, last week, this little place called AHAmoments celebrated its two year anniversary. That is pretty cool and I have y’all to thank for it! Thanks for coming here and reading (even when I have been MIA…sorry about that), commenting, sticking it out, and coming back!

Walk in love, dear readers!

 

The French Countryside: The Beginning

The last update from France left you with us in the quiet farm house well after midnight on Sunday the 8th, drinking wine and eating chocolate mousse before getting some much needed rest.

Apologies for the delay in sharing the rest of the trip, but life has gotten in the way! That whole being an adult thing.

So, here is some more of the French adventure!

I woke up later that morning to this.

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Naturally, way before everyone else, but I did not mind because it gave me a chance to explore and enjoy the quiet. The mornings were the only quiet time in the house as the house was full of people and most everyone slept in until the croissants arrived after 10 AM.

The air was cool, the sun was shining, the sky was blue, and the birds were chirping.  This is how every single morning greeted me. As you can assume, a bit more my speed than busy Paris.

I was staying near Chateau-Gontier, a very cute and quint little town surrounded by rolling hills of golden wheat fields, dairy producers, and French Trotters in the Mayenne department. I will tell you, there is nothing quite like seeing one of those golden wheat fields on a hill as it is lit on fire by the late evening sun. It truly redefines the color gold like Lito’s coat will do when the sun hits it just right.

This first day began, as the rest of the days, with croissants from the local bakery. They really are better over there if you were wondering and that is why I ate so many of them! No excuses! I was in France! Good thing I have never had a croissant over here that tasted as good as the real French ones or I might just make that part of my lifestyle.

The rest of the day was spent relaxing on the farm. Meeting the horses. Enjoying the yard and the breeze. Talking about what we wanted to do that week.

Monday, after croissant and fresh black current jam from currents grown on the farm, we drove three hours to Normandy to visit some of the brood mares and foals, see some of the young horses in training, and bring one of them back to the farm.

On the way there, we stopped in Fougeres to walk around the castle and have lunch.

 

The castle and the view were better than the actual lunch and we continued on our way.

 

It was a long day of driving, but we were greeted back at the farm with wine, cheese, and charcuterie for dinner. I believe it was at this time I tried the magic butter on a piece of baguette (which are also really as prevalent as croissant if you thought that was not true). Magic butter is no lightly used term. It will change your life. It has huge salt crystals in it and it is nothing short of amazing. Word has it you can buy it here in The States and I am going to go buy some for EVERYONE as soon as I can.

Tuesday was another quiet, slow day on the farm where I spent time in a hammock reading next to one of the paddocks.

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Wednesday was a good horse day. We trailered one of the horses to a near by equestrian center that used to function as one of the state studs, Le Lion-d’Angers, for a visit to a farrier. It was a really cool place with an amazing cross country course and race track. Hedge lined, white sand, outdoor jump arenas. Rows and rows of militaristic stables (not my most favorite part). A breeding center for the standing race studs.

I walked the grounds as the mare got her new set of kicks. It was beautiful. If there was any kind of event going on there while I was there, I would have definitely gone back. If you are ever in the area, give it a visit. You will not be disappointed.

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Then, back at the farm that evening, I finally got to ride! A big, lovely French bred warmblood bay mare named Top Girl. We got along famously the whole time I was there. It was most needed.

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We rode at the magic golden hour in France. 8PM. It stays light till about 10:30 there. The air was cool, the lighting was wonderful, and the grass and wheat fields. Words can not describe it. Atop a fine horse and nothing could have been better.

Wednesday was a good day, but not nearly as great as Thursday!

But. You will have to check back for that later!

I am currently out on location for work trying to enjoy some down time in my life this month as a traveling vagabond. I got to have two much too short days at home with my Darcy before I drove the three and a half hours out of state.

So, this is where I sit. I hope to be home by next week and you can bet your boots the first place I go will be directly to the farm. This is the longest I have gone without my animals, but this is what pays the bills.

Being an adult man…

Walk in love, dear readers!