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!

So, Let It Shine.

“Nothing can dim the light that shines within.”
~Maya Angelou

Just a little Monday motivation for you if you need it. Yes, yes those are burs in his forelock. It is his new fav thing to do.

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

Light

Let us talk for a minute about light. Y’all know I have a thing for it. That sounds like a funny thing to say, but you get what I mean. Especially there at the farm.


“In nature, light creates the color. In the picture, color creates the light.”
~Hans Hofmann

On Thursday of last week I went out to the farm for a delayed midweek visit because I was going to be out of town over the weekend to attend a baby shower for Sister K. The ground was soup again (or still, I guess) and there was no riding to be had, so I just fed everyone and hung out. Enjoyed the clean, clear, and cool air and the sounds of happily eating animals.

The cows were a bit miffed to only be getting hay to eat. As if they do not live on an all you can eat buffet.

After turning the horses out I walked out into the pasture with them and then on down to the pond. Thinking to myself all the while, “maybe I will get some good sunset shots over the water.”

What a passing thought to have.

You could already tell there was something special in the air that day. In the very light itself. It was like a magnet pulling me in. A veritable beacon. Can you see it there? Down the valley? In the tip of Cheetah’s tail?

I mean. Just look at that mare next to that pecan tree.

This little one was intrigued by me crouching in the grass. Or she just wanted to model. Only she knows the real answer.

I turned back around to see that the horses had meandered down and a gaggle of calves had moved in.

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Anyway, I went a little further down, closer to the pond and looked to my left. I raised my phone camera and snapped two pictures.

I just stood there in wonder for a few moments.

Do you see it? In these two photos together? What if you imagined them together, combined into one image? One on top of the other?

Do you see the cross in the light?

I do not even have words for that.


 “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

~John 8:12



“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.”

~1 John 1:5



“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

~John 1:5



“The obviously well kept secret of the “ordinary” is that it is made to be a receptacle of the divine, a place where the life of God flows.”

~Dallas Willard


Ordinary. Extraordinary.

Darcy was feeling it too.

But then again, Darcy is always feeling it. Animals get it.

What a moment.

Thank you for letting me share this moment with you.

Let your lights shine. It is bright within you!

Walk in love, dear readers!

You Know What?

Sometimes, beauty just finds a way to smack you in the face and take your breath away. AHAmoment. It makes you stop and take note. For good reason.

Sometimes even before you have finished your first cup of morning coffee, so you better wake yourself up and be ready for it!

I walked out of my parents house with a cup of coffee after feeding Sunday morning and I was smacked in the face with this beautiful sight. I could not help but snap a quick photo of it. It had me smiling all day.

You know me and that light and those long shadows.

You see those pine trees there? Legend has it they came all the way from Georgia. Random, yes, but I love these pine trees more than any other. I never knew I could be so sentimental over some random pine trees in Texas that are said to be from Georgia. What a story I am sure they could tell.

I love how after twenty years of coming here, I am still amazed and taken away by the beauty. God’s beauty. The interesting thing about it is that it is never the same. It is dynamic and ever changing. From day to day, season to season, year to year. Like God’s love. Ever present and eternal, always taking you by surprise and reminding you of His presence. It brings your feet right square down to the ground.

Anyway. While Sunday was a stunner of a day, Friday and Saturday were wet, cold, and windy. We got quite a bit of rain ourselves and the ground was basically soup (not the best for riding). It had us all in an eating and drinking mode. Convenient since I really had zero desire to organize and clean all my things from my trip.

We all had been craving molasses cookies. Presumably all suffering in silence until I broke down and stated my craving aloud and everyone desperately agreed. Naturally, I had to bake some. If you have never tasted these delights, you are missing out. We all grew up on them.

It is as simple as that. Or, as this rather.

Make the dough.

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Ball the dough (directly, if you are too impatient to chill the dough first).

Roll the dough…in sugar. Making sure to get some on the counter with the help of a little person. You are not doing it right if you do not.

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Bake the dough.

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But not too long!

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Then you eat an exorbitant amount of them! So so good. They got me thinking. I should try these with pumpkin!

Want the recipe? I will share it with you soon!

After baking, we took a stroll to the river to see how high it had gotten.

There is a beach under there somewhere.

It is still supposed to rise up a bit more, but it should stay in bank even still.

All of that work made us thirsty. I made myself a ginger orange margarita.

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By then the day was almost over and it was evening feeding time.

These two just tickle me to death. This is definitely not the best photo in the world, but I sure do love it. I often find them like this. Five and a half years later and they still choose to share a stall.

Then with a Sunday like this…I just have to show you again.

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What else is there to do but hop on the best mare and call for the kids to come out and join you.

Such a contrast of weather in two days.

Walk in love, dear readers!

Keepin’ It Real

I read something the yesterday that was pretty spot on and I wanted to share it with you. You know, because that is something I like to do.

My friend, M, shared this article over on the book of face and, intrigued, I gave it a click. You should do the same and give it a read. It does not matter if you chase cans, jump pretty painted sticks, dance inside a rectangle, or stroll the trails. It does not really have anything to do with horses.


“We show the world a version of ourselves. But rarely the whole picture. We give everyone a glimpse of the bright moments, the triumph, and the fun. But what about the rest of the story? What about the defeat, the heartache, the sin and loss? Where is the real stuff?
Transparency is scary stuff. Baring your soul to the world is not for the weak hearted. But what if we all were a little less guarded?
Does transparency invite judgment and criticism? Probably. But it also invites grace, empathy and compassion.”

This, my dear readers, is about life and what IT is all about. The greatest of all AHAmoments. This one of the main reasons I started this little blog of mine.

Why I share the good, the bad, and the ugly. And, hopefully, sometimes funny. This is why I share my stories and my struggles. My victories after challenges. What I learned after failure so it is not really failure. Why I try to fight the negativity with positivity, the dark with the light. This is why I share the music I do. Why I share the love of my animals.

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To reach just one person and maybe help them. So they know they are not alone and, honestly, so I know the same. That is real, and that is life. So they know that we are all in this together, walking this walk. And dang, it is hard sometimes. Just ask anyone who will tell the truth. We are all more alike than we think.

Life is about speaking the truth and sharing your story. Your testimony and what gets you through. Being brave and vulnerable, even if it does not feel brave because it feels scary.

This article made my day.

Here is what real life for me is like sometimes on Mondays. I woke up yesterday after hitting the snooze button for at least thirty minutes, cussing as I shuffled through the shavings on the floor (that spilled out of the cuff of my jeans on Sunday for the umpteeth time)(I also won’t mention all the burrs scattered all over all the floors. Wherever the Darcy goes, so go the burrs), took my dog out, threw on work clothes (some of which I pulled from the laundry piles covering my bedroom floor….the laundry that I did not do Sunday), and ran out the door to go to work. Stopping to get coffee because I did not have the time, or the milk, to have coffee at home. All the while feeling guilty about all of the above and dreading the list of things that awaited me at my office desk. Some days are just like that. They can’t all be rainbows and roses.

Today I awoke with a new vigor while aiming my arrow, and not just because I now have milk for my coffee. A positive attitude is all it takes, seeing the bright side. To keep praying and keep knocking, putting it out there and believing. Sharing that story. I actually saw a rainbow after the rains at the end of the day yesterday. As if that is not proof positive enough! Is it easy, no, not at first, but just like everything else, it gets easier the more you do it and make it a part of your everyday thinking.


“Revelation 12:11 tells us that we overcome the enemy by the blood of Jesus and our testimony.
Let your real story, your testimony be heard because even when you are living in the thick of it, it could be the very thing that helps someone else overcome.
Be bold and transparent because of the free gift of forgiveness and salvation. None of us have done a darn thing to earn it, so let’s all be a little more real with each other.”

Go on. Go give it a read. And maybe you’ll be inspired to pass it on to the next person.

I am happy to have each of you to share and celebrate with.

Walk in love, dear readers!

Step Forward, Never Back.

Cheers, y’all!

I hope each and every one of you and yours has a very happy NYE! May your bubbly be cold, feelings warm, family and friends present, and animals not freak out too badly with the fireworks.

cheers.gifLooking forward to 2018!

I know it is not quite NYE, but I want to wish each and every one of you and yours a wonderful and blessed New Year. It is no secret that NYE is not my favorite. Mostly because there are too many expectations and every time I try to actually do something fun and different, it ends up not being so. So, I will be at the farm doing what I love. Even if it means freezing while I do it. Literally. It is supposed to be dreadfully cold out. For like a whole week. At least I have not made my vet appointment yet. Forgive me if I am MIA for a little.

Anyway.

It is interesting having this blog and to be able to now look back and see what I was doing and thinking a year ago. I was reflecting on the year 2016, if you couldn’t guess. Woof. What an awful year when you really think about it. I try not to, preferring to focus on the good and positive things that happened.

I am glad to not be in the same place I was a year ago, spilling wine on myself and glad to chunk the year in the trash. Although, the night is young and there is still a chance of spillage.

But 2017 has been a pretty good year on a whole. Better than 2016 for sure. Did some not so great things happen? Sure, a few come to mind. That whole hurricane and the whole tendon incident and probably some more. Give me a year where nothing bad happens. It is called life.

Having never been a journal keeper, this literal looking back concept is new for me. How easily I forget some things! I feel rather fortunate for that.

At the beginning of this year, like most people, I set all these goals for the year. Determined to make it a great one, at least better than the last. You can probably guess where this is going. Some of the goals I kept, however many I did not. Just like most people with resolutions. So determined was I, in fact, that I was quite not looking forward to writing this post in review of all those resolutions.

Then I got to thinking. You know what? What does it matter? It doesn’t matter. It is OK that I did not keep them. It does not make me a bad person. You want to know what else? I did some pretty awesome other things instead. You know, like taking Lito for a long weekend in the hill country with my best gal pal, R, and then taking him on a week long ride with bunch of other horses and learning from Charlotte Dujardin. The resolutions are not what is important. What is important is the way you live your live. Your intention. Your heart.

So. You know what I will do? I will look forward to 2018 and all the things to come, stepping forward with confidence and not looking back. I will pray with intention more (I kept that resolution!). I will ride more and worry less. Time spent worrying is time spent wasted. AHAmoment. I have already signed up to ride in a clinic in May. I am going to love myself and live every day like tomorrow is not promised because it is not. I will focus on the positive and the light (I think I kept that one too!).

Sound grand and great? Maybe, but I will do my best. Kick me in the butt if I need it, OK? I will do the same for you.

Walk in love, dear readers!

Serenity.

I keep hearing people around me use the word serene. An interesting thing to notice, I know. Anyway, it is a good word and one that appeals to my senses.

When you think of serene, what comes to mind? Or the feeling of serenity?

Serene.

“Clear and free of storms or unpleasant change. Shining bright and steady. Marked by or suggestive of utter calm and unruffled repose or quietude.” – Merriam-Webster

Serenity.

“The quality or state of being serene” – Merriam-Webster
Calm. Peaceful. Placid. Quiet. Repose. Restfulness. Still. Tranquil.

A quick google image search of ‘serene’ shows many people think of the same images. Sunsets. Sunrises. Quiet landscapes. Bodies of water. Rays of light. Colors.

All in the great out of doors. Do you think I am surprised by this? No, no I am not.

Here is what serenity looks like to me.

A quiet and soft eye, that peers deep into your soul.

Awe inspiring and relaxing landscapes.

Light and color.

The outdoors is like my church. The sky is the steeple and my horse’s back is my pew.

Everything I hear and see and feel was created and put there by Him and IS Him. AHAmoment.

I hope you feel serene now! What makes you feel serene?

Walk in love, dear readers!

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.

A Year Later

A year later and I still have no words to describe it. Not the feelings I have. Certainly not the feelings of my family.

Even now as I type these words, it feels so utterly strange. Uncharted territory, even as the first year is up. Different from a year ago, and yet, the same. I am not sure if anyone else in this situation has felt this way. I suppose each is different.

Yesterday I was aimlessly scrolling through Facebook and I wondered to myself, why am I doing this? Something so simple and mindless and downright meaningless? I had that EXACT same thought and feeling a year ago today after I heard the news.

Honestly, I did not want to write this post today and I have been dreading it. I do not want to relive it and do not want certain readers to relive it. It is too close. I did not want to offend or hurt anyone. To dishonor him.

Then it occurred to me that I, or we, do not need a blog post to relive it. It happens all the time. Thankfully, a little less as time goes on. Time heals, little by little. It becomes apparent when you look back. That I know for sure.

I need to write this post. For me. For my family. And for you. For anyone that has ever lost anyone. For him. To celebrate him and his life and his loved ones. The survivors because that is what we are. My Uncle was a beautiful and faithful man. Which makes it even harder at times. I suspect we will never know the answer to why in this earthly life. As is the way with many things we go through. There are no answers.

The only way I know how to honor him is to celebrate this life that I am blessed to have. That I am here to witness the Lord’s beauty around me. To LIVE every minute and celebrate every moment like it is my last. Do what makes my heart smile. Seek the Lord and allow His will to be done through me. To be a blessing to those around me. That is what I am thankful for this Thanksgiving.

So, that is what I am trying to do and what I try to encourage others to do.

I still pray for us to lean into our Lord in these hard times. To grow together. To grow in our faith together. As a family. It is hard and will continue to be. But we have to. We have to for ourselves and for the next generation.

I hope I have not lost you. For those of you that were not here or do not know the story and would like to, I have linked my writings of the series of events from a year ago below. In sharing these posts again, my only hope is to reach those that need to hear these words. For them to know they are not alone and that there are people that have been through this. That know how they feel. That there is still beauty and light all around us.

How Do I Title This: November 22, 2016

Thanksgiving Eve: November 23, 2016

A Prayer You Can Borrow: November 27, 2016

Today: November 28, 2016

The Aftermath: November 30, 2016

This weekend, while sitting by the fire with a cocktail in my hand and my dog at my feet, I put this string of songs together that got me thinking.

I hope you enjoy them.

Thanks to Middle Sister, K for sharing this last one with me. Pass it on.

That is all for now.

Reflections on a great clinic coming up soon!

Walk in love, dear readers.

Please pass along to anyone that needs or wants to read.

Urge

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I am feeling the urge to tell you something.

Whenever I feel the urge or get a feeling about something, anything, I do it. Well, OK, not just anything, but certain things.

Like, for example, if I hear a song that has really helped me or is something I go back to listen to multiple times for one reason or another, I try to drop that artist a note. I seriously, actually do that. I look up their website and find an email or I will send a Facebook message. Something like that. I want them to know how much I appreciate what they do. I want them to know that they have made a difference. Oftentimes, I get a thankful and appreciative reply.

Or if I have seen or read something by a horse trainer that has helped me, I do the same thing. The other day, well more like several years ago, but who is counting, I was watching some Pat Parelli clinic video on one of the horse TV channels. He kept quoting from different authors outside of the horse world while explaining his concepts and theories. I have heard him do this before in other videos here and there. In this particular clinic, he had a sports psychologist, who is also an equestrian, speak for a good little while. As you can imagine if you have been reading this blog or a little while, all of this is right up my alley. Viewing and working with horses in the mindset of the broader world around us. Letting them teach us how to be better humans and better function in the world outside of horses. It may sound hokey and hippy dippy to some, but oh well. Anyway, I was curious what was on his reading list. What influential books he has read that have helped him in various parts of his life. So, I sent an email thanking him for his point of view and asking about books. About a week later, I get a response apologizing for the delay and hoping I find the attached list and a few others helpful. I went and purchased many of those books the next day.

Even something as simple and seemingly little as sending someone a note to say you are thinking of them or stopping to pick someone up some flowers, I act on those urges.

You never know when saying or doing that little something will encourage them or brighten their day or change someone’s life.

I could not quite get my words around it yesterday. I wrestled with it. I am not sure they are around it now, but I will give it a go because I feel the urge. I do not think many words are really even needed, but here is my little note to you, dear readers.

If you are feeling stressed.

Lost.

Confused.

Anxious.

Worried.

Sad.

__________.

Insert anything.

Alone.

Know that you are not alone.

Know that everyone goes through times, seasons like these. And you will again in your lifetime. They come and go for everyone. You are reading words written by one of those people right now. Some of you who have been reading this blog for a little while know this. Others may not. You are sitting next to one of those people. You will meet one of those people. You know one of them.

Keeping seeing the beauty and the light. We are surrounded by it. Keep working hard and doing good. Keep striving and keep knocking and keep praying. That is our call. To be a light.

I may not know much yet in my 29 years of life, but I know this. Everything happens for a reason whether we know those reasons or not. Often times we will not know those reasons in the moment. Be built up by the struggle.

Have faith.

Have faith and know that He has and is the plan and the path. The light.

No, you are not alone.

That was my urge, to tell you that.

Walk in love, dear readers, and have a great Wednesday.

Shine your light.