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.

 

Chasing

4 AM is about as pleasant of a time to wake up as any, right??? Right!

It would have been better to wake up that early to ride or go fishing or something as opposed to catching a flight for work. Darcy sure did not understand why we were getting up so early two days in a row or why she was then supposed to go back to sleep or why she was not going with me. I did not understand that either because how much better would work and meetings and traveling be with your dog!? But, I digress.

Monday and Tuesday were quite the days.

Two meetings, two cities, two states, three pat downs, four flights, and eight…count them all…eight Uber rides in just two days. That is a lot of travel miles and hours. I am getting tired again just thinking about it.

Yesterday had me chasing the sunset so hard that I was literally running away from the sunrise.

But, no matter how fast or how far you run, the sun will always catch up with you. AHA moment.

Might as well slow down and enjoy it, right? See and actually take in all of that which is around you.

Over the past two days I saw many things. I saw joy and unity in some because of the fine sport of baseball. I heard a girl wonder aloud to her mother if her father loved her or not. How he must love her because he bought her things. The mother did not have much to say. I got told by an Uber driver that I should have a husband. I met a nice stranger and had a lovely conversation. He reminded me of someone back home. I traveled safely.

So, yesterday morning I enjoyed my slow and delayed sunrise while flying west (well, northwest to be specific, but you get the idea) and thanked the Lord for my many blessings.


I never did see the sun actually come up!

We made our decent and landed in this lovely, cloudy scene…


Anyway, as you can imagine, I was ready for this when I was on my way home yesterday.


That and the sunrise back in Texas.

Speaking of sunrise…It is somehow the end of Wednesday. Crazy.

Trust me, this is a speaking of which.

This past weekend we had two stunning, chilly (like frost chilly!) sunrises. I spent time basking in the sun. Took many, many photos…as you will soon see. Had the first pit fires of the season. Tackled a few things on the chore list. I rode both of my getting-fuzzier-by-the-day dun horses bareback. Just relaxing, quality time rides. Focusing on nothing really in particular. Just enjoying. Feeling their warmth. A nice change of pace from being constantly on the move before our trip.

A little video with Friday’s pit fire, Lito’s Saturday ride, and Saturday’s pit fire. Make sure you have the volume up! Basically sums up the weekend. ​

 

 


Saturday sunrise.


You can always catch this guy taking a nap after breakfast. I get lucky when he is not in his dam’s stall.


Saturday’s sunset.

Sunday sunrise reflection on the western sky. The steam rising off the pond while the cows have their first big graze of the day.


I can have a second breakfast, right?


Snug as a bug in his rug.


Sunday sunrise.


Feeding the cows Sunday morning in the golden light and frosty air.

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More basking in the sun! Nothing like the sun on your back on a chilly morning.

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Back to real riding work this weekend!

What is going on in your world? What have you seen and taken in around you this week?

I hope each and every one of you are having a fine week so far!

Walk in love, dear readers!

Convention

Do not be one to stay within the shelter of convention. 

Your AHA moment today brought to you by the Darcy Doolittle dog, a dog who likes cat toys. All the cat toys. You do you, Darcy. 


Let your light shine and be you. 

Walk in love, dear readers! 

Wine, Pie & Time

Time is an interesting thing.

A powerful thing. Giving things time can have impressive effects. Have you ever heard the term ‘just sleep on it’? Well, now you have if you had not before. If you just sit back and think it completely through and wait till morning, you will often get a more harmonious result from not being reactionary.

Time is also a healer. I know this is a universal thing across all cultures and most know it to be true. There are of course songs written about it. After a difficult life event, it feels like time goes at a snail’s pace. Even when you keep busy to keep your mind occupied and try to make the time go faster. Grasping at anything to get you farther from the memories. The feelings. The sadness. The hurt. The anger. You just keep going, taking one step at a time because that is all you can do.


“They say music takes you back to a time. And time is a healer of things.”

Then, it happens. Time has gone by without you realizing it and you look back and realize how far you have come. Amazed at how long ago that happened. How did it get to be years ago?

That happened to me today. Looking back, I never thought it would happen. I still think of that day two years ago often and I know I will the rest of my life. Even just a few days ago, without realizing that it has been two years. Two years does not seem like a long time to some that are removed from the situation. But it feels like so long ago. So much has happened and so much has changed in that time.

Two years ago, we had to put down our first horse. You can read about that day by clicking HERE. He was over 30 years old and we had him for over half his life. He changed my life. That day was so hard, yet so wonderful at the same time. There is such beauty present in the dichotomy of this earthly life. AHAmoment. How something so hard and difficult also presents such life, light, and love is amazing to me. Your faith and spirit are always there. AHAmoment. Something that never goes away. I feel so blessed that I was open to seeing it in that moment, at that time.

We drowned our sorrows in red wine and chocolate pie that night and listened to this song. It always reminds me of him. To this day, it is still my favorite remedy for loss and I recommend it to many.

I am grateful for time. The time I had with him. The time in the moment, even though it was so hard. The time to heal since then and the time I take to remember the memories.

There are many in my life that have lost in the past year. Lost family members or loved ones. Lost horses and dogs. Lost their homes. Tonight I think will be a wine and pie night in memory…after I run.

Walk in love, dear readers.

Soulshine

​​I forgot about this one.

I love when that happens. You find something amazing and then somehow you forget about it. That part is not so great, but then, something happens and you find it or rediscover it all over again. Twice the joy! Boom!

This song is one of those. Not even sure how I stumbled upon it either time, but I am glad I did! Soulsine performed by Gov’t Mule, written by Warren Haynes. Go get you some! Man oh man. Seriously, give this song a listen.


“When your world seems cold, you got to let your spirit take control.”

Talk about an AHAmoment.
(If the video does not show, copy and paste the link in your browser. It is not showing up for me for some reason….Really this whole interface is being goofy today.)
“When you can’t find the light
That guides you through a cloudy day
When the stars ain’t shinin’ bright
And you fill like you’ve lost you’re way
When the candle lights of home
Burn so very far away
Well you got to let your soul shine
Just like my daddy used to say
He used to say soul shine
It’s better than sunshine
It’s better than moonshine
Damn sure better than rain
Hey now people don’t mind
We all get this way sometimes
Got to let your soul shine
Shine till the break of day

I grew up thinkin’ that I had it made
Gonna make it on my own
But life can take the strongest man
And make him feel so alone
Now and then I feel a cold wind
Blowin’ through my achin’ bones
I think back to what my daddy said
He said Boy, in the darkness before the dawn

Let your soul shine
It’s better than sunshine
It’s better than moonshne
Damn sure better than rain
Yeah now people don’t mind
We all get this way sometimes
Got to let your soul shine
Shine till the break of day

Sometimes a man can feel this emptiness
Like a woman has robbed him of his very soul
A woman too, God knows, she can feel like this
And when your world seems cold
You got to let your spirit take control

Let your soul shine
It’s better than sunshine
It’s better than moonshine
Damn sure better than rain
Lord now people don’t mind
We all get this way sometimes
Got to let your soul shine
Shine till the break of day

Oh, it’s better than sunshine
It’s better than moonshine
Damn sure better than rain
Yeah now people don’t mind
We all get this way sometimes
Got to let your soul shine
Shine till the break of day”

~WARREN HAYNES
Does not get much better than that, dear readers. What makes your soul shine?
Let your soul shine for the Lord, for you, and for those around you. Shine for those that are no longer here, those people and events that we remember and will never forget. Be a light for others, in all times, not just these difficult times. Now more than ever. Because you can and some can not. Because there are people out there protecting our rights to do so. Because there are people that have lost their lives doing just that.
Here is a snip-it of what makes my soul shine from this past weekend.

 

Walk in love this fine Monday!

Remember, it was not promised to you or any of us.

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.