It is on my heart this morning to tell you a little something today.
We have talked about taking a moment several times over the years. A minute. A breath. With the little things and the big things.
Take a moment this fine Friday, spring morning with the green grass growing and the wild flowers growing and the fresh pecan tree leaves against the morning sky to say a little prayer. Or three.
A prayer of thanksgiving for being alive and breathing. For being where you are and looking where you are going. For the lessons you have learned and have aided to teach.
A prayer for God’s will to be done. You and I both know that if things had gone our way, oh boy, we would not actually be where we are today on the path we were meant to walk. How narrow our world would be!
A prayer for you and yours. For whatever it may be today. To be vulnerable, brave, and strong. For a little baby to find a healthy home and shelter, protected to grow big and strong. To feel, see, and hear the Spirit as you take the next step without fear. To take each others’ hands and do it together in love. To fly free without pain, such as a butterfly does.
Do not roll your eyes at me. I know how many people feel about Christmas music. I see and hear you! However, there is a lot of great Christmas music out there!
I am going to tell you something that is likely not going to surprise you. Not in the slightest.
I love music. Really love music.
It is really important to me. For a whole bunch of reasons. Some that I can not even explain.
I have indeed told you some of this before. Like just the other day when I went on about letting the music get deep in your soul. Or when I started this blog. Or when I shared about how I have a thing for Elvis. Or just by the sheer number of songs I share in this little space of the internet and all the feelings, emotions, and memories sparked by them.
What is fascinating to me is how it is all around us in nature in addition to what streams out of stereos. It truly is something that unites us all.
To me, music plays a big part in my personal relationship with the Lord. I could go on and on and on about this, but for today, we are talking Christmas music. Because, hello! THE reason for the season (and all times)! THE great news! THE gift!
So, I want to share some of my all time favorite Christmas songs to help get you into the spirit and feel the reason for the season! You know, not lose sight of the point in all the running around.
Just like everything else these days, Christmas has seemed to spring itself on me. All of a sudden, blink, and here it is! I realized yesterday that I have quite a bit to do and not much time left to do it! I avoided that fact yesterday and did nothing productive, so this morning I woke up in overdrive and wrote all the lists and schedules to make sure I get everything finished…and, showed great self restraint in not calling or texting anyone at 5:15 AM. Christmas music helps me in all of this and I know it will help you!
You can thank me later!
What are your favorites? Share them so we can all have a listen and stay in the spirit together.
Walk in love, dear readers! I dare you not to enjoy them.
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.
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 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.
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.
Later on, in real clothes, we went for a much needed ride.
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.
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 River. Great 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!
You know what? It is hard to get off mountain time twice in one month.
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!
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.
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!
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
How do you like that English? I did that for effect, you know. Just for you. To give you a laugh.
Tap, tap, tap?
In all seriousness, continually I am reminded that the things we see as problems in this life, are not really problems in the bigger picture. They are just experiences and lessons. They are gifts.
Remember yesterday’s list of possible topics that got quickly brushed aside in favor of food and wine? Ya, that. We are going there. Here is why. Stick with me.
Wednesday was not a very good day at work. The details are not really important, but emotions are high right now as we are about to drill a well (not really the best time to be leaving the country for vacation, but this trip has been planned for a year…) and somehow I got caught in the middle. Like a side effect or an accessory. Honestly, if I could have done something about it, I would have, but it was out of my hands. (Even though I am still kinda beating myself up about it.) It put me in a foul mood and I was ready to book it before it was even lunch time.
At the end of the day, I left quicker than I ever did when the 3 PM dismissal bell rang at school, and I was the kid that counted the seconds till it was time to leave. I changed my clothes and grabbed my dog in record time to drive out to the farm. I had already planned to go out there for my usual midweek visit.
When I arrived, the horses were in the far corner of their pasture. Go figure. I took a deep breath, stepped out into the sun, and started walking. I didn’t even put a hat on. No time for that.
With each step, I felt a little tension leave. It began to feel blissfully hot as the sun beared down. The grass was green and sky was blue. The breeze was soft through my hair and the trees. I started to hear the birds chirping and Darcy romping around off to my right.
She caught Lito’s eye as he stood in the shade with a hind leg cocked, tail floating on the breeze, playing with the tips of the tall grass.
Then they all, one by one beginning with Lito, started to look at me as I approached. They knew. They always know. Looking at me with their big soft eyes. Nuzzling me with velvety muzzles.
We were just a short walk away from bliss by this point. The answer to everything. It doesn’t take much.
I grabbed Cheetah’s bridle off the bridle rack. I walked up to her side, stroked her golden neck, and began bridling her. She graciously accepted the bit as I slipped the headstall I won in 4H with my old mare Fresca all those years ago over her long ears. Just as I have done countless times. Fresca is the only other horse to have worn that bridle. It has a cross on the side buckles. I found Lito a similar headstall. It was and is important to me.
I will not mention the sweat and dirt all over her body as that would clearly ruin the picture. No, I won’t do that. But she is indeed, covered in dirt. No matter. Dirt brushes off and my hands did a good enough job of that to clear a spot just big enough for me to sit.
I threw myself up on her broad, dorsal striped back and off we went.
Nothing else is needed. Our shadow danced around us as we turned around the ring. On and on. Around we went without a care. Whatever happened earlier in the day a distant memory, not given another significant thought.
(How is this the only video of this song?)
I dismounted feeling lighter, almost wondering if the day had really indeed been all that bad. The answer was probably not, but it did not matter anymore. I thanked my big dun mare for letting me borrow her freedom and setting everything to rights before I made the hour long drive back home.
The drive was pleasant as I was serenaded by Texas music and the views of the coastal plain.
The following day was peaceful as I worked, fueled by the high from the ride, YouTube videos playing in the background. At some point, a string of videos about near death/death experiences came up. It began with the stories of a career hospice nurse. Interesting turn of events, I thought to myself, but I will listen on. I do not doubt that these are true stories. Indeed they are common enough. We hear about them all the time.
I looked up when I heard a familiar voice and story. Eben Alexander. I have heard an interview of his before. Have you heard of him? He wrote the best seller, Heaven Is For Real. Have you read it? I have not, but I will tell you I ordered the book at the end of yesterday. His story is worth a listen. Take the time. I would not share it with you if it was not. I will not spoil it, but the short end of it is he was basically a dead man. Believed to be a vegetable for a week and on his way to death. He awoke and had a lot to share about his experience. About God and Heaven and love.
It brought me to tears, but maybe not in the way you might be thinking. It was an overwhelming feeling. A feeling of knowing. Of love and truth. It is no wonder to me that music and nature and animals and relationships play such vital roles in our lives here on earth. It is all about love. God’s love. God is love.
No, no I do not have problems.
Focus on the bigger picture. The Lord’s journey for you. Spread his love and light. Forgive and forget. Life is short. Tomorrow is a new day. Do not let what you view as problems bring you down. You are here and alive!