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.

Music Monday

Hey there! Long time no chat. Remember me?

Today is a Music Monday kind of day.

Well really every day is a music kind of day to me, but I have a special song to share with you today.

Written about the loss of a loved family music man, it is speaking to me today. I think ol’ Geege would approve and be happy with our celebration of his life last week.

A few others for you in honor of our family music man. Because who doesn’t like to get a little teary on a Monday?!

I know I do.

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Just a glutton for punishment I am. These are the songs we sang at the service…

It was at about this time, when this song was ‘sung’ by all of us, in the memorial service that I lost it. I say ‘sung’ because I could not do it. I was not prepared to sing this at the beginning. I was hanging my hat on it being at the end. It was about downhill from there for me.

Then there was a medley of these greats.

And then this one at the close. I mean lawd. Bowl me over twice.

For the full effect, here is the actual medley. This is my Aunt’s Sister. If only I could sing  Even if I could, I would not be able to keep it together.

I mean, does that get you like me?

Oh boy was I tired after all that. And then getting sick again.

It is crazy how you listen to all of these songs a million times and then bam, they all have  a new memory and meaning.

Music is so great that way. How it attaches itself to you and intertwines with certain memories and feelings. Like the stitches on the fabric of your clothes or the fibers of your being. How it brings us all together and takes down the barriers. Makes you feel and floods you with emotion.

Know what I mean? No? Oh well.

Walk in love, dear readers.

 

 

 

Tribute

Get your sunglasses out. I have started and stopped about ten times and still do not quite know how to start it.

A great man went to his Heavenly home on Monday. My Grandmother’s Husband since she was 19. My Mother’s Father. My Grandfather. Although, he would get mad at us if we called him any such thing. Made him appear old he would say. Gee Gee for George. Everyone, family and friends, called him that. I learned this week that there are people that did not even know his name was George. Gee Gee is his name.

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Mere words do not do him justice. How does one pay tribute to such a being. You had to know him or know someone who knew him. Larger than life he was, and he knew how to live every second of it and fill it with music and dancing, tequila (it makes you smart he would always say, but he had plenty of smarts all on his own), family, the outdoors, and of course horses. Lots and lots of horses and horse stories.

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That dapper man there, sitting in the middle next to my Grandmother, wearing a tux. We have a big family, and this is not even all of them!

I still can not write this without tears in my eyes. Which is less than convenient with a face of makeup. Go me for being an adult and putting my face on.

The tears are represented by many emotions. Sadness, of course, is very present. The realness and suddenness of it (sudden as in one day there and the next not), sure. It really was not that sudden. The thoughts of looking to the future and visualizing what it looks like and feels like. Him not being there (how about a punch in the gut to say that?). At the same time, the blessing and relief. How strange it feels to feel and write that.

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A moment I captured close to the time he passed. I had a funny feeling at the time and did not know why. A few minutes later my sister called me.

When my sister first called I had a feeling it was coming. I did not know quite how to act when she told me. I did not cry or have much to say, it just was. It seems most of us feel that way. I suppose that is the blessing and relief of it. That he is now whole and complete, making music again.

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He was 92 years old. We went a few years thinking any day was going to be his homecoming, but, he continued to defy the odds. It was still a shock when it actually happened. On Monday, January 22, 2018 he went peacefully with a smile on his face and a full belly. What a blessing that is! To live his whole life happy and to go peacefully. Even with the years of dementia (that he was even able to hide for many years in the beginning), he was happy through it all and always knew the love of his life.

I have lived my whole life, of 29 years, with two full sets of grandparents. How many people do you know that can say that??? I have discovered not many people can. When people would hear that I have 2 full sets of grandparents still alive, they would look at me in wonder and astonishment. I have stopped being surprised at people’s looks. There are nine of us Grandchildren (non including the spouses) that could claim that.

I could go on and on about him. How smart and passionate he was. How he loved music and could sing and play multiple instruments. How he made records and sang with the mariachi bands at the Mexican restaurants. How they would marvel how well he knew their music. How he helped my mom with her math homework after coming home late from work. How I see him in his younger brother, 16 years his junior. How he loved his dogs and the outdoors and to fish and hunt. How he stamped all of us in a unique way.

My stamp was the horses and music, but mainly the horses. Entirely different than that of my Grandmother, the ultimate horsewoman.

I would sit with him for hours and listen to his stories about horses past. He was generally a quiet man, letting everyone else do the talking. An easy thing to do with our family. There was never enough air in the room and being in our presence was commonly compared to watching a tennis match. But what I loved most was when he would get to talking about his horses, even my Grandmother would sit silently staring at him, completely captivated.

I remember the last time they came to the farm. My Grandmother, naturally, was drawn by Ike and my Lito, wanting to talk about them and how they rode. Gee Gee on the other hand, with not much of his memory left, took one look at Chance and said, “now that is a Quarter Horse. I like this horse. You need to flush his eye.” I guess he liked the look of him! His eye lid was irritated and swollen at the time. I had already flushed it.

“Now that horse comes out half cocked, so you better ride him down and work him out of it first,” he would say about Chato, the last horse he had. He was a little feed lot horse and would politely slow down to a halt every time my phone would ring.

My Mom would always tell me how Gee Gee would ride every horse first before any of the kids hopped on, just to make sure their heads were on straight. Something I have always done because of that.

He once hauled a horse in a trailer with a faulty floor. The thought gives me nightmares. He crawled in the loaded trailer and fixed the floor mid route because the man said the horse would be fine to do it.

Consequently, I still can not find pictures of the two more prominent horses in his life. Jenny and Rowdy Dexter. Or of him taking my Mom and Aunt and Uncle riding. Jenny was the young filly he kept at the local stables where he met my Grandmother. She kept her horse at the same barn. My kind of love story. I will never be able to tell a story like him. I am not going to give up on finding them.

To tell some of the stories, I have these to share.

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I believe this was Jenny’s sire.

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Time to hit play on the music and stir our tequila drinks as we remember and celebrate this great man. I do believe anything less than a party he would not stand for.

This has been a slow blogging month for me, but I am still here chugging along. There is still much to see to yet, but I am not going anywhere.

Life is an interesting thing, as you have heard me say multiple times. How everything comes full circle. With death there too also comes life. Gee Gee will live on in another member of our family, due to arrive in August. I get to be an Aunt again!

Till next time, dear readers, walk in love!

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.

The Season

Time seems to travel faster this time of year, don’t you think? I mean, Thanksgiving is NEXT WEEK. How did that happen?! It has snuck up on me as I am sure it has everyone. For more than one reason.

And now, it is already Tuesday. It still feels like Monday.

Anyway, I am sitting here with my coffee, as I do, you know, reflecting.

Surprisingly enough, wishing it was still Monday. I made a quick trip out to the farm yesterday after work since I did not go out this weekend. At this time of year, I get barely an hour out there with the early sunset, but it is enough to get my fix to get me through the rest of the week.

I did have a great time with my sister and her husband this weekend. It was incredibly relaxing and indulgent. She is having a holiday party next month that we are both getting excited for. It got us both in the spirit. We even made peppermint ice cream from scratch.

When I got home on Sunday, I baked two batches of cookies while drinking coffee with cinnamon and nutmeg. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it? Chocolate chip oatmeal with pecans and coconut and while chocolate macadamia nut. I owe my farrier a lot of cookies because he is great. I am going to bake my mother’s pumpkin bread this evening for gifts. I just love this time of year!

It all got me thinking how blessed we all are. That we are here and awake this morning. That I got to go up there to visit and stay the weekend. For the quality time with my sister. That I got to see the sunset and love on the horses, however quick. That I have a dog I can take everywhere with me and that she got to have her run time at the farm. That I have a good car to get me where I am going and get me home safe.

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.

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.

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. 

Anniversaries

I love how clean everything looks and feels after rain. The air is a little drier, softer, cooler. The sun is not so oppressive. The grass appears to green up instantly. That might be my favorite part, the almost instant change in the foliage. It is amazing to me. Almost as amazing as how quickly it gets back to the way it was before, miserably HOT. The sun seemingly glaring at me, right in the face. The cool clean has evaporated since I began to pen this post, or key it, but that just does not sound as fun.

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Anyway, it gets me thinking on fall and my favorite time of year. The holidays. I know we still have many HOT days (more like weeks and closer to months, really) left ahead of us in this part of the world, but I can not help it. It means cooler evenings. Sweaters (eventually anyway). Fires in the pit. Fuzzy horses. Foggy breath. Christmas music. Food and baking. Family and friends. The season of thanks and giving. The reason for the season and this beautiful life we live here on earth with all of God’s handiwork.

It also gets me thinking on difficult things. Things of the not so distant past. Anniversaries all the same. Anniversaries typically get me thinking of happy memories. Like Weddings. Birthdays. Big occasions. But. They are not always happy things, are they? Such dichotomy within a word, no?

A happy anniversary comes up in a few days. One year since the beginning of this blog! That is pretty exciting! Something that I thought about for such a long time and coming to fruition, and sticking with it. What an amazing journey it has been so far and I have you, dear readers, to thank for it.

My nephew turns 5 (how did that happen??!!!!) at the end of this month. Very happy anniversary of his life.

September. September will be two years since we had to put our first horse, Mansebo, down. Woof. That was terribly hard. Even still. Especially as I try to mentally prepare myself, if that is even possible, for when that day comes for Apache. That is the hardest part about having animals and being their stewards, but the very most important from my eyes. BUT. September is also my Grandmother’s birthday! So, I focus on that.

Then, there is the big one. The one that has not happened yet. In November. I still do not quite know how to even say it. It feels like a bomb almost every time I do. Sometimes when I say it, I want to duck and look around. The anniversary of my Uncle’s death. Anniversary seems like the wrong word, but that is what it is. I still have moments where it just hits me. Sometimes sad. Sometimes mad. Sometimes still shocked and dumbfounded. At the time and in the moment it was just all so surreal. Like it wasn’t happening. Like it was just all one big, bad, increasingly long nightmare. It has slowly turned into reality. The new normal, as they say. That normal will evolve and change as the days and years go by. We are all changed. What it will bring in November, I do not know. But. I do know this. We will all gather and be together for Thanksgiving. Be in an attitude of thanks and giving. Focus on that. Focus on celebrating life and what we have to be grateful for. Focus on the happy memories. I am going to choose to focus on that. Yes, it will be hard, but it is our call and it is necessary. I want to remember how encouraging and faithful he was. Remember his love for the kids. My deserts I will bake for him.

But just like storms roll across the sky from here to there, the storms in our lives come and go. Both bring what comes after. The blue sky, clean air, and green grass. The Aftermath. Some storms take longer than others and some sure feel like they circle around and back up and just sit there overhead for a while, dumping buckets, but they always roll on, if you let them.

This post may seem premature to some since it is only, um, August. To me it is just a natural evolution and progression and it is what is on my mind. So I decided to share. No, it is not easy and I feel vulnerable, but it is what IT is all about.

Thank you for being here and being you. I appreciate y’all.

How many times can I say ‘it’ in a single post?

Walk in love, dear readers. Have a great Thursday!