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!

 

 

One Week

For the past several days, I have woken up at exactly 4:47 AM. Exactly. Every day except one. Isn’t that odd? I wake up, hope that I have a little bit longer to snooze, look at my phone and see 4:47 on the read out. That same time every morning. Strikes me as rather curious. I had a little chuckle this morning about it. I just thought you should know! Does that ever happen to you?

In other news…

I snapped a couple quick photos of the sunset yesterday. The hour long commute may get a little old, but being at the farm never does. I love being able to see the day full circle. Sunup to sundown. Such a blessing.

We are now one week down on our restricted, solitary turnout sentence. Lito is probably handling it better than any of us. Thank God for his good brain and laid back attitude! He is a little antsy at times, but he is handling it better than I had hoped…and certainly better than Cheetah ever would. Oh, lawd. I am finally not spending all of my time there staring at him.

Please ignore that ugly pole that used to hold a Purple Martin house. Also, look how tall he is! I know I have said this before, but I am not that tall. Here is to improving my mounting skills. After our Hill Country adventure, I realized I suck at mounting this horse with my squatty legs. It is a whole different kind of leverage equation!

Petunia seems to be taking it harder than anyone. Poor Tuners. It is a long story, but Lito needed more than just a neighbor to keep him from running around. Chance does not seem to care about being separate or alone. Enter Tuners. Who, unfortunately has to stay in a stall for this whole thing to work. She is none too pleased, but maybe she will lose some weight?

I wish someone would just stick me in stall so I would lose some weight. I would probably be worse than Petunia though. At least she is cute when she is mad.

Family weekend at the farm for Memorial Day with lots on the list to get done! First though, I have movers scheduled this afternoon to empty my storage unit into my new townhouse! Well, new to me. Cousin S used to live there with her daughter, but she just got married last weekend and my Aunt needs a tenant. Side note, the wedding was beautiful and it is so great to have new, happy memories in my Aunt’s house. These past several months have been difficult. The next several will likely be harder once the dust settles. It has been a busy several months. Both purposeful and divine. I am requesting prayers for my Aunt and Cousins. Prayers for strength, peace, and acceptance. To grow in their faith and closer to God. To see His hand.

Anyway, back to positive things! We actually made this plan way back in March or so. It is a win, win, win situation for everyone. Especially for me because I will no longer be living at my parents! I am so fortunate I was able to go there when I thought I might lose my job. I was able to save a lot of money and not be worried. It is way past time time though and I am so glad to be moving out.

Busy day today! Get out there an conquer it.

Walk in love, dear readers.

By the way, I am so glad you are here. AHAmoment. Thank you for stopping by and reading my little blog. You followers, commenters, likers, and readers have blown me away in this short time I have been blogging. Thank YOU! You are a blessing.

 

Easter

Easter is always a special time at the farm. Well, Easter in itself is obviously special in its own right, but it is different at the farm.

I remember the first Easter after my parents bought the place. I do not remember who all was there. I know my Father and at least one sister was there. I can not remember who else. Anyway, it was windy. It is always windy at the farm on Easter. We must have come out directly after church as we were in our church clothes. At the time, the place was raw. Well, raw its own way. It needed a ton of work and even more just plain cleaning up. It was cross fenced in every way you can imagine. I do not remember why, but my Dad climbed over a gate and when he stepped down on the other side, he landed right in a fresh cow patty while wearing his nice loafers. My sister and I probably thought that was pretty funny while dear old Dad did not.

We have always celebrated Easter in some way at the farm. It has changed over the past few years, as it happens when families grow, but it always feels the same. Special.

This year, it was somewhat of a revolving door with people coming and going. Middle Sister and her Hubby could not come to town because of work commitments (that part was not special…). My Parents, Eldest Sister’s Hubby, Niece, Nephew, and myself went out Thursday. Eldest Sister had to work on Good Friday. The men, that would be my Dad, Bro in law, and Nephew, went fishing Friday for the day and the ladies, my Mom, Me, and Niece, hung out at the farm. I think I mentioned that before and how I rode Cheetah, Lito, and Ike.

Saturday, my Aunt and Grandparents came out for lunch. When my Grandparents got there, I was just riding up to the house at the end of my ride on Lito. He was amazing, by the way, if you were wondering. He is getting really consistent and more balanced. For around 20 or so rides all spaced out, he is doing better than some that get ridden every day. At least in my mind. He is pretty tractable and rates really easily. I am surprised at how well he responds to my seat and even my voice. I am really excited for our hill country adventure. While we were on our ride, we discovered a brand new calf born not that long before. Nature never ceases to amaze me.

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Sister and her family went back to town to go to church in the afternoon and participate in the church Easter egg hunt. When my Aunt arrived, we had burgers, fries, and my Grandmother’s molasses cookies for lunch out on the porch, under the live oak. That tree and porch, I tell you, there is no better place to be. My grandparents went back to town later that afternoon and my Aunt stayed to spend the night.

Saturday evening, I spent some time riding Lito bareback in a halter, just relaxing and having fun. Making sure he remembers how to do that. That it is not always hard work. He remembered.

Sunset rolled around and we had even more porch time with a steak dinner and wine. I am so glad that my Aunt was able to come out and stay. Get a away, even if just for a short time. We are all still sad, but none more than her I am sure.

Sunday morning found us sitting there on the porch again drinking coffee, looking down the valley watching the fog rise, listening to gospel and nature. Words can not express the beauty of His creation, especially in that place. The rest of my coffee got cold so I grabbed Lito’s bridle and went and did my favorite Sunday morning thing. Ride bareback.

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We wrapped things up at the farm before lunch to head back to town and get ready for Easter diner with my Mom’s side of the family. I made and decorated a coconut cake. It was pretty dang good! Doesn’t look too bad either. Holidays are my favorite because I get to see both sets of grandparents close together. I am savoring all my time with them.


Happy times were had with the still at times sad. Slowly, the happy times will start to outshine the sad. Still grieving my Uncle, but we had a new calf born and we got to watch mamma introduce him to the heard. The kiddos got dirty and tired just like the dogs, running around and playing. Like it is supposed to be. I have had some amazing rides on my 2 dun babies. I rode Lito more times that I had even planned. We all had a good time together and wished that the rest of the family could have been there. God is great.

I hope y’all had a great Easter, creating new happy memories.

Walk in love, dear readers!

 

Hump Day.

Here is my lunch time thought. Since we talked about the Sunday Blues (or Scaries/Funk/Dreads, whichever you fancy) and the resulting conversations (thanks to everyone for your comments and to Karen for this Hump Day inspiration! Go check out her blog because she is expecting a foal here pretty soon and the world is about to get that much cuter. I am currently exercising extreme restraint and not breeding my mare! I have foal fever!), let us get into Hump Day.

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Wednesdays have long been known as Hump Day. That middle of the week hurdle, once conquered, brings us with in grasp of the fleeting weekend. I live for my weekends to ride my horses. To recharge my batteries. To get back to center (let us not forget this song or this song!). Side note, expecting rain again………….Can not complain though, it grows the grass to feed the cows and horses. It recharges the water sources. Positive focus. Go me!

There are many ways people celebrate this day. I often partake in Wine Wednesday, as you might have noticed in the past, to celebrate that Hump Day hurdle. Or a special mid week dinner out with friends. Do you do something special for yourself for making it halfway through the week? Do not tell me you get a gold star.

On this particular Wednesday, I am going to be celebrating in another way. Dinner with my Mom’s parents and my Cousin. I am having lunch on Friday with Dad’s parents. I am so blessed to be 28 years old and have two full sets of Grandparents. I know many people can not say that. I have always been close with them. Growing up I would go to their house on weekends to play and for sleepovers. Or run errands with them. Listen to the stories of their lives. Learn from them. See their faith. Go to the movies. Ride horses. Do arts and crafts. Bake. I see myself in them. I see my family in them. We come from them. I love them and have always been close with them.

It is hard, knowing that every day with them is precious and they will not be here for forever. Life. It is even harder on my parents and it hurts me sometimes to watch the realization in them and knowing one day I will be there in their shoes. I take every opportunity to spend time with them.

I got an email from my dad today about positivity and social media from Jim’s Daily Awakenings. I really liked it so I thought I would share it with you below. Try to remember this advice in this social media driven world. Remember the Golden Rule you were taught as a child. It still applies today in all facets and forums. Get out of social media and talk to people. Be nice. Be positive. Care. Lift people up. Support each other.

Walk in love, dear readers, and have a blessed Wednesday! Tell your people you love them.

“I have a shocking thing to say to those of you on social media: Not everyone is interested in seeing a photo of your lunch, knowing your political opinions, or who you were with last night.
This morning I counted 210 social media networking websites.  This excludes the online dating websites.  The possible way to engage in conversation and share your opinion with strangers abounds.
But it bothers me that so many of the social media sites have gone negative. 
I detest all the hostile, nasty, intimidating political remarks that are posted online.
I hate that social media has become a forum for negativity, criticism, belittling, complaining, fault-finding, cynical remarks, put downs, unkind comparisons, and even verbal bullying.  Words that damage permanently are spoken behind the curtain of the Internet.  Some people have even committed suicide over things said to them online. 
Our words spoken online and in public should be positive, affirming, and encouraging. We should try to build people up in such a way that they never get over our edification of them.”  
Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” (Proverbs 18:21)

Desire

Desire. A thought for the day.

I have and have had many desires in my life as I am sure many of you have. I find the dynamic nature of desires interesting and intriguing. As we learn and grow in life, as we gain wisdom with age, our desires change with our change in perspective. One can learn a lot about themselves, and others, by deciphering where certain desires come from. AHAmoment.

According to Merriam-Webster, the word desire is defined as:

  • Transitive verb: to long or hope for; to express a wish for or to; and most interestingly, to feel the loss of
  • Noun: conscious impulse toward something that promises enjoyment or satisfaction in its attainment; longing; craving; formal request or petition for action; something longed or hoped for

To feel the loss of something. I found that interesting to be defined there in just that way. How can you long for something you never had? Can you feel the loss of something you never had? Can you really desire something you have never known? Is it really loss if you never actually had it to lose? I think so. That speaks to how powerful they are and how/why they drive us. I think that is part of what makes our true desires conscious.

What do you think?

I think the loss is very real. The relationship of the parent you never had. Or the child. Or the life. However, just like everything in life, there is a flip side to this coin. Not all loss is bad or negative. Loss can be good. It is, you know, part of the circle of life. Even this change averse gal can admit that. The feeling of loss is powerful in a good way when you no longer desire something that is harmful to you, for instance. Whether it is a person or a group of people or a thing or an idea. Does not matter.

I guess it is all of a piece. Maybe they are the same. The negative feeling of loss of something at first and then you grow and your perspective changes, making the loss positive in light of your changed desires.

I feel like I am quickly going down a hole into accounting.

I will confess that I have desires that I will not speak out loud, for fear of anyone experiencing the loss with me. I guess what it really boils down to is the shame that fear is creating.

I used to have a desire to be a famous horseman that other people looked to. Now, all I want to be famous from each of my horses’ perspectives. To be the best I can be for them. To be a real horseman. My perspective changed. That is something they have taught me through the grace of God.

I used to think I had it all figured out. I had a plan for my career and life. I desired certain things and I felt like I knew how to make them happen. Now, I feel like those desires are slipping away and I am discovering that I am letting them go. Has my perspective changed? I think it is changing. I am not there yet. New desires are not quite there yet. Do I feel loss? I do not know. I think in the beginning I did. Sometimes I feel lost and alone.

Does any of that make sense? Do you ever feel the same? What are your desires?

Far too much introspection for a Friday.

They are predicting rain all weekend, so here is hoping I get some ride time in. I can not complain though since the weather has been absolutely amazing.

Walk in love, dear readers, and have a great weekend. I am walking in faith trying to figure out the desires of my heart in my true self.

Too much? Oh well.

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Daily Dose Of Cute

Who does not love baby animals? No one.

 

 


I bet you are smiling now.

Please excuse all the ‘stuff’ in the pen. I wanted him to be exposed to as many things as possible so he would be brave and confident when he grew up. He is.

Nothing like babies to warm the heart.

I watched the news this morning and it was depressing. Mornings should not be ruined by the ‘news.’

I went to a baby shower with my mother yesterday after work that was hosted by our church. We all brought gifts to donate to a pregnancy help center that helps pregnant women in need who do not have the means or knowledge to support their baby. I was quite moved by it and am so happy I went.

While getting ready for work today, Jonah Werner came up on my music shuffle. It gave me all the feels. My middle sister and I listened to him on the day of my Uncle’s funeral. When my sister was in middle school (and I was in elementary school), she went to a Jonah Werner concert at the church my Uncle, Aunt, and Cousins went and still go to.

Have a great day. I am focusing on the positive and the happy.

Walk in love.