Festivity.

An open call!

I am looking for some inspiration, my dear readers!

But real quick.

Is anyone else surprised that we are here halfway through November, staring and the holiday season coming in hot and heavy? Just me? Sometimes I stop and think and almost look around me and wonder how I got here! I am along for the ride though and would not change a thing.

Long time readers know I live for this time of year. The love and family time. The thanks and giving. The traditions. The cooking and baking. The lights and decorations. The festivity! I love it. We had a cold front blow in and the weather has now caught up to the season and is here to stay. Or as much as we have winter weather here in our part of the world. I am not really ready for the cold part though given how not fun winter 2020 was. I literally thought the big winter-pocalypse was winter 2021. I should be able to remember all of this given that last year I was able to go on a Hawaiian vacation, you know…balance things out, but alas, my time memory is still warped from 2020 covid time.

ANYWAY.

It is time to crank up the festive. Turn on the happy. Remember the reason for the season!

So here is the deal, I want to know!

I want to know what are your favorite traditions? What makes the holidays for you? Favorite food (sweet or savory). Favorite music. Favorite activity or decorations.

What makes it festive for you?

I specifically want to know what is your favorite cake!

I am looking to try something new!

Every year (one year I even participated in a blog event!) I have shared my favorite Christmas music, fun animal photo shoots, and of course the cooking and baking. Have no fear, you will get some of that this year of course, but I want to know yours.

Drop and comment and share with us! Or send me an email at 13ahamoments@gmail.com.

Walk in love, dear readers!

Well, Hello There…

My, it’s been a long, long time…

Have I done this bit before? Sorry, not sorry if I have!

But, seriously. It has been a long time! Time is funny that way, as I am sure you are tired of hearing me say.

Side note, being the ‘youngster’ that I am, I used to live in this world without ever really understanding why Willie Nelson is as popular as he is. I know, crazy, right? See what I did there? Anyway, hear me out. I just really didn’t. He never seemed to really sing in the songs that got played on the radio. Well, one day, I was driving our old farm suburban, affectionately named The Dun, down the road that leads to the farm. Through the lovely little bend that has the shady hollow under a grove of oak trees. There I was, driving along, listening to the local radio station croon a velvety song out of the radio my Pops installed one afternoon in the driveway of the Long Shadow house where I grew up. I thought to myself, “Dang. Who is that? I know who that is, but I don’t really.” I tried to soak up the rest of the song while I anxiously awaited the DJ’s announcement to my ignorant ears. Once I learned that it was the great Willie Nelson singing to me, I spent the next week large amount of time doing a deep dive into his whole discography, starting at the beginning. Suffice it to say, I get it now. I really get it.

Did I already tell you that story?

Anyhoo! How are you? How have you been?! Tell me!

How am I doing? We are doing more than fine! The month of May (and, uh, the beginning of June too!) has been gloriously busy. We went on some adventures in our spare time while also slowing down and soaking up some personal time.

I looked at the forecast today and it looks like the summer heat has plans to show up with a bang. There is one of those at every party it seems.

Take a ride with us and have a look at what we have been up to. To set the mood, here is our drive soundtrack.

Mr. Dirty Toes Merle was a Merle and got into…stuff. He was happy and proud about it.

We took a walk and picked wild dewberries. They got baked into a pie by Aunt M for Mother’s day. I did not get around to a second pick to bake into muffins. We will get to that next year!

We watched some sunsets. There is nothing like that Texas sky, I tell you! Prove me wrong.

It does not matter where you are standing, it just strikes you.

We have obviously been putting in some saddle time. We have mostly been slowing down and taking it easy. Enjoying the farm. The breeze in our hair. The blue sky. Green grass. Colorful wildflowers before the mowing.

My Lito Man has the prettiest ears!

We also had sunny afternoons where we were so sleepy we could not keep our eyes open! He has been looking more relaxed lately. More grown up. More round. I like it.

I sometimes wonder where this man horse came from. His dam, Cheetah, also turned 18 a couple weeks ago! With each passing day and year, I am enjoying all my time with her and her colt that she gave me.

We celebrated another anniversary. I miss My Darcy Girl every day. Some days, I shove the images and memories to the back and pick something else up after I pick myself up from the kick in the gut. But some days, I find myself looking for her light in different places. Some times I make myself do it. I could not be more blessed to have Merley Bob. He really and truly is a gift beyond measure in addition to unconditional love.

I kept an eye on my blessing reminder that has persisted in this young oak tree.

We celebrated life and love and family and memories by going fishing. We kept a couple dinners worth and released the rest while being glad at the number of young fish we saw building our fishery back up. Are not my parents the best?!

We watched the sunrise while the birds flew.

We felt the breeze in our hair some more. It has been very breezy this spring!

We rode some more and watched a storm come in! We even got a little bit of rain. Every little bit helps to grow the grass and get us through. It has been very dry here.

A different kind of magnificent painting.

We went to the beach and relaxed this past weekend! As cliché as it may sound, I do love a long walk on the beach, especially at sunrise with my pup. The water was…was…from somewhere else? I really do not have the words. Our beach does not usually look like this. I almost felt like we were in a different country.

It was nice to sit and truly relax without a thought of what needed to be done.

Merle loves long walks on the beach too!

We drove back to town early yesterday morning, wonderfully tired. I will not lie, it was a little difficult to get out of bed this morning! That could also have something to do with deciding to assemble a fountain for my patio at my usual bed time.

I find myself in this season, blissfully grateful and saying thank you. I once thought that I was not very good a praying and someone told me I was wrong. That I was indeed actually more than OK at it. It was like that time I said I was lucky and someone corrected me and said I was blessed.

“Naw I ain’t too good at prayin’ But thanks for everything”

~Larry Fleet

Thanks for everything. Amen! It is a simple as that.

Thank you, dear readers, for being you and being here. Walk in love and have a great day!

Tune Tuesday Time Out.

Have a listen.

For real.

Did I actually find this song last night while watching the new season of Sweet Magnolias on Netflix? Yes, I absolutely did. You can judge me all you want. I had to rewind the show so I could figure out what the song was. I listened to it while driving into work this morning. Over and over. Very, very loudly. Did I cry in my car? Yes, I did. And for a lot of reasons.

Validation. This is what it feels like. It is real. I am not the only one.

There is something about driving and listening to music, I swear. I did not even know the name of the album was Crying in Cars. I can not make this stuff up and neither could you. I was actually wondering while I was driving what the music video would be like for this song if it had one. Music videos are a funny thing to me and I would think it would be very hard to do. It would be hard to not paint the picture for every listener and have to put the song in a box because so many songs are applicable to a myriad of life situations. I was thinking the music video for this song should be the singer driving and crying. And hitting her steering wheel. Maybe pulling over because she is finally overcome. Then I find out what the name of the album is.


I am unfolding
I am not holding on
Shattered in pieces
I am the broken one
If you only knew the chaos inside my head
Wish that I could run but I’m just not ready yet

Just let me hurt a little longer
I’m in a war with no armour
Need to cry an ocean before I’m stronger
Just let me hurt a little longer
Just let me hurt a little longer

Don’t need a rescue
Don’t want a lifeline
I need to crumble
Cannot save me this time
Used to think that being brave just meant moving on
Now I sink into the pain until it’s all gonе

Just let me hurt a little longеr (Longer)
I’m in a war with no armour (Armour)
Need to cry an ocean before I’m stronger (Stronger)
Just let me hurt a little longer (Longer)
Just let me hurt a little longer (Longer)

(Longer)
(Longer)

Heart is in stitches
I burned all my bridges
I’m at the end of my rope
My stomach is twisted
I can’t resist it
Don’t know where else to go, so
Just let me hurt a little longer
I’m in a war with no armour

Just let me hurt a little longer (Longer)
I’m in a war with no armour (Armour)
Need to cry an ocean before I’m stronger (Stronger)
Just let me hurt a little longer (Longer)
Just let me hurt a little longer (Longer)
Just let me hurt a little longer

~Emily Rowed


Take your time. Let it in. You have to go through it. Is it bloody hard? Absolutely. But it is the only way.

You are not alone.

Walk in love, dear readers.

Music Monday

 

…There’s no need for anger, there’s no need for blame
There’s nothing to prove, everything’s still the same…
~Bob Dylan

Dear readers, nothing in this world is as it seems.

What in this world actually makes sense?

Don’t judge books by their covers. You have no idea what is on the inside of those pages.

Stay in your lane. Do you. Do not worry about others. Keep your focus on The Man Upstairs. That is how you keep your perspective. That is when things do make sense.

Walk in love, dear readers, and have a blessed Monday!

New Day

I hope each and every one of you and yours had a very merry and happy Christmas and New Year.
I hope your bubbly was cold, feelings warm, and family and friends present (including all the animals!).
May the many blessings of our Lord shower upon you. Peace, love, and joy. Keep the Christmas spirit alive all year long.

Here we are. 2020 (well, a few days in, but who is counting). A new year and a new decade. Apparently that is a big deal to a bunch of people, bringing a whole new perspective and pressure to New Year resolutions.

New year, new you. New decade, new…what? NEW new you? Bestest you? That is a whole log of a lot if you ask me when just regular new year resolutions are hard enough for most.

I feel like for many people, myself over here included, 2019 what a doozy of a year. It felt like a decade in itself with everything that happened and interestingly enough, did not happen, as it…uh…happens. I do not think I have ever been more happy or relieved to see one year go and another come into view.

Then, just as I thought the corner was turning on this new year and new decade, it all balled up, really skidded out, and crashed and burned right as the celebratory, welcoming fireworks were starting. And there was nothing I could do about it.

I have never been a fan of celebrating on NYE because there are just too many expectations and pressures that lead to let down. However, this really was not the way I intended on it going or spending it.

giphy.gif

Indeed I could probably be more vague. Frustrating I know. It is just not for right now. The what and the how and the why are not for right now. And that is OK. One day I might tell more. Will probably tell more. I just need more time to sit with it, you know?

Luckily for me, I can. I have that time. I can pull my own car over and shift it into park. Take a breath as I take my foot off the brake. Look into that rear view mirror. Then. Not look back at the mess. The wreckage. Lay my eyes out the windshield on today. And tomorrow. Learn what I need to learn. Take the good and leave the bad.

Here is the thing and the point for today. The AHAmoment. Sure January 1 is a new year. BUT. It is also a new day. Every day is a new day.

A NEW day.

Do you hear me?!

A new day to be your best self. Be better than you were the day before. To do the right thing. To follow through. Anything, you name it. We are not promised it. Take that right there to heart.

I am not making New Year’s resolutions this year (which really will not come as much of a surprise as I typically do not). I am however making a resolution to wake each day grateful to be here. To allow myself time to breathe and do what is right for me. To take care of me and my animals. To step forward, one step at a time each day, with “grit anchored in grace.” That is me, leather and lace.


“I don’t know exactly what the future holds, but I’m stepping forward with grit anchored in grace.” ~Julie Graham

Nobody but the Lord knows what the future holds. I am more than OK with that. I am here! I am focusing on today. He has me. Has my back. He is the light and the path. He knows the way for me. I will stay focused on Him and pray for His comfort, grace, peace, strength, and guidance. To have the eyes to see.

Enough about that for today.

giphy (1)

Let us talk about Christmas and food since we completely skipped over that!

For one of our Christmas gatherings, I made an exorbitant amount of these cinnamon rolls…so we could enjoy them all week. I did not roll the dough out thin enough, rolled them up sloppily, could not get them to look like the picture, and I OVER BAKED them. Sigh. However, I think they still had very good flavor and will be better the next time. Breads like this can be tricky. I think it was a win for a first time bread attempt. It will happen again and they will be even better.

I also had fun with cream cheese fruit tarts because I am crazy and wanted to make all the things. ALL. THE. THINGS.

This punkin’ pumpkin pie was another first time for me and it was totally worth it! Also…so very easy. The saying ‘easy as pie’ is pretty funny to me because pies are pretty dang easy…way easier than cakes!

Merle and I had a festive patio lunch after playing with friends. You can see evidence of such in the mud spot on his back leg. I think he looks smashing…even if is collar does not really go with the bow tie and his coat is, well, let us just say needed a bath and a good brushing. The bow tie is now dead post Christmas fun. That just means he will need a new one for next year!

For Christmas day I made a savory herb cheesecake with sage, thyme, and rosemary as the main part of a cheese board. Y’all. Do this. So worth it. So very good.

It is also very pretty in my opinion.

img_4683.jpg

Merle was very worn out with all the preparations! …and so was I!

img_4699.jpg

I made my favorite Pomegranate cake for Christmas day as well and it is always a winner. It is a great cake base and you can substitute the pomegranate flavor for any other that you wish. I used ice cream cones to create a snowy forest for the decoration. A bit abstract, but those are my favorite types of cakes.

After all of the Christmas festivities, it was time to lay low to rest, relax, recoup, and rejoice through the bringing in of the new year. Through it all. Even still, there is much to celebrate. I reflected on the old and looked forward to the new. I tried to focus on rooting myself in the present as I waded stepped into the New Year.

Then of course, I enjoyed some quality time with the horses and my Merle. They are my blessings. How I get through.

We took every day to try and celebrate life in whatever way we could. This is one way I like to do it with my people. I like to go to the trouble and make it nice for everyone. Candle lit alfresco is my favorite way to dine and I have a thing for setting tables. Even if we were having a seemingly simple meal of chili and cornbread. It is the little things.

We had a couple of really foggy mornings. It makes for nice exercising weather. Well, any weather is nice for to be on the back of a horse. I have a theory about fog. God likes Sunday mornings to be foggy so we remember to slow down and enjoy Sunday. More often than not, Sunday mornings at the farm are foggy. I think those two foggy days after Christmas were a reminder to do just that. Slow down and remember the reason. To be quiet and still just like the weather.

So. That is what I did.

My ever happy Mighty Merle Man while doing the farm run around.

We savored sunsets.

Enjoyed endless velvet muzzles.

Soaked in sunrises.

Even if they were a bit cold and frosty. After all that fog, we had a couple of chilly mornings.

But. Cold and frosty makes for very pretty!

I rode several times and took walks.

Just enjoying some quality time with my guys.

Cuddle time is our favorite.

Walk in love, dear readers. Today is a new day.

The Best Christmas Sound Track

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!

giphy (1).gif

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.

Daily Dose Of Cute

It is time for our Christmas Daily Dose Of Cute, but you have to get to the end here to see it. I have to share all the ones I have done over the years, obviously!

Nobody gets tired of all of these. NOBODY! Especially me, clearly!

Get another indulgent whatever-number-cup of morning joe and have a scroll! You will not regret it.

OK. Are you ready now? I am sure you are.

You are welcome.

I mean. Merle was not really a fan of this idea, but he is still turbo cute! I had a lapse in mental math when I planned to have him on the table…he has gotten quite big!

I probably should have brushed him…oh well.

His mohawk. Seriously.

Dear Santa, all I want for Christmas is for his mohawk to stay forever.

I may or may not have made sure it was standing up.

The photos are a little blurry, but I had to work quickly! The model was ‘over it’!

Naturally, there needs to be an accompaniment. Everyone has a soundtrack that goes along with them. You know, their personality. Their attitude. Merle is no different. I feel like this is the personality of Mr. Dirty Toes himself. I mean, his mohawk! I can see him wearing a leather jacket or, ha, even a gold chain. Play this song and look into Merle’s eyes.

Now, do not get me wrong. I love me some Merle. A whole heck of a lot. And I am not necessarily saying he is naughty. Only just a titch naughty. It is really just his very personality. A certain mischief behind those sultry eyes of his. Always working something! Using that brain of his.

You can even see it as early as just a few weeks old! It was one of the things that drew me to him I think.

Old Kringle felt a tingle runnin’ up his spine. He saw me then he run and hid.”

Gets me every time!

Does your animal have a song that suits their personality?

You think I sound crazy, don’t you? Well fine, that does not bother me one bit.

Walk in love, dear readers, and have a great day! Go love on your animals and tell your people you love them. What I would give for one more day with those that have gone on to our Heavenly Home. There are three of them in those photos above. Then there are the people. How I miss them so this time of year.

Brothers

Brothers.

Sisters.

Family.

Friends.

A’int nothin’ else that matters.

Relationships, like reflections of this very life we live, are complicated and can be hard. People, everyone, make ‘mistakes.’ Mess up. Have hard times. Have left things unsaid. Go down the wrong path. Our own eyes often can not see the whole picture. That is why sharing your story, being vulnerable and opening up, is so very important.

I have not my own words for today’s AHAmoment, but those of a band of brothers that I would call friends and family even though I have never met them in person, only through their music.

Let the very heartbeat of the music get deep in your soul. Turn the volume up. Let it bring the lyrics to your brain, your heart. Let it all reverberate together in there. Give that brother of yours a call.


“Ramblers in the wilderness we can’t find what we need
We get a little restless from the searching
Get a little worn down in between
Like a bull chasing the matador is the man left to his own schemes
Everybody needs someone beside em’ shining like a lighthouse from the sea
Brother, let me be your shelter
Never leave you all alone
I can be the one you call
When you’re low
Brother, let me be your fortress
When the night winds are driving on
Be the one to light the way
Bring you home
Face down in the desert now there’s a cage locked around my heart
I found a way to drop the keys where my failures were
Now my hands can’t reach that far
I ain’t made for a rivalry I could never take the world alone
I know that in my weakness I am strong, but
It’s your love that brings me home
Brother, let me be your shelter
Never leave you all alone
I can be the one you call
When you’re low
Brother, let me be your fortress
When the night winds are driving on
Be the one to light the way
Bring you home
And when you call and need me near
Sayin’ where’d you go?
Brother, I’m right here
And on those days when the sky begins to fall
You’re the blood of my blood
We can get through it all
Brother, let me be your shelter
Never leave you all alone
I can be the one you call
When you’re feelin’ low
Brother, let me be your fortress
When the night winds are driving on
Be the one to light the way
Bring you home
Brother, let me be your shelter
Never leave you all alone
I can be the one you call
When you’re low
Brother, let me be your fortress
When the night winds are driving on
Be the one to light the way
Bring you home
Be the one to light the way
Bring you home”
~Brothers Bear & Bo Rinehart
the band Needtobreathe

Do you get IT?

It is about that attitude of gratitude. Forgiveness. Being there for each other. Lifting each other up. Being a light. Living and breathing that love. We can not do this alone, dear readers. Love. God is love.

We are all better for it. Just look at what these brothers have done.

I am grateful for all of my brothers, sisters, family, and friends. I am one blessed gal, and so are you.

In the end, we are all brothers and sisters in this walk of life. In Christ.

Walk in love, dear readers, and enjoy this music and lyrics Monday.

The Monday before Thanksgiving! Get to counting your many blessings!

 

The Change of Fall

Do you feel it?

You know it. What I am talking about.

The feeling in the air.

The days are getting shorter.

Fall is here. Or. At least coming to these parts!


To celebrate, I will share with you the ultimate fall song. Remember this one?


It is October! And I felt it in the air this morning while taking Merle out.

Well, actually, I have been feeling it in the air for a few days now and it has been just slightly, ever so slightly clicking up. Not just because we have now hit October 1st. You can only really feel it at dawn and dusk and if you try hard, throughout the morning. That soft, drier air. It has a different feel. A different smell. It makes me giddy inside. Just downright giddy, I tell you. For the change in more than just temperatures. For freshness. For the setup of the reason for THE season. The reflections of the past seasons and the ones to come. You know how I get this time of year.

giphy

I have been out of the state for work for a few days drilling a well. With how busy and ‘full’ life has been the last few months, I was not looking forward to having to be away from home and my Merle. As it happens, like it always does, my eyes were opened while I was away. I was driving myself to dinner after my sift was over one night when I was caught in awe.

I was headed into the sunset down an old, old road that had been long cut through the tall pine trees of the rich timber country. I first noticed the way the light was forming the sunset and the time of day. It made me realize how the days have been getting shorter and the sunsets earlier, and earlier. Then I noticed the ever glow of the golden color of the rays. They were clear rays that bounced off of everything they touched, illuminating anything in contact, but at the same time, my eyes could not tell the difference from one to the other. How they shone between the trunks and the long shadows they created. The rays were seemingly suspended there, caught in that moment and time. Still. I like to think of them being captivated, much like I was. Rewarding me for seeing them. There was promise held in that golden light suspended in those trees.

The camera could not see what I was seeing.

It made me even more excited for fall and what is to come.

My cousin and I have already done an ‘all the fall things’ cooking session. She made a pumpkin chili and I made a pumpkin toffee dump cake. Um. GOOD. We have even picked more things to make for another fall evening and I can not wait. The date is not even on the books yet. Nothing gets me more excited for this time of year.

Sister K texted me yesterday reminding me that tomorrow (meaning today) was October 1st. Which really only means one thing. That we can start playing Christmas music. I know, I know, settle down. We will only play it for ourselves and BIL T, don’t worry. She is married to him so he has to listen (joking!). I promise to not share any Christmas music here until December.

There is another thing about this time of year. The thing that makes me the absolute giddiest of all giddy. If you have been around here for a little while you might be able to guess. It is something that happens for a week every October. A week that I live for. Now that my work commitments are complete (and I can feel myself breathe again) and we are in this fine fall month of October, I am thinking of nothing else.

Walk in love, dear readers, and do enjoy this fall! Embrace the change and allow it to happen like the change of the seasons.

Tune Tuesday

What day is it today?

You guessed it.

It is Tuesday. Tune Tuesday.

Do you know what that means? It is time for another Merle song.

OK, so maybe you do not know what that means outside of the fact that I am a crazy Merle Haggard fan.

You just do not know YET. Y’all will know here soon though! In just a few days.

You just have to keep checking back here!

Walk in love, dear readers!