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 forget to allow time slow down this time of year! Take a deep breath and enjoy it, whatever Thanksgiving brings your way this year.
I somehow forgot until Sunday afternoon that Thanksgiving is indeed this Thursday. As in a few days from now. Completely slipped my mind. Go figure that and get back to me. It is not like I have been talking about Thanksgiving and the season and being mindful or anything.
Anyway. I remembered while I was in the grocery store to pick up a couple things to make some chili. I do believe I made it out with everything I need. Here is the kicker. Without a list! Another fact you could spend more than an iota pondering, but I will not spend my time doing that.
This year I am making the best cheesecake, but with a twist this time. A topping of chocolate ganache and salted caramel with pecans. I am also making my fancy cranberry sauce as per usual (if you have never made or had cranberry sauce from scratch, you are missing out) and the best sweet potatoes. Then, for Thanksgiving round two, I will be making some kind of gluten free dessert for my Pop’s birthday. Stay tuned for more recipes and final results!
If you are reading this and are surprised much like I was that Thanksgiving is this week, fear not, you are not alone! Do not feel bad! You have buckets of that thing called time. Trust me.
Being as it is the Monday before Thanksgiving and life is crazy and time is trying to speed by and you may find yourself wanting it to go away and memories and and and, I have something for you. For all of us.
It is about that time of year and I am not talking about hurricane season. Although we really need the rain. We almost got some this weekend. Hopefully this week we actually get some.
But back to the season at hand. It is more than just entering the ‘ber months and entering fall. More than baking all the fall things, which I am very excited about. More than family time, which is everything.
It is the season of reflection. Of being grateful and thankful. Remembering those that are no longer with us and also too of those that still are. Cherishing every moment we have with them. Thinking of the future.
It always seems to hit me right at September first. With the start of dove season. College football. The distant promise of cooler temperatures. Finding new recipes for fall baked goods and sides to present at holiday meals. Thinking about Christmas presents and the real reason for the season.
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!
On Monday I dropped my phone, again, and rendered it basically useless. It was time for a new one anyway.
So, yesterday, I went out during my lunch hour to get a new phone. It took longer than an hour if you want to know. The sales attendant and the phone itself made me feel dumb. I also had zero contacts or settings because the man told me I could not have them. “I do not understand, that has never been an issue before. I have never had to pay to access my information. I have always walked out of here with a fully functioning, loaded phone.” I am sorry, the man said with a chuckle, there is no other way. You have to be on the cloud and pay for space. There is no other way. He shook his head at me. Then he kept trying to sell me stuff I do not need. Rude. I was bewildered.
I spent an exorbitant amount of time trying to set up a phone that would not let me log into anything or do anything. Angry, I reset the phone and started the set up from the beginning. I logged in and, like a gift, there was all of my information. So much for that guy at the store. Maybe I should quit my day job? No, just kidding.
Then I went to play dominoes with some friends after work and all was well with the world.
Today is Wednesday and I am hungry. This fasting thing is hard work! Brings a whold new meaning and feeling to intentional prayer.
When I am hungry, I get even more random than normal, if that was even possible. Which I am sure you can tell if you have read this far.
My research thesis professor in college, a Scotsman, used to tell me to stop waffling in my writing. Just get to it and say it and move on to the next point. Well I can waffle all I want to now. Take that. Aren’t you glad?
Speaking of waffles, I love waffles. And bacon. And maple syrup. And basically anything you can put maple syrup on.
Anyone want to go grocery shopping?
This is going to be a long day!
I have not taken any pictures in practically 2 weeks. Which is odd. I rode Lito on Saturday with a trail riding group that I am in. It was cold and wet, but it was a pretty good day. Lito was a bit jumpy which was odd. I did not have any other horses there and it has been a little while since I have hauled him by himself. I also did not ride him the weekend before because we had family in town for the service. I guess all of that and the weather explains most of his behavior. By the end of the day he was pretty lined out and it was a lovely day, even with the weather. I was still happy with him and glad I got him out in those conditions.
Today it is again cold and wet. Last I checked, it is going to be wet this weekend. It will definitely be muddy! We shall see if I can get some riding in. We all need it!
Now that I am thawing out from this week (yes, practically whole week) of frozen temperatures, I find myself itching to write to you again. Blame the Canadians and their polar vortex for my absence. I was too tired and my fingers too cold! But do not blame them too hard, I like Canadians!
How I handled actual winter for four years in college I will never know. I suppose I am far removed from it now and have reverted back to my south Texas tolerances. This week I have felt like quite a wimp given the extremes I went through in college. A Mucinex taking, hacking wimp.
Oh well. It is what it is and I am who I am. Someone who much prefers mild temps!
This is about how I spent this week…
Putting on many layers. Scooping poop. Filling extra buckets of water. Filling hay nets for the horses. Feeding horses. Feeding cows. Blanketing Apache. Scooping poop. Draining water lines. Sleeping. Night check. Feed horses. Feed cows. Scooping poop. Breaking ice. Drive an hour to work (except that day I didn’t because I kept breaking ice and feeding and scooping poop). Drive an hour back to the farm.
Rinse and repeat.
Somewhere in there I took off some layers and put them back on. Drank a bucket of coffee. Checked the temperature about a zillion times. And Apache finally got to go without his blanket after several days of wearing it.
Also somewhere in there towards the second half of the week, our manure spreader broke. That is a lot of manure to not have somewhere to put it! And. We lost hot water yesterday and still do not have any. Hopefully the hot water is restored today and it looks like the manure spreader can be easily fixed.
Could be much worse!
Today I am grateful for warmer, normal temperatures and so are the horses. Or at least they will be when the vet is finished with their annual appointment.
I am also grateful for the fact that cold winter can be quite pretty…and fun when you are a Darcy Dog…
The first clear morning. Clear and cold sunrises are some of the prettiest.
Sunrise reflections are also pretty cool.
When you finally see the sun, there is no better feeling.
Darcy loves to play with the ice out of the troughs.
If you look really closely, you can see a blanket wrapping a pipe. I point that out just for you. I had to do what I had to do.
While I could do without the frost, it is very pretty.
That is about all I have for today. That and enjoying the warmer temps!
Oh. I do have a couple more things.
Some members of my family and I are doing a Wednesday prayer and fast to pray for those in my family needing uplifting support at this time in their quest for the true desires of their hearts’. Liquid diet only on Wednesday, no alcohol (a true sacrifice for no wine Wednesday!), and praying for these people we love so dearly. I invite you, dear readers, to join me if you feel so moved. To pray for those in my family or those in yours. Anyone, anything. No worries, no pressure. As my mother said, we shall not be anxious but with prayer and thanksgiving we will let our requests be known to God…and leave it with Him. Even if you just do one day.
“when two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them.”
Lastly, one of our own, a dear friend and dear reader, has lost her father. He has gone to be with our Lord in his ultimate heavenly home, now free of pain and suffering. Made new and whole again. Please pray for her and her family. Pray for peace and comfort. For strength and faith. I am adding her and her family to my Wednesday list.
Walk in love, dear readers!
Enjoy the warmth if you have it and if you don’t, know that it will come soon!
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.
I made a quick trip out to the farm yesterday after work to fit in a ride and check on things. I even got to see the sunset as I left. A great thing under any circumstance, even this one.
Hurricane Harvey is headed this way and we are expected to get more than a bucket load of rain. And wind probably. Probably a lot of wind. Hopefully not more than that, but there are some reports using some very big and strong words. There is still a lot of time between now and when it gets here (I say that, 24 hours now), but it is going to be a lot of something. Only time will tell how much and how bad.
But, in the mean time, I had to get a ride in since I knew I would likely not be able to this weekend. Hey, a girl has to to what a girl has to do. All three of us in this case. Nothing like a good bareback ride to put your mind at ease, even if just for a time. Certainly helps that my Cheetah girl was amazing.
This is how we wait for storms here in Texas. Try to stay calm and be ready to act when need be. It does not matter that I am used to this, having been born and raised here. I have been through many hurricanes and my family many more than me. Some bad and some not so bad. I still worry. I am a worrier. Mostly for the horses since I do not live where they are. Then there is the whole wind and flooding and falling trees thing. Possible tornadoes. Loss of power. Water.
Just got to ride it out. Leg on.
What? Nobody else says that? Oh, well, you get the gist.
No need to worry for not. What is going to be will be. We do need the rain.
Say a little prayer for this southern part of Texas, will you?