Are Y’all Ready?

I know I am!

Today is going to be a good day! I just know it. For me and for you.

We also had an adventure last weekend. We hauled down the road for some fun. He loaded like a champ and worked like a champ!
It was hot, but it was fun!

We had a cold front blow in last night. All the way down here in the southern half of the great state of Texas. In late July.

What????

It must be a sign.

I know, but indeed stranger things have happened. Too bad I am not at the farm right now to ride. Although, all my horses are probably farting horse kites this morning.

I took the city dogs to go be farm dogs.
They liked it.

 

I have been dog sitting at my Aunt M’s house since I have been back from Montana. I awoke long before 6 AM and decided to just get the day rolling. That is how many a good day have started long before time (or at least long before this little space of the internet). This fine day (and yesterday too in truth) already had a different feeling in the air as I strolled down the stairs to let the dogs out. I opened the door and to my surprise felt a dry, cool breeze sneak past my face. I looked up in question and peered out into the darkness (or as dark as any backyard can be in the middle of a neighborhood, in the middle of a big city, with a pool lit up like a Christmas tree) as if I could see what I was feeling. I stepped outside and smiled as that cool air enveloped my entire being. I felt a giddiness rise inside of me.

Naturally, I had a little dance with a sideways glance from the dogs, turned on some Merle Haggard, opened all the doors, and got the coffee going. Now, I sit here writing to you. A great start to a great day, or any day for that matter.

Can not beat this with a stick.

This day however just so happens to be my Friday. Why do you ask? Well, as I promised, the adventure continues!

I am off early tomorrow morning to fly to Colorado for a long weekend with my parents! Where every morning will be cool and dry and invigorating and filled with the sounds of the Aspen leaves! And, and, and!


If you have been following along on the AHAmoments Facebook page, you have known about this trip for a couple of days and have been reliving the last time we were there. If you have not been, well, you can do that here too! I am just so nice that way!

Good Morning From The Mountains!

Wonders

Satisfaction

Just Another Mountaintop View


There is just something about the mountains that brings you closer to God. In more ways than one. But alas, more on that later. The morning is going quick like and I need to get going with it. The house is now cold (how is that a true statement???) and it is time to get ready for work.

It is going to be a great day and we are going to make it such together! It is our choice. AHAmoment.

One more work day, a packing session, and a sleep…AHAmoments is off to Colorado!

Walk in love, dear readers!

 

Special Day

Monday morning awoke with a bad case of the delayed, anxiety inducing Sunday blues. But, so goes some Mondays.

Even Darcy had a good groan and roll around before I made her get of bed strictly because I had to. She promptly went straight to her bed to go back to sleep after taking her outside. She did not even get up when I left. Oh to be a dog.

Anyway, back to the weekend because it was great and much better than anything going on this week. You know, working and laundry (SO MUCH LAUNDRY ALL THE TIME!) and cleaning and stressing about my upcoming adventure in France. Really, France can not come fast enough!

You missed that little tidbit, did you? Yes, AHAmoments is going to France next week! I dropped that news a bit ago and then never really said anything more about it. And I am not going to give any bit of it away now. You will just have to check back here to follow along on the adventure!

OK. Now, really back to the weekend. First, the weather was phenomenal. Not too hot and had a nice breeze. The traffic heading out there Friday after work was absolutely horrendous, but the second I stepped out of the car all was forgotten. I made a cocktail and walked out to the horse pasture, clinking ice and all, to sit and enjoy the sunset.

Stunner right? I just love to share these images with you. It never ceases to amaze me how each sunset can be different from the same place. It is a natural wonder. I hope they bring you as much joy as they bring me.

After bringing the horses into the paddock for the night, I went to get my dinner together and settle in for the night.

Saturday morning I took my time grooming and tacking Cheetah before we went of to ride. First we did a little arena work to make sure we actually did work. We both need it. Her because she is so grass fat and happy she is moving a little pokey. One would think that is a welcome change from her normal, but it is not actually. It is awkward, flat, and strung out. And for me, because well, sometimes we need to put ourselves into boot camp. Make myself ride better was the focus and has been the focus. My western saddle has become a crutch apparently and I do not like it. You just have off times every now and then. So, I have pretty much been only riding in an english saddle for the past couple of months and making myself do two point and riding without stirrups.

After the hard part was over, we went for a nice tour of the farm. An actual, four beat, walking tour. That was a nice and welcome change from her normal. She has actually been doing that lately and I love it. We looked at the grass and fences. Took a few bites of grass every now and then. Checked on the cows. Stopped in the shade of her favorite pecan tree. She voluntarily stops under the same tree every time we ride by and I love that too. She got a handful of treats and bath upon our return. I honestly think she enjoyed it as much as I did.

Leaving her tied in the shade, I brought Lito over for a long, indulgent grooming session. My favorite. I even braided his cute, short mane. I hoped they would stay, but I knew they would not. In the end, only three survived.

After lunch, I mowed. You know, I love to mow. Does anyone else like to mow? I find it terribly therapeutic and cathartic. And satisfying and rewarding. Some people think I am crazy, but honestly. Try it some time. Then, when you are finished and turn the mower off, the invading flood of silence is marvelous. Like you never knew how quiet it was before. You just have to hurry up and change your clothes because it is itchy work!

At some point in the day, I caught Darcy in a nap on the warm concrete.

Please notice the burrs. Wherever the Darcy goes, so go the burrs. It is our lot in life.

The long, hot afternoon hours around here are for the riding horses to practice tying in the shade. They get really good at it. All it takes is hours. They learn to settle in for a nap. Sometimes even I forget.

All three tails, caught in the breeze.

I rode Chance in the late evening, after the hottest part of the day. He has been ridden by kids a lot lately and thought he could pull the same tricks on me. He grunted and groaned in irritation as I made him work correctly. It was quite comical. A quick hose down for Chance after our ride and I settled in with a cocktail, listening to music and enjoying the sunset. The animals broke the spell after a while demanding their evening feed.

Sunday was an early start to a special day. Riding my Lito and a visit from my Grandmother.

After the horses had their morning feed, I caught up my Lito for a ride. He was acting a little squirrely as only a young horse in their terrible fives can be…

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…so we hand grazed and walked for a while after looking at all the things. Man, it sure is hard to get used to young horse actually acting like a young horse. Time and consistency, just like everything else. Do not forget it. He is aloud to be young and horses never lie. They tell you what they need if only we listen.

When his head seemed like it was back where it belonged, we groomed and tacked. Arena work first, farm tour second. Seemed to be the order of the weekend. He was not great, but was not bad. He tried and was happy at the end. That is what matters. Little bit by little bit, one thing at a time, slowly, is how you get where you are going. And we are going.

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Then my Grandmother came out for a BBQ lunch and to visit the horses.

This pic was from the last time she was able to come out. It was a few years ago. I remember my Grandfather, memory almost consumed by the Dementia, took one look at Chance and said, “That is a Quarter Horse,” with a big smile.

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It was a special visit for us all. It warms my heart to see her with the horses again. For her to see, feel, and smell them, not just view in a picture. Feel the breeze in her hair and on her skin under the large oak tree. She says she still has dreams of galloping across the fields and I only wish I could make that happen for her again.

I hope to get her out there again soon. It was a late afternoon getting home, but I made a quick run to the store for ingredients to have a homemade pizza dinner. Pretty dang good!

Walk in love, dear readers!

What Just Happend

That is more of a rhetorical question because nothing really happened, but still. It feels like a time warp of sorts and I am not sure if I am happy about it or not. How odd.

Anyway. The first thing. How is it already Wednesday? Yesterday was the Monday-est Tuesday ever being the Tuesday after Memorial Day weekend (which was great, by the way). It drug on and on and now here we are at Wednesday. It is like I feel duped. Yet another odd feeling! We are already half way to the weekend again!

You know what else has snuck up all of a sudden (or is it sneaked? Ugh, grammar is hard, man)? Summer. Like triple digit, humid town, reminiscent of 2011, SUMMER. I heard on the news that the next few weeks are going to be like the summer of 2011 (I sure hope he said next few weeks and not this whole summer!). I am almost shaking in my boots. Seriously.

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The summer of 2011, as anyone from down here knows, was brutal. I think we broke the record for triple digit days. Given how humid it is here, that is a hard thing to do. Oh and the bugs. So so bad. And practically no rain while being in the worst of the drought. That was the summer I graduated from undergrad and brought Cheetah home. She would have run all the way back if she could have I think. Every time I saw her she looked at me with an expression like, “GET ME OUT OF HERE, TAKE ME BACK, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE!” It is a good thing I had a lot of time. I went to the farm practically three times a week and she would gallop up to me each time I drove up to get hosed down and scrubbed. I did not even need a halter. We would stand under the shade of one of the oak trees as I ran the cold hose over and over her.

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Anyway. I can not think about that anymore.

Speaking of Memorial Day weekend, it was great. It started off with a dinner show by Radney Foster, at one of my favorite places, with some of my favorite people R, H, and M.

I have been a Foster fan for basically my whole life, but surprisingly, I have never seen him live. He surely did not disappoint.

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Playing new and old songs, sharing stories, and reading excerpts of pieces he has written. I did not want it to end. I could have sat there all night and listened. I ended up buying his book when the show was over and I can not wait to read it. If you have never heard of him, you should really go check him out. His work transcends all boundaries. I have so many favorite songs of his, we could be here for a week, so here is a new one he played that I can not get enough of. He just gets IT. For you to really see the light, you have to know the dark. AHAmoment.


“It’s gotta get dark enough
For you to see the stars”
~Radney Foster


I woke up early Saturday morning in a daze and Darcy and I booked it to the farm to meet my parents and cousins who arrived there Friday evening. Listening to Radney Foster the whole way, of course.

I had another one of those great compliment weekends I told you about before multiple times over. Girls and horses (and Petunia) and it was great. I am so proud of both girls and horses. R even rode both Cheetah and Chance bareback. There is just something about girls and horses. The horses, they just know what is expected of them when it comes down to it.

It was really hot and we were thankful for the moving cloud coverage. The horses were sweating in the shade! An unwelcome promise of more heat to come.

I do not have any more words for you, dear readers.

Other than to say I am overwhelmed with gratefulness for the blessing. For the family, the horses, and the music.

And. Of course. Walk in love!

I am going to go sit on my hands now so I do not post every one of Radney’s songs. Go listen now!

Beautiful

“The best and most beautiful things in the world can not be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.”
~Helen Keller

Thank you for the inspiration, Sarah!

I got home from work Friday to find this…

Naughty little dog. The Darcy Doolittle found some horse treats that R had somewhere. She decided they were indeed for her. Good thing I have an indoor/outdoor rug. Us traveling horse gals can be hard on the finer, indoor things of life. Tracking in shavings and hay, leaving burrs all over the house, and eating horse treats off the floor. You know, everyday stuff. Have I ever told you about the time Darcy ate crayons? No? Well, that is indeed a story for another day very soon. Anyway.

I wonder why she left the crumbs? A snack for later? Maybe she saved them for R’s cat? How sweet.

Not having time for such nonsense, I shook my head at her as she wagged her tail innocently at me before we loaded up and left. We had good times awaiting us.

I met up with some friends Friday evening who were spending the weekend doing fun horsey things. We talked and laughed, ate and drank, and listened to music. I had a grand time and got back to the farm late.

Which, indeed made waking up early to do all the things a wee bit difficult. After some encouragement from Darcy and Petunia protesting the late breakfast service, I got up and started the day. I rode Chance and Lito between moving sprinklers and taking care of other odds and ends. There are always a ton of odds and ends.

After riding, I loaded Lito a couple of times. You know, practice makes perfect better, better, better. He self loaded twice and was calm and confident so we called it a day. He is back to nickering at me when I come in to unload him which makes me more than happy. I am going to take him and Cheetah to a friend’s in a couple weeks for a fun, low key day.

Kisses for everyone from Lito. The day could not have been more beautiful. Not too hot and not really humid. Scattered clouds providing occasional blocks from the sun. A good breeze.

I had a late lunch after finishing up and went back to my friend’s for another fun evening. Friends and laughter along with a sunset like the above, is great for the soul and you feel it right down in your heart.

Sunday morning greeted us with an unexpected, and most welcome, chance of rain. I quickly packed up, left, and went to the car wash in hopes of ensuring some moisture. Here is hoping it worked! It was practically a gully washer in town!

What beautiful things did y’all get up to this weekend?

Walk in love, dear readers, and make it a great Monday!

May Day

I talk quite a bit during the Christmas season how it is my favorite time of year. I also seem to recall telling you that foaling season is probably my second favorite time of year. I would not put it past me to be found guilty of claiming yet another time as my second favorite time of year.

However, I was just thinking to myself how the month of May is my second favorite time of year. Although technically, it is still foaling season, just the end of it and now everyone is talking about how their mares are bred for next year. Just more to love.

Anyway.

April can get a little hay wire with the weather, but by the time May gets here, it is getting warm and the air is dry. Just the right kind of warm…as in not too. It is not yet hot and does not remind you of the suffocating humid heat you know, yet refuse to acknowledge, is coming in late summer. It is the kind that feels good and warms you through. Makes you want to take a nap. You can feel the promise of summer. The kind of promise that brings a flood of nostalgia and has you running and playing outside in shorts, with or without shoes. Flocking to the pool with your friends. Riding sweaty horses bareback. I half want to start a count down to the end of school.

Except, that I am not in school any more and do not get a summer off. Sigh. What a way to ruin an image.

Go back to running barefoot.

Everything is green, from the grass to the pecan trees, and the sky is so blue. The love bugs are everywhere and the horses’ coats are slick and shiny, free of the winter fuzzies. They practically glow as they bask in the sun. I swear the sun acts almost like a drug, putting everyone in a trance.

May also has a lot of birthdays in my family. Middle Sister, K. My Niece, L. Friend, R. A certain mare turns 14 soon. Babies and birthdays, man.

Anyway. Yesterday was a great May day and I have some evidence to prove it.

The sky was blue and the grass was green. It was warm. The horses were shiny and love bugs abundant.

I rode Cheetah and she acted like Lito was just weaned. I guess she wants a baby too.

Then I did some ground work and rode Lito man. He decided a little while ago that he was scared of flappy colorful things like tarps and anything of the sort. I still don’t get that because he never was before, but we are working through it. We walked all over with the flappy colorful tarp being flappy and colorful waving around. He was very good and I swear had that moment of, “I don’t remember why we are doing this. That is not scary.”

While riding he preferred to stand there and take a nap in the sun. So, we basically did that.

Petunia cuddled and asked for food.

Lito really enjoyed his feed. Just look at his eyes.

Our neighbor’s dog came over and everyone took a nap.

Remember when I showed you those cactus blossom buds on an equally awesome day? Well, here they are now!

Then Darcy (while covered in burrs…the one downside to this time of year) and I had a patio lunch with margaritas. For me, not her, much to her chagrin.

Margaritas and salsa after a great day with the ponies, reflecting on my many blessings.

What is your favorite part about this time of year?

Walk in love, dear readers!

Texas Summer 

OK, while we are not technically still in summer, around these parts, we basically only have summer and winter. 

A normal pattern, one that we have not really seen consistently for quite some time due to drought, is afternoon showers. Lovely, lovely showers. Thanks Gulf of Mexico! 

I might be one of the few down here who welcomes these afternoon showers since a little event named Harvey, but they really have been nice. Every afternoon we have had a little rain storm that makes the best background noise and cools the evening down. The air gets clean. Days like these I really wish I lived at the farm. 

But I digress. 

I get home from work and take Darcy out and then change out of my work clothes. Usually, that is when it starts raining. 

Both yesterday and today I cleaned, did laundry, and cooked with the soundtrack of summer. Exciting sounding to an outsider I know, but I find such beauty in the everyday of it. So relaxing and dependable. 

Life has been so busy and hectic lately with Harvey and trying to get back to ‘normal’ (something inconceivable even today for some victims of the storm) and my upcoming trip. 

On the menu tonight…or sometime this week, depending on what R prefers…roasted tomato and vegetable soup. Tomatoes, onions, peppers, peppers, peppers, butternut squash, garlic, and a ton of herbs…sage, thyme, rosemary, and basil. All roasted together in the oven and then combined in a stock pot, that my Grandmother gave me, with chicken stock to summer. Blended together and presto. An amazing soup. 


I am already enjoying a margarita. A classic for me. 


I have the robo vacuum going upstairs and it sounds like it is dragging a dead body around. 

But. Darcy girl is apparently hungry, so I must bend to her will. 


I hope y’all are enjoying your everyday lives. 

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!

 

 

Storms.

I have always been fascinated with storms. Whenever it rains, I practically run to a window to watch, like I have never seen rain before. Or open a door to experience it. Odd for a person born and raised in a place that typically gets plenty, don’t you think? I never realized I did this until we were in the worst of the drought and, now, trying to come out of it. Fingers crossed.

I really love the feel and smell of the rain. You know how you can smell it? Especially in West Texas where you can watch the storm approaching for miles before it even gets to you. I used to love to sit in a chair at the barn, listen to the horses eat hay, and watch the storms roll in. You can smell it coming when you see the clouds and you can smell it when it starts to rain. Hard to explain, but in explaining this to someone once, I learned a new word. Petrichor. Defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as “a pleasant, distinctive smell frequently accompanying the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather in certain regions” or as “the earthy scent produced when rain falls on dry soil,” apparently coined by two Australian researchers. Have you ever smelled that before?

I also love the power in storms. It makes me feel small in this world. Feel the presence of things that are greater than I. Be a witness the change throughout and after. I always marvel at the electricity within storms, but electricity can be a crazy thing. Why, you ask? It just is, but let me tell you why, exactly. I experienced something I have never seen before in my life.

So. R came out to the farm Saturday afternoon with Ronan for a girls and horses sleepover. A new friend, J, and her horse Pepper came out as well. There were some big, fast moving storms developing throughout the afternoon and evening that we were going to have to avoid, but so long as we could ride Sunday, which looked pretty good, no one cared.

R and Ronan were able to get unloaded and settled before the storm got too bad. We ran inside to dry off and to wait for it to pass. When the rain stopped, we decided to go check on the horses. I was thinking about how I hoped J was not caught hauling in another big storm cell when the craziest thing happened.

We heard and felt it before we even saw it. The electricity. The snaps and pops. Our hair stood up on our arms. I swear our heart beats were altered. Then the sky quite literally lit up, covered in inter-fingering lighting bolts, all interconnected, right in front of our eyes. Immediately came the crack of thunder before we could even react. I practically dropped to the ground! It still boggles my mind! R and I stood there in awe for what felt like several minutes, not knowing quite what to make of it. We looked at each other and both asked the other, “DID YOU FEEL THAT?!”

Luckily, J and Pepper arrived safe and sound with zero similar experiences. When Pepper was settled, we had Mexican for dinner in town and Sunday morning greeted us in wonderful, beautiful glory. The calm change after the storm. The air was slightly cooler and drier. The sky was blue and and grass was green. The horses were great and we were all so relaxed. After we rode around the farm for a while, we stopped for a quick popsicle break (because, hello, why not) and decided to head down the road for a bit. Since the horses were all behaving well, and figured with it being Sunday traffic would be light, it would be the perfect time to have Lito’s first ride down the road. I am happy to report that he did very well! We had a couple respectful drivers pass us and he did much better than I expected. Cars are not his favorite thing. I am very proud of him and am excited about all of our adventures yet to come, so long as they do not include crazy, electric lighting.



Some shots from Friday night and Saturday because why not? God’s beauty should be shared!














I have some other exciting news to report.

T minus 5 five days before I am well on my way to the mountains for a five day vacation. Big news, I know, and I know you are jealous. At least everyone down here in the hot humid sauna. I can’t really complain though because we really have had a mild summer so far.

I will always be a Texas gal, but the mountains definitely hold a special place in my heart. They are so grand and remind me, similar to storms, how small I am. God’s presence is always big in the mountains. Especially in the summers. I have only been skiing once in my live. That was pretty cool, but it was many years ago. I think I prefer the summers. I reportedly always did if you ask my father. The cool air and warm sun. Green grass and wildflowers backed by Aspen trees. Hiking. Biking. FLY FISHING! Live music. Porch sitting/drinking/talking/reading. All the things. I will be there with my Parents, Sister K, and Bro-in-law T. If I was not so busy up until the day I leave, I would be going stir crazy!

Walk in love, dear readers!

Stay tuned next week for news from the mountain! Regularly programmed AHAmoments until then!

Go celebrate life, we all have much to celebrate!