Happy New Year?

No, no, no. Not ‘Happy New Year?’

Happy New Year!!!!!

And Merry Christmas!!!!! Since I am pretty sure I missed saying that to you before.

Yes, all of those exclamation points are more than necessary.

I hope each one of you and yours had a very merry and blessed Christmas and New Year. May the many blessings of our Lord shower upon you. Peace, love, and joy. Go forth keeping the Christmas spirit alive all year long.

Aunt M asked me the other day if I was sick or something since I had not shared any AHAmoments in a while. No, no, not sick. Just still reeling from a busy Christmas season. I have lost count of how many naps I have taken. A little tidbit about me, I do not really take naps.

I have been spending my time watching the rain re-hydrate the mud. Trying not to get mud everywhere. Watching the horses roll in the mud. Scooping poop in the mud. Watching the horses slip while walking in the mud. Not riding enough. Losing my mind a titch. You know, normal 2018 stuff.

It rained this weekend. It rained yesterday and it is raining today.

But hey, speaking of Christmas…I did a little baking. It is one of my favorite ways to celebrate and share love with my family.

Apple Cranberry Pie with Pecan Shortbread Crust.

Chocolate Spiced Rum Cake.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Cake.

Pesto and Prosciutto Christmas Tree and Cranberry Pepper Baked Brie.

And that was just my part. We ate well to say the least. For days.

I made Lito dress up like a reindeer a few days before Christmas. I had a good laugh…or ten. Him, not so much, but he put up with it!

I will be perfectly honest, I am still laughing! He is so dang cute, even when he pouts. There is your daily dose of cute, dear readers!

Anyway, in my opinion, the best way to close out a year and ‘ring’ in the new is to watch the sunset and be in bed long before midnight. Then wake up early on January first, saddle up the best mare, and strike out down the road because that is the only dry stretch of ground for miles. So, that is exactly what I did.

“Stop taking pictures, food lady, and get in here to feed us!”

My Mamma came with on foot.

Hopefully 2019 will bring more ride time for me and my dun duo. It might just be after winter before the rain slows a little. Only the good Lord knows! And you know what? It is all good! Eventually, my riding will be back to normal. Until then, the horses are being horses. Doing what they do best. So, I am going to take this time and focus on myself. Be present.

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Here is to 2019.

‘Rise with lifted eyes’ every day. Ride more when you can. Worry less all the time. Focus on the journey and the path and allow it to create your momentum. Live in the moment and see the light and blessings around you. Do not ‘live on the surface and in between the lines.’ Go find the ‘deepest part of you’ and let your heart fight for the truth.

You are not flying alone.

Cheers, y’all!

Go 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. 

Simple Happiness.

I was talking with a couple friends yesterday over the email, all within the same conversation about people and wardrobes. I love email conversations during the day. Makes it more exciting and entertaining. It also means I get to keep up with people I don’t get to see all that often. Makes it feel like we live closer together.

Anyway, we were discussing our trail ride vacation coming up this fall and H said something about how animals, horses specifically in this instance, are simple and that it doesn’t take much to make them happy.

No. No it does not. AHAmoment right there. A lesson for all of us hidden (not very well hidden!) in there for sure.

Truer words have never been spoken.

What does it take to make you happy?

Every day I look at how happy my dog is at all times and what it is that makes her so. Not stuff. Her life is compiled of moments and experiences, always positive, always present. She is fed. She is healthy. She gets to be outside. She gets to run and play. I would like to think that I am part of that. That is IT.

Same with the horses.

Horses do such a great job of bringing us down a peg, in many ways. When Lito had his tendon episode, I got so wrapped up in the worry and getting the next exercise done, that I was forgetting to enjoy my time with him. When the realization hit me, it was like a ton of bricks and I could see it written all over him. He was not experiencing joy either. I was at a loss until Lito gave me an idea. Hand grazing. Hello. How could I not think of this? It is one of my favorite things to do. I was so focused on what was next and not the right now, I couldn’t even see it. I vowed right then and there to hand graze him both before and after our rides in addition to a longer grooming session. Words can not express the difference this had not only on his demeanor, but my experience as well. Something as simple as that can have exponential effects. I swear it made the birds sing. No, just kidding. They were already singing, I just heard them again.

 


People can get so wrapped up in the next thing, always looking to the future (hello, my favorite hobby. So much energy in something I don’t know) and what is the next thing that will make us happy or get us something or get us to the next step. Not focusing on seeing the positive and being happy now. In the moment, which all together make up a life. And look. We all know I struggle with this as much or more as the next person. Especially lately it seems. But. Just like a bad ride doesn’t make the next, a few bad days or a tough season of life, doesn’t make a life. It is setting us up and getting us ready for the next, whatever it is, whenever it is.

I always want to try and look at life the same way Darcy and my horses do. Keep it simple. Be present and in the moment. Create experiences. Not be driven by things. See the beauty and joy I am surrounded with every day, created by Him. Seeking it. See the grass that grows after the rain. Blooming flowers. The wind. The smell of the rain. Sunrises and sunsets. New life. Happy, healthy animals that give their all to me. Great family and friends. I am fed and healthy. I get to do what I love. I am free and I am loved. What more could I possibly ask for? Who am I? Who are we?!

Walk in love, dear readers!

Keep it simple!

It Is That Time Of Day

…or was, as it were.

Sunrise. My favorite time of day. If you have not deduced that little factoid about me yet. It is. It is just my favorite time of day. Everything is new, fresh, and innocent. Dynamic and colorful. An event you can count on every day. For me, I am always struck by the blessing. The blessing to have a new day as a gift. A fresh start. To do what makes my heart smile. To begin a new day in the best way possible viewing God’s painting. It certainly did not hurt that I got to see all of the horses right before I had to load up in my car and head to town for work. Nothing like country morning air laced with the smell of horse. I started out the day seeing the positive. The beautiful. The light. These shots were taken by the front gate as I was leaving. 

I usually take her with me, but I left Darcy in town for the night because I was not going to get to the farm till late just to turn around and come right back. Barely enough time to do what needs doing, but it needed doing. Anyway, dogs always amaze me. I left her at my parents’ house in the care of my dad while she looked at me with confusion and sadness and came back to her happy face and wagging tail, seemingly asking where I had been. All perceived sadness and confusion gone as if it were not there in the first place. Today I came to pick her up after work and there she was, all smiles and ready to go. Are we going? Yes, we are going!

On Sunday, when I got back from my girls riding weekend, we had a much needed, grass growing rain. I got everything unloaded and the trailer cleaned out and parked before I took care of a couple of things. I cooked burgers for a late lunch with my parents while they worked on some chores themselves. They had been working all morning. Just as we sat to eat the sky opened up. It didn’t last terribly long, but the drops were big and plentiful. You know the kind. The kind that drenches everything before you realize it’s raining. 


This weekend was much needed. I can’t say that I necessarily rested, but it was relaxing and I was able to forget my anxieties and all the balls floating in the air. There were 5 of us. We ate. We drank. We rode. We talked. We were leisurely and relaxed. We lounged by the pool. Rain was promised all weekend and we did not get any. We saw stunning sunsets set in thunderclouds illuminaded by lightning and serenaded by distant rolling thunder. Everyone was able to get home safe before the rain on Sunday. 

My Cheetah girl was her usual, saucy self, but settled nicely once we got riding. We both needed that weekend. 



Lito and I are proceeding with our hand walking regimen. It started out a little dicey, but today he was much better. But let us be honest, he is still easier than probably most other 4 year olds. After our walk, I let him graze for a little but while I enjoyed the shade and the sounds around me. Let us all marvel how he has not rubbed his mane out while being penned up!


All of this to say, I’m chugging along over here, juggling all the balls and doing all the things. Soon enough, life will settle back down and get back to ‘normal.’ Whatever normal is. Just less balls in the air I guess! Here is hoping I will be in my townhouse by the beginning of next week. 

I miss you, my dear readers, and can not wait to get back to talking with you more! 

Until then, walk in love. 

A Little Set Back

There is always something, isn’t there? Sometimes, things happen and you just have to roll with them. They just are. You can not do anything about them and may not know why they happen. Let go and let Him. Then you come back smarter, stronger, and wiser. 

A week ago today, I made a quick trip out to the farm after work to check on the horses and hopefully fit in a ride before Middle Sister K and Husband T came into town for the weekend. I walked down to the pond, hands full of carrots, where they were all standing together in the shad of a pecan tree.

I ran my eyes and hands over each one of them as I pretty much always do. I often do not even notice that I do it. I just do. To make sure everything is as it should be. It is a horse person thing, I guess.

I get to Lito’s left hind and notice some odd, slight swelling and warmth. Great, I thought to myself. Do not think bowed tendon. Dramatic, I know. You know how you can get. What the heck did he do? He has, up until this point, never been swollen or lame. Well, except with his adult teeth coming in. Not important. Check to see if he is lame, maybe he just bumped himself…He was lame. Great. OK. No need to be reactionary. Give him a few days and see how he is. Go from there. Right.

I go over every interaction with him in the recent past in my head multiple times. It could not have been our Hill Country ride. There is no way. His legs were tight and clean before and after every ride. I longed him every morning to make sure he was not stiff or lame. That and to make sure he remembered to pack his brain, but he always does. Not important. He was pretty well conditioned for the trip and never seemed strained by any of the work. Could he have done it on the trailer ride home? I suppose. Did I check his legs when we unloaded? I can not remember. More likely when I turned him back out with the herd and they ran around like race horses for a bit. More plausible, I suppose.

I prayed about it the whole drive several times on my way home that evening. That leave it with Him post? This is where it stemmed from. I practically worried myself sick in the span of my hour long drive. Like that does anybody any good ever. You can tell me that a hundred times and I probably still will not learn that lesson. Put your big girl panties on, Avery, pray about it, and leave it with Him. AHAmoment. It is what we are supposed to do. Have faith. So I did the best I could.

I could not get back out there to check him until Tuesday. Hurry fast I did. He was still slightly swollen, but better. OK. Is he still off? Slightly, maybe? If you have to think that hard to tell if he is lame, at least he is better. Making progress, but still not quite right. The dreaded NQR. Sigh. He made progress, that is good. Something just did not sit right with me, though. How I would hate to let him rest up, get him back riding after a while, just to have it flare up again.

A quick phone call with R to get her to agree with me that a phone call to the vet would not hurt, my peace of mind or wallet. Yet. It took me all day Wednesday to get them on the phone because they were swamped with emergencies. Thankfully, not mine! AHAmoment right there.

They went out there to have a look at him yesterday morning. He did not present lame or react to flexion tests. An ultrasound on both hind legs revealed his left deep digital flexor tendon to be slightly inflamed and bigger than his right. Thankfully for me she used the word mild. And it really is. She wants him on small turnout or stall rest for two weeks. Then a couple 15 minute walk trot rides before he is checked again.

I still can not shake the feeling that I overtaxed him while in the Hill Country. Part of my original worry was that I maybe caused this. My logic and the facts tell me that is not the case. I want the best for him and always have his best interest at heart. I am his steward. Sometimes though, horses are just going to horse. Just look at Kentucky Derby entry, Thunder Snow.

So. For now, we rest while I tack on some miles to my car commuting back and forth from the farm for two weeks. And pray. And leave it with Him. Then come back stronger after we get up and rebuild. 

Walk in love.

Smile

“There ain’t nothing that can’t be fixed with a smile”

Smile.

Don’t worry.

Don’t hurry.

Embrace the love.

You were lost, but now you’re found.

We aren’t here for very long. Make your peace. Make it beautiful.

Smile.

Truth, isn’t it. Today got me thinking how important and effective smiles are. Then this song came on and I had to share. I am listening to it again right now as it rains outside. Have you ever noticed how light you feel or how the being you are with seems lighter when you smile? Do it right now if you never have noticed. Whether just in our everyday lives doing everyday things or working with horses, smile. It’s hard to get tense or angry when you are smiling. I heard a trainer once say that when you are in a tough spot with a horse, just smile. Take a breath and smile. It will help you relax and not react. Makes you become less of the issue in the equation. You are better able to work through the tough. Dang if it isn’t true.

Your AHAmoment for today brought to you by Midnight River Choir. Check them out. Thanks to Music Fog on YouTube for the vid.

Walk in love, dear readers!

Details on my upcoming Hill Country adventure tomorrow!

This Year End

Just like everyone else it seems, I too am reflective at year end. Many reflect on goals achieved, resolutions kept, or all the great things that have happened. I achieved some goals, kept zero resolutions, and did have some great things happen this year.

However, this particular year has been colored with many terrible events, which I will not continue to belabor at present (just read back if you are curious), that seem to overshadow the good.  I literally, between typing words, just spilled my champagne on myself while I was trying to take a sip. Very good adulating going on here. Can I get a participation award?

I think my only two resolutions this year will be to stop spilling on myself while drinking and to ride more. I guarantee that only one will be kept.

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I find myself wanting to hide until 2017 emerges just so nothing bad can happen, but alas, we can not hide from anything, no matter how hard we try. AHAmoment. When we try to hide, we are not able to see the good things that are happening around us and to us. I know this logically, but dang, it is hard sometimes.

Just a few hours ago I found out that my grandmother has had a fall and is having surgery tomorrow. Praise the Lord that it was not worse. The surgery is expected to be quick and she should have less down time than last time. That is the bright side. I need another glass of wine.

A little something I read today gave me a little perspective and gives me my message to this past year: Goodbye 2016, I won’t be looking back. Thank you to Mallory of AdultAmmyStrong for sharing your story. It has helped me. I also shared it with a friend of mine. I am so grateful to have my horses and my dog. When I feel like it is too hard to move forward, I do for them.

I am watching Love Actually this evening. The viewing of this movie used to be a Christmas tradition with my sisters and cousins. It has now faded away with the changing tides, but I still watch it every year at least once. Funny thing is I feel like this (the song part…and the love part) is a good summation of 2016 and how Christmas kinda felt. PSA…this is explicit and not PG-13!

I will not hide for the rest of 2016. I am going to fake it till I make it. It is not all bad. Can you hear my determination? I will dance like Billy Mack to the final count down.

I am going to go pour myself another glass of wine, try not to spill on myself, and watch the rest of the movie.

Walk in love, dear readers. I am only taking small steps as present. You can take small steps with me.