Thursday, March 26, 2015

Letting go of expectations

This has always been a big problem area in my life.  

Born with an overactive imagination and prone to daydreaming have produced expectations in my life about everything.  I cannot even begin to tell you about the family holidays, celebrations, vacations and everything else, that have been unmatched and in some way, have fallen short, of my bloody expectations of what they will be like, how everything should be, etc, etc, etc...


The easiest and most direct route to disappointment.  

Bar none.  

And now in the midst of my fifth decade in life, I am still working on this.  I am trying to really focus on the here and now.  Live, breathe, see and experience everything around me for what it is.  Not how I'd imagined it would be.  Be wholly present and appreciative of what is.  Accepting and grateful for the imperfect beauty of what is.  Aaahh grasshopper, so much easier said than done for this dreamer.  It's really about embracing the unexpected, spontaneous, messy bits of this life which sometimes turn out to be more about the lesson, than the actual event, that counts in the end.  For as ever-changing, growing and learning people, life's lessons never really conclude do they?  

Nor would we want them to.

Coming up in July will be our third year together, Eags and I.  Can I just say that I absolutely adore this horse!?  He is so imperfectly perfect.  He blesses me with tiny little gifts of growing trust every single day.  Sometimes, I'm sure, I miss them completely.  Most assuredly, my loss.  But by trying to be fully present and cognizant of my surroundings, I'm getting better at realizing and savoring these little blessings of himself he graciously gives to me.  For what better gift than a piece of someone's heart, their trust and ultimately their love?  He is so much better at forgiveness than I am.  I've got so much more to learn from this beautiful horse.  But, slowly but surely, I am learning to trust him too.  And it feels really, really good.  And when I feel good, Eagle feels wonderful.  He looks to me for reassurance that we're alright.  We're both gonna be just fine.  

One of the two people I'd tried to contact about working with us, has gotten back to me.  Rachel has a full schedule right now, but around the end of May will be able to start working with us, if we both feel it's a good match.  I'm not very familiar with her ideas of good horsemanship, but have seen some very good and relaxed horses whom she's worked with.  And I truly believe that relaxation and feeling good about what they're doing, is the ultimate key to understanding, and the "try" that comes through a horse when we're trying to communicate our wishes through their actions.  Hopefully that makes sense, because it's rather difficult to put my thoughts into words.  I don't really think we "teach" or "school" anything to our horses that they don't already know how to do, and do those things very well.  We humans are an arrogant lot.  Rather, I like to think of spending time with my horse as relaying my ideas or wishes through their minds, into their bodies and ultimately into the desired reaction or movement from them.  I want them to completely understand what I'm asking of them, and to accomplish that, we need to let them take the time to figure our requests out.  We certainly don't expect children to learn how to read for example, straight out, but instead it's a process of learning.  That takes time and patience.  There's certainly no room for egos in good horsemanship.  That is the one thing that I simply will not abide from anyone working with my horse, or me for that matter.  Ego, arrogance, demanding...uh-huh.  Not with my horse.  Ever.  They are as intelligent as we are.  It's just a different level of intelligence.  Learning to think like the horse is the greatest advantage that we can bring into the equation.  Should be pretty easy, considering we're the "smarter" of the team, right?  One would think.  But we routinely have grand expectations from our horses to understand exactly what it is we're trying to convey to them immediately.  And if they don't "get it" and respond just like we think they should; we get frustrated, or worse and blame them.  When in reality, if we were any good at teaching, they would understand.  It takes the time that it takes.  We should never approach a horse with expectations.  We should rather, show up, accept the horse for the horse that he is in that moment, and move forward accordingly.  No time frame, no schedule and certainly no egos.  

Leave your expectations at the door and approach your horse with humility, grace and respect.  

...and I whispered to the horse; "Trust no man in whose eye you do not see yourself reflected as an equal."
    Don Vincenzo Giobbe circa 1700

I hope to be worthy of my Eagle's respect and the trust he's learning to place in me.  

Such a beautiful thing.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

No wind in my sails

Look close, the poodle's in there.

Miss Ruby

Snip doing what I wanted to be doing

My handsome Eagle

Ladde napping in the morning sun

Our weather continues on its' quest for spring.  We've had a bit of rain to dampen the ground, but not much.  I'm thankful for green grass and lots of sunshine.  Ruby and I continue taking walks several times a week.  She's really enjoying our too, but I can't help but miss my other girl, who also loved our walks.  Mostly, I'm at peace about Annie.  I know it was the right thing to do, and the timing was right.  But, oh how I miss her!  I hate how life is forever changed when a loved one is gone.  Time lessens the pain, but it's never the same.  I just wish it didn't have to be this way.  

I've been working every day at the clinic, and business has improved greatly.  It's good that I'm busy, as I have no time to ponder.  I've been keeping very busy at home as well.  My hubs has been working 6 days a week last week and again this week.  That means a lot more stall cleaning for me.  Last weekend I did the laundry, cleaned the house, groomed 5 of the 7 horses, cleaned all 6 stalls, added fresh bedding, cleaned all the water troughs and refilled them.  I did some work with Eagle and had planned on taking Ladde for a little ride, but in the end was just too tired, so opted for a leisurely soak in the tub instead.  Afterwards Ruby and I lounged on the bed and watched Seabisquit before heading out to pick up my hubs from work.  It was a very long, tiring day, but kept my mind occupied.  This weekend I can expect much of the same, and then hopefully everything will get back to normal real soon.  

We had the appointment with the farrier Tuesday evening and I got Missy's shoes on her front feet.  This is about 2 months earlier than normal, but the ground is so dry I can start riding her and working on her conditioning.  My search for someone to work with Eagle and me still continues.  I've tried contacting 2 different people that I thought would be good, but they haven't called me back.  Maybe business is too good, but it would be nice to get a reply.  If all else fails, I guess it will just be me and Eags after all...

I guess that's about it for now.  Hope everyone is doing well and warming up back east.  We're supposed to have a rainy weekend around here, which is good, I guess.  

Until next time,

Friday, February 27, 2015

Annie's life

By anybody's standards, was a good life.  A wonderfully full, active, always loved life.  So many wonderful, cherished memories!  

I have no regrets...

As I write this post this morning, I am a bag of mixed emotions.  I am heartbroken, and sad; but also oddly at peace.  My beautiful girl slipped quietly into her final rest last evening at home, on the couch.  It was so peaceful and so quiet that I had to keep checking to make sure she wasn't just sleeping.  She was as beautiful in death as she always was in life.  Oh my, how I will miss her.  She has been my constant companion for almost 11 years.  And I do mean constant.  The only time she wasn't with me was 5 years ago when we were on vacation in Hawaii for a week.  And even then, we had a friend stay at our home with the dogs where they would be most comfortable.  

I've never had a dog who fussed and worried about me, like Annie did.  It was as if she were my guardian angel or something.  She was always watching me.  Even if I was outside for a short while, my hubs would tell me that she was waiting by the door, listening intently for my return.  She followed me around every morning keeping tabs on my comings and goings as I got ready for work.  When she sensed that it was almost time to leave, she'd plant herself squarely in the middle of the kitchen floor where I had to step over her to get anywhere.  She wasn't about to be left behind.  

She was as good and kind as any dog has ever been.  She was gentle and loving  and smarter than a lot of people I know.  I always said she was perfect, and in my heart I truly believe that she was.  She never, ever did anything wrong that I can recall.  Even as a puppy.  She was an old soul and made me a better person just having spent time with her. I will cherish her memory for all time and will be eternally thankful to God for choosing me to be her guardian.  What a gift she was.  :)

Although I'm filled with a sense of loss, I'm also at peace because I know she was ready.  She had a couple of cheeseburgers for lunch yesterday and we took a drive out in the country so she could poke her nose out the window and enjoy a few sniffs.  Last night when we got home, I gave her a couple of pain pills to get her dozey and she enjoyed a bowl of vanilla ice cream.  She loved ice cream!  We snuggled on the couch in front of the pellet stove until LeAnne arrived.  I have never in all my life witnessed such a peaceful death.  And for that, I will also be eternally grateful.  My girl was tired.  She had fought the cancer valiantly, but in the end, she was ready.  We laid her to rest under the plum tree in our back yard where I'll plant some beautiful flowers in her honor.  We'll miss her so much, but it was time to say good-bye.

Ruby is a bit quiet this morning, but she said her good-byes as well, and seems to understand that Annie is gone.  I sometimes believe that animals have a far greater understanding of death than us people ever will.  So for us, life will go on.  Ruby and I will go for a walk at lunch time today and breathe deeply, and give thanks once again, for the gifts He gives us.  

I have taken more pictures of Annie than anyone or anything else over the years because she just could not take a bad picture.  She was so photogenic, and her lovely personality and kindness always showed.  How could I not?  These are but a few that I have, but I will cherish them always.  

Hug your loved ones today, hold them close and appreciate the beautiful souls you have in your life, for they are precious.

Blessings everyone, 

We will be together one day soon Annie, I believe that with all my until then.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Putting one foot in front of the other

That's what life feels like lately.  Just doing what needs to be done and getting through each day, one step at a time, over and over and over.  My mind is kind of blank and my emotions range from sadness to acceptance to feeling numb, and at times feeling thankful and even happy.  It's tiring.  

Last weekend we kept very busy.  Friday eve after work we did the horse chores, fed the pups, fed ourselves, watched a little TV and were in bed by 10.  Exciting, aren't we?

Saturday morning dawned, once again sunny and beautiful.  Our weather has been nothing short of amazing this month.  A February for the record books they say.  I just know it's been so enjoyable, and I'm so thankful.  Sunshine and less rain makes everything about farm life much simpler.

We had a nice, leisurely breakfast and then went to church.  Afterwards we stopped at DQ for ice cream and the dogs.  Annie and Ruby were thrilled at having their very own!  Such a little thing makes them so very happy.  When we got back home, hubs decided to relax on the couch with Annie, which translates to having a little nap, so it was the perfect opportunity to once again grab Ruby and head outside for a walk.  We walked the perimeter of the neighboring farm field and along the creek.  Up the hill and back down the other side.  I wish I'd left my jacket at home because I ended up having to carry it again it was so warm.  Ruby decided to have a little swim...against my threats about NOT getting in the water.  *sigh*  Labs are almost impossible to keep out of water.  She was in and swimming almost before I could get my mouth open.  Sneaky little pooch did this 3 or 4 times until I made her stick closer to me, so I could watch her more closely.  Oh well, swamp dog had fun.  

When we got home, hubs was just stretching and coming to life, so we headed out to the barn to do the chores.  Got everything done, brought the horses inside and spent a little time with each of them.  When it was just getting dark, we headed inside to get cleaned up and make a quick trip to Home Depot.  We needed to pick the paint up for the bedroom walls and ceiling.  Yes, I've finally made a decision on the color!  Benjamin Moore Silvermist, which I had Home Depot color match in their Behr Ultra Premium Plus paint.  It is wonderful paint and is much more affordable than BM or Sherwin Williams, which I've always used in the past.  I can almost buy 2 gallons for the price of 1.  You can't beat that!  So, we started for home and decided to stop at this little Chinese place for a quick bite.  Good food!  Either that, or we were starving because we hadn't eaten since the ice cream cones in early afternoon.  :)

Once home we watched a little TV and were in bed by about 10:30...totally out of control, right?  Seems a little strange, but totally convenient to be sleeping in the living room.  Sunday we relaxed on the deck enjoying our morning coffee in the glorious sunshine - yes, it was that warm!  We had a hummingbird visit the daphne bush and even saw honeybees and one bumbler.  So great!  Annie gets overheated really easily now, so she lounged either on the deck with us, or in the tall grass under the shade tree.  I'm so thankful she can sleep so much because she can't walk hardly at all now, almost non-weight bearing on that leg.  :(  

Anyway, the rest of the day was spent cleaning our house; a little (or a lot) of early spring cleaning, laundry and reorganizing...preparation for trips to Goodwill, or a garage sale.  I'm not sure I'm up for that though.  Then Claudia and I met in town and had pedicures.  What a treat that was!  It felt so very good to sit back, relax and have someone massage my feet and legs and make my toes all pretty!!  I could get used to that for sure...very nice.  It's always nice to visit with my friend too.  

When I got back home, hubs had done the chores, just hadn't brought the horses inside yet.  Yay!!!  He said he didn't think I'd want to mess up my toes cleaning sweet!  Gotta love that guy.  So...I decided to make a potato salad to go along with the T-bones I had marinating all day.  Steaks on the BBQ in February!!  How cool is that!?  They were so good, was a nice treat for us.  That's almost the end of our beef we put in the freezer a year ago, last October.  Anyway, we enjoyed our dinner and then brought the horses in and settled back for a relaxing evening in front of the pellet stove and a movie.  Hubby fell asleep, I watched Downton Abbey and then we hit the sack.  In bed at 10 again...wild and crazy we are! 

That was our busy weekend.  We accomplished a lot and it felt good.  I spent good, quality time with Annie and I took a few pictures of my girl sleeping in the sun.  How I wish I could have a do-over, but that's just not gonna happen.  I've made the appointment, so this time next week my girl will be gone.  It's so hard to believe how very fast the last 10 years have gone.  When I got Annie she was about 6 months old and my mom was in renal failure.  My mom never got to know Annie at all.  She would have loved her, and Annie would have loved mom.  Everybody did.  Two great ladies that I have been blessed to have in my life.  My mom left this life quietly and in peace.  I pray that my Annie will leave this life in the same way in which she lived it - with quiet dignity and grace.  And as always, I will be by her side, holding her and telling her how much she has always meant to me and that someday when we both get to heaven; she'd better come find me.  We both know she's better at finding her way than I am.  

Blessings all,

Monday, February 16, 2015

The downside of time that we all get old.  Or we don't, and then we die.  But die, we all must.  It's that part in the middle where we have some choices.

I borrowed that title from Michelle's blog because I sat here staring at the blank screen having no idea what to call this post.  Her title seems appropriate, and so I decided to use it too.  Thanks Michelle, hope you don't mind.  But I got nothing.

I just wanted to do an update and talk a little about what's been going on.  I feel like I'm spinning my wheels again lately.  I've been so busy.  But at what, I haven't a clue.  My house is in chaos, again.  I see dog hair, dust bunnies and dirt everywhere I look.  I see stuff everywhere.  Where in the world did we get all this stuff?  Why do we have so much?  *sigh*  If I could just part with about half of the possessions I have, I do believe I wouldn't miss a thing.  And there would be space.  Wonderful, open, space.  Cleaning would be easier too.  My hubs has finished the living room, and we've destroyed the bedroom.  Everything that was in there is now upstairs or in the living room.  Our bed is soon to follow.  We can't sleep upstairs because there's clothes piled on that bed, and Annie cannot climb the stairs, and that is exactly what she would want to do.  So...we're going to move the bed into the living room (if it will fit) and sleep on the floor for a while.  Annie will enjoy that.  :)  And that makes it all worthwhile.

Yes, my Annie is still hanging in there.  I'm waffling a bit about when exactly "her time" will be.  She sleeps a lot now, and she can't go on walks anymore.  On the flip side, she still enjoys a good belly rub and sighs contentedly when I softly stroke her face and head.  She's still eating, drinking and going outside for potty breaks.  She still insists on going whenever she hears the keys rattle.  There is nothing at all impaired about her hearing.  Or her nose.  She lives for cookies and loves to snarl and bark at the occasional bicyclist.  These are the things she lives for now.  She seems comfortable, with the occasional restless night where she can't seem to lay just right.  But then I have those's just very hard to know when.  I pray that she lets me know.  I think she will.

After about a week or so of torrential rains, about 5" by the rain gauge, our weather has once again turned beautiful.  It's warm, breezy and there's lots of sunshine.  Our temps are in the low to mid 60's by day and we're still sleeping with our window open at night.  My daphne plant is in full bloom and the scent that wafts through our window is delicious and heady.  My plant has finally grown big enough that I cut a decent-sized bouquet and brought it inside.  I can't even tell that I cut anything.  When I was leaving for work this morning, I noticed that my daffodils are in bloom.  The tulips won't be far behind.  It feels like spring, but it's early enough that we could get a cold snap and that could potentially be devastating for the budding fruit crop.  I bet we have a horrendous amount of bugs this summer if we don't get a cold snap though.  Nothing in life is ever perfect, is it?  Whatever happens though, we'll just deal with it.  We're thankful for our mild winter.  This will be a February for the record books.  The warmest ever in recorded history.  I just hope we don't have an overly wet spring.

Yesterday I got Annie all settled on the couch, she'd had her meds and a big drink and was ready for a nice, long nap.  Perfect time to grab Ruby and head outside for a walk.  Ruby was SO excited!!  Seeing her so happy was exactly what I needed to snap me out of my doldrums and out of my head.  I should have been cleaning my house, but the sunshine and exercise were exactly what I needed too!

The time outside was good for both of us, and I'm so glad we went.  I think I've come to terms with Annie's condition.  I will always be thankful for her, she is a wonderful blessing in my life.  Whenever the time comes, I will be strong on her behalf, and do what I know to be the kindest thing. Without a doubt, a little of me will die with her, but how can that not happen when you love so deeply?   I cannot help but long for the time and place where sadness, tears and death are no more.  But until that time, we have to get through it all the best way we can.  Life goes on.

I came back and took a few pictures of the horses while I was out cleaning the stalls.  The day was so warm that frequent breaks were required *wink*.

As you can see from the following pictures, the horses have been exercising their freedom to roll.  And roll.  And roll.  And roll...filthy, hairy, fat, but pleased.  Dirty beasts.  I give up trying to groom them with any regularity while this mud remains.  I simply don't have the energy or the time to keep up.  Nope, not at all.

Eagle's soft eye  

You know this look took some effort.  *sigh*

This is the gruesome threesome...

Missy used to enjoy being a clean, ladylike horse...not so, anymore.

My view from the barn

My beautiful girl.  An angel among us...
I've recently learned that my kidneys are functioning at only about 38%.  That was not news that I was expecting.  This has taken me quite by surprise and kind of knocked me for a loop.  I've got several upcoming appointments with a specialist, a nutritionist, more labs and an U/S...oh boy.  The worst part is that there's not a lot that I can do about it.  I've got to get educated about this because apparently, there might be a small measure of hope that I can slow down the progression.  I watched my mom go through dialysis 3x a week for 6 years.  Frankly, I think I'd rather go to my rest than suffer through that.  My grandma used to say that, "we all have our crosses to bear".  I guess this is another area that she was oh, so right.

That's about it for now,
Lorie @ Cingspots