Wednesday, February 7, 2018

You just never know



Life is full of unexpected happenings.  Surprises when you least expect them.  Some are extraordinary and life altering; others are just a welcome change to the routine. 

We had a beautiful, warm weekend.  Yes, the sun was shining!  Oh my goodness, did it ever feel good!  All of us, horses, dogs, cats, chickens and people alike turned our faces heavenward and just reveled in the warmth beaming down upon us.  It was so nice. 

Just what we needed to lift our spirits and remove some of the gloom that has been cloaking our world lately.  The horses were dropping like flies.  They ate breakfast and then were sprawled out all over the pasture, just basking in the warmth.  It felt so much like spring, temps were in the 60's and I even saw a honeybee.  The flowering tree in our back yard will be budding soon, as will the daphne bush by the deck.  One of the most heavenly scents imaginable!  I love to pick a bouquet and place the vase on my night stand...sweet dreams.  :)

As I looked around I noticed signs of spring everywhere.  Daffodils are pushed through the soil, tiny buds on many trees and the horses are starting to shed a bit.  And the days are getting longer!  It's no longer dark when I leave the clinic in the evening.  Oh man, what a blessing.  Just thinking that winters' end is near, makes me feel so much lighter.  I know I can't complain, because we really haven't had much of a "winter", but the rains all through January just seemed to be never ending and even the horses seemed depressed.  For whatever reason, this year I seem to be struggling with the endless grey skies, rain and mud.  But, knowing the end is in sight helps me so much. 

Another true surprise happened to us recently.  Something so unexpected, but very cool.  Shortly before Christmas I received a private message from someone I didn't know.  She asked if I knew someone (name withheld for privacy), and I said yes, that's my husband's son.  She said she was searching for long-lost relatives.  Curious, I asked her if she thought she was somehow related to him.  She said yes, he's my biological father.  You could have knocked me down with a feather!

We had a fairly long correspondence that day and I got the feeling she was a very nice young lady.  Apparently, unbeknownst to us, JP fathered a baby with a girl years ago when they were in high school.  The infant was given up for adoption and she was raised within an hour of where we now live.  What a small world, huh?  Last year she graduated from Oregon State University with a degree in Civil Engineering and now works for Oregon Dept. of Transportation in The Dalles, which is several hours from here in the Columbia Gorge area.  I really enjoyed visiting with her and so did my hubby.  He was even more excited than me, since this is another granddaughter he was unaware of.  This Sunday, Anita and her dad are coming to our home for a visit.  We're really looking forward to meeting her in person and the chance to get acquainted with her.  As far as looks go, there's no doubt that JP is her biological father.  She's the spitting image of him, same complexion, hair color, smile, everything.  Pretty amazing huh?  We're ready for all the questions she's likely to have, although we've already covered some of the basics earlier.  We've got lots of pictures we can share, she's an active outdoorsy type, loves animals, has a dog and seems very down to earth.  I'm sure we'll get along just fine.  She used to be a horseback rider, took English riding lessons for years and loves to dance.  In her spare time, she teaches Hip-hop dance and has several videos on You-Tube. 

I'm actually a little bit nervous, but I'm sure that will pass as soon as she walks through the door.  The dogs will assault her, we'll try to get them under control to no avail, and the ice will have been broken.  As far as meeting our horses goes, the timing couldn't possibly be worse.  They are shaggy, muddy and fat, but will welcome the attention from someone new.  Ladde will do his best to give her kisses, and Eagle will work his wiles and seduce her just like he does all the ladies he meets. 

Eagle doing what he loves best

Should be an interesting day.

Until next time,
Lorie @ Cingspots

Friday, February 2, 2018

A stitch in time

That's what I keep telling myself.   That loosely translates to, "this too shall pass".  *sigh* 

I'm pretty much over my cold, with just a bothersome occasional cough that produces a very small amount of hmmm, yuck.  That works, hopefully without being too graphic for you sensitive ones. 

However, my overall condition this winter seems to be genuine lackluster.  I'm feeling tired, disinterested, cranky, and at times, bordering on having the outright blues.  So many rainy days and so very much mud creates so much extra work, muddy paws, muck boots, difficulty dumping the poop wagon, on and on.  I'll have to be careful or I'll pass my depression on to you.  :)  Sorry...

Seriously, not much going on really.  Shad was off his feed for a short time, had a very foul odor coming from his mouth and generally looked like I felt.  Maybe it's not just me after all.  So, my vet came out and had a look in his mouth, we were thinking likely a bad tooth, or a gum pocket causing him discomfort.  But when the speculum was just starting to open, he went straight up and there was a serious pain response, even with detomidine on board.  Poor guy.  From what the vet could see, it looked like a wound in the mucosa of the inside of his mouth, with hanging tissue, or maybe a tumor-like growth about 3/4"  long with a white tip.  ???  Who knows what it really is though.  We're guessing here, you know the "practice" of medicine.  A pressure smear was sent in for a cytology which didn't show anything abnormal, normal mouth bacteria and all that.  Good news.  So, we decided on a week of antibiotics and a small dose of banamine twice a day.  Mainly we wanted him to eat.  Being an old Thoroughbred (28 years this April), with the metabolism their breed is famous for, he drops weight very fast.  He was also a bit dehydrated because his water consumption was down and we needed to keep his caloric intake high.  No food, no energy to fight off whatever was ailing him.  So far, so good.  Last dose of both meds tonight.  The bad smell seems to be gone, so it's cold turkey to see how he responds.  While he's been medicated, his appetite has been great, we've been pouring the feed to him and that seems to be working.  His energy levels have improved and he's much more bright-eyed and back to his old, but child-like, playful self.  :)  We're just hoping whatever the thing was, it's healed up and he maintains when drug free.  We're hopeful, because there's really not much else to be done.  Anesthetization would be too risky for the old man and we're just not willing to risk it. 

This whole situation was reminiscent of what happened with Kadie, and had me worried.  We let her get too weak and weren't able to get her eating again, which I think, was why she just quit.  I wanted her to keep trying, but I could see it in her eyes.  She was too tired.  What a precious soul she was, but I know what a huge blessing she was to me.  I'll probably miss her forever, but I wouldn't have changed a thing.  When you love a good one, you just want forever.  So, I'm hopeful we have a better outcome with my hubby's sweet boy. 

I recently had a birthday.  I'm 58 years old, and just keep wondering how that happened.  I mean, it's gone so fast.  I can't believe how close to 60 I am.  And retirement.  Good grief. 

Can you hear it?  That old Rolling Stones song, time waits for no one, and it won't wait for me...

My hubby took me out for brunch on my b-day.  Yum!  Was a nice day.  I got to get up when I wanted to, enjoyed a leisurely morning and actually got to view a very brief sunrise, but a sunrise nonetheless.  That was cool.  Then the torrential rains began.  January birthdays are usually best enjoyed from the comforts of the inside, preferably by the fireside.  Like mine was, so I was a happy birthday girl.  Man, I really am getting old.  Sounds like a granny birthday for sure, doesn't it!? 

My dogs are going stir crazy too.  So much rain and mud, seriously curtails our walking adventures.  Such a bummer, but sometimes you just gotta go for it, stop worrying about the muddy paws, and get outside anyway.  Fresh air, exercise and wide open spaces help all of us so much!  Then let the cleaning frenzy begin...and the depressed doggies suffering on the blankets.  I'd switch places with them anytime.  Yesterday morning, Ruby came running towards me when I was standing with my car door open.  I thought she was running to me, but oh no, she jumped straight into my car, through and over the center console and onto the back seat!  Oh my gosh, I could have killed her!  Mud was everywhere!  Had it been blood, you'd have thought it was a major (and totally gory) crime scene.  Amazes me how many different places mud spots go in such a short amount of time...did I mention that my car has light grey interior?  Yeah...what was I thinking?

Hubs and I were dreaming and scheming again the other day.  We found this absolutely perfect home on 7 acres of gorgeous land with big, fir trees and pastures.  The home was situated on top of a gentle rise overlooking the pastures and the Grand Ronde river down below and across the driveway.  It was at the end of a dead end and very private private lane.  This is the first place I've fallen in love with since years ago when we first started looking at properties in Central Oregon.  I mean, the house was gorgeous, amazingly peaceful views from every window...sigh.  But alas, there were 2 serious drawbacks.  The rail line ran next to the private lane.  The train goes through there several times daily, and just below that, was the 4-lane highway.  Apparently, noise travels up.  I just couldn't imagine living somewhere, that all that peaceful serenity is marred by constant noise.  Nope.  Not going there.  We'll keep dreaming and scheming.  If it's meant to be, we'll find that perfect place; and if not, we're pretty happy where we are.  Always has been fun to dream though. 

Gives us damp Oregonians something to do...

Blessings all.


THE ROLLING STONES - time waits for no one

Thursday, January 11, 2018

All quiet on the homefront

The sun peeks through

And that's the only way I can handle it right now.  I've been sick again.  This cold hit me with a vengeance.  So quickly and within 24 hours, I was flat on my back and could no nothing more than sleep.  And sleep I did, all night, all the next day and all night again.  Ventured forth, had a long soak in a hot tub of water and made it to work yesterday.  I felt so much better than the previous day.  Very weird.  I've been sick more often in these past couple of months than I've been in the previous 5,6,7 ?? years?  Not sure, but this is totally uncharacteristic for me. 

I'm still not feeling anywhere near to normal.  But to work I must go, I really have no choice.  I'm just thankful that business this time of year is usually slow.  If it weren't, I don't think I could manage.  So I come in and do my best, but that's not saying much.  I slept very little last night and am feeling exhausted today, and cranky.  I don't do well without sleep.  Good news is that I dropped 6 pounds in 2 days.  YAY me!  Probably water weight and will come back quickly, but hey, I'll take it.  Gotta find that silver lining.

Weather wise we're very warm, 50's and oh, so very wet.  Blustery winds, grey skies and too much water falling from the sky.  Totally befitting my demeanor these days.  I did spend about a half hour in the barn last evening schmoozing with the horses and trying to help with the chores.  Mentally, I was renewed, refreshed and felt alive once again.  Physically, it nearly killed me.  I felt as weak as a kitten, legs and back aching.  Like I'd been physically working hard all day long.  Pitiful really.  Just amazes me how quickly things can change.  But, never fear.  Like my momma always said, this too shall pass.  Tomorrow is another day.  I keep those words near to my heart.  So very thankful for my dear husband who just takes everything on and nudges me back to bed to rest.  In times like these, I don't know how I'd manage the caretaking of the horses without him. 

So, now you see why I've been avoiding any new posting here.  I'm rather glum these days.  I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired.  Actually thankful our weather matches my mood, for if the sun was smiling, I'd be seriously piqued.  Something else my mom used to tell me, "if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all".  Wise woman.  So I do apologize for my lack of enlightenment and brevity, but life does sometimes throw us curve balls, does it not? 

New year is here.  There was a lot of negative, lots of anger, upheaval, political unrest, natural disasters and so very much suffering in this world.  My heart is heavy thinking about it all.  I know it has to be, but it's not easy seeing it, hearing of it.  So much pain in the world.  I can't help but hope for a better year ahead.  May we all look up in times of trouble, put our faith at the forefront of our lives and glean that peace that surpasses all human understanding.  That is my prayer for us all. 

So looking ahead, I've given precious little thought to my chosen word for 2018.  It instead, has chosen me.  It's the only word that keeps popping into my mind and I can only take it as a sign.  Shouldn't surprise me, not really.  I'm a chatter box and need to learn to practice this more, and so I hopefully shall.  Listen.  That will be my mantra, my lesson for the coming days, and with God's help, I hope to practice the beautiful art of listening so much more than ever before.  And not just with my ears, but especially with my heart.  And that goes for all who enter my life, whether they be person or animal.  Because Lord knows, I've still got a lot to learn. 

"Be still, and know that I am God"  Psalms 46:10

No worries. 

My best wishes for you all in this coming new year 2018.  May we all be blessed and therefore, bless.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

This Christmas season

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Kadie in her winter woollies
My beautiful Kadie.  So hard to believe she's been gone a year already.  *sigh*

As I sit and type, the rain is just coming down.  It's windy, grey and altogether dreary...and wet.  Very wet.  The horses were fed in the barn this morning and it just might be the first time we open up those freshly laundered winter blankets.  No, it's not cold.  We blanket to try and keep them dry so they won't get chilled - and it definitely helps with keeping them cleaner.  *sigh*  I can just imagine how those clean blankets will look after today...oh well, that's what they're for right?

We've enjoyed the nicest of weather the last couple of weeks.  It's been mostly blue skies, some nice clouds, cold (but not too cold) temperatures and beautiful sunshine.  I've been loving it!  All that's changed now, but they're predicting some very cold (for us) weather later this week.  Overnight lows down to like 26F.  We don't get that cold very often, but I'm grateful.  We just leave the water in the barn trickling into the trough so the hose doesn't freeze up, and put the tank heater in the water so it's not unbearably cold for the horses to drink.  I've found if the water's not freezing cold, they will drink more.  And drinking in cold weather is key to keeping colic at bay.  And lots of turn-out regardless of the weather.  A healthy horse is a moving, eating and drinking machine...oh, and pooping.  :)

We're less than a week away from Christmas Day.  It's gone so fast.  But then it always does.  I've done a little shopping.  Our gifts are modest, but hopefully something the recipient can use and will appreciate.  Socks, slippers, new jeans, homemade cookies and candies and a new barn radio for my hubby.  He'll like that.  And those new socks, who doesn't love new socks? 

We've certainly broke the new mixer in!  Oh my, we've baked and baked some more.  Plenty of goodies to share for neighbors, family and friends.  I'm even going to bake some dog cookies this weekend and put them in the dogs' stockings.  Yes, we all have stockings - even the horses.  Who doesn't enjoy a special treat now and then?  And that's what Christmas is for, spreading joy however you can.  I truly believe that we just might get more joy from the giving to our critters than they do by the receiving and the devouring.  :)  But it's a toss-up.

We have our Christmas tree all decorated and brightly lit.  It's close enough to our bedroom that at night when I'm in bed, I can smell the spicy green scent and it's so sweet!  I love drifting off to sleep inhaling that scent.  Makes for sweet dreams.  I've decorated the new fireplace mantle with greens and holly, and a couple of white pillar candles.  Simple, but festive.  I'm still hoping to throw together a swag for the front door and I think I'll have enough leftover greens and holly to make at least one bouquet in a vase.  I've dug out a few of my favorite decorations that I've got scattered throughout the house, but kept it pretty simple.  Lots of pine cones in baskets and pretty bowls too, a nice seasonal touch and it costs nothing.  I like to think that's how people of olden days did, used what was on hand and made the best of what they could find.  It really is amazing how beautiful items of nature can be.  Nobody comes close to God's artistry.

We went to our riding club Christmas party last weekend and had so much fun.  It was a small affair, many of the members had other plans or just couldn't make it, but it was nice just the same.  We played Balderdash, a guessing game of word meanings.  We'd never played, but it was easy to learn and it was fun seeing meanings that everyone came up with.  It's been so long since I'd played a simple game, I'd forgotten how much fun it can be with a group of friends.  Maybe that's an idea for our family affair.  Just might be the thing to liven up everybody and have a few laughs.  Christmas music playing in the background...hmmm, might have to think about that. 

As far as other news, there hasn't been much.  I'm still struggling a bit with my cold.  Yes, the same one.  It's a long drawn out affair, but not all that bad really.  We've been working and taking care of the horses every day, baking goodies when we have the time and just putting one foot in front of the other.  This time of year, with such short daylight hours makes for long evenings.  It's dark when we get home and we read or watch a little tv and usually go to bed much earlier than we do in the other seasons.  Speaking of tv - we very recently got internet service in our home for the first time ever!  I know, I know, we're a little slow.  The only reason to get internet was we cut the cable.  We were sick and tired of our cable bill going up and up and the amount and quality of the programs going down and down...continuously.  So now, for $50 a month, we have Netflix, Starz, Roku, Food Network, OPB and many, many more that are free.  The quality of picture is better too, and the internet is kind of handy as well.  Where do you think we got some of those goodie recipes from?  Anyway, it's doing a good job of entertaining us for now.  And I get to binge watch Outlander!!!  And Grey's Anatomy and some of the older shows that I used to enjoy but aren't on air anymore.  I know I'm easily amused, but it's how we roll.  It's the simple things. 

Well my dear friends, I wish for you all, a very Merry Christmas and bunches of God's blessings in the upcoming new year too!  May you enjoy the company of good friends and family, warm and cozy fires, good food and good health.  And may your 4-legged family members be well, fat and sassy for the coming winter days, and also enjoy the blessings of their Creator.  God is good...
all the time!

Peace, love and joy from the whole gang at Cingspots!!

p.s.  We have a few family members to welcome to our clan, but I'll save that news for another time. 


Family Love, Holiday Series, Artist Donna Green

Monday, December 4, 2017

Well...hello!


"Wood-House Christmas"- by Dona Gelsinger

Oh my, it's been 3 entire months since I've last posted here on my blog.  It wasn't intentional, but there ya go!  Time does have a way of getting away from me. 

We've turned the page on the calendar to a bright and shiny new month.  Can you believe it?  December already; the last month of another year...wisp and it's almost gone!  We've been getting into the spirit of the season - well, sort of.  My niece gifted me with a KitchenAid mixer on Thanksgiving day.  I was so surprised, and pleased!  I've always wanted one, but just could never actually bring myself to forking over upwards of $250.00 for a mixer I feared would see such little use.  This one is used, but works like a champ.  These mixers have always been known to be workhorses.  Indeed!  Cookies, bread, pie crust are a breeze with this machine.  We are loving it.  I say "we", because I've yet to make use of it, but my hubby has been going bonkers with it.  He made a chocolate cream pie yesterday and the buttery crust is just to die for!  Delicious!  He's also started the cookie making frenzy that we seem to fall prey to every single year about this time.  We enjoy giving them out as little homemade gifts, and of course, we enjoy them too. 

We hosted Thanksgiving this year and it was good and bad.  Good, because we didn't have to go anywhere, really enjoyed having company in our home, which is fairly unusual for us.  Bad, because I felt like I had such little time to actually visit with our guests.  I was so busy playing hostess.  Next time I'll make sure and have more of the work finished before everyone arrives and spend more time enjoying the people.  I find that I'm so unaccustomed to having dinner parties, that I get nervous and feel pressured, which just takes so much of the joy out of the occasion.  Next year, if we host, I hope to do better.  Relax more, and maybe actually drink that glass of wine...

Despite the "nerves", the meal was delicious and there were beautiful moments of enjoying family.  And it was so worth it, if nothing else, just to give my sister a break from always being host to everyone. 

We enjoyed the most amazingly perfect fall weather.  I simply could not have hoped for more.  Even November wasn't bad.  Yes, the rains have returned.  Some days in abundance, but we continue to have breaks.  Some days prove sunny and bright, and our temps are still mild.  We have lots and lots of mud, the horses look disastrous, but all are hairy and bright.  :)  Maybe even merry, who knows?  And as always, we're thankful for their good health and safety.  Us too, fat and sassy, save for this blasted cold I've got.  Me, who never gets sick!  This year I seem to be making up for years' past, because this is my 3rd cold of the season.  Not horrible, knock you to your knees colds, but still.  They have all started the same way.  A sore throat for 2 days, and then it goes into my head and chest.  I'm in stage 2...should be investing in stock with the Kleenex company. 

I've not had much time spent with the horses lately.  Well, except for each evening during our chore time, that is.  No riding, occasional grooming sessions and kisses and scratches for each one, every day.  I ache to ride!  Total and complete withdrawal symptoms for sure!  Oh, and I just may be getting a new saddle!  New to me anyway.  It's a ranch style saddle with a Wade-type tree, smooth forks and a smooth seat and higher cantle than my current Western Pleasure show saddle that I've ridden in since 1981.  I still love it, and will likely keep it, unless this saddle suits me perfectly, in which case, I will sell it.  I've loved it all these years, but have always wanted a ranch saddle.  Maybe that would be incentive for me to get my butt back in the saddle!  Eagle doesn't mind though.  Fat, fuzzy beast!  He loves his life and I love him.  All the horses are so fuzzy this year, except for Missy.  She's a sleek little gal and I'm just so happy that they're all so happy and healthy. 

Around home, the firewood's all neatly stacked in the wood shed and the barns' hay supply is holding nicely.  I finally re-homed my old piano.  Another local veterinarian took it for her daughter to learn to play on.  Perfect, that's what I'd always hoped for.  We sold our pellet stove and replaced it with an electric fireplace.  It's beautiful and I love it, but it certainly doesn't heat nearly as well as the pellet stove did.  Not even close.  But, that's alright because our little wood stove in the kitchen does a good job.  The fireplace is just for a touch of added warmth in the sitting area of our living room - and it's pretty.  I'm looking forward to having a mantle to decorate for Christmas.  Priorities you know?

Speaking of Christmas, we're planning on getting our tree this coming weekend, and doing a bit of decorating and of course, baking.   As always, I'll make a wreath for the front door and hubby puts up a few outside lights.  That's about it.  Christmas for us is a simple affair, and we like it that way.  We'll remember Christmases past and enjoy the people we love who are still with us.  And as is always the case, give thanks for our many blessings, friends, family and beloved animals who grace our lives and give us so much joy. 

Hope all is well with all of you!

Until next time, Lorie @ Cingspots.

I'll try not to be so long between posts next time.  :)

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Where there's smoke, there's fire

Weather-wise, this Labor Day weekend was just awful.  Way too hot, too dry, too dusty and so very smokey.  I'm officially over with summer.  She can bow out gracefully and just go away.  After the seemingly never ending rains of the Fall of 2016, Winter of 2017 and Spring through July of 2017, we've had so much heat.  Relentless heat and so much smoke from so many forest fires raging all across the west.  This latest one is the closest one yet to us.  And dangerously close to one of our favorite horseback riding areas and camping spots.  This fire is on the Oregon side of the Columbia river near Cascade Locks, a tiny town where fruit orchards abound.  And then just last night, the fire jumped the mighty river and has raced west along the Washington side as well.  The changes in the images on the evening news compared to the 11:00 news were quite scary.  You see, the Gorge is known for strong winds that rush through the area in a Westerly direction, which is fanning the fires and causing them to rage uncontrollably.  So much beautiful forested lands being ravaged by fire.  So sad.  And it was caused by careless teenagers shooting off illegal fireworks.  Definitely old enough to know better.

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This is one of 2 bridges in the area where we frequently cross with our horse trailer when headed to Mt. Adams.

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This is the road on the Washington side.  All the smoke from this fire is heading directly West into our little valley about 2 hours from here.  Sitting out on the deck after dark last night it felt like it bugs, but it was ash falling.  This morning my car was covered in ash from the fire.  The last many weeks we've also been getting smoke from fires burning in Canada, and a HUGE fire burning on the Southern Oregon Coast.  That one probably won't be contained or controlled until October into November when the rains return.  The thought of all that pristine forest wilderness going up in flames just makes me sick.  Yes, the forests will return. But not for many, many long years to come.

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The photographer is standing on the Oregon side of the Columbia River shooting the fire in Washington.

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Beautiful picture, but oh so deadly and wicked...

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This is another view of the Bridge of the gods shot from a wider angle.

I simply cannot imagine how the firefighters manage to work those long hours that they do, in those heavy and hot turnouts they have to wear, in this oppressive heat.  God help them.

We pretty much laid low over the holiday weekend, opting to stay home and keep watch on our horses, who are as sick and tired of the heat and smoke as we are.  Our house stays pretty cool, but there's nowhere to escape the heat for the horses.  So, we hosed them all down several times.  They love that.  Then they turn all that pristine cleanliness into dirt baths.  It must feel good because they all do it.  At least Harley waits until he dries first.  My hubby also has his misters going each and every afternoon for them.  That helps.

We went to lunch with Steve and Chris to celebrate the husband's birthday too.  Afterwards we enjoyed cake and ice cream.  Even old farts gotta have cake!  Yep, he's 68 this year.  My oh my, where have the years gone?  When we were pleasantly stuffed with sugar and carbs, we spent some much-needed time in the pool.  I felt like a floating walrus...but at least a cool one.  :)

Hope all the natural disasters make a hasty retreat soon.  There's so many people across our country in need of your prayers and support.  The only good I see coming out of this, is that our petty differences regarding politics have taken a back burner to what really matters in life.  It's good to see people coming together to help one another.

That's my country!  Those are my Americans...

Until next time, hope you all stay safe.
Lorie @ Cingspots