Friday, February 17, 2017

All these days

 :

Life.  So many twists, turns and so much happening.  I can't even begin to make sense of it all.  The world is ever-changing and constantly evolving.  My head just spins trying to take in even a small picture of events.  But we go on, we keep on, soldiering on.

We have had several days of non-stop rain, flooding rains and landslides.  Our world is saturated and our skies are grey.  It's beautiful in its' way, but a break is so appreciated.  Today, the rains have subsided and our waters abate.  For now.  I am thankful for this...

Lots of stuff going on in so many people's lives.  With every passing day, there seems to be a whirlwind of stuff.  Changes.  Happenings that fall within that grey area in time.  Mind numbing in their numbers and possibilities of outcome.  Throughout it all, we keep our faith.  We do what we can to keep our heads above water and our spirits above.

I try to keep myself aware, but in many cases it's overwhelming to me.  I have no power to change it, but I can do good and possibly impact someone else's life in a positive way who might bless someone else, who can bless someone else.  Regardless of the bad everywhere, we can overcome by sharing love and kindness everywhere we go.  Spread a little light and it makes a huge difference in a dark place.  That's what we can do.  I believe that's how we change our world.

One tiny little piece at a time.

Our horses are all doing well, having a bit of cabin fever like the rest of us, but enjoying their freedoms where and when they can.  They look terribly scruffy and most are covered in a fair amount of mud because man, we have enough of that everywhere.  They must be a bit itchy because even the ones who don't normally trash themselves, are trashed.  Harley was the first I had noticed to start shedding, and now Eagle's face is shedding.  Before long, we'll have piles of the stuff everywhere, and little nests being feathered with their hair and life awakening to spring.

I can't wait!  I am so looking forward to riding my horse.  Just getting out there and walking along, breathing in the fresh air and hearing the birdsong and coming out of my cocoon again.  Yeah, that's what it feels like for me.  Along with the season, I experience an awakening too.  It really does feel like the shedding of those heavy layers and being freed up.  Unstuck and so ready to move on again.
Riding my horse is my freedom.  That one place where I feel better than anywhere else on this earth.

Earlier this winter I was a bit worried about our hay supply.  It seemed to be dwindling at an alarming rate, but for whatever reason, our consumption (even though it remains steady) seems to be slowing and our pile of hay seems to be sufficient for our needs.  Funny how often that happens.  I can't explain it, but there it is.  I am thankful.  God is good.

I remain photo challenged here on this blog.  But knowing how important pictures are to most of us, I will be borrowing something inspiring or beautiful, or just interesting to me to share with you all.  I hope your winter days are numbered and sunshine is making its' way to your doors.  Just over 4 more weeks to go...

and my Ladde's birthday will be here again.  Oh my, how these days fly by...21 years old this year, my big and beautiful boy!  May we be blessed with you for many more to come.


Days go by

Monday, February 13, 2017

Thoughts for the day


According to my calendar, there are exactly 5 more weeks until spring.  Awesome, right?  I've not really been bothered terribly by this winter, but I will say that it's been really wet, colder than normal, really wet again and some sunshine.  Enough sun to prevent going hairy-cairy anyway.

We even had real snow.  Like 3 times, and it stuck around for a while.  But to think we're on the downhill side of old man winter, makes me smile.  And then my brain gets to thinking of all the things I'd like to do, places I'd like to go, projects I'd like to accomplish, adventures to experience... you see what happens.  My brain gets all busy, but trouble is my body doesn't quite live up to what my mind or imagination comes up with.  Creeping age, that's what it is.

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Here's the girls strutting around the back yard.  Had I mentioned that we had chickens now? Acquired chickens is more like it.  You see, when our neighbors from behind our property moved out last late summer or early fall - they abandoned a bunch of their chickens.  Why, I have no idea. Maybe they didn't lay anymore, maybe they escaped?  But for whatever reason, the girls moved to our house. Guess they got hungry.  But, I love watching them!   I've never had chickens before, and have always had a bit of a fascination with them.  Fresh, farm eggs and all that!  So we bought chicken feed, save our veggie and bread scraps - they love their bread - and have yet to find an egg.  We're down to 5 hens, having started with 13 hens and 1 rooster...I don't know, so don't ask.  We have coyotes, lots of hawks and who knows what else.  They do and go where they want, we feed them and do our best to provide them with a safe shelter.  Trouble is, they keep moving.  Lately their favorite roosting spot is in the tops of these trees, except for Henny Penny, who appears to be the "godmother" of the girls and for one reason or another, sleeps by herself in the wood shed.  (I stole that godmother name from dancing donkey - hilarious read) My husband even mounted laying boxes on the wall in one of our sheds and they refuse to use them.  So, freewill and all things considered, they choose their path.  Not unlike us.

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Aren't they cool?

We really haven't been doing much lately.  Just sort of going through the motions, doing what we need to do every day and looking forward to days where we can spend more time outside.  I can't remember the last time I rode my horse.  Any of the horses.  And that's very, very sad...my body has gone soft over this winter, and that's sad too.  *sigh*

Anyway, we're in the midst of a few beautiful days and the dogs and I have gone on a few walks lately, but I don't know how to get my pics off my phone, which is what I seem to carry more often than not lately.  Poor quality pictures, but so handy.

We finished viewing the first 3 seasons of Black Sails recently, and I can't wait for the next season to come out on DVD...oh my gosh!  Very raw at times, but I love it.  One of my favorite characters was hung by the bloody red coats on the last episode, and I'm still reeling from that one.  :(  What's a girl to do?

Now we're just getting started on a new series that will hopefully be just as good.  Outlander, set in 17th century Scottish Highlands - time travel and all that.  Oh my word, one episode in and I'm already hooked!  See what I mean?  This is why my body goes all soft in the winter.  Not enough time spent outside being active.  Thank goodness winter only lasts 3 months.

Until next time, be well my dear readers.

How do you plan on spending the last days of the winter season?

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Time rolls on...

Our winter snow has been gone for a couple of weeks now, and we've normalized to warmer, damper weather with lots of grey days.  It always somehow feels even colder when it's damp to me.  I prefer clear skies, drier air and cold over grey skies, damp and cold.

But it's still winter and it's supposed to be cold, right?  We're still enjoying quiet times by the fire, warm meals and early bedtimes.  Since we've been so much colder than normal, our stash of firewood has shrunk dramatically.  I'm pretty sure we've got plenty to last the season, but it's surprising to me just how fast those stacks of wood are disappearing.  Our bedding supply is another one of those shrinking stashes.  We may have to buy another ton before it's all said and done, but it's been really nice having so much on hand.  I firmly believe that the less often I have to visit the farm stores, the more money we end up saving over the long haul.  That's true for any store I visit!

Last Sunday we took the day and drove to the beach.  We walked and walked along the shoreline and spent some quiet time sitting and just listened to the ocean roar and the waves crash.  It was wonderful!  There's just something special about time spent on the beach, the quieting of the mind and the peace that comes over me.  Truly, my happy place.  The dogs had a blast - of course!

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For the end of January, in the midst of a cold winter, the weather couldn't have been more perfect.  There was no wind and with sweatshirts and vests, we were warm and toasty.  We enjoyed lunch at the Roadhouse in Lincoln City.  A wonderful day spent away from home, felt so good.


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From the looks of it, there have been many high tides and rough seas that have thrown drift wood and lots of logs onto the beach like matchsticks.  There was even a short area where a wide, graveled walking path was completely washed away.  We were careful not to turn our backs to the ocean, as the tide was high and the beach itself was quite narrow.  There were some impressive waves and at times, the ocean absolutely roared.  It was incredible and intense!  I loved it.  Whenever I spend time at the beach, I never want to leave, and always wish we could stay...someday, I hope to have a little cottage near the ocean.  Oh, those dreams...

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Monday my boss/vet came over and it was dental day for all the horses.  It had been many years since we'd had them done.  I was a bit worried about that, but as it turns out, routine dentals were all that was required.  We are fortunate because all our horses seem to have good teeth that stand the test of time.  This is Shad, we started with him and as you can see, Eagle was very concerned for his friend.  So sweet.  Since we weren't sure how Eags would respond, we decided to let him watch all the others first, and do him last.  He was a dream.  Absolutely a perfect gentleman!  I believe they learn by watching, just like we do.

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This kind of looks like a medieval torture device, but it's just a cushioned head sling that keeps their heads from hanging too low.  As you can see, the boss man is kind of tall and it helps make his job a bit easier.  My job was to keep the rope taut, but allow them to back up if they needed or wanted to.  Tough, I know.  

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Ladde lost a tooth!  And of course, I saved it.  We didn't think he had any loose teeth, but in the process of filing down the sharp points, this one just flew out of his mouth.  And as you can see, it really isn't all that long, so there wasn't a lot of material below the gum line holding this one in place. I'm hoping his other teeth are longer than this and will stay in his mouth for many more years to come.

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Here's sweet Ladde all relaxed and just about to have his dental procedure begin.  Every single horse was quiet and very relaxed about the entire process.  No nervous Nellies in the bunch!  I'm always a little nervous about this because working at the clinic, I've seen a quite a few horses get very fractious and that always worries me.  Years ago, we had a serious incident take place at the clinic with a horse loaded in the stocks that tried to jump out and got hung up.  That's something I'll likely never forget!
So I'm thankful everyone remained calm and quiet, and the dentals are finished for a few years.

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We had a leak!  We'd noticed that our water pressure was a bit weak, but one morning my hubby noticed a puddle in our yard where there's never been one before.  Uh-oh!  In all the years we've lived in this house, we've never had a broken pipe.  And we're not sure if this was caused by the couple weeks of below freezing weather we had, or if the pipe just failed because it was old.  Doesn't matter why, we are just so grateful that the leak was outside the house and not under the house.  Sure made the repair job a lot easier!  My handy dandy hubby got it fixed in a day.

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My frozen rain chain off the back deck.  So pretty!

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Charlotte relaxing on our bed after a long and very cold walk...what a spoiled dog!

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Sweet, sweet Ruby helping do the horse chores.  Whatever would we do without such amazing help?
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My very first homemade chicken pot pie.  Oh man, was it ever good!  And so very easy, not quite sure why I've never attempted one before, but now that I know I can do it, I'll be making more of these beauties in the future.  So delicious and so comforting after spending time in the cold.

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 Yummy!

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As I said before, our snow is all gone now, but I smile whenever I see this photo...the dogs and I have traipsed here and there and everywhere in the orchard and neighboring fields since the rains have been gone.  And even though the snow is melted away, we really haven't had much rain for the last month or so.  Well, I remember a couple of days where it rained really hard, but once it cleared up we've been primarily dry.  What a blessing!  It sure makes doing everything that needs to be done outside, so much more enjoyable.  Grey skies and fog are better than water falling from the sky.  I'll take it!

Those weathermen are forecasting another possible bit of snow and/or ice towards the end of this week.  Oh boy, I hope for no ice, but if it snows a bit more, I won't mind.  We'll have to wait and see what happens.  We're just about halfway through winter now and I'm trying to just relax and enjoy the quiet and reflective qualities of winter.  Spring will be here soon enough.

Wherever you are, I hope you're keeping warm and cozy, spending time with the ones you love.
Oh, and Happy Groundhog Day tomorrow!!!  :)

Will he or won't he?

Friday, January 13, 2017

Hey, we are havin' a WINTER

and it is just beautiful...

"The valley where our village of Duns rests is surrounded by forested hills. The…:

Wow, we've had I think it's four different snow storms so far this winter - actually the first one hit before winter technically started.  Very rare for us.  I mean, we do occasionally get some snow, a little usually, but it's commonly wet and doesn't stick around long.  People get all whacked out, cars get abandoned and so forth.  Our weathermen get all excited for a while.  It's entertaining if you're not actually in it.

This is puffy, dry and crystally-pretty snow.  The kind that doesn't even get you wet when you're in it.  Real snow.

But for a couple of weeks now, we've also been cold.  The mud is gloriously frozen and we've even had a few days of brilliant sunshine.  I've dug out my snow boots, gloves and my puffy, down coat to keep me warm and active.  That's what I really enjoy about the lack of rain is how much easier it is to get outside and go for walks and such.  The dogs and I really benefit from the extra exercise.

Speaking of that, while on a walk through the orchard and down by the creek, I noticed that the farmers have really been busy.  I had no idea.  They've cleaned up both sides of the creek, removed all the huge piles of dead trees and brush from years of accumulation, have smoothed the soil and even planted baby fir trees along one side.  They even built a new dike with a huge culvert so we can cross in a different spot!!  This really opens up our places to ride and choose from a few patterns and just more distance too.  I am so excited!!  Doin' a little happy dance here...  :)

Just have to remember to do all my riding out there before the end of summer when he won't want hoof prints or horse poop in his orchard close to harvest.  Fair enough.

My hubby told me this morning that a very dear friend of ours is in the hospital, after having experienced a stroke yesterday.  She is a much beloved little lady who is very important to us, and we'd like to extend the request that if you're of the praying kind, maybe you'd include Claudia in your prayers.  We want her to get all better and back to her sassy little self right away!!  Love & prayers coming your way.

Even though I don't like resolutions, even kind of think you're more doomed if you do call them that, especially just because it's a new year, I have a couple of goals for myself.  :)  Don't you think that's better?

I want to lose 20 pounds.  That's not even close to all the weight I should lose.  Nope, unfortunately not.  But, I'd feel so much better, and feel more comfortable and likely, more confident and physically stronger when riding.  I know my horses would all appreciate it, so why not?  And, of course I'd feel so much better about myself and could probably go down a size or two as well.  All great reasons and I know that.  Trouble is, it's so much easier said than done.  I have this certain appreciation for food. I love to eat and I love food.  *sigh*  and it's such a social thing to do...but try I will!  Wish me luck?
Anyway, just within a year, that should be very do-able.  That's no pressure even.  Eat less, eat well, move more.  That's all there is to it.  Right?

I really, really, really want to go white water rafting again!  So much fun!!!  This time hoping my hubby can go with me, last time I went by myself, but was put with a fun group of people.  Had a blast.  Maybe the Deschutes this time, but I'd still be thrilled with the McKenzie again.  They are both beautiful rivers.

Lots of horse camping and trail riding.  Definitely hoping to go riding with my longtime friend Alicia more often.  We are such close friends, but rarely ever actually see each other in person.  She' a drug rep for our veterinary clinic and we just talk on the phone all the time.  We've shared some very important, life-altering, big milestone kind of events for the last 17 years all over the telephone.  She's truly one of my closest friends and it's always a little surprising to me when we really do get together. We have so much fun.  And I absolutely, totally trust her when we're riding, and that's important.  We ride because it's the best thing to do in the world, and just because we love being with our horses and out in the beautiful mountains.  Camera in hand...lunch in saddlebag.  You knew I was gonna say that, right?  :)

Be fearless, ride that horse.  Miles to go before we sleep...

And who knows, maybe we really will finish that brick patio this year, and hey, we might even build that front porch over the front entrance that we've been talking about for such a long time. Blackberries are getting seriously out of control in a few places and there's that burn pile that we never did get to last fall...so many projects, so little time.

Life sure is funny that way, isn't it?

There is never an end to the things that we'd love to do, things that we should do, or sometimes just plain have to do.  But, the key is finding the balance.

That sweet spot, right where we need to be.

Where we're comfortable and content, but tired at the end of the day.  Happy to be able to smile when you look up at the sky and take all the time that you need to just be.  Do you know what I'm talking about?  These are the important things.  These precious moments that we need to nurture and savor.  I think that just might be the key to the slowing of time...even just a tiny bit.

The sun's shining again today, and the beautiful, white snow glistens on the trees when I look out the window.  My wonderful dogs are napping beside me, and I'll go home at lunch time to stoke the fire and let the horses out for the afternoon.  We finished up all the food I prepared in my cooking frenzy of last Sunday.  So, I'm thinking we deserve a treat for dinner this evening.  Maybe Chinese, whatever sounds good - but no cooking tonight.  I am ready for Sabbath, and I'm thankful for a couple of days to do whatever comes to mind.  Such a gift!

Hope you all make the most of the days you are given, and stay warm out there!  Brrrrrrr

Lorie and Annie and Ruby

Oh my gosh, I just read through this and saw what I wrote...Annie.  oh man
I mean,

Lorie and Ruby and Charlotte...




Tuesday, January 10, 2017

New year, new paths and new choices

I've been feeling thoughtful and introspective about so many things.  I've been unusually quiet and spent many hours pondering what I want to strive for, what my desires are and just what I'd like to accomplish in this new year, and for the rest of my life.  I know, that sounds pretty dramatic doesn't it?  But for some reason, I find it very difficult to actually determine what is really important to me sometimes.   I'm not really a goal-oriented person. I never have been.  I usually prefer to accept life on life's terms, take one day at a time and always find myself striving for living in the moment.  

The problem with that is, I'm a day dreamer.  

I spend way too much time in my head visualizing how I'd like my life to play out, fantasizing  about ideas that I've got and romanticizing everything.  In most cases, things don't usually work out like they do in my head.  So...the last few years or so, I've tried very hard at making the best at what I've been dealt.  Truly living with acceptance at how my life really is, making the best of what is, instead of always wishing for more, better, different.  I've had many a heartache because of my constant longing.  And I truly believe that I've missed out on many a blessing because I was too busy wishing for something else, instead of really enjoying and appreciating what I already have.  I want that to change.  

I want to savor all the moments of my life.  I want to appreciate all the many blessings that I have and love the people in my life.  Love them for who they are, not wish they were somehow different.  Isn't that the real definition of the word?  To love someone, and to value them, we have to accept them as they truly are; warts and all.  Because, newsflash - not a single one of us is anywhere near perfect.  We are all so beautifully flawed.  

My horses and dogs are the same way.  I was looking through some of the pictures on my camera that I've taken over the last several years.  Oh my gosh, the bittersweet memories!  I have loved and lost so much that my heart just breaks...and then I realize just how very, very blessed I have been to have loved them.  They are each and every one so very beautifully unique.  But I loved each so completely and so truly.  I realized just how wonderful my life really is.  That old saying that goes something like, we don't realize how much someone really means to us until after they're gone?  It sucks.  I hate that saying and I don't want to look back years from now and see how many wonderful people and animals and opportunities I've had in my life and not fully have loved and lived those cherished gifts.

I'm not depressed, really I'm not and I don't want to sound melodramatic or even sad.  But, looking back I can see where I really need to work at living more fully in the moment.  I need to stop wasting so much of my precious time dreaming about the possibilities in life and instead, do more now, stop trying to do the "right thing" and take those chances, make some mistakes - where's the harm?  I want to spend more time with my family members, my friends, my husband and our wonderful horses.  I want to accept that life is full of risks and I won't grow and fully live my life, unless I'm willing to screw up sometimes.  I have simply grown weary of trying to always do what's right, doing what I think others might expect of me, striving for other people's approval.  What do I think that I have to prove anyway?  I want to relax and have fun.  Learn from my mistakes, laugh at myself more and definitely stop taking everything so seriously.  I'm not even sure where I'm going with all of this - it kind of feels like a confession of sorts - and I guess that's alright too.  

My point is this:  I feel like I'm evolving, and I've already done a fair amount of changing over the last few years and I can see that I'm on the right path.  So, getting around to this new year that's just begun; a couple of years ago I started choosing a word that I felt pretty well described how I wanted to live, something to aspire to, develop more fully and just a direction to head.  Something to live up to.  

2015 was Faith...oh how I love that word.  For me, it really did (still does) feel like the perfect starting point.  With faith, I can move mountains, do anything that I set my mind to. Anything! My faith has grown exponentially and I keep that word near and dear to my heart.  

2016 was Courage...and boy, wasn't that the perfect word to set the tone for that year! Without faith I couldn't have shown courage.  But because I kept faith and felt it grow within my heart and mind, my courage blossomed and I really did step up and push myself beyond where I'd felt comfortable for so very long.  Only I knew how hard I had to struggle at times. I had some days where it was pretty easy, I felt good, and then there were some days where my fears paralyzed me, and I felt like a failure and all I could do was cry, hang on and take that next step, even if it felt like a baby step.  Just breathe and look ahead.  I kept those words of Ray's in my mind, that "I had to go through it, to get past it".  So even if it didn't feel like much of an accomplishment at the time, I forced myself to keep at it, one tiny little step at a time.  I remember that enormous sense of relief when I made it through the fear and thought, oh well that wasn't so bad.  Those tiny successes started to build upon one another and before I realized it, I could look back and see just how far I'd come.  I was becoming more confident in my abilities and was actually starting to believe in myself again.  Fear is a powerful emotion, but it really can be overcome with faith, perseverance and just putting one foot in front of the other, or in my case, one ride after another.  My faith and trust in my horse has grown by leaps and bounds, and the more I trust him, the more he trusts me and my courage builds.  It feels really good.  My heart just swells at the thought.  And, reality check - this doesn't mean that I won't have a serious case of the jitters and fears when I saddle up again after having this winter off.  *sigh*

And so here we are at another new year, another new beginning, another chapter in this life. And I've not been in a hurry to choose my word, I just wanted to keep my heart and my mind open to the possibilities.  Give myself the time that it takes, to decide how I should proceed from here.  I knew one thing for sure.  I did not want to push myself as hard as I did last year.  I want this year to be more about getting comfortable, about acceptance and learning to roll with the changes that life offers.  About enjoying everything that comes my way and just learning to relax and have more fun.  I don't have anything to prove to anyone, but myself.  Realizing that has opened up the possibility that I'm already good enough.  That doesn't mean that I don't want to continue to learn and become better.  It just means that I'm alright just as I am.  My blessings and my life are good enough, nothing needs to be better or more, or different.  They just are, and that's how I want to look at myself.  I'm beautifully flawed, absolutely imperfect, totally human and so very thankful to be able to live my life surrounded by so many wonderful blessings.  

2017 is Serenity - It feels so good and so right to me.  I knew what it meant to me, but I looked up the definition to see what it said, and that made it seem just about perfect for me. 
**  se~ren~i~ty  **  the state of being calm, peaceful and untroubled.  a state of freedom                                     from storm or disturbance.  
Related words are composure, patience, peace of mind, tranquility, cool...  all those words just leave me feeling relaxed and breathe a little sigh when I think about them.  That's what I will aspire to this year, and I will take that just a step further.  

The serenity prayer.  

God, give me grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed.
Courage to change the things
which should be changed, 
and the wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
accepting hardship as a pathway to peace. 
Taking, as Jesus did,
this sinful world as it is,
not as I would have it.
Trusting that You will make all things right,
if I surrender to Your will.
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
and supremely happy with You forever in the next.

Amen

Reinhold Niebuhr, American Theologian 
1892-1971

I'd never actually read this prayer in its' entirety.  I love it, and the complete version just seems to feel good and right for me going into this new year.  

Serenity


 I'll take it.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Merry Christmas

Another year almost to its' completion.  December these days, seems like such a melancholy month for me.  Too much loss.  Short days, long nights and cold, usually wet weather.  This year we've had snow.  Unusual for us, but we've had two different snow storms, followed by ice.  Cold and frigid - I prefer everything about it to rain, except for the driving part.  My new little car though, seems to do very well.  I've not slipped a wheel.  Loving that.  And those heated seats...

Yesterday was the winter solstice.  The shortest day of the year.  I'm so happy to be turning this corner and looking forward to longer, warmer days.  For now though, we just keep trudging along, taking care of the horses, keeping them warm and dry and keeping the home fires burning.

Tis the season for spending more quiet and reflective times.  Enjoying a hot cuppa something, a good book by the warm fire, and gazing outside and pondering all that we have to be thankful for.  Always. So much for which to give thanks.  And this season reminds me that life is a circle, and that for everything in life there is a season.  And completion.  I am quiet and content, for now.

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Our little homemade wreath on our front door...including my washing machine, which I just realized was included in this shot.  What would a professional say?  :)  Perfection was, and never will be high on my priorities list.  I yam what I yam in the infamous words of Popeye!  No truer words...


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Evidence of our cold (and early) winter weather.  Ice on the apple.  It's beautiful, but can be deadly. We don't often get the chance to become accomplished in treacherous driving around here, and when it happens, boy what a fiasco ensues.  Entertaining, but worrisome and frightening for so many - not to mention, expensive.  The snow's not a real problem to most, but when it's followed by ice, that's a whole nuther ballgame.  Power outages, trees and branches falling, people getting cold and many, stranded.  Stress is never something that any of us are needing more of.  Especially around Christmas when so many are already feeling the pressure of "to do" lists and doing more.  But today finds us all thawed out, snow all gone and a cold front with fog and likely rain to follow.  December in Oregon is all grey, soft and fuzzy around the edges.  Christmas...

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This is frequently how the dogs spend their time in the afternoons and evenings.  Not unlike us, really.  Lounging by the fire and soaking up its' warmth.  Feels so good to the body and soul.

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Little Charlotte loves the snow.  She frolics and plays, and delights in the cold, running in huge circles in the orchard next door.  Sheer exuberance and delight!  Oh to be a child again and feel that kind of pure and simple joy at life!  Wouldn't that be wonderful?  But, that circle of life. Every stage is unique and has a beauty of its' own.  We just need to seek, in order to find.

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And this is how we spent last Sunday.  We had Christmas carols playing and we baked cookies!  All day long.  It was warm and cozy, and smelled absolutely wonderful in our homey, little kitchen.  We did get a break when we headed to the barn to do the horse chores.  It had been a very cold and snowy day, and the horses were more than willing to come inside for some food, warmth and relaxation.  I just love how our barn comes alive with all those soft nickers and sweet horsey smells.  Does my heart good to care for them, and spend time in their presence.  Truly.  We've said it often, and it's still the case; when we bask in their glow, we become quiet and peaceful ourselves.  I believe that horses make us better people.  What a gift they are!

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And here's another way Charlotte spent some of her snow day...
She isn't satisfied to just lounge on the bed, but instead prefers to be in the bed.  But then, so do we! Such a spoiled puppy.  The rest of her time was spent in the kitchen with us - helping.  Ruby, on the other hand, prefers to go upstairs to her room, and sleep in her chair.  She reminds us of a moody, teen-aged girl who doesn't want to be around mom and dad, but needs her alone time.  :)



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With the bittersweet memories of Christmases past, and of this one too, I couldn't help but post a few more pictures of my beautiful girl.  She's been on my mind so much this month and has been such a big part of our lives for so very long, how could I not?  I will miss her so much, but simply cannot think about her and our wonderful times together, without smiling.  I will be forever thankful for this horse coming into my life.  As you may, or may not remember, Kadie is Ladde's mom.  The above picture of the two of them was taken within the first few days of Ladde's life.  Her only colt, we still say that she outdid herself.  Big and bold, what else did we expect?  I remember my first thought was that, I didn't know what to expect, but Ladde wasn't it.  We were amazed at how big he was, and at just how big he became!  Standing 17 hands and weighing around 1500 pounds, our petite little mare had given it her all.  Just the way she lived her life.  Giving us her all.  I still laugh when I remember what Kadie had done just before I took this shot.  I had been trying to feed her a carrot, and instead she grabbed the entire bag from my hand, ran off with her precious baby and ate them all.

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Good times, and one of the last pictures of Kadie that I have.  She looked great still, at almost 35 years old.  She's in the bottom right corner, likely willing me to go get her alfalfa.  She was the reigning queen of our barn for so long, we always said that we "live to serve and serve to live".  We all were her subjects.  Every horse did her bidding and protected her always.

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This is me and my girl out on a trail ride in central Oregon many years ago.  To me, she's a real beauty.  She might not be a "classic" beauty like a shiny, dark mare; but to know her, was to love her. The other thing this picture brings to mind is just how much I look like my dad in this shot.  Oh my gosh!  Not only my face, but my scowling expression because of the sun.  That was one of my dad's trademark looks.  :)  Gone, but never forgotten.

Whatever you have planned for Christmas, my wish is that you'll all be surrounded by those you love and hold dear to your hearts.  May there be love and laughter, memories shared and wistful tears for those who are no longer with us.  And as always, give thanks for the One, true and meaningful gift given to us by our loving Father.  For without that gift of eternal life, we would have no hope and there would be no grace.

Merry Christmas from our home to yours!!