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.
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...
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...
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.
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.
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!
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. :)
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.
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.
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!!