Thursday, March 10, 2022

Been a looonng time coming

 Since June 2019 to be specific.  Wow.  Just wow.  How did I ever???  

So many changes, and yet, so many things remain unchanged in my life.  I'm still working at the veterinary clinic, it's been 22 years now.  I'm still living on the same little homestead with hubby, our dogs and our horses.  The number of horses is down to four...I still marvel at how different that feels, but time marches on.  Our herd is aging; and I'm getting older too.  

Signs of spring are everywhere and the promise of a new season is looming.  How quickly our winter is passing.  At the beginning, my intent was to enjoy the slower pace, find time to reflect, time to read and just take in all the quiet times I would experience at the fireside.  There have been a few; but as is all too common in life, so much happens that we don't anticipate or plan for, that we busy ourselves in the day to day.  Just keeping up and getting done, that which needs to be done, is all-consuming.

I will keep this post short and sweet, because as I said, there have been so many changes and perspective altering occurrences as to make my head spin with it all.  To even begin sharing would be like an avalanche of emotion that I simply don't have the strength for right now. I have always found this blog to be a mental escape, a chartering of our lives and an outlet for the placing of thoughts onto paper. (so to speak)  A respite and an outpouring of some ideas that float around in my head.  Some things never change...

My hope is to continue to share, to document and to escape into the world of writing again.  I've missed it.  I've missed so many of you too.  I do pray that you are all well and thriving, that your lives are blessed and comfortable, and that we may be able to reconnect.  I make no promises, but the hope to continue is there, within my heart and the desire to share is real.  Take care and be well my friends,

Until we meet again, Lorie @ Cingspots

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Baby, take a chill pill

Oh yes, if you please!  I'm dancing around that old familiar tree once again, but I just can't believe how fast the time goes.  Too darned fast for me!  Spring is all but a memory, already...and summer will begin in a couple of days.  Summer with its' relentless heat, long days and warm nights.  So much to love about this season.  And so much not to love.  Well, I guess just the heat and the excessive busy-ness.  I feel like we've been on a merry-go-round of projects lately.  And I'm tired. 

I dream of a long, lazy weekend at the beach, cool ocean breezes blowing wispy, white linen curtains while I recline in comfort gazing out at the peaceful, blue ocean...can't you just see it?  *sigh*

Back to reality Lorie.  Yes, we've been busy.  We've got our years' supply of hay stored in the barn and almost all the firewood we'll be needing for the cold winter ahead.  Our little garden is growing and producing its' little heart out.  Soon we'll begin the tearing down and re-building of, the horse shelter.  The other horse shelter needs to have all the old dirt and rusting, long-ago buried wire removed and new gravel and sand brought in.  That might take us awhile, but brother Steve is willing to lend a hand. 

We have been on one group camping trip with our riding club at Mt. Adams horse camp.  The weather was perfectly beautiful, the trip up and back was uneventful and we really enjoyed visiting with everyone and just relaxing.  First camp-out in a couple of years for us, and it felt so good.  Our plan is to complete the big tasks of the summer right out of the box, and hopefully leave us a good bit of summer and early fall to just enjoy the weekends.  Camping, hiking with the dogs, day trips, horseback riding and bbq's with friends.  Oh, and of course several trips to the beach!  What kind of a summer doesn't include trips to the beach? 

We've had another baby born in the family.  A little boy, which makes a great-great grandson for my sister.  Wow!  And if I think of that another way, my niece Shelley is now a great grandmother.  Oh my word!!  How can that be?!  That kind of makes my head hurt.  And...our almost 43 year old son Justin is expecting another baby to be born anytime.  In fact, today is Autumn's due date.  So we'll have another baby too.  Life just keeps going, which is exactly how it's supposed to work.  Time marches on and life is continuously changing and evolving.  In my grandmother's words to me as a child - "nothing in life is constant; except change".  Oh how right she was.  And how much I miss that dear, sweet woman who inspired so much wisdom in me as a girl and as a young woman.  If only she could see how the family has changed.  Maybe it's a blessing that she can't see all those changes, for they all certainly aren't for the better.  Life is never dull.

Charlotte's birthday was yesterday.  My sweet dog is now 4 years old and is quite the lady, a true momma's girl.  Just like Annie was my girl.  Charlotte is my girl.  I remember after Annie died I knew in my heart that there was no way I could ever replace her.  So, I didn't even try.  But when the time came to look for another puppy, of course I looked at Labs and Golden Retrievers.  But there were no puppies available anywhere that were affordable to us and I became disheartened.  Maybe I was trying to find another "Annie".  But one day while on our way home from a Costco trip, I whizzed by a "puppies 4 sale" sign.  I drove around the corner and went up to the house to have a look.  I was hopeful, but it was reserved hope.  The young man who lived there told me they were Yellow Labs.  Oh, be still my heart!  I asked him how much the puppies were and he said they were asking $200.00...that was within our budget.  I could hardly contain my excitement at my good fortune!  I followed him through the house and into the back yard where the puppies were contained in a corner of the yard.  There, before my eyes were 8 wriggling, jumping, chewing, playing puppies of every color and combination of colors and markings imaginable.  But, not a Yellow Lab among them.  He introduced me to Princess, momma to the brood of puppies.  And yes, I did notice that among one or two other breeds, there was some yellow lab in her.  Princess looked tired, but in her dark brown eyes, there was kindness and intelligence.  She was a dear, sweet girl and she loved her puppies.  I squatted down and asked her permission to have a look at her beautiful babies, and took the time to stroke her fur and tell her what a wonderful and beautiful girl she was.  She gave me a little lick on my cheek.  Permission granted. 

I then turned my attention to the puppies clamoring at the fence for my attention.  Truly, each puppy was an individual.  From black, to black and white, to all shades of brown, brown and black, brown and white...and a particularly unusual black brindle with the loveliest face.  I was so drawn to that one, and scooped her up and into my arms.  She was quieter than some and gave me the most direct of gazes, and a little kiss like Princess had done.  Ahh, I was hooked, and we left shortly thereafter with that puppy cradled in my arms.  Well, dangling from my arms is a much more appropriate description, because she was all legs, with these humorously huge paws and the most serious little face.  I held her all the way home and she slept with us and she never made a peep.  Nor did she ever whine or cry like she missed her litter mates.  She never had an accident in the house and was the easiest puppy to potty train that I can remember.  Ruby was easy as well, but I remember the occasional accident.  Not so with Charlotte.  I just routinely asked her to step outside to "potty on the grass" and she did.  She has become as deeply devoted to me as my dear, sweet Annie was.  I believe that God chose her just for me.  And as long as she was armed with plenty of toys to destroy, she never chewed anything that didn't belong to her.  Until much later...and that is a story that will remain a secret until a later date and time. 

Suffice it to say that the car I drove at the time was never, ever the same...

Happy Birthday Charlotte!!! 

So, the yellow labs turned out to be mutts.  Princess was a unique mystery of breeds, including some yellow lab and daddy was a pitbull.  Charlotte wasn't anything like what I was looking for, but she turned out to be exactly what I didn't even know I was looking for and just what my heart needed.  :)

Funny how that happens in life, isn't it?

I hope you're all ready for summer, cause ready or not, here it comes!  Enjoy!

Oh, and I almost forgot about Eagle!  We celebrated his 19th birthday on June 3...I've already had him for 8 years.  Again.  Wow!

Friday, May 3, 2019

The merry, merry month of May!

We are enjoying a phenomenal spring!  Coolish nights and warm days, a little shower here and there, with bunches of sunshine and flowers.  Green fields abound! May is one of my favorite months of the year.  Specifically, I love May, June and October...I enjoy summer as well, but cannot tolerate the heat anymore.  *sigh*  I am soooo looking forward to about the next 6 months of pleasant weather and long days.  Oh yes!

Haven't been on my horse since that one time over a month ago now.  The dogs and I have been on a few walks in the park and around our fields at home.  The hubby finally got our hayfield lawn mowed this week.  Seriously, over a foot tall and oh, so lush in many spots.  We have blisters to prove we did much raking.  There just hasn't been any time lately.  After my hub's shop closed for good, and the auction was held to sell off all the equipment; he was hired by a couple of other business owners to deliver and install some of that machinery.  So, he's been working more than usual lately.  Don't you just love it when God provides?  :)  It still feels like a precarious position to be in, but we're choosing not to worry and instead live in faith.  Like my grandma used to say, "worryin' gives ya somethin' to do, but it gets ya nowhere".  Truth.  And I don't want to worry.  I want to trust that we will be alright, just as we always have.  One day at a time...

I did get that furniture rearranging project all finished.  We are loving the new digs!  It feels so much more spacious and open.  Now if I only had a cushy new sectional to put into that new space we've got.  Ahh, but for now the old leather couches will have to do.  No worries that the dogs will do any harm, so there's that. 

I've done a little flower planting in my front yard bed and it's looking so nice.  I have plans for a corner of the yard that we've got nothing but grass growing.  Grass is such a waste of space in my opinion.  A little goes a long way.  I prefer specific areas of interest much more.  Little cozy spots to visit or a nook in the garden to place a couple of chairs and while away a nice afternoon.  And flowers!  I'd really like so many more flowers and shrubs for not only beauty, but scent.  But those darned chickens!  We are going to come to blows if they don't keep out of my flowers!  :)

Our main challenge this year of gardening and home improvement will be the budget.  We're going to have to really rein in the spending, search high and low for bargains (craigslist or garage sales perhaps) and prioritize those projects.  Our two shelters for the horses each have a serious problem.  One is completely falling apart.  Kind of an issue, right?  We need to tear it apart and hopefully, utilizing some of the lumber, rebuild it. 

And the other one has rusted, broken wires poking up through the dirt floor from many years ago having been used as a dog kennel.  They installed small square wire to prevent the dogs from digging out, and that wire has now rusted and is breaking.  I can't trust that a horse won't suffer a puncture wound from that.  So...we need to dig the floor out completely and add something like pea gravel or gravel covered with sand.  We've had the entrance walled off for over a year now. 

You see what I mean?  There's always so many more projects than either expendable income or energy to go around.  I get tired just thinking about it all.  But...all we can do, is what we can do.  And take it all, one day at a time.  Otherwise, I'll make myself crazy.  Since it's up to just the hubs and me, we may not accomplish half of what I've got on my mental list.  We'll just have to see.

I attended our church's women's retreat the first week of April.  I enjoyed it so much!  It was just what the doctor ordered after a seemingly long winter of cold and day to day drudgery.  The beach is my happy place for sure.  Just smelling the ocean air, and feeling that refreshing breeze, and watching the mighty surf and hearing that rush of the waves is simply like heaven to me!  I breathe easier and can just feel my entire body letting down.  We rented a big, beautiful house and ate incredibly delicious food, enjoyed a wonderful speaker and enjoyed the best of fellowship.  I love my church lady friends!  It feels so good to be a part of what feels like extended family.  It was just about perfect, I tell ya!  I'm ready for another.  :)

On a completely different note; yesterday I slam-dunked myself into the concrete in front of the clinic.  To be totally honest, Charlotte (said with a sneer) caused me to body slam the concrete!  It was lunchtime, I was helping the UPS guy carry in some boxes.  They were lightweight, but I couldn't see, and in my normal, hurried fashion, turned around and headed purposefully towards the open door...BAM!!  Charlotte crossed my path, I totally didn't see her and down I went.  Oh my gosh, I hit so hard! It literally jarred my teeth and maybe my eyeballs just a little.  The right knee suffered the most impact and I have a largish red, skinned spot through my jeans, a couple of scuffs and small bruises on my hands, but otherwise I'm as good as gold today.  I put a little of my trusty Vitamin E oil on the skinned spot, and wallah!  Right as rain!  I'm apparently, a pretty tough old bird.  :)  So thankful because oh my, it could have been so much worse.  And wouldn't I be cranky if I'd really lamed myself up at the beginning of the busy season!  Banish the thought!

So, there's that silver lining again.  Always look on the bright side and every once in a while - remind yourself to slow down...

My dear, sweet momma used to tell me that all.  the.  time.   *sigh*
I miss her so very much.  Mother's Day is next weekend.  Call your mom!  Send her a card or some flowers, or just go spend some time with her.  She won't be here forever, and when she's gone, oh dear, you will miss her so much.  Tell her that you love her and are SO thankful for her!

I love you momma.  Happy Mother's Day!

Love this song!  Click on the link and it will lead you to the video...this is the only way I know how to share.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Spring and a birthday

Yeah, can you believe it?  Winter is finished.  And what a gentle and short-lived winter it was.  We had enough variety and not overly wet or cold that I wasn't bothered at all by the usually dreariest season of all.  The one that in years past has put me into a state of mild to moderate depression at times.  Nope, didn't happen to me this year.  I tried to focus my thoughts on appreciating the good about winter instead of wishing it were something or somehow different than it was.  I even appreciated the quieter, slower pace of life spent indoors pursuing a more leisurely way of life.  Whether that was what made it more tolerable, even enjoyable to me this year over the past will likely remain a mystery to me, but alas, perspective seems to be at the heart of so many things in life.

It's Ladde's birthday today.  *sigh*  How can it be that, that long-awaited, gangly colt could possibly be 23 years old today?  A big, strong, handsome horse he became and an answer to our prayers. He is a source of so many blessings over these past years.  I just can't seem to wrap my mind around the fact that it's been so long since that early morning I found him atop that pile of rocks with Kadie standing guard over him.  My beautiful girl became a momma and I had a project that would prove to be one of the most fulfilling of my life so far.  He has taught me so much!  And I will for all my days, be thankful for him in our lives.  Happy birthday big, beautiful boy!!

I really wanted to do better about posting on my blog, but that hasn't been happening.  Two and a half months have passed since I last wrote my thoughts down here.  I find writing to be therapeutic and above all, a journal of sorts, for me to look back upon as years go by.  It's a place to share what's going on in our lives, what we've been doing, or thinking about, projects we either want to pursue or have accomplished.  It's a valuable tool for remembering when my memory fails me. 

Writing is a source of sharing with the world how I feel, what my hopes and dreams are, a way of reaching out in hope that someone reading my words, might in some, small way, understand and feel a sense of camaraderie with another in a very different or faraway place.  A simple pleasure or an important life experience made better by the sharing and mutual connection with others. I do believe that we're all more connected than we realize. 

 Sometimes this world can feel like a very lonely place.  Everyone seems to be so busy, caught up in their own lives and there's never enough time for making real connections with people.  I have deeply appreciated the people I've come to know through this blog, having felt a sincere kinship with others whom I would likely never have crossed paths with.  Kindred spirits and heartfelt friendships that have softened the blows of hardship and made richer the blessings.  I'm grateful for you all, for your comments and for your own thoughts that I've read on your blogs over the years.  I spend a lot of time by myself, inside my own head and it does me a lot of good to share and hopefully be understood.  I think that's important to all people, don't you?  To be understood? 

I think I'm starting to sound a bit melancholy, and maybe I am a bit.  My husband received news that the part time job he's had since retiring will be ending soon.  If we're fortunate, the paychecks will continue through the end of April.  After that, I'm at a loss for how we'll continue to live and support our animals as we have been.  I'm trying to be proactive, instead of reactive and be brutally honest about our finances and how we proceed from here.  I can't lie, it's going to be almost impossible without some serious cuts.  We've weathered many a storm over the years and have been blessed in times of trouble, so I try to remain faithful in this as well, remembering how we've been led in the past.  Our lifestyle seems like a simple one, but in the months to come, I have a feeling I just might get a very good education in how much more simple it can, and will become.  :)  If you're of the praying type, we would really appreciate it if we could be remembered in your prayers. 

On the upside, I'm a fairly optimistic sort with a stubborn streak a mile wide.  I believe in the power of faith and in hard work.  When I look back over the years and the trials we've come through, I'm a little amazed at what we've been able to accomplish.  I know we didn't do this alone, and believe God will be at our sides, come what way.  Our little home and our family of critters mean the world to us, and we'll do our very best (and most creative) to keep going and persevere.  Sometimes, just the telling of the tale and sharing of the situation lightens the heart and helps build confidence, don't you agree? 

If you've been following along over the years, you'll remember that I haven't ridden much at all the last couple of years.  The reasons vary, but for the first time in almost a year, I rode my horse the other day.  I got a wild hair, the sun was shining and it was a glorious day.  I went out and spent a couple of hours with Eagle.  He really seemed to enjoy the attention and was all warm and buttery soft after the grooming session, so I saddled him up and spent a little time working him freelance in the round pen.  He did really well, a little rusty, but a fine job overall.  I sat down for a little break in the sun and allowed Eagle his "time to soak" and ponder his feelings about what had just happened.  He watched me with those soft, doe-like eyes of his; and before long, he moseyed on over to where I was sitting and very delicately rubbed his muzzle in my hair, on my shoulder and down my you can imagine, I was overcome with emotion that this gorgeous, magnificent beast would so willingly choose to be with me.  *sigh*  There just isn't anything like the affections of a horse to fill the heart and soul with such satisfaction and pure joy.  I am so blessed to share my life with him! 

Without any hesitation, I mounted up and rode for only about 15-20 minutes, but it was enough to reinforce my desire to ride again, and again, and continue to strive for confidence and relaxation atop this wonderful horse.  I don't know if I will ever feel truly comfortable on him all the time.  He is such a powerful animal and can intimidate me so very easily.  I cannot explain it, or understand why, but that's the truth of it.  I am however, eternally thankful to share my life with him, and learn from him, and build upon that relationship that grows deeper with each passing day.  I wouldn't trade that for all the money in the world! 

Happy Spring dear friends!  May your days be filled with warm sunshine and gentle breezes enough to carry your troubles away...

until we meet again,
Lorie @ Cingspots


Friday, January 18, 2019

Hazy days and lazy nights

Winter is rolling right along, and very polite so far this year.  I like that.  So many times in my life winter has got the best of me.  I felt irritable, cooped up and just hated the rain and long nights - not to mention the mud.  But this year has been easy, even feels restorative.  Now there's a surprise. 

I'm loving the variety of the briskly cold and dry (we've had many days of weather perfection), along with the occasional fog-engulfed or torrential downpours of the rain.  It keeps us thoroughly entertained and just enough reasons to spend time indoors, getting cozy and domestic, just enjoying a slower pace.  Maybe I've finally reached an age where I appreciate a valid reason to slow down and not have to be going at high speed all.   the.   time.  Can anyone relate?  If not always physically on the go, you spend time in your head feeling guilty that you're not being productive?  I think I got that from my mom.  She was a gung-ho kinda gal.  I do like a feeling of accomplishment though.  You know, a job well done and all that? 

I've got plans to switch my furniture all around and just have everything feel different inside for a change.  When I do that, hopefully it will give me even more incentive to clean out and donate.  I'm still working on that.  Haven't done badly, but there always seems to be more.  In the nooks and crannies, in the closets, we (mostly me) still have way more clothing than we  I need to hold onto.  It's a process.  Living with less seems freeing though, like taking a deep, cleansing breath of fresh air.  More space - less clutter is my goal.   If I don't use it routinely or wear it often, out it goes. Or part with the pieces I've worn to death and are ratty beyond repair...I've got a few of those too. 

 I'd really like to hire somebody to re-do the bathroom.  I suppose we could do it, but it's not something I dream about either.  Priorities are important too.  We don't have much free time, so it's vital to make the most of it.  Realize what's more important in life and forge on!  :)

The horses are all doing well.  Gettin' lazy and fat.  Fuzzy too, and oh, did I forget muddy?  Well, that too.  But healthy and happy ponies they are.  We're so blessed that our horses are aging pretty well.

 Ladde has his cushings, and I can see changes from that, but his weight is pretty good, feet are in great shape and there's never anything amiss with his appetite.  He and Missy's marriage is as most are - good days and bad days, but he's the boy, so there's that.  Just sayin'  He'll be 23 this year and he's not a kid anymore, but considering everything, he's doing great.
Shad is old and he's definitely starting to look like a bony, old man, but he's still playful sometimes and has a twinkle in his eye.  He's always been a bottomless pit and could eat everything without gaining an ounce.  You know, the metabolism we all wish we had?  Yeah. 

Missy's plump and sassy, but still lives with her navicular everyday.  It sometimes pains me to watch her gimp around after a pasture-burning race with Eagle, but she manages just fine.  And usually brings things upon herself.  She's one tough little cookie.  A sweeter mare to be around you'd be hard-pressed to find.  I really love her.  I've always loved mares though.  They're opinionated, brave, loving, intelligent and disagreeable all at the same time.  You gotta love that!  :) 

Harley is blind.  He does absolutely great if not rattled in a tight space by some particular little female whom shall remain can't help but admire his fortitude though.  I've never met a human who could roll so well, with such a devastating blow.  No self-pity, not one drop! 

And Eagle is fine.  Very pleased with his station in life.  It's written all over his entire demeanor.  Thank God he's so kind and fair.  Fairness is HUGE with him.  Maybe it's a Mustang thing.  I love them all.  They make our lives so much richer and give us a reason to get out in the fresh air and get some exercise where otherwise we'd be lazy and getting even fatter. 

It's looking like we're going to need more hay.  Ugh!  I decided to cut back because we had some 1-2 year old stuff that we never got to, but a couple tons are likely going to be needed by the end of February I'd guess.  Not bad, but a pain.  First time in many years I've under-purchased on the hay supply.  Firewood's doing great though.  With the fairly mild temperatures, keeping the house warm is pretty easy. 

Nothing of any real importance to share, but I've been so lax with writing in my blog that's it's troubling to me.  I really enjoy being able to look back over events and remember everything that I might otherwise forget.  My journaling is important and I want to do better with that. 

Well that's about it for now!  We are eternally grateful for what we have.  We're blessed with more than we need and truly want for nothing we don't have.  Who could ask for anything more?  We're both healthy and doing fine, animals are good, our home is warm and dry, and thanks to a recent trip to Costco, the pantry and freezer's in good shape.  We're ready for that long, cold season of no holidays and keeping our noses warm and to the indoor grindstone until another season rolls around.  Winter is a blessing too.  Especially now being older and truly learning to appreciate a kinder, gentler approach to life.  I've got several books I'm anxious to read, recipes to give a "go" and that rearranging project I mentioned earlier awaiting my attention.  And oh my goodness, Outlander!  Have you been watching???  I just love that show!  It took a little bit of a downturn for a while, and I was thinking all it was going to be was one tragedy after another, but this new season is proving to be wonderful, and oh so interesting!  If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend watching from the beginning or reading the books.  Both are incredible and worthy of a winter afternoon or a few...

Winter on everyone!  May you be warm and blessed.

Until next time,

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Merry Christmas

Another Christmas in the books.  And another year coming to a close...seemingly faster than all the ones before.  We stayed close to home this year, spent Christmas Eve at my sister's house and with family.  We enjoyed a delicious dinner, watched the children open their presents and played a quick gift exchange game.  Shortly thereafter everyone dissipated and headed for their own homes.  Holidays are a fairly quick affair with my family these days. There are fewer of us, some gone and some choosing to spend the time with friends or their own families.  I truly prefer it this way, as the older I become, the more differences I see and feel between us.  Gone are the lighthearted days of our youth and the close-knit family that lives on in my memories.  

We went to church on Sabbath and enjoyed a quiet, but beautifully spiritual celebration reflecting the reason for this holiday.  Lovely old hymns were sung and we felt truly blessed for our church family and friends.  We went home feeling peaceful and spent the remainder of the day listening to Christmas music and baking cookies.  My husband and I both had a 4-day weekend off from work duties and it was enjoyed immensely.  Since returning from our cruise, I've been nursing a cold and quiet time spent at home near the hearth was just what the doctor ordered.  We spent some extra time in the barn with the horses.  After cleaning the stalls and giving them fresh bedding and clean waters, we passed out Christmas goodies in the form of apples and carrots along with their rations of sweet hay and a little grain.  I attempted to brush a few of the horses and rid them of some accumulated mud, but my energy levels deplete very quickly these days.  The horses were quite satisfied with the attentions though, and seemed to appreciate every moment of personal time they received.  This morning I noticed that all that mud has been re-deposited on their coats.  *sigh*  We've been experiencing grey, rainy days since our return, but our temps are fairly warm so we have that to be thankful for.  Christmas eve day and Christmas day we had dry, beautifully warm sunshine.  :)

I took these festive shots of our little downtown area.  The town has new decorations and a lovely Christmas tree in the square, but there were so many people out and about that it made picture taking quite a chore.  So, I was satisfied with these few and thought you might enjoy them.  

Below are the chicken girls enjoying some over-baked Christmas cookies and the sunshine in the back yard.  Seeing Penny's fluffy bottom always makes me smile.  She seems to bring a sense of calm and camaraderie to our little flock.  We enjoy watching them and the feeling of quietness that they bring to us.  I am so glad we have them! 

Who knew chickens could be so very entertaining!

We've been home from our cruise just over a week now.  We had a very nice time and really enjoyed the getaway from our farm chores and care taking duties especially.  To have absolutely no daily responsibilities is to live like kings and queens!  Definitely not what we're accustomed to.  The sunshine and warm tropical breezes were also a delight.  I enjoyed swimming in the Caribbean ocean, a lot!  It's so warm, you can just wade in and go for a swim.  Not at all like our Pacific Ocean, which will always take your breath away.  In all my days, except for wading on occasion, I don't recall ever actually swimming in the Pacific ocean...well, except for those days spent in Hawaii.  The Caribbean is a quiet, gentle and warmly inviting ocean by comparison.  And the color!  The incredible blues, teals and greens are something to behold!  That wonderful ocean and the quiet times spent out on deck on the ship are my most favorite memories.  To quietly gaze out over that lovely ocean with the sun setting in the distance is just magical.  Peaceful, calming and restorative all at once.  And I was up early enough to enjoy a few sunrises as well.  *sigh*  I loved every minute of that special, quiet time.  I did take a few pictures, but haven't uploaded them yet from my camera.  When I do, I'll share them with you.

We did disembark at every port as well.  On the day we visited Mahogany Bay, Roatan, Honduras the seas were a bit rough, the wind was up and there were several tropical downpours.  No worries for us Oregonians.  We had windbreakers which were water repellent, and just went out in it and got wet.  It was so warm that the rain actually felt refreshing.  We loved it!  So many people either stayed on board the ship, or the other ships in port that day chose to not let their people off.  I guess maybe they thought the sea was a bit rough for the tender boats?  Not sure, but the ocean swells did not phase us at all.  The short tender boat ride was a bit bouncy, but nothing we haven't experienced before here at home.  We loved every minute of it!

Suffice it to say that we had a lovely cruise...the food was mostly delicious, the dining experiences were amazing, we met some wonderful people and enjoyed scintillating conversations, we enjoyed getting dressed up, enjoyed the ports, the beautiful ship, the ocean...the fantastic barbecued lobster tails we had on a tiny, little island off Belize and so much more.  I'd love to do it again someday.  But it felt so good to come home.  Home to our dogs, our horses and our cozy, little home.  There truly is no place like home.

I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful Christmas, and I wish for you a healthy and happy new year, filled with wonder and adventure.  You're never too old to experience life's adventures.  Go out there and find yours!

Until next time, go find your joy...

Lorie and the gang at C-ing Spots.

Monday, November 12, 2018

The art of randomness

I know I talk about the weather a lot here.  I talk about the weather outside of this blog too.  But, can I just say?  Again.  How absolutely beautiful our weather this year has been?  Our summer was hot. Very hot actually; but hey, that's summer right?  It's supposed to be hot.  But last spring was perfect and our fall is perfect.  We're still sleeping with our bedroom window open and we've had just a few fires in the wood stove to take the chill off the house.  We've had a few frosts here and there, and the days have been spectacular!  Simply fabulous in fact!  Sweater and jeans days and a light jacket in the mornings only.  *sigh*

We don't even have mud in the pasture yet!  O. M. gosh...that's one for the record books.

I feel slightly guilty about exclaiming the virtues of our amazing weather when down south of us, so many people and animals have been displaced from their homes.  Again.  All I can do is keep those in distress in my prayers.  And I have been doing that.  Prayers for all in peril.  It's utterly devastating and unimaginable to me how an entire town of roughly 27,000 people can completely disappear.  But that's exactly what's happened in Paradise, California.  So tragic!  My sister's husband's sister and family live in Paradise - or did live in Paradise.  Everything is gone.  I've seen one picture of a house surrounded by devastation completely untouched.  That particular house is owned by a relative of a lady who attends our church.  Wrap your head around that if you can.  If you have any doubt that God protects, I hope that convinces you.  I pray that He sends rain to put those fires out.  Soon.

Image result for caribbean beach images

It's 25 days and counting until we fly out to Miami for our cruise.  It's gettin' real folks!  I am so excited!  The bags are packed, arrangements have been made for the care taking of our beloved animals; horses, dogs, cat and chickens.  We've educated ourselves about the fine art of cruising, determined what is free and what is not free when onboard ship, decided on which excursions we'll be participating in, and which beaches we'll be lounging on...snorkeling the Mesoamerican reef and soaking up the rays.  And yes, I do realize the sun is quite intense that far south, so we've plenty of sunblock and bronzer in tow.  Cause I can only imagine how pasty white I'll be by December.  Suntans just don't last long enough, do they?  Oh, and lest I forget, where and for what we'll be shopping for!  New flip flops are in my future!  And since I lost the main diamond in my wedding ring over a year ago, I will be perusing the jewelry stores for a possible replacement.  If they're more expensive than I am willing to spend, then I certainly am not resistant to another gem stone.  My ring is gold, so no Turquoise.  :(  But there are so many other pretty colors to choose from!

And, since we're so close to Christmas I can use that as the perfect excuse to shop a little more.  Hoping to find some unique and fun little items for family and friends.  Okay, enough.  But you get the gist - estoy emocionado, pero solo un poquito!  :)  Well of course I've been practicing my Spanish! It's been years since I've been anywhere to have the excuse to speak it.  And I am soooo rusty!  That old saying? If you don't use it, you lose it.  So true.

We're getting so very close to my most favorite holiday of the year.  Thanksgiving!  I love that it's a day devoted entirely to being thankful for all that we've been blessed with.  A time to express that gratitude to God for His infinite blessings and comfort.  A time to sit down with family or friends and enjoy delicious food, have good conversations and laugh.  Oh how good it is to laugh with people you love!  There's no rush with Thanksgiving.  It certainly hasn't been overly exploited by the retail industry to the point of obscenity, like Christmas has.  It's all about the gathering, the enjoyment of simple pleasures and the people we love.  The perfect day to tell those people in our lives, just how important they are to us, and how very thankful we are for the presence of them in our lives.  *sigh*  Thanksgiving is the ultimate feel good holiday!

Speaking of Christmas, I've been watching a fair amount of YouTube videos lately (where did you think I got my education on the fine art of cruising?) and happened upon a young French lady named Justine and oh my goodness, I just love her!  She's inspirational, entertaining, educational (she's in the fashion design business), real, humble and oh, so French.  I watched a video she did last Christmas on how her family celebrates Christmas in France.  I actually cried tears of emotion and joy because those are the kinds of Christmases that I reminisce so fondly of, from my childhood.  It's so vastly different than today; at least in my life it is.  Christmas isn't spewed at you from all angles like it is here.  It hasn't been transformed into a giant money-making excuse of a holiday and thrust upon the world in all its' gaudy glory in every retail establishment in October like it is here.  It's quiet and respectful, traditional and spiritual.  There's lots of beautiful, seasonal music with Christian inspiration and family traditions revolving around food, drink, music, beautiful decorations and yes, some gifts.  I'm not anti-gift at Christmas.  I just don't like what I refer to as the pre-Halloween "christmas crap" that I see displayed at big box stores and parents over-indulging already spoiled children with so much cheap junk.  Gifts should be thoughtful and conservative.  That's how I would want to raise my children anyway, not about expecting to get, but in the giving; in the choosing of the perfect gift for that someone special - and the heartfelt joy of the "giving".  Maybe I need to at some point in my life, visit Europe at Christmas.  A quiet, snowed-in holiday in the Swiss Alps or a little chateau in the south of France perhaps?  Oh my...just dream a little dream with me, won't you?

Just in case I don't find the time to post before the holiday, I wish for you and your families a very, special old-time Thanksgiving.  I hope you spend the day with those you love the most.  May you enjoy good food, good conversations and lots of tear-inducing laughter.

May you be thankful for it all; and may you give thanks to the One responsible for all your blessings in this life.

Happy Thanksgiving!
Lorie and all of us at C-ing Spots

Hasta que nos encontremos de well!