Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Comfort and Joy

Sometimes those two little words which signify every person's true desire in life, can be so very difficult to obtain, and even harder to hang onto.  In this season of Christmas, when we would hope that all could be merry and bright; the opposite is many times, the case.  The holidays can be a time of reflection, soul-searching, stress, depression, isolation, and even desperation.  

If each one of us could take a look around, really see all that we have to be thankful for; I truly believe that comfort and joy isn't all that hard to find.  Take Patch for instance; doesn't have anything except for the basics in life...a warm bed, food for his belly, another cat to occasionally scrap with, and a family who sees to all his needs.  We have someone who sees to all our needs as well.

The other morning I watched this beautiful rainbow appear, a double rainbow actually, after another thunderous shower had ended.  A beautiful rainbow...God's promise that the world will never again be destroyed by water.  There's comfort in that.

And joy...this beautiful face gives me joy every single day.  Without fail.  I can't imagine life without my dogs.  They give me unconditional love, complete acceptance and laughter.  Simple pleasures that give me reason to return that love.  We always love where we are shown's more challenging to love when it's undeserved.

Our beautiful horses bellied up to the bar.  Another source of joy, laughter, amazement, beauty and love.  For them, I am so grateful and feel so very blessed.  Horses are one of God's greatest gifts to mankind.  I believe this with all of my heart.  They are also a source of wisdom for me.  If we will but humble ourselves for a bit, and quietly observe; they have so much to offer and teach.  People are arrogant if they don't think we have much to learn from the horse.

A couple of weekends ago, we were fortunate to get to go share some joy in the form of singing Christmas carols for the families in our church neighborhood.  A friend brought a team of his beautiful Shire Draft horses and his hay wagon.  It was wonderful!  I've always wanted to go caroling, and now I've finally done it!  It was a brisk evening and the rain held off while we sang under the starry sky.  If that doesn't put a person in the Christmas spirit, I don't know what will.

And this was my view from behind while riding up front with Duane, our driver.  Add to the experience of singing, the scent of warm horses - perfect!!  This is Ellie Mae and Gracie.  They are beautiful and very patient girls who perform their jobs flawlessly.

This was November's full moon.  It was so beautiful that I had to pull over and take a few shots, however my camera wasn't able to capture the amazing visual that I was able to see.  Still pretty though.

My dear, sweet I love this dog.  She has always been a momma's girl, and I adore her and am so very thankful that she came into our life.  We weren't looking for another dog when we had the opportunity to adopt her into our family, but I'm so very, very glad that we did!  She brings me comfort and joy every day of my life.

I think my lens may have been foggy, but this is the scene from our front porch yesterday morning.  Our first snowfall of the season.

Ruby loves the snow!  She gets so excited and races around barking and biting at the snow.  We can learn a few lessons about enjoying the simple pleasures in life from our dogs too.

The backyard view yesterday morning from the deck.  Big, fat, wet flakes, but it was peaceful to watch while enjoying my morning coffee in front of the wood stove.  There's something so serene about snow.  I'm hoping for a white Christmas this year...let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!!!

Another shot of the beautiful Shire Draft team.  Ellie Mae and Gracie.

My view while singing Christmas carols under the starry night sky.  Crossed that one off my bucket list!  

My hubby and I went into downtown Portland last Sunday.  We parked the car and walked all over downtown looking at the beautiful Christmas window displays, did a little shopping, but mostly looking, had dinner at our favorite little Italian place and cruised the public market.  Some people have so much talent.  The items that were available are ingenious, delightful, cozy and beautiful - just depends on what you're looking at.  I got a new hat!  And some new incense.  My hubby got me a new pair of boots!  We even looked at and tried on riding helmets, which I know absolutely nothing about.  I found one that I like, it fit my head comfortably and didn't make me look too much like a bobble-head.  But, I'm going to peruse the internet and see if I can't find it cheaper.  I'm not doing much riding this time of year, so I've got time.  I've never even tried on a helmet before that.  I'm not accustomed to wearing anything other than a baseball cap or a sun visor when I ride, so this will be different for me.  Oh, and I got a parking ticket!  First parking ticket in my life...$45!!  What a drag, a few more bucks and I could have had the helmet...oh well, guess I'll be looking more closely next time for those pay boxes at the end of the blocks.  Live and learn, I guess.  Anyway, the weather was horrendous, wind was blowing wildly all day long, rain coming down sideways and we got drenched!  We had a blast!!  When you live in the Willamette Valley, you grow accustomed to getting wet, and you learn to dress for it.  I'm sure I provided some entertainment for the waitress at the restaurant when I removed my hat... :)  Give joy where you can my friends!!

There are so many ways to bring comfort and joy into our lives.  I'm finding that I enjoy Christmas so much more when I decide to relax and enjoy everything; forget about "having" to do anything and just be thankful, recognize my multitude of blessings and enjoy the people and the animals that I love.  When I count my blessings each and every day, my attitude becomes one of overwhelming gratitude to my Father, from Whom all good things come.  

I wish for each and every one of you this Christmas season...comfort and joy!

Fah rah rah rah rah rah rah rah rah!  
Name that movie!!!  :)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Christmas poem

I love this little poem.  It's a gentle reminder as to why we celebrate Christmas.

It's not about the presents, nor the frantic trips to the mall.
It's not about the cookies, or the decorations at all.
We celebrate our Savior's birth,
So I post this here to remind us...
Take a moment to be thankful;
for the greatest gift on Earth.

It's so easy, especially at this time of year, to get caught up in all the hype that surrounds us. Whether it's the traffic, the crowds of people everywhere, the rushing, the lists, the shopping, the baking, the wrapping, the parties...the list goes on and forget; why we celebrate this holiday at all.

For the last several years, we've opted for a quieter, more serene Christmas.  And I've got to tell you that I'm enjoying it far more than I ever used to.  I try to visit my friends, take a little time apart from all the scuffle and nourish what's really important to me.  My friends, my family and our relationships.  Send those cards to let people far away know you're thinking about them.  It's fun to receive something other than a bill in the mail!  Christmas cards is one of my favorite parts of the holiday.  I also enjoy baking cookies, and sharing them with friends, neighbors, co-workers, my farrier, even the mailman.  It's a tiny memento of gratitude and makes people smile.  Who doesn't love a homemade cookie?  I also like to go out to the barn and set up a little work table, put on some beautiful Christmas music and make a wreath for our door; even better if I spend that time with a friend.  We laugh, talk and savor our time spent together.  That's better than anything you can buy in a store.  I also enjoy decorating the Christmas tree.  It's beautiful and the smell is heavenly!

But the main reason for this special season is always foremost in my mind.  I realize that nobody really knows exactly when Jesus was born.  That's not important.  It's just that we set apart a day and remember to be thankful for that birth.  And really let it sink in, just how very important that gift was, and still is, to all of us today.

What's your favorite Christmas tradition?

Merry Christmas everyone from all of us at Cingspots!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thar she blows matey!!!! and a Thanksgiving Day wish

Aarrrrrgh!!  Would I make a good pirate captain?  Well, maybe not...but I'm telling you, we've had enough rain to float a pirate's ship and we've had enough wind to set her asail!!  Hmmhuh...yes momma, we have!!
We have a nice little duck pond in our back yard, and another one in the farm field next door.  Haven't seen many ducks though...pretty sure they've all taken cover somewhere warm and dry.  Smart ducks!

We had a river flowing down the driveway, and all that water came down across our pasture.  To say it's a wee bit soggy is the understatement of the year.  The horses spent the day inside yesterday.  They got to go outside for about an hour and a half while the stalls were being cleaned.  That was long enough for them to decide that outside, was definitely NOT somewhere they wanted to be!!  :)  Smart ponies.

And the wind!!  Impressive!!  We had wind pretty much all day long, with some mighty strong gusts too.  We did maintain power though.  Way to go PGE!  The only real casualty was one of the limbs on the big shade tree in the back yard broke off.  And wouldn't you know?  It was one of the branches where I always hang a couple of my spring/summer flower baskets...oh well, it missed the fence and didn't destroy my raised garden bed.  So, it could have been much worse.  And once again, I'm very thankful that we don't have any big trees near the horse's barn.  Always thankful for that.  That would be one worry that might keep me awake nights.  Always stuff to be thankful for!

And speaking of thankfulness...Thanksgiving is almost upon us once again.  Tomorrow is my Friday this week, and I'm really looking forward to celebrating one of my most favorite of all holidays and...a long weekend!  We're having a few family members and a couple of friends over to our house for dinner.  And, yes that means that I am cooking the grand feast this year!  I always cook, but usually just for the two of us.  So, to get us all in the spirit of Thanksgiving and give you a sampling of what's on the menu this are some pics in case anyone happens to be in the neighborhood and wants to drop by for a slice of pie!

Of course - you're all invited!!  The more, the merrier!!

The star of the show.  The turkey...yum!  Always the experimenter, I'm trying something new again this year. Don't tell my hubby...he's a bit stodgy about such matters.  I'm going to stuff the bird with celery, onion and tangerine slices.  Then I'm going to rub the beautiful birdie all over with butter and seasonings like sage, salt, pepper, rosemary and a little mesquite barbeque spice.  Then I'll add a little juice to give it some more flavor and moisture by mixing chicken broth with champagne.  I'll put some inside with the veggies and then the rest will be added to the pan.  Quite the concoction huh?

Not to be forgotten, the all-important sides.  No salad, just a few veggies and of course gravy.  Oh, the gravy!!

Real mashed potatoes...not those boxes things.  With real butter, a little Gregg's Ranch Dressing, salt and pepper.  Oh, to die for!

Homemade gravy from the turkey pan drippings, some cornstarch for thickening and water.  That's it...perfection in its' simplicity.  But, oh so good!  

And of course we'll have stuffing.  Not stuffed in the bird, so technically I guess it's called dressing.  But either way, it's a must-have.  I just saute onions and celery in a bit of butter, add chicken broth and bread crumbs.  Always a combination of regular, seasoned bread crumbs and cornbread pieces.  No meat in my stuffing, nope not ever!  I like it a little on the dry side, but moist enough to stick together.  Then you smother that bad boy in gravy and enjoy!  Perfection...I know these are not low-calorie recipes here, but hey--it's Thanksgiving.  And everybody knows there are no calories on Thanksgiving!!  Am I right?

 Sweet, tender baby carrots par-boiled in water and a little butter and brown sugar.  After liquid has been reduced, cook until desired tenderness.  Oh momma, these are good!
As you can see, there's a pattern forming here...everything is better with butter.  I'm just sayin'.  
Acorn or Danish squash wedges broiled in the oven with, that's right, you've got it!!  Butter and brown sugar...not too much, just enough.  So good...

Roasted brussel sprouts with a little salt, pepper and olive oil.  When cooked, toss with balsamic vinegar and a smidgen of white sugar.  :)  Don't knock em until you've tried em!  These babies are tender and oh, so tasty!
And never to be forgotten...the delightful, fragrant and oh, so delicious warm-from-the-oven yeast bread rolls and sweet cream butter baby!!!  Good grief, I'm making myself hungry here... plain, buttered, dipped in gravy or spread with a little homemade strawberry preserves.  To die for, I'm telling you!!  Never forget the bread.  Never.
It's the bread of life man.
And it's good.

And then what we've all been waiting for...the pie.  King of desserts everywhere.  Pie.  
Humble in it's beginnings.  Spectacular on the taste buds.  Pie.  Be thankful for pie, people!!!

This is coconut cream.  We're having this pie in remembrance of my momma.  This was her favorite.  

And then just what would Thanksgiving be without the traditional, old stand-by, pumpkin pie with fresh, 
(real of course) whipped cream.  Sometimes tradition isn't all it's cracked up to be; but where pumpkin pie is concerned ?'s a good thing.
Oh yeah.  Very, very good.

Happy, happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!
May we all remember to give thanks to Him Whom we owe everything, and from where, all good things come!!  Be thankful!!

Blessings from our home, to yours.
Lorie @ Cingspots

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Foggy mornin's mean no rain

And no rain means a good day in my book.  We've had enough rain so far this fall, we could float a battleship.  Or two.  Everything in our neck of the woods is once again, green.  Green as far as the eye can see...oh, and grey.  Green and grey.  Look up, see grey.  Look down, see green.  Guess it could be worse.

Fall seems so fleeting.  I love looking forward to the cooler fall weather, but all too quickly it turns to the rainy season.  Warm and wet, along with shorter daylight hours and longer, dark evenings.  We've been going to bed earlier just because, well why not?  Thanksgiving is just around the corner and then Christmas after that.  Sheesh!!  Where does the time go?

Harley listening...I'd softly called out to him.
We've been storing up more wood in the woodshed.  We have a little more than 5 cords now, and we're going to call it good.  That's probably more than we'll need, but it's not going to spoil.  We have all the tools, farm equipment, lawn furniture and big horse trailer stored under cover for winter.  We have the new gravel all spread out in the parking areas and walk zones to and from house and barn.  Always trying to outsmart the mud, and reduce tracking inside the house.  It's a never ending job, but we try.  Freezer and pantry storage of summer and fall harvest is finished too.  Now what?  We've been so busy, I feel like a fish out of water.  I'm not sure I know what to do with myself next.  I don't do well being cooped up inside during the wet, dark months.  I need to be active and be outside to feel alive.  Maybe I'll start thinking about re-painting in some rooms of our house.  Hmmm...hubby may want to string me up if I start bringing up new project ideas already.  Maybe I'll think on that for a while and wait until after Thanksgiving to divulge my latest plan.  :)  If I go missing...send out a search party, will you?

Anyway, like I said earlier, we've been having some rather foggy mornings lately.  I took a few shots of the horses before heading off to work this morning.  Just to let you see them in their chocolate-dipped winter wooly outfits.  They are a ragged, but happy lot!

Sweet, sweet Harley

Ladde in all his muddy glory!

Kadie at sunrise
I love these butts!!!

Eagle in the mornin' mist
I collected four huge bags of leaves the other day to spread out on my garden beds.  I just need to rip out what's left of the tomato plants, cover all the soil with the leaves and then cover the whole beds with plastic to sit and compost over the fall and winter.  Next spring when I work up my soil, it should be much more enriched than in past years.  My friend Betty, calls this "uppening" the soil.  I like that.  Oh, and I have one cherry tree that I need to get planted before it gets too cold.  See, I still have stuff to accomplish!  All is right with my world...

Blessings all,
All of us at Cingspots

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

You're a daisy if you do...

A mural of our little town
It's bill printing time at the clinic again, and that means collections calls.  Grrrrrr!!  This is beyond a shadow of a doubt, my least favorite aspect of my job.  I absolutely detest having to make repeated calls to clients who are frequently falling behind in their accounts.  That is, if they bother to pay their bills at all!  What is it with people who gladly accept your help, in this case, veterinarian services, and then never pay their bills?  I will never understand how some people can merrily skip through life treating their bills like they're someone else's responsibility.  It's like trying to get blood out of a turnip.  Seriously, it is that difficult at times!

So, in keeping my sanity, and my positive outlook on people, humanity in general...I'm taking a little break.  A little blogging break.  Jen over at "Muddy Boot Dreams" posted a question (three questions actually) about the importance of blogging in ones' life, and just why people blog in the first place.  That got me to thinking...a dangerous thing, I know.  :)  Very interesting to read everyone's responses, and how a similar thread kept recycling over and over.  I'm not all that different from most bloggers.  So, here goes:

I blog because I originally and probably most importantly, wanted to keep a journal of my life.  I want to keep an account of all the things that can happen in my life on a daily basis.  The milestones yes, but even more importantly, the little things, those special little things that cause me to pause for a moment, to smile and be thankful.  Those little moments in time, that if not recorded, may very well end up being forgotten over time.  I want to remember, and this gives me a place to look back over the days, the months, and even the years and reflect.  Smile once again.  And yes, sometimes cry again.

Secondly, I want to connect with other people.  People out there in our world that live far away, and most likely, I never would have known at all, had it not been for blogging.  There are so many different people out there!  People with passion, people with families, lives so different from my own, and then again, a lot of them who live quite similar lives to my own.  I want to reach out and touch someone!  I love reading about so many things that these ingenious and creative people can come up with.  Amazing, really!  I want to know that I'm not so very different from others; and that no matter how bad my day may seem, or how lonely and disengaged that I can feel on some days; I'm never really alone.  I can reach out to someone and receive a friendly "cyber hug", a reassuring kind word, some encouragement.  I can share smiles and I can share tears, accomplishments and disappointments.  For everything that happens to each and everyone of us in this life...we share so much.  And in that way, we are friends.  And who doesn't want more friends?

And thirdly, how important is blogging to me?  At first thought, my answer was, not really important.  After all, I don't write here everyday.  Sometimes I can go for weeks, and yes I've even skipped a month or more before...but I always return.  It's cleansing to write.  I usually have no idea what I want or need to write about, but find that once I begin, the thoughts just keep coming...and I can get overzealous and write more than I ever thought I could.  I've always been an avid reader, and I get a great deal of pleasure out of reading other people's thoughts, their choices of words, their opinions.  I learn when I visit other people's blogs.  I get ideas that I never would have come up with on my own.  I guess it boils down to perspective.  Blogging and visiting other people's worlds gives me valuable insight and a different and sometimes refreshing perspective that may, or may not be very different from my own.  It's like a lesson in humanity.  Sometimes I gain courage to try something new, validation for my views, permission to be different from anyone else, and know that that's alright.  Overall, blogging gives me the feeling of being a part of a very large "whole".  And that, my friends is a good feeling.  So in retrospect, I guess it's fairly important to me after all.

One of the many wineries in our little town
We're all in this thing we call life together.  And nobody's getting out of it alive.  So make the best of what is.  Throw caution to the wind! Enjoy your life...expand your horizons and be thankful that God decided to wake you up this morning.  You've got another chance to make a difference.

Think about why you blog...You're a daisy if you do!!!!
(name that movie)  :)

Blessings all,  C-ingspots
Keeping all of our East Coast friends in my prayers...

Here's that load of wood we got last Sunday - firewood is a beautiful thing!!
And that pile of gravel there, is all nicely spread over our parking area and our pathway to and from the barn and our house.  So, hopefully that will mean less mud in our house this winter!!  A girl can only hope...

Until next time...

Monday, October 29, 2012

Land ho, it's been a gullywasher!!!

Whoowee!!  This past weekend was so wet, I do believe that we've made up for the last 4 months of dry weather we enjoyed in one fell swoop.  Much more and we'd be searching for higher ground, I do declare! So, if any of you webfoot Oregonians were fretting and fussing or harboring any concerns about a assured, I believe we are out of the woods for the foreseeable future.  And then some!!

We didn't let a little ole rain stop us from making progress on that "to do" list though.  No siree!!  We took the dogs to the local "You Do Doggie Wash" and they got their quarterly buff and fluffs, mani-pedis and they are sweet-smelling and silky to touch!  Annie is positively glowing with knowledge of her beauty and grace.  I love how they seem to feel so much better, knowing that they've had a special salon treatment.  You know it just doesn't matter what the species - girls like to feel pretty.  I'm sure of it!  :)

Afterwards we went out for a relaxing lunch and watched the rain come down in torrents from our window with a view.  Seriously it was a gullywasher and then some.  Impressive!  Even by our standards.

Before we left, we had turned the horses out after they enjoyed breakfast in their stalls.  By the time we arrived back home, in the mid-afternoon, they were more than ready to come back inside their warm, cozy and dry stalls.  So, they had a light flake and spent some time relaxing and drying off while it continued to rain and rain and then rain some more.  I'm so thankful for our barn!!

The next morning the rain had slacked off, and the weatherman was predicting a break from the rain until early afternoon.  So, we decided it was now or never to go get another cord of firewood for our woodshed stash.  We worked in a light rain for a little while, but overall it was pleasantly dry and quite warm.  We packed the truck with the wood and were back home in about 3 hours time.  We managed to unload about half of it before the rain started again - in earnest!  We decided it was a good time to park the truck in the shed and head indoors for a little break.  I enjoyed a nice, warm shower and got dressed in cozy, warm lounging clothes.  We decided we'd done enough hard work for the day and settled in for a little football and a movie on tv.

Nothing exciting, but the weekend was quiet, laid-back and it always feels good to accomplish something.

I might complain occasionally about our weather, and especially the quantity of rainfall that we get; but I'm also very thankful that most always, when compared to so many others, we don't really have anything to complain about at all.  While up North on our West coast, there was an earthquake and the scare of a Tsunami, and on the East coast, Hurricane Sandy...we're blessed.  I'll be keeping everyone back east in my prayers.  Prayers for protection and prayers that the hurricane is nothing more than an overblown, over-rated windstorm...with a little rainfall.

Blessings, Lorie @ Cingspots


Monday, October 22, 2012

Signs of change

Yes, our weather has changed and we've been in a wet pattern for the last several days now...sigh.  I'm not ready to say good-bye to the warm sunshine on my face.  But it is, what it is, and I have no control over such matters.

My grandma used to say that the only constant in life, was change.  And change, we must.  We're continually evolving, growing, aging, changing.  Nothing in life ever remains the same.  It's a good reminder to embrace what we have in life to be thankful for.  Recognize our blessings and the people in our lives whom we love.

For tomorrow, everything could well be, very different from what we have today.

Our weekend was low-key.  I was perfectly ok with that.  There aren't many times when I can say that I'm at peace.  I've always felt an inner turmoil that I've never been able to explain.  I'm rarely satisfied for long, or with the status quo.  Always feeling the need to be doing, going, seeing...never quite content with what is.  It's a situation that I'm always at odds with.  So, when I feel content - I'm quite often surprised and always thankful.  This weekend was one of those rare times.  I didn't feel the need to be somewhere other than where I was.  How nice.

Friday was a chaotic day at work.  I have no reason why, it just was.  The phones started ringing the minute I walked through the door and never for a moment, seemed to stop throughout the day.  People wanting things, needing help, questions...always the questions, that never seem to end.  By late afternoon, I had a headache and was thoroughly depleted.  All the life had been sucked out of me.  I was ready to relax, and be somewhere quiet.  When I arrived at home, the smell of dinner cooking wafted through my senses the minute I walked through the door...hmmmm.  And it was warm, and cozy in our little home.  My husband had our supper all ready and a fire was going in the wood stove.  We ate a quiet dinner, did the chores and relaxed while watching a movie before heading off to bed.   Sabbath morning we went to church; the first time in a while.  We listened to a sermon by our new pastor.  It felt wonderful, and I felt peaceful.  Afterwards, we went out for lunch and headed back home.  I had a nap.  Delicious...

Sunday we spent the day cleaning, cooking, doing chores, and I had a very good session working with Eagle.  I'm ready to start riding him.  He's ready, and so am I.  He's a good, sensible, kind and loving horse.  He trusts me.  Now, I need to learn to return that trust.  I also want to get a helmet.  That'll be a first for me.  I've never even had a helmet on before, but it just seems like a good idea.  Not that I think Eagle will buck, or do anything unexpected.  I just have that thought, and I'm going to pay attention to it.

I have a few more pics of my wonderful trip to the beach a little over a week ago, that I'd like to share.  Beautiful little Neskowin Beach and their many signs...

 This house is named the Eishirlou...they have 3 daughters.  Eileen, Shirley and Louise.  Eishirlou.

 The Green Dragon is a rental cottage.

 This little community is all about the dogs.  They are very dog-friendly and it's evident everywhere.  I like that.

 This family really got into the spirit!

The following pictures are from Cape Kiwanda, the beach at Pacific City...Dory capital of the world.  The Dory fishing boats launch directly from the beach into the surf, and when they come back ashore, they slide way up onto the sand.  It's fun to watch!  In the last several years, Pacific City has been changing.  It's becoming quite popular with surfers.  You can see what a beautiful day it was...wish I were there again!
 The Oregon coast is famous for two different "Haystack Rocks".  This is the larger of the two, and the other is further up North, at Cannon Beach.

 The beach we lived on is just on the other side of this rather large sand dune...down the beach a couple of miles at Tiera Del Mar.
Looks like fun!!

My beautiful girls...tired from walking and playing.  We picked up a pizza and headed back to our little cottage away from home.  It was a perfectly lovely time spent at the beach.  It was wonderful to get away for a few days and relax, spend some time rejuvenating our spirits and just "being", instead of always "doing".
What a blessing and possibly one of the last warm and perfectly gorgeous fall days before the rains settled in.

Like I said before, life and everything that goes along with that; is in a constant process of change.  We need to learn to embrace that change...and like the sign says - "go with the flow".

Happy Monday all,