Friday, January 31, 2014

One never knows what's lurking beneath the surface...

I'm starting out with a few random photos that have absolutely nothing to do with today's post. 
 Just because I want to!

My precious daddy with Molly as a pup, and our dear dog, Susie.  All gone, but never to be forgotten.

My beautiful Annie

Love o' my life - Ladde

Patch - our "puss among the posies".

Well, my hard working hubby has finished the painting project in the living room.  It looks awesome!!!  :)  Color me a happy, happy gal.  And once again, I'm pondering the same question - why did we wait so long to re-paint???  Seems to always be at the forefront of my thoughts after I see how big of a difference a coat of new paint offers.  Quite the conundrum.

The walls look rich.  There is simply no comparison.  Perfect color choice.  My arm hurts a little from patting myself on the back.  *sigh*  :)

We still have to buy, paint and install the trim boards, but we'll do that after the new flooring is in.  We're going to go pick up the flooring this weekend.  I can't wait!!

Which is all leading to the carpet.  The old, nasty, dirty carpet.  Hubby has got about half of the old stuff ripped out...and Lord in heaven! - What a disaster!!  I had no idea what was lurking beneath our carpet all this time.  Oh my!!  It is shocking!  It is nasty!!  I don't know if I will ever have carpet again!!  Seriously.


There was so much powdery dirt under there.  I vacuum.  I swear, I do!  And after raising several puppies over the past 19 years in our home, dirt wasn't the only remaining culprit.  Oh dear.  Yes, there are some piddle stains on the floor below, and the smell.  How do I describe a cross between old, stale, dog urine mixed in with a sour, mildewy scent?  I think you get the picture.  How in the world could we not smell that in our house?  Somebody tell me that, because as far as I knew, our home did not smell.  Please....tell me it didn't smell like that!  Now, I cannot wait to get the rest of that out of my house!  I mean pronto!!!

And before we begin laying the new flooring, we are painting the entire floor surface to seal it.  It just seems like a good idea.  *sigh*

But, I degress.  The project is coming along nicely.  I cannot wait to unroll the new area rugs and see what they're really going to look like.  I'll post pics soon.  Then I can start shopping for bamboo blinds for the windows, new curtains and some new chairs, possibly even a small table.  No wonder these projects always end up costing way more than what I budget for.  Sheesh!

I think I had a nightmare about a giant germ that used to live beneath our carpet last night...he was very upset, and he was chasing me...


Friday, January 24, 2014

The goin's on these days...

Here we are at Friday afternoon again...thank heavens!  It's been a pretty good week overall, but I've had a few trials thrown my way, and I haven't been sleeping very well - so I'm looking forward to a little home time.

My car is giving me fits...we thought it was needing a new battery, but I'm not so sure about that now.  The battery guy put his charger on it and the car wouldn't turn over at all.  Presently, I'm stuck at the clinic until my hubby rescues me later.  I still have 2 hours before closing time, so I'm not really stranded at all.  And I guess I'm thankful that it happened here where I have heat, lights, a computer and my dogs.  Right?

Anyway, we have the weekend to try and get the old gal back on the road, and in the meantime I'll be driving the truck.  It'll be good to get Big Grey back on the road and blow a little carbon out of the engine - that's what my dad always said.  :)

Last Tuesday was my birthday.  Yep, I'm officially 54 years old now...and I'm perfectly content with my age. I had to go into DMV and get my license renewal; new picture and all.  Have you noticed how much bigger the picture is now?  It's huge by comparison!  It's just this big, old face and not much else now...oh goody.  But surprisingly, there's not much change in the last 8 years, or at least you can't really tell by the picture.  :)  Cuz, let me tell you this - there have been lots of changes in the past 8 years!

My dear hubby took me out for dinner - my choice.  I picked the local Pub.  We had cheeseburgers and nachos.  Perfect!  My dear friend Claudia sent me a beautiful bouquet of pretty!  The orange ones actually smell like oranges.  Isn't that something?  Another dear friend took me out to lunch - we had Mexican and a wonderful visit.  And, I received lots of birthday wishes from friends and family.  A lovely birthday!  I didn't even have cake, aren't you proud of me?  I've been saving that for this weekend!  My hubby and I are going out for a seafood dinner with my sis and bro in law and this restaurant has wonderful deserts...I'm going to splurge just a wee bit.

As far as our living room makeover goes, dear hubby is making good progress.  Ceiling is finished and looks great!  All trim and curtain hardware has been removed, and putty repairs have been made.  We have one wall finished and I'm absolutely loving the new color!!  It looks so rich compared to the stark white.  I was a bit concerned that it might be a little dark for the room, but it is just perfect.  And...I've double-checked on the laminate flooring and it's still readily available.  We're going with the same flooring we chose for the kitchen.  It's fairly dark and has a rustic, farmhouse appearance.  I love it.  Highland Hickory.  We're going to replace all the trim boards with more period correct type trim, and that will be painted a warm off-white.  I'm thinking it will contrast nicely with the gorgeous, rich wall coloring and the dark wood floors.  Then - I'm going to put a large area rug down in the main seating area near the pellet stove and the entertainment area.  I've found the rug I want at Costco...just might go and buy it this weekend, or at least check them out more closely and then buy it online.  I discovered yesterday that the online price is $40 less than in-store.  Can't beat that, and shipping is included.  I'm so excited!!

And then...comes the bedroom re-do.  Ssshhh!!  Don't tell my hubby, he just might string me up!!  :)

As a thank-you to him for doing all this work, I'm planning on surprising him with a new tv.  I'm thinking one of those large - 72" or so, flat panel tv's that make everything look so much more colorful and realistic.  Hopefully we can mount it up on the wall and save even more space by not having the big entertainment center in this half of the room.  Then we can add another chair or two, creating a nice conversation area which will accommodate a few more people comfortably.   Did I mention that I'm excited!?

In other news, our weather has been just outstanding.  Really.  It's been dry and sunshiney for the most part, and grey and fogged in some of the time.  But the temps are brisk, but not freezing.  We're in a very unusually dry weather pattern, and since there's nothing we can do about the weather, might as well enjoy it.

The horses are all doing very well.  They're fat, hairy and pretty much sassy frasses.  Ladde has been doing his utmost best at creating his specialized look of being chocolate-dipped.  *sigh*  Do you realize just how long, and how much effort it takes to scrape thick, dried-on, grass-encrusted mud off of a 17 hand white horse????  Ha! - White - I'm using that term lightly here.  Oh well, whatcha gonna do?

And my old, precious girl, Kadie.  She will be 30 years old this coming May, and she's doing great!  She's holding her weight well, eats all her senior feed and vitamins, all of her alfalfa but the sticky parts, and eats some of her grass hay.  She eats the grass hay much better when it's served up outside for breakfast, as that's all she gets.  :)  The point is, her teeth are fine, and she can still eat forage.  She's even been laying down more, which is a good sign that her hocks aren't as stiff or painful as they once were.  The joints are probably fully fused now, and when she lopes (which isn't often), she has this short-strided little bunny-hop lope that's just too cute.  She's too cute!  She's as fuzzy as a bear, still has a twinkle in her eye, and is quite opinionated about most things.  She's just simply an angel, with a little attitude!  Love her so much...

In fact, all the horses are doing just great.  Harley hasn't had any injuries lately, and that's always a reason to be thankful.  My neighbor did tell me that just yesterday, he ran into the perimeter fence when all the horses, (including him) were running around and playing.  She checked him out, and determined that no harm had been done.  *sheesh*  All I can say is that, I am so very, very thankful that I do not know what transpires out in that pasture when we're not around.  I would be a nervous wreck!!  Further proof that my morning ritual of sending up prayers for their protection every single day - is working.  Uh-huh.  I know that.

Weather is supposed to be spectacular this weekend.  We're working on the painting, going out for dinner and maybe making a trip to Costco...other than that, who cares?  We're free birds and have no real agenda!

Hope all is well in your neck of the woods!!!

Lorie @ Cingspots

Friday, January 17, 2014

There, I feel better now!

In keeping with the tradition of many bloggers, albeit a new tradition for me, I've finally decided upon my chosen word for this new year.  Regardless of never actually having chosen a word before, there have been many times throughout my life that I've had this idea or thought that kept rattling around in my head.  I've always taken it as a subtle reminder that this is something I'm needing to work on.  Interesting that these ideas are always something for me to actually "do".  One of these days, (hopefully) I'll settle upon something with more serenity...  :)

I've put a lot of thought into this process.  I've considered my hopes, my dreams and my plans for this year. Without getting into actual specifics here, seems like everything that I want to accomplish is going to take personal courage.  So, that seemed like my first obvious choice.  But that just didn't seem quite right.  It wasn't big enough.  The word itself felt limiting somehow - as if that was all I needed.  Hmmm, maybe not.

Then "Believe" kept coming to mind.  If I believed in myself, in my abilities, put my trust in those who are deserving of it, I would have enough courage to accomplish whatever it was that I'd set my sights upon.  And yet again, it just didn't feel quite right either.  Again, although a beautiful word; it just wasn't "full" enough.  I kept thinking a piece of the puzzle was being left out.  Maybe the most important aspect of all, that I just kept missing.

Then, one morning during my devotional time spent reading and praying, it dawned on me.  That small, still word that was always hovering in my mind from the beginning, and for whatever reason, I'd push away, because it wasn't about "me" enough.  Or so I thought.  I had to smile because here was the perfect word, the one and only word, really, that would truly encompass every single aspect of my hopes, dreams and plans.  FAITH  

Without faith, how could I believe in myself or anyone else?  Without faith, how can I be courageous to follow through with something even though it's never easy?

The definition of faith in the dictionary describes it this way...
     Trust     Belief     Confidence     Conviction     Optimism     Hopefulness     Hope

That's my word for 2014.  I think it's just perfect.

"Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."
Hebrews 11:1

"Be strong and courageous!  Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."
Joshua 1:9 makes things possible, not easy.

For so many reasons, I love this word and know in my heart that it's exactly the right word for me to grow and become better, stronger, braver, quieter, more confident, gentler.  It's not just a word of action.  It's a frame of mind.  It's a way of life.

Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be...

Whether my desires are set upon becoming healthier, stronger, thinner, eating better, exercising more or being more confident and courageous where Eagle is concerned, or just listening more and talking less, being more generous, showing more kindness and loving more...I can do it if I have faith in my heart.

Trust in what I know...

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
Phil. 4:13

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!
Blessings, Lorie @ Cingspots

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

And....we're off

Already a week into the new year, and time is swiftly moving along.  Up until today, we've been having spectacular weather.  Mild, comfortable temps by day, chilly overnight lows and frosty mornings giving way to blue skies and sunshine.  What could be better?  Today though, we're back to what we locals here in the Willamette Valley call, "normal".  Uh-huh...grey skies and light rain.  But I simply cannot complain!  We've been watching the evening news and the weather over much of our country is catastrophically frigid...bone-chilling and dangerously cold.  Once again, I consider ourselves quite fortunate in the weather department.  Besides, we need some rain and our mountains are in dire need of some snow.  And when it snows here in the valley, that means snow in the mountains.  Good news for the skiers and for some much-needed moisture come summer.

I've been making some plans for this year.  Things I'm hoping to accomplish, progress to be made in other areas and growth in personal areas.  I'd like to become more physically active, maybe take a class of some kind to get in better shape.  I'm thinking maybe once or twice a week in the evenings throughout the winter and early spring.  Some kind of dance or yoga is of interest to me, movement with fun.

I'd like for my husband and I to get our "affairs" in order.  We've discussed this subject several times, and have some vague ideas, but we really need to put our wishes on paper in the form of a will.  Among the hardest of decisions would be to decide whom to place in charge of the care-taking of our horses.  That's a big responsibility and one we don't take lightly.  Not to mention the importance of who gets what, if one of us, or both of us, should die.  These are important things to consider, and of vital importance to have in place before an unexpected situation arises.  I've learned this from experience.  When you choose to do nothing, your worst fears are usually realized.

I'd like to purchase some life insurance.  I need to get educated about this, because I have no experience whatsoever.  Again, something I'd rather not have to think about, but I'd rather have a safety net, just in case.

The one resolution that I made last year was to get involved in a Bible study group.  I didn't do it, but still have the desire to get together with a small group and learn.

I'm hoping to continue (and finish) the living room remodel project we've recently started.  New paint, new trim boards, new flooring and new curtains.  When that is done, then I want to get a big area rug and a new cushy chair.  A big, cushy chair...for me.  :)  I just got a new floor lamp today.  I'm so impatient, I already have the flooring picked out, and I saw some area rugs at Costco recently that are gorgeous!!  I want to go buy one right now so they don't run out!!  No one has ever accused me of being patient ...

Our neighbor's llama - isn't she bautiful?
What else???  You see, I've already used up a big ole chunk of this year and it's barely begun.  :)  Of course I'm hoping to do a lot more riding this year.  The last several have not been big riding years for me, and it sucks.  I'm a happier person when I'm with my horses, and I'm a better person for having spent quality time in the company of a horse.  'Nuff said.

Last weekend the pooches and I ventured out in the field for a walk.  It was too nice of a day to stay inside and clean the house.  I did do some cleaning, changed my linens on our bed and did laundry.  And of course I made dinner and kept the home fires burning.  These things happen every day, pretty much.  We went to our first riding club meeting of the year and made plans for some camp-outs.  We went to church.

Life goes on...

I hope that each and every one has a chance to get outside, and have a look at the beauty in your never know what you might find.

Or who might be watching you!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

A time of reflection, and moving ahead

Another new year has begun.  A brand new and clean slate for us to begin again, or at least continue onward.  Yes, onward and upward with faith, trust, courage and hope.  So many possibilities...

But first, before I dive head first into the new year, I want to take a few minutes to pause and reflect on the year we're waving good-bye to.  As are most years in my life, this one had its' ups and its' downs.  The good, with the bad.  But overall, I feel like it was a calm, gentle year with no real hits of drama.  We've fared pretty well.

My husband retired.  He still works part time, but officially he is retired.  That was a far more worrisome thought than it has turned out, in reality to be.  For that, I am thankful.

My niece had a baby girl born on my birthday.  I've still not seen her because shortly after her birth, mother and her "boyfriend" took the baby and began to live their lives on the run.  I pray for their safety and wellness without fail.  I have hope and faith, that God will watch over them, and especially to keep that baby safe.

Little Miss Sugar, Lil Miss, Missy as we usually call her, came into our lives.  We are so thankful that we got her.  And Ladde; well, he's finally gotten that partner in life, his soul-mate that I know in my heart, he's always wanted.  They're happy together, and that makes me happy.  She's a fun little horse to ride too, and she allows me to continue with patience where Eagle is concerned. I'm hopeful that I'll have enough faith in not only myself, but trust in him as well, to start riding him this year.

Bountiful Baskets.  The fresh fruits and vegetables that we get every other week.  By choosing to do this, we began a healthier way of incorporating fresh produce into our diets every day.  I've lost about 25 lbs, give or take up to now.  I'm hopeful to continue this trend.

I did manage to muster enough courage to sit on Eagle.  I'm not sure why, but it took all my resolve to accomplish this, and I'm choosing to have faith that I will keep working towards a beautiful, trusting partnership with this amazing horse.  God willing and the creek don't rise, as my grandma used to say...

Weather-wise, 2013 was spectacular.  We had a much drier weather pattern overall, we had some rain, a mild and beautiful spring, a long and fairly mild summer, with a few hot days thrown in for good measure, one of the best-ever falls on record, and a cold snap entry into winter.  A little rain, a little sunshine, a little snow and a lot of fog.  I couldn't have asked for anything more.

In March, Harley suffered a corneal abrasion that eventually ruptured; and completed his journey into complete darkness.  He's doing alright, remains active within our herd, and leads a happy and content life with the help of our old girl, Kadie.  If it weren't for Shad and Kadie's companionship, things would be much different.  We take it one day at a time, and pray for his safety every single day.

Ladde turned 17 years old.  Wow, what can I say?  I will never forget the day he came into my life, and have been giving thanks and singing his praises ever since.  Love that horse!!

Harley turned 16 years old in April.  Again, this is another one of life's events that will be firmly engraved upon my memory forever.  He was then, and continues to be, a blessing and a joy.  My Spunky.

We sold our big horse trailer.  This allowed us to pay off some debt, refinance our home, save lots of money and do some much-needed remodeling work in our home.  We got new floors, new paint, new counter tops, a new sink and new curtains in our laundry room, entryway and kitchen.  We're loving it!  Oh, and a new front door too!

I took Eagle to several clinics throughout the spring and summer.  It was invaluable to both of us.  And, we had fun!

We took several trips to the beach, two of which we stayed several days and relaxed.  We went horse camping a couple of times and enjoyed riding in the mountains, and time spent with good friends.  We watched fireworks with my family, watched a couple of local parades, went to the State Fair and went on a camping trip with my family.  We spent more time than we ever have, with my brother and sister in law, Steve and Kris.  They continue to be appreciated for so many things they do with, and for us.

We got a small swimming pool for our backyard, which we enjoyed immensely!  I had a small vegetable garden, canned peaches, made applesauce, and stored a lot of firewood.  We worked hard, but had a lot of outings as well.  Over the summer, we went to our local drive-in, rode our horses and even took a trip to Perrydale Trails.

As fall rolled around we put a quarter of a beef into our freezer, stored up supplies for the winter and started on a re-do of our living room.  We got new paint and have plans for new flooring, trim boards and curtains.  We're still (slowly) working on this latest home redecorating project...but we'll prevail.

Thanksgiving was a quiet holiday spent at home, with dinner just the two of us.  We did some work, and relaxed our days away.

A week before Christmas, our dear old friend, Merlin died.  It's just not the same without him wandering around.  I still find myself starting outside, after the horses are in, to see where he's at, and bring him in for the night...we miss him.  Smelly old guy.

We ended the year with a quiet, relaxing Christmas Eve with my family and then a peaceful day at home together, watching old movies and snacking.  New Years Eve, we had a quick meal out and then went to see The Hobbit at our local theater.  And then the first day of the new year, we again spent at home together, kept the home fires burning and spent some time grooming the horses.  I made a pot of bean soup and corn bread for dinner.  And then early to bed for a good start on the next day.

Time does have a way of marching on, doesn't it?

I have plans, hopes and dreams for the new year, but I've never been one to make resolutions.  Lord knows, I'd never stick to them, if I thought I had to.  I've always been rebellious and stubborn about things like that.  So, we'll just keep on, keeping on.  Taking one day at a time and handling everything as it comes, the best way that we can.

And as always, trying to follow the plan that our Lord has laid out for us.  We'll try to enjoy this life, and show respect, love, kindness and generosity to everyone we meet along the way.  And within my own heart, I'm choosing to live with hope, faith, trust and courage.  And as always, in everything, be thankful.

Blessings to you all, in this new year.

The year of the Horse!