Wednesday, December 31, 2014

It really was quite ordinary

If 2014 were a bottle of wine, I'd say it was quite ordinary.  Nothing extraordinary seems to come to mind as having happened, but nothing horrible either.  So that's really quite good, I'd say.

I have no plans to make grand resolutions for the coming year.  Too much pressure.  I don't like that.  Life again, is akin to wine.  It's meant to be experienced, savored each and every day.  (Life, that is, not necessarily wine)  Every single minute if you can.  Time,  is truly the greatest gift we're given, and it's up to each one of us how we choose to live it.  I just want to try and let every day unfold, and hopefully, adapt and rise to the occasion gracefully, and accept all the challenges, adventures, day to day tasks for what they are.

Precious memories to be made.  Challenges to overcome.  Adventures to be enjoyed.

Horses to be rode and dusty, new trails to be traveled...oh, I do hope it will be fun!

I've been reading so many wonderful and inspirational musings from fellow blog writers lately, and many of those thoughts resonate deeply with me. I'm reminded that as we age, I hope we can all do so with dignity, and respect for not only ourselves, but for all others.  Let's try to understand one another and treat each other with genuine compassion, kindness and love.  Love conquers all, but before you can love someone, you have to at least try and understand them.

And ladies, it seems to be so true, in that we are usually our own worst critics.  When we look in the mirror, let's all try and remember to gaze upon our reflections with kindness and compassion, and with love at that person we've become.  We've earned every one of those grey hairs that we see, and those beautiful laugh lines around our eyes.  Well, they're there because we've had reasons to smile, and laugh.  Aging in our society of youth addiction does not get the respect it deserves, and is seriously lacking in understanding that with growing older, we are still growing and we're better people, wiser and more interesting than we used to be.  People with age have so much to offer, in so many ways.  We're strong, and we matter.

An old Irish proverb reminds us that it's a gift to grow old, because many are not blessed with a long life.

So okay, despite what I said earlier, I guess I have come up with a few aspirations for the coming new year. You knew I would, right?

I can't help myself!

Haven't even begun to think of my word for next year...tomorrow, whatever.  But whatever it turns out to be, I will always remember with loving thoughts and gratitude for my word of 2014.

"Faith"  I've loved this word, and it still feels just about perfect.  I might put this one in my pocket and hang onto it for a while...

Be well.  Be safe.  Try to give every single day that you're blessed with, your almighty's really all we can do.

And above all else, invite God along.  The ride really will be even better.  I promise!

Our 2014 in quick review included a lot of working on our home.  My dear, sweet husband has done a lot of work, keeping our home ship-shape and a lot of improvements.  We still have lots of continued changes in store, but we just work on them as energy, time and money allow.

We had dreams of celebrating our 30th anniversary with a trip to the Florida Keys, or maybe a cruise in February of this coming year.  Doesn't look like that's going to happen any time soon...

We enjoyed some snow, and snow days from work in February of 2014...always such fun!

In March, our Ladde turned 18 years old.  How can that be!?  Still working on remodeling projects...

April - Harley turns 17 years old.  Again.  ????  Wasn't he just 3 the other day?

May-June Gardening, Perrydale Trails, first trip to the dentist in many years.  Ouch!

July - Cowboy Camp Meeting at Mt. Adams.  Awesome trip!!  Riding Ladde and Miss - heaven!!
          We celebrate 30 years of marriage, more car repairs, truck repairs cha-ching!!  Mary's wedding...

August - A couple more horse camping trips, a trip or 2 to the the summer life.

September - Signed up hubs for Medicare (official old fart's club), but thankful to be insured again. Road trip vacation with the dogs.  Most excellent adventure!!  First time whitewater rafting - note to self:  do this again!!  Lots of hiking, photo ops, good food, soaking in hot springs, glad we got to enjoy this time with Annie and Ruby.  They had a blast - perfect dog vacation!!

October - Fall clean up, preparing for winter, gathering firewood etc.

November - Thanksgiving with the family

December - Christmas with the family, saw "Miracle on 34th St." play at Gallery - Fun!!

See?  A perfectly ordinary year...which is just fine by me!  I'm not giving up the dream about a tropical getaway though...maybe just a wee bit further into the future.  I better get to dreaming about that right now!

Happy new year, and may God bless us.  Every.  One.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Another one bites the dust

Christmas, that is.  And as is always the case, I am glad.  I'm happy to return to normalcy in everyday habits, gone are the incessant commercials pushing everything Christmas and the overly rich and abundant foods.  Simple sounds good, in so many ways.  

We had a good holiday this year.  Christmas Eve was a day off from working at the clinic for me.  What a treat that was!  I had the house to myself, I slept in and enjoyed leisurely morning coffee with Annie in front of the fire watching the changing cloud formations out the sliding door.  I did some house cleaning, a bit of laundry, took the dogs for a little walk and shot a few pictures.  The sun was shining, the sky was incredible and there was plenty of mud.  Fairly nice day in all.  I cooked a wonderful dinner for the hubs and me, and it was delicious.  I finally took a shower late in the afternoon while hubby did the barn chores.  Oh my, it was absolutely the best gift of all.  Precious time to myself at home.  I don't get those nearly often enough to suit me, so it was enjoyed immensely.  

After dinner and a few freshly baked cookies for dessert, we watched the old 1930's original version of Scrooge, A Christmas Carol.  Then we went to bed fairly early, and it was so nice.  Ahhhh, like I'm fond of's the simple things in life that are the sweetest.  I'd changed the bed linens and washed our blankets and put on a fresh quilt and oh, there's just nothing better!  We snuggled in for a long winter's nap...  

The next morning we slept in again, turned the horses out and fed them their breakfast and came back inside for a quick breakfast.  I made a dish to take to my sis's house for dinner that afternoon and wrapped the few gifts that we were taking for our family's gift exchange game.  Another family holiday and no drama!!!  We're either all finally growing up, or we're getting old.  I'm not sure which it is, but it's nice.  My sis went all out with the cooking and the baking this year, and everything was delicious.  We had turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, homemade yeast rolls, salad, jello with apples and pears, coconut cream pie, banana cream pie, chocolate, pumpkin and apple pies with freshly whipped cream!  There were also cookies, fudge, I said, so much food and such rich food it's a real wonder I can fit into my jeans.  That's probably why salad sounds especially good to me now.  After the new year, I'm definitely beginning afresh with the healthy diet and exercise regimen again.  Good grief...

Anyway, I thought what better way to remember our Christmas than with the pictures I took from Christmas Eve around the farm.  So here goes...

Ruby's sure there's a bugar in the bush

My handsome Eagle

And here he comes...

Eagle hanging with me

My Annie, patiently waiting

We're destined for very short walks only now days

Always together...Ladde and "his" Missy

By golly there were bugars in the bush!!

So funny - she was hopping up and down, barking frantically, but too "chicken" to investigate further.  :)  Bird dog, my foot!

Our Christmas snow

I've always loved this view

My sweet little old lady, Kade will turn 31 this coming May

Love this horse!!

Kadie's "guy" Shad, who will turn 26 years this coming May...

Harley "spunky"

Headin' back, as you can see it was plenty wet

Our little Christmas table arrangement

My girl all tuckered out

Precious Annie

Always has been a "momma's" girl.  Soakin' up some warmth from the fire.
Well, that pretty much sums up our Christmas this year.  It was a good one, spent with family, a few friends, lots of good food, old movies, lots of Christmas music and plenty of lounging around relaxing.  Before you know it, New Years will be here and then that long, dry spell just getting through the winter doldrums.  The years, they sure do roll around quicker these days don't you think?  *sigh*  

I don't know about you, but I'm ready for a new beginning and a new chance again with 2015.  Let's go out there and make it a good one, shall we?

Cheers everyone...and Happy New Year!!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

This Christmas

I'm reminded of many, many blessings in my life.  Both now and in my past, I've been surrounded with love, comfort and joy.

Of course, I've suffered loss, tribulations, hardship and grief.  But those pale in comparison to all that which I've been blessed with.

And this season of Christmas seems like the perfect time to remind myself, and give thanks for, everything that I've been blessed with.  Just look at that face!  I wouldn't trade that mug for a million bucks!  She brings me joy and is my constant companion, every day.  

And Miss Ruby, a sweetheart and a comforter herself.  I totally get why they say that dogs are "man's best friend".  So true!

I'm so thankful for my dear husband.  He works hard every single day, keeping our old vehicles running, improving our home and keeping everything inside and out, in good working order.  He cleans our six horse's stalls every single day, and feeds them every morning before I get out of bed.  I'm thankful for our evening chore time spent in the quiet solitude of our barn, fresh air, quality time in one of our favorite places.  A stable may not have been fitting accommodations for our King and Savior's birth, but it certainly was dry and cozy and safe.  Some of my most peaceful moments are in our barn.  

I'm grateful to live in the small community in which we live.  It's big enough to satisfy all our needs, but small enough to still have that sense of "small town America" and community that's missing in cities.  We have lovely people who are our neighbors, and we help each other out when there's a need.  

Our family is a blessing.  This is Justin and his new girlfriend, Autumn.  

Christmas dinner with the family.  Paul, Carol, Rebecca and Lilli.  
Good times.  Good food.  

We're thankful for our beautiful church, and for the wonderful family we have there.  So many times I've entered this place with a troubled heart, or unsettled mind; only to leave with feelings of belonging, of being nurtured, loved and always blessed.  

I live in a beautiful place, out in the country with fields, farmland, trees and livestock of all kinds all around us.  We are blessed with beautiful sunrises and gorgeous sunsets, lovely cloud formations of all kinds.  For all of this bounty from God, I am thankful.  I have eyes and I can see.  I am thankful for the peace and for the quietness of it all.  

We have a home, we have warmth and we have food more than enough...for all these things and more, we are blessed.  

And no list of blessings would be complete without these guys.  In some cultures, one of the greatest attributes of wealth are horses.  They are highly prized for their ability to work alongside mankind, for travel and for companionship.  They are a constant source of joy and beauty.  They have our admiration and we love them.  And yes, we're also thankful that they give us the opportunity every day for "free aerobics".  What can I say?  We are blessed, and rich indeed.  

So in closing, I wish for all of you a very Merry Christmas!  May you find some quiet time to yourself, where you too may reflect on all the riches in your life, those intangibles that you have to be thankful for.  For all too many, this season is nothing more than rush and hustle, buy and consume, hurry and spend, spend, spend.  Those are not the things that will remain in your memory for years to come.  Spend good, quality time with those people that you love, bury your noses in the deep, downy fur of your horse's neck, and breathe deep.  Gaze up at the night sky and give thanks to God.  Thanks for sending us His Son, so that all may live.  Accept His gift and above all, rejoice.  Rejoice and be thankful for all that you have been blessed with in this life.

And give your faithful, loving pups an extra belly scratch, perhaps a Christmas cookie or two - for me.  

Merry Christmas

Friday, December 19, 2014

Simple joys

I've been enjoying this season of Christmas, perhaps more than is usual for me.  I've done a little shopping, not much, and what I have gotten for family and friends, are small tokens of love that I'm hopeful they will enjoy.  We don't have a tree this year, perhaps we still will get one, but if so, it will be a living one that we can replant in our yard.  We have so much extra furniture in our living room that I just don't know where we'd put one.  I've found that I really miss it.  I miss the lights, the smell, and just being able to gaze upon the tree when it's dark and quiet and I'm all alone to ponder and behold.  

I've been enjoying my Christmas music though.  A lot.  It truly is one of my most favorite elements of the season.  The beautiful, old hymns that remind me why we celebrate this time of year.  I feel peaceful when I'm quiet and listening.  

We're going out to dinner with my hubby's brother and his wife this evening.  After that, I'm hoping we'll do a little driving around to look at the lights.  That's always fun.  Tomorrow night we're attending a local play at the Gallery Theater.  They're presenting "Miracle on 34th Street", and I've heard it's very, very good.  One of my favorite old, Christmas movies.  

We're hoping to do a little more baking this weekend, and probably run to Costco.  I want to get a couple of gifts for our neighbors who always let us borrow their tractors when we're in need, or they just come over and do the work for us.  They're nice people and we've known them for almost 20 years now.  We always get them gifts of food and sometimes, drink.  Many times we include homemade goodies, which everybody seems to enjoy.  

My dear Annie is doing fairly well.  We've put her on additional pain meds and so far, so good.  We take everything one day at a time.  I keep trying to prepare myself for the inevitable, but in reality, I just don't know how to do that.  I just try very hard to love her all the more, every single day, and enjoy every little thing about her that is so very dear to me.  And of course, whatever she wants, she can have.  She got a new bed that's shaped like a couch.  She's loving that.  

They just don't live long enough, do they?

Our weather continues to be very mild.  We've had some very wet days, but they're intermixed with dry spells so it's tolerable.  This coming Sunday is the first day of winter, and I'm looking forward to daylight hours every so gradually, lengthening again.  And get this, I'm even kind of looking forward to winter.  I don't think I've ever said that!  Will wonders never cease?  We've been so busy, for seemingly so long, that I'm romanticizing the warm and cozy inside days spent reading, watching old movies, or enjoying an occasional nap.  I want to try baking some bread, maybe practicing my pie crust skills and hanging my pictures back up in our living room.  And oh yes, clearing out the extra furniture and extra "stuff" that we rarely use.  I don't want every cupboard and closet we have to be full of whatever it is we have stored in there.  And our clothes, don't even get me started on that.  Sometimes I search forever for this one shirt and then give up and wear something else.  Give it away, haul it to Goodwill, I don't care.  I just don't want it.  If we haven't used or worn it in a year, it's outta there!  

Just in case I don't get the opportunity to post again before Christmas...I wish you all a wonderful time, spent with friends and family.  Time spent with those we love is precious.  Laugh, love and always give thanks for what you're blessed with.  

Life is fleeting...make the most of this beautiful season.

Merry Christmas from our home to yours!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Glimpses of our Christmas season

It feels like an eternity since I last posted here on my blog.  In reality, it's only been since November 20th...however, some things affect us deeply enough that they seem to transcend time itself.  

When I first started writing here on my blog, my only objective was to write down my thoughts, my feelings and to keep a journal of my life; and to help me remember the day-to-day ups and downs that can so easily get lost.  I wanted to remember with clarity how I felt, what my emotions were about any given situation or time in our lives.  And, I always feel better when I get all the "stuff" in my head, out.  Writing is therapeutic for me, not as therapeutic as my barn time, but's important.
My Annie
We spent Thanksgiving at my sister's house.  It was a good day, and I'm so grateful for it.  We had a delicious feast prepared by so many different hands, and everything tasted so good!  I got to spend some quality time with my oldest niece, Shelley.  She's the one that's just 2-1/2 years younger than I am, and we pretty much grew up together like sisters.  She enlightened me on the joys of crochet.  I learned crochet in high school, but haven't done any since then.  Aahh, that's 37-38 years ago...phew!  But anyway, I picked it right up and am happy to report that, for me, it's easier than knitting.  I enjoy them both, but I'm rather impatient, and crochet seems quicker.  I'm all about seeing a completed project.  I'm in the midst of 2 projects right now, both scarves (simple enough right?), 1 is crochet and 1 is knitting.  Maybe I'll finish one before Christmas.  Highly unlikely, but possible.  I have hope.
My great niece Jessica, her boyfriend Ryan and their son Hudson

Shelley and me

Shelley, her son Cody and granddaughter, Lilly

My nephew David, his wife Tammy and their kids, Ashley & Nathan, Ashley's son Micah

My sister Lilly and hubby Charlie

My niece Shannon and my great-great niece, Lilly
 I didn't really get much of a chance to visit with my sister, as she left shortly after dinner to go shopping with a cousin.  Oh well, priorities right?  *sigh*  But I got to visit with Dave and Darren (both nephews) and my other niece, Shannon.  I'm really, really hoping to spend more time with my family in the year ahead.  People are important to me, and I want to maintain (or at least try) closer relationships with my family members and my small circle of friends than I've been able to do in recent years past.  We're not getting any younger, and I know who and what is important to me.  You just never know, right?
Full and sleepy
After Thanksgiving, my dear friend Betty invited us up for dinner and wreath making with a few others.  She has this wonderful little work shop, had all the evergreens, holly, pine cones, ribbons and so much more, for making whatever our imaginations came up with.  We enjoyed lively conversation, a fire in the wood stove, beautiful Christmas music and some wine before joining the guys for some chili and corn bread.  They enjoyed their time by eating snacks and watching the Civil War game (football) between Oregon State (Beavers) and University of Oregon (Ducks).  Our beloved Beavs lost.  By a lot.  We won't talk about that.  Anyway, it was another enjoyable evening spent with dear friends, and we loved it.  

We went to the cinema and watched "Interstellar" with Matthew McCaunaghay (sure I misspelled that), and it was surprisingly, very good.  How could any movie with that beautiful man be bad, right?  :)  How I love long weekends spent relaxing and doing...well, whatever else we did.  :)

Last week I noticed a rather large lump on Annie's neck, sort of between her neck and shoulder.  It was roughly the size of an apple.  A couple of radiographs, a couple of ultrasound pictures, and a fine needle aspirate later, the diagnosis is carcinoma.  How I hate that word.  My dear, sweet Annie has cancer.  We had an appointment with our dog vet.  LeAnne is realistic, practical and very experienced.  The news isn't what I'd hoped for, but is what my gut was telling me.  The tumor is inoperable because it's gone into the bone of her right front leg.  From what we saw, the tumor has probably been there longer than I realized, and only recently got big enough for us to see on the outside.  The degeneration of her bone is extensive, and our best option is to leave everything alone and manage her pain.  I've been giving her NSAIDS for about a week now.  LeAnne added Tramadol, and in a couple of weeks if we think it's needed, we'll add Gabipentin.  We manage her pain, make her as comfortable as we possibly can and take it one day at a time.  I made Annie a promise.  She will not suffer.  She will not live in pain.  I will love her and be with her until the very end, whenever that may be.  She has always been, and will continue to live the life of a dignified lady.  That's what she is.  My heart is just breaking at the thought of not having her in my life, but she will not suffer!  God has blessed me with this dog in my life and I will not fail her in her time of greatest need.  Until her time, we will live!  And Annie will pretty much get anything and everything she wants.  She's my girl, always has been...  

Just this past Monday - walk in the park
Last weekend we attended our annual Christmas party with our riding club members.  This year was smaller than usual and fairly low-key.  One family that had planned on being there had a medical emergency, so we're keeping the family, and especially Steve in our prayers.  We enjoyed a nice potluck meal, a time of worship, we sang some beautiful Christmas hymns and then played our cut throat/white elephant gift exchange.  Such fun!!  My hubby made a couple of bridle hangers out of Ladde's old horse shoes and I gave one of my Budweiser collectible mugs.  We have such a wonderful group of friends in this club, and we always enjoy time spent visiting with them.  

my lame attempt at a selfie...
Last Monday evening, our dear friend Claudia took us out for dinner.  We enjoy her company so much and this was no exception.  She's such a lovely lady and we appreciate her so much.  She gave us the most thoughtful gift.  Apparently, she's taken pictures from my blog, had them printed into a calendar and it's just AWESOME!!  I absolutely love it, and so does my hubby.  Every single day when I look at that calendar, I'll be reminded of Claudia's generosity and friendship.  What could be better?

I had lunch with another dear friend yesterday.  She's a gal I met through working at the clinic, and she's also a client.  From the very beginning, I felt so comfortable with her, and felt like I'd known her for years.  Of course, she's an animal lover.  She has horses and dogs and cats, and lives in the country.  No wonder we get along! Isn't it great how that happens sometimes?  I just love how God moves different people in and out of our lives; just when we need them the most.  I'm so thankful.  

Well, that's about it since Thanksgiving.  Our plans are to spend time with friends and family this season of Christmas, and to keep things relaxed, simplified and quiet - all the while remembering the "reason for the season".  

May you all be blessed with good health, peace and prosperity...that goes for your critters too!!

Lorie @ Cingspots