Friday, January 13, 2017

Hey, we are havin' a WINTER

and it is just beautiful...

"The valley where our village of Duns rests is surrounded by forested hills. The…:

Wow, we've had I think it's four different snow storms so far this winter - actually the first one hit before winter technically started.  Very rare for us.  I mean, we do occasionally get some snow, a little usually, but it's commonly wet and doesn't stick around long.  People get all whacked out, cars get abandoned and so forth.  Our weathermen get all excited for a while.  It's entertaining if you're not actually in it.

This is puffy, dry and crystally-pretty snow.  The kind that doesn't even get you wet when you're in it.  Real snow.

But for a couple of weeks now, we've also been cold.  The mud is gloriously frozen and we've even had a few days of brilliant sunshine.  I've dug out my snow boots, gloves and my puffy, down coat to keep me warm and active.  That's what I really enjoy about the lack of rain is how much easier it is to get outside and go for walks and such.  The dogs and I really benefit from the extra exercise.

Speaking of that, while on a walk through the orchard and down by the creek, I noticed that the farmers have really been busy.  I had no idea.  They've cleaned up both sides of the creek, removed all the huge piles of dead trees and brush from years of accumulation, have smoothed the soil and even planted baby fir trees along one side.  They even built a new dike with a huge culvert so we can cross in a different spot!!  This really opens up our places to ride and choose from a few patterns and just more distance too.  I am so excited!!  Doin' a little happy dance here...  :)

Just have to remember to do all my riding out there before the end of summer when he won't want hoof prints or horse poop in his orchard close to harvest.  Fair enough.

My hubby told me this morning that a very dear friend of ours is in the hospital, after having experienced a stroke yesterday.  She is a much beloved little lady who is very important to us, and we'd like to extend the request that if you're of the praying kind, maybe you'd include Claudia in your prayers.  We want her to get all better and back to her sassy little self right away!!  Love & prayers coming your way.

Even though I don't like resolutions, even kind of think you're more doomed if you do call them that, especially just because it's a new year, I have a couple of goals for myself.  :)  Don't you think that's better?

I want to lose 20 pounds.  That's not even close to all the weight I should lose.  Nope, unfortunately not.  But, I'd feel so much better, and feel more comfortable and likely, more confident and physically stronger when riding.  I know my horses would all appreciate it, so why not?  And, of course I'd feel so much better about myself and could probably go down a size or two as well.  All great reasons and I know that.  Trouble is, it's so much easier said than done.  I have this certain appreciation for food. I love to eat and I love food.  *sigh*  and it's such a social thing to do...but try I will!  Wish me luck?
Anyway, just within a year, that should be very do-able.  That's no pressure even.  Eat less, eat well, move more.  That's all there is to it.  Right?

I really, really, really want to go white water rafting again!  So much fun!!!  This time hoping my hubby can go with me, last time I went by myself, but was put with a fun group of people.  Had a blast.  Maybe the Deschutes this time, but I'd still be thrilled with the McKenzie again.  They are both beautiful rivers.

Lots of horse camping and trail riding.  Definitely hoping to go riding with my longtime friend Alicia more often.  We are such close friends, but rarely ever actually see each other in person.  She' a drug rep for our veterinary clinic and we just talk on the phone all the time.  We've shared some very important, life-altering, big milestone kind of events for the last 17 years all over the telephone.  She's truly one of my closest friends and it's always a little surprising to me when we really do get together. We have so much fun.  And I absolutely, totally trust her when we're riding, and that's important.  We ride because it's the best thing to do in the world, and just because we love being with our horses and out in the beautiful mountains.  Camera in hand...lunch in saddlebag.  You knew I was gonna say that, right?  :)

Be fearless, ride that horse.  Miles to go before we sleep...

And who knows, maybe we really will finish that brick patio this year, and hey, we might even build that front porch over the front entrance that we've been talking about for such a long time. Blackberries are getting seriously out of control in a few places and there's that burn pile that we never did get to last many projects, so little time.

Life sure is funny that way, isn't it?

There is never an end to the things that we'd love to do, things that we should do, or sometimes just plain have to do.  But, the key is finding the balance.

That sweet spot, right where we need to be.

Where we're comfortable and content, but tired at the end of the day.  Happy to be able to smile when you look up at the sky and take all the time that you need to just be.  Do you know what I'm talking about?  These are the important things.  These precious moments that we need to nurture and savor.  I think that just might be the key to the slowing of time...even just a tiny bit.

The sun's shining again today, and the beautiful, white snow glistens on the trees when I look out the window.  My wonderful dogs are napping beside me, and I'll go home at lunch time to stoke the fire and let the horses out for the afternoon.  We finished up all the food I prepared in my cooking frenzy of last Sunday.  So, I'm thinking we deserve a treat for dinner this evening.  Maybe Chinese, whatever sounds good - but no cooking tonight.  I am ready for Sabbath, and I'm thankful for a couple of days to do whatever comes to mind.  Such a gift!

Hope you all make the most of the days you are given, and stay warm out there!  Brrrrrrr

Lorie and Annie and Ruby

Oh my gosh, I just read through this and saw what I wrote...Annie.  oh man
I mean,

Lorie and Ruby and Charlotte...

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

New year, new paths and new choices

I've been feeling thoughtful and introspective about so many things.  I've been unusually quiet and spent many hours pondering what I want to strive for, what my desires are and just what I'd like to accomplish in this new year, and for the rest of my life.  I know, that sounds pretty dramatic doesn't it?  But for some reason, I find it very difficult to actually determine what is really important to me sometimes.   I'm not really a goal-oriented person. I never have been.  I usually prefer to accept life on life's terms, take one day at a time and always find myself striving for living in the moment.  

The problem with that is, I'm a day dreamer.  

I spend way too much time in my head visualizing how I'd like my life to play out, fantasizing  about ideas that I've got and romanticizing everything.  In most cases, things don't usually work out like they do in my head.  So...the last few years or so, I've tried very hard at making the best at what I've been dealt.  Truly living with acceptance at how my life really is, making the best of what is, instead of always wishing for more, better, different.  I've had many a heartache because of my constant longing.  And I truly believe that I've missed out on many a blessing because I was too busy wishing for something else, instead of really enjoying and appreciating what I already have.  I want that to change.  

I want to savor all the moments of my life.  I want to appreciate all the many blessings that I have and love the people in my life.  Love them for who they are, not wish they were somehow different.  Isn't that the real definition of the word?  To love someone, and to value them, we have to accept them as they truly are; warts and all.  Because, newsflash - not a single one of us is anywhere near perfect.  We are all so beautifully flawed.  

My horses and dogs are the same way.  I was looking through some of the pictures on my camera that I've taken over the last several years.  Oh my gosh, the bittersweet memories!  I have loved and lost so much that my heart just breaks...and then I realize just how very, very blessed I have been to have loved them.  They are each and every one so very beautifully unique.  But I loved each so completely and so truly.  I realized just how wonderful my life really is.  That old saying that goes something like, we don't realize how much someone really means to us until after they're gone?  It sucks.  I hate that saying and I don't want to look back years from now and see how many wonderful people and animals and opportunities I've had in my life and not fully have loved and lived those cherished gifts.

I'm not depressed, really I'm not and I don't want to sound melodramatic or even sad.  But, looking back I can see where I really need to work at living more fully in the moment.  I need to stop wasting so much of my precious time dreaming about the possibilities in life and instead, do more now, stop trying to do the "right thing" and take those chances, make some mistakes - where's the harm?  I want to spend more time with my family members, my friends, my husband and our wonderful horses.  I want to accept that life is full of risks and I won't grow and fully live my life, unless I'm willing to screw up sometimes.  I have simply grown weary of trying to always do what's right, doing what I think others might expect of me, striving for other people's approval.  What do I think that I have to prove anyway?  I want to relax and have fun.  Learn from my mistakes, laugh at myself more and definitely stop taking everything so seriously.  I'm not even sure where I'm going with all of this - it kind of feels like a confession of sorts - and I guess that's alright too.  

My point is this:  I feel like I'm evolving, and I've already done a fair amount of changing over the last few years and I can see that I'm on the right path.  So, getting around to this new year that's just begun; a couple of years ago I started choosing a word that I felt pretty well described how I wanted to live, something to aspire to, develop more fully and just a direction to head.  Something to live up to.  

2015 was Faith...oh how I love that word.  For me, it really did (still does) feel like the perfect starting point.  With faith, I can move mountains, do anything that I set my mind to. Anything! My faith has grown exponentially and I keep that word near and dear to my heart.  

2016 was Courage...and boy, wasn't that the perfect word to set the tone for that year! Without faith I couldn't have shown courage.  But because I kept faith and felt it grow within my heart and mind, my courage blossomed and I really did step up and push myself beyond where I'd felt comfortable for so very long.  Only I knew how hard I had to struggle at times. I had some days where it was pretty easy, I felt good, and then there were some days where my fears paralyzed me, and I felt like a failure and all I could do was cry, hang on and take that next step, even if it felt like a baby step.  Just breathe and look ahead.  I kept those words of Ray's in my mind, that "I had to go through it, to get past it".  So even if it didn't feel like much of an accomplishment at the time, I forced myself to keep at it, one tiny little step at a time.  I remember that enormous sense of relief when I made it through the fear and thought, oh well that wasn't so bad.  Those tiny successes started to build upon one another and before I realized it, I could look back and see just how far I'd come.  I was becoming more confident in my abilities and was actually starting to believe in myself again.  Fear is a powerful emotion, but it really can be overcome with faith, perseverance and just putting one foot in front of the other, or in my case, one ride after another.  My faith and trust in my horse has grown by leaps and bounds, and the more I trust him, the more he trusts me and my courage builds.  It feels really good.  My heart just swells at the thought.  And, reality check - this doesn't mean that I won't have a serious case of the jitters and fears when I saddle up again after having this winter off.  *sigh*

And so here we are at another new year, another new beginning, another chapter in this life. And I've not been in a hurry to choose my word, I just wanted to keep my heart and my mind open to the possibilities.  Give myself the time that it takes, to decide how I should proceed from here.  I knew one thing for sure.  I did not want to push myself as hard as I did last year.  I want this year to be more about getting comfortable, about acceptance and learning to roll with the changes that life offers.  About enjoying everything that comes my way and just learning to relax and have more fun.  I don't have anything to prove to anyone, but myself.  Realizing that has opened up the possibility that I'm already good enough.  That doesn't mean that I don't want to continue to learn and become better.  It just means that I'm alright just as I am.  My blessings and my life are good enough, nothing needs to be better or more, or different.  They just are, and that's how I want to look at myself.  I'm beautifully flawed, absolutely imperfect, totally human and so very thankful to be able to live my life surrounded by so many wonderful blessings.  

2017 is Serenity - It feels so good and so right to me.  I knew what it meant to me, but I looked up the definition to see what it said, and that made it seem just about perfect for me. 
**  se~ren~i~ty  **  the state of being calm, peaceful and untroubled.  a state of freedom                                     from storm or disturbance.  
Related words are composure, patience, peace of mind, tranquility, cool...  all those words just leave me feeling relaxed and breathe a little sigh when I think about them.  That's what I will aspire to this year, and I will take that just a step further.  

The serenity prayer.  

God, give me grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed.
Courage to change the things
which should be changed, 
and the wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
accepting hardship as a pathway to peace. 
Taking, as Jesus did,
this sinful world as it is,
not as I would have it.
Trusting that You will make all things right,
if I surrender to Your will.
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
and supremely happy with You forever in the next.


Reinhold Niebuhr, American Theologian 

I'd never actually read this prayer in its' entirety.  I love it, and the complete version just seems to feel good and right for me going into this new year.  


 I'll take it.