Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Merry Christmas

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

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

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

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

Who knew chickens could be so very entertaining!

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

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

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

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

Until next time, go find your joy...

Lorie and the gang at C-ing Spots.

Monday, November 12, 2018

The art of randomness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hasta que nos encontremos de well!

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Glorious Fall

 We've been experiencing what is in my humble opinion, perfectly glorious fall weather!  It simply couldn't be much nicer.  Brisk, grab a sweater mornings and evenings.  Warm, peel off those sweater days and star studded night skies.  Anyone for a camp fire?  These are the perfect times for gathering and enjoying heartwarming friendships and hand-warming cups of coffee by the fireside.  And soup. 
Can't you just smell the soup simmering away on the stove top?  Oh my, yes! 

Since we've experienced very little rainfall yet, our Autumn colors are something to behold.  These pictures were from September on a walkabout with the dogs, and our scenes were much more end of summer like, as you can see from the brown, harvested clover field below.  Perfect walking weather though.  And our skies full of clouds is always a welcomed site.

The filberts (hazlenuts) have been harvested for another year.  And yes, I did gather my coffee can of nuts for personal use.  If you enjoy eating filberts, I highly recommend trying them in their raw, un-roasted form.  That's the way I grew up eating them and is my favorite!  Roasted they seem to take on a burnt flavor for me, and the actual nut flavor is better untouched and moist from freshness.  Try it!

Since the nuts are gone, and before the rain begins, we can now freely enjoy riding the perimeter of the fields.  Not that I've done that, but I'm still hoping to find the time.  No, that particular situation hasn't changed.  I've ridden very little this year and it saddens me.  I just need to get my priorities straight and stop trying to accomplish so much in my limited free time.  The trouble is, things don't get done if we don't persist. I said, priorities.  Life is short. 

Charlotte has started not wanting to look at me when I have camera in hand.  *sigh*  I always remember Annie and how she'd pose for the camera.  Strike a perfectly beautiful pose and wait patiently for me to snap away.  :)  My heart still breaks over her loss...if only do-overs were really possible.  I know what I'd wish for.  But as the song goes, I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

See those amazing clouds?  Aren't they just lovely?  Makes my heart sing with pleasure when we have such a view!

In such a short time, our fields have become so green.  The moisture from the dew in the mornings is all it takes to make Oregon green again.  These pictures show the end of summer, the ripeness of the earth after the harvest and what always seems like a season ready for a little rest and relaxation.  I can relate.  Our summer was so hot that it was difficult to want to do anything, so we're playing catch-up while we can to ready for wetter, colder days to come.  There's never a shortage of projects, no rest for the wicked as my dad used to say. 

This shot is so dark, but shows our little homestead below, the ramshackle horse shelter and our barn.  The outbuildings are showing their age, but we're always so very thankful to have them.  They give shelter to the animals and give us peace of mind knowing the animals are safely tucked inside on cold winters' nights.

As is usually the case, we've been storing firewood, cleaning and tidying the yard, clearing and putting to rest the garden and storing bedding for the horse's stalls.  Hubby is burning our rather large debris pile today and we've made a dump run, which always feels good to me.  Stored the camper and horse trailer for winter and have the barn full of hay. 

We have a new chicken!  Her name is Penny and she was given to me by Patsy, a friend and long-time client of ours at the clinic.  Apparently her friend met a rather unfortunate demise and Patsy didn't want Penny to be alone.  So...Merryleggs and Pecker have a newfound friend.  Amazingly enough, despite being absolutely docile in nature and so very sweet (unlike our roadrunner-like chickens), Penny rules the roost.  In a maternally, Aunt Bea-like way.  She's never in a hurry to do anything or get anywhere, she is the quintessential barnyard hen, clucking softly and puttering here and there and everywhere.  She is a Buff Orpington which originated in England and I just LOVE her!  She has this beautiful, puffy bottom and is just adorable.  She doesn't necessarily enjoy being caught, but once in my arms becomes relaxed and sweet, readily accepting pets.   My kinda chicken.
She's given us one egg, but I don't care if she ever lays another.  She's home for good. 

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This is not our Penny, but this is exactly how she looks. 

We're all doing very well and have nothing to really complain about.  :)  Always a good thing.  The horses are growing fuzzy and fat, and life is good.  Our wonderful neighbor used his tractor and manure spreader to completely dispense of our h u g e poop pile!  Just amazing what equipment can do!  My hubby will never, ever let me hear the end of it.  *sigh*  I understand, truly I do, but money just doesn't grow on trees...and tractors are expensive!

Speaking of money and the lack of it.  We are taking a Caribbean cruise!  We're so excited and now that every little detail has been arranged, or so we hope, we're trying to forget about it until we leave in December.  In the nearly 36 years that I've known my guy, he has always wanted to go on a cruise.  Well, his last birthday in September he turned 69.  There's no time like the present, whether we can afford it or not.  Honestly, I don't think we can afford not to.  Life is quirky at best.  We've got a little money in savings and we'll put some on our credit card.  I simply don't care - we're going - God willing.  :)  I'm already packed.  Yes, unbelievable isn't it? 

That's how excited we are! 

I truly hope that all of you are doing well, keeping yourselves busy and spreading kindness wherever you may go.  Thanksgiving is just around the corner and I'm sure we all have many reasons for which to give thanks.  So go forth, be blessed and spread the love whenever you can!

Me and everybody else, here at Cingspots wish you peace...

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Hey guys

Will wonders never cease?  
You'll get it when you read this post...

And so, without further adeau - a few snaps from our spring and summer, in no particular order.  

p.s.  I am all that and a slice of cheese!!  *fist pump*

I know.  It's been like forever - 4 months since I've posted.  That might be the longest dry stretch I've ever gone. 

Can I just complain a little?  It's so dry here.  And hot and smokey and dirty.  This is the summer that I wish would just. go. away. already...  can't believe I'm saying that.  A respite from the heat, and a little rain would feel  really  really  good right now.  Remember that glorious spring I mentioned having?  It was the precursor to the summer of staying inside.  We have fires everywhere, all over the Pacific Northwest, from Canada down through Wash, Oreg and throughout Cali.  So heart wrenching  to watch so many beautiful forests burn.  Not to mention the extreme hardships of the people fighting those fires.  There's been loss of lives, both people and wildlife, homes lost and much pain and suffering.  I can't even imagine how they do it, but they do.  And this is the place I start feeling guilty for even complaining.  *sigh* 

The weather is certainly becoming more extreme; all over.  Different stuff going on, but a commonality of extreme weather in all corners of the world.  Interesting huh?  Sad, but interesting.  Weather can bring us all to our knees.

So, moving on !  We took our camper and drove to the beach Friday evening after work, on a total whim.  SO glad we did!  The weather was beautiful, maybe 70 with a stiff and cooling breeze that felt absolutely exhilarating after our air at home being so oppressive.  We did a whole bunch of relaxing - walking on the beach with the dogs, feeling the surf rush over our toes, eating clam chowder and pizza, and naps.  Did I mention naps?  And good food?  The dogs had a blast!  They must have thought they'd died and gone to heaven.  Nothing quite like a good romp on the beach.  And Charlotte makes a perfect locomotive for climbing those sandy dunes.  Dang that dog's gotten strong!  Amazes me how strong she is.  Very helpful.  Sometimes...

I still haven't been riding.  Talk about a dry spell!  This one makes me sad.  It seems like the longer I go without much more than the "necessities of care" with my horse, the less I miss it.  I truly hate that!  It makes me sad because my greatest joy in life comes from riding my horse and experiencing that bond, that trust and all those adventures.  Remember that new saddle?  Yeah, haven't even rode it yet.  Eagle and I are both soft.  Too darn soft.  And yes, my boy's as gorgeous as ever!  A little fat, but a stud muffin nonetheless.  Just sayin' 

We have 2 1/2 cords of firewood in a big ole pile outside the woodshed just waiting patiently to be stacked inside for the winter.  We're picking up alfalfa for the old man Shad, this week.  He needs those extra calories.  Between his teeth and being a Thoroughbred, he's starting to look a little rough.  Too thin for my preference, and he's gettin' pretty grey in the face these days.  He's still spunky though, always has been and always will be, our most play-loving horse.  It's always right there, just below the surface.  :)  I've always loved two things about Shad (I could name a few more than that about his annoying habits),  his dare-deviling playful tendencies; and his kind, kind heart.  That horse is just the kindest horse I've ever known.  He loves little kids, and is the absolute "best in the world" babysitter for young horses that there could ever be and watches over and takes care of Harley like nobody's business.  Eagle does too, but not like Shad does.  When we lost Kadie I worried about  what Harley would do.  But it was a worry not worthy of my time because Shad just stepped right in where Kadie left off.  Amazing thing, really.  People who don't think there's love in a herd of horses, just don't have a clue. 

Our big project of this summer has been our new tack room that my hubby and his brother built in our barn.  It's so awesome!!!  We've lived in our home for almost 24 years and we've never had a proper tack room.  Well, now we do.  I have lots of pictures that I'd love to share with you all.  But you know me, technologically challenged.  It's either me or this computer, but I just can't figure it out.  It used to be such a simple process which leads me to believe that this computer has a problem.  If it's me, maybe my husband can walk me through it one of these days.  *sigh*  So irritating!  Blogs without pictures?  Boring...

So anyway, we turned the first stall into the tack room.  We have a corner wall cabinet for supplies and a between the rafters, medicine chest.  My talented husband welded old horse shoes into the coolest wall hooks!  He also took an old piece of ocean-weathered 2 x 6 and mounted it on more horse shoe brackets and put it on the wall.  Perfect spot for our radio and the flashlight.  We have 3 saddle racks, bridles that hang on the back wall with wood "rounds" that my hubby also made and a rocking chair and a small table.  We even have the perfect spot for an electric fireplace for a warm-up spot come winter.  I just need to find room for one more chair.  The guys even poured a concrete floor so everything will be high and dry and mouse free.  We insulated the walls to help keep out any dampness and will use one of those air-dryer desiccant holding containers so there'll be no more mold.  That's why we have never been able to leave anything made of leather outside of our house throughout late fall, winter and most of spring.  What a pain it is hauling everything horse-related inside our house, not to mention finding space.  But we did it.  But no more.  :)  Color me a happy gal!  It's gonna be awesome.

Next up...a front porch.  I know, I know.  I'm never satisfied am I?  You do know that it rains lots in Oregon don't you? 

Seriously though...we've been eating lots and lots of fresh strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, plums, peaches, cucumbers, zucchini and tomatoes.  Whew!  Next up, pears and apples.  They are absolutely delicious and I hope you're eating of summer's bountiful harvest of blessings too!  We served up the very last of our neighbor's homegrown beef burger with a BBQ last week.  How sad.  We still have steaks and roasts, but our favorite has always been the ground beef.  So much variety to be had. 

Oh, and I attended the 40th reunion of our high school graduating class of ' much fun!  Just wow.  40 years, seriously?  Was really good to see some people I hadn't seen in all those years, and was especially good to see and spend some time with my best friend forever, Debra.  Since the 3rd grade and it was truly like it could have been yesterday.  Totally made me cry with emotion.  *sigh*  Love that girl-woman.  And some that I've known since the first grade.  Yes, really.  Was just awesome.  Time spent well is the greatest gift.  Truly.  The key is finding out how you want to spend your time. 

Take care and enjoy the final month of summer.  May it be cooler...or drier, or warmer, or quieter - whatever your wishes are for your neck of the woods. 

Lorie and everyone at

I did it!  And it was SO easy.  Really!  :)  From my phone...who knew?

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Welcome spring!

Amidst all the rain we've been having this month, we have days like this...

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And I have to admit that I'd be happy to have this weather about 6 months of the year.  I enjoy all the seasons, for each one has its' beauty and its' unique joys...but this is just about perfect for me.

I got my new saddle.  It's well used and has been lovingly cared for, obviously.  I've only sat in it on the saddle stand, and still haven't tried it on Eagle.  I think it will fit him just fine, it's wide in the gullet and is cut back in the flank area.  It's a slick fork and has a Wade tree, which puts me in a completely different position for riding.  I'm sure I'll enjoy that.  It's going to take a while to adjust to the slick forks, for there's just nothing but the horn in the front, and the cantle is much higher, which will feel different going down hills.  We'll see...

Sorry I've been absent for so long.  Life has been about as busy as is usual, but I haven't felt the desire to sit and write about it.  Life ebbs and flows and I just go with the flow.

I was fortunate to be able to attend a women's retreat at the beach last weekend.  I had a 4-day weekend, which is rare for me.  It was awesome!  Wonderful ladies and fellowship, an engaging speaker, good food and amazingly stormy seas to admire.  Lots of rain and wind, but I enjoyed a couple of leisurely walks along the ocean side and was completely drenched on the last one.  It was absolutely fantastic!  I think everyone thought I was crazy to be out walking in the rain, but it wasn't cold and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  When I got back, I had a nice soak in the hot tub and then sat in the sauna, and finished with a nice, warm shower.  I haven't felt that relaxed in a good, long while as I enjoyed a hot cup of Chai tea in a cozy spot looking out over the ocean from the comfort of my room.  *sigh*

My sweet hubby stayed home and made sure the horses and the dogs were well cared for in my absence.  I couldn't have gone without him, and I certainly want to pay back his generosity.  There are several vintage sailing ships in Newport this weekend, including the Black Pearl from Pirates of the Caribbean and the ship used in the Goonies movie.  There are a couple others, but I forget the details.  I'm sure my husband would enjoy that, and they offer both tours and adventure sails which are reasonably priced.  That and a nice dinner out might be just the ticket!

I know that in many places around the country winter seems to be hanging on with its' icy grip.  Around here it's been cooler than usual and very wet, but spring is in full bloom.  Flowers are everywhere, the grass is startlingly green and growing fast, and the horses are shedding like crazy!  Riding season has arrived, and I'm anxious to get back into it before the temps heat up too much for my comfort.  Like I mentioned before, if the weather stays like this for a good, long while, I'll be a happy gal.  Just a wee bit less of the water falling from the sky and it would be perfect!

Blessings and sunshine heading your way...

Lorie @ Cingspots

Image may contain: sky, flower, plant, cloud, grass, nature and outdoor

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Seeing the tail end of winter

...and am I ever glad to see it.  I'm looking forward to warmer weather, longer days and spending more time outside.  I noticed on my calendar that the arrival of spring is but two weeks from today.


Best Hot Springs Around the World that are Earth’s Greatest Gift to Mankind The most magical place Ive ever been ((nomad)) Pacific Northwest | Oregon | Cougar Hot Springs
Cougar Hot Springs - not my pic, but we soaked here a few years ago...lovely

Honestly I can't say that this has been a terrible or even unusually long or cold winter.  We've had some cold days, a wisp or two of a snow dusting, some beautiful sunshine and yes of course, plenty of rain.   Better than some, worse than others, but nothing to complain about.  But, I am so ready to get outside and enjoy outdoor pursuits!  With the longer daylight hours, the dogs and I will resume our walking, and I am really looking forward to riding my horse again.  I haven't ridden Eagle in over a year.  I can hardly believe that myself, but it's the case.  Last early spring he suffered the wire cut from an apparent tangle with the fence.  The wound location was one that flexed and stretched with every step, making it a slow healing process.  But it has healed and with no ill effects, and for that I am so grateful.  My horse has had a very long vacation and we were just hitting our stride, or at least making good progress when it happened; so we'll just begin again.  Hopefully it won't take very long for me to feel comfortable with him again.  I just want to sit astride a horse and feel the wind in my face and enjoy that peaceful, easy feeling that only comes when I'm riding.  *sigh*

I'm paying the last installment on my new saddle this month and we've got plans to take a weekend trip in April to pick it up.  :)  I can't wait to try it out!  And I have to admit that I'm a bit apprehensive because I've never actually sat in it before.  It's a 15-1/2" smooth seat with rounded forks, a higher cantle and very wide, angled stirrups.  It looks super comfortable but I really have no idea.  I just hope it sits as good as it looks.  I've ridden in the same saddle since 1982 and I still love it.  Entire different style saddle though.  My old one is a Western Pleasure style with a built up swell and a suede seat.  The new one, (new to me) is a Wade style tree, Ranch saddle with closer contact with the horse.  That I know I will love.  If I don't like it, I'll just resell it.  But I'm hoping to love it!  Oh, and I sure hope it fits my horse too!  Such a risk taker right?  :)

Remember I mentioned that we'd recently become aware of another granddaughter?  Well...she and her mom came to visit with us a few weeks back.  We spent several hours visiting and getting to know each other, looking through family photo albums and introducing them to our herd.  They are wonderful people and it's very obvious to us that Anita has enjoyed a good life and has always been loved.  Her mom said that she's a blessing, always has been.  I really like her mom.  She's a couple years older than I am and just last week retired from her job as a physician's assistant.  She and her husband plan on selling their home in the next couple of years and building their dream home on an acre of land they have in Sunriver, Oregon...also our dream location area.  We found that we actually have a fair amount in common and look forward to occasional get-togethers in the future.  It was a great day and we really enjoyed getting acquainted.  We feel blessed too.  Such a gift!

As always, we remain busy with day to day obligations of work, care-taking, keeping the home fires burning and such.  Life is never dull and although we dream of grander adventures, we feel grateful for everything and everyone in our lives.  The horses are all doing well and we're looking forward to the mud drying up soon - and of riding!  I so. want. to, ride.   It's been way too long.

Hoping winter bids you all adieu sooner, rather than later. 

Blessings from our neck of the woods, to yours!
Lorie @ cingspots

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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Always asking why, without ever seeing the obvious

I'm sharing this blog post because it seems appropriate for now, again and for so many times in the past we've asked "why".  I think we all, or most of us, already know the answer.  We've been told times are going to become worse and worse, in fact, worse than has ever been in history.  That's unimaginably bad.  These things must take place.  It's so simple, it's difficult for people to understand, or accept.  These mimic my thoughts and so I'm sharing this message with you today.  Hopefully it's food for thought, worth considering and worthy of making some changes.  There's so much more that I could say, but this writer does a nice job of explaining what is painfully obvious to me. 

Is Satan Stealing Our Families?

This past year I read a book with my daughter called Little House in the Big Woods. You may be familiar with it. It’s the first book written by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and it began the popular Little House on the Prairie series. I don’t recall reading it before, and as I read it to my five year old, I think I enjoyed it even more than she did. Something about the way the family lived, it intrigued me. I love my internet tremendously, but the simplicity and closeness this family shared sounded really wonderful to me. The idea of working together for each other drew me into their little world. Many times as I read the pages aloud I yearned for such a time as the ones described.
I look around today and I wonder if we wouldn’t be better taking a step back in time where we could focus more on important matters, and less on trivial ones. I see the things around me that cause so much unneeded stress, and I truly believe that the principalities and powers of darkness wish to destroy what God has created. God favors families. He favors love, time together, and focus on cultivating those relationships. What I see today is in direct opposition of that, yet those things have developed slowly over time, so much so that we don’t even notice them deteriorating the fabric of family.
Our pre-teens and teenagers are so absorbed in their Snapchat and Instagram that they can’t even come up for air. Not that we notice. We’re buried in our Facebook newsfeed or hottest new game app.
The normalcy of public school education with its ever increasing curriculum demands are swallowed like good medicine. The school year gets longer, testing increases, and hours of homework creep into the family time. So children that already spend 8-9 hours away from home are spending their evening hours doing more projects, reports, and extra credit assignments.
Mom and dad are too exhausted to help much. They’re tired because they’re putting in more hours. Dual working parents are the majority. And while the cost of living has definitely increased over time, I wonder how much of our “necessities” are truly that? We work more to be able to buy more, yet we hardly have time to enjoy all our purchases. We save all year long for a week long vacation that leaves us exhausted and in need of a day off from our off days.
A lot of our hard-earned money is spent on activities. So. Many. Activities. We spend more time driving to activities, purchasing gear, costumes, and accessories for our activities, or working on our off days to raise funds for our activities. Activities where we watch other people teach, coach, and mentor our children. Is this the time together we’re craving? Makes you think.

 If you had to sit down and add up how much quality time you spend alone with your spouse, what would it be? What about your children? And not time doing and going. Just time. Is it less time than you spend on your weekly commute to work?
It makes you wonder if divorce is more prominent today because it’s become socially more acceptable, or could it be because we’re spending less time enjoying the company of our spouse? Would children get in less trouble if they had a present parent/parents available to guide them? They say it takes a village to raise a child, but I’m wondering if we’ve taken that too far. Now we just want the village to take care of them. And then when our children fall down and fail we can have teachers, coaches, and the church to blame for their demise.
This is hard stuff to think about. It’s taking everything we’ve called normal over the past few decades or more and realizing that it’s actually destroying the family unit. Our kids are playing ball 3-5 times a week until 10pm, and the parents are working 60 hours a week to keep designer duds on the kiddos lest they get bullied for wearing WalMart brand clothing. Everyone has a TV in their room, a cell phone in their pocket, and a brand new car in the drive-way yet none of that will go to Heaven with us. We’re working very hard providing material possessions for our children, when in all reality we should be on our knees with them leading them to a closer walk with Jesus. Eternal life is what we should want for our kids, not the best education money can buy. And while I’m all for giving them a bright future, I don’t want to give them the world if it forfeits their soul. When my grown children look back on life I want them to have memories of time well spent rather than spending all the time. I gotta work on this! I don’t have it all figured out either, but I’d like to think my eyes are open enough to see that Satan wishes to destroy us.
Satan wants us tired, worn thin, and stressed. He wants us in debt up to our eyeballs, and our health failing because we can’t sleep enough, eat right, or handle our stress effectively. He wants husbands and wives fighting over finances, disrespectful teens who learned how to treat their parents based off Nickelodeon sitcoms, and thousands of young children sexually abused by the adults we’re so quick to place our trust in. He wants us busy, but not productive. He wants our plates full, but our tank empty. He wants us looking to society for what’s best for our families, not God’s word as a lamp to our feet. He wants the family unit ripped apart, and many times I look around and see us letting him. We’re not even trying to take a stand.
I’d like to believe that it’s not too late. We can still fight to save our families. Perhaps it all comes down to stepping out in wisdom, courage, and truth for our family. In a world that’s so busy Keeping Up With the Kardashians, maybe it’s time to be a Little House on the Prairie. What do you think?

Blessings all,

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

You just never know

Life is full of unexpected happenings.  Surprises when you least expect them.  Some are extraordinary and life altering; others are just a welcome change to the routine. 

We had a beautiful, warm weekend.  Yes, the sun was shining!  Oh my goodness, did it ever feel good!  All of us, horses, dogs, cats, chickens and people alike turned our faces heavenward and just reveled in the warmth beaming down upon us.  It was so nice. 

Just what we needed to lift our spirits and remove some of the gloom that has been cloaking our world lately.  The horses were dropping like flies.  They ate breakfast and then were sprawled out all over the pasture, just basking in the warmth.  It felt so much like spring, temps were in the 60's and I even saw a honeybee.  The flowering tree in our back yard will be budding soon, as will the daphne bush by the deck.  One of the most heavenly scents imaginable!  I love to pick a bouquet and place the vase on my night stand...sweet dreams.  :)

As I looked around I noticed signs of spring everywhere.  Daffodils are pushed through the soil, tiny buds on many trees and the horses are starting to shed a bit.  And the days are getting longer!  It's no longer dark when I leave the clinic in the evening.  Oh man, what a blessing.  Just thinking that winters' end is near, makes me feel so much lighter.  I know I can't complain, because we really haven't had much of a "winter", but the rains all through January just seemed to be never ending and even the horses seemed depressed.  For whatever reason, this year I seem to be struggling with the endless grey skies, rain and mud.  But, knowing the end is in sight helps me so much. 

Another true surprise happened to us recently.  Something so unexpected, but very cool.  Shortly before Christmas I received a private message from someone I didn't know.  She asked if I knew someone (name withheld for privacy), and I said yes, that's my husband's son.  She said she was searching for long-lost relatives.  Curious, I asked her if she thought she was somehow related to him.  She said yes, he's my biological father.  You could have knocked me down with a feather!

We had a fairly long correspondence that day and I got the feeling she was a very nice young lady.  Apparently, unbeknownst to us, JP fathered a baby with a girl years ago when they were in high school.  The infant was given up for adoption and she was raised within an hour of where we now live.  What a small world, huh?  Last year she graduated from Oregon State University with a degree in Civil Engineering and now works for Oregon Dept. of Transportation in The Dalles, which is several hours from here in the Columbia Gorge area.  I really enjoyed visiting with her and so did my hubby.  He was even more excited than me, since this is another granddaughter he was unaware of.  This Sunday, Anita and her dad are coming to our home for a visit.  We're really looking forward to meeting her in person and the chance to get acquainted with her.  As far as looks go, there's no doubt that JP is her biological father.  She's the spitting image of him, same complexion, hair color, smile, everything.  Pretty amazing huh?  We're ready for all the questions she's likely to have, although we've already covered some of the basics earlier.  We've got lots of pictures we can share, she's an active outdoorsy type, loves animals, has a dog and seems very down to earth.  I'm sure we'll get along just fine.  She used to be a horseback rider, took English riding lessons for years and loves to dance.  In her spare time, she teaches Hip-hop dance and has several videos on You-Tube. 

I'm actually a little bit nervous, but I'm sure that will pass as soon as she walks through the door.  The dogs will assault her, we'll try to get them under control to no avail, and the ice will have been broken.  As far as meeting our horses goes, the timing couldn't possibly be worse.  They are shaggy, muddy and fat, but will welcome the attention from someone new.  Ladde will do his best to give her kisses, and Eagle will work his wiles and seduce her just like he does all the ladies he meets. 

Eagle doing what he loves best

Should be an interesting day.

Until next time,
Lorie @ Cingspots

Friday, February 2, 2018

A stitch in time

That's what I keep telling myself.   That loosely translates to, "this too shall pass".  *sigh* 

I'm pretty much over my cold, with just a bothersome occasional cough that produces a very small amount of hmmm, yuck.  That works, hopefully without being too graphic for you sensitive ones. 

However, my overall condition this winter seems to be genuine lackluster.  I'm feeling tired, disinterested, cranky, and at times, bordering on having the outright blues.  So many rainy days and so very much mud creates so much extra work, muddy paws, muck boots, difficulty dumping the poop wagon, on and on.  I'll have to be careful or I'll pass my depression on to you.  :)  Sorry...

Seriously, not much going on really.  Shad was off his feed for a short time, had a very foul odor coming from his mouth and generally looked like I felt.  Maybe it's not just me after all.  So, my vet came out and had a look in his mouth, we were thinking likely a bad tooth, or a gum pocket causing him discomfort.  But when the speculum was just starting to open, he went straight up and there was a serious pain response, even with detomidine on board.  Poor guy.  From what the vet could see, it looked like a wound in the mucosa of the inside of his mouth, with hanging tissue, or maybe a tumor-like growth about 3/4"  long with a white tip.  ???  Who knows what it really is though.  We're guessing here, you know the "practice" of medicine.  A pressure smear was sent in for a cytology which didn't show anything abnormal, normal mouth bacteria and all that.  Good news.  So, we decided on a week of antibiotics and a small dose of banamine twice a day.  Mainly we wanted him to eat.  Being an old Thoroughbred (28 years this April), with the metabolism their breed is famous for, he drops weight very fast.  He was also a bit dehydrated because his water consumption was down and we needed to keep his caloric intake high.  No food, no energy to fight off whatever was ailing him.  So far, so good.  Last dose of both meds tonight.  The bad smell seems to be gone, so it's cold turkey to see how he responds.  While he's been medicated, his appetite has been great, we've been pouring the feed to him and that seems to be working.  His energy levels have improved and he's much more bright-eyed and back to his old, but child-like, playful self.  :)  We're just hoping whatever the thing was, it's healed up and he maintains when drug free.  We're hopeful, because there's really not much else to be done.  Anesthetization would be too risky for the old man and we're just not willing to risk it. 

This whole situation was reminiscent of what happened with Kadie, and had me worried.  We let her get too weak and weren't able to get her eating again, which I think, was why she just quit.  I wanted her to keep trying, but I could see it in her eyes.  She was too tired.  What a precious soul she was, but I know what a huge blessing she was to me.  I'll probably miss her forever, but I wouldn't have changed a thing.  When you love a good one, you just want forever.  So, I'm hopeful we have a better outcome with my hubby's sweet boy. 

I recently had a birthday.  I'm 58 years old, and just keep wondering how that happened.  I mean, it's gone so fast.  I can't believe how close to 60 I am.  And retirement.  Good grief. 

Can you hear it?  That old Rolling Stones song, time waits for no one, and it won't wait for me...

My hubby took me out for brunch on my b-day.  Yum!  Was a nice day.  I got to get up when I wanted to, enjoyed a leisurely morning and actually got to view a very brief sunrise, but a sunrise nonetheless.  That was cool.  Then the torrential rains began.  January birthdays are usually best enjoyed from the comforts of the inside, preferably by the fireside.  Like mine was, so I was a happy birthday girl.  Man, I really am getting old.  Sounds like a granny birthday for sure, doesn't it!? 

My dogs are going stir crazy too.  So much rain and mud, seriously curtails our walking adventures.  Such a bummer, but sometimes you just gotta go for it, stop worrying about the muddy paws, and get outside anyway.  Fresh air, exercise and wide open spaces help all of us so much!  Then let the cleaning frenzy begin...and the depressed doggies suffering on the blankets.  I'd switch places with them anytime.  Yesterday morning, Ruby came running towards me when I was standing with my car door open.  I thought she was running to me, but oh no, she jumped straight into my car, through and over the center console and onto the back seat!  Oh my gosh, I could have killed her!  Mud was everywhere!  Had it been blood, you'd have thought it was a major (and totally gory) crime scene.  Amazes me how many different places mud spots go in such a short amount of time...did I mention that my car has light grey interior?  Yeah...what was I thinking?

Hubs and I were dreaming and scheming again the other day.  We found this absolutely perfect home on 7 acres of gorgeous land with big, fir trees and pastures.  The home was situated on top of a gentle rise overlooking the pastures and the Grand Ronde river down below and across the driveway.  It was at the end of a dead end and very private private lane.  This is the first place I've fallen in love with since years ago when we first started looking at properties in Central Oregon.  I mean, the house was gorgeous, amazingly peaceful views from every window...sigh.  But alas, there were 2 serious drawbacks.  The rail line ran next to the private lane.  The train goes through there several times daily, and just below that, was the 4-lane highway.  Apparently, noise travels up.  I just couldn't imagine living somewhere, that all that peaceful serenity is marred by constant noise.  Nope.  Not going there.  We'll keep dreaming and scheming.  If it's meant to be, we'll find that perfect place; and if not, we're pretty happy where we are.  Always has been fun to dream though. 

Gives us damp Oregonians something to do...

Blessings all.

THE ROLLING STONES - time waits for no one

Thursday, January 11, 2018

All quiet on the homefront

The sun peeks through

And that's the only way I can handle it right now.  I've been sick again.  This cold hit me with a vengeance.  So quickly and within 24 hours, I was flat on my back and could no nothing more than sleep.  And sleep I did, all night, all the next day and all night again.  Ventured forth, had a long soak in a hot tub of water and made it to work yesterday.  I felt so much better than the previous day.  Very weird.  I've been sick more often in these past couple of months than I've been in the previous 5,6,7 ?? years?  Not sure, but this is totally uncharacteristic for me. 

I'm still not feeling anywhere near to normal.  But to work I must go, I really have no choice.  I'm just thankful that business this time of year is usually slow.  If it weren't, I don't think I could manage.  So I come in and do my best, but that's not saying much.  I slept very little last night and am feeling exhausted today, and cranky.  I don't do well without sleep.  Good news is that I dropped 6 pounds in 2 days.  YAY me!  Probably water weight and will come back quickly, but hey, I'll take it.  Gotta find that silver lining.

Weather wise we're very warm, 50's and oh, so very wet.  Blustery winds, grey skies and too much water falling from the sky.  Totally befitting my demeanor these days.  I did spend about a half hour in the barn last evening schmoozing with the horses and trying to help with the chores.  Mentally, I was renewed, refreshed and felt alive once again.  Physically, it nearly killed me.  I felt as weak as a kitten, legs and back aching.  Like I'd been physically working hard all day long.  Pitiful really.  Just amazes me how quickly things can change.  But, never fear.  Like my momma always said, this too shall pass.  Tomorrow is another day.  I keep those words near to my heart.  So very thankful for my dear husband who just takes everything on and nudges me back to bed to rest.  In times like these, I don't know how I'd manage the caretaking of the horses without him. 

So, now you see why I've been avoiding any new posting here.  I'm rather glum these days.  I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired.  Actually thankful our weather matches my mood, for if the sun was smiling, I'd be seriously piqued.  Something else my mom used to tell me, "if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all".  Wise woman.  So I do apologize for my lack of enlightenment and brevity, but life does sometimes throw us curve balls, does it not? 

New year is here.  There was a lot of negative, lots of anger, upheaval, political unrest, natural disasters and so very much suffering in this world.  My heart is heavy thinking about it all.  I know it has to be, but it's not easy seeing it, hearing of it.  So much pain in the world.  I can't help but hope for a better year ahead.  May we all look up in times of trouble, put our faith at the forefront of our lives and glean that peace that surpasses all human understanding.  That is my prayer for us all. 

So looking ahead, I've given precious little thought to my chosen word for 2018.  It instead, has chosen me.  It's the only word that keeps popping into my mind and I can only take it as a sign.  Shouldn't surprise me, not really.  I'm a chatter box and need to learn to practice this more, and so I hopefully shall.  Listen.  That will be my mantra, my lesson for the coming days, and with God's help, I hope to practice the beautiful art of listening so much more than ever before.  And not just with my ears, but especially with my heart.  And that goes for all who enter my life, whether they be person or animal.  Because Lord knows, I've still got a lot to learn. 

"Be still, and know that I am God"  Psalms 46:10

No worries. 

My best wishes for you all in this coming new year 2018.  May we all be blessed and therefore, bless.