Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Stepping Out of the Boat -- Engagement Photos

I love taking photographs.  I am fortunate to have a great camera and some great lens.  My subjects are horses 90% of the time.  Today it was different.
A couple of  months ago a friend came into my house for the first time.  She saw the canvas photographs I have of horses hanging on my walls.  She loved them.

A month or so later she was talking about those same photos and suggested or asked if I would take some engagement photos of her nephew and his fiance.  I was flattered, however, a bit disbelieving.  Her nephew is the son of a very old friend of mine who died about 20 years ago when Luke was 8.  While I have not kept up with Luke since that time, the possibility of reconnecting with him was very attractive.  After lots of thought and soul searching on my part I sent him and email and offered to take the engagement photos. He was very grateful and asked me to email his fiance, Brittney, since she was making all the wedding plans.  We made contact and decided to put it off a bit until hopefully it would be cooler.
So with much anxiety until now, today was the day.  I spent time scoping out the internet for poses and other photos of other engaged couples.  I googled tips and ideas.  I did my homework.  However, it's kind of like lots of things, studying about it is one thing, but doing it is all together something else.
We met at Pioneer Village or Pioneer Living History and Event Center, and attraction in Gonzales, Texas.  Numerous buildings from yesteryear have been brought here to form a little village.  There's a church, a school, a saloon, most from the late 1800s.  They also hold weddings here.  The church holds about 70 people.
So here are a couple of examples of this beautiful couple...
 Luke and Brittney!

Matthew 19 (Genesis 2:24)
“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’[a]and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’[b]? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
 I have not known these two long, however, I am hopeful to know them a long time into the future.
This photo session was great fun.  The day was beautiful.  The subjects were gorgeous.  The stepping out was worth it!  God blessed this day and he blessed me.  I hope they feel blessed too!.

Matthew 14:
27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29 “Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.
Encourage One Another and build each other up.  I Thes 5:11
Continuing the journey on fresh paths.
Blessings and love to you, xoxo

Monday, October 6, 2014

To Grandmothers---How Will You Be Remembered?

I remember my grandmother for many things, most noteably her kindness and her faith.  However, when I think about her as I was growing up, I remember sleeping in her back bedroom under her water cooler (she couldn't afford air conditioning).  It had a loud rumbling sound that was great to sleep under.  My big sister and I spent many Saturday nights with her when our parents went to the Baylor Bear football games.  Our favorite part about Saturday night was after dinner and before bed she would make us "Black Cows", or in layman's terms, a Dr. Pepper float.  She used the same special tall glasses every time.  We didn't get many soda waters at home so this was a huge treat for us.  Sunday morning we woke up and went to church with her.  She taught us a lot about Jesus and about faith.

Me on the other hand, how will I be remembered?  Mac and cheese!  That's how I will be remembered by my grandson.

By the time he quits asking for it, I have no idea how many bowls of mac and cheese that boy will eat.  No matter what I have prepared or try to feed him, that most kids would like to, chicken nuggets, french fries... he asked for "mac and cheese please".  And he asked for it for every meal...seriously.  Last night I said, "we are having blueberry muffins for breakfast".  He said yummy.  Then this morning when I got up I headed to the kitchen to bake them.  From the bedroom I hear..."let's have mac and cheese with our muffins ok?"  Uh, well, ok for you, but it'll just be muffins and butter for me my love.  And it makes him happy, really happy.

His mother had a love for something too, only her choice was "spaghettios".  She ate them hot or cold and right from the can was her preference.  She ate them every day in her lunch box at school...until Junior High.  Seriously.  I guess the boy is following her footsteps.  (And if I have to be honest, I ate Gerber's apricots out of a baby food jar forever.)

So if I'm remembered for Velveta Mac and Cheese, that's ok with me.  We always say prayers at night asking for his parents safe return home and for everything God gives us.  It's one of my favorite times with him.  But then every moment with him is special.

Encourage One Another and build each other up.  I Thes 5:11
Continuing the journey on fresh paths.
Blessings and love to you, xoxo
Proverbs 17:6 
Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.

remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done.
I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Mutton Busted!

Well the family and all the grandparents all headed out to the county fair pre-rodeo "mutton bustin" event this weekend.  It would be the second time our little HG headed for the shoots to try his hand at riding a sheep.  Not sure who thought up this novelty of kids riding sheep but it is certainly entertaining.  And usually no one gets anything hurt except maybe their feelings.  
In the heat of the day, and with no nap due to the time frame, our little guy gets ready.
See this boy...he's excited about Mutton Bustin!  Off he goes with his wrangler (aka his mom) to wait for his age group to be called.
He and mom, just hanging out in the stands, still waiting to be called.
"Hey Annie...I see you; do you see me?  We are just watching all those kids go "splat" in the mud!  Yuck!"
My gosh this boy is beautiful!  Be still my heart!
They called his group and off he goes (behind the boy in the green plaid shirt).  The mud in this arena is more than he bargained for.  Boots are getting stuck and this is slow moving.
Here he goes behind the stands to wait some more while the 5-6 year old group finishes up.  Then he will wait until he is called in his 3-4 age group.
Some of the sheep already "busted" and hanging in the corner.  Do you see that mud...? The rest of the arena looked even worse.
Well, after all that waiting, when they called his name, HG was courageous enough to say "Na, this is not for me, not today, not in this mud.  I'll take a raincheck please."
"Did I mention I was getting really tired. Have you seen my mom?"
"Where is my mom please."  Prior to being set back on the ground he was "handed off' to at least 4 different people.  Walking in the mud was disgusting and gross.  Enough mud already.
"I hope she is waiting just around this corner.  I'm tired of this mud.  I'm ready to go home.  I'm hungry."
Around the corner was his mom.  Finally on solid ground.  When she asked him what they said to him when they handed him the white ribbon he was holding he said "nothing".  When she asked him what it was for, after thinking just a second he said "waiting".  Good point my sweet boy.
Well, there will be other "mutton bustin" opportunities for him I'm sure.  And I'm sure his parents and his grandparents will all once again be there to support him.
I personally am very proud of him for speaking up to a lot of strangers, grown ups, and speaking out that he did not want to do this.  It gives me reassurance that he would be able to speak up to anyone who might do something to him or want him to do something he did not want to do nor should he do.
Way to go HG, be a strong, courageous young man who speaks up and speaks out.  Stand strong!
We are all blessed that his parents teach him "the way that he should go" and right from wrong.  This ability he has to speak out will serve him well.
Keep that big voice HG.  Speak out for what you believe in.  Share the word.  You are amazing and your Annie loves you for it!

Encourage One Another and build each other up.  I Thes 5:11
Continuing the journey on fresh paths.
Blessings and love to you, xoxo

The Lord thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded.

God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

When you ride a horse, you disconnect yourself from the ground of the earth.

I read that the other day and thought how true it is.  I remember when I use to work so hard and be under so much stress that riding was the only thing that really took me away from all that.  The trauma and abuse that I dealt with daily took a huge toll on my mental health.  Going to the country, riding my horse, being "not connected" was just what I needed.
I never thought of it like that but it was a bit like cutting the connection to my brain that carried all that hard information.  A disconnect to that and a connect to just God's world.  The openness, the air, the trees, the wildlife, the freedom, the peacefulness and quiet, the rest for my I know what it was all about.
I love this thought.  God you are so good to give this good word to me.  Now it makes perfect sense.

They found rich, good pasture, and the land was spacious,peaceful and quiet. 

Encourage One Another, continuing the journey on fresh paths.
Blessings and love to you, oxox.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Wild Horses of the Placitas New Mexico Captured

God some heartbreeaking and bad news today from a fellow horse photography friend.  I went with her on a photography workshop some years ago.  She took us to some great areas of NM where horses still run free...only now some of them don't.
The Bureau of Land Management has removed all the horses from the Placitas.  Some of them went to a rescue while some of them were sold to a killer.  All but two of those were recovered and taken to the rescue as well.  Seriously these particular horses were not hurting anyone.
There are many articles on the BLM and other government entities rounding up wild horses and putting them in holding pens.  It's a travesty.  There is a film that's been made by some folks trying to save the horses that I would love to see.  I hope it comes close.  it's called "American Mustang".
Here are photos of those horses that I took 3 years ago.  Seeing them makes me even more sad.  Oh my!
This is Juan, one of the last stallions with his band to be taken.  Small however, majestic!
 A large photo of this handsome stallion is in my living room!

 All these horses have names however, I did not document them.  A mare and her foal.

 A band of bachelors struggling to get along.

Two stallions sparing over mares.
Now all of these are in holding pens with hundreds of other horses.
You can see them in these holding pens behind my friend, Myka.  These pens are actually in Wyoming.  but they are the same, small pens, lots of horses, no freedom, sad, and wrong.
Here's the thing.  Horses were here before we were.  They say there are too many of them.  There are other answers besides capturing them, separating families/bands, penning them in small pens confining them to a terrible life of captivity or death.
I've always felt strongly about this tragedy, but today, knowing some of these fabulous creatures that I met and captured with my own camera are now trapped and hopeless, just makes me sick.

Job 39:19-24New International Version (NIV)

19 “Do you give the horse its strength
    or clothe its neck with a flowing mane?
20 Do you make it leap like a locust,
    striking terror with its proud snorting?
21 It paws fiercely, rejoicing in its strength,
    and charges into the fray.
22 It laughs at fear, afraid of nothing;
    it does not shy away from the sword.
23 The quiver rattles against its side,
    along with the flashing spear and lance.
24 In frenzied excitement it eats up the ground;
    it cannot stand still when the trumpet sounds.

Encourage One Another, continuing the journey on fresh paths.
Blessings and love to you, xoxo.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Hummers So Close Their Wing Wind Blew My Hair

Wow, what a memorable morning.
Woke up after sleeping 9 straight hours without waking up...miracle, thank you Jesus!
When I took Ikey out, the hummingbirds were just everywhere wondering why there was no juice in the feeder.  So I went straight away and got it off the porch, cleaned it and filled it up.
When I went out to the front porch to turn it over to let the juice flow down and the reservoir fill up, the birds began to fly up to me.  I'm standing there holding the feeder and they are all around it.  I remain totally still, continuing to hold the feeder.  It's less than 12" from my face.  Talk about "up close and personal".  I'm just sitting here with this look of wonderment and disbelief on my face...really, the breeze of a hummingbird's swift moving wings on my face?
A hummer lands on the other side and begins to drink.  I can see him through the glass!  I peer around and I can see him.  The three I saw start that dashing about like they do and I just stand there.  THEN, one lands on the side perch where my finger is, touches his feet and his feathers to my FINGER.  He is 6" from my face, basically sitting on my finger, drinking!  Oh my Gosh!  I'm holding my breath.  I am beyond blown away.  The red throat just glittered.  As he backs up and just flutters in place, literally my eyelashes are moving from his fanning.  Crazy unbelievable.
I decided to hang the feeder and just stand there.  They swirl around me so close I just know they are going to hit me, but they don't.  They are all over and around me, literally blowing my hair.  They land and drink and I'm just in awe.  I decided to grab my phone and try to get a photo.  My phone is about 6" from the feeder.  In this photo you can just barely see on bird off to the left.  You really just see his white belly under the light fixture.  They were however, way closer than this one appears in the photo.

After a while of this just unbelievable experience I decided to let them enjoy breakfast so I moved off to my rocker on the porch and watched from a distance, just listening to their fluttering wings and their chatter to each other.
God, you truly are a God of wonder.  Oh mighty God of wonders, you are amazing.  I love you day and night.  In the struggle and in the blessing, you are mighty, you are worthy, you are holy.  I praise you for blessing me daily with your awesome sights and sounds.

Thank God! Call out his Name! Tell the whole world who he is and what he’s done! Sing to him! Play songs for him! Broadcast all his wonders! Revel in his holy Name, God-seekers, be jubilant! Study God and his strength, seek his presence day and night; Remember all the wonders he performed, the miracles and judgments that came out of his mouth. 

Encourage One Another, continuing the journey on fresh paths.
Blessings and love to you, xoxo.  for Chris Tomlin live

of all creation Of
water earth, and, sky The
heavens are Your tabernacle Glory
to the Lord on High God

of wonders beyond, our galaxy You
are holy holy, The
universe declares Your majesty You
are holy holy, Lord

of heaven and earth Early

in the morning I
will celebrate the light And
as I stumble through the darkness I
will call Your name by night God

of wonders beyond, our galaxy You
are holy holy, The
universe declares Your majesty You
are holy holy, Lord

of heaven and earth

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Be Careful of Your Words; They Cut to the Bone

You can never unhear a word spoken to you.  You can never take back a word you have spoken to someone else.  Be very careful of your can affect the rest of someone's life.

Proverbs 18:21 ESV

Death and Life are in the power of the tongue. 

Ephesians 4:29 ESV 

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up

Proverbs 12:18  ESV

There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing

Proverbs 15:4 ESV

A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit 

Proverbs 29:20 ESV 

Do you see a man who is hasty in his words?  There is more hope for a fool than for him.

Proverbs 15:2 ESV

 The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly.

Proverbs 27:2 ESV 

Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.

Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)

29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Encourage One Another...THAT is what we are called to do.
Blessings and love to you, oxox!

Psalm 19:14 ESV
Let the words of my mouth and the mediation of my heart be acceptable in your sight,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

"Like a Good Neighbor....Your in Good Hands"

It's funny.  When I was thinking about a good name for this blog, two insurance commercials came into my head.  Did you recognize them...State Farm and Allstate?
The blog is about my neighbor Billy.  The first week I moved into this little house, he came over to meet me.  He was a little older than me.  He is the father of the couple who lives just behind me.  He had moved his 5th wheel in behind them and been living there a year or so.  We had a great first visit and shared about our lives.  He met my pup and they, like us, were friends from the start.  Although he walked with a cane, he offered to come over and help with anything he could or to let my pup out any time if I needed him to.  I told him I would take him up on that for sure.
It wasn't long after that that he did actually come over when I had to be away all day and let Ikey out.  Ikey really loved him.  I did ask him to occasionally let Ikey out for me and sometimes it was after dark when I got home.  He always left the front porch light on for me (Motel 6) and turned on the kitchen sink light for Ikey so he wouldn't be home in the dark.  He is truly a very sweet and thoughtful friend.
Since his family lived right there next to him he didn't really need me to do much for him, however, I would bake and take him cookies,  brownies or gingerbread or and sometimes a to go benefit dinner plate from town.  We were both grateful to each other.
In the winter he tripped in his back yard and broke some ribs.  He also had some other injuries that he didn't find out about until later.  He wasn't getting around too well so I was able to find someone else to help me (thankfully my BFF works just up the road) let Ikey out if I had to be gone.
About the time I broke my arm, he also was having trouble with his arm, the injury he discovered later.  To make a long story short he went to Cibilo to live w/ a friend and closer to a doctor and a rehab facility.  We've talked several times on the phone since then, however, I have not seen him since sometime before I broke my arm.
Today Ikey and I were just relaxing after a fun day of kayaking yesterday and there was a knock at my door.  It was my friend Billy and his friend Pat.  I was so glad to see it and it was so good to see him and meet his friend.  They didn't stay long but a long enough to catch up and find out that he is having surgery in a few weeks.  He is very reluctant which I can certainly understand, however, being in serious pain for the rest of your life is not a good option.  So he is courageously decided to try the surgery in hopes for a good outcome.  He looked really good and it was good to see him up and around but I could tell he did not feel well.  I am prayerful he has a fabulous outcome.  I got his current address and will be in touch.  I also asked Pat to let me know when he was having surgery and to stay in touch. She invited me to come visit...I loved that.  I am so grateful he has someone who is willing to help him in the difficult time and that he is willing to accept that.  Sometimes we are hard headed when it comes to such things.  Sometimes we have to let people help us...God sends us help in mysterious ways.
Their visit made my day.  That you God for sending my friend to lift my heart.

Hebrews 13:1-2 Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.

Encourage One Another, continuing the journey on fresh paths.

Blessings and love to you, oxox!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Gratitude...Sometimes It's Hard

“If we do not feel grateful for what we already have, what makes us think we’d be happy with more?” — Unknown 

When I saw this on a post this morning, I knew it was God talking to me.  I'd been listening for him this morning and he spoke to me through someone else, which he often does. After the quote it says unknown...I believe it was spoken by God.

I live in a community where oil production has become a huge industry.  While it has trashed our countryside with oil tanks and pump jacks, gravel pads and destruction of the land, our roads are littered with 18 wheelers carrying bad water, gravel and oil.  I grumble about it all under my breath.

It has however, created great wealth for many, some who already were doing financially well and some who were not.  I've often asked "why not me"?  I've judged who should get it and who should not based on their character or what I think I know about them.  Seriously?  I know nothing this side of heaven.

The truth is, it indicates I'm not grateful for what I have.  And seriously, what I have is all I need.  I'm not doing without.  I'm not hungry or thirsty.  I'm not walking naked or in torn and tattered clothes.  I'm not scraping the bottom of the barrel.  I'm not sleeping in the street.  I'm not walking 10 miles into town.  I'm not begging on a corner for money.  I am not alone without family nor am I friendless.
I've eaten breakfast this morning and had tea on the front porch of my quaint little house in the country. I'm dressed, after a good night sleep inside with the air conditioner on.  I'm ready to go where ever I need to in the car sitting in my driveway.  I kept my healthy grandson for two days and an overnight this week.  I have a pup I adore.  I'm headed to a friends for a holiday weekend.

This stuff is all temporary anyway.  The greatest prize is heaven.  I just needed a reminder.

I am blessed abundantly and I must keep my eyes on my prize.
My God is a God of many blessings.
I pray to be a child of gratitude and the greatest prize is my goal.  What more do I need?

Philippians 3:14 
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Encourage One Another, continuing the journey on fresh paths.
Blessings and love to you, oxox.

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Resident Toad... Plus One

Yesterday while watching and waiting for the Toadster to return to his home so I could get a photo of him, I found this "plus one" in the same frog nest.  Look close.

 This was him last evening after dark as he was coming out to hunt I suppose.
He also tried to move away from the camera...I was using a flash.
So this morning when I found Toadster back in his hole I don't really know if T2 was in there too or not.  A friend told me she had 4 toads in one hole at her house , so I guess they think the more the merrier.
Anyway, I'm glad to have them eating bugs and spiders and the like off the front porch.  I had seen some even smaller than this in the yard several weeks ago, so maybe these are husband and wife.
I love a story with a happy ending!

Gen 9:15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenantbetween God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”

Encourage One Another, continuing the journey on fresh paths.
Blessings and love to you, xoxo.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Resident Toad

OK, call me easy to please, but this little find just makes me happy.
Some weeks ago I saw a big toad/frog in the yard.  I also saw a couple of small ones.  Didn't think much of it, just happy to see some bug eaters.
A week or so ago, I was sitting out on the porch after dark watching Netflix on the computer.  I heard something moving around in my flower bed.  I thought, oh no, an armadillo or skunk or SNAKE.  I grabbed my little flash light and sneakily peered over the porch looking with my flash light.  Low and behold, it was only that big ole fat toad.
On another recent day when I was watering the plants on the porch, that big fat toad jumped out of one of the pots and scared me to death (I had recently killed a Copperhead in that same flower bed).  I thought hum, that guy is living around here I'm going to have to keep my eye out for him.
As it turned out, he now lives in that same pot.  I see him almost everyday except when he has gone "out to eat".  I kept hoping to catch him out to get to photos of him, but had only seen him either out of the pot (empty) or the pot was filled with a big fat toad.
Today while watering the flower beds it was my lucky day.  They boy was seeking a snack.

I got quite a few shots but it didn't seem like the boy really liked his photo taken because he would move out of the view of my lens.

I was persistent however, and got some good views.

I could see him catching things by his movement however, I could not catch him in the act.  The funny thing is, he has to go up and down my porch steps to hunt in the flower bed and return to his home.  I think that is so cool.  I wonder things like how often does he have to eat, how long does that food last, does he drink water?  In my wondering, I gathered this information about the differences between frogs and toads.
What is the difference between Frog and Toad?
• Frogs have smooth, shiny, and permeable skin, but it is a rough, dry looking, and leathery with warts in toads.
• Frogs live in semi aquatic habitats. However, toads are more adapted to stay without water compared to frogs. In addition, toads come to water only during their breeding seasons.
• Frog has a narrow body and waist, but toad has a broader and puffy body.
• Frogs have long legs (especially hind legs) those are used for hopping and fast swimming, but toads have short legs for walking rather than hopping.
• Frogs have webbed toes but not toads.
• Frogs have teeth on their upper jaws but not teeth in toads.
Read more:

I keep that pot moist as he burrows down into the pot to sleep.  Sometimes I have to look hard to even see him in the pot and sometimes he's easy to see.
I took a couple of photos of the "empty" hole in the pot.
After some time, here he is back home, full as a toad I suspect.  Look close because he's hunkered down.
I figured after this much time in residence that this guy needed a "Toadster" is what I have chosen.
All he needs now is his own address!
Happy hopping.

And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so.

Encourage One Another, continuing the journey on fresh paths.

Blessings and love to you, xoxo.