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.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

My Horse is a Little Bit Trendy

I see these fly bonnets worn by horses in all the English competitions all the time.  They often have rhinestones or jewels sewn on them and are often bright colors with lots of detail.  I think they are more for glam, but in the show circuit they are also for muffling out sound for horse's keen sense of hearing.  I, however, decided to purchase one for fly control.
We ride all through acres of country and there is one spot in a several acres located near a pond and a creek that harbor these nasty "horn" flies.  There are a bunch of them. Their bite is like a needle going into your skin.  And for some reason they mostly go for the ears on horses.  Me and my boy HATE them.  He's flicking his ears and shaking his head and I'm slapping and swatting for about 10 minutes on our ride.  Disgusting and disturbing!
So, we took this into our own hands and here is our result...
The little tassels are pretty much for decoration, however, they can also keep the flies away!  I have to say, the boy does not seem to mind it too much.  When those dastardly flies land on his ears, they cannot get through this fabric because it is not tight on his ears.  The part around his head is knitted yarn and it is too thick for them to penetrate.  Success!  We are both happier.
Where I ride, no one is used to seeing anything frivolous or fancy and everything is done just the good ole cowboy way.  Thank goodness for Mosey I'm not stuck in that ole timer way of thinking or doing things.  I'll do whatever it takes to make things better for him and for  me.
Some old cowboy at the barn said while laughing "what's that THING on your horses head?"     "Peace and serenity" I said and kept right on riding!

He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

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

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Catch It If You Can

Several years ago I took a photography class.  The teacher recommended a specific lens that would be good for portraits.  I wasn't doing many "portraits" back then and I'm still not, however, I do take close ups with my zoom.  The lens I want I'm told you will need to "zoom in with your feet" is what I've been told, in other words, you have to get CLOSE UP AND PERSONAL.  Since I've not used one I'm not sure I'd like it, but I hope so.
So I'm perusing the internet, ebay, Craigslist and any place I can think of to look for a deal.  There just aren't any.  Used ones are not much less than new why opt for that.  These lens' are about $200 plus.  That's a bit of a chunk for something I've never even tried.  But I'm up for it!
I keep my Nikon DSL with me most of the time, however, you'd be surprised at what I catch with just my iphone camera.
Here are a couple of examples...
Sweetest dog ever!
Sweetest boy ever!
These little birdies all grew up on my front porch and flew away!
And here is the best one!

Mosey ALWAYS yawns after we's his way of letting loose tension and relaxing.  I was ready for him today, but you still have to just catch it if you can.

Yesterday someone asked "what do you do to add excitement to your every day life?"
My answer..."I carry my camera everywhere, looking for an amazing moment or an amazing thing to capture and  immortalize through my lens. My favorite thing to photograph is horses, but my eyes are peeled for anything awesome!" So here's to capturing the moment and catching it if I can.

As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him.

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

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Branded and Scarred

I'm sure you know that branding is the "cowboy" way of marking his animals to prove ownership.  It's been going on for years.  When you are viewing or looking at an animal, like cattle or horses, the brand stands out or shows up and can be seen by the naked eye.  It is easy to see if someone is trying to sell and animal or if you are trying to locate a stolen animal.  Brands are "registered" so that only one person has a specific brand.  The location of where the brand is placed on the horse is also noted in the registration (such as on the upper right hip or the left shoulder).  

Several years ago I developed my own brand and had it created by a welder.  It's a running R with a T that comes off the right angle of the R.  

Brands are created by two different processes.  One is created by hot fire and is called a "fire brand".  The fire brand kills the hair and is basically a scar on the hide of the animal.  No hair grows in the area where the hot branding iron was placed.  The other process is created by dry ice and is called a "freeze brand".  The freezing cold actually changes the hair growth and white hairs grow back.  It's still like a scar, however, it does have hair growth.  

I freeze branded my bay horse Smash with a freeze brand.  It is very easy to see on him since he is a dark red brown color.  This is Smash's brand.  It is placed on his left upper hip.  

Below is a photo of Mosey, my gray horse, right after the freeze branding took place.  It was swollen like this for several days.  It eventually went down.

 This is how it looks today.  It actually froze off most of the hair but there is a little white that shows through. Since he is almost white (pale gray), if it were white, it would not show up. 
This however, is my favorite marking on him.  It is a scar where he cut his let years ago in barbed wire.  It is the sign of a cross.  It is on his back right lower leg.  His black skin shows up very well through his white hair.  If I lost him or someone stole him, it would be easy to identify him by this cross scar.  I think it's kind of cool that he wears a cross.

1 Corinthians 1:18 
 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

I'm back to riding regularly now, well as regularly as you can in 100 degree south Texas weather.  Even after being "off" for 3 months, he's still as steady as you go.  He's still quiet and doesn't get in a hurry to go anywhere.  I'm so grateful I was not riding him the day of the accident.  If I had been, it might not have happened.  He's still my go to guy for calm and relaxation, for quiet and peaceful outings in the country.  Being back in the saddle is the best rehab ever!

Mark 8:34  Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.

Encourage One Another, continuing the journey on fresh paths.

Blessings and love to you, xoxo.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Rewrite the Story

Watching "SMASH" reruns this week Karen and her male star boyfriend sang a new song.  It's called "Rewrite the Story".  In the show they're talking about themselves as youth who have grown up in difficult situations they don't feel they can get themselves out of, and about wondering how can they rewrite their stories or change their lives from this point forward.  In the play they are young.  They have their whole adult lives in front of them.  They are asking themselves what can we do to change this...before it's too late.

Have you ever wished you could?  Rewrite your story?  Have you ever looked back at your mistakes, at your unspeakable regrets, unforgivable words you've spoken, unhearable things you've been told, your unbearable pain you've felt?  Have you ever wished you could have a "do over"?

I must say I have.  I have looked back at all those things.  I have on occasion wished I'd done it differently; wished I'd taken a different road, wished I'd made a different decision or said a different thing.

 I've wished I could change an outcome, wished I could change a course, hoped for a different result.
I have hoped for a do over, a one more chance to get it right, knowing it's virtually impossible.

At this point in my life I have but one choice.  I must look forward and move forward.  No looking back will change things.  No turning back will erase the past.  No regret will change your history.  So I've tried to take everyone of those negative or regrettable things and find the good God made of it, find the lesson I learned from it.  I know there were many, lessons.

To change one thing would change another.  To change one thing would most likely have changed the course of my life.  The course has not always been easy.  In fact, it seemed almost unbearable at times. I remember thinking "I can't make it to the other side of this".  However, based on what others have been through, based on the current lives of some of my friends, I'd most often chose my own life over theirs, my own misfortune, my own history or my own pain.  I know truthfully, my life might have been so much more difficult.  So for the road I've traveled, I must be grateful.

Based on the blessings and peace I have in my life now, God has made it all good.  He has cleared the way for an exceptional life down this road.  The sky is the limit.  I hope I proceed, full speed ahead.

And we know that in all things God works for the good ofthose who love himwho have been called according to his purpose.

John 16:33 says, "I have told you these things, so that you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." 

Encourage One Another, continuing the journey on fresh paths.

Blessings and love to you, xoxo.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Return to Normal

Finally after 15 1/2 weeks it appears that there is a conclusive return to normal.  Oh and how I thank God for that.  Saturday, August 2nd was the first day I saddled and rode all by myself, for 2 1/2 hours.  

This is us leaving the barn.  For about the first 5 minutes I admit I was a little anxious, but after that it was all rock and roll!  My boy could not have been more perfect.  He never batted and extra look at anything.  It was as if we'd been riding daily since April 15th.  He was quiet and calm which was very reassuring to me.
 I purchased Mosey a little fly bonnet to keep the big flies from biting his ears.  You can see it here.  It looks a little goofy, but it worked.

I love days I ride and see lots of wildlife.  This day I first spotted a raccoon in a tree.  She climbed down and ran off down the creek.  It is very seldom that I see a raccoon during the day.  Other sightings were hawks, a coyote, tiny baby hogs and a lone deer.   Wildlife always makes the ride more interesting.

Overall it was a great ride.  It was just so peaceful, so quiet, except for the sounds in the sanctuary.  It's easy to just lose yourself in the moment and to be grateful for so many things.

It's hard to describe the feeling of normal again, of being able to do just about everything I was able to do before.  It's hard to describe the feelings of freedom and independence and competency.  Being dependent on others was very difficult and very humbling.  However, being in that place has given me a much greater compassion for others in need.  I hope I can be a better giver, a better helper to others who are now walking in those shoes.  There are always lessons to learn from the hard knocks in life.  I hope I have learned some.

James 4:10 
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

Encourage one another, continuing the journey on fresh paths.
Blessing and love to you, xoxo

You will bring them in and plant them on the mountain of your inheritance— the place, Lord, you made for your dwelling, the sanctuary, Lord, your hands established.