Monday, January 26, 2015

Wild Horses

The past few days have been insanely busy.

From a 2 day cram course for the state exam to craziness at work, it has been a headache. I need to relax at my happy place.

I finally got to ride again after a week of nasty weather. It was a gorgeous day, 60 degrees and sunny. I figured the horses would be on their best behavior because they had lots of outside time, blankets were off and the weather was gorgeous. Boy was I wrong.

The lesson horses were doing every little thing they could to be put on the naughty list. Shortcake even decided to bite. Yes, bite. In the 15 years I have never even known her to attempt to nip, much less full on bite. I knew we were doomed.

We worked and got all the kids up on their mounts and in the arena and my trainer took over the lessons.

I walked in to get my usual hunter horse, Soul, only to realize my hunt saddle was on one of the lesson horses. I decided to go on a whim and ride him in a dressage saddle and work on some lateral movements with him.

Yeah, about that...

I took him to the mounting block and he would not sit still. I got on him and he immediately started to jog. I finally got him to chill and we went to work at the trot. He was so strong. It felt like I was holding all 1000 pounds of him. Thanks, Soul. In  the canter I had to half halt strong and repeatedly ask him to woah. It didn't work.

In the cool out he decided his shenanigans were not over and spooked/tried to run off because another horse trotted, then 3 people were whispering on the sidelines and then because the wind blew. This horse has been on an airplane, in coliseums with screaming people and we have ridden in the rain.

He was full of himself and today my shoulders are on fire. Thanks, Soul.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A few of my Thousand

Remember when I started reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp ? 

Well, school got in the way and I put it down. I still kept up with my 1000 gift journal though and I thought I would share some of my little gifts and blessings today. Mom was right when she said the book is life changing. I highly recommend it. 

Stephanie Watson via 

Here are a few of my first blessings I recorded:

#1 Hay. The smell of it. The sight of it baled in the field. The sense of accomplishment from getting it all up. 

#2 A hot drink on a cold day. 

#3 Polishing old cars with daddy. 

#4. A baby's laugh. 

#5 Hearts and Flowers trips with mama and my sisters

#6 An old time revival 

#7 Gathering at the river for a Baptism

#8 Bluegrass music

#9 Sticking my feet in a cold creek.

#10 Feeling the velvet of a horses muzzle

#11 The jokes my husband and I share. 

#12 All Chris does for us to have our little life.

#13 Bonfires on a fall night

#14 Praying together nightly

#15 The view of the rolling hills at the farm.

#16 The humbled feeling after turning your pain over to God.

#17 The way my sisters just get me.

#18 How mama knows exactly what I need to hear. 

#20 A fire in the fireplace on a super cold night. 

#21 Rain on a tin roof

#22 Sweet tea in a mason jar

#23 Prayer when it all seems to be falling apart. 

#24 The final salute after an amazing dressage test. 

#25 The colors of fall

The beauty of this book and keeping a blessings journal is that it makes you aware of even the smallest blessings. It has made me a much more positive, satisfied person. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Granny's Bowl

Confession: I love vintage Pyrex. 

A few years ago at my bridal shower my mama gave me one piece of Pyrex that is irreplaceable. 

She gave me my Great-grandmothers "pudding bowl". 

It was the last gift I opened. Mama waited until I had opened everything else and handed it to me. We had my shower a week after the wedding and my granny had passed after a battle with bone cancer on my wedding day, so the pain of losing her was still raw. Granny, and mama had a very special very strong bond and the fact that mama gave it to me meant so much. I remember looking up and mama had excused herself. Dad walked over and hugged me and said mom had a hard time parting with something so sentimental. She had gone back and forth and decided it was meant to have a place in my home. 

I cried and vowed it would always have a place among my fine china. That is where it has stayed. 

Granny and Papa were farmers so money was tight and most of her stuff was hand me downs. This bowl was a splurge and she used it to take her amazing homemade banana pudding to church gatherings and get togethers. There is no telling how times the bowl was pulled off the shelf for her special sweet treat. I like to imagine her with her gospel music playing, dancing around the kitchen getting ready for lunch after revival. 

This bowl is more than a bowl. It's my mama's sacrifice and love. It's traditions and recipes passed on. It's memories and history. I think we all have those little things that have been passed on. Those little things that are so small but mean so much.

 What is one of your favorite sentimental keepsakes?

Friday, January 9, 2015

Back in the Saddle

This past weekend it poured rain but I still made it to the barn to work on the whole "perfect my seat" part of my 2015 goals. Cindy (my trainer's trainer) was in town to whip us into shape. I knew going into this that I would be in for it. I knew I had taken to much time off, but I signed up for it with a goal in mind.

We were standing around talking about our goals and I said I wanted to perfect my seat and I saw the gleam in my trainer's eye. Uh-oh, this means sore muscles for weeks! She told me to grab Raffany.

Doesn't he look thrilled? And ignore the barn aisle. This is after 15 lessons and kids. 

He was actually really good. We worked on my seat and his lazy trot. Cindy made us do, what felt like 100 transitions from trot to walk to canter to walk to trot to canter to trot. It really made me more aware of my seat and brought me back. I tend to lean forward like a hunter. My large chest doesn't help. It also brought him back on his haunches which is how he is supposed to carry himself and enabled him to trot more forward and light. He became putty in my hands and came round into the contact. When he gets like that it feels like magic.

The next day my abs, shoulders and thighs were on fire. Not as bad as I thought they would be, so I was kind of proud of myself, but sore enough that I took a day off.

Monday, I went back to the barn and worked with Soul.

Look at that handsome face. He is the love of my life and my husband has accepted it.
Monday we worked on more transitions. Soul tells on me a little more than Raffany and will let the trainer know the second I do anything wrong. Soul and I have also worked together as a team for years so he knows my ques and I know his so our errors are more obvious. Cindy really went to work on strengthening my core muscles. Ow. Then during all of our transitions to canter from walk and back she noticed my hands slid forward and my body flew forward when I got unsure that he was going to listen. That just made him miss the cue even more. 

She told me to think of myself as a side rein, holding my hands steady but soft and always in the same place. I give way to much apparently. I think my rearing gray taught me that bad habit. I was also told to post with my abs and not my legs. Hmm... can you say pain?

 We also worked on keeping forward momentum in our transitions. It is harder than it sounds to ask your horse to keep moving forward and go into a slower gait all at the same time. We got it though!

 I have a lot to work on the next few months. Cindy comes back in March and I want to show improvement! Tuesday I went and just practiced with Soul so maybe I can actually stick to it all. All I know is that this is what I need. I need horse time, because it is my sanity. Even my husband said, "you are so much happier and brighter after time at the barn."

 I think this is going to be a 2015 goal worth keeping. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Get to know me

It has been awhile since I posted a few facts about myself and I have noticed a few new followers. So here I am, awkwardly talking about myself. It never gets easier.

1. I am addicted to horses. I ride competitively and have since I was a child. 
2. I have been to the world championships in the Morgan hunter ring and I am a regional Dressage champion. 
3. My eyes are emerald green with gold flecks. They are my best feature. 
4. I am in bed by 10:00 every night. I am old. 
5. I am a wimp when it comes to scary movies. I cannot handle them. 
6. If a movie has is about a horse or a dog or anything else cute and cuddly, I will cry. 
7. I have a velcro dog, but I am pretty sure it's me not him. 
8. My husband was my high-school sweet heart. 
9. It is really hard for me to drink water. I prefer wine or sweet tea. 
10. I think daffodils are the happiest flowers. They are my favorite. 
11. If you are having a blah day, throw on some lace. You will feel better instantly. 
12. I love to organize things. 
13. I am a little superstitious. 
14. I am so blind without my contacts. I can't even see the big "E" at the top. 
15. I can drive pretty much anything. Cars, tow trucks, trucks with 4 horse trailers behind them. My husband and dad wanted me to be as independent as they could make me and they succeeded.  

So that's a little bit of me. I hope you stick around to get the rest of my story! 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Advice for the Newly Engaged

This past holiday season my social media feeds blew up with pictures of guys on one knee and perfectly manicured hands showing off shiny diamonds. It feels like EVERYONE got engaged. How exciting?! But holy stress! There are so many things I wish people had told me and so many things I wish I hadn't let bother me.

So after being engaged to the same guy twice (true story) here is my advice:

1. Do NOT look at the task list on any of the wedding sites or in any of those wedding planning books and think that things have to be done exactly by that timeline. 

I remember thinking, "I just got engaged and I have to have a date picked now?! Wait, I need my dress in 8 weeks!!!!"  No. No you don't. Seeing all the tasks are helpful because it gives you a vague idea of what has to be done but I honestly didn't mark off half the stuff on the list and what I did complete wasn't anywhere near the timeline they suggested. I picked out my dress 4 months out not 10 and it turned out just fine. I wish I hadn't stressed so much in the beginning and just relaxed. I felt so rushed. 

2. The dress doesn't have to make you cry. 

I actually had people tell say, "You didn't cry when you put your dress on? Maybe it's not the one. You should keep shopping." Wait... what? No, I didn't cry, my mom didn't cry...heck I think we were just excited that the huge task was out of the way. And guess what?  I loved my dress. I still love my dress. I have actually worn it two more times since then for photo shoots for my photographer sister. Sure maybe there are dresses prettier than mine, flashier than mine and pricier than mine but my dress fit my wedding and my style and my body type. Don't let others tell you how you should feel or how the process should go. They will just cause you to doubt yourself. 

3. DO find an engaged couples workshop. 

We attended a engaged couples weekend that was life changing. They had us talk about every issue that typically causes divorce from money to religion to raising kids. Let me just say.... WOW! It was a lot to think about but we came out of it much more stable and much closer. I highly recommend it. 

4. Do not let your guests and family tell you how your day should go. 
This day is about you and your fiance and the sacrament of marriage. That is it. It's not about who didn't want to sit at weird uncle Lou's table or who hates the food choices and thinks you should change your menu. You cannot make everyone happy so focus on making the two of you happy. I actually had some of his family members email me complaining about the music I walked down the aisle to. It was Canon in D! I didn't get crazy! 

5. Remember: It is just one day. 
Just remember, this is one day. A glitch or two isn't going to mess it all up. I promise. The morning of a marathon had downtown shutdown so dad almost didn't make it to the florists to pick up my bouquet. One of the groomsmen had a vest 3 sizes to small.  They didn't start playing Canon D until I had made it to the last cue because no one gave the music coordinator the cue. I walked halfway down the aisle to Ave Maria. I am the only one who noticed and we still got married. Do not panic if things are not perfect. Just don't fall. 

Kidding, kidding. But seriously, enjoy this moment. Don't get caught up in the details, get caught up in the romance and magic. Have fun and know it will all be wonderful. Congratulations! 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

This year, I will...

I suck at resolutions. I start with high hopes and then around February or March I see something shiny and get side tracked. They NEVER last.

This year will be different. I think. I hope. This year I am not making resolutions, but I have a list of goals and things  I want to do. I picked out some cute paper and put it in the front of my agenda so I will see it EVERYDAY. Then, I made my list. 

This year, I will... 
1. Get healthy.
I am not going to say lose weight, although I would love to lose 50 pounds. I am going to say get     healthy. I want to feel good about myself and know that I am taking care of my body. 

This verse will be my motivation. 

2. Start an Etsy shop. 
I have picked up crocheting and knitting and I really hope to start a little shop. So far, I have a few     scarves done and some cute socks. I also want to include vintage goodies and stuff for organization.  

3. Go camping
 I have all the gear and used to go for school all the time (biology nerd here!) but I haven't gone since college. I want to go to different state parks around here. 

4. Take a trip to Cloudland Canyon. 
 This one kind of goes with #3 but it could be a day trip. I have no idea why I haven't made it out there. From what I have heard it is AMAZING. 
Photo By Dzmitry (Dima) Parul via
5. Blog more.
 I enjoy this space and I enjoy looking back on events that have happened, but for some reason I 
can never carve out enough time to actually blog. I have a notebook filled with ideas and not enough time to share them. 

6. Organize the garage. 
It is a hot mess. 

7. Payoff my last credit card.
Because I HATE debt. Hate it. 

8. Can fresh veggies. 
This year I tried to get back to the basics and make things from scratch like my great-grandmother did. I plan to continue this and learn canning! 

9. Perfect my "seat". 
I have been an equestrian since birth pretty much and there are still things that need to be fixed. It's one of those things you will NEVER be perfect at and that is why I love it. My seat used to be amazing. I rode 6 days a week and truly moved with my horse. Now that I ride like 3 times a month, I feel like a beginner. I am fixing that. 

10. Drink more water. 
Yeah, that whole get healthy thing. Sorry, Starbucks we might be divorcing. It's not you, it's me. 

11. Wear yoga pants less. 
I am already working on this. I have gotten into the habit of wearing yoga pants everywhere. Time to get back to looking a little more presentable. 

12. Serve more. 

If I can stick to this, 2015 will be a pretty amazing year. I hope yours is amazing as well. 

Happy New Years