January 1st, 2019

Tuesday, January 1st, 2019

Here we are my friends. Year three.

What does that mean for me here?

Not much really. We’ll just keep chugging along and see where life takes us.

Last year, I added in the challenge of self portraits (some with pets too), and while I don’t normally enjoy being in front of the camera I actually I really loved taking self portraits.

I gave myself really loose parameters – I believe I hoped to do one once a week – and I know there were some times that I went much longer than that, but I also enjoyed that side of it too. The idea that I kept myself accountable to completing them, but I didn’t hold myself to a strict timetable. I did them as they felt right and felt necessary, which was perfect.

And having self portraits with my animals? Treasures for sure. Especially after losing Burke this spring; I used the tool of self portraits to work through grief (the day he died), but also to bring comfort and joy back to my heart when missing him (seeing his interaction with me from the camera’s viewpoint). It makes looking back a little more bearable when I’m in the image with him.

So I believe that will be another project I bring with into 2019 as well.

One thing I may add to my self portrait venture is throwing Paul into the mix. I have some great images of the two of us that I took both last year and the year before, and I treasure them. There’s a place for selfies, but I always come back to the images of us from my actual camera. So maybe trying to do one of Paul and me once a month? Paul, what say you? 🙂

I’m not making any personal goals or resolutions this year, not sticking to any particular theme of growth. Perhaps just continuing on with this project is goal enough.

I guess you’ll just have to follow along, and we’ll find out together!

July 31st

Tuesday, July 31st, 2018

Remember how I bought the Tiny Book of Tiny Pleasures?

Well, I also bought a pack of Kindness Cards that weekend.

100 cards that inspire kindness, compassion, and empathy.

I’ve been slowly reading through them, a few at a time, and these two stood out to me today.

July 30th

Monday, July 30th, 2018

It’s that time of the season when our garden is out of control.

I think we harvested 75-100 cherry tomatoes this afternoon, and there is still so much out there. My onions are starting to look like they’ll be ready soon (YAY!), and I’ve canned 11 jars of pickles (and counting…). My beefsteak tomatoes are finally starting to ripen, so hopefully those will be next.

We just finished all of the potatoes I harvested last week, and because of my focus on those, a sweet potato I bought at the store last week has started to grow tubers. I’ve never had a sweet potato long enough for that to happen, so I was pleasantly surprised at how beautiful their tubers are.  The leaves are so delicate, their color so alive and vibrant, and they weave together as they grow.

This little leaf was today’s tiny pleasure.

July 29th

Sunday, July 29th, 2018

Easy like Sunday morning.

We woke up this morning, packed our coffee and breakfast, and went down to the barn earlier than normal. Our motivation? To have breakfast with the boys.

We’ve been keeping the horses off the pasture the past couple of days because something is in peak bloom right now, and it doesn’t agree with Junior. Something he’s eating is suddenly causing profuse salivation; it’s nothing that harms him, but I’m sure it’s very uncomfortable. It happened around this time last summer, so we’ve just kept them off the pasture, hoping that a few days time will allow whatever plant is out there to peak and recede.

In the meantime, the boys have been bored. They’ve tolerated it well, but we wanted to bring them out into our outdoor and let them stretch their legs a bit and munch on the grass around the fence.

So out came our folding chairs, breakfast, and coffee while the boys enjoyed a change of pace.

It was so relaxing and wonderful. A quiet, cool Sunday morning with warm coffee and good company.

Once breakfast was done, we did a lovely morning ride, and it felt good to ride early. Normally we don’t get our act together until afternoon or evening, so this was a great jump start to our day.

July 28th

Saturday, July 28th, 2018

Paul and I both had great rides yesterday.

Buck did beautiful walk-lope transitions for me in both directions, and Junior and Paul worked on their long trotting. Both boys were relaxed and just as  happy about the great weather as we were.

Today we were hoping to squeeze in another ride, but we spent the day helping friends install flooring in their new townhome, so we got home too late.

But Paul and Junior got a good snuggle session in after we fed grain, and my heart was a puddle as I watched them.

These two love each other, there’s no doubt about that.

July 27th

Friday, July 28th, 2018

The weather was absolutely perfect this morning.

Perfect.

Gorgeous sunshine, comfortable temperatures, no bugs.

So after morning chores, I sat out on the patio with Henna and enjoyed my coffee.

My mom loves tall landscape grasses, and as I sat enjoying the morning and my four legged company, I watched the sunlight dance through them.

I took that moment to say a little prayer of thanks for the incredible gift of creation.

July 26th

Thursday, July 26th, 2018

Paul and I had two pretty sweet visitors today.

Our neighbor Frankie loves animals. Looooves animals. He may compete with me and my love for all things animals.

Any animal related chore, he’s the first to volunteer.

He once asked me if Paul and I were going on any trips anytime soon so he could come take care of Burke for us.

Henna wandered down to visit? He happily walked her home.

We’re at the cabin for the night? He’ll be there to feed our barn cats for us, even though he suffers from allergies for three days afterwards.

Any chance he has at loving on some animals, and he’s there.

I knew he had been asking his parents for a dog for awhile, but with how long he’d been asking, I figured his chances were slim.

Well today, Paul and I were heading back to the barn, and when we stopped down in our cul-de-sac to drop off our recycling can, I see Frankie running down the driveway towards us. Almost at a sprint.

I was concerned at first, thinking something was wrong, until he turned the corner and I saw this sweet puppy running alongside him. Frankie’s smile was about the biggest I’d ever seen it.

It was like a children’s book, folks. A boy and a puppy practically flying toward us; the amount of joy I saw on this boy’s face was indescribable.

And we were so touched by how much he wanted to share that with us.

So, everyone, meet Molly. She’s a 16 week old Beagle/Terrier mix who is forecasted to be about 15-20 pounds full grown. She’s so sweet and full of love, and has been a part of their family for just a couple of weeks.

To give you some perspective on how tiny she is, here she is next to Frankie:
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As a child who loved animals, I could share in his excitement.

His own dog, practically a dream come true.

And again, the fact that he was so excited to come and share his joy with us was really a treat.

I had a smile on my face the entire afternoon!

July 25th

Wednesday, July 25th, 2018

I may be the only person in the world who got disproportionately excited when they discovered there was a rabbit in their garden.

There really isn’t much to follow that up with, I’m not sure what else to say.

Is it wrong if I say that I hope it comes back?

Even if it is, I hope he comes back. Bunny fixes can be had with wild buns too.

July 24th

Tuesday, July 24th, 2018

God is so good.

When life gets busy, it’s easy for me to forget that. I don’t know about you, but when life is good, it’s also easy for God to find a backseat.

I’ve found myself doing that lately. Going, going, going, and forgetting that I am most centered when I’m searching for God’s beauty and goodness daily. When I start to take life for granted I start to drift from God.

So this weekend when we were all walking in downtown Stillwater, we came across this sweet little local bookshop and stopped in. I found this treasure of a book called “The Tiny Book of Tiny Pleasures.” I started paging through it and fell in love; this book was made for me.

Some examples of the tiny pleasures captured within this book:
-Licking the mixing bowl clean
-A postcard that cheers you up, pinned above your desk
-Decorating a small corner of your life
-Breathing in nature
-Something that falls yet doesn’t break
-Pretty packaging
-Saying no for once (ha!)
-A beautifully laid table
-Bare branches etched in the moonlight
-Shelling your own peas
-Spotting a bird’s nest

There are four hundred pages in this book, and with each little phrase or item is a beautifully illustrated watercolor image that depicts each pleasure. It’s beautiful to page through, and may be my favorite book I’ve ever bought. So many small reminders of what pleasure is, and all of the places we can find it.

This morning was one that contained many small pleasures, all before 9 o-clock:
-Wildflowers
-A walk with a friend
-Morning light
-Two wild turkeys (with chicks!!) on our path
-Fresh summer air
-Greenery everywhere
-Bluebird skies

Then when I made it home, we had two other friends that joined us for breakfast:
-Doughnuts (because duh)
Good GREAT news
-Lots of laughter, smiling so much my cheeks hurt

Then off to lunch with more beautiful souls:
-Local eats
-Hugs with good friends
-Catching up on life
-God talk

Then back home again to appreciate the special man God made, who became my husband.

God is good, friends. God is good.

July 23rd

Monday, July 23rd, 2018

I was gone for three nights, Paul was also gone for one of those, and now the cats follow us everywhere.

Today, as we sat at the dining room table eating breakfast, Colt made himself comfortable on our end table by our couch. From there, he could equally keep an eye on us as well as on the birds outside the window.

The light was so pretty on his face that I grabbed my camera. When I took a moment to frame up my shot, I was able to line up the TV behind him, giving me a black background. I did go in and accentuate the shadows and blacks in post-production, but it’s a good reminder that anything can be a jumping off point!

July 21st

Saturday, July 21st, 2018

Naturally, with a bachelorette party comes some rowdiness.

I can confidently say that I contributed to that (bwahaha!).

One of the main games I organized for Kya was called “Drop Your Panties,” where each guest brings a piece of lingerie, bra, panty, etc for the bride to be. The catch is that everyone brings it wrapped, but unmarked, so Kya has to guess who gave her what.

It’s hilarious, quite frankly.

So I did what I do best. I got her the most ridiculous panty I could possibly find.

In my Etsy browsing while looking for party decorations, prizes, etc., I found a shop that takes a picture of the groom and puts it on underwear.

Freaking hilarious.

So I messaged Tim asking for a winking or goofy selfie of himself for a “Top Secret Project” for Kya, and he sent me the most ridiculous picture of him in a photo booth wearing an astronaut outfit.

I went with it because that totally added to the hilarity.

I told her all weekend that Tim helped me with her gift and she was super intrigued; when we finally played the game and she opened her gift, it only took one guess for her to tag who gave her that (after she was done wiping her eyes from laugh-crying so hard).

Success!