Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween 2012!  I used to be so organized about getting the kids costumes 6-8 weeks before Halloween.  My oldest daughter would tell me in September what she wanted to be and I would jump on ebay and hunt down the perfect costume.  There were years I got in bidding wars with those other moms who wanted that same costume for their young ones!  But I usually came out the winner, even if it cost me fifty dollars more then I wanted to spend!  These last couple years I have become one of those moms who asks their kids what they want to be for Halloween, but then don't really start searching for costumes until about the middle of October. Well, I can't exactly shop for Jenna's costume because she changes her mind ten times a day every other day!  So this year, I was on top of things and made them look at costumes a month before Halloween.  Jen decided she wanted to be a spider countess, which of course they had plenty of them in stock at that time.  Well, I figured it was just a phase and she would change her mind.  Little did I know, she really meant she wanted to be a spider countess.  So a couple weeks ago I started looking for that exact costume and to my luck, I couldn't find it!  So finally the second store in another city that I checked had 1 more in stock and BINGO - her size!!  God was working in my favor that day!  I kept asking Alyssa what she wanted to be.  "Mom, I don't know, I need to look at costumes."   GRRR...... I told her to make up her mind and quickly.  So finally Saturday we hit one of those Halloween stores that are way too expensive just to see what they had.  I looked at those prices and thought 'no way!!'  Luckily we scored a witch's costume for under $15.  Again, BINGO!!  Until we started adding accessories from another store... a witch's brooms, of course orange and black witch's tights, shoes, make-up.... Sigh.....

Oh, but while picking up last minute accessories, we hit the jackpot and found our family dog a pumpkin costume.  The girls and I were so excited about the dog's costume... daddy.. not so much but we convinced him the dog would love it!

Happy Halloween!  Stay safe no matter what you do on this Halloween night.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Here comes something new on my blog!  Each Wednesday I will post a picture with just a few words about the picture.  This ensure I will post at least once a week.  This Wordless Wednesday tradition begins with a picture of myself and my girls from the fair. 

Fair 2012

  I love this picture for several reasons.  It was taken at dinner one evening at our fair a few weeks ago.  Jenna is very loveable and loves her Mom and big sister.  These two are my reasons for living and I just love when I get to spend time with them.  It is simple moments like these that make life great and worth living.  Thank you God for giving me these two beautiful girls to raise!

Monday, August 20, 2012

From One Stretch to Another...

Well that time that comes every year in August has once again arrived.... back to school time.  I used to be one of those parents that was ready before the time arrived because I loved sending my oldest daughter back to school.  It started our routine back, and I didn't have to worry about bothering either grandma to watch her.  But as the kids get older, I treasure my time more and more with them.  I remember 2 years ago I was so excited because both kids were in school then.  The routine was better because both girls went to school all day and got off the bus at the same time.  That only lasted a year since Alyssa was in 5th grade and Jen was in kindergarten.  It seems like that was just yesterday, but fast forward until now and I have a 7th grader and a 2nd grader. 

Our summer consists of the girls visiting Granny most days, followed by attending a 4-H event almost every single weeknight of the summer.  It's routine for me to leave work, drive 35 minutes to where they are to sit and wait for them to get done with whatever clinic they are participating in that evening, and get home late in the evening.  I love that the girls are so involved in 4-H activities, but it can be extremely tiresome for all of us.  Alyssa is fortunate enough to show horses, sheep, goats and her dog at the fair.  Likewise, Jenna participates with her horse, a sheep and a goat.  Now that doesn't sound like much but when there are different practices 3-4 nights a week, it is alot.  And throw in the fact that I have a middle school cheerleader now - let's just say I'm lucky to sleep 6 hours a night!

Around our house, we have two main stretches of the year.  The first is the school year which runs 9 1/2 months of the year.  Then there is summer break which is the remaining 2 1/2 months of the year.  The school year takes up most of our time with school activities, practices, games, homework and then of course the normal nightly routine of dinner, bath, and bedtime.  I would love to think that when summer break comes along, it's mainly a break for us.  It is in the fact there is no daily homework but 4-H and other activities fill the void there! 

I am happy to say that most of our 4-H activities and our fair are all over for the year!  This means we start our long school stretch which I think is a good thing.  At least I'm trying to convince myself of that!  Starting back to school means early bedtimes, early to rise, and tired kids at night.  We are on day 5 of the school year and as I told my daughter this morning - 175 more days to go!  Am I ready for summer to be over?  No not really, and even though it has a few more days on the calendar, I consider summer break over the day they start back to school. 

I can say I am happy with the progress the girls made this year with their animals and well they did at the fair.  They may not have won every single class they were in, but they did come home with a few trophies, plaques, and ribbons.  And they were happy with their results.  That is what's important to me! 

As we say goodbye to summer break, daily 4-H events and the fair, we must say hello to another school year.  Now that I'm getting used to getting up super early again to get Alyssa off on the bus, I think I'm happy that the school year has begun.  I took advantage last week and cleaned house and did laundry while the house was peaceful and quiet with everyone still asleep.  It should be illegal that Alyssa's bus comes as early as it does, but on the flip side, it's also nice to get things accomplished early in the morning.  So as we end our summer stretch and begin our school stretch, we will enjoy and cherish the days.  Because in the blink of an eye, I will be writing about preparing for the fair and the end of school year again....

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The "You Have BAD Breath" Day...

My kids usually visit the eye doctor right before returning to school.  I was looking at the calendar a few weeks ago and realized I hadn't scheduled their appointments quite yet.  So with trying to accommodate my vacation week and work schedule, so I picked a day I already had to leave early.  My youngest daughter had a dentist appointment scheduled late one afternoon, so it worked out perfect that I scheduled their eye doctor visits for that same afternoon.  What I failed to realize was that because of doing just that, I would have blog material fall right into my lap.

It's no surprise that Jenna is the daily entertainment for our family.  She is the never-know-what-she-is-going-to-say-or-do-next child.  She is my handful but she is also very sweet and loving.  There is never a dull moment around our home when she is awake.  I know the expression kids say the darndest things is often heard or said.  Unfortunately, that might just be an understatement of her actions that afternoon.  She is known to be energetic almost all the time, but this day she was pumped up and ready to go.  I didn't ask her Granny if she gave her boat loads of chocolate that afternoon, but maybe I should have.  So we arrive just in time at the eye doctor's office.  Since she is the only one who wears glasses, she was raring to go first.  She jumped right up in that big black chair and started asking the doctor her normal 20+ questions.  What's that do, what's this do, why is that picture on the wall, what do you use this for?  Then he came closer to her to instruct her on what to do and where to sit.  Next thing I know, out of her mouth came four words that embarrassed the daylights out of me and left me speechless.  She looked him straight in the eye and said "You have bad breath."  Ugh, what, ummm, hmmmm, oh my God, my child did NOT just say what she did.  Yep, she certainly did and it was too late to rewind the scene.  My first action was to immediately look at Alyssa on my left with my mouth wide open.  What could I say or do?  It's not like I could jump up, spank her butt, and lecture her about things we don't say at that moment in time.  So I said her name very sternly, and told her that wasn't a nice thing to say.  Then it was time to try and save face as much as I possibly could.  The damage was already done, but I couldn't let the situation go completely.  I explained to the eye doctor to please not think anything about it because she tells me, my husband, and her sister that all the time.  He laughed it off but I could tell he was bothered by the comment.  But to retreat, he got her back because she had her flip flops on the floor and was barefoot.  He told her she had stinky feet!  Good one doc, considering you were just told your breath stinks!! 

So after that humiliating incident, it was time for Alyssa to get her eyes checked.  As always, the good child sat up there and did as she was supposed to do.  No humiliating words left that pretty little mouth and her eyes checked out great like they always do!

So after both exams were done, it was time to pick out glasses for the year.  I told the ladies working in the office what Jenna said, and they laughed about it.  But then the lady who always helps us pick out Jen's glasses put gum in her mouth and now always chews gum when she is around clients... all thanks to those 4 little words my daughter spoke that day.  The glasses choice was a quick and easy one, and it was time to be off to the next stop - the dentist where the people are nice and close to your mouth, oh my....

Let's just say Jenna received a lecture and a threat that she better not embarrass Mommy at the dentist office like she did at the eye doctor.  We reminded her that sometimes we may have a thought in our head, but we don't speak it out loud.  For most people, this is common sense, but for Jenna it can be difficult.  She has always spoke her mind or asked whatever is on the brain at the time. Lord knows I have tried to teach her appropriate things to say, but there are just times where her mouth is out of my control.  Her little brain operates and there is no stopping her! 

Her dentist venture began with her cleaning as usual.  At least I had conversation material for everyone in that office that we came in contact with for that appointment.  I told the story and each person just laughed and thought it was hysterical.  I have to admit it was a bit funny.  Honestly, what can you do after your daughter says that?  You have to laugh just a little bit, but the embarrassment definitely superseded the humor in it.  She continued on her role at the dentist of being energetic and thinking she was funny.  At one point, she asked the dental hygienist if she had anything to keep her distracted while she waited on the dentist to come in the room.  So she received a lovely tic-tac-toe electronic game to play with for a few minutes.  Then the dentist came in the room and heard the same funny story.  I have to admit I was grateful that none of them had bad breath.  At least Jenna didn't blurt it out if she thought so....

What was supposed to be a pretty quiet routine afternoon of doctor/dentist appointments turned into a comedy session that day.  And a day the eye doctor and ladies in that office will never forget!  I hope when she is 20 years old, the doctor harasses her about this story.  I dearly love both of my girls and their personalities.  It's funny how they are so much different from one another.  They both have qualities about themselves that I wouldn't change.  What I think I will change is the fact I will start carrying duct tape in my purse....  Thanks for the laugh and blog material Jenna.  We did get to pick up the glasses a few days later, and thank goodness no one had bad breath that day!

Monday, December 19, 2011

It's Christmas - Let's Pay it Forward!

One of my more recent blogs was written about a bad day I had and complaining about my car needing repaired. Looking back on 3 months ago, it was a crazy few days. The expression of when it rains, it pours was completely true. I won't bore you with the details of everything that went wrong (or maybe I should say not in my favor), but let's just say I was a bit overwhelmed and was afraid to ask "what next?" Because I didn't think I could handle any more downpours of bad luck!

I know that God always provides when we need him to. I am a personal testimonial to this. And I can personally say he has blessed our family with exactly what we have needed these past few months. Since we have been so abundantly taken care of these past few weeks, my girls and I talked about ways we could give back, even if it was just something small.

With Christmas just around the corner, we agreed that we wanted to get a Christmas tree angel from the giving tree. We decided to go to our local Wal-Mart and pick a name and go shopping. Well, time got the better of us, and we kind of procrastinated. But the good news is that when we went to pick a name off the tree, there were 3 names left. My little one wanted to choose a girl from the tree to buy gifts for, but all the girl names were all taken. All that was left were 3 boys who were pre-teen ages. We picked one of those tree angels off the tree and off we went. I am so used to shopping for girls, so it was really took some effort to think what this little boy might like. The angel tag from the tree listed his clothing sizes and interests so we picked out a variety of clothes and some toys we thought he might like. The girls loved help picking out stuff and I had a warm feeling in my heart when we dropped our bag full of goodies off at the drop-off location for this charity. Plus the girls got a taste of what the true meaning of Christmas is. They were able to help out someone and that feeling made them happy to be able to help someone in need.

Lately I have found myself doing little things for others, strangers included, just because I want to. I admit I've not always been great about offering to help others out because like most people, I'm usually in a hurry and on a mission to get things accomplished. Just like today, there was a lady in a power wheelchair while grocery shopping staring at me getting my milk out of the cold section. I started to walk away, but instead turned around and asked if she needed help with something. I'm certainly glad I asked because what she needed was on the very top shelf and she couldn't reach it. I was happy I could help her out, and it only took about 10 seconds of my time and cost nothing to help her. I'm not telling you this to receive a pat on the back. Just simply sharing a story of how we can help others if we just take a moment out of our precious time and offer our help.

If it has been awhile since you have paid it forward, I challenge you to try this task. It doesn't even have to cost you any money. It might only take a couple minutes of your time, but it would help someone out. Is there an elderly person you know who could use some help around their home, or maybe someone to drive them to the store, or maybe just visiting someone like this for a little while? Is there an organization that you know could use some help and you could offer some of your time? Is there a family or friend you know could use an extra little something that maybe you could make a meal for or offer a gift card for a meal? It's little things like these examples that travel a mile. Sometimes if we just make a least amount of effort, it means the world to those on the receiving end. So again, I challenge YOU to pay it forward, in some way, big or small, in the next week. There are plenty of ways to do this. And the greatest part is that you will love the feeling inside when you do pay it forward. And in return, God will provide for you when you need it. It may not be in the way you expect to receive it, but it always comes full circle. Do something good for someone else, and in return, something good will be given to you.

I recently read a story in my local paper about an anonymous donor paying off several customers who had things in layaway for Christmas at K-Mart stores. The lady's husband had passed away and she was paying it forward by helping others. She was even handing out $50 bills to people in the store. This, ladies and gentlemen, is an angel sent from Heaven to help others in need. What a lovely surprise to those who had their layaway balances reduced or even paid in full. God always provides when we need Him to, and this is just one small example.

Remember, pay it forward in some small way and you will receive blessings in abundance of your good deed. God will always take care of us when we need Him to. But He also asks that we take care of others when they need us to.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Making New Memories

It's that time of year again ~ Christmas just around the corner, Santa Claus coming to town soon, holidays, gatherings with family and friends, gifts, enjoying a few days from the normal routine, etc. I absolutely love this time of year, and as time passes, I love this season even more. The kids get a little taller each year, get a little smarter, and yes, another year older. Children don't stay little forever so I want to make the most of it while I can watching them grow up!

This year we experimented with a couple new things that may become our traditions. First thing, there is a Santa train that passes through our neighboring town on a Friday each year. I have always heard about it and thought it sounded neat, but decided that this was the year we were going to experience it for the first time. Luckily the day that it was due to arrive was my scheduled day off from work so after school, we loaded up in the car and off we went. We arrived 1 1/2 hours before it's scheduled arrival time because I knew the line would be long. And I'm glad we did! We were about 30 people back in line so I knew we'd get a good view of it when it came pulling up on the track. I saw some friends of mine and chatted with a few here and there while waiting in line. My girls found a friend of theirs they have known since she was a baby so they were running around with her. What was super nice about the place we saw the train is that it was located at the fire station. They set up lines to wait inside for the train so we weren't out in the cold. And what made it ever better was the hot chocolate and cookies they served each person. Even though I ended up wearing half of my 6 year old daughter's hot chocolate, it was all the well worth it.

The train arrived about 10-15 minutes ahead of schedule which was fabulous! I had no idea it would be as long as it was. What I was thinking would be 1-2 train cars turned into at least 5-6 (I couldn't count them all). The girls faces lit up as bright as the stars in the sky when they saw the Santa train. Then all of a sudden all of these cartoon and storybook characters started to climb out of the train. They were circling the crowd and dancing with each other and interacting with the kids. Buzz Lightyear even pulled my oldest daughter out and started dancing with her! It was amazing to see the inside of the train and the kids just loved seeing Santa and Mrs. Claus. The time inside the train was only about 10 minutes but so worth the long wait! Because when we left the line was wrapped around outside of the building and those poor folks had at least a 2 hour wait.

After the neat train episode, it was time to decide on dinner. There was a little cafe just down the street that I have passed for 31 years but never stopped in there. I asked my girls if they wanted to try something new and they were excited about that. Little did I know that they were closing about 5 minutes after we entered the restaurant. I noticed it was half full when we got there but within about 15 minutes, everyone has cleared out. I apologized to our waitress and she was so sweet and glad that we came in. She told us it was no problem and to take our time. It was a cute little place that served homemade food. I do believe we will be going back sometime!

The Santa train we finally got to see:

My girls with Santa & Mrs. Claus:

Girls with the Snowman:

Making New Memories ~ Part 2

I have always wanted to host a Christmas cookie exchange party. I decided this year I was going to do just that! I asked my oldest daughter if she wanted to help me because she loves helping to plan stuff like that. "Did you say cookies Mom? Cookies?? Why, of course, Mom, I'd love to!" That child would turn into a cookie if I would let her! So we set the date, time and sent out the invitation. We only invited a few ladies who lived close by, mainly our good friends and family. I must say I love hosting parties but they can be alot of work. Clean the house, make sure the kids keep the house clean, clean some more, bake the goodies, prepare the finger foods, get the drinks ready, etc. I love, love, love hosting events but it can sometimes take many hours/days to get ready for fun that only lasts for 2 hours. All was set and the guests started arriving as scheduled, with the exception of the grandmas who arrived early but that was fine. Each person brought in their yummy goodies. There were peanut butter blossoms, more peanut butter blossoms, peanut butter cookies, chocolate chip cookies, no bake cookies, peppermint cookies, cereal balls with white chocolate, gingerbread women men, different types of fudge, snickerdoodles, the list goes on and on...

The kids decided to play in the girls rooms while the ladies mingled and chatted. There was Christmas music playing, candles burning, and the feel of happiness and Christmas in the air. I can say our Christmas cookie exchange was a huge success and I think we have found our annual event to do again next year! After all, how could you not want to make one dessert and then bring some of each of these home??

We are making new memories each year that comes and goes. I love the feel of the holidays and the feel that is in the air during Christmas time. And I love the reason we celebrate CHRISTmas. I have taught my girls that Jesus's birthday is on Christmas Day. Without Jesus who died for our sins, who knows what this world would be like? I do not want to know what this world would be like without Jesus or God. Because without Him, we would not exist, or be who we are today. Thank you Jesus for the many blessings you have given the world. And for that, I cannot wait to celebrate your birthday in just a few days. Merry Christmas to all!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Suck It Up Buttercup

Well, hello again, blog! It's been awhile since I've been able to catch a breath to write anything for awhile. Summer has been crazy busy with work and 4-H stuff for my girls. I have missed you, fellow blog!

Suck it up buttercup... this was running through my head today and by coincidence, I found this exact same phrase on a recent post on a blog that I follow and hadn't read for awhile. So I'm thinking this is God's message to me today!

Have you ever had one of those days where bedtime can't come quick enough? You want to rewind, get up, and start over again? Yeah, well, today just so happened to be that day for this country girl. And let's just say it started bright and early this morning. My oldest daughter is now in middle school and gets on the bus over 2 hours earlier then she used to for elementary school. It was one of "those mornings" and her crankiness tried to spill over on to me. Notice I said "tried." It didn't happen, and I was not going to allow it to. Granted, I am not a morning person, and probably never will be. So this is challenging for me some days. I wake up each morning, grateful for another day to be alive and well, and tell myself that I will have a good day. I even said to myself that I was going to have one of those days, and I was right! The majority of my day wasn't too bad, until I was 5 minutes from home.

I saw something I've never seen before. My car's 'service engine soon' light came on for the first time I have ever seen since I've owned it. I arrived to pick up the kids just in time to smell something to do with antifreeze. I am completely non-car-mechanical (that was a fun word to make up), so I instructed my mechanic in the family to go take a look at his next victim. He fired up the engine only to see white smoke rolling from the exhaust pipe and the smell of a hot engine sifting through the air. Strike one, strike two! I did not want to know what strike three was going to be. My poor baby will have to sit for a few days until the diagnosis is made. That will give me and my truck some bonding time since it's not my favorite primary vehicle to drive. I guess there goes my paycheck for gas the next few days at 10 miles to the gallon!

So after the initial shock of my daily driver coughing and hacking out some nasty stuff, I decided to tackle the rest of the night. The first thing I did when I got in my house was attempted to put the groceries away. A bag fell from my hand and I heard CRASH! Oops.... guess the brand new light bulbs I got today were no longer usable. Just grand... Next, my front door decided to jam itself shut. Sigh, what next? I wasn't sure I really wanted to know. The next hour passed uneventful until one child was sick to her stomach. Then the other did not want to go to bed at normal bedtime. She was hungry, she was thirsty, she ran out of drink and needed more, she had to potty, she wanted another hug and kiss, sigh....

Is it morning yet?

No, it's not so I guess I will continue writing on this blog :). I have always said that we have bad days, and we have our good days. Well, if today was a bad day, tomorrow has to be better. Right? I certainly pray that it is a better day! Was it a coincidence that 'suck it up buttercup' kept bouncing around in my head today? Nah, it was a clear message from God himself to literally suck it up. I need to hold my head up and look forward because better things are to come. The car will soon be fixed, the broken glass was cleaned up, the little things that went wrong today are just that. Little things that won't matter in a week, or a month from now. So here is to a better day tomorrow, and hopefully the rest of the week too! At least tomorrow is the end of the month and with September not only comes a new month, but a new season too.

Since my little ones are in bed and my house is too quiet, this buttercup hears Zumba calling her name. So off I go to suck it up and burn some calories all at the same time! Remember to live and love happy :)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Saying Goodbye is Never Easy

Well, the day I never wanted to arrive, shockingly came on Thursday, May 19, 2011. This is the day I never knew how to face. My palomino gelding, Sunset, was laid to rest. I received a call towards the end of my work day from my mom, saying I should probably get home. He was colicing, and it did not look good. Normally, this horse will colic 2-3 times a year, and he has always come out of it, so in my head, it was just another one of those times. I expected to arrive at the barn, walk him around for a few minutes, and then put him back in the stall and thank God that he did not choose that day to take my horse from me. Unfortunately, that was not the case. My mom had already did the necessary actions that a vet would have done - mineral oil, shots of banamine, walking him without stopping. When I got there, I took over walking him at a rapid pace because he was trying to lay down. When a horse colics, that means there is pain in their abdomen, and their natural instinct is they want to lay down or roll. That is their way of relieving the pain. For some reason, my horse had a tendency to do it every few months, and it was always scary. But luckily my mom has tons of horse knowledge, and always knew what to do! You can read more about colic in horses HERE.

Anyone that has ever lost an animal they have owned for many years will understand the pain. As a tribute to Sunset, I will share his story with you:

My mom received a call from our farrier back in April 1991 and told her she needed to come and look at this horse that he had. A family was selling him, and he thought Sunset would be the perfect match for us. Now at the time, my mom was nearly 9 months pregnant with my brother, so she could not ride this horse when we went to look at him. So I was the lucky rider, I was 11 years old at the time. He was quiet and easygoing and very laidback. I was a little nervous about riding new horses at that age, but I wasn't scared to ride him. We liked him so we traded another horse and some cash for our new horse, Sunset. When my brother was an infant, my mom would put him in the snuggie and trail ride Sunset. She trusted him enough to put a baby on him while she would ride at the same time, so therefore, I trusted the horse from the first time I rode him. Within a couple years, I had put dibs on "my horse" and would rarely let anyone else ride on him. He was absolutely the best horse I had ever ridden. He had the smoothest little trot and a slow, collected canter. I would ride that horse for hours and hours on trails around our home and Brown County. I showed him in 4-H for several years. I would always love it when he won his halter classes, and western pleasure classes. I did contest him, but he wasn't ever very good because he was so slow. But it was still fun to try and make him canter as fast as he could to get the best time in the gaming events. We went camping many weekends throughout my childhood and into my older teenage years. When I got pregnant with my oldest daughter, I rode this horse up until I was almost 7 months pregnant. And the only reason I didn't ride up until I was 9 months is the fact that is was winter, and there was no way I was riding in the cold! When my oldest was 3 months old, we took our first cruise on Sunset with her in my snuggie pouch. I trusted this horse with my life, and I knew he wouldn't hurt the newborn baby either. I continued to ride him with her until she was too big for the snuggie, then she rode with me on my saddle until she was big enough to ride him on his own. She actually learned to ride on him and showed him her first year in 4-H. My little one also rode him some last summer. My girls also rode him together, or double as we horse people call it. I rode Sunset in the fall parade almost every year until 2 years ago when I had to relinquish him to my oldest daughter. It was bittersweet ~ she was on MY horse, but I knew she was in good hands because he took good care of her. This horse also had a fabulous sense of direction. He also knew when we were headed home, headed back to camp, or headed back to the horse trailer. In the instance of the parade, at the corner of Main and Morgan Streets in our town, this horse would turn left at the corner and instantly pick up speed. That was the halfway point in the parade, so he knew he was downhill (not literally) on the way back to the fairgrounds. He had completed 50% of the route and he was homeward bound, and he knew it. I told my daughter what he would do, and I don't think she quite believed me. But as soon as he rounded the corner with her on his back, his high speed kicked in and I remember her telling me "Wow, Mom, you were right!" Now if I could only get her to realize that and say that Mom is right all the time... Anyway, this horse would also pick up speed when we were headed home on trail rides, or back to camp in Brown County. He would take his sweet time, and slowly move his feet when headed away from where ever we were, but hang on tight when we reach that halfway point and start to head back! This horse also liked to drink mountain dew. It was a tradition that I would drink a mountain dew at a horse show, or while camping and save the last couple drinks for him. I would pour it out close to his mouth and he would lap it up, all while usually covering me in the drink I shared with him. But I didn't mind. He was such a good horse, I had to share my drink with him! He also had a natural stance for posing for the camera. Almost all the pictures I have of him show him with his ears perked up, and happy. I even have a few silly ones as well. Like this one:

Yes, he was quite the poser! And with an owner like me that loves to take pics, well, let's just say it was a pretty good combination. Back to his story ~ I could go on and on for hours, and even days, about what a good horse he was. Our family has SO many memories of him and all the 20 years he spent with us. I remember a time that my mom, my brother, and I went to Brown County. My brother was probably about 7 or 8 years old, and my mom MADE me let my brother have him for the day. I griped and complained and whined ALL DAY LONG because I couldn't ride MY horse. Looking back now, I'm glad my brother had the safe horse because I wouldn't have wanted him to get hurt on something that wasn't as safe as my baby. My best friend told me she had alot of many fond memories of this horse, and that she remembers the couple times she was lucky enough to get to ride him. Like I said, I rarely let anyone else have him because that's how much I loved this horse. He was mine, and yes, I admit, I was selfish with him. Very selfish! The last couple years, Sunset has really started to show his age, and remind us that he isn't 9 years old anymore :(. We had to really baby this horse, and take extra care of him. I wasn't able to ride him about the past 3 years because his back couldn't take the weight like it used to. Not that I am heavy, but my 60 pound daughter is much lighter then her ole Mommy. We couldn't ride him in the hot weather because he couldn't handle the heat like he used to. I could ramble on about this horse, but that's just a few stories that come to mind at the moment. I am forever grateful to God for bringing this horse into our lives when he did. I am grateful for the many people Sunset taught to ride, and for the many fond memories he has left our family and friends. We have been so blessed the last 20 years when we bought this 9 year old horse, and laid him to rest at 29 years of age. His best horse friend, Murphy, was waiting in horsey heaven for him. So at least now they get to be together without any pain or suffering any longer. I miss this horse, and I will miss him everyday until I see him again someday. He wasn't just a horse, or a pet; he was a member of our family. People reading his story may not understand our bond with him, but I promise it is a bond like no other. After I realized that the fight was over, and putting him down was our only option, reality hit and I started bawling my eyes out. My last memory of him was him walking off into the Sunset to be buried next to his best horse friend, Murphy. I watched him be led off into the sunset, and it was a beautiful sunset that day. I don't think that's a bit ironic; I think God gave us a beautiful Sunset that day to let us know that our Sunset was ok and He would take good care of him for us. Another image I have in my head is that my daughter Mindy, who died 8 years ago, finally gets to ride her Mommy's horse. And if he can teach her to ride, then it was worth him going to Heaven, so she can have him. After my horse left, I sat in the grass for 30 minutes, just sat there in shock. My oldest daughter couldn't stop crying, and my youngest daughter told me I could get another Sunset. It was sweet of her, and I gently told her that yes, mommy can get another horse, but never another Sunset. Because our Sunset was certainly irreplaceable. Once I drug myself up from the grass, I went and sat in his stall for what seemed like an eternity. I sat in the stall with the gate that needed replaced (he was a little too playful with it at times), but there was something missing ~ my baby horse that would never stand in that stall again.

I will end Sunset's story now by saying thank you to this horse, thank you to God for letting us have him for 20 years, thank you to my mom for buying this horse and taking good care of him for as long as she has, and thank all our friends and family for their kind words on that tragic day. Life will never be the same without our Sunset, but at least he lived a wonderful life, and we loved him as much as he loved us. RIP Sunset's Son, you are loved and missed every single day.

This is Sunset and I in 1998 - my last year of 4-H

I carried the flag to the National Anthem my last year of 4-H on Sunset. I always liked this picture because the camera lens caught the sun. This, is proof to me, that my horse does live on in Heaven.

One of the few I could find of our 4-H years together - English Gelding Halter Champion

One of the many parades I rode him in. I believe this was in 2005.

Me & Sunset - Parade 2006

My little one sitting on Sunset at 4 years of age

Another one of my favorites - my girls both riding Sunset together

Me & Sunset - last time I rode in the parade 2007

My mom & I in the 2007 parade

2009 - My oldest rode Sunset in the parade. I love this pic because it shows my mom hugging Sunset, and my daughter being taken care of while riding that year. The bay mare I am on is a substitute since my horse was "taken" that day :)

My baby girl leading Sunset around by the halter

My ultimate favorite pic ever taken of him. My oldest is 3 in this picture. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this picture. We were camping that weekend and she rode him by herself and with Mommy too.

One of my favorites - She showed Sunset her 1st year in 4-H 2009. This is the way I love to remember Sunset - with his golden color shed out, ears perked up, and ready for the show ring!

My sweet little girl drew a picture for me at school. This was her mommy leading her horse Sunset. She is learning to write words correctly so it's not 100% right, but what she wrote actually reads "My mom horse died. He was sick." Now if this isn't a tearjerker, I'm not sure what is.

Sunset & Murphy - they were best friends and they are together once again.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Good Monday Morning!

Good Monday Morning! Or at least maybe if I say that, it will be. Personally, I dislike Mondays and probably always will. It means the fun weekend is over and it's time to get back to reality, back to school and back to work. I am just thankful that on this Monday, I have a job to return to since we did not experience the government shutdown. I know it can happen, but I cannot even imagine what effect that would have had on the entire country. I know what an effect it would have had for me personally, and I'm just one person in the huge nation. But if the shutdown would have happened, I would have done what I do in life, and that is roll with it because there are just some things that are out of my control.

I was reminded yesterday about how my life used to be. This was the used to be that was only 4 years ago, but it was enough of a flashback to remind me I am grateful for where I am today and all the positive changes I have made in life. So many things have changed for me, I have changed, my kids have changed, and it's all for the better. Is it ironic that "Roll with the Changes" by REO Speedwagon is on at the moment? Maybe, maybe not. I never listened to that song much, but it became of of my favorites about 4 years ago. And it's true - if you are tired of the same old story, then turn some pages. If you are tired of where you are or the way your life is going, make the necessary changes to roll into the next chapter of life. I'm sure I have posted this quote before but I love it - "You have to end one chapter to begin another." If our life is going to get better, then we must take the next step and make the next chapter happen.

Have you ever looked at a snow globe, shook it and then just watched the snow fly around? Inside that snow globe, is a story. We don't always know the story, but there is a story inside every snow globe. And the neat thing is, every person in this world can look at the exact same snow globe and tell a completely different story. There was once a time, I used to be inside the snow globe living the story. Now I am on the outside looking in, listening to the story. It is funny how time and circumstances change like that. And when we shift from living the story to being told the story, it's not always a bad thing. But I can say this, if you are being told the story that you should be living, then what are you waiting for? Take charge, and do what it takes to live the story.

We all make mistakes and sometimes it takes almost losing something to realize the value of it. Or sometimes we just need to go through experiences to teach us lessons about life. I thank the Lord every day for all things, good and bad, because it made me who I am today. I had an interesting conversation with my significant other recently. If he had made one decision differently in life, where would he be today? If I had made one decision differently in life, where would I be? And it could be multiple decisions, but one decision can alter how your life can turn out. What if he or I had decided not to get married the first time? What if he or I had decided not to get divorced? What if he or I decided to move from where we currently reside? What if he or I decided so many things different then we originally made the choice? Life would be different, and who knows if we would have ever met.

Typically, life is the same day in and day out. But things can change in the blink of an eye. And we don't realize it until it happens. So we should always go after what we want, do the things we want to do, and never hold back because we never know what tomorrow can bring. Thank God I am where I am today. Prayer does wonder, and we all need to remember that. If you don't like where you are, stay where you are and be miserable or change it and be happy. It's your choice really, nobody else's. It's a lovely day in Indiana today ~ or at least I am telling myself that as I look out the rain covered window at the dreary sky :).

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Story of a Soldier's Dog

This is definitely worth a blog post. It is not true according to, but it's great reading material. Enjoy:

They told me the big black Lab's name was Reggie, as I looked at him lying in his pen.
The shelter was clean, no-kill, and the people really friendly.
I'd only been in the area for six months, but everywhere I went in the small college town, people were welcoming and open.
Everyone waves when you pass them on the street.
But something was still missing as I attempted to settle in to my new life here, and I thought a dog couldn't hurt, and it would give me someone to talk to.
And I had just seen Reggie's advertisement on the local news.
The shelter said they had received numerous calls right after, but they said the people who had come down to see him just didn't look like "Lab people," whatever that meant.
They must have thought I did.
But at first, I thought the shelter had misjudged me in giving me Reggie and his things, which consisted of a dog pad, bag of toys almost all of which were brand new tennis balls, his dishes, and a sealed letter from his previous owner.
See, Reggie and I didn't really hit it off when we got home.
We struggled for two weeks (which is how long the shelter told me to give him to adjust to his new home).
Maybe it was the fact that I was trying to adjust, too.
Maybe we were too much alike.
For some reason, his stuff (except for the tennis balls --- he wouldn't go anywhere without two stuffed in his mouth) got tossed in with all of my other unpacked boxes.
I guess I didn't really think he'd need all his old stuff, that I'd get him new things once he settled in.
But it became pretty clear pretty soon that he wasn't going to.
I tried the normal commands the shelter told me he knew, ones like "sit" and "stay" and "come" and "heel," and he'd follow them - when he felt like it.
He never really seemed to listen when I called his name --- sure, he'd look in my direction after the fourth or fifth time I said it, but then he'd just go back to doing whatever.
When I'd ask again, you could almost see him sigh and then grudgingly obey.
This just wasn't going to work.
He chewed a couple shoes and some unpacked boxes.
I was a little too stern with him and he resented it, I could tell.
The friction got so bad that I couldn't wait for the two weeks to be up, and when it was, I was in full search mode for my cell phone amid all of my unpacked stuff.
I remembered leaving it on the stack of boxes for the guestroom, but I also mumbled, rather cynically, that the "damn dog probably hid it on me."
Finally I found it, but before I could punch up the shelter's number, I also found his pad and other toys from the shelter...I tossed the pad in Reggie's direction and he snuffed it and wagged, some of the most enthusiasm I'd seen since bringing him home.
But then I called, "Hey, Reggie, you like that? Come here and I'll give you a treat."
Instead, he sort of glanced in my direction --- maybe "glared" is more accurate --- and then gave a discontented sigh and flopped down ... with his back to me.
Well, that's not going to do it either, I thought.
And I punched the shelter phone number.
But I hung up when I saw the sealed envelope.
I had completely forgotten about that, too.
"Okay, Reggie," I said out loud, "let's see if your previous owner has any advice."

To Whoever Gets My Dog:
Well, I can't say that I'm happy you're reading this, a letter I told the shelter could only be opened by Reggie's new owner.
I'm not even happy writing it.
If you're reading this, it means I just got back from my last car ride with my Lab after dropping him off at the shelter.
He knew something was different.
I have packed up his pad and toys before and set them by the back door before a trip, but this time... it's like he knew something was wrong.
And something is wrong...which is why I have to go to try to make it right.
So let me tell you about my Lab in the hopes that it will help you bond with him and he with you.
First, he loves tennis balls.
The more the merrier.
Sometimes I think he's part squirrel, the way he hoards them.
He usually always has two in his mouth, and he tries to get a third in there, but hasn't done it yet.
Doesn't matter where you throw them, he'll bound after it, so be careful - really don't do it by any roads.
I made that mistake once, and it almost cost him dearly.
Next, commands.
Maybe the shelter staff already told you, but I'll go over them again
Reggie knows the obvious ones ---"sit," "stay," "come," "heel."
He knows hand signals: "back" to turn around and go back when you put your hand straight up; and "over" if you put your hand out right or left.
"Shake" for shaking water off, and "paw" for a high-five.
He does "down" when he feels like lying down --- I bet you could work on that with him some more.
He knows "ball" and "food" and "bone" and "treat" like nobody's business.
I trained Reggie with small food treats.
Nothing opens his ears like little pieces of hot dog.
Feeding schedule: twice a day, once about seven in the morning, and again at six in the evening.
Regular store-bought stuff; the shelter has the brand.
He's up on his shots.
Call the clinic on 9th Street and update his info with yours; they'll make sure to send you reminders for when he's due.
Be forewarned: Reggie hates the vet.
Good luck getting him in the car.
I don't know how he knows when it's time to go to the vet, but he knows.
Finally, give him some time.
I've never been married, so it's only been Reggie and me for his whole life.
He's gone everywhere with me, so please include him on your daily car rides if you can.
He sits well in the backseat, and he doesn't bark or complain.
He just loves to be around people, and me most especially.
Which means that this transition is going to be hard, with him going to live with someone new.
And that's why I need to share one more bit of info with you....His name's not Reggie.
I don't know what made me do it, but when I dropped him off at the shelter, I told them his name was Reggie.
He's a smart dog, he'll get used to it and will respond to it, of that I have no doubt.
But I just couldn't bear to give them his real name.
For me to do that, it seemed so final, that handing him over to the shelter was as good as me admitting that I'd never see him again.
And if I end upcoming back, getting him, and tearing up this letter, it means everything is fine.
But if someone else is reading it, well ... well it means that his new owner should know his real name.
It'll help you bond with him.
Who knows, maybe you'll even notice a change in his demeanor if he's been giving you problems.
His real name is "Tank".
Because that is what I drive.
Again, if you're reading this and you're from the area, maybe my name has been on the news.
I told the shelter that they couldn't make"Reggie" available for adoption until they received word from my company commander.
See, my parents are gone, I have no siblings, no one I could have left Tank with ... and it was my only real request of the Army upon my deployment to Iraq, that they make one the shelter ... in the "event" ... to tell them that Tank could be put up for adoption.
Luckily, my colonel is a dog guy, too, and he knew where my platoon was headed.
He said he'd do it personally.
And if you're reading this, then he made good on his word.
Well, this letter is getting downright depressing, even though, frankly, I'm just writing it for my dog.
I couldn't imagine if I was writing it for a wife and kids and family ... but still, Tank has been my family for the last six years, almost as long as the Army has been my family.
And now I hope and pray that you make him part of your family and that he will adjust and come to love you the same way he loved me.
That unconditional love from a dog is what I take with me to Iraq as an inspiration to do something selfless, to protect innocent people from those who would do terrible things ... and to keep those terrible people from coming over here.
If I have to give up Tank in order to do it, I am glad to have done so.
He is my example of service and of love.
I hope I honored him by my service to my country and comrades.
All right, that's enough.
I deploy this evening and have to drop this letter off at the shelter.
I don't think I'll say another good-bye to Tank, though.
I cried too much the first time.
Maybe I'll peek in on him and see if he finally got that third tennis ball in his mouth.
Good luck with Tank.
Give him a good home,and give him an extra kiss goodnight - every night - from me.
Thank you,
Paul Mallory

I folded the letter and slipped it back in the envelope.
Sure I had heard of Paul Mallory, everyone in town knew him, even new people like me.
Local kid, killed in Iraq a few months ago and posthumously earning the Silver Star when he gave his life to save three buddies.
Flags had been at half-mast all summer.
I leaned forward in my chair and rested my elbows on my knees, staring at the dog.
"Hey, Tank," I said quietly.
The dog's head whipped up, his ears cocked and his eyes bright.
"C'mere boy."
He was instantly on his feet, his nails clicking on the hardwood floor.
He sat in front of me, his head tilted, searching for the name he hadn't heard in months.
"Tank," I whispered.
His tail swished.
I kept whispering his name, over and over, and each time, his ears lowered, his eyes softened, and his posture relaxed as a wave of contentment just seemed to flood him.
I stroked his ears, rubbed his shoulders, buried my face into his scruff and hugged him.
"It's me now, Tank, just you and me. Your old pal gave you to me."
Tank reached up and licked my cheek.
"So whatdaya say we play some ball?"
His ears perked again.
"Yeah? Ball? You like that? Ball?"
Tank tore from my hands and disappeared in the next room.
And when he came back, he had three tennis balls in his mouth..

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Pleasing Everybody

I received a quote of the day recently and it really hit home with me. Take a look:

"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody."- Bill Cosby

It was one of those days where I looked at the screen and said WOW. That couldn't be more true about me most of the time. I know life is busy, it is for all of us. We get busy with everyday life and sometimes forget we are supposed to take time to stop and enjoy life for a bit. I fall into this category at times. My time at home is very limited and with daily routine of feeding the kids, baths, getting homework done, doing daily house chores done, it leaves little time. I do make a point each day to spend some quality time with them and ask how their day was, and help them with whatever they need.

I am also the people pleaser. I want to make sure everyone is taken care of and has everything they need. That also comes along with being a mom/parent. I have to make sure my kids have what they need before my needs are met. I make sure they have their food, drinks,napkins, forks, spoons, etc. before I even think about sitting down to eat. I take care of them first because I want to. I also take care of many other things before I take care of myself. Sometimes I have to be told to sit down and take a break, or that it's my turn for a change. I have always been a self-achiever and I will get the job done no matter what it takes. And I don't always try to put myself on the backburner, but it's life and it happens.

Back to the quote - to me, the most important words of that phrase are "the key to failure is trying to please everybody." So in my thought, does that mean if I try to please everyone, I will fail? Yes, yes it does. It is next to impossible to please EVERYONE in a group setting. Each individual has their own preferences so it is difficult to make everyone happy. I personally deal with this on a daily basis. And even though sometimes it can be frustrating, it's a part of life. One person cannot please everyone, no matter how hard they try. There always has to be that one person that wants to argue and create controversy.

There comes a time in life where you have to choose what is important and what is not. Will it really matter if the floor doesn't get swept until the next day? Will it really matter if the laundry doesn't get folded right then? Those are just a couple questions that come to my mind. I'm such a busybody and have trouble sitting still, so it seems as if I'm always cleaning or doing things around the house. But I also realize that not everything else is as important and some things have to be put on the backburner. What is important is my girls, my family and my friends. My kids are the most important thing in my life and they always will be. And they grow up so fast so I better take advantage of the time I can spend with them while they are still young. Sure, there are alot of important things that have to get done, or cannot be put off until later, and those all get done in time. This also applies to material things. After all, things are just things. If a tornado or flood comes and destroys our house, our things will be destroyed too. Things can always be replaced, no matter how important they are to us.

There also comes a time when you have to make decisions about who is important and who is not. Remember, you are the only one who can decide who you let into your life and who you do not. There are always people we have to tolerate whether we want to or not, but the decision of how much you let them into your life is yours. This goes back to the quote - you cannot please everybody. There are people who will tell you how you should live your life, what you should do (or not do), and people that do not agree with your decisions. But ultimately you have to live life as you see fit, and do what is best for YOU. And if people cannot accept things you do in life, then let them jump off the bandwagon. I despise judgemental people (people who judge others). Absolutely DESPISE people like that. The sad thing is if people cannot accept decisions you have made in life, it is their loss, not yours. There comes a time when you have to walk away from the people who have turned their backs on you, no matter how hard it may be.

"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody". I believe the key to success is living life to the fullest each day, and to your best ability. Pray for guidance, follow God's word and signs when he sends them to you. Listen for direction and then go with it. Just live. Be happy. And most of all, be yourself. Do not be someone you are not because it will only end up hurting you in the long run. And I do believe the key to failure is trying to please everybody, because it is impossible. Unless you are a programmed robot and not a human being, pleasing everyone is out of the question. So please the ones who matter most, and do what it takes to keep yourself happy. It is best to keep yourself happy because if you aren't happy, then those around you will not be happy. Do what is best for you, and do not let others run your life. Make decisions that best suit you, not everyone else. Remember life is short, make the most of it while you can!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I Am Thankful For...

November is the perfect month to remember the things that we are thankful for. Since Thanksgiving is the main holiday of the month, it reminds us that we need to be thankful for the blessings in life. I have been thinking that there is so much to be thankful for. I have compiled a list of 30 things that I am thankful for since there are 30 days in November. So here goes...

1. First and foremost, I am thankful for God. Without God, this world would not exist. I would not exist. You would not exist. You get the idea! God forgives us for our sins and mistakes. I thank God everyday for my many blessings He has given me!

2. I am thankful for my beautiful daughters. They are the light of my life, and without them, I would have no idea how to function. They keep me going each and every day. They are both so unique in their individual ways and I love them without end.

3. I am thankful for my daughter Mindy who is in Heaven. Even though she was only given to me for a short period of time and has been gone for 7 1/2 years, not a day goes by that I don't think of her. I know she is a beautiful little angel that watches over us each day. We love and miss you Mindy.

4. I am thankful for my JM. He loves me unconditionally no matter what. He is a good man, and my daughter tells me that all the time. He has changed me in little ways, and I have done the same for him. But only for the better!

5. I am thankful for my job. For me, it is a privilege to have a job I love, and people that I can help. I was molded for this job, and it was molded for me. A perfect fit I guess you could say. I am also thankful for some of "my farmers." There are a select few that are "mine" and I treasure their friendships.

6. I am thankful for my SUV. I love my car! It gets me where I need to go, and it has all the options I love (except a sunroof) but I can live with that!

7. I am thankful for my close friends. I love each of my friends dearly, and in their own individual way. There are some I've had for years, and others I've only just met. But I appreciate each friendship that I have!

8. I am thankful for family. Sometimes this is difficult, because family can be stubborn. But, ultimately I have to like them because that is who God chose to put me with for this life on earth. And after all, blood is thicker than water.

9. I am thankful for weekends and downtime. I don't get many days to relax or take a break, but those select few times that I get to, I really enjoy it.

10. I am thankful for quality time with my girls. They grow so fast and it's hard to keep up! I try to make the most of the time I have with my kids. They may not appreciate it now, but looking back someday, I know they will.

11. I am thankful for my animals. My cats, my horses, and our dog are a very big part of our lives. They keep us entertained, and snuggle with us when we need it. I could not live without animals in my life.

12. I am thankful for Wal-Mart. Yes, I think I just wrote that. I guess I feel an obligation to feel thankful to Wal-Mart. That store receives a big portion of our paychecks every month. But I guess since they have the best deals, I have to appreciate that fact!

13. I am thankful for our church. Our church has grown tremendously the last few years. And I love our pastor; he is a wonderful guy who is down to earth and keeps the sermons humorous.

14. I am thankful for past mistakes I have made and the lessons that I have learned from them. Every thing that has happened in my life up until this point has made me who I am today. And I am very proud of the accomplishments I have made and the person I have become from all the ups and downs in life.

15. I am thankful for computers and the internet. Even though they can be annoying at times, they make the world go round. Things that used to take weeks to complete only take seconds in today's world. And I have met some great friends through the computer. Life would be boring without the internet!

16. I am thankful for text messaging. What in the world did I do without texting? I have had texting almost 3 years now, and I don't think I could ever go back to not having it. That is how I communicate with so many people these days. It's so much easier to text rather then call for something that only takes a second to tell someone.

17. I am thankful for blogs. Even though I don't get to write as often as I'd like to, it's still something I love to do and that I can call mine. And I love reading other blogs! It's as much fun to read other blogs as it is to write at times.

18. I am thankful for my horse. I know I already said I was thankful for animals, but this one is dedicated to Sunset. He is my baby and has been for almost 20 years. He is up there in age, and we have to baby him. It will break my heart in two when that horse leaves me someday. For now, I am grateful that he has taught my daughter to ride, and will teach my other daughter how to ride. He has always been a good horse. I can pull him out of the pasture after not riding him for 2 years, and he needs no warm up. He is ready to go without any worry of him hurting someone. I rode him when my daughter was 2 months old, and she is now 10. I trust him with my life, and my kids' lives, or I wouldn't allow them to ride him. So I am so thankful God brought this horse into my life nearly 20 years ago!

19. I am thankful for my home. I love having a place I can call my own, and I love living in the country.

20. I am thankful for our military men and women who fight for our country. Some have lost their lives in the battle. Some are away from their families for months or years at a time. I am grateful for those who are brave enough to fight for the USA.

21. I am thankful for pizza. What else can I say? I love pizza! And cinnamon stix too. Now that is a yummy combo. I just can't eat it everyday.

22. I am thankful for exercise. When I eat pizza and not-so-good-for-me foods, I must exercise! I love my Wii fit. I like my treadmill, not really love it, but like it. I love to go walking! I just don't get to do that as often as I like. So when I am unable to walk outside, the treadmill takes the place of that.

23. I am thankful for my boots. Yes, my boots! They are so comfy. Not only do I get to wear them with jeans, but they are great to throw on with pajama pants too. You know, for that quick run out to the car, or the quick jog next door. Those boots take me alot of places and are well broke in. I'll be sad when I have to replace them someday :(

24. I am thankful for all of my clothes. The dressy clothes for work, the casual shirts and jeans, and especially the comfy around-the-house pants. My problem is that I have too many clothes for my closet. I know the solution to that is to get rid of some things, and I do on a regular basis. But I need a bigger closet! That is in the works though...

25. I am thankful for music. I absolutely love listening to music. Country, classic rock, Christian, whatever I'm in the mood for really. I have a habit of cranking up the Sirius radio on my TV and listening to it while I clean. Or blast my Christmas CD with my favorite tune of Two Steppin' Around the Christmas Tree. Love my music!!

26. I am thankful for pretty jewelry, real or fake. I love to accessorize my outfits. I am very involved with a jewelry maker, and I love the new designs that are made when the time allows to make the pretty jewelry :). I have a beautiful array of necklaces, earrings and bracelets! Oh, and I like diamonds too!! :)

27. I am thankful for my cell phone. Yes, I am very addicted to it. I cannot live without it! I'm not as attached as I used to be, but I'm still very attached. And so is everyone else for that matter... It's normal for my kids or the man to fight over it. They want to play on the internet, they want to play cards, they want to play Angry Birds, they always want something and it involves my phone. LOL

28. I am thankful for Facebook. It may sound silly, but it's true. I think it's fun to read status updates on people. I love to see new pics of my friends and family. I don't always like the drama that people post on FB, but it's humorous to read at times!

29. I am thankful for Zumba and line dancing. I love to do both! Zumba keeps me toned and in shape. Line dancing is a favorite of mine, and has been for 16 years. They both are a good way to burn calories, and enjoy it while doing so.

30. I am thankful for the clock on the wall. With each passing minute, it lets me know I am still alive and well. I do like that clock on the wall more at closing time then early in the morning. It always speaks a friendlier tone when it nears the end of the day! Plus, it lets me know it's time to go home and see my family and spend some quality time with them.

I could go on and on about the things I am thankful for because to be honest, the list does not end. God has blessed me abundantly in life and I cannot complain! Some of these were funny, some silly, some serious, but overall I had fun compiling my thankful list. Tomorrow is another day and another month. Wow, Christmas will be here soon! Now it's off to dinner with a great friend I haven't seen in quite some time...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Time The Well Ran Dry (Literally)

This certainly has been a wicked year for weather. 2010 started out fairly normal, but then around springtime, the clouds took over and we had several gloomy days. And rain! We had enough rain to last us what I thought was a long time. That thought sure was wrong. It then turned from too much rain to not enough. And then that became a drought after 4 months with hardly any rain at all. The grass turned brown; we went from mowing at least once a week to maybe once a month. The ground was so dry. Just to look at it was a sad sight. It was as if the ground was screaming "I'm so thirsty, PLEASE water me!" The weatherman would tease us with potential rain in the forecast. And on those days it was supposed to rain, it did not. And if it did, it was barely enough to even make a dent in the drought like conditions everyone experienced.

The drought like conditions also affected us on a personal level. Our well, which has been fine for years and years, took a hit and decided to run low on water. Low enough that we ran out of water in our house. The first time it happened was late August. We were fortunate to have a fire truck dump 6000 gallons of water in the well for us. 8 days later... DRY AGAIN! In just 8 days! That meant no more laundry to be done at home, no more long hot showers (which wasn't a problem for me but my kids love those long hot showers!), no more wasting water of any kind. We are not a family that wastes water by any means, but it meant cutting down every place we could think of. No more allowing the water to run while brushing teeth, filling the sink only half full to do dishes, little things like that. And it also meant turning off the water softener because it was draining too much water. So after we ran out of 6000 gallons of water in 8 days, we were blessed to receive another 6000 gallons from the fire truck. But that would be the last load of water we could get like that. Our blessings from the fire station were great, but were complete.

Let me say the best thing happened in September. It finally rained! Even just a little bit was better then nothing. And then guess what? It rained again in October. What a wonderful blessing God decided to pour down on us! But it was short lived. I think I heard thunder a time or two last month, but I almost forgot what it sounded like since I haven't heard it for months.

So last night I am getting ready to do dishes, and all of a sudden I saw something I did not want to see. My faucet stopped dripping water; it was done. Oh no, out of water AGAIN! My good mood I was in quickly turned to frustration and irritation. I am a positive person most all the time, but that was enough to dampen that concept for a few minutes. Thank goodness we have a truck and water tank we can haul water to our well. Let's just say it made an evening trip last night! And probably will again tonight, and tomorrow, and this weekend...

They always say the third time is a charm. Well, I'm not really sure how I can apply this to my well running out of water for the third time. Is this the charm that we aren't going to let it happen again? That we will just keep hauling water from now on? I really don't know, but there has to be some charm to this. One thing is for certain - I have decided our next house will have a pond and the chances of running out of water will be slimmer! I am thankful that I can do our laundry at my nearby relative's house. I am thankful that we have enough water for our showers, and to do dishes. I think I would have a mental breakdown if I could not do dishes after a long evening of cooking. Call me a clean freak because I am overly obsessed with keeping my house clean 24/7, but it would drive me up the wall to not be able to wash those dirty dishes. Ugh yuck!!!

This situation is where being a laidback, easygoing person really helps. I could have acted out of control and have been so upset from having no water. But what good would that accomplish? Yes, it is/was frustrating, but it is one of life's little hurdles that I have to jump and not let it get me down. I always find the good in every situation, and you might ask what the good in this situation is? I really have no clue, but there has to be something positive that can come from our well running dry. Maybe it's the fact I have decided to dig a pond at our next house site. Or the fact that my patience was tested not once, not twice, but three times, and I handled it with a good attitude. Why get mad over something I have no control over? There is no point. But I will say I have been praying for more and more rain since it ran out the first time!

The expression of "when the well runs dry" is often used as an analysis, or at least I have heard that phrase in the past. I guess it's along the lines of "when the money runs out" or "the cow runs dry." I have heard all those. Funny thing is that our well literally ran dry. But that does not mean my faith will run out or any lower. In fact, it will be just the opposite. I have faith that the Lord will provide everything we need. I have faith that the Lord will provide us with water when we need it. It might be an inconvenience to do laundry elsewhere or cut back on using water, but I am hugely grateful for the fact we have a way to haul water and that we are able to still take our daily showers, etc. I will not let this major inconvenience defeat me. Instead, I will roll with it and find ways to accommodate the nuisance of less water. Before too long, that winter "s" cussword white stuff will be here. I am never a fan of (I can't even say it)... s-n-o-w, BUT if it will snow and then melt and help the ground receive the moisture it needs, then I am a fan of that wholeheartedly. I probably just jinxed myself and we will receive like 5000 inches of snow this year. No, but in all seriousness, I do pray for more rain on a daily basis; not only for myself, but for everyone else around here that needs us. Lord, please send us inches of rain if you can hear me :) (And I know You can!)