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Ojo-heart

It’s the gratitude season.

Thanksgiving (at least here in the U.S.) is a time to remember the many blessings in our lives, and to give thanks for them. I try hard to live in a space of gratitude every day, but I’m not always successful. It’s another one of those things about life that’s simple but not easy. Interesting isn’t it that feeling down, blue, discouraged, and/or stressed are more familiar than feeling good, feeling content, feeling grateful?

Here’s my list of Ten Gratitudes from the Pasture for 2014:

  1. We are healthy – horses and humans. So grateful for this blessing.
  2. The Golden Girls are heading into winter in really good shape.
  3. We have an abundance of kind and caring people in our lives.
  4. Our human family here in Fort Collins has increased – so grateful to have them living here.
  5. There is a brand new shed in the pasture which means more room for everyone to get out of the elements when they need shelter.
  6. The Herd of Oldsters, while down to three members – Pepper, Chickadee and Amigo – is back together. This makes me happy!
  7. Every day when I go out to feed, I get to step away from my computer and be outside. And almost every time, I see or hear or experience something beautiful; something magical that I would otherwise miss.
  8. My son and daughter-in-law took over the feeding responsibilities when Rick and I recently took a little vacation. We didn’t worry for a minute – what a relief to have such good backup. (Heart photo above from Ojo Caliente and that trip.)
  9. I have a community of horses that know and trust me. At least they know I’m the one with treats and they trust that I’m a pushover when it comes to handing them out!
  10. You! Even though my blog posts have slowed, your interest in our little patch of the world keeps me writing. It is an amazing blessing to have you out there, watching and caring about what goes on in the pasture. Thank you from the depths of my heart.

And Happy Thanksgiving!!

 

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Babies

One of the true gifts of being out with the horses is that there is always something going on.

Something to catch my interest.

Something to take me out of my small world and into the wonder of the Big World. It really is the best therapy I can imagine.

So I thought I’d better check in with the two babies, since I hadn’t done so in a while.

Remember June Bug and Larry?

These two foals have touched everyone’s heart.

Miss June Bug has changed color – she’s now growing into her lighter coloring. And Larry is still the goof he always has been.

They race around the paddock, chasing each other, practicing kicking and running. Seriously you cannot be in a bad mood when you are watching these two little beings.

And for that, I am so very grateful.

Time for Tuesday Beauty

Snow-covered Fairy

When you live in the Rocky Mountain west, you get used to March being the snowiest month of the year.

I remember many a snowy Easter morning in Wyoming when my sisters and I would be decked out in our frilly new Easter dresses and our winter coats.

I never believed my more southern friends who actually held egg hunts in their yards.

Their yards, I tell you!

In Cheyenne Wyoming that would be a non-event. At the very least, it would be colored eggs perched atop a bed of dry, brown grass, and more likely it would be eggs nestled in snow.

To this day my sister will quote this little Wyoming springtime ditty:

“Spring has sprung, the grass has riz…

I wonder what this white stuff is.”

So when this most recent snowstorm hit , I happened to look outside on my deck to see this sweet little garden fairy covered in snow.

Doesn’t she look sweet? Look at the dollop of snow right on her tiny nose.

It made me smile. And value the many tiny, wonderful blessings that come my way each and every day.

We live in a beautiful world.

 

Time for Tuesday Beauty

I-Love-You-heart

I took this photo thinking I would post it on Valentine’s Day.

Funny how life often has a way of making other plans for us.

And then I realized that I could share this with you anytime. It didn’t have to be Valentine’s Day.

Sharing an “I Love You” isn’t a one-day experience. I want it to be an everyday experience.

Don’t you?

We live in a beautiful world!

P.S. In case you’re wondering, the hearts were made by glueing two candy canes together. How clever is that!

P.P.S. I do, you know, love you…

Well I made it through the entire month of November with an intention to focus on gratitude.

Some days I actually wrote five things in my gratitude journal.

Some days I didn’t write anything down. But what I’ve learned about the process is that gratitude grows with attention.

It’s another riff on one of my favorite sayings: What you focus on expands.

I immersed myself in feeling grateful, even on those days when life handed me really hard things to deal with, like Bud’s most recent health crisis, I forced myself to find something to feel grateful about. For example, we have a wonderful team of health care providers for our animals. They are dedicated and competent and really “there” for us. We have amazing friends and family both in our immediate environment and in the blog world who’ve held Bud and Pepper and us in their thoughts.

What a blessing that is.

Sunset-at-Janes

There have been some spectacular sunsets this month and I’ve seen a lot of them when I’m out tending our two old sweeties.

So do I feel more grateful at the end of this month?

Yes.

I’ve collected quotations about gratitude. I’ve written a thirty day gratitude challenge for my clients. I’ve watched uplifting videos. And all of it has fed me. Nourished my spirit. Early this morning I received this message in my email:

“Small acts of appreciation build spiritual stamina! Not all of us were taught that one. But the truth is finally out, gratitude brings new life into your present life.”

I love being on a path with so many others.

In my wanderings around the Internet, I came across the work of Brother David Steindl-Rast and this short video about feeling grateful for each day.  I invite you to take five minutes and view this. It’s beautiful and refreshing.

And now it’s on to feeling grateful every day – not just in November!

Video from KarmaTube

Horses grateful for the hay truck

I’ve decided that November is a great time to polish up my gratitude glasses.

If you’ve been reading the blog for a while now, you know this is an ongoing quest of mine. I want to focus on what’s working instead of what isn’t. I want my life to be an expression of gratitude.

For some of you that may sound entirely too much like “pop psychology.”

I get that.

Honestly I do.

But the research is strong.

Practicing gratitude can improve life.

My life.

Your life.

Check out Dr. Robert Emmons at the University of California at Davis for the details of his groundbreaking research on gratitude.

In short, if you want to have overall better health, sounder sleep, reduced anxiety and depression, greater long-term satisfaction with your life, and a kinder behavior in general, you gotta accentuate the positive.

So here’s my commitment:

Every day for the month of November I’m going to focus on gratitude – the things for which I’m grateful.

Yes, I know we’re all exhausted from a particularly vitriolic election.

Yes, the east coast is reeling from Super storm Sandy (sending blessings to everyone.)

Yes, life doesn’t always go as we want it to.

In the face of that and so much more, I choose to feel grateful.

And I’m inviting you to join me.

Before you pull the covers up over your tired body each night, make a quick list of five things for which you’re grateful that day.

I’ll be doing the same.

To kick things off, I am so very grateful to you for taking time to read these blog posts and follow the antics of my two old sweeties and the Herd of Oldsters.

Thank you!

Time for Tuesday Beauty

In my backyard at the corner of the deck we have a compact little shrub that turns a glorious shade of red in the fall – a Burning Bush (Euonymus Alatus.)

When the light hits the red leaves just right, it is simply gorgeous.

When I was out doing some yard cleanup, I was enchanted with this terra cotta pot that had become the resting place for some of the leaves that had been loosened by the wind.

They had turned this soft shade of pink. The whole thing was just beautiful.

When I am able to stop, slow down and really look at my world, I am never disappointed. There is so much beauty around us.

We live in a beautiful world!

 

Three weeks ago, give or take a day, I was in a bicycle accident that resulted in a mild concussion, staples in my head, and a LOT of bruises and aches and pains on just about every part of my body.

I’m happy to report to you that finally I’m feeling better – significantly better.

And boy is that great!

I’m still taking it easier than I used to, which upon reflection may will become my new normal.

I’ve learned a few things from this experience.

In no particular order, here they are:

  1. We humans bounce when we come in contact with hard objects, like, oh I don’t know… big boulders.
  2. The world is full of caring, helpful, kind people and I have connected with many of them.
  3. My friend Rebecca is the soup angel.
    During my recovery she brought us three different kinds of delicious soup.
    It was a much-welcome gift especially because there were days when I simply couldn’t pull any kind of meal together.
    Soup heals.
    Friends rock. 
  4. Slowing down is a good thing.
    My aching head asked me to take life much slower than is my norm.
    And you know what? I liked it.
    I sat on the deck sipping tea and listening to the squirrels chatter in the trees. I napped. I listened to soothing music.
    The biggest “aha” was that nothing in my world came to a crashing halt because I slowed down.
    Not one thing. Hmm??
  5. I’ll never be on my bike again without my helmet.
    Lesson learned, thank you very much.
    And huge thanks to my friends and family who allowed me to learn this lesson without any “I told you so’s.”
    Scolding doesn’t help people learn.
  6. Receiving cards and calls of support are really healing.
    I’ll remember and do more of this. Especially now that I am committed to slowing my life down.
  7. The body’s ability to heal is awesome. I feel so grateful to my body for hanging in there with me.
  8. My guardian angel was taking good care of me on that Saturday afternoon.
    This accident was a serious one and I could have been badly hurt, instead of just dented.
  9. On the days I couldn’t get out to see my two old sweeties because my head was pounding or I was resting, I REALLY missed them. Our daily routine has become an important, soul-nourishing part of my life. 
  10. I’m so grateful to be in my life, right here, right now.
    Practicing gratitude helps me appreciate every moment. Things aren’t perfect, but then again perfection isn’t real.
    Or perhaps it’s that the imperfect is exactly perfect.
    Okay, thinking that one through may be too much for my still-tender brain.

Bonus:

Take time every day to relax, breathe, have fun and be silly.
Yes that is a picture of me wearing a unicorn hat in a toy store in Taos, New Mexico.

You are cordially invited to join me in taking a deep, nourishing breath. Fill your lungs with oxygen until they won’t hold even one more micro milliliter of air.

And then slowly exhale.

Drop your shoulders.

Close your eyes.

Feel the tension melt from your body.

For good measure, do the whole shebang a couple more times.

Now doesn’t that feel good?

 

That’s what this picture does for me.

In direct contrast to earlier this summer when the foothills were engulfed in flames, this golden glow in the west gives me contentment.

A sense of peace.

It reminds me to take the long view, especially in a crisis.

To soothe myself with the deep knowing that this will pass.

Because it will.

And does.

 

As I write this I realize that it may well be my definition of faith.

I  ease my anxious heart by remembering that even in the craziest, most unbalanced of times, order will return.

The balance will be regained.

Sometimes it’s a tiny sliver to hang on to.

But honestly, it works.

It’s enough.

Ah….

Time for Tuesday Beauty

I hope you’ve noticed these beauties, because they’ve been blooming their little hearts out this year. Rich purple flowers climbing up walls, trellises, garden gates, and fences.

I took this photo at my friend Rebecca’s house, where guests have the pleasure of walking under a purple archway dappled with sunlight to get to the front door.

 

The clematis are just about finished blooming for this season, but oh my goodness what a run they’ve had!

 

We live in a beautiful world. 

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