Thanksgiving: Not just for the day

Friday, November 25, 2011

I hope y'all (er, you all) had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day (and to my friends outside the US, a good old fashioned fantabulous weekend). I wore myself out on Wednesday and Thursday in a flurry of activity and I guess I'm a little slow to bounce back. I had a marvelous day though ;o) You know, between the cancer and all of my other medical misadventures, I have found myself becoming increasingly more thankful for the many blessings in my life every day; not just once a year. I'm thankful for many things that I never even used to consider, or even acknowledge. You know; the small stuff. I will admit to being disappointed in myself (well, okay maybe more like disgusted, ashamed, annoyed, etc. *rolls eyes*) that it took all those doggone medical misadventures to make me see things clearly: with a grateful spirit first and a jaded heart last. I can count it a blessing as well, that the Lord allowed a slow learner like myself such a large learning curve (otherwise known as the refining process). I readily admit that I needed a LOT of refining, and I'm pretty sure I'm nowhere near soup yet either. *grin*
It is for those many misadventures that I find myself in the odd position of being thankful beyond measure to God for allowing me to suffer them. Yeah, I said it: Thank you Lord for my cancer and other medical maladies (and - in case you're wondering - I'm completely sober ;o) Am I nuts? Nope, just finally figured out that "my world" is much improved for having had them. So many things I would not have taken the time for before; now I do. A phone call, a visit, a note, or even a small hand-made gift for friend or family. I would have thought about it of course, maybe even mean to, but I would have missed the opportunity because of a busy schedule and excused myself because there just wasn't enough time. So many little things that I never thought of before; now I do. I did not truly appreciate being blessed with excellent health - why would I? I'd never been seriously ill. I'm sorry it took the loss of that health for me to even notice. Never once did I give thanks that I could walk - why would I? After all, my legs have always taken me wherever I wished to go (at a very rapid pace). Too bad I had to lose the use of them for awhile to realize I should be thankful for them (and you'd better believe I am now - even in their reduced capacity ;o) Hard lessons, yes, but I will remain thankful for them anyway and continue to work at [and pray away on] my Christian self. I'll work harder on making the time and taking the time too, which probably means I'll be late for more stuff (but don't worry; it'll be for a good cause ;o)
I'm sure most of you have read the poem by Red Foley called, "Lord Forgive Me When I Whine" (here). I'm embarrassed to admit that when it came through my inbox waaay back when, I read it and thought, "Wow, we should all have that perspective" before forwarding it to several friends and then forgetting all about it. If you haven't heard of it, it is quite moving and reflects that "attitude of gratitude" we should all aspire to. Several years ago I began starting my days with a thankful prayer for another day/another chance and the request that I might be a blessing to someone that day. It took a little while, but these days that is usually the first waking thought of my mornings, followed by my daily ritual: a cup of green tea with a big blop of honey (Lipton's Blueberry Pomegranate today - yum!), and a chapter in my daily devotional (this year's on my Kindle). The pumpkin candle is, of course, optional. *laugh* That is my Thanksgiving prayer for each of you; that you approach every day you're given with a smile on your face and thanksgiving in your heart - even when you are less than sure that's how you feel inside (it's the effort that counts, after all, and eventually you'll find yourself much happier for it ;o)
Shadow had a terrible bout of colic last night, which left me more than a bit scrambled this morning. Over the course of two hours I gave him two doses of mineral oil, which generated four rounds of poo (not to mention we walked about 650 miles around - and around and around - the pasture). Although each "pit stop" seemed to make him feel better initially, he reverted to miserable a short time later. I did get this shot of the moon during one of our rest stops/intermissions. Thought it was neat, although a full one would have been nice considering the amount of tripping yours truly did bumbling around out there in the pitch dark pasture (and yes I had a flashlight, but that doesn't always help when you have G2 incorporated into your DNA - aka the Graceless Gene ;o) After almost three hours, we ended up giving him a shot of Banamine which we rarely do anymore (it's always my last choice as it is not really good for him). We finally left him when he was resting comfortably, and DD made several trips back out to the pasture before bed to check on him. He was, I am very happy thankful *grin* to report, right back to his sassy self this morning. And what a glorious morning it is...
Isn't that cloud formation awesome? Looks just like frosting, which reminds me of something I find a total piece of cake to be thankful for... Dessert. Oh my, that was bad ;o)
The cake on the left is pumpkin spice (Mom's favorite) and the one on the right is carrot which is DH's favorite (from scratch, of course). Dad's favorite is chocolate, which he'll have at Christmas. The clay basket holds a mixture of candy corn and peanuts, which is unbelievably yummy for those of you who like the taste of Payday candy bars. Yikes! I'd better run...before I'm late for church (again ;o) No worries though; it's for a good cause, right?
I didn't get to the rest of the photos from the fair - stay tuned for them though! As always, thank you for reading this far and have a blessed week everyone!

Well, well, well...Methinks Fall finally fell (coffee and a donut post)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Some of you may remember last year's post from the fair - with DD utterly captivated by Woodworking Dude and his impressive (albeit alarming ;o) skill with a hunk of wood and a chainsaw (here). Guess what? It's that time again! The temperatures have started dropping and the trees are finally turning, as they always seem to do in conjunction with the fair. I was SO happy to see the tigers come back this year; Mr. Wambold seems to not only care deeply for his own animals, but also the preservation of the species. This is Pearl; a white tiger with beautiful blue eyes. Isn't she absolutely gorgeous? His show is a cross between circus-style entertainment and an educational program. One thing I really appreciate is his food-based rewards, but then you all know I am a firm believer in treats (as long as the trainee can "handle" it, that is). Oh-oh-oh Wait! You guys have to see this photo...
The only thing better than a happy accident [imho] is a prayerful on purpose (yeah, I felt a little silly but I did it anyway). I spotted this hawk perched atop one of the posts as we worked on the fence the other day (and moron that one later - seriously ;o) I sent DD down to the house to get my camera and asked the Lord if He would maybe keep him (her?) perched there until she got back with it. Now, for those of you questioning whether or not there was really any Divine intervention involved here I should like to note that DD walks slower than a three-legged lame turtle and had quite a bit of distance to traverse (we were near the top of the pasture, so she had to go about the length of two football fields for there and back). As you can see he was still there, gorgeous backdrop and all (for which I gave thanks and praise; Woo! ;o)
Okay, back to the fair here. I was very excited to see this billboard as we entered the grounds. Of course we had to stop and watch the show, which had just begun. Most of the photos I took were awful - between the floodlights set up around the perimeter and the motion of the horses, virtually every shot was an out of focus disaster. Raspberries. I did manage to get a decent photo of the Arabian she had, performing the Obesience (inset below) as he remained still for a moment. The demonstration was conducted by a renowned dressage trainer who entered the ring on a breathtaking Freesian stallion. While the lady was lovely and had a brilliant patter, I winced when I saw the expression of discomfort and excessive foaming at the mouth of her stallion. It smacked of Rollkur; he was otherwise magnificent.
For those of you unfamiliar with the term "Rollkur", it is also referred to as "Hyperflexion" and is used by some as a training method. Definitely not my cup of tea; but pretty easily recognized. Aside from an exaggerated head position (with the head tucked in to the Nth degree) the horse will also drool and/or foam at the mouth a LOT, as the unnatural head position renders him unable to swallow properly.  
Although his head was not all the way down to the Nth degree, it appeared to be well past the point of comfort. Frothy white foam was rapidly collecting on his mouth and dripping from his lips in long ribbons. It spattered the ground, his chest and

 his legs, so I'm thinking that if it wasn't from Rollkur, then he had some MAJOR teething issues ;o) In short, if I did not know much about equine body language - and don't misunderstand me; I don't know all that much - I would have loved every minute of it. As it was, it seemed to me that although the horses and ponies did their jobs fairly well, much of it was under protest (quickly squelched) and they just did not seem to enjoy themselves very much. I had a really tough time getting past that. I think the tigers had a lot more fun, to be honest - which is kind of weird if you think about it. *grin* I snapped a [only slightly fuzzy] shot of these two little mutineers; they popped out of the ring, turned their backs and announced they were "all done". Ha. Bet?
 Speaking of fun, right after the tigers (and yes I know I'm all over the place here *grin*) was a dog act with a woman I assumed was Mrs. Wambold. Now that was fabulous! She had a tiny truckload full of four-legged ping pong balls (disguised as terriers) that were just adorable. Pretty sure she said they were all shelter dogs. They looked like little furry bullets as they shot out of the truck, performed their trick with wriggling enthusiasm, and then zipped right back into the truck. It was quite a marked difference coming from the horse demonstration; everybody just looked so doggone (ha) happy to be there. I love the inset picture of her hugging the dog (not the best of shots; but definitely a winner in the smile category). The dog was rubbing his head all over hers in delight, and she was hugging him and laughing like a loon (it was great ;o) I don't know if it was a new trick or what, but they both appeared to be ecstatic with the result. Here is the photo of the trick he did that prompted the hug; he's the one on the top of the tube and there was a second dog darting back and forth through the tube:
Living in the South, I can appreciate the fact (rule?) that all things can and must be fried; BUT - fried Kool Aid? Really? Anybody besides me find this rather disturbing? Not to mention disgusting. Our hospital actually serves fried everything in the cafeteria. I had a really hard time wrapping my brain around that one when I first ate in there, but then I realized they were probably just drumming up some new business. I passed on the Kool-Aid, and opted instead for a *cough*cough* healthier snack: the funnel cake. Hey, whaddaya want? This IS the fair, after all...mmmmm - Yummeh ;o)
I stopped a time or two to gaze at the moon which looked really cool; glowing mysteriously, though shrouded somewhat by the clouds. I was torn somewhere between alarmed and amused to note that it was full. Kind of redundant considering the weirdos that were already out of the woodwork and wandering the fairgrounds. Yikes. I got a picture for you though (of the moon, that is, not the weirdos ;o) The white dot to the right is a star; isn't that neat?
The highlight of our visit was a trip to the Blacksmith, but I think that and the remaining photos I have to share will have to be a topic for next time considering I missed my Sunday evening deadline - BIG time (and raspberries to that :oP
Would you like to know WHY I missed my deadline? To say this has been a wild week is definitely an understatement. How about we make it a fun little guessing game? (I just love those!) We'll call it "What's wrong with this picture?" I'll even give you a hint (though regular followers and friends are probably already laughing). Below is a photo [taken after I secured the perimeter, of course] of one of the boys at O'Dark-Thirty showing how my week began. I dashed outside amid sounds of mass hysteria and thundering hooves (and me still in my jammies *rolls eyes*).
And next we have a photo depicting that same young man's line of thinking a short time later (I speak Blockhead in addition to Southernese):  
"Hot DAWG that was some fun! Crazy biped done locked me in this here stall tho. Hmph. Well. Ya know, long as I'mah stuck in here I may as well open that [snickers] horse-proof gate jes' sittin' right thar. Hah! Got it. Dang ahm havin' me some FUN tuh-day... Whaa-hoooo! *snort*..."
Standing on the patio shivering and grinding my teeth, I reverted to an all-too-familiar refrain:
And finally, congratulations goes to... "Clancy" for winning last week's giveaway - I'll be sending her a print of "Misty's Twilight". *Applause*Applause* Yay for you! ('bout time you won something girl ;o) As always, many thanks for reading my ramblings, and have a blessed Thanksgiving week everyone!

November? Really? Are you sure?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Anybody besides me feel like they have entered a time warp? Geez - where in the heck did October go? Wait I went *POOF!* Sometimes I am quite alarmed by the speed of the days going by; I can't help but wonder how much faster they can go since time passes more quickly as you age. Scary stuff indeed; so we're just not even gonna go there (how's that for a coping strategy? Ha.) Hopefully, the rest of you are not as freaked out about the fact that Thanksgiving is hurtling towards us at the speed of light with Christmas right behind (and eek ;o) I love this autumn photo. It was actually taken last year, but I never did get around to posting it. Remember the tragic accident that befell my old camera? This was right after I got the new one; I was experimenting very early in the morning (hence the mist) with some of the fancy-schmancy photo settings on my new toy (if you weren't here then or want a refresher, you can read all about that particular tale of woe and its happy ending here and here). They are - if it matters - two of my favorite posts (is it tacky to say that? Oh well, I can be tacky ;o)
Since we're there (at tacky) we'll just throw in some shameless self-promotion too and offer up a link to one of my Squidoo lenses. I did one for a non-profit challenge awhile back, and although we lost, it has some of my favorite ideas and recipes. I am always looking for new Fall/Thanksgiving recipes so I thought maybe some of you might be interested in them too (including the silly little turkey in the photo). The lens has a little of everything, so don't worry if you're not a genius in the kitchen (me either ;o) There are "real" recipes as well for those of you who like confectionery challenges; like a scrumptious white chocolate cake complete with cooked frosting. It's called Treats for the Tall and the Small if you'd like to pop on over and visit me in the kitchen - but don't forget to come back!
Look at this photo I took of Shadow the other night; isn't it wild? Sometimes I just can't take in all of God's handiwork; nor can I quite seem to capture its magnificence through the lens of the camera (not for lack of trying though, is it? ;o) We've had some unbelievable skies over the past week or so; I've probably taken a hundred pictures or more. Last Sunday evening was phenomenal. I made the mad dash back indoors to grab the camera, and when I came panting back up the hill I let out a "Holy cow!" (a favorite phrase *laugh*) at the spectacular range of colors splashed across the sky. I guess it was a little louder than I'd intended, as Shadow made a beeline across the pasture to see what all the fuss was about and this is what I got. Would you like to see a few more? Maybe we should have another giveaway (an itty bitty one this time). And DAISY? If you and your mom are reading this, I'm still waiting for your address from the last giveaway (unless you don't want it). 
Rules? Simply leave me a comment telling me which one of the following sky shots is your favorite and I'll pick the name from my commenters next weekend (I'll shoot for Friday night) and announce the winner Saturday or Sunday.  If you like my Autumn tree (the first pic), you are welcome to choose that one instead. The winner will receive a 3x5 or 4x6 print (your call) of the photo you liked best. I'll take the date stamp off first though; these came pretty much straight out of the camera. Sound good? Well allrighty then, here we go...
I named this one "Daydreams", because it was reminiscent of my childhood and those long afternoons spent laying in the grass gazing at the clouds in a brilliant blue summer sky;
Wasn't sure what to call this one; "Misty's Twilight" was all I could think of (and meh). If you have any suggestions, I'd be happy to have them.
This one is "Twilight's Dawning". Doesn't it look more like a sunrise than sunset? If you look carefully at the colors, you can tell it is actually the setting sun;
Here is "Heaven's Purl" (did you know that purl is also a synonym for swirl, in addition to a knitting stitch? I didn't; I just learned that - yay ;o)
One more and I think we're good...Um, let's see. How about this one? It's one of my favorites. I added a piece of scripture to it from Isaiah 60:1 because it seemed to fit perfectly:
Holy cow! I can't believe I actually finished my post on time (and I'm not even late for anything *grin*). Have a blessed week everyone!

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