Here, HEAR!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

WOW! It has been one crazybusy week around here - how about yours? Much to DH's delight, I lost my voice (stupid sinus infection) for an entire week; though I am finally getting it back again. Ugh. Sooo, this week is the post that I had planned to do last week. *Mmmph*. Well, at least it was last week's plan until everything went Kaflooey. (that's a technical term, and gesundheit, right?) *snicker* Shadow is, in case you're wondering, back to his egotistical and sassy self :o) I'm pretty sure I've mentioned this before but on the off chance I haven't: One Sunday a month I try to go to "Deaf Church" with DD. I really enjoy the message, its format, and (of course!) the socializing. This month brought a very exciting guest to deaf church. Ronaldo Feliciano, who is deaf, is a pastor at Grace Bible Church in Tampa, Florida and performs a concert called "Music in Motion" in addition to preaching. Ronaldo's performance was on Saturday, and he also delivered the sermon Sunday morning. I've put one of his YouTube videos on here for you to see (below), but it is nowhere near as powerful as it is to see him in person. Very intense and passionate; simply awe-inspiring to watch. Outside of some very cold, wet, and windy temperatures, I don't think I've ever had so many goosebumps (the live performance is awesome ;o) The best part? He was extremely humble, and made it quite clear that any and all glory/admiration for his performance on Saturday and his teachings on Sunday belonged to God alone. What a neat guy; I sure hope he'll come bless us all again next year!

I was tickled to see the pint sized version of "Bella" seated in front of me for the concert. She's an awful lot smaller than our Bella is, that's for sure (click here to see our much bigger version). Isn't she adorable? Her "mom", Leslie, gave me permission to include her in this post. Bella is a hearing dog. Have you heard of them? Though nearly everyone is familiar with guide dogs for the blind, few are aware of hearing dogs for the deaf. Hearing dogs are also considered service dogs and function as ears for the deaf, just as seeing eye dogs function as eyes for the blind. Because the concert was so loud, Leslie was careful to cover Bella's ears to protect her hearing (photo below). The lighting was pretty dim, so my photos are nowhere near as clear as I would like (profound apologies there). I was even more tickled that my friend Kimby was able to make it to the concert; I hadn't seen her since school started (and I was waaay overdue for that particular friend fix!)

A little grainy perhaps, but still awfully doggone cute ;o)

Since we're on the subject of hearing, I have to show you what a friend of mind posted on Facebook the other day. Hearing aid decorating kits!  Isn't that the coolest thing ever? Karen, who is a teacher of the deaf and who also taught DD many years ago, posted them and tagged me because she remembered me meticulously painting DD's aids and adding some sparkly bling to up their "fun" factor. Back in the day, hearing aids were pretty much beige and BORING. Based in the U.K., My Lugs offers themed kits for both hearing aids (found here) and Cochlear Implants (found here). Like so many other family businesses, My Lugs grew out of personal experience. When the Ivermee's young son Freddie was diagnosed with a hearing loss (profound on one side and moderate to severe on the other) My Lugs was born out of the desire to make those oh-so-unappealing devices more appealing to a little boy (read the full story here). They even have a Captain America Minion kit - no way! What a hoot, right? There are photos of some of their kits "in action" here. Brilliant... just brilliant! If you know anybody with a child that wears a hearing aid or has a Cochlear Implant, please pass this information on.

Well, I suppose I'd better get a move on lest I find myself late for church (seeing as how this post spilled from Saturday right on over into Sunday morning - and Ack!). As always, thank you so much for reading this far and have a beautifully blessed week y'all!

Making the Most of An Almost Post

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Clearly I have had a boatload of fun this week because I am now sitting here scratching my head wondering where on earth the whole thing went. How can it possibly be Saturday? Yeesh. Shadow colicked on Tuesday afternoon (defined here for my non-horsey friends), and the week kind of went downhill from there. I was, however, extremely blessed to have had Kimby with me when I found our poor boy laid out by the water trough. Not everyone in your life would be overly keen on helping you push shove drag lug lead (a reluctant 1,100lb drama queen 'round and 'round the pasture for hours on end waiting for him to "go". She was a tremendous help in nudging him forward; all while keeping an eagle eye out for signs of impending poop from inside the danger zone (to the uninitiated: horse toots are toxic ;o) Brave girl.
Long story short: The colic turned out to be the byproduct of an abcess in Shadow's throat that had left him unable to properly swallow. He probably swallowed either a small stick or large, stiff piece of hay which scratched his throat. The inability to swallow properly likely caused him to panic, which led to the colic. DH gave him a shot of Banamine (which I hate using) for pain, and I put some DMSO on the abscess I'd [eventually] found in his throat latch. We left him resting fairly comfortably around 11p.m. He seemed to be feeling a bit better Wednesday morning, and a couple of hours after a second application of DMSO he was [finally!] able to swallow properly on his own. Of course all that stumbling around in the pasture half the night (for an early bird like me, anyway ;o) was apparently all it took for me to come down with a lovely sinus infection. half of Thursday was, most unhappily, spent at the doctor's office. And raspberries to that! :oP
[Photo inset: Shadow and I in shadow (hee) standing by the almost pond bright and early on Wednesday morning. We look weird, don't we?]

Since the post I had originally planned for today did not get written, I'm leaving you here (so to speak, anyway ;o) with an almost [finished] page of my joy journal. Everyone is blessed with gifts and talents from God (1Peter4:10 on the left side of the journal page), for her - or his - own. What's funny is that we don't tend to see and appreciate those things in ourselves; we often seem to focus on someone else's gift that we wish we had instead. To me? The neatest part is the way God often puts people in our lives who share our interests yet come with their own special set of gifts to help round us out better. Example: My friend Lori is gifted with the most marvelous outgoing and friendly nature - something I definitely wish I had. Friendly? Yes, mostly, though I tend toward reserved. Outgoing? Not at all. I am a terrible introvert (though sometimes I hide it well). I have a really hard time walking up to someone I don't know (like new people at church) and introducing myself, so God gave me Lori (though I'm betting this is all news to her *laugh*). All I have to do is follow her around on a given Sunday, and I wind up meeting everyone I don't know "safely". Betcha didn't even know you were being a blessing in that particular direction, did you chickie? :o)
Likewise, Kimby, who is gifted with that wonderful peace I know I've mentioned before. The kind of peace that puts you at immediate ease and always makes you feel like everything will be all right. The perfect complement to my tends to panic spaz-queen self. She also seem to always know just the right thing to say, too (the heifer); and for someone who is constantly eating her own foot, I'm telling you straight up that is a GIFT and then some! And quit rolling your eyes at me too, sistafriend. Heh Heh Heh. Sandy, with her warm fuzzy heart for critters and crazy sense of humor has an altogether different set of blessings that complete our friendship and brighten my day. There are, of course, many others. All of these remarkable people that the Lord has put in my life. What would I do without them? But I digress...
[Photo inset: My almost finished journal page borrowing some of Joanne Fink's Zenspiration with some scripture verses "dangling" down the left-hand side]

Since I'm obviously headed for "short story long" here, *snicker* I'll add that this journal page is about the things that I have a love and/or propensity for and what I'm supposed to be doing with them. A reminder to self, if you will. The right side of the page looks like a scarf, which is something I have been known to crochet. Speaking of... Do you like the yarn ball "o" and hook "t"? I was pretty excited when I saw that the idea actually worked and you can [mostly] tell what they are. The word Art is only partially visible, and horses is right above that. What? You were expecting something else to top the list? (well silly you ;o) They're not necessarily in order of preference, but more how they fit best in the space. Everything gets done in pencil first, then it's made permanent with Staedtler pens. My hand-lettering still needs lots more practice. I haven't decided whether or not to add color to it yet - the scarf, perhaps? Or maybe I should just leave this page in black and white. What do you think?

Have a blessed week everyone, and thanks so much for reading this far!

Red Book, Blue Book, Old Book, New Book

Saturday, October 10, 2015

**Coffee and a Donut Post**

Since it's [almost] National Book Week, I thought I'd make books the subject of this week's post. As a self-confessed bibliophile, I readily admit to having no less than eight (yes, 8) bookcases scattered throughout the house literally brimming with books (I suppose one might say I've got a home full of tomes *snicker*). This includes - as indicated by the post title - books by Dr. Seuss. I mean, what self-respecting book-a-holic could miss out on that marvelous cadence of his? Anytime I find a topic I am interested in pursuing, the first thing I do is look for a book or two (maybe three) depending on the subject. I have books on drawing, painting, crocheting, tatting, various crafts (I'd bet Ann's got more), gardening, animals, birds (though probably not as many as Anni), nature, and using essential oils and herbs, and a bazillion other subjects. When we remodeled our house, my dad and I made three 7' built-in bookcases [pictured] for the master bedroom, where I keep most of my fictional reading.  Believe it or not, we used 5" baseboard molding for the shelves. It has a marvelous finished edge and it's the perfect width for paperbacks (in the event that there are any other DIY bibliophiles out there ;o)

I have multiple dictionaries from the picture kind to unabridged. I've hung on to them, even though I tend to use my phone most of the time these days. Then there is the recreational reading for all ages, as well as a plethora of horse books; big shocker there, right? (ummm..... maybe not so much). Thankfully, there is a terrific used bookstore located a few miles away that takes trades (barring that, Ebay is a great used book resource). The store is actually an old house, and they have books piled to the ceiling in every room. Love it! I often walk (sometimes skip) away with a great big stack of books for $5.  I think that's a good thing. Well, most of the time anyway; except when it comes time to dust. Then I might not be quite so excited (although I must say that a super duper shop vac with a brush attachment is a wondermous thing ;o) 
[Photo Inset: A few of my dictionaries - can't have too many, don'tcha know]

A Kindle for Christmas several years ago added a whole new dimension to my library. Crazy to think you can fit somewhere in the neighborhood of 2,500 books in something that is less than half an inch thick and fits neatly in your purse, isn't it? Toss in an app for my phone and I suddenly no longer cared about having to stand in line anywhere. Why should I? I've got a book to read while I wait. One of the best things I discovered was earlier this year: Book Bub. Have you heard of it? For those of you who haven't, it is AWESOME. Book Bub puts out a daily email containing a list of free and reduced price books in a variety of genres. Maybe about ten at a time? Never counted. Anyhoo, most of them are for a limited time only (so get 'em while the gettin's good!). I have found a number of books by my favorite authors (usually the first in a series) as well as tons of new authors that I had never heard of for free. Free! For someone who cannot afford to fully fund her voracious reading habit - I have been known to blow through an entire series in one week when school is out - this is very exciting stuff. Plus, I'm not much of a gambler when it comes to test driving new authors with my money. It only took a couple of truly terrible reads - that had great sounding "blurbs" on the cover - to discourage me from buying unknown authors in the future. Did I mention that some of the books were free? Throw in the ability to "shelve" the books on Amazon when my phone library is full, and I wind up with digital shelf space akin to that of the New York City Library; AND it all fits in my pocket! *squeeee*
[Photo Inset: Part of my Karen Kingsbury collection - she is one of my favorite authors; even if she does make me cry.]

Of course one of my favorite topics to read both recreationally AND for research is horses, of courses! Although there are a number of excellent training resources out there for working with horses, I think my favorite "go to" thought provoking people for training (though I much prefer to call it "playing with purpose" ;o) are Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling and Mark Rachid. Before I stumbled upon their writings, I had been pulling a little of this and a little of that from various trainers and making my own little pot luck version. The one thing that really bugged me, however, was the cookie cutter methods used in horse training; the "one size fits all" approach. Yes, some things do remain constant in training, but all of them? Surely not. Maybe because I viewed our horses as a collection of individuals, rather than a "herd" of horses. Individuals with their own unique personalities and interests. I'm sure the same is true for dogs and other animals as well. Right?
Both men push you to think about things that most horse people never stop to consider. Hempfling pointed out that the traditional round pen led to disoriention (page 69 Dancing with Horses), just as staying in a round room for an extended period of time would ultimately disorient us. This made total sense to me and is the reason we built square and rectangular training areas. Rachid introduced the concept of "Passive Leadership" (Horses Never Lie) which placed emphasis on becoming your horse's chosen leader as opposed to their alpha. Revolutionary stuff to someone who was raised on the "show 'em who's boss" method of riding (a role I was never comfortable in). Though I've read all his books, Rachid doesn't come this far east to do clinics. Kate at A Year with Horses has been kind enough to share her own experiences at his clinics with those of us less fortunate; she has a whole list of them on the right-hand side of the blog (the lucky heifer ;o)
[Photo Inset: One of several horsey shelves; complete with childhood Breyer #68 Legionario III]

Wondering how I became such a big reader? Aside from genetics which predisposed me toward right brain-ism (mom was an English major and dad a Journalism major; they met working at a newspaper - he was her editor) growing up we spent five weeks out of each summer at the beach; our annual family vacation. Believe it or not, there was no T.V. - at all - for five whole weeks. Shocking, but true and possibly the best thing my parents ever did for me. Once the sun went down there wasn't a whole lot do there (one small store and an ice cream parlor), and you can only play so many board games. *laugh* DH, who is a total news and reality TV junkie, cannot fathom why I readily ignore the tube in favor a good read  - poor guy ;o) This photo is of one of my childhood books (published in 1964). It is "Alice's Adventures Underground" and is a facsimile of Carroll's original manuscript complete with illustrations and slipcover. Yes, the pages shown below really are yellowed with age (and let's not even go there). Pretty neat, eh? I always loved the silly poem about Father William. Of course now I wonder what his teachers had to say about his penmanship. *laugh* (control+ will make it larger if you need to):

How about you? Are you a big reader too? Thank you so much for sticking with me and reading this far! *wink* Have a blessed week y'all!

How Come I Do Me Like I Do-Do-Do?

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Welllll... it looks like we can chalk another one up in the "What in the world were you thinking Jennifer?" column: otherwise entitled, "Self-Inflicted Stupidity in Spades" (which, as an acronym could be construed as "Si-Si's" - yes-yes's in Spanish - and accurately represents the sum total of an ongoing personal predicament). Okay, that was entirely too much digression [even for me]. Nice rabbit hole there, Jen. *UGH* I managed (yet again) to bite off WAY more than I could possibly chew. Do you do that? I do. On a regular idiot-friendly basis, I might add. I have a really, really rough time with the "N" word. As in NO. I have, quite literally, sat in meetings and bit my lip hard enough to hurt to keep myself from volunteering for something when I knew good and well it would be far too much and I'd wind up completely overwhelmed and stressed out. Unfortunately, an "Oh, I can do that" frequently pops out in spite of my best efforts to hold it in. Why? Not a clue. Boneheaded? Maybe. Glutton for punishment? Definitely. Most of the time, though, it happens simply because I want to help. The fact that I know that you can't possibly help everyone all of the time does not seem to stop me from trying. Sometimes, however, it's just a big fat brain blip (you know, the kind that comes with the triple threat of repercussions: STRESS, MORE STRESS and TOTAL MELTDOWN). A few weeks ago, my art teacher asked me if I wanted to go in with her on a booth for the local Art/Craft Show the following weekend. Obviously, I was in idiot mode at the time, because I responded with an enthusiastic "Oh, I'd love to!". Two days later, I found myself lamenting this decision, but was still delusional enough to think I could pull it off without too much trouble. Well ha. Ha, HA, HA. Delusional indeed.

By the following week, I was ready to pull my hair out (and I might have, too, except that it is finally starting to thicken again - plus, once the hair has left my head it kinda freaks me out to clean it up, because Ick."Why? Why do you DO this to yourself?!?" was my perpetual mantra. What is WRONG with you? Are you mental? Clearly, the answer was [is] a resounding Yes. I did indeed make it to the art show (in frazzled stressed-out-mess mode, but I got there!) and I have to say that it was SO not worth it. *rolling eyes* We're talking total bust. I have no idea where they advertised, but it was like a ghost town; the only thing missing were the tumbleweeds (not to worry though, I found one just for you). I can't even say I enjoyed myself, since I spent the better part of a day sitting there thinking of all the things I could have gotten done had I just stayed HOME. The only positive thing I can think to say is that I did sell two candles to my art teacher (she said they were Christmas presents for a couple of someones) so at least my portion of the booth rental was covered. I'm good with that, I guess. I mean it'd be even worse had I wound up paying to get so completely stressed-out, right? My art teacher did make me promise that I would slap her [really hard] should she ever ask me to do such a thing again in the future  (so maybe it wasn't just me then, eh? ;o)

On the upside, my friend Lori has gallantly volunteered to run interference for me in the future as my official Nay-Sayer. (I am to direct any and all requests for my assistance through her). Why, you might ask? Because I completely blew my shining moment, that's why. After a lengthy discussion (otherwise entitled, "See Jen Vent") with Lori and another friend Cathy after church - both of whom agreed that I had a big problem telling people "No" - they gave me a marvelously encouraging pep talk and pointed out that I was already overloaded by default (true). Then they had me practice saying, "I'm sorry, but I just can't." I don't know why it's such an issue for me, but it's HUGE. The biggest thing that bothers me about it? I wind up saying "No" to the people I don't want to say no to (like friends and family), or I miss my weekly blog post because I've already said yes ten too many times. So why on earth do I keep doing it? I sure wish I knew, because I absolutely infuriate myself sometimes. ARRGH! The topic turned to other things and it was quite awhile later that Lori said, "Oh, I meant to ask you; do you think you could fix a meal for the W--- family next week?" Taking a deep breath and thinking about the coming week's chaotic schedule, I closed my eyes and said.... "When?" Of course both of them yelled "NO! NO! YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO SAY NO!!" at me simultaneously. Apparently that was a test, which I failed. Dismally. *facepalm*
What's the definition of insanity again? Oh yes: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Oh dear.

And... for those of you who like doodle and draw, I started a [sketchbook] joy journal the other week. Faith based, and full of whatever it is that I feel like adding to it. Initially I just wanted to practice lettering, largely because it's an übercool skill to have. I figured I may as well find a fun way to do it, hence the journal. Since it's now October and we're all "in the pink" (so to speak), I thought I'd share this page with you. It's not finished - obviously - nor is it a masterpiece, but the journal has been kind of a (hit and miss) therapeutic thing for me in the evenings.
I sure do enjoy doing it ;o)
[Pitiful photo, compliments of the crummy camera on my cell phone. Meh. :oP

Speaking of artistic endeavors, somebody special (actually two somebodies, since the taller one included a note ;o) sent me a happy-happy-happy moment. Isn't it awesome? Look:

Soooo putting them BOTH in my joy box. Thanks so much for reading this far, and have a blessed week!

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