Monthly Archives: December 2013

Longest Night of the Year: 2013 Reflections (part two)

“Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.”  -Victor Hugo

my homemade cannoli

My homemade cannoli

What better way to ease into another set of 2013 Reflections than with luscious references to food?

my homemade sourdough bread

My homemade sourdough bread

This past year, I resumed my life as a ‘good cooker.’  This family badge of honor, proudly reactivated now that I have a kitchen at my disposal, has provided nourishment to both body and soul.

~ 4/13  The unfolding of my ‘horse gentler’ skills learned during our time of horse rescue being placed within a new context of use.  While making a final pilgrimage to visit Terry’s Mother in Dallas (just a week before she passed away) our ‘nephew’ Jeremy helped with a fundraiser for the ‘Horses for Heroes’ project in nearby Rocky Top Ranch.  Himself a Wounded Warrior, he opened my eyes to this realm of horse therapy for returning veterans and their families.

Shortly thereafter, to my delight, I discovered a local established horse therapy group beginning to implement a Wounded Warriors component into their program offerings.  I immediately contacted them and not only signed on as an active volunteer, but got in on the ground floor as part of the initial group starting the WW program.  In addition, I work regularly with the other students.  While my primary role is in enabling the horse(s) to be their very best while in use during therapy, I enjoy the blessings of working with the various students and their families, other volunteers sharing my passion, the therapists and owners of the stable…

Gracie on Freckles, First Annual BTR Horse Show (I'm wearing orange)

Gracie on Freckles, First Annual BTR Horse Show (I’m wearing orange)

We all worked hard to put on the First Annual Bethlehem Therapy Horse Show this past November.

Matt's victory salute after his horse show debut

Matt’s victory salute after his horse show debut

 

Really, really cool.

 

 

~  The many loved ones who passed on this year.  Continue reading

Longest Night of the Year: 2013 Reflections (part one)

“A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.” –Steve Martin

Winter Solstice: a day with the least amount of sunshine potential; the shortest day and longest night; a time of reversals.

According to the Farmers’ Almanac:  The word solstice comes from the Latin words for “sun” and “to stand still.” In the Northern Hemisphere, as summer advances to winter, the points on the horizon where the Sun rises and sets advance southward each day; the high point in the Sun’s daily path across the sky, which occurs at local noon, also moves southward each day. At the winter solstice, the Sun’s path has reached its southernmost position. The next day, the path will advance northward. However, a few days before and after the winter solstice, the change is so slight that the Sun’s path seems to stay the same, or stand still. The Sun is directly overhead at “high-noon” on Winter Solstice at the latitude called the Tropic of Capricorn.  In the Northern Hemisphere, the solstice days are the days with the fewest hours of sunlight during the whole year.

Winter Solstice, Hilton Head, SC

Winter Solstice, Hilton Head, SC

To me, the Winter Solstice feels more like the ending of the past year with the dawning of the true ‘new year.’  An organic New Year’s Eve, so to speak.  Perhaps this, then, is a good time to reflect on the past year, letting go and easing into the ‘new year’ as each day from this point in time gains length.

2013 Reflections: December 2012 – December 2013

~ 12/5/12   Jazzman Dave Brubeck died at the age of almost 92.  Almost.  One day short of 92.  I remember that really hit me hard as my Jazzman Dad was ‘almost 90.’  Almost.  Was he going to make it to 90?

~ Our first Christmas after weathering three-Christmases-on-the-road-between-homes was super charged with getting to share it with our daughter and new son-in-law.  Gathering together in our little rental home blessed our ‘first Christmas’ with their first Christmas as a married couple.

David, Michelle, me & Flash (above my head) Christmas 2012

David, Michelle, me & Flash (under lights) Christmas 2012

Unpacking a few decos from the boxes that survived three plus years in the storage unit and the move from Colorado to South Carolina that year was like mining truths of traditions past. But even while in the midst of that newly unlocked comfort and sentiment, our first thought was to find a place for Flash.

Flash

Flash in our car-home

Flash gave his all for us during our lonely holiday times while on-the-road-between-homes…traveling 24/7 with us dangling from the rear-view mirror, faithfully swinging from side to side and blinking festive blue&red lights inside his white plastic snowman physique.  Flash now graces a place of honor inside our little rental home 24/7, blessing us and reminding us we were not alone during our three-year-journey-between-homes. Deuteronomy 31 vs 8 script

~ Watching Les Miserables, the movie, with my cousin Chris.  Experiencing the quality acting on screen, and being submerged in the surround sound scoring of the classic Victor Hugo novel; bonding over the inequities of life, past and present; the power of God, hope and dreams while living in a world of harsh realities…all contributed to strengthening and deepening our relationship.

Not much has changed about society’s perception and treatment of those less fortunate. Continue reading

Story of a Kitty & Remembering Tripod

Once again I find myself in Colorado visiting Dad while in the midst of record breaking weather.  The Deep Freeze temps that usually occur during the National Western Stock Show in January have arrived earlier this year.  Family and friends are beginning to joke about my visits bringing crazy weather; first the 1000 year flood and now this.  If this keeps up, those same friends and family might not be so happy to hear of any further visits I’ll be making!

The unseasonably bitter cold has brought out concerns for the neighborhood stray cat where my brother and sister-in-law live.  It seems there is this kitty who was once a beloved house cat, living an indoor life in a home just kitty corner (!) from my brother and sister-in-law.  This lovely feline had an adoring owner who passed on about three years ago.  Kitty’s inherited owner took no interest in claiming her, causing Kitty to become an unwilling outdoor cat.

As with most strays, she makes her daily rounds; surviving better than most because of her winning personality and because her territory is within a nice neighborhood.  According to my brother, she is the perfect stray to take in and call your own.  Kitty has tried to adopt various humans, but with little success.  Mostly because she is technically someone else’s pet.  In the case of my brother and sister-in-law, they accepted Kitty’s offer at one time, trying to incorporate her into the family.  Unfortunately, the household’s menagerie of permanent and semi-permanent pets didn’t accept Kitty into their gang.

So adopting Kitty was not an option. Continue reading