Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Face Your Fears

Today I faced two fears: One inside the house and one outside the house.

The first one was a computer virus. I know, it's not a state of emergency, but when you work online full time, your computer is your gateway for the day. I somehow picked up a Trojan virus and my computer went "berserk" for hours. After being told yesterday that I would probably need to overnight my computer to Chicago, I was relieved to resolve the issue remotely. Almost an entire day's work was wiped out, but the issue was solved by the end of the day. Take that, virus! I overcame you!

Fear? Computer? Really?!? Yes, I was fearful. In fact, one year for Halloween, I was the "blue screen of death" because it was the scariest thing I could think of for a virtual employee.  But today, the problem was conquered, the fear cast aside, the virus removed. Victory was mine!

So...on to the second lesson on the farm today. During a riding lesson, my horse did a "bunny hop bucky thing" as I tried to cue him into a canter. My instructor stated that she thought my reins were too tight. Why were my reins tight? Fear.

I have only been riding for about a year and the feeling of being carried on the back of a 1000 pound beautiful beast at a canter is not exactly like a carousel.  Especially when the horse is 16.1 hands (FYI, that's on the taller side for an Appaloosa). It actually feels much faster than it really is because the stride is long and the muscular force quite powerful.  This power caused me to pull back on the reins, which just irritated the horse because I didn't allow him to "have his head" and canter freely. My tight grip kept the natural movement from happening.

How many times have we held the reins too tightly in life? Whether it be in our jobs (micromanaging), our spouses (hen pecking), our children (controlling) or whatever the case....we get poor results when our hold is too tight.

The solution is in the riding lesson:
1) Reach forward/out - stop working inward
2) Loosen your hold and relax - it's OK....really
4) Allow the beast (or child, or spouse or employee) to do what he/she was designed to do
5) Trust. Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding

What happens when we do the above things? We grow. We gain confidence. We learn. We move forward.

Face your fears. It's worth it.

Happy trails...

Friday, September 21, 2012

Welcome Home

We recently "adopted" a 20-something mare who was used in a church camp for years. We don't have much background on her. Who knows what adventures she has seen, what pastures she has grazed, or what pleasures or abuse she may have endured in her life. It doesn't matter to me at all what her past was...I'm just so happy she is here and she is ours now. We want to pour our love and attention on her and she is already happy to give it back. We named her Willow because we passed by the most beautiful, flowing willow tree on our way to meet her and we had been considering names which were calm and peaceful since we had been told that was her temperament.

As she takes shelter today in the lean-to because of the rain, I see a tired horse who prefers to be protected from the elements. She looks worn yet kind-hearted and in need of people who want to spend time with her.

I washed her halter today. It was full of dirt and was worn on the edges. As I washed it, I felt as if I was cleaning out the grime and dirt of her past....creating a shiny new halter to help her feel pretty and special. Now don't get me wrong, she was probably taken care of very well, but we all have our stories and pains that we wish we could just wash away and retire to a place of green grass, soft breezes and kisses from children.


As I scrubbed the halter with a brush, I felt an overwhelming sense of thankfulness and love. Isn't this how Jesus feels about us? Isn't this what He did for us? He takes us in with the understanding of our past; but with a promise to provide a forever place of love and acceptance. He makes us clean and new. "If any man be in Christ he is a new creation. The old has passed away. The new has come." 2 Cor. 5:17.

I'm finding that owning and taking care of Willow is more satisfying than I could have ever imagined. My first intention was to have a "kid-safe" horse...and that is what we got....but I was given so much more. I gained an understanding of how much God loves us. He wants to provide a place of love, acceptance, care and "forever-ness" that we cannot find anywhere else.

It doesn't matter where you came from. It doesn't matter where you lived, what you did, how you spent your previous years or whether or not you were labeled "useful." He loves you just because. 

Just like we love Willow.

Welcome home girl.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Trial and Error

This year I took a shot at a garden. I have never tried anything like this fact, most living things (besides pets and people) wither when I just look at them. With plenty of space, good friends with a rototiller, and a pioneering spirit, I embarked on a new adventure (one of many!).

I kept telling myself "if you get only ONE vegetable, consider yourself successful!" Well, I DID get a vegetable! My first "fruit of my labor" was a cherry tomato. Now I must confess, it came from a "starter plant" from Wedel's. The little devil on my left shoulder said "It doesn't count" yet I enjoyed it very much!

Soon, we saw huge plants! Nothing growing on them....but HUGE plants nonetheless. I had no idea that squash leaves were so ginormous.

Next up: we waited. 

And waited.

And waited.

Finally, a new veggie presented itself: Green pepper! It still felt like cheating because it also came from a starter plant from Wedel's.

Finally...we had SQUASH! Cut little budding squashies! And then zucchini! Almost as cute as the squash. And we had planted them ourselves (my sister-in-law Debbie helped me with the planting process...thank you Deb!).

So you would think I would feel pretty good at this point. But my head was telling me "Kerrie, you only have three green peppers, three cherry tomatoes and some budding squash and zucchini!"

Next up: Weeds. And grass. LOTS of weeds and grass. So much that I had trouble finding the things we planted! And so, like a good little gardener, I pulled and pulled and pulled this weekend. Piles upon piles of weeds and grass are now around the outside of my garden (with some select, juicy grass tossed to the horses).

At this point I'm thinking "Really? All this work...tilling, planting, weeding, waiting, watering, and watching for THIS?" My next thought: "Thank you farmers who do this for a living, for I certainly could not." (quick prayer said for farmers).

As I weeded the zucchini, I found myself among a very unwanted pest - grubs. Gross looking white slimy things. Lots of them. And they had eaten the root/base of my zucchini!!!! How DARE they?! Sigh...two out of three zucchini plants down. One was left struggling to supply life to its dangling zucchini offspring who were wearing brown, wilted flower hats.

Are you still following me? At this point, I am discouraged. I always like to feel that my time is well spent. I invest a lot of time in my kids, my husband, my home, my church and my animals. And as a result, I think I have some pretty good relationships and surroundings. Well, I am not feeling like the time invested in my garden is providing the expected return. So, as I do with most happenings around here, I look for the lesson. I am tossing around found a few possibilities.

1) There are some things in life in which we invest time an energy which will never reap a strong harvest (at least not in our eyes or during our time on earth) because the experience is meant for our growth and for God's glory. 1 Corinthians 10:31
2) Some failures are successes because they teach us lessons (just ask Thomas Edison)
3) The process may be more important than the goal (aren't most things this way?)
4) Patience is a virtue....the greatest harvest may be yet to come. Hebrews 6:12
5) Sometimes you just don't get what you expect. Change your expectations or change your direction....don't just sit around and complain.

Whatever the lesson is today, I am enjoying some steamed zucchini (the first and last of my garden) and squash. Eating in the moment.  Perhaps tomorrow will bring some new tomatoes and even some melon. Yum!

Friday, May 25, 2012

In Certain Situations, One Should Keep His/Her Mouth Shut

Today's lesson is brief. I used the riding mower for the first time ever to mow the lawn (and really enjoyed it!). But learned you should keep your mouth shut while mowing.

I probably could apply that lesson to other areas of my life as well :)

Friday, May 4, 2012

Surprise Wonders

Since this blog is about lessons learned, I thought I would post the video that was taken tonight of me riding my Haflinger, Jake. I knew that my riding was not very good...and that was OK. I am a "green" rider on a fairly green horse.

The trainer had recommended that I have someone video my riding so I can see what needs work. So I did....and I certainly see many things I can work on. My hands are too high; my stirrups might need to be lowered so my heels are more in line with my hips and ear, I need to "keep my seat" better, etc.

But the wonderful thing about this exercise was what I noticed instead. Instead of paying attention to my riding on the playback, I noticed the VERY green grass. The grass that my son mowed on our riding mower for the first time today. I'm very proud of him!

I also noticed the birds....they must chirp all day. I hope I have not become immune to their song already. Tomorrow I will pay more attention.

I also noticed the sun and shade and shadows. What a glorious evening. Even with the bugs darting and flies landing, it seemed more like a garden than an overgrown field of long grass and weeds.

And finally I noticed my pretty and patient. Even though he did stop completely short on me when I didn't ask (I think he wanted grass - still figuring that out), I was proud of him. A horse who would not stop well, back well, or stand still has now come a long way and always seems willing to take me around in circles (or figure 8s, or diagonals, or whatever).

Lesson learned tonight: While looking at one thing, you might notice five more things...or more...which are even better than what you were originally after. I started out focused on myself and my own riding but ultimately saw the beauty around me. Next time, I'll be sure to notice it all while I'm on the horse - not just by video later.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Gathering Was Had! Update Post.

So blessed that our new home and property were used for the fellowship of family
on the best day of the year! Photos say it best, reflecting the things that define family.

Thanks to my brother Tim for some of the great photos.

Cousins played chess...older ones made moves while
younger ones observed and plotted future strategies.

The horses were more than happy to take the attention....and grass.

Easter dresses and cowboy boots. Of course they go together!

Even the dog was happy!

The front looked like a parking lot, which was a great feeling.
That meant lots of people showed up.

Coffee and smiles always part of the day.

Easter egg hunt! A tradition lives on, only this time it was on five acres.

Eggs were found in fun places!

Laughter was a given.

The infamous "Blue Lips" picture. It just gets better every year.