Life, Live It

“The trouble is, you think you have time.” ~Buddha

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These past few weeks, I’ve once again found myself looking at life through a lens of loss and struggle and a gamete of emotions I am unable to reign in, and not even really wanting to try.  I’ve needed to feel the rawness of it, the deep love of my family, and not take one, single breath for granted.  It isn’t all sad, but I am learning to hi-light the good moments and savor them a little longer; letting them take the edge off the sadness that revolves around death and loss.  It also, as it well should, makes me reflect strongly on my personal journey in this one life I get. So this rambling is written out of a place of realness and vulnerability and projected out into this big, wide world for your interpretation and judgement, but also as a source of strength and perhaps a self-check.  What are you doing with this one life you have?   If a loved one were sitting at a desk tonight penning your obituary, what would they say about you?  

 The harsh reality of a death is that you dying doesn’t affect you, but impacts those left behind.  The hardest part isn’t saying goodbye to someone; it’s learning to live without them. It leaves a hole in a heart, it leaves an empty chair at a dinner table, it leaves words unsaid, it leaves dreams unfulfilled, it leaves a stillness and quiet that in fact echos off the walls of one’s mind & heart.   Your birth and your death are your bookends, your timeline, to squeeze in as much as one can into the book of life, and if you’re lucky, you get to write numerous chapters full of life lived through good times and bad.  The truth is, we are all pushing the time we have in this world. So I ask you again? What would those left behind have to say about this one life you lived?

Were you strong because you knew your weaknesses?  Were you beautiful because you knew your flaws? Were you fearless because you knew it was your chance to fly?  Were you wise because you learned from your mistakes?  Did you love because you felt hate?  Did you laugh because you knew sadness? Did you live with a sense of urgency?  Did you share your heart unselfishly?

 Maybe the real tragedy isn’t in fact our death, but what we let die inside of us while we lived.  Because, the trouble is, we think we have time.  We think we can tell someone we love them later, we think we can take our kids fishing another time,  we can take that Sunday drive in that old pick-up truck another day, we can mend that broken fence later. Guess what… we don’t always get that time.

I don’t want to leave this world with doubts, or worse, leaving anyone else doubting. I want to use up every minute, and I want that to be my legacy.  I want my obituary to be so full of good things, ornery sentiments, integrity, honesty, smiles and tears and love, not for me, not for my memory, but as a comfort and a reminder to those left behind. A reminder that you have this one life, so live it.  

The gate only opens once to that ol’ rodeo of life. You might as well spur the hell out of that bronc and just let ‘er buck!

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Happy Trails,

Heather

Cowgirl, Who Are You When the World Ain’t Lookin’?

I will admit, I’m a people watcher. I find myself intrigued and wondering what makes up the character of a person. As women, we often feel threatened by what we perceive other women to be. We measure ourselves strongly against other’s physical appearance, by successes, by well-behaved children, by the cars we drive, by relationship statues, by friendships, and facebook posts. We constantly strive to measure up. And sadly, I catch myself doing the same. In that acknowledgement, I also realize that life is so often not what it seems. Every single one of us has a unique story, has scars, lives with fear, smiles through tears, or has a chapter in our life story we don’t read aloud. This realization levels the playing field.  We’re in this life together to help each other, inspire one another, cry with one another, and embrace our differences. 

So, that is where the following rambling came from, knowing we all have secret hopes and unfulfilled dreams. I challenge you to not compare your uniqueness to another, to look deeper than the surface of yourself and others, erase expectations and preconceived notions, and see the heart and soul of someone. Read between the lines. You may be surprised what you find you can relate to…

Cowgirl, who are you when the world ain’t looking begging you to be all it expects you to be? What are your hopes and dreams? What do you see when you look in the mirror? Are you happy with what you’ve come to be? Do you beat yourself up because you think you’ve failed? Do you like who you see? Are you still searching, longing to find your voice down deep inside? Are you happy, really truly happy and feel life is as it should be?

Are you looking for love? Are you married and struggling to reconnect? Do you still long to find your childhood love and ride off into a sunset? Are you missing someone? Their touch? Their smile? Their laugh? Do you ask if love will ever be? Do you have good friends? Or do prefer to just be?

Who are you, cowgirl, when this old world ain’t looking, waiting for you to make your next move? When it’s not asking you to be what you don’t want to be? Do you close the chapter on your book of life that hurts too much to read? Do you hate yourself for your mistakes? Do you wish you could just change everything? Anything? Just that one thing? Do you have regrets? Do you share unselfishly your gifts and talents with others, or tuck it away in safety away from the world’s harsh reality? Do you know who you really want to be? Do you rise up? Do you try again? Do let it all go? Do you let it be what it will be?

Are you hardened or closed because you’ve built walls to guard your heart? Do you cry for no reason at all? Are you sick? Are you tired? Are worried about it all?

Hey cowgirl, who are you when the world ain’t looking?

Do you dance in your underwear and sing in the rain? Do you drink wine straight from the bottle? Do you like your whiskey straight? Do you paint your nails red, bright, shiny red because it makes you feel pretty? Do you let your hair down, or cut it off because you just need a change?

Do you hike a thousand miles through the wilderness just to know your real heart?  Do you love whomever you want? Do you raise babies, and ride broncs? Do you work at your passion? Or just a job to get by?

Do trail cattle on the  calico prairies and sagebrush sea? Do you let that wild horse run? Do you let your lungs breathe the mountain air deep? Do you travel the world to see through new eyes? Do you put down roots and watch them grow? What is your story? Why?

Cowgirl, be who you want to be anytime, anywhere… Even if this world is watching, do just as you care.  Quit waiting, quit wondering. Just get out there and live, cause this one life ain’t waiting on you, so why are you waiting on it?

Happy Trails, Cowgirl~

Heather ©

Get It Together, Woman

20161011_174858-01It was recently pointed out to me by a male counterpart (and I am sure a trustworthy source like Hillary’s email) that after my last rant about woman logic, women are twelve percent more likely to be violent during road rage.  After I talked myself out of taking a swing on the unsuspecting dude, I sorta decided to go ahead and let my calm, cool woman logic prevail…hahahaha.

Even I was surprised by how quickly and fluidly the words came in my retort to his ridiculous accusation! And I felt the urge to justify my position because…

I am pretty sure if road rage did in fact occur, it happened for the following reasons:

It was morning, and we are responsible for EVERYTHING in the morning. Kids. Pets. Husbands. Lunches. Dinner. Not many men are around to get the kids out the door along with themselves in a fashionable and timely manner to work and school.  I’m past the diaper bag routine, but I am not too sure a teenage son is any quicker.  How can something that refuses to shower and change clothes on a daily basis take so damn long in the bathroom? However, he still wants to know if his favorite shirt is clean.  So while you’re brushing your teeth, drawing on an eyebrow, and writing a check for school lunches, you find his favorite shirt in the dirty clothes pile, give it a quick sniff, and throw it at him while pouring yourself a cup of coffee.  While pouring the cup of coffee, you think about dinner.  Dinner must consist of meat and potatoes and no food touching other food, and all you really want to do is pull the cork on the opened bottle of delicious vino and swig until you feel warm and fuzzy. Forget it. Dinner can wait, and  if all else fails, there’s a box of Captain Crunch.

When son finally emerges from what smells like a locker room and grunts and groans because he has to make his own breakfast, you’re trying to draw on the other eyebrow, change your outfit for the 3rd time because your shoes make you feel fat.  Somehow, you still end up with  the black bra and the white shirt, spill your coffee on your white shirt, and have to start all over again.

Your hair looks terrible, and you decided maybe a curling iron will fix the mess, but the dog needs out for her morning constitutional.  Your son ignores you when you ask him to let the dog out, so you do it yourself, and the horses whinny at you when you open the door as a reminder they still need fed.  So, you kick off your flats, tuck your dress slacks in your muck boots and pitch out the hay.

You return inside to finish fixing your hair, which is now littered with hay,  while realizing you are now ten minutes late.  You yell at your kid to get his ass in gear, and remind him to brush at least one layer of scum off his teeth or he will never get a girlfriend. (And the irony of this dawns on you. Why would the kid want a girlfriend? One crazy, bossy lady telling him what to do is enough!)

You make it to the car, peel out of the driveway, cold coffee in hand while mentally tackling your day at work, making a grocery list, reminding yourself that it’s been 2 years since you’ve had great sex, (better put that on your to do list), and somewhere in that thought, you remember you still need hairspray. Which reminds you..shit… you’re pretty sure the curling iron is still on.  So, you whip a u-turn, note the clock and that you are now 20 minutes late. You swerve around deer, yell at your kid, and mash the pedal to the floor, skid sideways into the drive and rush in the house only to find you actually did unplug the curling iron.

You peel back out of the driveway, cussing squirrels and rabbits scurrying for their lives, you honk at slow pedestrians, and stupid Sunday drivers while giving them the Cali one finger wave.  Your curse words flow freely. Your blood pressure is sky-high. You’re blowing snot and breathing fire. And coincidentally, Ozzy Osbourne’s “Bat Outta Hell” is blaring through the speakers, while your kid looks at you in complete awe from the passenger seat.

But, somehow you deliver your son unscathed and on time for school, with an enhanced list of vocabulary words because you broadened his horizons on the drive, and you walk through the doors at work with  a smile on your face, coffee-stained shirt, and crooked eyebrows ready to face the day!

It ain’t road rage…. It’s mad mother skills.

Happy Trails & Skilled Driving Ladies,

Heather

That’s Woman Logic


Women think we have a logical reason for everything we say and do, whether subtle or blatant.  We don’t understand ourselves any more than the next person, but we always promise an entertaining and enlightening adventure…

For instance, why do we wax or tweeze our eyebrows just to draw them back on? Woman logic. Somewhere in our warped little mind, society has trained us that perfect eyebrows must look better shaped and sculpted and painted on. Who really knows whey we think this looks better?

Why do we eat cucumbers and drink purified water all day and binge drink wine at night? Because we spend all day counting calories and counting steps and counting pounds, and at the end of the day, it was just one giant disappointment. A woman knows her chocolate goes better with wine anyway. Woman logic.

We push leftovers on our families. We shall not waste! We must save money!  We will eat the week old leftover meatloaf before we grocery shop. But…we will try 42 different kinds of face cream at the low, low price of $39.99 each because the first 41 were complete crap. Woman logic.

We sigh. And act dramatic. And make a big deal out of empty toilet paper rolls, overflowing garbage cans, and unemptied dishwashers.  This is our opportune moment to express and perfect our passive, aggressive behaviors by not saying what we want or need.  We sort of relish in making the moment miserable.  Woman logic.

We don’t care where you decide to eat.  But for the love of God, please do not go to the first twelve places you just named.  None of them sound good, and well, we just aren’t feeling it. However, a nice place with a variety on their menu sounds good so we can take an hour to decide what to eat, while ordering everything to the side.  Woman logic.

Date night is a very big deal.  We hint at our male half telling him how long it has been since we’ve been on one.  And when it finally happens, we {gasp!} shave legs, pick out a nice outfit, apply perfume and make-up and take hours getting ready for said date night, only to walk out and ask your guy “how do I look?”  And when he responds, “you look fine, are you ready?” We roll our eyes, storm back to the bedroom, change clothes at least five times, and cry because we are pretty sure he thought we looked fat. And don’t expect the night to end in magical fireworks, because we probably will still be crying and just want you to hold us. That’s woman logic.

We strategically place laundry hampers in places that we think men will notice them, and try to help our men feel more successful about helping out, only to find the the giant pile of dirty laundry stacked next to the hamper.  So we move it to an easier, less subtle location with high hopes of him actually using it the next time.  And get mad two hours later when he clearly still doesn’t it. There’s no need to move it again… he ignored you just fine the first time. Be mad.  That’s woman logic.

A woman is a complex, strange being. Good luck figuring us out, because we are still trying to do the same.  The study of woman logic is on-going, expensive, and intricate, and there are no conclusive results expected any time soon.

Hang in there guys… Haven’t you always enjoyed a perplexing and thrilling mystery?  In the meantime, there is still good, old, reliable beer, hunting, and football.

Happy Trails,

Heather

 

 

 

Look Up

“Pretty little thing, sometimes you gotta look up, and let this world see all the beauty that you’re made of, because the way you hang your head, nobody can tell, you’re my Virginia Bluebell.” ~Miranda Lambert

I’ve had so many dreams in my life. So many things I thought I would be by now. I’ve outgrown some of them, and some of them have outgrown me. And there are those I still long for to come true. And they will. I have faith.

The first time I saw thirteen year old Rachel Myllymaki run the barrels at a local rodeo, her yellow hair flying out under her hat and her horse on fire, I wanted to be a barrel racer… Some days I still want that.

I wanted to be an equestrian cross-country jumper the first time I watched it on the Olympics.  I borrowed my mom’s dressage saddle and jumped my pony over every log, ditch and downed tree I could find. Until the big girl dreams came along, but some days I still long to take that jump, too.

I wanted to be a female horse trainer and rancher and equine vet. Yes, all of them.  I wanted that big, blue sky ranch with horses as far as they eye could see. I still want that, too.

Nowadays, I find myself longing to help others through horsemanship and the wilderness and helping run the family business. I also want to write novels and short stories and take pictures of the beauty that graces me every day. And I will.

You see, sometimes we outgrow dreams, and sometimes they outgrow us. But they also follow along silently until something, or someone, reminds us that they’re still beating in our heart and soul, and they’re worth giving another thought.

I lost focus along the way. Life changed so fast and my priorities morphed over the years to accommodate choices I made. And it wasn’t bad.  But my dreams didn’t go away. I just forgot to look up. Worrying about failure, worrying about timing, worrying about finances, always worrying and always wondering. And then I finally asked myself why? What in the hell am I waiting for?

We all ask ourselves these questions when we set out on a personal endeavor. The importance of feeding our souls and feeding our dreams with good people, positive thinking, beautiful scenery, love and light, fuels the fire of wanting to accomplish something significant. When we’re passionate about pursuing life, it spills over to others.  It is the want that keeps us trying.

When dreams are written on our hearts with permanent ink, tattooed there, they may fade, but it’s our job to not let ourselves down.  

Don’t be hard on yourself. Take a moment to look back on where you’ve come from, from where all you’ve been. Revel in it. Marvel at it. Evaluate the heartache you’ve felt, but nurture your new found strength. And grow in it, and trust that you’ve got this and God has you.

Despite all you’ve been through, you’re still here. Even though the sun didn’t always shine, you still grew. You’re a mosaic of all the shattered pieces of your life, with the bits of dreams still there and the flicker of hope still burning.

It’s never too late to get your shit together. Because that’s the beginning of something good, something strong, and something that’s right for you. In that pit of anger, of sadness, of frustration… that’s your new beginning. And those tucked away dreams are your way out.

So, pretty little thing, don’t forget to look up, and show the world all the beauty that you’re made of.

Dream big. Dream forever. Live authentic and live true to yourself.

~Happy Trails

Heather

Flawedless

 

We live in a society that plays on and profits from our self doubt. We are who we are, and we suffer because we imagine we should be different. We imagine we should be a replica of a celebrity, a friend, or a flawless more perfect version of our own reflection. We hold our appearances to a high standard and place our value  and self worth on our outward appearances instead of valuing and nurturing and loving the inward. We pin pictures, save hairstyles, read tips, buy products all for the sake of improvement.

Starve those thoughts. Believe that whatever flaws you think you may have are your own brand, your own version of perfect. Give up being the judge.  It’s not your job.  Because when we give up judgement of ourselves, we give up the fear of being judged by others.  There is nothing wrong with being better or doing better or wanting better.  There is nothing wrong with striving to be the best.

But guess what? You are meant to be a square peg in a round hole. Imperfection is perfection, and is in fact beautiful to the right one. You are meant to not have all the answers; but you are destined for greatness, regardless.  Believe in you. Just. As. You. Are. And that’s when you, yes you, become rich in the things that really matter.  You are good enough. You are strong enough. You are smart enough.  Girl, you are flawedless. You’re meant to be. Go out and own that shit.

 

Happy Trails~

 

Heather

Wild Once

“Love her, but leave her wild.” ~Atticus

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You’re just some wild thing, with a faraway look in your eyes. The memories of freedom seep back into the unsealed cracks of your buried heart. No one can tell you, no one can really see, what goes on in there, the heart between the one you were, and the one you’re yet to be. It’s a sagebrush sea of haze and blue, to navigate all alone. The place where you crave the shelter, yet seek the crazy storm. The flame and longing in your eyes fuels the fire in man, and everything he loved and admired about you, the wild look, the catch me if you can, the youthful beauty, has become something he unknowingly tries to tame. You learn to give, you learn to bend, but your heart always runs, it runs with the calico pony off into the sun. Those wild winds, they always call, they speak straight to the core of your soul. Stay true to that wild, and stay true to that free. Remember this world can’t break you, it can’t change what you’re really meant to be… Because deep down, you and me, we are always meant to be wild and we are always meant to be free.

Motherhood: Challenge Accepted

This is for all the moms…past, present and future…written out of love and respect for all of you and whatever place you may be in the journey of motherhood.

imageMotherhood…Let’s be real for a moment here. I thought I was good at being a mom, until I actually had kids.  But in all reality, there are days I just suck at it. Or maybe it is just this particular moment in my personal journey of motherhood that has me questioning why I was born with boobs instead of a pecker?  Either way, I’ve screwed it all up…This being the best mom in the whole, wide world thing… I’ve irreversibly and simply just effed it all up.  The trophy for “Outstanding Mom of the Year” has evaded me once again and been hastily passed to a more deserving, perfect cookie baking mom. So kudos. Kudos to you, you big Mom winner.  I bet your kitchen is spotless and your garden blooming grandly.

No… I don’t really mean that because any Mom that has that going for her deserves a pat on the ass and a date night that doesn’t involve sex.  So, my little pity party aside, I’ve come to the realization that I should at least give myself a little credit for showing up to this mom thing and giving it a valiant effort on most days.  I tried.  And although a trophy simply for my participation in this monumental challenge of parenting would be nice, I don’t need it.  I don’t need that shiny award to remind me that I am a good mom.  Because my children are proof of that.

In the end,  despite me being me with all my lofty and grandiose expectations and parenting goals paired with my over-stuffed baggage of personal life screw-ups and hang-ups and botched attempts at princess-themed birthday parties and leaving the crust on the PB & J sandwich-I know I am still a good mom.  I know this roll did not just happen upon me.

Maybe my expectations of both parent and child were just a little too high at times? Maybe I hold on too tightly and don’t pull them close enough at all the important times.  Maybe I spanked ’em too hard and laughed when I shouldn’t have.  I left the dirty dishes in the sink for two days too long, let them eat off paper plates, and let them wear the same dirty shorts two days in a row. Maybe the phrase “pull your head out of your ass” was used one time too many.  I don’t know the answer, and I can question myself until I’m a size 2 and 105 lbs, but one thing I know for sure… I have expectations of my kids, and the words used and choices made were done out of a place of love.  That’s what being a mom really is.

It’s putting aside differences and hoping beyond all hope that maybe your children will see themselves through your eyes, eventually.  It’s knowing that just because too much Captain Crunch was consumed and not enough organic oatmeal, I am still a good mom.  It’s knowing that at the end of the day that I’ve probably provided just enough dysfunction to sustain-ably and gainfully employ two part-time therapists to “sort all that shit out”, but I am still a good mom.  It’s knowing that I did what I thought was best at the time, and accepting that no matter how hard I try, I will never get it all right.

So are you.  You may be wearing your pajamas at 3:00 P.M. picking your middle schooler up while your toddler is tugging at your pant leg or you may be at your 9 to 5 job worrying about your kiddo in daycare; You may be 65 wishing your son would call more often, but knowing he’s happy just where he is, or you may be like me, 39 with a headstrong 18 year old leaving you second-guessing every move you’ve made at this point in your roll as her mom.  Your house can be messy, your dishes not done, stories unread, crafts unfinished, and photos not in the album. Just be in the moment because those storms never last, mama.  They may get more intense, but the good news is… you cared, you supported, you fought, and you loved right down to your last damn breath as a mother.  Mother. Mom. Mama. Motherhood: Best challenge ever accepted, and I will cross that finish line with my head held high, a bottle of wine in one hand, and my Bible in the other.  That’s what this journey is all about, and what a ride it is.

Happy Mother’s Day & Happy Trails,

Heather

Forever, My Girl

“I know a girl, she puts the color inside of my world…” ~John Mayer
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18 years… Seems like yesterday, my beautiful Kiley Dawn.  April 15th, 1998 at 7:25 A.M…they laid you in my arms.  I knew my life would never be the same, and as cliche as that may sound, it’s entirely true.  You were my first overwhelming, selfless love. You were my first in so many ways, and if I knew then what I know now, I’d hit pause for just a while on all those firsts…
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The first minutes of your life, the look in your daddy’s eyes when he first saw you, the first smile you smiled, the first words you spoke, the first steps, the first time you rode your horse, the first time we took you fishing, the first time you bugled elk with Dad, your first days of every year of school, and now the first day of the rest of your adult life…
fb_img_1460562680316.jpgSo, here we are, and I just want to make the moment last just a little longer.  And as much as I want you to spread your beautiful wings and fly, and am excited about all the amazing things you’ll do in this life, I want just as badly to hold on to the last little bit of your time at home with us before you strike out on life’s grand adventures.  I wonder if I’ve given you all the love you needed to succeed, the proper guidance and direction?  Do you know how much you are admired and loved, and just how proud of you I am?  Because I feel I could never tell or show you enough.  Moms are just that way… So, before you go, I give you these words, so you may always know just how much you’re loved and supported, and know that I trust the decisions and choices you make, even if they’re not ones I would choose for you.

Remember that you have what it takes to climb that mountain, and don’t take the easy way. That grit in your gut is pure strength and passion.  The challenge builds character, makes your lungs burn, and reminds you how alive you are.  When you doubt yourself, trust in God. He wants even more amazing things for you than you or I can even fathom. Don’t sell that ride short, ever, because there are no short-cuts to anywhere worth going.

Integrity is everything…Doing the right thing when nobody is looking is your soul proof. I know this is not something you will ever struggle with.  You have strong and true convictions in right and wrong… You always have.  Don’t ever ask of someone what you are not willing to do yourself.  Be the example and the change you want this life to see.fb_img_1460562258527.jpg

Please don’t forget to nurture that beautiful, little girl still inside you. Never ignore her.  You will need her in the years to come, and the passions you lived for as a child, will carry over into adulthood.  Sing….Girl, please sing and share that amazing talent with others.  You’re meant to be heard. Learn to dance, ride wild horses, pick wildflowers, play in the rain, and forget the boys once in a while…always do these things because they will help keep you young.  It’s not ever selfish to get back to the roots of just being you before the world told you who you should be. Don’t lose the smile it brings to your face and soul because yours is simply too amazing not to share with the world beautiful daughter.

Be forgiving and humble…and sort out what is worth holding on to emotionally, and just let go of the rest.  Anger and discontent become extra weight you will be better off without in the long run, and remember you never truly lose in apologizing.  There is always something to learn from every situation or conflict.  There are always opportunities for emotional growth, so learn from them.  You’ve taught me so much about myself over the years just by simply being your mom.  You’re a reflection of me and my actions, and more often than not, I got it all wrong. But from that, I see wisdom and strength in your young eyes, and more importantly, in your heart.

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Travel, explore, and be adventurous.  Try something new any chance you get.  You will need these memories to take out and reflect on now and then. We all need “remember whens”.  But, don’t forget the door to home is always open, and my shoulder is here for you to lean or cry on.  When you have troubles, I promise to just listen and not talk.  When you have good news to share, I will rejoice and celebrate with you.  When you just need a place to be…home is here for you with the door unlocked, clean sheets on the bed, and ice cream in the freezer.

Family really is everything, and so is learning to count on yourself.  Family is your anchor, and a complete pain in your ass, but they have your best interest at heart, and are there when the shit hits the fan.  Listen to your grandmas’ advice, hug your grandpas’ necks, make your brother one of your best friends, be an example for your younger cousins, and know your aunts and uncles are a second set of parents with their own words of wisdom and adventurous advice to share.  Visit them as often as time allows, and honor them because they love you like you were their own.

20160305_151924-02.jpegIf your life and circumstances allow, always own a horse or a dog. And if you can’t have one out your back door, I promise to always have one for you.  You already know all the reasons why…but mostly because it reminds you how to love something bigger than yourself, gives you purpose, and a reason to get outdoors.  And they always provide love in return.  They teach you about yourself, your strengths and weakness, and where your character needs improvement.  Besides children of your own {someday}, they will be your best teachers.

Laugh…laugh at the silly and the stupid and the simple things.  Just laugh. It’s infectious and makes others smile.  Give people a reason to laugh, and do it often.  Laughter through tears heals broken hearts…And cry. Never apologize for tears.  They’re real and exist because of a feeling, and sometimes for no damn reason at all.  That’s just being a woman.

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In the end, be grateful… Grateful for hurt, pain, and triumphs no matter the size.  There is always something to be grateful for in this beautiful life, Kiley.  The more you know yourself, the more there is to rejoice in.  Remember to take the time to get to know the new and changing you, now.  The big choices and decisions don’t have to be made at this moment.  Don’t let this world jade you, chew you up and spit you out.  Stay grateful, stay true….Stay just you.  Boys will wait if they’re meant to be. College can wait. Marriage can wait. Babies can wait.  But life can’t wait.  Some days you will make great strides, and others will feel like two steps forward and one step back; it will feel like you’re treading water.  Go to church now and then… We all need reminders, and wait on God in those moments…Just wait.  He’s busy clearing a path in your heart to prepare you for what lies ahead. Reflect, listen, learn, but always love.

Never forget you will always be your daddy’s little girl, your mama’s best friend and riding partner, and your little brother’s advocate and confidant.  I am so damn proud of you.  Spread those new-found wings, spread them as far and wide as you can, and know that I love you…Yes, to the moon and back. And always…

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Summer Love, True Love

Pearl Basin 3It really was love at first sight;  the ranch, the barnyard bustle, the summer morning air filled with the scent of horses and leather and timothy grass, the mountains and wilderness and the trails that wound intimately through, and my family working side by side.  I knew from day one, the hold this had on me, the grip on my heart and soul.  I knew this was it, that I wouldn’t need anything else in my life. Just this. And although I couldn’t see it then, I see it now.  This way of life assimilated into a relationship built on real, true love, summer love.

And as with all relationships in its freshness and grandeur,  I found myself giving it my very best, giving my all, losing myself in the ebb and flow of all the family outfitting and dude ranch business and the nature of what it had to offer.  I let it form and mold and shape me at its whim.  I took when it gave, it gave everything when it could, and I waited patiently when it couldn’t, and rested on the laurels of someday and next summer. Because I knew with each breath of a new summer season, it would once again envelop me in its arms. It needed me, and I needed summer even more.  I loved it with every fiber of my being.  I always felt that without it, I wasn’t me, that I wasn’t honoring what my family had worked so hard to build, and I wasn’t fulfilling the contract made to my heart without it.  But, mostly it was an incessant need and desire that demanded to be satiated.  I needed the mountains, the horses, the trails and the dust, the meadows, the influx of new people, and the daily touchback to my family and heritage; I needed it all.

This love took me places I never knew were possible or even existed. It pushed me, helped me see untapped potential within, and broke down walls I didn’t even know needed breaking. It opened my eyes to what this life could be, what it should be. It led me to new friendships, mountain peaks and vistas I would have never otherwise seen, the clearest streams filled with the most colorful stones, the intimate trust and love of a good horse, and it led me to my next love, my husband and children.

And as with all  good things, true love changes, and you start to wonder if you’re both committed to forever. Your needs start to change and so does its. I started to lose my grip on what seemed perfect and what I felt would truly last forever.  I started to see flaws in this relationship, and my ability to communicate my needs and desires broke down.  And the ease and comfort of my life morphed into the next phase of true love, the change.  And I felt myself changing with it.  I felt like I was becoming two different people.  There was the side of me, the drifter side, that wanted to continue to wander and wonder and love this life as it was.  But the other side of me I felt emerging desired consistency and steadfastness that this love could not offer me.  And they clashed, like a gentle war in my heart.  And it was a wash, no clear winner, no giant victor; only small wins here and there in a fraction of time that soothed  because one side of me conceded the game being played between head and heart to the other.  But only until they crossed paths again…the epitome of should I stay or should I go?

The latter of the two won. The need to find stability in something other than my love for this way of life surpassed the need to drift freely.  Because it no longer was free; it came at a price. It forced choices to be made and growth to happen.  The next phase of life needed to happen because I could no longer ride the tide of summer love.  I had others counting on me, and I needed to count on myself.  And I let go…

I didn’t give up.  I didn’t win or lose.  This love became best tucked away with words left unsaid because it was better that way.  Letting go wasn’t leaving the love, but rather leaving feelings left unexplored and thoughts left incomplete.  It wasn’t about blocking memories made, good or bad.  Letting go became an acceptance of what this love really was, realizing my own need for independence, and finding peace with what it remains to be.  It was a giant and gentle step into growth and knowing that my heart and head needed a clearer, gentler path. No bitterness was felt and no blame needed placed, because there was really no fault. Just the rawness that change evokes.

So, there my true, first love lies, back in the heart of the mountains, in the family left behind, the friends made, the horses and trails ridden. We both gave it everything we had at the time, and when the morning sun arose, we both knew it was time. It embeds itself there, tucked away in the rough edges of my heart, occupying vast space, a burning flame, awaiting for our paths to cross again. I take those memories out and  look at them, revisit what was, and sometimes wonder what if?  But more than anything, I honor this great love, a no truer love, because it made me who I am today and for that, I am forever in love and forever grateful…

Happy Trails~

Heather