Saturday, October 15, 2011

Keeping Warm

October is here and with it comes colder days and the ultimate search for warmth. Me, I am already counting the days until spring. There are 2 kinds of warmth that I seek this time of year. One is the obvious, physical warmth and the other is spiritual warmth.

Spiritual warmth is that inner peace that sometimes becomes so difficult to find. The skies are grey, the sun rises later and sets earlier and we feel as though we are stuck indoors. I am an outdoor person by nature. I love to be out in the barn or the kennel playing with the dogs and the horses. I despise putting on an additonal 10 lbs. of clothing and carrying around that extra weight while doing my chores. It seems to take twice as much time to get half as much done. This makes me sad and my inner light grows increasingly dimmer. I have to find inventive ways to feel warm inside and to find inner peace. At 52, I've had a lot of experience with it so I thought I would share a few ideas with you to get you through those cold winter months that lay ahead...

Find a good book and don't try to read it all in one sitting but rather spread your reading time out over a period of days or even weeks. Once you finish that one, start another.

Find comfort in what you enjoy the most whether it is baking, sewing, chatting on line, anything to embrace the time rather than just kill time.

Don't shut yourself off from the outside world. We all know its easier to close the curtains, stay in our warm jammies and not venture out in the cold. If you must do this, invite a few friends over for a movie or just a chat but try and leave the house for something other than work at least twice a week.

Start a journal or try your hand at a story or two but write! It is therapeutic and you'll find that before you know it, you may just have written your first book!

Moving on to physical warmth... bonfires, dress in light layers of clothing, keep your clothes dry and find at least one good pair of boots and my personal favorite item of winter warmth is a warm wool blanket. I have a plaid stadium blanket that I've had for years. I dont even remember where I got it but the minute the temperatures drop below 40 and the furnace kicks in, I pull it out of the closet and keep it close by. There is nothing warmer than wool and it reminds me of a saddle blanket so I feel closer to the horses even when its too cold to ride. Mine has holes in it because Ive had it for so many years. Not big gaping holes but little holes created by puppies nursing on it or wear spots from age but it is my favorite blanket and I couldn't survive winter without it.

It was made by a company we all know and love...Woolrich. THE name in wool clothing and blankets but now synonomous with all kinds of home furnishings as well. Since 1830, Woolrich has been the name to trust for winter warm clothing with a western feel but now offer items for your home that will surprise and delight you. For clothing, the place to go is still but for that warm winter blanket, try .

Curl up in front of the fireplace or in front of that bonfire or even watching a movie with your friends with a new Woolrich Hudson Bay (my favorite) blanket and feel the warmth both inside and out. Heres to summer my friends but until we see it again, stay warm, be happy and lets keep in touch.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

New and Improved!

For quite a while, Ive been sharing stories with you. Whether they are inspirational, heartbreaking, funny or insightful, through them and your many emails and comments, we have gotten to know each other pretty well. I've decided to take that one step further by giving you my views on products and services that I have the opportunity to review.

My goal is to let you know what I think of companies and their products and services in the same straight forward way that has become my trademark through this blog. My opinions or rather the view from the back of my horse will allow you the opportunity to recieve an honest insight into products you use everyday, not just in the horse or dog world. Everything from the food we eat, the clothing and jewelry we wear, the latest gadgets and technology and any product or service in which we invest our hard earned money.

I will be doing this not only through my blog posts but also on Twitter and Facebook and any other outlet that I have had the privledge to gain an audience through my years of being a large part of this evergrowing industry. I will be sampling various products or using various services and giving you my honest opinion on whether or not I feel it is worth the effort. Good or bad, I promise you reviews that will help you decide whether various products and services are for you.

On the other side of that coin, if you have a product or service that you would like me to review, please contact me either through email at or by calling me at (419) 826-5129 for more information. Help me get the ball rolling as I intend to be THE place to go for reviews of some of the best and worst products on the market. I promise to give every product that I review every chance to impress me and if it does, I will make it my job to spread the word for you.

I look forward to establishing excellent and honest working relationships with all of you through my experience. Contact me for more information and lets get this up and running.

God bless

Sunday, March 27, 2011

WW and the bug girl... When miracles happen

My brother had a very good friend when we were growing up. He had a lot of friends but this one in particular was someone whom my brother Joe adored. His name was Wayne but not unlike most of our friends, we never called him by his name but rather gave him a nickname. WW was what we called him because we all smoked a lot of pot back in the day but WW smoked it like it was his job so WW was short for Wasted Wayne.

Recently, WW passed away after a very long illness. After high school, I rarely saw him because our lives went in different directions so I never met his wife. I did send her my condolences when I heard of his passing. In talking with her on the phone, I learned that she was putting together a memorial gathering for WW and that led the conversation to the nicknames that we all had when we were kids. My brother Joe's nickname was Poge which was a Korean nickname that my uncle gave him after he returned from the war over there years ago. Mine was Speedy because I was always moving and talking. My other brother, Wild Bill gave it to me years ago based on the cartoon Speedy Gonzales.

In talking to WW's wife, I learned that her nickname was Bug Girl and it made me laugh. I asked her why and she told me that when she was a kid, she would spend hours gathering catapillars and keep them in coffee cans so she could watch them turn into butterflies and release them. She would also find eggs on milkweed plants and would watch them every day until they hatched and then collect them in her coffee cans and witness the miraculous transformation into the most beautiful butterflies she had ever seen. This is something I have never had the opportunity to witness in nature and she explained that in the transformation, there is a crysalis stage where the wings form and grow before the final stage of transformation. I was in awe and realized that although we may not witness it ourselves, miracles occur around us every minute of every day. Just because we do not bear witness to it, miracles do happen.

As most of you know, Bear and I have spent the last 25 days watching a miracle occur and some of you were not only witness to it through my Facebook and Twitter posts but actually took part in it by offering up enough prayer that God himself could not ignore the growing whispers of hope.Our daughter Jennifer was admitted to the hospital ICU after a strep infection went into pneumonia and the doctors were forced to put her on a ventilator and induce a coma so that she could breathe until the antibiotics could kick in and clear the pneumonia from her lungs. We sat in that room next to her bed day in and day out praying for a miracle while we watched her struggle to breathe. Her lifeline was a single central line in her neck that branched out to 16 I.V. lines of medication and monitors that measured her blood pressure, heart rate and finally the ventilator itself that forced air into her lungs through a tube that first went down her throat and later into a trach tube in her neck.

We faced the very real possibility that our daughter could die. Here was this woman telling me a story of how, as a young girl, she was taunted by other children because she only wanted to appreciate and witness the miracle of her butterflies, something that occurs naturally on a daily basis and we were praying along with all of our dear friends for God to show us a miracle in saving our daughter. Talking to her showed me that miracles are all around us and we have to be open to the possibilities in order to see them. We have to have faith when we find it most difficult to have faith and when all hope seems lost.

Bug Girl lost her husband after struggling to keep him alive for months but she still believes in miracles because she has witnessed them since she was a child in the transformation of her butterflies. Jennifer is not so unlike one of those butterflies in that her healing presents itself in stages. From the safe coccoon of that hospital bed surrounded by the humming of the machines that kept her alive to waking from her coma in the middle of the night and uttering the word "mom" to the long road she now faces in trying to put the pieces of her life back together.

She doesnt realize the miracle that has occured. To her, it was to go to sleep and then wake, not 25 days of worry and panic and praying. Not hundreds of friends pulling for her to survive, not her husband or parents who love her but are also somewhat angry that she didn't seek treatment earlier and take better care of herself to avoid the situation all together. (A normal part of the grieving process). To her, it is merely to wake up and realize that she cant move her legs or walk or talk or do any of the things that she took for granted before she went to sleep.

We raise our children to watch them grow and change and spread their wings and show us just how beautiful they can be when they fly. It is inevitable that they will stumble along the way but our hope is that they will find the strength to pick themselves up and move on. We can give them our love and support but that strength to pick herself up has to come from within her. Watching her now, is not unlike watching a catapillar in a coffee can struggle to transform and spread her wings and fly. She is angry and rightfully so, she is tired because her body has been through so much. She is finding it easier to curl up in that coccoon and ask for more pain meds and sleep. I cant thank all of you enough for the prayers and phone calls and emails and text messages of support but our prayer now is that our daughter can find the strength to get out of that bed and get her life back. Our prayer for her is that she will use this situation as a launching point for a better life, a more positive outlook and she will find it within herself to want it as badly as we want it for her.

A little girl, now a grown woman who has lost her husband gave me a better perspective of a very difficult situation and for that I am also grateful. I am grateful for all of you and to God for giving Jennifer a second chance for a better life. All of the pieces are there, the prayer, the love and support, the possibilities that are there on this long road that lies ahead. All she has to do is see them and put them all together and spread her wings and fly. We love you Jennifer, we are here to help you but we cant do it for you. It's time. Take that first difficult step and the one after that and before you know it, you will be on a good road. Show us how beautiful you can be and fly.

You are the view from the back of my horse, my darling girl. You have been the view for 25 days and counting. I love you and would give my life for you. You woke from that coma whispering my name and when I walked in the room, I saw a smile that I have not seen in years. I will always be there for you but all I ask for in return is to see that smile every day. Pick up the pieces, put them together and be happy.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Week I Leave Behind

Greetings fellow horse lovers and friends. Gonna take a big sigh today because this week is almost over and its been one for the record books. The good news is that the groundhog did not see his shadow! We have already spotted four robins and we have new puppies. This has been the week of the big storm that dumped about 10 inches of snow and then coated it with a lovely coating of ice combined with wind and sleet and anything else the weatherman could pull from his magical "crappy weather" bag.

It's always exciting to track a big storm but then there is the digging out from it that we all have to contend with. I spent the week snowed in and waiting for puppies to be born which was also exciting because this particular mom, Sadie spends her last days before giving birth attacking any dog that comes near the hallway that leads to the room her whelping box is in. No one sleeps well in this house on a good day so when you find some time to sneak in a nap, it is frightening being awakened to a dog fight. Yikes!

On top of the snow and the puppy watch, it is tax time so my office is decorated in last years stacks of paperwork, the calculator is out and smoking and since we itemize, we each have a shoebox of our receipts for the year. Mine is overflowing, hubby's has 3 receipts. I say "Honey, where are your receipts for the year?" He says, "What?" "Your receipts, the write offs for the year". He hands me 11 for a grand total of 14. For the entire year, he is trying to tell me that he has only made 14 purchases. NOT!

So this morning I meet with the tax preparer to see what the damage is and in the kennel, there are 3 boarders, one of which wants to rip my face off, one that wants to bark all the time and one that is frightened of his own shadow but the sweetest of the bunch. I am finding it sad that I am excited to meet with the H&R Block rep because it is the first break I've had in a week. Then when this day is done, I am going to pour myself a glass of wine, sit in a hot bubble bath, then maybe admire the beautiful new puppies.

The view from the back of my horse is the week I leave behind, I won't miss it. Tomorrow is Super Bowl Sunday and aside from caring for our crew, the phones will be unplugged and silent for the day. Wish me luck doing taxes today because something tells me that I am dearly going to need that glass of wime when all is said and done.

The thing about bad days or even bad weeks is that we all get another chance to get it right. It may have been bad but come Monday or even come morning, it's a fresh start with a new perspective. Take a deep breath, a bubble bath, drink a glass of wine or whatever ends that bad day on a good note and get up and get it right. Kahil Gibran said "Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters seared by scars". I totally agree with the first past but as for the scars, they fade. So will the worst of days. I promise you that.

On another note, one of the directions I would love to take this blog in the coming year is to include product review. If you have a horse product or products that would appeal to Cowgirls in general that you would like me to review, get in touch with me. If I try it and like it, I will make it a point to tweet and Facebook and spread the word. One of my favs this week is a company called Simply You. Fun costume jewelry so check them out. There is a picture of one of their rings on my fb page. LOVE them.

Heres to the week ahead, may it be slow and easy with no stress. Until next time, hunker down, spring is almost here!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Time Will Tell

Someone just pointed out to me that there are exactly 55 days until spring. We have suffered through all these cold days of winter so can we make it 55 more days until we are warm again? Time will tell. I personally can't wait to shed all these layers of clothes and break out the shoes that don't weigh as much as the boots.

I am ready for green grass and flowers and the prettiest of all the birds to come back to Ohio. I am ready to play with the next litter of mini aussies out in the yard and maybe even take a few days and drive down to Nashville and spend time with friends. Im not sure if that can be arranged but again, time will tell.

Time reveals a lot to us if we are patient enough to wait and see what it brings. I will be the first one to admit that I am not a patient person by any means but the older I get, the more I understand the plan and how we sometimes have to trust in that plan even when it seems as though our entire world might fall apart. In hind sight, even the worst possible things happen for a reason and whether or not we like the outcome, it is the road we have to take to get to where we are supposed to be in our lives. There are lessons we have to learn and people we have to meet both good and bad that makes us who we are in the end.

Take my writing for example. It is a talent that was given to me to use and share and yet my life has come to a point that leaves very little time to write at all any more but I keep finding the time to do it. I still have faith that the things I write will somehow, someday get into the hands of those who are meant to read them and it is not for me to question the who and the when but to keep writing. It's part of the plan I guess.

I often hear that our lives are more about the journey rather than the destination and I believe this to be true. As anxious as I am for winter to end and spring to begin, if I don't enjoy the journey, I will have missed out on the next 55 days of my life. Thats 55 more days to work on the things I am writing and possibly catch a spark of something inspiring. 55 more days to plan a new season that brings with it less time to curl up on the sofa with a hot cup of tea and just think. 55 days to make new friendships or improve the ones that I already cherish. 55 days to watch the winter snow melt away and the signs of spring begin to unfold.

So in that time, I will try not to fret about these cold winter days and layers of clothing. Instead, I will just enjoy the journey, knowing we are headed into Spring, when all things are new and fresh and less burdening. It's going to be a good time, I can just feel it but only time will tell.

Stay warm, be safe and think SPRING!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Tena's Take

I want to thank Missy and Meredith and Couture Cowgirl for hosting Tena's Take over the last few months. My decision to bring it back here has nothing to do with them, I adore them. It has more to do with the fact that I have neglected my own site for a while now and feel the need to touch base so to speak. Since there seems to be less and less time to write lately, actually to do all the things I want to do, I felt the need to regroup and come home for a while.

Home... a word that encompasses so many things. Not just a place to hang our hats and stable our horse but the one and only place that feels like the center of who we are. Home is having the freedom to be yourself without any expectations placed upon you. It is the light in our soul that allows us to shine but only after we are filled with the warmth of that light that we recieve, are we truly home. It is the comfort of knowing that we are safe and nothing from the outide world can hurt us. Home is where all things become quiet enough that we can think about our day and what tomorrow may bring and we can prepare ourselves for anything that may challenge us in the days ahead. It feels good to be home again.

I will admit that lately, it sometimes feels as though my life is spinning out of control. I have been working too hard for too long and truly feel I need a break. Not even when I was traveling all over the U.S. promoting the books and presenting the seminars have I felt so overwhelmed. Waking up in strange places and needing to take a moment or two to remember what city I was in. Getting home only to get back on a plane the following weekend and do it all over again.
The only difference is now I get up in the morning, slip my winter warmies over my pajamas and work until the sun sets. Then I fall in bed exhausted and get up and do it all over again. It's tiring.

It is a new year with new projects and new challenges and the holidays have taken their toll on all of us. So I have declared January "Be kind to yourself" month. Not officially and not for everyone with no act of Congress, tee hee, but here at my home and at all of yours if you so choose to recognize it. This month will be spent working but not as hard. Writing but writing what I want to write and for as long as I want to write. Long hot bubble baths and a glass of wine now and then. Getting to know my husband again who has worked as hard as I have in the past year. I will at some point, get on a plane and go see a friend and January will be about planning that trip. I have yet to decide who or where or even when exactly. I honestly don't know but the fun is in the planning to go for now.

If what we do defines who we are, lately, I am anything but a writer because I never have time to write. That is about to change. I think we all need to take time for ourselves and do what makes us who we are or we are lost. I think we all need to go home again, to that place that makes us feel safe and reminds us who we are. We need to go to the core of who we were before the chaos and feel the warmth of that loving place and just center ourselves and begin again. Thats where I am this January and today, I am taking the first step toward being kinder to myself, showing gratitude to those who love me, to slow down and really feel something again aside from exhaustion. To sleep through an entire night and wake in the morning at my own pace and feel refreshed. This is my journey and it begins right here and right now. I know it will allow me to be more creative and a better person in general and I invite you to come along on that journey.

Take a deep breath today, the holidays are over, we have spring to look forward to in a few months and in the meantime, we all need to slow down and take a break from the chaos and just be still and listen to what is possible. Be kind to yourself this month and take time to touch base with who you are and what you set out to accomplish in your life and use this month to get back on track. It's time to go home. Back to where it all began and look at it with a fresh perspective. Reset those goals and move ahead from there. One step at a time and one thought at a time. Only then can we enjoy every day that God has given us and stop worrying about what might happen and just be in the moment. So here I am, home. It feels good.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Kennel

Nestled in the woods here on our farm is a project that has been a year in the making. When Bear got sick and we almost lost our farm, we had the decision to either change things dramatically or walk away so we sat down and discussed what we would do. My aunt and uncle whom I love dearly ran a dog boarding kennel when I was a kid and later in life, I ran one here in Swanton for three years. We already had the building which had been used as one of our barns so we started laying out plans of how we could do it and how much it would cost and we went to work on creating a small, friendly kennel. We gutted the entire barn, poured concrete, created an office, a small animal room, a waiting room, a kitchen, put in drains and a septic system, a bathroom, etc. Drywall, months of painting and trimming out each room, fencing for play yards, and so on and so on. I am tired just thinking about it but with the help of our daughters and son in law, we opened last spring. Im happy to say that we built it and people came. In fact people still come, bringing their lovely dogs to stay in our new kennel. I can't travel as much as I used to however I am fortunate to have it and look forward to spending time with the dogs every day. Aside from one person, we have enjoyed everyone who we have met and the best part is that its ours and it is a project that continues to grow. Yesterday, I created a Bear Back Ranch and Kennel page on Facebook in an effort to give dog owners tips on finding a kennel that suits them and have had many compliments on it from family and friends. That made me smile because I know how much work we have put into this little venture and what it means to us to be successful. So if you're local, visit us and if you are not, visit us on Facebook and see the photos of the inside. It's a new chapter in our lives that brings us joy and offers us a new beginning after some pretty rough times.