As we were coming back from our Christmas Eve candlelight service tonight, we were talking about how all of those tiny little candles made our church full of light, enough that you could read by. We were discussing how each one of us can make such a difference in the world with the little light we have; and as we pulled into the driveway I noticed how the moon was reflecting off the new snowfall and made it look like thousands of tiny little stars were winking and blinking. And when I heard a new song on KLOVE a poem sprang into life and I had to jump out of bed and write it down:
So, I have to tell you this story...JD stopped by a few days ago. We had some hot apple cider and sat around the fire and talked while the kiddos were finishing up their schoolwork. JD started telling us about the lady that used to live in our cabin. They called her Shotgun Annie. She lived alone and mostly "kept to herself," he said. Evidently she was a nice lady and lived here most her life until she died but they called her Shotgun Annie because she didn't like strangers coming on her property and always greeted everyone with a shotgun in her hand. Cracked me up! Can't you just see it? Me in a pair of dirty overalls, (oh, wait I'll just wear my insulated muddy coveralls that hang down to my knees? There's a picture!) throw on a straw hat and sling MacGyver's shotgun over my shoulder? Woo doggy! Well, I HAVE been known to carry my handgun, which is a small 380 around for the animals, but people? Only once have I actually grabbed it when I had to go up the hill to meet someone at night. Once we had to go out after dark and spent a couple of hours tromping through the snow and woods to look for the colt after he got out and I wished I had it then; but I've never really thought about toting around a gun for all the world to see. What do you think? New nickname?
So, I did it! The warm weather must have gotten to me...I taught the kiddos how to drive the 4-wheeler today. It is a manual transmission so I thought it would take some time (maybe days) for them to get it but they both picked it up in less than 15 minutes! They are changing gears like the pros, now. What was I thinking? Mostly that if I ever needed their help (ie. got hurt), I wanted them to feel comfortable enough to jump on and take over. Izzy said this was the best day of her life EVER! We spent hours running around the mountain and even ran the gas tank bone dry. Luckily, we had just pulled up to the cabin and we didn't have to walk miles back home! Close call!
We finished up our first semester today! Whew! I was beginning to wonder if we were going to make it! And while we were hard at work finishing up school, MacGyver jimmied up some brakes for the 4-wheeler since we haven't been able to find them anywhere. Strap on some 'ole chains and we might just be unstoppable! I still don't think the kiddos are old enough to run free all over the property, with or without brakes, much to their chagrin! So, in celebration of having a productive day and completing a successful semester still alive and breathing, we went out to dinner and drove through some of our "local" neighborhoods checking out some of the houses that were decorated for Christmas. We actually had to drive about 30 minutes away since the mountain folk (us included) all think there is no point in decorating your house if there aren't more than 10 people that pass their house to enjoy it. Driving around looking at lights is one of our favorite parts of Christmas, though, and we just couldn't miss out. We could definitely tell which blocks were competing for best/most decorated! Some of them even lit up their entire backyards! Way cool! Tomorrow's plan: run, read my Bible, put house back in order, watch a Christmas Veggie Tale with the kiddos, make a grocery list for Christmas dinner, run the dogs, work the colt, meet with G about him being gone over Christmas, and be thankful for a week off of school and that all my Christmas shopping and shipping is D-O-N-E, done!
Have you ever tried to run at 7500 ft in elevation, up and down a mountain, in 20 degree weather? Can you say asthma attack? Running cross country 15 years ago below sea level on flat ground couldn't possibly prepare my lungs for that! I want very bad to conquer this mountain before it conquers me! Seeing this on our windows doesn't help:
I had to call G (the owner of the ranch) today and tell him he had a horse down with colic (bowel twist). I knew what is was as soon as I saw it. He had gotten out and wandered down to our place and when I went out to get him and take him back up to G's, he was on the ground, rolling around back and forth and wouldn't get up. I knew it wasn't good...and then I saw he had blood coming out of his mouth and nose and he was struggling to breathe. And when I realized it was Bud, a lump began to form in my throat. We fell in love with Bud the first day we met him. He was skinny and it took some time to get his weight up, but we had him looking better in no time at all. So, today I spent a long, painful hour with him trying to calm and comfort him. I knew he was dying and by the time G and the vet got there, he had to be put down. Wow was that hard! I think, though, that it was harder to see him in so much pain and not being able to help him than being put down. Now he is lying in my driveway and waiting to be buried tomorrow (sort of an odd feeling). Izzy cried and Ike got a little choked up, too. And so, it was a tough day; one I'd never care to repeat. He was only 12 and a sweetheart of a horse!
MacGyver took the Bobcat (see him hard at work play?) out to clean up our road last night. While he was out, he found mountain lion tracks and followed them all around the Clare House (at the Catholic retreat) all the way down the hill towards us and then it turned and went across the road. It was only about 10-15 feet from their front door. I guess he/she has been out hunting! Freaky! We're talking about setting up a webcam so we can monitor what is going on outside! Wouldn't that be cool?
Mac and I went to his C Shift Christmas party last night. It was -15 on the way home at 11:30. That is just not right! We even took a picture to prove it. It is supposed to be a balmy 40 on Friday, though. It makes me want to abandon my family and make a beeline for G-Ma's and G-Pa's in Florida!
Check out our Nuevo Amigos (new friends). The kids are learning Spanish in school. Can you tell? Ike saw this elk "lurking" behind our house this morning when he let the dogs out. I just wish he'd leave the hay alone!
And check out this fox; he ran across our street and
turned around and began watching us.
Now THERE'S a turn of events!
We saw these two coyotes hunting in a field together.
Evidently it is not uncommon but I've never seen that before!
MacGyver took this picture of my favorite flower, poppies, growing along the Colorado roadside last summer. I found this picture and just thought I might not be the only one tired of cold, white snow, especially seeing pictures of Gma and Gpa's banana tree and hibiscus blooming in the middle of December! Seriously?!?!
Today I feel the need to pause and share how grateful I am. I am so thankful to have the honor of sharing 15 years with my best friend. I can not thank God enough that he is a man of God that gets up at 4:30 to go to the fire department, survive on less than 6 hours of sleep, has a heart to help those he doesn't know on and off duty and then come home to cut wood and fix all the broken things on his honey-do list. I am thankful to share my life with him and to have his help to feed the horses, work the colt, run the dogs, love the kids, pray with, talk about everything, share our kiddos, find contentment in our life and dream about our future. I am thankful that we have decided to homeschool, live smaller, sacrifice the "things" of life that have no eternal value, give immeasurably and love more. I am so thankful that he is brave enough to give me B-12 shots because I am such a chicken, love me when ~because I forget to take my medicine~ am too exhausted to move, wear my emotions on my sleeves, get frustrated or laugh uncontrollably at the kids, and accepts me just like I am. I pray I can meet him where he is, love him unconditionally, lift him up in prayer, give him a soft place to fall, build him up with appreciation and encouragement and kiss him every chance I get!
Today it was warm and dry enough to get out and run some errands. We even ran the dogs and let them get some of their energy out. In the course of 3 hours we took some pretty pictures, saw evidence the elk was breaking into the horses' hay, a coyote, red tail hawk, bald eagle, another coyote, 2 bunnies and a skunk running across the field. What a fun day! I was looking for the elusive mountain goats and mountain lion but no luck today! We even found where the Colorado Trail begins...about 5 minutes from us. The new goal: traverse all 500 miles of it over the course of the next year. Maybe we can hit the first 15 miles on Sunday on showshoes! (Doing the happy dance!) We also made a video of the hairy, scary road to our house. It is bumpy and snowy and makes me motion sick to watch it (which is a nice break from the normal panic attack I have from driving it). Hopefully you won't react the same way!
So our Christmas tree is significantly smaller this year. If you've ever experienced our trees in the past, they are usually about 20-25 feet when first cut down and tied to the top of our Jeep with branches hanging this way and that and usually blocking most of the windshield and all of the other windows. My favorite Tree Hunt quote..."I can't see the forest for the tree!" And when we got it home, we had to resize it to fit a 16 foot ceiling. MacGyver always had to get a ladder out to string the lights and then we had to lean over the balcony to hang the ornaments and the angel. Ike always ran and hid because he was certain we were all going to die. Did I ever tell you about the time the tree froze on the way home, broke my side mirror when we took it off the top and then we couldn't get it through the front door? It had to spend a lonely night in the garage with a heater running so we could thaw it out and get it in with some of the branches intact. Or about the year it smelled like mountain lion? LOL! This year?...not so much. It probably started out about 20 feet and we had to take it down to a sad 8 feet to fit in the cabin. And when all was said and done, I took a picture for posterity only to realize Morty was in the way~meet Morty the Moose~So here is a pic of the tree pre and post Morty. Should we vote? Doesn't it look like the angel has ginormous wings?