following light

It rained. I went from looking like this.

birdfacesTo looking like this.

handsuphannahPraise God! Answered prayer, for sure.

I have lots of bovine friends who are ecstatic, as well.

roundupPhotographed a recent branding at the northern NM ranch. Look at the green grass!

I took tons of pictures. Played with all the settings on my camera; shutter speed, aperture and ISO. Figured if I took enough photographs maybe one of them would be worth showing.

This recent foray into ranch photography served to reinforce the principle of the golden hour. Or in reality, the golden FIVE MINUTES known as sunrise/sunset. Let me demonstrate.

Here’s a picture of a couple of cowboys.

reidandwillAn OK photo taken at midday.

Now, take a look at the same cowboys at sunrise.

willandreidBe still, my heart! I’m in love with this light. The guys are alright, too.

Why does sunrise have to come so early? A sunrise photographer must be dedicated and carry lots of concealer to cover the bags under her eyes. The flattering light is short-lived.

cassadyThis young lady and her glistening sorrel horse are simply magnificent. She’s nice and smart, too. She looks beautiful in the golden morning light. These subjects make me look like I know what I’m doing with my camera. Thanks, Cassidy!

Following the light-a metaphor for life, right?

More sunrise glorious-ness.

sunrisejingling

 

horsejingling

Unfortunately, there is action that takes place AFTER sunrise. I did the best I could.

stever
Preparing to gather the pasture.

Ray1

rhettroping
Ropin’ and draggin’.
ray
Cowboy Ray was my favorite subject. I know a great face when I see one.

 

reid1
Branding fire.

 

walter

antelopepair
A couple of antelope roaming.

 

grahamonwall
A budding cowpoke still in his jammies.

 

I’ve learned my lesson. I’ve got to get up early and stay up late to get the most outstanding photos.

Hope you enjoyed branding day at the ranch. Now I’m off to purchase more concealer.

Stay out of the dark places.

Enlightening love to all.

babysitter

In horse lingo, the term babysitter refers to a good-natured horse. A horse specializing in being kind and protective of an inexperienced rider. The term bomb-proof is sometimes used interchangeably with babysitter.

Babysitter describes my ‘best old-lady horse in the world’, Rodney.

rod The wonderful time spent on his back, I count among some of my most contented hours. He kept me safe on many occasions in the show pen when lesser horses were losing their minds.

rod1He’s shed his winter coat and the new summer hair is absolutely brilliant and shiny. I love this gelding.

He hasn’t been babysitting me lately. Seems he has a new batch of children.

birdnest2
The ceiling in Rodney’s stall.

These babies are only about 18 inches above his head when he’s in his stall. Like a good babysitter, he takes their hungry chirping in stride.
birdnest1

This nest is one of three nests near his stall. The other two are directly outside his stall door up in the eaves of his metal barn.

I hear quite a symphony of bird sounds at feeding time. These little birds have lifted my spirits. Something to keep me from being morbidly obsessed with this dreary drought. The birds have a steady source of water when they are near the horses.

Last evening was terribly hot and windy at the barn, but I had fun looking at the babies.

Seems a certain sidekick found an activity to keep her mind off the drought.

roxy
**singing** kill the wabbit, kill the wabbit, kill the WAB-BIT!

Ahhhh, the sights and smells of a freshly-dug rabbit hole.

roxy1Bingo. Dachshund nirvana.

Hope your week is shaping up to be a great one.

Me? Choose either one of the following faces.

birdfacesThat’s me..until it rains.

Led-by-the-still-waters love to all.

 

litany for drought

When waters flow, when waters fail:  You remain the Author of life.

When dazzling, crystal skies

sunset

Become horizons filling us with dread.

roaddust

We cry out,

Lord, heal our broken and parched land.

When grainless fields produce only clouds of ash.

barditch1

When trees gasp in unison

mesquite

We cry out,

Lord, heal our broken and parched land.

When homes are scorched by wind-danced flames

aerial fire photo
photo Amarillo Globe News

And we wonder where we will lay our head

birdnest

We cry out,

Lord, heal our broken and parched land.

When our rainbow window

rainbow1

Morphs into the mouth of Armageddon.

picturewindowWe cry out,

Lord, heal our broken and parched land.

 

tasty labeling

Yesterday, as I was visiting our local Tea2Go, I glanced at the TV and witnessed an infomercial. It had me scratching my head and tittering the remainder of the day.

What was the infomercial, you ask?

moredumpcakes
Master dump-chef Cathy. Photos courtesy of BuyDumpCakes.com

I don’t know about you, but you can include me in a subset of people who don’t care to sample any recipe with the term ‘dump’ in the title.

Did you know that after you hungrily consume your dump entree, you can then devour a lip-smakin’ dump cake? God bless America. Life, liberty and the pursuit of dump-cooking.

dump-cakes
BuyDumpCakes.com

Is chef Cathy implying easy with her term dump? My heart longs for the bygone era when we were admonished to ‘just say no’. Now we are told to ‘just dump’? Oh….if only it were that easy, Chef Cathy!

What recipes might be included in these dump cookbooks? Easy-Peasy Junk Jello? Rubbish Ragout? Sensational Cesspool Salad? Refuse Rainbow Trout? Kitchen Sink Cacciatore? Send me your clever suggestions! I want to hear your humorous jewels, people. No crap-sandwiches, please!

Perhaps Catch-all Casseroles is a more appetizing title?  I’m breathless with anticipation waiting for the Dump Dips book to be released!

dumpcakes
Go forth and dump. BuyDumpCakes.com

I admit it. My mind is overactive and goes places it shouldn’t.

I can’t stop thinking of the ingredient list for Defecation Dumplings.

Joy-of-cooking love to all.

the right diet

Intended to share with you how I did ‘it’. Our church was involved with The Daniel Plan during the season of Lent and I participated along with many other church members. I gave up sugar and white flour for the season of remembrance. Went on a low-carb eating plan and continued with my usual exercise routine: spinning, yoga, and some weight training. Lost a little weight, my clothes fit better and I feel good, but writing about it now feels shallow. Blah, blah, meh.

femalecardinal
This female cardinal has nothing whatsoever to do with this post. She’s been pecking at my windows for three weeks. I love her.

Let’s face it. I don’t have a big problem with diet and exercise. I’m weird…I LIKE exercise. I can thank my parents and other ancestors for a basically slim build and a built-in ‘off’ switch in my appetite. I’m lucky, grateful and without easy answers. Other areas of my life? Things aren’t always as easy.

One of my fittest friends at my gym (a doctor in his early forties) recently suffered a heart attack. This guy is skinny and he enthusiastically exercises every day. He’s obviously very strict with himself and with his diet. Wham.…two stints required. What the ?!

My minister mentions his love for chocolate-covered doughnuts quite regularly. He’s a big guy and he’s an avid long-distance cyclist. Talks about competing in the ‘Clydesdale’ division in bike races. Ride on, Pastor Burt!

Your body is a temple, because the spirit of God lives in you. If I want to see God, experience God-I can take a look at you and behold His majestic creation. You’re the priceless lost coin, you’re the sheep He’s calling home, and you’re a precious recipe of gold, frankincense and myrrh carefully folded together.

If you’re thin and look fantastic, hallelujah. If you’ve got some ‘middle aged spread’, you’ve surely earned it. If you like chocolate doughnuts, I hope you savor every last cocoa-morsel with the taste buds God gave you. If you are like the Texan and ice cream is your passion, thank God for the sweet, creamy delight in each chilly spoonful.

It’s altogether easy and familiar for me to rely on rigid thinking. Do ‘x’ and ‘y’ and I’ll get z!   I can quickly fall back into feeling like that lost child of alcoholic parents. I learned being good doesn’t stop your parents from drinking.

Today I’d tell that confused child, ‘you’re wonderful’, ‘you’re trying and doing the best you can’ and ‘you are incredibly strong’.

graham

My wish for you right now….whether you are fat or thin, healthy or unhealthy, sinner or saint, gay or straight, black, white, red, yellow or any other combination of colors, young or old….

Feel God’s embrace right where you are. He’s trying to tell you you’re pretty cool. Believe it.

Grace-for-the-week-ahead love to all.