On August 26th the family and friends of Healing Horses said good-bye to Thunder.
Thunder was a wonder horse.
He was a 20 year-old barrel racing, trail riding, four-legged dream-fulfiller. Thunder’s loss was sudden and has left a hole in many hearts. As we seek to fill that gelding-sized gap, a “Thunder Tree” has been planted.
Just outside the arena where he trained with many riders, a new silver oak has taken root. Soon it will proudly brandish a plaque in Thunder’s honor.
The loss of a good horse is never easy, but the beauty and grace in which Sadie, Thunder’s special girl, has approached his death has helped all of our hearts to find solace in the knowledge that he moved on to a bigger and better arena with the angels.
The night of his passing, Sadie shared the beautiful belief that “God must have needed a good horse in heaven.”
No doubt heavenly hooves must have galloped to greet Thunder as our tears were falling here on Earth.
Sadie’s innocent incite inspired her to appropriately give the new tree’s planting an added healing purpose as she named the silver oak planted in his honor, The Thunder Tree.
I started writing this post prior to the COVID 19 crisis, but thought now was as good a time as any to share some ideas for self-care. I am probably not the poster child for making time for myself a priority, but it is something I am determined to move up on my list. A lot of us believe self-care consists only of bubble baths and keeping our water bottles with us at all times. These do help, but any doctor can tell you the 6 best prescriptions for procuring a positive outlook and sustained self-care are sunshine, water, rest, air, exercise, and diet.
Brighten Your Day!
If you can find just a few minutes of outdoor exposure, even on the cloudiest of days, you will still benefit from vitamin D. Sitting by the office window, isn’t the same, as most modern glass is designed to block UV rays. As we approach May, hopefully there will be brighter skies and ample opportunity to get outdoors. Allowing some solar powered stress relief will also motive your mojo to getting moving and amp up your ability to wind down at bedtime. (Don’t forget the sunscreen though. Sun burns definitely don’t decrease stress levels.)
Ah, rest, the most elusive of healers. Getting good zzzz’s is tough because our brains are over-stimulated from work, worry, and too much time staring at electronic devices. Setting a schedule is one of the best ways to ensure that sleep is secured. Even thought our schedules are out of their normal whack, it’s still a good idea to stick to your regular bed time. Regulating a routine for bed time is also great for getting your brain to shift to a lower gear. Taking time to get sun and exercise each day will also motivate your mind to mellow out and cutting off the caffeine before evening is always a calming choice.
Breathe in. Breathe out.
Air is one option that actually isn’t too tough to take advantage of. A few focused breaths of breathing in the calm and letting out the crazy forces you to fixate on what you can and need to do and send the other stuff sailing with your exhalations. Daily meditation or mindfulness practices are super stress reducers. Simply setting your feet flat on the ground, placing your palms on your lap, closing your eyes, and slowly breathing in and out reduces your heart rate and allows your mind to mollify.
My two older kiddos have read the I Am Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. book and have had numerous lessons about the way he changed the world, but my 5-year-old had some questions about why he didn’t go to school today.
A terrific book on the life and times of Dr. King
The simple answer was we didn’t go to school today because we are remembering and honoring the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
His question in return, “Why?”
Well, where do I start?
I told my son about how African-Americans were not treated equally in America and how Martin Luther King Jr. was a smart and kind man, who tried to get people to work together so that everyone was treated equally. He wanted his children to grow up to have the opportunities all others had. He didn’t want people to have to live in fear of being beaten or left out because of how they looked. Dr. King preached about how peace could and would bring about change if only everyone would open their hearts to its healing powers. He asked people to respond with kindness and understanding instead of anger and hitting. His ideas gave us wonderful guidance as to the ways we should treat one another and resolve our issues.
“Peace is the tranquility of order” – St. Augustine
Sometimes we encounter definitions of everyday things in extraordinary ways. In the priest’s homily this past Sunday, the explanation of St. Augustine’s definition for tranquility created one of those powerful moments for me.
According to St. Augustine, “Peace is the tranquility of order.”
In his explanation the priest addressed that most of us believe tranquility occurs when everything stops, but that is exactly the opposite of what St. Augustine teaches. The priest’s example calm cooperation was that of the human body. The mind, lungs, heart, organs, and skin they are all working together even in our most restful moments. Even those moments we consider tranquil. Tranquility happens when everything is doing what it is supposed to be doing in that very moment resulting in peace.
Wow! What a powerful definition!
These were the exact words that I needed to hear Sunday morning as my prayer list seemed a little longer than usual.
Two days earlier my father-in-law Andy had open heart surgery and was struggling in his recovery. That explanation of how peace and cooperation can bring tranquility was the perfect inspiration driving my prayer for my father-in-law and myself. I prayed that God would bring tranquility to Andy’s heart and body so that he may heal quickly and peacefully.
For myself, I asked God to help me embrace each element of the chaos in my life as a piece of puzzle in my daily search for peace.
Whatever your stance on tattoos, the power of self-expression through ink cannot be denied. Just as writers have put words to paper for centuries, tattoo artists have given power to the markings on their human palletes.
Recently our friend Evan experienced a very dramatic change in his life. Like most, he was angry and confused at first, but after time to think things through, Evan has started the task of moving past the hurt and letting the emotional wounds become battle scars.
As part of his healing process Evan chose a way to make God’s word a permanent reminder that the plan for us is bigger than we can ever understand. He chose the simple scriptural emblem of “Isaiah 14:27.”
In tough situations we often find ourselves unable to come up with the right words to say. That inability makes handling the circumstances even tougher. Here’s the good news: sometimes nothing needs to be said.
Just showing up and offering to listen or hug those hurting in the situation can be the most perfect proclamation. A simple squeeze of the hand or a covered dish for supper can sound like the kindest statements. Handing someone a tissue or taking over childcare duties is a true testament to your support and understanding for the suffering they are enduring. Sometimes we just don’t have the words, but we do always have the ability to make things happen and ease pain of the circumstances.
When my grandfather died, I was unable to attend the funeral because I had just endured a major surgery. My aunt came and sat with me the day of his funeral and said nothing. She simply hugged me, made lunch, did the dishes, and took care of the laundry. She knew I didn’t could speak of my grief yet and understood that sometimes it isn’t the words that make us feel better.
Sometimes we just don’t have the words.
Last night I attended the visitation of a man I had never met. I attended because two of his daughters (Mary Kay and Tina) are friends of mine. As I approached the front of the line, I wondered (as most do):what can I say that will help?Continue reading “Sometimes We Just Don’t Have the Words”→
In “The Secret of Life of Pets” Max tries to avoid a bite from a one-fanged python by letting the other animals know he is allergic to poison.
This scene makes me laugh (really hard) every time.
The crazy thing is…we are all allergic to poison, but it seems we are way too willing to allow poison into our lives.
Poison comes in many forms. Negativity, guilt, shame, fear, and grudges are toxic to our happiness. Some suffer toxic relationships. There are physical poisons too, such as drugs, alcohol, and unhealthy foods. The crazy thing is we knowingly ingest that bad stuff. I try really hard to avoid the physical poisons. Drugs are something I have never done. But boy, do I like wine, chocolate, and fried chicken. (Hopefully my consumption of these is not too bad for me.)
Friday night my four year old was screaming at the end of the hall. I ran to rescue him and found that his toe was stuck under the door. 😦
My daughter cried a short time later because she missed the last step coming downstairs and hurt her leg.
My six year old provided a presentation of the bruises he had gained during the week, as we put on his pj’s.
Hubby laughed and said, “I don’t think they got any of my genetics. They got all that clumsiness from you.”
My gracious reply was, “How do you explain their ability to forget everything they are supposed to be doing when the TV is on, the day ends in Y, or the sun is shining?” (Then I stuck out my tongue.) His response, “Maybe they did get one thing from me.”
When my daughter broke her arm, it was definitely NOT fun, but we had to find ways that encouraged her to choose positive purpose as she healed. Choosing her cast color was only the beginning of the fun we have tried to provide.
Facing set backs (like a broken arm) is tough to do.
Broken bones offer us choices.
We can choose to let our child or ourselves hurt physically and be emotionally sad or we can break away from the gloom and provide positive, healing choices.
One of the first things I did when we learned her arm was broken was to call our family members. It was important for my little girl to know that she had her family there to support her.
If you are suffering from a broken bone, a broken heart, or a shattered dream, surround yourself with those who care for you. Reach out to your support system. That is what they are there for! Continue reading “Choices for Broken Bones”→