Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Back in the Saddle

(Editor's Note: I wrote this post on Monday, but because I needed to wait to for my husband to bring the camera home, am not posting it until Tuesday.  Any references to "today" are from Monday.)

Do you know that I have ridden horses for nearly 15 years, and I have never actually fallen off of one? 

Granted, the consistency of me riding in the last three years has been.... well, let's be honest.   I haven't ridden more than twice in the last three years.  (That's not totally my fault.  The first year, I didn't have a car, so I couldn't get out to where my horse was being boarded.  The second year we'd moved him to my parent's house and built him a loafing shed, and I did ride him a couple of times, but then he got an abscess in his hoof and had about half of the hoof removed.  (That's like taking off your fingernail, not your finger, just in case you didn't know.)  So he had to heal from that.  And then last year, right around this time of year, he impaled himself on a t-post and nearly died.  That recovery was quite long; hence, no riding for me.

I completely digress from my original point.  The expression back in the saddle clearly comes from the idea that if you've fallen off a horse, you have to get back on again and push through whatever fear is keeping you from riding again.  I've never fallen from a horse, so I don't I can fully understand the true intent of those words, although having watched my sister essentially stop riding due to an incredibly scary situation, I sort of get it.

That story will have to come at a later point, because this post isn't supposed to be about horses or riding or anything equestrian related.  I just titled the post Back in the Saddle and then was off on a tangent, and decided to write it.  Well, journeying with me as I process never promised to be logical.

Anyway, I feel like I have the opporutnity to be back in the saddle of a lot of things in my life.  School is winding down and, while I have a busy summer ahead, the pace is different.

I have just two classes of finals left to grade - one on paper, one online.  I'm going to do them tomorrow.  Then I have to spend some time getting my classroom ready for next year, and I'm done.  Officially our last day is Wednesday, but I may go in for a few hours on Thursday and/or Friday just to make sure I'm organized.  It's been a long year.  I'm excited for a change of pace.

On Saturday I went to the Home Depot at 8:15 in the morning to avoid the rush and bought a lot of flowers and plants.  I suspect I normally spend $100 on flowers to pot to make the front of my townhouse look pretty (and to make me happy) - but this weekend I went way overboard, due to the fact that I was on a mission - I wanted to plant some perennials in our front yard, build a mini garden bed retaining wall, and add some mulch.  I picked up the pesky rocks that were half filling the space and through them into my window wells, which needed something in them anyway.  (I'd already spent hours on a previous weekend cleaning and sorting some rocks and filling this awkward weird gap between my neighbor's sidewalk and mine.) 

I potted 15 medium and small pots of flowers and 3 large ones.  I dug up the soil in the yard and mixed it in with some garden soil.  I planted 7 new plants in the yard.  The only thing Husband helped with was the brick (which, as you can see, we need a couple more layers of to make a retaining wall) and the mulch.

I just love it... it's like a whole new yard.  And never mind the dead grass, because the flowers and plants make it pretty anyway.  (Although we are going to re-sod the dead parts and put in some new sod up to the retaining wall.)

Oh, and doing that, I forgot about sunscreen (rookie mistake).  This is me two days later, although I couldn't really get a great picture.  You'll have to imagine what it looked like originally.  In my defense, it's my first real time outside this year,  so I had no base coat at all.

And I've cleaned my main floor and the master bedroom thoroughly, and tidied up the basement areas and bedroom (my mother-in-law was here for the weekend).  I'd bought a white quilt and some throw pillows for our bedroom to give our room a fresh, summery feel, but I didn't allow myself to set up the bed until our room was clean clean clean.

So I'm back in the saddle of living in a liveable, even peaceful, pretty house.

This morning I got up and went for a run.  I haven't been on a run in a really long time.  It's been at least a month since I went to the gym, and probably two or three months (or four?) since I ran outside.  It was super windy, but the sun was shining warmly and I pushed myself, but not too much.  It felt delicious.   I'm going grocery shopping today, and we've cooked at home the last two nights. 

Yes, I'm back in the saddle of being healthy, and feeling good about myself.

After I got back from my run, I poured myself a cup of coffee (which had been brewing while I ran), added a dash of cream, sugar, and cinnamon, and took the dog to sit on the front steps, which, in the morning, are bathed in sunshine.  There, amidst all my beautiful flowers, I drank my coffee, basking in the tranquility, and listening to this song, which always gets my heart tuned into the right place.  Always.  It's been a while since I've heard it, so I played it twice.  Starting at about 4:45 is the best, in case you don't want to listen to the whole thing.  And I just felt calm, and inspired, and ready to keep going. 

I went to church yesterday with  my mom and MIL at a different church than my own, and the pastor asked this question: Are you in the same place spiritually as you were last month?  Six months ago?  Last year?  Well, I know that if I were to answer that honestly, I haven't grown at all in the last month or so.  Remember there was that season of incredible revelation and growth earlier this year?  I started to live on the leftovers of that, much like a car running on the fumes of gasoline that used to fill the tank.  I caught myself, jumped back in, but, as any teacher knows, barely survived the end of the year, and stopped reading, journaling, and reflecting.  But that season is finished.

And I'm back in the saddle of spending time with the One.

I hope that if I ever do fall off of a horse, I will not hestitate to jump right back on, because if life teaches me anything, it is that it is always better when you push through, allow the One to help you conquer your fear, and keep going.  Put that foot in the stirrup, swing your leg over, and keep riding.

Re-set, and press On.

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