Thursday, August 17, 2017


Last October, a wise friend told me that, in his experience as a pastor loving the bereaved, the second year is harder than the first.  He counseled us not to make any life-altering decisions throughout this year.  And we have not.  I've continued on with life as-is, often stuck in a rut, swallowed up in the darkness of grief.

But he was right.  This second year has been more difficult.  I'm not sure why, exactly.  Maybe it's because most people around me have continued on and forgotten, while William's death becomes more real to me everyday.  Maybe it's because they expect ME to move on and forget.  You know, I've had my year to grieve, now it's just wallowing.  Or not trusting in the Lord.  Or stubbornness.  Or whatever.

This second year without William has been a year of struggle.  I'm still struggling to accept the fact that he's gone.  I struggle to find myself.  I struggle to do what I know is right.  I struggle to build relationships when it's just so much easier to let go.  I struggle to push down the anger that is always lingering.  I struggle to find the confidence in decision-making I once had.  I second guess myself at almost every turn.  

Tomorrow marks 22 months since I last held my little boy.  The tears still come everyday.  It still takes effort to breathe.  I wonder what change lies ahead as we start allowing ourselves the freedom to think again.  I feel ready for change.

Thursday, August 10, 2017


Sarah and Abby were gone at the same time recently on 2 completely different trips, doing things they totally love.  Abby went with Michael on her 21st birthday trip to watch the wild Mustangs at the Sand Wash Basin.  She tells about her trip here.  Sarah went to Austin, Texas, to learn about all things political at Patriot Academy.  She tells about her trip here.

These 2 girls.  Wow!  They are both so much fun, yet they are entirely different.  They both have great personalities, which are polar opposites.

Before their trips, I needed to take them shopping for miscellaneous items.  They each "needed" one thing.  I gave Abby 3 stores to choose from, she picked the 1st one we came to, walked in, swept through the store, chose 3 items to try on, and settled on one.  I asked her if she wanted to look at the other stores, just in case she liked something better.  Nope.  She liked those, they were a good price, we're done!  I think it took all of 8 minutes to find what she needed and be done.

Sarah.  Oh, Sarah!  😂  I think Sarah tried on every possible suitable shoe in the store in 4 different sizes before settling on the pair she liked.  We were there well over an hour.  As she's parading around in her 3-inch heels I said, "I wonder who ever came up with the idea of high heels?"  She replied, "I don't know, but they're a genius!"  LOL!  I retorted, "I was thinking he needs to be tarred and feathered!"  She ended up getting not one, but THREE pair of shoes that day.  (We actually went shopping again later and picked up MORE to match different clothes!)

Sarah is fun-loving, personable, goofy, and extremely outgoing.  Our social butterfly.  Abby is quiet, reserved, serious, and introverted.  Animals are more her speed.  Sarah gets excited (and LOUD) about nearly everything, while the most excited Abby gets is a smile across her face.  Everyone Sarah meets is a friend.  Abby is more of an "acquaintance" person.  Both amazing and two completely different ways.

Their 21st birthday trips reflect their personalities perfectly.  They both planned their own.  Sarah went to the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C. last year.  And this year she had a great time at Patriot Academy, completely in her element!  She LOVED working the House floor and meeting lots (and LOTS) of new friends!

Abby has probably been planning her trip in her head for well over a year.  I think she knows every horse by name in the Basin.  There are around 700 of them!  She watches them closely and knows when a new stallion takes over, when anyone has a baby, when there's a change of any kind made to a band (family).  I loved watching Abby tell about her plans and watching the excitement grow in her!    She loved camping for 10 days and being out away from the "necessities" of civilization.  Definitely Abby!

I love how their trips were as unique as their personalities.  I also love how much they love each other, even though they're so different.  I find it interesting how 2 girls, only 13 months apart in age and raised by the same parents at the same time, are so vastly different in their personalities, likes, and talents.  I think it just shows how God loves variety and creates each person in such a unique way.  I am grateful that they embrace each other's differences and accept each other for who they are, looking for (and finding) what they love about each other.  They are both such grateful I am to be their mother! It's so good to have them back home!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

21st Birthday Trip

My family has a special tradition where our dad takes us on a trip, just the 2 of us, on our 21st birthday. He pays up to a certain limit and we pay anything over that amount. We plan our trip to go wherever we want and do whatever we want (within reason of course). Being the avid horse person that I am, I decided to take a break from horses for a while to go camping in the middle of nowhere and observe wild horses in the beautiful state of CO in the BLM’s HMA - Sand Wash Basin! We cooked our own dinners over open fires the whole time we were camping! We added a few other fun things in as well, and the best part was that we were on our own time schedule completely. We did end up changing our plans while out there, but more on that later.
We spent all the first day driving up there, then stayed in a small town at over 10,000 feet elevation for the next 2 days and went white water rafting & mountain top zipping. Quite the fun experience! We rafted in 9, level 4 rapids, in a 7 mile section of the Arkansas River. Then we headed a little bit further north and did some lake kayaking.

White water rafting the Arkansas River

After we finished, we drove another 4 hours to the NW corner to camp in Dinosaur National Monument, which was our base for the next week. We went to church in Maybell on Sunday and made friends with the locals who gave us some helpful tips to accomplish what we’d really come to do. Find the wild mustangs! For those of you who don’t speak my language, here’s a word key:
 BLM refers to Bureau of Land Management; they are responsible for maintaining the horses and land. HMA refers to a Herd Management Area, the area in which wild mustangs live. Sand Wash Basin, AKA the basin is the name of this HMA. A band is a group of 3 or more horses with at least 1 mare and 1 stallion (remember, there are no geldings in the wild). A pair is 1 stallion & his mare. A band stallion is the family stallion that controls that band of horses. The band is known by the stallion’s name. A satellite stallion is a stallion that lives with a band, but is not the band stallion and does not control it. He does help defend the band against rival stallions, but the band stallion determines how much contact he actually has with the band. A bachelor stallion is a stallion without a mare. Most of the time they live in pairs, but sometimes there is a group of them or they live solo. They tend to go around dogging bands a lot in hopes of getting a mare for themselves or taking over a whole herd.
Kayaking Lake Dillon

Map of Dino Monument - we camped in Deerlodge Park

Our campsite

We spent all day Monday in the basin, driving 65 miles just in the basin looking for horses. With almost 700 horses on this HMA, you would think they’d be easier to find. But the space combined with the user friendly, but guest resistant terrain and their broken or dark coat colors, made them extremely difficult to spot. We found the best place was within a 2 mile radius of the water holes, which there are about 5 during the summer. We did manage to find these bands that day, along with Storm’s band. He had the newest baby in the basin at less then a week old at the time, and didn’t want us getting close enough to get a good picture.

Storm band - has the newest baby, look on left side

Mateo band

Half Moon band

Buck, Mystic Wind & Whisp - Buck band

WildHeart, WildOne, Honey & Rainman - Rainman band

WildSoul - bachelor dogging Rainman band

Corsandra, Cortez, Katarina, Cachina, Asha & Joy - Cortez band

Asha & Joy - Cortez band

Flame, Refuge & Tecumseh - Flame band

Tuesday, we got back up and in the basin bright and early. We saw several bands; some wouldn't let us get very close and some were impossible to hike out to because of the terrain.

Chief & Brave bands

Buddy band

Eagle band

Tecate, Hopscotch & Streaker - Tecate band

JJ - bachelor

About 2:30pm, we heard a hissing sound and realized we had a flat tire. At this point, we’re 12 miles in the basin and then 17 miles from the nearest town that didn’t even have a school! We headed out and called one of the locals we had met Sunday, so just in case we got stranded, someone would know. He told us they had a tire guy that could patch it in the town, and he’d send someone out to check on us. What d’ya know! You only have a signal on the hilltops out there. We made it 14 miles and decided the tire could go no further so stopped at a ranch 2 miles outside the BLM land to ask for air. Three very nice gentlemen there, who barely spoke English, gave us the air and, after noticing our spare, insisted on changing it for us! Turns out it was a piece of greasewood. The tire guy in Maybell, Sid, then patched it for us and we headed back to the basin at 4pm. Got 1 mile in and realized we had another flat, same tire, but MUCH worse than the last one. Barely made it back to the ranch to change the tire again. Then back to Sid’s to patch another tire. This time it was a 3/8” blunt end bolt! Needless to say, at 5:30, we decided to just go back to camp, as tomorrow was another big day anyway.

Wednesday, we got up bright and early and headed out on an all day road trip to hit some nearby states we’d never been to. We also went to the Olympic Park in Park City, UT and went tubing down the 64km and 95km ski slopes!

Tubing down the 95km slope

Driving back to camp at night, through the mountains in WY was not fun. They have open range there. You cross a cattle guard and now you’re driving through the pasture! Here we are, driving in the mountains, with cattle, pronghorn, deer, and elk standing on the road. Thankfully, we made it back safely and did not hit any animals.

Thursday, we headed back out in the basin. We found a few scattered bands and bachelors here and there, then came across a large group of about 50 horses.  There were about 8 different bands and several bachelors hanging out together. We also got a third flat about 2:00. This time, it was a rock. Back to Sid’s it was, to get it all fixed up (after we stopped at the same ranch again for air).
Maggie & Thunder - Thunder band

Flynnigan Joe, Solitare & Straight Arrow - Thunder band

Twiggy - Thunder band

Large group

Cosmo band

Eclipse band - Brayley, Checker, Spirit Dancer, Eclipse & Mimi

Prince band - Prince, Moonlight, Sunshine, Twinkle Star & Stardust

Snowman band - Heidi, Snowman & Mayday

Mayday - Snowman band

Star band - Meteor, Riddler & Star

Meteor - Star band and the only palomino pinto in the basin

Haze band - White Sage, Acacia, Juniper, Haze, Shock Top & Cheveyo

Shock Top - Haze band

Dancer - bachelor
Hoot - bachelor

Bachelors Outlaw & Milagro

Femur - stallion  & Sand Shadow - mare

This time, we just headed back to the campsite to prepare for breaking camp in the morning. Originally, we were going to go back out in the basin Friday morning, spend half a day, drive to Colorado Springs to camp 1 night, and go to Pikes Peak on Saturday morning. With all the flats, we decided that wasn’t the best idea, so instead, we decided to break camp very early Friday morning, drive to Colorado Springs and visit Pikes Peak and Focus on the Family headquarters. Then camp 1 night and head home early Saturday which would put us home 3 hours early. So we left Maybell at 6am and drove 6 hours to Colorado Springs.
Pikes Peak

The road up

At the summit

We finished a lot earlier then we thought we would, so we decided to head out into Kansas and camp there. We got to our campsite at about 11:30pm and decided that since we were only 5 hours from home, we’d just push on through. So, instead of getting home at 11pm Saturday night, we got home at 5am Saturday morning. Meaning we drove over a thousand miles, plus stopping at a bookstore and going up a mountain, in just under 23 hours! We had a wonderful time, but are very glad to be home.

For those of you that know me, and know that I’m not a photographer at all, I took over 700 pictures! Mostly horses, of course! Special thanks to Victoria for letting me borrow her camera and take it on such an adventurous trip so I could get some good pictures. Even though Sarah wouldn’t let me take hers!!😜 

Posted by Abby