Tuesday, December 29

Monday, December 28

thankful for what I have, thankful for what I escaped

It feels so good to be a part of a family so full of love and acceptance for each other. Nathan's family offers structure, consistency, willingness to lend a hand, generosity and mounds of support. Being from a family of brokenness, I only have experienced these family qualities at random. This is how I know God is real. He understands what my heart needs to survive and flourish, then He provides. I'm so ill-deserving of what He has to offer, but he gives it to me anyway.

Here are some pictures of the fam from the past month or so:

And of course, a picture of my girl...

She got a very fancy new halter from my brother-in-law and sister-in-law for Christmas. I can't wait to put it on her.

Wednesday, December 23

run your fingers through my soul

Run your fingers through my soul. For once, just once, feel exactly what I feel, believe what I believe, perceive as I perceive, look, experience, examine, and for once; just once, understand.

Friday, December 18

ballet and my inner child

I have begun taking ballet again. I used to be in a class until I was 10 or so, but gave up because my coach was super mean (according to my juvenile abilities to reason). She took it upon herself to make sure all her students were designed for a Russian ballet company. At eight years old, I couldn't value that. I just wanted to hop around a play. My first class as an adult was last Wednesday. It was so much fun, albeit, very hard work. In the beginning we did stretches and warm-ups at the barre. We plie’d, we pointed, we flexed. The students and instructor were incredibly down to earth and there to have a good time and participate in healthy exercise. In the second half of the class we did pilates with a ballet twist on a mat. It was so freaking hard. I’m going to have legs of steel at the end of the quarter, no doubt. I was telling my therapist about how I restarted ballet and she thought it was interesting. She was engrossed in the fact that I am trying to recreate my childhood as an adult. For instance; taking riding lessons, getting a horse, starting ballet, finally getting my Breyer model horse collection from my folks’ along with my flute (all these being childhood yearnings, activities and hobbies). She said that because of certain things I was exposed to as a youngster, I never really got to experience my full childhood. To help me get a better idea of what she was saying, she explained that I have this little 4-7 year old Ashley inside of me that wants to play and be joyful. Apparently I am mothering and nurturing this little Ashley by putting her in ballet, getting her a horse, painting and drawing with her, basically everything I enjoyed at that age. This made me feel a little sad, but also very thankful that I am self-aware enough to realize what I need to heal and have the support of my husband to do so. If riding my horse and doing plies’ is helping me heal, then by all means, let the healing begin.

Tuesday, December 15

O holy night

This year Nathan and I decided to decorate our Christmas tree with things we were thankful for. We decorated it with ornaments we received as gifts from friends and family (I think most of them are from my mother-in-law, she's so sweet) and we adorned it with my collection of plastic toy animals. For the tree topper, I took a bunch of Pheasant feathers and tied them to the tippy-top with hemp and wooden beads. The pheasant feathers represent last summer when my husband and I rescued and raised 12 baby pheasants in our house in Seattle with our hen, Banty. When they got big we had to give them to someone who lived on acreage and had birds already. We miss them something terrible, but it wasn't fair to them. And for the tree skirt, we put a Mexican blanket we purchased in California when we were visiting our good friends, David and Andrea. This year we got a much taller tree because we decided to put it in our room with our new vaulted ceilings!

pardon the sloppy iPhone photos. We haven't uploaded the pictures from our regular camera as of yet.

Friday, December 11

Wednesday, December 9

Halt at X

The best definition of dressage:

Dressage (dres-SASSH): The french word for training. A systematic approach to training and athletically conditioning the horse by gradually schooling the animal through a series of gymnastic-like movements at progressive levels. Dressage fosters harmony and communication between horse and rider because results are achieved through careful insight and cooperation rather than coercion or force. Through dressage training, nearly every horse can be improved and molded into a happier, safer, more reliable, and ultimately more marketable mount. Dressage is really a humane and wholesome philosophy of horsemanship that honors and encompasses every aspect of the horse-human relationship. It takes inexhaustible patience, firm perseverance under stress, courage combined with quiet alertness.

And just for kicks, here is an interesting diagram of the ideally conformed dressage horse:

Regardless of a horses' conformation, dressage benefits all forms of horsemanship (for horse AND rider).

I am getting really excited as this upcoming show season Darjeeling will make her Training Level debut :D.