As the wife of a United Methodist pastor, home is not necessarily one place. Where I grew up is no longer home because my parents have both passed away and our lives have taken us to a new way of life in ministry. We have lived in five different homes in the past thirteen years and each one has been very special, but there is one place that resonates with my soul and I just spent almost two glorious weeks in this place, happy as can be.
In the hills of Rio Rancho, New Mexico is where one of my Maggie lives. She taught me how to ride horses. She showed me that being in the saddle is a place where I could breathe. Moving away from Rio Rancho a year ago was bittersweet because I would be far away from her and the horses, but the distance has made us even closer and for that I am incredibly grateful. Because she has animals it’s hard for her and her husband to get away on vacation. Over a year ago I told her to make plans and that Caeleb and I would come and take care of things while they were gone.
It has been one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.
Life on the ranch means chores. Watering needs to be done, animals need to be fed, and yes, stalls need to be cleaned. And mucking those stalls was my most favorite chore of the day. Each evening Caeleb and I would feed the horses, get the wheelbarrow and rakes and start shoveling. There is something deep and profound about this kind of work. I know some of you must be shaking your head thinking I must be crazy, but being in tune with the horses, who depend on you, is magnificent.
Those moments when you stop and breathe in the evening desert air as the Sandia mountains turn their tremendous hue of pink is beautiful. Filling the troughs with water that sustains not only the horses but the dog and birds that roost throughout the day. Gathering up the hay and mixing the breakfast porridge (the horses favorite) brings a routine to your day and you make plans around their schedule. And one of the perks was that I could go out anytime and groom the horses and ride.
I’ve not ridden in quite some time and when I saddled up Kelsey, put my foot in the stirrup and threw my leg over her other side, I immediately took in the deepest breath I had taken in quite some time. The feel of the leather gloves in the reins, the sound of the slightest squeaking that the leather of the saddle made with each hoof step, and my favorite, hearing Kelsey swish her tail made the desert heat feel like a dream.
Today I Am Thankful For:
- desert air
- mucking stalls