Monday, December 27, 2010

I Resolve, With The Help Of Your Grace...

We seem to have made it through Christmas by the skin of our teeth around here.  I actually had to give myself permission to let some of the things I wanted to do slide because there simply wasn't time, and I refused to let superficials interfere with our family and spiritual celebration.  I did get the lights up, the tree decorated (actually my son did that) and the Nativity Scene up (my son again).  Many people in our little mission parish were gone for the holiday.  It was strange to see our tiny church only half-full on Christmas Eve, when in past years there was standing room only. 

Now it's time to honor the tradition of New Year's resolutions.  I actually contemplated mine about a month ago.  There's really nothing new.  Some of last year's resolutions were successful, some need more work, and some are no longer important.  I want to finish my first book, get a couple of e-books out, and continue making my lifestyle more sustainable and less consumptive.  I want to share joy and fascination for learning with my homeschooled son.  I want to really get to know my soon-to-be-born grandson.  I want to play with my critters and have an awesome vegetable garden.  I want to get to sewing all those clothes I've been collecting fabric for - our wardrobe really needs replenishment.  I want to get to confession more and take the next step in growing spiritually.  I want to blog more regularly to share that spiritual growth and insight.  I want to work on me, yet think less about me and more about the big picture.  I want to let go and let God.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Zenyatta - Inspiration from the Queen of the Racetrack

There are few things I enjoy more than an afternoon of watching horses.  Maybe a day in Yosemite or Kings Canyon.  To watch a herd of horses frolic on the open range, or thunder around a track, to me, is a thrill.  To see a great horse honored is an immense joy.  I am not an advocate of gambling and I don't support practices that demean principles of good stewardship of God's creatures.  I do enjoy seeing the results of a horse being brought to it's full potential, and a rider who respects and admires that horse in a way that the team reaches a greater success than either would individually.  Such are the examples of Mike Smith and Zenyatta, Ron Turcotte and Secretariat, Red Pollard and Sea Bisquit, to mention a few.

I do not follow horse racing, but my daughter does.  She was born to the saddle.  At the age of 2, I turned my back on her for five minutes and found her across the street with her older brother, trying to climb a fence into the paddock of the boarding stables, to pet the horses.  At a big boned five-eleven, she never had a hope of becoming a jockey, though she did quite well at gymkhana.  She is currently working towards her bachelor's degree in equine studies.  She has a scrapbook - more like a database - on Zenyatta.  She has studied her and followed her for the horse's entire career.  Her excitement at being able to meet and talk with Mike Smith and John Sheriffs (Zenyatta's trainer) was contagious.  To have her share her passion with me is an honor and a priviledge.  To know that she finds inspiration and motivation to pursue her life's dream, even when her own horses are so far away from her for the time being, makes me glad.

For myself, I enjoy watching and interacting with horses.  Ever since humans became aware that the horse was good for more than just the dinner table, there has been a mystical dynamic between horse and rider.  A good rider can communicate to his horse with the slightest pressure, the softest sound.  An intelligent and cooperative horse will respond to his rider almost intuitively.  How often in history has a story been told of a horse finding his way home, his rider unconcious in the saddle?  How often have I gone out to the paddock in distress and received a comforting nuzzle, an understanding companionship with my horses?

Truly the Creator put us here to find our way back to Him, and help our fellows to do so.  But even when humankind fails us, God gave us a back-up, our animals.  Cats, dogs, horses, all take their turn in our lives, comforting, entertaining, annoying and accompanying us back home.