Summertime’s Lessons

Summer sure flew by…I spent a lot of time with family, friends, cooking some of my favorite dishes, reading some awesome books, and joining a new shooting club with gals who like Glocks and to shoot them!

However, one thing that really rose to the surface of my consciousness is that life is all about connecting, relationships, and people. I’ve read several books pointing out this truth and always knew it to be true in my heart; however, this summer I got a good dose of real time experience with it.

Spending time with family and friends is always a desire of mine; however, I also planned on having a good time this summer riding my mare.  I was getting a good start in late spring in that direction, then all of a sudden she got injured towards the end of June. This meant no riding, barrel racing, or pole bending, which is the bulk of my summer activity. Riding her at the end of a long day really lifts my spirits, gets me mentally and physically exercised, and gets me centered in the present moment. Due to where one of her injuries was located, it took two months to heal. There was a time in my past this would have really threw me off and upset me to the point I felt I was “missing out on life”.

However, God had other things for me to focus on this summer. After some praying to Him and “shaking off” the initial frustration of the situation, I was able to appreciate what God had in store for me next.  Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21 (NIV)  God opened up time and opportunity for me to enjoy the company of my family more than ever this summer. I got to know and fellowship with church friends and do other things I wouldn’t normally have been doing because I dedicate so much time to riding and horse activities. God had me making real connections. Connections that mean something. Connections that have purpose with people who are more real and genuine than the ones in the world I’m usually exposed to.

Below are just a few of my summer fun memories!

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4th of July parade in Jackson, WY with my Dad.
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At the beach with my daughter.
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On a hike to the Sinks with my church family.
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Shi’Lii’ my horse and an August summer sunset.
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Listening to a gospel concert with church family at City Park.

Although I don’t like to see my horse hurt, I can truly be grateful for the goodness God worked out of it. During the time it took for her to heal up, I spent cultivating relationships. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 (NIV)

These relationships will outlast any prize that can be won by competing on my horse. They will outlast the “I have to cram in as many horse related activities as possible” attitude. If this attitude gets out of balance, it can distract me from whom and what is really important. And they will certainly outlast the many shallow acquaintances that come with the territory of any activity or sport that involves money and competition. It feels good to invest my time and energy into the people and activities that really matter in life!

There were also the other usual type of ongoing lessons this summer such as establishing boundaries with people who disrespect me, clarifying misunderstandings, and discovering with a sad heart that I didn’t have as good of a connection with a specific someone as I thought I did.

I also had to say goodbye to my dog Eddie at the end of this summer. For us single people who go home to an empty house, our animals are a source of comfort. They are a source of comfort to many people whether single or married. Losing her was unexpected and saddening. But I take comfort in the scripture saying, There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die…Ecclesiastes 3:1-2(NIV)

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Eddie

And yet with all these lessons, this was one of the best summers I’ve had in a few years. I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:10-11 (NLT)

It’s knowing God and having nourishing and lasting relationships with the people who truly matter that make life beautiful in the midst of life’s lessons!


ASK FOR PERMISSION Heather Britain and Blessed At All Times, April 2015.Unauthorized use and/or duplication of written material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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A Girl & Her Horse

Picture4I was searching through my storage stuff for a certain picture and unexpectedly came across some old journals I forgotten about.  As I opened the pages and started reading, I found a journal entry about my horse Dusty Painted Duke and one of our rides together.  I was so excited to reminisce about what was going on during that time in my life.

Duke has been a Godsend.  From His abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another”. John1:16 (NLT)   We have been through a lot together and have a bond that I don’t know I will ever find with another horse.  He was my happy pill while I was in a tough un-healthy marriage.  By the way, he wasn’t treated well during this time either.  When times were tough and I had a heavy heart, going to ride Duke was a glimmer of light shining in the dark depressed places I was in.   We acquired such a bond that while riding in familiar territory, I could literally drop his reins, close my eyes, and pray…and no, I’m not making this up!

Duke has been a joy to pleasure ride and barrel race on.  He’s made my heart smile countless times.  And no, I did NOT do the eyes closed thing while barrel racing in case any smarty pants people are reading this.  The only time I did this was while riding in a very familiar place I had at the time down an irrigation ditch road, and the road was out of the public eye…it was just me, Duke, and God our Creator.   I have just recently been moved by the Holy Spirit to share this experience.

The following journal entry was written in July 2006:

I was getting close to the end of my ride loping down the last stretch of ditch road.  I decided to explore the rest of the time with my senses.  I closed my eyes letting Duke take the lead and keep on loping down the road…he knows the way.  With my eyes closed, I let the sound of his hooves take me to another place.  Each hoof beat was loud and I could feel them in my heart.  I could hear the water flowing down its path in the irrigation ditch, and I could hear the hum of the environment around me.  With eyes still closed, I could smell the sweet alfalfa hayfields…their life smells so sweet.  Then the rain started to lightly sprinkle.  I felt the rain hit my body.  It was the most awesome feeling.  The air was warm and the rain sprinkles seemed to kiss me when they touched.  I could also feel my saddle under me and Duke’s movement all in sync with what I was taking in.  When I got on the other part of the road, I opened my eyes and took in the deep green color of the alfalfa hayfields, it was a deep nourished color of green and the fields looked happy.  A breeze started blowing and a symphony of grasses and weeds touching and blowing amongst each other sang to me, the crickets serenaded me.  The air was warm and smelled sweet with alfalfa.    

I wish I would have taken the time to journal about our rides more.  If you’re wondering about Dusty Painted Duke, he is enjoying retired life now.  He gets to be fed and petted every day!  I have a newer horse that is just awesome too.  No, I do NOT have the closing of the eyes type bond with her, and it doesn’t really matter because we are enjoying each other in different ways.

I have to say for me personally, during my pleasure rides with Duke I felt close to God most of the time.  It filled me up with the joy of the Lord.  Riding him was a respite from a rough and tough marriage with someone I was so unequally yoked with in more ways than one that I should not have chosen that path in the first place… lesson learned from the school of hard knocks!

I credit God for my family and Dusty Painted Duke getting me through those times.  Time spent in the saddle renewed my thinking and refreshed my spirit and I believe it contributed greatly to me not giving up on life.  “That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day”.                            2 Corinthians 4:16 (NLT)


ASK FOR PERMISSION Heather Britain and Blessed At All Times, April 2015.Unauthorized use and/or duplication of written material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.