Posts Tagged With: intuition

Random 5 Friday ~ Mothers Day, Coincidences and GPS

It’s Friday and time for a few randoms from my corner of the universe.  Ready?  Set?  Go:

1 ) Mother’s Day as a child meant 3 things:  a) Church/Sunday School, b) a family get-together and c) Homemade cards/gifts for Mom.    Like they’ve done before, my boys asked to take me out for “a nice lunch.”     They know this is the one thing I want more than anything from the store – time with them.  We met up – they gave me their gifts and cards with notes of love and appreciation and I  savored the moment.  We laughed till we cried and I beamed with the love I feel for them.   In my view, the greatest gift a Mom can ever get is children who grow up to be people you want to be with!  We ate, we laughed, we leaned in.  I felt the love then and still do.  ❤

2 ) Whenever I have  a “big” meeting or presentation to do I “bring” Mom with me – by wearing a piece of her jewelry as her reminder to “go get ’em, kid” – She’s met the Governor, Congressmen/women, Leaders of state, Senators, House Reps, congressional pages, Mayors & more ~ she’s with me every step of the way.    And if I encounter any “nonsense” I’m not afraid to use my firmest  “Mom voice” which of course I learned from her!

Just a couple of Mom’s rings – Peridot & Padparadshca Citrine ~ she loved her “right hand rings” from the shopping channel.

3 )  In meetings earlier this week I had one of those moments we’ve all had where you know the answer to a  question not yet asked.   Tingling and trying not to jump ahead I listened closely;  when I shared my thoughts later the speaker pulled back, her eyebrow went up and a smile filled her face.  “How did you know that?” she asked.   “Because sometimes I just know.”  We talked about coincidences and serendipity and how sometimes we find ourselves right where we’re meant to be; it’s up to us to recognize it when it happens.   The more I acknowledge it when it occurs, the more it occurs for me.

Fate’s like that, I find.

4 )  Saw this and laughed out loud because  1) it is so true and 2 ) I admit that I often still revert to “old school GPS” – read on ~

5 ) I’ve been traveling weekly these past few months;  one day easily rolls into the next, weekends have been full and a Tuesday morning can feel like it should be Saturday already.    Memorial Day is next week and – gasp – it’s been 3 months since I woke up to this:

Winter 2019 – an Emjayandthem(C) photo


So, what’s new in your world?   Experience any coincidences lately?  Do you remember “70’s GPS?”

Happy Friday!  😀


Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Confidence at any age, Fun, Growth, Holidays, Home, Joy, Life, Love, Mom, Opinion, Relationships, Seasons, Travel, Wisdom, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Lists in the face

I remember being surprised at being invited to that executive’s retirement party given we’d hardly interacted.  I was around 27 and, looking back, a bit naive.

The night of the party, one of the (ancient) executive’s pals, in his toast to the retiree, joked about inviting “pretty girls like __(me)__ so we all have something nice to look at.” Their wives looked horrified and sad, most men chuckled, and I can still feel the rage at being reduced to “something.”

I know and have loved many wonderful men – decent, kind and gentle men.  I’m fortunate I can easily rattle off a long list including Grandfathers,  Great Uncles, Dad and his brothers, my husband and our sons. But I also have known – and had to work with – creeps.  And, in my experience, the creeps spoil the well for the good men.

Now, as a Grandmother, my Spidey senses are on FIRE whenever I’m out with our grandkids – both grandSON and grandDAUGHTER — I watch them like a hawk even though they aren’t “babies” any more.    I’m hyper-aware of everyone around us; if one asks to go off to another aisle to “see just one thing” we all go; it’s not up for discussion.

I’ve talked with the grands about good people and bad people, about trusting their instincts, and if someone makes them feel uncomfortable or unsafe to tell any of us, and that they will never be in trouble for doing so.  I worry about Social Media and creepy perverts who lurk in shadows everywhere.  But, as many of us know, creepy perverts were in our churches, schools, and communities long before Facebook or SnapChat ever existed.

I made a quick list of how experiences with creepy men has impacted how I live; the list wrote itself in minutes.

  • I stay alert and pay attention to surroundings; if someone feels “off” I get away from them.
  • I never walk, shop for groceries or stop for gas in the dark.
  • I prefer to exercise in the house vs. in the neighborhood.
  • I wear a cross body purse, always and my cell phone remains charged and accessible, even at home.
  • I check the back seat of any vehicle before getting in, anywhere and in every light.
  • I rarely venture away from the hotel when traveling for business ~ Company (male) colleagues like to walk to restaurants for group events (because they never have to think about lists like this!). I prefer to take a taxi but will walk in a larger (mixed) group.
  • I never sleep on flights.
  • All windows and doors are locked  ~ if I find myself alone at the office (very off-putting) I take the cell phone with me to the copier or the restroom.
  • On business trips /outings I stick to water or (sometimes) order a cocktail I don’t like and sip it; whatever I have goes with me to the ladies’ room.
  • It’s Hubby’s deep voice on the answering machine.
  • I’m not thin anymore;  extra weight has lessened the burden of unwanted attention.
  • I never use parking garages,  valet where possible and expense it, and offer no explanations or apologies.
  • I don’t get on elevators with men, not even one.
  • I limit fluids during road trips which limits stops, and never use highway rest areas; Fast food restaurants only.
  • At company functions I employ the Irish Good-bye – excuse myself and don’t come back.

Your turn:

  • Can you relate to this post?
  • How have your experiences impacted the way you navigate your day-to-day life?
    • Any tips or thoughts to add?


“Men often ask me, Why are your female characters so paranoid? It’s not paranoia. It’s recognition of their situation.” — Margaret Atwood, author of “The Handmaid’s Tale”



Categories: Attitude, Determination, Faith, fear, Grief, Growth, Life, Life Lessons, News, Opinion, Personal, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Travel, Useful Information, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Storytellers & Liars

“A storyteller makes up things to help other people; a liar makes up things to help himself.”
Daniel Wallace, The Kings and Queens of Roam

I have an intolerance for Liars, especially having worked with/for one for years (otherwise known as The Rat).

So I like to think I have a pretty good nose for such people.  But, sometimes, I think I have blinders on, too.

You see, there’s a quite a lot of my Mom in me, the gal who wants to take people at their word, believe that most harbor good intentions, and think things will work out as they should.

So it took me a little by surprise when someone I’ve been interacting with turned out to be a Rat.

A big juicy one.

A sneaky, smarmy twitchy one.

A dirty, dank deceitful one.

I don’t interact with this person every day or even every month, but events find  us at the same meetings from time to time.

It happened just the other day, I’d arrived to a meeting, grabbed my notepad and chatted with others near me.

Not long after, I caught him in a lie.  Not just a “white lie,” but a big, twisty, “If I lie enough times it will eventually be true” kind of lie.

And I knew it. And he knew I knew it.

And the stance he took could only be interpreted as this, “What are you going to do about it?”

if you tell the truth you dont have to remember anything copy

Prickles ran up my back when I realized he thought I’d just sit there, with a room of witnesses, and “pretend” that I didn’t know what I knew.

So here’s what I did:  I asked him a question.  A pointed and strategic question.  The kind of question that you only can answer if you’re not a liar.  He blustered. He fumbled. He turned red. He turned on me.  He changed the subject.  All the while I looked at him and eventually, I smiled.  And he was caught.   I wonder if he’d been so used to lying that he thought no one would ever call him on his b.s.?  At the break a couple people commented on the exchange, and said they were surprised he was so “prickly” about my simple question (there’s that word again) and that I’d stayed calm as he came unhinged.

My response?  “I’m the youngest of 5 kids, 2 of which were brothers, plus a host of cousins.  You can’t know how many places I’ve been locked into. I can hold my own, don’t worry about me.”

I didn’t slander him, I didn’t smear him, but he knows that I know and I think sometimes that is enough.

He’s not likely to change his ways and I don’t care if he does.

But he knows that I know.

  * * *

How about you?   Do you know people who lie so much they might-as-well be a rug?  Do tell!

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Determination, fear, Growth, Life, Life Lessons, Men, Personal, Quotes, Relationships, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Where is there?

Walking downtown one morning recently, I thought about how my phone’s GPS had done all it could: It got me “there.”

But where was “there?”

The locator announced “You’ve arrived at your destination.”  I parked and got out, looking around. Up, down, all around.

Where is there?

Her voice chirped in my earpiece, “head north for 200 feet.”

Which way was North?   Was I supposed to start counting steps?


I turned, felt the biting wind, and turned again.

Walked some more.


Popped into a coffee shop and asked a young man serving.  He knew his address but not any others. I found out he lives in Eastown.  Pleasant yes, but totally irrelevant.

I bought a coffee anyways.  Delicious.

Stepping back into the wind, I turned right, away from it.

Followed my nose, so-to-speak.

Finally, I ducked into another portal and called the # associated with the meeting.  Thankfully the meeting organizer answered.  Explaining my dilemma, she laughed and said, “I didn’t think to give everyone a landmark, sorry about that.”   She described their building, gave me the suite number, and that was the end of that.

Looking up, I saw the building, and realized I’d been there, or close to there, the whole time.

I was here … and there!

“The path to our destination is not always a straight one. We go down the wrong road, we get lost, we turn back. Maybe it doesn’t matter which road we embark on. Maybe what matters is that we embark.” ― Barbara Hall


*Can you relate to this?  Have you ever found it hard to tell here from there?  How often do you turn off GPS and follow your instincts?


Categories: Determination, Faith, Growth, Personal, Quotes, Random, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Angel Kisses

Stepping up to the desk I watched as she noted my name and birth date.  Placing a wristband on me, and snapping it shut, she smiled while handing over a questionnaire to complete.  Answering questions about family history and trying to remember past surgical dates I stopped and looked up. Looked around.  At the others there.  My age, many older, a few younger.  All women.  Most alone, some with a friend or a husband, all sitting quietly …  just waiting their turn.

Heading back, I changed into a gown and felt a shiver, like a kiss, on my shoulder.

I took my seat in the internal waiting room, smiled at the other ladies gathered there and glanced around. Hoda and Kathie Lee blathered on, I answered a few emails, and glanced at the women’s magazines laid out for us.

Someone new called my name and I followed, stepping into the room with the machine looming.  Asking my last name and birth date, and checking my wrist band, we exchanged pleasant banter as she explained why I’d been called back today.  See there was this area they wondered about, and I really should have it checked further, and so here I was.

I’d nearly rescheduled the appointment just days before.  The test isn’t even covered by insurance.  My job is so full right now, etc.  I don’t have time. But something, something stopped me from doing that.

trust your intuition

We started through the test, one side of the gown dropping away, my arm draped around the top of machine, the other shoulder trying to relax.  It pressed down, the whirring of the imaging doing its job, followed by her soft words of encouragement.  Wrapping up again, off I went to wait.  Wait with the others.

She came back again and pulled me aside to say they’d ordered further tests and that I’d be staying for a while and would that be OK?  Sure I said, not really thinking about it.  Then, with her hand on my arm, this question “Is anyone here with you?”  And a look.  A look that your soul can only recognize as one of concern and when I saw her expression change, I felt concern, too.

Going back to the waiting room, I looked again at the magazines waiting, and laughed at what was on top. “Guideposts,” a spiritually rich periodical that I used to read with Hubbs’ Mom.  I remembered sharing issues with her and both of us dog-earing our favorite stories to talk about later.   Taking that as a sign, I smiled through several stories of faith and inspiration.  Fear receded.

Another called my name and led me down the hall and round the corner for an Ultrasound.  Now the only ultrasounds I’ve ever had were years ago when pregnant with my boys so I knew this wasn’t any big deal.  The Technician was friendly, with a pretty smile and bouncing brown curls, and she put me at ease immediately.  Again, the same routine, confirmation of my name and birth date, a check of the wrist band, and we were off.  But in the soft light of that darkened room, I let myself go there.  To those thoughts that anyone would have when they realize their life might be changing in a very big way.  A tear rolled down my cheek and I muttered the same words to myself that Sissy did during her heart attack this spring: Well this is b.s.  The same ones Mom said when she went in the hospital 49 days ago. Then I took a breath and smiled at her as she covered up my chest with a warm blanket and an explanation that the Radiologist would read the results right now. However, she added, he might come in and do more testing himself. Would I be all right with that? Did I have any questions? She smiled as she waited.  “Yes,” I said.  “Is he good-looking?”  Tipping her head back we laughed together.  Out loud and hard.  I explained how I used to watch daytime “programs” with my Grandma and that she fancied this one particularly handsome Doctor.  We giggled like we’d known each other more than 40 minutes and again I felt a shiver, like a kiss, on my shoulder.

Soon she left the room and I lay there, quietly singing one of my favorite Gospel songs, thinking about how things can go from zero to sixty and how life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans. I went from scared to mad to making promises– how I’d take on less, I’d exercise more, and maybe I’d even give up potato chips and then the door opened and there he was. Smiling down and explaining what they’d seen didn’t warrant a specialist or further tests and how they’d just been extra cautious because my type of tissue is hard to read and stuff can hide in there.  Then he said these words: “come back in 6 months for another test and you should be good to go.”  Tears clouded my vision as he shook my hand, smiled and left the room.

And then I breathed.  Really breathed.  Like I must have been holding my breath for 3 hours breathed.   She walked me out, I got dressed, and checked out at the front desk. We made that 6 month appointment and cut off my wrist band.  Before heading to my car I stopped and bought a coffee and smiled at the potato chips winking at me from the checkout line.


I’ve narrowed my kiss givers to four loves no longer here with me: Nana, Grandma, Hubbs’ Mom, or my Dad. Or maybe four took turns, I don’t know.  See, I lost count of the kisses, but not the feeling that remains.

 * * * * *

How about you? Have you had a health scare?  Did your reaction surprise you? Have you ever experienced an Angel’s Kiss?  Who do you think it was?

breast cancer awareness

Yes, I’m aware. You?

Categories: Attitude, Determination, Faith, fear, Gratitude, Growth, Joy, Life Lessons, Mom, News, Opinion, Personal, Self Discovery | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

The nose of the mind

I’ve written a lot about instincts and intuition and trusting your gut.

I trust mine and I rely on it often, with people I’ve known forever and those I’ve just met.

Recently my job has taken me out into the public a lot more; I love that.    It can be daunting at times: I never know what I’ll get but that’s the part I enjoy the most ~  I’m prepared for anything and often experience just that.

Yesterday was one of those days.

It was a meeting I had second thoughts about attending.  There was a small part of me that thought “ahh .. it’s the same old message and the same old people and you have many other things to tend to.”  But something told me to go anyways.  And so I did.

Driving through the countryside, past houses, farms and fields, I felt myself relax.   Looking across the crusty wind-shaped snow, I counted the pivots.  The pivots took me back to where I grew up, where massive pivot systems run in circles and water is piped up from rivers and reservoirs across the dusty prairie.

When I arrived at the meeting place, one of the first people I saw was The Grizzly Bear.  I’ve written about men like him before, and I run across many on a regular basis: they’re often older than me, experienced, opinionated. Many like to hear themselves talk and be the voice of authority. Others are gracious and welcoming.  Some – not so much – that’s fine, there’s room for all of us.

Instead of taking my seat I took a chance and approached the Grizzly.  Quietly I asked him about the pivots.  His look told me what I knew he’d assumed all along:  that I was just some city girl out in the country where she doesn’t belong.  I explained that I grew up on a farm and we had pivots, too. Then I inquired as to their water source because I hadn’t seen any large bodies of water around.  These simple questions opened a floodgate of information my way and before the meeting began, the unthinkable happened: he smiled at me.

The meeting started and questions from the crowd soon followed.  I answered and took notes and did my best to manage the information flow.  His posturing was still there and maybe it always will be. But, for once, it was no longer directed at me.

Instinct is the nose of the mind.” -Delphine de Girardin



Have you ever felt a “nudge” about someone or something?  Do you listen to it?

Categories: Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, fear, Growth, Life, Personal, Quotes, Thoughts, Wisdom, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

They never considered that I might not say yes

So here’s the thing with family – most are great but there are some who aren’t nice or maybe they  are sometimes nice but consistently behave badly… which to me means they aren’t … all that nice. Anyways…

People like this use others.  They appear when they want something.  They bring nothing to the party but drama, troubles and tears.

I’ve made a conscious effort to rid my life of them.  None of the ridding has been done without reason. And, it’s taken years, but I no longer feel any obligation whatsoever.

Such a relative has re-surfaced and this time is manipulating an elderly auntie to do her bidding.  To weasel her way back into our lives.

Here’s a recap of a recent phone conversation between me and said auntie:

Her: “I saw so & so the other day and we were talking about how nice it would be for all of us to meet up for lunch … so she suggested I set it up.”

Me: “Oh .. thanks but no.”

Her: “Well she just really misses seeing you and it would sure be nice for me if we could all be together.”

Me: “Yeah … I hear what you’re saying but no.”

Her: “Well it won’t be till later this fall .. so you have time to think about it.”

Me: (getting angry) “OK, here’s the thing:  I don’t trust her, I don’t like her,  and I don’t want anything to do with her.   She’s sneaking around and using you to get to me. I’m sorry this is not the answer you hoped for but please hear me when I say, no, I’m not going. Ever.”

Her: “Well you just think on it and let me know.”

Me: “GAH!”

As trying as the conversation was,  I can smile now.

Why?  Because, once again, I’ve learned that saying no translates into a big, fat YES… for me.

 ~ ~ ~

My spidey senses are tingling!

My spidey senses were tingling and for good reason!

What’s your strategy for dealing with snakes? Run? Hide?  Stomp? 🙂


Categories: Attitude, Determination, Faith, Family, Growth, Home, Life Lessons, Personal, Quotes, Relationships, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Soul whispers

Recently, I had the privilege of filling an open position in the Department.

This is big doings.

No, really.


Well, historically, there’s been no – and I mean none – movement. People come in … and never leave.  That’s not necessarily a good thing, either.

Well, someone’s leaving. Retiring, in fact.

And isn’t that neat? I think so.  Something to be celebrated, yes it is.

But…. there remain big shoes to fill.

So … yes it’s a challenge and yet an opportunity.

I set about the task of sorting through the many, many applicants.  And it was daunting. Difficult. And … personally, really stressful.

So much talent. So many hopeful faces.

So many.

So many interviews, so many phone calls, so many conversations.

I did my best to listen, to observe, to engage and to take note.

I went to bed thinking about it.

I woke soon after .. still thinking.

I took notes.  I paid attention.

But, in the end, here’s the rub (and there’s always one):  there’s only one opening.


Not 22.

Not 12.

Not 2.



And my new hire started yesterday.

I know that, in spite of all the other talented and lovely and capable people I met and talked with, that this one is the one.

And tonight I realized that the feeling I’m experiencing and the sounds I am hearing are simply the echoes of my soul whispering back, “Hey ….  thanks for listening.”

“When a great moment knocks on the door of your life, it is often no louder than the beating of your heart, and it is very easy to miss it. ”  ― Boris Pasternak

Have you ever experienced a “soul whisper” in a work situation?  Tell me, I’d love to hear all about it.


Categories: Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Growth, Quotes, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Wisdom, Women, Work | Tags: , , , , , , | 20 Comments

GPS for the soul

There is a voice inside of you

That whispers all day long

“I feel that this is right for me,

I know that this is wrong.”

No teacher, preacher, parent, friend

or wise man can decide

What’s right for you

Just listen to

The voice that speaks inside. – Unknown

 Do you regularly listen to “the voice?”  Ever ignored it? What happened?


Categories: Attitude, Faith, Growth, Life, Life Lessons, Personal, Quotes, Relationships, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Persimmons & Pomegranates

I invited Intuition to stay in my house when my roommates went North.

I warned her that I am territorial and I keep the herb jars in alphabetical order. Intuition confessed that she has a ‘spotty employment record.’  She was fired from her last job for daydreaming.

When Intuition moved in, she washed all the windows, cleaned out the fireplace, planted fruit trees, and lit purple candles.

She doesn’t cook much.



She doesn’t have many possessions.

Each thing is special. I wish you could see the way she arranged her treasures on the fireplace mantle. She has a splendid collection of cups, bowls, and baskets.
Well, the herbs are still in alphabetical order, and I can’t complain about how the house looks.

Since Intuition moved in, my life has been turned inside out.
― J. Ruth Gendler, The Book of Qualities

So tell me, if Intuition came knocking … would you invite her in?

Categories: Attitude, Faith, fear, Growth, Life Lessons, Personal, Self Discovery, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 14 Comments

On Nudges

Last week, I wrote about my travels to D.C. and all that trip meant to me.

What I haven’t written about are all the nudges I experienced while there.

It started with the two Minnesota businessmen seated across from me at the conference dinner, the ones whose accents sounded so familiar.  The fellows who told their stories in the modest way Midwesterners do; what stays with me is how easily we laughed, as though we were old friends reunited after years apart.

There was the English couple making their way to St. Louis; his brown eyes locking on mine when he said, “It’s my Mother, you see, and she wants me to come.” I found myself nodding in agreement.   We talked of the bond between Mothers and children, regardless that she was 84 and he 61. I’d forgotten it was Mother’s Day that coming Sunday.  His wife, serene and beautiful, like Jane Goodall, smiled in support of the journey.

There was the businesswoman softly sobbing in the seat next to mine, our flight delayed again and again because of weather. But it wasn’t the storms that made her cry, it was her husband’s terse texts about being late to their 9 year old’s birthday.

There was the Arizona executive I met at an evening mixer, the woman who smiled as she told me of her Dad’s health challenges and how no other siblings were involved because he was such a cranky-puss these days.   She smiled her way through the fatigue.

There was the skinny smiley cab driver from Afghanistan who showed me photos of his baby daughter and the cleaning lady with the shy smile who never failed to say “Good morning!”

Maybe I was just a country girl in the city overwhelmed with the sights, the smells, the significance.

But I don’t think that’s it.

I felt it. With each of them.

A nudge.

A little push that said, “hear them. see them. listen.”

And so I did.

And in the listening,  that’s where I find the lessons live.

“An invisible thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place or circumstance.  The thread may stretch or tangle. But it will never break.” –  Proverbs

Have you ever experienced nudges like this? What did you?




Categories: Beauty, Faith, Friendship, Growth, Life, Life Lessons, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Acquiring some horse sense

source: evans-welsh ponies

Good instincts usually tell you what to do long before your head has it all figured out – Michael Burke

I recently found myself in a situation that made me think of my horse, Riley.

Riley was an Arabian-Welsh cross that Dad bought  for me when I was 9. I’d been riding for several years by then but had never had my own horse.  I rode JJ and Queenie, my cousin’s horses, as often as I could, and our draught horses Tony and Bruce,  but that wasn’t the same as having my own.  When you’re a full-time cowgirl you need a full-time horse! So when Dad asked me if I wanted to go with him to deliver a load of hay, I answered, “sure,” figuring that, at the very least I’d score a pop and some candy. That’s what you get when you take a trip with the Candy Man.

Slipping on my jean jacket and hopping into the truck cab, I didn’t even notice the horse trailer behind us.  Flipping through the AM stations, we shared peppermints and listened to the farm reports.    Arriving at a farm I didn’t recognize, I helped Dad as he offloaded the bales.  I noticed an older man, the farm owner, approach the truck.   I half-listened as they talked about grain costs and hay availability but, truth be told, I wasn’t paying them much attention because it was around that time that I spotted a dark grey horse looking at me intently.  He, with the most beautiful and inquisitive face, stared at me from a cow-filled corral and with cow pies up to his knees.  I abandoned the hay and sloshed through the barnyard muck, my rubber boots making a squirsh squirsh sound as I rushed to meet him.  Slowly and deliberately, he approached the fence but maintained a 3 foot distance from the rails.  Hardly daunted, I scaled the fence and, perched on the top, and reached out my hand so as to pet him. He snorted, stamped a foot, and backed away.

From behind I heard an unfamiliar voice ask, “So I hear you’re in the market for a horse?”

“Huh?” I said, looking in confusion over to my Dad, who stood at the truck grinning.

“What do you think all this hay is for?” giggled Dad.

Still confused, I looked from man to man and realized what was really going on:  they were trading hay for a horse – MINE!

I could hardly stand the ride home and I barely heard Dad as he explained, “You do realize he’s at least 5 years old and not even halter broke yet. He doesn’t know anything. You will need to work with him every day and teach him. You know that, right?”

Did I?

I spent nearly every day with Riley, after school, all weekends and every summer that followed.

So I brushed him. I spoiled him. I told him all my secrets. He greeted me with a nicker , ears up and one step forward, every time.  I laughed at his antics as he stole treats and opened gates for other horses but he’d redeem himself by obediently giving rides to children who visited us.  When he misbehaved, and he often did, I’d have him back up in straight lines. Doing so won us both ribbons at the local 4-H show because, unbeknown-st to me, being able to back up through an L corner was a key part of the “Western Trail” class competition. That horse could back a perfectly straight line the entire length of the arena.

There were many things that he was not: he was not tall and he was not lanky, and that was OK ’cause neither was I.  He was, however, as dignified as an Arabian desert racer could be and as smart, stubborn and dependable as Welsh ponies are known to be. He was perfect for me.


He did more than listen: he provided therapy to a girl with a head full of dreams trying to find her place in the world.

He taught me more about trusting my instincts than any person ever has.

Once, on our way home from yet another adventure with the cousins, he kept stopping every 20 feet or so.  Growing impatient, I urged him on. Finally, he stopped firmly, planted his feet, swung his head and bit me on the foot.   He got my attention, and as I spun him around there, about 15 feet directly behind us, was the largest male coyote I’d ever seen.  Clearly Riley had sensed what lurked behind us but could not see it clearly.   The coyote, no threat to us, locked eyes, looked down and loped away.   That day, I learned to listen to what he had to tell me:  I know better than you kid, and you might just want to pay attention.

Me & Riley, 4-H Achievement Day 1979

Me & Riley, 4-H Achievement Day 1979

What brings me to this tale?

A situation presented itself to me recently that just didn’t sit right with me. I tried to brush it off, to no avail. I finally spun around and stared it down for what it was. I recognized it, I dealt with it, and I moved on.

Thank you, Riley, for teaching me to trust what my gut’s telling me long before my head has it figured out.  Thank you for teaching me that it’s perfectly normal to sing into a prairie wind and that gates only exist to be opened.

What have your animals taught you?

*originally posted by Emjayandthem on April 1, 2011

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Categories: Animals, Faith, Family, Friendship, Growth, Joy, Life, Life Lessons, Personal, Relationships, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

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