Saturday, April 25

Episode at Thackery Park

A picture is worth a thousand words... whew! I got that pedicure just in time!

So, besides being a part time Assistant Equestrian Coach at SMU and part time Campus Minister for VCM, I'm also a part time babysitter/tutor for a family with 3 small children. That's too many parts, I know. Believe me. Yesterday, I took aforementioned small children to Thackery Park. It was a lovely Friday afternoon so the park was FULL of children. I was doing my best to dodge the children on scooters, dogs on leashes and moms pushing strollers by sitting quietly under a tree with a book. It was delightful; the sun was shining, the kids were enjoying themselves and I was sitting in the dirt with my back against a tree. Just what I needed at the end of a hectic week. I do have three jobs, you know. A little R&R is quite the luxury.

All of a sudden, my reverie was disturbed by Ronak screaming to Tej, "Get her! Get her! I'm slipping!" I was too thorougly enjoying the warm sun to immediately realize that the "her" Ronak was referring to was me. I looked up to see Tej begin running the opposite direction from where I was sitting and Ronak struggling on the monkey bars. Ronak and I made eye contact and I could see the terror in his eyes. My motherly instinct immediately fired up and I sprang from my restful place in the dirt, hitting my head on a branch in the process. I stumbled forward and began a dead sprint toward the monkey bars. Ronak continued screaming, "Ms. Chelsea! Ms. Chelsea! I'm slipping!" As I bounded toward him, I yelled, "I'm coming, Ronak!" and then, all of a sudden, I felt the all too familiar feeling of my ankle rolling over in a hole in the grass. I fell to the ground, just as Ronak lost strength in his fingers and landed with a thud in the dirt.

My rescue attempt had completely failed. Ronak was in the dirt and I could barely walk. "Ronak, are you okay?" I asked, wincing. "Ms. Chelsea, are you okay?" Ronak asked as he brushed the dirt off his rear end. Tej arrived back just in time to find Ronak and I both on the verge of tears. "What happened?!" he asked... Ronak and I just looked at each other as we started back to the car, half laughing and half crying all the way. Tej followed us, completely dumbfounded.

We had had just about enough of the park for one day... and now, I'm laid up with a swollen ankle and a bag of ice. Dang that motherly instinct!

At least my brilliant husband is a brilliant engineer and he was able to lovingly rig this bag clip to hold in place the bags of ice that are perfectly incapsulating my hurt ankle... Thanks, baby. McGuyver's got nothing on you!

Tuesday, April 7

The Feed Store

There are many things that Assistant Equestrian Coaches (coachs? Inserting the "e" continues to disturb me but, otherwise, it's just awkward) are asked to do. Some of them are mundane; spreadsheet data entry, some of them are good for the health; pumping iron with the team in the weight room, some are hard on the heart; having to discipline someone or yell at them... (No, I really do! I know you're thinking that I'm too nice for that but, uh, it turns out that I'm not...) and some of them are absolutely wonderfully exhilarating. Today, I had the distinct pleasure of being sent to the feed store and, I must mention, not just any feed store, an ADORABLE feed store: Master Made Feed on Main Street in Grapevine.

Oh, the sweet, earthy smell of the feed permeating the building, the walls full of brightly colored curry combs, halters and brushes, gorgeous honey colored bridles with fancy sterling silver buckles, buckets of horse treats in all flavors, all kinds and colors of saddles, both western and hunt seat, spurs, crops and cowboy hats. Everything is blanketed in this delicate, delightful layer of fairy dust because the doors to the feed store pretty much stay open all the time and the feed bags themselves tend to puff out this fine powder when they are stacked on top of each other. Oh, how I love the feed store. I enjoy the leathery skin and husky voices of the old cowboys who work there. I love the cowboy hat that you know they only take off to sleep, eat and pray and their friendly way of treating people. I also love the way they don't rush. Everything happens at a slower pace at the feed store. Today, I revelled in that. I didn't hurry. I thought about my Dad telling me about how, as a kid, he would delight in being able to go with Grandat to the feed store on Saturday mornings. I imagine he felt like a prince as he sat on the stacks of feed sacks drinking his Orange Crush and listening to the men talk shop. Today, thinking about that slower pace of life, I took my sweet time and shot the bull with those cowboys as I picked out a cribbing collar, a riding helmet for myself, two bags of Omelene 100, which is this super yummy, sweet, sticky feed that helps the horses gain weight, a bag of rice bran to boost their energy and a bag of apple flavored horse treats because I couldn't resist. I especially enjoyed meeting Jacob. He works 4 hours a day at the feed store and spends the other part of his day working as the horse manager at a ranch near by. If I had to guess, I would say that Jacob is probably 65 years old but still going strong. He, of course, would not let me carry my feed bags to the car so he had one of the young whipper snappers working there take the heavy bags to the car for me. (Confession: I was totally embarassed about pulling up to the feed store in a Maxima and was really really missing Peppermint Patty.) The young guy who carried my feed was wearing Wranglers, a plaid shirt, boots and a ball cap and he looked as though he loved the feed store as much as I do. He called me ma'am and opened my car door. Jacob and I talked for a little while about what alfalfa cubes could do for our horse's energy levels and said that the feed store would be happy to "send some out our way". As we stood there talking by my car, Jacob lit up a cigarette and continued speaking to me with it sticking to the edge of his lip. I kept waiting for it to fall but, miraculously, it stayed perfectly perched and I thought, "years of practice... years. of. practice." I thanked him for taking the time to help me find what I needed, walking me to my car and giving me such great advice on alfalfa cubes. As I was leaving, Jacob said "God bless you, Chelsea." Wow - As I drove away, the sun shining and the feed sacks in the trunk already sending their sweet aroma throughout the car, I thought, "God bless you too, Jacob. God bless America and God bless the feed store."

Friday, April 3

By the grace of God, this is the place I choose to live.
"The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love"
Galations 5:6b

Thursday, April 2

Enough is enough.

Enough is enough.

(Dramatic pause for emphasis.)

I have put off starting my blog for far too long.

Dear blog reader, I have been thinking of you for such a very long time. I've dreamt of you, imagined your frequent and witty comments, written to you over and over in my head... Heck, I even started a list a couple of weeks ago on my IPhone notes app entitled "Future Blog Titles"! And, yet, I have delayed. The illusion that I must wait for the perfect time, the perfect title, the perfect opening lines, the perfect font, color scheme and graphics was a paralyzing force that kept me from deliberately opening and simply signing in!

Marshall Terry, one of my favorite writing professors at SMU, once said, "You are not a writer unless you write."

I want to be a writer. I've believed that I could be good at it... and, yet, I haven't chosen to be disciplined about doing the very thing I want to do! Today, I am beginning the dialogue with you that I've looked forward to for so long. I would like to thank the scores of brilliant bloggers who have challenged me with your faithfulness, your creativity and your charm. I am happy to finally be joining your ranks.

Although it has been a long time a comin', I can now officially say, with a bit of fear and a lot of excitement, that I am a blogger. Thank you for being patient, dear reader. Now, let's talk.