2017, Here I come

Well, this is definitely an annual tradition of mine.  I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, but I what I do is make goals for each new year.  In June I check back to see how well I’m doing with realizing those goals, and at the end of the year, I’ll recap and see what happened and what I accomplished.

It’s interesting for me to look back at the last several years’ worth of posts and see how my goals have changed and what I did or did not accomplish.  Most of my goals have been horse-related, but in 2016, everything shifted when I realized I was finally free to pursue some other goals that I had not been able to pursue since 2004.  They were goals I gave up on, hopes I lost, dreams I realized were not meant to be fulfilled.  I let those things all collapse; I stopped trying to hold on to them, and I let God take the lead in my life.

seek

And suddenly, dreams were being fulfilled that I had only ever given a fleeting glimmer hope to.  Life changed for me dramatically in 2016 – spiritually, physically, emotionally.

So, that means for 2017, my goals are once again re-shaped.  I’ve figured out I really can live and do the things I want, and make the most of every day.  So, here are some of my goals for 2017:

*Be happy (I think this is reasonable, right?)
*Live every day to the fullest (OK, I did this in 2016, so I am well practiced, right?)
*Lose 30 more pounds (hey, I lost almost 70 in 2016…)
*Stay Healthy  (this is a given, right?  5 years cancer free down and done.  I’m ready for 5 more…)
*Enjoy every minute I possibly can with the most amazing new man that has blesses my life  (yes please)
*Photograph Eagles (that’s the bird, not the football team…and it involves a long trip to find them)
*Photograph at the Everglades ( yep… this.  This is happening in 2017).
*Complete my newest costume (already started in Sept 2016 – ETA to finish, end of Jan 2017)
*Put together 1-2 more costumes for 2017 for myself
*Build 1-2 costumes for my boyfriend
*Suit up at C2E2 2017
*Suit up Wizard World Chicago 2017
*Attend Dragon*Con 2017  (already on the docket! Ticket bought, hotel room paid!)
*Attend New York Comic Con 2017 (hmmm… maybe!??!)
*Go to Seattle with my most wonderful man!

Very different goals for 2017 – no horse related goals at all.  I think it’s safe to say, I have hit a point in my life where I am just simply happy to have the horses, blessed to know them, and lucky I can afford them 🙂 .

Of course, I should list win the lottery as a goal -LOL!!!

But I no longer have goals of owning a farm, or pursuing showing, or even going to the National Drive.  I just want to enjoy the horses, watch them continue to be happy, and hopefully support Chewbacca as long as I can, or at the very least make the best decisions for him as I need to when the time comes.

2016 has taught me so much, and I thank God for every single day I’ve been given.  The hard lessons learned are a blessing, and without them, the good and beautiful and wonderful things in my life would not be so appreciated.  I put my faith in God that He will direct 2017 for me exactly as it should.

I wish you the best for next year, and may you find your joy!

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It’s Nearly The End!

WOW!  It is so hard to believe that in just over 2 weeks, 2016 is going to come to an end.  Holy COW!
What a YEAR!!!!
WHAT AN AMAZING YEAR!!!!!!

There is so much I accomplished this year, it’s almost too much to recap, but of course, I will!

I rang in January with starting the build of my all new Predator costume – this coming after I purchased ticket & made hotel arrangements for my beloved Dragon*Con in September.  After 12 years of being unable to go, I was super hyped up to go once again!  In the process of starting my suit, I realized I had a major need to lose weight, so by the end of January, I was beginning into that journey.

On February 26, I finalized my divorce!  Yay me!  I also had lost so much weight by the end of the month, that many of my clothes were getting loose.

March brought more weeks of working on my Predator suit, and by the beginning of April, it was done, and I attended my first comic convention in 10 years!  I had lost around 20 pounds by the end of March, and was happy with how I looked, but I was determined to reach a major goal-weight by Dragon*Con.  I was walking 3 miles a day, and pushing to get to 652 miles walked by the time D*C arrived.

May, June and July all brought me to more conventions around the Midwest, in Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin.  I also took Luke out for some drives, although I did sort of back down considerably on the horse-work in pursuit of other goals. I  also started learning to sculpt, mold, and cast, in addition to learning airbrushing.  I continued losing weight and exercising and by July two major things happened — I had to purchase a completely new wardrobe because I had lost 50 pounds in 5 months, and I had my first experience with vertigo which put me in the E.R and brought my exercising to a screeching halt as I tried to get better before Dragon*Con.

August included 2 major conventions – Wizard World Chicago 2016 (the last convention I ever did was Wizard World Chicago 2006 – amazing!) and then of course, Dragon*Con.  OK, technically that’s September, but I left for it in August and included an additional 4 days just to travel throughout the country to see places I had not been to in 12 or more years.  I finally felt the vertigo alleviate about 2 weeks before Wizard World, and I took no chances through the rest of the month.  I held off on exercising because I needed to be able to do the road trip driving to Dragon*Con, and wanted to be healthy for D*C.  My weight loss had slowed down, and I did not reach my goal weight by D*C, nor did I hit my 650 mile goal due to taking nearly 6 full weeks off from exercising.  However – I had lost 56 pounds by the time I got to Dragon*Con, so I can’t honestly complain.  I had also gotten to 590 miles, so I was not terribly short.

I visited the Kentucky Horse Park, a good friend in Kentucky, and drove through 8 states, touring various parks and seeing the sights — finally a road trip the way I wanted!  It was amazing!!!  Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Missouri were all on my list of places to go, and in the end, I was gone for 9 days and 2250 miles.  What an amazing Journey!  I visited everything from the Shawnee National Forest to the Titanic Museum in Branson, MO – with beautiful weather every day and the sunroof open.  It was perfect.

That little tour of the U.S. was of course surrounding my return to my beloved Dragon*Con -the biggest and best science fiction/ fantasy/costuming convention in the U.S.  September could not have started out any better!

In October, I attended my last convention of 2016, also in Michigan, which means including MI and WI, I actually visited a total of 10 states this year alone.  Only 40 more to go!  LOL!  (goals….)  I worried over Chewbacca as I watched his legs get a little worse and his weight drop, but after a few months of struggling to manage him, things slowly began to look better.

As I came into November, Chewie started to put on more weight, which made me happy.  I took Luke to the annual corn maze and had a great time!  I also celebrated FIVE YEARS CANCER FREE as of “cyber Monday” -now that’s something to be thankful for…and yet, that was not the end of what I had to be thankful for surrounding that particular Thanksgiving… because  something incredible happened.  I took a chance, and stepped out of my comfort zone.  (Well, that was something I had done all year, really wasn’t it?)  And it paid off.  Big time.

This entire year, I made so many changes – mentally, spiritually, physically.  So, here it is the middle of December, I have lost over 70 pounds in about 10 1/2 months’ time, I have dropped 12 sizes of jeans, and 4 “letter” sizes of shirts.  I’m back down to (almost) what I weighed the last time I attended Dragon*Con in 2004 – still have 15 pounds to go to get there, but it’s a goal I will realize in 2017, and I’d like to lose 30 more if I can.

I have made an incredible amount of new friends brought together by the mutual love of costuming, and I’ve put myself – my flaws – and my unusual personality – all out there for the world to see.  I struggled with severe depression, anxiety, and PTSD, and I made great strides in battling all of those things and finding myself once again.  And once I did – once I decided I was finally ready for something more – I did something I had spent the better part of the year convincing myself I could not do – and did not deserve.  I met someone.

I met a man who just came into my life out of the blue like a gift from God, and he is the living, breathing, walking, talking incarnation of every dream I ever had of what a man should be.  This most incredible person is a new, blazing beautiful, shining light in my life, and as November came to a close

Now, I end the year and look forward to spending a very special first (of many, I do hope) Christmas with someone incredibly amazing, I can sit back, reflect on this year’s many accomplishments and count every one of my blessings, starting with him!

Chewbacca is holding out, doing OK, though his weight is still not where I would personally like it to be, he is much better.  His legs are having more bad days than good, and remaining quite swollen, so I am wary and watchful, trying to do what I can and see what happens.  Regardless of what happens, I am blessed to have him in my life.  I got him 6 years ago, and he’s been nothing but the perfect horse since; equally as perfect as Luke, and between them and Dixie, I am lucky to have them.  And of course, Jesse who is “mine in spirit”, and has been an amazing horse for also the last 6 years for me.  I look forward to doing a little toboggan riding with Luke and Jesse when it isn’t bitterly cold outside.

We have an incredible 2017 planned, with many goals.  Some may prove more do-able than others, of course (I didn’t even get all my 2016 goals accomplished, despite as much as I actually did).  But that’s just the nature of things.  Unless that winning lottery ticket finds its way into my hands – lol!!!

I can honestly say that I’ve tackled 2016 like I have never done anything before, and God works in wonderful ways!  Who would have thought that Predator could be such a blessing in my life – spurring me to be creative, outgoing, and giving me joy and happiness enough that I could be confident enough to put myself out there, which in the end brought about meeting the most amazing man I never thought existed.

2016 has been an amazing year, and I look so forward to 2017.  Whatever it is going to bring – good, amazing, or rather shitty..- I am ready for you.  17 days to go and counting!

 

 

 

 

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Playing The Numbers

No, not the lottery numbers.  (Although, I do try to play that sometimes.)  I’ll explain in a minute.

But first, a moment of happiness, or a sigh of relief….

The top picture was taken around 11/2, and the bottom photo was taken just the other day 11/13, just barely 2 weeks later.

nov-2016

chewie-nov-2016

Happily, massive difference between what was looking like a starving horse through most of September and October, to one that is pleasingly fattening up in a matter of weeks.  Chewbacca has lost weight on me before one or twice, and my usual “bumped up” program has always helped him put it back on within 1-2 months.  For whatever reason, I spent over 3 months struggling with him this time around, and my increased diet regime just was not working, and I was getting worried.

Then, just randomly, it suddenly starts working again and he throws on a good 50 or 70 pounds in 2 weeks.  I don’t even know how that’s possible, but there is the evidence.  2 photos 2 weeks apart, and drastically different results on the same diet.

So that’s awesome.  Playing the numbers on the horse-scale, lol!  I am relieved that Chewie is packing on the weight now.  Winter will be upon us, and I will never let him look like a skin and bones rescue case.  If I can’t manage his weight, I will not let him degrade.  I owe him at least that much.  It looks like I’ve avoided major decisions for the immediate future.  I’m going to start him up on some alfalfa cubes too, and see if I can get him to eat them, and hope it helps bump his weight up.  I’ll have to keep Luke away from those, he definitely does not need that kind of extra weight.

So, those aren’t the only numbers I was talking about.

Here’s the thing- I’ve learned so much about many things in the last year, especially about God and how He works.  I’ve learned how much He has helped me in my life, and I’ve realized that nothing comes up as chance, or coincidence.  It’s impossible.  As I look at my life, I realize everything I’ve done and experienced has happened on a specific path, for specific reasons.

I won’t get too much into my mostly crazy beliefs, but suffice it to say, I do believe there are signs that God uses to guide and direct, if you’re not too blind to see them.  I admit – 102% of the time, I am.  LOL!  Maybe that’s why I’ve gotten off on such the wrong track in most of my life.

I believe I have pursued things that defied God and went against what He wanted for me, or where He was directing me.  I believe He put certain things into my life from an early age to help guide me, and when I’ve turned away from where I was supposed to go, it’s done nothing but cause pain.  The good things in my life that have always helped and guided me, have never caused pain – only brought joy.

But, God works all things for your good – even the bad things.  I have had a lot of bad things that have been twisted up by God’s power to work for good, and lead to good ends.  I try to have faith that I am following the right path, and some of the numbers line up – literally – to help me think I am.

For example, my street address of my lovely apartment that I am quite at home and happy in (and have lived there for a year now) is the same address as my work.  The numbers are the same.  How crazy is that?  I joke that maybe the perfect man for me might have the a birthdate that falls on the same month & date to match those numbers.

As I move forward with my life, trying to figure out how to make the most of it, I have also composed a list of points I do and do not want in a future man.  I’m not going to get into the details of that list, but suffice to say, for the most part, I consider it so above-the-level that it will likely never be met.  Because not only do all the points need to be unwaveringly met, there also needs to be a mutual attraction and desire to evolve into a relationship.

Sadly, I think that the latter part of that requirement is actually beyond the scope of reality, so I spend a whole lot of time sheltered in fantasy, and as a result, chase or intimidate away most people.

The funny thing is, there is one guy out there that I know that actually meets all of the criteria of my have and have not list.  All of them.  But, unfortunately, he falls into the latter part of the above sentiment and has no interest in me.  It’s a bummer.  And no, his birthday doesn’t match my numbers, but it comes close.  Damned close.

Who knows, maybe if I keep my eyes open, I will actually hit that lucky number.  I am at least, giving it my best shot, but I’m also being me.  Because that cannot change.  I am exactly as God made me.

romans828

 

 

 

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Corn Maze 2016

Sometimes I apparently go for a month without making a post, and then now, here are two in a couple days.  I actually forgot to post this earlier.

Prior to my 1 year celebration of freedom, I went out to the annual corn maze drive.  I’ve gone 3 years straight, and drove a different horse each time!  I took Chewbacca the first time, Jesse last year, and Luke this year!  LOL!  I did not plan that.  Just how it worked out.  So while Chewie and Jesse have experienced the corn maze once, Luke has done it three times.

corn-maze-2016

Luke drew in a lot of compliments for his behavior and looks and it is hard to believe that sometime in 2017 (don’t know when he was born), he will turn 20 (ish).  TWENTY!

All of my horses are getting up there in age, but Luke was called my “go-to horse” at the corn maze.  Really, I never thought of that.  Technically, I’ve owned him the longest (Jan. 2017 will make 10 years), and he’s certainly got the most miles on him, but Chewbacca and Jesse are also my ‘go-to’ horses.

Each one of the three is trained the same, broke the same, experienced the same.  While Luke has more miles on him, the other two still have hundreds of miles and have hauled everywhere and been put into every kind of situation I can come up with to put them in.  I would not hesitate to hitch up any of them and take them where I want.

The only reason Jesse didn’t go to the corn maze this year, besides the fact that I can only haul & drive one horse at a time, is that his cart got a flat tire and I need to fix it.

Obviously Chewbacca is retired due to lameness and is, sadly, falling apart on me.   At only 17 years old, I am torn over making an extremely difficult (and permanent) decision when it comes to his well being.  He has been losing a dramatic amount of weight since August, and his lameness sometimes gets the better of him.  I see him dragging his toes more and more often, watching his bad leg collapse out from under him once in a while, and it also stocks up.

nov-2016

This is a recent photo of him, just earlier in November.  He looks “ok” I think because his hair is all frizzed out for winter. He is worriedly thin, and my maintenance and support and supplements are no longer helping him through this.  His left hind leg, in this photo, though perhaps hard to tell, is also badly stocked up.  It goes up, and it goes down.  Sometimes he’s too lame to even walk from one end of the paddock to the other, sometimes he is so jazzed up he speeds around like a 2 year old, kicking up his heels.  It’s very give and take right now, but I am worried and alarmed.

In addition, I see him carry himself differently now, and between his altered gait and loss of muscle tone and weight, he just looks terrible and I am highly concerned.  He has dropped weight twice on me in the past, but never to this degree and he has always bounced back within 2 months.  I’ve been trying for 3 months now, and I am going to see what happens at the end of November.

Just a few days ago, while letting them run loose on the farm (something I do with them from time to time so they can eat grass in the front yard – don’t worry, it’s all fenced, and they know the routine), I called them back down to the barn. I’ve been working on getting them to come when called from progressively farther distances.  Now, I can be clear across the farm and call them and they will come.  So nice!  Such good boys 🙂

Anyway, Luke came running and Chewbacca simply could not keep up.  He tried trotting and sort of switched into a tr-canter and slipped when his leg couldn’t do the job.  I noticed him get visibly frustrated at that.  I know his nuances and in a flicker of a moment, he was noticeably frustrated that he could not get to me in pace with Luke.

I hate to say that Chewbacca is just falling apart on me, but he is.  I hate to see this happening to a young horse (I consider 17 young…), but his legs are slowly getting worse.

And while Chewbacca is only 17, and Luke is 19 – he isn’t even my oldest!  Dixie, who was foaled in June, is currently 21!!!  In 2017, she will be 22!!!  Holy cow!  Twenty – two!  Little ragamuffin (Dixie is the grullo, Jesse is the black) hasn’t done anything in a few years.  She just hangs out.  She’s a good girl, and definitely the Queen of the Barn, no doubt.

oct-2016

Jesse is somewhere between 14-16.  We’re not really sure.  He does have papers, but they were lost.  But we think, he was born in 2001 or 2002.

Each and every one of them has been there done that, with the exception of Dixie.  She hasn’t done much, and I wouldn’t trust her off the farm.  She’s been a great driving pony for kids who aren’t terribly demanding, but her trail & road etiquette is horrific, and she simply isn’t worth the fight or the risks to life and limb.  So, she gets to hang out, and despite being grullo in color, she is turning gray with age!

I have been very blessed to keep these horses in my life, and it has not always been easy to maintain them, or afford them.  (I don’t own Jesse…).  But I have been very very lucky to have such wonderful horses to work with and I owe them all the best I can provide.

They are all my go-to horses.

 

 

 

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One Year Later.

One year ago today, I finally broke the chains.  I ended the abuse I was enduring.  I got free.

One year ago today I snapped. I  was done with 12 years of mental cruelty and slow torture that prison inmates aren’t even subjected to that put me into a suicidal mental state.  And this – was called love.  It was my responsibility as a good human being to be a good wife and endure the abuse in the name of love.  It was my fault if I got hurt, if my flame got snuffed out.  I needed to be stronger.  I needed to “grow a spine”, as he used to say.

I did.

I was often told – multiple times a week – that I wouldn’t know what to do without him.

He was right.

I didn’t know what to spend my money on for myself first.
I didn’t know what road trip I’ve always wanted to go on first.
I didn’t know I could make so many new friends.
I didn’t know I could have so many wonderful adventures.
I didn’t know which sofa to pick for my new apartment.
I didn’t know which photos of him to burn first.
I didn’t know I could ever be happy again.
I didn’t know I could actually be around people who didn’t hurt and abuse me.
I didn’t know what project to start working on first.
I didn’t know what a great life I could build.
I didn’t know I could be so creative.
I didn’t know I could be so strong.

Thanks for the learning lessons.  One year later – I am in a whole different place than I was back then.  I know 2016 isn’t quite over yet, but here’s to hoping 2017 will be an even better year.  It’s gotta only go up from here, right?

 

 

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Changes on the Horizon….

2016 has been a wild year!

jesse-feb-2016

I know, I know.. it’s not over yet, but my events have ended for the year, which means I am now focusing on moving into 2017 with a whole new perspective.

I’ve gone through many changes in 2016.  My life on the whole has changed dramatically.  In 2015, it ended in utter turmoil.  For about a month, I was homeless. Sleeping on a friends’ sofa, and staying in a hotel.  I had broken mentally and emotionally in every way imaginable, and only maintained a spiritual prayer that it would all be “OK” on God’s pure Grace.

I was afraid of all these terrible things, that in the end, really never ended up happening.  It wasn’t so bad, and support came through for me in ways I never imagined or expected.  As I move forward looking on to 2017, some of the things I once feared happening are on the brink of taking place, and I believe I can handle them.  I’ve found my strength and focus, and while half the time I still have no idea whether I’m coming or going, I am at least beginning to make peace with that fact, and I leave it all in God’s hands.

luke-apri-2016

Que serra….   What a road it has been.

Not too long after 2016 started, I finalized my divorce.  12 years of hell and abuse ended on paper, but the mental and emotional damage would be long lasting.  Along the journey of 2016, I discovered entirely new aspects to who I am – found loves I never knew I had, renewed old passions I thought were gone forever, explored creativity I did not think I could possess.

I’ve made new friends, and I’ve walked off 70 pounds, with about 800 miles clocked so far – and amazingly, my feet are still holding strong!  Hahaha!  I’ve driven on a 2750 mile road trip and saw 9 states along the way! Most of all, I’ve been back to Dragon*Con – something I definitely thought was long gone from my life.

dragoncon-2016-friday-night-costume-con

I took Luke out to a show and had a blast, and next week we are going to drive through the Star-Trek themed corn maze!

luke-sept-2016

Tomorrow, I celebrate 8 months since that little pink slip on my marriage was stamped.  In a few days more, I celebrate 1 year since I got myself free and changed my life in massive ways.  In a couple weeks, I celebrate 5 full years of being cancer free (Thanksgiving Monday, 2011!).

There are many changes I’ve been through in 2016, and it still isn’t done.  There are more changes on the horizon.  Not all of them are easy changes, but so far, nothing has truly been easy, I’ve just gotten through on God’s good humor.  I strive to do the best I can, and make the right choices.  They are not all easy choices, but I make them with the best of intentions.

geekdcon2016

I ended this year’s convention “season” with 2 Best in show awards.  One was Best in show out of about 60 entries, and the other was a Best in Show 3rd place award out of 200 entries.  Pretty cool!

mccc

I got to hang out with awesome friends, and feel so privileged to be part of a very special group of incredible people.

grcc-2016

I am working on a new costume for 2017, which I hope will be well received.  It should be a lot of fun anyway!  I’m also working on a few new projects for over the winter, and I hope to have some new kinds of artwork available in the early part of 2017 as I get into sculpting, molding, casting, and painting more and more.  I’ve done quite a bit of sculpting & casting and learning my way through mold making.

I’m excited about some of the changes coming, while I am saddened over other changes, but I am learning to make peace with myself, past, present, and future, and I can only hope that as 2016 closes and 2017 begins, I will continue on this journey and find my way.  I am in a totally different place as of today than I was this day one year ago, and I can only hope as I move forward, I start to think less and less about the past and more and more about the road to come – however bumpy it may be.  I am ready.  Hear me roar.

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The Creatures of my Trip

I also brought along my bug lens and my bird lens with me while I was on my trip!  I was glad I brought the bug lens, because I really did not find too many birds, but got some shots of interesting and cool bugs!  I found a few spiders, too, and got my first ever close up shot of a jumping spider’s eyes.  I’ve been wanting to get a shot like that for a long time, but I never can find jumping spiders!!

If you have ever seen a jumping spider, they are extremely small- about the size of the tip of your index finger.  I was so thrilled to get one close up and get his eyes!  So cute!!!

Enjoy!

beetlebutterflybutterfly2caterpillar

hawkmothmothmoth2saddlebackspider1spider2spider3waspwolf-spider

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