Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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Throwback Thursday: Horses in the Desert

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Hello, friends. Allow me to introduce you to Royal Blaze, my scrappy and rotten Appaloosa filly. Blaze for short.

Mom and Dad surprised me, the lover of all things horses, with a four-month-old filly when we lived in southern Arizona between Huachuca City and Tombstone. Talk about hard to wait! I couldn’t ride her for quite some time. We had friends nearby with horse breaking experience, so they had Blaze for about a month. And poof, she came back and we started riding together. Not to say that we didn’t have moments of extreme excitement when we miscommunicated or she decided to make her own choices, but for the most part, we enjoyed our time together.

In this picture, probably taken between 1976-1977, I am in 8th or 9th grade. We lived, literally, in the middle of nowhere. The closest “town” was Vernon. I think that was a six mile drive, but I’m not positive. Vernon had a gas station/mini mart, post office, and maybe one church. Dad worked in Show Low to the west and we took the a little bus over a pass to the east to Springerville/Eager. Our bus driver lived right in Vernon. The bus stayed at her house. I have no idea what she did during the day while we were at school. But we all lived for snow storms and school announcements calling all Vernon kids to leave early to get over the pass.

You can see the mountain lion tree. That huge scrubby tree to the right. Our collie, Jody (Princess Josephine-hey, we had royal animals in our family), went ballistic one night. The next day, we found the huge paw prints. Mind you, this tree is in our front yard. I am sitting on Blaze IN the front yard. Mom is probably on the steps of the trailer taking this picture, due to the angle. That cat was very close to us, probably scoping out little kid or cat snacks.

You can also see the old car in the background, hood open, dad leaning over the engine. Good thing he was a great mechanic, since we owned cars needing regular attention. I wish I could ask my parents about this picture. I think the car belongs to my grandparents on my dad’s side. They made one trip to visit us out in the sticks. Actually, my grandmother or grandfather probably took the photo.

Now. Back to Blaze. In the White Mountains (named for the snow in winter, since they are obviously NOT white in this picture), we roamed far and wide. I shudder to think of the dangerous situations we avoided. I know God was protecting me at all times.

Our property bordered forest land. That meant plenty of wide open spaces for us to roam. Sometimes Jody went with us, sometimes not. She loved to find dead stuff to roll in, and was happiest when she came trotting home stinking to high heaven. The times she wasn’t allowed to go, I had to sneak into my boots and out the door. This did not always work. She was crushed when I left without her.

Timber Knoll was south of our trailer and Blaze and I explored the land on all sides. Once, a HUGE something was causing a ruckus in the underbrush. Loud. Scary. Both of us were skittish and beat a retreat off the knoll. I’m guessing it was a bear, judging by Blaze’s reaction and size of movement. Other times we avoided rattlesnakes and scary shadows. That horse. What a nut. She loved to spook and if I wasn’t paying attention, off I went. And off she ran to home. Or to the neighbor’s barn, which she deemed nicer than our place. I did spend quite a bit of time walking home and looking for that horse. I eventually learned to reflexively hold the reins if she spooked. That frustrated her but kept me in possession of a ride.

We had grand adventures, just me and the horse. Blaze was willing to tackle pretty  much anything except water and steep hills. I’m sure my mother had a heart attack every time I left. The area was pretty much wilderness with neighbors far and wide. And I’m sure she prayed for me and uttered words of thanks when we (or the horse, followed later by me) trotted up the driveway.

How about you? Did you have any special pets or adventures when you were growing up?


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Welcome, November!

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I love November.

The scary stuff is gone. Pumpkins still hang out. Leaves whirl down and crunch underfoot. Nights and early mornings crisp any remaining plant life to bed. Birds flock and insects tuck in for the winter. November is perfect.

Also, let’s not forget Thanksgiving. When we lived in a house (bigger than the RV), I loved hosting Thanksgiving dinners. The good smells, tastes, and fun made the work all worthwhile. And after dinner, our traditional putting up and decorating a tree and watching a Christmas movie.

Notice I said “a” tree. Since I am a lover of Christmas trees, we usually had at least one in each room. Thanksgiving evening was just the harbinger of festivities in decor and traditional pastimes to follow.

AND November is my birthday. I’ve always had a fondness for my birthday month. So much fun anticipating not just my birthday, but also Thanksgiving with Christmas gaily tromping on its heels.

Apple crisp, pumpkin pie, juicy turkey, stuffed squash, toasty hot drinks. I guess I think and remember with my stomach. The nip in the air gives way to red noses and tingling fingertips. And if it’s to be perfect, the first snow falls. Just enough to whet my whistle.

November is also a time for me to focus on gratitude. Not only Thanksgiving Day, but each day of the month, I like to consider and remember the things for which I am thankful. God has been so good to me and my family. Giving thanks and naming the many blessings is the least I can do to honor Him.

Today, I am thankful for:

God and His provisions, my honey, my family, my veteran (our son), my RV (no matter how tiny), fall in all its glory, pumpkins, food, my health, friends, chocolate, our hunter kitty who keeps the fields free of tasty kitty morsels (mice and voles), warm clothes, music, and trees.

Which is your favorite month? How will you celebrate in November?

Blessings to you and your family.

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RV Living: Day (approximately) 1,125

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Speaking of “Adventures with a Book Lover” (part of the title of this blog), we moved into our RV on August 20, 2016. That was approximately 1,125 days ago. Do I sense a celebration coming on?

Let me tell you. We are still married. We still love each other. We are better at dancing around each other in tight spaces. We wear the same clothes over and over again. We ignore the wardrobes in the shop for the ease of grabbing the same somethings from the tiny cupboards. We cook, shop, store, and recreate differently than when we lived in a stick house. We entertain in unique (and sometimes HOT or COLD settings, due to outside venues) ways. We rotate seats when groups > than the number of available seats visit. And I still haven’t gone through EVERY cupboard and drawer to remove things we have never used. That goal was from summer #1 in the RV.

Due to several circumstances, we are no closer to building a small house than when we settled in this tiny RV space. That’s an entirely different and very long post.

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Was it worth it? You bet. How you ask? I love lists. Here is the short version:

1. Finances. The RV is paid off. DEBT-FREE living.

2. Coziness. We have this in droves. Come on over if you need a cupful.

3. Less stuff to worry about. Though I do have to shop more often, I need to purchase less because of storage. That was an interesting revelation.

4. Moveable. We don’t have to stay in one spot. We do, for the most part. But that will change in a few years. Travel options are unlimited.

5. Tiny living. This is it baby. We have about 228 (or some ridiculously low number like that) square feet, about 60 of them dedicated to the cat. LOL. We have learned that we really do not want a tiny house. We want a small house. About 800-900 square feet. With some breathing room. And a bigger shower. But for an RV, our bathroom is deluxe.

6. Cute RV. Really! Our RV is pretty cute. I’ve learned how much I can decorate without the cat knocking things over or the circuits getting blown.

7. Weather. We know what the weather is. Hot is hot. Cold is cold. The RV, four season though it is, is still a tin box. With excellent insulation, but still. We are so thankful for our super furnace and AC. The addition of the skirting really makes us successful during our northwest winters. We always know what the weather is. It’s a habit of RV life. Check the weather. Feel the weather.

8. Rain. On the roof. I love listening to it fall! The same goes for snow and wind. Weather is an interactive experience.

9. Creativity. Let’s say our creativity is enhanced due to multiple opportunities to solve tiny house living issues. We are building our brain cells!

10. Adventure. We are living the dream. RV living is definitely an adventure. One day (we tell ourselves) we will look back fondly on the funny and not so funny episodes of RV life and miss the adventures.

But until then . . .

It’s time for a celebration! Happy 1,125th day of RV life, Quantrells. Enjoy the ride!

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Throwback Thursday: Cousins

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I found this picture while looking through my baby book, well, what is essentially my baby book from back in the days before instant photos, digital prints, and fancy printed books.

My baby album is one of the huge, sticky-paged tomes filled with blank space for inserting photos. The albums of sticky-is-not-good-for-photos type. Perhaps I should remove the photos and put them in something safer . . .

As the oldest of four, I am thankful that there are photos of me as a child. The more mouths, the less opportunity, time, and energy for mom and dad to click off oodles of pictures of their ever moving and hungry offspring.

If you squint just right, you’ll notice I look a little out of it. Kind of scary! But boy am I rocking that big bow and the golds and browns of the late 60’s.

It’s Christmas, complete with Aunt Helen’s tree trimmed in tinsel and flocking. The photo is cut in half, so I was thinking, “Why is a Christmas picture cut in half? We’re not old enough for bad relationships or family discord.” But after reading half of the back, my brother is listed in the photo, hand-written by Grandma Wheetley. My guess is that she or my mom cut it in half and my brother has his half with his baby photos. Best guess anyway.

Besides my towering appearance (and at barely 5’1″ now, this was nearly the extent of my towering over anyone), my cousin Melissa stands next to me. I wonder if this is when she started loving red clothes? She has some great red pieces I’ve seen her wear as an adult. She doesn’t suck her fingers (that I’ve seen). Instead she is an accomplished pianist, mama, and professional woman. Those jobs probably keep her fingers out of her mouth.

Family and friend, that’s what Melissa is to me. We’ve had each others’ backs for a very long time. Proximity, similar ages, family gatherings, overlapping interests, and time spent together through the thick and thins of life have cemented both our family love and our deep friendship. Blood AND friend.

(Pinterest= One of our favorite relaxing time activities, sitting beside each other in recliners and sending Pinterest ideas back and forth, even though we could easily just tilt our tablets and share. LOL)

So. I love all of my cousins, even if we don’t get together as often. Life is busy, and my calendar is just as crazy as the next person’s. Merry Christmas to my cousins, even if you were cut in half by Grandma and shared elsewhere! Love to you all. Anyone want to Pinterest?

Do you have any special friends or relatives? Of course we know they are ALL special, but what life pieces came together to build that bond? We’d love to hear.

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Said brother, Mark, who may have been cut off in the other half of the photo. I’m about 3 1/2 here. Since it’s May, Mark has probably just turned 2.

 


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Overwhelmed

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Curlers and all, love my mom! 

It’s been a while.

Life is sometimes overwhelming. After Mama died in May, days became chaotic, stressful, and anxiety-filled. Nights were often sleepless, filled with memories of 56 years with Mama or constantly making to-do lists. Grieving took a back seat to facing and surviving each day.

How was I to know that cooking beets would remind me of canning beets with my mom? I was always the beet peeler. Or that walking on the stepping stones she and dad made years ago with our names on top would take me right back to our Wapato home?  Or how my wedding anniversary would bring me to tears because my mama always remembered our big day? She painstakingly made my wedding dress and several bridesmaid dresses. I didn’t realize that, now, every time I drive to the apartment of my grands, I would have to pass the Cottage where she passed away. The memories keep her close to my heart, but that heart is full of aches and pains.

Each day is new to the process. All four of our parents have passed on to Heaven. They are having a great time. But that doesn’t stop me from missing them. We are now the oldest and the NEXT to go (in the natural order of things, not counting for surprises). And we both have the hope and faith that we will see them again when it’s our time to go.

“Any-who.” As my mother-in-law always said. “That’s life.”

But life takes it out of you sometimes.

I’m back. Slowly and steadily, taking one day at a time. Still missing Mama.

Life altering circumstances or situations do, well, alter your life. Have you had any life events that deeply impacted your life? How did you survive and continue on living your life?


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Happy Hump Day Haiku Challenge: mama reversal

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a child, needing mom

for guidance, encouragement,

model to follow.

 

a mother, aging

ill, failing, needing her child,

someone to grasp hands.

 

from birth, you held me,

fed, tended, loved, taught, mothered.

reversing the care.

 

mama reversal by Angie Quantrell

 

For my mama. Missing you! Honored to reverse the care.


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The Year of Peace

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[PEACE. I found this unpublished post from June 2017. It could read the same for any year. There will always be stuff. As you read this, know that we all face struggles. And peace is available.]

This was supposed to be my year of peace. Not like The Year of Sue (In the Middle), but a year where my focus word was going to be PEACE, and I would gracefully float through the year, thinking peace-filled thoughts and letting peace drip off my fingertips.

Nope. To date, this year has been filled with the most anguish, sorrow, betrayal, stress, frustration, and anxiety I’ve ever experienced. Notice that peace is not listed. It has been hiding in the corner. Right where I’ve shoved it.

As per the title of the blog, we’re talking life. Love, sure. Laughter? At myself and the grands. But mostly, life.

Just this morning, while giving thanks for my breakfast, I asked Jesus for peace. His peace. My mind instantly popped to the story in the Bible (Matthew 8:23-27; Luke 8:22-25) of Jesus sleeping on the boat while the storm raged all around, frantic disciples fearing imminent drowning.

What I need is to be like Jesus, sleeping through the storm. Well, peacefully resting in the midst of the storm. That’s what I need to learn this year.

My thoughts switched to the disciples who should have taken their clue from the Master. He was napping, no concerns, things were fine. Ok, if Jesus is fine with this storm, we are fine with it. Sure there’s water coming in, the wind is blowing up some fine waves, rain is coming down in sheets, but if Jesus is good, we’re good.

But no. They forgot the bit about Jesus being in charge of all the stuff. All. The. Stuff. Weather, lakes, boats, drowning included. Me? I would have joined the friends on board. “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus! Wake-up-wake-up-wake-up-wake-up! We’re all gonna die!!!”

Yes. That would be me. Totally forgetting everything I’ve already seen and heard. Living in the drama of the moment.

Instead of who I want to be, I’m just like them. The eyewitnesses who saw every big and little thing Jesus did, more than we can know this side of Heaven, and they still missed the Big Picture until later, after everything was said and done and the Lord ascended to Heaven and the Holy Spirit came to dwell in believers.

I forget. The big and little things Jesus did and does. I even have the entire Bible to read – something many of the disciples contributed to but were not around to see completed.

It’s not circumstances I need to focus on, but Him. I KNOW this. But…

I don’t want a year of this chaos.

Peace. Some of it may be me allowing Him to redirect my thoughts. Some of it is my choice to wallow, see the negative, hang on to the pain with all ten of my fingers and toes. Some is allowing the Holy Spirit to fill me, daily, every minute, each second.

The year of peace – when I allow myself to nap in the boat with Jesus while the storm rages all around. I’m sure I’ll peek around to see what’s going on, glance at the Captain to see if all is well, then snuggle back up for a good rest.

Peace.

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Three-Horse Alarm

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Happy New Year!

Like everyone else I’ve read or spoken with, I can’t believe how fast 2018 disappeared. I’m not sure which is correct: the older you get the faster time goes, or the older you get the slower time goes. Some days both are true. Or perhaps these sayings are talking about memory. Definitely true.

Welcome to 2019!

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For fun, I’d like to introduce you to our three-horse alarm, formerly posted about in this blog as The Three Chocolates.

The three chocolates (white, milk, and dark) live in the pasture next door. I only know 2 actual names, so the chocolates they remain. They are very good watch horses. Excellent in fact.

Not too long ago, I noticed all three stationed facing east (looking our way), heads up, tails up, ears forward, alert and ready to flee (or attack). That’s my alarm going off! Time to see what’s going on.

That time, an entire herd of goats was free from pasture and roaming just above the horses and our pasture. Not causing trouble, other than the possibility of traffic issues if they persisted in grazing west. I called to let authorities know. I knew exactly when help arrived due to the alarm horses. I could follow the drama by peeking out the window to see what the horses were doing.

Other days, with just one glance, I can tell from which direction trouble comes, be it dogs, people, noisy trucks, goats, other horses, yelling children . . .. It’s a pretty fascinating way to spend time, observing my alarm horses. They are used to us, and now we are in the category of boring. Unless we have snacks. But should a new person approach, beware the attention.

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Yesterday, two girls had dogs on leashes on the west side of the pasture fence. Oh, the alarm was a three-horse blare! Running, snorting, kicking up heels, and from the white chocolate, preparation to attack. We thought we might witness an injury accident as the girls were oblivious to the danger facing their dogs.

Fortunately, adults intervened and disaster was averted.

What an alarm system! I feel pretty secure knowing three sharp-eared, eagle-eyed equines stand guard in our little community. Combine the three-horse alarm with the five-dog contingent to the east and our hunting cat Monet who is ever alert, and there is not much that can sneak up on us.

Hope your New Year is as entertaining as life in the pasture.

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Holiday Haiku – 25 Days of Christmas Haiku: love

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Christmas season, love

comes in many forms, marriage

but one; friendship too

 

love

by Angie Quantrell

 

 

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Join me on a Christmas Haiku journey as I celebrate with words, thoughts, and photos that take me deep into my family’s Christmas traditions. Read more Christmas Haiku posts here.

May this Season of Light brighten your life and fill your heart with love.


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Happy Hump Day Haiku Challenge: oil change

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My car in a place I’d rather be than sitting waiting for an oil change 

waiting, oil change task;

quick time promise dashed to bits

time unproductive

 

by Angie Quantrell

 

I ALWAYS have something on hand to do if I have extra wait time. Except for today. When, through a fluke of the nature of the beast (cars and things that can go wrong), I ended up with over an hour of wait time. This business requires customers to stay inside car. Keys are placed in a safety box. No radio. No book on CD. No steno pad. No newspaper or magazine.

What? How can that be true? Alas, I was sure it was a 20 minute stop and I’d be back home writing away.

After one hour 10 minutes, I was still waiting for a replacement plug. My honey came and got me and dropped me off for a quick lunch. I wrote tiny notes on my pocket-sized pad of paper as I (again) waited for food. I took off with his truck to get home while he waited for the car. Probably 2.5 hours? That was one LONG oil change. If they rate efficiency, my visit tanked their numbers.

But rest assured, they say I am good to go. No leaking oil, no stripped plug, no engine burning up. At least for now.

How about you? What do you do with unexpected wait time? I’d love to read your comments. Bonus points for writing a response in haiku!