2017 in the Rear View Mirror

Happy New Year!

What a fabulous year Willy had! Here’s to a new year with more incredible adventures ahead! With the new year comes new opportunities. Make them count! That is Willy and my resolution, to make our moments, our days, every adventure count by cherishing our loved ones and “taking it all in.” We want to let those moments capture our hearts, take our breath away, and truly live and be present in each moment we have with those we love. With the New Year, Willy and I have decided to try something new. We are going to change the frequency of this blog to twice a month instead of every week; at least through the winter.

Now sit back and scroll through Willy’s 2017 memories. Willy and I picked out some of our favorite photos to share with you. Enjoy!

 

 

Christmas Time is Here

It’s the most Wonderful time of the year!

Willy LOVES Christmas, and well, so do I. So many things make it the most wonderful time of the year – the music, the lights, the decorations, the tree, the joy of giving, the food and time spent with family and friends. Mostly though, it is reflecting on and celebrating the fact that the God who created the universe stepped out of heaven, born as a baby in a lowly manger, to redeem us. Mind blowing how anyone could love me THAT much! It is our family tradition to read Luke 2:1-20 from the Bible every Christmas morning. Do you have any favorite traditions?

Deck the halls! Willy really got into the Christmas spirit this year! He wanted to help decorate. I think he decorated himself more than he did anything else!

Willy even played Santa’s helper and filled a stocking.

Typical Willy style, he has to approach the holiday with finesse! He loves to dress up, even if it is just a silly, glittery Santa hat.

Willy helped me with the gifts as well. He even got a gift for someone special. He told me it was a box full of kisses. I wonder who it is for?

Willy’s gift to all of you is a prayer for a healthy, happy, Christmas spent with those you love. Make memories! Cherish those you love! Make new friends! But above all else, remember the reason for the season.

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” – Luke 2:11

 

 

Willy – the Jedi Knight

Willy may be shorter than Yoda but he ROCKS the Jedi robe!

Willy likes to pretend. He has quite the imagination too!  Though he be little; he be a skilled Jedi Knight – in his dreams anyway. He is ready to defeat the forces of the dark side.

When Rusty heard the Willy wanted to “play” Star Wars, he was all for it! Of course, Rusty HAD to be Chewbacca. After all, Chewy is his favorite character. Rusty rocks his costume too!

Sadie usually doesn’t join in Willy’s wild imaginative games, but this time she really wanted to play along. Who else would Sadie be but Princess Leia! I mean she already thinks she should be royalty. Isn’t she beautiful?

In Willy’s version of Star Wars, Willy the Jedi wins over the heart of Princess Leia, not Hans Solo. A guy can dream, right?!

Chewy and Willy joined forces to help the Alliance defeat the Empire’s evil plot to take over the universe. They look pretty heroic, don’t they?

Willy has the BEST friends a dog could ever have! These three have literally grown up together. Rusty and Sadie both have birthdays this week, they turn 2. Willy thought this was an awesome way to celebrate his two best friends’ birthdays. I think he was right!

Until next time, May the Force be with you!

 

 

Duck Hunter Willy

Fall means hunting season!

We are a ranching family, and a hunting family. We stand for the 2nd Amendment and our right to bear arms. We believe in our God given right to hunt for our food.

Willy wanted to go hunting, but we didn’t hunt this year. We were not in need of meat with a freezer full of beef. (Although, I do wish the guys would have gotten some quail this year!) I didn’t want to let my buddy down, so I let him pretend he went duck hunting.

We actually don’t duck hunt. We are big game hunters and prefer to hunt deer or elk; the type of game that fills a freezer for the winter. But, that was a challenge for the photo shoot so, in honor of the Robertson family from Duck Dynasty, Willy became a duck hunter.

As we approach Thanksgiving, I think of those Pilgrims who settled this great land and the Natives who lived here before that. They respected the wildlife and took only what they needed to eat. That tradition has carried down in families like ours through generation upon generation. We respect the wildlife and as ranchers we take great care to manage the land so that our cattle as well as the wildlife who inhabit it have plenty of feed and water.

Until next time, be sure to thank a farmer or rancher. You have no idea how important we are to this great country.

Aspen Creek Trail

“To walk in nature is to witness a thousand miracles.” – Mary Davis

To be in nature is therapy for my weary soul. To hear the breeze blowing through the pines is peaceful and soothing. Willy and I needed this hike – we needed this time in God’s creation to rejuvenate.

We did meet one couple along the trail – Willy never meets a stranger, he loves everyone. But, the rest of the hike was just us and nature. We never did figure out why it is called Aspen Creek – there aren’t any Aspen trees.

We were not alone in the forest, we were surrounded by animal life, we even saw some deer! They were too fast to get a photo, unfortunately. Willy could not understand why I wouldn’t let him chase them.

Willy had a blast exploring along the trail. He tried to get the squirrels to come out of the trees to play, but they opted to stay up at a safe distance.

The golds and reds of the oak leaves were a glorious splash of color against the pines. Willy loved rolling in the leaves and running through them to hear the crunch beneath his paws.

Sometimes we just have to be reminded to slow down. Willy helps me remember that. Without him, I would just keep hiking – pushing myself. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if you don’t stop and take breaks, you miss the beauty.

Until next time, be sure to slow it down every once in awhile. Don’t miss the beauty.

Willy in Black & White

Photo Shoot at the Ranch – Willy in Black & White.

Willy and I decided to show you the ranch headquarters through various filters of black and white photos. Somehow even the most common places became extraordinary.

In front of our cattle pens there are several antique plows. Their rustic, vintage appeal was truly showcased with this nostalgic filter.

Even hanging out on the hay trailer or in the hay barn makes great photos when you use a vintage filter.

This old piece of wooden gate, now just a memory of days gone by made a great backdrop for this photo. I guess you can tell it was a hot day when we did this photo shoot.

I saved Willy’s favorites for last. Willy LOVES watching the cattle. They fascinate him. I love the way this filter brings out the red in Willy’s coat contrasted against the yellow- gray of the grass. Willy is sporting his Fearless Pet Dual-Max collar, a safe, comfortable alternative to other anti-pull training collars.

Willy loves to stand up on the hill above ranch headquarters and look down at the corrals and barn. This my friends, is where Willy lives. Our house is just beyond the barn under the Cottonwood trees.

Willy enjoyed showing you around his stomping grounds and I enjoyed showing you in black and white. I hope you enjoyed it as well.

 

Happy Halloween

Willy is ready to go Trick or Treating.

From the pint sized Jack-o-lantern to the Willy sized costume, This pup is ready to rock this Halloween. Willy loved dressing up as Bob the Minion. Somehow he felt taller.

I love this costume! He actually looks ROUND, just like the minions! Of course, we had to add a little seasonal decor for the photos. This raven, well, this is as scary and as creepy as it gets in our household. We don’t do scary – we do fun!

And of course, what’s a raven without a scarecrow?

Willy wishes all his friends a safe and fun-filled Halloween. HAPPY HARVEST to everyone!

Randomly Willy

Sometimes you just have to be random

Willy and I decided that we needed to just go walking and let the path take us wherever it led, taking random photos of places we thought were interesting along the way. This is what we found. A historic Ford pickup was an AWESOME photo. I even played with some filters.

We found an intriguing tree that Willy especially enjoyed posing in. It was like a picture frame and Willy was the portrait within!

Now, Willy is a happy dog 99% of the time and his tongue hanging out is just an expression of his happiness oozing out. I swear, he has the longest tongue ever!

Willy is at his happiest whenever he is with me. He and I are a team. We love to go out and explore together. It feels amazing to be out in the fresh air, out in the country, enjoying God’s magnificent creation.

Until next time, dare to explore new places, beyond the boundaries of your everyday routine.

Call Me Big Red

Have you ever watched a movie and wanted to be one of the characters?

I remember as a child watching movies and then pretending that I was whichever character or animal inspired me from that particular flick. Willy watched the Disney movie, Secretariat, and got inspired. He thinks he looks like him, what do you think?

Well, because Willy knows just how to sweet talk me into things, I ordered him this fun little costume so that he could act out his imagination. He was so proud of it.

He was even excited that the jockey wore checkered silks. No, they are not quite the same color of blue as Ron Turcotte wore, but Willy was still thrilled.

Willy was the famous Secretariat for the day. He preferred to be called Big Red.

I even recorded a couple of videos so that Willy could show you how great he looked racing across the yard, carrying his trusty jockey safely on his back.

OFF TO THE RACES!

“Do you give the horse its strength or clothe its neck with a flowing mane? Do you make it leap like a locust, striking terror with its proud snorting? It paws fiercely, rejoicing in its strength, and charges into the fray. It laughs at fear, afraid of nothing; it does not shy away from the sword. The quiver rattles against its side, along with the flashing spear and lance. In frenzied excitement it eats up the ground; it cannot stand still when the trumpet sounds. At the blast of the trumpet it snorts, ‘Aha!’ It catches the scent of battle from afar, the shout of commanders and the battle cry.” Job 39: 19-25

AND HE’S OFF!

Goodbye Summer … Hello Fall

Seasons come and seasons go.

The temperatures are cooling off here in Central Arizona; Fall is in the air. Summer is over; another chapter is closed. We had a great summer with so many wonderful adventures and memories. We enjoyed sharing them with you.

We went on several different hikes together and discovered some beautiful places to explore locally.

We also went on some trips away from home and visited some gorgeous places along the way. I hope you enjoyed following our summer adventures as much as we enjoyed sharing them with you. Now … bring on the new season … Hello Fall!