Every day in our life's journey holds its own special treasures, if we have eyes to see...

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Journey and Honor

This morning I'm sitting on my porch swing before the heat descends. A cacophony of bird sounds permeates the air--roosters crow, hens cluck and call, barn swallows warble and a mockingbird trills out all sorts of songs. There is a breeze--soft, rain-scented, and all the flowers curtsy and bow as it passes by. Such a perfect place for musing, and what I'm thinking about this morning is the name of this blog: Journey with Honor. Those who did not follow from the first few postings will not know that this is a multi-purpose, or rather a multi-layered name.

I began it here and here, as I embarked upon a journey with my Arab-quarterhorse gelding, Honor. At the same time, the lessons I was learning in the natural realm lent themselves to other aspects of life and relationships as well. And just to add to the wordplay or confuse the issue, we also have a horse named Journey. So "JourneywithHonor" is about our horses, Journey and Honor, it's about my journey with Honor, and it's about living life's journey with honor.

Why ponder this at this time? Because two of the original three purposes for this blog are changing.  Journey goes to a new home at the end of August. In my last post, I referred to a friend who has begun her own horse journey. What I didn't mention is that her adventure is made possible by her own courage to pursue her dream, and by our Morgan-cross mare, Journey, the embodiment of the dream. As my family and I re-locate to Northern California for at least the school year, Journey (and her faithful companion, good old Ginger, our 30+ year-old Welsh pony) will begin a new adventure and be part of someone else's journey.

I find this very satisfying and appropriate, for Journey was a dream come true for me--a horse lover who had been "horse-less" since I left the farm I grew up on. She has been the perfect horse to begin with after a twenty-year hiatus--so calm and sweet, so willing and eager on the trail, so beautiful. It makes my heart glad that she can once more be the fulfillment of someone's dream. It speaks to me of the goodness of God and how He cares about all the little things in our lives.

Then there is Honor. I want to take Honor with me, and I find that, too, symbolic. Wherever we go, we have a choice to take honor with us into our interactions with people. So I am not done with Honor. But--and here the allegory breaks down a bit--I can't take him with me right now. So he will join a small herd of well-loved horses where he will have companionship and care, and depending on our long-term plans, will ultimately journey to California where he and I will ride all over the mountains there.

So even though Journey will stay in Missouri, enjoying the woods and the rolling hills, exploring new paths with a dreamer on her back, my journey with Honor and my journey with honor is still unfolding. I don't know what shape upcoming adventures will take. I do know there will be new lessons learned, new allegories unfolded, new frontiers to explore. All of life holds secrets. Mysteries. Connections. And whenever we walk those out with honor, great things can happen!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


I'm pondering last week's horse-riding session with a friend. Outside of a few rides 20 years ago, she'd had no experience. However, in six sessions, she has gone from complete beginner to being able to catch, halter, prep, saddle, and bridle Journey, pick up and clean out her feet. Put on hoofboots. Mount. Today we even rode around "the block"-- (about 5 miles), walking and trotting. It was a bonafide ride complete with Honor cavorting about keeping things interesting, the smells of leather and woods and dusty roads, and a blue, blue sky arching above us.

When we finished, my friend commented on how helpful it was to practice all the bits and pieces she'd been learning, and how with the doing, they began to come together. All the random  information with which I had inundated her--"Watch a horse's ears, and you'll have a good indication of what it's thinking." "Keep the reins quiet and low." "Lean forward and lift the reins a bit if you want to go faster," and a hundred and one other odds and ends we'd been working on--fell into their proper place.

Once again I am struck by the importance of practice. Theory is great. Knowledge necessary. But if we never actually apply it in real-life situations, we do not advance. There had to come a day when my friend scraped up her courage and rode outside the confines of the corral, and then beyond the yard.

Speak Up
There is no substitute for experience. We can't borrow someone else's. We can't buy it at Wally World. We have to acquire it the same way every other person must--by doing, doing, then doing again, a bit longer and better each time, or more bravely--until after multiple repetitions, we begin to know.

This has got me to thinking about an area in which I need more experience--brave communication. Oh, yes, I'm quite proficient in passing the time of day, discussing the weather or the latest about whatever. But when it comes to communicating how someone's actions are affecting me, I find that I have knowledge a-plenty and way too little practical experience.
Brave Communication in Progress

So, like my intentional friend who is well on her way to becoming a confident rider, I need to practice. I'm won't have as steep a success rate as she has had--after all, no one becomes an amazing communicator is six interactions. But that's all right. Every time I move into pursuing connection, I'll be one step closer to proficient, and one step clower to the people I love!