Been awhile


Well, I just logged on and realized that my last post was on 2/20/09…. how time flies when you’re busy and having fun.   I keep thinking and saying that I plan to write more often, and it just doesn’t happen.  So one of my new resolutions before 2010 even begins is to set aside time 1 time a week to just write on here.

IMG_8133A lot has been happening around the farm and with family and friends.  Probably the most difficult thing was losing our dear friend Pie, shown here to the left.  I went out on Monday afternoon, Sept 28th at exactly 4:33 after hanging up with my best friend Kristine and hearing a horse outside kind of grunting. I looked out and saw that Pie was laying down.  After trying to get him up without succeeding, I called Kaite.  We called the vet and gave fluids through the night, trying so hard to help him get better.   By 3:54 Tuesday, we had lost him… and we are still recovering and trying to find a balance again on our farm.  He was burried here so I can look out and see him or walk out and visit…. I’ve made the mistake a few times of almost calling one of the other horses by his name because they are doing something or acting how Pie would have.  He belonged to my friend Kaite, and he was in my life for 11 years… so a huge part of my heart now has this empty place that he once filled.  It’s taken me a bit to find the wherewithall to sit down and write about it, though I felt is was time to share.

Since Pie was such an integral part of Kaite’s beginners lessons, the search was on to find a horse that could fill his shoes.  Those are big shoes to fill and she found a 16 year old Appaloosa mare that she believes to fit the bill…. Her name is Mighty Blue Eyes.  The biggest amazement to me is that she is blind… but you wouldn’t hardly even know it, she gets around so well.  The photo here was taken by Kaite – Damien is trying to figure out why Blue is not paying attention to him.

I haven’t had the opportunity to get on and ride Blue Eyes yet, but hope to in the coming days.

As for the other animals, we participated in the Annual Pet Costume Contest and Parade at Newberry Animal Hospital this past Sunday.  Dakota and Shug made us so proud by how well-bahaved they were and how much they put up with by allowing us to dress them up.  I thought they were sure winners, but the judges picked other dogs.  They are winners in my book though! Here is a photo of the whole family!

Andy and I have been busy with our business and doing very well.  We’ve also decided to somewhat divide and conquer.  I’m focusing on the retail side, selling the web sites (since that is what I do best) while Andy is focused on helping people to achieve the dreams & goals that they have in their live, showing how to increase their financial stability.

Blu Dove is going stronger than ever.  I hired my first employee and then let her go in June.  And we’ve been swamped…. so since then it’s just been myself, John and Kristine.  We are adding a new team member soon who will be focused on helping us to market the business more than we have been able to do ourselves.  I am hoping to introcude her soon.

Andy and I have also begun our search for a property to expand our farm.  We’re looking for at least 10 acres and possibly more depending on what kind of deals we can find.  We just looked at a 20 acre farm with a small cottage that we heard about through a friend of ours.  It’s got some potential, though the current owner still has a few things up in the air before she accepts an offer.

We’ll just what happens there… if nothing else, I made a new horse friend who’s involved and has invited me to become involved with the North Central Florida Parelli Playgroup – a group for horse people like myself who just want to have some fun with their horses and learn all there is to learn about gentle, natural training methods! I might even be helping them with their web site!

So that’s pretty much what is going on.  I am planning to keep this updated more than 1 time every six months — we’ll see how that goes! =)

Love to all of you!


Catching Up


So it’s been awhile since I’ve written here… and that certainly has to change.  So much time in between writings is not good for the soul or for the family keeping up with news…=)

So what has been going on?  Well – lots, actually…. so this is going to be a long entry, with photos.

Blu Dove Designs is doing really well.  We’re swamped with work and have been since before Christmas.  It was truly a record year for us and despite what the economy is doing, people are still getting out there and starting businesses.  I find it encouraging and it gives me hope.  After all, our small businesses are the backbone of this country.  We hired another intern about a week ago – her name is Jackie and she comes to us from the Sante Fe Graphic Design program.  We’re excited to have her.  Janeen is doing great work…I’m so proud of where she is and how far she’s come.  John is in Savannah at SCAD, loving school… and helping us with the revamp of the Blu Dove site…. you can check out a sneak peak by clicking on the screen shot.  I’d love some feedback!   Kristine is still handling our books and is doing a tremendous job at that and me… well, I’m getting out there, talking to people almost every day and bringing in the business.  Once in awhile I get to actually do some design work…. I’d like to do more of that.

Let’s see, what else is going on….most of you know that Andy and I started a new business venture last July… Illumastar Consulting.  We’ve partnered with a group of entreprenuers to help individuals and businesses achieve financial success (esp. in this down economy).  The company we’ve partnered with — Market America.  At the beginning of February we came back from MA World Conference — oh my gosh what a wonderful experience and what a company!!!  They truly have integrity in everything they do!  This was most evidenced when our CEO, JR Ridinger came out and apologized to the crowd for a speaker that they had brought out the day before (who used the stage for his own agenda).  I don’t know of too many CEOs that do that.  It really made difference in my eyes.   Check out the videos from the event… if you look REALLY close you can see a shot of me, Andy and Sheryl (she’s one of our coaches)! So what do we do?  Well, visit our web site and you can find out more, go shopping on our web portal or learn about ways to live healthier.  We’re having a great time and the people we are meeting as a result are absolutely tremendous! Andy’s would love to make this his full time career!  You can view more photos from the conference in the photo gallery!

So that’s the business side of things – here’s a few other things going on.

We came back from the conference to find that our neighbors had burned their entire 5 acre lot, and it started from burning a pile of garbage during a burn ban.  Standing and looking out our gate, it’s the property right across the road from us.  Fortunately (Thank God), Andy’s brother Carl was staying at the house for the weekend to take care of the dogs, horses, cats, etc.  Saturday about 3:00 the dogs started barking, Carl says, and when he looked out there were flames.  He immediately ran out to gather hoses, buckets of water and protect the property.  911 was called to get the fire department out (which apparently took some time) and the fire was put out.  However, not before it burned the entire field and coming dangerously close to one of our other neighbor’s houses, who were not home at the time.   It even came close to the owner’s house melting some of the siding.  The fire department had to rip the skirting off of their trailer so that they could spray underneath just to be sure no fire would get under there.  It was a scary thought that it came so close.  I am thanking God every day that Carl was here to help keep everyone and our house safe.

Dakota recently had surgery on his little bum – he had an anal gland removed that they were concerned might be cancerous.  Well, with a little surgery to remove the mass and a whole mountain of prayer – we found out that it was a Fribroma with NO cancerous cells and that he is a-ok!!  That was such a blessing.  If I didn’t tell some of you what was going on, I apologize, I was trying not to give it too much thought before we really knew what it was.  Again… thankfully it was nothing to be worried over… and he is going to live a LONG healthy life with us!

We started Sug in obedience training – it’s a 6-week course which is supposed to help her be a better trained dog.  It’s also geared specifically for Pit-Bulls and other “bully” breeds so that we can learn more about the breed itself and how we can be the best owners possible.  This breed really gets a bad rap when every other news story is “a pit bull attacked..” and in all actuality it’s a breed that was bred to be kind to people.  Sug and her mama (Nemo) are evidence of that — they LOVE people and we call them big marshmellows b/c they are just that.  The reason that there are so many problems with them is improper training, training that exacerbates the aggressive tendencies that all dogs have, or no training at all.  We had our first class with Sug last night and it went really well.  I think she’s ahead of the class on a few things.  Still working on getting her attention locked on us though — treats help – Sug’s new motto is “Will work for food” LOL.

The horses are sadly not being ridden as much as we would like to.  Our time, especially in February has just been cut so short and Kaite took a bad spill off of a friend’s horse which stopped the lessons for while.  The short daylight hours don’t help either.  All in all they are doing very well.  My goal in 2009 is to get Astar past his issues or at least headed in that direction and to get Fanci started working.  As far as Irish goes, we just want to ride him more.   We have had a few “pony” rides with some of our friends bringing out their kids.  Here’s a picture of one of them – great time!

Valentine’s day weekend (this past weekend) we had the pleasure of watching our friends get married…. Kurt and Dawn.  I’ve known Kurt for about 4-1/2 years, initially as a client and then it grew to friendship, as so many of my clients do.  Dawn has 2 little girls – Lauren (on the left) and Bailey (on the right) who both participated in the simple ceremony.  I practiced my photography and got some really great shots – can’t wait to show them!  The one on the left is one of my personal favorites!    The couple was beaming and knowing some of the ups and downs they have been through, I am so happy for them!

The Wings of Dreams Air Show is coming up this weekend (Feb 20-23) and we are gearing up for a long, exciting, fun weekend around our favorite pieces of history – WWWII Aircraft AND some of my favorite people, the WASP and Fighter Aces.  Andy and his club are doing a make-and-take for the kids with some simple snap together models.  I’m going to help host the WASP and hear more stories of history.  I can’t wait to spend time with them again because they truly are remarkable women!

And here I sit taking a break to journal.  I miss my family.  I miss my friends and I hope to see everyone soon.  Andy and I are investing time so we can have more time to do the things we love.  I believe it’s going to pay off very soon.

I love you all!

Busy Times


So it’s been quite awhile since my last post – almost 2 months to be exact. I’ve got good excuses, I promise =)

Well – the truth is that Andy and I have been very busy between work, the business, school, horses, family, church and rescuing animals.

The end of February, I traveled to see my Uncle Cliff and Aunt Dee in Cinncinati, Ohio. My uncle had gone into the hospital and we were not sure how long we had – the great news was that by the time I arrived, they had released him and I had the opportunity to reconnect with an uncle and cousins I had not seen in 17 years and connect with an aunt I just met. The wonderful news now with him is that God is healing him more and more every day and just April 18th, he had another surgery which fixed the hole in his esophagus…. so thank you all for your prayers and continue to keep him in your prayers as the days go forward.

The visit to Cincinnati provided me with an opportunity to connect with a lot of my family… and to eat lots of Skyline Chili! =)

I had dinner out one evening with my Dad and Step mom at a wonderful mexican restaurant. Then we came back and caught up on everything that’s been going on. They also took me by the new house that they are building – which was in the framed out stage (not sure if that’s what you call it) – it’s going to look great when it’s finished! I even got to see where we would be staying when we visit. It’s always so nice to see them.

I had a great visit with my mom. We’ve been through a lot of growing in our relationship and it was one of the best visits ever with her – by far. I finally figured out why my ham and dumplings never taste like hers (there was a couple of steps I was missing… lol) and I showed her how I make a pie crust that tastes almost as good as my grandma used to make. It was fun cooking in the kitchen with her – I haven’t done that in years and it was absolutely refreshing.

I did not get to visit with my sister and her family b/c they have all moved back to Arizona to be in a better environment for Gabe (my nephew) and so Gregg could be in a better job position.

So the visit to Cincinnati was a good one and it was most certainly difficult to leave.

March flew by and was filled with new client proposals and meetings with interns. I even went and looked at a building that is for sale just down the road from me — that’s a seed God has planted for the future. On March 11th, Irish (our newest addition to the herd of horses) was cleared by the vet for being able to do more work and be put out with the rest of the horses. So that evening he was turned out to the small field with Damien and since then has been put with the rest of the herd. Andy and I started riding Irish and have discovered that he is truly a wonderful horse and takes genuine care of his rider.

The Sunday after Easter, the dance ministry team at church (that I’m a part of) performed a routine with banners and flags – it was an amazing experience! I wish I had photos to share.

April 8th, I spoke in front of the Advanced Web Design class at Santa Fe Community College on the fundamentals of web design and SEO. You can see the presentation by visiting my web site and clicking on the link under speaking engagements on the links page. I had a blast doing it and was able to really engage the students. Can’t wait to teach in the fall!!

And now we find ourselves almost at the end of April, busy with new clients every week, still trying to figure out this marriage thing, spending time with each other and with friends, finishing up exams (Andy) and now we have a new puppy after this past weekend (see post coming soon).

My aim is to improve on my frequency of my posts here. I know I keep saying that and each time I mean it. I pray that I stop letting time get away from me and that I DO allow myself the time to breathe and write. I always feel better when I do.

Love and blessings to you all.

Old Fashioned Shed Raising


Shed RaisingNothing like an old fashioned shed raising to bring family and friends together!

The last couple of weeks have been quite busy. Since we’ve decided to take Irish into our home (and hearts), we’ve been preparing a room for him just as we would if we were expecting. He’s got a little lameness in his right front leg that requires him to be on stall rest, which for where he is currently living is not a problem. However, for Irish to remain on stall rest, it required of us, to build him a space to live in until he heals.

So, to that end, we researched, planned and ultimately decided it would be more cost-effective to build something ourselves. (Portable stalls range from 2000-4000 for the quality built ones…. ouch.) My friend, Kaite is loaning us her pen panels which will make the walls, so all we had to do was build a roof. One thing that came into play was that if we were going to spend the money, why not do it right and perhaps we can either extend it and make it a bigger barn later or transform it into a new storage shed… we’d like to rid ourselves of the rusty one that you can see next to it in the photos.

Andy’s family and one of the riders that Kaite teaches came over and we all pitched in to build. The structure is definitely strong. We don’t yet have the roof on it yet. We’re planning to put the last three rafters on this Saturday and then put a tarp on 2 on it for now, since Irish will be arriving this coming weekend. We figure that once he’s here we can research to find the best cost for roofing materials, save up and purchase them later.

It’s very satisfying to build something buy hand and with the help of others. These days, so many things come in a box, ready to assemble or we simply hire someone else to assemble it for us. When it comes down to cost – often we decide to do it ourselves and benefit from it more in the long run. Thank you to everyone who came out to help us – we are forever grateful!

You can see more photos of the building by going to our Photos page.