Everyone dies, but not everyone truly lives.

Grape Creek
Grape Creek

Every day we have a choice. We can use our hours on this earth in a positive and fully engaged way, or we can exist. I don’t want to have regrets when my time comes.

That’s not to say that every day is full of butterflies and rainbows. If I expect that, I’m naive and sure to be disappointed. There is drudgery…packing up the house in preparation for the renovation was not my idea of how to spend a happy week. There is stress, worry, frustrations big and small. There is deep, heart wrenching sorrow when friends or family members are sick or die.

But the more positive and happy times that I hold, touch and savor, the easier it is to pull back from the shade of negativity.

Steve loves to fly his plane. It is his passion and joy. He starts getting antsy if he can’t fly. I love watching him focused and doing what he loves. I have fun when he plays around with steep turns, I laugh when my butt leaves the seat when we hit an updraft. But I don’t enjoy flying the plane at all. Flying is Steve’s passion, not mine. Flying is important to Steve, Steve’s happiness is important to me, so I want him to fly as much as he wants.

Now horses…horses are my passion and they have been from the time I could walk and talk.
I’ve had my Paso Fino Maestro for several years. I’d ride every once in a while, but didn’t have any friends that were really into horses to ride with.

Then I met Lilly, the teenage daughter of one of Steve’s coworkers. She reminds me so much of myself at that age. Totally horse crazy. Lilly started riding Patches, our pony/horse. Then we met Ann my neighbor across the street and the three of us started riding together.

Through Ann I met Heath Marshall, a mustang trainer here in Penrose. That is when things really changed. There are a lot of people that come to Heath’s to hang out, and take his clinics. That is how I met Monte and Tanya Zimmerman and boy do they know a lot of people, and they ride A LOT. More importantly, they are friendly and welcome others to ride with them.

So suddenly I had the opportunity to ride more often. Which was fine durning the week when Steve was working. But if I rode with my friends on weekends I left Steve home, and obviously we weren’t spending as much time together.

Steve didn’t get to fly for months. I had hip replacement in September and couldn’t get into the plane. Then we went to California for Christmas. We we got back, Steve was sick for the rest of his Christmas break. For the next few weekends we had winds gusting to 60mph which is not good flying weather. Next, I got bucked off a friends horse and had a concussion and three broken ribs.

After not flying for a few months Steve was getting down and a little cranky which is not like him at all. Since the wind here in Penrose was always going to be a problem, I suggested he get a horse so that we could ride together. We talked it over for hours. Riding will never replace his love of flying, but it would allow us to each share our passion with the other.

That discussion was on a Friday. Saturday I drove to Denver to try out a horse for Steve while he did some work from home. I rode the horse on icy roads one week after the ribs were broken and as confident as I am I knew that really wasn’t a good idea. It was a short ride. The horse was a 20 year old Paso, just like mine, and very energetic. I told Steve he really needed to ride him himself. Some people do not like forward and energetic horses to trail ride. I do, but I wasn’t sure what Steve would like.

We drove back up to Denver on Sunday. Steve rode the horse, and fell in love. A check was written. The gelding was named “Pepper” which wasn’t going to work because we already have a dog with that name. Steve took a couple of days to think about it and came up with the name “Rio”.

On Monday we traded our wrangler for a Ram 1500. On Wednesday Rio came to his new home. On Friday we bought a used two horse trailer.

To say our life has changed is an understatement.

We are having SO MUCH FUN! Steve loves his Rio and loves to ride. He rode when he was a kid, is a confident rider and has no fear. We ride out just the two of us, we go on awesome rides with friends. On Friday we rode for seven hours following a narrow trail that criss crossed Grape Creek with a group of 12 other riders. We had a blast and made even more new friends. Driving back Steve said “you know, today was one of those days you could only dream of”. We are already discussing where to go horse camping with friends this summer. How cool is that?

The next day we took the plane to Moab for the weekend. Gorgeous scenery and we got to play on rocks and drive down a hairy scary trail on the side of a cliff. And Steve got to indulge in his passion.

Life is so darn good. And I know how incredibly blessed I am.

What is your passion? Are you balancing the drudgery and stress of life with fun? Whatever your passion, whatever feeds your soul, I urge you to give yourself permission to experience joy.

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