May 14, 2015 § Leave a comment

It’s 1 am on May 14th, and I can’t sleep.

I am floating. Celebrating. Rejoicing.

Tonight (technically it was yesterday, I suppose), at 9:20 pm, I watched this precious baby girl come into the world.

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We didn’t think it was going to happen then. In fact, around 8 I was preparing to get some sleep before midnight, which is when I thought the labor would start.

IMG_5792I want to quickly jolt down what is fresh in my memory before I force myself to sleep.

I left the ranch this morning at 11:30 and was back by 2:30. I set up camp in the trailer our ranch worker kindly put outside Rain’s stall in the breezeway and settled in for a long night. Around 6 I went and got a pizza for Jim and I but every other moment, I was waiting.

Around 8 or 8:15, when the ranch was dark and all the other horses still, I heard Rain pawing and groaning in her stall. Every five minutes I’d get out of my little bed to try to check on the momma. We had the baby cam, but about half the time it doesn’t work and won’t connect, and tonight was no exception. Every time she saw me she’d stop.

So rather than having her see me and get scared during the early stages of labor, I changed tacts and tried to watch her on my iPad using the baby cam app but that didn’t work out. So a little before 9 pm, after hearing her pawing and groaning for almost an hour, I went into the house where Jim was watching her on the one monitor we have that’s hooked up to the camera and actually works.

“She’s really restless,” I said as I walked in. Then I looked at the monitor. “She just went down!”

“Yeah, she’s been doing that for a while. Let’s stay in the house a while – right before is the time she needs to be alone.”

We pulled up chairs and watched. I called Bre, our ranch manager, and told her to book it down to the ranch. My mom called and asked how everything was going, and right as I started to answer that Rain was down and seemingly groaning, Jim jumped and pointed. A hoof. A foal hoof.

We both ran out to the stall – me abruptly hanging up on my mom (sorry, Mom!) and Jim flipping on the barn lights – and saw Rain on the ground, sides heaving. She stood up once and flopped the other way, groaning quietly. The hoof we’d seen on the monitor was still peaking out.

There I was thinking we were in the early stages of labor, that it would be another few hours before any real action happened.

And then.


There came the head.

There it was.

I gasped when I saw it – it absolutely knocked the wind out of me. Jim grabbed my hand as we watched it slowing, steadily sliding out, wrapped delicately in its milky sac. We stood there watching Rain in complete and total awe as she pushed and pushed and pushed until that tiny, perfect little head was followed by its tiny, perfect little body. Then that body met the earth and Rain groaned again and lay her head down and rested and that little body lay quivering in the straw.


Out of nowhere.

Out of nothing.

There that baby was.

There she was.

Mere minutes after we’d run out of the house to make sure everything was okay.

After so much waiting. After so much excitement and anticipation.

There she was.


I didn’t think to even touch my camera for a few minutes. I was in absolute shock. Not only at the abruptness of it all… but the indescribable, calm, natural beauty of the birth.

That little girl nibbled at the sac, the straw, the air within moments. Her nose quivered as she took her very first breaths.

Watching her attempt to take her first steps was unbelievable. Such a tiny, helpless little thing not even in the world an hour ago, to be thrusting herself upwards attempting to walk. I simply have no words.

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I have no words for the moment I touched her soft, soft neck and she looked at me with liquid brown eyes.

I have no words for the gentle – gentle – nickers Rain gave her baby as she encouraged her to suckle.

I have no words for the way that sweet little filly finally stood on her own and jumped, kicked, and bucked with the pure joy of being alive.

I never understood why everyone called it “the miracle of life”. To me, being born was the most ordinary thing in the world. Just another event that occurred on a daily basis.

I see now.

Our Sunny is a miracle.

As I watched her in amazement tonight, the song “With Arms Wide Open” kept playing in my head.

And to me, the words are perfect.

I sang them to little Sunny before I left at midnight. I will sing them to her for the rest of her life.

With arms wide open

Under the sunlight

Welcome to this place

I’ll show you everything

With arms wide open

Now everything has changed

I’ll show you love

I’ll show you everything

With arms wide open.

Oh, sweet girl.

Welcome to the world.


The Fourth of July

July 4, 2012 § Leave a comment

“We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States.” ~ The Declaration of Independence


The Fourth of July is my favorite holiday. Every year I look forward to it more than Christmas and New Years and Halloween and Thanksgiving combined. There is nothing, nothing like this day in the entire world.

Nearly everyone I know enjoys Independence Day as well, for who doesn’t like fireworks and barbeques? Who doesn’t appreciate the overabundance of coleslaw, the flags waving solemnly in the breeze, the music that is sung to honor our country? Who doesn’t love the parades and the parties and the gathering of family and friends?

But there is a deeper, richer reason why the Fourth of July is so meaningful to me, and that is obviously the story behind the traditions, the whole motive behind our celebrations. I am talking, of course, about the incredible, indescribable history of the day that marked the first day of the signing of the most beautiful document I have ever seen and will ever see.

The Declaration of Independence as I saw it in 2008

Fifty-six men signed the Declaration of Independence over the course of several months starting in July of 1776, declaring the colonies to be free of British rule. Their actions were looked upon as uncalled for by some and unnecessarily arrogant by many more… but the men (and women!) that helped to found the United States pressed onward despite the fact that their goals were nearly impossible to bring to reality. And every time this holiday rolls around, I think of how incredible it would be if every citizen of this nation embodied the same courage and defiance that the United States’ forefathers had during the American Revolution. I think of what an amazing impact people would have on the many crooks and corrupt politicians that help to run our country. After all, as the Declaration puts it, “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

The Fourth of July marks one of many days where Americans have the chance to look past their differences and come together as one nation, indivisible, with true liberty and justice for all. It is a day we can lay down our figurative weapons and perhaps overlook our political barriers and maybe even put aside the racism and sexism and prejudice that still exists and unite.

On the Fourth of July, I think to some extent we each remember what America was meant to be when it was declared a free country. We remember what our forefathers had in store the day they started to draft the Declaration of Independence. I don’t believe we have reached that goal just yet, because people still suffer from sea to shining sea. Millions of Americans live in poverty, many because of our current recession. Many are treated like second-class citizens because of their race or financial status or even their gender. We are luckier than most other countries by far; however, we are still a ways away from being the country our forefathers dreamed it would be, the country we could still be.

But that is what is so amazing about this day. On this day, we remember.

And maybe – just maybe – we have hope.


O say can you see by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave,
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

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