July 31, 2011

{a few of} my favorite things

Leah at The Narrow Path tagged me. I know that several people have tagged me earlier on this year, and I'm sorry that I never got around to it. Anyways, I had a little bit of time so I thought it would be fun to do this one...

1. Favorite sport: Does horseback riding count?

2. A good name for a dog: Well, it kind of depends on the breed and color of the dog, but one dog name that I like is Patches.

3. Favorite animal: Most definitely horses. You would have never guessed that...right?

4. Favorite subject in school: Hmm...I like almost all of them, but if I have to choose a favorite it would probably be History or Math.

5. Favorite drink: Fruit smoothies or Mochas (after water, of course)

6. Last song you heard: "Do Everything" by Steven Curtis Chapman - this song is one of my new favorites.

7. Do you like to make people laugh?: Yes!

8. Favorite color: I like all of the colors, but some of my favorite color combinations are lime green or aqua blue with brown.

9. Favorite hobby: I really, really enjoy photography, but I'd have to say that horse related activities still top that.

10. School grade you are in: I'll be in 11th grade this upcoming school year.

And now to pass this tag on to a few other bloggers...
Bethany Joy at Rejoice Evermore 
(I'm sure that these girls would love it if you stop by their blogs for a visit!)

July 24, 2011

Silhouettes {photo challenge at Allie Photography}

This week I'm participating in the photo challenge at Allie Photography
The theme for this week is silhouettes...

Aren't sunsets so beautiful? God's creation is truly amazing!

July 22, 2011

Sowing seeds of sunshine

It's amazing how little things can make someone's day.

Maybe it's an encouraging note, a thank-you card, taking the time to talk to someone, or even a smile. Everyone likes to feel special and appreciated, and it's a blessing when someone goes out of their way in order to do something that will make our day. But my question for you is, how often do we seek to do the same for others?

An area that God has been laying on my heart is sending thank you notes. I always enjoy it when someone sends me a note or letter, but I find rarely make the time to do the same for others. As I sat down at my desk today, I noticed a piece of paper laying there that said "Send thank you notes to...". Underneath was a list of people who I needed to send thank you notes to. Some had been on that list for a few months, others just a week or so, and I can think of a few more that should be added.

Maybe you have the same problem as me. If so, here's a challenge to both you and myself. Take some time in the next week to sit down and make a list of people who you need to write thank you's to, and then do it. Maybe you only have time to write one or two a day, but try to get caught up. It's easy to wonder if it'll even matter, but who knows but that God will use it to brighten that person's day and bring a smile to their face.

Even if you are good at sending thank you's, but I'd still encourage you to look for ways to put a smile on someone's face. Maybe it's an encouraging note, spending quality time with someone, or helping out with a project. Even something as simple as a smile can make someone's day.

Let's seek to be a blessing to those around us by doing the little things that bring sunshine to their day. Yes, it may be hard or "inconvenient" to find time amidst busy schedules, but those few minutes that you take to write a note, give some encouragement, or help out could make someone's day a whole lot brighter.

July 3, 2011

Cowgirl Queen Contest {and pre-fair show}

 It was a very long day...
It was a very warm day...
It was a very tiring day...
But sometimes it's those long, hot, and tiring days that turn out to be some of the most memorable days!

 Friday (July 1st) evening was the Cowgirl Queen contest and Pre-Fair show, both of which I participated in. But instead of giving you a long, boring description, let me tell you the events of the day in pictures...that's always more interesting, right?

{most photos taken by my sister Hannah and friend Alexandra...thanks girls!}

. . . . .

I was up at a fairly good time, and got right into getting Flash ready to go. She had her bath on Friday night, so really all that needed to be done with her was band her mane (a 2 hour job) and put on hoof black.

My friend came over early afternoon to help me with my hair and makeup. Honestly, I don't wear much makeup other than occasional cover-up and some mascara, but since it was a "special" event we did the whole deal.

The cowgirl queen contest started at 5:00pm, so my intention was to get there by 3:30, or at latest 4:00. Sounds easy enough...but we didn't get there until 4:10. I started getting a little stressed out when they announced that the Sr. Queen contestants (all two of us...) needed to be down at the gate in 5 minutes, and I didn't even quite have my whole outfit on, let alone have Flash warmed up!

First, we had to preform a horsemanship pattern. It wasn't too hard...extended jog, stop, 360 pivot, jog, left lead canter, stop, back, and then answer a question from the judge. Even though it was an easier pattern, I still managed to mess up a little bit :)

After the pattern we had rail work...basically a Western Pleasure class, but the focus was more on our horsemanship than the horse. I was so proud of Flash when she took her right lead (we've been having problems with that this year...)!!!!!

Lastly, we got to do the Cowgirl Queen salute...my favorite part!!

As I've been practicing over the past month or two, I decided that I would give this contest my best effort and leave the results up to God.  But even though I knew that God was in control, there was that little part of me that started to wonder if my best would be good enough.

When they finally announced the 2011 Sr. Cowgirl Queen, I was quite excited to hear that I had won! The glory goes to the Lord!

I want to note that even though I won this contest, please do not think that I have wonderful horsemanship and a perfectly trained horse...there were only two of us showing and it was pretty close. In reality, I hardly show at all and my horse is far from the "pleasure type" (though she is a wonderful horse!!). Both of us have a lot to learn, and I hope to keep learning as long as I possibly can!!

As Sr. Cowgirl Queen I will be competing at the State level in August. I usually only show my horse 2-3 times a year (mainly at 4-H related shows) and that is the extent of my showing experience. Competing at State will be a huge learning curve for me as I've never competed in a show that big! The State show isn't just 4-H queens, there are also many queens from saddle clubs and Iowa horse breed associations. As with Friday's competition - I'm going to give it my absolute best and leave the results in God's hands. I'll keep you updated on the State show as it gets closer to that time, but for now I'm going to share a few more pictures from the rest of the pre-fair show...

:: My little sisters doing the cowgirl queen salute ::

:: Halter class - even though Flash doesn't have perfect conformation, it's still a good learning experience ::

:: Trail class - let's just say that we have a lot that we need to work on in the two weeks left before fair ::

All in all it was a good day. Even though we didn't win any of our classes (besides Cowgirl Queen) I still had fun and got a good idea of what I need to work on before Fair. Sorry for rambling on about all this horse related stuff over the past few weeks...I know that some of you may not be horse crazy like me and I'll be back to posting some not-quite-so-horsey posts soon :)