Do You Ever Stop To Watch The Rain?

Do You Ever Stop To Watch The Rain?

When was the last time you wondered at how the rain falls, or felt it patter on your skin?
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Do you ever stop to look at the rain, to watch and wonder at the way it falls? It is easy to get used to rain and forget to notice or enjoy it. When it starts to rain, we often run inside as quickly as possible, shut the door, and wait until it’s over.

A few days ago, as we parked our car, it started to rain hard. Instinctually I ran inside with everyone else, but then I thought: when was the last time I watched the rain? I walked over to the window. Everyone else was busy making dinner.

I looked up and watched how the rain fell from the clouds. It was as if there was a hole in the sky, a leak, letting all these little droplets through. The wind blew the clouds, low lying, and fluffy grey; they hurried past. Occasionally a gust of wind pushed the rain making it fall at an angle.

It was amazing all that was happening. The rain came in waves, heavier or lighter at times, pushed back and forth by the wind. Drops hit the new green leaves of the little maple tree out front. Every drop would make the leaf bounce when it landed. The rain was dancing with the tree.

No two rainstorms are the same; they last for different amounts of time, some are gentle trickles, others are downpours. Each storm is a unique performance put on by the sky. There is singing, dancing, colors and sounds, all arranged in an orderly fashion.

Have you ever been on a lake when it rains? It’s funny because when each drop hits the lake, it makes a splash. Water from the lake bounces to meet the other falling drops, and soon you can’t tell which water is which, it is all blended in a thunderous roar of water.

These performances are far from two dimensional. There are more than just sights and sounds to enjoy. Have you ever smelled the air when it rains? Some people love the earthy smell it makes. The rain falls on the ground releasing an earthy aroma, and the air often gets cooler too making it feel refreshing.

Often, we try to avoid rain, so we don’t get wet, but every once in a while, it’s good to let it fall on your skin, to feel the rain’s soft patter, or even get soaked.

When was the last time you enjoyed the rain? If you haven’t lately, then stop and enjoy it.

Watch how it falls, feel it, smell it, taste it, dance in it, wonder at it like you did when you were a child.

Watch how the trees and streams dance in the rain, how the clouds fly by.

Listen to the rain’s song, its gentle gurgles, and its loud roar.

Listen how the thunder sings along, with its long rolling bass notes.

Every once in a while, we need to enjoy nature’s symphony, her magnificent performance put on just for us.

Cover Image Credit: Corrinne Brubaker

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10 Life Lessons I Learned In The Saddle I Wouldn't Have Got Anywhere Else

From my first fall to my last lesson, I learned more in that arena than any classroom could ever teach me.

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My trainers taught me so much in and out of the arena and even though I no longer ride, the lessons that I learned will stick with me forever.

1. Keep your heels down, and your eyes up

My trainer always told me to keep my eyes fixed on where I want to go, and unless where I wanted to go was the ground I better keep my eyes up. Just like in riding, I always remind myself that unless I want to end up on the bottom I need to keep my focus on where I want to go in life.

2. Sometimes less is more

There are times when riding a horse when less is more, as riders, we sometimes think we need to go faster or pull on the reins more but ultimately that can cause more harm than good. There are moments in life when we assume we need to go all out in order for something to work when we really just need to find the right balance.

3. If you fall down get back up

The first time I fell off my trainer asked if I was ok and when I said yes she said: "ok good, get back on". I was confused assuming I would just stop for the day considering I just fell off a horse, but she made me get back on to finish my lesson. I honestly think that if she wouldn't have made me get back on and finish I wouldn't have become the rider or person I am today. Just because something goes wrong doesn't mean you give up, it means you try again and fix the mistakes you made the first time.

4. Practice makes perfect

When I started riding I was by no means talented. There were multiple times I wanted to quit because why would I do something I'm not great at? For some reason, I continued to ride, and when I say there was blood, sweat, and TEARS I mean it. There were times I would be on the horses back for 3 hours bawling my eyes out, but my trainers refused to let me quit. I started practicing more and more and it began to pay off, I started winning more and more 1st place ribbons.

5. There is always something new to learn

When I first started riding I thought "How hard could it be? All you gotta do is stay on the horse", but boy was I wrong. Even after years of riding thought, I had learned all I needed to know. I figured from that point all I had to do was perfect what I knew, and you bet I was shook when my trainer started talking about techniques that I had never even heard of before.

6. Life isn't fair

Sometimes life sucks and there's nothing you can do about it. There were multiple times when I rode to the best of my ability with completely clear rounds and still got 2nd or 3rd place. I had to learn that my placing didn't always mean I rode bad, it just meant that someone was simply better than me, or there was a fancier pony or something out of my control that I just had to accept.

7. Sometimes you need to let go

Something I heard a lot while riding was "let go" it was usually referring to someone who was holding the reins too tight. When you're holding the reins too tight it is hard for the horse to do it's job and makes it difficult to get where you need to go. When you let go and give the horse a little freedom it makes both you and the horses lives easier. It's the same way with people. sometimes it's better to let go.

8. Respect

My parents always taught me to respect the people around me, but when I started riding I gained a whole new meaning of the word. I had always correlated the word respect with adults, " respect your elders" or "Show your mom/dad some respect", but riding taught me it extends so much further than that. When you're riding a 2,000lbs animal there needs to be a certain level of respect towards it. At any point that horse could throw you off and do some serious damage.

9. Tough Love

There was a point in my riding career when I was so scared to fall off I would literally be curled up in a ball on the horses back. My trainer would beg me to do something and I would literally ignore her because I thought my way was better. It got to the point where she was so fed up with begging me that she got the other scary trainer to try and teach me. Now I'm a hard-headed person, but I have nothing on him. He would have me in tears every lesson (which sometimes lasted hours). At some point during the yelling and tears, he managed to make a decent rider out of me and I realized that sometimes a little tough love is all someone needs to breakthrough.

10. Let the sunshine in

Something I will never forget is the song Open Up Your Heart. My trainer used to play it as a joke to remind us to sit up and "open up (our) hearts and let the sunshine in". Most of the time he played this song and it meant that we had to drop our stirrups (if you're a rider then understand the torture) so it was only ironic that the next lyric of the song is "face it with a grin, smilers never lose, and frowners never win". Even though we were doing something most of us despised it was something we needed to learn and sure enough learning to ride without stirrups saved my butt so many times.

P.S. If you are looking for a hunter/jumper barn in the New Orleans area I recommend Tavia Equine Center they offer lessons for all ages and abilities.

To all my TEC friends past and present, I love and miss all of you. You all taught me so much throughout the years and I'm so thankful for each of you.

With love,

Thoody

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7 Reasons The Camp Fire Might Be The Next Big Discussion In History Classes

The next big historical event people will continue to speak about after the destruction it caused.

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A community nearly destroyed. A death toll that kept rising. People nowhere to be found. Loved ones separated. These are all things the Camp Fire has caused. The wildfire began on November 8, after sparks from a power line caused a brush fire that shortly grew. It burned for two weeks before being 100 percent contained on November 25th. It was also named the deadliest wildfire in the state's history. The fire even turned the Walmart parking lot in Chico California, into a refugee camp.

Here are the reasons why this just might be the next big topic discussed in history classes

1. It's the deadliest wildfire in California history

The inferno has left destruction all over one community in the U.S.'s most populated state. It has done harm that various Americans haven't seen before. Especially from a fire.

2. At one point caused an enormous amount of people in the town to go missing

In natural disasters or even tragedies, the number of people who go missing tends to rise. The Camp Fire though, only caused the number of missing people to increase. Luckily, that number recently dropped.

3. It destroyed most of Paradise, California

Wildfires are known for burning structures. Residents have lost homes or had them damaged. Despite that, you never hear of little to nothing being left in communities.

4. It has left people separated

In addition to being missing, people are also separated. Loved ones haven't seen each other in days and students haven't seen their peers and/or friends in a while either.

5. It has increased homelessness all throughout Paradise, California

Lots have lost everything to this, including their residences. The search only continues, as many are still looking for places to stay, over a month later.

6. It left so many unforgettable impacts on Paradise's school system

While the town's elementary school is destroyed, the communities other schools are reported to have been either damaged or destroyed as well. Students have even questioned whether they will graduate or not.

7. It took the lives of so many people in Paradise, California

At one point, more than 800 people were listed missing while more than 80 were confirmed dead.

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