Thursday, March 27, 2014

Rambling Around the Hills

"No matter who you are or how successful you have become, you will have another bad day.  Accept it and move on." ~ Stan Beecham

The beginning of the trial season is here!  What has been the dreams of the winter becomes the reality of the now.  It does not matter if the days preceding were filled with training or time away from preparation, the trial season is indifferent to personal readiness.  Yet, opportunity remains abundant; opportunity for learning, assessing, growing, succeeding, working on "right" focus.  For me, I know if I base my identity and self worth on a score, I will live an empty life full of ups and downs. I can't always run at my peek, my dogs can't always run at their peek, together expecting peek performance weekend in and weekend out is...well, for one thing not realistic and, for another, is ego driven.  (I am still talking about "for me" btw).  The time has come; I feel the need to hang up my excuses and live in the now; not living in past accomplishments or disappointments, letting go of the preplan of "how I will do" at trials ahead. I know my character is formed, my learning curve sharped, opportunity to improve upon relationships are given by any run.

"What is to give light must endure burning" ~ Viktor Frankl

I'm re-evaluating my ranch and how to proceed into the future.  Letting go of what I love is hard but I do know that I need to embrace the seasons.  Letting go feels a lot like burning.  On the one hand, burning the internal rubbish is good and cleansing. However, there is that burn that happens when there are two good and equal choices, the one let go of can feel a lot like loss.  I think I'll try not lambing next year and see how that works and feels.  Well, unless I buy in some bred cull ewes that always seem to come "gift with purchase" when I buy them.

"Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle" ~ Abraham Lincoln

Hustle, amazing word.  I'm reading a new book on mental management and the focus of today's chapter  is: finding flow.  So instead of hustling against the stream, which creates the illusion that a person is giving 110% only because it is hard work paddling against the current, I want to hustle with flow.  Which then brings me back to burning the things in my life that don't serve me but create current and hinder me from going with the flow.  Sometimes words like "flow" and "timing" and "letting go" appear to be the antithesis of "hustle"....and yet not.  Hustle for me is doing all that needs to be done in preparation that will allow flow.  For example, an unfit dog can't get around a course, so we condition.  Hustle becomes the vehicle which allows the easy of flow.   Those days when i don't really "feel" like doing what it takes to achieve my dreams....those are the days when I'd like to "wait" on the 13.1 to come to me......hustle!

"There are two ways to live:  you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle" ~ Abraham Lincoln

My two weeks that surrounded Heppner and Zamora were filled with miracles that could only be found when I opened myself to what each day had to show me.  My dogs were partners, my puppy a trouper, my friends good and true, the road and hills filled with amazing beauty atop those hard to climb inclines and hills.  I wonder about competition; my new book wants me to find the why's in what I do. Funny as I sort that out I'm better at listing my goals...the why's behind these goals are requiring some serious mining and, thus far,  I've only found a few nuggets, I've not hit any vein yet. Why do I give lessons?  Why do I work dogs and travel America to trial?  Why do I run?  And of the small answers i have begun to find; which were handed to me by others and which are deeply and truly mine?

I want to live as if everything is a miracle: good days, bad days; burning, growing, in the hustle of the flow.

Seize the day!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


I trialed a little over the winter, I told myself as I packed the truck to head off to Heppner.  My dog will be fine, she will remember.  I thought over the top hands I'd see at Heppner; the day-in day-out training up of their dogs to begin the trial season.  When the feelings of unpreparedness started creeping their way into my mind...I remember Jack's run at Soldier Hollow the year Missouri was hit with that nasty drought; high temps keeping his dogs from practice and certainly no working of the sheep to cause stress as they conserved what they could waiting for cooler days.  If my memory serves me, Jack won Soldier Hollow that year.  I headed to Heppner; 10 week old puppy as co-piot, working on the art of letting go and being in the moment.

The first run of the 2014 trial season was brake-less and all Bella.  I can't remember the last time we ran sheep on the fetch like we did...and I mean ran 'em.  Bella took that bit in between her teeth and reminded me of a few things about us.  What I love about her and what drives me nuts about her is that fine line: every now and then she gets away from me and we gallop off into the sunset, blazing saddles and all.  A top handler once told me, "if you run them on the fetch, you might get it back together for a decent run, but you will never have the run you could have had if you would not have run them on the fetch." Yep...running them on the fetch was not a good idea from any view, especially not Heppner sheep!  As I lay in bed that night, looking at all the little details of my Bella and me, I began sorting out my list of ideas as well as putting together a plan for the next go. Time to get the broom out and get rid of those cobwebs.

Bella and I were first dog to the post on Sunday.  First run on a glorious day in God's country.....couldn't ask for a better lighting to see any of those cobwebs I might have missed in the dark of the night before.  Bella ran, and it felt marvelous; a hit of the high that keeps me coming back for more.  Let the trial season begin.........

Seize the day!

Monday, March 10, 2014


I was reading an article from an ultimate sports magazine (yep, that's one we subscribe to here in this household) and the story was told about a runner that had to cross a long bridge that spanned a river far below while running an ultra 100 mile run.  In my minds eye, I envision a rickety, wood slatted bridge with rope hand holds, built for traversing, not stability.  The runner in the story was struggling with the thought of crossing that deep chasm using the  swinging, rickety bridge. His companion, knowing that the bridge must be crossed, and having crossed it before himself, gave sage advice:  "focus on where you want to go.  If you look down, you will go down; keep your focus on the other side...and you'll be just fine"

Focus on where you want to go!

Somedays it is more difficult to not look, focus on, or worry about where I don't want to go.  Probably one of the reasons that I am a great visualizer is because I've allowed myself much practice imagining all the things that could go wrong in any given scenario. That totally useless, worry mentality is muscle memory that I am putting a cast on to allow for atrophy while the "focus on where I want to go" develops into a strong alpha bitch muscle.

In addition to worry, what I'm not good at deserves just a cursory glance.  To become the best me I can be, I know I have to look at what I am not good at; a quick study that allows for assessment on what needs to be done to get better.  While assessing what needs work, I find myself digging deep, not to focus but to understand what deserves my focus......on where I want to go.

Focus on where I want to is a good day to do just that!  While I'm at it, I think I will

Sieze the Day!!!!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Ready, Set...Let's Roll

Life begins to find a new normal...for now until the next change.  The only certainty of life....change!  With age, I seem to have lost some flexibility.  My right quad, left hip flexor, schedule, life plans....all have lost pliability.  Nothing like a new puppy......and a new year of trialing to roll everything out.

Zamora had 140 dogs for 78 spots...the Blue Grass has 13 first dogs on the wait list before the second dogs even get a look at running as handlers begin their annual pulls.  I have dreams for trialing, dreams that will need to be accompanied with, yes, flexibility.  Next weekend, the trial season begins for me and Bella at Heppner.  I'm thankful that Zamora will be the following weekend for both girls.  I signed up to go to the Blue Grass this year, time will tell if both girls get in to give the nod for the trip.  My entries are filled out and ready to send on opening dates, sealed with wishes and sent off hoping and praying that the draws are with me.

I'll dig deep and work at knowing that, when I let go and allow, life unfolds pretty darn miraculously!

Seize the Day!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Life Changes

Guess who just slipped out the doggie door and into the freedom of the back yard with all those she looks up to and wants to be like.....yep, Sis!  I've never had a border collie puppy that I did not have the mom of.   In other words, I had Gyp as a pup but I had her mama Nell and Auntie Bella to keep her occupied.  Both Bella and Nell loved Gyp and would play with her hours on end.  That and I had two high school boys that I could sweet talk into a little Gyp play.

Flash forward four years and here I am with a little pup that none of the dogs will play with and my boys have grown up and flown the coup.  Sis snuggled with Jack Russell, Ruby last night and both Ruby and my other JRT Ticket walk in the back yard showing Sis life, but no playing. I'm Sis' only playmate at the time, well, me and hubby.  I remember asking a mentor friend, "How do you raise a puppy?" as I stumbled along with Gyp.  He told me to make sure I taught them to learn.  The doggie door is just one in the many learning experiences Miss Sis is going through.

I've had this pup over a week now and my life is starting to find a new rhythm.  I remind myself that Sis won't be a puppy for long and I don't get new puppies very often.  Sis is a good reminder to not wish away the day looking forward to what comes with age and maturity.  When I had babies, I would say, "Oh I can't wait for them to sit-up"...then it was crawl.  A very good friend, that was just a little further down the road of life, told me to not wish away the day.  Each stage of childrearing comes with its good and bad.  As we look forward, it is easy to only see the good and long for it.  Instead, enjoy the good of right now. And so life lessons seem to repeat, only this time in puppy form.

One of my goals for 2014 is to find better time management, focusing on the things in life that bring me joy and accomplishment while letting go of time wasters and time suckers.  I would have never thought a puppy would help me focus more on what's important to me, but that is exactly what she is doing.  And so, I write each page in this new journal of mine working on trust and relationship and understanding........

Seize the Day!!!!