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Working with the Horses

Munchkin working with Phantom

Munchkin has really stepped up recently and started not only training her horse, Dixie, but also working with Phantom when Daddy or I can’t work with him. She’s always been great with Dixie, but seeing the transformation with Phantom has been fun to watch. She’s really playful with him which he loves as he’s an inquisitive and playful horse.

Dixie by Stall

Of course, there is one issue with Munchkin working with Phantom. Dixie gets a bit jealous that she’s not receiving all of Munchkin’s attention which means she tends to follow them all over the arena trying to get Munchkin’s attention.

Munchkin training Phantom

Now that Munchkin has been working with Phantom more, he also wants her attention and to be trained when she’s working with Dixie. It’s rather funny to watch him “pout” when she’s training Dixie. He truly loves to be worked and given challenges. Now, that doesn’t mean that he isn’t stubborn or that he doesn’t test you during training, but he does enjoy the process. He’s even started to lower his head when asked which is an amazing accomplishment in and of itself given his personality. ;)

Dixie's Eye

Both Phantom and Dixie have filled out nicely since we’ve brought them home. Their change in feed as well as their exercise and training has really helped with that. We’re looking forward to seeing how much more they fill out when we start riding them again. If all goes as planned, we’ll be starting their training with saddles on their backs soon.

Munchkin petting Phantom

It will be interesting to see how things go when we make that transition to saddles. They are both doing so much better with respect and listening, so it should be a more pleasant experience when we start with the in-the-saddle training. Because we aren’t training every day, the entire process is taking a bit longer, but we all think it’s going to be worth it in the end. Both horses have great personalities, so they are fun to be around.

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The Scenic Route: Joshua Tree National Park

S Curve Dirt Road

We were heading down the hill to get some groceries and see a movie, but we decided that we would take an off the beaten path route instead of the traditional highway route. We put on our hiking boots and brought our camelbaks “just in case”. Daddy did a quick check on his truck to make sure everything looked good, and we hit the road.

Rocky Hill

Our normal drive, while still pretty, takes us on paved roads and highways. This alternate route took us through Joshua Tree National Park and down some “4-wheel-drive-only” dirt roads.

Rock Pile

We drove a few popular climbing and hiking spots and kept going. If we weren’t on a semi-schedule, I’m sure we would have checked out these spots a little more, but while we weren’t on a tight deadline, we didn’t come out to really explore this time around. It was still fun to watch others bouldering, free climbing, and harness climbing.

Daddy in his Truck

Daddy wants to to back out sometime and do a little bouldering. ;) The free climbing seems way crazy to me.

Desert Road

At one point during our trip, we decided to pull off the dirt road and eat a picnic lunch. Because the area didn’t have anywhere to sit, we ended up eating in the truck with the windows open. It was beautiful weather – not too hot, not too cold with a nice breeze blowing.

Curve in the Road

I love these drives as it gives us an opportunity to talk without a bunch of distractions. The drive wasn’t nearly as crazy as we thought it might be based upon some things other people had told us. You definitely want 4-wheel-drive in certain areas, and you wouldn’t want to take a car down some parts of the road. That being said, it wasn’t anything crazy.

Dead Tree

Overall, this little scenic route was a nice drive that got us off the pavement and onto the dirt. :) We did discover towards the end of the route, nearer to our final destination that it wasn’t an area that you would want to drive at night which is good to know. ;)

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Book Review: Critical Condition by Richard Mabry

Critical Condition by Richard MabrySpecial thanks to Thomas Nelson for providing an advanced reader electronic copy of this to help facilitate the writing of this review.

Critical Condition Book Description:

Dr. Frasier couldn’t save the gunshot victim on her front lawn. Now she’s fighting for her own life.

It began as a quiet dinner party honoring Dr. Shannon Frasier’s colleague, but became a nightmare when a man was shot on her lawn, reviving emotions from a similar episode a decade ago. Then a midnight call from her sister, Megan, causes Shannon to fear that her sister is on drugs again.

Her “almost-fiancĂ©” Dr. Mark Gilbert’s support only adds to Shannon’s feelings of guilt, since she can’t bring herself to fully commit to him. She turns for help to her pastor-father, only to learn that he’s just been diagnosed with leukemia.

Shannon thought it couldn’t get any worse. Then the late-night, threatening phone calls begin, the rough voice asking, “What did he say before he died?”

With everything around her in a critical state, simply staying alive will require all the resources and focus Shannon has.

Richard MabryAbout the Author:

A retired physician, Dr. Richard Mabry is the author of four critically acclaimed novels of medical suspense. His previous works have been finalists for the Carol Award and Romantic Times Reader’s Choice Award, and have won the Selah Award. He is a past Vice-President of American Christian Fiction Writers and a member of the International Thriller Writers. He and his wife live in North Texas.

Book Details:

Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (April 15, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1401687407
ISBN-13: 978-1401687403
Retail Price: $15.99
Electronic versions also available

My Thoughts:

Richard Mabry has written another wonderful medical suspense novel that grabs your attention from the first page and never lets go. Once again, I found myself not wanting to put down the book as each chapter seemed to bring in some twist to the story.

As in the previous books (Heart Failure and Stress Test), Mabry does an excellent job taking his personal knowledge of medicine and weaving it expertly in the books in a manner that allows the reader to understand what is happening while not making to over-the-top or fake. This knowledge adds an authenticity to the story.

The main characters who draw on their faith are at different places in their walk with the Lord, and they are facing demons from the past. Their lives aren’t perfect nor are the people around them. They have genuine responses to the craziness in their lives. In other words, this story reads more like real life rather than a neat little novel which means readers will find the characters in the story genuine and believable.

If you like Christian suspense novels, I recommend adding this book to your “to read” list.

Disclosure Statement

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier Coloring and Activity Pages

Captain America: The Winter Soldier Movie Poster

Captain America: The Winter Soldier comes out in theaters across the country today, Friday, April 4, 2014. Our family really enjoyed the first Captain America, and we’re looking forward to seeing this second installment. While we had the opportunity to see a sneak peak of the movie on base, we ended up not seeing it due to it only being in 3D which doesn’t work so well for either Munchkin or D. We’re waiting to see if D’s schedule will allow us to go see the movie this weekend.

In honor of the theater release, I’m happy to share these Captain America coloring page and activity page packets. Just click on the images below to download the two different packets. Enjoy!

Captain America The Winter Soldier Activity Pages

Captain America The Winter Soldier Coloring Pages

Coloring and activity pages provided by Marvel Studios.

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Phantom’s Training: Backing Up and Yielding Forequarters

Hanging Out with Dixie

We were thrilled to have Daddy home with us a couple of weeks ago which meant that we not only tackled a few projects that needed to get done, but we also put some good time into training the horses. On Sunday, Daddy and Munchkin worked with getting the horses comfortable with going in and out of the horse trailer as they had an appointment with the vet on Monday night. Thankfully, the prep work ahead of time worked out as they both did well not only loading and unloading but also with getting their blood drawn for their Coggins testing.

Phantom Running

Phantom had to get back into the habit of listening after a little time off which meant a little running needed to be done. I love watching D work him. He quickly picked up on the backing up, but he’s still not a fan of the yielding the forequarters.

Phantom Training 1 Phantom Training 2 Phantom Training 3 Phantom Training 4 Phantom Training 5

Dixie, being the head-strong Arabian that she is, didn’t want to back up or yield the forequarters, but Munchkin kept at it until she made some headway with her. With several days of training on the same techniques, she started to get better. I’m proud of how Munchkin is sticking to the training even when it gets frustrating. We know this groundwork will make a huge difference when it comes time to start riding again.

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