I always find it hard to believe it when the holidays actually arrive…

The year seems to go along at a normal pace, moving from one event to the next, from the bleak Chicago winter, to the new promise that comes with spring, to summer, from weekends of weddings and horseshows…and then, slowly, the lazy heat and long days of summer give way to the crisp days and falling leaves of autumn, and just like THAT – in a flash, before I know it, everything just seems to blur together and  BOOM – it is winter again, and the holidays are upon us….as a child I could not WAIT for the holidays…I was so blessed to have wonderful family and magical moments full of the wonder of santa and presents and love.

The older I become the easier it has been to lose sight of that magical happiness and instead, focus on the stress that comes with the holidays – making sure everyone gets holiday cards, getting the right gift for everyone on the list, attending holiday parties, throwing holiday parties, working holiday parties….fighting colds, traffic, crowds and an overall sense of tension in the days leading up to christmas…The week between Christmas and New Year’s to me was always one of the more delightful weeks of the entire year…people are so celebratory as they enjoy the delightful haze from delicious meals, warm wishes, and wonderful presents….there is always such happiness….Yet, this year I was just happy to MAKE it to the week between Christmas and New Year’s and still things have not slowed for a minute!

Seems to me that I got so caught up in the stress of running a business, dealing with the holidays, learning about a new horse and a whole mess of other nonsense this year, that I actually have not sat back and thought WOW…what a great year so FULL of blessings…I am here, working, riding, with food on my table and a roof over my head – WHAT am I so stressed for? So, I thought to myself, RIGHT NOW would be the time to sit back and reflect on what I am grateful for this year, and to remind myself that the holidays are a time to REMEMBER the blessings that have come our way throughout the year, not just what presents are under the tree or what items loom on my “to-do” list.

So, I sat down with hot chocolate (in true holiday spirit), and began to write. Once I began thinking about everything that I am truly grateful for, my whole mood changed…I thought of the vendors who have become great friends, my dear friends who have become clients, colleagues that have become great mentors, all of the amazing fellow riders who have become like family…my good fortune to continue to enjoy old friends and most of all – to be blessed with the never ending support and love of the two most fabulous parents a girl could hope for…all of whom have celebrated my successes and kept me laughing through the not so successful times. In fact, earlier today I was fortunate enough to be reminded of how priceless that support can be, especially when I become so caught up in myself that I am not so gracious about accepting it…But, I arrived home, and inspired by the words of someone much wiser then me, started writing, and as the list just kept growing longer and longer,  I became more and more joyful and I realized – THAT was missing thus far this holiday…JOY!

Of Course, it isn’t always easy or simple. And it isn’t always fun either. There have certainly been some bumps along the road, falls off the horse, challenges along the way, and growing pains to get through, but to get to do all of the things that I love, and to be allowed the privilege of pursuing my passions, while never ceasing to learn new things about myself and my company have ultimately only enriched the journey of this last year…

Simply stated, there have been such great moments with so many delightful people this year and I so grateful for all of it…but, what I LOVE more then anything is waking up every day with the opportunity to turn somebody’s dream into a reality for their wedding or event. THAT is why I do what I do…. to tell your story, and to be a part of a most memorable day for you and your loved ones through the creation of a beautiful event is what I am MOST grateful for every day.

My grandfather always said that “the harder he worked, the luckier he got” and although it has been about 20 years since he has passed away, his words ring more true now then ever. I happen to LOVE when one facet of my life crosses over into another to teach me a lesson I thought I had already learned, in a whole new light…I believe we have something to take from every experience in life, which is what makes life, and riding and creating events so interesting…all of it requires practice, the willingness to fail, and the courage to (literally!) get back on the horse…WHAT is better then that!? I thought along with the writing I would share some of my favorite images from this year of the people and animals that are my joy every day…

And, as we draw near the end of 2010, I would like to raise my glass to each of you and wish you and yours a blessed new year full of light, wisdom, happiness, good health and of course FABULOUS EVENTS!!


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