As I spend time with my sister’s children, I find that they tend to ask almost rhetorical questions.  Yesterday my niece Katherine asked me if I would like to see her go horseback riding today.  Katie is 12 years old and has been riding horse for 5 years, amazing.

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This is my fourth Christmas in Tucson.  This year I feel more awake, more aware of opportunities; one of the benefits to being away from everything I know and love for so long.  I think in years past I was busy, somehow, when all I had traveled here to do is spend time with these kids and their parents.  

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Kate took me on a tour of the stables before she began the process of tacking her horse.  Of the 43 horses under care at Kate’s home arena, she knew the names of 38.  The beauty she was tasked to train on back of today is called Lulu.  While Kate was preparing her horse for riding, I walked around and became familiar with some of the felines who live at the ranch.  The most persistent and nosy of the species was Ariel; one of 5 black cats named after Disney cartoon characters.  

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If you could have seen my niece riding Lulu around the arena this morning, you would understand my pride.  All skill aside, Kate is a good listener and is very respectful.  She has a cheerful attitude, is eager to correct bad form, and is slow to become frustrated.  Kate brings Joy to the people around her. 

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