Valentine’s Day however contrite and cheesy you may be, I do love you so! Taking a moment to recognize all who bring love in to my life is a day I will gladly get behind! I am a really blessed person because I have a few grand loves in my life. Actually more than a few. I don’t believe there is one and only one “love of my life” – because for me, life moves in so many directions and has so many facets, and has so many people and animals that enrich my life and fill my heart with many kinds of love. So on this Valentine’s day, I am going to share a few of my loves with you all.

Photos: Aullmyn Photography

Beginning with what is arguably one of the grandest loves of my life from the age of 9; my horses. Why and how can horses be a grand love, you might ask? The answer is simple really. They feel, interact, connect and communicate in ways that are incredible. And my horses are my partners in the ring, my guardians and trusted teammates. We communicate constantly while never using words, yet we never run out of conversation. My Serafina snuggles me when I am sad, my Mo has taken care of me when I was so nervous I could barely breathe and my Cassius is your basic knight in shining armor. My Reese, my Kenya, my Ramon, and my Azteca are also forever my loves and I could not imagine my journey through life without them. The love shared in these relationships is unconditional, reciprocated and really special.

Photos: first:David Turner Photo, last: Soda Fountain Photography

Another grand love in my life is the one that I share with my husband. And here is what I can say – marriage is not always the easiest thing. It takes some work, just like everything we build in life. It requires care and attention and effort and my husband puts those ingredients into our relationship every day. Three years in, and I still love hearing what he has to say, and experiencing all that he brings to my life. From romance to laughter, and from organization to insight he is a trusted friend, companion, partner, lover and supporter. Additionally, he is my family. And I am truly grateful for all of that. He holds me up on those days when I feel a little weary and that is not an easy job. He respects my space and tries so hard to see where I am coming from. I think we are both very grateful to be creating a marriage we are really proud to be a part of, and really happy to be a part of.

Photos: Collin Pierson Photography

My parents obviously get a mention here because they are one of the most epic loves one could ever experience in a lifetime. They are the biggest support, most all encompassing providers of love, laughter, lessons, safety, and the occasionally needed reality check. My life would not exist without them, in the sense that I have no idea where I would be had they not decided that adoption was right for them. See for me, their choice to love me, to bring me in to their lives and give me my life is the single most profound thing, and act of love that has ever happened to me. I am forty years old and still working on letting the enormity of that sink in. In the meantime, I tell them I love them every day, and I show up for them every day the same way they show up for me.

The most amazing thing is that I could write at least 5 more paragraphs on the grand loves in my life. From my grandfather Gene to the city of Florence. From my best friend, soul sister and fellow equestrian Caitlyn Shiels to all the friends in my circle that give my life dimension, laughter, protection, and truly unconditional love, I am so so fortunate. Which is why for me, this Holiday is not about gifts or chocolate but instead, an excuse to sit back and celebrate all the love in my life. A reason to express my gratitude, and to remember always to try to pay that love forward by putting it back in to the world. I will start right here and now, by wishing you a day full of love, and a life full of love. Happy Valentine’s Day friends. 🌹😘❤️

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