Friday, May 22, 2015

A Time to Remember

God has a way of showing us lessons that we did not anticipate learning.  The past year or so has been a time to remember but a time to let go.  As we traveled the journey that would take us into the valley I found my faith being tested on a daily basis.  Loss was going to be our friend for many months.  The loss of our beautiful horses, dog and cat was throwing me into a state of deep grief.  Brain fog was my friend.  I was sad, angry, happy and I felt alone.   Alas, God was going to be my best friend and each and every day I would turn to him and say what is the lesson?  Do I need to quit?  What are you telling me God?  Psalms 23 came to mind a lot.  Even when I walk through the dark valley of death, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.  Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.  That would be my friend for days, weeks and months to come
It was a time to pull out all the blessings so that grief and sadness did not overtake me.  I was so blessed.  After all I had God as my best friend.  So many beautiful memories of Blue, Bo, Sonny, Snickers, Shadow, Kiley and Buddy, they touched hundreds of lives with their special personalities.  Their unconditional love changed lives including mine.  I am so honored and blessed to have known each one of these beautiful animals.  A time to remember:  I had a wonderful husband that supported me through the struggles.  I was not going to give up and he stood by me.  I am blessed to have a beautiful Grandson that kept telling me Grandma it is ok the angels took them and they are with Jesus now just like in the book “Heaven is for Real”.  I am blessed to have a new beautiful storage building.  I am blessed with a roof and food and time for reflection at Clear Lake.  Blessings with a beautiful friend in my coaches that are still teaching me the lessons I was to learn.  I have so much to be thankful for, the beauty of nature, the beauty of animals, the wonderful support system and yes my God.  I would not have gotten through this and put one step in front of the other without my faith. 
A time to remember: My beautiful friends are now at peace and I miss them deeply. I also know that God gives us a short time with them and we loved them, cared for them and enjoyed and cherished the wonderful times with them.

Ladies and Gentlemen remember the beautiful memories, cherish each and every day and feel blessed that we are honored to have a beautiful time to remember.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Learning lessons from Vacation

I love, did I say love my winter vacations in Clear Lake, Iowa.  Yes, I know why don't I go south.  I have experienced blessings from the peace and serenity of the lake since I was 3 years old.  Each year our family would take a week's vacation, it was always in Clear Lake.  I learned to love the lake.  Clear Lake for me is a silent, peaceful, quiet time.  I can gather my thoughts and reflect on the time and cherish the beautiful sunrises and sunsets.  I can spend time with my grandson and enjoy the time of swimming, sledding, reading, cooking, shopping and Cabin Coffee.  We can enjoy and share stories with the people and enjoy the uniqueness of a small town. 

Christmas at the Lake has become a tradition for a number of years.  I can enjoy the people and support the stores in Clear Lake as I Christmas shop for my family.  I bought my mother a memorial stone and it is placed in front of Larson's as it was one of her favorite stores.  Interestingly enough each year there are always flowers sitting on or near the stone.  Flowers were her favorite. 

Now to lessons and learning.  I was blessed this year with some wonderful time alone.  I spent each morning with God and watching Joyce Meyer and others.  I learned about myself.  I always hated being alone but this year was different.  I did not mind the time to peacefully reflect.  I actually found it refreshing. 

I believe in the storms of life I have drawn closer to God and find myself craving for more of him.  He is always there and wants joy and peace for us.  I found myself one evening struggling with some issues and felt the arms of Jesus wrapping around me.  I am here to comfort you and it will be ok.  What a peaceful feeling! I also reflected on how God has shown me that I am no longer able to follow this dream and journey alone.  I need to seek solace in him and then surround myself with people that want to follow this journey.  I found the need to find peace in being alone for short periods of time.  It is when I am alone that I can breathe, reflect and become more aware of where I am in this journey.  Many lessons learned in my time with the lake, people and solitude.

More lessons are to become more aware of my words.  Follow my dream.  Always remain positive no matter the challenge.  Control my emotions.  Be kind and loving.  Remember to be in fervent prayer and study each morning.   I am me and no one can change me but myself.  I am ok and beautiful in the eye's of the Lord.  I do not have to please everyone all the time.  I have the right to live my life according to God's will no matter what everyone else thinks. 

My plan is to accept me and forgive and loose the bondage.  I have been hurt and I have hurt others but it is a new start for a new year and I will do the best to be the best I can be.   That is all that is expected of us.  Welcome to 2015!   God will truly bless our lives.  

Tuesday, January 6, 2015


The smiles, laughter, giving gifts are all at the back of our minds as we celebrate 2015.  Christmas has come and gone as we celebrated the birth of Jesus.  Life is different for some during this time of year.  Some live under anxiety due to expectations.  We rush for gifts, we rush for meals, we rush to get somewhere to spend time with family.  As 2014 draws to a close, Christmas and New Years were different for us at ASPIRE and our family.  Grief is close as we have lost some of our precious animals due to health issues.  They are now running free and enjoying their life without pain.  God is always there in the midst of our grief and storms. Fear not for I am with you always.  Hard lessons have been learned.  God has provided challenges, storms and hardships this year.  Out of the storms come life lessons about care and concern for others.  Blessings are abound amidst this time.  A new building, new people, new horses, new puppy and lots of faithful times. 


He taught us about loyalty, unconditional love, devotion and intuitiveness of people.  He taught us there are times we need our own space-sleep time and time to love.  He taught us that life can strike us with pain but the loyalty and love for others makes us strive through the pain.  God provided us with a beautiful dog that was rescued from puppy mill.  He lived his 14 years of life through loving thousands and yet his loyalty lied with his family.  Cherished memories and love beyond measure.  Thank you Lord for giving us 14 years with this beautiful dog with a loving soul.


Sonny lived for 32 years.  Stoic and beautiful the entire time.  You would never now he was 32.  He pushed past the pain to protect his girlfriend and herd mates.  He lived 16 of those years with ASPIRE.  Lessons learned from this beautiful copper colored Quarter horse included, gentle leadership, calming the herd, always the protector of his herd and people.  He loved his job and he would stand for hours being groomed and loved.  Even when the pain became worse he was still protecting his herd.   He would get in the way to protect a human from harm.  Sonny never liked wind, rain, ice, snow and extremely hot days.   He enjoyed his time with the mares.  He was always there to understand.  When life got me down and I had no where to turn I would walk to the barn and wrap my arms around him and he would lay his head on my shoulder and we would talk and I would cry and we would talk some more.  He was my rock and protector.  He gave me the strength to carry on. God was certainly in the midst of this relationship.  Sonny taught me so many things about life and now I will look for his whinny to tell it will be ok Marilyn. Life is hard some days but I am watching over you.  Sonny was the picture of what a relationship should be with his undying love for Erika.  Life will never be the same without him.  The herd will never be the same without him.  Go in peace my friend and run free.  Thank you Lord for giving me 16 years with this beautiful horse.


Mister Bo Jangles what a story.  Bo was 33 years old and dealing with multiple health issues.  When we lost Blue, Bo went into severe depression.  Bo was the picture of peace.  He loved to run in the pasture with his mane flowing and tail flying.  He loved to play with Blue.  Bo had a introverted side and was sometimes hard to catch.  Because of his hardships and abuse before he came to ASPIRE he helped many people overcome obstacles that were not possible because of his love for people and our love to him.  Bo had a great life here at ASPIRE and he was loved unconditionally.  He loved to have attention and groomed.  Shiny black coat with a beautiful flowing mane.  He is running free with Blue now.  Mister Bo Jangles  I will never forget you and you will be in my heart forever.  Go in peace my friend.  Thank you Lord for giving me so many years to love Bo.  Take good care of my friend.

Friends God has been in the midst all along it is just us humans that can't see the light sometimes.  He will provide us the comfort and strength we need to muster the storm and we will come out better when the storm passes.   2015 will be a great year.  Stay tuned for my vacation blog.

Sunday, December 14, 2014


I'm Still Here

Friend, please don't mourn for me.
I'm still here, though you don't see.
I'm right by your side each night and day
and within your heart I long to stay.

My body is gone but I'm always near.
I'm everything you feel, see or hear.
My spirit is free, but I'll never depart
as long as you keep me alive in your heart.

I'll never wander out of your sight
I'm the brightest star on a summer night
I'll never be  beyond your reach
I'm the warm moist sand when you're at the beach.

I'm the colorful leaves when fall comes around
and the pure white snow that blankets the ground
I'm the beautiful flowers of which you're so fond.
The clear cool water in a quiet pond

I'm the first bright blossom you'll see in the spring
The first warm raindrop that April will bring.
I'm the first ray of light when the sun starts to shine,
and you'll see that the face in the moon is mine.

When you start thinking there's no one to love you
you can talk to me through the Lord above you.
I'll whisper my answer through the leaves on the trees,
and you'll feel my presence in the soft summer breeze.

I'm the hot salty tears that flow when you weep
and the beautiful dreams that come while you sleep.
I'm the smile you see on a baby's face.
Just look for me, friend, I'm everyplace.

Author Unknown

Thanks for being a part of our lives and show us so many lessons and teaching us about love.  I will miss all of you so much.  Go in peace my friends and you will forever be in my heart.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Tribute to the beautiful Blue Bayou!

Dear Blue,

My sweet Blue Bayou.  Your beautiful  white mane and colorful long tail will forever stand out in my memory.  Your tickling mustache and the flowing feathers were so much a part of your personality.  No horse will ever replace you.   You were the horse of every girl’s dream.  You were the breeze blowing on our backs as you ran and played in the pasture with Buddy.  You were the essence of beauty as you carried the little children on your back.  You were the character with your playful personality that everyone dreams of displaying in their own life.  God definitely has better plans for you.  I will miss you so much.   My heart aches as I write these words.  So soon, so young, so fast you have left our sides.  Blue Bayou, I remember the beautiful day that you arrived.  A gorgeous fall day, as you stepped off of the trailer in all your beauty.  You knew you were beautiful.   I was overwhelmed and honored to receive you as part of ASPIRE’S program.  I was filled with gratitude and blessings.  It was an honor to watch you grow and develop into the beauty you had become.   You touched so many lives , made so many differences and you touched many lives far and wide.  You were awed by so many all around the community and US.  You were famous my friend.   You were famous in ASPIRE’S eyes.  You were at the right destination at the right time.  You were meant to be a part of ASPIRE.  Blue I won’t forget the time you walked up the ramp and then we had to decide how to get you down.  I remember your playfulness as you and Buddy played in the pasture.  I remember how free you looked as you ran like the breeze in your beautiful pasture and new loafing shed.  You were able to run free all day and night with your new shed.  You were so happy.   You mellowed as you took your turn with the older horses.  Everyone loved you Blue.   As we traveled to Ames to say goodbye, nigh did I know I would be saying goodbye in the car.  I sat and closed my eyes and watch you ascend and said goodbye to a very dear friend. Go now in peace my friend and know how much you were loved and the impact you had on so many lives.  Till we meet again my beautiful Blue Bayou!

                By the edge of the woods, at the foot of a hill, is a lush green meadow where time stands still, where the friends of man and woman do run, when their time on earth is over and done.

                For here, between this world and the next, is a place where beloved creatures find rest.  On this golden land, they wait and they play, til the Rainbow Bridge they cross one day.

                No more do they suffer, in pain or in sadness, for here they are whole, their lives filled with gladness.  Their limbs restored, their health renewed.  Their bodies have healed with strength imbued.

                They trot through the grass without even a care, til one day they whinny and sniff at the air.  All ears prick forward, eyes sharp and alert.  Then all of a sudden, one breaks from the herd.

                For just at that second, there’s no room for remorse.  As they see each other, one person, one horse.  So they run to each other, these friends from long past the time of their parting is over at last.

                The sadness they felt while they were apart had turned to joy once more in each heart.  They nuzzle with a love that will last forever.  Than then side-by-side they cross over together.





Monday, March 31, 2014

Percherons and Fear

Percherons and Fear!!!!  This is my story!  Watch for God and the metaphors in my story!

It was a cold and rainy Thursday!  Kameron(grandson) came to stay with me on that day.   It was a day for the doctor.  Kameron got his physical.  School shots, oh no, here comes the needles.  Yes, needles, 3 of them big scary needles.  I had a discussion with him, they are just pricks and there is really nothing to worry about.  He lays on the table and I say don't LOOK!  It won't hurt as much.   Hold his hand a few TEARS!  Bandaids, sticker, sucker and pencil, hooray we are done. 
Arrived at Waverly Horse Sale for lunch and then talked with the clinician.  He was from Wyoming and he told us what his plans were for the fundraiser he was doing early evening.  We arrived a 12:30.  He decides to announce to the audience that Kameron will sit on this horse he is going to be working.   Oops there goes the heart!  You are going to do what, I am thinking as my heart starts racing.  I don't feel well about this situation.   Off to see the horse he will be working with.   We had to pass by some large and I mean large Percherons to get to the stall.  Kameron walks in with this man and I am right behind.  He pets the horse for a minute and turns around to look for me and TEARS are rolling out of his eyes.   Then we have to get back to the sale ring so we have to pass the big Percherons again.  Big White scary Percherons.  Yep I am lucky I didn't have a heart attack!  But you see God had a plan and little did I know how he was going to set this up.  Fear is overtaking my mind.  But I did not want Kameron to know I was fearful.   I wanted him to be ok. big White Percherons.   He sat on her lap and was still sitting there when I came out of the bathroom.  She said, "I told him not to be afraid they are just gentle giants and they will not hurt you!   Watching the metaphor.  The big things are not to be feared as God is there catching our back.   I'm thinking this is going to be a long day but again never show that to Kameron just go with the flow.  He watched the sale and said "Grandma there are Benny horses and Erika horses".  He was right.  4 years old pretty smart.   He befriended a senior sitting next to us and then some Amish.  Kameron loves the Amish.  He said in the sale ring,"Look Grandma there are so many Amish."  Yes Kameron I say, "They use them for working with so they buy and sell them here at the sale".   5:00 p.m. arrives and the clinician begins his training but there is still some fear from Kameron so his mom comes with his helmet.  Yes,  I will not let me near that horse without a helmet.  Then along comes the lady again and Kameron sits again on her lap.  Pretty soon he turns to me and says I want to sit on that horse.  In the mean time they have collected money for ASPIRE.  The clinician really talks it up.  Kameron gets on when the clinician is all done.  Kameron believes it is not the same horse he seen earlier but she was a good horse.  Really calm and settled.  Kameron rides and gets off and the clinician takes his helmet and turns it upside down and tells him to go get more donations and if they tell you no he wants to here about it.   Told them thank you and left to go talk to the people with the money.  Yes folks $2,387 later we left and went to Pizza Ranch to eat.  Kameron was a proud little boy!
God really had this one all planned out because our fears are unnecessary and we can overcome and anything is possible.  Lots of God and metaphors!  Let's see what you get from the story.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Love Hurts, Love Flows

I had a Pastor many years ago that told me, "If you never take the risk to love, you will never know what you missed, Love hurts but it is worth the risk."

Love hurts!!!  As I think about the 2013 year there are so many times across the year and even now that Love hurts.   Situations, relationships, scary hurts, health problems, family issues.  Love hurts!!!

If I put up a wall and never let the love sink in and follow my heart I will never have had the awesome power of loving someone or something with everything I have in my heart.   Love flows!

Life deals us roses and thorns and sometimes the thorns are pretty hurtful!   God said the greatest of these is love!  What do we do when love hurts?  How do we muster the strength to get through the storm so that love flows again? 

I have grown in my relationship with God and learned so much about my spiritual being and allowed myself to be vulnerable and feel the joy, laughter, peace but in the midst of that I was dealt a heavy blow and it took the wind out of my sails.  Now I need to pick up the pieces and learn to love again only in a different way.  I need to accept the things I cannot change and courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.  This is a hard one for me and I have to pray alot about this.  You see I am a very giving person and sometimes to the point of forgetting myself and who I am.  I tend to allow individuals take my individuality away!  Then Love hurts!

So now the journey begins to find me!  Love flows and flows like a river!  God will be there to catch my back and there will be individuals along this journey that will catch my back as well.   Love flows!

My wish for you is that although Love hurts let Love flow as the benefits surely outweigh the alternative.  I wish you enough peace, joy, laughter and love to get through life's storms.