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.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

New Year

Christmas will soon be over and a new year will begin!  Time has flown by with many ups and downs.

I hope that all of you have a blessed Christmas!  Celebrate the birth of Christ!  Enjoy your families and friends! 

Most of all during this Christmas season remember it lasts all year long!   We need to remember the joy, laughter, fun and excitement all year long!  Remember our life here on earth is just a moment! So love,give back, enjoy random acts of kindness, remember our seniors(many of us are there already).  Christmas is a time of giving.

Laugh, sing in the rain, sit a moment, reflect, embrace life, be sad when you need to but remember that God's gift was eternal life for all things on earth!  Christmas is living in the moment and bringing new memories to the day and year ahead!  Christmas is about relationships not stuff!   Make the most of this holiday season and spend it with the people that you love and create positive memories.  A no stress season!

As I look at the New Year I need to reflect on the old!   Ups and downs but some exciting times as well.  Thank you to Black Hawk Gaming Commission, Theisens, Iowa Horse Council, Junior League and CUNA Mutual for our latest grants.

ASPIRE has served 1,331 individuals this year and yes with grace, fun, laughter and new learning in a natural and peaceful environment. 

The New Year will bring lots of new ups and downs!  New people, new clients, new grants, new volunteers, new donors, new board members, new staff and lots more fun, laughter, and learning out here on our beautiful farm with beautiful animals. 

So just a word of thanks to everyone for everything you have done and made this year possible with all the ups and downs.   I hope your New Year brings lots of joy, laughter and health to you and yours.

Blessings abound
Marilyn Moore

Friday, November 22, 2013

Chrstmas by the Lake 2013

Hello everyone my name is Erika! I am a beautiful Norwegian Fjord owned by Marilyn Moore. The journey is long and love is abound! My journey begins last Christmas when my owner Marilyn and her family go to Clear Lake for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. She tells me it was a beautiful time with sunsets, snowmobiling, swimming with Kameron and lady friends, watching deer out the window (I think looking at me is better than some old deer), eating, eating, and being sick. She enjoyed the carriage ride, trolley ride, Christmas Parade, Polar Bear Dip, buying cookies, seeing Santa with Kameron and just hanging out watching the sunset. Oh did I mention that she was sick with flu a lot up there. Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years were certainly celebrated differently with lots of weird happenings in the house they rented.
Home to lots of snow and I mean lots of snow. Seems like they were snow blowing with ASPIRE’S new snow blower all the time so we could get out in the pasture. Did I mention there was lots of snow. Winter came and went with as I said illness, memories and challenges. Marilyn (my owner) has a strong faith and love for everyone (well most of the time) and believes that everything happens for a reason and there is a lesson to be learned. Slow down, relax and enjoy the moment just like us horses do!
Spring came with lots of rain! Rain and Rain! Marilyn said there was water in the basement to clean up and then they had to cancel a lot of ASPIRE classes. Our pastures were growing but lots of mud. ASPIRE ordered some new loafing sheds. Marilyn said she was excited to get them but alas they would have wait for awhile as the weather put everyone behind. I heard Don had a hard time planting his crops. I was happy not to have all that machinery around.
Marilyn said they had a great time at the Spring fundraiser in May and raised lots of money!
Summer came and the weather straightened out but then we had new horses coming in and Kiley had a sore leg so our new horses included Topper, LC and Moose. All of us here at ASPIRE got some breaks so we did not have to work so hard. Those darn fly’s were bad this year and all I did was itch and itch. It was a summer to be remembered. Children ,volunteers and people coming to ride, pet, groom and observe. I love all the attention. It was time for Cowboy Breakfast with lots of good stuff to eat and then Camp Hope. I was at the Cattle Congress grounds with all the campers riding me. Life was good. I had some lotion and fly spray to keep the itching a little less irritating. Cindy and Sara take such good care of all of us. What a great year it is turning out to be. Marilyn’s grandson Kameron comes down sometimes and helps feed us and clean after us. Oh by the way Bobbi and her team keep our stalls so clean.
Fall is here and Sara is called to the barn. I had a bad ouchy. My face was all funny. I had a droopy ear, my eye would not blink and my mouth drooped darn and there seemed to be some kind of abscess in my mouth. Dr. Samson was stumped as to what happened but treated the ouchy in my mouth and kept my eye wet. Well Sara was diligently taking care of it but alas I rubbed my eye and it ulcerated. Marilyn was really worried. She was scared to death. She just didn’t show it! Thanks to Dr. Kelly Sampson for all the great work but off to Iowa State and a stay. Darn it my boyfriend Sonny is upset at home because I had to be gone for days. I was diagnosed with THO and don’t ask me what that means but I have to be careful how far I open my mouth for the rest of my life!!!! Now that is going to be interesting! Now I look like a pirate and they had to put drops in a lot. They were always pestering me. I even got to go to Sara’s house for the weekend. That was fun. I am still a pirate but getting better. The doctors and caretakers at Iowa State were wonderful! They helped me and eased Sara and Marilyn’s minds. Don is harvesting. It is going slow and all those darn machines are out again. Classes are done and I only got to see hmm well kind of see the Tuesday night group.
I don’t see much of Marilyn’s family except Kameron, Christine, and Craig. I hear that Justin is graduating, Autumn and Briana are growing into nice young ladies. I miss all the kids and I think Marilyn misses them as well.
Well it is time to close for another year! Yep I did not get to go to The Night of the Horse this year but I heard it went well and Topper and Pixie did a great job.
Marilyn’s faith, strength and love for all humans and animals shines through during these challenging times. She tells me she feels very blessed to be part of this year’s journey and has found blessings and lessons in every turn in the road. The path was dark at times but her love endured and she just kept on following God’s path and the stabling factor was not only her love for God but the animals and her coworkers. Marilyn says that without Sara she would not have gotten through the rough roads as smoothly.
I am feeling better and so are the rest of the animals. Cats are doing well, rabbits are hanging out with all the kids as much as I can see of them with my pirates mask. I hear Snickers is doing ok and Shadow is as feisty as ever. I wish all of you a very Blessed Christmas and Happy New Year. I hope to see all of you out of both eyes soon!
Love from all my animal friends, Sonny, Bo, Blue, Benny, Buddy, Kiley,Moose, LC, Topper, Ginger, Maverick, Pixie, Cody, me(Erika) and my small furry friends, Snappy, Sassy, Misty, Mouse and friends I lost this year Penny and Patches and of course our little bunnies! Oops can’t forget Snickers and Shadow!
Lot of love from our human side: Don, Marilyn, Sara, Cindy and Bobbi!
Thank you all for the beautiful blessings and following our journey