Saturday, November 14, 2015


Joy fills the morning light.  What does that mean?  What is my story?   How do I begin?

As the dew falls on the grass, yes by this time of year a little frost, I sit in the dark and wait for the morning light.  The beautiful sunrise falls on my back.  I think about the Joy of the morning light.  God has created the seasons and fall has some beautiful sunrises and sunsets.  As the light begins to flow through the window I wonder what the day will bring.  Our attitude and our heart will determine if we wake with joy in the morning.

Joy and gratitude are words, but are they really feelings? I feel joy when I watch a rider smile and laugh as he/she is astride one of our beautiful horses.  I feel joy when a donor calls and asks for my story and there amidst the story is the gratitude for all that ASPIRE delivers to our riders and participants.  I feel joy as Cody and Pixie visit the seniors and they open their hearts to enjoy a moment with these little horses.  I am grateful for the beauty that all of our horses possess and the joy they bring out in all of us.

ASPIRE has completed its 16th year of service to the Cedar Valley.  This year we will have served more than 1,400 individuals.  Gratitude and joy for the hard work to make this possible.  Gratitude and joy as I watch our new horses slide into the new way of life.  Gratitude and joy as I watch some of our riders grow up and become volunteers.  Gratitude and Joy as I watch them tell their story of their experiences.  Gratitude to the wonderful volunteers as they come and dedicate their time to make a difference.  Gratitude to our wonderful parents as they watch their children sit astride a large animal.  Gratitude and Joy to all of the community for their support. Groups that help us from time to time or support in the form of financial donations.

Joy fills the morning light as I think about my week in Cleveland and National Conference and the wonderful people and workshops.  Watching and feeling the true passion, inspiration and sacrifices that everyone of these people work to make a difference.

Joy fills the morning light as I am blessed with a wonderful God that has my back.  I am blessed with beautiful grandchildren.  I am blessed with a wonderful board.  I am blessed with beautiful horses that enjoy giving back.  I am blessed with wonderful riders and parents.  I am blessed with a wonderful community that continues to support ASPIRE.  I am blessed with a God and his solid foundation that will see us through the challenges of life.  I am blessed beyond measure to have a beautiful place to capture the moments of beauty in sunrises, sunsets, deer running, horses running, cats looking for their daily pets, a dog that tests me with lots of energy.

Joy fills the morning light and it fills our cups with love, passion, compassion and lots of thinking and desiring for the next step to move forward and see what an amazing year 2016 brings to our lives and all that will encompass.  Someone once said that the hardships or challenges we go through is God's way of opening new doors for a new season, new changes, new light.

Rest assured that 2016 will be an amazing year and the joy will fill the morning light.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Journey of Grief

As I walk through this journey called grief there are days that bring me to tears, days of anger, days of depression and days of joy at the thrill of memories so precious.

I wake hopeful each morning, but someone told me that the loss of so many so quickly would throw me into intense grief.  I did not believe that one could experience such depth.  I have dealt with multitudes of losses.  I thought I had this covered and life would go on just like it always has done.

Well alas, I stuffed it and moved on.  Little did I know that it would come back to get me harder than it did when I experienced the loss.   I was told there would be joy, memories, depression (oh my), anxiety(oh my) anger(yes) and acceptance.  All of these will come in waves and there will be triggers that set each of these off and the best way is to just pass through it.  Experience each emotion each day and then pass through it.  God will make a way.

There are days I want each and every one back.  There are days I can't go down to the barn as it is a reminder of what life was like with each of the horses in the barn.  There are days I feel the quiet and silence of missing our dog and cat.  There are human losses during this time that I have been thinking about.  How do you cope?  What do you do?  I was told to take some time each day and pass through each emotion.   I sat down and wrote a couple of tributes to two of our amazing horses.  I truly miss them so much.

The pasture is green and there are leaves blowing in the breeze.  It is a warm day for fall.  I prepared my heart for a sad ending to this beautiful day.  We were to say goodbye to two beautiful horses and our old dog.

Lessons learned, life would never be the same without these two beautiful horses in our lives.

 Sonny  You were the copper that shined in the sun.  You were the one who carried the weight when others couldn’t bear the weight.  You were the one who gave us strength when our strength ran out.  You were the one that showed the dangers of ice, snow, thunder, lightning and rain. You were the one that taught us children are all the same and it is how you respond.  You taught us about spirituality, stubbornness, relationships, love, compassion, leadership, determination, fighting  for the love of your life, protecting your herd mates, role modeling for new horses, peacefulness, working hard with pain, giving up leadership for the sake of your loving partner, being willing to move different places as you wanted to be with your owner, showing unconditional love with everyone.  You were the rock and stability that held things together.  You were the one people could go to when life was a struggle.  You had a God given talent to understand and respond to people’s needs.   There will never be another horse like you and I thank God for giving us 16 years with you.  


Bo- You were the most beautiful black horse with flowing mane and tail.  You often had you tail trimmed as it got so long. g You came to us with lack of luster for life, but that would soon change as we showed you love and compassion.  You carried the children so well.  You were so calm and peaceful.  Nothing much bothered you.  You had so many sensitive feelings.  You and Sonny were wonderful together and you loved to play with Blue.  You were beautiful as you played in the pasture together. You were so happy.  The lives that you touched and changed were countless.  You were so depressed when Blue passed but little did we know that it was going to be your time soon.  Bo you taught so many children that even though life throws you a curve ball with lots of love and affection you could overcome most anything.  We will miss you and thank you God for giving us this gentle loving beautiful horse. 

God will make a way and life will continue with many blessings and memories..

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Inspire to Aspire

Inspire to Aspire!  What does that mean?  It has multitudes of meanings to so many different people.  I have been told I have a story telling gift.  I should write a book.  I should call it Inspire to Aspire.

As I have traveled this journey of life, there have been encounters of hurt, storms, challenges, love, inspiration, support, gratitude, blessings, miracles, magic, angels, and places where I am in awe of the beauty that is around me.  God has been my inspiration in life.  His guidance has brought me through the amazing journeys.

I believe that every child should be inspired to Aspire!  Someone in their life should inspire them to grow and develop into loving, healthy adults.

As I look back at the life I have inspired so many times but something got in the way of my inspirations.  I might of hurt someone's feelings and way to many times, I may have said some things that chased some people out of my life and for that I am sorry.  What I am not sorry for is to stand up for what I believe is right and safe and I say that because not everyone believes what I believe.  I have a strong faith but on the other side I have tremendous anxiety.  I fight those demons everyday.  I have fought panic attacks and anxiety that brings me to my knees.  I am a people pleaser, fixer and overly responsible person.  That makes it hard some days to generate energy to fill your cup.

I have hidden so many of those demons from others.  I find myself in a pit some days.  As I continue on this journey called life I want to be an inspiration to everyone yet it is not possible to inspire everyone that crosses your path.  Everyone's journey is different and everyone's demons are different. I can only do my best and some days that is hard.  Jesus died for our sins and I know that each day I wake up and ask for my sins to be forgiven that will be honored.  Not by any human being because they have choices, but I know Jesus will forgive.

I have chosen this career because I wanted to inspire children and adults that struggle in their life a chance to Aspire for more.  They don't have to struggle, they can be an inspiration to others at least for a moment in time.  I want to give my heart and soul to God to assist me to inspire others.  I fall short so many days, especially when the anxiety is high.  I love people, animals and especially children.  I love people that have to deal with life's storms.  I know those storms can be a place where our coping mechanism's just disappear.  In nature we can breath and relax and enjoy the beauty. Animals give us the ability to overcome fears and breath and enjoy their presence.  Combine nature, animals, and children and we can inspire to aspire.

ASPIRE is truly a gift from God!  I am so blessed to have touched so many lives!  I am living my dream and for that I am blessed and grateful for the chance to be on this journey even in the midst of storms.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Joys and Thrills of Summer


Wow!  Summer has come and gone so quickly.  Summer classes and outreach programs have come to an end for this year.  Flowers are showing us signs of fall in the air.  Leaves are falling from the trees.  It has been a very busy summer here at the farm.

Classes began in June with many children thrilled to begin riding their favorite horses.  By the way Sarge and Benny are the favorites.  Between the rain and heat we mastered classes and make up classes.  Riders were reaching way beyond their goals.  Excitement was beyond words.  All were enjoying their time on the horses.

Bremwood program showed us that there is hope beyond the realms any encounters we have in life.  Playing, working and learning with horses can be stimulating and refreshing.  It gives us a sense of peace for a moment in time.

Horsemanship was a huge success.  Our young children learned so much about horses and they rode many times throughout the sessions.  God literally blessed us with awesome days except one that rained.  On a rainy day we learned, played and groomed.  Our beautiful hoop building served a wonderful purpose.  Beyond the realms of technology, phones, devices that are so popular today; we took the time to provide activities in nature and animals that will create memories of a lifetime.

Cowboy Breakfast:  What a wonderful time and awesome food.  Please mark your calendars for next year and enjoy a wonderful breakfast while helping our campers enjoy a week of camp.

Camp Hope came in August.  56 children and adults both with and without disabilities enjoyed an amazing week of camp.  Now anytime you put children together in groups it will be a challenge to manage the boundaries but all in all it was a huge success.  As always their favorites were horseback riding and Lost Island.

It is time to look towards fall.  Time for cooler temps, leaves changing, grass changing colors, a time for harvest.  Classes begin September 14th.  Night of the Horse is September 26th, Halloween Open House is coming in October. What an amazing year so far!   Cody and Pixie have literally visited over 1,000 people this year.   They have visited, hugged and petted more people than they ever have in the past.

Thank you so much to our wonderful donors, volunteers, staff, participants, horses and the community for making our summer so successful.  A special thanks to God for the strength and tenacity to see us through the challenges and then giving us the chance to honor the amazing results.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

A Small Act of Kindness

A Small Act of Kindness

The storms of life take its toll on individuals at times.  It seems as though sometimes our circumstances have no beginning or end.  In our minds life is too hard to muster.  Individuals are laden with stress, depression, anxiety; leaving them overwhelmed, putting up walls and developing more problems and then more problems soon to find themselves in a state of despair and nowhere to turn. 

Let’s make the shift now with paying it forward, random acts of kindness and just one small act of kindness.  Enter farms, agriculture, horses, nature and the ability to just breath and be part of something bigger than ourselves.  God planted the world with all of its beauty.  Because we have so many people and so much technology we have forgotten what it is like to live off the land and what a true act of kindness in honoring the peace that nature provides.  Smell the flowers, watch the combine, hear the grain, ride the horses, breath the smell, play games like tag, hide and seek, red rover, and many other simple games.  Learn about life lessons through the interaction of horses, cats, dogs, rabbits and other livestock.

Enter the door of the barn can you feel the peace, smell the hay and horses.  What a beautiful smell.  Now can you touch the hay, touch and pet the horses, pet the cats and just breathe.  Just take a very deep breathe. Now feel the walls, feel the stalls, picture the barn in your mind, picture the cornfields, bean fields, picture the grain bins and the old buildings.  Let’s pet the horses again and breathe.  Can you feel the shift?  Can you feel the love breathing in and breathing out?

A small act of kindness means that individuals are able to experience this environment with all of its beauty and then magic begins to happen.  A small act of kindness has changed someone’s life forever. They can go to school with lots of energy and self-confidence.  They can go in public and not be afraid.  They can solve problems and they can love again.  God provided us with a setting and they give themselves permission to breathe it in and experience the moment.  A small act of kindness has changed a life forever.  God has provided us with a very special dream.

A quote I love “The moment you’re ready to quit usually is the moment right when a miracle happens”.

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.