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.

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.