Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Father's Day

Good  Morning!  How is everyone on this week after Father's Day!  I am feeling quite well today!

What does Father's Day mean to you?  I lost my Father when I was 16 years old.  I lost my first husband the father of my children when I was 32.  I now don't have a mother, father or former in-laws and no first husband.  You might say your life is empty.   I beg to differ.  Each and everyone of these people have taught me many life lessons.  I have had some amazing men cross my path in 65 years of life.  I have had some unique men cross my path.  They all come with unique personalities and their own issues but I learned from each one.

I was brought up in the era of it is ok to spank your children.  Yes I got spanked from time to time.  I was however, daddy's little girl.  But I knew to mind my manners and treat my mother with respect no matter what or when my dad got home I would be in deep trouble.  I grew up being outside all the time.  I helped with the garden, I swam in our backyard pool, yep played in the sandbox, played on the swing set and played games with the neighbors.   I enjoyed time playing with my dad.  We always had animals, dogs, cats, hamsters, parakeets, guinea pigs, rabbits and yes my dad brought me a salamander.   We always had something to be responsible for plus all our chores at home, like dishes, laundry, sweeping, then in the summer it was snapping beans, podding peas and helping with canning and freezing vegetables and fruits.

We spent many weekends and summers at my aunt and uncles farm and my grandma and grandpas farm.  We rode cows, played in the shell corn, helped with milking cows and we let the calves suck our fingers, rode in the old truck around the fields and into town and got ice cream.  We got up early and went to bed late.  There was always things to do.

Lessons I learned were work ethic, strive hard for what you want in life.   I learned unconditional love from the animals.  In fact my mom said I grieved the death of an animal more than humans.  I learned to laugh.  My father liked to tell jokes and horse around so he was always making us laugh.  My dad was always a helper so I learned what that meant to help others.  We always enjoyed our time at the lake.  We have many memories of our vacation at the lake.  I learned to survive.  I learned to be quiet when I needed to be.  I learned to always be alert to my surroundings as on the farm you were always watching for equipment, etc.  I learned how to not trust people but to trust animals and God.  I learned that all people were not the same. There are truly a few you can trust.  I learned a lot about faith as we were required to attend Sunday school and church.   I learned to trust myself and not to put my faith in others but in God.  I struggled with trauma from the many losses but I was a strong-willed determined lady.  I learned that from both my mom and dad.  I learned to babysit at a very young age so my love for children came easy.

On this day after Father's day I have learned many life lessons from so many and I have chosen to put so much of my faith in God as my father.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Life is Fragile

The sun is shining and I am grateful for another day.  God has blessed me with more time on earth.  Yes, Life is Fragile.  When I think about the meaning and some past events I realize just how fragile life is to all of us here on earth.  Our time here can change in the blink of an eye.  We are not always in the same place or even for the same reasons or for the same people.  Changes happen and we have to accept those changes and enjoy each moment.  There are people that seem to like to stay in a (rut) and don't enjoy changes, taking risks and playing.  There people that are so angry with the world they would rather hurt someone or find horrible ways of dealing with their anger.  People we are not immortal.  When we are in the state of anger, panic, scared, insecure, or just plain depressed it is hard to think past the how we should show up.

Life is fragile each and every day.  We never know when we are going to have a change in our status.  I listened to the pastor on Sunday and she talked about passion and purpose.  Yes,we are all on this earth for a purpose.  God provided us with some talents and it is our job to seek out the purpose God gave us.  Are we passionate about life and what we are doing?  Life is fragile and look for your purpose and find the passion.

I have been doing this business for 19 years and two weeks ago I found out just how Fragile Life can be.  I lost control of my car on I 380 near Cedar Rapids.  I thought in the moment I was going to die.  I thought what will they do with the business but I also knew that I would be ok.  All those thoughts in a split second.  I saved the car and myself because God needed me on earth longer.  I want to live my life to the fullest and continue reaching out to others and helping them.  I am certain that I have more work to do and God will guide the way.  He will show us the direction to go. 

Friday, May 18, 2018


We live in a world that is filled with anger, bullying, no consequences, no boundaries, entitlement, no common sense and no respect.

Guess what there are some very amazing people out there that truly care and want to make this world a better place.  I am so grateful everyday for those that work so hard and truly care about life and where they are going and how honorable they are to their fellow man.

I just read an article about rotting of America.  Well guess what I am not rotting and still hold high honor, respect, common sense and being kind, gentle and humble.  I am still grateful God gives me each day to be the best I can be. I am grateful for the greatness that surrounds me.  I am grateful for the time I have with the wonderful humans that give of themselves each and every day.  I am grateful for the time I get to spend with the animals even though their lives are shorter usually than ours.  They give us unconditional love and special lessons.  They give us purpose.  Yes they can be annoying at times. One of our cats is at the vet and it is so quiet in the house.  Our dog Josy don't know what to do with herself as her friend is not here to chase her around.  They are missed when they are not here.  We are grateful for each day we get to spend with them.

Gratitude comes in many different forms.  Grateful for the breath we take, grateful for the day that lies ahead, grateful for the sun that shines, grateful for family, friends and special people in our lives that make a difference.

Someone said to me you want to leave a legacy.  Yes that legacy is only to continue to make a difference in the lives of the children for many years to come.  It is not about our names it is about being grateful for the relationships and the impact we have on relationships.  It is about giving chances to people that had no chance.  Doing the best you can each and every day.  Following the path that God leads you on and keep on moving with gratitude in your heart.  Yes we will get storms, slapped, kicked and run over by people but the majority are here because they to want to make a difference.

America wake up follow God and be grateful for each day.  Treat people with kindness and love.  Put down the electronics and breath in the air and sunshine and get a little dirty and follow your passion with love in your heart.

Thursday, April 19, 2018


Spring has sprung!  Hmmmmm!   We are still dealing with snow and ice!  What is a person to do?  How do we cope with the ever changing weather.  Sunlight seems like so little.  It seems like it will never warm up and we have to continue to shovel and ice melt everything.   Now what????  In the midst of the storm!   It seems our society has issues everyday and we can't seem to get past bad news.

I am going to share some very sweet memories!   ASPIRE has tripled the number of clients and we are busy setting up volunteers and groups to help us with our mission.  In the mean time God has opened some doors for us as we make the journey to push towards certification and training.  Along the way we have met some wonderful people.  Brittney from Mainstay has been a wonderful asset to help with training.  Jean has opened the doors to Mainstay to help us with hours that are necessary.  We have a great landlady we work with at Lake Geneva.  I love staying there on Interlaken Drive.  It has become Dale's favorite word.   This winter seems like Interlaken Drive has become like a second home to us.  I have worked and visited and networked while I stayed.  The memories, oh the memories.

My favorite memory that I will take with me forever is riding a horse at Woodstock.  Now I will tell you that you need to attend NIGHT OF THE HORSE Sept 22nd to see the great memory I will share.

Memories of spending time by the lake, memories of our time together and the very special memory of the journey we began early winter and then to watch Angie and Dale now,  well let's just say I am very proud of how far they have come.  It is amazing the transformation.   Lots to learn but they are on the path to the right place.  I am so glad I could be part of this journey.

Memories of the Iowa Horse Fair and all the great people we met and watching Kameron helping me with silent auction items.   So proud of him. 

Memories of learning and working and learning more each and everyday as we take tiny steps into a new arena of learning.  Exciting but scary.  My feet are getting wet and I am going to stumble along the way but I encourage you to walk this journey with me. 

I am learning and taking memories from all the meetings I attend.  Meeting some amazing people. God is good all the time!  God is good!  In the midst of the storms as we look to our provider we have to know that he will see us through.   The sun will shine and it will warm up.

Come join us for our Trotting Towards the Future May 5th as we have a new look and new band and new menu.  Join us in helping our riders with dollars to help them ride.   Wow the stories and memories could be pages but now that God has opened doors to meeting some very nice people to help us on this journey called life.  So laugh, smile, pray, thank God and don't forget to be kind.

Thursday, March 29, 2018


I received some exciting news the last couple of days.  ASPIRE is moving forward and it is going to be a very busy time this spring and summer.  We have doubled the number of riders and getting more awesome volunteers all the time.  We served 31 in our miniature horse camp over spring break.  It is a hard to image how far we have come in this past year.  So many different and exciting things going on in our lives.  We change everyday and we learn more each and everyday.  I am getting out in the community more each day. All of us at ASPIRE try to take a little time each day to slow down focus and breath.  When riding and taking lessons, we need to focus and breath.  When we are working with the horses,we need to slow down focus and breath.  When life gives us storms our motto is IT IS WHAT IT IS!   We need to look to God to guide and direct us.   He will open doors and he will lead the way.   I am on a great big high today and life is,it is what it is.  I love, did I say I love giving back to the people in need.  I love to make a difference in my staff, volunteers, horses, and riders.  They are so special and I want them to see the beauty and wonder that they have inside their hearts.  It is what it is, but it is what we make it.   We will make it beautiful, fun and loving and the magic will happen.   Love what you do,understand IT IS WHAT IT IS and move on with God, kindness and love in your heart.  Thank you for being part of my life and following the exciting times here at ASPIRE.  God is good all the time!!!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Spring Is Coming

As we are excitingly waiting for the green to appear in the grass and the buds to form on the trees it is clear winter has not faded away yet. 

Alas, ASPIRE staff are making the most of the winter months.  We have traveled to Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota to receive instructor training.  We have stayed at the beautiful Lake Geneva and visited 4 centers to get teaching hours and wonderful horseback riding lessons.  I even rode a horse.  I have not ridden in awhile it was great to get back on and walk around the arena.  The staff has learned about different horses, different disabilities, different styles of teaching and lots of great ideas to bring back. They have seen some beautiful centers and have had discussions about how we need something like this in our community.   They have certainly learned and are growing with awesome experience.   It truly has been an awesome time but they are missing their families.  It is a long time to be away from family. 

They are learning, growing and facilitating to bring all of you great lessons and camps this year.  God truly has blessed our lives with many of the best people in our industry.  At least in my opinion.  The time at each of these facilities have been learning and growing.  I can't begin to thank our facilities and individuals enough for the wonderful training experience.  I have high regard for each of these organizations and individuals.  God's blessings to Mainstay, Hanson Center, Equul Access, Smiles and Jenny Vlahos.  We could not have imagined the wonderful time we have had and thanks for the laughter.  Kudos and all the hard work you have put into helping our staff become more than they thought was possible.  God says all things are possible to those that believe.

I truly will miss getting up in the morning and driving by the beautiful lake and ending up in Woodstock, Ill.  Once we arrive we are greeted by several nice dogs and pretty cats.  Then a good morning from Jenny.  The staff gets busy and gets their horses and tacks them up and all the while they are learning and asking questions.  Once we are in the arena there is more learning, riding and laughter.  I will miss the morning laughter and the knowledge.  I have learned so much from Jenny by just watching and listening.  She has been so willing to answer our questions and willing to work with us on the pattern they have to learn.  It has been fun watching them ride and learn.  Starting from scratch and then actually riding the pattern for instructor certification.   They have learned so much and I am so proud of them.  God truly is in the mix.  I truly believe these people that have helped us gain so much are angels that were brought to us for a wonderful reason. 

I am looking forward to a great year which starts with our Miniature Horse Camp during Spring Break.   Blessings for a wonderful day and may God watch over you.  Happy Spring!!!!!

Monday, January 29, 2018


I could not resist blogging this today as it is a great piece of information and I have been reflecting on days gone by and how I so enjoyed some of our fun antics and loved playing with the neighbors.  Yes times have changed and people to but there were some great memories in time.
George Carlin's wife died early in 2008 and George followed her, dying in July 2008. It is ironic George Carlin - comedian of the 70's and 80's - could write something so very eloquent and so very appropriate. An observation by George Carlin:
The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.
We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.
We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.
We've learned how to make a living, but not a life. We've added years to life not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We've done larger things, but not better things.
We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.
These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete.
Remember to spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.
Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.
Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn't cost a cent.
Remember, to say, 'I love you' to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.
Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.
Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.
And always remember, life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by those moments that take our breath away.