Saturday, January 23, 2010

Quote of the Day

"When I die, I want to leave a piece of earth better than I found it." President Dwight D. Eisenhower

A foggy morning at the Eisenhower Farm ...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

What I'm Reading This Week. and a Very Interesting Sidenote...

I received this book as a Christmas gift from my Aunt and Uncle. As I sat down one afternoon to begin reading, I noticed the inscription on the inside page. It read:

Kim Meeder (author)
2004 Recipient of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Award for Public Service

If you have been following along with me for any length of time, you know that I have admired Jackie O. for quite some time. Her grace, beauty and love of horses were such a lovely combination to discover all wrapped up in one human being. Now I have one more thing to add to my long list of notable qualities. This was such a coincidence to me, I had to share. And, not to mention, my love of children and helping others combined with my obsession with horses? This book is touching and inspiring and makes me want all the more to realize my dream of touching people's lives through these majestic animals, of which, I have loved my whole life.

Here is a well written, insightful review written by Ashleigh Slater of Ungrind.

"Honey, your parents have died," nine-year-old Kim Meeder was told.

Devastated at the news of her parents' murder-suicide, Kim immediately fled the room, attempting to run as far away from the truth as she could. Her flight led her to a small orchard where she cried out to Jesus for help. She writes "it was there in that barren place that the Lord of all knelt to comfort a broken child. In that instant my life was saved."

Grief-stricken, Kim found refuge in "the love of the Lord" and her first horse, Firefly. Each day after school she raced home to her grandparents' house, changed into her riding clothes, and spent hours on the back of Firefly. There she allowed the tears to flow freely, finding comfort in the gentle presence of her four-legged friend.

Years later, after she and her husband Troy purchased a former quarry and transformed it into a working ranch, Kim watched as another young, hurting girl found a haven in the presence of horses. It was then that Kim's dream for Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch was birthed. A ranch she describes as "a simple place where angels disguised as starving horses could reach out to the hearts and the souls of starving kids."

Today, Kim's dream for Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch is a reality. A nonprofit organization, the ranch rescues abused and neglected horses and pairs them with hurting children. And it's stories from this ranch that make up Kim Meeder's inspiring book, Hope Rising: Stories from the Ranch of Rescued Dreams.

Beautifully written, the book is a collection of real-life stories of how God birthed hope, faith, trust, and joy in the lives of broken and hurting children through their interaction with horses who've been rescued from abusive situations. My heart was broken by the true stories of abuse and neglect, yet at the same time filled with hope and faith at the healing and restorative power of God.

One such non-fiction tale is that of Diane and her two daughters Breanna and Heather, who fled an abusive husband and father. Kim writes,

Her [Diane's] husband's assaults were so ferocious that she had been hospitalized fifteen times. Once, in a drunken fury, he had smashed one of her arms and her collarbone, then seized her and threw her out of a second-story window. By the grace of God, with angels rushing in, she managed to catch a railing with her unbroken arm and hold on until help arrived.

During her husband's brief imprisonment for the beating, Diane packed up her two girls and fled for her life.

After a long and tiring drive across the country, Diane and her girls settled in Oregon where they read about Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch in the newspaper. Breanna and Heather immediately starting asking their mom to call the ranch. After a week of pleading, she finally did.

Kim welcomed Diane and the girls to the ranch for a day of riding and celebration of Breanna's eighth birthday. On that day, two frightened little girls who'd been forced to grow up too quickly, were able to find what Kim describes as "a flicker, a glimmer, a tiny glow of hope .... And with hope, a new freedom—to play and to laugh like ordinary kids."

She goes on to write, "Diane told me later that our first day together was a turning point in their lives. It was a day when hope took root and began to grow—when the fear that held them in bondage for so long received a mortal blow."

This story, and many more like it in Hope Rising, illustrate the power of servanthood. The power of individuals to move outside of themselves and pour into the lives of the hurting and broken. It shows, as Meeder writes, that "true happiness is not found in gaining what we don't have, but in giving what we do. The greatest joy, the greatest peace, the greatest fulfillment within this life is giving what we have, not seeking what we want."

Kim Meeder's story gives flesh to Paul's words in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. Here, he writes,

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort which we ourselves are comforted by God.

Her life is a testimony of what it means to faithfully draw from our own pain to reach out and minister to others who are experiencing hurt similar to what we've walked through.

In the end, Kim Meeder's love and service to those who are hurting will receive a much greater reward then her 2004 Jefferson Award—a Nobel Prize for public and community service. It will receive a "Well done, good and faithful servant" from the very One who taught us what servanthood is.

Monday, January 11, 2010

What to Do With All Those Christmas Cards

I heard a lovely idea yesterday on the radio while making the hour trek back home from my parents. As you pack away your holiday decorations and you ponder what to do with those Christmas cards, take a moment to pick one or two each day and make a point of praying for that person or family, and send them a little note letting them know you were thinking about them. Its a wonderful way to keep the holiday spirit and the whole meaning of Chrismas alive. I think this is a wonderful tradition to get the kids involved with-it really helps them to look beyond themselves-something I think we could all do a little bit more.

Quote of the Day

"Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing." William James, 1842

He also said "The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook".

Saturday, January 9, 2010

My Weekend Project

Click here for the tutorial. See how cool it looks above that fabulous chair? By the way, that's not my house, lol.
Have fun!

In My Other Life...

I would be enjoying a cup of coffee or a cocktail with one of my girlfriends in a little bistro tucked away on a little street somewhere in Paris, wearing the most fashionable clothes, eating good food.
I found a few recipes to set the mood-can you hear the accordian music playing? (Warning-this is not for the diet conscious-meant to be enjoyed as if you didn't have a care in the world!)

Spiced Coffee with Cream

2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon ground nutmeg
1/2 tablespoon ground cloves
heavy cream
lemon peel
Whip the butter until it is fluffy and then add brown sugar and spices. Mix until well blended. Add a tablespoon of this mixture to the bottom of a mug, fill with strong, hot coffee and cream. Stir until the consistency is just right. "If you want to add a bit of spirit to the coffee, may I suggest a good cognac". May I suggest sipping a cup while perusing this fabulous blog: Design Sponge.

I forgot to mention, since we're on the topic of drinks, I'm on a mission to find a bottle of Lillet with this fabulous label. Here's a cocktail I would love to try in the very near future:
(Love the name!)

James Bond Martini

3 oz gin
1 oz vodka
1/2 oz Lillet® Blanc wine
Pour the gin, vodka and Lillet blanc into a cocktail shaker half-filled with cracked ice. Shake well, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a twist of lemon, and serve.


Friday, January 8, 2010

Think "Grace Kelly"

I couldn't let such a special day pass by without saying "Happy Birthday Mom! I love you!
Taken on my wedding day-she is so glamorous. (She looks like a movie star going to some big premier) She gets more gorgeous with each year-such timeless elegance and beauty. And, she is just as beautiful inside as she is out...
I love you, mom!