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I can’t sleep!

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dessert spelled backwardsWe get asked a lot about managing stress and then also about how to turn your mind off so you can fall asleep or get back to sleep if woken up. These are great questions and I am betting there is not a one of us who hasn’t had stress and trouble with sleep at some point in our lives. We also have children who need to learn these skills as well and parents can provide great life tools to their children to learn to relax.  We all have ups and downs, we are all trying to do more in less time and we all feel challenged to figure it out…after all everyone on social media seems to think they have the answers!

The thing is much of the time instead of taking a step back and seeing our stress, we forge ahead ignoring our bodies and the signs.  Instead, we need to take a break. We think to ourselves, other people have figured it out, why can’t I…what is wrong with me? The first thing we need to do is listen to our own inner dialogue and pay attention to our bodies, what signs are indicating we are stressed and need a break. We are our own worst enemies, we expect perfection. We would never expect the same out of others around us, we give them breaks…we need to give ourselves a break too!

So, how do we actually manage things differently, paying attention to our bodies, reducing the tension we are experiencing?

According to Elizabeth Scott, M.S. a stress management expert at about.com, sometimes stressful situations seem to culminate quickly, and we can go from feeling fine to overwhelmed in a very short period of time. When this happens, it’s impractical to stop your life to go practice yoga, get a massage, or try other effective but time-consuming stress relievers. It’s best to have a quick and effective way to turn off your fight or flight response and trigger your relaxation response.

Here are some simple tips to better manage stress.

  • Unplug before bedtime. Set a time at least an hour before going to sleep to limit texts, emails and social media.  Just looking at the screens can inhibit your ability to rest and relax.
  • Breathing Exercises

I like to use what is called square breathing.

square breathing

Click here for a video on another helpful breathing technique.

  • Progressive muscle relaxation

I like to use what is called Autogenic training. Follow this link to learn more.

  • Excercise

Start small, the important thing is to just get moving (if you have not been regularly exercising).  There is a euphoria that comes from the release of chemicals (endorphins) in your body that will combat stress and help you relax.  (Please consult your physician before engaging in physical activity).

The next thing you can do is take charge of our own thoughts, we cannot expect others to “make” us happy, we have to do that for ourselves. I believe this has a lot to do with perspective, do you naturally see the positive or the negative in a situation. So, change your perspective and spend time thinking about looking at the situation differently.  According to Elizabeth Scott, M.S much of what stresses you does not come from your stressors themselves, but from your response to them. More specifically, your interpretation of your stressors, as well as your approach to dealing with them, can make the events themselves feel much more (or less) stressful.

You can watch this music video if you want to identify with your kids through a pop song about stress.  These young adults are re-living how nice it used to be when they were kids and they didn’t have the stress of adulthood.


Contrary to the video you can’t go back into your childhood when things were simpler and less stressful!  Thankfully, you can choose your thoughts, even if you can’t choose your life circumstances. There are a few ‘tricks’ for gaining a better perspective for remaining relaxed under trying conditions: first, you can adopt the thinking style of optimists by interpreting certain facets of a situation in a way that brings hope and eliminates self-doubt. You can also adopt the view that you may have more power in a situation than you realize (called having an internal locus of control, which is also known to eliminate feelings of stress), and then looking for new solutions. Finally, be sure that you’re not already sabotaging yourself with overly negative thinking, and read over these common distorted thinking patterns, or cognitive distortions–do any sound familiar? If so, you can become aware of them and eliminate this type of thinking.

Here at Quakerdale we have several mental health professionals who can help you learn more about managing stress and how to take back control of your thoughts and moods.

So use these techniques if you need them or share them with your friends or children!

The Quakerdale Team

Why Our Horses are a Member of Our Team

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EAThe equine-assisted work we do here at Quakerdale honors the natural behavior of horses and herds. We have learned horses are experts at keeping themselves safe and are adept at survival; their behaviors are a model for mental and physical health. It seems as humans we have lost our instinct to keep ourselves safe and healthy. We entrust horses to show us the way back to health. Work and observation in the horse world lends itself to extremely powerful metaphors into our own patterns, strengths, and the nonverbal messages we communicate. Unlike humans, horses are incapable of lying. They do not come into a WomenWithHorserelationship with hidden agendas. Horses hold us accountable for who we are in the relationship with them. Nonverbal communication is critical to all animals and while many humans believe we are primarily responding to verbal communication, we instinctually and unconsciously read and react to nonverbal signals in greater proportion than the spoken word. Horses are masters at reading subtle changes in body language, intention, emotions and energy. Equine Assisted Psychotherapy implements the power of equine-assisted philosophies and exercises to introduce therapy clients to themselves in a modality that has been found to be more efficient and less threatening than traditional talk therapy. (Credit to Greg Kersten)

Where is your puck going to be?

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Wayne Gretzky was the greatest hockey player of all time. He famously said his secret was that he didn’t skate to where the puck was… he skated to where the puck was going…

At Quakerdale we’ve always worked hard to make the right choices before we are forced. We must bravely move toward where we think things are going instead of focusing on the difficulties of the urgent or the now. This matches the quote by the great Hockey player Wayne Gretzky.

Over the next six months there will be choices to make based on decisions and vision determined years ago. I thank God for the wisdom and direction the Quakerdale board through the ages. This is what drew me and my family to ministry at Quakerdale years ago.

Thank goodness God knows where the “puck” is going more than Wayne Gretzky!

Through many counter intuitive historical events God’s message has emerged through the ages. It didn’t matter if it was through activities like an escape through the Red Sea, or a 40 year journey in circles in the desert, a young shepherd who dominated a giant, a church persecutor turned missionary or a King who conquered through death on a cross and resurrection. God moves his people for his plans.

What is it that you need to do to follow through with the plans God has for you and your family?  Your choices may not look smart to your friends or our culture.  Where is your “puck” going?  Are you called to sacrifice your budget and take a ministry job?  Are you supposed to bring in a family member in distress or a foster child?  Are you willing to sacrifice your personal time for something bigger?  Are you willing to sacrifice in a way that might hurt?  Do you need to make a career change?  Do you need to make an attitude or relationship change?  Do you need to make an eating change?  What do you need to do to get where your puck is going?

David, before his battle with Goliath, had to convince King Saul to let him fight.  Saul couldn’t motivate anyone in his whole army of experienced soldiers (including Saul himself) to trust in God and fight the mocking giant. After 40 days of ridicule and challenge by Goliath the shepherd boy couldn’t take it any longer and petitioned Saul once again to let him fight. King Saul, the mighty warrior, was afraid and desperate enough to approve the perceived mismatch.

David, however, was different. He rested his fate in God instead of the odds. David believed God had a plan. David felt he had a role to play even if it didn’t make sense in human terms. So the whole country of Israel rested on the fate of a young shepherd boy. It was counter intuitive.

Two armies diminished to one shepherd boy against the experienced soldier killing giant.

I guess what I see here is how things got more simple. We can make our lives, jobs, and relationship with God very complicated. Sometimes big things must get more simple so they can become focused razor sharp. Israel and their whole future diminished to a shepherd boy! We know how the story ended for David and Goliath!  David defeated the giant with one smooth stone from his sling and the whole Philistine army dispersed. Immediate victory out of faith and obedience.

That’s a pretty dramatic story. I won’t go into all the others in the Bible that are comparable, but I will not bypass the fact that all those Bible stories culminated with Jesus singularly carrying the sins of the world … alone to the cross. How inspiring right? Often things become simple and razor focused before the “next”  happens.

Simplicity is a Quaker value. Our faith and our journey with Christ is simple and requires our focus…but simplicity is not easy.

I encourage you to enjoy this great worship song below as you focus your faith and future. As for Quakerdale… we put our faith, “In Christ Alone.”

The Quakerdale team

Never stop growing in your marriage… your kids deserve it!

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The more you invest in a marriage the more valuable it becomes.            –Amy Grant

I guess this could be true with anything in life, but when you think about it in terms of your marriage it takes on a different picture.  In the past my husband and I have attended three different marriage retreats.  When I tell people that we are going, the automatic thought is that we must be having troubles. Don’t get me wrong.  We do have ups and downs like any marriage, but that is not the reason we go to these retreats.  We go so that we can keep our marriage going!  I try to explain it to people that you read things to better your brain, why not do something to better your marriage?

If you will, think back through the years and see if you can come up with a couple that have a good solid marriage.  A couple that you would want to model your marriage after.  What stands out about this couple?  The couple/couples that come to mind for me have a great faith in God, work together as a team, and work hard at their marriage.  When I say work hard at their marriage, not only do they keep communication lines open, but they do little things like dropping their wife at the door of a restaurant. Sugaring their husband’s tea when the waitress brings it because she knows that is the way her husband likes it or holding hands in the car when they are driving to get groceries.

Our family has just recently expanded to five, and I want my children to know without a doubt that their parents care about their marriage and are devoted to each other.  I want them to see how doing things together makes us a stronger couple.

An important part of a stronger relationship is learning how to disagree and move through problems.  This is a fun (and short) video that gives some simple ways to avoid those fights that turn personal and result in saying things that we really don’t want to say.



So my invitation to you is to look at doing something that enriches your marriage. – even watch a video on Youtube!  You could attend a Marriage Retreat, read a book together, or simply schedule a date night.  We encourage you to do something that reinforces the importance of the commitment you made to your spouse because your kids will better thrive when you have a healthy marriage!  Oh, and don’t think that if  your kids are all grown and training their own kids that your marriage doesn’t matter.  Your marriage is an important part of your legacy for adult children and grand children!

If you think you could use some help in your marriage or if you are facing a challenge with one of your children don’t hesitate to give us a call at Quakerdale!

If you have any comments or ideas to share with others please leave a comment!

The Quakerdale Team…

Educational Experiences with Horses…SO Much More Than Learning to Ride

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Soccer, basketball, dance, the list of possible activities to participate in goes on and on.   When a child comes to you and says they have an interest in horses, why say YES? After all horses are expensive, intimidating, and dirty right?  Here’s why you should say YES, because horses can teach children and adults lessons that last a lifetime.  I’m going to explain this the best way I know how…by telling you a little about me.

YoungMindyVMy horse story starts at age 9. I desperately wanted a horse.  It might be the only thing I talked about, much to the annoyance of my family.  I had only read books and admired them from afar (mixed in with the occasional pony ride), but I knew I wanted to ride.  In an effort to teach me how much work it would be and scare me off, my dad agreed to let me take a few riding lessons at a local stable.  I was immediately hooked!  I was only 9, but I connected with Trigger (the first lesson horse I rode).  When I was around him I felt relaxed and happy.  I spent hours brushing him, cleaning tack, slogging through mud, without complaining.  Needless to say my dad’s plan totally backfired.  Within a few years my parents were dropping me off at the barn 3 evenings a week and on weekends to work and ride.  You see the experience was so powerful, I wanted to lease a horse but we couldn’t afford it. So, I worked at the barn to pay my own horse bills.  I cleaned stalls, moved horses around, scrubbed water tanks…no matter how dirty the task I did it.  The connection with the horses and the feeling I felt around them was worth every minute of work, and I still feel this way today.

Why do I share this with you?  It is to illustrate a point.  Nurturing a connection with horses can be so much more powerful than “learning to ride”.  Horses are more than just physically strong, they teach us lessons about emotions, friendship, and responsibility.  I am so thankful to Trigger for being patient with me and being kind even when I had NO idea what I was doing.  I am sure I brushed him too hard, accidentally pulled his tail, made the girth too tight, etc., but he just loved me.  (What a metaphor for God’s love for us even when we make mistakes!)  I am also thankful I learned that hard work and being responsible pays off.  I am thankful for trail rides with friends and memories of fun times at the barn.  So next time your horse crazy kids asks about riding lessons or educational courses…please consider all the lessons that can be learned at the Ranch!

Wolfe Ranch will be offering a variety educational programs and summer camps this year.  Please consider joining us or allowing us to work with your child to introduce them to all of the great lessons that horses can teach because it truly is so much more than riding.

May Events @ Wolfe Ranch

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We have three new events/programs scheduled for the month of May:

Encore Equestrians (60+)

This program allows our most experienced horsemen and women an opportunity to interact with horses in a fun and social environment.  Activities consist of grooming, leading, and more! The cost is $40 for the 4 weeks with a maximum of 10 students per section.   Two sections are being offered on Wednesdays and Thursdays, May 4 to 26 from 2-3 PM.

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Beginner Riding Lessons

This 4 week session of lessons will cover grooming, putting on tack, mounting, leading, and basic riding skills. Topics covered will be adjusted to fit the skill level of the participants. The cost is $120 for the 4 week session with a maximum of 4 students per section.  Four sections are being offered on Wednesdays and Thursdays, May 4 to 26 from 4-5 PM and from 5-6 PM.

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Strengthening the Herd

This parent (or guardian)/child program uses activities with horses and Bible truth to strengthen relationships.  The cost is $120/pair (child/parent) with a max of 4 pairs per class.  Two sections are being offered on Wednesdays and Thursdays, May 4 to 26, from 6-7 PM.

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The iceberg

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iceburgOne of the challenges that we all face as parents, teachers, therapists is trying to look past a child’s behavior to understand why they are doing the things they do.  We relate this to looking at an iceberg.

What you see on top of the water are all of the observable behaviors and actions that a child is displaying.  Often times we simply try to make changes based on the top of the iceberg and think that we have everything solved, like a child having rage episodes, cutting, or lying or picking on others. But the real issue is what’s going on underneath the behaviors below the surface.

What is going on underneath – below what others can see?

Things beneath the behaviors could have to do with problems at home, fear, guilt, or low self-concept, or simply lack of self-awareness or skills to process a problem.   These are some of the examples of things underneath the behaviors. Until you deal with those, the behaviors on the surface will persist or change into other problems.  The process of parenting often helps children become more integrated personalities, where children learn to know themselves better, and therefore, become more able to find success.

Do you know someone who is stuck in a way of thinking or behaving and they can’t move on?  Here are a few examples:

  • Someone who can’t stop grieving a loss for years or feels an unsatisfied need for justice
  • Someone who lives and makes decisions based in fear of what others will think or what “might” happen
  • Someone who lives in guilt and acts as though they must always make amends for their actions – they say they are sorry a lot.
  • Someone who says one thing and does the opposite – they are conflicted in their attitudes and beliefs.


Children have icebergs, and adults have them too!  Luckily, most adults are more able to work through the underlying issues because their brains are more mature than children.


Today we want to take this idea of trying to understand the underlying parts of our children’s behaviors and think about ourselves.  Healthy family members need to do this often!

As we mature, we can take the skills our parents gave us and notice things about ourselves that need to change.  You see, we can all be compared to icebergs!  There is much more that no one sees that makes us who we are; and these things need to be integrated into our personalities.  Have you ever wondered why certain things make you really happy, angry or sad or frustrated?  Have you noticed things that push your buttons and cause your emotions to rise to above normal?  Have you ever taken the time to think about why this happens and what lies underneath?  The process of self-examination is called introspection and it is vital to our personal health and growth.

Integration is next after introspection.  Integration is the process of matching our past with our present and solving personal inner conflicts.   This isn’t for “those people,” because everyone needs to do this.  Most of us do this all the time, even though we never knew what it was called.

Why is introspection important?  Because throughout life, we all have circumstances and challenges which require us to look within (introspection) and align our thoughts, behaviors, frustrations and problems (integration) so they all line up and work together.  Life events, such as a loss of a loved one, guilt over a divorce, regret for a choice, a moral failure, an unhealthy compulsion or desire, a loved one going through crisis, a shattered dream, a change in your goals, or trying to do something new, such as a new skill or job, are times that we must look within and integrate these challenges into our personhood.  We have to match up the new with the old and move forward.  Failure to do so will cause us to be “stuck,” limiting our ability to adapt to life and integrate our person or identity.

Do you know someone who cannot move through a life event like those mentioned above?  Maybe you have an issue below the surface of your iceberg, that without introspection, you didn’t realize was there?

Introspection and integration are not only important for us personally.  Times when we are not integrated are quite apparent to those around us.  They may not use these terms, but our turmoil and conflicted behaviors can cause feelings of fear, confusion and anxiety in others.

Everyone has internal conflicts, so don’t panic!  We all have thoughts that surprise or maybe even scare us from time to time.  We all can be fragile, confused or feel out of sorts when we have challenges in life.  A person whose personality is not fully integrated tends to swing wildly back and forth between two or more life approaches.    This could be exemplified by someone addicted to sex who also is a dedicated Christian.

Biblical Christianity vs. Sexual Acting Out

These conflicting views need to be integrated and the differences cleared up.  This person might either decide to let go of their Biblical values and proceed into sexual acting out, or modify their behaviors.

All of us, at times, find ourselves conflicted; and it is not as unusual as the example just given.  Here are some examples:  A parent loves their kids and has emotional explosions on their kids from time to time; an adult acts one way when they are with their parents and different when they are with their spouse or children; a person agrees in a meeting with their boss, but they disagree in the copy room; a person who never smokes unless they are drinking; or simply, a person who says one thing and does another.  These are less extreme conflicting behaviors, but they still cause others to wonder.

People who are well integrated are comfortable in their own skin and self-confident.  They are able to respect themselves and other personalities and beliefs more easily.  Integrated personalities are more able to see reality and make the correct effort to make changes.  Integrated people can appropriately disagree if needed and accept their weaknesses.  An integrated person is consistent in their actions, thoughts and attitudes most of the time.

So, what about your iceberg?  Do you know what is down there below the surface?  Do you notice inconsistent beliefs or behaviors?  This video uses an approach that links your brain and language called neuro-linguistics.

See what you think!  The idea of identifying and holding the conflicting views or behaviors closely together and bringing them together is a powerful skill and message.  If there are things below your surface that need attention, you can try to do your introspection alone.  If that doesn’t work, you can always talk with a friend, your pastor or a skilled therapist.  Your happiness could depend on it… and your family will be blessed!

In closing, introspection and integration are lifelong duties.  You never get done, but you do get better!

Please leave a comment or feel free to ask for help at info@quakerdale.org

The Quakerdale team


The Importance of Being Genuine

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by Ryan Keller, Administrator, Hope4Healing

The goal of Hope4Healing is to help individuals “build a better life”.  The reality is that making changes toward a better life do not come in a vacuum.  Hope4Healing has seen many blessings since its launch in August of 2014, and to date has worked on close to 450 requests for more than 200 individuals all across Iowa looking to “…have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10 NIV).

I get the joy of speaking to many different groups across the state of Iowa, sharing with them the opportunities that Hope4Healing brings; allowing all of us to work together utilizing our individual talents or gifts.  Often times after I speak, someone will come up to me and want to discuss some of the finer points of how Hope4Healing might work; and usually when I am speaking to a church about their role as a Friendship Ministry toward those individuals needing help, I get a version of this type of question.  “What type of training do you offer to help us (the individuals in the church) to work with people who are looking for help through Hope4Healing?”  I was just asked this question last Sunday after a presentation.  Normally, I would diverge into a discussion about facilitating training in areas of knowing our role within the network, how to set boundaries, etc…; but I remembered something that changed my perspective when talking to the man who presented the question this past week.  We need to be genuine!  We might feel the need to be trained, and training is certainly a good thing; but there is such a thing as being overly trained to the point that our interactions become stale and insincere.

Let me share a shortened version of a story given by Dr. Chuck Swindoll that helps to make this point. (Pillow, 2001) 1

Teddy was disinterested in school. Musty, wrinkled clothes, hair never combed, he spoke in monosyllables. Unattractive, unmotivated and distant, he was just plain hard to like.

Even though Miss Thompson said she loved all her class the same, she wasn’t being completely truthful. She always marked the errors on Teddy’s paper with flair. She should have known better. She had Teddy’s records.

1st grade: Teddy shows promise, but poor home situation.

2nd grade: Teddy could improve. Mother seriously ill.

3rd grade: Teddy is good boy, but slow learner. Mother died.

4th grade: Teddy is very slow. Father shows no interest.

Christmas came and the boys and girls in Miss Thompson’s class brought her presents. Among the presents was one from Teddy Stallard. Teddy’s gift was wrapped in brown paper with a simple message on it, “For Miss Thompson from Teddy.”

When she opened Teddy’s present, out fell a gaudy rhinestone bracelet, with half the stones missing and a bottle of cheap perfume. Miss Thompson put the bracelet on and dabbed perfume on her wrist with feigned delight.

At the end of the day, when the other kids had left, Teddy lingered behind. He slowly came over to her desk and said softly, “Miss Thompson, you smell just like my Mother, and her bracelet looks real pretty on you. I’m glad you liked my presents.”

When Teddy left, Miss Thompson got down on her knees and asked God to forgive her. The next day when the children came to school, a new teacher welcomed them. She was no longer just a teacher; she was an agent of God. She was now committed to loving her children and doing things for them that would live on after her.

She helped all the children, but especially the slow ones, and especially Teddy Stallard. By the end of the school year, Teddy showed dramatic improvement. She didn’t hear from Teddy for a long time. Then one day she received a note that read:

Dear Miss Thompson: I wanted you to be the first to know. I will be graduating second in my class. Love, Teddy Stallard.

Four years later, another note came: Dear Miss Thompson: They just told me I will be graduating first in my class. I wanted you to be the first to know. The university has not been easy, but I liked it. Love, Teddy Stallard.

And four years later: Dear Miss Thompson: As of today, I am Theodore Stallard, M.D. How about that? I wanted you to be the first to know. I am getting married next month. I want you to come and sit where Mother would sit if she were here. You are the only family I have now. Dad died last year. Love, Teddy Stallard.

She went to the wedding. She sat where Teddy’s Mother would have sat. She deserved it.

Look around. Give yourself to a Teddy Stallard. Help somebody get a Fresh Start Now.

Miss Thompson was genuine throughout the whole story.  She had the training of a teacher to help her deal with what would be called today a problem child.  Many times today, we would see a school counselor, the department of human services, or foster care get involved in the life of Teddy; and those things are all benefits.  However, what Teddy WhatTeddyneeded most was the genuine concern and care expressed by another.  When Miss Thompson took a step back and realized that she had the opportunity to be a genuine friend in the lives of her students, she was (through God’s help) able to make a difference in the life of her students.  In the life of Teddy, she helped him “…build a better life…”

It is easy for all of us to want to hesitate to act out of a fear that we are not prepared for the task we are about to undertake.  Many times what is needed is our genuineness to befriend someone else; it is no different when intentionally befriending someone through your church’s Friendship Ministry team.  Were you trained to be a friend to your current friends?  We need to practice discernment as people of God, but don’t let fear keep you from genuinely touching the life of another.

1 Pillow, L. (2001, 12 21). Fresh Start: Give yourself to a ‘Teddy’. Retrieved 02 26, 2016, from The Cabin.net: http://thecabin.net/stories/122101/rel_1221010019.shtml#.VtBinPkrLIW.

To learn more about Hope4Healing, visit our website at: Hope4HealingQuakerdale.net

“Caring for the Horses” Campaign

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By Adam Koester, Director, Wolfe Ranch

The staff at Wolfe Ranch is excited about our future.  We are preparing for our 2016 ministry year with a great amount of energy and enthusiasm.  We will have many new activities and programs this spring, summer, and fall.  I don’t want

Riley Farland

Riley Farland

to over hype, but you will be shocked by the ministry that will be happening at the Ranch this year.  We are working on creating new opportunities for children, parents, veterans, and beginning and intermediate riders.  You can stay connected to all that’s happening and hear about all of our upcoming events by visiting our website, following us on social media, or subscribing to our newsletter (see links below).

As many of you know, the Ranch is building a new team to lead us this coming year. We are proud to announce that Riley Farland is now our Facility Manager, and we are only weeks away from seeing our Program Manager come on board. That just leaves us with locating a Hospitality & Marketing Manager and our team will be complete.


As always, we have plenty of opportunities to volunteer at the Ranch.  Without the blessing of volunteers, we will not be able to accomplish all that we believe God wants us to do in 2016.  Do you want to come along with us on this exciting new adventure?  Please apply to volunteer (see link below).

The last thing that I want to share with you is about our new fundraising opportunity for the Ranch.  Because we are privately funded, we depend on the financial support of people like you to help us keep this ministry going.  Beginning in April, we will launch our first campaign designed to help raise the support we need for 2016. This campaign will last for eight weeks and conclude with a celebration at the Ranch.

LessonsThe campaign, “Caring for the Horses,” begins the week of April 4 with promotional blogs, emails, and social media content designed to build excitement and energy.  Fundraising will run  May 2 through June 20 and conclude with a live celebration event at the Ranch the week of June 27. I did research the other day and found an article titled, “THE AVERAGE MONTHLY COST OF OWNING A HORSE” by “Animals by Demand Media”:

HOUSING: “Providing bedding, maintaining pasture fences and paying for utilities will average about $300 per month.”

Dandee-webFOOD: “A healthy 1,100-pound horse will eat feed and hay costing from $100 to more than $250 per month on average, although horses let out to graze on grass will eat less hay.”

HEALTH CARE: “This can cost anywhere from $77 to $250 depending on location. … Putting aside some money each month, whether it is $25 or $100, will help you bear the burden should one arise.”

These figures confirm that our costs are right in line with the national average.

Our horses are so vital to Wolfe Ranch.  These beautiful creatures serve us faithfully and humbly throughout the year. We want to serve them in the same way.  They provide healing, hope, and restoration to many of our therapy clients.  They provide opportunities for kids and adults alike to experience the awesome joy to live life alongside them.

Indy-webAt a cost of $500 per month for each of the five horses we currently have at the Ranch, we need to raise $30,000 to care for these “staff members”. To adequately serve the number of guests and clients that want or need to use our horses, we need to increase our herd to a total of 10 horses. That makes our annual fundraising project $60,000.

Mary-Legs-webIf you’re thinking, “That’s a lot money”, you’re right.  However, when many people do a small amount, what seems insurmountable at the onset becomes manageable. We are asking you to consider partnering with a gift of $17 to cover one horse for one day, or $500 to cover one horse for one month, or even $6,000 to cover one horse for one year.  Would you consider joining our campaign to help raise these funds?  You can donate on-line by CLICKING HERE. Or using your smart phone, you can text “Horses2016” to 71777.

SAM-webBy #Caring4Horses, we are #makingadifference and #restoringhope – one day, one month, and one horse at a time! Thank you for your support.

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Love Your Neighbor as Yourself

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Mobile Camp has been partnering with churches to reach kids in need since 2010 and last year in 2015 we had 6 camps across the state of Iowa. One of those churches was at the Riverside Friends Church in Mason City, Iowa where Paul and Diane Martin serve. A week before their camp was to begin I met with them to discuss the final details and make sure we were all ready to go. At our meeting though the Martins told me that they had a big problem. I was expecting the worst, when they told me that their 15 passenger church van had broken down beyond repair and that they weren’t sure if they were going to be able to go pick up kids for Mobile Camp.

At first, I thought this wasn’t a big deal and although I would be sad that some kids wouldn’t be able to come, we would minister to the kids who were able to make it. What I didn’t realize is that the Martins passion to reach the poor kids of their neighborhood was greater than I had ever seen. They weren’t satisfied with ministering to those who would be dropped off by their parents, they wanted a big van so they could go around their neighborhood and pick up kids, the ones whose parents wouldn’t or couldn’t drive them to the church for Mobile Camp.

Now good running 15 passenger vans aren’t easy to find and the Martins told us the church didn’t have a lot of money to spend on one but there was a van a couple hours away they were going to look at the next evening. We all know that a lot of times vehicles look a lot better in pictures than they do in person and Paul said they would have to come down quite a bit in their price for them to be able to buy it. So we all paused to pray that God would give them wisdom in knowing if this was the van for them. They also asked us (my wife and I) to continue to pray for them especially that next evening. We did and Paul informed us later that although it did need a few things, he felt the van to be reliable and that the sellers were willing to come down to his price, so he bought it. God had provided them with the van they needed.

And although we can learn from how God provides from that part of the story, the true lesson comes from what I seen and heard the first Monday morning of Mobile Camp. See at our meeting the week before camp, the Martins gave me a key to the church and told me to go ahead and go on in and get set up. I thought it a little strange that they wouldn’t be there early, I said OK.

It was on that Monday, I realized then that Paul and Diane Martin didn’t only “talk” about reaching the kids of their community, they had a passion to reach them one that I seen in action. See what I didn’t know, was that in the weeks leading up to Mobile Camp the Martins had gone around their neighborhood asking kids if they would want to come and getting parents to sign their kids up, telling the parents they would be by to pick them and bring them home from camp. So when their van broke down, they knew there were kids who they promised they would pick them up and would be looking forward to coming.

On that Monday morning the first day of Mobile Camp, I saw Paul and Diane show up with a 15 passenger van full of kids. They had gotten up extra early that Monday (and every day that week) to drive around their neighborhood and pick up the kids for camp. I even heard there were times when the kids weren’t up and ready so even Diane went in, got them out of bed and helped them get ready as quickly as possible. All so that they kids could have fun and hear about God’s love at Mobile Camp.

The Martins didn’t have to do that. There wasn’t anything or anyone who said those kids must come to camp. They did it because they love God and they love the people in their neighborhood and their community. They love them so much that you could see their love in their works. The Martins not only lived out Mark 12:30-21 “ Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” The Martins also lived out James 2:18 “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” Their faith and their love was shown through their works.

As I remember that week of camp, I am challenged in my own life and ask myself the question. Do I really love my neighbor as much as I say I do? Do I really care where they spend eternity? If I were to answer yes, what works have I done in the past that would prove that to be true? If I truly love God with ALL my heart, soul, mind and strength and if I love my neighbor as myself, that love should motivate me to do and say something. God’s love for mankind motivated Him so much, that He sent His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to die on a cross so that we could spend eternity with Him.

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