The "Trail Meister" Robert Eversole

20160227_113541Over the weekend, I had the great pleasure of working at the Southern Equine Expo, running the Lecture Series in the Miller Club. If you missed it, make plans early to get there next year. The Lecture Series included five sessions with “Trail Meister” Robert Eversole. Not only is he an engaging speaker but he is a true pleasure to chat with. Attendees agreed, because his crowds got bigger and bigger. He was so wonderful that the Southern Equine Expo staff has already invited him back for next year.
As a former Toastmaster, there are several things I look for from a presentation perspective, but as a horsewoman, there are a few key quality questions I ask when evaluating a lecture:

  1. Does the speaker actively participate in the discipline?
  2. Is the speaker genuinely interested in providing the audience with good, relevant knowledge?
  3. Is the speaker willing to say, “I don’t know”?
  4. Does the speaker promote other horse professionals/encourage the audience to seek out other experts?
  5. Is the speaker willing to express an opinion even if it’s unpopular?

The answer to all of these for Robert was YES. He is an experienced back country trail rider, who is generous with his knowledge and his praise of other good horsemen and horsewomen. He sought to provide his audience with knowledge relevant to their interests and experience and even boldly proclaims that he wears a helmet. As a helmet advocate, I love this!
Let me start by saying I avoid trail riding like the plague. I do it only for the benefits of (a) testing my horse outside the arena and (b) giving my horse a break from the arena. More often then not, I bribe other people to trail ride my horses. Despite that, I learned a few great tips along the way. Talking to attendees who trail ride, they took away much, much more.
His five talks included the following:

  1. The ABCs of Trail Riding
  2. GPS for Trail Riders
  3. Horse Camping 101
  4. Emergency Preparedness for Trail Riders
  5. Open Q&A about Trail Riding

If you trail ride, you should check out his website. Not only does it have great resources for finding trails, camps, and maps, but it also has useful information like how to tie a knot and reviews of products you may be thinking about trying.
As I mentioned before, if you’re in the south and didn’t attend the Southern Equine Expo this year, plan to be there next year (last weekend in February)! You do NOT want to miss out on seeing Robert Eversole a second time!

Shrove Tuesday with a Twist

Shrove Tuesday is traditionally a time for us Episcopalians to come together to eat pancakes and burn chrism and palms.  It comes from the tradition of feasting on the contents of your cupboards in preparation for the fasting of Lent, which begins the following day.  For our household, Shrove Tuesday took on new meaning.
I was working from home and got a message from my husband’s aunt.  For the last three years, we have been living in one of her homes, paying the mortgage, and arguing about whether or not to buy the place.  She insisted we treat the place as our own, because she knew I wanted to buy the place, and she had no interest in moving back in.
Things change…
Her circumstances have changed radically in the last three years.  Our intentions have changed radically.  We have spent the last two months stressing out about getting the house ready to sell and making sure we take care of her.  She has spent the last two month living in an apartment while we live in one house and another house remains on the market.  Between a crappy economy and unforeseen family circumstances, she needs her house back.  She contacted us feeling guilty, but we were relieved.  Panicked, but relieved.
Talk must now become action…
CrossofashesOur dream building about downsizing into a travel trailer while we build our dream home is no longer talk.  It is our reality.  I’ve spent the last month trying to discern God’s will and soul-searching for just the right thing to do or to give up for Lent.  God called.  He wants me to give up my stuff.  :p
I joke, but it’s true.  I asked.  God answered.  I know someone who needs to sell her travel trailer.  I know someone who needs our house.  I know two people who are facing an empty, too big nest with too much stuff.  This is a win-win-win for everyone.
I’m scared…
I won’t lie.  My husband and I are terrified about how this is all going to come together.  We’re terrified that we’re going to be stuck in a travel trailer together with 3 dogs and a cat and be completely miserable.  What if we fight?  What if the dogs fight?  What if we can’t get everything done in time?  What if his aunt is upset about something we did to the house?  What if the truck breaks down?  We have a million fears and questions.
But we also have faith…
FortyDaysFortyItemsWe know God provides.  We’ve both seen it.  God has plans for us, and those plans are GOOD.   God has called, and we will answer, knowing that God will be there for us and that this journey is another positive step toward a stronger marriage and a more fulfilling life.
So as Ash Wednesday arrived, I committed to spending Lent parting with many of my material possessions.  When Easter Sunday arrives, we will be living a new life in a new place.  We will be manifesting our new intentions to devote our lives to being a positive force of transformation in the world.  The next 40 days will be full of temptations, but I am sure that with God’s help, we will come out the other side renewed and restored.
What are you committing to this Lent in preparation for the Lord’s death and resurrection?  What fears do you carry with you?  How will you overcome?

Be Still and Know

This week, I’m feeling a bit uninspired and a bit unmotivated.  It’s not that I am less passionate or discouraged.  Instead, I’m feeling the need to be still and listen.  I’m still knocking out my to-do list every day, but I’m keeping my lists focused on what must be done rather than my usual Gung-ho list worthy of Wonder Woman.
I have several important decisions coming in the next few weeks, and I feel compelled to spend some time in prayer and meditation to discern God’s plan for me.  Since I’m not feeling compelled to work on other things, I thought I would share with you the tools I’m using for that prayer and mediation.
I happily admit that I too have been sucked into the adult coloring craze.  Art has always been a great outlet for me to express myself.  I sometime paint (badly!) or draw.  I find that artistic tasks calm and focus me.  I thoroughly suck at them, but I also find them fulfilling.  Coloring helps me relax. When I’m facing major life decisions, it’s easy to stress and to freak out. Coloring helps quell that anxiety and leaves me feeling more open to hear God’s call.
In addition, music has always been a big part of my life.  Thankfully, one I don’t suck at!  My husband and I have spent many hours over the last 15 years making music together or sharing music.  Music is also a primary way we both worship.  For me, music can help me pray, meditate, or praise, depending on the song and my mood.  The two songs below have been helping me work through the decisions I’m facing, which are interrelated and will affect not only the path of my life but my family as well. The first reminds me to be still and quiet, so I can hear God.  The second reminds me that my prayers should only be to help me discern God’s will and not to beg God to make my will happen.
I am most certainly at a crossroads.  I have faith that if I am able to discern and to submit to God’s will for me, I will live abundantly.  I know God plans for my happiness and renewal through his son my Savior Jesus Christ.  I pray that I can be still and know.
What struggles are you facing?  What tools do you use to keep the faith?