RESOLVE Sweet Itch!

I recently attended the inaugural Rally for the Rescues event at Clearview Horse Farm in Shelbyville, TN. I had the pleasure of meeting one of the sponsors Kathy Anderson of Equine Safety Zone, LLC. I asked her about Resolve, and we spent some time talking about the last 6 years of combating sweet itch with my gelding Comanche. I had been volunteering and didn’t come prepared to shop, so I asked for her card and website address to order later. When I did, Kathy generously gave me a 24 oz bottle to try and review.
Let me fill you in on the saga of Comanche’s itchy summer skin… During our first full summer together, the itching started with the occasional rubbing on a tree and escalated to no tail and twoComanche Hives bald shoulders. The poor thing had scabs everywhere. I tried everything, including Vicks Vapor Rub! I spent three months scouring the internet for suggestions while every horse person I knew told me to try this or try that. By September, the itching had stopped and the fur grew back. I spent the winter looking for an answer and discovered that it was sweet itch.
I spent the next four years battling the itch. One summer, I spent over $2,000 on antihistamines, allergy shots, allergy sprays, fly sheets, and fly sprays. One year, we managed to get through the summer with a tail. Unfortunately, his back and shoulders looked like hamburger meat. 🙁 Fly sheets were a complete bust. Even the most heavy duty wouldn’t last 2 days with Comanche. Fly sprays either didn’t work or further irritated his sensitive skin. I spent summers feeling awful for him and spending every dime I had to try and help. I spent every winter searching for some clue as to why nothing would work. It would literally bring me to tears.
The summer before last was a mild success. I made my own fly spray from apple cider vinegar and essential oils, and I gave Comanche an oatmeal bath every 2-3 days. He remained mostly itch free. Then I found an article that suggested that while the allergic reaction to fly saliva began the itching, it was possible that a secondary bacterial infection caused the bulk of the itching. I figured an antimicrobial shampoo couldn’t hurt. I had certainly tried EVERYTHING else!
This summer has been largely itch free. I have been using Pyranha Zero Bite natural fly spray and giving an antimicrobial bath twice a week. The antimicrobial bath takes 30-45 minutes from start to finish. We did have an incident the night before Rally for the Rescues. Poor Comanche had a welt from a horse fly bite. We began treatment with an antimicrobial bath, but switched to Resolve after meeting Kathy.
My review of Resolve? WOW!!! WHERE has this product been the last 6 years??? Not only did the welt disappear in HALF the time, I went from a 45 minute treatment twice a day to a 45 second treatment once a day.
Unfortunately, his speckled coat makes it difficult to make out bumps, but I’ve included a picture of how his allergy-ridden skin looks after 1 day with Resolve and 3 days with antimicrobial shampoo. When I find a section of his coat covered in hives, if I treat immediately with antimicrobial shampoo twice a day, it takes 5-7 days to heal. Resolve healed it in 2 days! Instead of repeated baths, which my horse HATES, I check his coat once a day and spay any hives or welts once a day for 2-3 days. This week marks the end of June, and we have a tail–albeit a little Appy tail–and a full coat. NO BALD SPOTS! We just happily ordered our second bottle.
Kathy earned a customer for life and a few good online reviews, but Comanche and I got the better end of the deal. It’s summer, and my horse isn’t miserable. We can FINALLY enjoy a beautiful summer night! If Resolve works half as well on rain rot and thrush as it does for Comanche, every horse owner should have this in their barn. Use the code ESZ25 and save 25% on your first order. You will be SO glad you did!

Where's the Fire?

ArringtonMost days, I work from home, but on the days, I go to the office, my drive consists of beautiful country roads winding through horse farms and hills.  I often ask how I could have been so blessed to land in such a magnificent place as middle Tennessee and how I could be so blessed to have such a beautiful commute.  Once upon a time, I was sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the Southeast Expressway headed into Boston.  Now, I drive my 20+ year old Ford truck through some of the prettiest country God ever made wondering why everyone else is in such a hurry.  Where’s the fire?  What’s the rush?
This morning on my way in, I was driving my usual speed limit plus 5, which is mostly 60 mph.  As I made my way down Cox Road in Arrington, I had not one or two but FOUR–yes FOUR–drivers rush up on my truck and ride my bumper before angrily swerving around and passing me.  Keep in mind that I was driving 5 miles over the speed limit.  This is literally some of the most beautiful stretch of road I’ve ever driven, and I’ve driven nearly every road on the east coast.  It’s home to the magnificent Arrington Vineyards and several farms.  It’s the kind of road that makes you want to roll down the windows and inhale the morning air.
CoxRdArringtonAll four of those drivers missed the beauty of that road and for what?  When I reached the stop sign at the end of the road, each one was lined up at the same stop sign.  They gained maybe a minute or two in their haste and anger and for what?  What did they give up to save those two minutes?  I had enjoyed 15 minutes of living in God’s creation, while they lived in anger and haste for 13.  Was it worth it?
Understand that I am not judging those people.  A decade ago, I was one of those people.  I have compassion for those people.  The haste and anger make life less fun.  They suck the joy out of our lives, and they separate us from God.  They keep us twisted up in stressed out knots.  I remember that feeling well, and I like myself and my life a whole lot more now that I’ve let go of that.  It wasn’t an easy journey, but it was a journey that is allowing me to live life abundantly and joyfully.  Being in a hurry to get to the next thing not only means you miss out on the present, but that you’re rushing through your life.  I missed most of my 20s and half of my 30s before I realized I wasn’t really living my life; I was just traveling through it.
I pray for those four drivers that they may find peace and joy, that they may realize that nothing is so important that you should ever miss out on what’s right in front of you.  There is no fire.  There is no rush.  Everything will still be waiting for you when you get there.

You're Here for a Reason

It’s very easy in today’s world to forget that we each have a purpose.  Not some of us, but all of us.  I save reminders of this to my phone and my computer.  I jot reminders of this down in my journal.  One of those reminders is a post on Ignatian Spirituality by Vinita Hampton Wright:

Your life makes a difference in the universe, whether or not you embrace your God-given power.

Take a minute to soak that in.  You make a difference.  I make a difference.  The only question is what kind of difference do you want to make?  What kind of difference would God like you to make in the world?
Another of those reminders is the Ashes Remain song Here for a Reason.  Take a minute to watch the lyric video and really soak in its message.
When you’re having a bad day and it feels like nothing is going right…  When you look at your Facebook feed and it’s full of hate and fear and ignorance…  When you’re surrounded by unhappiness and everything is going to fast…  Slow down.  Remember.  God calls you his own.  You were made for more.  God knows you, loves you, and wants you to live abundantly in love, peace, and understanding.
Why this message on this day?  Because sometimes I need to hear it as much as you do.  Because I am a mere mortal who has bad days and forgets.  Because I too push God away and try to live in isolation.  Because on my worst days I am NOT alone and neither are you.  😀

Be Careful What You Pray For

Part if the vision of the Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee is that we are “Open… to the power of God. When we gather, we expect God to show up, and to do mighty things in our midst.”  The same applies when we pray.  We expect God to hear us and to respond when we pray in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  We believe in the miracles, and we believe in the power of prayer.  That’s an amazing thing.  To know that God is good and working in this world for the good plans he has for you.
BUT…  I personally sometimes forget that the response to my prayers will be in God’s time and God’s way.  I have learned to pray for peace and understanding rather than a specific outcome.  I have learned to stop fighting God’s will, because his plan is always better than man.  I just can’t seem to remember that doing all of that means I may be in for very different ride than the one I set out on.  This year has been a compelling example of that.
I began this year with a plan, a plan to accomplish things at work, at home, and at church.  I also began this year with a deep uneasiness in my soul.  I knew I was not where God intended me to be, but I also didn’t know where that was or how to get there.  Everything in my life was wonderful and yet not.  Something didn’t fit, but I didn’t know what it was.  It was like wearing an expensive, beautiful outfit that fits and everyone else loves, but in your gut, you just don’t like it, because it isn’t you.
Prayer2As I approached Lent, I prayed and prayed for direction. I have always used Lent as a time to complete a service project or give something up that would help move me in a better direction in my life.  It’s usually an obvious choice.  But this year, everything was good.  My life was in a good place and moving in a good direction.  This year, I didn’t have a clue, so I prayed.  Over and over again, I asked God to show me the way and give me the strength to follow it.  Over and over again I prayed, “Whatever your will, can you help me find it.”
My answer came on Shrove Tuesday.  God said, give up everything and follow me.  So we did.
Thankfully, that didn’t include our four-legged family members, who are as much a part of the family as the two-legged members.  But it did include a lot of things I had never expected to part with.  Things like all my dresses.  They all went to Goodwill, because there just isn’t room in our temporary home.  Many of my books, all of our DVDs, pots, pans, clothes, coats, furniture.  Stuff.  Gone.  Given up to follow the path God laid out before us.
Here we are in the weeks following Pentecost still praying for direction and courage to follow.  Living in a temporary home still searching for a permanent one.  I’m at a new church on an unknown path.  I’m slowly seeing places to serve and to use my gifts for the Glory of God, but I won’t lie…  It is a long and scary path, and I have no idea where we will end up.  But I have faith, faith that God is good, and his plans for us are good.  So we wait and we listen.
The morale of the story?  Be careful what you pray for.  God is listening.  God hears you.  If you ask, he will answer.  If you pray, be prepared for what will follow.  It may not be what you expect.  It will be good as God is good, but it may take strength and courage to have faith during the journey.  Be careful that you’re prepared for your prayers to be answered in God’s way and in God’s time.