Dori Colborn–Advice for Visitors to Hannibal

What is your name?
Dori Colborn. I usually introduce myself as “Dori, like the fish on Finding Nemo”… kids love it and usually remember my name!

What do you do for a living?
I am the Payroll Accountant and HR Benefits Coordinator at Hannibal-LaGrange University, a Southern Baptist University located in “America’s Hometown” (aka Mark Twain’s hometown) in Hannibal, Missouri.

How old are you?
Twenty-three, although my birthday is on Thursday!

That would make you twenty-four when this publishes. Happy belated birthday! Where do you live?
I live in Hannibal. I moved here for college in 2012. I fell in love with the town (especially Calvary Baptist Church and HLGU!). Plus, I met and fell in love with my husband here. So, I thought it would be a good idea to stay. 😉

Do you have a website or a blog or a Twitter account or anything where people can learn more about you?
Sorry, but I do not. I am not your average tech savvy mid-twenty year old. Haha. I am really good with Microsoft office and all that stuff, but when it comes to social media, I just stick with Facebook.

The most interesting place you’ve visited?
Oh, how I love to travel and see new places! I cannot leave out perhaps the most meaningful trip of my life, my trip to Germany to meet my grandmother’s side of our family. The summer of 2010, my grandmother, mom, and myself went on a trip to Germany where I met many of my aunts, uncles, and cousins. It was one of the most magnificent things to see my grandma in her element. She was so excited to show my mom and me places from her childhood and share some of the memories that she had growing up. It was so awesome to see her interacting with her siblings and speaking German nonstop. She would sometimes stop mid conversation to translate for my mom and me. I don’t know how she can switch from one language to another so quickly! Germany is such a beautiful country where the people are so eager to express their joy for their freedom. One thing I found interesting was how much pride the people took in caring for their homes. All of the apartment buildings were painted a bright and happy color. There were gardens on almost all of the rooftops and yards of the buildings, and the streets were always swept. There was no litter anywhere and the people were so friendly and hospitable – I could see why my grandmother takes so much pride in her home and being hospitable. My favorite part of that trip, aside from meeting my family and seeing how much joy the trip brought to my grandma, was to see her childhood home. One day we went to the apartment building where she grew up. We stood outside for a long time, I don’t remember who suggested it, but we thought that maybe we could go see if the owner was home, and he was! The current resident welcomed three strange ladies into his home so we could see the actual apartment where my grandma grew up as a child! I will never forget that. My grandmother is such an inspiration to me. She had so much faith in God, that she trusted Him with her entire life and entire future by coming to America.

Also, I must share about the trips to Virginia that are near and dear to my heart, my family trips to Virginia to see a very special man. Some call him Pastor, Chaplain, or Doctor. Some might even know him as a Knight (which I just found out about on the last trip! – mind blowing!), but I call him “Grandpa Parker”. Every time my family has traveled to see GP, it is like we take a trip back into history. No matter where we go, even if it is just a little shop in a historical part of town, GP knows the story behind it. It is like going on a trip with your own personal historian, actually it’s not “like” that… it IS that! He is so knowledgeable about history and has lived through many events, which makes him the wisest person I know. Not only is he the wisest person I know, he is probably the wittiest person I know. A trip with GP always leaves me with new life lessons and wisdom as well as many fond and funny memories.

Sidebar – If there are any teenagers or twenty somethings reading this – my advice to you would be to put down those devices that you depend on so much for entertainment and go talk to your grandparents or parents. I’m not saying that Netflix or TV is bad, trust me, I watch my fair share of TV. All I’m saying is are you really living life if that is all you are doing? The generations before you have entertaining stories. They have REAL stories, not like from the movies, but real tales. They have LIVED through and seen things that you don’t know about and probably couldn’t even image. Instead of watching a movie or Netflix show about a war, go talk to a veteran who was actually there. Want to watch a romance movie? Ask your parents or grandparents how they fell in love. The same is true for Biblical history. Instead of watching shows about magic, read about REAL miracles that happened in the history of mankind. Did you know that for those who believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is their Savior that He has sent the Holy Spirit to live INSIDE of them? The person and the power that performed those miracles so many years ago, is INSIDE of those who believe today! Now, that is a story that is not only better than anything that you could find on TV, but what makes it so great is that it is true and it is everywhere around you and maybe could be a literal part of YOU and your own story… maybe your story will be something that your children or grandchildren will want to ask you about someday too.

“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world”. 1 John 4:4

Thanks much, Dori! Moving on, if you had any spare time, what would you do with it?
In the spare time that I have had recently, I have begun doing art projects. I usually do a painting or drawing of some kind every week. Art is something that I discovered I was good at and loved at a young age. I kind of lost track of that during my college years, but now that I am married and have some more free time, I have rediscovered my passion for art. Thankfully, my husband supports it and encourages me to do it. On any given day, our kitchen table is usually covered in painting supplies rather than cleaned off for a meal! Unfortunately, I am running out of wall space in our house to display things! I have toyed with the idea of selling art, but (1) I’m not sure that I am actually good enough to do that because I am just self-taught and (2) then I would feel pressure to only do art in my spare time and I’m afraid it would become more of a demand instead of an enjoyable hobby.

Thank you much. Can you offer some advice for visitors to Hannibal?
he advice that I would give to visitors in Hannibal is to do everything! The Main Street of Downtown Hannibal offers a lot of historic experiences such as a candy shop, an old time ice cream store, as well as the Mark Twain childhood home, the famous white washed fence, and the Mark Twain Museum. It does help to know why the town is so special, so it is a good idea to read the book “Tom Sawyer” by Mark Twain before you visit!

The Mark Twain “must see” attractions are the cave, trolley ride, and the riverboat. The cave is an absolute must see because it is like you are right there going on an adventure with Tom and Becky. The tour guide will take you through the story and the hiding places mentioned in the book. Riverboat is a really cool experience because it is kind of like a dinner show, if you go in the evening, they not only share the adventures of Mark Twain on the river (and share some insights about the Tom Sawyer story), but you also get a nice dinner and a live music performance. If you go downtown during the summer months, you may even see Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher strolling on Main Street. This is one of my favorite things about Hannibal. Every year, 8th grade boys and girls enter a contest to see who will representing Tom and Becky for the town of Hannibal for an entire year. These kids study the material and take on the persona of the book characters. They travel all over the US, and sometimes overseas to make appearances. Mark Twain is famous all over the world. In fact, during the summer months, it is not uncommon to see people from all around the world in small town Hannibal. The small town of historic Hannibal is a great place to come visit!

Dori, thanks for being with us and sharing some of your adventures. May your journey be blessed.

Tammy Greene–Advice for Cake Decorators

What is your name?
My name is Tammy Greene, but my family call me Deemie.

How did “Deemie” come about as a nickname?
When I was a kid, my sis babysat a little boy who couldn’t say Tammy. I became “Deemie.”

Oh, that’s funny. I had a niece who couldn’t manage “Henry” so I was “Uncle Ornery,” but fortunately it didn’t stick. What do you do for a living?
I am a General Manager for Hardee’s. I have been in food service for thirty-one years, and I used to decorate cakes.

How old are you?
I am approaching the half-century with alarming speed. (Almost 48)

Where do you live?
I live in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Everybody thinks they want to live at the beach. Can you give us a downside or two about beach living?
Well, the obvious ones are not being able to enjoy the beach because we are working retail tourism hours and sane people do not want to get out into tourist traffic. One aspect that may not be so obvious is the anonymity of tourism that allows people to act without regard to others.

Where can we find you on the internet?
I have Twitter and Instagram and my followers are surely disappointed as I update neither. Look for me on Facebook.

Facebook it is. The most interesting place you’ve visited?
The most interesting places are places I’ve yet to visit.

What’s a place you’d like to visit?
I have wanderlust. I want to go everywhere. The top of the list are a prolonged cross-country road trip (USA), exploring Scotland, Ireland, and Italy, hiking at least some of the Appalachian Trail and seeing a Broadway play.

If you had any spare time, what would you do with it?
I have more spare time than I like to admit because, in my exhaustion, I typically waste it.

Your favorite meal would be?
Anything surrounded by friends or my children.

I like it. Pet peeve?
Apathy or extreme self-interest.

Favorite book, or movie, or television show?
Anything Harry Potter.

What’s the appeal of Harry Potter for you?
Aside from the fantasy of the magic, the characters possess a rich, earthy, real-ness in which they are not perfect, but do what’s right without donning a cloak of moral superiority. The very essence of the story is that good triumphs over evil because love wins over hate.

Tell us about your family?
I was married. I have four intelligent, kind, funny children. If I started talking about them here, you would never finish reading this. I have four cats as well.

I will bite. Tell us a little about your kids? (Keeping in mind that I’ll have to limit you to a couple of sentences each for space reasons.)
Sean is 22 and a fresh graduate from USC with a degree in chemistry and a minor in criminal justice. He is parenting done right.
Patrick is 20 and attends CCU, working toward a degree in business. I worry about him. He is a bit less motivated, but is smart and kind.
Ryan is a senior in high school. He is an honor student like his brothers, but hasn’t decided if he will push himself or chill out and settle for doing the bare minimum.

Ciara just turned 13 and is the most amazing person I’ve ever met. She is super smart, kind, artistic, and funny as heck. She is my mini-me in her logic-mindedness and her razor sharp sarcasm. She shows me how annoying I’ve always been, lol.

Thanks much! And, in the “Advice for Everyone” gimmick of the blog, can I ask you to offer some advice to cake decorators?
Experiment with designs and new techniques. Be creative. Trust yourself. I suppose the same could be said for many aspects of life, but people who are scared of messing up a cake will not put their all into it.

Tammy, thanks for sharing some of your experiences, and thanks for letting us get to know you a little bit. May you and your family be well.

 

Dwight Martin–Advice for Coffee Lovers

What is your name? Any nicknames?
Dwight A. Martin III (People in school also knew me as Pete; my family called me Petey.)

What do you do for a living?
I work as an Air Medical Communications Specialist. (A lot of people call it Dispatcher–I work with Air Ambulance service in Missouri). I have worked overseas in Saudi Arabia doing the same kind of work. I owned a small coffee shop in Topeka, Kansas for a while. I also served in the US Army Reserves in my early adult years.

How old are you?
I am 49, at least until this November.

Where do you live?
Lawrence, Kansas.

Where can we find you on the internet?
I have Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts, and a blog at .https://flightwatch67blog.wordpress.com/

Thanks! I might also mention your YouTube channel, which has some wonderful videos about your adventures. You can find it here

Your favorite meal would be?
Any meal with my family. I love all food, I especially love to try cuisines from other cultures.

The most interesting place you’ve visited?
I love to travel, so I have been to a lot of places. One of the most interesting was Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. I also love the Philippines, where I have family. My wife and I travel to Jamaica every year, and this November we are going to Antigua for eight days.

I’ve enjoyed the interview process with you, Dwight, and you’ve got way more cool stuff than I can include here. Can you tell us a little about the food in Riyadh?
Riyadh is a place for Food Lovers – You name it, you’ll get it (if it is halal).
They have McDonald’s, Dunkin Donuts, TGI Fridays, and even Fuddruckers. You can find Italian restaurants or Indian restaurants if you are into international food.
Kabsa is the number one dish in Saudi Arabia. Whenever you talk to any Saudi, a lot of them will tell you that their favorite food is kabsa. Kabsa is made of rice, vegetables, and meat. The Saudis usually eat it during lunch and some even eat kabsa every day.

Mande, one of my favorite dishes, is a type of kabsa where the meat is cooked a little differently. To make mande, you must first dig a hole in the ground where the meat will be cooked. After the hole is dug, place charcoal inside of the hole along with the meat, cover it, and then cook it for a few hours. You will later add rice and other vegetables to the dish.

Mofatah is like a big kabsa that is eaten on special occasions in Saudi Arabia. Typically, if a guest comes to visit or there is a wedding, the hosts kill a sheep and use it to make mofatah. Killing sheep for guests has been a Saudi Arabian tradition for years, although now it is rarer to find the Saudis making this dish at home. Most people now will bring a sheep to the restaurant where the restaurant chefs can prepare the big mofatah dish for them.

Pet peeve?
Punctuality is my main pet peeve. I do not like being late. I also believe in treating others with respect.

Favorite book, or movie, or television show?
My favorite book is the Bible. I am not the most religious of people, however, I do believe that we should always use the Bible as a guide to how we should live. My favorite movie would have to be “13 Hours;” because of my time working as a contract employee overseas, I can relate to a lot of it.

If people want to pray for you?
They could pray for me to be as good of a father, and husband as my father was.

Are you married or have you been?
I am married, I have three children, and two step children, I also have a wonderful grandson. I have had many pets over the years but my little girl Sandee is not only a dog, she is one of my children.

Sandee sounds pretty special. One thing many people don’t know you can do?
I am a pretty good cook!

If you had any spare time, what would you do with it?
I would love to travel the world with my wife.

Tell us some other interesting things about yourself?
I love to live life. I have had many hobbies over the years. I love coffee, so I used to roast my own coffee beans. I love photography, especially taking photos of my wife and the places we travel. I believe in Karma, so I always try to do good by my fellow man. I have been in the Air Medical Industry for over 23 years now, working as a medic, as well as flight communications specialist. I try to have a good sense of humor, and I do not let myself get upset over little things, especially things that I cannot change. My wife is my best friend, and I love every minute I am with her.

Coffee has figured pretty large in your life. Can you give us some advice for coffee lovers?
I never liked coffee growing up.

In my early years, I never found the taste for coffee; as a matter of fact, I used to save my MRE coffee packs and send them to my father. Then in 2005 I had gastric bypass, and since I could not drink sweet drinks like I was able to before I began to drink coffee. After a while, I started enjoying the complex flavors of the different coffees. I began experimenting with roasting my own coffee beans, and it was not too long before I started getting good at it. My father was my biggest fan. After a few years of playing with my hobby I moved to Kansas, and almost immediately took up my roasting again. I soon started to sell my coffees at the local farmer’s market. I started to get a good following of customers, who convinced me to open my own coffee shop. So, I took the leap and opened KS Daily Grind. My little coffee shop did well, however after a year or so our location started to show no signs of growth, so before I could get in debt I decided to close the doors and go back into the Air Medical business. I still miss my little coffee shop, and I would love to open a new one in the future, but, at this moment I do not know where I would like it to be.
Here are a couple of links about my restaurant:
http://food.topeka.net/content/daily-grind-caffeinating-downtown
http://cjonline.com/news-life-food-business-local/2011-11-02/foodflicks-daily-grind-caffeinating-downtown

Roasting coffee beans:

Coffee roasting is a massive part of drinking coffee. In fact, it is almost impossible to drink or make coffee from unroasted green beans, as they are as hard as rocks after they are initially dried by the farmers.
The coffee roasting process can take years to master, and involves a large amount of patience and skill, as roasting even a couple seconds too long could ruin the coffee beans, or even set them on fire.
There are three main roast categories of coffee: light, medium, and dark, in accordance to how long the green beans are roasted.
Lighter roasted coffee is usually very bright and light on the tongue, typically having a slight citrus flavor as well, depending on the origin of the bean.
It is also said that lighter roasts of coffee have more caffeine than dark roasts, as less is cooked out in the roasting process. It is also said that lighter roasts can have much stronger more complex flavors than dark roasts, if the roaster knows what they are doing.
Medium roasts are a strong middle ground between the light and dark. A fair amount of flavor and caffeine. In fact, one of my favorite coffee blends is considered a medium roast.
Dark roasts are usually for people looking for a party in their mouth, as far as flavor goes. These roasts are usually very complex, but off-putting to most people because they are so strong. The darkest style of coffee is usually referred to as French roast, as the beans are roasted until they will almost catch fire. Even though these roasts have less caffeine per gram, it is shown in some scientific studies that they contain more antioxidants than their lighter roasted counterparts.
As far as home coffee roasting, a lot of people start off with a generic popcorn popper, or even a frying pan on low heat. Using these methods will often result in uneven roasting, and inconsistency. After a short while, if one really likes roasting their own coffee, and wants to take it further, they will invest in a less expensive roasting machine, and slowly move up from there. There are a few steps in the roasting process that signify various levels of toasting in the beans.

Listen to the crack!

Keeping an ear to your beans as they roast you will learn to listen to the crack. This step of roasting is known as “pops” or “cracks.” When roasting, after a few minutes, it will sound like there is popcorn in the roaster, as all the beans start to de-gas.
The next crack symbolizes a point where the beans are extremely well done, and because there is a big middle ground between the first and second cracks, it leaves a lot of room for experimentation.
Roasting times (which will depend slightly on the bean and bean freshness): 7 minutes of roasting gives a light roast, 9-11 gives a medium-dark, 12-13 will give a pretty dark roast, and 14 will be the darkest.
Even just a few moments after 14 minutes, and the coffee beans can start to smoke, and may even catch fire. There is a lot that goes into roasting coffee, but it is worth a shot with a popcorn popper to see if you have interest in a new hobby that could even make you some money! You also have the option of blending roasted beans to further vary the flavor and complexity of the coffee. For example, you could mix 50% medium and 50% dark roast to get hints of both, or choose other variations to suit your taste buds.

Here are 10 amazing things you probably didn’t know about coffee!
1. Coffee is the world’s second most traded commodity with over 25 million coffee farmers across the globe, as well as the amount of coffee consumed each day, coffee has pushed itself to the second on the list, just behind oil.
2. Over 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consumed each day, wiith over 400 million of those cups coming just from the United States alone. While that statistic does include people who drink more than one cup per day, it is still quite a lot.
3. Coffee isn’t as dehydrating as some people will make it seem. Most people have heard in their life that coffee is dangerous and can dehydrate you. This is true, but only if a lot is consumed in one time. Studies found that people who drank a cup of coffee urinated the same amount as those who drank water.
4. Goats discovered coffee. Around 840 A.D a goat herder found that his goats were acting quite erratic after eating berries off a certain shrub. This man tried the berries himself, and he too felt quite energetic. He soon dried some of the berries, ground them up, and added hot water. This is likely the first cup of coffee ever brewed.
5. Coffee is very good for you (when consumed without a ton of sugar or milk, of course). Coffee, being made from a plant, contains a plethora of antioxidants that can help prevent certain illnesses. One study showed that coffee is the biggest source of antioxidants in the Western world.
6. Webcams were made for coffee. In 1991 at the University of Cambridge, workers got tired of walking to the coffee pot only to find that it was empty. Because of this, a group in the computer lab set up the world’s first webcam, so they would always know when there was coffee.
7. Iced coffee is more expensive than hot. While this might sound familiar to anyone who has purchased both and payed attention to the price, not many people know why. This is because iced coffee requires about twice the amount of ground coffee as hot coffee does to prevent the taste from diluting as ice melts.
8. Coffee works wonders on the liver. While coffee might not reverse any serious liver issues, studies have shown that those who consume four cups per day are 80% less likely to contract cirrhosis.
9. Coffee helps your migraines. The caffeine found in coffee helps boost adrenaline levels slightly, and helps release fatty acids in the body to boost your workout performance.
10. Coffee can kill you. (But it is a very situational thing.) For someone with a high caffeine tolerance, it can take as much as 10 grams of caffeine to kill them; the average cup of coffee has 350 mg of caffeine. For someone who doesn’t really consume coffee, as little as 2 grams of caffeine can be a fatal dose.

Dwight, thanks much for letting us get to know you a little. May your endeavors meet with success and happiness, and God bless.

Sue Bargeloh–Advice for Equestrian Therapists

What is your name?
Sue Bargeloh.

What is your occupation? If retired, retired from what?
Retired from Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico. Worked there, and throughout the DOE complex, as a trainer, providing management training programs and facilitating organizational design.

How old are you?
Age is 30/32. My husband and I have used this method of describing age for years now, it seems to express a more truthful concept of how we actually feel.

Can you tell us a little about your method for telling your age?
My husband, Tom, is the one who came up with our method for determining age. We started in our forties, so at that time we looked back on our thirties with nostalgia. Consequently, it seemed appropriate to use 30 as the baseline, since we still felt like we should be in our 30’s, then add the appropriate number of years to be accurate: 30+12= 42, for example. In our fifties we began to start with 40 as a base and build from there. Now that we’re in our sixties, we should be using 50 as a base, but depending on how well–or not–I feel on the day I’m giving my age, I’ll use 30, 40 or 50 as a base.

Where do you live?
For now, in a motor home in campgrounds between Raleigh and Asheville. We have a house being built in Raleigh that is supposed to be finished in September.

The most interesting place you’ve visited?
Have done some world travel and lived in at least six different states, but recently I experienced a tactile art exhibit in Sarasota, Florida that was a truly interesting experience. A room was hung from floor to ceiling with different colored silk ribbons, all the same size. The experience was to walk through the room and experience the silk flowing against you from every direction, kind of like walking through a very thick, silken forest. Very zen, very beautiful. The other most interesting experience was watching–literally–saguaros bloom in the Sonoran Desert.

Your favorite meal would be?
Salad, cheese pizza.

Pet peeve?
People who litter and people who refuse to pick up after their dogs when they walk them in public.

Favorite book, or movie, or television show?
Don’t watch a lot of movies but: Mr. Holland’s Opus, Have many favorite books but two that come to mind tonight are To Kill a Mockingbird, A Man Called Ove.

If people want to pray for you, they could pray for….?
Giving me the strength to let go (one of my main learning objectives in this life).

Are you married or have you been? Any kids? Grandkids? Obnoxious and demanding pets?
Married (22 years), one step-daughter, one horse (Danny), two dogs (Sydney and Bridget) and one cat (Little cat). No obnoxious and demanding grandkids.

(Grin) Thanks. One thing many people don’t know you can do?
Reiki. Ride dressage. Play the piano.

Can you tell us a little about reiki?
Reiki, meaning ‘universal life force energy,’ is an alternative healing methodology in which a practitioner places hands on the patient to channel ch’i, or energy, in order to provide pain/stress relief and healing.

If you had any spare time, what would you do with it?
Write plays, write stories, write poems. Do yoga and ride bike. Volunteer at animal shelters and soup kitchens. Work for legalization of medical marijuana. Direct plays.

Tell us some interesting things about yourself that aren’t already covered.
I ran a therapeutic riding program in New Mexico that served handicapped children and adults. I was a Licensed Practical Nurse before changing careers. I’m an amateur actor. I’ve volunteered as a reading tutor. I love to garden. I am a late-in-life vegetarian. I saw one of the best Pink Floyd concerts, Dark Side of the Moon, in Pittsburgh in the 70’s. I met and spent time with Monty Roberts, the original Horse Whisperer. Many years ago I was able to spend time in Paris and actually speak French (now lost to me).

Great, and thanks much. Could you give some advice for people interested in therapeutic riding programs?
For those who might not be familiar with these programs, therapeutic riding uses horses to help people with physical, mental, and/or emotional disabilities. There are a variety of ways horses can be used to help people. I once established and ran a Recreational Therapy program where our riders were taught by certified instructors (me and three other women) how to actively engage in riding a horse to the extent possible given the type of disability of each rider. Recreational Therapy riding helps patients to relax; improve muscle tone, sensory and motor skills; and develop coordination, confidence, and well-being. At one point in our program, The North Mesa Riders, we had a physical therapist working with us, which elevated the program to a Hippotherapy program. In Hippotherapy Programs licensed physical therapists, occupational therapists, or speech and language pathologists guide the therapeutic team to encourage specific motor and sensory inputs for the rider’s benefit.

There are therapeutic riding programs all across the country, and there are several in the Asheville/Hendersonville/Brevard area. Most of these programs use a team of volunteers to assist the riders as needed: some riders need a volunteer walking beside them on either side of the horse and a volunteer leading the horse, while other riders may have only one side-walker volunteer, and a very few riders have full control of their horse. If you enjoy helping others, this is a hands-on, out-of-the-box way to make a difference. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

YOU DON”T HAVE TO HAVE HORSE EXPERIENCE. Volunteer training will teach you to be a horse leader and/or side walker. If horses frighten you, be prepared to lose that fear (or at least 90 percent of it–it never hurts to have some healthy respect when working around a large animal) and then fall in love and want a horse for your own. No one who watches how these amazing animals care for and manage their unstable riders can remain untouched. Warning: Falling in love with horses can lead to economic and marital stress.

EMBRACE THE DIRT, THE FLIES, AND THE MANURE. Don’t wear perfume, sandals, or shorts to the stable. Pull your hair back and don’t bother with make-up. Leave jewelry and fake nails behind. Your volunteer work will put you as close to God’s natural creative efforts as you can get in today’s urbanized landscape, so let go and enjoy it. The riders and the horses will love you despite your sweat and smudges. And if you have a dog, he/she will adore any smells and manure you bring home. As for other family members…well, maybe not so much.

GIVE YOURSELF EXTRA TIME when you volunteer. You’ll need time to help prepare horses for the next class and time to get riders lined up to the mounting ramp to get onboard. You’ll need plenty of extra time to listen to the riders as you get to know them because you’ll be helping them in a very unique and personal situation. They will become your friends and want to tell you about themselves, the disability they are struggling with, and the wonderful things they are learning from their horse. You’ll need time to talk with the instructors and other volunteers as you get to know them. They will become your friends as you work together to plan new ways of helping each rider achieve his or her goals. And you’ll certainly want time to brush and pet the horses you work with. They will become your friends and partners in making a difference to others and you will love feeling their energy and learning their individual personalities.

BE PREPARED FOR EMOTION. It’s hard not to feel humbled by the courage of a paraplegic who allows himself to be hoisted onto the back of a huge animal for a lesson in balance and motion, and you’ll feel exaltant when after weeks of grueling work that same person shares that his spinal flexibility has improved from riding. You’ll have to fight tears when you listen to a young girl sob because her classmates make fun of her disability at school, and then you’ll smile through those tears when she’s in the saddle, proud and confident on her horse, high above the rest of the world and full of power and magic. And you’ll chuckle when the class of ladies with MS decides they need an extra 30 minutes each week to spend time drinking iced tea and chatting after the lesson because they’re all such good friends now and, well, just because!

To find out more about therapeutic riding and its various types of programs, do a few web searches: you’ll be overwhelmed with information.

Thank you, Sue, and God bless. We appreciate the opportunity to get to know you a little. May your journey continue to be interesting and full.