Ruts Along the Way


Are you currently sidelined or frustrated with where you are right now?

The truth is that these times are all part of the journey. The key to achieving goals is pushing through all the dips, twists and an unexpected detours along the way. Really that’s where we learn what we most need know.

So how can we push through?

We can find a source of inspiration that will fan the fire (the upcoming NFR is a great source of that for barrel racers!) and do what you can right NOW with what you currently HAVE. Keep the momentum moving forward toward your goal and celebrate the small achievements. It can be easy to leot the imperfect conditions stall us out completely but I think if we wait for the stars to align perfectly we won’t get too far. We have all seen people in seemingly impossible situations achieve amazing things because they simply refused to give up!

I hope if you find yourself relating to this that you take a step forward and do one small act to get you closer to where you want to be today!


Never Give Up,


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Seasons: Everything Is Temporary


Wisdom is knowing that everything is temporary and life goes through seasons.

I believe that success and happiness should be immediately celebrated. After Tyler died I learned to really live in the moment and be grateful for just one moment of peace or in the joy of a good laugh with friends. Tragedy, loss, and challenges should not drive you to give up. Really, neither one will last. Things are always changing. When we learn to roll through all seasons knowing they are not going to last forever  it is a sign of true wisdom and our growing experience.

When you see people who are very successful that are humble and kind, you are seeing wisdom. Winning lasts only for a day. Quickly that is all forgotten by the world. It is temporary like the summer. It is so important to invest in what really matters and endures.  Which I think is kindness. I think the best use of success is to improve the world around us.

When facing loss, challenges and unwanted change, we could best use those times to learn. We should not let those times push us into complete despair, stopping us from moving forward. We know that winter will end and it won’t be cold forever. Slowly Spring sneaks in and before we know it the whole world is renewed. If we keep moving, we will eventually find ourselves in a totally different place. Good things are always on the horizon, we just have to stay open to them during the hard times. If we let ourselves be defeated and stay down, it is very likely we will be miss the very opportunities that could raise us up and out of that place. We don’t have to stay in difficult times longer than necessary.

Never Give Up!

Be blessed and keep going!


Loss Lessons: Success


Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. -Steve Jobs

I am a big believer in belief.

By that I mean, what you focus on and what you REALLY believe about yourself will manifest itself into reality. We are capable of much more than most of us realize. 

Taking a moment to look around, I see people constantly focused on being the “best”, achieving success and in constant competition with others. (thanks Facebook! 😉 ).

We all want to do well, but there are a lot of different interpretations of success….money, a job title, beating someone else…though these are superficial, temporary examples of success. Many are attracted to physically beautiful, but false characters in movies, tv shows while living in unstable and unhealthy relationships in their “real life”.

I get caught up in this stuff too, hey I’m human, but quickly I am reminded that these things are truly worthless in reality. I learned this lesson from my greatest loss. Death can be a great teacher if we let it. It can teach us to live. 

When we focus on these superficial human ideas and feel that we are successful when we achieve them what does that say about our beliefs? What does that say about what we value in life? What we value in ourselves?

Perhaps success is when you reach a place where you are living your truth, confident in who you are and your purpose in this world, and those temporary, earthly items are no longer needed to validate who you are. You no longer need to “beat” someone else or cut them down to feel superior for a moment. And you will no longer tolerate that behavior from others around you. 

Confident, kind and giving people become the most attractive people you know and become your role models. Instead of your eyes searching for beautiful appearances, they search for beautiful and awakened spirits.

Your eyes open to the journey and struggle of every soul on this planet and how we are all connected, created by the same hand.

Perhaps that realization alone is the real definition of success in this life. 

Never Give Up,


Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. -Steve Jobs


The Unknown


I have been thinking about life altering changes, mostly those that are unwanted and unexpected. There are a lot of challenges in life, but there are a few that can truly spin us around and leave us totally disoriented. They also take away our security and sense of our future. When your future becomes a black hole and you lose everything in a moment, what do you do next?

Death, divorce, and cancer…unexpected losses, life threatening challenges or tragedies are some of the life events that will test us to the max and kick us out of our every day comfort zone and rip our known future away. Of course these things happen all the time, we just don’t expect them to happen to us.

It is really bewildering to go from an everyday couple with a routine about to start a fun summer weekend to the 26 year old widow. At least it was for me. I know that other serious life events can have a similar feeling when it comes to where to go or what to do next after these experiences.


For me, I felt frozen. I wanted to go backwards, definitely not forward. I felt it would take me further away from my comfort zone, my life that I knew, the husband I loved with all my heart, my best friend and the life we had planned out together. Our future. When I looked forward it was just black.


It was like when you first enter a unfamiliar dark room from the light and you can’t see anything. You put your hands out in front of you and squint to try to see. But there is nothing. So you try to shuffle backwards out of the darkness…..but then you realize that the door you came through is now a solid wall and there is no turning back.


So here’s what I figured out, you better get used to the unknown. Just like in a dark room, your eyes will adjust. Let go of the need to live in routine. Let go of living only in the familiar. You will adapt, but you do have to open your eyes and face it to overcome it.

I now believe that as terrible as these life experiences are, they are also blessings. Perhaps there are some people who get by in life with only experiencing minor loss and challenges, but will they ever really know who they truly are? If you are never pushed and tested, you can never know what you are capable of. A few naturally test their limits, and some, are forced into it by life.

Whatever has happened to you may be the absolute worst, terrifyingly devastating experience that you barely survive, but at the same time, it also can be the best one, that leads you to finally truly live for the first time.

What do I mean by that? You will learn to value every second, be grateful for every small blessing, feeling happy or one carefree minute in the light, once you get back to it. Laughing will become a cherished past time, as well as those that partake in it with you…because you have died while living, you now have the knowledge to know what it is to truly live.

The truth is, your future has always been unknown. You and others just convinced yourself otherwise. That is why these events are such a shock. People die? Marriages end? People are not perfect? I am mortal and not guaranteed a 100 years free of tragedy or suffering? What a revelation, right?

So, embrace the unknown. Then kick it’s ass. Learn to try, learn to take a risk, learn to make mistakes. Avoiding mistakes will lead you to living to only a fraction of your potential. You’ve already been locked into the darkness, open your eyes and step forward. It’s the only way to find the way out.

And as always, NEVER GIVE UP.




Part 2: I’ve Never Been A Widow Before


Sadness. It is a useless emotion. I believe that it is necessary and has to be indulged to make it through our grief (and believe me, I indulged) but, it will not help you get anywhere new. Now anger, anger is a motivating emotion.

I was a walking ball of sadness and grief I was devoid of energy especially the first months after Tyler’s death. I could barely function. I was just surviving as a dehydrated, never hungry, zombie with bloodshot, aching eyes. I was lost. I had no power and I let others take care of me. Which is fine, that is what friends are for but at some point, I gave up all of my power to be me and had few opinions on anything or that I could muster the energy to express in contrast with someone else’s when it came to me, my husband, or our life.

This would have some detrimental repercussions in the long run because one day, I would be strong again and the sadness would finally be overtaken. I would finally regain full consciousness and some people weren’t going to like it. It was more change and we had already had quite enough of it by then. They were used to the widowed and broken me. Really I was just a shadow of my real self at the time.

Around 6 months, I woke up. I remember exactly when it happened. I was at the bank talking to them about finally taking his name off the accounts and all of a sudden it was like I snapped into the current time after living the day he died over and over…every, single, day. I would waiver back and forth after that, but never again would I go back to being completely overtaken by grief for months at a time. It was then I realized how much I had let go and how much I wish I wouldn’t have. I then realized that while I had many people supporting me, my weakness had also been taken advantage of by a a few.

Then I was angry. With myself, my situation and those that I allowed to take over. The good thing was I was finally awake and I realized I wanted to live not just exist. I wanted to live my life fully like I knew Tyler would have wanted me to. One thing about him was no one (except maybe me) ever told him what he was going to do. I knew this and knew he would say “who gives a damn what they think!”. I would smile and gain a little more confidence every time I thought of him saying that. He was well known for his bluntness.

I finally wanted to make the most of the time I had and now I wanted to do it in my own way.

Of course, after all this time of being an agreeable pile of moldable clay, obviously, it was going to be a tough transition for those around me to handle my sudden desire for independence. Even more difficult would be the courage for me to speak up and muster the courage to actually DO what I wanted and thought was best for me. Many people wouldn’t give this so much thought or struggle with just doing what they decide to do, but I was too worried about doing what others wanted me to do or thought was what I should be doing. Even with Tyler’s words ringing in my ears, I was struggling.

I would liken that time to a baby deer learning to stand. I was going to give it my best but there was no way around the fact that it was going to be awkward (VERY awkward at times) and I was going to make mistakes.

But hey, I didn’t know what I was doing! I had never been a widow before.


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The Healing Power of a Horse


When I first moved to Nevada I was in a much better place than I had been the year before. I thought I was doing pretty well emotionally from where I had been and was moving forward in my life. I had managed to return to college, get good grades and graduate with my degree. I  had no idea what I where I would go from there but I was open to new experiences and change.

I had met my now fiance’ and he was living in Nevada. Upon graduation I was ready to try living somewhere else and seeing what new opportunities were out there. It was only supposed to be for a year. But it went so well, we extended and are still here almost 2 years later.

A big reason is because of my horse, Gigi (aka #SuperGigi).

Super Gigi and I

Super Gigi and I

Beyond the path that I am on now because of Gigi, competing in barrels and other horse events, I gained a part of myself back, part of who I was before my life in the military even. Part of me that was lost when my world fell apart.

Originally becoming a competitor in barrel racing was a far off fun idea. When I first went to see Gigi, it had been ten years since I had my own horse. I had rode a few times since then but I was out of practice with the general requirements of horse care and handling. I was excited, but also trying not to appear as a total greenhorn since it had been so long.

Gigi wasn’t particularly interested when I opened her pen to put her halter on for the first time. I remember being a little disappointed that she was so regular looking (I hate admitting that now because I think she is the most gorgeous horse in the world. I think other people do too!). After getting her saddled and ready to go we rode around and even went around the barrel pattern. It all went great and I was sold, but still not sure if I should really buy a horse! I went and saw her a few more times and then bought her. And I am so glad I did.

Almost every single day I drove about 15 minutes to where I had Gigi boarded before we had our own place. I gained confidence and I gained a partner. I was settling in to who I was at the core. I was stripped down to the foundation of being when Tyler passed away and I had to find that again to rebuild. In addition to God and Love, Horses are one of the pillars of what makes me who I am. So it is no surprise now looking back that horses became a part of my daily life again, but also helped me rebuild myself and my life. Today it has taken me to a beautiful place that I am very grateful to be.

People have asked me, are the equine therapy programs really effective? What is so special about horses that they could have such a profound impact on someone’s life when they are struggling? For those of us that have been in love and awe of these animals all our life, it needs no explanation. It is a chemistry, a certain kind of magic that can happen between a horse and human. Perhaps because the communication between horses and humans are for the most part silent, it becomes an even more potent message. It is mostly body language, understanding and touch that can convey a message and that is a very special thing.

To those that have always been around horses, or never really thought much more of them than a necessity to work, I am sorry. There is something that is very special about approaching a horse for the first time, or after a long time of being unacquainted with horses that everyone should experience. We can become accustomed to their size and forget their power over time, but for someone who is new all of those impressive characteristics are both amazing and intimidating. The fact that they stand for us to pet them, and even more, to ride them allowing us to tell them where to go and what to do, well, it seems a very special privilege to be in the presence of such an animal. I’d have to agree that it is. Don’t you?

To then learn to communicate and work with such an animal that responds positively can create an intense bond and instill confidence in the most timid of persons. For those that have trouble fitting in or communicating well in the human world, the quiet, accepting nature of a horse can become a place of comfort and understanding. Those dealing with fear and trauma can also find common ground and a bond with horses understanding their flight nature and can grow along with the horse as they conquer fears together. The possibilities are endless.

What a special moment!

What a special moment!

You don’t have to ride to have this experience. It can just be working with a horse on the ground. If you take a look at equine therapy programs you can see that the interaction and experience varies. For those with physical challenges, riding may be the preferred modality, and in fact they have found that riding can help improve some physical motor skills and strength. Other times just being with a horse and walking him through a trail course can be the perfect experience for someone working to overcome mental or emotional challenges.

Though I have again grown accustomed to my big friends, I still hold much respect and gratefulness for them. I hope to never lose that awe or appreciation for their willingness to work with me, as I know they could easily choose not to. Their presence is a gift and I am grateful everyday to have them in my life. I hope to continue sharing them with you and I look forward to the next person that gets to meet my Super Gigi for the first time and remember that feeling of awe and excitement knowing the potential it holds.


Until next time,

Never Give Up!


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Putting the Trailer Before the Horse


In June 2012 I moved to Nevada from Virginia. I was only supposed to be here one year. I had joked about getting a horse when I moved but in no way thought that would ever happen.

It is funny how you see how you are being nudged and guided as you look back. I had met a friend in Virginia Beach who would ride every now and then at a local boarding/pony club facility. She invited me to go with her after Tyler passed away in 2010. It was great to be around horses again and of course, the healing powers of horses are incredible. It had been quite a while since I left my horses in Montana for the Navy and it was perfect to getting back into the horse world a little.

In 2011, I was lucky enough to attend the U.S. Navy SEAL Danny Dietz Memorial Team Roping and  bought my first pair of cowboy boots since high school that weren’t just for wearing with dresses. For some reason I knew I wanted actually riding boots, though I was not riding often at all at the time. I also got to take a little ride around while we were at the roping. We (Widows) were given some awesome goodies from Cavenders. One was a NFR 2009 Gear bag and a big Cruel Girl bag that held all the goodies. I had no idea what I would do with that bag and almost didn’t keep it when I moved to Nevada.

Once I got to Nevada, I started looking up horse events and barrel racing……not sure what I was thinking but seeing that there were quite a few barrel races going on around the area my mind started working. Then I went to the Reno Rodeo. I watched the barrel racers. I didn’t imagine I could ever be at the level but maybe I could at least go to the small local clubs. My ambitions were just to ride again and just be able to participate in a race. We did not live in a house where a horse could be kept so I started looking at boarding facilities in the area and started researching horse care. It had been a while.

One thing lead to another and I started looking for a horse. July 5, 2012 I bought a Trails West two horse slant trailer. I did not have a horse. I was putting the trailer before the horse you could say. I talked to some friends who had lived in the area a while and they just happened to know a very good barrel racer who usually had a horse or two for sale. I ended up meeting her and indeed, she had two for sale. That is how I found Gigi and a mentor.

The rest is history you could say but really there was still a long ways to go for me. That could have been incredibly overwhelming and kept me from even taking the first step. So many people asked me why in the heck I bought a horse trailer without a horse. Well, I knew I was going to have one and if I wanted to get to barrel races I needed something to transport my future horse. I didn’t realize how powerful this way of thinking would be.

It can be incredibly scary, but a tiny step is still a step in the direction of your goal. You just have to do it. How will it all come together? Well, that depends on you, time and God. Don’t let fear be the driving force in your life! Envision what you want and keep it in mind. Make sure you share your dream/goal with others. They will help you and introduce you to other people who you need to know. AND you should be looking for opportunities to help others reach their dreams and goals at all times as well. You get what you give!!I

So if there is something you are being called to and you don’t know where to start. Just start. Put that trailer before the horse and make it happen.



My Trailer

My Trailer

At the U.S. Navy SEAL Danny Dietz Team Roping 2011

At the U.S. Navy SEAL Danny Dietz Team Roping 2011

I ended up using my NFR gear bag a LOT! That Cruel Bag? PERFECT for storing my hay and not making a huge mess in trailer.

I ended up using my NFR gear bag a LOT! That Cruel Bag? PERFECT for storing my hay and not making a huge mess in trailer.


Reno Rodeo June 17, 2012


My boots bought in 2011 in Texas at the U.S. Navy SEAL Danny Dietz Memorial Team Roping. Still wearing them today!


Meeting Gigi 2012

2013 Winning Our First Buckle

2013 Winning Our First Buckle