Yesterday was our annual Courage Reins Holiday Open House, an opportunity to visit with the students at Courage Reins, serve them yummy doughnuts (and not just any doughnuts—only Krispy Kremes will do!), and give them gifts cards for Christmas.
For those who don’t know, Sterling is heavily involved in Courage Reins, a nonprofit organization that provides horseback riding lessons and therapy for people with disabilities. Although there are a few students who are just learning to ride, most of the students are struggling with some kind of life challenge, and while they may tell you they’re just riding a horse, their parents rave on and on about the ground they’ve gained through horse therapy!
In addition to meeting the new students, I love catching up with those I already know—what a treat to see familiar faces and hear about what is going on. One young man has been battling cancer for three years and also suffers from severe seizures. We chatted with him and his young wife, and I was amazed to learn that they have a service dog—a skilled animal who can sense when he is going to have a seizure and gives him enough of a warning (about 30 minutes) that he can get to a safe place. What a blessing that dog has been to them!
This year for the first time, we handed out simple hand-stamped, handwritten notes with the gift cards; the grandchildren loved writing personal greetings to the students. Even the younger grandchildren who can’t write yet signed their names to notes that their mommies had written. It made the gifts cards even more fun to give—and receive (I hope).
After the open house, we all went home to celebrate Cooper’s 4th birthday. I won’t write about that; Shalae wrote about it on her blog, so you can see pictures (along with a fun tag she made) and check out the details by clicking here.
The holiday open house is turning out to be a beautiful event, one that we anticipate every year! It sets a perfect tone for the rest of the season—the atmosphere is festive (Christmas decorations with Christmas music playing in the background) and it’s a great reminder that during the holidays (and all year long, actually), one of the most important things we can do is reach out and serve others.