Freshwater Academy

Fresh Water Academy was founded in 2010. It is home to four lovely young ladies of learning and their dedicated teachers. Located in the wilds of Wyoming, the name Fresh Water Academy was chosen as a Western analogy to Christ. Just as He is the Living Water, and we must have Him to have eternal life, any desert dweller knows the importance of fresh water to life, both for self, and the nourishment of crops or livestock. By taking nourishment in God and His word, we strengthen our own relationship with Him, our faith, and the quality and abundance of our fruitfulness.

Our keystone verse is from Jeremiah, Chapter 17, Verse 8: "For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit."

The fruit that we speak of is mentioned in Galatians 5:22
"22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."

And the heat could be anything we experience that might test our faith in God; trials and tribulations, relationships, anything that focuses our love and attention anywhere but on Him...

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Cactus

It’s so hard to lose a friend, whether he be human, canine, equine, or other.  Cactus was my awesome and wonderful friend whom I loved.  He always listened and he gave great hugs.

When I was about 15, I made a new friend.  One might not think this was an extraordinary development, but he was definitely an extraordinary friend.  My dad and I had traveled to Guthrie, Oklahoma to attend the Timed Event Championship that spring.  Our friend Butch was competing, and it became our habit to join him each year to help feed and exercise horses, and to help hold them between events.  The cowboys competed in every timed event, calf roping, steer wrestling (also called bull dogging), heading and heeling (the two different roles of team ropers), and steer roping (also called steer tripping).  This required several horses, as rodeo horses often specialize in specific events. 

At one point, I found myself in the middle of the huge arena, perched high on the back of a massive charger, Butch’s tripping horse, Cactus.  I spent a few moments looking around from my impossibly high perch, then sat back to relax and enjoy the ride.  Riding Cactus was a burst of sunshine on a beautiful spring day, a wonderful combination of warmth, strength, and power.  Later, when I was holding him before his event, and when we were putting them away in their stalls, we began to talk.  Yes, that might sound funny to some, but I swear that horse was one of the best listeners I ever met.  He gave great advice too – a snort for a ridiculous idea, a whicker for agreement, a snuffle for attention, and he would sometimes just reach over my shoulder with his head and give me a great hug. 

I loved Cactus, and he quickly became my favorite.  I looked for him at every rodeo, and especially looked forward to our special time together at the Timed Event. 

Some years later, my folks moved down to Colorado.  My dad’s reliable equine companion, Billy, had passed away, and he was on the lookout for a good horse.  He went down to visit Butch, to check out a couple of horses a friend of his was selling, and when he came back, wanted me to come by and meet his new horses.  I couldn’t figure out what he was so excited about, as he led me around the corral, introducing me to the new barrel horse he’d picked up, and his new gelding.  We rounded the corner, and I noticed a third horse in the corral, a big, brownish sorrel.  I paused a moment, and started to ask, “Is that…”, when hearing my voice, he raised his head, and whinnied.  My question turned into an exclamation as I shouted “Cactus!” and ran up to my beloved horse.  He reached his head over and laid his head across my back, as I threw my arms around his neck and just held him. 

Cactus and I were able to spend some wonderful times together, and enjoy each other’s company in the following years.  When my folks moved to Texas, he went with them, to enjoy the warmth and rest of a milder climate.  I was saddened to hear the news a few years later, when my dad called me one morning, in tears, to let me know that our beloved Cactus had passed away.  I miss my great friend and his beloved companionship, but I’m so glad that we had the years together.

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