Remembering a Year of Blessings
2015 was an incredible journey: a true test of faith. Life “happens” to all of us and I learned the many ways God shows up to help us through the worst kinds of challenges.” After Mark’s stroke on December 11th, 2014, it seemed the worst had happened. In fact, our challenges were just beginning.
One of the lessons to come out of this was how unbelievably compassionate people are. The help started coming in from people at our church Christ the King, in Bellingham.
First Wendy Powell, who is on staff at CTK, came to my house to assist in sorting through the medical bills that poured in, helping me make sense of all the correspondence from the hospital, insurance company and each subcontractor for the hospital. It was all so overwhelming. The first 3 weeks I lived at the hospital. Another friend, Wendy Croney, took care of my horses, a sick dog that had to visit the vet and helping with other critters around my small farm. To make things easier, Faith Equestrian donated board for a couple months.
The list of helpful people in those months is never ending. One of the people I’d ridden with in 2014, Julie Schot, had her husband Harald call and help get me on a better medical plan for the coming year. There were also at least 3 people who organized fundraisers to help offset the overwhelming medical expenses (we were initially only covered for major medical). A “GoFundMe” account was set up to collect money for the loss of Mark’s income and ongoing expenses.
Wendy Croney’s husband, Duke, put a clutch in our car so we could get it sold. He has continued to help with ongoing, necessary automotive work for our vehicles. Mark’s brothers Scott, Todd and Chris Pickering helped us financially and provided lots of labor repairing leaking roofs, remodeling a room in the barn so we could have a dry tack room, installing gutters, cleaning out garage and barn, helping us sell auto parts, extra vehicles, camper and assorted items to bring in extra money. Allison Trimble Paparoa and Catherine Madera organized a huge fundraiser for us, gathering items from all kinds of people who generously gave to the fundraiser. Cindi Plendl of Butler Hill Equestrian Center and Mark Bolender also put on clinics/shows and donated the funds to us.
Then there were the work parties where people came out and helped us with projects that needed doing including Roger Edmonds who worked on putting a fence in for us and Robbie Teela Harris coming out and mowing my fields. I can’t begin to name all the people who have helped above and beyond. I’ve tried to gather names and emails, but in the shuffle of trying to keep our business afloat and the never ending visits to doctors and the emergency room over the summer, I’ve lost track of all the generous people that contributed in so many ways.
The people I work with on a daily basis also donated labor while working on the magazine: I couldn’t have done it without you. Catherine donated a month’s wages to help out, Randy came up to the house and pieced together the January 2015 issue without my assistance and there was an overwhelming amount of help and support from our church community.
And then there’s my brother Dick who donated time to remodel our bathroom so we could add a walk-in shower for Mark. Larry Davis and his son came to help remodel, too. My sister came over to help clean and keep my household running, along with so many others like sister-in-law, Diane who showed up to help sort mail and bills, bring food, etc. Yes, the list is endless!
I know there were so many other people who helped and continue helping us. I can’t list them all; I would be doing it for days. If I missed anyone, please forgive me. I truly am in awe just writing this blog. I’m reminded this Christmas that there is so much to be thankful for—starting with you all! God bless everyone; please know, from the bottom of our hearts, how much we appreciate your help. I look forward to seeing all of you again on the trail, at a show or just in passing.
Have a Merry Christmas!
Karen & Mark Pickering
Quote: Reflect upon your present blessings. ~ Charles Dickens
Owner/Publisher Karen’s lifelong love of horses began at a very early age when she wore out a couple of rocking horses before convincing her parents to get her the real thing. That ill-tempered bay gelding, Brandy, was a challenge for the young horsewoman, but it drove her ambition to become a horse trainer. After attending Canyonview Equestrian College’s Horsemanship Program, Karen realized she needed work that was a little more lucrative than training, so she took a job with Customs Brokerage to pay the bills. There, she discovered an affinity for computers and a talent for creating informative, entertaining newsletters. The Northwest Horse Source began as such a letter in December 1995, with a distribution of 1000 copies for its 12 black and white pages. Since then, it has grown into beautiful, all-gloss magazine with the largest coverage of any free equine publication in the Northwest – a distribution of over 16,000 copies and over 600 locations monthly. Not bad for the results of one woman’s dream to work with horses!
Today, Karen remains involved with every aspect of the magazine and treasures the community of thousands who share a common passion. Somewhere in the wee hours of the early mornings and late evenings, she still finds time to care for April, her gorgeous and sweet-tempered Quarter Horse.