I’m Back!

Dear COTH family and friends, I have returned from South Africa with a heart full of experiences and a camera filled with pictures. It was an amazing adventure. I had a quick trip to Texas to pick up Maggie and bring her home too. Our Aspen weekend was cancelled and so I am home over […]

Wild Animal Sanctuary Field Trip, September 24, 2011

As printed in the September 2011 issue of Echoes Wild Animal Sanctuary Field Trip, September 24, 2011 To coincide with the fall sermon theme “Where the Wild Things Are,” the Sabbatical team is excited to offer a field trip to the Wild Animal Sanctuary east of Brighton, Colorado. This sanctuary is home to a variety of […]

Peak Experience – COTH Hikers Enjoy Their Day

Church of the Hills hikers responded to the invitation for a “peak experience” on Saturday, August 20 to coincide with Pastor Dee’s summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro. COTH Hikers Enjoy Their Day by Oralie McAfee; photos courtesy of Jill Hesser It was a perfect day for hiking in Colorado’s mountains as Church of the Hills hikers gathered […]

Bend: Learnings

Some of you know my heart runs deep with care for animals and to feel their pain runs deep and sharp in my soul. I have learned just to avoid thinking about it, getting too close, or not seeing (movies, news that shows them suffering) their suffering. And yet without knowing it, by holding up […]

Bend: The Soul of a Horse

I found myself fascinated with their eyes, eyelashes, their ears, and their expressions. Truly these gentle giants have so much more wisdom to offer than what they can non-verbally articulate. They say the eyes are the window to the soul. Some may question if horses, even animals, have souls. I know that I watch them […]

Bend: Sustenance and Refreshment

We fed the horses and provided them water while the staff was on retreat. Eric guided us to unload the hay bales and toss the flakes off for the horses to start munching. We also filled the stock tanks with water that provided such needed refreshment. It occurred to me that unlike the other animals […]

Bend: Power of A Herd

I learned that horses take care of each other. When they need to sleep, they literally sleep while another stands and watches over them. This provides a sense of safety to truly sleep and a dependence on each other. Horses also have been known, while one of the herd was recovering from a near death […]

Bend: Unconditional Love

After grooming Shamis, when she had indicated ‘okay I have gotten what I want,’ Keri instructed me to take her out to the grassy area. There she snacked on the sweet treat of green grass and leisure. Hanging with a horse is truly a gift. I then took her up and sprayed her with water […]

Bend: Shamis!

While I was looking over my photos from the trip, I noticed even the first day a young filly named Shamis had come to me often. She is a beautiful buckskin with a brownish red mane, tail and brunette socks. Shamis was tender, sweet, and a teacher. The day the staff was on retreat, Keri, […]

Bend: How the West Was Fun!

Soccer Ball – Well although I would consider all these horses do is play, there were very intentional times of creating play for the horses and children alike. The little interactions, the ranch games and hoedowns, are all surrounded with play. They also have a giant soccer ball that is placed in the arena. The […]