Story of Hope – Is LiveAbilities Possible

Let’s change how people think. Let’s figure out why jobs are so hard to keep. Let’s figure out how to train employees. Let’s go for a grant,” he said. “Let’s make LiveAbilities, happen.”

Five sentences later, I agreed. As with most grants they take time to write. I made sure the pilot would be a success and we would have the data to move forward for others to follow us with workable strategies to develop successful outcomes. We put our heart, soul and full commitment into the project. In faith, I agreed to give it a go, to write the grant, build a new website, develop a marketing plan. We were the little engine that tried to push the big train up that mountains.

We didn’t get the grant. “Are you going to abandon us like everyone else does when the funding stops? Are you going to throw away the idea of LiveAbilities?” he challenged.

“No,” I said taking another leap of faith and giving up professional wages to work for $10.00 a hour as a designated support provider (DSP) for three couples living interdependently with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, (FASD) and a variety of other challenges. “What was I thinking?” But I had to know more. I had to figure out strategies to make a difference. I needed hands on, in the trenches wisdom that only comes with blood, sweat and tears. I was not sure…. I asked a horse.

Gidget Leonard, is part of the Papillion Eagala Equine Therapy Program in Gallatin, Tennessee . Her mother is Chris Troutt, head of the Papillion Center, a place of refuge and counseling for families loving children from hard places and trauma. EAGALA Therapy is experiential in nature.  Participants learn about themselves and others by participating in activities with the horses and then processing/discussing feelings, behaviors and patterns.  It is a powerful and effective therapeutic approach that has an incredible impact on individuals, youth, families, and groups and is well suited for all populations and age groups.  All sessions are on the ground with the horses. Horses mirror the inner beliefs of individuals, they pick up information we may not be even aware of. Did I have enough guts to do what I set out to do and what about results.  I asked Gidget if I could set an obstacle course for a hobbled horse named, Hope and run the course with her. The obstacle course had two opposite trails, one through horse droppings, the other on a clear trail. We stepped through hula hoops between noodles, avoided the horse apples, and took the left fork in the trail. We finished the course with a hug for Hope and some hay. I thought my lesson was over.

Gidget asked me, “Why didn’t you take the trail with the horse apples? The trail was good, it was just messy. I think some of the people you will be working with will need to get pretty messy to do what you are talking about. Are you ready for their messy?”

I laughed.

“I have a concern. You left a space at the fork in the trail and it had a small space, what’s on the other side of that little opening?”

“It’s a cliff, death, disaster,” I answered.

“Then you better make sure all your little openings are closed, because they will destroy your people.” Gidget added.

I agreed. “Let’s go get Hope some molasses.”

And off we went to get Hope’s dinner. Both Gidget and I are trainers and behaviorists and Hope surprised us when we opened the gate by knocking our arms out and up with her head and bolting out of the training area running at full speed toward the freeway. We called her, Hope whinnied, she ran on the very border of the property. We called as she raced past us nickering. Hope was running with joy. She saw the molasses and looked at us with glee, turned and raced back to the freeway away from us and her dinner.

Then she turned and returned still running with joy, this time she slowed to stop right in front of us, her eyes softened.

“Incredible,” Gidget said. “She’s never run before. What were you thinking when you finished the obstacle course?”

“I was thinking, I could give the people I love joy. It is possible. We could do this thing! They could have HOPE!”

“Hope had joy, Hope challenged her hobbling and ran.” Gidget said, “It’s more than that, Jodee, I trust her. I trust her to do this.”

Hope had arrived and Live Abilities began – changes to allow people to soar!

Thank you Gidget for giving me the opportunity to run with Hope.

Happy Holidays and New Year
May this year we run with joy!


RealMindz / Better Endings New Beginnings

Please comment below what you would like the person you love to accomplish this year. Then let’s see if we can find Hope!