Saturday, February 20, 2010

Life Lessons from a Horse Whisperer


LIFE LESSONS from a HORSE WHISPERER





Angie's Take: 
I really enjoyed the analogies drawn between training a horse and personal growth. When Lew shares his failures, I was right there with him learning from his admission and then the character choices he made from what he experienced. In the vulnerability of telling these life lessons, I was able to peek into what true humility and confidence look like in a godly man. 


Now I can't end without mentioning the beautiful photos. They brought me into a personal connection with the horses and the storyteller. Do you want to be a better parent, spouse, or person? This book offers a gentle learning opportunity in patience and relational skills. I am so glad to have this in my library!





ABOUT THE BOOK!

A champion trainer and true horse whisperer, Dr. Lew Sterrett has used patience and a firm but gentle hand to earn the trust of more than 3,500 horses. In this book, Lew tells the stories of his work with these horses and the lessons each one has taught him. Sometimes heartbreaking and often uplifting, Lew has condensed his lifetime of learning into messages for the Christian life. Today, Lew shares these messages with more than 50,000 people each year through horse training presentations at Miracle Mountain Ranch and nationally through his Sermon on the Mount Ministry.

The author's engaging style and adroit mixture of well-tested anecdotes and thoughtful instruction make this a winning read-and not just for horse lovers.


Interview with Dr. Lew Sterrett
Author of Life Lessons from a Horse Whisperer 

Q: HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INVOLVED WITH HORSES? AT WHAT POINT DID IT BECOME YOUR LIFE’S PASSION? 

A: I was but eight when my neighbors got horses and then my sister followed suit. Somehow it struck a chord with me, for I had already been infatuated with the likes of Roy Rogers, Stony Burke, the Rifleman, etc. I rode my sister’s horse looking more like a peanut on an elephant than a cowboy on his steed, but I was hooked. From that time on this fantasy began to become a reality. When I was 14, I was asked to train for someone else. It was all downhill after that. In part because of my intense enjoyment of horses, in part it was my safe place from family issues, and in part because I began to experience affirmation from others in what I did.  

Q: THE TITLE OF YOUR THIRD CHAPTER IS 'ANYTHING WORTH DOING IS WORTH DOING POORLY' – WHAT DO YOU MEAN?  

A: Of course this statement opposes the more popular line that 'If anything is worth doing, it is worth doing well'. However we must understand that no one ever starts anything at the top of their game. Starting is often clumsy, messy, and many times,embarrassing. The key is 'get started' for you will never learn any younger, and you really have no place to go but up! The emphasis here is to learn how to take the initiative and to keep getting up when you fall.  

Q:  YOU'VE WORKED WITH AND SPOKEN TO A VARIETY OF DIFFERENT AUDIENCES - AT RISK YOUTH, HOMESCHOOLERS, CORPORATE RETREATS, AND OTHERS. HOW CAN HORSES SPEAK TO SO MANY DIFFERENT PEOPLE ALL AT THE SAME TIME? 

A: Our audience is a broad spectrum. It includes all ages and ranges from very secular to very Christian, and total horse enthusiasts to non-horse observers. But we do share things in common: we are all people and we all share the same relational situations. The very principles that profit a horse/trainer relationship help humans to see their needs more objectively. Illustrating these with horses helps people appreciate God’s greater purpose for their lives from a relational and not necessarily “religious” perspective. The context is fundamentally sound, pithy, yet entertaining and non-threatening. 

Q: YOUR EARLY YEARS AT Miracle Mountain Ranch WERE DIFFICULT. WHAT DID THAT EXPERIENCE TEACH YOU ABOUT LEADERSHIP? WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO CONTINUE?
  
A: The very nature of the work at MMR is 24/7/365 and mandates living in a fishbowl. I soon discovered that leadership is more about responding responsibly to crisis than about position or perks. Reading II Corinthians 10:8, 13:10, I learned that the authority the Lord gave me was for building up and not for tearing down. I began to realize that when we face resistance or criticism from either an animal or person, it is a great temptation to react and use whatever power or position we have at our disposal to protect or save ourselves first. The result is usually unsavory both to our own palate and to others. Leadership is all about crisis and the more prepared we are for win-win results the more satisfying the job. Though often tempted to quit, I am still integrity bound to a “response-able” mandate.   

Q: IN CHAPTER SIX, YOU MEET BERRY AND DESCRIBE HIM AS “THE HORSE THAT WOULD CHANGE MY LIFE.” HOW DID HE CHANGE YOU?  

A: Berry, though outwardly beautiful and inwardly kind and cooperative, came to a place in his training that seemed impossible to surpass. As chapter 6 tells you, we thought Berry had reached his pinnacle. Finally, instead of trying to force the issue, I went back and started some basic training to increase his flexibility. Eventually, he overcame the physical challenge that was holding him back before. What I learned from him impacted me. Character is a reflection of the heart and will always surpass natural beauty and talent in the long run.
Q: WHAT IS THE “10,000 HOUR RULE?”  

A: When I use the phrase “It'll take a lot of wet saddle pads” my coaching audience looks baffled. However when I tell them that the only thing their team lacks is sweat equity, then the lights go on. I am very quick to emphasize that practice never makes one perfect. Otherwise we would not repeat the same dumb arguments with our spouse or kids. But it is essential to rehearse repeatedly in order for us to react automatically in crisis...kind of like forgiveness.
  

Q: WHAT IS A SOFT ANSWER? HOW IS IT USED IN HORSE TRAINING? CAN WE USE IT IN OUR LIVES?  

A: Often an action provokes a reaction, such as a harsh reaction to a harsh statement. It would be like jerking the horse’s mouth because he doesn't respond well. Whenever a trainer or parent reacts to an immature action he or she loses perspective and becomes childish. Soon the child or animal begin to push the buttons of the authority and thereby exert their will over the parent. A soft answer is not one of low volume; rather, it is a response to the need that keeps the real objective in view. It actually turns away wrath and provokes a responsible response. It includes seeing and responding to the need and not merely reacting to the words. 

Q:  WHAT DOES THE PHRASE “ASHES TO BEAUTY MEAN” TO YOU? AND HOW HAS WORKING WITH HORSES TAUGHT YOU THIS?  

A: God the Creator is always in the business of redemption. In my opinion, we were a pretty poor purchase for the sacrifice of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. With all respect, I see Him as a garbage collector: He takes our garbage and in exchange offers forgiveness and cleansing. He gave His life as complete payment for our sin offering eternal life to all who would receive Him. What a deal!! Only a fool would turn it down and that is precisely the point. Furthermore, He takes the ashes of broken lives and gives us a purpose to do His good and perfect work. The testimony of His regenerate work in a person’s life parallels seeing that of a horse whose life was headed for destruction being restored to a place of useful and honorable service.  

Q: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WATCHING SOMEONES ACTIONS AND WATCHING HIS/HER REACTIONS?  

A: If the truth were told, we all have two personas: the first is the role we portray and want others to see us in. The second is that which comes forth when we are caught by surprise. I learned this about myself when I was faced with my own reactions and realized that my true character shows up in crisis. It is often thought that when push comes to shove we will always 'rise to the occasion.' In reality, when a crisis comes we will always 'fall to the level of our true character and training.' This can certainly be unnerving, yet represents all the more the need for a work of God in our hearts. A horse’s true relationship with his trainer is revealed when he is frightened suddenly or when he is given the liberty to act out his true self. We like the horse are the person of our reactions not our actions.  

Q: YOU WRITE A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WRITING TO YOUR STEP FATHER TO ASK HIS FORGIVENESS. HOW DID THAT EXPERIENCE CHANGE YOU? IS THIS ALWAYS THE CASE WITH FORGIVENESS?  

A: I am embarrassed to say that I was married and living in California before I realized that my bitterness and rebellion toward my step-father had truly made a slave out of me. Forgiveness had far less to do with my step-father’s faults then it did with how I processed hurt and disappointment. Blaming him and rationalizing the anger and resentment I felt only festered into an angry vengeful messy abscess in my heart. Though I professed to love God, in truth I could only focus on myself. Not only did I forgive my father from my heart for the wrongs I felt were done to me, but I also wrote and followed up with a phone call to ask his forgiveness for my anger and disrespect I'd acted out toward him. To his credit—and my surprise–he not only readily and completely forgave me, but truly conferred his blessing upon me. Not all situations come out this way, but God puts the emphasis upon us taking responsibility for our offenses before Him, for if we do not forgive, neither will He forgive us.
  
Q: IF THERE IS ONE MESSAGE YOU WANT READERS TO TAKE AWAY FROM YOUR BOOK, WHAT IS IT? 
A: Every trainer wants a relationship with the horse. Man’s ways are opposite to God’s—we are deceitful and addictively self-absorbed—but God wants a relationship with us. To get there, God often has to corral us and get us to face the futility and deception of our own reasoning. Like the horse, we can’t 'save ourselves.' The story of this book is that not only does God want a relationship with every reader, but He has already sent the trainer, the Lord Jesus Christ, into our arena to speak our language and to elevate us to fellowship with him. It is our privilege to respond to Him in humility (repentance) and trust (faith) in His offer of forgiveness and eternal life to all who believe in Him for salvation.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR!

A champion trainer and true horse whisperer, Dr. Lew Sterrett has used patience and a firm but gentle hand to earn the trust of more than 3,500 horses. Dr. Lew Sterrett (Ph. D) had little idea that his boyhood interest in horses would open doors internationally for speaking and training. During his years in 4-H, he savored many opportunities to train and show horses and earn national recognition. As a student leader at Penn State University he benefited from many mentoring relationships from which he received valuable training, experience and honors. This foundation provided a basis for an extensive horse career with a unique emphasis on training youth and community leaders.

Lew has served as the Executive Director of Miracle Mountain Ranch Missions, Inc. (MMRM) since 1977. MMRM, located in northwestern Pennsylvania, is home for a summer youth camp, and a leadership training center for youth, adult, and family groups. He has also promoted safety in public riding programs, serving as President of the Certified Horse Association for 7 years. A licensed pastor, certified Youth, Marriage and Family Counselor, he earned his PhD from North Tennessee Seminary in 2007.

Find out more about Dr. Lew Sterrett on his website: http://www.sermononthemount.org/ 



BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE! 

Here's the link to the blog tour. http://ow.ly/169ym  
Read more reviews about the book!


2/15

Amy at The 160 Acre Woods     
http://the160acrewoods.com

Kaylea at My Scrappy Life     
http://kaytebug2002.blogspot.com

Crystal at Finamoon     
http://finamoon.blogspot.com

Andi at Radieant Light     
http://www.frommipov.blogspot.com

2/16

Nicole at Ramblings by Nicole     
http://ramblingsbynicolerenee.blogspot.com

Amy at Girlfriends Get Real     
http://girlfriendsgetreal.blogspot.com

Vicki at Reading at the Beach     
http://ilratb.blogspot.com

2/17

Heather at Faith Family and Fun     
http://faithfamilyandfun.com

Molly Book Reviews by Buuklvr81     
www.buuklvr81.blogspot.com

Laura at Lighthouse Academy     
http://lighthouse-academy.blogspot.com/

Diane at Diane’s Place     
http://lenadianejennings.blogspot.com/

2/18

Sandy at Lil Maddie's MeeMaw    
http://lilmaddiesmeemaw.blogspot.com/

Jane at Winning Readings     
http://winningreadings..blogspot.com

Beth at Journey Bound     
www.journeybound07.blogspot.com

Lorri at Jeanne's Ramblings     
http://www.jeannesramblings.com

2/19

Phee at Pix-N-Pens     
http://www.pixnpens.com/

Stacey at Word Up     
http://word-up-studies.blogspot.com/

Sarah at An Ohio Reviewing Mom     
http://quivermom.blogspot.com


2/20

Jennifer at Rundpinne     
http://www.rundpinne.blogspot.com/

Kathryn at Home Spun Soul     
http://justmeandthensome.blogspot.com/

Angela at Book Blogs     
http://bookblogs.ning.com/profile/AngelaRSimmons

Angie at God Uses Broken Vessels     
http://godusesbrokenvessels.blogspot.com

2/22

Betsy at Writer at Large     
http://betsy-ann.blogspot.com/

Lori at Laurel's Reflections     
http://laurelwreathsreflections.com

Pamela at Aunt Pam's Closet     
http://www.auntpamscloset.com

Melissa at Red Lily CafĂ©     
www.redlilycafe.blogspot.com

2/23

Rebecca at Rebecca Tyndall     
www.rebeccatyndall.blogspot.com

Kristina at Loving Heart Mommy     
http://www.lovingheartmommy.com
Lynetta at Open Book     
http://www.lynetta.blogspot.com

2/24

Marta at Marta's Meanderings     
http://martasmeanderings.blogspot.com

Isabelle at Canadian Lady Bug Reviews     
http://www.canadianladybugreviews.com

Janice at The Nearsighted Bookworm     
http://www.thenearsightedbookworm.blogspot.com

Cara at Cara's Musings     
http://carasmusings.blogspot.com/


2/25

Angela at Ppreacherswife's Reviews     
http://ppreacherswife.vox.com

Deirdre at JDaniel4's Mom         
www.jdaniel4smom.com

Laura at Lighthouse Academy     
http://lighthouse-academy.blogspot.com/

2/26

Keiki at The Vessel Project     
http://vesselproject.wordpress.com/

Andrea at Ponderings     
http://www.andrealschultz.blogspot.com

Urailak at Living for God     
http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/servingtheKingofkings/

Sheila at Book Journey     
http://bookjourney.wordpress.com/

2/27

Carie at Carie's Coins & Cents     
www.cariescoins.blogspot.com

Christi at Journey in His Steps     
http://www.journey-in-his-steps.com

Sumasri at Books of Vajresh     
http://booksofvajresh.blogspot.com
Tasra at Tasra Mar | Transform
http://tasramar.com/

3/1

Deborah at Lyric Devotion     
http://www.lyricdevotions.com

Freda at Freda's Voice     
http://fredasvoice.blogspot.com

Janet at Along The Way    
http://a-long-the-way.blogspot.com



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