I think I was about 11 or 12 when my dad caved in and let me buy a horse. Growing up, Dad had experienced the last few years of farming with horses before tractors really became commonplace, so in his mind, horses were tractors that kicked. Being one generation away from a good horse kicking, I didn't have the same perspective.

A trip to the auction gained us a mare - black as coal, except for a white half diamond on her forehead. She was small, measuring around 13 hands - a big pony, really - and had been used in chariot racing, a loony event where grown men put wheels on half of a 55 gallon drum, hitch up four to eight small horses, and race. It is chaos on wheels.

The little mare was not particularly agile. I remember nearly falling a number of times when she lost her footing. Neither was she exceptionally calm. The time as a chariot pony had taught her about a whip, and she would shy away from sudden moves. Her saving grace was that she had a big heart...she would run harder and longer than you could ride her.

I remember riding her home one time from a field that we'd been farming - I think I'd taken lunch out to dad or something. Eager to get to the barn, she wanted to gallup, so I let her. We tore across the prairie at breakneck speed. Two miles later, home in sight, she was still going full-boogy, all though full-boogy was not what it had been two miles earlier. She was wet with lather, and still making the motions of a running horse, but not running all that fast....

That's how I got out of bed this morning. We run pretty hard around here. Yesterday started early and went late for me, as it did for many of you. Today is a 12 hour day, as will be Tues and Wed. Then Thursday through Sunday or Monday, we travel. I crawled out of the sack this morning and grabbed a shower, with the intent of being at the 6 AM prayer meeting. At 5:50 AM, ready to walk out the door, the Lord spoke to me and said 'take care of your heart'. It is entirely possible to lose heart in a setting of endless prayer meetings.

I sat down in a big chair in front of our fireplace and grabbed a book that I've been reading....three pages into it, sitting there over a cup of coffee in the quiet of my own house, the author used a quote that spoke directly to me, even using some of the exact language I've used in recent days. Twenty minutes later, I got up - energized, spoken to, and ready to run.

Take a break. You'll run further and faster in the long run.

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