30150 W 154th Street
Gardner Kansas 66030

Living Life Ranch

Friends, I come before you today in my effort to live out the call
God has placed in my heart to live my life to the fullest to the glory of His name.

They say a picture paints a thousand words.
When you look at the little girl, what comes to your mind?
A picture of love, hope and happiness?

Pictures can be deceiving.

This little girl’s life is not as it seemed in this picture. The truth is this 4 year old little girl’s mother suffered mental illness. The mother is Bi-polar and Schizophrenic, but the complete diagnoses didn’t come until this little girl was 25 years old.  So from the beginning, this little girl’s life has been confusing and chaotic. Due to her mother’s illness; there were outbursts of violence which led to both physical and mental abuse which caused her to fear her mother.

By the age of 5, she figured out that she couldn’t trust human love and that love came with pain. Nevertheless, she continued to seek love, she loved through the pain of being molested by a trusted family member, which began before this picture was even taken. You see behind that smile and those eyes was a small person with a huge loving heart.

Even at this early age, she felt there was a presence guiding her, giving her knowledge and instructions, instructing her to love. Out of this love, when arguments at home became violent between her parents, she was brave enough to seek help for her father and to protect her baby brother. Taking her baby brother with her instead of hiding, she went door-to-door until she found someone that would call for help. This love also directed her to keep a safe distance and to try never to be alone with her molester.

Out of fear that it would destroy and devastate her family, she didn’t tell a soul about him. Even though she loved him, in her heart she knew he was wrong.

When this little girl turned 16, her healing began with a gift. A horse named Lobo. Her heart swelled with love as she worked to take care of him. She spent many hours alone with him. He became the keeper of all her secrets, her best friend. The love they shared soon began to replace her pain, peace replaced her stress, and he carried her tears on his mane.  Lobo, this giant creature of God, carried her through allowing her to escape the abusive world she lived in. Lobo gave her unconditional love.  

As she grew up, she wrestled with low self-esteem and lack of confidence.  This led to looking for love in the wrong places, poor decisions, and struggles with school, drugs and alcohol. The cycle didn’t end here. At 19 this not so little girl became pregnant, got married, and within 4yrs was divorced. Heart broken and devastated, no stranger to pain; she began searching for someone to love her as she was unable to love herself.

A year later, she thought she had found that someone to love her. Unfortunately instead she found herself in an abusive relationship. Now with 3 children she thought she could cope, however, as the situation grew worse, she knew she needed to protect her children like she had protected her brother from abuse as a young child. But how?Lobo

One day, as she was listening to an AMWAY cassette in an effort to change her life. The Lord spoke to her heart through the teacher on the tape. She was feeling trapped, lost and hopeless. As the speaker shared God’s message she felt the Lord speak these words into her heart: “I am all you need. Give all the pain, all the fear to Me. You are a beautiful person both inside and out.  No matter what you feel about yourself you are My creation and I love you no matter what.”

She tried to argue: “I have made so many mistakes, so many poor decisions.  I can’t make anyone happy!  I’m a failure at everything!”

He said, “You are not a failure.  People have failed you, but I won’t.  You are very lovable and worthy of love. Forgive yourself and all those that have brought you pain just as I have forgiven you.  Let Me heal your wounds.  Be free from your past.  Keep your eyes focused on Me.  I will never leave you.  I will take care of you always.  Be faithful.  Be obedient. I will show you how to live life to the fullest no matter what comes to you.  I am your light.  I bring you unconditional love, peace and mercy.  Just trust in Me. I will bring you joy.”

And she did.

Well, if you have not figured it out by now - this little girl is me. I stand before you today a Redeemed Healed Child of God. The Lord has given me a wonderful husband to walk beside me who truly loves me. He has taken my past life and healed it not only the emotional and physical pains; but he is healing my relationship with my mother as well. Out of this healing the Lord helped me understand unconditional love.

I have shared my tainted past to show that God brings good out of bad.  For Romans 8:28 says, “…God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”

And He has.

The Lord has brought this truth to fullness in my life. For several years, God has placed on my heart a desire to help children of all ages who have felt the type of pain I went through as a child. My response to this call was to developed a 501(c)3 non-profit organization called “Living Life Ranch.”

Living Life Ranch’s foundation is built upon the Hope that God heals Hearts through Hooves. Through hands on experience the Lord uses horses to help children understand they are loved unconditionally and that God’s love will never fail them. The ranch is dedicated to grieving, underprivileged and abused children of all ages this includes: orphans, children in blended families, children going through divorce and other life traumas.  Through learning how to care for, ride, and connect with these horses,children learn to trust in the comfort these animals bring.

Lobo in 1981 giving my son Danny his first ride. I was 19 yrs old.


Why Horses?  It’s proven that abuse kills your true sense of trust. Often times these young people can’t discern if somebody loves them or wants to hurt them. Horses communicate through body language and practice the social skills of acceptance, tolerance, kindness, honesty, patience, understanding, forgiveness and compassion.  Horses also read human body language. If you’re angry, impatient, grieving, stressed or worried---your horse will know. You can’t hide feelings from them. Take my horse“Lobo”: when I got him I couldn’t trust anyone. Lobo didn’t know me, all he knew is what he saw when we met. He didn’t want anything or expect anything from me. I didn’t have to talk about my feelings and he was okay with that. He opened me up. When I realized he started to trust me it was the first time in my young life that I can remember feeling such love and acceptance. Horses will always see, feel and respond to your true emotions. This action of love can be seen in horse’s direct response to the child in front of them. You will see a horse walk up to a child and gently lower its head to the child’s level or gently nuzzle a child welcoming them. Through their gentle nature horses have the ability to heal human hearts. Not only are children’s hearts opened to trust others, they begin trust in themselves. This leads children to begin the healing process as coping skills are developed through the uplifting therapeutic interaction. We couple this with the truth of God’s word empowering them and helping them with a renewed hope for their life.

There are many ways you can support Living Life Ranch. If you believe in God’s power to heal and the therapeutic nature horses provide, please contact me Melissa Cowan at 913-731-5579 Thank you for your consideration of this ministry where we believe that hope heals hearts through hooves in lives of broken children.

Living Life Ranch……..

Where healing begins……….
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