March 22, 2013

A Gift from Willow

First off, thank you again from the bottom of my heart for all of the beautiful emails, comments, posts, stories, poems, songs, prayers, flowers, donations to horse rescues in Willow's name, cards, and gifts.  I am so touched and have found much comfort in this outpouring of love for Willow and me. ♥  I especially love the emails and photos of horse rescues inspired by our story... (thank you)!  And I also want to mention that I have also found another horse that I am working on rescuing... but I cannot say any more at this time as it might put the other horses at this farm in jeopardy... it's a work in progress that I hope to share soon.  Prayers are always appreciated for this horse and all others who are being neglected and abused. ♥

So after crying for days, something in my heart told me to try to look for Willow's daughter Gabriella* once more.  She was the only one of Willow's four foals that none of us could find when we searched many months ago. Many people (including Nancy) have suggested that if at all possible, it would be lovely for me to have one of Willow's offspring; and Nancy said that Gabriella in particular was so very much like Willow. (*name changed for reasons to be revealed later).

When I searched for Gabriella last year, I could only find one sales listing for her.  She was listed for sale on the site of a Friesian breeder in Texas.  When I called them,  they said she had been sold but they wouldn't give me any more information.  They said they sold her because they had failed at breeding her (that she was infertile).  So I googled and googled some more... and I actually found another ad for her on a different site!  I was so happy to see that she might actually be for sale right now...  but when I called the number listed on the site, the message said the owner was out of the country and to email her (which I did).  The page I found looked like a basic information page on Gabriella... so to make sure, I clicked on "Friesians for sale."  That page had many listings, and about half of them were marked as "sold".  I did not, however, see Gabriella listed on the page at all.  It was strange.... she had a page on the site (including a sales price), but wasn't listed on the sales page as "for sale" or "sold".  So I looked again... .this time when I looked I noticed that each horse listed seemed to be in a different state... CA, NY, TX, etc.  While trying to figure out why, I noticed the name of one of the horses listed for sale... her name was Mirabella.  I guess it stuck out to me for a few reasons... mainly that I love the name... and it was actually on my final list of names for Willow.  Mirabella means "Beauty" which is mostly what I called Willow when we were together...   But I think in the end, I thought Mirabella was too close to my business name (Florabella), and I thought Willow was a better fit for my sweet girl.  In any case, right under Mirabella's name was her state... Tennessee.  And she was the only horse listed in TN...  The ad said she was a filly... just 10 months old, and listed the contact information.  I looked at the tiny photo and wondered what Willow must have looked like as a filly... and then I started to cry.  

When I called, a kind woman named Alise answered the phone.  I quickly explained that I had seen Mirabella's ad on this other site but that I was actually interested in Gabriella, and I asked her if she knew when the other breeder would be back in the country.  She explained that the woman was moving out of the country and had been listing Friesians for other breeders... and that likely, Gabriella had already been sold.  (I later got an email from the woman explaining that Gabriella had indeed been sold and that the listing was related to the original listing I'd found.).  Alise then suggested I take a look at Mirabella, but I quickly explained that I wasn't looking for just any horse.. and certainly not a filly.  I was looking for Willow's daughter. And not thirty seconds later, I was in tears telling Alise my whole story.  She listened, and we talked for a long while...  she took a look at my blog and told me that she thought Mirabella looked like Willow.   Then I looked at the photos of Mirabella on her site, and I have to say... I agree.  She does look like Willow...  and from what Alise told me, she was sweet and gentle like Willow too.  Maybe we should go out to see Mirabella?  No, that's crazy... and it's too soon.. it's too soon....  But I told Alise I would mention it to Martha and Michael.   I texted Martha the link... "Martha, look what I found when I was searching for Gabriella... isn't she sweet?  It's just too soon, but it's kinda strange how I found her... and by the way, there are no Friesians listed for sale in Tennessee right now if you search.  I only found her because I was looking for Gabriella."

Martha's response:

"I know it's too soon, but I like the way you are thinking about the future.  And I do like what this baby represents... new life, health, restoration, and rebirth.  It's a beautiful thing.  Willow is experiencing all of that in Heaven right now and probably wanted you to see a piece of that here on earth.  Don't feel bad for finding her... think of it as one more gift from God to you."

I was surprised, but of course, I loved what Martha wrote...  and I started to think that maybe, just maybe, we should really go and see Mirabella.  That maybe Willow led me to her... and that she would want me to have this gift.  So I mentioned it to Michael, and again I was surprised.  He wanted to go see her.

The next morning I asked Martha if she wanted to go with us to see Mirabella.  It was a 2 1/2 hour drive.   She seemed shocked that we were going... she told me we were crazy to get a filly.  "But what about that text you sent me??  You know, about this being a gift from God... and Willow?"  And then she explained that just finding her and seeing her photos was what she meant by that...  that I was meant to see how Willow looked in Heaven... and that should comfort me.  So we discussed the pros and cons of raising a young horse... and by the time I got off the phone, I was completely talked out of it.

As I was explaining it all to Michael, I went to close the web page with Mirabella's listing.  But when I looked, I noticed the name of Mirabella's dam was highlighted.  Out of curiosity, I clicked on it.  I wanted to see if Mirabella's mother looked like Willow, and thought I'd take a glance at her photos. When I clicked, though, it didn't take me to photos... It took me to her Friesian Pedigree card and her family tree.  Immediately, one tiny name practically jumped off the screen at me...

"Michael, oh my gosh, help me find Willow's paperwork... "  I frantically fumbled through my files....  I found the file, pulled out Willow's pedigree card, and held it up to the computer screen.   "Oh my.... oh my gosh..... Michael... They have the same grandfather! They are first cousins... Mirabella is Willow's baby cousin!!!"  And the tears streamed down my face...

And Michael looked at me with a smile... "Looks like someone is getting a new horse this weekend."

And with Martha's blessing, we packed up the kids and took a roadtrip to see this precious little filly.  And she was every bit as sweet and gentle as Alise said she would be.  Within our first few minutes together, she lowered her head to my chest... just as Willow did when we first met. And instantly, I fell in love with her.  And I do believe, it was meant to be...

And then when we got home, we noticed the first signs of spring in our yard (one week early).  The flowering plum tree by the barn had blossomed while we were with Mirabella earlier that day. It was another sign...  I had so wanted for Willow to live to see spring with me, and now I know in my heart that Willow will be watching over us from Heaven and happy to see me laughing and playing with this beautiful new filly, so full of life and new hope...  And I will always believe in my heart that Mirabella is Willow's gift to me... yes, one of her many many gifts to me.  Thank you, my beauty... thank you for Mirabella, and thank you for spring... ♥


Princess Mirabella is being being delivered tomorrow...

 (thank you to Alise for taking and sharing this photo...)

85 comments:

  1. :) <3 This brought me to tears, tears of happiness of course! It's amazing how the one's energy never leaves us. This was meant to be for you. <3

    ReplyDelete
  2. This little girl is a big time miracle. Incredible story, and it has truly just begun.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh my you remind me of myself! I lost my first road companion (show horse) this December and I did extensive research finding his siblings and found his sister - a near twin! Seeing how he was a speckled rose grey roan, I was shocked when I saw her pictures.

    I have a baby horse due this week who will be the niece or nephew of one of my other horses. His full sister is ready to pop! It's not the same... but, man do I feel it is my responsibility to keep all of their wonderful characteristics as a part of our world.

    Welcome to the family cousin!

    ReplyDelete
  4. TEARS!!!!!!!!!! thats all I can say...wow.

    ReplyDelete
  5. What an amazing story. Truly. She is gorgeous...and has Willow's blood in her. That is awesome.

    ReplyDelete
  6. whoa! Your posts have been giving me the chills. And I don't say this to be insensitive but seriously while reading this post I felt like I am reading a book not about your real life. It is such a wonderful story.

    ReplyDelete
  7. This is amazing. What a phenomenal beginning to your next chapter. I love to see how God works. Congratulations to you. Enjoy her!

    ReplyDelete
  8. She is beautiful! An amazing story!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Now you have me in tears! I love this, love that she found you and love that Willow will continue to live and bless your family through her. Now, about her name being too close to Florabella, how about calling her Mira. I believe it means miracle which feels a bit like what is going on here. Can't wait to see your pictures of your sweet new baby.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thank you for sharing your story and your heart. That is one lucky horse. You have the kindest spirit.

    ReplyDelete
  11. So sweet Shana...God blessed you! Mirabella is so beautiful...

    ReplyDelete
  12. This is such a beautiful story! Good things come to good people! She is just perfect!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Oh my goodness! What a story! How amazing and wonderful for all of you. There was definitely some divine intervention involved here!

    ReplyDelete
  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  15. So very happy for you that you have found your pot of gold beneath a beautiful rainbow <3

    ReplyDelete
  16. CARMEN DYER3/22/13, 8:31 PM

    I am so very very VERY glad that you have managed to find this little beauty...just what you need to help you heal. Now you have a part of your Willow with you....just....YAY!!!

    ReplyDelete
  17. You are so awesome and inspiring... I love how you keep Willow's Legacy Alive! I know it is hard to loose someone you love so much... I only wish I could get the signs you do. I look forward to your stories . Keep them coming! Gorgeous Philly By The Way! Love has no boundaries that's for sure.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Incredible. What a beautiful gift from above.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Awww. So happy for you Shana! I once thought to myself " I wonder if she could get one of Willow's baby's" This isn't a Willow baby, but she's blood! I bet on it, that Willow will show her spirit in this new filly's life. Interested to hear about the next rescue also! (Hugs)

    ReplyDelete
  20. Wow.....Amazing and Beautiful. Willow's doing her magic and thanking you for the love she continues to feel. A new filly to love and cherish with pieces from the past connecting the future. <3 xx

    ReplyDelete
  21. So, so happy for you.
    Thank you so much for sharing your story... you have no idea how much it has touched my heart and has made me believe in unconditional love again. Miracles do happen <3
    ~E

    ReplyDelete
  22. Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh! I'm shaking right now with excitement for you!! What an amazing blessing! Willow lives on!!!
    Oh Shana, I am overjoyed for you. You just absolutely made my day!!
    -Lyndee :)

    ReplyDelete
  23. Tamara Ciric3/22/13, 8:35 PM

    Wow. Tears are rolling down my face. A match made in heaven. Literally. Mirabella is gorgeous. Very happy for you! :)

    ReplyDelete
  24. Green horses and green riders/owners do not always have bad endings. Trust me, I certainly KNOW this first hand. My instructor tried and tried to talk me out of a four month old foal after only a year of formal lessons. But I followed my heart and that boy will be 14 yrs old on 5/10/13. I did all his ground work myself and am a better person for it. I did have enough sense to continue my lessons and employer a trainer when it was time to ride him. :-)
    We love each other. He comes to meet my car every afternoon when I come home from work, nickering the entire way to the fence. He doesn't really allow anyone else to ride him without a struggle, but he will let me do most anything. And he will do most anything I ask of him. He is my once in a lifetime horse. Good luck! I am happy for you!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Perfect! She is so pretty!

    ReplyDelete
  26. God sure does work in mysterious ways, I'm so happy that you get to keep a piece of Willow with you and I hope that you continue to share your experiences with Miss Mirabella, she is Beautiful!!!

    ReplyDelete
  27. She's beautiful, and how wonderful! Will you keep her name?

    ReplyDelete
  28. What a miraculous and beautiful continuation of Willow's story and legacy. It's almost impossible to believe!!! She is gorgeous and I can't wait to watch her grow up. :)

    ReplyDelete
  29. My family is so happy for you my dear. I really look forward to the future and your adventures with your new family member. What a blessing. Amazing how God hears our prayers. There were thousands who cried and grieved with you and now we are all once again enthralled with the rebirth of a new generation. Please keep up posted and please share your talents. What an amazing young lady you are. God Bless.
    The O'Brien Family San Diego, CA

    ReplyDelete
  30. oh, happy tears for you, this was meant to be. such a lucky little filly that you loved her before you even met her ;)

    ReplyDelete
  31. How wonderful for you.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Mirabella = Miracle :) and sounds like you got yours :)

    ReplyDelete
  33. I had goosebumps at first and I now have tears of joy for you. God bless you, Willow, Mirabella and your family.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Oh my! What a beautiful, serendipitous turn of events. I am so happy for you.

    ReplyDelete
  35. OH MY GOSH, if u wanted signs Shana, u sure did get the most Glorious one of all right there in beautiful Princess Mirabella. She is blood from one Queen that knew just where she had to go and who she must be with. I believe everything happens for a reason and Queen Willow has been right by your side guiding you all the way to this Precious Baby Shana, she is your reason to keep going, keep loving and sharing your heart like u do and to continue Willows story in a New Chapter <3

    ReplyDelete
  36. Tears of joy this go around for you Shana. I truly feel that God gives us the desires of our heart...sometimes it's sooner rather than later. I'm so thrilled He choose to give it to you sooner! Mirabella is a true gift to sooth your broken heart. Willow HAD to have a hand(er, hoof) in this! I can not WAIT to continue to read your beautiful post about your sweet "babies". What a sweet miracle you've been given...and you so deserve it! Blessings for you and your family on your new arrival! I'm so excited for you all!

    Vicki P.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Because of your love for Willow, she has led you to a love for Mirabella...God , the Angels and surely Willow are watching over you and holding you tonight! Hugs sweet lady!

    ReplyDelete
  38. Oh how the Lord works in such mysterious ways...So very happy for you & your family to bring this sweet little one home with you! It is meant to be. And so, it will be. Hurray!!! I love this story....I just know that when Mirabella lowered her head to your chest Willow was indeed a part of that. Of course she was! YAY Shana! This is so exciting!

    ReplyDelete
  39. oh how awesome ... awesome for your family and mirabella AND sweet sweet prince ... he'll be happy too for the newest edition to the 'forever' family :) ~amy

    ReplyDelete
  40. Here I go crying again! What a beautiful way you found Mirabella. So happy for you and your family. She's a sweet horse, can't wait to see a photo of her in your pasture tomorrow!
    Looking forward to hearing more of this rescue horse too...

    ReplyDelete
  41. OMG - I'm SO excited for you. Mirabella is beautiful and does look like a young Willow. Her eyes are just gorgeous! Your miracles continue with this gift of a new generation from Willow. I'm sure your queen is looking down proudly at you and Mirabella - she certainly did a miraculous job bring you together. Best of luck and I'm looking forward to wonderful updates as this young lady meets the rest of her new family. Thank you for sharing this heart warming chapter - and I hope Mirabella helps to heal your heart as you see Willow each time you look into her eyes!

    ReplyDelete
  42. Beautiful!!! So happy for you all

    ReplyDelete
  43. Oh my goodness, raising a baby is the most gratifying and beautiful experience as you can raise them!!! Willow will be so happy for you...and she's gorgeous! :) All things happen by the grace of God. I have raised three horses from babies...and they are so much apart of who you are, it's an amazing feeling!

    ReplyDelete
  44. She is beautiful......can't wait to see more pictures.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Made me cry... she is like Willow reborn, full of grace beauty and spirit!!! So happy that you have found this tonic! xxxx

    ReplyDelete
  46. Oh my GOODNESS! Glad I decided not to put makeup on before reading your post. Mirabella is beautiful Shana. I am so happy for you!

    ReplyDelete
  47. Bawling my eyes out!!!! I'm so happy and excited for you. Can't wait to hear the adventures of your new Prince and Princess.

    ReplyDelete
  48. That is an amazing Blessing! It brings tears of joy to see you find a piece of Willow.

    ReplyDelete
  49. LOVE this!!! It brings tears to my eyes, I love that you found a piece of Willow! I am so happy for you and I can't wait to hear and see more of Mirabella!! =)

    ReplyDelete
  50. Erin from Ohio3/23/13, 6:17 AM

    This is so wonderful, and what a miracle! I am so happy for all of you! I knew things had to get better, that Willow's story couldn't end!

    ReplyDelete
  51. This is such a beautiful story and I am so happy that you are going to get this beauty!!!! So many amazing signs and blessings along this journey for you. I know that this does not take away the pain of losing your Willow, but at least a piece of her legacy will live on with you and your family through Mirabella! Congratulations and I cannot wait to see more photos of your new baby!

    xoxo,

    Lisa

    ReplyDelete
  52. This entire story is amazing. It has really captured my heart. Every time I read your blog I cry but this time it is happy tears. I am so happy for you and look forward to continuing to follow your journey. It is amazing.

    ReplyDelete
  53. beautiful.....tears again, only happy ones, for you.

    ReplyDelete
  54. She is BEAUTIFUL! Personal experience can let me tell you that raising a baby is so rewarding. They can be sweet, naughty and everything in between and it is so fun to watch. The best proof of love is trust and trusting your heart to purchase this little girl is going to bring you so much love. Congratulations :)

    Heather M

    ReplyDelete
  55. It's here, it's here, it's finally here!! New day, new beginning... new life. I have no doubt but that Willow had a hand in this; the odds of you finding this perfect baby girl were too remote otherwise. I am so, SO happy for you and Mira, and I can just imagine Willow looking down and racing around Heaven with joy!

    ReplyDelete
  56. Oh! I'm so happy to be crying tears of joy for you! My heart aches and swells for you! I've been following your story, and as a horse lover and owner I know the pain of your loss. I am so happy that it was God's plan to lead you to this filly and I hope that she will heal you, and make you laugh. I can't wait to see a picture of the two of you together.
    Much love and prayers,
    Jenn

    ReplyDelete
  57. What a story and what a gift from Willow. It is never too early for another one. This is your calling to care for these horses and so much more special that it looks like Willow. Willow's story never ended;it is just beginning.

    ReplyDelete
  58. Truly meant to be. She's beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  59. Oh beautiful! It was meant to be, Willow's final gift to you.

    Sam

    ReplyDelete
  60. The only fresian for sale in TN AND a cousin of Willow - a coincidence? I think NOT! Love - Love - Love this story! How lucky is this filly to go to a home with so much love! I am so looking forward to reading about your new journey and seeing your beautiful pictures. I hope that the name of your blog stays as Velvet Willow because she was and is the inspiration for this new love story. Thanks for sharing, Shana!
    Pam in AZ

    ReplyDelete
  61. The more I was reading this story, the faster my heart was beating! I am so happy for you and this perfect gift from God~ there's just no other way to explain that! I look forward to the continuation of your blog posting, because I feel like Mirabella is a gift for all of us that have been on this journey with you. God has truly blessed your family with your kind hearts!

    ReplyDelete
  62. Oh, my goodness, Shana! I saw a photo of this beautiful girl two days after you posted the sad news about Willow, and I thought she looked remarkably like Willow. (I was so sad for you and was just looking at photos of Fresians.) I know nothing about horses, so I didn't think anything beyond the fact that there was a resemblance. I didn't realize the connection! I love how unexpected, wonderful things happen to us, and I'm thrilled that this little surprise was tossed to you! I can't wait to see more of Mirabella and will be waiting impatiently for more information about another rescue. Congratulations on the new addition to your farm!

    ReplyDelete
  63. Oh my goodness this is the update I've been waiting for! I'm crying happy tears with everyone else. What a beautiful way to continue Willow's story. I'm thrilled for all of you and Mirabella, who is in fact a beauty. :) God is good... always.

    Claudia

    ReplyDelete
  64. I am dying!!!!!! This is so incredible!!! I have chills from my toes to the top of my head. I am so happy for you. God is so great!! My beautiful dog taught me that God meant it for good. This Martha gal...she sounds like a blessing. I can't wait to see your updates.
    Be blessed!

    ReplyDelete
  65. She's so beautiful, with such a sweet, soft eye. Love and Blessings.

    ReplyDelete
  66. Shana,
    I am so excited for you. If you still want to search for Gabriella try here http://www.allbreedpedigree.com/ you never know, she may come up for sale again. Have fun with this baby, she does look like a baby Willow. Hugs to you, Cheryl

    ReplyDelete
  67. I'm so happy for you as I sit here with tears in my eye's. I do believe Willow has sent you this sweet girl and cousin no less to help you move on with her loss. I don't understand why things happen the way they do, but they seem to have a purpose that maybe will explain itself later down the road. I do hope you will continue your blog now with your new love, I would feel lost and have since Willow has passed not hearing from you and seeing your beautiful picture's. I had a filly growing up and we had the most wonderful time learning together as we grew (I was 12) and I'm sure the two of you will make wonderful memories together.

    ReplyDelete
  68. You are so blessed. I am so excited for you and to see this little filly grow through your beautiful photography.

    ReplyDelete
  69. I hope you continue to tell us the story of Mirabella and your rescue...I'm so happy for you!

    ReplyDelete
  70. God is Good! He & Willow are showering you & your Family with many Blessings! Enjoy!

    ReplyDelete
  71. So happy for you! Willow is smiling down on all of you and galloping around heaven. Can't wait to see pics of the new baby! Congratulations!

    ReplyDelete
  72. YAY!!!! I'm so excited!! :) Tears of joy are streaming down my face.. I hope you continue with Mirabella's story. I would love to read it and see her photos. :) Willow is keeping a watch over you!

    ReplyDelete
  73. wow! wow wow WOW!!!
    (and once again I'm out of kleenex!)
    She is indeed a beautiful little Willow ;)
    LOVE

    ReplyDelete
  74. More tears! But tears of happiness! She is beautiful and I love her name!

    ReplyDelete
  75. Ah, what is "too soon"? There is no magic number. Only different stories and different time frames for each one.

    Luckily you have Martha to help you with.a young horse because it is different and so important for everyone's safety to understand that.

    The journey contines... Congratulations!

    ReplyDelete
  76. in tears, so happy for you. God is so good :)
    sweet Willow continues to surround you with love straight from heaven! xo, kecia

    ReplyDelete
  77. How wonderful! And what a beautiful little filly! <3 So happy to hear about this new development. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  78. Please DO continue Mirabella's story now, I was hooked on Willow's story and am always looking to see if you have any new updates . Thank you so much for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  79. This is the most wonderful news Shana! I am thrilled that God sent you this baby! I can't stop smiling.

    ReplyDelete
  80. She is absolutely beautiful and so serene from previous photos of Willow she defiantly is in Mirabella . Amazing I can't believe it I keep going back to her photo and looking at her eyes. You have been truly blessed :)

    ReplyDelete
  81. when one door closes, another opens. So happy for you!

    ReplyDelete
  82. What an awesome chapter to this story. Best of luck to you all!

    ReplyDelete