Linda Appleby: A Living Prayer

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By Kate Robertson, National Alumni Board

Linda Appleby
Linda Appleby

What an honor it has been to gather together all the beautiful thoughts and feelings that have been shared by fellow National Alumni Board members about our loved Linda Appleby, who most recently served as President. Linda passed on earlier this month, and this week it will be our privilege to witness the birth of the reunion that she has so tirelessly midwifed.

As I’ve listened for guidance in how to best approach this too-brief tribute to Linda’s love for Adventure Unlimited, it has been clear that the hymn selection (324, third verse) from this year’s A/U Ranches metaphysical theme says it all:

Take my every thought, to use 
In the way that Thou shalt choose.
Take my love; O Lord, I pour 
At Thy feet its treasure store.
I am Thine, and I will be 
Ever, only, all for Thee.

A fellow alumni board colleague began her note, “Linda lived her prayers.” Yes, she did. She lived her prayers, her joy, her love for Adventure Unlimited – and for each of us. Linda loved. Linda smiled with her whole being. Linda played hard, listened deeply, gave generously and was recklessly, unwaveringly, uncompromisingly kind.

More than a few alumni board members have shared that Linda’s love for God was palpable. She wore her spiritual heart on her sleeve. It overflowed in her deep love for her husband, Don, and for her children, Jessica, Mike and Mike’s wife, Allison. It was a living love that blessed her church community, the A/U Ranches family, the community organizations that she served so selflessly, and the neighbors and friends she touched with her kindness and grace.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention her love for horses – especially Smokey. Summer after summer Linda would return for a week-long tryst with her beloved. Don came along – and sometimes Jessica, Mike and Allison – but it was Smoky who got her whole heart during those blessed days of dust and boots, worn leather, pole bending, cattle-working, sitting deep in the saddle and sunshine on her shoulders.

Linda Appleby
Linda riding her beloved Smokey at Cowboy/Cowgirl Camp at the A/U Ranches

One friend shared that “when Linda rode she was fearless and seized every opportunity to challenge herself. She rode with passion and zest and was always willing to help in the corral with whatever was needed. She had a great healing a couple of years ago. She came off of Smokey as they were coming up out of the lake, while she and her fellow cowboy/cowgirl ‘campers’ were swimming their horses. She never expressed anything but complete confidence in the healing and continued to ride.” Linda loved the feel of Smokey’s mane between her fingers, the wind in her hair and loping through “the lower 280” on a sunny Colorado day.

As President of our alumni board, she brought qualities of servant leadership that humbled us all. She valued what each member brought to the table, prayed unceasingly, delighted in every triumph over resistance, and was enthusiastic about every opportunity to prove that God was in control – in all things, at all times, without question.

Linda Appleby
Linda and Smokey

As a mother and wife, her joy was unbounded. She and Don were great partners and their shared love for their children, their community and their life together was an inspiration to us all. She touched countless lives with her humor, her childlike wonder, her generosity and her grace. My own daughters recall how she never failed to show a genuine interest in their lives. They were not alone.

As I read through all of these beautiful notes about Linda, it is clear that – like the wind we do not see, but which we observe in the way that it moves the leaves in an aspen grove or lifts the eagle on its thermals – Linda, too, continues to move our hearts and lift our expectations about generosity, joy and grace through her example.

In an article titled, “There is No Death,” from The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, Mary Baker Eddy, in speaking of a student who had passed earlier in the year, shares:

“My beloved Edward A. Kimball, whose clear, correct teaching of Christian Science has been and is an inspiration to the whole field, is here now as veritably as when he visited me a year ago. If we would awaken to this recognition, we should see him here and realize that he never died; thus demonstrating the fundamental truth of Christian Science.”

This “fundamental truth of Christian Science” is so evident in the ongoing way that Linda’s life of exuberant love, joy and grace continues to touch our hearts and inspire our own lives of selfless service and unlimited adventure.

7 Responses to “Linda Appleby: A Living Prayer”

  1. Lona Ingwerson

    I have climbed mountains since I saw you last;
    You will not find me where you left me.
    I have scaled pinnacles and seen the vast
    Horizon of a higher point of view.

    There was the struggle of the mounting way,
    There was the longing to go backward,
    Back to the known, the loved, the day to day,
    The old and tried, to save me from the new.

    But there seemed no way out but up and on;
    (There was a light sometimes that beckoned me)
    It was as though it were agreed upon;
    Now was the time and this the thing to do.

    I have climbed mountains since I saw you last;
    I will not find you where I left you;
    No one remains in valleys of the past;
    Each has his mountain, each his larger view.

    Doris Quinn
    Christian Science Monitor

    Reply
  2. Anabeth H Cox

    A PARABLE OF IMMORTALITY

    by Henry Van Dyke

    I am standing by the sea shore.
    A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze
    And starts for the blue ocean.
    She is an object of beauty and strength,
    and I stand and watch until at last she hangs like a speck of white cloud
    just where the sun and sky come down to mingle with each other.
    Then someone at my side says:
    ‘There she goes!’

    Gone where? Gone from my sight – that is all.

    She is just as large in mast and hull and spar
    as she was when she left my side
    and just as able to bear her load of living freight
    to the places of destination.
    Her diminished size is in me, not in her.

    And just at the moment when someone at my side says:
    ‘There she goes!’,
    There are other eyes watching her coming to shore,
    and other voices ready to take up the glad shout:
    ‘Here she comes!’

    Reply
    • Steve Abbott

      Thank you Anabeth! I have made great use of this wonderful parable over the years, but have not known the real title and who wrote it. It is one of my favorites.

      Steve

      Reply
  3. Tom Bailey

    Kate,

    I have just now through your marvelous tribute met Linda Appleby for the first time. It was never my privilege to meet her in person. You have brought to light a life of selfless service and love whose rich legacy elevates my thought, warms my heart, and who shall be my friend forever. Thank you,

    Tom Bailey

    Reply
  4. Carol Rockwood

    The Rose Still Grows Beyond the Wall
    by A. L. Frink (CSJ June 1901)

    Near shady wall a rose once grew,
    Budded and blossomed in God’s free light,
    Watered and fed by morning dew,
    Shedding its sweetness day and night.

    As it grew and blossomed, fair and tall,
    Slowly rising to loftier height,
    It came to a crevice in the wall
    Through which there shone a beam of light.

    Onward it crept with added strength;
    With never a thought of fear or pride.
    It followed the light through the crevice’s length
    And unfolded itself on the other side.

    The light, the dew, the broadening view
    Were found the same as they were before;
    And it lost itself in beauties new,
    Breathing its fragrance more and more.

    Shall claim of death cause us to grieve,
    And make our courage faint or fall?
    Nay; let us faith and hope receive;
    The rose still grows beyond the wall.

    Scattering fragrance far and wide,
    Just as it did in days of yore,
    Just as it did on the other side,
    Just as it will forevermore.

    Reply
  5. Rebecca Poos

    This is truly beautiful, fitting and tear-rendering, Kate. Thank you. I have been grieving so for Linda, and the family. I’ve also completely vowed to climb every 14-er and never waste a moment or day of this precious life because of what she taught us about living–no matter the number of days or years. Thank you.

    Reply
  6. Leslie Cannon

    I was priviledged to work with Linda when she was president of the Junior League of Cincinnati. It is a demanding job and one that is done best by a servant-leader. Linda encouraged others to rise up to do the best they could. She led by smile and faith in others, and they (and I) responded happily. Her’s is a light that cannot be dimmed.

    Reply

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