Sunday, November 20, 2005


And so "The Season" begins!

My mother used to tell me that the older I would get, the faster the years would go by. She also told me that the older I would get, the colder the winter's would be. My, she was a wise, wise woman!

It seems only a few days ago that it was my priority to bathe the horses and cool them in the summer heat. Then it was my task to judge the feed adjustments based upon the cooler air and the hint of frost. Where did the hot summer days go? Where did the fall colors go? Where did my long underwear go???

Truly, the holiday season is upon us again. And truly, as I grow older and hopefully a little wiser, I find the true meaning of the season is not in the gifts I receive or even the gifts that I may give. I find the decorations in the lawns fun to look at but nothing warms my heart from all those colored lights and animated elves. And I do love to listen to the holiday music, and I must admit it often brings tears and longing for those family and friends that have passed and left me here behind. So where do I find the true meaning of this holiday season?

I find it every single solitary day in their eyes. I find it every single solitary day in the sunrise and the sunset. And I find it every single solitary day in the words of a wise friend of mine who challenged me to use a crippled, rejected little horse and make a difference in someone else's life with that horse .... do good! he said.

Many times Andy and I would just sit and talk about life and it's purpose and his reason for living and my search for a reason to be living. It was during those conversations that Andy would warn me saying, "When you were born, Sandy, you were given a certain number of heartbeats. Once you use one of those heartbeats it's gone forever. You can never get it back or put more heartbeats in to the pool. So", he would teach, "use every one as if it's your last."

Andy was trying to teach me the value of a single gesture. A single word. And the beauty and gift of a single day. He did. I listened and I now see, to the best of my small mind and heart's ability.

You see, I now realize that I have Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year's every day in my backyard! I have new beginnings and in 2005 I even had a birth! And we feast every single day here at THE FARM! How could I not have "the season" all year long?

As we all begin the hectic, frantic, and expensive holiday season, please take a moment to just pause and feel a single, isolated heartbeat in your chest....Feel the pressure of it coming and going.....and then coming again. Be aware of how that single heartbeat came and went - never to come again. A new heartbeat comes just in time. And you live because the heartbeats just keep coming. And they keep coming to the extent that we take them for granted.

Feel a single heartbeat and take the spirit of the upcoming holiday season with you. Spread it around! Smile at one another! Be kind and forgiving! Be loyal and true! Be grateful and respectful! Be like them - the herd of Refuge Farms who show me - and you - that it's Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year's every single day!

Be like them and forgive what has been wrongfully done to you. Be like them and protect and care for one another. Be like them and be grateful and respectful when good things come your way. Be like them and give love while expecting nothing in return. And be like them and be so happy when love is returned!

Regardless of your faith or belief in this upcoming season, know that in a little spot of land (albeit frozen now!) here in Spring Valley, Wisconsin, a herd of rejected horses and an ever hopeful woman are here for you - to receive you and welcome you and hug you and laugh or cry or just be with you. We try to have the Spirit of the Season for you every single day.

Enjoy the heartbeats and the journey of each and every day,
Sandy and The Herd

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