Tuesday, January 01, 2008



It is just past midnight New York time. The infamous ball in Times Square has just dropped and 2008 is now a reality. A new year is just seconds old. Three hundred and sixty-six days are in front of us. Eight thousand seven hundred eighty-four hours are waiting to pass. History is in front of us. It stands patiently waiting for us to spend it. What will we do with this time we call the New Year?

My mind flies with hundreds of thoughts and ideas of the possibilities! Without any limitations, my dreams are enormous and grandiose! But soon the reality of what is sincerely possible settles in and I once again think of more realistic and likely opportunities. But still, with the “what if?” lingering in my mind.

The Herd. We must care for The Herd. That means providing shelter and feed and hay and room to exercise and play. That also means vaccinations and hoof trims and treatments for those in need of them. Special meds for those that would benefit from them. Caring for them also means blanketing them in the cold and providing cool, moving air for them in the heat of the summer. Clear, clean water available year-round. Barns that are clean and safe. The Herd. There is a lot of work required to care for The Herd. Some of those hours in 2008 will be spent caring for The Herd.

The ‘Other’ Herd. I must care for The ‘Other’ Herd. That means welcoming them and thanking them. That also means providing them with feedback and concerns for their safety. And it means sharing these Ministers with them to allow them their just reward for their hours of diligent work and dedication. Volunteers give freely of their time and energy to support something called a Mission that they believe in. They do it to feel good inside. They do it to help make the world a better place. They do it because they love The Herd and each other. Thank the dear Lord they do it at all! Some of those hours in 2008 will be spent caring for The ‘Other’ Herd.

The Friends of THE FARM. I must care for The Friends of THE FARM. These people and organizations financially support our Missions and allow us the freedom to support and care for these animals. And the freedom to share these animals with other Human Beings who come and are in need of an accepting ear to listen as we ramble. Or a warm body to hug when we feel so very alone and scared inside. The Friends of THE FARM ask for nothing back, but I must find ways to give back. That could be a note or a small token gift. Nothing too fancy! The budget, you know! Some of those hours in 2008 will be spent caring for The Friends of THE FARM.

The deskwork. Oh! The deskwork! As much as I would prefer to be outside in the barns or outside mowing lawn, there is this force calling me – no, pulling me! – to sit at the desk and move papers for some of those hours in 2008. Without this deskwork there is no donation and expense tracking. Without this deskwork there are no homes for the fostering horses that need us, too. Without this deskwork there are no newsletters or event posters or articles to publish. And in 2008, there must be deskwork to secure grants and funding which will allow us to continue the tasks in front of us. Many of those hours in 2008 will be spent at this desk doing deskwork.

The public. Our events and public hours for 2008 are already scheduled and publicized with the sole purpose of allowing the public to find us and enjoy us. Free of charge. Time is spent to plan and prepare for the public’s visits. Manual labor is spent to prepare the site and setup properly. And then the public comes. Do they find the magic? Do they find ‘it’? Will they return? Did we help them in some small way? I’ve learned not to ask these questions with each Human Being who visits us. No, I’ve learned to stand back and ask these questions for a period of time. A group of people in general. And to let the individual stories of Magic come on their own. It is safe to say, however, that the public is wrapping their big arms around us. Yes, they are finding “it” here. And yes, they see what we are doing here is a good thing. Time must be spent in 2008 expanding our public outreach.

The law. Oh, that thick book of state and federal non-profit rules and regulations. Filings and licenses. Permits and registrations. There needs to be a yearly calendar of just those deadlines and fees and forms to be filled out! I must spend time in 2008 to read and truly study the law. For the sake of the organization and for the sake of better sleep!

But most of all, I find in 2008, that each of us must take care of ourselves. It is so easy to get wrapped up in all these things to do. Tasks to complete. Letters to write and files to create so that they may be filled with papers. Details to track and Internet searches to complete. So many things! In 2008, may we all remember to enjoy the moment. Take the time to enjoy The Herd. Take the extra care to enjoy each other. For only then, will the time spent in 2008 be worthwhile.

Here’s an example of what I mean:

It is a chilly and overcast October day at Refuge Farms. Tony Stromberg is here from New Mexico to capture – hopefully – photo images of The Herd for his next book on horses in rescues. I am thrilled and eager to do whatever it takes to support his work.

The man is talented. That’s obvious by looking at his first book, “Spirit Horses”. Pictures in that book bring me to tears! And here is this man in my muddy pastures with this herd of thrown away rejects. We must capture their amazing capacities in his lenses! We must!

And the man seems to be part horse. He relates with them on a level unlike what I have seen before. The horses readily accept him as one of them. There are no boundaries between he and the horses in a matter of moments. I must say that even Mr. Parelli could learn from Tony Stromberg.

A photo of Babee Joy has eluded Tony for a day and a half now. She stands like a model for him and just when he focuses on her, she looks to him and the frame is lost. It has been a long afternoon of Tony wandering in the mud and doing his best to capture Babee Joy in his camera.

Why does she do that? Tony explained that she feels his gaze focusing on her. She senses the direct look of his eyes and since she is prey and he a predator, she must turn to insure her own safety. It’s instinct. The trick, Tony said, was to catch her without her awareness…if that was possible! But, Tony, said, the moment may present itself. The goal was to be ready if it did.

Finally, it appears that the moment will happen! Tony is literally on his knees in the mud with his camera looking to Babee Joy from under the belly of Jeri-Ann! Yes! The picture he has been looking for is just about in his grasp!

OH NO!!! Unit! Get out of there! No, Unit! Go away from him! Don’t go there!

Unit sees Tony on his knees and so wanders up to him to check out his face and his lens and just, in general, get between Tony and Babee Joy.

Me? I’m up by the fence frozen so as to not disturb this possible elusive photo. And then I’m biting my lip! Why didn’t I think to occupy Unit? I should have known that Unit would get in the way! What can I do now to try to salvage the moment? Then I look at Tony. Is he frustrated? Is he pursing his lips? Is he pushing Unit out of the way in an attempt to save the photo?

Nope. The man has dropped his camera and is playing with Unit. A genuine smile of sheer enjoyment is on his face. The photo of Babee Joy is gone and Tony is just fine with that. Instead, he has chosen to live in the moment and enjoy the chance to play and nuzzle with Unit.

That is what I mean. Taking advantage of the moments as they present themselves and having the strength and courage to enjoy them! Letting the pressure of “the plans” and “the lists” go by the wayside. Learning to live fully in each and every experience as they present themselves.

There. That’s the best use of all of those hours and minutes in 2008. To enjoy the moment. Keeping Refuge Farms moving forward and not letting the paperwork get too far behind. Working on the projects and our needs but not at the continued expense of daily enjoyment of this heaven and angels that surround me. Balance. It is called balance. A good thing. Balance. I can sleep now. I can get a good night’s sleep on this first day in this new year. Balance. I have a great resolution for this New Year we call 2008.

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

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