Let that little light of yours shine, shine, shine…


I have just one wish, or maybe we should call it a my hope; to matter, to make a difference.

You know what’s interesting? We all seem to be chasing something, don’t we? At this time of year,”The Holiday Season”; so many families are scrambling for the perfect gift. Maybe you have deep pockets; buying for the guy/girl who has everything. Maybe you have nothing, trying to bring a gift home for the child who has little to nothing, knowing you still have to feed her. I am willing t bet you the little girl who receives just one gift will cherish that gift more than the fella who has everything. I know, I was that girl.

I am searching; searching for the perfect gift for just such a child…I will buy two; one for a girl, and one for a boy. The Local Fire Department (my husband is a volunteer fire fighter)has an annual event; they use money collected from fundraisers, such as middle school dances to purchase new and lightly used toys for children…then they invite families(parents, to shop – for FREE! they can choose gifts they hope their little ones will love; even though they have no funds to purchase these. How awesome is that!

… I’m sure of only one thing. If you leave this world, this life; having touched just one person’s life, you have made a difference!

Live like you mean it.

dynamic duo
Andy and Dolly…always together…as I went out this morning to begin chores, this is how I saw them. He, my little Andy, Loves her endlessly.

Miels
Camille, one of my older girls, past her breeding age, so she just lolls about looking pretty.

LaLa
Shangrala, I call her LaLa…always regal in appearance…always.

duo and princess
Andy and Dolly, think they are missing something…racing up the hill; Princess seems to be hinking…Oh, no…here they come!

duo on the run
Kick up your heels!

optical illusion
This shot of Phantom is an optical illusion, this is really 2 llamas…Jubilee is just behind Phantom ( he is brown and cream)

Gio
Gio…aah, Gio.

Life won’t work out exactly as we had planned, it just won’t. How did you envision your life when you were a child? No where in my childhood fantasy’s did I see myself on Llama farm in Upstate NY. Life does not work out the way you expect. But sometimes it works out even better.
So SHINE, Don’t stand in the light of your convictions? Shine?….it just means to go for what you believe in with all that you have…
Own it, be it, do it and then, when it is your time to exit — depart knowing that you truly lived and boy , did you Shine!

Be well,
Jess

Do you ever wonder…?


Do you ever wonder?

The morning’s hustle and bustle has come and gone, leaving the house quiet and warm. Warmth brought not only by the wood fire crackling but by the love shared, dreams chased, full with beautiful moments that make up our life.

Snow was falling, as the dogs and I set out for our morning ramble about this small farm…it is a wet snow and wont last long; just long enough to coat the llamas in a sparkling frosty icing. The snow is giving this grey gloomy November day just the boost it needed, I think.
Do you ever wonder what is really valuable to you, what is beautiful, what inspires you? What keeps you going?
I think, this question is why I blog..it helps me sort things out, to reminisce, to smile about the days, weeks, or even years past’s misadventures and sweet moments.

I look at my life differently, ordinary things take on a new meaning when looked at through the lens of my camera or the words of my blog. Snippets of life brought into focus more thoroughly enjoyed, moments not lost in the flurry of our lives, moments we can now go back to. Moments to smile, laugh, or let the tears fall.

It seems as though I have my camera in my hand no matter where I go; capturing moments, moments in nature, moments in our lives, moments of simple beauty.

I wonder… now, how I could have passed by so much inspiration, so much beauty and not capture it to be shared and enjoyed later, later, when we thought we had forgotten. Blogging affords me an outlet, a community of sharing – if you will – a wonderful place to connect with others. Others, from distant lands, different cultures, with different languages and different time.

Blogs.
Our visual journals, our creative outlets; joys shared, sorrows softened, inspiration found…feelings validated and kindness received; a beginning of something new and exciting. My blog, a place where I open up more than I ever thought possible.

I wonder.
I wonder where this journey will take me and where your journey will take you?
My blog has led me, with your compassion and support to reach for dreams that once felt impossible.

I wonder; I wonder what tomorrow will bring.
Courtney is home; she and her Mom are staying with us, getting stronger and enjoying family while she awaits her transplant.
Be well,
Jess

You don’t get an award for the Most Beautiful Things in Life; Your Heart Simply Swells to Six Times It’s Size.


The Big E, a favorite Llama Show of many held at the Eastern States Exposition venue in Massachusetts. We have attended since Jenni started showing her animals, I think she was in second grade; she is now a college freshman.

We have forged lifelong bonds, respect, and simply an awe of others abilities and gifts. The beautiful lady who wrote the following (for her blog); is one of those of which, I am in awe….I think you may be too…

……..The Big E Llama Show is one of my very favorite things. I was around llama people and llamas for almost four whole days! I loved seeing old friends and making new ones. I loved talking llama all day with the public and getting on my knees with little children to help them pet the llamas. And this year it was fun to have some of my llama lockspun yarn to show people and let them touch a tangible product and see the animals it came from.
On Friday, my buddy, Bruce, from Living Resources came to the show. Bruce and others in the day program have been coming to the farm for over two years to help with some farm chores and work with the llamas. I had told him if he came to the BIG E for a day, he could help me – he was excited for weeks prior! His father brought him early and he helped with some sweeping and with a little assistance, he did some wonderful PR (answering questions from the public). I am so proud of him!

But….the best part – and this is important because it defines me and my llamas….I took my llama, Lisel, (the best public relations llama EVER – even if we flunked the PR class), into her halter class – there was only one other llama in it. Lisel did her muppet bounce walk, didn’t hold her neck up, and confirmed for me that this would be her last show because it’s not her thing. I wasn’t upset, mostly I felt guilty for putting her through it. The saving grace – Bruce was waiting for us when we walked out. I clipped the big shiny Second Place red ribbon on his jacket and handed him the lead rope. He pet her and complimented her, and Lisel’s neck straightened right up and she walked at his side easily and smoothly. With him…she walked with PRESENCE and meaning. Bruce’s smile was so big, I got a lump in my throat and had to blink back…well, you know. He walked her back to her pen, obviously tickled to walk by dozens of people oohing and aahing over her (those swaying suri locks, you know). I watched Bruce walk tall and proud. He knew to stop and let children pet Lisel. ”STAND, Lisel,” he would say. ”Pet her neck, not her face,” he told people. Back at the pen, he unbuckled her halter without any help from me, and told her she was wonderful and a good girl….and rubbed her neck. THAT few moments, my friends, was better than any first place ribbon for anything…ever!…


If you were teary, don’t worry, I was too.
If you are intrigued, her is my blog post from last year’s show
Be Well,
Jess

A colorful perception..


It’s a beautiful world!
Look around it is amazing.
Life is a colorful perception: a vision, a kiss, taste of fresh berries, childhood memories, future plans, the smell of freshly cut grass, the sound of a baby’s giggle and the touch of a loved one….

A few more pics from the Cape. What do you treasure most?
Be well.
Jess

Hope…I wish you enough.


LIFE IS HUGE! Life is not one horrible moment. It is not.
It is a glorious privilege to live, to know, to act, to listen, to behold, to love. To look up at the blue summer sky; to see the sun sink slowly beyond the line of the horizon; to watch the worlds come twinkling into view, first one by one, and the myriads that no man can count, and lo!
the universe is white with them; and you and I are here.

I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final goodbye.

My prayers go out to the families of the victims of the empire state building shooting. There is no place for this in humanity.
“The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people goin’ by
I see friends shaking hands saying, “How do you do”
They’re really saying “I love you.”
I hear babies cry, I watch then grow
They’ll learn much more than I’ll ever know;
And I think to myself, What a wonderful world;
Yes, I think to myself, What a wonderful world.
Oh yeah!”
– Louis Armstrong

Be well,
Jess
PS Josh fixed my computer wows :) Love him.

Remember when…?


Remember when…

Remember when farm life was based on families, church, and holidays…It was the way of life for many. Work stopped on Sunday; as families came together to pray and worship. They celebrated life with Sunday dinner ~ a tradition many families carry on today. They caught up on each other’s lives, and shared news. Face to face. They saw expressions, of joy, sadness, and awe. They were there to comfort a friend, not leave a comment on a Facebook “friend’s” sad commentary. Simple joys and blessings of life. Yes, it is hard, sometimes tedious,back breaking work. Yet, this life creates self reliant and proud folks. They made do.

They celebrated the rain, the sun, the fields. They celebrated the Lord, and Church; family and dear friends. Neighbors helping neighbors. Life and daily chores seemed to have a purpose, and not just the search for the almighty dollar. The purpose was to have enough, enough food for the family and livestock, a blessing would be enough to share. Enough to live comfortably; not extravagantly…you work for what you need. And, you didn’t get what you want before you earned it. Children were not gifted everything under the sun ~ simply because they wanted it. They had to work too, this was life on a family farm, and the grist mills, the weavers, or the general store; everyone had to pull their own weight. This is indeed an overly simplified, perhaps a romanticized view; I accept that. Sometimes though, it seems to me…this world could do with a bit of simplicity. Living life within your means is hard. Ask any one trying to live a life of independent sustainability. I read about Celi’s day each morning at The Kitchen Garden each morning, and I am always amazed.

Living life on a farm is still hard work, maybe harder, with prices for crops at an all-time low, and fuel costs at an all time high (and the with the hot dry summer the US of A is experiencing, it will only be tougher), but farmers will keep battling on. Tenacity, stick-to-it-iveness, stubborn will, call it what you’d like…thank goodness they have it! Farming. It is the most important industry in the country, you think about this when you get a bit hungry.

It’s a battle, but it’s life. Most love doing it and wouldn’t have it any other way.
Be well. Jess

As Life Changes, what have I woven into the lives of others? Class of 2012!


You’ve changed so much. I guess that’s what happens. I wish you knew how much you changed me. I wonder if I changed you, if your life is different because of me. Because mine’s different. My God, you taught me so much….

To my beautiful daughter, Jennifer.

Nicole, Meaghan, Emily, Alyssa and all of the Class of 2012.

Here is what I hope you leave with:

Give yourself permission: for everything. Permission to make mistakes. Permission to shine. Permission to look beautiful. Permission to accept (instead of correct or dismiss) praise. Permission to have bad days. Permission to get angry. Permission to cry, to laugh, to scream. Permission to take the day off. Permission to take a nap, go to sleep early. Permission to get a massage. Permission to do nothing. Permission to succeed. Life is about being here now, in all your full range of emotions, mood swings, wins and losses. Give yourself permission to live out loud!

There will always be others; others that may be more educated, skilled or talented in one or another area, but there is something magnificent and valuable about what you have to offer this world! Do not allow yourself or anyone else to diminish it.

To live your best possible life, you need to learn how to say no to the things that aren’t helping you. The best barometer to measure this by is: if it isn’t a “hell yeah” (yippee, so fun, can’t wait), then it is most probably a no. If you have to talk yourself into it, it’s a no. Once you get comfortable saying no, everything becomes a matter of choice. Living a life of choice is a living a life of freedom.

 Always remember; When you strip everything else away, your word is all you’ve got. Do what you say you’re going to do.By honoring your word, you honor yourself.And it doesn’t  feel good when you don’t. So, make it a habit. Value your integrity and keep your promises.

 You can do anything you choose to do ~ There is nothing you cannot be, do or have. So do not impose limitations on yourself. Instead of saying you can’t get there, ask “How can I get there?” Live in the affirmation of possibility rather than the declaration of negativity. There is always a way, and it is being presented consistently, but you have to live in the question to be on the lookout for the answer.

 “Even though we’ve changed and we’re all finding our own place in the world, we all know that when the tears fall or the smile spreads across our face, we’ll come to each other because no matter where this crazy world takes us, nothing will ever change so much to the point where we’re not all still friends.”

Own your opinion! No one has to agree with you in order for your opinion to matter. Stop waiting for consensus. YOU matter. Your opinion matters. Some people will agree with you and some people won’t. You will NEVER get consensus. So, stop looking for it. The only question you have to ask is, does your opinion matter to you? Claim it. Own it. And know that with new information, it could change tomorrow.

If things aren’t working out in your favor, take note and ask yourself what your part in it is. Being a victim is passé, boring. There is no power in blaming other people. Don’t wait for other people to change. When you change, your world will follow suit.

                                                                     Bloom where you are planted. Work from the inside out. Make the commitment to yourself and get started.


“Life is a hard hat zone, we’re always under construction.”

                  Love generously. Spread random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty.

Hatred is already rampant. We need to tip the scales the other way.

Love is a far more powerful emotion and has far reaching consequences.

Thoreau said, “If I am not I, who will be?”

Did you ever notice that the ones who are most successful are not the ones that follow the masses and trends, but the ones who stand in their own authentic expression and declare who they are? Regardless of who agrees with them?

Find your bliss and live your passion. Your Bliss? It’s time to find out! When your life has spun out of control and you are finding yourself in a tizzy, go back to what makes you happiest and do that. The more you follow this thread, the more you are leading with the heart. Discover it. Find it, claim it, express it, and live it.

 

Never give up on yourself. You are who you are. It’s time to honor that and make use of it. Stay the course.

Be Well,
Mom (Jess)

The cuddle chemical effect….no, really.


Everything that lives, lives not alone nor for itself…

Blessed with animals in our lives…did you know there are actual health benefits? Real health benefits – lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, reduced stress levels, and better mental health. Attachments or bonding of any sort stimulates the limbic system; releasing the (oxytocin) “cuddle chemical” known for its role in facilitating trust and attachment. Bonding with your pet…is also associated with higher levels of vasopressin, and reduced stress and stress-related hormones. Going for a walk with a llama, bonding through the grooming process, going for a trail hike with friends, just providing everyday care encourages us to interact and to get out. We benefit from the exercise and fresh air that we may not seek out on our own. This does wonders for our health and emotions. I became acutely aware of life’s connections and the value of my beloved animals and friends this passed week. Some of us got together at Dakota Ridge Farm http://www.dakotaridgefarm.com/ to “finally” meet a new llama, to bring bring new llamas home and to connect as friends. It was a wonderful day, full of laughter, food, and sharing. A day that may not have occurred if not for the common connection and passion – Llamas ..well, animals in general really. I am still smiling.

For this I am grateful.

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Have you ever thought of sharing your favorite animal? Pet therapy is something many llama owners are involved with. You can actually see the positive health effects; both for those receiving therapy and those who bring in their animals to children’s activities and nursing homes. To see a nursing home patient light up when they see you and your llama or dog come through the door is an unforgettable experience. You may hear heartfelt stories of patients who haven’t interacted with or spoken for awhile- open up, relaxes, talking with, and interacts with a new friend…your animal. What a beautiful feeling. Can you imagine the impact your pet could make in a Children’s Hospital, or a visit with an autistic child? What a wonderful experience for the recipients of such a visit.

To get involved in pet therapy, please refer to some of the links below. There are national and local organizations. You could even become affiliated with a therapy organization. You may also wish to visit this http://thekitchensgarden.wordpress.com/ beautiful blog; she visits with her dog Ton-Ton, and soon a precious lamb named Minty.

Also check out: http://www.wunsapanafarm.com/ Her therapy dogs have been registered/certified with Therapy Dogs International (www.tdi-dog.org). She says, “Wouldn’t trade this life of sharing my animals – dogs, llamas, donkeys, goats… for anything.” (Lots more under the Therapy Animals category in her sidebar.)

I just had to take a moment to add this to the post: It was a reply from Katrina of Dakota Ridge Farm, she says; “As far as pet therapy goes, we’ve been doing that for over 20 years and the smiles on the visitors faces as they pet the llamas and horses are worth more to me than words can say. I still get tears when I remember the day a blind girl wanted to know what a llama looked like, so I took her hand and traced the llamas profile, this girl was so happy, will never forget this day. ” As I read her comment I had tears trickling down my face. She is such a beautiful person with so much love to share. I just thought you would want to know!

http://affluent.net/sara/

http://www.akc.org/akctherapydog/organizations.cfm

The Delta Society (www.deltasociety.org)
“Improving human health through service and therapy animals.”
Angel On A Leash (angelonaleash.org)
Therapy charity of the Westminster Kennel Club

Is your animal appropriate for animal therapy ?
Does your animal enjoy interacting with and being touched by people?
Is your animal confident in new environments?
Is your animal calm around other animals?
Is your animal vaccinated ?
Does your dog reliably respond to basic obedience cues (“sit”, “down”, and “stay”)?
Is your dog/animal polite? (does not rush at, jump on, bark at, growl at, snap at, or kick at others)?
Important characteristics of a therapy animal are that they are confident, reliable, predictable, and controllable. A therapy animal should be very social.


“Until one has loved an animal a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” Anatole France


Animals are reliable, many full of love, true in their affections, predictable in their actions, grateful and loyal. Difficult standards for people to live up to. Alfred A. Montapert


Our task must be to free ourselves… by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.
Albert Einstein


“If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans.”
― James Herriot

If you are interested in further information or if you are just curious, perhaps you work somewhere that could benefit from a beautiful animal visit…check out this site.
ASPCA Animal Assisted Therapy Programs
AAT.department@aspca.org
or your local shelter or human society

Be Well,
Jess

Hope is sweet-minded and sweet-eyed….


Hope. It draws pictures; it weaves fancies; it fills the future with delight. Our perceptions are always colored by what we hope, what we fear, what we love. We do the best we can. I did the best I could.
Here on our farm we have been faced with choices; life and death choices on a few occasions within a week. These kinds of choices are never easy, never to be taken lightly. What is best? For the animal? For you? For society? Questions and answers to be weighed heavily with love. With hope. With faith. Am I doing the right thing? right for whom? Does the decision have to be the right one for everyone?
These questions in life; these types of decisions…the answers can only be found deep in your heart,your soul really. you dig deep, sleep on it, then dig some more.
Lost in oblivion, dark and silent and complete, I found freedom. Losing all hope was freedom. When left with a sense of despair- perhaps you have your answer. There is no hope. Not now. Not for them. It is time to let them go,to me, to hold on…would be holding on for me; for reasons purely selfish. Loss of quality of life, end suffering was our answer. The right answer some would say, wrong others with argue. to those who disagree with decisions made in moments of despair; I say, “You can’t lose hope when it’s hopeless. You gotta hope more, then put your fingers in your ears and go: “Blah! Blah! Blah! Blah!” I Hope and I pray they found peace. freedom from pain, freedom from torment. You see,beginnings can be scary, endings are usually sad, but it’s the middle that counts the most. So Live! As we live, we learn, you’ll have your heart broken and you’ll break others’ hearts. You’ll fight with your best friend or maybe even fall in love with them, and you’ll cry because time is flying by. So take too many pictures, laugh too much, forgive freely, and love like you’ll never be hurt. Love freely. love completely. Life comes with no guarantees, no time outs, no second chances. you just have to live life to the fullest, tell someone what they mean to you and tell someone off, speak out, dance in the pouring rain, hold someone’s hand, comfort a friend, fall asleep watching the sun come up, stay up late, be a flirt, and smile until your face hurts. Don’t be afraid to take chances or fall in love and most of all, live in the moment because every second you spend angry or upset is a second of happiness you can never get back.

I told myself; after days of agonizing contemplation don’t be afraid to make a choice… everyone will have their opinion of what is right, what is wrong…there is no “one size fits all: answer. Jessica, do your best with what you have been given.” I hope I did.


Enjoy the present, each moment as it comes, because you’ll never get another one quite like it. And if you should ever look up and find yourself lost, simply take a breath and start over. Retrace your steps and go back to the purest place in your heart, where your hope lives. You’ll find your way again.


If you have a dream, live it. If you have a hope, chase it.


It’s true that we don’t know what we’ve got until we lose
it, but it’s also true that we don’t know what we’ve been
missing until it arrives.


Dream what you want to dream, go where you want to go,
be what you want to be. Because you have only one life and
one chance to do all the things you want to do.


The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best
of everything they just make the most of everything that comes
along their way


Love begins with a smile, grows with a kiss…


walk with friends.


We see hope in children….


…love like you’ve never been hurt and dance like no one is watching.


When life gives you a hundred reasons to cry, show life that you have a thousand reasons to smile.


In the end, it’s not going to matter how many breaths you took, but how many moments took your breath away
– shing xiong

Rest peacefully; Riley and Sweet Phantom. You are loved, always.

Be well,
Jessica

There was a Pink Moon.


Traditionally, the April full moon is known as “the Pink Moon,” supposedly as a tribute to the grass pink or wild ground phlox, considered one of the earliest widespread flowers of the spring. For me spring is about renewal, and recommitting to dreams and goals. TO find my life’s purpose. What is your purpose? Mine is still evolving; I think.
If you can’t figure out your purpose—list three things you daydream about on slow days at work or while at a stop light?

Don’t spend your life trying to be what you are not…There are no things or powers in life that can offer you a hand to your dreams; surround yourself with great,positive people;you always can learn something from them. People and their opinions, can have the strongest affect on our lives. I believe that you become the people you hang out with. The people you associate with and share ideas with have a major influence on how you choose to act upon or not act upon your dreams. Did you ever have the sort of folks around you that say things like “Why would you want to do that”, “Why waste your time, that is foolish”; trying to down your dreams before they even begin? I used to worry what they thought, …no more.

Confidence is contagious, and so is the lack of confidence. We must believe in ourselves and our dreams ~ our purpose~ be selective of the people we choose to spend our precious time with. I always try to surround myself with positive “can do” people. Relationships are a choice. Choose passionate friends, crazy, I can do it, I will do it ~ friends. I am just crazy enough to think things can be different. Those who think something’s impossible generally don’t spend enough time around crazy people who know it can be done. That things can be better. Put all those crazy people together and suddenly everyone’s doing impossible things.

Never lose sight of your dreams … it’s totally up to you to remind yourself everyday of the rewards you will reap as you achieve your goals.

Sow it!!!…Reap it!!!!!!!
Be Well,
Jess
Wordpress is being wonky, and not saving all of my words whilst publishing…so this is yet another update.