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  • Writer's pictureDarlene Dennis

The same set of rules don't always apply . . . .

I find myself in the midst of transitions .. DAILY .. with very different challenges yet with the same emotional investment that all intentional and meaningful paths are made. . and I will be real here - the story / stories I told myself about this new path are becoming comical daily at best as they were concieved with being naive and of

fairytail-like material..but that is the forever optimist that lives within me so I do see her when she speaks loud. (Another story for another post)

**Also we have learned VOLUMES of what to do better and what not to do and have also found successes by default so please no harsh critiscm on our efforts**

With this new path, one of the most anticipated things that we girls at 'The Ranch' looked forward to was adding animals to our daily lives - and not just the dogs (because there is not shortage of headcount there as is) but to add new to us chickens, goats and further down the road cows .. we are brave girls and feel up to the challenge. We each had our own vision of what that would look like - and where or how it would look.

Disclaimer - my husband is a complete REALIST and very CONSERVATIVE when it comes to adding responsiblity and work . . and majority of the time he is truly the voice of reason. We girls share a love of the the happy, sunshine and roses kind of big picture. . and Lauren, because she has years of training with her horses is our go to expert with the rest of us googling and learning. We all desire the same outcome. To have a farm with happy and healthy and thriving humans and animals.

So, even though we have COUNTLESS projects that are pressing to be completed sooner than later, we have stepped into goat and chicken ownership and thus where this particular blog post is headed. We are forming a Goat Gang of sorts.

It has been fun for the most part - we each have all found out thru trial and error - what we are capable of and being stretched to. I have an open heart with an eagerness to learn. . and a bucket full of grace when I misstep. and that bucket gets emptied out daily.

One of our first little additions was Rocky.

We fell in love with Rocky at the very first auction we went to. He was tucked away in the corner of a large pen - lifeless - or what we interpreted as scared or full of fear (because as a feeling human that is how we percieve and rationalize what we initially see)

As the weekend progressed we realized he was full blown sick - sick to where we thought he was in his last days. We took him to the vet, who let us know that sweet Rocky was blind in one eye, and so weak and so malnourished that he did not think he'd live but he went ahead and gave him antibiotic shots, dewormer, and instructions for care with a HUGE disclaimer that Rocky probably was not going to pull it off. We left with the resolve that we'd each give 150% to give him the best shot.

We all took shifts every 3 hours to feed him. Lauren gave him his shots and we kept him inside (and if you know how crazed I am about clean and organized spaces - right there was a huge shift for me personally .. but I was all in .. and willing to let go some of my personal edicts) and each day we were not solidy sure either - we held him, coddled him, gave him everything the Vet directed us too .. we researched, googled, joined goat groups and asked questions .. and slowly but surely he gave us the confidence to believe that the way that we were so focused and intentional was a proven formula and an awesome set of RULES if we ever were faced again with a similar situation.

The RULES were:

  1. Vet. Believe and listen to your vet - and follow his direction with seriousness.

  2. LOVE. Swaddle with intention and give as much verbal encouragement as you can speak.

  3. PRAY. We prayed over this little goat .. as he was swaddled, I would just ask Jesus to heal him and let him live his best life HERE with us.

  4. Talk to each other about observations when you finished your shift of care - here is where we collaborated on what positives we were seeing and if there any alarming developments. . and we would approach as next steps.

  5. RESEACH and SEEK out others experiences.

AND after all this intention that the Girls at the RANCH leaned on, these felt like the RULES that would sustain life when it became hard or questionable or challenging.

Enter in Faith ..

After our success with little and stunted Rocky, we wanted to have him a girlfriend of the same statue and of the same size etc . . so we went back to the auction and fell in love with her. She seemed fine and the story that we told ourselves was that she'd be a great addition for Rocky in size and how could she not thrive on our little farm? We had good and solid Rules in place for our Goat Gang.

She tanked quick. Confusion as to "how could this be?" shifted to 'we got this'. We will use our RULES that made Rocky be the comeback star of our Goat Gang and all would be okay. STORY. This was the story we convinced ourselves of.

We took her to the vet .. and after his lecture of how NOT to get another goat at the auction .. he informed us that Faith was a cornicopia of multiple issues (diaster was the actual word he used). She had four types of parasites, was dehydrated, her blood was so thin and she was so weak could not even stand. He felt for sure she would not make it. We believed with our RULES in tow, that she would not only make it but be the graduate of the RULES to prove that this was the way to go.

How overconfident was I?


We pulled out the RULES and went to work .. even trying some new things like getting her to a pen outside the office window so I could watch her during the day for a few hours while I worked so she could have fresh air and feel the beauty she was surrounded with. She moved in with Lauren so she could keep an eye on her at night and take on late night feedings or anything else that could pop up. Lauren would hold her each night whispering encouraging thoughts and reassuring her of the love she already was wrapped in. I told myself and God daily that she was going to WIN. I just knew it. I believed it.

And yet, she did not make it.

Our RULES seemed to not work .. and I was a bit confused and unsettled over it at first.. and way sad for Rocky. . and for our future goat family plans .. and for Lauren.

Because RULES are to be followed and then should work right? . . but I felt like they failed us this time . . and when you fail at one thing (so the story in your head has chosen to narrate .. what else are you going to fail at? what else should you do differently? why do you think you should walk confidently in one direction when proven wrong? what other little life is going to perish?)

So after Faith's passing, this weekend, I was in a place where I was pouring alot of things .. ALOT .. into my journal over some frustrations and questions.

With this situation that I am sharing here, I felt God poured out to me saying something surprising .. that the RULES did work .. and do work .. They are a listing of all that you should be doing to obtain the right things however if the outcome is not what YOU are hoping to see then maybe try to shift seats and gain a different view. Maybe there was a different outcome planned all together that was not meant to benefit you .. maybe it was to benefit an outcome that does not resemble anything near what your expectation was.

So in the case of sweet Faith .. if I indeed did switch chairs .. then the outcome could be several things that were not of my plan but maybe HIS. Yes His.

So what if the RULES were really to be:

  1. SEEK .. Believe and listen to your healer,truthteller, Jesus - and follow his direction with seriousness and focus.

  2. LOVE. Swaddle the situation with intention and give as much verbal encouragement as you can speak.

  3. PRAY. Just ask Jesus to do what HE has planned, to let His will be done and in the meantime allow us to provide all with the best life HERE while in our care.

  4. Talk to each other, your loved ones about observations when you are finished your shift of care - collaborate on what positives you can see and if there any alarming developments. . and what approach could be next steps. How best to close any gaps and to allow better bridges.

  5. RESEACH and SEEK out others experiences. . be open to other perspectives.

Maybe this view taught us that this little creature ended her short time being cared for, loved on, prayed over, sung to and held in lieu of being in a place where none of this would occur. What if we had this approach with the people that casually walk in and out of our days. That our few minutes or hours or whatever time with them might be the only loving and positive experience that they will have or had for a long while.

Maybe this view showed us that we can all chip in and function as a team or a unit to band together for a greater good. That we are building a trust within our new little family that we got each other even though we are from vastly different places in upbringing.

Maybe this view gave us a contact locally who we can place our trust in and go to when we need help with these vulnerable animals. (because this can be a place where our abilities are tested and just because we are in the country doesn't mean it is not top notch - we were wowed with his compassion yet his knowledge too)

Maybe this view showed us our possibilities yet making us aware of our limitations. That the things others make jokes on (coming from a city perspective) not being able to last long or embrace new and different are just criticisms that have zero baseline of truth. If there is a will there is a way...and most importantly if we believe that God has placed us here for a purpose we find our footing on that truth in every moment.

Maybe this view was to show us that even the least and smallest of creatures are deserving of a great love. . . and again to approach all things in our path with great tenderness, compassion and care.

So the shifts can be good .. and necessary. We sometimes get very stuck with believing that what once worked should still. . and that is a huge lie if that is how we approach this everchanging world in.

And Rocky?

Today he is living his rock star best life .. we are keenly aware it all could change in a blink .. as this life is incredibly fragile .. with him, as we know with Faith, he is loved, happy and has felt the security of knowing that a new tribe has given him all that they could for the time that He has allowed and we will do so as long as we can.

If you would have told me a year ago, that a Goat Gang would be teaching me some life lessons, I would have thought you were stoned or ate something really suspicsh .. like I say alot .. Jesus got jokes - and when he shows himself within the comedy of this everyday life, I just smile and give him a high five letting him know that I know. . and that I'm grateful.

What seats do you need to shift around to for a different view? What once worked for you as in a rule of thought, that maybe just isn't anymore? What can the things around you make you more aware of?

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