The Season of Gratitude and Light!

Dear Friends,

I’m writing this update just after the Thanksgiving Holiday. We hope all of you had a renewing, festive feast with family and friends, and that indeed, everyone to surround your table and your heart brought gratitude and love.

Gratitude doesn’t end with Thanksgiving. We need to carry it always in our minds and souls, especially now as we enter the season of Hope and Light.

A quiet field in autumn with a windmill
Garden put to bed till spring

In December, (just a few days away!) we enter a season of Joy and Light and hopefully some time for quiet reflection. I have heard it said that angels, the Divine messengers, bend close to Earth this time of year. So we need to practice contemplation and meditation so we can discern their whispers.

Hope is an essential element for the season ahead. It is powerful to wish for something that may seem unattainable, unreachable perhaps. However, as people of Hope, we never tire of opening our hearts to something that may seem impossible. We wish anyway. Because we believe in the possibility of Hope…of dreams coming true! And if they don’t come true the way we expected them to, we continue to hold on to rebirth and resurrection as the earth experiences this phenomenon every spring. We must never give into bitter pessimism. We push through because we are people of Hope. We believe in miracles, especially during this season of light.

The year is fast drawing to a close. (2023 can you believe it?)

Our community here at Ephphatha continues to grow. We continue to depend on each other and support one another through the “ups and downs” of life. Our Farm experiences support and enrich individuals with physical and emotional challenges, and there are many smiles to go around when they come to visit for the day.

We are currently investigating (and fundraising for) a system of ramps and a lift to enable one of our riders to mount our therapy horse: Bodyke. Heather is in a chair but she wants to ride. Both she and her parents are very convinced of the physical benefits of therapeutic riding. Bodyke is over 16 hands… large! However, very sweet and attentive to his riders. His long smooth gait at the walk massages the tight hip joint muscles of individuals confined to chairs creating release and relaxation for tight atrophic muscles. We are very excited to do this. It is a dream come true and will keep you updated on our success!

We are also looking into the possibility of adopting an older retired Belgium horse team from Spring Brook Farm in Cumberland. We thought it would be wonderful if we could adapt a carriage for our participants confined to wheelchairs and unable to ride, but still experience the benefits of riding through the fields in the fresh air. In reality, this is a huge wish, as we don’t have a barn large enough to house the team…. So we would have to build the barn, create and design the handicapped carriage and I would have to learn the care and parts of the harness, etc. for the team. But how wonderful would it be to be able to offer this to our friends…Smile and Joy producing to be sure. This endeavor would require a miraculous intervention but I can’t stop wishing for the pieces to come together to create it. After all, it is the season of the impossible becoming possible is it not?

Our horse, Bodyke, searching for grass in a snowy field, wearing an orange vest.
Bodyke searching for grass, in hunter orange on this snowy morning

Fox having decimated our chicken population has required us to purchase more baby chicks. They are young now, approximately four months old, and will lay come spring. We will also purchase another 15 chicks next spring so our egg-laying production should be bouncing back and provide a nice income source for the farm.

Shadow and Gus our goats are doing well. They will have their hooves trimmed and they will be good till spring. We have 400 bales of grass hay and will be purchasing straw for bedding when the weather turns very cold and as a Christmas treat, as Gus eats straw so it doesn’t last long. The best bedding is wood shavings as it keeps them warm and they don’t eat it so quickly.

The Farm has its last Board meeting of the year on Dec. 7th. We come together to review our finances and establish realistic goals for the next year ahead and to spend time together, to renew and refresh the vision of Ephphatha.

Reality is very important in running this nonprofit. Sustainability is key to the Farm’s future. That being said, in this time of miracles, in the secret recesses of your heart of hearts, remember to dream and wish and most of all, continue to HOPE!

Blessings to everyone. We are most grateful to all of you.

May Joy, Peace, and Hope be yours always,
Robin

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