gratefulness, thankfulness, thanks, appreciation
Since it’s just the day before Thanksgiving, let’s have a little discussion about gratitude. As you can see from the definition above, it means to acknowledge that one is appreciative and thankful. As I go through my days at work and away from work, I see that it is sometimes difficult for people to be grateful for something or someone. I think it may be that people understand “gratitude” to mean to be indebted to someone else, or to admit that possibly they were helped by someone else.
And…enter the ego. “I don’t owe anyone anything.” I hear that a lot. “I don’t owe you anything. I don’t want your help. I don’t need anyone.”
Actually, when we are at that point in our lives, it is just the opposite. When we are to the point of thinking that it’s us against the world, we are badly in need of help. Being grateful for what we have, who we are, and for our lives as they are, gives us a reason to be happy. It gives us a reason to find the good in everyone and everything.
Being grateful doesn’t start and end with a gift or event. It’s not just about sending the thank you card after getting a birthday present or theater tickets. It’s about being grateful for everything – EVERYTHING – in our lives, from waking up to a new morning to a smile on someone’s face to the possibility of seeing a friend. The sunrise. A fresh breeze on a warm day. The sound of leaves rustling as they are caught on the wind. Life. What a gift! Probably the single greatest gift we have all been given is the gift of life.
I often hear how boring life is and how tired someone is of “all this.” What if we didn’t have “all this?” “Why do we have to eat what we grew in the garden? Why can’t we go out to eat instead of eating at home.” Let’s just have a little peek at what we can be grateful for in those few sentences.
1. We have something to eat. A basic need met.
2. We have a garden. We can choose what we want to grow and derive satisfaction from having succeeded in growing it.
3. We have a home. We are not homeless or spending our nights on the street.
4. We have WE. We are not alone and we care about one another.
When we have, we don’t really give a thought to the millions of people around the world who have not. I don’t think many of us give much thought to how very much we have.
Let’s be grateful, and give thanks for what we have and for having received the gift of life. Let’s be grateful for having someone who loves us. Let’s give thanks for having breath, sunshine, shelter, clothing, love, and purpose. The birthday present? And the movie tickets? Of course! And let’s send a thank you note!!!
I'd like to share a submission from a good friend of the ranch, Jessica K. Jessica worked with us last summer. Her own disability gives her a uniquely insightful view of the world.
Growing Up with A Disability:
Childhoods are remembered through school days, summer nights, and down time with friends. For someone with a disability, like me, a childhood is remembered through doctor visits, surgeries, and therapy sessions. Having Cerebral Palsy, or CP, made growing up different for me than my able-bodied peers. Disability forces people into spaces that revolve around the medicalized need to improve quality of life. For me, surgeries were used to improve my mobility which, in an ableist society that values one’s abilities, is directly tied to quality of life.
Like most people with CP, I spent my childhood going to doctor appointments and having surgeries that required me to miss out on school and social events. By improving my body's function, my social and cognitive education became less important. I was lucky that my parents saw the importance of education and forced me to spend my recovery time doing make up work. School has always been a priority for me because my cognitive functioning could compete with my peers when my physical abilities could not. I tried to be as able-bodied as possible so I fit in, and the only way I could accomplish this was being good at academics. I see the same behavior with those who are intellectually disabled; they focus on their physical ability so people do not notice their academic struggles. This need to be academically superior not only benefited me in school, but at home as well. I knew I couldn’t be as sporty as my family was, but I could be the best student. Of course, no matter how smart I was, I still was bullied; though looking back, every kid gets picked on in school. I was targeted for my limp, because for some reason, kids don’t think I’m aware of it. What my peers didn’t know was I had no problem with my walk, in fact, I was proud of it. It took one surgeon six tries to make my legs and my brain cooperate with each other. Pride is one emotion I always try to feel when it comes to my disability, even with all of society telling me it is shameful.
Growing up, The Children’s Hospital Sports Program was the best tool I had for reinforcing prideful feelings. I was proud of my ability to ski down green and blue runs, and successfully manage chair lifts. Most of all I was proud of my disabled identity, because without it, I would not have discovered my love of skiing. By participating in the ski program, I saw disability as an identity worth celebrating. For eleven years I skied with other kids that had disabilities. Every other Saturday, for ten weeks, we owned the mountain. Over fifty kids with varying physical disabilities tore up the slopes and stereotypes regarding the inability of those with disabilities to be active. Skiing allowed me to accept my body, flaws and all. I have had as many surgeries as years I was with the ski program, and skiing is the experience that improved my quality of life the most. Surgeries fixed my body, skiing fixed my perception on disability. Disability is not something that is purely medical, it is the person’s interaction with the world: good, bad, medical, and social. My experience is with the physical side of disability, but there is one thing everyone with a disability has in common when they grow up; the social pressure of being fundamentally different, and accepting that being different is not negative.
I would like to share a Thanksgiving story with you, as told by one of our ranchers, with her illustrations.
"In the past, we used to take turns eating at my grandparents' houses for Thanksgiving. We did that to be sure we could enjoy spending time with both sets of grandparents. These days, we usually eat at Mom's house. Then we draw names to find out who we're getting a Christmas gift for. "
"Everyone always brings a meal of some kind, just like you would for a pot luck dinner. We always have a good time and eat a lot of food."
Did you know that the ranch accepts no state or federal funding? We are entirely dependent upon donations and tuition paid by our residents. In order to keep costs to our residents and their families down, we look for help from outside sources, which include friends of the ranch, local businesses, and sometimes not-so-local businesses.
Cost to families and ranchers can be high. According to Google, the average family income in our local area is in the $47,000. The average cost of maintaining a residence here at the ranch is around $27,000, at current rates. Imagine that. The ranch provides housing, transportation, food and meal preparation, exercise, activities like Life Skills and Arts & Crafts, medication administration, scheduling of medical appointments, 24/7 staffing, money management, and generally coaching through the challenges of daily living (laundry, household chores, gardening, animal care and feeding, and communication with family and friends.)
So, we're coming up on "Giving Tuesday", November 29th. Check out our "donate" page on the website. If you can find it in your heart, and your budget, to make a donation to Triangle Cross Ranch, we would sincerely appreciate it. Please donate - big or small, it all adds up and goes toward caring for our ranchers.
It's November, and we've yet to have much of a cold snap. To celebrate our mild autumn season, some of our board members brought fall decorations to spruce up the place. Have a look-see:
Thanks to our wonderful board members! Our spirits have been lifted, and we are ready for whatever the weather may bring!
So, November. Really? Aside from the leaves falling, it's really been warm enough NOT to be fall...errr...halfway to winter. The chickens are in their nests earlier than before, but it's been no more than sweater weather - yet. Fingers crossed, we're really not hoping for snow just yet down here on the prairie. Snow in the mountains, and off the road is beautiful, gorgeous even, but I don't mind telling you that I prefer to drive on DRY roads.
So, life at the Ranch has not changed too much, aside from our Ranchers taking time out from their busy schedules to rake leaves and use them for dry mulch in the chicken house, and beds for the alpacas. Looking at those dry leaves, I'm reminded that every day of life is a gift. Every day is a chance to choose happiness. Every day is a chance to count our blessings and be grateful for what we have. Gratitude - I guess that's what Thanksgiving is all about.
But let's not just count our blessings once a year. Let's not be thankful for our friends and families just once a year. Let's be grateful for our blessings every day of our lives. And seriously, all of us have as many blessings as leaves that fly from the trees. The difficulty we have in being grateful is to count those numerous little blessings that make our lives possible. Families, friends, home, love, God. Yes, count those blessings and be grateful.
Things at TCR are just starting to slow down, due to the colder weather. August was a great month for us with the HOGs of Greeley Poker Run, and then our annual Golf Fundraiser. Ranchers, Staff and Board want to express gratitude to all of the HOGs as well as everyone that supported the Golf Tournament. We also want to thank Randee Shaw and her students from Greeley District 6. They came out in September to help us prep the garden for the winter, and provide some assistance with Fall cleaning. We were lucky this year with our garden—we still had squash, beans, and apples in the beginning of October!
Eaton Days and Ault Days enabled us to make a lot of new friends and we love that. Some of our Ranchers are bowling in a tournament on Saturday, 8 October. If you would like to support Special Olympics come cheer at Highland Park Lanes (Greeley). We use our website and Facebook to let everyone know our activities, so make sure you are keeping tabs on us and sign up for updates if you haven’t already!