Here we are in 2014! How on earth did that happen? Before we get too far into in this New Year I wanted to take a quick look back at a couple of things.
It was a busy year. There were knees to repair, fundraisers, cattle to move, a fire, time spent at the beach, rodeos, birthdays to celebrate and a whole bunch of other stuff. But right now I want to update you on my top two blog posts from last year.
Questioning Cattle Deaths in South Dakota – There was a terrible blizzard on Oct 4, 2013. Tens of thousands of cattle, horses and sheep were killed. There were a lot of misconceptions out there regarding how this happened. In my post I tried to speak to some of those, as did a lot of other bloggers and Ag folks. You can check out those resources on my Ranching links page.
I learned a lot writing that post. The biggest thing I learned was that while there are misconceptions out there regarding ranching and agriculture in general, the vast majority of people are really interested in learning more and talking more with actual farmers and ranchers. And farmers and ranchers even have some of their own misconceptions about city folks. I have spent time on both sides of the fence and the truth is, we are all a lot more alike than we know, we just need to sit down and visit a little more often.
A lot of people stepped up to help after the blizzard. The surrounding community set up the Ranchers Relief Fund and over 5,000 individuals and businesses from all over the country contributed. There were auctions, dinners and other fundraisers that raised $3.1 million dollars.
In addition to that, ranchers throughout the west donated cattle to those who had lost so much through the Heifers for South Dakota program.
And then there’s the Christmas Angel from Lusk WY, named Donna. She had an idea to try to make Christmas a little brighter for those families affected by the blizzard. Pillow cases were sewn and stuffed with gifts of all kinds, donated and delivered by Donna’s helpers who, once she put the idea out there, showed up from all over the surrounding area. There are so many great people out there!
And this next one is pretty near and dear to my heart. Saddle Up with Tom. My friend Tom is a cowboy, rancher, husband and dad to two adorable little girls. In February of 2013 he was diagnosed with Renal Cell Carcinoma. It’s been a tough year but he’s a strong guy surrounded by a strong, supportive family and whole lot of friends. I know if you read his story you’ll want to know how to help. Here’s a few ideas.
- Go to the Saddle Up the Cardwells Facebook page and leave Tom and his family some encouraging words. Say a prayer and send some positive thoughts their way. It seems like a little thing but it means a lot and they feel every one.
- Consider donating to help fund Cancer research. We need to find a cure for this disease. No one should have to ever go through what Tom and his family have had to go through this past year. It’s great to “like” the Fight Cancer posts on Facebook but maybe we can go a step further and put a few real dollars behind that sentiment. Here are two possibilities – KidneyCancer.org and CancerResearch.org. Both of these organizations received 4 stars from Charity Navigator. If you wish, you can also donate to help Tom’s family with medical expenses here.
- If you are healthy and those you love most are healthy, Be Thankful. Don’t take your health for granted, even for a moment.
There were a lot of great moments in 2013 and also a lot of challenges. I have a feeling 2014 will be pretty much the same. Because isn’t that just the way life goes, joy and laughter, heartache and sorrow all rolled up into one. In the midst of a terrible blizzard, in the midst of a heartbreaking cancer diagnosis people showed up and gave of their time, talents and treasure. It didn’t change the facts. It didn’t bring the cattle back. It didn’t change the diagnosis. You still have to walk the path in front of you, no matter how rough it becomes. But it sure does help do know that you’re not walking it alone. Knowing that other people care and want to help carry the load in some small way, does make a difference.
Who knows what 2014 has in store for us. It’s exciting and scary all at the same time. Who knows where our paths will lead this year. But at least we can walk it together!
Best Wishes to everyone for 2014!
“Never believe that a few caring people cannot change the world. For, indeed, that is all who ever have.” – Margaret Mead