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My father was a country doctor in Salmon, Idaho. Colleen and I and our three youngest children - Johnny, Hannah, and Danny - are so grateful to live on the family farm that is a part of my father's legacy. We helped to raise an orphaned faun that was born on our farm this past Spring. Her mother was taken by poachers, and we bottle-fed the faun, until she could forage for all the food she needed. We did not want to tame her, or cause her to become dependent upon us, but only wanted to help while she needed help to survive.

We named her AJ, because she is an Awesome Jumper. She came tentatively into our yard each morning, but then after each bottle feeding, she would race around our yard uninhibited, and would gleefully jump and buck in the air. It was a joy to watch her express herself after having having filled her tummy. Thus, she came and went day after day, as her body grew and developed to the point that she could thrive independently by foraging as deer do - for leaves, grasses, and other plants. 

I remember the day AJ and I went for a long walk together after an evening feeding. We walked along the riverbank of our farm, which is over a half mile in length. There is an island in the middle of the river across from the Northern end of our farm. As we walked along the riverbank opposite from the Island, we saw a doe standing at the river's edge drinking water. AJ perked up considerably and began to deer talk.

I sat on a nearby log for several minutes giving them the space and time they needed to talk back and forth together. Afterwards, AJ and I finished our walk together, ending back at the main house in our yard. We parted for the night, and that evening was the last time AJ came for a feeding of sheep milk.

The next day I went back to the spot across from the Island to see if I could see AJ. I was so happy when I saw her, two does, and a small buck walking together foraging for food. I knew she was where she belonged. Since that day we have seen her come and go from the farm with a small herd of deer. 

It is a thrill to see AJ thriving independently with other deer; she is beautiful, even magnificent. We will always fondly remember the unique relationship we had with her for a time. Like AJ, each of us have seasons in our lives of giving and receiving. During these special seasons that are upon us - of thanksgiving, hope, joy, giving and receiving; may we find great joy in giving helping hands and a loving heart to those who need help; and may we also freely receive all things that we need, both temporally and spiritually, to become beautiful, strong, and magnificent. 

With Much Love,
Jim and Colleen

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