Another Trip Around the Sun
A look back at years of memories of the little ranch that brought big changes to the lives of many.
The love at the ranch is undeniably awe inspiring. On Thanksgiving day, while at my brother’s family dinner, I logged into the cameras at the ranch to check up on the horses and I saw bustling volunteers serving the ranch, each other, and all the creatures great and small that take up occupancy at this little place in the desert. To use the word humbling, doesn’t feel like enough. Every single day, I am truly honored to work alongside of and with, what I believe, are the greatest people on the planet. Many of these volunteers serve at Reigning Grace Ranch in temperatures exceeding 115 degrees, in rain, holidays, early mornings, late evenings, multiple times a week, weekends — you name it, they are here. Many serve here without prior equine or kid experience, but they do it with such heart. They answered a calling.
Time has a funny way of expressing itself. Just 10 very short, long years ago, Christopher and I felt a tug on our hearts to pair children needing an extra leg up along with horses that needed the same. We were at a place in our lives, where climbing the corporate ladder, just to get knocked down again, seemed relentless and quite honestly, no longer inspiring or feeding our soul. We wanted to do something that changed lives — and not just our own. We recognized that the real emergencies in life were giving hope to the hurting and the broken.
On August 11, 2011, Reigning Grace Ranch officially became a non-profit youth ranch on the backside of our rental property, which we affectionately named Duck Tape* Ranch. The ranch was bordered by beautiful white PVC picket fencing, that from a distance, looked country and quaint, but at any moment, a fly could land on the sun rot picket and buckle it into pieces. We joked about buying stock in white Duck Tape from Home Depot because we bought cases of the stuff for quick repair of the damaged fence. Believe it or not, it worked, for a little bit anyway. The ranch started with a few good horses. Many we lost too soon, but for some, we still are blessed with their continued care. Of the original herd, we lost Lilly, Abby, Patience, Roam, Zeke, Mack, and Sugar. These horses left founding hoof prints on this sacred place and will never be forgotten. There are many stories to tell about the antics of the horses, God moments, miracles, and changed lives. I am hoping to get a chance to share those with you in due time.
Christopher and I never guessed in a million years that Reigning Grace Ranch would grow beyond “Duck Tape ranch” and into what it is today. When we began rescuing horses, at Duck Tape Ranch, our neighbor — who was also our landlord, would call frequently and say, “It seems to me that you have acquired more than 10 horses on the property.” If I recall, that was all we were “supposed” to have. God was gracious enough to send us rescue horses that matched some of the current rescue horses already living on the property, so in my mind, two palominos were one palomino, two black horses were one black horse… and so on and so forth. I could say to the landlord, you must be mistaken, I only have one palomino. Of course the other palomino was hidden in the barn. I became a master at rotating color-matched horses. Bless our incredible landlord for allowing us to dream, rescue and show her patience with us. I’m pretty sure she knew I was pulling her leg.
Answering the call to live life with purpose
The ranch was primarily funded by Christopher and I for the first seven years of its existence. Early on, however, we had some cornerstone families that really had a heart for the mission and did some extraordinarily heavy financial lifting with us. These angels continue to believe in the ranch; without these tremendous human beings, Reigning Grace Ranch would simply not be where it is. They answered a calling.
As I reminisce about the ten short-long years of Reigning Grace Ranch and the incredible growth the ranch has had, I know that Chris and I are nothing special. Clearly, the Lord had something up His sleeves when He called us to rescue His first little palomino Tennessee Walking Horse, Hannah. The rest is history.
Chris and I — a computer geek and a theatre major — were called to start an equine rescue ranch, where the horses are redeemed and the children and families discover hope from a fallen world. I feel blessed that we said “Yes.” Let me remind you, neither Chris nor I were equipped for this ranch or what it would become.
As we prepare for another new year, it is human nature to start the year off with new goals, new habits to form, old habits to break and determination to become a better version of ourselves. The question is, are you ready for the real adventure, something God wants for you, has planned for you? Are you ready to be bold? Are you being called out on the water? When He calls, He also equips. When He calls, He provides. When He calls you, He qualifies you. Open your heart and listen. Where is He calling you?
Ten years ago, He kept pressing into our hearts the story of Moses and the Israelite redemption from Egyptian slavery. Moses said yes. Will you?
*“Duck Tape” is the registered trademark of Duck Brand, manufacturer of duct tape.