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‘“What are you good at?” “What work needs doing?” And “What brings you joy?” Where those three things overlap is the opportunity for action.’

-Ayana Elizabeth Johnson

Today I turn 61, and am filled with gratitude and purpose.

When I faced a stage 3 breast cancer diagnosis in 2011, I embraced the unknown gift of “tomorrow”, not assuming any "tomorrow" was a guarantee. While I was in chemotherapy, radiation and surgery, John and I personally boxed up all our belongings into storage and emptied our home, completely revamped. We staged it with some of our belongings, sold the house, found Unity in early 2012, moved in here, started to build the organic fruit farm while rescuing farmed animals, and never looked back. Hard work but the days were filled with purpose. In another two years the adjacent property became available and by 2016 we purchased it and formally created Unity Farm Sanctuary.

I looked at what I was good at carefully. John and I always are “solutionary” and try to convene disparate groups to a common goal with the Sanctuary as a "community benefit startup". We saw the work that needed doing, and created the Sanctuary as a place to directly rescue farmed animals, help the community, explore organic growing practices and environmental causes, and most importantly to build a prosocial education program for the community.

Every single day has new challenges. Most days are not easy, but at the end of each day, something with a positive momentum happened trying to live a “life examined”. Even when it is not easy, each day brings me joy.

I wish for all of you a life of gratitude and a life of purpose.

(Maxine Llama approves!)


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