Juvenile Arthritis, EPM, Donkey Milk and Panic Attacks.

"Daughter developed Juvenile  Arthritis 8 months ago and couldn't walk or get out of bed, she was forced to stop going to school because the pain was so bad she couldn't stand up.We started buying your freeze dried donkey milk about a month ago and since then she has been able get out of bed and do little things like normal 17 years olds do however she gets really tired fast. The inflammation in her joints is still there but way less severe since drinking the milk. I feel like every day she's able to do a little bit more so I am very thankful that you provide this product. When she first started having problems we took her to several doctors that put her on Steroids, Methotrexate Enbriel etc... and it didn't help her at all and had terrible side effects. Since she's been on your donkey milk she has stop taking all that prescription meds. thanks so much for what you guys do..."

--A grateful Dad.

This morning my husband and I traipsed out to the pasture to give Mindy her dose of high powered *EPM medication, in an attempt to save her life. She's a retired momma and finished having babies, so we had promised the girls that we would train her to be their new riding donkey, and she was the perfect American Mammoth model for pictures with Saint Nicolas at the Hee Haw for Health Event. We had big plans for this gentle giant in her retirement.

Now, we're just hoping she makes it to November.

Of course, Aggie was by Mindy's side. She holds her up. Because, they know. Only, Aggie stumbled too.

"No!!! Not Aggie too!!!"

Aggie is too young. She was my "splurge." She was the one who came up to me and told me to take her home. Really. She's our baby girl from the Bess Jackstock lineage, the young one I have such high hopes for, among the matronly old gals.

I battled rising panic. This. Can't. Be. Happening. 

I know that it's likely our entire herd has been exposed to EPM (Note to the opossum I braked for on the highway the other day, you suck.)

But this disease, it's an opportunistic bugger. It's supposed to only take down the immune compromised. Not the young. Not the strong. Not our Aggie.

So when Aggie came up stumbling...I fought panic.

Then we saw it, a limp. A swollen leg. Not a neurological issue. Still, with an unknown cause, possibly a spider bite? An injury? A snake bite? But this is treatable. This isn't EPM. It's not good, but it's not EPM. And her leg isn't broken. We have a chance with this.

No need to go into a full blown panic attack. Yet.

Re-read the stories from grateful parents. Pause. Remember why we do this whole Donkey Dairy thing. 

Remember this.

Every time we have taken a step forward, whether it is setting up the "Hee Haw for Health" Non-profit, or planning this free Health event for sick kids on the farm, there has been a blow....Belle...Snow White...Mindy...Aggie...my girls "Momma, why are you SO busy?" Up at 4 am. The anxiety and sleepless nights.

Ya'all. Enemy attacks are real. But they only happen when you're moving forward. The enemy doesn't care if you sit on your duff and do nothing. You're not a threat. Keep doing nothing, life is much easier that way. Trust me. I've done my fair share of duff sitting. Living the good life, sitting on my duff. #BestLife material, right there.

But the good sitting life doesn't work when your world flips upside down. 

It's harder to sit when you're thrown in the ring and passed a pair of gloves. When the fight starts, and it's to the death. Only, your child is the prize.

Then one day you realize, she's not the only child up for grabs. The fight gets bigger. The stakes get higher. And you can't say no. How do you say no?

"Want to buy a bunch of donkeys and milk them in the rain, heat, cold, and snow?"

Why not?

"How about you have a Health event on your farm with zero funding and a handful of volunteers?"


"Want to Import donkey milk from the Europe even though its NEVER been done and customs doesn't even have a code for that?"


"Build a non-profit with a bunch of amazing, like minded folks who see the desperate need, and recognize that you can't do this alone?"


"Stare at the ceiling in the middle of the night and fight off the panic attacks?"


"What in the world are you thinking...who do you think you are...you're just an x-Interior Designer and x-Builder, milking donkeys in a field, because you don't even have a barn. Just #Barn....look at all the beautiful farms, the big barns, the well funded farms with hundreds of acres? God should have picked THEM. They have it all together...you'll never be able to pull this off." 

Oh yeah...that. The voice that tries to drown out the others, and somehow seems loudest at 3 am.

But then I remember, Nehemiah.

He was just a wine taster. Not just any wine taster, but the one who's job was to die first if the wine was poisoned to knock off the King.

And he didn't have a billion gold bullions in his bank account.

And I'm pretty sure he laid awake at night, wondering why God put it on HIS heart to do this thing, when He could have picked his third cousin, the dude was already in Jerusalem. He had credentials and stuff. Connections and clout and cleavage and a killer wardrobe. (Oh, wait, maybe he didn't worry about that last part. That's just me...)

And maybe he wondered how he got picked to be the guy first in line to die from bad wine anyway...

But God gave him everything he needed. Everything. From letters to governors to wood to build the gates. And a donkey to get there. (My version, its a donkey. Because what self respecting wine taster rides a war horse to check out a broke down wall? It was a donkey, fo' sure.)

And He used a King to write the check.

Honestly, I've emailed some modern day Kings, asking, pleading, begging for help. But so far, they haven't exactly noticed my long face...or even invited me to taste their wine.

But you all have. You've joined us in this thing. You've given your "empty jars", and your gifts, and your prayers. And it's enough to build this wall. More than enough.

Thank you.

A million times over. Thank you. You know who you are. And so does The King.


 ***("Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis (EPM) is a neurologic disease in horses caused by infection with the protozoan Sarcocystis neurona (SN). SN infects horses when they ingest the organism in contaminated feed or water. The definitive host of this organism is the opossum, which passes the organism in its feces." EPM in equines.)


1 comment

  • Ginger Reimer

    Praying for your efforts and your rest to be multiplied! “Be not weary in doing good for in due season you shall reap your reward.” So many are no doubt reaping all you have sown. Your Facebook and blog are amazingly done and anointed! It’s been a pleasure getting to know you here.

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