A Fawn’s First Snow…

Daisy quietly walked up behind me, while I was photographing birds.

I had hoped for an early snowfall this winter.  Like all mothers, I wanted to be around to photograph Daisy’s first snow.  I wanted to observe her watching snowflakes fall for the first time.  I hoped for photographs of her with snow on her head, and little snow crystals alighting her long lashes.  I wanted to capture her looking upward in wonderment at this strange icy substance, like she sometimes did when curiously watching birds fly above,  and reacting with a jump or a leap.  I laughed, thinking about her first rain… how I’d watched her get silly, jumping and frolicking as the drops pelted down and how, after a time when puddles formed, she danced and stomped in the magic liquid.  I captured all of that in photographs.

But it was not meant to be this time.    Daisy, the orphaned fawn we raised last year, had been free since January 16th.  And, even though I see her almost daily, she comes and goes at her leisure.  When the snow moved in last night, I stepped outside to watch the first flakes falling, hoping to see my little Daisy Dew.  It was a cold, wet snow; big flakes of icy-ness blinding me as I faced the southwest wind that brought the moisture in.  With no mother doe to guide her or lead her to shelter, I wondered where Daisy might be.

Doing a little grooming.

As I have done every night since the first night we put her outside in a pen with a small barn space for shelter, I thanked the Universe for taking care of my girl and prayed for her safety and comfort. Snowfall would be another part of her world that she would simply accept, and surely, instinct would lead her to shelter and comfort.  I had to quit thinking like a human.  When I turned in to bed each night, I comforted myself knowing that Mother Nature was her guide now.

This wasn’t the first time I had fretted over a little orphan we had set free.  I worried each day about our hand-raised doves, and I worried Frosty the squirrel wouldn’t make it in the world of woodland predators.  But always, there were signs and sightings of our wayward children months and years later.  Hairy, furry or feathered, they each held a place in my heart.  With Daisy, there had been a greater bond, and  I found myself yearning for just a mere glimpse of her each day.

Daisy has a penchant for yummy pears!

Mid-morning, I decided to don my heavy coat, Muck boots, and my warmest cap – the Elmer Fudd.  It looks ridiculous, but it’s warm and that is all that I care about.  Well now, you might catch me undoing the chin strap if I meet someone while getting the mail – I do have just a bit of pride you know!  My heavy red coat is an old discard of FD’s.  It’s an antique duck hunting jacket by Ted Williams, “For Active Americans” sold exclusively by Sears & Roebuck, in what year I have no idea.  It’s warm and has lots of pockets, which makes for a great ranch jacket.

This morning, I cut up a ripe pear just in case I was to see Daisy, grabbed my camera, slipped on my mittens, and headed out the back door.  My first stop was at the deer feed container to fill and carry a bucket of feed to the two feed pans down in the canyon below.  FD had filled the corn feeder yesterday, so there should be plenty of that to last the week.

Thanks for the pear snack Mom!

When I reached the canyon below, I saw all sorts of animal tracks in the snow.  The red fox had been making her rounds, as had a feral cat.  A few hoof prints from deer were present just under the corn feeder and I suspected Daisy may have had a snack in the early morning.  Raccoon tracks and some other unidentified critter made little paths in the snow, leading off into the woods.

I set my empty bucket down and decided to concentrate on taking snow shots with the camera.  Snow brought about unusual opportunities to photograph spectacular landscape and nature.  The overcast skies made for perfect, shadowless shots.  I was focused on a Carolina Chickadee when I felt a familiar nose poke my leg (at least, I certainly HOPED it was a familiar nose) as  Daisy quietly appeared next to me. I had not heard her approach at all.  Immediately, she went for my camera, curious about it.  I backed off and pulled out the container of ripe pears from my coat pocket to divert her attention.  She looked good… dry and seemingly unaffected by the previous night’s snowfall.  I snapped a few pictures of her, then gave her a good petting and tick check.  I lifted her legs to inspect and check for wounds.  I found two places where she had been hoofed, likely by an older doe.  Everything looked clean, with only a couple of patches of hair about the size of a quarter missing; one on her neck and the other on a hip.  I spoke to her in a soothing voice and she licked my neck and face.  Then, without so much as a goodbye, she turned and made her way into the woods towards her food plot, to graze on turnips, chicory and various other good eats.

There’s always time to indulge in a little corn snack!

This was certainly not at all what I had envisioned for the “first snow” event.  Daisy was just fine.  She didn’t need a thing from me.  She wasn’t ruffled or wet or even all that hungry.  I expected her to react to this cold, crunchy substance in some extreme manner.  But she didn’t paw at the snow or jump around in it and, in fact, seemed oblivious to its presence.  She was simply living another day.

I looked at the photographs I had taken of her, and then it occurred to me; Daisy had become a young lady.  I studied her posture and her body language.  She’s confident, alert, and she is careful.  I got to laughing at myself, as I had pictured her running crazy through the woods, shaking the snow off and looking frantically for her mother (me), wondering what the heck that wet stuff was falling from the sky?   Now wouldn’t that make her the laughing-stock of all deer?  Wouldn’t that make her easy bait for a predator, drawing all sorts of attention to herself?  But Daisy was following her instinct.  She didn’t fear the snow.  She probably didn’t even wonder about it.  That instinct guided her to shelter and comfort.  She bedded down somewhere safe and waited until the snow lifted.   This was no event for her.  It was simply another day of life for a deer in the woodlands.

Daisy follows me down to the canyon.

I thought of my self-created disappointments.  Of my own panic and drama at events beyond my control.  I wondered at the number of times that I have had expectations of how people should be, or how something should go, only to be sorely disappointed.  Daisy’s confidence and reliance on instinct reminds me to do the same.   Instead of turning to panic, drama, chaos, noise and worry, I should, instead, tap into my inner spirit.  I should to let go of my expectations of others.  Whenever the snowstorms of life come around in the future, I will hopefully learn to look quietly within and find courage, realizing – KNOWING – my  spiritual instinct, like my Daisy’s natural instinct, will always lead me to safety and comfort.

© Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…


54 thoughts on “A Fawn’s First Snow…

  1. I have a friend who works for an animal rehabilitation centre. She would be so impressed with how you’ve managed to raise Daisy without “humanising” her, and she would also love your writing. Would you mind at all if I linked her to this post?

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    1. Oh, please do share the blog with anyone you choose to! My message to all people is to learn what nature has to show us, and what the animal world can teach us about achieving peace and tranquility in our lives. It is also rewarding to me to give orphans and the injured a second chance at living wild! Thank you for sharing my life with others!

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        1. How wonderful!!! A smile is always beautiful… a glimpse of our soul or inner spirit! I spent 2 hours walking around the 10 acres with Daisy yesterday, a big smile on my face the whole time. It was such a special time for me, to quietly keep company with my girl.

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    1. Oh, what a wonderful thing to say Emily… I bet you, and many others would do the same given the opportunity. Animals are so trusting as orphans. We are all they have to rely on for a start in life. It is a gift to be “mother” to any living creature or being. Thank you for your kind words.

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  2. littlesundog, you demonstrate abundantly the strength and presence of your spiritual instincts! I loved this line the most:
    “Daisy’s confidence and reliance on instinct reminds me to do the same.” And the way you describe Daisy as now being a “young lady” is just too wonderful, reminding me of my first “high tea” with my grandmother at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis,TN in about the year 1954! I was definitely mindful of my surroundings and cautious, I promise! Such a gift you have of being an Earth Princess!

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    1. What beautiful prose you write my friend! You are exactly right! As young ladies we do become more mindful of surroundings, we’re cautious, and we observe all that surrounds us. Thank you so much for your kind comment! I love this “Earth Princess” name!

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      1. I think that “Earth Princess” describes you very well. All of us should allow the beauty of nature to truly immerse us and allow her to show us her miracles, and she has quite clearly chosen you to be one of her advocates.

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        1. Oh, I surely hope so! I have never felt so connected with anything in my life, and it feels good to be able to relay earth messages and miracles to all who care to listen! Thank you for your nice comment dear friend!

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          1. I, too, feel a strong affinity towards animals and just nature in general – I’m happiest out by Danbury Lakes a few miles from our home, which is stunning even on the coldest day.

            I seem to have a connection with the European Robin in particular; they appear in my dreams a lot and we have one that almost lives in our garden (along with his mate at the moment). Every time I visit my grandmother’s grave a Robin seems to be watching over it. A Shamanic friend of mine firmly believes that the Robin is my “Spirit Animal” – and since it always seems to appear when I most need comfort or reassurance I’m willing to go along with that!

            I know people who love the urban concrete jungle and… I really don’t “get” it. I want untamed trees and the uncontrolled elements. I love the Hedgehog who visits the garden (and who isn’t afraid of me at all) and seeing Cormorants on a neighbour’s roof. We once had a Sparrowhawk in the garden, which startled my poor other half – he was washing up in the kitchen and needed me to go in and identify this “enormous bird” for him. I felt so blessed to witness that particular visitor.

            At night I occasionally hear Owls and see Bats. Why would I want to live in the concrete jungle when I can see and smell Nature all around me?

            I’ve linked my friend to your blog; I’m hoping that she may begin to write over here so that you can learn about all the wonderful work she does with the orphaned and wounded. Her story about Percy the Hedgehog (now living in Brian May’s garden because he would never survive the wild after the injuries he sustained from thugs) is particularly inspiring.

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          2. This is quite interesting! I feel the fox and the vultures speak to me. I see vultures every day, reminding me to “Glide and Soar”, leaving my carcass of troubles for the vultures to clean up. I also see the red fox, reminding me to tread carefully and softly, being alert, clever and sly around those who may mean harm, yet to be playful and enjoy life! I too dream of my spirit animals, and of other animals who guide me to “see” or understand something of my life.

            Hedgehogs are not native in North America so I know little about them. I look forward to reading about Percy, and other stories from your friend!! Thank you so much for sharing about your life with nature!

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    2. Totally agree with granbee’s comment above about your description of Daisy’s developmental stage. Really beautifully said. I absolutely loved the photographs. They take me from my urban grey and place me in a place of peace and rest- something I need right now. Thank you so much for this beautiful post.

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      1. Thank you Marilyn. I wish you could just jet yourself here for a few days to kick back and relax, and do a little deer petting and frolicking through the woods! I find myself walking with Daisy when she’s here. I take the camera, photographing her, Ms. Foxy, the birds, and squirrels. Soon we will have baby season exploding which is an exciting time to see babies of all sorts and busy parents. I am beginning to think about my gardens and plantings for another season. There is always much to consider, always work and chores to do, but taking time out in the day to enjoy what surrounds me is important as well.

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  3. I’m so glad that I’m not the only one who “feels” animals on a spiritual level. I feel comforted by the knowledge that there is a small, cheerful bird who looks over me, and he will often appear in troubling dreams to remind me that I’m home, in bed, with a man who loves me.

    Please watch the video on this website – http://www.harperaspreywildliferescue.co.uk/ – it’s where my friend volunteers (in the first group shot with Brian May she’s the blonde lady at the back). Percy is heavily featured in this video too, and I happen to know that he’s quite the old curmudgeon! There may be other Hedgehogs involved, but Percy is enormous and therefore easily recognisable and, due to his cruel injuries, his head is permanently canted to the left and he can’t curl properly. He is also brain damaged.

    Here’s a link to his news story, with Brian – http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&feature=endscreen&v=G92QV6XgEA8

    All featured animals in the Harper Asprey video made complete recoveries and were either sent back to the wild or to a place similar to Brian May’s garden, where they can be safe 🙂

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    1. Great videos, and what a cool facility! There is a similar facility just an hour from here that specialize in birds of all species, but they take in all sorts of mammals and reptiles too. I thought the story on Percy was informative and beautiful. It hurts me to know that people are intentionally cruel to animals and pets.

      We are a simple operation here. I am licensed by the State of Oklahoma, but am on my own as far as funding. We are not really interested in getting so large that we would become a non-profit organization. I enjoy keeping things small, not overwhelming myself with too much responsibility. It is a most rewarding experience. It has changed my life!

      Thank you so much for sharing the videos! I truly enjoyed them.

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      1. I’m not part of any organisation when it comes to helping local animals, but I’m a member of the RSPB. Being a member isn’t exactly cheap, but if I’m helping to conserve and save wildlife, birds and vast areas of nature then I think i’s worth the price.

        I remember an up-close-and-personal experience with a Hedgehog about eight years ago. My Mum’s garden backs on to a nature reserve and I was temporarily living with her, post-relationship breakup. I used to smoke back then, and I was sitting out on the back porch late at night listening to Owls and Foxes nearby… when something bumped heavily into the dustbin, making it move, and then there was much grunting and snorting and a bit more banging into things in the garden.

        An enormous fat Hedgehog – who must have smelled my cigarette and noticed me but wasn’t at all concerned – practically walked across my foot! Suburban Hedgies aren’t known to be shy, to be honest, but it doesn’t mean that you expect to be so close to one!

        Another night I was out there enjoying the sound of crickets and watching a large Bat perform his acrobatics in the moonlight. I eventually had to close the door to stop him coming in after he spotted the kitchen light! I love Bats and could easily have got him outside again (I think) but my Mum is terrified of Moths, so her reaction to a Bat would be akin to my reaction if I was put up on a high ledge and told to jump off!

        As to the Hedgehog that visits our garden… I’ve been able to place a bowl of dried Mealworms in front of him and stroke him as he’s eaten. His spines were flat across his back, which means he knew he was safe. A really amazing experience.

        And look at us! You and I could talk about nature forever, I think! 🙂

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        1. Oh yes! Definitely! I could talk all day and night about nature with you! It’s always so fascinating to hear about nature and animal life in other parts of the world. I think it is such a shame these days that (at least in America) many parents do not share the love of, nor the exploration of nature with their children. Many kids spend time inside, in front of a TV, playing video games and utilizing electronics devices. I grew up in the country, discovering nature and having an appreciation for all life forms. To this day, I prefer to be outdoors, finding spiritual awakening and healing in the work I do. We rob ourselves of true wholeheartedness when we deny bonding with natures gifts and bounty.

          I love reading your detailed memories of experiences with animals! But then again, you manage to make writing about pickling very delightful! I so enjoy reading about your life! So glad we are friends!

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  4. Lori, slow glad that Daisy has been coming back and visiting with you. I can’t believe she just came up to the back of your leg so quietly. You have a way with storytelling, my friend. I think you should edit these posts into chapters and make a book out of them. Seriously. So enjoyable.

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      1. Can I chime in on this? MJ is correct. Your writing about Daisy is flawless and needs a greater audience. I have shared your posts with others and they all thank me for sharing. You may not want to go big scale in your work, I understand, but a book out there in the larger audience could help in a big way to get your message to the masses. It is an important message! ~ Lynda

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        1. Thank you Lynda! This is a lot to think about, I hadn’t considered anything like this when I started. In fact, I started writing about so many experiences on this 10 acres… but it has become more about my observances of wildlife, especially Daisy, and what I have gleaned to utilize in my own life. It’s about what nature shows us. It’s about God/Universe putting messages out there, answering the questions we seek about life.

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    1. Why thank you MJ! I wish I had the courage to take on a venture like that. This blog started out as a way for me to develop some relaxation skills through writing. It was a way to share about life here on 10 acres, but then became more about life lessons while observing nature. Then Miss Daisy came into our lives and the blog took on new interest in raising Daisy deer. People have been fascinated with this little wonder… who has now become a confident, young lady! Thank you for such a wonderful comment, my fellow Bugeater! (By the way, I think NE should have kept that name… so much more interesting and outstanding!)

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    1. Well of course! You know I do have grandsquirrels – Frosty the squirrel’s kids! Thank you Mike. I need some courage to pull off a book I’m afraid. It would be exciting though.

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    1. Hmm, I’ve been hearing this a good bit. Perhaps I should consider it, but my, where does one start? My stomach is in knots!! Thanks for your humble opinion!! It means so much to hear from you!

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    1. I’ve been half nutty today thinking about a book… Yes, Daisy looks great. I never know where she goes at night, but she shows up about 8:00 every morning and sometimes sticks around all day. Other times she goes off most of the day and comes back late afternoon. I’m so glad I still get to enjoy my girl… I was so afraid she would run off and never come back!

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  5. Lori, you have captured some beautiful pictures of your sweet little lady! Her eyelashes are so gorgeous, they keep going don’t they?! The one picture it looks like she has a huge smile on her face and laughing, ADORABLE 🙂 The story you share to go along with the pics is, as always, so captivating and makes me feel like I’m experiencing it too! That is so sweet the way that Daisy came up to you and nuzzled you with her nose, she is fully embracing her ‘new’ life but not forgetting her mama either. Such a sweet story that brings tears of joy to my eyes, thanks so much for sharing 🙂

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    1. Karen, thank you so much! I noticed in several new photos that Daisy seems to pant while running and she appears to have a joyful smile and as you said, appears to be laughing! It’s almost comical. Her lashes and whiskers are beautiful. I never can seem to capture them with some backlighting… something I try each morning. It’s been overcast lately so I am able to capture her in shadowless shots.

      I just had a funny thought. She’s still an ornery girl, always nibbling on zipper pulls, jacket toggles, shoe laces, and pony tails. I can just see her at your house, making all sorts of yarn creations!! She’s a curious girl… and I wouldn’t have it any other way! On the other hand, she lovingly nuzzels and “grooms” me each time I see her. I groom her too, petting her and checking for ticks, cuts and injuries. It’s what the mama doe does for her fawn(s).

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  6. Lori, I just pictured her in my head covered in all kinds of yarn and looking up with with that beautiful and sweet grin on her face like “look what I did!” Lol 🙂 That was a funny thought that put a big smile on my face. I can only imagine how confused our cats would be to see a sight like that 🙂 You are so blessed to be surrounded by such stunning natural beauty and so many precious animals, and how amazing it must be to be so close with a deer! That is so sweet that you ‘groom’ each other, what pure unconditional love 🙂

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    1. I might have to order one of your scarves, only “Daisy” length! Wouldn’t that be a cool photograph? Or have you fashion a litte deer cap where her ears would poke through ear holes? Probably would need a chin strap to keep it on!! OMG… that would be hilarious! I think I have overdosed on sugar tonight. I ate about 5 cookies plus a gob of cookie dough. I’m being silly.

      Daisy still makes her little groan when she licks my neck like she did when she was a little spotted fawn. She knows her mamma. She’s also good around our 3 chin since she grew up with them. Tori (the biggest chin) loves to jump at her in play, and Daisy gently hoofs at him. She grew up with her strange brothers and sister, so they are not a threat. She is a very loving creature… we are indeed, very blessed!

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  7. Awww! That WOULD make an adorable pic, Daisy stylin’ with a scarf, lol 🙂 I have always looked at deer as such quiet and beautfully majestic creatures, it would be SO amazing to be able to be so close with one. I would have a REALLY hard time with letting her go into the wild though, my human motherly instinct would want to keep her ‘safe’. I know you have struggled with this and I just commend you, seriously, for having the strength and love to let her go as you have, and it just tickles me to death that she comes back often to visit and doesn’t seem to ever stray far. You 2 definitely have an unbreakable bond and I really love reading about it! That your chins’ also play and get along with her, that is just icing on the cake for me. All of your animals AND that beautiful landscape just sounds like a paradise to me 🙂

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    1. Karen, it WAS difficult to set Daisy free. As a mother of sorts, it was very difficult to know at her young age she would be heading out into the world as a prey animal. On the other hand, I watched her pace her pen daily and knew she was miserable to be kept fenced in. She longed to be free. Even our 10 acres is not enough for her to roam. She ventures to the river, and we just discovered she has visited neighbors. She’s curious about everything. It was the same with Frosty the squirrel. He let us know when it was time for him to venture off on his own. It’s been difficult to see her come back with barbed-wire gashes on her back, missing hair patches and bruising from being hoofed by other deer, and a bloody nose from some kind of injury. Her world seems frightful to me, but she’s resilient and she lives as animals and birds do… in the moment.

      It IS amazing to live in the middle of nature! Ms. Foxy is seen almost daily. Frosty is usually down at the corn feeder filling his belly, as does Daisy. There are many birds here who frequent our feeders and watering trays. All sorts of small mammals visit our watering tub in the canyon. Even our more domestic chickens are a delight to watch. It’s even more amazing for me to realize I no longer fear snakes as I used to. I have garden snakes each year that I thank for being my pest control experts, but of course I give them a little warning that I’m coming in to weed and they need to vamoose for a little while!! I’m still not THAT fond of them that I want to work alongsid them! Every living thing has a purpose. We all do… but it’s wonderful when we can quietly observe and listen for the message when we ask, “What am I to learn from this experience or sighting?”

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  8. What a beautiful story, I loved it ! Your Daisy is very beautiful, she has such gentle eyes. It must have been very hard for you to set her free but you did the right thing. I’m sure she’ll come back very often to see you. It’s so beautiful to see how close you are to each other. I think all animals can share a bond with humans, not just dogs and cats and you gave us a good example with your beautiful story.

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    1. Thank you so much! You are correct, it is true that humans and animals bond, and sometimes there is much animals can reveal to us. If you read all of my posts on orphan Daisy deer, I’ve expressed she came when I needed her in my life. I spent much more “down” time, relaxing and resting as I didn’t feel well most of last summer. I needed to care for myself, she needed a mother. There were so many marvels along the way, each time she showed me what she needed, who she was, and who the deer people are. I respected her and I loved her. Her need to be wild and free was evident from the age of 5 months. I had plenty of time to prepare myself, but I worried for weeks after she was free. Again, she showed me many times in the days and weeks to follow, that she was capable of being on her own. I believe she will be here as long as she needs to be… just as each person in our lives is here for a for a time and a reason.

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      1. I will certainly read all your posts on Daisy, it’s a wonderful story and I wouldn’t want to miss it. It’s so true, each person or animal in our lives is here for a reason, and if we pay attention we will discover that each of them can teach us something about ourselves and why they are here. There are no coincidences, I truly believe that.

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        1. I wholeheartedly agree!! There are no coincidences… everything happens as it should, and if we are open to discover what the experience can show us, we come out with understanding and a deeper sense of self. Jocelyne, your words are so true… it is about a deeper knowing of why they/we are here!!

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