The notion of “AND” vs “OR”

These days seem to be filled with choices that tend to minimize the very rich and human complexity of life, choices that simply ask us to draw a line in the sand. 🧐

In my opinion, one of these highly debated, but very much, “man-made” dichotomies, is eating meat.

I’ve said it before, I don’t consider myself a vegetarian, but I do choose to eat mostly vegetables & fish, while also limiting my meat intake. 👍🏽

Don’t get me wrong, I do indulge in a juicy grass-fed steak (cooked medium rare), once in a while too!

I also love cheese, I don’t think I could ever give that up. But I did substitute cow’s milk for coconut milk a long time ago, and I’ve never looked back! ❤️

This happens to be a choice I’ve made, for myself, and it’s not black & white.

It doesn’t have to be “all or nothing.”  There’s a very large grey area!

Perhaps this is a more logical life approach to take in general? 🤨

THE RANCH—

Derrick & Ilene (wonderful cousins of Michael) welcomed us into their home in Sun Valley, AZ.  😍 A quaint ranching town surrounded by Hopi and Navajo reservation land.

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They gave us a grand tour of the land and then introduced us to their cows, their majestic horses and their booming business.  🐄🐴🐎 A business that translates into raising very happy, free range cows.

Whenever I think meat, images of factory farming, inhumane living conditions and visceral animal suffering tend to flash across my mind.   ☝🏽This, was different.

As a long standing ranching family from Wyoming and Arizona, this has been their livelihood for many, many generations.  They grew up around animals and learned to respect them; most of the time, even love them. ❤️

This is an important distinction from people who run those ugly factory farms.

These cows are free to bask in the sun and roam around.  ☀️ Derrick & Ilene take good care of them. They drive out, every single day, to ensure there is enough drinking water, safe shelter, nutritious food and even to scare away any coyotes eyeing the baby calves! 🙈

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It’s not a lifestyle I think I would choose; however, Derrick & Ilene grew up in ranches, they’ve raised their 4 beautiful children in their own ranch. 👨‍👩‍👧‍👧👨‍👩‍👦‍👦  Taught them to respect the land and the living.

Now, their children are all accomplished and incredibly kind human beings, trying to make a difference in very impressive ways! 😍

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As I recount the story of Derrick & Ilene, I can’t help but run into my own dichotomy.  The city or nature?  🤔 To me, it’s no longer an “OR.”  It’s actually a very resounding “AND.”

And I think the sooner we all stop wondering who’s team we should be on, the sooner we can realize the value in this simple human lesson. 🤗

From the Ranch, with Love ❤️

XX- 💋S

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