Go Fund Me Campaign

“And it is He who will supply all your needs from His riches in glory, because of what Christ Jesus has done for us.” (Philippians 4:19)

And so it has come to begging for help as I navigate through this convalescence. I fell on my own property, I am technically still employed (even if unable to work), and thank God, I should be able to return to work eventually so I am not considered disabled. But I am disabled…temporarily. So, I am swallowing my pride and reaching out everywhere for some helping hands. I am forever obliged.

May God bless you & keep you!

https://www.gofundme.com/manage/9fymzf-medical-leave

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Who Does THIS??

“Our Father, Who art in heaven. Hallowed be Thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day, our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses. As we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen!” (The Lord’s Prayer, Mark 6:9-13; Luke 11:2-4)

It’s been a little over two weeks since I fell and fractured my left shoulder. I am definitely mending. The numbness and tingling have left my fingers and I am able to move fingers, wrist and even bend–gently, slowly–at the elbow. The shoulder is still another matter. And the bruise stretching from the inside of my left elbow all the way up to my armpit is finally starting to turn that sickly yellow color; it’s been black and purple-black. Now it itches like heck and, because some of the swelling and numbness is receding, I have to caution myself not to overdue; I need to get back to work. Having no income right now sucks…royally.

But all this is neither here nor there.

(Can you tell I’m already going stir crazy?? Lol!)

The day that I slipped and fell on the ice it was freezing outside. My driveway, which I was trying to navigate, was a solid sheet of ice–as I quickly found out–the hard way. So, here I am, testing feet, ankles, etc., for injuries and then I attempt to get up. The pain that shot through my arm and shoulder squelched that idea–fast. I tried shifting my weight so I could use my good arm for support. More pain. Could I roll onto my knees? Again, pain. So, I’m sitting there in the cold and on the ice, trying not to panic. I’m more worried about my 70-something year-old Mom looking out the window, seeing me, and then trying to navigate that same skating rink to help me. Somehow, I doubt she would listen if I yelled at her to stay inside and just call the paramedics and, the last thing I want, is for her to break a hip or hit her head…i.e. sustain a worse injury than I obviously have. So, what can I do?

Besides panic…

Fortunately, though this is a small hobby farm, my property sits on a busy interstate and I have businesses and an apartment across the street. Someone is bound to drive in or out eventually. But I can’t guarantee it’ll happen before Mom realizes I’m taking an awful long time shoveling and decides to check. Can I at least get my feet back under me? Nope, it’s solid ice. My feet just slide around, no traction anywhere.

But, then, suddenly, a car pulls in across the street. As the driver’s side door opens, I call out, “Help me!”

The young woman keeps walking. Damn…she couldn’t hear me over the traffic.

I try again.

She turns, looks straight at me, sitting on the ice, turns away and goes into the office building.

Really? Who does THAT? Who hears a cry for help, looks and sees someone in need of that help, and totally ignores them? There is a part of me that wants to give this young woman the benefit of the doubt. I mean, I wasn’t bleeding or anything. But it was single digits outside…who willingly sits in the middle of the driveway, on ice, in single digits?

And I realize that maybe it shouldn’t bother me that much…except it obviously does. Because I can’t wrap my mind around what sort of person leaves another hurting like that. I mean, even taking into consideration that she might’ve been afraid to navigate that same ice to come to my aid, a simple shout, “Do you need an ambulance?” would’ve sufficed.

Again, it shouldn’t bother me so much. But since it does, the only thing I can do is pray for this young woman. Perhaps her troubles are so great, perhaps she’s so caught up in those troubles, that she really didn’t grasp the whole situation. Maybe she heard my voice but couldn’t make out what I’d said. (Are you okay?) And, of course, in this age of disconnect, where social media has taken the place of real time, real connection, the voice on the phone or the handwritten letter, maybe she’s not even aware she’s supposed to ask such questions. I’m going to give the benefit of the doubt against the first possibility. She was going into a temp agency and I definitely know what that’s like. It’s only been a little over a year since I found full-time employment…after 2 years of unemployment and another 5 of only part-time and/or seasonal work. And, despite what our illustrious leader says, the job market’s not getting any better..but that’s another post for another day.

Today it’s a prayer that, for whatever reason that young woman needed to visit a temp agency, I hope her errand was successful. After all, her lack of response did force me to eventually find a way to slide my backside over to the grassy area bordering the driveway and, gritting my teeth, shift my weight so I could get up on my knees…and then my feet.

But I still want to know who does that???

May God bless you & keep you!

Deep Freeze

“‘Behold! I have given you the seed-bearing plants throughout the earth, and all the fruit trees for your food. And I’ve given all the grass and plants to the animals and birds for their food.’ Then God looked over all that He had made, and it was excellent in every way. This ended the sixth day.” (Genesis 1:29)

The United States is in the midst of record cold temperatures and I’m quoting Scripture pertaining to green things growing in the garden. At first glance, it might appear I’m longing for springtime. But, the truth is, I’m really looking for the snowstorms of my youth, the kind that dumped X number of feet of snow on us routinely throughout the winter…and lasted for weeks, not days.

Have I lost my mind? Did I break my skull last week at the same time I broke my shoulder? I mean, who longs for such conditions, right?

But, the truth is, the now-routine and milder temperatures throughout November, December, and, usually, January, followed by these arctic blasts and/or record-breaking snowstorms that melt within a few short days are proof that Gaia is crying out in pain. No more do we have what used to be a “normal” winter of such conditions. For the last several years, weather in New England has swung in these extremes. In sooth, I can’t remember the last time we had a real winter with healthy temps and snowfall, and a spring where our climate gradually warmed. Instead, our seasons are changing. And it’s pretty scary. The winter pattern mentioned above is now typically followed by raw, rainy weeks in late-April, May and June, preventing early crops, racing quickly into the opposite extreme of high heat and humidity and heat indexes over 100 degrees.

This.

Is.

NOT.

Normal.

I’m not dreaming of spring and the garden; I’m fearing we may not get one again…and what will this do to our growing season?

Yeah, it’s definitely channeling my not-so-inner environmentalist. These record colds are a direct result of climate change…and global warming. This polar vortex and the extreme snowfalls of the last few winter seasons are caused by our polar icecaps melting…and dumping that ice further south. Scientists say we can expect more of this sort of thing before those icecaps finally melt…and then we may experience desertification, even as our coastlines shrink from all that extra water having melted. These record colds and erratic snowstorms are simply weather patterns; it is the climate that’s changing. They are not the same thing (take a “walk” over to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for more information…).

As a Christian, I am well-aware of, and have faith in, God’s promise that He will never again destroy the earth with flood. However, with so many warnings, doesn’t it make sense to use the intelligence that same God has given us to try to mitigate these changes? To make and be the change that will make all the difference in this world? We are beyond the point where we should be debating the cause of climate change. Regardless of why, change is happening. And, denier or believer, we’re all in this together. It’s only truly scary if we continue to deny it…and allow our fears to incapacitate us.

As a Christian, I have faith that we can be that change. We simply have to take that first step that He is calling us to make.

May God bless you & keep you!

Broken Wing

“God blesses those who obey Him; happy the man who puts his trust in the Lord.” (Proverbs 16:20)

I am reminded today of a fortune cookie I opened almost 30 years’ ago. It read: “Beware of what you wish for – you might get it.”

Exhausted.

Frazzled.

Overwhelmed.

I’ve been expecting to hit that proverbial brick wall for months. Instead I hit the ice – literally – last Tuesday, traipsing outside to shovel the driveway. My left arm hit the hood of my car on the way down; I now have a fractured shoulder. Per the orthopedic doctor I visited on Friday, I am now in the midst of a forced convalesce.

No, I wasn’t wishing for an injury. But I do remember praying that if I had just one month where I wasn’t running, running, running in 20 different directions, I could a.) get the rest my body has been craving and b.) make a big dent towards getting my life better organized and maybe even taking a few decisive steps towards some of my goals this year. Well, I’ll definitely be getting the rest. As for the dent? That’s on me. Not exactly what I had in mind…

Grrr…

I am the worst patient. I know I’ve said that before in other blog posts but it bears repeating. I strain at the bit, angry and impatient, when I’m down for just a few days with some sort of bug. A whole month of seriously restricted activity? I shudder…

And not just at the prospect of so much “free” time. I’m out of work for this month. Having just gone back to full-time employment after several years of severe under-employment (part-time and/or seasonal gigs), I’m not quite back on my feet yet financially. I’ve definitely made some strides to get there, but these things take time. All I keep thinking is how I don’t need a setback like this. What am I going to do? How do I make ends meet?

Worry and fret…my two constant companions these days.

But, you know what? Worry and fret are what got me to exhausted, frazzled, and overwhelmed. Worry and fret are both like rocking chairs. They give you something to “do” but they don’t get you anywhere. Worry and fret are also some of the “tools” in the adversary’s arsenal to put a wedge between us and God. And I’ve been neglecting Him a lot these days, too busy and too distracted by worldly cares.

Trust in Him. Cast my cares upon Him. Wait for the Lord; His timing is perfect. I hear these messages over and again in church, read them time and again in Scripture. Maybe before this month is over, I’ll have finally taken them to heart.

May God bless you & keep you!

Goodbye to 2018

“The Lord is close to those whose hearts are breaking; He rescues those who are humbly sorry for their sins.” (Psalm 34:18)

In a perfect universe, this post would’ve made it up onto this blog on New Year’s Eve. Mom and I were home, rocking it out with YouTube videos: Casting Crowns, Mercy Me, Francesca Battistelli and then we switched gears and went a little bit country with Brothers Osborne and Carrie Underwood. Mom’s a little bit country, I’m a lot a bit metal. (I restrained myself with the latter) Despite all of this, we both retired about an hour before midnight.

Anyway, I guess we can call this a bit of a New Year’s resolution (of which I seldom make). I decided not to write one of “those” blog posts every time a pet passes away on the farm but to honor those memories on New Year’s Eve. So, while I’m a few days’ late (ever the eternal procrastinator), these beautiful hearts left for their eternal home this year:

Corporal Denim…this little guy started off as a scrappy youngster seven years’ ago, pecking and kicking whenever I went out to feed him. Thankfully, he settled down once the teenage hormones settled down and became a beloved pet–and Sargent Feathers’ right-hand man in keeping the ladies safe and secure.

Prudence…she and Corporal Denim were part of the same batch of chicks back in 2011. This gentle soul will be sadly missed! (Plymouth Barred Rock on right)

I also lost one of the younger chicks that came home with me in April, Sherry, and Whimsy, the duck with the wry neck. I’m not sure what caused Sherry’s passing; I found her lying on the barn floor one morning. No marks/cuts so it didn’t appear to be the result of any fighting/pecking order issues. She was acting a little droopy/lethargic the night before but no specific symptoms of an illness beyond that. Whimsy’s wry neck, as she grew into an adult-sized duck, started messing with her sense of balance. I had consulted the vet and had plans to take her in but, before we could go, Mom found her lying with her face in her water bowl. We’re not sure if she lost her balance trying to get a drink and couldn’t get back up out of it, or if it was simply her time and that’s where she came to rest. I grieve Corporal Denim and Prudence for the elder, beloved pets they were; losing a couple of young ones like Sherry and Whimsy is equally hard, even without the time to really form the deeper bonds that come with those added years.

I had some sort of illness/parasite go through my rabbits this summer. I am even considering it might have been the E-coli issue as all of my rabbits typically get a mix of leafy greens each day and romaine lettuce has been, until recently, a regular part of the mix. Although why (thankfully) it didn’t affect all of them eating from the same mix, or if E-coli even affects rabbits the same as it does humans, I don’t know. I lost half of them though very quickly: Mama Alys, Stormy O., and Blizzard. Like Prudence and the Corporal, they have been a part of this homestead–and deeply entrenched in my heart–for a great many years. Alys was 7; her daughters 6. With Alys and Blizzard it hit too fast. There was no time to call the vet. With Stormy, I made the appointment as soon as she went off her feed but the vet couldn’t see us right away (I need a new vet for my rabbits…). And, over the next 2 days while we waited, Stormy perked up and started eating again. I made the worst judgement call imaginable–I cancelled the appointment because it seemed she was on the mend. She died the next day. The pics are in order: Alys, Stormy and Blizzard:

Gone but not forgotten! Here’s to hoping 2019 will be a healthier, happier year here at The Herbal Hare Homestead–and on your “homestead”, too.

May God bless you & keep you!

Yes, It IS Merry Christmas…

“And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born; and she gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped Him in a blanket and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the village inn.” (Luke 2:6-7)

In sooth, we do not know the date of Jesus’ birth. The Bible does not give a date. Not even a month to narrow it down a bit. The date of December 25th was chosen centuries ago by Rome to bring some of the pagan folks into the fold of the Church. It coincides closely with the Roman festival of Saturnalia from December 17th-23rd. For that reason, our Puritan forefathers did not keep Christmas. Nor did their Congregationalist and Baptist descendants. It was a Papist festival. And, because it tied so closely to the date of Saturnalia, they did not even acknowledge the date as anything special. Diaries and journals kept by New Englanders up until the mid-19th century recount business as usual on December 25th (Kelliher).

That being said, in other parts of the U.S., Christmas celebrations did take place. In the larger cities, like New York, Philadelphia, and even Boston, congregations of Episcopals and Catholics held Christmas services/Mass and many rural New Englanders would venture into their parishes to witness the festivities…even if they didn’t participate themselves. So New Englanders knew about Christmas. They just didn’t keep it. Not until waves of Irish Catholics, Italian Catholics, French Canadian Catholics, German and Scandinavian Lutherans, and the Dutch, who brought with them Santa Claus, arrived did we find a greater number of Christmas celebrations. This is, roughly, around 1850 or so…a whole 230 years’ after the Pilgrims first set foot on Plymouth Rock.

So, now that I, a born-again Christian, have debunked the argument for “Merry Christmas” as being part of the foundation of our country, let me go on to explain why, despite these much later traditions, December 25th is “Merry Christmas”.

First of all, while New Englanders may have been slow to embrace any Christmas remembrances, other parts of the world did celebrate it. Again, the Roman Catholic Church decreed December 25th as the birth of Christ hundreds of years’ before this country was settled. It is a holy day within the Christian community and, as such, should be respected. Our modern tendency to substitute a greeting of “Merry Christmas!” with “Happy Holidays!” is not just disrespectful, but actually hurtful to those who still keep Christmas. Of course, I can hear the inclusion/exclusion argument coming out: What about those who don’t share your/my beliefs?

What about them?

What if Hanukkah couldn’t be called Hanukkah anymore? Or Ramadan, Ramadan? What if it wasn’t a Yule log anymore but a holiday log? We can wipe away any direct reference to any holy day within any belief system with that inclusion/exclusion argument. Maybe instead of reading an offense in these direct references, we could take the time to learn about each other, our beliefs and our traditions, without feeling threatened by them. Everybody is Irish on March 17th–even if no Gaelic blood runs in your veins–and greetings of “Happy St. Patrick’s Day!” ring out along every main street in America as the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade marches by. What is it about Christmas that makes it so offensive?

Is it the name “Christ” within it?

Why?

He came to save the world. He took the sins of the world onto His shoulders and died for us. Maybe to the person reading this, that seems incredible, unbelievable. How? Because maybe that’s not what you believe, or were taught, within your community. Maybe to you, Jesus is simply a prophet but not the Son of God; I respect that view. Maybe you don’t believe in any Supreme Being at all; I respect that, too. When I wish you a “Merry Christmas!” I am not trying to convert you to my way of believing. The greeting of “Merry Christmas!” is simply a wish for peace, joy, and hope to the person being greeted with “Merry Christmas!” There is no requirement to be Christian to be wished a “Merry Christmas!” the same as everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. When I greet you with “Merry Christmas!”, I am wishing you all of the best that life has to offer. There is no offense intended.

Yet, today I, and fellow Christians, are greeted with offense, with contempt, with downright hostility for wishing someone joy, peace, hope, and even love. If I ever had any doubt that the Adversary is present in this world, it flies out the window in the face of such contempt and ridicule. It is the same sort of hate and ignorance that murdered 11 people in Pittsburgh this past October and all but annihilated the First Nations’ tribes of this country for their beliefs and traditions. In the end, we all bleed and we all hurt.

Wishing you peace, hope, joy and love sounds infinitely better.

Merry Christmas!

Works Cited

Kelliher, Tom. “Christmas by Candlelight Training Materials. Old Sturbridge Village.

Happy Thanksgiving!

“A cheerful heart does good like medicine, but a broken spirit makes one sick.” (Proverbs 17:22)

They say to cure one’s self from the complaining habit, and the depression it usually spawns, is to re-focus your energy by counting your blessings each day. I keep a grateful journal on the nightstand by my bed and endeavor to write at least 5 things every night that I am grateful for. Sometimes I neglect it; there are certainly some minor gaps throughout…and even a couple of major ones. But, you know what? Almost everywhere there is one of those major gaps, my confidence and self-esteem have taken a nosedive…and returning to this habit brings me back up again.

I read about a family years’ ago that kept a grateful jar. A small notepad and a pen was kept near it and every time something good happened, someone in the family would write it down and place the paper in the jar. On Thanksgiving Day, they would open the jar and take turns reading all of the many blessings aloud to each other and give thanks to the One who made these blessings possible before they dug into their meal. I like that idea. You focus on the positive twice: once when you write it, the second when you read back the reminder. I’m thinking it might be a nice tradition to start with Mom & I as it is easy to let worry and stress, hurt and anxiety derail you. Counting your blessings is a great way to remember how blessed we truly are.

Even if you’re not keeping a grateful journal, or a jar, isn’t it wonderful that we have at least one day out of the year to remind us of our blessings? You don’t have to be a believer to appreciate your gifts. Just focus on them…and let the healing begin.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

May God bless you & keep you!