The Great Divider

Now it is time to forgive him and comfort him. Otherwise he may become so bitter and discouraged that he won’t be able to recover. Please show him now that you still do love him very much.” 2 Corinthians 2:7-8

The Great Divider, the Adversary, has been working his mischief in my life of late. Instead of being loving and forgiving, instead of swallowing my pride and reaching out to others with whom I have a bit of conflict, anger and bitterness have been welling up inside and a part of me is ready to cut all ties, to slam the proverbial door in the faces of those who have recently hurt me. And I know that is definitely NOT God’s plan.

I am speaking of the family conflicts that have arisen these past few months, conflicts that I have blogged about a few times. I’ve tried to keep mum about them as much as possible but my soul is hurting because, people I have trusted above all others, have lied about me, lied to me, and now accuse me of things that they should know better about me…even to questioning my faith in the Lord and my vocation as a minister. I know the Bible says the world will hate me because I am His but I don’t think that’s the motivation behind it.

Or is it?

I am suddenly maligned because I won’t take a side in this family conflict. I cannot. Even if I wasn’t a minister, family is extremely important to me and, the idea of turning my back on any family member, goes against everything I believe in. Yes, I know there are many who come from families where they’ve been abused and seriously mistreated–I can claim some of that myself, coming from an alcoholic home with a stepfather who wanted too much to do with me. So I understand why some would not want to associate with family if such an association only brings more pain. Finding the strength to walk away from that abuse and mistreatment takes courage. I know. I’ve been there. And I respect those feelings in anyone who has or is walking a similar path. For myself, I’ve come around full circle, finding forgiveness for those who have either abused me, or who saw the abuse and did nothing to try and stop it. Forgiveness does not wipe the slate clean, it does not justify the offense, the act, the unkind words, etc. Forgiveness, however, does cleanse the soul–the soul of the person who is finally willing to surrender and offer that forgiveness. Forgiveness takes away the resentment that has built upon our souls, resentment that opens the door for that Great Divider, Lucifer, and gives him free rein to wreak even more havoc in our lives. By choosing to forgive, we open the door to Jesus Christ and allow the healing of our broken and battered souls, minds, spirits and bodies to be complete. I cannot change what has happened in my past. Holding onto that resentment and anger only hurts me more; it doesn’t hurt the people who have hurt me. It doesn’t stab them with guilt so that they want to repent. In fact, holding onto that grudge, that resentment, only gives others a power over us, a power that is not of God’s way, a power that tears us down and makes us less than what we are. In short, by holding onto that resentment and anger, another person can claim a victory over us. As can the Adversary. Forgiveness gives us the Power to heal. It tells that Great Divider to “get thee behind me” in Jesus’ name.

There are countless references in the Bible about forgiveness. And each and every one of them admonishes us to forgive our brethren because, if we do not, our Father in heaven will not forgive us. And, no matter how much I may try to deny it, I am as much a sinner as the next soul. So I am choosing forgiveness.

And yet, there’s still that little voice, the voice of my wounded self, that still wants to snarl and sneer. I am still looking to lash out, to shout at the selfishness of spirit that keeps dividing us. And, as I do so, I am reminded of the entry I read today in my Al-Anon daily reader, Courage to Change: “Other people can be our mirrors, reflecting our better and worse qualities. They can help us to work through conflicts from the past that were never resolved. They can act as catalysts, activating parts of ourselves that need to rise to the surface so that we can attend to them.” What part of this situation is pointing that spotlight back on me?

I want to be liked by everyone. That’s the sin of pride. I have this unrealistic view of that utopian world, a world where everyone gets along and shares only the best of themselves. Would that this world existed, but by trying to force it to be so, I am in danger of doing more harm than good. And I can recognize that abused little girl inside of me that gets violently shaken whenever voices and tensions arise. I hate conflict. I avoid it to my own detriment because I still struggle with how to assert myself. Speaking my mind, speaking up for myself, was not encouraged growing up. And, really, I’m thinking that this is the conflict from my past that has never been resolved. For the first time, I asserted myself in this situation. I refused to allow myself to be bullied into taking a side. Because that’s what was done. I was given an ultimatum and I refused to give into it. For the first time, I refused to be a nodding doll, holding my tongue about things that I didn’t agree with simply to keep the peace. I’m sure for some family members this has been akin to one of our resident mice suddenly developing fangs and claws to pounce on my cats rather than the other way around. No, I didn’t “pounce”. I asserted myself calmly. But the effect was the same. While I have never been guilty of trading secrets or bad-mouthing anyone behind their back, because I kept silent when others said things that didn’t sit right, I can certainly understand why others might believe I would. “Keeping silent” has hurt people I care about, has hurt me, and it is akin to lying, even if an untruth was never uttered. By keeping silent, I have given a false impression. I’m not sure if this last revelation is that “mirror” talked about in Courage to Change but it is certainly that catalyst activating a part of me that needs to be attended to. While I would wish it otherwise, and while I know I will never be comfortable with loud voices and angry confrontations, it is better to risk that anger, that disagreement, than deliver another shock to someone later on down the line. And maybe, just maybe, I can finally learn to value myself enough to communicate without harm.

May God bless you & keep you!

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Can’t Call It a Holiday

Black Friday, that is. And many do refer to it as a holiday, of sorts. Somehow, camping outside of Walmart in frigid temps, snow, rain, or whatever else the elements are throwing at us this time of year, doesn’t seem like much of a holiday to me. Neither does fighting the hordes of humanity, swearing and cursing in an attempt to find a parking space, being flicked the bird when I do find it ahead of some other shopper, simply to find that “perfect” gift is “out of stock” and the store isn’t issuing rain checks…the “perfect” gift that will likely be returned the day after Christmas. But to each their own.

(Sorry, inner-cynic coming out…LOL!)

Of course, I used to pride myself in having all of my Christmas gifts purchased by Black Friday and to spend this day actually wrapping them and filling out Christmas cards. I’m not quite as efficient these days. And, as I tend to make most of my gifts now, instead of purchasing, and I tend to procrastinate, I’m still working on those gifts right up until the last possible moment. This year may be different though. While I don’t have any gifts completed to wrap today, having found a new passion in the form of painting, I may not be procrastinating quite so much this season. Rather, I plan to use the day to simply make out my Christmas list.

But I can’t help wondering how such a tradition got started. Yes, from my years of volunteering at Sturbridge, I know that the Christmas tree became popularized in 1848 by an engraving that was published of the Royal Family–Queen Victoria and Prince Albert–admiring a Christmas tree in their home. Prince Albert was German and the yew tree was already a tradition in his homeland. This started the trend of trimming a tree. And, shortly thereafter, as the world figuratively shrunk due to what were then modern methods of travel, and cultures blended, the tradition of gift giving became a regular thing during the Yuletide season. But, back in the 1840’s and 50’s, gift giving involved a few sweets, or small tokens, hung on those evergreen boughs. I can remember, too, reading the “Little House” series of books where Laura Ingalls Wilder writes about the gifts she and her sisters received in their stockings but, again, they were modest by today’s standards: a shiny tin cup, a penny, an orange. This was the 1870’s and 80’s. Santa was ho-ho-ho-ing across the skies on Christmas Eve by now. And has been doing so ever since. But why has this day, the Friday after Thanksgiving, become marked in red on every modern calendar as the quintessential day to bowl our fellow man over in an attempt to get the best deals? I know it’s a marketing ploy for retailers but it just seems like such a waste, such a vulgar display of materialism, greed and pride.

But, then, I tend to be a minimalist.

And, as a Christian, I would rather remember the real reason we celebrate this day. While there is no mention of a date for Christ’s birth in the Holy Bible, remembering that a Savior was born to save the world fills me with far more satisfaction and peace than snagging that marked-up 50″ plasma screen TV, at 20% off, before every other shopper does.

May God bless you & keep you!

Thanksgiving in 1830’s New England

Having been a volunteer at Old Sturbridge Village since 2011 has been the best on-going history class I’ve ever taken. While, in recent posts, I have lamented not being able to learn many of the antiquated skills that make The Village such a popular attraction–for both tourists and local folks alike, I cannot deny the value of those history lessons. I shared a condensed version of this in the dealership’s newsletter.

In 1838, the year that OSV roughly interprets, Thanksgiving was the big holiday. This was the time where, if you could, you went home for the holiday (note the singular here). The Christmas celebrations we enjoy today were unheard of. Christmas was, by the puritanical standards that still governed much of New England in the 1830’s, a papist celebration and considered idolatrous and unscriptural by Puritan fathers. That’s a tough one for most folks to wrap their mind around. But nowhere in the Bible does it give an actual date for Christ’s birth. Therefore, the Puritan religion, with its strict adherence to biblical truths, did not mark December 25th as anything out of the ordinary. OSV has many diaries and journals where the author’s entries mark this day as business as usual. And, while the Puritan religion had died out by 1838, the influence was still felt. The Christmas celebrations we enjoy today were enjoyed in the big cities, like New York or Philadelphia, but it would be close to another decade before they moved into this part of the country.

That being said, families gathered together in celebration of Thanksgiving. This was the start of our great nation, a symbol of the fellowship between our Native American neighbors and our Pilgrim forefathers. As President Abraham Lincoln would not officially mark the 3rd Thursday of November as Thanksgiving in the United States for a few decades later, the actual date for this celebration tended to vary as it was usually the mayor of a town that declared the holiday.

Much like today, housewives began their baking for this holiday weeks in advance. And, before anyone asks, because this is a time long before refrigeration, they stored their baked goods in the top dresser drawers of upstairs’ bedchambers…where they froze solid. Local dry goods’ stores would receive in rare treats, such as raisins and cinnamon, well in advance of the holiday. And, as raisins were not pitted in those days, young children would be set to helping by removing those pits, one raisin at a time. While we think of turkey as the main entree, duck, goose and other wild game were also common. Incidentally, venison would have been rare; New England of the 1830’s was mostly farmland, taking over much of the habitat, so that deer were few and far between; we have more forests today in New England than they did in 1838 due to clear cutting and the 11-14 cords of wood needed by each household just for cooking (isn’t that a kick in the head?). As so many would gather, those not seen for the better part of the year, many and myriad special dishes were set to table to enjoy together.

Interestingly, because so many loved ones would gather together in their Sunday best, a church service would lead off the holiday, and so many special entrees graced this feast, celebrating weddings was also a common practice at Thanksgiving. Housewives would simply add a few extra entrees and a special cake for the bride and groom.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t anticipate any weddings today. And, as a pescetarian, I won’t be eating any turkey, but I always look forward to the wide array of my favorite vegetables: turnip, squash and green bean casserole, and a healthy slice of pumpkin pie.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone! May God bless you & keep you!

Goodbye, Alice Cooper…

Alice Cooper the Cat, that is; not the rock star. Yes, this is one of those blog entries again. I’m too shocked and angry and blubbery to really register how abysmally tired I am of making these kinds of posts.

I came home last night from the dealership and went about business as usual: feeding and watering the goats, chickens and ducks, and settling them into the barn for the evening. I finished up in the barn, came inside and opened a couple of cans of cat food. After scooping the food into their bowls, I turned around and noticed Alice was missing.

“Oh, no!” my heart screamed. Alice never misses a meal. I smothered the panic rising and tried to rationalize. He’s asleep upstairs and didn’t hear the can opening. It would be a first but it might be true. Or, as I strode to the bathroom door, he’s shut in the bathroom. I opened the door. No Alice. I gave a quick, cursory glance around the rabbit room, knowing that if he was in there, he’d have come running for dinner. I guess some part of me already knew but didn’t want to believe. Still rationalizing, I ran upstairs. Maybe I closed him in my office…even as I knew I hadn’t been in there since early morning and he’d been down to breakfast since then. He’d played with the rabbits later that morning, too. I remembered him chasing the blue feather on a stick, the cat toy I bought, I think, for Samantha and 8-Ball and that has entertained nearly every feline since.

When I got to the top of the stairs, something compelled me to go into Mom’s room and turn on the light. I went straight to the new bed she’d created out of a cardboard box; cats love boxes, love any hidey-bed they can find. I looked down and saw a fluffy, white tail. Even before I reached in to touch him, stone-cold and hard as a rock, I knew. I knew he was gone. Didn’t stop the major freak out that followed as I picked up my beautiful, blue-eyed baby boy and gave in to hysterics. I went racing downstairs with him. Mom came running.

“What’s wrong?”

“Alice!”

“Why? What’s wrong with Alice?”

“He’s dead!”

Poor Mom. I think she aged 20 years in the span of about 20 seconds. No sign of illness or injury. Happily running around with his litter mates, Emmylou and Ozzy, Mom Priscilla, and pals Whitney, Kirby (surrogate father), Rosco, Paz and Pearl right up until the end. Other than a couple of fleas–and we’re not “infested”, just overdue to pick up more flea prevention–he was fine as frog hairs. Or seemed to be. After I calmed down enough to talk without babbling, I called my best friend, Mary, who works at a vet hospital in the Midwest. Without actually seeing him, but based upon my description, it is likely he had some sort of congenital heart disease or defect, possibly something he was born with but wasn’t detected earlier in the year when he went in for neutering, shots, etc.

I am devastated. I lost my cool last night after I found him, railed at God, yelled, swore better than the best truck driver or sailor, raged. He was only 15 months’ old. And such a sweetheart. When he wanted attention, he planted himself at your feet, looked up, blue eyes squinting as he grinned up and purred loud enough to shake the floorboards–or almost. My last moments with him were in the rabbit room that morning, a brief playtime with the feather and a quick cuddle before I ran out the door to the food pantry.

I got Jeremiah 29:11 again yesterday, too. To paraphrase, it says that His plans are to give us a hope and a future. I’m not sure if I believe it now. I’m not sure it truly is a good future without Alice. I do know I was blessed for the 15 months that we shared on this earth. I just can’t wrap my mind around the why of it though. When they’re older, like Ariel, though it cut to the core, I knew it was coming, expected it. At 16 years of age, it was inevitable. But with Alice, well, I guess this is an example of that limited understanding of humans. I know when I signed on to this homesteading thing, when I signed on to rescue and care for as many unwanted and unfortunate animals as He gave me the means to do so, that heartache was a part of the deal. But I’m angry right now. That beautiful flame-point, double-pawed, blue-eyed sweetie was beloved of everyone in this household…and everyone who visited. I had more offers to give him a home–even from another best friend, whom I know would have cared for him as well, if not better, than I could…from the moment he was born. He was impossible not to love. There’s the blessing, that such a creature should grace my life at all. I’m about out of hope though. That’s 3 in as many weeks: Ariel on November 1st, Charity the Chicken was found decapitated a week later in the barnyard (owl hunt) and now Alice. I feel as though I’ve been clubbed to my knees. Though I try to hold onto my faith, wanting desperately to believe that I may one day see all those–human and humane–that I have lost, that’s lagging a bit, too. Awful thing for a minister to say but I’m lucky even to make a coherent post through the tears.

I love you, Alice Cooper Burbank…heaven must’ve needed another angel.

May God bless you & keep you!

PS I have pictures of him but they’re all on my cellphone. As soon as I figure out how to download them, I’ll post them. =O

The Grateful Journal

“I will praise the Lord no matter what happens. I will constantly speak of His glories and grace. I will boast of all his kindness to me. Let all who are discouraged take heart. Let us praise the Lord together, and exalt His name.” Psalms 34:1-3

I’m not sure when I actually started keeping a grateful journal. Or where I learned about it in the first place. I do remember sharing with my therapist years’ ago that I had started one and she was enthused about it. But, while I would like to give credit where it is due, and use this moment to give thanks to that source, the best I can do is give thanks to the Source who led me to it. It has truly been a blessing in my life.

What is a grateful journal? Or thankful journal, as some may refer to it? It is a journal where you make a conscious effort everyday to write down a certain number of things that you are grateful for. Mine is a simple notebook of college-ruled paper; it doesn’t have to be fancy, just a place to record your entries. I typically keep mine on the nightstand by my bed and write down 5 things that I am grateful for from that day before I go to sleep. I remember when I started, I only wrote 3 things each night. Then one Lenten season, I upped it to 10; I’ve since settled on 5. The benefits of this exercise is that you start to look at your life a lot differently. Instead of your cup being half-empty, it is now half-full. I never realized how much I complained or entertained negative thoughts until I started this journal. And, if you battle depression as I often do, making an effort to count 5 blessings each day (or whatever the number), is a great way to lift yourself out of that depressed feeling. And talk about giving yourself a boost of confidence!

Don’t think you have enough for which to be grateful? I started listing family members, then friends, and pets. I even included those who have departed this earth, expressing gratitude for the time I did have with them. Once started, I began to see the times we shared, the lessons taught/learned, and even some of the myriad quirks they each possess, and suddenly, I had a treasure trove to account. And it doesn’t have to be a litany of every epiphany or Wow! moment. The mundane is just as good. I have several entries where I have expressed gratitude for popcorn. Sound silly? But I have popcorn to enjoy. That’s something to be grateful for. I have even expressed gratitude for some of the not-so-happy times in my life–like illnesses, injuries, heartaches. All of these have the potential to become opportunities for growth and understanding. It is all about perspective. And that slowly changes when you search daily for things to be thankful for.

As we approach this Thanksgiving season, I am going to share a few of the things I have in my journal:

2/5/2016 “I am grateful for the extra 4 hours of work this week”
3/2/2016 “I am grateful for strawberry banana almond butter smoothies”
3/6/2016 “I am grateful for the story I wrote today”
3/29/2016 “I am grateful for the trip to Maine to look forward to”
4/30/2016 “I am grateful they had the border collies at the CT Sheep & Wool Festival this year”
5/26/2016 “I am grateful for Farnoosh and Smart Exit Blueprint”
5/31/2016 “I am grateful Mom has this holiday with Shaun, Stefanie and the girls”
6/18/2016 “I am grateful for books”
6/19/2016 “I am grateful for healthy food”
7/2/2016 “I am grateful for the blueberry bush, rhubarb and cucumber plants I purchased yesterday”
7/4/2016 “I am grateful the blackberries are ripening”
8/28/2016 “I am grateful for the relaxing place that painting takes me to”
8/31/2016 “I am grateful for Smart Exit Blueprint”
9/3/2016 “I am grateful for the day spent at Uncle Ernie’s house”
9/3/2016 “I am grateful for the ride on the pontoon boat”
9/4/2016, 9/6/2016, 9/8/2016 “I am grateful for cool breezes” (must’ve been hot the week before…LOL!)
9/14/2016 “I am grateful for help trimming goat hooves”
10/8/2016 “I am grateful for the safe trip to and from Salem”
11/9/2016 “I am grateful for all future blessings”

Yes, you can do that. You can give thanks for the future and what it may bring. You can give thanks for anything. And, as you keep a grateful journal, you will give thanks for everything. And that puts a whole new spin on life.

May God bless you & keep you!

20 By November 20th – Revisited

Yup. I failed. Miserably.

I got on the scale a couple of weeks ago and found I had lost 6 lbs.; Friday morning, November 18th, I had gained the 6 lbs. back. I can certainly sympathize with someone like Oprah Winfrey or Kirstie Alley, both of whom fluctuate in the weight department like yo-yos. I feel their pain. It’s frustrating. But I’m also honest enough–in my case–that it was a lack of discipline and that ol’ bugger willpower that defeated me.

Yes, my cabinet shelves are now lined with chips and sweets and all the myriad no-nos that helped contribute to this now-officially middle-aged spread (I turned 50 yesterday). Yes, the candy bowls are usually filled at work, too. I’ve even risked serious injury to myself by popping the occasional Hershey’s caramel kiss. (Chocolate and IBS are not compatible…) And, no, I haven’t disciplined myself into creating a solid walking habit. So, extra fats, sugars, carbs and a lack of exercise. While I stay ever-faithful to my yoga, it doesn’t burn the calories like a good cardio routine would. And the need to resist temptation is one I need to respect as I keep sabotaging my own efforts.

All this being said, I’m not giving up. I’m simply taking responsibility for this failure and readjusting. They say only a true optimist would consider dieting during the holidays. I’ll take the compliment…and the challenge.

I’ve readjusted something else recently. I can no longer claim 3:30 woman; it’s more like 5:15 woman. Working nights it is nearly impossible to get to bed early enough to support such an early rising time. Burnout moved in fast and I started dragging my backside. When I found myself zoning out, staring at this computer screen for almost an hour without having written anything, and not remembering where I zoned out to in that hour, I realized it was time to make that adjustment. Sorry, Dolly, but some of us work a “day” job. (Chuckle)

So, how did I spend my 50th birthday? Besides lamenting my downfall? After an hour at church, which proved quite enjoyable as I sang with friends in the choir loft, I spent 8 1/2 hours on the computer working on homework that was due. It wasn’t exactly how I’d planned to spend my b-day but, while others may think it strange, I had a lot of laughs with the many family members and friends who posted birthday wishes on my Facebook page. Wandering down memory lane reminded me I have much to be thankful for. I also had my faithful sidekick, Pearl, glued to my lap, and myriad other felines–and Mom–popping in and out of the office. The latter came first with the painting she’d done for me and later, with a big bowl of popcorn, heavy on the parmesan cheese (and I wonder why I can’t shed pounds…lol!).

I’m looking forward to the next 50 years–well, give or take a few.

May God bless you & keep you!

Squirrel Leaps

That’s what my mind feels like it is doing today–squirrel leaps. I have so much to consider right now. It’s time to take a deep breath and try to center myself.

Breathe. In. Breathe. Out.

Phew! There, that’s better.

Well, not really. My mind is still jumping from one avenue to the next. I’m thinking of making a nice long list of things that need to be done if I’m going to make this move. Especially since I don’t really know where I’m going yet geographically. (insert sheepish grin here) But it might give me a better sense of direction.

Or not.

I typically make lists and then forget about them. Or else scan the length and overwhelm myself.

Mom and I have been talking about this on and off all week, this whole relocation thing, as well as starting our own aquaponics’ farm. She likes the concept of it, seems to be fascinated by it almost as much as I am. And, of course, living with me, she keeps getting regular updates as I learn new things about it. As I consider my Mom’s gifted way with people, if we were to start a commercial scale aquaponics’ farm, Mom would be unstoppable where customer relations are concerned. She’s definitely a people person. She’s also very persuasive. Yes, Mr. I-just-drove-up-in-a-2017-Jaguar, you do want the 10 lbs. of spinach; 5 lbs. might not be enough to feed all of your guests.

Actually, doing the aquaponics thing right here in Connecticut isn’t a bad idea either. Having utilized the local food pantry in recent years, I know how hard they struggle to get the donations needed to feed so many individuals. Friends of Assisi Food Pantry in Danielson is only open Tuesdays and Fridays but there are often 25-30 recipients each day. If we take the conservative side of the range, this is 50 families per week X 4 weeks = 200 families. At least. And while The Pantry receives some produce, much of what they distribute is more of that packaged, processed crap. I’m not dissing The Pantry over it, nor the purity of hearts who opt to make the donations. I am grateful that so many care and are willing to help in whatever way they can. And the packaged, processed crap has a longer shelf life. I understand this is one of the reasons Mom invested in it growing up. But it doesn’t give the consumers of it a longer shelf life with it. And, no, I’m not going to go into one of my usual rants about the food industry but it does seem sad to me that it is the ones with lesser means who are forced to consume this agri-poison. When you’re receiving a measly government check the first of each month, whether it is welfare, unemployment, disability or social security, it is hard to stretch it for a full month. Again, I feel a sense of gratitude that our government has such provisions for our citizens but cost of living isn’t really factored into it. And it is worse with the SNAP program, or what was formerly food stamps. There was a man who used to visit The Pantry (he may still) who was so crippled up, his hands, fingers, all of his joints, severely twisted, one elbow perpetually frozen at a 90 degree angle. He used a walker. If I had to guess, he was in his late-50’s, early-60’s. Probably a forced early retirement. He was talking one day. He only qualified for $16 per month on the SNAP program. How the heck does anyone feed themselves on $16 a month? Especially if you’re only living in a rental where you likely can’t have a garden, outside of a few containers on the back steps. And, considering his crippled body, he likely wouldn’t have been able to tend it unless it was made up of raised beds. And most rentals won’t allow you to install something that’s even semi-permanent like that.

I am not a politician. I don’t know how to influence others into making certain decisions. I wouldn’t know where to begin to lobby for better, more humane provisions for the sick, the elderly, the infirm who cannot work 40+ hours a week to provide for themselves. Yes, there are the occasional lazy-bodies who do not truly want to work but, at the food pantry, they are far and few between. And, yes, I am of the mindset that it is better to help someone learn how to fish than to provide the fish. Again, I’m thinking of those who cannot. I’m also thinking of those who are working but their income simply isn’t enough to cover basic living expenses. Northeastern Connecticut has plenty of minimum wage and/or part-time jobs but few with full-time, competitive wages. I can’t force our government to up the cap or quota that determines a person’s eligibility but, with a commercial-sized aquaponics system, I could provide more produce for the local food pantries.

I am ruminating a bit with this because I’m trying to flesh it all out in my mind. But it is a worthy goal. And I am holding onto the faith that says if this is His will for me, then He will provide the means–both the financial and the mental/emotional support to keep going. Educational, too, as I may know what to do with the plants, but I have never put together or maintained an aquaponics system, so there will definitely be a learning curve involved. If these changes are signifying some doors being closed, then I am assured He is opening some new ones for me. I’m going to hold onto yesterday’s biblical passage from Jeremiah 29:11 that His plans are to give me “a future and a hope”; faith can move mountains. I’ve only got a few steep hills to climb.

May God bless you & keep you!