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Stay tuned…

…our regularly scheduled program will be back as soon as I’ve finished my final exam this week! =)

Stay safe, stay healthy…May God bless you & keep you!

Animals, Bereavement, Compassion, Environment, Family, Forgiveness, Grief, Holidays, Memories, Nostalgia

2019 Reflections

“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31)

This has probably been the most challenging year to date…both on a personal level, and on a national level. First, the personal level: foreclosure is eminent unless I can come up with $14,000 within the next 60 days. Then the mortgage company will start proceedings. I’m doing my best to sock away every spare penny but, with only part-time work, it’s not easy. I truly need a miracle.

On a national level, we’ve seen our country divided by an ever-widening gap. If I had all the right answers, I’d probably make that $14,000 in a fortnight. I’m hoping the coming year finds us re-learning how to speak and how to listen and how to hold on to love in our hearts for every person, every animal, every living thing–including Mother Earth, who is struggling so greatly. Regardless of what we look like, where we originally come from, the color of our skin, our orientation, political affiliation or beliefs, we all bleed the same. I’m hoping 2020 creates in all of us a growing awareness of how much we all have in common, rather than what divides us. I’m hoping our economy truly does improve–rather than just better numbers that don’t reflect the true state of affairs. I’m hoping whatever way the political winds blow next November that climate change will be THE priority; there is so little time left. I’m hoping, too, that we can start having the kinds of conversations that lead to reparations for any and all who have been wronged/harmed in the past. And, if I’m really going to go the whole cock-eyed optimist route, I’m hoping every single body has a home and healthy food and a good-paying source of income that allows them to raise their heads high before I post my 2020 reflections’ page.

Yes, I know that sounds like pride. I prefer to think of my last wish, instead, as empowering.

Of course, my reflections’ piece also remembers those who will not grace The Herbal Hare Homestead and Holistic Health. This year, I lost my oldest kitty, Paz; he was 19. He simply stretched out on the kitchen floor this past August and went to sleep. Never did he show signs of distress or illness, injury, or any other affliction. I couldn’t have asked for a kinder end for this little guy but there’s an empty place in my home…and in my heart where Pazzy will forever belong.


(Paz is the tuxedo kitty; his brother, Woody, passed away in 2012)

Blackberry duck drowned rooting under a pallet I’d thrown over a low spot along the back fence where the ducks kept wiggling under and escaping. As it was winter, the ground was still too frozen to any more permanent repairs to the fence so blocked the hole with the pallet. As the snow melted, I had a good-sized puddle back there for awhile. I’m not sure what she was after but she stuck her head under the water, and under the pallet…and then couldn’t get herself back out again. I found her there after dark, worrying when I didn’t find her in the barn with the other ducks. My heart broke remembering how two nights’ before she’d followed me around the barn, tugging on my sleeve, my pants, etc. with her bill to get my attention. She was such a friendly and social gal.

(A baby picture of my ducks when I first brought them home)

Sweet Pea just became a sort of medical statistic. He was only the 7th known rabbit to “pass” his bladder to the outside of his body. Had he been younger, the vet would’ve operated but, because of his age (7), she was afraid he wouldn’t make it through. It was so sudden. And he fought like a trooper–1/2 hour after she injected him, his heart was still beating but there was no way he could’ve survived that way.

I lost Sweet Pea’s father, Rhys, earlier in the summer. And one of my chickens, Rae, an Americauna, and Hummer, one of my roosters.


(Hummer is one of the babies under Taffy’s wing…)

But the hardest losses this year were human losses: my grandmother, Ruth Berniece Kimble, her daughter, my Aunt Brenda, and my godmother, Judi Morry–these last two within the same week towards the end of September/early-October. Great ladies all of them. My godmother, especially, I have to thank for my love of learning. As a child, she was always challenging me, sending me cards and letters asking me how many words I could make out of “Happy New Year” for example, (we’re going back to pre-school age here) or encouraging me with my writing. Actually, all three were encouraging with that! Aunt Brenda had a great love of dogs; rescued many of them. And my grandmother made the best lemon meringue pie on either side of the Mississippi River.


(Aunt Brenda with her grandson, Everett)


(My godmother, Aunt Judi)

I love you and will miss you all.

May God bless you & keep you!

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A Light in the Dark

“But if someone who is supposed to be a Christian has money enough to live well, and sees a brother in need, and won’t help him–how can God’s love be within him?” (1 John 3:17)

SNAP benefits’ cuts…that’s what’s been in the headlines this past week. It breaks my heart. If you’re a Christian, this is supposed to be a season of giving, a time when we open our hearts and welcome all of our brothers and sisters.

Instead our government is going to forget them.

No, not the single mother with children. Or the elderly (albeit, many of the aforementioned are lucky to receive even $16 a month…). They should be keeping their benefits. It’s those recipients that the government deems capable of working. They (gov’t) tout the “booming” economy, the lower unemployment rates and say, you need to look for a job.

Okay.

The best way to end poverty, supposedly, is to teach people how to fish instead of just giving them the fish. But, if they’re already starving, how will they find the strength to do the fishing in the first place? And our unemployment numbers–statistics–do not reflect the true situation for so many, many Americans.

Most people who have been reading this blog know that I suffered an injury a year ago and I’m now facing foreclosure due to time lost recovering and the loss of the first full-time job that I’ve been able to find in almost 10 years. Yeah. 10 years! It didn’t pay very well, and I had to drive over an hour to get to it because the northeastern corner of Connecticut has a pretty slow turnaround as far as getting people back to work…and most of the jobs found are part-time, seasonal, and/or temporary. In short, there’s not a lot of industry here. We’re considered one of the worst areas in that regard by the Department of Labor. But we’re not really unique. The job market in America is made up of lots of part-time, seasonal, temporary and/or minimum wage positions and few, if any, full-time with benefits’ positions. So many people are working 2-3 of those low-paying, part-time endeavors just to make ends meet…and they’re still just a layoff, injury or illness away from losing everything they’ve ever worked for.

Yes, worked for.

Add to these situations people with disabilities–not full disability status, but they have limitations. They will be hurt by these cuts. And people with a similar situation as my own, people still recovering from an illness, an injury, a major economic setback, who haven’t quite gotten their legs underneath them again, they, too, will be affected.

No, I’m not on SNAP benefits. Mom and I have a combined income of almost $25K a year; we only qualify for $16 a month. We pay that in copies and postage to get the necessary paperwork in to Social Services so why bother? Especially when Social Services will freeze your benefits if you happen to work a few hours of overtime next month…or change jobs (they tend to neglect to remove the old job and count both incomes…and there’s an obligatory jump through bureaucratic hoops to re-instate everything).

I read an article today from USA Today. While not always the most accurate periodical, this particular article hit the nail on the head about how it is for so many of our nation’s poor…and what these cuts will mean for so many. The qualifications are already quite low. They’re designed for the really impoverished, those making even less than Mom & I. The article talks about how many of the people who will be affected by the cuts are already living on the streets–homeless. Yes, some are recovering addicts, whether alcohol or drugs, but many simply lost a job, got sick, suffered an injury and lost everything. Many of them are veterans…also forgotten by our government. The average SNAP allowance is, roughly, $120 a month if you qualify for full benefits (Schnell & Hughes, 2019). How far does that stretch? And what type of food will it buy? Certainly not the fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meat and fish, etc. that provide the energy and good health needed to work those 2-3 jobs. And, if you’re already living on the streets, a lot of places won’t hire you. You need a permanent address.

The article also addresses the attitude towards extremely impoverished people. This particular cut in benefits does so with the suggestion that many people take advantage of the system. That may be true. But the cut will hurt many more who are not taking advantage and are truly in need.

As for those who do take advantage? I’m not sure why anyone would. I don’t doubt that there are lazy people in the U.S. who abuse the system, but the whole process of jumping through those aforementioned hoops–both to obtain and then retain benefits–is quite stressful. Your whole life comes under a microscope and you’re made to feel like a slug for even asking. I get it. I really do. You think I don’t want to work and that’s why I’m here. Suddenly, I’m the roach crawling across the floor. I’ve asked for it. Again, I’m not sure why anyone would ask for this kind of existence. And, despite the theory that SNAP and welfare and all the other myriad programs are supposed to be that hand up to those fallen on hard times, the truth is, they’re really designed to keep those fallen on hard times impoverished. As I mentioned before, if you even get a little overtime, they’re ready to strip those benefits away…even if the overtime is a temporary thing. If you’re in the system, you have very little chance of getting back out of it again. And I get that that may be the reason for the cuts: to force people out of the system. But, the end result, I predict, will be a lot more people going hungry, falling off the wagon of their addiction, more theft and violence and suicide.

I know. Not a very merry post during the Yuletide season. And, if I had all the answers on how to solve this dilemma, I would be the most sought-after person on the planet. I guess what I’m trying to say is not to forget those in need this holiday season. The article in USA Today also mentioned how hard it will be for food banks and churches and other resources to help meet the needs of those hurt by these cuts. If you can give to them, please do. If you’re hurting yourself, seek them out. Or volunteer your time to help them help others. You never know what tomorrow may bring. At the very least, keep our brothers and sisters in your prayers. They need every one they can get.

May God bless you & keep you!

Works Cited

Schnell, Lindsay & Hughes, Trevor (2019). “Cuts to SNAP Benefits will hit 700,000 Food-Insecure Americans.” USA Today. Retrieved from: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/12/21/trump-food-stamps-cut-snap-benefits-more-hungry-americans/2710146001/?fbclid=lwAR3JUXAzoyO0LZZ1LY9_Nr10_xNk3M8QombVEOAdcnvuhdori21jUWnMDJw

Animals, Climate Change, Cooking, Creativity, Culture, ecosystems, Environment, Family, Frugality, gardening, Global Warming, Healing, Holidays, Holistic Health, Homesteading, Minimalism, Nature, Self-improvement, Zero Waste

A Sustainable Saturday – Keeping the Plastic Out of our Oceans and Streams

“O God, have pity, for I am trusting you! I will hide beneath the shadow of your wings until this storm is past. I will cry to the God of heaven who does such wonders for me” (Psalms 57:1-2).

As Thanksgiving Day just passed here in the U.S., we now enter the delectable week of leftover meals of turkey and ham sandwiches (if you consume meat, of course), and re-heated potatoes, stuffing, squash, turnip, sweet potato and green bean casserole. We always make too much, wanting to have extra for that unexpected guest…or simply to have those leftover dishes for quick and easy meals over the next few days. We’ll do likewise for the coming holiday season. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Yule, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, or another holiday, there will likely be at least one other family gathering to share a special meal together…and this, too, will likely produce another mountain of leftovers.

And another mountain of plastic waste heading to our oceans and streams.

Plastic wrap and single-use containers often get displayed in supermarket flyers right along with the sales on stuffing mixes, cranberry sauce and turkey. For convenience sake, we buy them in large quantities the same day we go shopping for food for said gatherings. The reasoning is that folks can use them to take home those leftovers. They’ll keep everything fresh and clean, and nobody has to worry about returning a host’s favorite bowl or platter.

But what happens after we get those containers home?

As I’m a frugal fanatic, those leftovers usually get eaten. By Monday, Mom and I will probably be sick of stuffing and squash. Or my chickens and ducks will have had a feast of their own on whatever we don’t eat (minus any leftover meat that Mom does not consume). However, no matter how careful we are, sometimes containers of food get forgotten in the back of the fridge. A few weeks from now, we may find a container whose fuzzy, green appearance gives not the slightest hint as to what it once contained in life. I hope not, as I am cognizant of the fact that food waste in our landfills actually exceeds our plastic waste (14% versus 12% of plastic waste (Cunningham & Cunningham, 2015, pp. 476-477)), but it does happen from time to time. Either way, eventually, there will be wads of cling wrap and/or plastic containers entering recycle bins and trash receptacles across the U.S.A.

The former raises an “ah ha!” moment in many. If you are recycling it, what’s the big deal? However, some forms of plastic cannot be recycled, especially if there are layers of materials involved, such as in paper cups designed for both hot and cold beverages. And, as many of these containers and wrappings have been used to store food, even with careful rinsing, the aromas cling. If not carefully contained at the curb, they may get invaded by wildlife who scatter it everywhere in their search for something to eat. Gusts of wind, either from nature or passing traffic, may tip over a receptacle and/or blow lighter materials about. And, if you’re one of those people who doesn’t bother to properly rinse your recyclables, once they get to the recycling plant, the Zero Sort machine kicks them out and into a waiting garbage truck to be sent to the landfill. All is not perfect in the world of recycling. (Google The Pacific Garbage Gyre to find out where a lot of our plastic waste eventually ends up)

I have fallen far short of my goals of Zero Waste this year. As always, part of it stems from other family members not being on board with it, part of it my own inability in disciplining myself in whatever new behavior I’m hoping to adopt. I’ve wasted a lot of time talking, explaining, telling people about plastic waste…only to hear the response that everyone else does it so it doesn’t make a difference.

But every effort we make, makes a difference. It may be a small one, but we’re telling the world that it matters. The lives of sea creatures and birds and possums and raccoons…and countless other species of life matter. Our own health and well-being matter…because what so-called lesser creatures consume, we also consume.

So this year, knowing I cannot control the amount of plastic waste my family produces simply by telling, I decided to lead by example.

I always have tons of canning jars around the house from preserving whatever I produce in the garden. So I packed up several of the wide-mouth quart jars in a reusable shopping bag and toted them to my aunt’s house. When the meal was over, and my aunt was asking everyone if they wanted to take some of the leftovers home so they didn’t go to waste, I ran out to my car and grabbed the bag of canning jars. Though she offered the use of some of the plastic and/or aluminum plates she’d purchased for this express purpose, I politely thanked her, then told her I’d rather use the canning jars. I then filled the jars with what she’d offered. She watched me and then admitted it was a good idea because it was cheaper than buying the plastic wrap and single-use containers, which have gotten expensive.

No, it’s not exactly the reason behind my bringing the canning jars, but ecology and economy go hand-in-hand. The less we spend on things we don’t really need, the less we send to the landfills. This is true for pretty much everything. And, even if we can’t get everyone on board about plastic waste for the sake of our planet, saving everyone a few pennies can be an incentive. The end result will be the same: less waste overall.

May God bless you & keep you!

Works Cited

Cunningham, William P. and Cunningham, Mary Ann. Environmental Science: A Global Concern, Thirteenth Edition. New York, NY: McGraw Hill Education, 2015.

19th century, Animals, Appreciation, Culture, Healing, Herbs, Holidays, Holistic Health, Homesteading, illness, Plants, Recipes, Spirituality

Wednesday’s Weed Walk – (Salvia officinalis) Sage

“And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat” (Genesis 1:29)

As tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and most will be dressing their plate with a delectable mixture of bread crumbs, onion, celery, butter and sage (among other ingredients), it seems befitting to write about a herb that has become pretty synonymous with this holiday.

But, before I go any further, there’s this:

“These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease.”

Now, back to our regularly scheduled program…

Though we may also dress our tables with cardboard cutouts of Pilgrims and First Nations’ peoples, and though I also found this herb in “A Handbook of Native American Herbs,” sage is NOT native to North America, but a southern European plant that has long been naturalized here. I was thinking of smudge sticks, which I use to clear negative energy from a room, my home, even a client, before they enter a room or home, and how popular culture has connected them to Native American culture. As the book in question does not say how long this herb has been naturalized in this country, perhaps it does fit into the Native American materia medica botanica, but I will refrain from making a direct connection and instead, share a use found in this book that I also learned about when I worked in living history: a tea made with sage leaves is an excellent gargle for a sore throat (Hutchens, 1992; OSV Training Materials, 2017).

An herb tea, or infusion, is made a little differently than a cup of, say, Lipton tea. With herbs, you heat the water and remove it just before it boils (too hot will kill the natural healing properties of the plants). Then you pour the hot water over the herbs, cover the cup, or teapot, and allow the herbs to steep at least 20 minutes so that whatever you’re brewing will be strong enough to take effect. In this case, this is a gargle so you would use it the same as a swig of Listerine or Scope. If the flavor is too strong (and even the herbalist here considers it slightly gag-inducing in such a raw state), a bit of honey will counteract its astringent taste and have the added benefit of further soothing that raw throat.

**Another note here: when heating the water (or herbs, when making a decoction), it is not recommended to use cast iron as the iron may change the desired effect. Also, NEVER use Teflon-coated, no-stick pots and pans–even for cooking food. There has been too much controversy surrounding their negative effects on our health and, like the iron in cast iron, may leach into whatever you infuse. Metal pans/tea kettles are a better vessel; ceramic, glass, etc. vessels for steeping in.

Renowned herbalist and champion of natural rearing of animals, Juliette de Bairacli Levy says that sage’s very name bespeaks its healing property. It’s Latin name, that is: Salvia officinalis. Salvia comes from the Latin word, salvere, to be well (de Bairacli Levy, 1991). She, too, recommends it as “first-rate…for the treatment of all disorders of throat, lungs and ears” and as external “application for bruises, watery swellings and tumours”. Further, she says that our neighbors south of the border, the Mexican peoples, “make brushes from branches of the herb, using them to cleanse and dry off the sweating bodies of their horses and cattle, the leaves being both absorbent and invigorating to tired flesh”. In her book The Herbal Handbook for the Dog and Cat, she also recommends it for mastitis…in dogs, cattle, goats, etc., the latter of which are more prone owing to the unnatural removal of their calves and kids for commercial milk production. In this case, you would infuse the leaves as above for a gargle but instead bathe the udders (or breasts if a dog or cat) with the sage “tea” 4-5 times a day, making sure to gently press out all milk beforehand. The area should then be “bathed with a brew of elder and dock leaves – one handful of each brewed in 1 1/2 pints of water” (de Bairacli Levy, 1992).

In humans, many of the same uses seem to apply. Herbalist Michael Tierra recommends it for “excessive perspiration, night sweats” to “clear vaginal discharge and to stop the flow of milk” and says it is also “useful for diarrhea, dysentery, the early stages of cold and flu, sinus congestion, bladder infections and inflammatory conditions” (Tierra, 1998). In this case, the infusion is made with 1/4 ounce of sage to a pint of hot water steeped “in a closed vessel for 10 minutes”. He also recommends combining it with equal parts rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), peppermint (Mentha piperica) and wood betony (Betonica officinalis) for headaches…and, again, I’m finding mention of its uses as a gargle for sore throats. Though I could not find any specific remedies mentioned in his wife’s book, Healing with the Herbs of Life, Lesley Tierra does mention how white sage (Salvia apiana) has become endangered due to over-harvesting.

And, lastly, herbalist Rosemary Gladstar recommends sage as a facial tonic, hair rinse, in foot soaks, to aid digestion (which is probably why it is added to stuffing/dressing on Thanksgiving Day, considering our over-consumption at mealtime this day), help lower cholesterol, as part of a throat spray(!), and to combat hot flashes. This last one combines 2 parts each of black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa), motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca), and sage, 1 part each of blue vervain (Verbena officinalis) and chaste berry (Vitex agnus-castus) and a measure of mint for taste. These are combined together in their dried form. Then a teaspoon of the mixed herbs is infused for 30 minutes (see sage infusion above) and 1/4 cup is drank throughout the day as needed, not exceeding 3 cups in a 24 hour period (Gladstar, 2008). She recommends, if the tea’s taste is too strong, to instead fill a couple of OO size capsules and take 1-2 capsules 3-4 times each day.

Though I knew all of this stuff, having read these books many times over (as their tattered spines will attestify), I always appreciate the reminders as I peruse them yet again to share the love and knowledge that herbs have given to my life. I hope this little powerhouse, sage, will enrich the quality of your life, too…even if it is only to enrich the flavor of your Thanksgiving Day stuffing. Bon appetit!

May God bless you & keep you!

Works Cited

De Bairacli Levy, Juliette. The Complete Handbook for the Dog and Cat. London, England: Faber and Faber, 1992.
De Bairacli Levy, Juliette. The Complete Handbook for the Farm and Stable. London, England: Faber and Faber, 1991.
Gladstar, Rosemary. Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health. North Adams, Massachusetts: Storey Publishing, 2008.
Hutchens, Alma R. A Handbook of Native American Herbs. Boaston, Massachusetts: Shambhala, 1992.
Tierra, Lesley,L.Ac, Herbalist, A.H.G. Healing with the Herbs of Life. Berkeley, California: Crossing Press, 2003.
Tierra, Michael, L.Ac, O.M.D. The Way of Herbs. New York, New York: Pocket Books, 1998.

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Gratitude for Community

“Is there any such thing as Christians cheering each other up? Do you love me enough to want to help me? Does it mean anything to you that we are brothers in the Lord, sharing the same Spirit? Are your hearts tender and sympathetic at all? Then make me truly happy by loving each other and agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, working together with one heart and mind and purpose” (Philippians 2:1-2)

I’m feeling so grateful today. My church community is helping out with my situation and words cannot describe how grateful I am. There’s been an onslaught of emotions: hope, joy, relief…and, yes, even a little shame and embarrassment. The last vestiges of an attempt to hang onto pride…or maybe the adversary’s feeble attempts to keep pride’s hold on me.

But Jesus will always be stronger. God’s got this. So, take that, adversary!

There’s something to be said for community. Maybe that is the lesson He wants me to learn (above and beyond the pride thing…).

I’ve always dreamed of living like a hermit in the woods, the whole “Walden” thing. My dream home is in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by nature, and living like it’s still the 19th century. Maybe there’s something to it. Solitude and simplicity are needed for a healthy life balance, but without fellowship with others, what’s the point? And even Henry David Thoreau wrote about visitors to his little cabin in the woods. We need both. If I can hang on to this place, or if He wants me to sock this money away for a potential move, either way, I want my homestead to be a welcoming place: for family gatherings; for friends sitting around a campfire at night; for prayer meetings; for knitting, sewing, quilting circles; for clients to have their treatments; for hosting classes about herbs, 19th century skills, and no-dig gardening…and even a refuge for those caught in the eye of their own personal storms.

I’ve blogged before about how I crave solitude like flowers crave the sun and rain. And it’s true. I’m the classic introvert. Too many people, too often, and I start to feel a little sick at heart. I retreat inward. Not because I’m anti-social, but because that’s how it is for an introvert. For an introvert, too much social time quickly becomes overwhelming. We enjoy time with our loved ones, and even strangers, but the introvert greatly needs that balance between solitude and socialization to keep recharging.

However, over the last decade, I’ve taken solitude to a whole new level. Some of it has been the 2 years of unemployment, followed by 8 years of severe underemployment. When socializing equals an event that requires an entrance fee, I’ve often had to reconsider. Some of it though–most of it–has been the depression that often comes with that same unemployment/underemployment. Due to a lack of steady and adequate funds, the house, the grounds, even myself, have started looking neglected. There’s also a lot of emotional baggage attached from the last “romantic” relationship I was in, that was anything but romantic, that has had me drawing the curtains tight and shutting out the world.

And, boy, does the adversary feed on that!

In many ways, though I’m not living in the middle of nowhere, I’ve allowed myself to become almost as isolated as if I was living in the middle of nowhere. And isolation is defeating. The neglect becomes indifference becomes more depression becomes more neglect becomes more indifference…until the effort to dig yourself out of this vicious cycle becomes so overwhelming, you don’t know where to turn, where to start. That’s where the hopelessness sets in.

And loneliness.

Despair.

Even bitterness.

Thank God, literally, for the fellowship He’s blessed me with! It started with certain friends and co-workers reaching out with a helping hand over the last several months. This time, it was a church member who saw my Go Fund Me campaign and brought it to the attention of our priest. And, truly, though the financial help is a blessing and appreciated, the true blessing is knowing how many people out there care enough to help. I’m overwhelmed…but in a good way.

I’ve been sitting back here, feeling sorry for myself, indulging the adversary with my “cares” and “woes” and getting nowhere in life. Today I’m feeling hope for the first time in a very long time. Yes, there’s still a risk of losing the homestead. I still missed the deadline for the second installment on the modification trial period and I don’t know where that leaves me. However, I’m that much closer to meeting the back payments owed. Or to engaging an attorney who can help me get back on track again. It’s help to tide us over until I’m working again…or to help us start over on a new homestead. I’m leaving it in His hands to decide, praying for His guidance regarding the best course of action.

Our God truly is an awesome God. Thank you! To everyone who has been moved to help, to share, to pass along the information. I don’t feel quite so alone anymore. And that’s the greatest blessing of all.

I hope everyone reading this is as blessed with community as I am.

May God bless you & keep you!

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Down and Out

“I am leaving you with a gift–peace of mind and heart! And the peace I give isn’t fragile like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27)

I want to believe those words. I want to believe His grace is sufficient for this particular trial. I want to believe that He has something special planned at the end of it all.

But, today, I’m down and out for the count.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll find the way to bounce back up again. I hope so. Right now the fear and anguish in my soul is almost more than I can bear. Proof that there’s still fight left in me that I can feel such emotions, such protest, but, if I’m meant to go through this, if there’s something He means for me to learn that I didn’t learn the first time around, there’s a part of me even fighting that.

So much for laying it at the cross. But what other choice do I have? All of my efforts have gotten me nowhere. But where do I go from here? What does He want me to do? To go?

Losing the house, the land, I can bear. It’s potentially having to re-home the animals if I cannot find a farm where I might board them until I get on my feet again…and, of course, for a fee that I can manage in my current situation. My heart is breaking at the thought. And, at the moment, I’m not feeling God’s love. I’m feeling His anger. I’m feeling the punitive “father” that reflects the neglect of my biological father and the abuse of my stepfather. “Father” for me has always implied mistrust. Is He trying to heal this once and for all? Or is this going to cement it once and for all in my heart that the word “father” is equivalent to a dirty swear word?

No, I don’t hate men, and certainly not fathers. There are good ones in the world. I’ve just never known that love…at least not without personal cost. And you’re never too old to need that love–His love.

Right now, I really need a healthy dose of it. And as many prayers as I can get.

May God bless you & keep you!

https://www.gofundme.com/f/9fymzf-medical-leave&rcid=r01-156707024092-4fb3fb58787b443d&pc=ot_co_campmgmt_w