A farmwives sabbatical

Over the last couple of years I’ve had several life experiences that required me to put as much as possible of my attention into the present need.  Those needs included:
creating opportunity 
restoring 2319 Nashville Rd.
meeting writing and publishing deadlines
moving farms (while farming full time)
reuniting with my father after 8 years
caring for my father a few months later as he passed away
meeting grant deadlines to improve food access (a task that is very difficult for me)

As each need grew to a level that required my full attention I was able to peel away the commitments that were good, but not necessary.  It was made easier as I knew that soon, very soon I’d be able to pick them back up.  What I wasn’t expecting is that during each stepping back I became more contemplative in my prayer life and more focused on what matters most.  It was when life went back to normal that I began to feel more out of control, anxious, and frayed.

In retrospect the ebb and flow of my life over the past several years has been that of working hard and frantically towards some sort of change followed by periods of recovery.  My recovery came in the form of week long illnesses, burn out, and serious red flags in the relationships closest to me.  All the things that were most important to me and the reason for serving my community:  healthy foods, deep connection, better habits had become less a part of my everyday life due to my lack of renewal.  As I’ve spent more time in contemplation the truth has been revealed.  As Philleena Heurtz says,
We all need:
Sabbath for Rest
Retreats for Reflection
Vacations for Recreation
Sabbaticals for Renewal.

I’ve done the first three from time to time, but it’s the last one that has seemed nearly impossible.  How does a homeschooling mother of four who is also a full-time farmer and actively involved in her community take time for sabbatical?  The answer has become more clear as I’ve realized that those who serve their communities with the most creativity and selfless integrity like Mother Theresa, Richard Rohr, and many others are the ones who do take time for renewal.  The new question becomes,

How do I continue serving my community if I do not take time for sabbatical?

After much prayer and conversation with those around me I’ll be taking a sabbatical beginning December 22nd (Winter Solstice) through March 27th (Easter Sunday).  Both have very significant meaning in my life.  The first, being a sign that the darkness doesn’t win-the light is coming.  The second, being a reminder that we are all awaiting resurrection.  I’ve experienced what has felt like death & resurrection over and over again the last few years without the time to really process the hurts, suffering, and darkness.  I know there is a purpose and I’m ready to find it.  There is a connection between the desires of my heart for food, birth & community and the suffering I’ve experienced.  It’s a common thread among my life and the life of others.  I’m in search of the connection, the meaning in it all.

“In the silence of the heart God speaks. If you face God in prayer and silence, God will speak to you. Then you will know that you are nothing.  It is only when you realize your nothingness, your emptiness, that God can fill you with Himself. Souls of prayer are souls of great silence.”  Mother Teresa

While I’m still not certain exactly what my sabbatical will look life “in real life” I do know that there are certain commitments that I am making for this period of time.  My day will begin earlier in the morning and in contemplative prayer.  I’ll be reading Common Prayer, memorizing scripture, and reading a stack of other books written by those who have made rest and renewal part of their every day life.  I’ll be preparing nourishing meals for my family with the food we grow here on the farm.  I’ll be taking daily time for restorative exercise like yoga and long walks.  I’m hoping to become more acquainted with silence and learn how to listen to the quiet voice of God.

I will be writing every day and some of that may be published here in this space.  It will be more of a journaling of thought rather than specific topics as I’ve written in the past.  If you would like to read more about my experience which will likely include a working through of hurts, fears, struggles, and suffering please check back in here from time to time.  If you’d rather just stay connected to what’s happening here on the farm and the food I’m preparing in the farm kitchen visit HERE or follow me on Instagram.

I’m going to be decreasing my commitments in the community for a time.  It’s something I’ve been doing for a while, but will be more dedicated to it over the next few months.  I will be deactivating my Facebook account, but will still be available by email:  michelle.lifeisgood@gmail.com or you can always text Nathan 270-799-5563.  My hope is that the connection I experience with any of you face to face will be more meaningful and that I will be more present.  If you would like to visit the farm please let us know.

I’ll be honest that taking time away from some of the good things happening in my community and removing Facebook from my daily life is going to be difficult.  These are the ways that I’ve stayed connected to people and in many ways developed a sense of self.  It is the sense of power, the building up of self, and an identity based on what people think of me that I need a sabbatical to work through.  This farmwife is going to invest in her renewal and restoration so that she can continue dedicating herself to the same in others.

This is what sabbatical looks like for a farmwife.  It’s not traditional by any means, but neither are many things about my life.  Thank you to everyone who is supporting me during this time in my life.  I’ll be forever thankful.  

Blessings,
Michelle

“All great spirituality teaches about letting go of what you don’t need and who you are not. Then, when you can get little enough and naked enough and poor enough, you’ll find that the little place where you really are is ironically more than enough and is all that you need. At that place, you will have nothing to prove to anybody and nothing to protect.

That place is called freedom. It’s the freedom of the children of God. Such people can connect with everybody. They don’t feel the need to eliminate anybody . . .”   Richard Rohr

Body of faith

¶  My goal in life over the last couple of years has been to avoid pontification.  I stopped writing for a local publication because there just simply wasn’t anything left to say without sounding pompous dogmatic, or to put it bluntly-like a know it all.  In fact, there’s very little left to say about food, birth, community that hasn’t already been said.  

That’s why I’m taking my writing in a different direction.  I’m going to write more about what works in my life and what doesn’t.  The ways I’ve failed.  The ways I’ve tried hard and succeeded.  The ways I try to fold in as much good as possible into the hours of my day.  It may be entirely boring and contrite, but for this point in my life, it just feels right.

It will be at the very least be good medicine for my soul.

¶  I’m looking forward to getting back to cooking more of the food we grow here on the farm.  To spending more time reading-all those good books about food, birth, and community.  To spend more time learning and taking in than teaching and spewing my thoughts.

I’m looking forward to the ways that this shift in my life will bring me closer to God, Nathan, and my children.  I’m especially thankful for the ways that it has brought me closer to a smaller group of friends.  Spending time to time, face to face with a good friend and admitting your faults and blessings is an embodiment of faith.  It takes me out of my head and allows my body to become part of worship in a more meaningful way.

¶  One of the things I love most about Nathan is that he came about his faith later in life and with a fresh perspective. He wasn’t indoctrinated or forced into religion. He simply felt the love of God and wanted to get to know him/her better.

Rather than forming a strict theology he has simply chosen to spend as much time in nature as possible (because that’s where he meets God). He’s made a commitment to love his wife and children and community in the way that he believes Christ came (in human form) to demonstrate the purest love. He doesn’t seek perfection, but simply tries his best. His only demand on me is that I not make a God out of him.

Nathan helps me make a whole lot of sense out of all the things that seem to be turned upside down in the here and now. He minds his own business in such a way that he often encourages the people around him to become more thoughtful. Without intention he nurtures the quiet space others need to get to know themselves better and if they choose, God.  #advent

What he does effortlessly in his faith requires every single part of my being.

Restoration 

I had to hold space today while my oldest two worked through some really tough feelings.  It might have been one of the most difficult moments I’ve experienced as a mother yet.  Both of them had legitimate reasons to have gotten their feelings hurt.  Neither of them wanted to apologize, but both agonized over the reality that if they didn’t then their relationship might change.  In the life of a 9 and 12 year old that means that they may not get to continue their civil war play outside this afternoon.

Both came to me for answers and I offered the best advice I could, but left them both with the understanding that they had to be the one’s to figure things out and make amends.  Some powerful emotions and serious words came out of each of their mouths as I stood in the other room and hoped it ended well.  Thankfully, it did, and moments later they were playing outside letting out the cheerful sounds of restoration.

Restoration.

What a beautiful word to me right now.  I am in many ways being made new.  In fact, my time spent in this space on my blog is an outward sign of the making new happening in my life.  A year ago I had become determined to share more, and often, about what happens in the day to day life here on the farm.  Soon after I made that commitment and started to settle in life happened and I was taken of course.  This is an attempt of giving it another try and having lived in a bit of regret the last year I believe I’ll stay the course.

Nathan is very much a long term thinker.  Just today he is having the rest of the tree stump the kids broke down ground so that we can plant another tree.  I think that the heavy winds the other night have really got him thinking about the large tree in the front yard.  It appears to be leaning more every day and the chance of it falling makes him want to ensure we have another tree to replace it for shade.  I’m thankful that he thinks of things like that.

Just like this tree that Nathan is planting-the one that won’t provide shade for years to come-I realize my writing may become something that may not bear fruit for those I know in the here and now.  I’ve come to enjoy the writings of farmwives who lived 50, 100, or more years ago.  There’s something timeless, meaningful, heart wrenching, and beautiful about their stories.  Maybe that is what this space here will become-either for my children or for other women who stumble across it years from now.  May this reflection of the passing of time bring restoration for the passing of time in the lives of those yet to come.

Lilah Faith Noelle turns seven

Seven years ago today I was approaching way past due-that place some pregnant women get to go to learn a heavy dose of patience. We had expected her at Thanksgiving and here we were almost to Christmas. I walked into Kohl’s like I owned the place only to end up in the bathroom for an hour thinking I might just have her then and there. Rounded out the afternoon with photos at Lost River Cave with our good friend Susan, because-we hadn’t gotten the photos yet, so why not now? I had finally just figured on staying pregnant forever and slept well that night.  

We had a doctors appointment schedules for the next morning.  Nathan was bold and spoke up for me in ways I wasn’t able to do for myself-and we went home to see if labor might start on it’s own.  After a heavy meal, a few techniques I had picked up from my childbirth classes and prayer labor started.  Three hours later nearly 9 pounds of Lilah was born-a mere 28 minutes after arriving at the hospital.

photo by Susan Warrell
Lilah was a plump, happy, healthy baby for the first year.  She fit into our family in such a way that each day was so much joy.  She loved to be worn, snuggled, and nursed.  She really didn’t show any interest in food until she was at least a year old.  
That’s about the time everything changed.  The Lilah we knew began to fade away.  She rarely smiled, made eye contact, or even made effort to engage with anyone.  She experienced full body rashes, constant ear infections, swelling, seizures, and later on hair and weight loss.  At the time we really didn’t know how the story would go.  There were many days that we were completely terrified and felt out of control.  In it all we learned that we weren’t in control.
Thankfully, after much prayer and dedication of time, we developed a team of doctors and farmers who helped us make serious changes to Lilah’s diet, environment, and medical care.  We followed the GAPS protocol for two years, we sought medical advice from doctors trained in a more holistic approach, we eliminated chemical cleaners and made our home as peaceful as possible.  Slowly, over time, Lilah’s body began to heal.  
  
Sweet Lilah Bug,
You are such a wise teacher.  Thank you for reminding me that we are not defined by labels or behavior.  There is no best way to engage with one another except for acceptance.  You opened up the world to me in ways I may have never known had we not set aside time to take care of you.  You helped me stop and think.

You’ve taught me that kids aren’t created by parents for the approval and benefit of parents, but rather created by God for God to offer their rare gifts to the entire community.  Thank you for not being willing to give up and fit in.  When people choose to be their own unique self life looks so much different than what we plan and prepare for.  The world was not prepared for you.  That offered space for you to make the world a better place.

You helped me learn to stay at home more often.  Really stay at home in order to get things done that seemed so unnecessary before.  Sourcing pure local food, cooking healthy meals, choosing natural cleaners, encouraging a peaceful home environment all came to be because of you.  The most important thing you nurtured in me was the desire to talk to others in a calm, thoughtful way.  I got to practice that with you and you helped refine me even when it hurt.

All the things that you needed you were willing to demand.  In this way you have helped make me the mama I was meant to be.  I’ll forever be grateful.

Love, 
Your Mama

Piles of toast for supper

There’s something very simple and fascinating about the random bits and pieces of plants that spring up around the farm.  A mustard green on the side of the path to the summer garden, a tomato plant in the rocky entrance to the farm kitchen, vinca flowers from who knows where popping up in the aisle of the fall garden not even aware that winter, while running a bit behind, is almost here.

I’m most impressed by the ability of things doing  only what they know to do, but in entirely the wrong place.  I’ve felt like that myself over the past year.

The kids are having piles of toast for dinner.  It’s something we do from time to time, especially during winter months, when we are entirely too tired of full meals.  In summer it might be slices of watermelon or cantaloupe piled high, but in winter it’s toast.  It suits me well because I’m able to get caught up on reading or writing while they can manage the cooking and clean up all by themselves.  Big pats of butter and enormous spoonfuls of jam make it the perfect evening in their eyes.

There was some awful serious adventuring happening at the fallen tree.  I pity the person who invades the Howell someplace.  Unless you’re hungry, of course.  Under those circumstances we’ll feed you chicken soup and send you on your way.  Oh the joys of homeschooling kids on a civil war farm.  It allows us to let our imaginations run away from us from time to time.

Speaking of fallen trees.  It’s amazing that we don’t have an entire woods of them after the winds that came through last night.  The sound of it all, that went on for hours, was so loud that we had to come downstairs and sleep in the living room.  Surprisingly, all the tunnels were still standing and with no harm that we can tell.  Makes us even more hopeful that we’ll be able to keep on growing without much trouble this winter.  I think that the other people’s surprise that we are able to grow year round always keeps seeds of doubt in the back of our minds.  Each successful transition through harsh weather conditions offers us a bit more promise.

The “just enough” approach to full-time farming

I’m continuously reminded that choosing “just enough” is going to be the hard thing.  

Everyone would be doing it were it not, right?  It’s hard because it requires putting your faith in something that just might not work.

We live in a world where we are constantly told, “You’re not good enough.  You don’t have enough.  Your business is not big enough.  Until you have more, nothing in your life will add up to enough.”  

So how do we slow down long enough to know when enough is enough?

I think the more important thing to consider is why each of us are likely to make decisions that benefit us financially, but not necessarily meet all of our other basic needs.  One of the biggest motivators in my life (and maybe yours as well) can be fear.  We are afraid that if we don’t grow a little bit more, take on just a few more jobs, spend a few more hours promoting this or marketing that then we will flat out get left behind.  The problem is that over time those little things can turn into something more than we bargained for-leaving family, health, and other life goals with less than enough.  A decision to increase our personal financial security can leave our health, family, or community suffering.

I must be honest that I struggle with this and it’s something that takes my very conscious effort.  It’s something that Nathan and I, together, have to invest a lot of time, energy and space into.  Every day, every week, every year.

When Nathan and I made the decision to farm full-time we took a holistic approach to farm planning.  That meant that we didn’t exclusively look at production and income, but rather looked at how our way of making an income effected our ability to take care of ourselves, live within community and parent our children in the most meaningful ways.  This was a privilege.

The “just enough” approach to farming allows us to live the lifestyle we want to live while also serving our community in such a way that Nathan can continue being a mentor and I can continue focusing on food system development.  It allows us to serve fewer customers in a more focused way while decreasing our competitiveness among other farmers.  It’s a win-win for us even if it means sacrificing and letting some opportunities go.

Putting credit where credit is due, we’ve gained just as much wisdom about building a farm business from our non-farming friends.  A wise friend once told us, “Put your arms out in front of you.  Notice where you end.  This is a physical expression of our human limits.”  I love that.

Slowly over time-Nathan and I have learned to stop overthinking the idea of full-time farming.  It was a difficult leap for us as we had very much been part of the system that most people of our generation were born into.  We worked hard and got good grades, went to college, and were pursuing careers that very much appeared to be our dream jobs.  

We spend a lot of time talking about what we want to do with this one life we’ve been given.  We measure our values and priorities against the realities of life to determine how much work we should take on in order to meet our financial needs.  Isn’t that what all of us are really doing?  I think what happens is that we often allow the systems we were born into (culture, religion, socioeconomic status, race, family) to determine what our values and priorities should be.  If we want to be able to do anything that falls outside the “norm” then we have to be willing to create our own systems based on our own unique self and what we were created to do with our short time here on earth.  That takes courage, friends.

In order to motivate ourselves to do that we have to take the time to stop and think.

What that looks like for us is a yearly evaluation of where we are.  Are we investing enough time into our relationship with God, one another, our children, the people that we love?  Is Nathan getting time away from the farm to go fishing with his dad and Carter?  Does I have time for friendships, writing, traveling?  Are we contributing physically, mentally, emotionally and financially to our community?  Are our children getting the education they need to pursue the life they are being called to?  At the end of our lives will we look back and be pleased?

Let me tell you something.  If you do not care about these things no one else will either.  Your quality of life starts with you making a decision that it matters.

Next we start with a realistic list of things that simply have to be done.  Since we are year round farmers we must take into consideration that we will always be doing much more than harvesting.  Planning, planting, harvesting, tending to fields and animals is part of our regular routine.  There are other parts of our work that will always be there.  Managing finances, organizing CSA pickup, marketing, working on equipment.  We must be realistic about that because we have young children and everything will take longer than expected.  Interruptions and imperfections are a very real part of our life as we raise up the next generation.  Because we value community and service we must consider the time and finances that we will devote to both.  Our hearts depend on that.

One of the best ways to remain satisfied with “just enough” is to keep your head down and focused on the work right there in front of you.  My husband is the best teacher of focus and attention.  Another way is to reach out to those who might need your help or who have been right where you are and can offer some encouragement.  The most troubling thing you can do is to look to the right and look to the left comparing your enough to someone else’s enough.  That only brings heartbreak.

​We live in this privileged society where we rarely know the longing that many others experience day to day.  To be part of a food system where imperfection becomes an accepted part of our daily lot has become something I’ve learned to be very, very thankful for.

Advent Week One {Hope for Motherhood}

As soon as another difficult thing hits the news feed my mind immediately goes to fixing the current problem. I begin to ask myself, “How can we take control of this hard thing or use our power and influence to stop that terrifying thing?” Then, when those feelings and emotions begin to subside, I begin to ask myself questions that take me all the way back to root causes that may have lead to the hurt of the individual at first and then the community.

This process brings me back to the most basic needs all humans share in common at birth. To be born, fed, and nurtured in the ways our creator intended must matter in some significant way. 
How can we reimagine our most basic needs in such a way that puts dignity back into the hands of the individual? I’m certain that it is worth-at the very least-more of my time and attention. During this season of advent I’m more aware of the necessity of Mary in the message.

While I’m not naive enough to believe that this is the only way for social change or should in any way become a priority over the reality of current personal stories I do believe that when nothing else makes sense it may be time to reconnect to what has been made insignificant and what seems to so many irrelevant.

I’ve witnessed the generational shift that takes place when a woman has recognized the power waiting for her by creating better habits for the body, mind and soul. I’m convinced that carefully hidden in all of this are answers with HOPE for the future waiting to be found.

Peeling off layers of protection {my son turns twelve}

The moment my boy was born I reached out my hand to touch him-any part of him would do.  My fingers wrapped themselves around his little hand before he was taken away.  When they returned him to me he he was bundled up so tight that I could only see his face.  I unwrapped him-paying attention to every single feature-then very slowly wrapped him back up.  It reminds me of a teaching tool my friend Misty uses to explain the layers of protection we put on children when they are young. 

Holding them when they cry.
Feeding them when they are hungry.
Kissing them when they are hurt.

We put layers of protection onto our kids while they are young to prepare them for when those layers begin to come off.  

A grandparent passes away.
A dog dies.
A risk must be taken.

At twelve years old my son and I are beginning to remove the layers.  Some slowly and with discussion and others quick as if to ease the pain…like a bandaid.

While I can no longer cling to him that doesn’t mean I have to completely let him go.  Rather, I can simply be present, stay close, and hold space for those moments that he does need only his mama.  They are getting fewer and farther apart, but they are still there.  And when those moments come they are pure treasure.

In this space I hold for him I’m learning more about who I am.  I’m drawing more near to God.  I’m becoming the person he needs me to be right now.  Preparing for who he will need me to be in the future.  For one-third of my life he’s been in it and we are approaching the time where parent becomes friend, acquaintance, sharer of a mutual experience.
 
I’m becoming not just the mother he was born to, but the mother he would have chosen had he been given the choice.  What honor he is gifting me.

I’m laying down the fear that the adult relationship with my son will be any less or more distant than the relationship I will have with my daughters.  No stage of life is better or more rewarding than another-it’s how we approach them that matters.

I’m thankful for the young man he is becoming.  Thankful to be his mama.  Honored to be preparing him for everything the world has waiting for him.

Happy birthday my sweet boy.

Integrating motherhood for more peaceful communities

To truly value motherhood is to accept the new limitations put on women as they are physically, spiritually & mentally pushed in new ways raising a baby through childhood and into adulthood.  Mothers become limited of extra time, find themselves constantly distracted, their conversations are broken, and yes-the occasional absent mindedness becomes her new normal.  While accepting these limitations with thoughtfulness and consideration is a great place to begin-offering her space to work through them on her own can be helpful at best, and excruciatingly isolating at worst.  These changes to her mind and spirit are intended with purpose for a stronger connection to her child, but there is more to her as a woman than just “mother”.

We can stand to be more open to what these changes (challenges) in motherhood are doing to build wisdom and insight within her.  Similar to any challenging experience in life, but with the value of personhood attached to the hip.  May we even take the time to pursue her, invite her, engage her, communicate with her, even develop systems that welcome her to participate.  What if more mothers were encouraged to deeply participate within their community while engaging their children at the same exact time.  Imagine a baby at breast while a mom sits in a board meeting, a child standing alongside mom while she presents to a room full of professionals, children at the feet of a mother who discusses financial opportunities, children in the field harvesting at the kind direction of their mother, a mother sharing her beliefs about all the big things like God and society and equality with her children right there listening and knowing that this is normal-this is right.  How might we mothers be different, how might our children see new opportunities, how might everyone experience something valuable?

Suppose that the very wisdom and insight that the community around her is so desperately looking for is exactly what is welling up inside her.  What if she is simply waiting for her purpose to be inclusive of raising her children, but not at the exclusion of contributing to the world around her.  What if all the hurts, struggles, and upside down ways that society is battling becomes the very things her children are working away at inside of her?  What if she is the key to resolution and peace?  As we choose to be inclusive of the mothers among us may we also find deeper levels of sacrifice, connection, and truth that have been missing for some time from the communities we live among.  When we consider the mother may we also consider the next generation and all that we should be hopeful for.

Farming has become the perfect occupation for integrating community contribution into my work as mother.  I’m thankful that as I offer to take on the burden or work of another that they are willing to take on moments of care for my children.  This seems right.  I’m hopeful that I can help work through other ways that we may create new pathways of balance for mothers.

When the word means the thing {Low Iodine Thyroid Cancer Diet}

When I found out that my friend Susan might have thyroid cancer I landed on my knees in prayer.  This wouldn’t be the first time I had prayed for my friend Susan and I know that she’s done the same for me.  Once she was diagnosed my prayers changed to “How might I help her?” and “What do I have to give that is worthy enough”?  Like many of Susan’s other friends I reached out and asked her to let me know if she needed anything.  But each and every time I spoke or wrote those words I felt an emptiness.  How do I let her know that I really, really mean it?  How can I let her know that I’m choosing to care in such a way that I wake up thinking about her and sometimes I want to scream and other times I’m simply left resting in my hope?  All for her?

One day Susan reached out and gave me a gift.  She told me exactly how I could help.  She told me exactly how I could be of the most help.  “Hey would you want to come over and cook with me one day?  My doctors are going to put me on a low-iodine diet and I want to be prepared.”

Of course I said “yes” followed immediately by thinking, “what in the world is a low-iodine diet”?  

There was a long list of foods that are not allowed on the diet, but I was thrilled to see that the approved list was full of items available here on our farm (or could be picked up from other farmers at the market).  It reminded me that time and time again the recommended and ever changing diets for improved health like Whole 30, GAPS, Trim Healthy Mama all include real, farm fresh food.  An encouraging reminder that all of this hard work and giving away of gifts is worth every minute.

This was Susan’s preferred, approved “food” list:

-Potatoes
-Sweet Potatoes
-Small Pumpkin
-Acorn Squash
-Lettuce/Greens
-Carrots
-Peppers
-Tomatoes
-Bell Peppers
-Eggplant
-Squash
-Zucchini
-Beef
-Chicken
-Pork
-Egg Whites

So on a Monday afternoon we gathered up the food and headed for Susan’s along with other friends and co-farmers from Community Farmers Market.  

How bold and brave it was for Susan to reach out to us like that.  To trust us enough to welcome us into her personal space and intimate needs.  Because really-there are few things more intimate then the food we eat in order to prepare and heal our bodies.  This time together reminds me so much of the start of Community Farmers Market.  The ways that our lives have always folded in and out of one another’s.  Susan was there when I gave birth to a baby girl at home and I was there when she gave birth to her ever growing iced cream business.  Loving, believing, hoping, caring for one another.  Celebrating with one another, struggling with one another.  

It’s moments like this that the word community is really the thing.  For many of us it’s not just a word that we use lightly, but something that we live out-day to day-alongside one another.  Not something to be bought or sold, but THE most valuable thing to be nurtured and shared.

As we gathered together to prep and cook we simply got started.  There were no recipes, no plans…just everyone using the cooking skill they knew with the food available right in front of them.  One person started caramelizing onions while another cut and diced squash and yet another prepared proteins for their place in each meal.  Quickly-entire meals were coming together and the freezer was being filled. 

In a way I think that all of us felt like we had poured our heart and soul into that food in ways we had never done before.  Our love and care for our good friend could be felt in the room and tasted in each dish.  I love the way that Susan shared her perspective from our time together on social media and I have asked her permission to share it with you,

“Y’all don’t even know how dear these ladies are to me. A few weeks ago I sent out a distress signal, and these lovely ladies, along with a few reinforcements, were willing and able to answer the call. To prepare for radiation, I needed to start a special diet, the low-iodine diet {LID}. I basically had a tiny window of opportunity to prepare for this diet, and was completely overwhelmed by the thought of it, not to mention not feeling well enough to even know where to begin. So I invited a handful of farmers market friends to a party~ they were asked to bring their farm fresh foods, come to the kitchen, and cook for me all afternoon. Nice of me, wasn’t it? ? Well these are a few of the hardworking ladies that were able to make it, and let me tell you, I am NOT going hungry thanks to them. They really made this restrictive LID feel like a luxury. I’ll be sharing more pictures and stories of our afternoon in the kitchen at Susan’s Low Iodine Par-Tay. I hope it pieces together what the Community Farmers Market means to me: community, family, friendship, food, nourishment, service, blessings. I hold these women {and so many others}, and the memory of this day, close to my heart. I will never forget their kindness.”

The word community really does mean EVERYthing.