At the moment I am sitting crosslegged on the floor at my old wooden coffee table. This is where the good stuff happens. I have a cup of tea to my left and my bible to my right. On the rug next to me is Carl’s dog (and my eternal sidekick), Henry. These days his fur is shaggy and slightly unkept. He lays with his back pressed against my leg, slowly falling asleep as he listens to music. Ella, my other dog, rests with her head on a pillow on the couch behind me.
Although I have done a fine job of unintentionally confusing the majority of people in my life with my whereabouts, I am indeed here. It’s a quiet Sunday evening in the autumn colored woods of Northern Minnesota. I’ve moved out of my “tiny house” cabin and into my original lake studio, but only briefly. I don’t have running water, but I do have high speed internet. The view is gorgeous and so, therefore, all is well. Admittedly, my brief return to the States has been extended by circumstances of passport visas, commissioned paintings and final moving preparations. It’s been all-consuming, but quickly enough it is, indeed, coming together.
There are times in life when patience is required. This is not one of those times. As a matter of fact, I don’t feel like I am waiting on the Lord for any aspect of this move. Instead, it seems He is waiting on me! I feel God whispering with the sort of calm encouragement that only God can possess: “Hurry, hurry my dear…it’s ready for you as soon as you are.”
As I write this now, it seems silly that I’ve allowed myself to experience so much self-created anxiety over everything. Even so, I’ll cut myself some slack because, let’s face it, this life change (giving up everything, moving to Africa) does feel like a big deal. I’m being catapulted into the Whatsnext whether I’m ready or not!
I recently learned that the original Hebrew root of “be still” doesn’t mean “be quiet”; it means “LET GO.”
and know that I am God. ~Psalm 46:10
Since Carl died, I’ve been living my life in an ultimate sort of surrender. I’ve been learning how to be led by a current that is both watery and electrical. It is made of faith. Like water, it simply knows the way. It is calm and knowing. Like electricity, this current is energized. Alive.
I didn’t mean to write all this tho. I was simply going to tell you where I am and what my plans are. I laugh, even as I write those words. The Great Whateverafter awaits.
Yesterday, the Whatsnext involved purchasing a plane ticket to KENYA.
I leave in less than two weeks!!
Wha? Come again?
- Bemidji (+ multiple quick and last minute trips to Minneapolis): now-October 14th
- Kenya (October 14th -31st): PDC Training
- Bemidji (+ multiple quick and last minute trips to Minneapolis): November 1st-?
- Uganda (MOVING indefinitely, with dogs!!): mid to late November
When all is said and done, I will arrive in Uganda a little later than I had originally “planned.” Am I ok with this? Absolutely!
God’s plan is perfect and things are falling into place in some pretty amazing ways.
And so? I’ll be in Kenya for two weeks for an intensive 72 hour certification course in Permaculture Design (PDC). Let me just mention that NEVER in a million years would I have ever imagined my life going in this direction.
I am happy. I’m doing this for the widows that I’m working with in Eastern Uganda. I’m doing this so that I might be a learner as well as a teacher, because it’s a thread that’s meant to be added to the master weaving. I’m doing this because I know God wants me to. It’s a seed that He wants planted in the soil of my heart so that I might share it with others too, a seed that wants to grow…into something entirely unique and new.
This is what I’m going to learn:
• Approaches to design including: mapping, designing from patterns to details, analysis of elements, using slope & orientation, zones and sectors and analysing the needs & yields of systems.
• How to increase productivity using intensive garden design strategies including: stacking, soil-building, soil biology, mulch, nutrient cycling, pest control, green manures, worms, compost & companion planting.
• How to survey landscapes for property design using simple and sophisticated tools; mapping and map making, site analysis, and assessment.
• Climate: how to read weather patterns, create and enhance micro-climates, and create design strategies for all major global climatic zones.
• How trees and forests regulate and moderate ecosystems. How to sustainably use, propagate, harvest and manage tree systems using techniques such as coppicing, pollarding, grafting, shelter belts, orchards, guild planting & succession planning.
• Sound nursery practice, propagation, and bio-security.
• Integrated pest management.
• Homesteading and small scale farming.
• How to save money on energy bills with efficient home design, retrofitting, and renewable energy systems.
• Multiple uses for grey-water, constructed wetland design, and other techniques for treating waste water.
• Passive water hydration and infiltration, rainwater collection, storage and composting toilets.
• Dry-land strategies: using reconstructive earthworks, water harvesting and soil conditioning to recharge ground water, re-hydrate and drought-proof the landscape.
• How to bring fertility back to the land and build topsoil through a diversity of ancient and modern techniques.
• How to cycle nutrients and incorporate animals into your system using innovative techniques such as chicken tractors, pannage systems, dairy systems and beekeeping.
• Creating living ecosystems that feed and nurture us and future generations. Design through the use of nature’s rules to create a lush and resilient natural environment.
• Aquaponic systems; the combination of aquaculture (growing fish) and hydroponics (growing food without soil). Aquaculture systems and their use in Africa as well as global aquaculture.
• How to design solar-heated and solar-cooled buildings. The use of natural building materials, energy efficient house placement and design and the assurance of a healthy indoor environment.
• Strategies for creating community-wide sustainability, village development, alternative economies, local currencies, and how to organise community groups.
God has opened a new door in my life. It is a strange door. It leads to a mountain. It leads to a group of twelve women in rural, eastern Uganda. It leads to a group of kids who I love as tho they were my own. It leads to a new home on the flip side of the planet. It leads to a call on my life that I just can’t seem to shake, shimmy or live without.
This door. In the deepest places of my heart, I feel it leading somewhere good.
I’ll write another post about this upcoming trip to Kenya and more about permaculture in general. But for now, I just wanted to at least share this.
The work continues. The Joy Collective is in full motion. The closing up of my old life and the details of everything to come is a current work in progress. This quickening that’s been occurring let’s me know that I am, indeed, on the right track.
I love you, Abba. Thank you for using me in this direction. I’m yours. Every