Fellowship of Your Suffering

I recently came across this teaching letter I had written as a 19-year-old. Asking my dad, a pastor, to proof it for me, I had no idea how much it would impact him. I had sensed a strong nudge to write it. It seemed that the words weren’t coming from me but were flowing through me by the Holy Spirit. It seemed a strange topic for a 19-year-old, who had never been married or betrayed, to cover. Here is what I handed to him:

You don’t think God knows what it’s like to be divorced? You say, “Well, how can He have been through everything? How can He have gone through what I’ve gone through? How can Hebrews 4:15 be true?”

For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

Don’t be foolish. Jesus knows every pain. He experienced the deepest hurt. He was divorced from God! He was betrayed by His closest companions. 

You say, “How so? Can you prove it with Scripture?” Most certainly!

Jesus was betrayed by His own treasurer – a man He called, “Friend,” (Matt. 26:50). He knew what Judas would do, yet He allowed him to stay, He allowed him to find Him in the garden, and He allowed Judas to identify Him. Jesus knows betrayal. 

Look at how He reacted though. He healed one of His arrestors. His whole staff fled – His closest earthly friends deserted Him. 

He didn’t curse them. He knew they would run. These are men He poured His whole life into. 

These are the men He opened up to and taught them the things He knew. He gave His anointing to them. He put them in charge of His ministry. 

They fled in His darkest hour. He didn’t give up. He didn’t fall down and quit. He went on in the darkest hour of His life, alone, to finish the call of God on His life. 

You may be thinking, “Yeah, okay, maybe so, but ‘divorced from God?!’ Isn’t that taking it a little far?”

In John 10:30, Jesus declares, “I and My Father are one.”

He was one with God. His whole dependency was on God. His whole life was centered and focused on God. 

Yet when Jesus became sin, when all the sin of the whole world was placed upon His shoulders, He was torn from God! He was ripped apart from the very Being He had always been one with.

It caused Him such great pain that in the midst of all the shame He was enduring (the shame of the process of crucifixion; Heb. 6:6, Mk. 15:22-34, 14:64-65), naked and destitute, He hollered at the top of His lungs, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?!” 

I’m sure if He had strength enough left, sobs racked His body at that moment. Oh, the torture of being forcefully torn from the One You love most!

“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?! Why have You left Me alone, destitute,  naked, friendless, empty, cursed, sinful, in pain, travail, and weakness? Why have You taken flight and fled from Me in My darkest hour? All My earthly friends have left Me. Must You do the same?!”

Jesus knows the pain of divorce. Jesus knows the anxiety, the terror of betrayal. He had an idea of what it would be like before it happened. Why else would He have prayed His prayer of travail in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mk. 14:32-36, 39, 41, 42)? It was on Him so heavily that He asked not just once but three times if there was possibly any other way.

Still, He came away from that earnest prayer knowing that it could not be so. There would be no other way, but with peace He faced the torment that was set before Him. He went through all of that, so He could identify with you! His pain was worse than anything we could ever experience. He promised He would never leave us nor forsake us.

All people in the world may desert us, but we always have God. We may become so lonely, so very lonely on this earth, but we are never alone. We are never alone. 

Our God is always with us. Jesus is on the right hand of the Father, making intercession for us, for He identifies with the feeling of our infirmity. The Holy Ghost is in us to comfort us and teach us how to treat the situation. The Holy Ghost is here to guide us and to show us things to come, so we can prepare ourselves and, if possible, avoid unnecessary hurt and harm.


Cow Tippin’

I’ve been thinking about cow tippin’ lately. We have a neighbor who’s a good ol’ boy (as my dad would say), salt of the earth (as my husband would say). He’s the kind of guy you’d want with you in a survival situation. He’s got loads of useful skills and knowledge. 

Terry & he got talking about cow tippin’ the other day (more redneck entertainment than a skill, I suppose), and Jack gave a bit of wisdom that got me thinking. “If you tip ‘em, and they don’t make a sound, you better turn your hat & run, ‘cause it’s a bull!”

I was driving down the road later & got thinking about that. It got me pondering sacred cows in my own life. How many of those sacred cows made no noise when I gave them a little push, so I thought they were okay to let stay? I didn’t realize they were bulls that could trample me to death and steal the call of God from my life.

You know, our Enemy’s a sly one, but here’s the thing, whatever he is, my Father is greater. He’s more creative, more persistent, more patient, and above all, He LOVES me and wants me to succeed in His Kingdom, so He’ll keep bringing up those bulls until I deal with them. Let me give you an example.

Romans 2:6-8 says God will render to each person according to his deeds. If you persist in doing good, you’ll go on to eternal life. On the other hand, if you’re selfishly ambitious, it won’t look so pretty for you.

Now, here’s how a big, fat bull of fear of “selfish ambition” got anchored into my soul. It had a seed of truth, but some tragic circumstances occurred (along with thousands of examples in culture) which, over time, caused me to key in on those words “selfish ambition.” I’m not even sure I’m ready to share this publicly. It’s something I held silently and sacredly for decades. Only a few people know, and I’m not sure anyone will truly understand the depth of the hold it had over me.

It went back to the true love, honor, respect, and admiration I had (and still do) for my father. He was radically saved from a destructive lifestyle and went just as full-bore for God. As a little one, I got to watch the transformation firsthand. I wanted to be just like him, operating in the Holy Ghost and power.

I listened as he shared his testimonies of how the Lord dealt with him, both before he rededicated his life to God and how He led him in ministry and life. One story he shared with our church was how the Lord was dealing with him regarding carrying on business and ministry simultaneously. The Lord wanted him to go full-time in ministry, but he was struggling to give up business.

One night, he had a dream of himself in a suit with work boots on his feet. He woke up with half of his body paralyzed, and the Holy Spirit spoke to him regarding letting go of business. When he got his heart right, he regained use of his whole body.

About 10 or so years later, he had moved the family to Nova Scotia to help start a church and Bible school at a group’s request. Needing additional funds to cover his personal bills (he used the church’s income to pay its expenses, as well as the salary of an associate pastor), he took up his old trade again, crossing the border every week. It was during one of these work trips that he was tragically hit by a trailer truck and killed at 43 years of age.

This, combined with a few other things, became the subconscious framework for a sacred bull in my life. If I was going to be 100% dedicated to the Lord, it would have to be 100% ministry. How could it be otherwise? How could I be in the world of business without being corrupted by the love of money? How could I split my focus and succeed at either? How could I keep from becoming selfishly ambitious?

Didn’t Dad die young, because He had disobeyed the Lord in that? I asked the Lord so many questions when that happened, but He stayed silent. I suppose that was between the Lord and him, and it wasn’t my business. 

I had a choice to make then. I could blame God and turn from the faith, but I chose trust. Still, that sacred bull had taken root. I wasn’t to know how deeply it would affect me until 20+ years later. Now, here I am, eyeball to eyeball with it. Will I turn my hat and run, or will I stand my ground and kick it down? 

[No animals have been harmed in the making of this post. I would never literally go cow-tipping, so be at ease, my animal loving friends.] 

I can make all kinds of excuses for letting sleeping bulls lie (or stand as it may be). If I don’t mess with them, they won’t mess with me, right? But here’s the thing, there are people right in my community I haven’t met yet and may never meet, unless I meet them in the marketplace.

They are people who have come to the end of themselves, and when they’re all alone and no one sees, they’re crying out for God. They’ve lost all hope in doing things their own way. There’s nothing left to hold onto.

Somehow, someway, the Lord is asking me to be willing to cross paths with them and love them and introduce them to life with Him. So many things I didn’t understand. So many misconceptions I had about what ministry looks like, but sometimes, ministry can look like going on special assignment for a specific period of time to interact with a specific person to introduce them to my Best Friend, the Love of my life.

This sacred bull of fear of selfish ambition has been on shaky ground for the last few years, but I’m getting ready to give him the final roundhouse kick. Within just the last few months, the Lord keeps shining a light on it, using prophecy, mentors, coaches, powerful testimonies, and Scripture. I was playing my audio Bible yesterday, the book of Romans in King James (not because it’s the best, but because that’s how I memorized Scripture in the 80s, and it gives me fond memories of Dad).

This Scripture hung in the air in my spirit, Romans 12:11, “not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord…” Time stood still. I looked that bull straight in the eyes, and I said, “It’s time for you to go.”

From the Archives

(Written in 2013)

I fell into permaculture in 2007 after experiencing a physical ailment that put me on the hunt for healthy living. From that moment, my curiosity was piqued, and I haven’t looked back since. At first, I devoured every YouTube video I could find and began reading a plethora of articles on the subject. Once I had exhausted those resources, I moved onto spending money on books and experimenting with things in my backyard.

In 2011 I earned my first Permaculture Designer’s Certificate. Larry Santoyo shared the teaching time with Hunter Heaivilin, and we had the exciting experience of being in Port-au-Prince in a mixed class. 2013 saw Geoff Lawton offering his first ever online PDC, and I jumped at the chance, receiving Mollison’s official certificate at completion. Afterward, I enrolled as a Permaculture Practitioner in Training through The Permaculture Institute under the mentorship of Doug Crouch of TreeYo Permaculture.

Meet Doug

doug-crouchDoug is most at home when traveling, just like our family, and we share the same interests in international work and healthy eating.

Many times, we’re communicating across the ocean, and I have to keep from getting jealous. Portugal is his second home, and he also has connections and work in the Dominican Republic. On this side of the Atlantic, Doug divides his time between team-work in Cincinnati and growing a sustainable, permaculture-friendly business on his grandparents’ campground in Northern Kentucky.

Doug gives generously of his time and makes himself available in numerous ways when we can’t meet in person. Already, he has given our family the fun opportunity of spending time with one of his international mentees, Anna, when they came for the initial scout-out of our project property.


I hardly know where home is anymore, I’ve lived in so many places. I started out in Maine, and through many twists and turns, find myself in Boyle County, Kentucky, with my husband and three children. We are transforming a rundown country property into a permaculture paradise, a homebase from which to launch for all our future adventures.

These days, I find myself continuing to focus on healthy living, stewardship of resources, and promoting avenues of sustainable abundance that free us to be increasingly generous. I enjoy facilitating connections between like-minded individuals and promoting innovative ideas that strengthen community and encourage us to become not so much self-reliant as inter-relational in mutual sharing of resources, experiences, tools, ideas and so forth. My long-term goals encompass sustainable aid work (permaculture-style) for orphans and war-torn countries. I’m still learning what that means.

Forkland Road


Home-base has been a hard concept for our family to grasp, but after starting from scratch numerous times we are beginning to place some value on it. We haven’t chosen a name for our place yet, but it will be the base of many experiments and the overarching lifetime permaculture project where we prove out what we hope to share with others. Forty acres of knobs envelop five acres of pasture and stream, a variety of landscapes from which to learn.

The house on site was built in three stages, with the oldest being around 100 years old. We’re starting with bones and rethinking things from there. Excitement and some intimidation fill us at the thought of the scope, but we’ll just have to eat that elephant one bite at a time.

Pike Valley Farm


Daniel Pike welcomed me to create a permaculture design for my project on Lawton’s online PDC. Right now the project is on the paper stage, but Doug has come for an interview and walk-through with Daniel. Daniel does a ton of research on his own and is interested in anything that will help the farm to flourish in a sustainable way for his family and future generations. We see a promising future for them and many exciting, positive changes to come. Yeoman’s keyline plow and some compost tea will probably play a big part.



This is a two-pronged project. On the Haiti side, we have a friend who runs an orphanage and pastors a church. This project is in the relationship-building stage. Due to low employment, they are constantly finding themselves in financial difficulty. We would love to bring them from the place of continually “needing” foreign aid to being able to provide their own support through regenerative business practices.

On the Dominican side, we have been gifted a couple acre property to steward and use for the good of the residents of the area.  Rocks abound, and water does not. The property overlooks a bay on one side and a deep and beautiful gorge on the other, leading to Haiti. It should be an excellent opportunity to work out real life solutions to real life problems that relate to many people around the world. We’ve got a lot of things on paper, but it will take some moo-lah to get it beyond that point. This is another long-term project.



Appendix & Invitation: Creating Your Best Life

Attached are the Appendix referenced in Chapter 4, regarding instruction on being filled with the Spirit, and my invitation to you to create community with me around taking action on the principles learned in the book. Enjoy!



Chapter 7

Chapter 7: Creating Your Best Life

This is a shorter chapter, but it’s where you put in the work of creating your daily sequence for changing your own confident expectation. You’ll mine out the gems from your work in the last chapter and create a simplified but more potent version you’ll use EVERY DAY for the rest of your life (with updates along the way, of course, as the fruit begins to materialize). Think of it like brushing your teeth. You don’t want to go a day or a night without it.

Chapter 6

Chapter 6: Creating Your Best Life

This chapter has multiple thinking, planning, and writing sections. It will not be as meaningful without you setting aside time to work on those sections, whether on the initial pass-through or 2nd. This is where you begin the action of creating your own Blueprint. You’ll want to set aside a couple hours to listen and an hour or more to do the work.

Chapter 5

Chapter 5: Creating Your Best Life

This is only take 1, because I messed up so many times, phone dying, tummy growling, etc. However, I posted anyway, because I don’t know about you, but there is no way I would want to wait a day to hear this, and I already missed posting yesterday because of having a guest in town and some work going on at the house. So, in case like me, you woke up super early in the morning thinking about this and eager to get to the next chapter, here is Take 1. I will re-record today when I get a few typos corrected, can find a quiet space and time without too much background noise, and have charged my phone. I don’t have words for this chapter. It may literally blow your mind! You might have to listen to it three times and pause 50 times, just so you can fully digest it. It’s that worth it.

Creating Your Best Life: Ch 3

Warning: This chapter is about twice as long as the previous chapter (so 2 hrs) and contains deep work. You will need privacy and time to fully complete it. If you can’t do it in one fell swoop, use a couple days or a couple times throughout the day when you can be alone.

Chapter 3