Our first Christmas at Fatima Farm, its joys and promises anticipated duly throughout Advent, began with all the glory that a Georgia Christmas can offer: our midnight Mass excursion in the piercing cold was dappled with lovely flakes of snow, and His birth was sung highly in the sacrament. And while the morning was not white, it was cold, and the warmth of the fire in the wood stove in the hearth, around which we gathered to share gifts in thanksgiving for the ultimate gift of our salvation, warmed us to our toes, but also within our hearts - with the magic that only Christmas brings.
The season has also been tinged, however, with a great sadness also, and with the sobriety that comes with reminders of mortality and the fleetingness of our life here on earth. Our family’s maternal grandmother – that is, our children’s Grandma; our Mom – died suddenly just after Christmas day. Though geographically distant, we were close at heart (our minds and imaginations and souls were all bound together), and the shock of the loss breaks continually upon the quiet existence of Fatima Farm. Mom was a special person, a giving, holy, intelligent, thoughtful, artistic, remarkable woman, who touched our lives in innumerable ways, and we miss her greatly. She had not yet the chance to visit us at our new home, and we believe she would have loved it here. We know she loved the idea of our life here, and enjoyed the pictures we shared of our little adventures, and cheered us on and prayed for the success of all our endeavors over the last many months. It is bitter, it is sweet – she must be met with loved ones – with Dad - and her Maker in perfect joy and peace at last; how could we wish her to stay? The dawn and the sunset and the silver linings on the clouds demand that we believe in that eternal bounty. We will have to make content with reminders of her wonderful habits and the ways she informed our own, of which there are so many, and grow in the strength of faith by grace that only our heavenly Father can provide. She will remain a presence as we continue on our pilgrim way, guiding and praying for us from heaven, surely, though we may stumble. In your charity, offer a prayer for the peaceful repose of our beloved Mom and Grandma, and for the consolation of all who knew and loved her!
In late November, we celebrated a beloved saint, St. Cecilia, with a feast and fest on her day, replete with performances musical and poetic, with instruments and voices employed to make sounds for His glory and in honor of the patron saint of musicians. Boys and girls of every age enjoyed games of the field, a moment ‘on stage,’ sharing a meal, warming themselves by the fire, singing and praying together. We ask St. Cecilia, whose very life was a pure song offered to our God and Savior, to continually intercede for us as we gird ourselves in faith and humility, trying by our own lives to express our belief in Him Who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life!
These days, we continue to be grateful for the haven with which we have been provided by God, and do our best to reap what He has sown, and is sowing. Our chickens are laying eggs beautifully despite the frost and chill, and we look forward to what a spring bounty looks like in that regard. The goat-pen (fence and shed) repairs will soon be underway in earnest as we prepare to welcome a couple baby female Nigerian dwarfs to the homestead – an undertaking with immediate pluses and future hopes riding upon it – and an investment on every level, one that will root us all the more to our place. We dream of well-rounded children and goat-cheese, and think that is a noble dream! May our cups of wonder be filled to overflowing, if we are true enough to stay the course!
On this little homestead our family aspires to work the land and hand on the Catholic Tradition, walking in wonder and learning to live by the fruits of our labor, in honor of Our Lady of Fatima, who guides us to Him.