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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Day 31: July Food Challenge $1/day/person/meal Friends, Goats, Cheese, Butter

The milking has officially begun!
As has the cheesemaking, thanks to F&L, a totally groovy couple who were kind enough to show Ms B and I the ropes on safe, sanitary, reliable cheesemaking.
What a day!
If you had told me 32 days ago, that the end of July would find me standing in a goat pasture...,
That milking goats was in my future for at least six weeks...
That the last day of July would find me standing in another kitchen, my feet soggy from spilled whey, kneading fresh mozzarella that I had made from two gallons of goat's milk...
That kindness from friends would keep my house cool, despite my A/C going out twice...
That fresh veggies and fruits and jams, along with soaps, would be gifted and shared and that my food supply would actually be more abundant than I had imagined or, in my budgeting, thought possible...
If you had said, "Before the month is out, you'll meet homeless people on the street, stop your car, and they will pray for you. You will feed them physical food, but they will nourish your soul..."

Who me?
All those things could not possibly happen?
Yet, they did.
Those things and more.
Thank you for being a part of this journey with our family.
For cheering us on as we took on our July food challenge.
We learned so much.
Not just about food and budgeting and being mindful with our purchases.
We learned so much about friendship, kindness, and more of what it means to be a kind human in a world, that for me, radiated back more kindness at every turn.

Each day were little lessons:
Will you call the number of the woman with the milk?
Will you turn around the car and give the wanderer the "blessing bag" your children had made?
Will you look for the alternatives to spending money and still have fun?
Will you speak to the one who sits on the steps and acknowledge that his humanity is as valuable as yours? Will you push past the emotions and simply settle into this new adjustment of not being oblivious with your money, especially when it comes to your food budget? Your entertainment budget?
Will you be content with what seems ordinary and watch what unfurls?
Will you be yourself and be gracious in entertaining, whether as hosts or as guests?
Will you be generous and give with hands unclenched, sharing the abundance with those around you?
Will you be grateful, humble, and above all...
Will you be kind?

Today was a tremendously fun day.
I forgot to pack my lunch, which was really poor planning on my part.
Efficiency is not actual reality in most facets of life.
Milk gets spilled.
Butter turns sour.
A/C's break, again.
Friends show up.
New friends are made.
Things take time.
Adapt.

My lack of planning led me to the grocery store when I was both tired and hungry.
I went in for butter.
I had a small balance on my gift cards.
And some coupons for some free stuff.
The store was crowded.
I forgot about tax.
And then the store only accepted a certain number of my coupons.
So, I waited and asked the cashier to remove the extra.
It was confusing.
I apologized to the folks in the line behind me.
In the end, I owed the store $0.83.
The thought passed that I could keep working this and get it down to $0.
But there were people in line, who were trying to be kind and patient, as I tried with my checker to sort out our mutual confusion.
So, I smiled, thanked them, paid, and made my way home.

In a sense, it is fitting that I came just a little short of the goal.
Did our family "have to have" anything from the store today?
Not really.
Should I have gone to the store without a real plan, especially when hungry and tired and my mind not at its sharpest?
Probably not.
My tendency towards pride and vanity is a very real thing.
Did I sabotage my perfect record, to keep myself from being a braggart?
Smiling softly at you, Friend, I'll close with,
"Perhaps."