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Change is Possible

I’m home this morning. I went for my check up yesterday. While everything went well – I’m blessed with good health – I received my third COVID vaccine, my shingles vaccine, and my flu shot. I made it through the first two COVID vaccine, but that’s not the case with this one       I’m feeling it a bit this morning so here I sit. Much has run through my mind the last few days, so I’ll take a moment to share some things with you.

I haven’t been able to do that very often – Opal’s Farm has had a busy Fall. Add to that my fantastic Thanksgiving week with my newfound family in Kentucky and I’m swamped with work. Writing, whether it’s read or not, is one of the greatest joys in my life. Every now and then God says slow down, rest, and write. Enjoy the morning. Today I may be feverish with the chills but I feel intense gratitude for my life, my family, and my friends.

I celebrated sixteen years clean on December 1st – my rebirthday. I had a friend who always said we were such blessed people to live two lives in one lifetime. Looking back, I can appreciate that statement more than ever.

My story isn’t that much different from any other recovering person. I spent a long time believing the lie that I could successfully drink and drug while living a life for everyone else. I fell deeper into the hole I was digging until there was no way to climb out. I’ve heard it said by those in recovery that God provides the ladder. Quite frankly, if He did I didn’t even have the strength to climb it. As I look back today, I can see that a loving God reached down and lifted me to freedom. The life I have today is simply grace and mercy from a God that loves His kids fiercely.

This time of year is always a time of reflection for me – probably even more so this year. I got a call earlier in the Fall from the folks organizing the Annual Erma C Johnson Hadley Awards Dinner. Ms. Hadley was the first women and first African American to serve as Chancellor of Tarrant County College and brought the college to one of the premier county colleges in the nation. She was a trailblazer and fine educator. The dinner is held annually in her honor since she passed away.

I thought they were calling for volunteers – I had worked one pre-COVID – but Dr. Jackson informed me that I was receiving the Community Leader award and she needed a short bio and headshot for the program. I was overwhelmed. How could this happen to me. I called my dear friend Edgar and all I could ask was why. Do they have any idea who they’re talking to? Don’t they know I’m simply a farmer?

Edgar reminded me that I need to share that. I’m nothing special. I grow food for people and help marginalized neighborhoods. I try to honor my calling in very simple ways. Who I was before December 1st, 2005 is not who I am today. My relationship with God has brought about a radical transformation. His will was my own true will for myself all along. He lovingly and patiently waited until I was ready to surrender to Him.

I only bring this up as a reminder to myself and others that one’s past doesn’t dictate one’s future. My addiction defined who I was some sixteen years ago. God defines who I am today. I simply had to let it. From an ex-felon and drug addict to a community leadership. Hmm. Change is possible…

“That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good” Paul’s letter to the Romans 8.28

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“We are afraid of religion because it interprets rather than just observes. Religion does not confirm that there are hungry people in the world; it interprets the hungry to be our brethren whom we allow to starve.” – Dorothee Sölle, translated by David L. Scheidt, The Inward Road and the Way Back

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“We can never know the ecstasy of true hope without attending to the tragic realities of the poor and forgotten.”

– Rev. William J. Barber II, The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and the Rise of a New Justice Movement (2016)

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We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.

– Mother Teresa

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Happy Monday!

Good Morning Y’all! Saturday was eventful (and busy) for Opal’s Farm. We were unable to be at Cowtown Farmers Market due to the Dig Deep Conference at the Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT) and Community Resource Day 2021 at McDonald YMCA.

I was honored to be a presenter at the Dig Deep Conference this year. Dig Deep is a growers conference held annually by the Tarrant Area Food Bank and the Tarrant County Food Policy Council. I was excited to talk about Opal’s Farm, “Empowering Communities Through Food”, and giving everyone a seat at the table. I am proud to be associated with the sponsoring organizations. I attended several great breakout sessions and got to network with new friends and old. Kudos to Chef Robyn Frascella who prepared an incredible lunch for the attendees. The food justice community in Fort Worth – farmers, activist, and advocates – is an amazing group of people!

Stacey Harwood, our Volunteer Coordinator, manned our booth at Community Resource Day 2021. We want to thank all who attended and for the overwhelming support for Opal’s Farm. We especially want to thank Dr. Belay Reddick and Community Resource Day 2021 for taking this time to give special honor to Ms. Opal and Tarrant County Commissioner Roy Brooks for their service to our community. Well done, Dr. Reddick!

It’s Monday and the start of a spectacular week at the farm. We’ve started Fall planting and beginning to get a handle on the weeds that sprouted after the wet May. Moderate temperatures (a cold front is coming tomorrow!) and unusual July rains have stretched the tomato season into mid-summer. Purple Hull peas are in abundance, squash is producing steadily, and the test beds of bottle gourd and bitter melon are going well. We will have cantaloupe on Saturday as well. We hope to see you all Saturday at Cowtown Farmers Market.

We’d love to have you come by the farm too! We love our volunteers and we’re always happy to provide a bit of dirt therapy for all.

As always – if you’re unable to volunteer at Opal’s Farm you can always support our work by going to www.unityunlimited.org, the Opal’s Farm page and clicking on the donate button. Every dollar goes to the farm and providing food for your neighbors.