Wednesday, February 20, 2013

This Made My Day

This illustration of me was made by a woman named Destiny, who wrote this open letter on her blog last night. I read it and was all smiles and tears. I wanted to share this little part of it. (I hope that's okay, Destiny?) I want to thank her as well. I wrote her back and told her how important encouragement is, and how important hearing that you matter to people is. Being a public person, and the internet being a fairly angry place, sometimes it feels overwhelmingly negative. But every once in a while you find out that someone was touched, and it makes this little website feel worthwhile, important even. I'm so grateful for kind letters, even if I don't get back to everyone who writes them. They make a difference.

Dear Jenna,

As of February 16th, it has been one year since I first visited your blog; I’m writing now to say ‘thank you’ because this past year has been the most productive of my life and I know it’s in large part due to the inspiration you impart on a near-daily basis.

My dad died in early 2011 and during his stay in the hospital, we talked about the homestead we’d build when he got better. His chance of recovery was slim and we owned no property on which to build a proper farm but the planning gave us something to hope for and entertained him; he was the only one of our family with actual farm experience and he loved to be in a position where he could teach us new things.

Unfortunately, he didn’t make it. Although owning a quaint little berry farm and orchard has been my dream since I was six, I pushed away all thoughts of homesteading that year; it didn’t seem possible without Dad and we had too many other things to worry about in the immediate future. But then a year later, in February 2012, a co-worker lent me her copy of “The Secret.” That film hit me so hard and made me question what I really wanted– and I was a little surprised to find ‘I Want A Farm’ at the top of the list. How I would get a farm (or even prepare for working on one), I had no idea, but at least now I knew what I wanted so I went to Google for research.

I don’t remember how I found your blog but I do remember that the very first post I read was Biting Your Tail (which I read over and over and cried through each time because it touched me so deeply and echoed so many things I was feeling right then).

In the twelve months since I read that post, I have changed so much. As you often point out, you won’t get anywhere if you don’t take that first step… so I have taken lots of first steps this past year, in lots of different directions, and it’s amazing how much easier the second step is, and then the third. My first step towards farming was planting a vegetable garden (something I’d never done) and this spring my mom and I have plans to more than double it. We also got in touch with our local beekeeping club and are learning about apiculture. We completed a handful of DIY projects and have immersed ourselves in homesteading books and magazines. We still have a long way to go but there’s a goal to work toward now.

But it’s not just farming I’ve learned about from reading your blog; the real core of your writing is about manifesting your dreams, whatever they are, and I believe that’s the thing that keeps your readers coming back for more. You encourage us to declare our plans and intentions, share them with whoever will listen, and open doors and create opportunities in the process. I have stopped believing that ridiculous superstition about keeping your wishes secret or they won’t come true; now I write them down, chat about them, incorporate them into my daily activities. I call for them. And they’re answering; this year, I’ll be quitting my office job to work full-time as a professional illustrator (number two on that ‘I Want’ list).

Beatrix Potter and Tasha Tudor have long been my idols; they lived the way I want to. But, in many ways you have become more inspirational than them; you have manifested your farm through creativity, cleverness, enthusiasm, and grit– not a substantial bank account. Thank you so much for sharing your ups-and-downs with the farm, your excitement, your advice, and your ‘magic’ with those who visit. Words cannot express the value of the gift you give.



Blogger KristenAnn said...

And boy will Destiny do well as a professional illustrator - LOOK at that skill! Good luck to you, Destiny! :)

February 20, 2013 at 9:32 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth from the Berkshires said...

I love the picture! I just noticed the background images of horse, dog, pig, chicken. Very nice.

February 20, 2013 at 9:48 AM  
Blogger barbsbirds13 said...

Destiny's delightful illustration of you, Jenna, is so very on the mark. And she puts into words your encouraging influences and enthusiasm on herself and countless others as well. Thank you for sharing her letter and I wish her well in her ventures, as I do you as well.

February 20, 2013 at 9:57 AM  
Blogger barbsbirds13 said...

Oh, yes, Beatrix Potter and Tasha Tudor are models and mentors for me as well - artists, country farmers, writers into advanced years.

February 20, 2013 at 10:01 AM  
Blogger barbsbirds13 said...

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February 20, 2013 at 10:01 AM  
Blogger PansWife said...

Really charming artwork and it captures your spirit perfectly, Jenna. Destiny is very talented and I could see her supporting a little farm operation just doing illustrated portraits of people or their children. May all her dreams come true.

February 20, 2013 at 10:25 AM  
Blogger Michelle @ Give a Girl a Fig said...

Wow...what a tear jerker! I clicked over to her web site and ended up watching your First Year amazing when you put it all together, isn't it? You did it. You are DOING it. You are an inspiration and I am so glad that you are able to shut out the angry ugliness and know that the beauty is out there and that your voice is an important one to many. Thank you for sharing your life here on the big bad web...there are good pockets here and there. And your site is one of them. And now to go watch your video beautiful! It made me cry...and laugh. :)

February 20, 2013 at 10:32 AM  
Blogger Steph said...

Destiny wrote it beautifully. I second all she wrote. You do inspire, encourage and persevere through it all. Keep up the great work and thumbs up to all who are inspired by and can inspire others with good will and a common goal we can change our world and create a great one for all mankind. My love to all who love deeply! Thank you Jenna !!!!

February 20, 2013 at 10:39 AM  
Blogger Steph said...

Destiny wrote it beautifully. I second all she wrote. You do inspire, encourage and persevere through it all. Keep up the great work and thumbs up to all who are inspired by and can inspire others with good will and a common goal we can change our world and create a great one for all mankind. My love to all who love deeply! Thank you Jenna !!!!

February 20, 2013 at 10:41 AM  
Blogger Steph said...

Destiny wrote it beautifully. I second all she wrote. You do inspire, encourage and persevere through it all. Keep up the great work and thumbs up to all who are inspired by and can inspire others with good will and a common goal we can change our world and create a great one for all mankind. My love to all who love deeply! Thank you Jenna !!!!

February 20, 2013 at 10:41 AM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

Awesome!!!! you should turn that into a t-shirt, sell it on the blog and you and Destiny can split the profits! Add a funny or inspirational caption too. Absolutely fantastic!

February 20, 2013 at 10:50 AM  
Blogger Ohiofarmgirl said...

a lovely letter and probably the grandest illustration ever. great work Destiny!

February 20, 2013 at 11:02 AM  
Blogger Melissa said...

Awesome drawing for an awesome person who inspires me on a regular basis to live my dream life! Thank you Destiny and Thank you Jenna!

February 20, 2013 at 11:15 AM  
Blogger Holly said...

Awesome! You know that you have to frame her letter with picture and keep it for inspiration. Kudos to Destiny from sharing from her heart. And less eloquently, I thank you for all you share and do every day, holding up for us all the "Can-Do" spirit that you possess.

February 20, 2013 at 11:30 AM  
Blogger Copper + Cream said...

You look great animated! And I love the sweet letter that Destiny wrote to you. Such an encouragement!

February 20, 2013 at 11:51 AM  
Blogger jules said...

What wonderful letter! Jenna, you do inspire.

Good luck to Destiny as well. I tried to comment on her post, but was unable to. Some sort of server error.

February 20, 2013 at 12:07 PM  
Blogger jules said...

Oh, LOVE LOVE LOVE the illustration of you as well. She captured you, didn't she?

February 20, 2013 at 12:08 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

Love the cartoon version of you! It's AWESOME!!!!!! Proof that your an inspiration to many!

February 20, 2013 at 12:08 PM  
Blogger EAG said...

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February 20, 2013 at 12:13 PM  
Blogger EAG said...

I agree with everything Destiny said as well. You are such an inspiration, Jenna, and your blog and farm a source of joy for so many. Keep on keepin' on.

February 20, 2013 at 12:13 PM  
Blogger Moose Hollow Farm said...

Talk about tear-jerker!!!! Destiny, you are an inspiration and your Dad was lucky to have you by his side encouraging him with things that he loved. I'm sure that he is smiling from ear-to-ear with pride for his daughter. You can do whatever you set your mind to and I think that your already 1/2 way there. Your illustration is beautiful and so was your letter. My best to you and your Mom ~ keep us updated on your progress. You go, girl!!!!!!!!!!

February 20, 2013 at 1:13 PM  
Blogger Moriah said...

I enjoy reading about all you are doing and greatly admire your spirit. We too always wanted a farm and last year were able to make that dream come true. With homeschooling 4 kids the farm things don't always happen as fast as I would like but we have two dairy with kids expected in three weeks, two ewes and a three month old ram so hopefully lambs in the fall. We have lots of chickens and three roosters so my two oldest boys traded some chickens we hatched out for rabbits and we are excited to try eating rabbit. My 13 year old son is inspired by your interest in falconry and has looked into it here (he can't do it until he is 14 per our state laws but is planning on spending this year finding a mentor and preparing for the test). Have you read "Hawks In The Hand" by Hank and John Craighead? It is a great read and full of information. We are loving the journey! I had to comment this time because while I was reading your post my two year old daughter was sitting on my lap and saw the illustration of you and cried "oh, it is a princess!" You are the kind of princess I love her to look up to!

February 20, 2013 at 1:24 PM  
Blogger shelby said...

Loved the artwork and letter also. Farm girls rock :)

February 20, 2013 at 2:46 PM  
Blogger shelby said...

Love the artwork and the letter. Farm girls rock :)

February 20, 2013 at 2:47 PM  
Blogger Ngo Family Farm said...

Wow, this is so wonderful! And that illustration - just gorgeous!!

February 20, 2013 at 3:01 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

She sounds like me. I follow your blog daily,and am making plans to move next year to Montana-from Florida (talk about a change of scenery!) In the meanwhile, I have been trying to pay off bills, finish school, and get rid of junk I don't need (lots of that). My father also passed away last year, and he was an all round guy- could do carpentry, auto mechanics, etc. We used to talk about everything. I got his Mother earth news magazines when he passed ( from 1970's on) and have been reading them like crazy. Can't wait until I have my own little homestead (looking at an acre with house)and putting what I have learned through reading your blog and magazines to use. Keep us the good work! Marianne

February 20, 2013 at 3:16 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

This and the portrait of the sheep you posted a few days ago are wonderful!

(I wish the sheep one were a poster so I could buy it. I have sheep and this picture is just so perfect.)

February 20, 2013 at 3:22 PM  
Blogger Cindy said...

I LOVE IT!! (and I totally agree with her letter!)

February 20, 2013 at 7:28 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I wish her best of luck in her career as an illustrator. When I first looked at the illustration I thought "That looks so like a Tasha Tudor."
She would be my go to person for a book cover art if I ever get to the point of needing one. Soon, is my wish that the book is finished. It is in final editing. Yay.

February 20, 2013 at 7:54 PM  
Blogger Tiffany said...

For every wish fulfilled that I read about on your blog, whether it be yours or those of fellow readers who write about them in the comments, I'm inspired more and more. Esp. on those days when I'm swamped doing other people's work and questioning whether my sanity is worth their success and the paycheck that doesn't necessarily cover all the costs. It doesn't make me happy, so why am I doing it? I think it's time for reevaluation.

February 20, 2013 at 8:17 PM  
Blogger Jenny said...

Wonderful letter, the gift of encouragement! Great illustration!

February 20, 2013 at 11:13 PM  
Blogger Brandi said...

Beautiful illustration & beautiful letter for a wonderful & amazing woman. :)

February 21, 2013 at 12:01 AM  
Blogger Dalliann said...

Jenna, I remembered one last thing I forgot to include in my letter: Thank you for creating such a welcoming, supportive environment for all the people who visit you. The atmosphere here is so positive and powerful and that's an incredible resource to dreamers who may not have that kind of support in their daily lives. This is a place where kindred souls connect. This website is a haven. :)

I'm a bit overwhelmed by all the kind words directed my way today and I just wanted to leave a quick, heartfelt thank you to everyone here-- I'm really touched!

Thanks again, Jenna! You're an inspiration!


February 21, 2013 at 4:04 AM  
Blogger phaedra96 said...

You never know when or how your actions, words and deeds will affect another person. Keep on keeping on, Destiny. Drive and determination can overcome lack of finances, creating opportunity can overcome anything!

February 21, 2013 at 8:20 AM  
Blogger The Kelly's Adventures in KY said...


Destiny sure captured your spirit in her illustration.

Destiny, you will go far my dear! Keep telling your dreams, your words will help hold you accountable to them.

February 21, 2013 at 11:14 AM  
Blogger Linda Foley said...

Wow that was a very touching and inspiring letter! I love the illustration, she is very good and like others have said -it so fits you!

February 22, 2013 at 1:12 AM  
Blogger SouthernHeart said...

Wonderful letter and simply magical illustration that truly captured your likeness!


February 22, 2013 at 11:01 AM  
Blogger daisy g said...

Beautifully said. I echo her sentiment in many ways. Farmer, you are an inspiration and much of what I have come to realize is my passion is because of your fortitude to follow your dream. Blessings to you and Destiny...

February 23, 2013 at 6:30 AM  

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