The National Ladies Homestead Gathering
The National Ladies Homestead Gathering ... this group ... I just don't have words.
Cyndi Ball of Lazy B Farm founded the group in her living room in 2011 because although she was a lone woman in the local agricultural community, she knew she couldn't really be alone. So she took a leap and reached out, asking for women interested in homesteading to come to her farm. This group later evolved into the National Ladies Homestead Gathering (NLHG), with Chapters starting first around the north Georgia area and then expanding outside Georgia. (We hope to be coast-to-coast before the end of the year! EDIT November 2017: We are now coast-to-coast with Chapters in Maine and Oregon!)
I began attending the Statham, Georgia Chapter after reaching my breaking point trying to go it alone (actually, it was a pair of scissors that broke and not my mind, but my husband says it's debatable. That's another story ... ). I later volunteered to be the Secretary for that Chapter. Cyndi then asked me to join the National Board (first as Secretary, now as the Communications Director). I'm also an introverted homeschooling mom who spends way too much time solo parenting while my husband travels for work. Parenting and homeschooling have benefits that pay off so far in the future I find it hard to appreciate them while I'm down here in the trenches. I craved adult interaction and involvement in my community beyond what I could find with playgroups, homeschool co-ops, and other child-focused activities. Homesteading changed my family's quality of life so drastically (more tomorrow) that I wanted to help others and pass on what I'd learned. NLHG touches my life daily and makes me feel appreciated and valued as an individual. Me as me. Not me as daughter, wife, mother, sister, friend, colleague. I overlooked my self for so long; it was starved for attention and nourishment. NLHG fulfills my self.
NLHG means friendship, sharing skills and knowledge, finding women who have been there or are there with me, the village our society has pulled away from yet desperately seeks. It means a night off once a month (or more, if I go to another Chapter nearby) to be myself away from my children. It means my sanity restored ... for at least a couple of days.
Oh, hey, look at that. I found words.