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Hope. A single word that can bring a small spark of peace to our hearts. With a new year fast approaching, we express that one word each time we make a resolution. I will lose weight. I will find a new job. I will find someone to love. Each goal we make is wrapped carefully in a gossamer paper of Hope.

But Hope doesn’t work alone. To just hope for something, yet do nothing to achieve that goal, relegates Hope to the world of dreams and fairy tales, quickly to be covered up and dissolved in the fog of neglect. In order to reach any goal or resolution we make for ourselves, we have to apply the Quintuplet Principle. God first, always. Then comes Faith, Hope, Love, and their brother, Work.

Hope herself is the light at the end of the tunnel. Work is the blood, sweat and tears we shed laying the track to reach that light. It takes physical, emotional and mental effort to see a dream turn into reality, as well as sheer tenacity. That one word, ‘tenacity’ says it all – determination, courage, guts, heart, perseverance, diligence, doggedness. Persistence. Nerve. Blend all of these attitudes together with the glue of work, and you can accomplish most anything you set your mind to doing. Faith kicks in her share of the work with constant encouragement. She gently whispers in your ear, “Keep going. You can do it!” And let’s face it. Without Love, anything you do is like having a ball and chain tied to both feet, as well as your hands and heart.

The Quintuplets will be our constant companions on the farm this year. Tonight, the Country Boy and I will sit down at the table this evening, with our customary end of the year meal consisting of grilled Filets, sautéed mushrooms, baked potatoes and salad. Throughout dinner, we will discuss the lists of goals we have made for the farm for 2016, weeding out that which isn’t practical (building a new barn – it makes the list every year, and alas, is the first one to be scratched out), and keeping those things that are doable. After dinner, we will begin narrowing down the projects to one large goal and a few smaller ones. The two largest items on the list are a front end loader and a square baler. Both will be rather expensive, but have equal standing in the ‘need’ category. Some of the smaller items are to enlarge the chicken coop area, build a couple of chicken huts (one for the garden and one to raise meat birds), increase the size of our flock to 100 birds, establish the bee hives we have and possibly purchase one or two more, and to get back on track with our cattle breeding program, part of which means setting aside enough funds to purchase a new bull within the next two to three years. We also are going to move forward with the greenhouse project – selling vegetable and herb plants – and reworking the garden back to a more manageable size. Throw in all the general maintenance, care and upkeep, as well as the cost of feed, parts and supplies, and we will have a full plate here on the farm.

Before we make any plans, though, our hearts and thoughts will be placed in the hands of God, who assigned us to be stewards of this farm. We will keep in mind I Corinthians 13:13, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” Paul tells us in James 2:17 that Faith without works is dead. And let’s face it; to love someone isn’t the fairy tale version of a commoner and a Prince. Real love takes hard work and dedication. Then if Faith and Love without work is dead, doesn’t it stand to reason that Hope falls into the same pattern? It does. These four are brothers and sisters in spirit, and when one falls, so do the others.

Here on the farm it takes a firm and tenacious love of God to make things work. We do our best to apply the Quintuplet Principle to make a success of our life. That chicken hut isn’t going to build itself. It will take financial discipline and a good bit of sweat. Those two hives of bees have to be purchased from a reputable beekeeper, which means more money, research, and some effort. With thanks to my brother and sister, some of that financial burden was lifted, as Mark gave me a roll of chicken wire for Christmas and Amie gave me the foundation I need for the frames. And we will depend on God to give us the strength and tenacity to do the work. But it is up to the Country Boy and me to get the jobs done. And we are ready.

My New Year’s wish for all of you is to be visited and blessed by the Quintuplets. May your 2016 be filled with Faith, Hope and Love. And may you have the tenacity it takes to get the job done.

God bless you, my friends.