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Saturday, October 28, 2006

An ongoing discussion with myself

I'm having a real hard time pulling my thoughts together on this matter so bear with me during this post. As a writer by training, I'd like it to be perfect, but the thoughts are banging around inside my head, one on top of another and so that is how they might spill forth onto the screen.
I want to help people in the Catholic Worker tradition.
There are tons of people in Camden (the poorest city of it's size) who need true Catholic charity.
I live near Camden.
I want to be a short drive from family.
South Jersey is close to family, but not too close (no surprise visits) or too far (day trips are possible.)
We're only 15 minutes from an awesome traditional/indult parish which I love.
Indult parishes are hard to come by. (At least for now...)
I want to live on a small homestead of about 5 to 10 acres where we grow the majority of our food, raise animals and provide some of our own power through alternative means. I would like to have little or no mortgage therefore enabling my husband to stay at home and allow us to work on the homestead together raising what little money we need through small home based businesses. I would like to teach others the skills to become self sufficient as a means to eliminate poverty.
THE PROBLEM: New Jersey is one of the most expensive states to live in with THE highest property taxes in the country.
So while I feel God wants us here in Jersey I'm having a hard time figuring out how to afford even afford a modest home without my husband having to work some 40+ hour a week job. It's hard to be a Catholic Worker when you're a slave to the man. As you may remember from an earlier post, we're starting over after a failed business venture so even saving up a down payment is a long time coming. I'm an impatient person by nature. I want a homestead now and this whole thing is very discouraging. We're having a hard time squeezing good deeds into our suburban life. I just read the story of the poor widow who gave her last coins at the temple vs the rich man who only gave some of what was left over. I'm just not giving my all yet and I know it. Part of me thinks we should just go hardcore; have my husband quit the job and start doing volunteering and Catholic things with the faith that God will provide. However, jumping into things just might have been what caused the aforementioned failed business venture. So then I think, we need to be cautious, take our time, save our pennies and plan. But at what point do you make the transition? How much to save? How big of a place do we really need to buy? Does God really want my husband slaving away for another 3-5+ years instead of devoting his life to his family and charity work? I feel the whole Worker farm, or homestead, is an important part of our future plans but should I just be happy with some little row home? And what about the children? How do we fit them into this without horribly scarring them for life?
I just don't know. But I'm working on finding a middle ground. More to come.