Dear Friends, I found an inspiring story in the Travel section of the Sunday New York Times. It comes from Hindman, KY a small town in Appalachia with a population of 770 but also a raging set of statistics when it comes to opioid addiction. Things have been hard for people in the hollows of Appalachia, no surprise. Folks have found this opioid crisis has hit twice as hard as industries left, jobs dried up and unemployment soared. The wrenching poverty and hopelessness which had hovered at the door of many homes, settled in more permanently. But the region has also been known for generations as a folk music destination, and the home of craftsmen who make the hammered dulcimer. In a surprising turn of events this craft work, making hammered dulcimers, had proved a tonic and turn-around for many people battling drug abuse. Making dulcimers has become a source of rehabilitation. “We’re dusty old woodworkers, not trained therapists,” said Doug Naselroad, the master luthier who with a former colleague dreamed up the program. “But so many times now, giving somebody something to do has proved to be a powerful step in their recovery.” What I like best about this story is the unlikeliness of it. It seems to have God’s fingerprints all over it. God often surprises us in the hardest hollows of life, by nurturing new life where no one saw it coming. I hope this story raises your spirits today, and you pass it along. Goodness knows, we all could use some news to raise our spirits. Blessings, Rev. Susan If you want to read this story online and see the pictures of the lovely instruments that are being made in here is the link.https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/03/arts/design/kentucky-opioid-recovery On a personal note: This Christmas I did not write any cards and unfortunately lost track of the givers of many gifts that you put on my desk. So today I want to thank you for the food, the candy, the lovely plants and candles. Your kindnesses this Christmas were more meaningful that you probably know. I remain grateful to you all. Thanks.