Roundabout by Liz Scafer

Roundabout by Liz Scafer

Roundabout by Liz Scafer

I’ve been watching the advancement of green on the hills with a renewed sense of joy and appreciation for living here. This winter was hard, and not just because of the weather. Isolation and worry piled up like snowbanks and I began to feel like I would never be able to shovel myself out. But sometimes all you can do is keep moving forward – and even when you feel like you’re not getting anywhere, knowing that you will. As I wearily plodded through each day, I reminded myself that spring will come, ice will melt, the sun will shine; flowers bloom, birds sing, warmth again envelop me. And so it has. Now I can open my windows to the world, instead of locking myself away. All those things I worried about remain, but they seem less insurmountable now. I am less alone.

The power of hope is wonderful, but how does it happen, really? It’s more than the promise of renewal represented in the gracefully unfurling leaves or the smell of earth on the breeze. I’ve come to realize that as beloved as they are to me, they are only manifestations. I believe that it’s more about connection and gratitude. It’s easy to sequester yourself when you’re struggling alone. It pinches you down to merely surviving.

Sharing your struggles, on the other hand, frees up your ability to thrive. By reaching out to ask for help or a listening ear, we ask for collaboration with others. We make connections that we never dreamed were possible, and are filled with gratitude for the gifts that we receive. I write this having experienced it on my own personal journey, which has led me to where I am today and the rewarding work that I do with my comrades at the Vermont News Guide.

Most of us have been with this publication for years, and we love our jobs. But as is the case with many newspapers and enterprises, our long-term sustainability has come into question. Of course, we have personal obligations that require us to work, but beyond that, we feel a real affection for the Vermont News Guide and its
history. We want to continue its mission of advocating for the
small nonprofits and businesses so vital to the diversity and health of our communities. But with decreases in income through advertising and increases in the costs to produce it, we knew we would have to take action if we were to survive. As we brainstormed solutions to this dilemma, we felt that it wasn’t right to start charging readers for what has been a free publication from the very start. It was decided – and not without some apprehension – that we would ask instead for voluntary membership donations.

When we started our membership campaign a month ago, we were unsure how it would be received. WOW! Each week has brought us, not just donations, but many handwritten notes of appreciation and encouragement. It’s been so incredibly touching, that I think we ALL feel a bit weak with gratitude. Each one has rejuvinated our sense of kinship with our readers, and led us to a sunnier outlook. To our new members, we thank you so very much for your support. To everyone else, if you value what the Vermont News Guide brings to you each week, we hope you will consider becoming a member, too!

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