The process of reflection

The process of reflection
This holiday time of year always lends itself to reflection on the things most important in one's life. Family, friends, our home, community and the country we live and work in – just to name a few that come to my mind. The Christmas Carol story in which Ebenezer Scrooge is taken through the process of reflection with the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future is a popular way of lending thought to our own personal situations.

For me, the past, present and future are easily depicted through the widely celebrated holidays of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's. Much as the early pilgrims and the Native Americans celebrated their friendship and past successes with a feast, still today we mark the occasion with a feast on Thanksgiving, as we are thankful for the bounty in our lives. Many of us celebrate Christmas through a spiritual reflection of who we are and what our purpose in life is, as well as relishing in those things and those people that currently surround us. New Year's celebrations have us looking forward to the future, anxious for what lies ahead, as we set goals and give ourselves direction toward which to aim our coming efforts.

For those of us at USDA Rural Development, we reflect on our past successes, including the best fiscal year yet for our agency. We are thankful for past successes and we feel fortunate to live and work in a state and country with such promise and potential. We continue to celebrate in the present, having programs available to assist individuals, communities and businesses strengthen their current situations. And, we look forward to the opportunities that lie ahead to help make South Dakota an even better place to live, work and raise a family.

If you, someone you know, or your community, has the need to improve housing, repair of community infrastructure or finance a new or existing business, we would like to assist you in making your dreams become reality – during this holiday season and beyond.

Rural Development provides valuable loan and grant programs and technical assistance to increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for rural residents, as well as finance and foster growth in homeownership, business development, and critical community and technology infrastructure.

Rural Development invested more than $259 million in fiscal year 2007 and $1.9 billion over the past 10 years in South Dakota's economy.

For information about USDA Rural Development housing, business or community development programs, please contact any one of the USDA Rural Development offices located in Aberdeen, Huron, Mitchell, Pierre, Rapid City, Sioux Falls, Sturgis, Watertown and Yankton or visit our Web site at

Mike Jaspers is the State Director for the USDA Rural Development in South Dakota. USDA Rural Development's mission is "to increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for all Americans."

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