New Year

It’s hard to look back at this year and sum it all up in a single blog post. It has been a wild, emotional ride!

This was a year of change. A season of discovering hope in the most primitive places. A time of dedication to what we know as the truth. A period of difficulties and growing. Months of taking action. A year of forcing ourselves out of our comfort zone. A year of seeing setbacks and learning from our mistakes. But we arrive at the end of these last 12 months and we find ourselves thankful for this time of growth.

It seems like a lot of the days spent here we are unsure of what to do. There’s just so much to accomplish. We aren’t sure where to start and feel like we have yet to complete anything. We have been figuring out this whole homesteading thing as we go. It’s new to us like an unfamiliar road we are traveling through.

We left our “normal” life to pursue a dream as a family. We are from the city in Southern California.  We didn’t grow up on a farm or around farm animals. We never grew up with a food garden. Heck the first chicken I held was 3 years ago when I took a processing workshop! My wife worked in the fashion industry in Los Angeles. I worked as a computer drafter before we left.

All of that was about to change after I was diagnosed with cancer seven years ago and we became passionate for educating ourselves about the food that we were putting into our bodies to keep us alive and healthy. From there it avalanched into really discovering where our food comes from. We read books, blogs and took workshops on how to grow healthy, sustainable food and work the land. We began getting rid of our stuff, living minimally and consciously preparing ourselves for bigger steps. The next thing we knew we were selling our home and looking for land.

What we didn’t expect to find when we moved here was to meet genuinely inspiring people. Not only on social media, but also a real life community of influential, likeminded folk that were on this very same road we are traveling through.

Seeing first hand other homesteader’s experiences in raising animals, growing food and even the way they live has been very encouraging and we have learned from them.

This has been not an easy year for our family, BUT it has been very fulfilling and brimming with joy. All year we have been given little glimpses of hope and encouragement to keep moving and trust that if we continue to keep at it all of our hard work will not go to waste. I do believe that this entire process of following what we know, as the truth always will be about the journey. We go into 2017 very hopeful and filled with determination to keep trying to find a way to live in faith, purpose and be open minded to different opportunities that this year might bring.

Blog Post - NC Trip Report

2,800 miles
9 days
8 different Whole Foods
5 states
2 laundromats
1 flat tire

Our road trip to North Carolina went really well. We felt like we had been planning this trip for years. Everything about this road trip was planned. We knew that we wanted to not rush it and try and take our time. Our goal was to arrive in North Carolina on the ninth day. We planned on camping out in back of our truck a few nights. We ended up camping out one night and staying at a decent hotel instead. Seemed like it took forever driving through Texas. 

 

Our little girl did very well on the drive. We basically took all her toys with us so she will have things to do. We were also thankful for a good friend that gave her a giant bag full of activities and small toys all wrapped in tissue paper with notes on them. By the way, she maybe slept just a few hours in the car the entire 9 days! 

Before we left we mapped out the different Whole Foods Markets we can stop by. We nearly stopped at every single one. A couple of the nights we stayed at an AirBNB in Austin and Nashville. They both were great places to stay and cheaper than a hotel. As we were coming into Austin my front tire began to lose air. So we spent the first half of the day finding a place that would fix the flat quickly. Luckily we did! Standing in front of a tire shop while it began to rain wasn't how I wanted  to remember Austin. But man we were having too much fun! 

Towards the last couple of days we were ready to get home. On the last morning headed home I got pulled over by a state trooper. Said I was driving carelessly! Then he said he was going to have his police dog sniff around for narcotics! He was the nicest cop ever. He ended up giving me a warning and saying basically that he pulled me over because his dog needed stretch his legs. Only two hours from our house I got a phone call from our neighbor saying there has been some people driving through our property in 4x4 truck and destroying our property. We were expecting the worst! I mean we were two hours away and we get a phone call like that! 

We made it to our new place in nine days! No signs of a truck trashing our place! Looked like just as I left it 6 months prior. The first 20 minutes we arrived we met 2 neighbors and saw a snake! Overall the trip was a success and we would definitely do it again! 

 

Blog Post - The Farmer and His Seeds

After I graduated college, I got married and began my career in the fashion industry working for a high end, Los Angeles based fashion designer. My lifestyle was, at that point, all about consuming. Work was competitive and stressful, days were long and I remember feeling empty, constantly hungry and eager. Eager for something that I didn't possess.

 

Outside of work, I collected vintage furniture, vintage and designer clothing, and stuff that fulfilled hobbies. I would attempt to ditch the stress by attending hot yoga classes but that just added one more task to my long schedule and brought me home later and less time with my husband. I grew bitter about not having enough time.

The days of going to church with my family seemed like an impossible to tradition to carry on and too late to start with my husband because we were already set in our ways and well, our schedules were already full. I believed in God. Wasn't that enough?

In 2009, when Jason was diagnosed with a lymphoma cancer we prayed together for the first time. But when Jason became in remission, we returned back to our busy lives as normal. 

Then in 2014, Jason came down with another serious illness, an unexplained full body rash and night sweats. (Those are the same symptoms as lymphoma)

Maybe because it seemed like yesterday but I am always thinking about what we just went through and how he was so sick and how I just kept begging God to heal him...

and He didn't. For 7 long months he didn't.

I prayed for healing everyday. It just seemed that Jason was getting worse. I started praying so much that every breath was a prayer. Every foot step was a prayer.

At first I was angry with God. How could a God of love allow this to happen to Jason? How could he ignore my cries out to him?

So one day I just started praying differently about my trust and strength to get through this....

It was such a difficult and dark time. There were nights when I had to help him with his clothes but they didn't want to come off, so I had to peel the dried blood stained clothes off of his raw rashy skin. There were days when I hoped our daughter didn't hear his screams of anguish or of his cries wishing to end it all.

It was such a difficult and dark time. When I had to hush a toddler's happy squeals into a whisper because "daddy's sleeping" and keep her entertained when all my brain wanted to do was "fix" daddy even though there was nothing seven different medical professionals could do. Nothing.

It was such a difficult and dark time. Sometimes I heard him cry at night when he thought that I had already fallen asleep. I couldn't imagine the pain that he was going through. I just wanted to lay my head on his chest and listen to his heartbeat. But I couldn't. I couldn't even touch him. Then I would lay in bed at night and cry too, but not because I was tired, not because I was scared, even though I was all those things, I cried for him. I missed his funny ways. I missed him and the times we had together. Not the stuff I was surrounded with. I wondered if life would always be like this for us; if this was the new normal. I prayed and asked God if he wasn't answering my prayers of healing because he was going to take him from me. I begged him not to.

It was such a difficult and dark time. Lots of tears and crying from both of us. But I couldn't even hug him when he cried because his purple skin was peeling and bleeding all over. So sometimes I just hugged his head. And I prayed out loud over him, for healing and for strength to get through this.

It was such a difficult and dark time. I felt alone, as a wife and as a mother. There were family members offering help but I still felt like a single mom taking care of two infants in need. I couldn't see past the illness. It was bigger and darker than my eyes could see. How long had he been sick? Days? Months? It felt like years.

 

What I couldn't see was that we were changing. We were breaking. Our soils were being prepared. Like the way a farmer first breaks the ground, rips out the weeds, clears out a path and turns the hard ground into soft soil. Because you see the old dirt wouldn't have been ready to receive what was to be planted.

It was during these difficult and dark times was when I learned I was weak in my faith. I had doubted God and his plans for us.
It was during these difficult and dark times was when I felt the comfort and closeness of God in my heart because I allowed God to meet me in my darkness, because I was reading scripture, praying throughout the day, and earnestly seeking Him.

It was during such difficult and dark times was when I learned how to pray. I stopped praying for what I wanted, which was immediate healing. I started praying that God would give us strength to endure this painful and dark season. I started praying for the grace to benefit from it, and the willingness to let God use it however he sees fit in order to bring glory to HIS perfect kingdom. And the courage to tell others how God worked in our lives.

Jason still isn't completely healed, But he is alive. And we are changed because of our journey. I left my career in the fashion industry shortly after Jason went through cancer, chemo, then remission. Little did I know that just within a short time, this prideful girl would willingly strip down to nothing and surrender my belongings; my career, my car, my big beautiful home, my designer clothes, my time and my heart to have a real relationship with Christ.

 

Since this illness, Jason and I have sold most of all of our belongings and are in the middle of moving across the country to find land and build a homestead and live with less and live simply.

This isn't a story of how we became farmers but how God has worked in our lives. How our faith has been made stronger. Our hearts have been prepared, seeds planted and now as a married couple its up to us to keep our roots in Jesus and bare fruit for others to see God in our lives. It's up to us to use our story of how we grew our faith to share with others.