I had a miscarriage recently, and I’m actually OK.
It’s been awhile since I posted anything of actual substance online. I update my Instagram regularly, mostly with absolutely pointless videos of my son eating breakfast, or playing with dinosaurs, or coloring. You can follow those exciting updates here #yourewelcome
I’ve tried sitting down and writing many, many times since we moved here, but it’s been awhile since I had something concrete that I could actually process from start to finish. Something defined. Black and white. Easy to process.
For some reason, this miscarriage has been that for me.
Most of you probably didn’t even know I was pregnant. I was only 7 weeks or so. While it definitely wasn’t planned, we adjusted quickly and welcomed the news. I knew I was pregnant for about a week before the miscarriage started, and there have been some gloomy and wistful days. Not just for the loss of life, but also for the loss of another plan.
Since leaving CO we’ve watched so many plans come and go. Living life completely open-handed is not easy. Holding out everything to be redistributed, redirected is exhausting at times. We’ve left nothing behind for a Plan B. Moving forward into the things that are before us is often… Daunting. Exciting, for sure. We’re both adventurous people. But everything’s turned out just so darn different than what we had planned or consciously hoped for. There are so many factors that are up in the air right now. So many unknowns in the midst of walking out the path we find ourselves on. When we found ourselves expecting a child again, we accepted that as another factor to consider as we move forward. Because of the pleasant surprise of Ellis (we weren’t exactly the most enthusiastic parents-to-be before Ellis), we knew this child would be the same; an absolute joy.
So you’d think that when I experienced miscarriage, peace wouldn’t be the primary experience. But it was. And I’ll tell you why. Or I’ll try to, without offending anyone.
When I was pregnant with Ellis, I read several books on natural pregnancy, labor, and delivery (See my Goodreads if that kind of thing interests you). The main thing that stuck out to me out of all the literature I consumed was this quote
“One cannot help a physiological process. The point is not to hinder it.”
When I was in labor, I made the controlling, Type A part of me (the part that wants to know what is going on, why it is going on, and what I can do about it) chill out. I trusted my body. I let my body do what it needed to do. And it did.
Side Note & Disclaimer: I 100% realize that this cannot be the case each and every single time. There are things that go wrong where medical intervention is absolutely necessary. For those times, I’m so grateful for the medical professionals trained to right the wrongs happening in our bodies. But the majority of the time, our bodies are created to operate a certain way and they are fully capable of doing so.
The point is that I gained a deep respect for my body through the experience of labor and delivery.
And in the same way that my body can, when operating correctly, sustain a life for nine months, my body knows when it cannot.
Here are some facts that I learned while having a miscarriage:
- They are very common: Statistically, about one in every four confirmed pregnancies end in miscarriage. See here & here & here
- Of those miscarriages, most of them occur because of chromosome abnormalities. See here & here.
- Also, most women report feeling emotions like shame, isolation, and guilt as a result of a miscarriage.
Maybe this is common knowledge to most people. It was new information for me and instead of experiencing extreme sadness and shame that most women report feeling when experiencing a miscarriage, I experienced peace.
I just deeply respect the order of things that is set up in our bodies. In a weird way I feel like this miscarriage has broken through a cloud of confusion around me. In our life right now with so many unanswered questions, plans that constantly change, constantly weighing the pros and cons of a new decision – a concrete thing happened. Definitely not the outcome I would have chosen, but I’m OK because I know that my body is operating as thousands and thousands and millions of other women’s bodies have operated since the beginning of time. Being apart of something solid, something bigger than myself feels grounding in a way that I’ve been craving. Even through the midst of a dealth, I feel such light and peace.
The opportunity to have this perspective shocked me.
And of course we’re sad. This was a precious life. And we would have loved and cherished him/her regardless of any abnormalities present. And granted, I haven’t been trying to have a baby for years, I don’t have any past traumatic experience with having a baby, not to mention I was only 7-8 weeks along. All that to say, there are so many factors that go into my emotional response. If you’ve had a miscarriage and had a very different experience, I’d love for you to feel free to share that experience. Everyone is different and this is not my attempt to write a trendy post to contradict what everyone says about something standard like being emotional when there is a death.
I guess I just wanted to share our experience in the small chance there someone out there who needs to hear a story of how we went through a miscarriage and were OK.
Like, really OK.
And maybe this perspective can bring this converstaion out of the realm of only emotions, (all of which are valid) to also include facts, which are just as valid.
Maybe it really just helps me to write it all out, document and process it in some way.
Either way, that’s what has been going on with us lately.
That and many other things.
Maybe those will be in the next blog post.
Photo credit:Madison Grooms
I’ve sat down to write this blog post probably once a month since we left Colorado. But we’ve had so much going on, with so many new changes almost every month, that I wasn’t always sure what to say because things might be different next week. LOL this still might be the case. I’ll try to update you somewhat briefly on the last 6 months in Pensacola.
We had a great last month at our homestead, selling furniture and animals, finishing up projects, and saying goodbye to friends.
I’m not going to lie, it was really hard. It still is.
I can’t say enough how much we love Colorado. We had some family photos taken before we left, and it is still kind of hard to look at them. They are amazing (I’ll post some soon just for fun) – they just show us at our farm. I love them. It just makes me miss Colorado. We have had some really great experiences since moving here (I’ll share more about Florida, keep scrolling) , it is just different.
Before we left Colorado, I heard this song by Amanda Cook that resonated with me, even though I didn’t want it to.
What if the path you choose becomes a road
The ground you take becomes a home
I’m an introvert. I like to have a safe cave to retreat to at the end of a long day. Colorado was my safe cave. Westcliffe was my safe cave. Our homestead was my safe cave.
I know that life is a journey. I know that some “destinations” aren’t that at all, but rather stops along the way. Westcliffe has been woven into our journey for many years now.
Many of you may not know this, but when I (Hannah) was in college, I thought that I would be living in China after I graduated. I studied Chinese for two years, I taught English for a summer in Shanghai, and took Chinese in Shenyang one summer. I was really excited about the things that God was doing in China, and I was really not excited about the American church that I was seeing. But one of those summer while I was in China, God started giving me pictures of some mountains. I somehow knew this was in Colorado. After I graduated from school, I took an internship at a family camp in a small mountain town called Westcliffe. I didn’t realized until after I moved there that the pictures that God had given me years before, were of Westcliffe.
I don’t really know how to put into words what these mountains mean to me. To my heart, they were more than just a pretty landscape.
For some reason they signify something so deep inside of me. Like, the actual relationship part of my faith. Adventure, risk, and beauty. Yet there was also such a safety. Like the safe cave I described above. Even the Bible describes mountains being a place of refuge.
And every story has that part when it’s time to step out of the cave. This has been our move to Florida.
We closed on our home at the beginning of May and started driving south. We were able to make some stops on the way to visit family and friends.
After living in Colorado for almost 7 years, living in the south again is definitely an adjustment. We’re enjoying living so close to a beach!
There have been a couple of times where I’ve (Hannah) even been able to sneak away for a mom’s day off at the beach!
We are also really enjoying our church here, Jubilee International. We’ve met a lot of awesome people and have just really loved getting connected here.
We’ve been able to do some traveling this summer too.
Ryan went on a ministry trip to Bogota, Columbia with our pastor, Len.
He had his first experience speaking and prophesying over the pastors convention. Bogota is at 8,600 ft, so it was a cool break from the humidity of Florida.
We also traveled to Cleveland Ohio for a conference with an organization called TheCall. It was two days of praying, fasting and interceding for our nation.
We had some friends (Jordan and Georgia Wells) visit us in Pensacola, and while they were visiting, Jordan spent several nights ministering to the young adult and youth groups at our church.
While we moved down here to pursue some kind of ministry, we’ve had doors open up for us to start a business: Gulf Coast Recreation. We now sell commercial playground equipment all over the gulf coast region! This has kept both of us very busy lately and we anticipate that this will be a “tent-making” business for us to be freed up in the future to pursue other things. Since this has taken much of our time lately, we’re so grateful for the opportunity to send Ellis to “school” at our church’s child care! He’s absolutely loving it! Here’s some pics from his first day.
While this move hasn’t been exactly what we expected, we are learning what life in Florida looks like and means for us. We are confident (most days) that we made the right move and are still excited to see what happens.
As always, questions, conversations and connections are welcome :)
Thanks for reading!
I mentioned in my last blog that we had some major changes coming up and it’s time to finally share some of them with you.
We’ve had several shifts in our lives over the past year: having a kid, changing our jobs several times, and finally starting our own property management/care business here in Westcliffe. We absolutely love the life that we’ve created here. We love the small town and unique culture. We love our friends and neighbors. We love our little homestead (complete with goats, chickens, ducks and cats). We’ve dreamt about expanding (Ryan wants sheep, I want pigs), and continuing to learn new things like making homemade soap and candles, experimenting with spinning natural fibers (alpaca, sheep, goat…etc) or expanding our farm products to sell in local co-ops or farmer’s markets. It seems that the options are limitless here!
However, several months ago God started to turn our hearts in a different direction, in a unique way only God could manage to do.
We don’t quite understand it yet, and it is bittersweet (for the reasons mentioned above and many more) but we believe God has something different for us that the life I just described. We have already sold our house, animals, tiny house and business and will be moving to Pensacola FL at the beginning of May and pursuing a life in some kind of ministry.
This has all happened pretty fast, and has been confirmed in many different ways. Since we moved so many times during the first 2 years of marriage, the fact that we are packing up and hitting the road again AND we both feel right about it, is a God thing. I definitely NEVER wanted to move again. I burned our packing boxes when we bought this place, remember??
We.are.going.to.miss.this.place. It is absolutely our preference to continue in the life we’ve created here. But we don’t want to miss out on the more God has for us, by clinging to our preferences. And so we are excited about whatever it is that God has in store for us. This is still our favorite place on the planet and there are so many things that we love about Westcliffe and Colorado. If God hadn’t made this move clear to us, we wouldn’t be doing it.
We don’t have too many details yet about what life in FL looks like for us, (perhaps Bible college? Def days at the beach), but we’ll keep you updated as we find out!
We recently took a trip to FL and Ellis absolutely LOVED the sand & ocean, and Ryan will enjoy the fishing scene there. Me? Gimme a book or knitting project and some shade and I’ll be just fine.
I’ll continue to blog about our lives here. We are still planning on living simply in FL, although that will look different without 50 animals and a large mountain range in my front yard ;) I’d like to write about the spiritual aspects of our lives as well and what God has been/will be doing, I’m just not sure if this will be the platform for that or not – I’ll let you know.
As always, questions are welcomed :)
Thanks for reading and following!
Its been almost a year since my last blog and new folks are still finding us each day from googling “homesteading”, “westcliffe colorado” or (my fav) “realities of tiny house living”
I figured it was about time for an update.
We’ve been busy and our lives have changed a TON since I last wrote. Here’s a brief overview to get you caught up.
(if it wasn’t for my Instagram, there is NO way I’d remember what happened each month)
We started getting a ton of duck eggs and I decided to try dehydrating them…. Has anyone else ever done this and reconstituted them successfully??
We also had a massive snow storm (36+”) and our barn roof almost collapsed. #oops
The snow finally started to melt and the wildflowers appeared!
I also entered my third trimester.
We enjoyed a beautiful summer, although slightly stressful as we both were laid off from our jobs. Ryan almost immediately found more work, while I was able to spend some time at home waiting for the baby & attempting to do some very minimal indoor gardening.
July brought more waiting, eating, knitting, eating, growing, and eating. Did I mention eating? I ate all of those muffins in an insanely short period.
I also started drinking raspberry leaf arnold palmers daily. Pretty sure this not only contributed to my constant thirst, but also helped prep my body for labor.
We also met and hosted some new Tiny House friends, Christian and Alexis. They’ve been traveling around the country advocating for and teaching folks about the values of simple living through tiny house living.
A week early, we weren’t expecting him quite yet, but Ellis William (4lb, 10oz) showed up after a super quick labor in which Ryan almost had to deliver him.
::brief birth story::
I woke up around 1am and couldn’t sleep (normal at this point) and was also have some cramping. After a couple of hours of having semi regular pains, I woke Ryan up & texted my midwife. Both of them thought that the irregularity meant that they were Braxton Hicks. Advice: try to relax and they’ll go away. So I walked around the driveway, took a bath, and started re-watching Downton Abbey (naturally).
Around 8am my midwife call me to check up on me and I’m still having Braxton Hicks.
Her: “Oh honey. Those aren’t Braxton Hicks. You’re in labor.”
Me: ::water breaks::
2 hours later, midwife runs in (we live 2 hours away from the closest town)
Her: “It’s 10:26. I’m gonna need you to push. Now.”
10:28 – hello baby
In all actuality, Ryan almost had to deliver Ellis. In between my contractions he would go outside to attempt to calm down. He said that our animals were responding to my yells. LOL He was awesome. I couldn’t have asked for a better hand to squeeze as hard as I possibly could. He prayed with me, helped me breathe, and didn’t freak out in front of me. PLUS: he delivered our goats last year and totally could have handled delivering our son;) HOWEVER: we’re both grateful that the midwife showed up when she did.
We started venturing out of the house. We all went to the Tiny House Jamboree in Colorado Springs. We really enjoyed catching up with Andrew Odom, Christian and Alexis and meeting many others. We wore Ellis in a sling and because he was so tiny many people asked if we were carrying a puppy- LOL.
We also started a property management company in Westcliffe. Which was awesome and started off super busy! We were able to both work together and bring the baby with us.
We were able to take a trip to Texas to see friends and family. We also enjoyed the Indian summer that Westcliffe experienced this year.
I started cleaning our barn – a task that needed to be done last year at this time, so the job required a respirator. Also still adjusting to life with little sleep, a lot of work, and a cute little buddy. We had several outdoor jobs that we were able to work together and bring the baby along. With the nice weather we had, Ellis enjoyed just taking naps in his carseat while mom & dad painted houses.
We also have experienced very strong winds this year (80-100+mph gusts) and one day were awaked with an automated phone call at 5am telling us to evacuate our home immeditaly because there was a massive wildfire in our area. Luckily, it headed the opposite direction from our home, but within a few weeks and after it was fully contained this fire was over 18K acres. We evacuated due to smoke for a couple of days, but came back and kept a wary eye on the smoke for the next few weeks. We’re so grateful to the 100s of folks who spent countless hours protecting our community from worse damage.
The season of apple cider & apple sauce – not that we made any, but our friends did and donated the leftovers to some very grateful goats. My sister also came to visit and babysat for us so that we could go on a date. As Ellis grew, he enjoyed helping mom with chores around the house and farm.
With the duck pond freezing over for winter, they have had to get creative about swim time LOL
Ellis also has really enjoyed having a Christmas tree (lights).
As we’ve grown and changed as a family this past year, we’ve also made some decisions that have affected our homestead. We have been growing a lot in our faith over the last year and really feel like this new year is bringing some more changes. With that sense, we’ve decided to sell most of our animals so that we are able to have more flexibility to leave the farm and spend some extended time seeking the Lord and pursuing what He has for us (more on this in a later blog post).
Mama #2 (Tootsie) finally had her babies!
It was at least a 9 hour labor, with a couple of those being pushing. There IS a video of a birth in this post, so if that kind of thing makes you queasy, just skip over it :)
When I (Hannah) came home from work one day last week and went out to the barn to feed everyone, Tootsie wasn’t interested in getting up or eating, which is weird because goats are highly motivated by food. After Ryan got home from work, we pretty much hung out in the barn all.night.long. Because that’s what you do when you don’t have a tv and your goat is in labor.
We actually invited a friend over and had front row seats (heater and hot tea provided).
It probably would have been better for mama for us to leave the barn, and let her labor in peace. Once we left (after midnight) she progressed fairly quickly and was pushing within 20-30 minutes.
The first baby (Holly) had some trouble and mama couldn’t push her out all the way. Her head came out like normal, but her legs were tangled and she was stuck. Both Ryan and I tried to untangle and pull her out manually.
After about 30 minutes, Ryan was finally able to get her out safely.
Mama got busy cleaning her up before the next round of pushing.
She pushed Annie out much easier than Holly. After she cleaned both of them off (we helped a little bit, as you can see from the steam in the video, it was a chilly night in the teens) they were both trying to nurse her.
Being newbies, we thought we were through the hard part, but we have since been told (and experienced) that when goat kids have a traumatic birth, they often have issues nursing and eating. Annie caught on pretty quickly, with little direction. Holly on the other hand was struggling.
It was 3am by this point and we both had jobs to be at in less than 4 hours, so we went to bed hoping they would figure it out by sunrise. But Holly really struggled that entire day to eat. I milked several tablespoons of colostrum from Tootsie within the first few hours and manually fed it to Holly, but she wasn’t interested in learning how to nurse.
After leaving mama and babies for the first day and a half to try to figure everything out on their own, Holly was not doing well at all and we realized that we needed to start bottle feeding if she was going to make it.
This actually proved to be much harder than we thought. She (as pictures above show) was willing to take the bottle for the first day. After that, she wasn’t interested in eating at all. We were forced to hold her down and basically squirt milk down her throat every few hours while she squirmed and cried loudly.
Since she was so weak and refusing to eat, we decided it was best for her to stay inside at night so that we could wake up and feed her and also because the temperature was still dipping into the teens. So, all of a sudden, it appeared that we had a pet goat. Which was adorable, but not exactly what we were looking for in raising goats.
I (Hannah) took her to work with me for almost a week while we would repeat the “torture sessions” of feeding every few hours.
She was getting stronger, but this only meant that she had more strength to fight back when we were trying to feed her.
We were also adding coconut oil, antibiotics (her eyes were infected from her traumatic birth), and electrolytes to her milk every 8 hours or so, to give her an extra boost that she seemed to need.
Finally, I turned to google and in true millennial form typed in, “my goat won’t take a bottle.help”. We’d tried everything suggested, except blindfolding the baby to feed her. So, I tried it.
And it worked.
After she figured this out, we were able to leave her in the barn with the goats in the daytime, and feed her a few times in the mornings and evenings while we were home. Much more manageable than bringing a baby goat in a diaper to work.
Since then, she’s quickly progressed to no blindfold, and last night she actually nursed (with some assistance) willingly for the first time! She still needs more time to remember (and be guided) towards her mama for milk, but we’re pretty confident that she’ll get there.
This has been quite the learning experience for both of us and we’re grateful. This is why we bought a farm.
It’s also been slightly terrifying to realize how exhausting taking care of a baby is – a goat baby, not even a human who is more demanding and potentially more complicated than a goat! But it was awesome to work together to problem solve and take care of a tiny thing together.
We’ll continue to keep you update on all the goats well being, and our sanity in the process :)
Thanks for reading!
We lost a goat last week.
Corky, our “special” wether, died sometime during the night and Ryan found him in the barn.
His mama had a heart defect and we knew this was a possibility when we got him so not a HUGE surprise, but still slightly sad to not see his awkward, happy face around the farm anymore.
We had planned on butchering him for meat this past fall, but after we got Kosher (our breeding buck), we decided to keep Corky around a little bit longer to be a companion to Kosher.
Corky and Lilly also had a cute relationship. Even when we separated the boys from the girls, Lilly and Corky would always “talk” to each other.
So now, we’ve had to figure out what to do with a dead animal on the farm. (Ryan mostly because my pregnant, queasy stomach can’t handle too much these days) We’ve lost chickens in the past few months at various stages of development, and we have 6 acres and LOTS of birds and small rodents in the area, so we’ve opted to use the disposal by natural compost method. So, we did the same with Corky. Ryan skinned him, as he had a very soft, beautiful pelt and we plan on hanging it in our living room.
If feels weird and at the same time, normal, to be having to deal with things like this. After all, we do live on a farm and this is definitely part of what we signed up for.
This week we also had an egg bound duck (although we had no idea what was going on at first).
The first day we found the hen unable to get up in the chicken coop, squirming uncomfortably. At first, we thought that she was just laying an egg, as we had yet to actually SEE a duck lay. The next morning, she was running around with all the other ducks, just fine. Then we found her again, at the same time of day, in the same position (unable to move). After calling our neighbor and doing some research we thought that she might either be (A) be egg bound, (B) broken back from the drakes mounting her outside of water.
We took her inside, let her sit in a warm bath, injected olive oil in her mouth and duct, and set her in a box in the living room.
In the morning, she had passed the egg and was good as new! At least, that’s what we’re hoping…We also plan to purchase a swimming pool of some kind so that the ducks have more room to be in water. They currently have a large watering bucket that 2-3 of them can fit in, but after learning that they mate in water, we’d like them to have more space to do this so that the hens backs don’t break from them attempting to mate on land.
My sister and her friend from TX came to visit this week also. It was great to see her and visit for a bit. She’s studying Early Childhood Ed. at UUTyler and also runs track there.
Ryan was also in a car accident this week that could have been horrible. Another truck hit his work truck going 75mph. Luckly, he only has a strained shoulder and sprained finger, as has doctor’s orders to take it easy for awhile. Guess that means I’ll be getting the chicken feed this week, huh? ;-) I’m just so thankful that he’s still around.
We also found out this week that we’re having a SON!
He’s since decided to up his motion in utero and has started kicking me constantly. I don’t mind :)
& that was our week. Here’s to the weekend and sunny, warm weather!
We had an exciting weekend, one of the first really warm few days that we’ve had up here in the mountains.
Our first round of baby goats were born last week! Clarence (brown male) and Heidi (white female). Mama Lilly did awesome and did the entire birth by herself. We came out in the morning to feed them, and the babies were already cleaned off and nursing great! We couldn’t have hoped for a better first experience for breeding and birthing animals. Second Mama Tootsie is due in 2-3 weeks (we estimate) and are currently feeding both moms an absurd amount of hay and grain so they can take care of their babies.
We’re looking forward to the girls milk production being back to “normal” as we let them dry up a few months ago to prepare for the births. Going to start making cheeses and caramels again – hoping to sell some at our local farmer’s market this summer!
Also, our birds finally started laying eggs! The same day that we found the babies, we found about a dozen eggs. Half chicken, half duck. The week after that we found up to 15 each day! Naturally, we decided to have an omelette party to deal with this problem. We’ve since found several regular customers who will help us keep this egg issue under control.
I’ve also since learned about the nutritional value of duck eggs:
- they have more albumen (great for baking)
- more Omega 3 fatty acids
- they are an alkaline producing food (cancer cannot grow)
- six times the amount of vitamin D
- twice the amount of vitamin A
- twice the cholesterol (good or bad depending on the latest research)
- higher in calories
- twice as high in mono unsaturated fat
- Stay fresher, longer because of the thicker shell
Overall, duck eggs have twice the nutritional value of a chicken egg, which is awesome for BOTH of us (Ryan, because of his chicken egg intolerance, and me for extra nutrients & fat during my pregnancy).
Here are some sweet pictures of the kids and their mama during their first week.
Be looking for another post in a few weeks with Baby Goats, Round Two!
“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.”
― Edith Sitwell
Temperatures have been pretty chilly and we’ve had snow on the ground since Thanksgiving. This means watering animals twice a day with hot water, feeding everyone a little bit more, and bundling up as much as possible before morning and evening chores.
We had some new friends, Zach and Elle, stop by on their road-trip-tour to interview us and the animals. They are working on a project called the New Americans. Their goal is to wander around the U.S., capturing the stories of normal, everyday Americans. We had a blast hanging out with them and getting to know them for less than 24 hours before they moved onto the next destination. You can follow their journey via Instagram (links above).
Christmastime was fun this year. We chopped down a massive tree from some friend property and drug it between 1/4-1/2 mile back to the car. I think we decided on a slightly smaller one for next year, but it still looked great once we got lights and ornaments on it.
We also went on a Christmas morning hike where Ry surprised me with another tree & cozy campfire.
We also found out that we’re expecting a baby around the end of July! So I’ve (Hannah) been dealing with fatigued, nausea, and eating a ton of cereal. We’re looking forward to this new adventure this summer!
There really hasn’t been too much going on other than normal daily routine. Which is nice.
- Ryan finished making the aspen ladder for our bookshelves (photo to come later)
- We’ve been enjoying getting our Christmas presents (Taproot, Backwoods Home) sporadically over the last month (thanks MIL!) and reading them in the mornings or evenings next to the fire.
- I started thinking about & planning the garden and what we’d like to plant and what we should plant, seeing as the baby will be coming right before harvest time…
- Also reading: Lord of the Flies, The Friday Night Knitting Club, & Birthing from Within.
- Watching: That 70s show, Downton Abbey, Business of Being Born, & Holy Ghost.
Thanks for reading & stay warm!
You know how sometimes you get so deep into something that you’re not really sure what you’re doing?
Well, that’s where we’ve found ourselves the last few weeks. Not at all unhappy with the life that we’ve chosen. On the contrary; I’m (Hannah) extremely happy on the homestead. It brings a lot of joy and peace to my life.
But between milking goats, making cheese, feeding chickens, fixing fencing, and working full time, one can tend to get overwhelmed with the day-to-day.
So, I figured now was a good time to revisit our vision. The same vision that we had when we started this whole adventure together. Maybe see where we are lacking, and where we’re doing really well.
Are we cultivating creative, adventurous, and imaginative minds?
Creativity has to come out in problem solving around the farm – we wanted to build a root cellar, but didn’t have the time or resources to build the one we were envisioning, so Ryan dug a hole in the ground, and we bartered for a large freezer from our neighbor, and we’re going to bury the freezer: root cellar! Adventure for me looks like trying new recipes, maybe they fail, maybe they work. Or butchering chickens or milking goats for the first time. Or attempting to develop an online business. Ryan is currently working on finishing my dream library in our living room.
His creativity and imagination (and thoughtfulness) is making our home even cozier than it already is.
Are we finding joy in knowing and interacting with the people we live around?
Yes. 100% absolutely. This one is easy. Have I mentioned our neighbors?
Are we sharing what we have with others?
This is actually something we’ve talked about lately. We’d like to be more generous in the way that we think. There is a family here in the valley who are some of the most generous people I’ve ever met. They have us over for dinner and when we leave, they always give us a bag of natural, herbal goodies. They are the most hospitable people; hosting folks in their home constantly, cooking great quality food, and giving away so much of their time and resources.
We want to be more like them in the way of generosity. With our mentality on serving others, and giving where it’s needed and asked for, and even where it’s not. We don’t want our lives to be about ourselves.
“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” – Charles Dickens
“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” – Paul in Galatians 5
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
“If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” – Jesus in Mark 9
Are we appreciating music & art more fully?
Definitely could be more intentional about this. I was chatting with my sister recently (she’s an artist who just recently completed her senior art exhibition) and she recently had her senior art exhibit. She shared with me that when most folks view or experience a work of art, their first thoughts and questions are always “how?” related.
“How did you make this?” How is this held up?”
She feels the need to address the “how” questions first thing, so that the viewer can move on to the “why” questions.
I love this. & I also feel like the season I’m in right now has been more of a “how” season. That is fine – and needed. I need to know “how to” milk a goat, “how to” make goat cheese, and “how to” butcher a chicken….etc.
But I love the thought of a season dwelling more on the “why”. I think that this will bring more art & music into our lives naturally.
Isn’t that what art is? An expression of the “why” of life.
Are we developing knowledge and creativity in horticulture?
In smaller ways, yes. We’ve spent time foraging & harvesting from our land this fall. Since we moved onto the farm and just got going in July, it was too late to start a garden, but we’ve started to think about and plan for what we’ll grow next spring/summer. We’ll definitely be learning more about this in the next year.
Are we acknowledging and appreciating the existence and creativity of the God of Israel?
This one is convicting to some extent. We cannot help but acknowledge the existence of God. We’ve both seen and experienced too much to be convinced otherwise. However, there are seasons where God just seems to go silent. We see this in the Bible, we can look around and see that this happens with others, and we experience this ourselves. This is part of the reason for this vision revisiting. We just sometimes find ourselves doubting whether or not we are actually doing what He would have us do. Life has seemed like an up-hill battle for us since we met. We’ve listened for God’s voice and at times, He has spoken very clearly, and we’ve acted.
Then, in the silence, we tend to doubt what we heard in the light. Which, is not something we’re supposed to do, but we struggle with it.
We don’t believe in the prosperity gospel.
But we hope that we can evoke the favor of God to some extent, through our obedience.
And at least sense the Spirit of God in our daily lives more.
But this article contains a lot of truth about our generation & here is an excerpt that concludes it nicely::
Stay wildly ambitious. The current world is bubbling with opportunity for an ambitious person to find flowery, fulfilling success. The specific direction may be unclear, but it’ll work itself out—just dive in somewhere.
Stop thinking that you’re special. The fact is, right now, you’re not special. You’re another completely inexperienced young person who doesn’t have all that much to offer yet. You can become special by working really hard for a long time.
Ignore everyone else. Other people’s grass seeming greener is no new concept, but in today’s image crafting world, other people’s grass looks like a glorious meadow. The truth is that everyone else is just as indecisive, self-doubting, and frustrated as you are, and if you just do your thing, you’ll never have any reason to envy others.
Are we encouraging others in their journey to discover themselves capable of creating a simple, fulfilling, self-sustaining lifestyle?
I would hope that this would happen, but I guess the only thing that we can control is to live this out for ourselves and make friends along the way. Which is what we attempt to do.
There are many other points from our original vision for what our life could look like, and maybe I’ll revisit them at some point.
Ryan: It’s encouraging to look back and see that even though we envisioned our lives being different in a lot of ways, all of our goals still apply. And we’re achieving/practicing most of them. Even though we’ve been discouraged at times when things haven’t worked out according to our vision of how they should go, God has still been faithful to the things he’s spoken over us, and in a lot of cases [like the tiny house (plan A) or the purchase of land and trailer (plan B)], His provision has been greater than we had envisioned for ourselves.
For now, we’ll just leave you with this verse that we are convicted & challenged by often.
“If you get rid of the yoke from those around you, the finger-pointing and malicious speaking, and if you offer yourself to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted one, then your light will shine in the darkness, and your night will be like noonday. The Lord will always lead you, satisfy you in a parched land, and strengthen your bones. You will be like a watered garden and like a spring whose waters never run dry. Some of you will rebuild ancient ruins; you will restore the foundations laid long ago; you will be called the repairer of broken walls, the restorer of streets where people live.” (Isaiah 58)