Did You Move To A Nicer House?

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I have answered the questions “where did you move to?” or “why did you move?” so many times. Here is our story.

It all started two and a half years ago after a certain election. There were a lot of people worried, I wasn’t, I felt I had a game plan. It kept tugging at my heart and over the next year it seemed everywhere I turned, every book I would read, was pointing the same direction. I had began sharing my heart with Aaron and he wasn’t too hard to sway to my side. Two years ago we became convinced, sell the house, owe less money, live under our means and start a sustainable farm. So the mission began, but on God’s timing, not ours. We began the process of preparing our house for the market. We got it “show ready” put it for sale by owner, showed it one time and nothing. After 6 months we decided to just stay put, if it really is where God was directing us then it would happen at some point. Even though we still kept an eye out for land or a fixer-upper with a little land we just couldn’t find anything that seemed right. About four months after I had taken the sign and flyers up for our house I started getting messages about the listing I had left on our local Varage Sale site. I made three appointments to show the house that week. I wondered why the sudden interest? I got on my real estate map and saw we were literally the only other house for sale inside our city limits at the time. We decided if it was God’s timing it would work out, it did. The third family never came to see the house because we went under contract that same week. Then everyone started asking “where are you moving to?” My only answer was “I don’t know”. It’s pretty much insanity, you know? To have 3 kids, 178,526,924.05 personal belongings, 10 chickens, 4 dogs, 3 cats, 1 guinea pig and not know where you’re going. My thought was “we have a camper if worse comes to worse”.
Aaron had this dream of 10 acres, he was always talking about it. I would laugh, there’s no way. With the outrageous price of land, that won’t happen. We would be happy with 1-3 acres with a little fixer-upper, or to put our camper on, we could make that work. You can be a sustainable farm on less. Plus our main goal was to live under our means. Crunch time was coming, our dear friends were fixing up a rental house, a big one, because they love us they offered to rent it to us, kids, chickens, dogs and all! I will not relive the massive amounts of drama that go along with a move of this proportion. Let’s just say I’m still traumatized.

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We moved to a town 30 minutes away, I was lonely, lost and confused. God did amazing work in us during that time. We got to be part of a missional church plant and meet some awesome people.

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I realized how much I love my quirky hometown and how much I did not want to live in the city. But God is faithful. Just like Aaron had 10 acres on his heart, God put six months on mine. Six months later, two days before Christmas, we closed on 10 acres, in my hometown, with not one but two houses.

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On our way to closing!

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The mobile home we live in on the day we closed.

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How the rental house on our property looked at closing.

One for us to live in and one to rent out, this helps pay our mortgage and allows us to live below our means. Even though it feels like heaven here to me, most of the time I can’t believe it’s mine, I have struggled with my dream not looking like the American Dream. Our last house had an open door policy.

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I was always the first to volunteer my house, we loved hosting and having people over.

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This past weekend we moved two of out poultry houses we had left in our old neighborhood to our new place. One of the houses was on the city easement behind our old house. A friend of a friend was helping us out and asked it we used to live there. I proudly said yes, we worked so hard and loved that place so much I was proud to say it had been mine.

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He asked us if we had moved to a nicer house. Aaron and I looked at each other and laughed, we answered “no, we live in a mobile home now.” It may not look like we upgraded, but to us, we did!

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Just A Day On The Homestead

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My friend Kim gave me four hens, a rooster and a super cute, little white goat named MeMe. You may or may not remember my goat owning dreams.
We picked up the chickens from her last weekend and they quickly made themselves at home, laying eggs and everything. MeMe however was put on hold due to being busy, weather and quite frankly my concern she wouldn’t stay in our little pallet pen.

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Today was the day, despite an afternoon shower, we loaded her up and brought her home. Once she was settled in, I was feeling like a real live farmer. I mean with a goat, 24 chickens and two turkeys it really felt official! On that high, we began walking the property and planning where we would put a new, permanent pasture for her. I began to hear some sounds that didn’t seem right, like some sort of raucous was going on. Aaron and I investigated and found our poor neighbor/renter, with a bum knee, chasing her dog around the yard, hot on the trail of my blessed free ranging chickens. We of course ran over to help her catch the dog, but as the hens all found hiding places the poor rooster became the dog’s target. That handsome fella ran straight for the pond and dove in, dog right behind him. Just last week I pondered over whether or not chickens could swim, after having a dream the yard flooded and they were swimming around. Today I saw, for sure, chickens CAN swim. So imagine the rooster swimming across the pond, the dog swimming hot on his tail feathers. I say ” I’m going in!” Then my dear husband, always the hero says “no you’re not, I am!” He climbs in, grabs the rooster, chunks him to safety on the shore and starts after the dog. Aaron trips on a log and ends up neck deep, phone and wallet still in his pocket (his phone survived!). The dog gets away and runs for it again but not for long because she gets distracted by all of the cute little teenager chicks in a cage. Once distracted she was easy to grab and leash up. After that excitement (good thing all the girls had laid their eggs already) MeMe stayed in her pen a few more hours until she got bored and climbed out. I mean I can’t blame her, I wouldn’t want to go from a nice big backyard to a small little pen with nothing but two turkeys to play with either. She escaped one more time and then we realized she was going to have to go back to Kim’s house until we get her pasture built, I guess we’ll be doing that instead of putting up the pool next weekend. Even though I gained and lost a goat all on one day, I still feel like the real deal, I mean a crazy day like that means you’re a farmer, right?

Greed, Envy and Goats

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Here is the thing, I am NOT a patient person. People tell me “I can’t homeschool because I’m not patient like you”….then my kids and I laugh. Why? Because patient, I am not, but this post is not about patience while homeschooling or about homeschooling at all. It’s about this season of my life where God is teaching me to be still, to savor the moment, this place in time. About me learning to be content and about God’s provision. I always want what I want NOW! And my financial state is proof of that. I’ve been through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University twice, and failed. It’s not that I don’t believe in what Dave is selling me, I do, wholeheartedly. It’s just that patience thing, because I want it NOW! Fortunately I’m an extremely thrifty person, thanks to my mom, so that makes it easier to get things I want. I even like to justify my greediness with the fact I got such a great deal on it. The past year I have not bought things out of impulse, kept a tight budget that I have only blown a handful of times and I’m starting to see the fruits. God is showing me how beautiful his timing can be, not only when it comes to worldly possessions but in relationships as well. This verse is one that has meant so much to me during this season:

There is far more than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.
2 Corinthians 4:18 (The Message)

Why do I always think that things are limited to my vision, based solely on what I can see. If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that appearances mean nothing.

So up until this point all of this learning to be content and trusting God to provide for my needs and all of that has been easy compared to when I decided I wanted a milk goat. I want a milk goat, oh, let’s just say… YESTERDAY! Normally I would do everything in my power to make a desire like this happen. I wouldn’t care what it would cost in the future , or now, or about the bottom line. Hence my current financial situation. Save up for something? Take some time to gather information and research the best ways of getting things or going about it? Or better yet, waiting for God’s provision (if it’s something I actually need)? Pshh! Never. Last night I got this bright idea, after looking at pictures of adorable goats, I know, that doesn’t help. My bright idea? Pray, pray about goats. Ask him if I really need the goats, because only he knows if I will actually enjoy having them or if they will overall benefit our homestead. Not only is he the one who knows, but he’s the one that can provide. God has promised to provide everything I need and if I don’t have it, then I must not need it.

I’ve repented, and then had to repent again of the greed I’m my heart. I need to set an example for my children of waiting on God and finding joy and gratitude in contentment. So while all of you goat people will be posting pictures of your goats I’ll be repenting of envy and patiently waiting for God to make a way for me to have some of my own, if in fact I actually need them.

Our Chicken Story Part 1

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It all started when I was a little girl. I used to scatter cat food out in the yard so my cats would gather around me and I’d pretend they were my chickens. Sounds like the beginnings of a chicken lady if you ask me. A few years ago my neighbors got chickens, then my husband wanted chickens. I said “no!”, I already had three kids, four dogs and four cats among other things to take care of. Then last year I got the bright idea to be more self sufficient, you know growing our own food and being a producer instead of a consumer. Of course the first thing you need is chickens. I checked out every book the library had on chickens. One day my next door neighbor’s daughter came over and said she was moving in with them and mentioned she didn’t know what she was going to do with her chickens. I didn’t hesitate for a second in offering to take them, but there was one problem, we needed a coop! So hubby got to work

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20140329-140217.jpg All of the neighbors thought we were building a deer blind. My husband hated my color choice but everyone else loved it so he lost. I’m always right when it comes to colors, when will he learn? After a couple of weeks it was time for the finishing touches

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20140329-142535.jpgNow it was time to pick up our chickens. I had read the best time to move chickens was after dark so I set out with a dog carrier and a flash light. When I got there they were roosting in their hen house, happy as can be. Their current owner grabbed one and stuck her in the carrier while I closed the gate behind her. Then he wrangled hen number two and into the carrier she went. As he was trying to put number three in the carrier I heard something rustling behind me in the dark, I looked back and when I did I accidentally opened the carrier gate too far and then ALL of the chickens escaped. We went from almost three to zero in half a second. After chasing chickens around in the dark for what seemed like forever we finally corned one, loaded her up and I took her home. Before I left though we came up with a plan for the following night. Come the next morning our apparently traumatized hen wouldn’t come out. my anxious children waited not-so-patiently in their pajamas until around 1pm when she finally ventured out. We celebrated. That night our plan worked and we gathered two more hens. Then, if we weren’t already the most popular kid hang out in the neighborhood, we were now.
There was still one little hen left back at their previous house and my husband and kiddos made several attempts to catch her. The problem was she was onto us coming into her hen house and capturing chickens after dark, so she found herself another place to roost. We just had no idea where that was. Finally one night the whole family went over there, hunted her down, and my husband captured her out of her new roost in a tree. I swear it sounded exactly like she was shrieking “help! help!” With all four chickens settled into their new home there was nothing left to do but wait…..wait on the eggs.

The Gathering of Like-Minded Folks

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Saturday my family was invited to the home of some new friends of ours from our homeschool group. They were hosting a gardening class with a couple of Master Gardeners, a veteran gardening neighbor and some other amateur gardeners like myself. I had the best time visiting and sharing with other folks of the same mind. We talked on everything from gardening, to politics, religion, homeschooling and child rearing. Even though we didn’t agree on it all, it made for some good conversation. I was even the second to last to leave.

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The children planted seeds and flowers to take home and since we stayed so long they even got to bottle feed the baby goats.

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Our friends put in a Giving Garden at their home and we all helped plants seeds and starters. It was a great opportunity and I look forward to more meetings with my like-minded folks.

Finding Beauty In The Ugly

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This past weekend we took a road trip to the Abiline area of Texas to visit my husband’s parents. My mother-in-law told me it’s considered “Big Country”.
I live along the coast surrounded by huge Oak and Pecan Trees, lush green grass fills yards where kids run barefoot almost year round. While in the “Big Country” my son ended up with a barefoot full of stickers and my daughter stepped on a cactus and the needles went through her shoe. I personally love the Texas Hill Country and long for it when I’ve been away too long. I adore the rocks and hills and clear rivers that rush through it. But this “Big County” is a place I haven’t visited much. At first glance it’s…well, it’s ugly. Brown grass, scrubby mesquite trees, cacti and dirt everywhere. During our hikes around my husband’s family land and adjoining property I discovered something…something beautiful.

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When I began to look more closely I was surprised at the beauty I found in things like that, and like this.

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Then I began to think about the book I had just finished, One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp where she talks about finding beauty in the ugly. Life is hard sometimes, but God has beauty strung throughout the ugliness that happens. It’s there, just not at first glance. It’s like this “Big Country”, you have to look a little harder to see it. In the midst of having loved ones all around me going through various trials, some unimaginable, some overwhelming, lots of broken hearts and confusion, I can hold onto God. Through all of the ugly I can’t forget to stop and look at the beauty because it’s always there, I just have to take the time to look for it.

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