It’s been a long road from where we started to where we are now. It all started in Pittsburgh…
My now husband, then boyfriend, and I were in our last year of college, planning to pursue successful careers which would supply the means for all our wants and needs. We ended up in Kentucky and began doing just that.
Shortly after getting married, we decided to start a family. We were both in Master’s programs at local universities and I completely intended on going back to work after baby C was born. As always happens when a baby makes a couple into a family, we were somewhat unprepared for the changes that lie ahead. Thankfully, I was able to work part time from home and bring C to the office with me during his first year. I now look back and realize what an amazing opportunity that was and know that I am unlikely to find a work arrangement like it again. It was also during this time that we began attending church after a MANY year hiatus. We were beyond blessed to meet some people really striving to live like Jesus who welcomed us into their community. Those friends made a lasting impact on our lives and shaped the people we are today. Needless to say, their grace and hunger for justice was contagious. Soon, we weren’t just attending church. We were looking to the Bible for insight on how to live our lives.
When C was about a year old, we were transferred to the North with my husband’s job. The economy was very bad and we were thinking of having another child. So we decided I would wait to look for work. By the time our sweet J was born, there was no question that I would put career aspirations on hold to stay home and raise our children. It’s been the hardest, most rewarding thing I’ve done in my life. And I would do it over a million times. Six years have FLOWN by and now we have baby M. No amount of money could replace kissing all their boo boos, snuggling under a blanket and reading Charlotte’s Web as we watch a spider out our window, splashing in puddles, going for “adventure walks”, building Legos, making cookies, keeping them accountable in disciplinary situations, sharing our faith over a cup of hot cocoa. It’s not all rainbows and sunshine everyday. Some days I feel so disappointed and frustrated. But, I always come back to this truth: I will never regret spending this time with them. I will never look back at my life and think I should have worked more or done more. I am truly indebted to my mom and both my grandmothers for modeling this kind of sacrificial love.
As followers of Jesus, we realize the world today is at odds with the way God intended life to be. How can you even begin to fathom a day of rest when everywhere you go, stores are open 24-7, even on Sundays and holidays. It’s no surprise we are so tired all the time. We bring work on vacation and pay attention to screens just as much as the people around us. I can be as of guilty of this as anyone else. But the frenzied life is not something I aspire to and we want to show our children that there is another way to live.
So we decided to make some changes. Instead of keeping up with the Jones’, we are trying to keep up with Jesus and embrace simplicity and contentment. A major step in that direction for our family was moving out of the big “McMansion” we had in a suburb to a smaller home in the country. We traded in sidewalks and manicured lawns for dirt roads and gardening. We try to live well within, even below our means, so we can teach our children (and the grown ups too) contentment with what you have, sound stewardship of resources, and the joy of giving. We believe we should have a connection to the food we eat so we have taken up gardening, hunting, fishing, and raising hens. This has positive implications for health and finances in addition to becoming a part of the rich farming heritage of the area of the country in which we live.
It’s a long journey and we are definitely not very far down the path. But we are always looking for ways to simplify and become more content. I hope to journal about our experiences here so I can keep these memories for our family and friends, and maybe to inspire (and be inspired by) others along the way.
This verse helps our family to stay the course, define what’s important, and live in the moment:
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” -Matthew 6:33-34