I am a Hopesteader. I haven’t always tried to look for the silver lining in most any situation until one day, I was able to see it while homesteading. It’s a skill that has encouraged me to spur on and learn and read and do and gain experience and turn knowledge into wisdom.
I wanted the acreage, the animals, the perfect rows, the plow, the larder, the root cellar and as quickly as possible.
You see, I had bought into a lie or false assumption that I needed XYZ in order to be something, learn something, and do something. It’s a societal norm where I grew up that after high school, college gives you a diploma which equals a successful or secure career. Climbing the corporate ladder equals more financial gain and security. Investing weekly time and on-the-job training equals even more financial gain and security. Financial gain equals affluence and admirable society status. That was my tiny world view of worth. Self worth and net worth were the same in my mind.
As a young newly wed over a decade ago, I waded through a budding career in healthcare administration and I was quickly learning the game and how much I really didn’t want to play by the rules and ascribed game plan.
I wanted a time out and felt burn out creeping in like a bad case of shin splints. I was no longer willing to allow my physical, mental and emotional health and self worth sit on the bench while I played my heart out with zero ounce of passion. I wanted and craved the spark to accompany the drive and burn aflame.
I had a renewed sense of Hope when I gave my life to Christ during a difficult point in my life and began learning a completely new way to do this game we call life. I had a renewed purpose, self worth, approach and a loving support system that dwelled in Hope and helped me anytime I asked or needed it.
I began seeing opportunity to grow into the role of a Homemaker, Homesteader, wife and Mother. I was no longer waiting for the ideal farm I had in my mind, or the land, or the ideal garden spot, or the pieces I thought I needed for the Homesteading puzzle I wanted to put together. I just knew I was ready for a change of pace and was willing to grow my mind, strength, and faith over deeper pockets. Wealth is more than money, I began to realize.
It all started with fancy feathered chickens. I had a few layer hens and practiced keeping them alive. I collected eggs, changed litter and cleaned the coop, lost a few to predators and worked through those new feelings and overcame. Once I felt comfortable in that role and the other side of the Romance that initially attracted me, I took on another role and began tending to a small garden.
Much like taking on chickens, I learned how to keep it alive. Water it and feed it. Fight predators and intrusive weeds. The fruits of the spirit cultivation that Jesus explains to the disciples took on a whole new meaning, especially patience to cultivate this garden well and self control when seed catalogs started to pour into the mailbox in winter. Some causalities were inevitable but quickly saw the casualties helped reveal defined borders or space to grow.
Once I felt comfortable wearing the chicken lady hat, and the gardener gloves, I began feeling ready to really level up and dawn my figurative Homemaking and homesteading apron, work shoes, and tools of the trade that accompanied.
It was a cascading of on-going training if you will to play the game better, smarter, intentionally and once I had that, the mindset shift to dwell in Hope and the passion that matched my drive / I couldn’t be stopped. That’s the beauty of being A Hopesteader. Hope open doors and if they’re closed, You remember to look for open windows and go back and jiggle handles and make sure you didn’t miss an opportunity to open a door you thought had closed permanently. Maybe the window is locked too, but you can still look through it. See what you can learn by peering through it and observe.
As I type this, my family and I are two month post-sale of our homestead that I initially thought was “unfit for homesteading” and ended up being a big period of personal growth for me and the perfect playing field to grow my Hopestesder role. I think back now as we are currently building out another farm completely from scratch and how difficult it would be for us if we JUST started playing homesteader right here and now. We’d be out 10 years of intentional practice of doing what we can, with what we had. Building muscle memory, routine, rhythm, skills, tricks, and turning book knowledge into experience and experience into wisdom we can now utilize and pass on the encourage and teach others.
I want to encourage anyone who thinks they have to check all the boxes before everything is perfect is to let go of that notion right this minute. It’s a lie, and it’s holding you back. Your family doesn’t need convincing to fully uproot and live in a rural community. You just need to start taking small bites and let them watch and observe you chew, and ruminate, and learn and ponder.
MAKE HOPE A HABIT.
I want to encourage you to dwell in Hope and start HOPESTEADING right here, right now.
In your apartment – start growing herbs in a window seal. Start some hearty winter greens on the deck outside, sowing it in a pot of dirt from seeds and enjoy fresh kale and spinach in the winter. Buy a whole chicken and learn to butcher it into quarters, wings, legs, and breast. Make broth from the bones and make an amazing soup. Open the windows when its nice out. Buy tomatoes in bulk and water bath can them in jars. Listen to podcasts on your way to work that inspire you to learn about homesteading. Read books from the creators of your favorite YouTube channels when you wind down in the evenings for bed. Spend the weekends driving back roads and dreaming about how amazing it would be if you found a rental that allowed a garden out back. Visit the country and see if you’d like a slower pace of life. Make food from scratch and cultivate the skills right now, right where you are.
If it’s a priority, you will find a way. Pray about it and have faith it can happen. Save money, live below your means, and be a good steward of what you have now so you can be ready to steward more well.