KY to MI

KY was a great adventure, full of new terrain (literally and figuratively), plenty of character building (don’t think I was ever going to get use to no cell phone service for a radius of 10 miles or the poisonous snakes) and got a few more tools in the tool belt (literally). Kentucky launched us into the next chapter…back to Northern Michigan.

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Kentucky provided humbling experiences, living among history of our great country’s’ beginnings. There were rock walls on the property that were built by slaves, muck boots became a required piece of apparel, copperheads and rattlers could be lurking near by, seasonal swarms of lady beetles, and stepping in a cow pie on the way to your car door – were all commonplace. All of this provided perspective, acceptance, strength and growth.

IMG_6040 Jackson station at Gusty Branch

We had a great opportunity to work and live in the same place. Jackson got to work on a historic replica of a Toll House, located in central KY, about an hour and half south of Lexington, in the rocky, hilly hollars. A gorgeous home built down the creek, .5 mile up a nob and back into the woods. He acquired tools of the trade, on-site education and became quite the craftsman. He did everything from finish plumbing and electrical, to creating his own trim, bead board and solid wood doors.

IMG_8651 Jackson wood working; processing wood paneling

If the job itself didn’t keep him busy enough, he also started a farm. The job-site property was set on hundreds of acres, providing the chance to start what Jackson has been waiting to start for years. If not now, never? Right?! So it was. Farming, here we come! We raise hair sheep, goats, turkeys, cows and pigs. Fencing mishaps, runaway goats, disappearing turkeys, and plenty of births provided more than a few stories along the way.

IMG_1206 raising hair sheep

Oh, and we got pregnant and had a baby too!

One of our biggest life lessons Ky provided was “you can’t do it all.” It’s better to invest your time and resources into a few things and do it really well, rather than be eager to achieve, spreading yourself too thin. So, we downsized and re-prioritized.

While we built friendships, two church families, gained experience (and some farm animals), we decided at the end of the day what’s really important to us: investing in sustainability for our  future generation and being close to family/community – in a place we feel like home.

Leelanau County, here we come!

moving back to MI_truck gusty branch KY_IMG_1584

 

Our story, continued.

Kevin Jackson and I both grew up downstate Michigan. But after beginning our lives together there, we soon realized that our larger goals and dreams were not going to happen where we were at – so we had to make a change. We sold our first home in Howell, MI, sold a lot of our belongings in order to simplify our life, and headed West in the Land Rover, for the adventure of a lifetime.

After having our first son Abraham in Boise, Idaho where we stayed for 6 months, Our search became to find a place where we could obtain property, live as a small community to farm, where we could live a self-sufficient lifestyle, providing not just for ourselves, but a place for others in need.

So our search continued. The next step towards farming, was going to be education along with work. Jackson applied to many positions on farms across the country, but just so happened to get a Farming Internship in Leelanau County, where our trip began, at a Certified Organic Farm, Isadore. So back across the country we headed.

We first moved to Northern Michigan in a friends bunkhouse above their garage, in Glen Arbor. Next, to a lovely rental home up a hill in the woods in Maple City, where we’ve been at for over a year. We believe that the next step will take us to a larger place on some land here in Leelanau County: A place where we can find some roots, begin to start a farmstead, grow a small business, grow our life, grow some food, raise our son, and eventually help grow our community.

Dreams happen by taking action on a passion, and for Kevin, it started years ago with an unfamiliar burning in his belly. Now he is leading us to farm, raise animals and food organically, sustainably, and responsibly. We’re traveling towards unfamiliar territory, but living our life with more purpose.

Fresh trails of Adventure

On the beginning leg of this journey, a friend was led to give us a book she was reading one morning, proclaiming “I think you two could really use this on your trip and it will be a blessing to you.” It’s a daily devotional titled Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, with inspired musings for each day of the year, followed by a few verses to coincide the topics.

We opened it up immediately and ever since, we’ve been reading it each day. It’s short, sweet, to the point, and totally relevant to things we experience and are challenged with all the time. This devotional has also been a tool we’ve used on multiple occasions, loaning it to a fellow camping neighbor or using it during conversation with someone we met. It has not only been a blessing to us, but to other people along the way.

This particular reading below describes the journey we are on, and may shed light to those of you who may not understand why it is that we are doing what we are doing. We hope this will also encourage you and perhaps challenge you to reconsider the path you are walking on each day and how you respond to all of life’s choices.

(Note: It is written as if the Lord is speaking to you.)

[box]October 27th

As you become increasingly aware of My Presence, you’ll find it easier to discern the way you should go. This is one of the practical benefits of living close to Me. Instead of wondering about what is on the road ahead or worrying about what you should do if…or when…, you can concentrate on staying in communication with Me. When you actually arrive at a choice-point, I will show you which direction to go.

Many people are so preoccupied with future plans and decisions that they fail to see choices they need to make today. Without any conscious awareness, they make their habitual responses. People who live this way find a dullness creeping into their lives. They sort of sleepwalk through their days, following well-worn paths of routine.

I, the creator of the Universe, am the most creative Being imaginable. I will not leave you circling in deeply rutted paths. Instead, I will lead you along fresh trails of adventure, revealing to you things you did not know. Stay in communication with Me. Follow My guiding Presence.

Psalm 32:8 | I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.

Genesis 1:1 | In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

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“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” | Hebrews 11:1, 3

“…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” | Hebrews 12:1-2

“Then Jesus said, If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” | Matthew 16:24

The Non-Plan Plan

[box]Plans never seem to go as planned, so that’s why we’re going with, what I’ve been calling, the “Non-Plan Plan.”[/box]

This isn’t a decision made on a whim, a leap without knowing the risks, or an action without any thought. Rather, this Non-Plan Plan has come from life lessons and a new level of maturity that has led us to a place of surrender and acceptance in whatever lies ahead. It consists of thoughtfulness, preparedness, dreams, ideas, and research, leading to a decision or action in which one is okay with whatever the outcome. This type of plan means doing what you know you can do, surrendering to the path ahead, being open to the endless doors of opportunity, embracing both joy and adversity, and allowing yourself to let go of the things you cannot control. These types of decisions take a lot of trust that you will be armed with whatever you face, and they take knowing that you will not be given more than you can handle.

Much of the ancient stories in the bible are this way. For example, Moses had a speech impediment.

“When God told Moses to free the Israelites (Jews) from slavery in Egypt, Moses replied, “But my Lord, never in my life have I been a man of eloquence, either before or since you have spoken to your servant. I am a slow speaker and not able to speak well” (Exodus 4:10). After reassuring Moses that he was the man for the job, God told him that his brother Aaron the Levite would speak to the Israelites on Moses’s behalf.”

-Above quoted from:  www.enotes.com

Moses was called to be a leader but didn’t think he was equipped for the job. However, God armed him with the help he needed to carry out the task. Kevin and I have been pushing hard for months now to get to where we are at today, but in particular, it’s been a long couple of weeks. Kevin came up with the metaphor of us trying to leave our life behind and take this trip, launching us into a new Chapter. It’s been like running a marathon. Both mentally and physically challenging, we’ve been running without stopping until we reached the finish line. Periodically through the week, I’d think “ok…we’re on mile 13. Keep going.” Then a few days before we left, it was like mile 17, when they say while running you “hit the wall,” so to speak. The the day we packed up the last item in the Land Rover, we did one last walk through the house, said our goodbyes and hit the road. That’s when we crossed the finish line. Well at least for that chapter of the story.

Things came up that we didn’t count on, in addition to lots of loose ends to tie up, but we keet diligent and now it’s paying off. We’re on day 2 of the journey with both body and mind feeling unburdened and totally loving every second it. There are lots of surreal moments and it’s just starting to sink in that it’s actually happening. I look forward with hope, to the path that lies ahead, as we “let go and let God.”

What am I doing?

Our good friend Matt, shared the site manvsdebt.com with us. I’m sitting here, already being misunderstood and called crazy, thinking “what am I doing?” Then I remembered his slogan:

Sell your crap. Pay off your debt. Do what you Love.

-Adam Baker

People that travel and blog usually have some tangible goal like: camping in all 50 states, or traveling the entire world in a Land Rover, or Driving from Alaska to Argentina with 5 kids in a truck fueled by bio-diesel. Then there’s us.

We’re getting ready to be “homeless” on purpose, pregnant, and traveling in an old Land Rover with the “non-plan plan” in the horizon, all while pregnant. It sounds crazy, but then the answer to my question “what are we doing?” dawned on me.

Our first home doesn’t have enough land for our bigger dreams, and we just aren’t satisfied with the suburban lifestyle for long periods of time, Don’t get me wrong, I love cities. In fact, if money was no object, we’d have a skyline view in a penthouse loft, with a roof garden in Chicago, just to go there on the occasional weekend get-away. But we’re just not designed for the daily grind. We can work long and hard, but when there’s no bigger picture that we have like-minded vision with, I just can’t justify it long-term.

We’ve watched our parents generation loose their “secure” jobs, and seen people with college degrees not be able to find steady work to feed their families, and high paid engineers loose everything they had, long-time employees be offered a small severance package to leave. So what you’re “suppose to do out of high school” just doesn’t add up.

Kevin and I were entrepreneurs when we met out of college, but had to end our small business due to the change in the economy. Then we went to hourly wages, which is just not going to support the lifestyle of starting a family. Call me crazy, but I just don’t see it. So we’re selling our crap, working towards paying off debt, leaving our hourly jobs for a while, and getting ready to start doing what we love and living more passionately.

Hopefully our actions will inspire change in other people’s lives, and we’re trusing that we’ll make ends meed somehow. Just don’t look at it logically, and it’ll make sense. When I start over thinking it, that’s when I scare myself. But when I trust my gut, I trust my God, and I move towards the unkown that lies ahead, I know it’ll be just fine. Surrenderring to that fact that it doesn’t all have to be figured out, leaves room for the the Man above to do His part.

If you are considering a leap of faith in your life, trust your instinct. Listen to that still small voice, whom childhood stories call Jiminy Cricket.

Be okay with a little. Be okay with adversity, seeing it as opportunity. Be okay with the unknown. Be okay with just being in…today.