Saturday, January 3, 2015

And So It Begins

It's a new year, and a new blog! For those of you following along from my12hats: welcome, old friend. I'm glad you're here.

For those who are new 'round these parts: allow me to introduce myself.

I'm Brandy, a keeper of the home, wife to an amazing teacher and pastor, mother to four kiddos - three girls and a boy. I blogged over at my12hats for an inconsistent seven years before creating The Unlikely Homesteader. 

Why the change? Allow me to explain... 

You see, I was a wanderer at heart. My husband and I moved 10 times in our first 8 years of marriage. We changed cities, states, and countries, holding down different jobs and titles throughout our journeys. I wore multiple hats, literally and figuratively (including one unfortunate pretzel-shaped hat that paid only $6 an hour. Oy.) I wanted to see and do and be everything. I wanted to pioneer. To find new adventures and places and people.

I love our decade of adventure. I often think fondly of the friendships forged across the globe. The strange foods we tasted. The titles we answered to. The wisdom we gleaned. The lessons we learned.

As the author once wrote, "Not all who wander are lost." 

Still, I can see now that something was missing. Like a kite with no string, we traveled where the wind carried us, but were destined to eventually crash and rip.

And crash I did. In early 2012 in Memphis, TN.

All the changes, all the mistakes, all the running finally caught up to me in a bout of depression that nearly cost me everything. You can read more about that here.

While it is something I never want to relive, I am forever grateful for who it forced me to become.

During that darkest of seasons, the Lord began to prick my heart: What would happen if I hung up all my hats, for good? Who would I be or become if I'm not defined by what I do? With no jobs, or grades, or roles, or adventures to define me, what would?

Then in the softest whisper to my soul: What if I'm not called to pioneer? What if I'm called to homestead? 

What if, instead of a flimsy kite, I'm a solid oak? What would that look like?

That was three years ago. Three years of asking those questions over and over.

Eventually, the decision was made. We wanted roots. We wanted permanence. We wanted long-term investment. We wanted to homestead.

We moved our family of six from a 2700-square-foot home in Memphis, to my 800-square-foot childhood home in Athens, GA.

We traded our small patch of perfectly green sod and a man-made pond for a few acres of weeds and red clay and a backyard that floods in the spring.

I quit any and all careers to stay home and focus on the job at hand: homemaking and rearing the little people I birthed in the last decade.

Finally, I made the decision to document this new and long-term adventure in a blog that "fits" more than all those hats ever did.

Should you choose to join me, dear reader, here are a few topics you can expect: 

1.  Chickens, guinea pigs, and a couple dead goldfish.
2.  Really bad gardening.
3.  Really good recipes.
4.  A few Pinterest success stories.
5.  A lot of Pinterest fails.
6.  Housekeeping hacks.
7.  Authenticity.
8.  Kids.
9.  Small space organization.
10. "Realistic" minimalism.
11. Marriage.
12. Ministry.
13. Big family.
14. Small budget.
15. Depression.
16. Humor.
17. Health and weight loss.
18. Lists that end on the number "18" because I can't think of anything else to add to them.

So journey with me. Read along as our family embarks on this new phase of life.  Laugh with us. Cry, if you must. Lean in close and gain a friend. We're in this together, you and I. And I, for one, am happy for the company.