In the short time that I've made public both this blog and our intention of running a real farm, the primary response I've gotten from people have been variations of the following:

"That's so meaningful!"

"It's so special what you and John are doing."

"What a great way to raise your kids."

It's been a real dose of humility and reality for me.

We are just two people who dreamed a dream and are taking steps to make that dream come true...isn't that what everyone does?

Sadly it's apparently not as common as I thought.

Are you dreaming big?

Are you taking tangible steps toward your goals?

What's holding you back?

I really want to know and would love to encourage you in any way I can!

Losing my mother helped me to be even more intentional with my time and resources.

Please don't be like me. Don't wait to lose someone to live intentionally.

I just finished a great book called Essentialism by Greg McKeown and this quote stood out:

"To see people who live this way, who prioritize what matters most, is incredibly rare."

Anyone can do what we are doing. If homesteading is your dream, that can take so many forms and be done on so many different scales.

That's why I've started my #homesteadingwithkids blogpost series. I posted the first on Tuesday and have completed three more interviews that I need to edit and post over the coming weeks.

Through the series I hope to demonstrate the wide range of backgrounds and experiences homesteaders have. You can have one kid or ten. You can be scraping by financially or well-off. You can homeschool or public school.

What we all value is self-reliance and good, homegrown food.

Part of my dream for Sfumato Farm is to encourage others who value self-reliance to actually take some of the steps we are taking.

But I also want to encourage others to live their values.

Homesteading is not for everyone. Your dream might look like a tiny house in the Colorado mountains or a big house in the suburbs with a club membership or an apartment in New York City.

I believe God gave you that dream for a reason.

Trust in that.

Sacrifices might have to be made, but life is so much richer when we act out of hope rather than fear.

We definitely don't live with chickens and goats and a large garden just because it saves us money (if you count our labor it definitely doesn't)...but it's more about our quality of life.

We enjoy tending the animals and garden and really enjoy the eggs, milk, and fresh produce.

It's worth it to us.

It may not be worth it to you, but what is?

For as long as I can remember, I've valued introspection. I take the Myers Brigg every few years (John and I are both ENFJs though he's borderline INFJ in case you're curious). I journal. I value professional feedback and assessments.

I pray. Lord, I pray.

And I read as much as I can.

Years ago, I read Danielle Laporte's book Style Statement and obsessively brainstormed until I came up with my personal style statement: Cultivated Exuberance.

That "style statement" which was not only meant to help hone my personal aesthetic but also guide decision making in general has evolved. Praying over my career and relationships, I came up with my own personal mission statement:

"To cultivate exuberance by building community and fostering God's grace."

This is the lens through which I make decisions about my time and finances. It's what led me to step further back from my fundraising career and focus on my family and the farm.

I want to build a solid community in which to raise my children and sell our farm goods.

That takes time and intention.

Last summer, I participated in Lara Casey's "Fruitful Summer" program. A beautiful, engaging free opt-in for them to capture new emails, yes. But it was so much more (probably my favorite free opt-in ever) because it's on mission. Their mission "Make Things Happen" - was applied to making friendship happen intentionally over the summer.

Here I was wondering why I didn't have a village when I hadn't spent the time and energy trying to cultivate one!

So I spent a lot of time over the last year networking online and in person. I joined a MOPS group and go to playdate meetups. We host a small group now.

I'm definitely not anywhere close to where I want to be just yet, but I'm closer.

And I feel better because I've taken intentional action.

Anyone with small children knows it slows you down.

This is both a blessing and a curse.

You have less time with friends and/or your conversations are interrupted by constant potty breaks or chasing after wayward toddlers. It's hard to get into the substantive, meaningful stuff while juggling small kids.

But I've learned that showing up and small gestures mean a lot. It adds up.

I'm still building my village and figuring out the best way to live out my mission, but I feel a lot better now than I did a year or two ago.

I often lose sight of the value of this journey.

Your comments, 'likes,' and encouragement have been such a blessing.

Thank you.

I hope I can continue to share the joy and grace found in this journey of homesteading and raising a family.

Do you or your family have a mission statement? If so, please share below!