Tuesday, August 20, 2013

New Beginnings....

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life..."
--Henry David Thoreau

A little over a year ago my young family of five moved from an upper middle class, urban area to the rural country of Upstate South Carolina. Our journey to this new life was somewhat long and frustrating.....

After three years of trying to sell our previous home in Columbia, SC, my husband, Brad, and I were finally able to unload a house two hours away by taking out a loan to cover the difference in sale price and our previous mortgage. This was a heart-wrenching decision, but after three realtors, three years, one rental family and all new flooring overhaul we were incredibly relieved to be once and for all through with our previous home.

In those three years, there were many changes in our family. I became pregnant with twins and had to be repeatedly hospitalized for Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Our family van was struck by lightning on the interstate and I began to grow my online art business. My oldest son was also growing older and had a very discouraging first year in school.

Brad and I had been looking for a new home for, literally, years. We were always on the lookout, consistently checking Realtor.com, Zillow and foreclosure reports. I have no idea how many houses we visited in two and a half years, but I can say our ideal began to change. In the beginning, we fell into the usual expectations of a young, middle class couple. We searched through McMansions in the suburbs---neighborhoods with postal stamp backyards and plenty of kids on each block. Then we began looking through urban areas similar to our rental---smaller homes with vintage charm and proximity to downtown.

After much seeking, we became disenchanted with each option. It felt as if we were trying to fulfill someone else's dream, someone else's idea of who we should be. I remembered the pipe dream I'd had as a girl to live in an historic farmhouse with plenty of land and proverbial fresh air. Brad was raised in a rural area and had no hesitations. But could we afford such a place?

We looked high and low--at historic homes in the country and newer versions near farm land. In March 2012, Brad sent an email to me with a Zillow link--a photo of a lovely, white, red roofed farmhouse popped up on my screen.The funny thing was I had looked at that same, charming place a dozen times already. But, was it too far out? Could we afford it? What were the schools like?

After much prayer and contemplation, we decided to make the leap 3 months later. We take such pride in our little 3.3 acres, but we are not quick to forget what it was like to feel suspended in mid-air between a mortgage and rent. To require extreme frugality just to make it from month to month.

As we moved further away from the city, our budding family changed. Our children (now 7 and 3 years) became stronger, and browner, from so much more outside play time.

They are happier and more outgoing than before. Brad and I also began to change--our ideas. When one steps outside of the box of most modern society it can become increasingly clear how far distanced American culture is from the basics of life. I'd always been a frugal gal, but now I started to see just how much superfluous fluff can crowd out the true joys in our existence. So now.....

....we don't text
....we don't have internet on our phones
....we compost and haul all our inorganic materials to a recycling center
....we have chickens
....we buy most of our clothing second hand
....and more to come!

I feel that we are on a quest now to seek out true life. I want to live with greater, more exposed purpose....to be more mindful of the milestones of my children, to cut out the mental clutter of contemporary civilization. I admit that I'm not without the urge to check Facebook, the desire to feel approval of others. That's human nature. But, I would like to endeavor to create a more spiritual existence closer to God, more at one with my little family so that I may nurture their creativity and growth....as well as my own!

"Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose."
Helen Keller



  1. Congrats on the blog! I had no idea that your family was so into recycling and reusing. I'm your newest follower and cant' wait to read more! :)

  2. Thanks for dropping by, Emily! Glad you liked it :)