So how does a marketing assistant in one of the largest movie studios decide she wants to be a homesteading/homeschooling mom?
If you would have told me 10 years ago that I would be 3 months away from quitting that life to be a SAHM, I would have said you were nuts.
It all started about 9 years ago when we moved into our current home. Even though our home is in the suburbs of Los Angeles we have almost 1/4 acre of land. It's really what sold us on this home - because trust me the house itself left a lot to desire. Praise God for giving me a handyman for a husband because our home is far from the way we found it.
We both came from farming/gardening families and we looked forward to planting a huge garden. Fast forward 4 years and we had the beginnings of a city farm. We added all sorts of fruit trees and each year we increased our vegetable garden area. However, we were happy being weekend gardeners and had no plans on becoming a one salary family.
The other part of this story is that after years of infertility we finally realized God had other plans and we started looking to adoption. After looking at different options, we decided foster care would be best for us and started the process (that's for another post).
The idea of homesteading exploded for us in March 2008 when I went to a convention sponsored by the LA catholic archdiocese. One of the speakers was talking about Christian stewardship and how homesteading involves great stewardship. It was like he was describing our life except for owning farm animals. Could it be we were city homesteaders? I came home and shared the information with G-man and we started looking at ways we could do more.
This led me to the internet to search out what I could find on homesteading and wow - I found whole blog communities on the subject and started learning so much and eventually started sharing what we were doing. But yet we both saw it as a hobby not a lifestyle.
We were truly living in two worlds - one of self-sufficiency and one of excess. We spent money like we had a money tree out in that garden and we accumulated debt like compost. However, the more and more we began to look at the beauty of homesteading and self sufficiency we realized we needed to address our spending and debt - so the process of becoming debt free started Fall 2008. We also started our process to become foster parents at that time. The homeschooling bug was also nipping at my heals in that a lot of the online friends I had made were also homeschoolers.
April 2009, in the middle of a torrential downpour God would bring us great friends who would further grow my desire to homeschool. G-man had noticed our neighbor trying to shut off his water in the pouring rain because of a leak in the house and he sprung into plumber mode to help. Here to find out they were a homeschooling family. We had lived across the street from them for 5 years at this point and had no idea. They would later lead us to local homeschool resources, money saving ideas such as magic jack, and even our current church. I would lead her to the ideas of line drying clothes and making your own laundry soap.
By the beginning of the summer I was convinced we would homeschool and I would find some way to quit my job. G-man still wasn't convinced we could make it on one salary, but I was. We also started our classes to become certified foster parents which would take about 6 months to complete.
Then things started to fall apart (looking back we see it was all part of God's wonderful plan). September 2009 - I was told I was being laid off in January 2010 (hmm could this be my way home); November 2009 - I was diagnosed with uterine cancer; December 2009 - I had surgery; January 2010 - I was laid off on a Friday and started radiation on a Monday.
During early 2010 we realized that I would go back to work. We had to put our adoption on hold and it could take us a year to be matched with a child. In the mean time we were no where near ready financially for me to stay home. We could barely afford our mortgage.
Back I went and forward we went on the adoption path. During the next two years we would face two layoffs for G-man; have our children placed with us in foster care; and almost have them return to birth mom (which praise God he protected them from that).
However, during this time we were also able to pay off some debt; negotiate away more debt; and modify our mortgage. It also provided us with time to make changes we needed to make around our homestead in preparation for me staying home. Last April was a monumental month for us. We modified our home mortgage (reducing our mortgage taxes and insurance by almost 50%) and our children became adoptable again -- it was at this point G-man realized we could do this and it would be a good thing. We agreed we would wait however until our adoption was finalized -- giving us a little more time to prepare and to make sure we would have children to homeschool :0)
So I guess this still leaves the why homeschool to be answered -- stay tuned for next time to find out.
I will tell you that in the current state of our country if you haven't found ways to be more self sufficient you need to. If it wasn't for the steps we had taken we wouldn't have kept our house during that journey.
Until next time