Our Fearless Leader

This is not going to be well written, of that I am sure. It’s late at night, I’m tired, and I have computer access for just a short time. I apologize ahead of time…

The past few weeks have been very stressful.  We left behind our 7 bedroom home, moved completely out, cleaned it spotless and put it up for sale.

We moved onto our land far before we should have and set up camp, literally, with six of the kids.  Robin sleeps in a tent.  Billy sleeps in a tent which he proudly calls his two-room-mansion.  Mya and the three small boys sleep in an old run down travel trailer we picked up for pennies and cleaned the mold from.  I am sleeping in the loft of our incomplete 20×36 cabin, which is actually quite comfortable if you discount the fact that we STILL have gable ends with no sheeting because I am afraid of heights and the wind and mosquitos think that’s an invitation. And until two days ago, we had no front door.

When Dan is home from work next week we will put the tin on the roof, wire the generator to the cabin and have flushing toilets, if no water with which to flush them.

Truth be told, our money is tight, we need $9000 for a well, a new generator and some groceries in storage before winter and it’s not looking promising. Not that we won’t have the well…it just might be drilled through frost or snow sometime in October. We’ll live.

Oh, I’m not complaining, mind you.  Because as my older kids remind me daily, “You wanted this…”, therefore my gripe-rights are null and void. I simply have to bite my tongue, smile and nod, smile and nod, when people ask how things are coming along.

They are coming along… just a bit more slowly than we’d imagined, but coming along none the less.

Yesterday I found myself more frustrated than usual and when Dan called from whatever arctic oasis he has found himself in for his shift, I was less than pleasant.  I normally try not to complain when he calls. After all, he works 12 plus hour days for weeks at a time and rarely lets off steam.  But last night I needed to vent. And so I let him have it.

He listened, heard me out, and empathized with my plight.  Are we making a huge mistake, I wondered?  Did we plunge in based on fantasy and now reality closes in with the coming of winter?  Should we just move back into the big house?  What about going south?  Perhaps some sun is the answer, maybe camp out through the winter in a nice condo on a beach…now that sounds nice, doesn’t it?  I laid out my list of complaints like a rug at his weary feet, hoping he’d climb aboard my rampage.  He listened, we said our goodnights and I began to plot my escape.

And then my dear husband, who for over twenty years has calmed my storms, who should have been fast asleep by then, resting for the next day of work, sent me the following text:

“Homestead Survival page just asked, ‘What would you do with 30 acres?’  Looking at the replies, most readers see that as Heavenly and completely out of reach.  They can’t even dream of such a thing.  We have 40. It’s ours. We need to remember how blessed we are, and that we know hard work pays off in the end.  We are both mentally and physically fatigued…but we are living our dream.”

And he’s right, of course.  He always is.  I rarely talk about him on this site, because he really prefers me not to. I don’t blame him…I know a lot of secrets. But once in a while, I just need to say thanks.  He is the backbone of this family, the unsung hero, and my dream-sharer for life.

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23 Replies to “Our Fearless Leader”

  1. Keri…as usual…another likeness for the two of us! Your husband is wonderful! I miss chatting with you! I’m happy for you guys and can’t wait to touch base with you again! It WILL come together, my sweet friend! I promise you that…because…your intentions are right and so are your hearts! Looking forward to catching up again…maybe over email? Liz ( in Idaho!) Keep on keeping on!

  2. Wow, you are doing some fantastic work! Have you thought of creating a campaign at Indiegogo.com and trying to raise the money that way? I bet a lot of people would contribute – especially knowing how you are helping so many kids find a better path in life.

  3. I’ve often wondered why he isn’t in the blog, but now I know and I love his perspective. You are an amazing team and I know you can do this. I can’t wait to get home and actually be able to come spend some time with you pounding nails and researching other ways that you can be making some money. 🙂 What do you think folks, I think they need a paypal account for encouragement gifts?

  4. I’m from a primarily southern family so my perfect comment for you is “bless his heart” . And he’s right! Keep your chin up you are teaching your kids amazing things. And inspiring a lot of us out here!

  5. Don’t you love when the hubby pulls through?! Mine just left for Long Island, NY for the next 6 weeks. He was home for a week from being in NC for two months. We live in Nashville. I didn’t sign up to be a single mom but the bills are getting paid and we have a roof over our head. My eight year old doesn’t get it though. We will look back at all of this as a bump in the road on the way to the promised land!

  6. Just remember there are tons of us out here cheering you on. Everyday. You are living a life most of us don’t even dare to dream about. Just take a deep breath.

  7. Of course he’s right….I married one of those too. I’m sure if he were the type to respond, he’d thank you for being there for him, inspiring him, and sharing his dreams as well. 40 acres or not, it sounds like blessings abound. And he, you, and everyone else who replied are right, all the hard work is so worth it!

  8. Oh man, I just realized I didn’t have you on my RSS anymore. Don’t know how that happened.

    Loved this post. Makes me realize just how often I wish I had someone in my life to whom I can moan and groan when things get tough.

    1. Dan, I probably screwed up my RSS feed…! Sorry to remind you you’ve nobody to freak out at when the going get’s rough…perhaps you can at least get a blog out of it…feel free to link me for full credit. 😉

  9. This is amazing and you have an amazing family and even when we think we are doing what we want we still need someone to tell us to BREATHE … and you have your someone . It is ok and totally normal to get tired, frustrated and question decisions made. My Grandma always told me to wait three days and it will be better and that has always been true. So when I am in tears and totally frustrated and discouraged I tell myself that and pick myself up or muddle and cry through it and three days later it may not be amazing but it usually IS better 🙂

  10. I hear you and I see you too – we don’t have an arctic winter to contend with but we do have a lot of work to do on our place yet before we can move in. But every weekend when I travel 2 hours south to our little place in the woods – I feel the week unraveling as I travel. I feel the tension leak away with the miles. And as I sit out in the woods that evening with a fire in the firepit and a bazillion stars over my head I feel blessed. This is my dream and I’m seeing it realized. It’s taking a while and we have a ways to go yet but in a couple of years we will be living there full time together. That will make this all worth it! 🙂 Hang in there.

  11. We are facing a similar move – not off grid, but from Tampa, FL to Sydney, Australia. We know no one there. It’s 9300 miles away from our family and everything we know. We’re stressed to the max, all our costs aren’t covered (to the tune of about 16,000). My husband leaves this Friday, my daughter’s 9th birthday is this Wednesday and my 18 year anniversary is today, in the middle of Tropical Storm Issac.

    That said: your move has been an inspiration. I’ve started a blog myself to help deal with the stress. And I think: you know, you may not know where you are living when you get there, but at least you don’t have to build it! I think how courageous you are, doing this with 7 kids and a spouse who travels as well.

    You’re not alone. You can do this. It’s a speed bump and not a mountain to climb. And I’ll send you pictures from Sydney. 🙂

  12. Awww. It sounds like he was just able to give you just what you needed. Sweet hubby. I know the frustration of livin’ the dream. At the end of the day that dream sometimes feels less than heavenly. Take a deep breath, appreciate everything you’ve accomplished already, and just keep taking it a day or an hour or a minute at a time.

  13. I think anything worth having always comes at a price. Sometimes it doesn’t seem worth it…because those things are never cheap…neither physically or financially. I’m playing amateur counselor here, but if I were to make a guess, I’d think this has more to do with Destini heading off to college than it does with frustration over the progress on the cabin. Even if we’re excited for them, it’s hard on parents when their kids are away from home. This is the first time I’ve read about you being discouraged over it, and it seems like more than coincidental. Okay, there’s my two cents.

    But if I’m wrong, and that’s as likely as not, you’re still doing a good thing, and once all the hard work is finished, I expect that you’re going to be happy with it.

  14. I hear you. I just moved my family of four from New York State to Illinois. Took my 9 year old from a life he loved and a summer usually spent in the woods, to my parents living room and constant tv (not a dream come true for him.) We finally found our new apartment, which is a huge change from our little house in the country. My reasons for moving were more than sound, I needed to not have a 5 hour daily commute, my family needs more of me, we needed better schools and I wanted to live near my family. That said, it was the hardest summer of our lives. Your husband is right. Your hard work will pay off! 40 acres!! Also, money was/is very tight for us. Things squeak along. Good training for the kids. Look what you are showing them, to live their dreams!

    Good luck over the next few weeks! It may not be easy, but you’re together.

  15. Heck, things always come along more slowly than you can anticipate. We’ve been building a chicken coop all summer! Complete with the chickens adapting daily to the changes in their environment. Your kids, I am sure, are seeing this as an adventure and loving every minute of it!

  16. That’s my brother! So proud of you both. It is truly amazing to me that you can actually follow your dreams. Prayers are with you. Keri, you are “The Little Engine That Could”. You keep climbing those mountains saying, “I know I can”. You are a Riley girl – and us Riley girls can do anything we set our mind too. love you much

  17. You have an amazing husband and family. I wish I had property to build on and live my dream of no phone Internet or tv. I know someday I might. I’m am happy with what I have and my family is my backbone. Anytime you need to vent I’m here for you. I know my life is blessed with great people. Thank you both!

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