Mandy Kerns, HerStory
Dawson/Forsyth Co. GA Chapter
I grew up in the country... not like farm country... but in the wooded hills of northern New Jersey. There was no garden or chickens or tractors around... just a few bunnies as pets and I loathed my parents for making me grow up in such a place! I did spent quite a lot of time in New York City growing up. I thrived on being around people and having everything I needed within two square miles of my house. I can assure you, I was never going to change! Any time I would drive through rural areas, although I appreciated the beauty, I would say to myself… "Who the heck could ever live out here and WHY?"
After marrying, sticker shock made it clear we needed to move outside city limits... Oh my word... you would have thought someone stuck me in the middle of a deserted island! Adjusting to suburban life wasn't kind to me but I settled in, had two little boys and adopted a little girl shortly thereafter. Insert mini-van, play groups and the dreaded home-owners association and I settled in to being a suburban mom! And as a side note, I had a dear neighbor friend who ate organic and when we'd go over for dinner she'd ask us if we wanted "cow's milk" or "goat's milk" and I just thought she was WEIRD! ...this stuff was just not on my radar! I grew up eating TV dinners!
It started with an atomic bomb hitting our family through unexpected and unfathomable trauma. Our world was shattered. I have no words to even describe it and what the next few years looked like. Anxiety, grief, and so many other emotions gripped my heart to the point I felt emotionally paralyzed. During these years our family was hit with more hardships... two job losses, the loss of my father-in-law, the loss of our five year-old puppy to cancer, a totaled car, our 13 year old son who nearly had a foot amputated, etc. Our world continued to crumble and seemed it was spinning out of control.
As each of these hardships slammed in to our family it seemed layer by layer things we loved and clung too were being pulled from our clutches. The more we lost the more I started to yearn for and find inner peace in green pastures. The thing I wanted to escape from the most as a child was now the thing that brought me peace. We began reading...researching...dreaming of a different life. I WANTED CHICKENS and a goat and a garden and a creek and a fenced in back yard...I wanted country life!
Now, if you talked to anyone that had known me for the past 45 years they would have told you that there is absolutely no way I would ever live in the country and no way would I ever own chickens... NO WAY!!! Now mind you I thought when we started homeschooling five years ago and then purchased a grain mill that I had hit the maximum on things I said "over my dead body" would I ever do. My son and I were diagnosed with gluten intolerance and everything about how we ate started to evolve! I started going research crazy and one by one things were removed from our diet (preservatives, coloring, flavorings, soy, gluten, dairy, etc.) and day by day the amount of time I spent in the kitchen got longer and longer.... first out of necessity... then out of desire.
After a time of respite I was blessed to have in Italy, this spark nearly exploded. While there I met an amazing gal whom I quickly nicknamed "Farmer Girl". She looked like this pretty little Barbie Doll who I assumed was getting weekly manicures. It about blew my mind when I found out she owned farms in Texas, slaughtered her own animals, grew food for her family, homeschooled and could drive a massive tractor like a champ. And then she told me about Einkorn and about a cookbook called Nourishing Traditions....well.... the rest is history and we became soul sisters!
So while my head was swimming with "what if's" and my heart was aching, I decided to chase after a dream. I love to write, I love photography, I love essential oils, I love to cook and DIY all sorts of things and I like to be authentic and try to be a blessing to others walking through the trials of life... so I jumped in head first and launched my blog, www.makeeverydaymatter.com. It was a place to set my heart free, empty my mind and nurture my love for the many passions I had in life.
Ok, back to the house...
There was something stirring inside of us. I tried to talk myself out of it, moving that is,... we had no real "reason" to move…beautiful home, wonderful friends, great church... but my husband and I could not shake it off...we felt called to go. After 9 months of constant house hunting and 2 contracts that fell through, we finally found a 1.3 acre house to call home. It had a 2 bedroom cottage on the property which we spent one month renovating so we'd have a place to live during the house renovation. Our three teenagers would be sharing a bedroom and hubby and I would be sporting trundle beds in a tiny bedroom. Sounds fun, right?
We quickly sold our old home and renovations began on our house. And then it all fell apart...literally... What was supposed to be a six week "cosmetic" renovation turned in to a total gut job which continued for ten months. In the middle of these set-backs we had something really wonderful happened… we bought an old barn/homestead that was being torn down! We literally stumbled upon a dream come true and were able to use so many found treasures to breathe new life in to OUR homestead!
It's now been a year since we moved…and 2 months since we finally finished the main portion of the renovation. The chickens are now 11 months old and blessing us with an abundance of eggs. The dreams and plans are in full swing as we move on to the next phases of turning this home in to a full-blown homestead. A garden, barn, possible B & B, goats and a pig are on the wish list. But for now, our little buckets with half dead herbs, fresh green pasture growing in our new fenced in back yard and our adorable chicken coop filled with 8 ladies keep the spark alive to keep pushing on through the storm and pursuing our dream!
Thank you, Mandy, for sharing your dream with us! We look forward to following your progress and will gain inspiration from your unfailing spirit.
Every dream is a work in progress. What's your dream and what are you doing to pursue it? Join us in helping other women pursue their dreams!
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