So as I have written here before, we struggle financially sometimes because we don't know how much or when our next order will happen. We have faith that God will always provide, though, and we have always had healthy food and kept mostly up with our bills. But as I have written we are not able to do many things we want to do - all the lessons for the children, all the art supplies, etc... but the hardest part for me when finances are tight, is that we are not able to visit my mom and dad and older two sons as often as I would want. That is the trade off. That is the hard part. But that is the choice we have made and I know that God has provided for us on numerous times to travel. And we were even able to have a large family weekend get together here on our farmstead at the end of last summer.
What made me really sad recently and why all of this has been on my mind the last couple of weeks is because we weren't able to meet with my mom, step-father, and my sister and her family in southern Maine a few Saturdays ago for my mother's 70th birthday, because of the weather. I was over taken with the idea that, well, why don't we just go down to her place and spend the night in Connecticut and then my sister was going to have a little celebration for her at my sister's home near Boston. Well, although I knew we were struggling financially, the orders had picked up the previous two days, so I told my Mom on Sunday that we would make the trip on Friday. Well the next two days there were no orders at all and we just had enough money to buy food, which I am thankful for. Mind you, we don't have any savings. I had to let my mom know we wouldn't be down and that was so hard. (You see, we also have just one old car that could use some repairs so we don't want to risk something happening and not be able to afford to fix it.) That decision made me so sad.
Over the last two weeks our business has picked up and for that I am grateful. But over these last two weeks I have been thinking so much about how our family lives. We obviously don't fit into the cultural norm and we don't have a regular paycheck and now that Mike and I have been out of the workforce for so long, we are hardly employable except at a starting wage which is about 10.00 around here. And, overall our business pays us more than 10.00 an hour. We earn about $43,000 or so a year.
So I have been thinking about the trade offs that we have made - one being not always being able to say yes to travel - but on the flip side there have been many times when we have been able to say yes. We don't often buy new things, we don't have any kind of financial security (but who really does anyway, right?), we have to stay home much more often than I would truthfully like to. There might be a festival going on 30 minutes away - but the travel, the food, etc.. - it often doesn't work out for us financially.
Now the good stuff - we are together as a family. Our children all tell us they are really happy. I am really happy when I am not worrying so much. Just the last couple of days Emily and Abraham have been using branch scraps to develop new products for us to sell in our shop. Emily has even been putting the branches out on the metal that Mike uses to dry the wood and then carting them around in boxes like he does. So sweet. Abraham has his creative pursuits with his Legos and amazes me. He asked me today if we could save $2.00 a day for him so we can get him a Lego Robotics Set - the big one. He also is asking to work for us daily and so he can save money for it as well. Sarah loves her chickens and her instagram community and has friends from a homeschool group. Abby has her camp community where she helps out during school vacation camps and spends the summer there as a counselor. Isaac is 19 now and says he is very happy. He helps with our business and with homestead work and then spends the balance of his time doing computer related things such as music composition, video editing and gaming.
We have a beautiful place to call home (although it is on the market as we hope to return to Vermont, but that is all in God's timing. More on that in another post.). We are expanding to market gardening. We are developing some friendships with some other families, although this has been slower than I had hoped. There is so much good.
Living this simple, but not easy lifestyle is amazing in so many ways and I am a million times over thankful for all of the fruits it has produced and the daily beauty I get to experience. Sarah just brought me a bouquet of daffodils that she found in our field, on the edge of the woods. A sweet surprise.
All we have is this one life to live and I guess I am one of those people that wasn't willing to wait ... to wait until we had enough saved.... to wait until all our bills were paid off... to wait until the kids grew up .... to wait until we retired..... I want to squeeze as much as I can out of this one life and to inspire others to do the same.