Saturday, April 7, 2012

Let's Start at the Very Beginning...

It's been over a year that we have lived in our "new" home (it's over 130 years old). How did we end up living in an old run-down farm, you ask?  Well, let me give you a little background...

It all started with a documentary called "Food Inc."  Perhaps you have heard of it or even watched it yourself.  I would highly recommend it.   At the time, my husband and I would have considered ourselves environmentally-friendly and animal-loving people, but we gave little thought to what we ate and where it came from.  Simply wasn't on our radar.  This movie changed everything.  I remember we both sat there in stunned silence when the movie finished, trying to take it all it, grappling with this new knowledge.  I don't remember which one of us said it, but something was said along the lines of "Well, if we want to do something about this, we better start growing our own food."  So began a new chapter in our lives.  There was no going back, once we knew about these problems with the food system - can't unlearn something. 

My daughter was born around this time.  During one of her middle of the night nursings, as I was dozing in the rocking chair, God revealed a vision to me.  Now, these sorts of things don't usually happen to me, and dare I sound too "out there" and mystical, I can think of no other word to describe what God showed me that night as I wavered in that delicious place between sleep and wakefulness.  He showed me a small beautiful farm, full of life and vitality.  Abundant gardens, my children playing joyfully in the yard, me harvesting the fruits of my labors.  A garden so productive that we had plenty to spare and we blessed others with our over-abundance.  It was very clear to me that God was revealing my new home to me and telling me what to do -  work this land with love and care, grow food that will nourish your family and others in need.  Okay Lord, I can do that.  "But", I asked Him, "what shall I call it?  This place needs a name."  And immediately, He responded "Third Day Farms".  I was curious about that name, but decided to trust Him (more on that in a later post).    My daughter finished nursing and as I lay her back down to sleep, my head was spinning with dreams and ideas. 

I am a private person, and quite honestly, I thought people would say I was crazy if I told them I had a vision.  So, I kept it a secret, but told my husband is was time for us to sell our home in the suburbs and look for something in the country.  The house was listed, we waited for buyers and in the meantime, we began looking for "Third Day Farms", even though my husband didn't know about this dream/vision in my head.

Nearly a year later, we found it.  A home came on the market and we went to look at it, even though it was way out of our price range (do NOT do this!  Not a good idea!).  The moment we pulled in the driveway, I had to fight back tears.  We had driven past this home from time to time and I had always admired it, dreaming about what it would be like to live there.  I knew without a doubt THIS was where we were supposed to live....but  how would we ever afford it???  Walking around the 3 acre property, I saw bits and pieces of my vision revealed to me.  My children were hungry, so we looked around and found wild raspberries for them to eat.  Already, this land was feeding and nourishing us.  It was perfect!  I left that day feeling distressed and hopeless.  We could never afford this place.

Lo and behold, we finally found a buyer for our house.  Just as we did, the price on the home we wanted dropped into our price range.  We quickly wrote up an offer, prayed like crazy and waited.  They accepted!  I could not believe our dreams were coming true.  We closed 1 week after selling our home and promptly moved into my parents basement for 4 months, because some parts of the home were almost unlivable and we wanted to fix them before we moved in with the kids.  Funny how every one's interpretation of "dream house" is different.  Ours certainly is not "dreamy", but it offers us the "lifestyle" of our dreams. 

    The Barn

The "New" House

                                           View of the backyard from my kitchen window

Fast forward one year and there have been many changes on our little farm.  We've been busy building and painting fences, raising egg layer chickens, preparing a 4,000+ sq. foot garden, planning a small orchard with fruit trees and berries, renovating the 1880's barn that has been abandoned since the '60's, all while attempting to slowly dig our house out of the 1950's (the last time it was "remodeled").  Money is extremely tight, so we have to be patient and creative.  But through it all, we are overwhelmed by God's blessings.  He has provided for all our needs and many of our wants as well.  Our adventure has just begun and we are so excited to see where God leads us as we attempt to turn my vision into a reality.


  1. I am so happy for your family that you are following and succeeding with your dream! I understand completely about your "vision" from God and not being real vocal about it. I had the same experience when I was pregnant with my birthson and it's impossible NOT to follow where you are led when it happens! You are an inspiration with your dedication and hard work while following the Lord. We love you guys!

  2. My Mom, Sharon VanderHeide, wanted me to follow this blog. Thanks for sharing your journey with others. In the past 12 hours the documentary Real Food, Inc has been recommended to me (including your blog). I know your husband John from when I helped out the praise teams at your church. He can tell you a bit more about our journey this past year to natural and organic foods.

    I'm really feel a tugging on my heart reading about your experiences. Please keep the updates coming!

    Eric VanderHeide

  3. Eric,
    Thanks for your comments! We too felt a tugging at our hearts and we could not ignore it. There was no going back. God was calling us into this lifestyle and now we have to muddle our way through it, figuring what in the world we are doing :) It's quite the adventure. Exhausting, but more satisfying than I could ever imagine. I suppose that's how life feels when you are aligning yourself with God's will... We continually ask God to use us for His glory and His purposes, and if our purpose is to teach others about food and farming, so be it!

    I have so many ideas for blog posts (pages of ideas), but I'm so tired at the end of the day from working that I don't have the energy to write! Hopefully, I'll have more time during our off season (fall and winter). Things are about to ramp up in the garden and I'm going to be canning, freezing and preserving like crazy!

    Please feel free to stop by anytime. We love visitors! You can message John for directions.


  4. This is beautiful - a friend just sent me the link to your blog and I'm loving it so far. I'd love to subscribe but I don't see a button.

  5. Thanks Joanna! Forgive me, I'm technologically impaired and don't know how to put the "subscribe" button on there. Maybe someone can help me out? I have no idea what I'm doing - I just write stuff and post it :)

  6. Joanna, I'm still not sure what I'm doing, but I think there is a link your can click if you scroll all the way to bottom of the blog...