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“Where did you go?” is a question we’ve heard a lot! This is a little back story for our faithful long-time subscriber family and a condensed history for our new Abundant-Wellness subscribers. I’m sharing how our websites changed and also how we moved from neighborhood life to homesteading.
We’ve had a home on the internet for many years now. Our first website was called Welcome Home Families dot com. We started that around 2003 when our boys were still young. We had been homeschooling a few years and were just starting out on our homesteading journey. Of course, we didn’t actually have a homestead at the time; we lived in a neighborhood on the edge of suburbia and country road.
Our homesteading and natural health journey has been a gradual one. Years ago we were drive-through Happy Mealers but as our dream started to develop so did our knowledge and skill set. We studied and researched A LOT. As “all or nothing” natured as I am, I did realize that the majority of our family was not. Maybe this is true for many families? Sudden, drastic changes are hard for most people, especially children.
So, we made slow changes, one at a time; opting for healthier versions of food items, replacing one thing here and another thing there. Little by little our tastes changed with our menu and we realized eating real food the way God made it was way better than the processed, packaged, boxed, bagged (and drive-through) junk.
Eventually we made more things from scratch like our cleaning products and milling our own grain to bake homemade bread. Not only were we enjoying the health benefits but we liked the financial rewards as well! We shared those DIY things, creative homeschooling ideas and a lot of fun family-centric content on that first website.
Once I became a CNHP (Certified Natural Health Professional) we made a new net home and created Real Life Natural Health dot com. We still kept the content we had from our first gen Welcome Home site but added a lot more natural health topics.
With our boys getting older they each started to focus on skills and talents. Since we homeschooled we could build in a lot extra-curricular learning into our days along with the “3 R’s”. Our oldest son got the techno gene from his dad and started his own video production business when he was 16. He soon took that portion of the site work on and became our in-house videographer and editor for videos on the Real Life website. Our middle son really enjoyed art and designed our logo for that site. We all worked together to make it happen.
After many years of learning (inside the home) homesteading skills and natural health, we got the “Now!” Word from the Lord on New Year’s Eve of 2010. It was time to sell our house and buy a home in the country that would be our real life homestead. This happened at the height of the Real Life Natural Health website; site subscriptions were soaring, YouTube subscriptions were taking off and we had lots of great affiliates.
We took a few months to do some touch-up painting and re-organizing and in March of 2011 we put our house on the market (during the “down” real estate market when no homes had sold in our neighborhood for a long time!). By June of 2011 we got a call that our house had sold! In the same phone call our realtor told us that the property we looked at and liked (that had just sold) fell through at closing and was back on the market – that same day! We immediately made an offer on the bank-owned property.
This property was a diamond-in-the-rough, “treasure hidden in a field” kind of place. It had sat empty after a foreclosure for several years. It was a gorgeous piece of land with a barn. Period. Technically, no house. The previous owners had started remodeling this horse barn into a house before they left so it was a mess. It was literally the least expensive property in two counties listed on Realtor.com! But, the amazing thing was that God wanted us to have it! We put in a bid on the bank-owned property and we heard back the very same day that the bank accepted our offer!
The really crazy part happened the next day. The soon-to-be new owners for our existing home wanted to move into it in 12 days! So, we had 12 days to pack up an entire two-story, four-bedroom home that we had built 12 years prior! With the grace of God and the help of friends we moved everything, sort of Beverly Hillbillies style, to the barn.
Have you ever had someone ask you, “Did you grow up in a barn?!” because you left a door open? Maybe not, it could just be a southern saying. But suddenly we realized that our kids were going to be growing up in a barn, schooling in a barn and even going to church in a barn! The church part is a different barn but it’s a small fellowship of Believers only about a mile down the road and across a cattle gap.
At the time we moved in there was only one small bedroom and bathroom that was “livable” in the barn/house! We pretty much lived out of that one room and camped out the best we could until we could get it remodeled little by little. We cooked on a grill outside, ate our meals on a folding table in the breezeway and washed dishes in a bathroom sink!
It was an amazing adventure, especially for three teen-aged boys but it didn’t fare well for my website. We did have electricity but otherwise were completely off-grid. No internet. At first I thought I could manage it by driving into town (30 minutes each way) to use the internet at the library but that didn’t last long. I kept thinking that we would get internet and be able to post again but the promised broad-band project to our area took much longer than we had hoped. We had a lot of work to do to get the infrastructure of our new homestead in place (and that only happened when Dwayne was home from work – in the evenings and on the weekends) so we had to make the sad decision to shut down the Real Life Natural Health site.
Here we are, three years later and MUCH has changed! We eventually did get high-speed internet and have now started this brand new website: www.Abundant-Wellness.net. Are you wondering what happened in the last three years? I’ll fill you in on the “gap” next time.
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