There’s more to homesteading than milking the goats, it seems. I posted a list of practical things I thought to do first, but it is more than just “back to the land.” It is a mind shift, a sea change, a new way of being in God’s creation.
So these are some other ways to get ready:
1. Thank God continually. I am thanking God for the delays of last year. While we didn’t get started on the homestead, we are moving to a better place than the one before, we had time to recover from our physical and emotional traumas, and we formed a deep, lasting sisterly friendship with someone who had been just an acquaintance before.
2. Put the things of this world out of your mind. We will be leaving television and shopping malls behind, and it’s time to put them in perspective. We don’t need them, we don’t even need to think we enjoyed them much. For others it might be Saturday night at the pub, first run movies, restaurants or salons. It’s not that you won’t ever see any of these again, but it’s best to place them at the back of your mind as something you don’t need, and will hold you back if you pursue them even in memory. We have a Christian friend who works for the Lord, but had a rather dissolute youth. He talks about it a lot – the music, the bar scene, the old friends now gone. Some of us wonder if he finds his present life dull in comparison, even though he is happier and healthier. Live in today, not yesterday. The monastics were always told to forget their past, and not discuss it amongst their brothers or sisters. It’s still good advice for Christians.
3. Give first place to prayer and worship every day. The world forces us out of our daily cycle of prayer and contemplation by making us busy. If we live out of the world’s gravitiational pull, we should be able to resist this busyness. Start the day with prayer and thanksgiving, end it with prayer, praise, and petition. Ask for God’s presence in everything you do.
4. Take the seasons as they are. Here in the North, we will be cold in the winter, hot in the summer. Snow will block the roads at times. Longing for summer days and notching up the thermostat will just make us poor in spirit and purse. And I am determined to never get caught on the road in a blizzard again! Our old heroic attitude was that we would get through the storm, no matter what, to make that meeting, that worship service, that visit. I’m so sorry, but I’m older now, and saner. Sometimes it can’t be helped – I’ve left home in light snow and driven right into the storm farther on – but even in just five years, weather mapping has improved. I intend to be more mindful of my time, health and energy, and flow with the seasons.
5. My Hebrew studies professor used to say, “People are more important than papers.” (Although that excuse worked one way – she didn’t like late work at all.) People are more important than my planned tasks, facebook, this blog, and my so precious sense of privacy. We need to make more time to sit and talk, share a loaf of bread, and hear about the people of our own community. Praying spontaneously with those in need is not weird. Always ask a blessing over food, even if it is just coffee and bread.
6. Take criticism with a grain of salt. Have confidence in the Lord. Trust those who have proved themselves wise and generous in spirit. Avoid those who always have a negative word to say about what you are doing – they may be envious, selfish or arrogant. Don’t let their angry spirit ruin your joyous spirit.