For a while now I have been yearning to walk in the ways our Creator intended us to live — to live more naturally.
The Creator and His Ways
I believe the Creator made:
- the Light, which He separated from the Darkness,
- the Heavens above our head to include the Sun, Moon and Stars, and Winged Fowl to fly in the face of it,
- the Land beneath our feet to include Grass, Seed-bearing Plants and Fruit-bearing Trees and Land-based Animals under the care of Mankind to feed off of it, and
- the Seas that surround us to include a variety of Living Creatures.
I believe the Creator made mankind from the dust of the land with the intention that his life would continue without end.
Man was tasked to be fruitful and multiply, to fill the land and subdue it, and to rule over the fish of the seas, the fowl of the heavens and all living things that moves upon the land, and to eat of the produce of the land.
However, as a result of man’s disobedience to his Creator’s instruction, all mankind was sentenced death, to return to the dust of the land from which he was made.
While I also believe there was a separation that took place between mankind and our Creator as a result of that disobedience, the ways of how we were created to function remained the same.
My Life in America
Growing up in suburban America in the 1970’s and 1980’s, I was not familiar with what it meant to walk in the Creator’s ways. I was raised in a Christian home and believed there was a Creator, but my attention was more on living a moral life as a follower of Jesus and worshiping the Creator through songs of praise, prayer, Bible reading and reverence of Him and His Word. I did not understand the value in fatherhood, motherhood, or sonship, in the land or in the care for animals, or in the food we consume.
I was the firstborn of three girls, and a boy who died within a day of his birth. My dad was a computer guy, who owned his own business, working out of the basement of our house for most of my adolescence. My mom always worked outside of the house. She went back to school to become a nurse when I first became a teenager and continued to work full time thereafter.
We enjoyed a middle-class lifestyle for most of my life.
City & Suburban Life in Northern New Jersey
I was born while my parents were renting an apartment in a small city in New Jersey, they moved to a house in a suburban community in the same state shortly thereafter. My family lived there for about 5 years, then we moved to another suburban community on the other side of town.
A year later, we moved into the upstairs of a 2-family house in another city closer to my Dad’s family. But then the next year, we settled into a bigger house in yet another suburban community in Northern New Jersey.
From the age of 9 until I turned 27, I lived in that suburban community on a 1/4-acre lot. We had a front yard with a row of hedge bushes lining the front porch, an asphalt driveway that led to a 2-car garage, and a backyard with a small patio, above-ground swimming pool, and a patch of lawn at the base of a sloping hill.
Our lifestyle included a steady diet of cereal, Chef Boyardee Ravioli & Beefaroni, PB&J sandwiches, Oscar Mayer hot dogs, boxed Kraft macaroni & cheese, store-bought beef and chicken, microwaved canned vegetables, rehydrated mashed potatoes, Fish ‘n’ Chips, Chinese Food, Pizza, Cold Cuts on white bread, Potato Chips, Diet Pepsi and Ice Cream.
Rural Exposure in Central Virginia
My mother’s family lived in the Maryland/Virginia area. Every summer my sisters and I would spend about a week on my grandparents’ farm in Central Virginia, and every other winter our family would gather with my aunts, uncles and cousins at my grandparents for Christmas.
My grandparents’ farm was my most prominent rural exposure growing up.
I loved the idea of being a country girl, but I was not a fan of bugs, dirt or sweating, so I mostly stayed indoors. Although I was more comfortable being a city girl, I liked listening to country music and watching the movie “Coal Miner’s Daughter”. I thought it would be cool to have my own cowboy hat, skirt and boots and go square dancing. But that was about it.
My grandparents had cows and chickens and an electric fence. My Grandpa had a tractor, and he was very well known in the community. My Grandma was the pianist at her church. They were active with the local branch of the Farm Bureau and seemed to be loved by all those around.
Folks would come over after dinner to visit and play cards with them, a game called “High King”, and I would have to take a nap in the afternoon if I wanted to stay up late to watch. I remember my Grandma would serve daisy-shaped butter cookies with vanilla ice cream. What a treat that was.
I don’t remember seeing a garden there, but I know they had fresh produce. They had well water, which I never liked to drink because I thought it was too plain. I preferred soda.
Going to town was always a big deal…we usually stayed local. The grocery store was an IGA about 10 miles away. And there was “Johnson’s store” on the way to town where we’d occasionally stop to get a cold bottle of Pepsi out of the vending machine.
I remember there were always bees buzzing around outside, so I preferred staying indoors. Plus it was usually hot. And there were usually flies in the house, which required always having a swatter nearby. You could hear the frogs down by the pond at night and an occasional cricket that made its way into the house.
I remember shucking corn and snapping beans, eating fresh juicy peaches, and even milking a cow once.
My Grandma would always have canned preserves to go with our biscuits and farm fresh eggs for breakfast every morning. One time my Grandpa had me try some raw cows’ milk and I was disgusted by the mere thought of it. (I was never much of a milk drinker anyway.)
On occasion I would go out with my grandpa to dump hay bales off the back of his truck to feed some cattle in a nearby pasture. And at night he would take us out in his truck to spot deer. That was fun. But mostly, I spent my time in the air-conditioned house, playing cards or backgammon with my grandmother, learning how to play the piano, or doing some kind of needlework while my Grandpa played “Family Fued” on the television.
While I didn’t really get into playing in the dirt or interacting with the animals while I was there, I enjoyed the relaxed peaceful environment. It was a much slower pace of life than what I was accustomed to, and it was something different, a kind of novelty.
Back home, my mother had planted a garden at some point near the top of the sloping hill in our backyard, but I don’t think I ever went up there. I had no interest in it at all.
When I was younger I had said I wanted a dog for a pet, but we never got one– that is, until the spring of my senior year of High School. My parents bought a hybrid Malamute Grey Wolf pup from some friends who lived in PA. Although I was there when she first arrived, I was not really involved in her care because I was heading off to college for the next four years. A year later, they got another one. Again, I was not involved in his care either.
Dormitory Life in Tulsa, Oklahoma
My college years took place in Tulsa, Oklahoma where I spent all of my days living in a dormitory. I was being educated for a Bachelors of Science degree in Accounting, with a strong Christian influence. I never owned a car while I was there, so I was pretty much isolated within that university bubble.
After college, I moved back home and worked for my Dad for a while until I got my own desk job answering the phone as a customer service/sales rep for a wallpaper company. I pursued acting in theater on the side and maintained a newsletter/fellowship ministry for young adults. That lasted for about three years.
Suburban Life in Raleigh, North Carolina
The winter weather in New Jersey was really starting to adversely affect me, so I decided to consider moving south. I was offered an accounting job in Raleigh, North Carolina not too far from a childhood friend, so I took it. I rented an apartment at a complex with an outdoor in-ground swimming pool and small fitness center, just north of the city of Raleigh. I hardly used the pool or fitness center in the four years I lived there, but it made for a nicer community environment. My time was spent mostly going to work all day, acting in the evenings and attending church on the weekends.
Throughout those years, I remained very disconnected from the land and all animal life. Being single I spent most of my time around other single adults, so I was also very disconnected from family life. I had always wanted to get married and have children of my own, but I just hadn’t found the right guy yet…or more like I wasn’t found by the right guy.
When I was about to turn 31 years old, I met my soulmate online. He lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma and had a 5-year-old son whom he raised by himself. They came out to Raleigh to meet me, and after a season, I left my apartment and moved out to Tulsa to see if this relationship would go anywhere. A little over a year later we were married and we began to make a family of our own.
City Life in Tulsa, Oklahoma
Those few years I spent in Tulsa were in a low-income community in the city. We had a small house on a corner lot opposite of a steel manufacturing plant. My husband built a picket fence around our yard and a shade arbor over our front porch. Using money gifted to us from our wedding, we planted rose bushes, tulips and other greenery (along with irises we transported from Virginia) in raised flower beds around the perimeter of our lawn. That was my first real experience with gardening.
After being married a year, I gave birth to my first child. Knowing we did not want to raise a family in the city where we lived, the opportunity arose to purchase my grandparents’ farm in Virginia, which had been split up several years before and my parents had built their retirement home next door, so my husband and I seized it.
Less than a year later with my second baby on the way, we moved onto the 16+ acre plot of overgrown land with rolling hills, a wooded back-lot and a spring-fed pond, and into the house I grew up visiting every summer as a child.
Rural Life in Central Virginia
I’d like to say this move was because I desired to return to the Creator’s ways, but really, I was more interested in not losing the history of my grandparents’ property, moving away from the dirty, population-dense, low-income city conditions where we were and closer to my loved ones in Virginia. The fresh clean air, pastures, woods and pond were all a bonus. My husband saw the value in the land long before I ever did. And today I am so grateful he did.
In the years that followed, we began to make a living selling wallpaper on the internet. My husband fixed up the house we moved into and went to great lengths to tame the land that had gotten out of control prior to our arrival, while I struggled to raise babies in the midst of working online.
Over the course of about 10 years I gave birth three times and miscarried four. It was not easy. I did not know what I was doing, and I felt very alone in my struggle, but I really believed “birth control” was a bad idea. Thankfully, I met some folks along the way who embraced the idea of large families.
Today I have three strong healthy children, and I am on my way to being in the best physical condition of my life given all that my body has been through in my latter years. During this time I’ve come to really value being fruitful and multiplying.
I have also enjoyed the luxury of staying home with my family and raising my kids up in the way that we think they should go. Although my childhood consisted of being a latch-key kid, going to public schools and being involved in community sports, school activities and our local church, my children’s childhood looks very different.
I don’t despise my upbringing at all. Although I wish I had learned earlier many of the things I’ve needed to know since raising my own family and making our own way in a rural society, I appreciate having experienced the other side of life. It has given me a deeper sense of appreciation for my current country life.
Over the course of this past decade my husband has done wonders with replenishing our land and raising poultry, goats and cattle. I look forward to taking a more active role in helping with those endeavors going forward.
And my diet has changed drastically. The thought of soda repulses me, and all I ever drink anymore is well water. We eat our own farm fresh eggs every morning for breakfast, and I serve our own farm-fresh raw cow’s milk in my children’s cereal. We eat our own grass-fed beef and fresh herbs, greens and vegetables from our garden, and pears from our own fruit trees.
Our Journey in Walking According to the Creator’s Ways
Recently my husband and I started a website to chronicle our journey in this new homesteading lifestyle. We call it WiggleCulture. Our aim is to not only walk in what we believe to be the Creator’s ways, but also to encourage others to do so as well.
I don’t believe it’s enough to just worship God with songs of praise, prayer and reverent behavior and walk morally upright with our fellow man to accomplish our purpose in this life. It seems to me we are also expected to be fruitful and multiply, to fill up the land and subdue it, and to take dominion of the fish of the sea, birds of the air and living creatures that move upon the land, all the while eating from the produce of the land. Then, and only then, are we truly walking in accordance to the Creator’s ways.