Monday, October 15, 2012

The Power of We

Friends helping with wood
 Today is Blog Action Day, and the topic for this year is "Power of We." I've been thinking about this post for over a month, mulling what I could write. It comes down to the fact that I'm a homesteader, minister, stay (mostly) at home mom and writer. I could research a million topics and come up with something full of gravity and solemnity. But that isn't me. I write about kids and family, about personal religious and spiritual experiences, and about the things we grow and do on our little suburban homestead. So that's what I need to write about.

Girltwin helps plant seeds
I realized during my thinking time that almost everything we do around here is powered exclusively by the "power of we." Getting the children ready for school in the morning takes two. The chores around the house are a multi-person endeavor because we have a relatively large house and a lot of Stuff. Cooking is also personnel heavy, because we're most often feeding 5 adults, one teen and two first graders at a sitting. Because I don't drive, my ministry often involves someone carting me off to whatever event I'm working at. The garden takes several dedicated people working 3/4 time, all in itself. Our household is the "power of we" in action, daily.

Family working on a coop
 If one person were to attempt to do the household things required on even a modern homestead like ours, they'd drown. There are times when I have tons of help and I still feel like I'm drowning! We've made choices that increase my workload, and that of the rest of the family, such as grinding our own flour from wheat berries with a manual wheat mill and baking much of our own bread instead of purchasing it. We cook food from scratch more often than we use pre-packaged meals, and that takes time and effort, too. It's just not possible for anyone to run a homestead (no matter how small) by themselves. It is by its very nature a "we" project.

Gray watering fruit trees
When we planted our garden this year, the project was officially "my" baby. However, Gray helped with the creation of the raised beds, helped get my garden tires into place, and did much of the sawing of the rubber rims. Sis helped with preparing and planting, and the kids were definitely involved in the moving (and tossing!) of dirt. The girltwin planted her own garden, in fact,  with help from we adults. Gray had to haul all the compost from the dump to our home, then helped with shoveling it into the raised beds. One of our friends, Russet, helped with weeding and planting and watering. The garden would have been nothing but grass without every person lending a hand!

Sis splitting wood
Our home is largely heated with wood. Every one of us has helped with the splitting of the wood, because it's a part of living the life we've chosen and because it simply would not get done otherwise. Gray does the majority of splitting, but he needs someone to help move the wood onto and off of the stump for him, and the kids are responsible for stacking the wood neatly for winter use. They even came up with the idea of using some spare red bricks to make steps so they could pile as high as the adults do! Even though they're only six, they are required to do a good job and be neat and straight in their stacking. They are as much a part of this household as we are!

The power of OUR "we"!
Times are tough. We worry if we'll have enough money for fuel this winter. We worry that there will be enough food. Yet we can look at our larder and see months worth of produce that we've dehydrated, frozen or canned, and know that we'll be alright even if things are lean. That is OUR power of "we" after all. We work together. We learn together. We laugh and play together, too, because that's as important or more important than the working part.

Recently, I had made some laundry detergent for us, and sis came out of nowhere and said, "We can do anything!" She's right. As a team, when we're WE, we sure can do anything. When we fight, things fall apart for a little while, but then we make up and things move on better than before. We're passionate people, from oldest to youngest, and we truly live our lives to the fullest. I'm incredibly proud of our "power of we."

What sort of "power of we" does your family have?

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