There are many reasons we started Sunny Willow Farms, and many small choices and experiences that led us to where we are now. Of course, more than anything, it was very clearly God's hand at work in our lives.
We were living in the suburbs of Dallas, TX; Mason working as a marketer for a real estate company, and I staying at home with our daughter Lucy. Life was not easy for us once she arrived in December of 2020. She was extremely colicky, and mothering that beautiful little screamer sent me into a season of struggle the likes of which I had never known. Post partum depression and anxiety led to debilitating insomnia, and learning how to be a parent on top of it all easily made it the hardest year of our lives.
In addition to the intense events of our personal lives that year, there had been a heaviness that weighed on us for a long time before the idea for the farm came into being. We felt entirely powerless as we sat witnessing the direction that the world was headed; not surprised by it, but deeply saddened and frustrated. The desire to DO SOMETHING was often overwhelming to us, as we felt completely helpless to change anything. We longed for independence and freedom, as well as a way to provide healthy food and a decent living for our family. I think we also longed for the satisfaction of doing really hard work for something that's truly ours.
After seeing how fast the food supply dwindled during the snowpocalypse in 2021, I remember going for a walk with Mason and telling him that I thought we should seriously consider making plans to start a homestead. It had always been our far off 10-15 year plan to buy land and do something with it, but the Lord had started shifting that lovely future dream into what felt like a very present necessity. I felt an extraordinary urgency - it couldn't have happened soon enough as far as I was concerned. Thankfully Mason brought me back down to earth before I packed everything up and moved us out to the country right then and there! He reminded me that we had time, and that the Lord would care for us whether we lived in the city or had a fully sustainable homestead in the country. God knew I needed a steady man in my life! We also had a tremendously long to-do list to accomplish before we could get started on a big new project like a homestead. But getting started is exactly what we did. We walked to the library the next day and checked out a fat stack of books on all things farming, homesteading, market gardening, composting, cows, pigs, chickens, and so on.
there's this as well: My parents sold their house at the top of the market and made well beyond what they ever imagined they would, and then we did the exact same thing two months later. That money funded this farm. It was money that wasn't there before - we didn't expect it, deserve it, or plan on having it. The Lord provided exactly what we needed to make this happen, debt free.
The original name for the farm was Serenity Farms. It was my mom's idea, inspired by Thessalonians 4:11-12 - “Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. Then people who are not believers will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others.” These verses capture our hope for our life out here. Serenity is also the name of a certain ship from a show we all love called Firefly, with a quirky crew of people just looking for independence and freedom. Perfect, right? Sadly, someone already had the name.
No worries though, because the Lord had a different name in mind. Mason and I suffered through two miscarriages this last year. We named our lost babies Sunny and Willow. In a way, the timing of losing Sunny opened up the door for us to pursue the farm. I would have chosen for our babies to live every time, but maybe that's why I'm not the one in charge. The Lord had a plan to welcome Sunny and Willow home before I wanted them to go, but He remained with us in our grief, and made the path to the farm clear. We chose the name Sunny Willow Farms. It will always be a blessing to my grieving heart that our babies will forever be honored here. Mason and I planted two weeping willow trees by our pond and I look forward to watching them grow throughout the years. God is so good.
We have somehow accomplished hundreds of tasks to get us to where we are now, and we still have hundreds more ahead of us to see this place truly come to life. It's a harder, dirtier, stinkier life out here, but man is it fun. We absolutely love this life we have chosen! Our greatest hope for Sunny Willow Farms is that God will be glorified here. Our prayer is that we will steward his breathtaking creation with wisdom and grace, and that many families will be blessed by the healthy food we will produce.