2020 changed everything for a lot of people, and my family was not exception.
November 4th, I went to visit my parents. All year I had been taking precautions and isolating to ensure that I did not risk bringing the virus to my vulnerable parents. However, I was in their home for almost 24 hours before my mother finally told me that she had been exposed several days earlier. The following day, we would have to drive her to the emergency room, which started a journey for the entire family.
For years, I had split my time between the city that I work in and the rural area where my parents live. However, it had become more clear in recent months that they needed more help than could be given with us so far away, so we would need to start looking for a way to be in the area more often and transition to eventually (possibly years down the road) being there full time.
However, COVID accelerated that dramatically, as they needed full time care for weeks, while they battled with the virus. Even now, months later, they still struggle with the after effects of the illness exacerbating their other health conditions.
So, in order to care for them, my children and I moved into temporary accommodations on their property.
The youngest two kids (9 & 13) and I became barn people, moving into a tiny house that is the ranch's guest cabin, and my older daughter (15) fixed up an old camper as a bedroom. The oldest two kids (18 & 20) share the spare bedroom in my parents' house.
Obviously, this wasn't a permanent solution so, once my parents improved to the point that we were relatively certain they wouldn't need us 24/7 forever, I started looking for a more stable place to live but was quickly frustrated at lack of affordable options.
Just after the new year, however, a property owner offered to get us into a place for $10,000; which was extremely reasonable for a full acre with an existing, insulated structure. Unfortunately, even if I used every cent of my savings, I couldn't manage it.
One night, though, I made a throw away tweet lamenting the fact that I was frustrated about being so close to a solution but unable to make it happen. Within moments my mentions were advising me to start a fundraiser and my inbox started filling up with requests for my direct payment links.
Honestly, I probably wouldn't have done it had I not been sad a little high, and just wanting to go to sleep (medical marijuana patient that was having to do some pretty serious pain management at that point). But, to stop all the notifications, I decided to post the links and to create a GoFundMe so that folks could follow along with the progress. I didn't expect to receive much but figure anything was better than nothing and maybe I could find some way to make it work.
Much to my surprise, we reached the $10,000 price in just under 2 months and we could not be more grateful for every person that contributed and shared this journey. The messages of encouragement that I received really warmed my heart and helped me to truly understand community.
As promised during that process, I have started this site to allow folks to continue to follow our journey.
NOW FOR THE TWIST...
During those two month, there were lots of social media shares and IRL word of mouth. As tends to happen in Choctaw families, everyone got involved in my business. Thanks to my dad and my uncle advocating on my behalf, the money raised from the community, every penny of savings that I had, and some short term owner financing, I ended up being able to negotiate a deal for a total of 3 acres: the acre with the steel building and another 2 wooded acres. (More details on each property to come.)
This was beyond our wildest dreams and we are so grateful to the dozens of individuals who contributed to this outcome!
We will be moving into the steel building soon and will begin work on the wooded acreage after that. The goal is to build a small cabin in the woods for me & the younger kids, and leave the 18 year old in his own house--both off grid. We want to live more practically & sustainably.
Stay tuned for future updates, to follow our journey.