You asked: When & How did you end up in Topeka KS? Where were you before that?
We moved to KS on July 1st 2008. The Lord is truly the One that brought us to KS! We can say it was for my husbands work but you know how the Lord uses little details like that to get us to where He wants us? That’s what happened. Prior to that we had never even visited KS. We had felt the Lord telling us that we would be moving and leaving CA for months earlier yet, we didn't know why, when, or how. We lived on a 40 acre ranch up near Yosemite National Park where we lived off the grid in a small cabin that my husband rebuilt out of an ‘old shack’.
You asked: I know you grew up on farm life but have you always done this since becoming an adult or did you take it up at some point in life?
Actually no, I didn't grow up on a farm. I grew up and lived in the city of Fresno, CA. My grandparents were still on the farm when I was a little girl so I have many memories of the farm, the cows, the grape vineyards, the times I sat under the vines and ate till my belly hurt. However, I never worked on a farm myself until I married my Joe. Joe sold our dream home in 1997 and moved us to the Sierra's to live off the grid and homestead. That was my first exposure to farm life. I was terrible at it. I burnt every meal for months. My chickens died, my garden was eaten by deer, we lived in a tent with five children from the age of 11months to 9 years old and I cried almost every day under the Oak tree as I would pray and write to God in my journal. I never let my children or husband know how I felt about the adventure instead I said like David, “I have resolved that my mouth will not sin.” God did an amazing heart work on me up in those mountains, truly amazing!
You asked: How many acres do you live on?
We currently live on 16 acres.
You asked: How old are your animals before you use them for food? Do you send them off to be butchered?
We butcher our own animals at different ages. Lambs are typically a year old. Chickens are typically 12 weeks old, beef is typically 18months to 2 years old. We don't send them out to be done. We do all the work here. The Lord was gracious and put people in our lives to teach us skills we didn’t have. It was hard, it was hands on, and it’s been worth every bit of it!
You asked: I've read that you try to do things as natural as possible. Does this mean that you only eat organic "all natural" food. Lets say you go grocery shopping-in Fresno CA terms would you go to Trader Joes or Whole Foods to purchase your food.
No, I eat as much natural, chemical free food as possible however, I do have a bowl of skittles sitting on my desk as I type you and a box of Ritz crackers in the pantry. I'm a work in progress... I just try to make as many healthy choices as I can and don't beat myself up on the other choices!
You asked: If you do use all organic or "all natural", would you have done this when money was tight?
This is a GREAT question!! Actually, having the resources for something is a "clue" to me that God does or doesn't want me to do something. My Joe is always reminding me to live within the means of our blessings. No matter how good an item might be if God hasn't given us the resources for it, we would be poor stewards to buy it.
You asked: When did you adopt? Did you do foster care before that? How old were your born of heart children when they came into your family? Were any of your born of heart children siblings to one another before coming into your home?
We adopted our first little boy, Sammy, in 2004 through a foster/adopt program. Our other three children adopted are siblings and adopted in 2007. Each adoption had it’s own battle. I told my mother I had to labor for each of my children just some were much LONGER and much different than the others. My adopted children were labored for longer obviously and it was, at times, a very painful process. You know what? I would do it again in a heartbeat!!! know God decided these children were to be ours from the beginning of time. He doesn’t have “plan B’s” He always knew the choice that would be made and He made provision for them! I am confident that He is the One that knit each of these children into my heart when he fashioned me in my mothers womb. We are thankful that the Lord gave us these blessings and don’t' regret one day of the battle. Don’t get me wrong, I wish our adoption would have been ‘easy’ but the truth is… it wasn’t! From the moment I met each of these children I have had the same momma bear instinct to fight for them, protect them, and to love them, as with all my children. My Sammy is nine now (he was 13 months when he came to us) Matthew will be 7 in Jan. (he was a newborn when he came to us), Ezekiel is 12 (he was five when he came to us), and Sarah-Grace is 10 (she was three when she came to us)
Well, that's us in a nut shell! :-) I loved sharing with you. Please feel free to ask any time!
With much love,
Mrs. Joseph Wood
Here’s our family at Sammy’s adoption (the extra woman in the back was our sweet social worker who helped us):
Here’s our family at the last adoption (in this photo we have our social worker again.. she’s kind of standing out front and on the end. My brother and his wife are also in this photo):