The Promise and The Hope, Life As a Non-Conformist

Dan & I are the ultimate non-conformists and I’d like to think we are raising our kids to be the same. I want them to experience the road less travelled, the freedom of living without societal constraints, the joy of waking in the morning to a completely unscripted day. That is truly living; what most of the people we know do is exist. They wake to an alarm clock, wake their kids, hustle them out the door to school, go to work, eventually pick their kids up from the sitter, or race to a sports practice, do homework, make dinner, watch TV and then do the same thing all over again the next day. They live for Saturday and Sunday. T.G.I.F. is pasted all over their Facebook wall. These same people are always complaining about how busy they are. How different their lives could be if they chose a different path, if they took a long hard look at their lives and really chose to live off the grid.

For us, it wasn’t an all-at-once realization, it came in waves and with each decision came a welcome easing of our lifestyle and each time we shed a modicum of normalcy, it made it that much easier to do the same with the next opportunity. By far, the hardest and the one decision holding us back from ultimate freedom was the decision to homeschool. Dan knew and had basically made the decision that we were going to embark on this whole new lifestyle that would bring us closer than ever before; however, I was still holding onto a few ideologies that were holding me back. What about socialization? What about friends? School sports? Surprisingly, I wasn’t worried about my ability to teach my kids, I’m their mom, it’s what mom’s do 24/7. Surprisingly, I wasn’t worried about curriculum and scheduling and all that real life stuff. Thankfully, the things I was worried about were complete non-issues, that I realized as such on the 2nd or 3rd day. After making the decision and committing to it for the long haul, regardless of how hard it was on any given day; after making this commitment everything fell into place. We were free. For us, homeschooling is a multi-faceted blessing. Yes, we do it to stay close and connected. Yes, we do it to teach our Faith. Yes, we do it because we can teach them and they can learn more, better, and faster at home than at any private or public school. And, we do it because it offers us a lifestyle so drastically different than the one 99%  of the population subscribes to.

Surprisingly, many large families share many of our values. I wonder if somehow it’s not the lifestyle persay, but more a calling, a conviction to follow Christ. As Catholics, we are called to educate our children. “Parents are the first and the most important educators of their own children, and they also possess a fundamental competence in this area; they are educators because they are parents.” Pope John Paul II. It took us awhile to fully undertake all the educating, but better late than never (one of my favorite sayings, btw). Life is difficult, even for, or maybe especially for, non-conformists like us. Oftentimes, life gets in the way of living, however, it is my goal everyday to remember that Christ doesn’t simply understand our pain and suffering — he lived it. As we enter this Easter season — a celebration of the promise and hope of resurrection for all of us – I am particularly mindful of the suffering and sacrifice that led the way to the resurrection. If we, as Christians, can understand the meaning and purpose of His Passion, we might better be able to live despite our own struggles. I can’t say I’m always able to stop myself in the middle of a particularly large pity party and say, “Hey, Susie, get a grip. Jesus suffered 1,000 times worse and never once took pity on Himself.” Though I can say, when I do, the suffering usually ends rapidly. It’s the times when I allow myself to go down a dark road that somehow I find myself in dire straights and I’m praying simply to get to where I started. It’s funny how thankful you are for the little things you were only hours ago disregarding, when you are fearful you may lose them! The knowledge that it can (and very likely will) get worse unless I buck up is very motivating!!

I can tell you, I’m incredibly thankful for the husband who is my light, my soul mate, my provider and my protector, the children who have made my life have unequivicoble value, the lifestyle we are so blessed to live, our home, our beautiful mountains and rivers, our quest for never-ending adrenaline rushes and for the undying flame inside every one of us to live a life completely and thoroughly devoted to God. I’m thankful we don’t have to keep up with the Jones’ because we are Kellogg’s. That crazy, adranaline charged, never content with the status-quo family that goes with the flow, tries to duck the punches and live life to the fullest. Life is not easy when you take a different road than most, but it sure is a lot more exciting!!

God Bless All of You this Easter Season, May the Grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, be with you always.  xoxoxoxo

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  1. says: Bella

    I love your family so much. You are fun and sweet and Godly and so down to earth and your kids are gorgeous and so cool. I hope to have exactly what you have when my fiance and I finally get married. Happy Easter.

  2. says: Patricia

    It’s funny because now-a-days people think if you have 4 kids you have a large family. We have 11 and our two oldest are going into the Priesthood, I couldn’t be any prouder. Our youngest is 4 and we just found out we are expecting our 12th baby in November. Life is amazing, it’s good and I agree with your assessment that many large families agree with your values. We homeschool and have for 14 years, since our eldest was in 3rd grade in a Catholic School. I just realized, God wants me to teach them even this mundane work. The real test is looking at your 18,20, 25 year old children. Did you raise them well? Are they going to mass as adults. Are they remaining close to their siblings? I very much enjoy your blog and believe the world would be better off if we had the KelloggShow on TV! God Bless you this Easter Season.

    1. says: susie

      The true test is absolutely when they are grown … how proud you must be to have raised 2 priests so far!!! God Bless you and I hope you have a glorious pregnancy!!! xoxoxo

  3. says: Sara

    I wish I had the confidence you guys have. I can’t for the life of me imagine pulling my kids (we have 4) out of their parochial school and having any time to myself. I’m going to read your site and see if you can inspire me to quit being so selfish, my husband would be behind this decision, it’s just that he wouldn’t be much help. God Bless.

    1. says: susie

      Best of luck to you with this decision, I mulled it over for years and years and now when I look back, I wish I had just done it the first time it entered my mind!!! 🙂 Not easy to do, but once you made the decision, there is NO going back!! Happy EAster

  4. says: Rannveig

    You guys are amazing and an inspiration. I want to be a better parent because of you and I thank God I found you on this crazy site called youtube. The best changes come slowly and with a little pain and suffering, like birth. Then you know it was worth it and it made you a better person and you feel it when you look back and see that YOU DID IT! In a relationship and in life you get periods that are hard, I call it growing pain of life. When you grow as a person it isn’t easy because things around you, that you were comfortable with, need to adjust to the new you. Have faith, believe and don’t stop!

    1. says: susie

      Awww, Rannveig, you’re soooo kind!! 🙂 That just makes me feel wonderful, thank you thank you!!! Happy & Blessed Easter to all of you guys, we WILL meet one day!!! xoxoxoxo

  5. says: Jaysen

    You guys are a really cool family. Fun to keep track of, and follow. Loved your Moab vid, it’s cool to see people having kick ass vacations, getting down and dirty and taking some risks. Keep it up.

  6. says: Chris Healey

    How do you get started? Any resources you used to help you in your thought processes or was it all trial and error? I don’t want this life I built any longer. I’m away from my family too much, I’ve got bills and debt and I’d like to live free.

  7. says: Rich

    The coolest family on the planet. You all really kick it and are such an inspiration to live a crazy life! Keep up the great work!

  8. says: Cora

    Oh my, exactly what I needed to read. You are so right. Why are we so beholden to societal rules? On a new path as of this instant. Thank you.

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