Welcome to Abiding Farms! We are a family farm located in Brownsville, TN. We started homesteading five years ago. We lived in Memphis up until that time.
As an addiction therapist living in the city, I saw a lot of chaos. The solution was not more ‘things.’ What I had seen work in the lives of those seeking healing from addiction was being willing to do difficult things, getting outside of a comfort zone. No matter how challenging a developmental upbringing has been, health and sobriety are available to those willing to do something different. As it’s stated, ‘If nothing changes, nothing changes.’ It is not enough for me to simply state, ‘Jesus will change you.’ Does He? Obviously He does! But He expects me to listen and obey.
A further work in my life was seeing the growth in my children who were homeschooled by my wife. We did not desire that our children be raised surrounded by pop culture and grow into their teen years believing irresponsibility and immorality are just a natural part of those years. But, how could we nurture a pure environment without falling into the other pit of legalism and rigidity? Two factors helped us make our decision to homestead: One, we got backyard chickens in the city. Two, we read Up From Slavery by Booker T Washington as a family read-aloud. Backyard chickens led us to reading about chickens and other ideas like gardening we could pursue on our small suburban lot. The read-aloud was unique because first, usually I don’t read aloud. My wife does that and usually when I’m at work. This was one of the few I have read to our kids. Secondly, Booker T. was wise beyond his years. He described education being that of the Head, the Heart, and the Hands. As Christians, we were teaching our children reading, writing, and arithmetic. We were reading Scripture with them and instructing them concerning God’s ways. We were not, though, working with our hands… not in any way that could even come close to comparing to the students at Tuskegee, the black college founded by Booker T. The first students at Tuskegee were former slaves, so obviously hard labor was not looked upon favorably. We often want to escape those things that are connected to our physical, emotional, and spiritual pain. It is just our human nature. But Washington in his God-given wisdom realized the dignity of hard work. He did not believe it would be good for former slaves to completely reject labor. So, I wonder how many former slaves received tremendous healing while working hard labor, embracing the difficult hurdle of refusing to associate manual labor with slavery and benefiting from the dignity and humility of it? So, at Tuskegee, students were required to get in the books and study (Head), be at evening devotionals and be held accountable to the Biblical structure of the school (Heart), work labor at one of the many opportunities on campus (Hands).
As we looked around our culture, including church culture, we could see such entitlement, such lack of humility, and a lack of work ethic. We could also see that since we had removed ourselves so far from the land, we were ignorant about what past generations knew just by living in close proximity to the land. So, we decided to start looking for land and try our hands at something more challenging than a few chickens and a tiny garden. So, we bought some land, a few goats, and some chickens. We have made many mistakes but allowed those challenges to make us stronger, to teach us to not give up. The journey is still not perfect, but we have learned what we want to do on our farm (as well as what we don’t.) What a great way to raise a family!
These combined chronicles of ideas lead us to work with our hands, hearts and minds , making a difference in the worship of God by engaging with what He gave us. In the process we pray we are a blessing to others.
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Tommy and Diana Corman