Grit Blogs > Rural Legend

Deeply Geeky, Rurally-Inclined, Old-Fashioned People

While we’ve only been married for 5 and a half years, LeAnna and I have known each other for more than thirteen. We were next door neighbors freshman year in college and quickly became best friends. Toward the end of our time in college one of us, but I won’t embarrass myself by saying who, became interested in the other and was firmly rebuffed. This Jane Austin-esque rejection set off an excruciatingly long season of what I like to call courtship by committee in which it was guaranteed that only one of us was ever interested in the other at any given time. I don’t recommend it. But after enough years of this, while I was in Boston for grad school and LeAnna was working as an Americorps Vista in her rural hometown in West Virginia, we finally decided to make a go of it. LeAnna moved to Boston, we dated seriously, and were finally engaged and married. I don’t think I’m telling tales outside of school to say that LeAnna’s mother was relieved – and insisted she had known it would happen all along.


While we were in Boston, we became involved with a large, urban church in Cambridge and not only had our lives changed by our experience of Jesus there, but we also became quickly enamored with city life: wearing lots of black, shopping at obscure ethnic markets, and taking the subway.

Eventually, though, we felt called to move back to Western Massachusetts, to a city not far from both the small town where I grew up and the college town where we met. We moved out here leading a team of people to plant a new church. And while the church ultimately closed, we’ve remained here, and in the process have learned, or perhaps I should say, rediscovered some important parts of who we are.

BE Garden

We’d been so focused on our mission for the last several years, that somehow we’d lost track of what we do for fun. We freely admitted to ourselves, or anyone who cared to ask, how astoundingly lame that was. But we just weren’t very good at having fun. And so we set out to figure out what it is that makes us uniquely happy.

What we accidentally stumbled into is an old part of both of ourselves: that at heart, LeAnna and I are deeply geeky, rurally-inclined, old-fashioned people who would rather bake bread than go to the mall and who are digging up increasingly large portions of our miniscule urban lot to cram in just a couple more tomato plants. Furthermore, we’ve always been that way. Perhaps it was all the Little House on the Prairie that our mothers read us as children, or perhaps it was our own small-town, rural pasts and ancestries, but we found out that where we are the happiest is in our home, creating from scratch with our kids.

LM Churn

So we’ve given ourselves over to that endeavor – to learn the skills our grandparents knew, to grow and process our own foods, to connect with other folks who have similar passions, and, while we dream of someday moving from the best-little-farmhouse-in-our-depressed-former-mill-town to a real farmhouse on a real farm, to make the most of our urban life, quirky though it is. And what we’ve discovered so far is that not only do we love it, but our two-year-old daughter, Ella, loves it. And, as an added bonus, we’re living on less money than ever – meaning that weathering the recession has never been so much fun. We look forward to getting to know you and your passions and to sharing some of our journey with you as well.

3/23/2009 9:56:24 PM

Okay, off topic, but you definitely need to go to the following website right now. For very small amounts of butter.

brent _1
3/17/2009 12:44:43 PM

Thanks to you both for the warm welcome! Cindy, somehow I missed your blog -- and will certainly pick it up! We look forward to learning from you. And Becky, we've certainly been following yours for a while now. I've been very interested in (and inspired) by yours and Andy's story. Our overarching goal is to not move faster than God leads and to enjoy the journey! I'm totally jazzed to have such good company! -B P.S. Congratulations on the the little one, Becky!

cindy murphy
3/16/2009 6:12:14 PM

Welcome to the Grit Community, Brent and LeAnna! I'm a town-dweller too; though I'd love to have a place in the country one day, it's not in our forseeable future. So, here we are in our small town surrounded by rural countryside, and just blocks from Lake Michigan. And I have to admit - I love it. I haven't been to a mall in about 10 years; I don't miss it one bit. I'd much rather work in the gardens getting my hands dirty than workout in a gym full of high-tech exercise equipment, and I'd much rather eat homemade fresh bread, than bake it. (hoping I can slide that last part in with no one noticing it). Looking forward to reading more of your story. If you have some time, check out the view from my neck of town. A Lakeside View:

becky and andy
3/16/2009 3:05:59 PM

Welcome Brent and LeAnna! You guys sound like Andy and I and our calling back to my family farm here in WI. We even have a nearly 2 year old daughter named Elly (close to Ella!) and she loves the outdoors as well! We are homesteading, modern hippies that used to live in the fast lane. We now live off the farm and my random freelance income so, we agree: recession? what does that mean? I think the biggest thing we have in common might be our faith; God is the only thing that has gotten us through the last year and He is moving the farm forward in ways we never thought possible. Keep the faith, friends! Someday you will have that homestead in the country. Maybe it could be by us! Becky and Andy, Elly and Ethan