Story by

Gilbert Contreras

April 26th, 2016

This is the story of how we got to this point in our lives.

This journey began six years ago when I was diagnosed with lymphoma. After my last chemotherapy session, I asked my oncologist if I should be eating differently or healthier. She said, "No, just go back to how you were eating." This never made sense at all, and then that's when we took control of our eating habits. My wife and I began to pay attention to where our food comes from and how we could be healthier. We believe in eating organic, pasture-raised meat, whole foods, no wheat, no sugars, nothing processed, fewer ingredients, nothing from a box and simply eating real food. We truly believe that food has the power to heal.

It took some time to figure out how to prepare foods the slow way and from scratch. Eating healthy requires a different way of thinking. We started talking about having some land and growing the best food possible. Really, we were talking about our dreams and beliefs and figuring out how to make that happen. We became so passionate about this idea of growing our own food that we started reading books, taking workshops and visiting nearby farms whenever possible.

At the same time, we realized that if we were going to move and buy some land, we had too much stuff and we needed to get rid of it. Slowly we started to assess our belongings and whether we really need them. At first it was difficult letting go of things that we had held on to forever. It's amazing how much stuff you have that really doesn't even make you happy. When you think about each thing you own, ask yourself, "Does this item make me happy?" Often the answer is, "No, that thing does not make me happy. That memory makes me happy. The process that it took to make that item makes me happy. But that thing I'm holding onto in that box tucked away in the corner of the garage does not make me happy!"

After getting rid of most of our belongings, we felt a sense of relief. With less stuff, you have fewer distractions in your life. My wife and I were still not sure if we were really ready to pursue this dream or not. We prayed and asked God if this is what he wanted for us. I would hike up the nearest mountain to pray, asking God to open doors for us so we could go live the life we dreamt about. All of this eventually led to selling our house. This was one of our "all in" moments. When we sold our house in January 2015, the goal was that by March 2016 we would have land and move. This was before we even knew where we wanted to live.

Getting rid of our house and belongings changed our old way of thinking to something new. This past year, we took trips to explore where we could possibly find land. Something about North Carolina kept calling to us. Everywhere we looked, it seemed North Carolina always managed to pop up and remind us to go. We were keeping an open mind and tried to listen to what God was telling us. When we finally found a place it was another "all in" moment. The land was officially ours on Christmas Eve 2015 and we moved into our new home on March 2016, like it was planned all along. It took cancer to wake us up and help us realize what we wanted from life. We chose this path because of our passion for real food. We chose to rewrite our future to follow our own path out of love.

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