We met one fall day in Vermont at church... a church pastored by Geoff's dad. After a few back road long night drives and 100s of cups of bad coffee we were quickly engaged and married a few months later. Our courtship has set the tone for a marriage that has been at the same joyful pace and we aren't planning on looking back any time soon. Layla and Seamus followed soon after as we learned to fully embrace our family motto " life's for the livin' not the pondering". As a young married man I, Geoff pledged that Renee wouldn't have to work outside the home if she didn't want to and would do whatever it took for her to be home with our young kids like our mothers had been for us. The starry eyed promise I made led me to going back to Nursing school to provide a living for my young family. My bachelors in Biology wasn't opening many doors in Vermont. The opportunity to live to Houston came 2 years later to continue our volunteer ministry in planting churches and we seized the opportunity booking an apartment on line sight unseen after landing a job in The Texas Medical Center. We spent just over 10 years serving in churches and doing full time nursing.
Now Renee is a 13th generation dairy farmer and most daughters of farmers have one goal for a spouse and it be that he isn't a farmer. I'm persuaded that Renee was most attracted to me for that reason. We'll fast forward to Houston and after discovering Seamus' severe food allergy I started on a path to grow our own food. Starting with the Harris County Master Gardener course and then to Stare of Texas Vegetable Specialist certification the wheels were in motion. We turned most of our backyard into raised beds and broke the HOA rules and got a few backyard laying hens. But how was I going to get responsible and wholesome meat on family's table? I scoured on line ads for land for lease and found one crummy garbage filled acre that was in my budget. It took many gentle conversations to talk a dairy farmer's daughter back to a life on little money and loads of manual labor. In the end she trusted in my process and we launched The Barry Farm. We spent 7 years using the farm as a platform to build community and bring people a little closer to each other, the created and the Creator. Each day we tended to a large blackberry and citrus orchard, tended our flock of sheep, cared for heritage breed pigs and raised 100s of chickens. The farm was a busy and beautiful place that brought lots of joy to our community. A hi-light of our efforts were the many farm dinners we hosted on the farmhouse lawn. All the thoughts of food, people and nature culminates in different and unexpected ways and we are honored to have been a witness to see them unfold.
If there is one thing I know about following the living God is that there is no level of participation with His plan other than "all in". When I was 17 years old I was called to be an international missionary and have delayed that calling for long enough. We're proud that he has given us a strong marriage, taught us to farm His way and given us a heart for the sick and poor. We took the big step and sold everything we had to serve full time.