This is our Story of our Road to Reliance…

Road to Reliance Dream Team: Annie and Lance - Our Story

Hello! We are Annie and Lance and we are the dream team behind this site! We are so grateful to get to know you! Here we share our story so you can get to know us better! 

Grab a cup of coffee or a cold glass of sweet tea and relax while we share how we got to where we are today and share our plans for the future and how those plans will help you too!

We hope that our story of the journey we are taking down the Road to Reliance helps you and your family in your journey towards self-reliance. Please reach out to us with your questions and suggestions as we love to hear from everyone and make new friends along the way!

Where Our Story Began

Lance and I met in the Fall of 2017. We immediately jumped into life together here in Central Florida. He worked for a major paving company back then.

Annie and her Dad
My Dad and I

I, however, was acting as a caregiver to my father who had dementia, helping my mom, taking care of our 15-acre property, and helping my oldest daughter with raising her three children.

I couldn’t work a regular job in order to care for my father so I needed something to do with the little bit of free time I had. So I started a blog on homesteading and started living the homestead life.

In January 2018, I lost my father. This was a hard blow for me. He was my best friend and my hero. But I promised him I would stay here and build my dream homestead, and build my business. 

My oldest daughter, by this time, had moved back to our hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her husband and her 3 children. So it was my mom, Lance, and myself. I was lost. Losing 6 people in 3 months took a toll on me.

Life Continued On…

vegetable garden
Vegetable Garden

I continued to build that website and my homestead. But it just wasn’t enough. I had chickens, sheep pigs, rabbits, dogs, and cats. and I had gardens and rain barrels. But something was missing.

I started sharing posts about maintenance, home decor, and so forth, on the website. The site was even making an income, although small.

Lance quit his normal 16 hours per day job and started a landscaping and handyman business. All was great again. Then family emergencies happened and we had to leave the state for what ended up being a 4-month visit to Pittsburgh.

Here We Go Again

We lost everything. The customers for his new business, the gardens that we had grown, everything. So we started yet again. Same thing as before. Me on the website and taking care of the property and him running the business.

Things were actually going well! The gardens were thriving, the website started supporting us even more, and the business was again thriving. Then in 2019, another family emergency led us back to Pittsburgh yet again. This time, due to a faulty electric meter, our electric bill soared to over 3000 dollars a month. We couldn’t keep up with it and while we were gone they shut our power off despite our attempts to ask for help.

Living Off-The-Grid

Oil lamps and candles used to show the tools we used in our story of being off the grid.

We came home with no electricity. Everything in the fridge and our upright freezer had been left to the 90-degree days. The grass was higher than our heads, the place was a wreck yet again. And again…no customers left in the business. We at least had a helpful neighbor that took great care of our animals.

Again we started over and again we built the business. Again we gardened and made a thriving homestead. But this time we did it off-the-grid since we couldn’t fix the electrical problem for 4 months. Finally, the power company figured out it was their meter, they restored the power, and things went back to normal.

Everything went ok. We worked, we gardened, and we learned a lot during our off-grid experience.

The Worst Blow of our Lives

My son Matthew and I. He is the reason for our story being told.
My son, Matthew, and I

On January 29, 2021, I got a phone call that said my son-in-law was shot in killed. We were devastated. We were making arrangements to go back to Pittsburgh to help my oldest daughter and her 3 kids through this hard time. The day before we were to leave, I got the call that no parent ever wants to receive. My 26-year-old son had passed away suddenly. Immediately we left for Pennsylvania. I did not return to my home in Florida until April 2021, 3 months later.

When I returned, I struggled, I was grieving, and confused, and I really didn’t want to go forward with anything. I did not want to start over and I had no drive or direction at all.

Over the 3 months that I was gone, again the gardens died, and the grass grew. There was a lot to do and I did not know where to start.

Thoughts of my Son

The 4 Kids
The 4 Kids

I remembered my son telling me over the Christmas Holiday in 2020 that he thought something good was going to happen for me this year. I laughed it off. And now, with his passing so suddenly, I couldn’t even imagine ANYTHING good coming from this year.

Then I remembered teaching my 4 children when they were growing up that when things go wrong how you need to think about what you learned from it and do something different to change the outcome. AHA!

The Answer Became Clear

Candle supplies
Candle Supplies

I thought about how my pantry was bare every time we came back home. And about all that spoiled food. I thought about how we were so panicked because we had no power or running water and I thought about the gardens that diminished and how I should have harvested sooner and preserved them better.

Then I also realized that we actually prospered with no electricity! Heck, we boiled water on a gas stove so we could take hot baths. We used oil lamps and we even collected and purified rainwater to cook with! We actually learned how to live without a fridge or freezer.

I spent so much time during the pandemic, explaining and teaching my kids how to stock a pantry, some survival skills, homeopathic remedies, foraging, and so on. That’s when it became clear to me that we needed to start teaching others how to do all of those things. Voila! Road to Reliance was born.

Where Our Story Goes From Here…

I still grieve for my son. I always will. But I have 3 beautiful daughters and 8 grandchildren that will learn new skills from me going forward. I think back now and I thank my son. Somehow after his passing, he reminded me that I needed to make a change. He is the reason for our story!

I hope that you stay with us on our Road to Reliance. I want to share what we have learned and I want to teach you the skills you will need while we continue to build our story. Let’s build a community of families and individuals who work together to become more self-reliant, healthier, and happier.

Above all, I want to make my son proud! And I want to tell of a happier, healthier version of our story soon! Won’t you join us while you write your story about a self-reliant lifestyle?

Join Us and Follow Our Story!

You can find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest! Make sure to follow us on YouTube as well! And of course, you are welcome to email us with your comments and questions. Just send them to

Where do you go from here? Check out the Start Here page. You can find out more about being self-reliant and catch up on some new skills too.


  1. I LOVE your story, Annie! Your son would be proud of you, even without the website. Just the fact that you “keep on keepin’ on” every day is something to be proud of!

    Looking forward to this journey with you!

    1. Author

      Awe Thanks so much! My son was my inspiration and I am working so hard to show him I can do this and keep moving forward! Thanks for your kind words! They mean so much to me!

  2. What an amazing story! I love when we get those ah ha moments and realize what we’ve been doing! I think it’s awesome that you are going to pass on your knowledge to Help others! Thank you

    1. Author

      Awe, thank you so much! I seem to have a lot of AHA moments! I love helping others and I hope you enjoy your visit!

  3. WOW! You certainly have had a sorrowful time this year. Somehow with God’s strength, you found a way to start over…and over…and over again. That takes a LOT of inner strength and courage to face the inevitable problems and work towards achieving your goals in spite of the heartache.

    Although your site here doesn’t show any photos, you must be a very strong and happy person; that comes through your post here.
    Keep on thriving and may God bless you and your family

    1. Author

      They say that “what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger” right?! I have raised my family to be strong and persevere through anything. We can’t change the events that take place in our lives, so we have to dig deep and find an inner strength to move forward.

      Thank you for the kind words! And I will make sure to post more images!

  4. oh Annie, my deepest condolences.
    Thanks for your work and dedication and for sharing.

  5. I am in central Florida as well. Praying for everyone who was affected by hurricane Ian. Your story broke my heart and I am so glad you have come out of this on the other side. I completely enjoy your podcast. Keep up the good work.

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