As I sit with my smallest on my lap pondering maple syrup and p…. I think of the path I am on. The paths I have taken. The ones I departed and the ones I rejected. Some beautiful, some adventurous, some tiresome and some downright treacherous.
There have been wandering explorations in exquisite settings and there have been exhausting treks through painful deserts. I think of where I have been, and where I am going. On all of these paths, God has been with me. Even in the darkest hours when I thought for sure He had abandoned me, convinced myself even that He never really was there to begin with, He still was. He still is. I think of the moments, the stretches of time I KNEW He was there. The unmistakable, unshakable truth of His presence that was more real than anything else I have ever encountered. Those moments I hold fast to so that I won’t forget. They are like the memorial stones of the Israelites. Place markers. So I know my way, so I don’t get lost, or forget all the amazing things God has done.
So how did I get here in North Dakota? A mountain loving girl born and raised (mostly) in a valley nestled in the mountains of Southern Oregon, I am now a prairie mama. I always loved Laura Ingalls. Little House on the Prairie was my favorite book series as a child and now one I pass on to my children as a homeschool mother.
After the most difficult time in my life, when my marriage was completely dead and then resurrected by the Lord Jesus Himself, my husband and I found ourselves in a place of complete surrender. Work had dried up for both of us in our respective fields, my husband Brandon as a contractor and I as a daycare provider. Brandon came home one day and jokingly mentioned that many of the other construction guys were headed to North Dakota. There the work was plenty and the wages were high. The next day as he went out to finish up his last remaining job, I spent hours online researching North Dakota and praying. By the time he returned I was sure that was where the Lord was leading us.
We began a quick process of selling almost everything we owned, which was a lot. We were suburban home renters with a big house, full of much unneeded stuff. In less than a month, we had downsized to one vehicle, purchased a 26′ travel trailer we loving nicknamed “the coach”, and filled both to the brim with all they could hold. It was an amazingly beautiful, cleansing process of purging the world’s junk. I discovered what truly mattered to me, and what was just filler and distraction. We loaded up our two children, ages 3 and 6 and hit the road.
Brandon and I estimated our time in North Dakota would be 5 years or less. Enough time to get out of debt, get on our feet, save for a down payment and return to Oregon to purchase a piece of property just out of city limits, in the country to put down roots and have a little garden. You see, I always had a desire to live a little off the land. God had a planted a seed in me.
We had an enjoyable trip, slowly making our way through Oregon, Washington, Idaho, stopping for a few incredible days in Yellowstone National Park, Montana and finally arriving in North Dakota on a Saturday morning.
A New Life
We found a church to attend on Sunday, met some good hearted North Dakotan people, and decided to look for work the following Monday. Brandon had two job offers in the first hour of his search and we decided to stay.
Little did we know that the Lord would anchor us in this small town for seven years and call us into active ministry. He would bless us with two more baby girls, a small piece of land and a beautiful home. God would use us to plant two churches, and give us a desire to learn many homesteading skills. He did all these things and so much more through many joys and many sorrows. Our journey has been hard and it has been ugly. It has been full of laughter and tears.
A New Path
Then, less than a year ago the Lord put a calling on our lives to live mortgage free and grow, harvest and raise all our food. He gave us the desire to build our own home and relocate to a state with more freedom and natural beauty than we ever imagined existed this side of heaven. While on an anniversary trip, the Lord answered many prayers and directed us to a beautiful place 5 minutes from the ocean at the base of mountains with a view of the volcanos. We purchased a piece of property in Alaska on the Kenai Peninsula that is a blank canvas. A dream come true. And now a new path begins.