For a lot of people who know me, and know me well, this is going to be a surprise. Five years ago, we moved into our Forever Home. We couldn't believe how blessed we were to hit the market at the perfect moment to buy the home we wanted to live in for the rest of our lives. We unpacked and really settled in. We spent hours making the style just right for us. We let our mothers pass along all of our childhood boxes. We were here to stay. Forever.
Two and half years ago, a few unrelated events got us thinking. Well, not really us, mostly my husband. His dream, from his small-town childhood, was to own some land and animals. I grew up on a family farm and loved the experience. We put that dream aside when we realized how expensive it would be to make it a reality while staying within the Minneapolis area. He was certainly a little more sad about it than I was at the time. I got my dream home--my Forever Home--out of the deal. I was content here, and he was working on it. But slowly life circumstances got him dreaming again (I knew he was a dreamer when I married him, so I shouldn't have been surprised). At first when he started talking about a family farm again, I was 100% against it. I hate change. I love financial security. I was in my Forever Home!
Then we got pregnant with our third boy and the family farm idea became significantly more appealing. But the decision felt too monumental. I didn't have the resources to make such a life-shifting, game-changing decision for our family. I remembered that Wes and I had established guidelines, called core values, for how we would make decisions for our family shortly after our wedding. So we revisited our values, because we had chosen them before children were in the picture. But they still made sense for how our family looked now, so we didn't change them.
Our core values are Glorifying God, Family Togetherness, Lifelong Learning, Hard Work, and Hospitality. As we reviewed them, I was amazed by how a family farm could help us achieve those goals for our family. Yes, we could have valued the same things in our current home, but we could see how a family farm would bring each of our values to the forefront of our everyday life. Suddenly the decision that felt overwhelming, scary, and complicated became simple. If God would provide us a path toward a family farm, we would take it.
About two years ago, we started looking for land. It's been a hard search. I'll be honest, I have high standards. My parents live on one of the most beautiful pieces of property I had ever seen, full of collections of trees, spacious pastures, soft hills, and a serene pond. Ten acres of flat farm land just didn't compare. We also struggled with location. I knew what it was like to live in what everyone considered the boonies (my parents live just outside an established suburb now, but it was certainly the country when I was a child). I wanted to protect my husband from an even longer commute. No matter how hard we searched, we couldn't find the right place at the right price. It was frustrating.
When we first began our search, we asked my parents if they would consider letting us live on their land. They were flattered, but just not ready to tackle the complications of that plan. But as we looked, my heart couldn't move on from it. My connection to my childhood home, the farm I grew up on, only deepened. I realized how much I wanted to not just have a family farm, but have it in that place. It seemed silly to establish something new when my dad already needed help managing his current farm. Why double up? So we asked them to reconsider. Now my dad is a business man and a land developer and a slow thinker. But while we prayed, God got his busy brain churning. I'm not sure how it all happened, but I know it was God. Slowly but surely, my dad figured out a plan. It wasn't going to be easy, but it could work. And the work would be worth it.
So friends, I'm so stinkin' excited to share that we are in the planning process to build a new house on my parents' land. I can't believe the blessing of it. The place I've felt the safest and happiest in the world is going to be my place again. It's going to be the place I raise my boys up. The place I called home will be the place they call home. My boys will get to build a farm not just with their dad, but with their grandpa. How my heart overflows.
When I was a preschooler, I naively proclaimed I was never going to get married. I would just live with my parents the rest of my life and take care of them. Well, friends, that's not exactly how my life went. But I like to think that our new home will allow me both my beautiful family and the opportunity to live in community with my parents and care for them as they grow older. I'm going to have my cake and eat it too.
In all seriousness, I feel like after the hardest season of my life, God is putting me in a season of blessing. It's not a season of ease--there will be plenty of work to do as I finish and promote my book, build our new house, help my husband plan and establish the farm, all while raising 3 toddler/preschool boys--but it is a season of blessing. God is so abundant in his gifts. I still can hardly believe any of it.
Now--does anyone want to buy our (once was) Forever Home? I'm not kidding. It's gorgeous and happy and totally available. I hope it blesses another family the way it blessed us.