Well, ironically enough, exactly two months ago we first walked onto this property in Northern Minnesota. We had been in Minnesota for two weeks already and had only two more days to look at properties. We were worn out from traveling with a two-year-old, logged more than 3,000 miles on the rental car, and had looked at over 40 properties. On a whim, I decided to expand the search to slightly more than our intended price range, and we found this piece in an area that we had already researched extensively. We decided to go take a look, and when we got there, we realized right away that this might be home. 40 acres- our target amount of land- with 15 acres in field, 25 acres in mature hardwoods, and a very small creek running through. Surrounded by a mixture of farms and large wooded tracts, it was on a maintained road not far from the snowmobile trail and within a comfortable enough distance from the Mississippi River to allow for recreation but not flooding! There have been many ups and downs over the last two months and finally, today, it is ours. Now that the dream is finally realized, we get to begin the scheming phase! At this point, we are contemplating building a yurt and securing a shipping container for storage. Another idea is to put up a steel shop/building, and use it as home/storage while we build our primary home. We are planning to live simply, cultivate a food-producing garden, and have a manageable amount of livestock.

I know that we have many challenges ahead of us. I know that this new adventure is not going to be easy. I know that after four years of being in West Virginia and wanting out, I am finally feeling rooted here and will miss many people. I know that even the idea of starting over, of packing, and moving, makes me feel very, very tired. But I also know that our time here, as well as our time in Alaska, has prepared us for this adventure in ways that we could not have imagined at the time. We are much more realistic about what to expect. We know that our immediate priorities must include shelter, a garden, and small livestock. We know what we can and cannot live without. We know the price of sacrifice and how to ensure that it strengthens us as a family instead of weakening our bonds. We know that after the year that we have had- God is on our side, and we are praying for this land to serve as an opportunity for us to reach out to others. We know that this life is not going to be easy, but it will be fulfilling. We know that the values and life-skills that we received from our grandparents can now be passed on to our children.

There are so many unknowns between our lives at this moment and our first day on our new land. There is a baby to be born. There are financial challenges. There is a house to sell and a house to plan. There is five years worth of stuff to sort and pack. There is 1,165 miles to move all that stuff. There are jobs to be found, and connections to be made. Most of all, though, and most importantly, there is finally the realization of a dream that has been years in the making. I really do not know exactly when the pages will turn to this new chapter in our lives, but stay tuned, because it is sure to be an exciting, adventure-filled ride!!