Home

The Long, Dark Night

Leave a comment

I have had a difficult time writing for the blog lately.  Admittedly, we have had a long, hard winter and I felt burned out.  What is there to say when you cannot say anything positive?  I did not even realize that I was feeling pretty down until about a month ago.  We were offered a crazy opportunity to go out West to a 30,000 acre ranch  and manage the property.  In some ways, it felt like a dream come true, but the timing was terrible.  We have spent almost three years building this place.  To abandon it now seemed almost criminal.  What this opportunity did, though, was start the process of unthawing our hearts from the long winter and made us really reflect on what it is we are doing here, why we came here, and what we want moving forward.  It has been hard to see any of that because we have gotten so caught up in the details of finishing this place that we got a little bit lost.  When we moved here, it felt very intentional.  It felt like God was leading us here for something really amazing.  We felt driven.  Over  the last three years, we have really felt like we were lost in the wilderness, so to speak.  We felt like God was really silent, which made all of our struggle seem even more challenging.  In the last few weeks, in addition to really finding our center again, we have also been renewing our resolve to live ‘the good life’ as described by Scott and Helen Nearing.  That is how all of this started.  My husband and read their book years ago, and shared it with me when we were still in Alaska.  We became convinced that a better life consisted of a life that involved growing our own food, spending more time outdoors than in, and raising our family around God.  We wanted to utilize technology, but not be slaves to it.

As we begin to unthaw, and the dawn begins to break, we have begun to have hope and purpose again.  I have been reflecting on our journey here, and everywhere I look, I see the progression of our house, and feel such a sense of pride and accomplishment.  Tomorrow we will finish installing the hot water heater and washing machine.  The flooring is on order.  The last two doors are soon to be installed.  We are beginning to wrap up Phase One of Project Homestead.

You have realized by now, I am sure, that I like to reflect.  It helps me to see where we have been, where we are, and where we are going.  I have been reflecting as we prepare to install the washing machine, and thinking about how our lives and comforts have progressed.  I find it interesting that it is now that we are becoming burned out, instead of at any of the other points in the last three years when we have been so much less comfortable.  When we started here, in July of 2014, we were bathing with a solar shower, washing clothes in a bucket, cooking on a camp stove, and doing dishes in a portable camp sink.  We upgraded slowly, VERY slowly.  One year later, we were living in a travel trailer (relative luxury), going to the laundromat, and eating, cooking, and cleaning in the camper.  It took  one-and-a-half years to get indoor plumbing and electricity.  It took two years to get a proper kitchen.  Now, after three years, I am done with the laundromat, done with boiling water on the stove for the kids’ bathwater.

There is almost no evidence left of the way we lived, and what we suffered through to be here now.  The memories linger, however; and make me thankful- every time I take a shower, every time I make a meal, every time I grab something out of the fridge, every time I  sit and watch a movie.  I am thankful for what God has given us, and that he has made us work for every little bit of it in order to give us REAL perspective.  It is so easy to be complacent and just plod along in life – especially now with cellphones, Internet, and technology all around us.  As we come to an end of what has been, for us, a long, cold dark night, I look forward to the coming dawn and all that God has in store for us!

IMG_9148

 

What If?

1 Comment

What if we are the kind of people that are always waiting for the next adventure?

What if we are always wondering what is JUST over that next hill?  Around that next bend?

What if we get settled and become uneasy?

What if we stop moving, just for a moment?  What will happen? What will we find?

People ask where we are from and we tell them where we grew up.  But answering the question of where we are from makes us uncomfortable.

People ask how we ended up HERE of all places.  I do not know quite what to say.

What made you go to Alaska, they ask.  What brought you to West Virginia?  How did you pick Northern Minnesota?

So many normal questions that have no easy answers.  We often wonder what makes us different.  What makes us leave, or stay, or pick what adventure will come next?

Why are we not satisfied with the status quo?  Why do we shiver and cringe at the stabililty and normal life that most people have?

Why did God place a Gypsy Spirit in our hearts?  A Wanderlust?  An ability to have a dream, a wish, a desire, and the motivation to make it happen- without getting caught up in the anxiety, mental blocks, and fear that keep most people from moving forward?

Sometimes I WANT to be that person.  But I am not.  And I wonder why.  I wonder what God was thinking about when he made the Dave and Megan molds?  I am not sorry, not for a second.  I just sometimes wonder…..What if?

The Date and Rediscovering Ourselves

Leave a comment

img_9409

We had an extremely rare opportunity yesterday to spend an entire day without the three kids.  It was like discovering a new, exciting world that we forgot even existed.  The weather was amazing so we made the hour drive to a local State Park and hiked out into the woods.  We set up a spot for a campfire and sat for almost two hours just talking, snacking, drinking tea, and warming ourselves by the fire while we watched the sunset.  We hiked back out at dusk and headed into town for a nice dinner.  I was struck by the strangest feeling while sitting there in the woods.  It felt so foreign, yet so familiar, to be sitting there, enjoying the silence and scenery with my husband.  The silence struck me most of all, because our days are never silent now, interrupted constantly by the whims and whines of three children. I remembered what it felt like to just have the two of us.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE our kids, but there are things I miss for certain.  It was so amazing to experience some of the things I miss and remember why I am so blessed to have found my best friend and be spending my life with him.  It gave us time to reflect on our life, our dreams, and what we are hoping for in coming here and starting our homestead.  It allowed us to talk about what things are important for us to pass on to our children.  We reminisced on our own childhoods and the outdoor experiences that we had that helped to shape who we are today.  It was a wonderful time and I feel so blessed to have had it.

Turning Form Into Function

Leave a comment

When we finished the sheds in the Fall, we were totally burned out and overwhelmed.  We decided that we would take the winter off and not work on the house.  We needed to recharge.  In typical Dave and Megan fashion, though, we cannot sit still and let life go one while we sit idle.  We have done a few small projects that have ended up having a big impact on our happiness.  It seems like it is finally time for our form to turn into functionality.   We have built the house and still have some major projects (flooring, trim, a bit of drywall, etc) but this winter has found us looking around to finish projects that make the space more useable and enjoyable.  Today we moved the kid table downstairs and did a bit of rearranging.  The boys needed a space downstairs to do projects, paint, do schoolwork.  We all have a tendency to sprawl about on the dining room table and with five people, it can get a bit crazy.  This way, the boys can have a kid zone.

We installed the door a few days ago and today I attempted to put one coat of paint on the jamb.  I still need to do a second coat and then tackle the door itself, but finding time for that with three little ones around is proving to be a challenge.  I kept asking for the door to be installed and Dave was dragging his feet a bit.  He kept thinking that it would not make that much of a difference in such a small house, especially since we had been in such close quarters for so long.  We both agree that it has made a definite difference, though!  It is quieter in the morning when the kids wake up and play.  We can close the door on naptime or in the evening, when we want to watch a show.  It also seems to be good for the kids, because now they have a more defined space that is their own.  They spent a good hour the first day knocking on the door and letting each other in!

Last, but definitely not least, we have finally installed the shelving and rod for hanging our clothes properly in the closet!  Now I have to find a place for the mass of bins that we had piled in the closet, but that is for another day.  It seems that with each small project we are exponentially increasing our happiness and finally getting the opportunity to enjoy the space that we have created.  We also have a new coat rack that has replaced the mountain of coats piled in the corner!   As we turn this form into something functional, we are learning a great deal about ourselves, about each other, and about what each of us needs, wants, and can do without.  It has been really exciting to watch this place transform and become a warm, cozy little abode that the five of us call home.

Making New Memories

Leave a comment

My last post probably seemed a little bit on the negative side of things.  In typical Megan fashion, I have to follow-up with a brighter message, because, thank goodness, that is how my heart works!  I had a wonderful thought tonight while laying in the pop-up hunting blind tent in the boys’ room.  We were up there telling stories by fake candlelight and I just felt super happy and warm in my tummy.  We had roasted hot dogs and marshmallows on the woodstove, gone out for a night hike, and were now getting settled in for a camping adventure in their bedroom.   A few days prior, I had been having severe doubts about our life, our isolation, and whether it was good for us, the kids, etc.  As I sat in between the kiddos, telling camping stories, I realized that we were making memories.  SO much of who I have become was shaped by the memories that my parents made with us.  We camped, we hiked, we had adventure upon adventure, we were read to, and sung to, and loved beyond belief.  It does not really matter where we grew up or what our experiences were, because we were loved, we were surrounded by people that wanted what was best for us, and we had parents that believed in making memories.  I am certain that it was not as fun and exciting for my parents as it seemed for us.  I have so much more respect for my parents now, as we attempt to make these memories for our own kiddos.  It is hard work, and not always very gratifying.  I questioned my sanity at 10:45pm when the kids were still squirreling around in their tent whispering to each other.  But I know that no matter what happens, no matter where we are, or what we are doing, we will be making memories with our kids, and they will be memories that help shape the people that they will become.

 

 

The Price of Freedom

Leave a comment

All my husband and I have always wanted was to own property and build our own house. Over time, the dream morphed a bit and landed us here in Northern Minnesota.  We have been building our homestead for over two years now and could write a book about all of the many things that were different and much harder than we ever envisioned. The one thing that has been the toughest on me has been the lonliness and isolation.  There are five of us in a tiny home- it seems like we are never really ‘alone’ but it is absolutely astonishing how lonely I still feel while surrounded by the noise and madness of three small children.  I really do feel that God has a purpose for us here. I pray often for him to reveal that purpose to us.  Sometimes I wonder if he wanted the isolation for us, so that we would turn to him and seek him out in all that we do. But it is hard to seek God in the bathroom, while changing yet another poopy diaper, or in the kitchen, doing the millionth load of dishes, or in the dark of night when  the kids are in bed and I hang my head in exhaustion. There are so many things about this life that are hard… Super hard.  It is made even harder by the lack of community. There is no one for us to talk to, or have over for dinner. There is definitely no one to watch the kids so we can go on a proper date.  I want to be happy here.  I want to embrace our life and all the blessings that we have.  What will the kids think about this life? Will they need more of a social life than we can provide? Will they be happy?

I read a quote today from one of my many books that basically said not to cry over things that cannot cry back. I do not want to whine, or cry, or moan and groan about our life here.  I want to be positive and uplifting. Today, though, I am just lonely and a little sad. I miss family and friends, fellowship and community. I think often about my grandparents, living on their farm in Iowa.  They never went on vacation, rarely had company, and I do not know how much of a local support system that they had. I do not know if I want to live that way. I wish she were here still so that I could ask her how she combated the lonliness.  I think it would be less challenging if it were not for the three little ones. We have stretches of days upon days where we talk to no one but each other and three kids under five. Life is exponentially easier than it was before. We no longer live in a tent, or without running water and electricity. It is my hope and prayer that this coming year will be a time when things not only settle down a bit for us, but allow us the opportunity to start putting down roots and establishing a church family. In the meantime, I will continue to pray about God’s will for us here, and hope that he will send people to us that can become a soure of fellowship and friendship.

Little Sophie Rose

Leave a comment

Little Sophie Rose

Oh how I love you so

There are so many things

that I want you to know.

During the time that you came to us

there were so many fears

The loss of someone dear to us

had brought a flood of tears.

The darkness was unbearable

our hearts were full of pain

It seemed that life could never

be the same again.

We had left our home, our comfort

to move out to this land

to forge a new road

to follow God’s hand.

The road was fraught with peril

the boat was difficult to steer

When I found out you were coming

I was overcome with fear.

How could we find a way

to make room for another.

We were not even sure

when we had your brother.

You came into our life

on a dark and rainy night

A mere 3 hours and you were here

You came in without a fight.

No water, no power, no comforts of home,

I had no idea how we would get by.

So many nights I held you close

and tried not to cry.

But Sophie Rose you shook our world

You grabbed us by the heart.

Your smile, your laugh, your gentle dance,

Have held us from the start.

We were fragile, sad, and overwhelemed

When you first graced our day.

But Sophie Rose, I took one look,

and you took it all away.

God knew what he was doing

When he blessed us with your smile.

He knew we needed you right when you came

He knew it all the while.

Little Sophie Rose

from the moment you were born.

Little Sophie Rose

our Rose amid the thorns.

Older Entries Newer Entries

%d bloggers like this: