Someone very wise once said the life with young kids meant that your days were long and the years were short. Very, very wise words indeed. For the past eight years, we have moved four times, completed three yard projects, and brought home three baby boys. According to my calculations, that was 2,922 full days, and I remember only parts and pieces of any of them. The years have gone by so fast that when someone mentions that we have a seven-year-old, I want to correct them and instead have to remind myself it is completely true.
Two years ago (although it feels like only six months or so), we were living in Steilacoom, Washington. We had just built a home and could think through all the quirky details that make a place fantastic for us. So much time and energy went into the layout and functionality of that house, and then we launched outside into our third consecutive massive yard project. Ralph and I love these projects and took our time making everything just right so we could enjoy our time out there for years and years. I had just finished unpacking that last straggler box in the basement and we had just finished the last raised garden bed of our dreams—and just like that all those efforts and dreams were cut short when God applied the brakes hard when my husband’s job moved to Hillsboro and we had to follow.
I fought this move a little bit. Quite a bit. I did not want to leave this place we had created from nothing and move away from the family and friends we envisioned our kids being with on a daily basis. We had plans—well-thought-out-and-prayed-about plans! Apparently God did too.
Ralph started working in Hillsboro, and we put our house on the market. The real estate in our area was just beginning to pick up so we knew it might mean waiting to sell, and it did. Looking in the Hillsboro area, both Ralph and I wanted our kids to be in Newberg schools and church community (we are both George Fox alumni). We randomly (God probably finds this word choice funny) found a house that was a decent commute to Hillsboro, but within the Newberg school district. It was magically in our budget because it was listed as a short sale. We knew it would be a heck of a project but that God was bringing us to this place. We laughed together knowing what was ahead—another yard project!
I fully confess my gardening preoccupation. Some would say addiction, but preoccupation seems less negative, so I will stick with that. There is something about the beauty of that natural world that makes me find true peace, even in the chaos of the boy world that crashes around me at all times. I love seeing things grow and thrive and get so excited when we can eat food that is from our own yard. Starting something, putting roots down in a well-prepared spot, and careful tending can lead to a garden of abundance. After my small pity party of changed life plans in Washington, my eyes opened to the pure gift God gave us by moving us here.
I look back with broad brush strokes of fondness, but the day-to-day reality of all these things was hard. It was tough to tell my family we were moving away. It was tough to leave a pristinely clean, new house and begin life in a house that had been empty for two years, not winterized properly, and the winter palace for numerous vermin. We filled a construction container of trash the first week we were “moving in.” It was tough to drive through thick fog on Bald Peak Road and not feel like we were going to die coming back from the grocery store. It was tough to not miss friends and Ralph while he worked long hours at his new job. We left many pieces of our furniture up in our house to stage it and slept in sleeping bags, wondering when this new place would start feeling like home. This move was not easy, comfortable, and full of rainbows and sunshine. My kids kept asking when we were going back to the blue house, and I questioned God’s sense of humor and timeline.
The one massive, immediate improvement was finding a church we both loved, and you all received us with open arms. The first steps of getting settled are never easy, but singing praise songs you love with a group of believers is a great way to begin the process. The message and fellowship every Sunday encouraged us to make it through the challenges and frustrations that life can bring. It also showed us we had found a place we could happily take our boys. We even felt this might have been the whole reason for the abrupt life change we had just experienced. Augie, Elijah, and Samson are three of the world’s most fantastic boys, in our unbiased opinion, and having a place where all generations show up to praise Jesus and actively live out God’s words is something we cherish. There is no perfect place, home, church, neighborhood, job, or yard on earth, but we are so grateful that God directed our paths to this community.
Being uprooted can send plants and people into shock. It can work out really well, or it can be the beginning of the end. Thankfully, we are seeing new life surging all around us. Our boys love their schools and run around our wild yard in pure freedom. We have added three cats and six hens to our family. We have friends who have needed our help. We have been helped by friends. We have relied on prayer more and more as we realize how quickly our little boys are growing up right before our eyes. With growth comes pruning, and more water and care, but the last two years have shown us that God is the most faithful provider of all our needs, especially ones we didn’t know we needed, and has replanted us in a wonderful spot.