I remember the night clearly. Jeremy and I were in yet another serious discussion about whether or not we should really do this. We had made decisions along the way that certainly put us in the directions of moving to the property we now call Smith Farms West, but this was THE decision. We had made an offer on the property, but it was contingent on the sale of our house. After a couple months of waiting for an offer on our city house, we had gotten one. Clicking the box on the electronic form our real estate agent sent us was going to make the rest of the decisions from this point forward for us. So, we stood there late at night in our newly remodeled kitchen and weighed the pros and cons yet again. In recent days we had made lists of the pros and cons, imaginary budgets of how we thought the finances would go after the move, priority lists for the remodel of the new property (if we even got it), etc. But now we were down to just one final choice. As with any major life-changing decision that couples face together, there was a certain amount of questioning involved. Is he saying “yes” because he thinks I want him to? Is she saying “yes” because she thinks that’s what I want, but perhaps I don’t. On and on the questions went.

Few people even knew we were going through all of this because we didn’t say much about it, almost sure that it wouldn’t work out. We were sure that at some point along the way the deal would fall part, something would keep this from happening. From the first look at the online real estate post when I called it a shack and thought that would be the end of the discussion, to the first visit that Jeremy had arranged when he contacted the selling agent without me knowing, to the first viewing of the property when I fell in love, and then to the final inspections; somewhere there was bound to be a hiccup. There were hiccups, but not any that stopped the process. Each step we took the doors kept opening, so we kept knocking and walking in faith that this was all meant to be. I’ll admit, I didn’t feel all that in touch with God at that point in my life. Honestly, my time and energy was spent on making myself better physically. It was important and time well spent and I felt great physically, but not spiritually. We had tried out churches, none feeling right and I was in a whirlwind of dealing with life stuff, so I wasn’t spending the time in prayer, scripture or worship that I needed. I was hoping this was all God’s purpose for us, but uncertain. I felt like as long as doors kept opening, we should keep pursuing the move to the country. You know that overplayed song “If it’s Meant to Be it Will Be”, well I swear EVERY time we drove out to the property to check things out and looked one more time that song would play on the radio. Now granted, during this time that song played on the radio every five seconds, but I still took it as some type of sign.

So the conversation in the kitchen came to a stall. We were looking around at this gorgeous, remodeled kitchen in a large house we had poured a lot of time and resources into making almost the way we wanted. We still had more work to do, but we had no issues with the city house. Well, the only issue was that it wasn’t on property. We were now looking at choosing to downsize a bit and remodel a kitchen and even more, again! But, we knew we wanted a different type of life for our family. To tell the truth, we wanted to move out of state. For many reasons this wasn’t possible so we started looking to make a change in California. How could we be somewhere with room for animals and privacy and space from neighbors? It’s funny for me now to look back at what we thought we were going to get in this move and realize how God has provided us with so much more. We’ve gotten neighbors who have become like family. We have opportunities to teach our kids work ethic, the value of a dollar and what being a good neighbor looks like (our neighbors are doing the teaching on that one). We’ve also been given the chance to grow spiritually, finally finding a church home and excited to be welcomed into a new family there.

Back in the kitchen and standing over our large expanse of quartz countertop I had dreamed of after replacing our second kitchen worth of white, stained tile; we struggled to decide. Would we be making life unnecessarily difficult? Should we just be happy with what we have? Was the farm life really what we wanted? Would our kids enjoy it or do we just think they will? Can we keep up with it all? FInally, with all of this weighing on us an idea came to mind. I got out two sticky notes and told Jeremy we would privately write “yes” or “no” on the sticky note and fold it up. Then we’d come back together and open them. If they matched one way or the other, we’d move in that directions. If they didn’t match, we’d go our separate ways – NO, just kidding, I never said that. But, I honestly didn’t know what we’d do in that situation, I didn’t want to think about it. Off we went to write on our sticky. I was shaking knowing I was either going to be really excited or really disappointed and I had no idea which word would create which emotion. We were both so extremely torn, being excited and happy for the hopeful change one minute and almost sure it was too much and ending the process the next. Every day or sometimes even minute held different emotions and it was becoming too much to handle. We just needed one solid choice and needed to move in that direction until we couldn’t any longer.

So, we opened the sticky notes and there they were, two that said “yes”. I had a moment of elation, excitement and adventure and then a wave of total fear came over me. I’m a city girl, I don’t have a clue what a septic tank is (I still don’t really understand it) or how water will come out of our well. I haven’t ever owned any animal other than a dog and the few gerbils and newt I had as a kid. I love things to be clean and they probably never will again after moving to the country. I have never used a lawn mower, except for that one time my dad let me walk in front of him as he mowed when I was a little girl. I’m extending my commute by a lot and extending our paychecks by even more. I knew I’d be giving up luxuries that had probably become a little too important, like a walk-in pantry and and an inside laundry room. But, we both wrote “yes” and we’re in this together. We’ve got a solid foundation that can go anywhere and we will figure this out. I knew on that night it wasn’t going to be easy, but it was going to be worth it. So the journey to the country began.

One year ago today, February 3, 2019 – the day we got the keys to Smith Farms West!

I know we’re not the only ones who can’t decide and need a sticky note!

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