I’ve got some big news to share today.
After years of talking and dreaming we are finally taking the steps toward making those dreams come true. To be perfectly honest, we are mostly moving toward making my dreams come true. My husband loves me and has stated repeatedly that his desire is to be a dream maker not a dream breaker; therefore, he is fully on board to do his part to work out the dream in practical ways.
We are moving from California to NW Arkansas in a little over two months.
“Arkansas!”, you gasp, “Why are you leaving the gorgeous weather, sunny beaches, and beautiful scenery of southern California to move to Arkansas? Don’t you have family in California, aren’t you involved in a ministry in California, don’t your roots go down deep in California?”
Yes, California is beautiful, the weather is nearly perfect (though the “perfect” weather has lead to severe drought) and the scenery of the coastline and mountains is matchless. We have family in California, ministry in California, and I have deep roots in California. But, we have several very compelling reasons for leaving, each involves stretching ourselves past our comfort zone in order to make our dreams come true. The time has finally come to move beyond just dreaming to actually doing something about those dreams.
Here are four main reasons why we are making the move:
Family. Several members of my husband’s family currently live in northwest Arkansas or will soon be moving there, this includes Ken’s mom and stepdad. Our oldest daughter and her boys will be making the move from Iowa to join us as well. Ken and I both feel strongly that it is important to provide help and support to our aging parents (my 94 year old mom is moving with us) and want to be a resource for his siblings and their families.
Community. This is another hugely important factor. We know we will plug into a local church body and do life with other believers. We are also looking forward to connecting with local pastors and their spouses. We will take the ministry of Standing Stone with us and open up a regional office. NW Arkansas is very centrally located and it is easy to travel to several surrounding states and into the Midwest or southern regions. I’ll be posting a brief blog post over on the Standing Stone site soon with a few more details. Also, this area has a very fast-growing natural foods community. There are many local farmer’s markets, sources of grass-fed beef, raw milk, dairy goats, chickens, and other resources for me to pursue my passion for a more sustainable lifestyle. I’m eagerly looking forward to making new friends and contacts; in a ministry sense and in a lifestyle sense.
Affordability. Let’s face it. California is no longer affordable, anywhere. For the price of a studio apartment near the coast we can buy a home on acreage. Since God placed a vision in my heart several years ago to build a home in order to host ministry couples and missionary couples in a serene environment where they can experience healing in their hearts, marriages, and ministries we have been searching for the right place to build a new life. Being able to actually afford the dream is a very large piece of the puzzle.
Personal freedom. I see individual freedom rapidly eroding in California, as well as several other states across the union. I believe in the right to live life without a lot of state and federal government interference, which includes honoring our second amendment rights. Now, while I don’t see myself as a pistol-packing Annie Oakley, I feel like the vast majority of citizens in Arkansas believe in less government interference in everyday life. Sadly, that is not the case in California.
My excitement is tempered by some sadness. We will be leaving lots of family behind and my fear is that we will see some of them only rarely. Our youngest daughter and her family are not planning on moving to Arkansas, but we will do whatever it takes to see them several times a year. Fortunately she homeschools her children and can visit for extended periods of time. My hope is that they will fall in love with the area and our way of life with goats and chickens and ducks and such and will want to make the move themselves. I’m also hoping the same applies to our son, currently a resident of Washington. Hey, a girl can dream, and pray, right? I can leave California knowing that God has a plan for ALL of my children………I’ll just be praying hard (very hard) that His plan will lead them all closer to us.
I am super excited about the move overall though. I was given a vision to have a place to host ministry couples, grow as much of our food as possible, raise animals, and live much closer to nature. Fortunately my husband is on board and will do what it takes to make it happen. He, too, looks forward to hosting people in our home and getting involved in the local community. We have no doubt in our hearts that the Lord has been leading us back to Arkansas for such a time as this. We’re looking forward to rolling up our sleeves and jumping into this next season of our lives.
I will write about it all, of course, and post pictures. I hope you’ll stick with me and come along on our journey. I’m sure at times I’ll need a little encouragement, okay, maybe a lot of encouragement as we run into bumps and trials. But the joy of a dream fulfilled is worth a lot of hard work and a little pain along the way, don’t you think?