I must admit, I've written this post 1,000 times in my head already.
In fact, as I was trying to sleep last night listening to the thunder storm, I quietly typed it out in my head. Almost the entire thing! But alas, mentally typing something isn't the same as actually typing it, so here I am. Typing. To share some incredibly big, sweet, difficult, life-changing news with you.
Did you hear me? I said BIG NEWS.
Where do I even start? Where did I start in my head last night? I forget. Dangit. Anyway.
We're moving. Many of you know via Facebook that I've been purging and cleaning like crazy as I begin to pack up our belongings from the rental house. Our last will be up at the end of the month and we long contemplated where we would land after it was time to renew.
We knew we really wanted a piece of land.
We wanted a place, even if it was a rental, to establish and invest and grow.
And so we prayed.
What we didn't expect was the Lord to answer our prayers in quite this way.
You see…the Lord did decide to bless us with a piece of land. But that piece of land is back in Washington State. 2500 miles from our current location. Y'all remember Washington, right? That beautiful state we just moved from last year?
Well…as the good Lord would have it…that is where we will be moving back to.
*The audience gasps*
I know. I know. It's frickin' crazy, people. I've been eager to share the news with you for some time, but this sort of big decision requires a lot of prayerful consideration and time. After all, this will mean moving across the country again. And more significantly, leaving the people that we have grown to love here in Alabama.
Beh. Here come the tears.
Stuart was offered a job back in Wenatchee at another Classical Christian school. As we contemplated the offer, we were torn. Tormented, really, by the weight of the decision. While the desire to be close to my family in undoubtedly significant, I also felt such peace with being here in this little, beautiful life that has developed from our move down South. I've developed community and friendships in a way that I never have before. I've been vulnerable and raw and open to lessons, charity, and opportunities. The experience of such a significant move is never one I would take back – the growth, knowledge, and experience is so incredibly valuable.
Last summer, after we first moved down, I remember be on my knees in prayer. Sobbing. “Lord, I can't do it. I can't survive. Please take this burden away.”
Little did I know what a huge blessing that ‘burden' would blossom into.
Friends. Church members. Small groups. Play groups. Students. Parents. Faculty. Farmers. Community. Not a single aspect of our lives haven't been wonderfully shaped and changed by the beautiful people of Alabama. So much so that when the time came to make the decision, I was able to peacefully and quite easily leave it in Stuart's hands. After my visit home in February, I no doubt longed to be close to my family once again, but I remember distinctly landing at the Pensacola Airport and thinking “Ah, we're home. This is where we belong.”
And for a short year, this is where we belonged.
We have been surrounded and lifted up by the hands and feet of Christ like I've never experienced before. Even though we'd only been here for a few short months by the time I was in labor with Owen, I still had the most wonderful and loving women at my side to help me. We had visitors, bringing us meals and gifts and praying over us constantly. We had been welcomed into homes for meals and holidays. We'd gone sailing, berry picking, crawfish boiling, exploring, and experiencing with such spiritually rich people – the contagiousness of their love for Christ was as thick and consuming as this humid, deep Southern air.
Oh their sweet faces and fellowship. How I will miss it so.
It was with both a heavy and happy heart that the decision was finally made to move back. And after sitting with that decision for a few weeks, I can feel at peace with the pain I know it will inevitably cause. For us and for others.
Seriously tears. Stop now.
I just love this place. I love the people. I love the rain. I love the spanish moss trailing from the giant oaks that line the roads.
Hate the fire ants though. And the roaches. But let's not get hung up on details, now.
All that being said, I would pray you would allow me the grace to be a complete emotional basket case like I am planning on being for the next four weeks. Please and thank you.
And all THAT being said, I would like to introduce you to our new home:
I think I'll call it, The Elliott Farm.
I will tell you the long and incredibly God-ordained story of how this little nugget of farm came to us another day, but in the meantime, let's just PRAISE GOD! He has given us (okay fine, he's allowed us to rent) the most wonderful little sliver of Central Washington I could have ever hoped for.
5 acres. To garden. To graze. To raise our dairy cow on. To keep chickens. And rabbits. And a beef steer. And bees. And plant grapes. And… And…
Whatever else our little hearts can possibly imagine!
There is much work to be done. Landscaping to complete. Retaining walls to build. Herb gardens to plant. Large vegetable beds to be layed out. Rabbit cages to be installed. Shops to be filled. Chicken coops to decorate, revamp, and clean. Pasture to be fenced. Animal outbuildings to be refurbished and revived. Y'all – there is seriously a LOT to do.
But there is nothing I would rather do than work on The Elliott Farm.
Did I mention it's five minutes from a local winery? But that's neither here-nor-there.
Dream with me, won't you?
I feel like we've been through a lot together, my friends, and I'm very thankful y'all will get to make this journey back home with me.