The past 4 weeks have been quite the roller coaster.  We have been overwhelmingly busy and the days have just raced by.  While we were finishing up in the Phoenix area, we found ourselves saying “This is the last time we will….”.  Sometimes we were excited to have it be the last time we did something or experienced something.  Phoenix traffic.  The heat.  The sky high electric bill.  A mortgage payment.  Working in an office building.  Seeing more and more construction crews building new cramped neighborhoods or shopping areas.  Other times, we were really sad for it to be the last time.  Visiting with parents.  Friends.  The church we loved.  Mexican food.  Fresh citrus.  Every type of store possible within 1 mile of the house.  Jobs…just kidding!

But, as our moving truck backed into our driveway to begin loading up our belongings, things switched.  We began talking about and experiencing the “firsts.”  Kevin and I moved across the country twice before when we were newly married.  Once from Wisconsin to the South Padre Island area of Texas and then from Texas to the Phoenix area.  That was before kids and before accumulating a house full and small farm full of belongings.  It was quite an Olympian feat to pack it all up into boxes in preparation for a cross country move.  It was the first time our family would experience such a great new adventure together.  The movers shut the back doors of the truck and pulled away.  The house and barns were empty. That night we camped out on blowup beds on the floor.  The next morning we would pull out and head for Missouri.  We barely slept.  Was it from the terrible beds or the anticipation and excitement to start our adventure?  Not sure.  But we were ready to go!

The girls had never been on such a long drive.  They were very good sports about being in the car for so long.  We made the trip over the course of 2 days.  Traveling with a small moving truck filled with our freezers of meat and immediate necessities, 2 kids, 4 rabbits and a dog slowed the trip down a little.  But we made it.  Along the way, it was very interesting to watch the change in the landscape.  Little by little, the terrain became more and more green.  We traveled through New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, and then Missouri.  It seemed like we would never reach the climate that had lush green landscape with trees that have real leaves on them.  But, the change happened overnight, literally.  We traveled into Oklahoma from Texas in the evening.  We were only an hour away from Missouri when we stopped for the night.  In the morning, there was GREEN!  As we drove through the hills and into the Missouri Ozarks, I was captivated by the landscape.  It was actually a very comforting feeling…like coming home.  The excitement built as we started seeing road signs for the cities close to our new home.  We passed through Springfield which is the last big city we would drive through.  The roads got more and more rural.  Less lanes, smaller shoulders.  More and more trees.  As we turned down the little road to our new home, trees lined each side almost the entire way.  I had great memories of my childhood, riding down the country roads near Green Lake on the way to church camp and along the bay of Sturgeon Bay in Door County.  The landscape was so lush.

As we pulled into the driveway of our new homestead in the country, our daughters were amazed.  They couldn’t believe that this was our new home.  The cute little white house.  The big front yard filled with trees.  The wildflowers all around. The woods in the background.  The pasture filled with prairie grass and the barns waiting for animals.  Our youngest daughter kept saying that it all looked just like a painting.  “It’s so pretty!”  They kept saying.  Kevin and I were able to breathe a sigh of relief.  They loved it.  It was official.  Living Traditions Homestead was born.

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