This is a little snapshot from October 2015. It was around this time that the winds of change, the spirit, our dreams, a midlife crisis, the gypsy woman at the Dicken’s festival, an angelic visitor (in the form of Keeanu Reeves- ask me about it sometime) and many other strange and fate filled events collided to plant a little seed within our hearts to move to Michigan. We knew a change was coming….
For years we dreamed of moving to the misty and green coastal cities of Oregon or Washington. A Goonie Pilgrimage that would be full of quirky and trendy shops and locales. However, whenever we prayed together about that decision to move to the PNW… it never felt right. In October we opened our search and opened our hearts to what we hoped was what God wanted for our family.
Michigan had so many things that we were looking for: clean air, water, trees, community, affordability, homeschool protection. There were also so many unknowns and fears. We had never visited the state before. Michigan was in the news a lot before we left (or so it seemed). Everyone around us seemed to warn us of the terrible weather, crime and coldness of the people.
We pressed onward in almost foolish optimism. We had heard the call to go. So go we would.
We sold our furniture and many of our belongings, packing our life into 7 feet of space. There were some hard goodbyes- friends, family, memory filled places around a state that had been our home together for 10 years (for Taylor- most of his life!). Thankfully, our last day in Salt Lake City was heavily polluted and grey (a good reminder of one of the reasons we were leaving).
As we slowly made our trip across country, we imagined our future home and city. Talked about future friends we might make and trips to nearby states. Everything was still rosy.
After our first night in Benton Harbor, MI- the reality of what we had done sank in. We really HAD left everything we knew and counted on- friends, our home, a stable job, normalcy! It became apparent that we hadn’t researched the rental market enough before we arrived. All of our hopeful homes didn’t work out and our impatience with hotel life was growing.
After long days of talking with locals, looking online and even driving through town after town looking for a rental home, Taylor and I nearly lost hope. We held each other and prayed. We sang “Abide With Me Tis Eventide” until the feelings of fear and uncertainty faded into the distance, long enough for sleep to overcome us.
We tried to hold onto the many promptings we had had over the past months that God wanted us in Michigan- that we weren’t crazy and that he had a plan for our family. It WOULD work out.
Through the help of God and family members, we were led to an online listing that we had missed, in a town we had never heard of. (1.5 hrs further that we had planned) A quaint lake cottage in a town of 8,000 people. We were desperate- we grabbed at the opportunity to put down roots- anywhere!
The drive to our future home was serene and magical- an almost out of body experience. The strain and stress of the week left my body as we left behind the city and disappeared into a sea of gentle hills, farmland and trees so thick that in the distance they resembled our beloved mountainscapes. As we rolled into town- past the old fashioned diner, library, Victorian painted ladies and beheld the extensive beaches we cried. This was our home. Taylor said “I am going to grow old here with you”, and I felt it too.
God led us to a place out of time. It sounds so cheesy, but it really feels like that. People still have the time to talk here. They chit chat, they wander and they shoot the breeze. Some things are amazingly slow. People don’t answer their phones. Major government offices aren’t always staffed or call you back, lol! There are people like Gayle, Butch and Leona who make you instantly feel as though you have always lived there.
Everyone here is chatty. The food is loaded with butter and love. The weather was cold today, but most days it is lovely. The landscape is so beautiful that I keep wondering if I am on vacation. Life here is slow, peaceful and simple. Things here are not easier than they were in Utah. But for once in a very long while, my heart feels at peace.We know we are home.