Not sure exactly where to start this story… I could go back to May of this year or March of this year or approximately 13 years ago when we decided to move from Springfield to Harrisburg or even 15 years ago when Ryan and I got married.
Ok, I’ll make it quick. 15 years ago, we got married young. Realized we couldn’t both be in college at the same time, so we took turns. Ryan graciously allowed me to finish my Master’s Degree in Professional Counseling and then he decided to go to Oregon State University. OSU was about an hour from where we lived in Springfield.
So, we decided to move from Springfield to a small town between college and work called Harrisburg. It is less than 5,000 people and one stoplight small. We bought a house and we loved it there. And even after Ryan was done with college, we stayed. We loved our house and our small community.
Moving back had come up a few times over the 13 years we lived there. We both work in Eugene. Our church is in Springfield. Our families and friends are in Springfield/Eugene. But we just felt like Harrisburg was home. And although it added to the daily commute and made getting Kyrie to school in Springfield more challenging, moving just wasn’t on our radar. Maybe in a couple years we said. Maybe when it’s time for Jackson to go to school. Maybe.
I just have this picture in my mind of a path, a lovely steady path that really had no plans of changing. It was nice, it was comfortable, it came with a bit of a commute, but it was our path.
Then COVID-19 hit*. Similar to many others, the stay at home order meant a lot of Netflix, looking for toilet paper online, and creating a sourdough starter. Am I right? Who else has been baking sourdough? Luckily for Ryan, it also meant it was a perfect opportunity to tackle a few projects around the house.
We finished the wainscoting trim in the dining room. We changed out the vanity in our powder room. We planted three trees. We added some brickwork around said trees and in the backyard off the patio. We barked everything. We added river rock around the pool. We repainted our master bathroom.
The done list was looking amazing.
One last project, you know that dishwasher that had been sitting in the backyard for the last 5 (almost 6) years? Shameful, yes. We decided to finally make a trip to the dump and get rid of it. Yes, great weekend excursion for life in the time of corona virus.
Isn’t it interesting how God uses the most mundane moments to change our paths? A trip to the dump that we’d been putting off for over 5 years. God can use that.
After the trip to the dump and a smashed finger (poor Kyrie!), we decided to stop at Ryan’s parent’s house. We hadn’t seen them in weeks and thought it would be good to just say hello, even if it was a socially distanced hello.
And here is the moment that changed the Green family’s path. Here it is, are you ready for it…???
We were talking to Ryan’s mom, Danielle, and she apologized that Ryan’s Dad, Greg, wasn’t around and that we would miss him during our visit. But he was up mowing some different properties that the family’s trust had on the market.
Time out, side note: Ryan’s grandparents owned several properties that they rented out. After their passing, these properties have been sold one-by-one by the family trust. We knew these were being sold, but we were happy and comfortable in Harrisburg (see paragraphs 3 and 4).
Time in: Danielle began describing one of these properties.
Danielle: It has a meadow, and creek, and lots of trees, it really is lovely (other than the dumpy trailer). Anyway, he’s up there mowing today.
Ryan: Meadow, creek, trees… how big is the property?
Danielle: 3 acres.
Another side note: In the past when Ryan and I would dream about owning property someday, we always said we would want 3-5 acres.
Ryan and Heather: knowing look
Ryan: We should go look at it.
Heather: Yes, yes we should.
Yet another side note: Just so you, the reader, know, we were both only about 50% serious, maybe less. But life in the time of corona makes any excursion sound exciting. And it was almost like a game of chicken.
And so, everyone back in the van, and a couple miles up the road. Wait, actually, Ryan turned the wrong way. He nearly missed the moment, we nearly missed the new path.
Me: Hey, weren’t we going to look at that property?
Ryan: I thought you were joking.
Me: I was, but hey, why not!
Ryan whipped around and a few miles up the road and we were there. The driveway was a canopy of old Douglas Fir and Cedar trees. We hopped out and immediately saw the dumpy trailer (details), I could smell the fir/pine and cedar and rain. We could see the delightful meadow (aka front yard), we were surrounded by every shade of green you could imagine. And in the distance, we could hear the rushing water of a creek. Lovely, delightful, sweet, but someone else’s dream surely.
We went home and returned to normal.
The next day, I had decided I also wanted to repaint the powder room and had this super cool idea to do a dotted-diamond wall treatment. Ryan really is awesome at all things geometric (plus he’s super tall with long arms), so while the kids napped, I asked him to help me measure and mark the walls. About halfway done with the first wall (and at least 1 hour in),
Ryan: What did you think of that property?
Me: It was really nice, lots of potential. I’d love to have something like that someday. But we aren’t ready for step like that, right? And I love our house, we’ve done so much work lately, and I don’t want to give it up.
Ryan: Yah, it was really nice. [Insert a ton of Ryan talking about how much he loved growing up in the country. Space to run around in. You can make trails. Play in the creek. Put up a basketball hoop. Space. Build a tree house. Room to garden. Space. No neighbors looking into your backyard. No neighbors judging your lack of brilliance at landscaping. Space. I would love for our kids to grow up in the country.]
Me (nearly in tears, good tears): So what you are telling me, is you want to give our kids a lifestyle like what you grew up with? And that raising your kids in the country has always been a dream of yours? Ok, I’m in…. But the trailer isn’t livable, right? But what about our house? Harrisburg? Could we even afford something like that? Etc…
Ryan: I’ll call my dad and see if we can go back out with him and take a walk around.
So back to the picture of my path. Did it start a few months ago? Did it start 13 years ago? 15 years ago? I have no doubt in my mind that God knows exactly where this path started. But in my mind, I see a fork in the path that happened on that ordinary May day when we went to the dump.
I’m standing here writing this in an 800 square foot apartment. We sold the house. Turns out, all that work we were doing uniquely set us up to get the house on the market in about a month. Did God have a plan? Why yes, He did. The house sold in two days, the second family that walked through made us an offer. We went through the process of finding a lender and a builder.
Now we are living in this apartment while we get everything going on the build. Demo, trees, permits, etc. We spend several weeknights and most weekends up at the Lost Wood. Oh, yes, we named it. The kids already love tromping around in the woods and throwing rocks in the creek (looking at you, Liam). Each kiddo has their very own walking stick, courtesy of the Lost Wood. The property isn’t landscaped and has decades of old trees and broken branches and debris. Ryan and I have been clearing brush and raking leaves and thinning things out. Neither of us has ever enjoyed yard work, but we love this yard work. Ryan has dreams of creating walking paths, and a few patios areas, and a tree house. I’m excited for a lovely outdoor patio to enjoy the view, and to plant a bigger garden, and to watch my kids grow up in the Lost Wood.
God has showed up in other ways as well, ask me sometime about our fence, my grandparent’s legacy, apartment 84, the rats, or the unethical appraiser. We’ve already been blessed beyond measure.
The next adventure involves moving to the Lost Wood in a travel trailer. But more on that another day.
*Please don’t think I don’t take COVID-19 it seriously. I know it has been a global tragedy in so many ways. And my heart breaks for all those that have been impacted negatively.