Without question in any of our minds, God was calling us to leave CA. He was calling us to ND. We'd planned on moving to Hawai'i. Then considered other places like Northern California, Colorado, Montana, Michigan, and Oregon. But nothing seemed right. Nothing "fit."
In November 2005, just a few days before Thanksgiving, Scott jokingly said, "Why not ND? It's where your family is from." And I thought, "Why not ND?" My parents had the same "why not?" attitude and so we planned a house hunting trip for January 2006. Yes it was cold, yes there was snow, but yes, we knew we were supposed to move to ND.
In March 2006, my parents went back to ND to do more house shopping. We stayed back in CA to keep our antiques and estate liquidation business going. They drug our realtor and first ND friend, Tanna, around to look at houses. We'd put our current house on the list as one we were very interested in, but it ended up that Mom & Dad bought it for themselves so they could build their dream home on the adjacent lot. The yellow farm-style house on 12th Street was for us though we'd never been inside. We'd seen lots of pictures, and looked at it from the road that January, but that was it. Nonetheless, we put our homes in CA on the market and made plans to move.
In looking back over the last 8 years, I'm amazed at how God has been with us every step of the way. Amazed but not surprised. The first 18 months in ND were hard. Very hard. We didn't know anyone in Bismarck. We didn't have a church here. (that's a whole other blog post!) It was one of the hottest summers on record; I remember one day in particular it hit 114! Scott didn't have a job for the first 8 months. At times it was lonely. At times it was scary. At times we wondered what we were doing here. But we always had peace that God had called us, God had transplanted us to ND and this was our new home.
So we put down our roots and allowed the Master Gardener to water us, to nurture us, and to even prune us after He transplanted us to this beautiful, wide open space. And we waited. Waited for Him to lead us, to guide us, to open doors.
And He did like He always does.
I'd say our transplanting has been successful. We've loved every minute, even the hard minutes.
Here's my blog post from the days following our move to ND.
Transplant in Process
Recently, we picked up and moved to North Dakota. Besides a summer in England, I'd never lived anywhere besides San Leandro, California. In fact, I'd had the same mailman my entire life, even after I got married and moved out. When I was growing up, San Leandro wasn't unlike Bismarck. It was a tight-knit community where most everyone knew everyone else and you felt safe everywhere you went. But over the years, all of that changed and we knew it was no place to raise children. So we left. We closed our business, packed our homes and hit the road. I've since referred to myself, and my family, as transplants.
Here are my journal entries from the move:
Our last official day as Californians, we celebrated Fathers’ Day then finished packing up the trailer. The plan was to leave bright and early the following morning. Somewhere between church and lunch, we decided to honor our tradition of leaving the night before our planned departure date. We pulled out of San Leandro at 9:42pm. It was Scott and Buddy in the RV pulling the ski boat. Following them was Pops, Grammy and Adam in the Denali pulling the trailer. And I brought up the tail, blocking traffic for the big guys up front, in the Dodge. We stopped for the night just north of Roseville.
California became a distant memory when we crossed the state line at about 10am Monday morning. I told everyone via walkie-talkie, “Well, it’s only taken me 16 years to finally get out of California.” Grammy asked for clarification. I explained, “When I was 13-years-old, we went to Canada by car with Baba and Dido (Grammy’s parents). It was on that trip that I decided I didn’t want to live in California for the rest of my life and I cried the whole way home.”
After a long day driving across the Nevada desert, relying on bad jokes on XM’s comedy channel and strong-words from Dr. Laura on America Right, we finally made it to Cactus Pete’s in Jackpot, Nevada.
If you want to know what a white plastic potty chair looks like when it’s flying through the air out of the back of the trailer, ask me! Hey, at least it was empty. We made it through Idaho and stopped in Billings, Montana for the night. Let’s not talk about it.
“Country road, take me home to the place I belong…” Yes, I played this song for us via walkie-talkie as we crossed into North Dakota from Montana. A brief stop to look out across the Bad Lands near Medora was just what we needed to welcome us home. We made a quick stop in Dickinson to say hi to our realtor Tanna and pick up the keys to Grammy and Pops’ new place then head on down the road. We made it to Bismarck around 4:30pm and went to check out the new homes before resting for the night at the Ramkota Inn.
We were filled with anticipation as we walked up the steps to our new home, which, coincidentally, we’d never seen before! Tanna (our realtor) and Karianne (aka She-she) saw the inside and sent us photos about three weeks before. Other than that, we’d only seen the house from the road back in January. Grammy and Pops had walked around the house, peeking in the windows, in March. Truly, the house was a gift from God. It is far better than we ever imagined and can’t express enough gratitude for this awesome blessing bestowed upon us.