Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Our New Adventure: Part One

It all started with a burrito wrap. Not the food kind, the spa kind. The end of 2017 was drawing near, and Aaron and I had jetted off on our first "kid-free" getaway to the Napa Valley area. Aaron had found a little mud bath spa day on Groupon, and the end of the treatment involved being in separate "burrito wraps" in the same little room. It was while we were there, cracking up about the entire strange experience, that everything started: an idea that would grow into a dream, which would grow into a hope, a reality, and a calling.

Becoming parents to the sweetest baby boy in February of 2017 had been the biggest blessing. But now that we had our son, Eli, we had needed to step away from the role in YoungLife that we'd previously held. With a tiny baby, and me going back to work full-time as a teacher in August, it just wasn't ideal to be away once a week until 10 pm, giving up evenings with our little one when it was already hard enough to force myself to leave him all day for work. To us, our marriage had always been about not only ourselves, but also loving others and serving them through some sort of ministry, so it had been a hard transition to walk away from YoungLife, but we knew that it was what was right for our family in this season. This left us wondering what our ministry should look like now. What was next? We'd loved YoungLife's ministry approach, and we fully believed in meeting people where they were, loving them, sharing the Gospel with them, and then continuing to love them regardless of their response. We began to talk more and more about times when people let faith into their lives, about how we could use this same approach to minister to adults. And so we landed on three main times when people let faith in: when they get married, when they have kids, and when someone passes away.

Out of these three, we were right in the heart of two of them- married and having a young child ourselves. But we both felt drawn to the idea of investing in marriage- that it matters, that it's a beautiful picture of the Gospel, and that it sets up a solid parenting approach later in life. So we thought about ways in which to pour into marriage- both for ourselves and for others. We thought about anniversary dinners, marriage retreats, and more. Maybe we could invite people for free meals and great conversation? One thing was for sure- we needed some sort of draw to give us the best opportunity to do this well- and we wanted to be able to do it on a bigger scale than just hosting people around our dinner table (although we're all about that too)! So we began to search for land, a place where we could turn this dream into a reality.

We'd always wanted to own a little bit of land. I grew up on three acres and I loved the way that it felt like we could breathe a little bit without reaching our hands out the window and shaking the hands of our neighbors. Aaron and I had looked for a while on and off without much success, but we still wanted a place we could call our own. And with this new dream of investing in marriage and hosting things more large scale, we decided we needed to look a little bit bigger- for something that could hold a house and some sort of space for these little events, along with a garage for Aaron. So we started looking for ten acres in the area. We cast our net far and wide, considering everything from Weston, Smithville, Platte City, and North Kansas City into possibly even Holt, Kearney, and Trimble. We hoped to be able to keep our jobs and still attend our church, but we wanted to keep our options open.

Land was coming and going so quickly that we weren't sure we would have any luck. But then Aaron drove by a property that looked pretty vacant, looked into county parcel maps, and found out who owned it- people who lived in California. In the midst of painting and remodeling our bedroom and bathroom, Aaron wrote a letter to the landowners, telling them our dream and letting them know of our hearts and goals for the land, asking them if they would be interested in selling. We stuck a leftover family photo in the letter for good measure and dropped it into the mail, praying over it and wishing for the best. And then we waited.

The next month came, and we still hadn't heard anything. If we didn't purchase land, we had discussed purchasing a property to rent out, or even buying a school bus and flipping into into a "schoolie" that could be rented out and used as a RV of sorts on vacation. But really, we thought we were being called to something more purposeful. We had just enough saved up to know that we were ready to invest in something, we just weren't sure what it would look like yet. We didn't think the land thing had just been our idea (instead of God's), but we also didn't know where or when it would happen at this point. Aaron and I went to lunch on our Professional Development day- a rare luxury where we were away from our 20 minutes lunches on the typical school day. We had been arguing about the schoolie thing for a while, but I remember that day finally telling Aaron that I was okay with it and giving him my blessing to take the next steps.

On the way home from school that day, I got a phone call from Aaron, telling me that I needed to call him right back. Honestly, I thought maybe something had fallen through with a job opening Aaron had applied for, and that maybe they were re-considering him for that position (which would have been at my school). I quickly dialed him right back, only to find out that someone had called him asking him if he was still interested in buying some land. The owners in California had gotten our letter, and as a result, they wanted to sell! Not only that, but they wanted to give us first dibs on making an offer- which was a dream when properties were moving on and off of Zillow in mere minutes. Was this really happening?

We drove out to see the property that afternoon. Aaron had seen it before, but I hadn't yet. It was a dream. Rolling hills, an incredible view, a pretty wooded area, and the best sunset I've ever laid eyes on. We had to try to think rationally about this major decision, but we also knew that we had to make an offer quickly or we would lose our chance and regret it forever. It just seemed so much bigger than ourselves- this gift of land and the opportunities it offered. It would take money, but money didn't matter so much anymore. So we took a leap of faith, made an offer, negotiated a bit, and settled on a fair price. A month later, we closed on 11.1 acres of our very own, just 15 minutes from our current home and still reasonably close to our work and church! We were on cloud nine, just dreaming of all that was to come.

If that were the end of the story, it would be a pretty great one in itself. But oh friends, that is just where the story begins...

To read part two of our story, click here! 


  1. I think I'd be cracking up about the burrito wrap too! I know my hubby- for sure- would be talking about EATING burritos the entire time.

  2. This is so exciting! can't wait to see where this new chapter takes you! XO

  3. How cool that you found this land and reached out to get them to sell it! I've never heard of that before. Excited to see what comes next!

  4. That is so exciting babe! How awesome that you found the land you wanted and were able to get it!! Congratulations!!


  5. Congratulations! The land looks beautiful.

  6. Isn't it always the way the end is just a new beginning. Excited to see where life takes you. Congrats on the land - I dream of having my own as well.

  7. And what a crazy cool story it is!!! Excited for y’all!


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