Monday, November 11, 2019

Our New Adventure: Part Two

If you haven't already read part one of our story, take a minute to do that here. You'll need a little back story on why we wanted land and the crazy awesome way we got it. All caught up? Okay, let's continue!

It may sound a little strange, but while we were in the process of buying our 11.1 acres, we also had our eye on some nearby acres. We felt like they'd be the perfect addition to make our land seem whole. Plus, they would give us the ability to do what we wanted to in our county. Sure, we didn't have any money to buy them. And sure, there was probably no way that the owners wanted to sell them. But still, we felt a tug to them, a dream, a hope that someday, somehow, they would be ours. We prayed over it, and even considered writing them a letter too, but we placed it momentarily on the back burner as a "someday" item.

Once we were official landowners, some crazy circumstances led to us being given the additional 5.5 acres that we'd had our eyes on. And, to top that off, we were able to get a driveway cleared and put in for us through the woods, which would have been a nightmare and would've taken forever to do ourselves. We were absolutely blown away. Even now, I can't quite fathom the series of events. Clearly this was much more than our idea. This was something that God was going to make happen, no matter what it took or how daunting it seemed to us.

Not only did this series of events leave us with a total 16.6 acres and a new driveway, but it also made another part of our story a possibility: putting in our own vineyard! In order to do this and have a space that could be used as a tasting room in the county where our land was, you had to have at least 15 acres. Without the extra land, we wouldn't have been able to have a tasting room. We had stepped out in faith, and God had provided in the biggest, craziest way, as He seems to do over and over again on this journey!

Vineyards take time, and you really don't see any wine production happening for at least three to five years or so, but eventually we will be able to have a tasting room by appointment, something we're really looking forward to as it offers the opportunity to share hours of great conversation with those who gather with us. There's something so amazing about working with the land to produce fruit that then can be made into wine- it's such an intriguing process, and something that Aaron has really become passionate about over the years of visiting Napa, Sonoma, and Hermann, along with doing wine tastings all over the nation. And funny that this whole journey began in Napa and now we will (Lord willing) have our own little crop of vines growing on our land someday! As of this summer, they're planted, so we'll see how it goes.

Jumping ahead a bit here- us with the vines in July 2019.

After everything with our newly acquired land was sorted through, we officially were able to apply for our Special Use Permit. This permit allows us to do several really important things: mainly, we are able to use our land as an organized meeting space for weddings, parties, and events for the next 50 years! Long term plans/goals include living on the land, and having the tasting room as we mentioned. We hope that our space will be an inviting place for the growing community where we can love people well and help them to live life as we were meant to: full of hope and laughter and purpose.

The entire process of getting our permit was pretty interesting: lots of meetings with the health department and county, signatures from folks at the water department, fire department, and more, along with alerting neighbors of our plans and preparing our own site plan. Keep in mind that we were also doing all of this while working our full time jobs and taking care of our kiddo- so there were lots of late nights, lots of to do lists and meetings or phone conversations to fit in to tiny slots of time throughout our days. There were tears and arguments and lots of doubt and worries. But there were also lots of laughs and "What is happening!?" moments of awe and excitement. Our dream had the potential to turn into much more of a reality in a matter of months.

On September 11th, 2018, we attended a meeting where our permit was officially approved by a unanimous committee vote. People were able to come and voice any concerns they had and we were present to answer any questions. It was pretty surreal and exciting, and I remember sitting in my chair in my favorite blue dress, looking down and seeing my legs literally shaking at the weight of the moment. Along the way, it was fun to see all the little connections that God would bring to light, and the ways in which He would guide us along this sometimes scary path. Aaron and I went to dinner that night, bubbling with excitement and gratefulness, and in awe of all that had happened in the last nine months. We took a picture at home with our sweet baby boy, commemorating this special day. This was the official blessing to continue our plans- something that we hadn't made public yet because we knew that it had to be approved before we could proceed.

Not too long ago, I was just a 22 year old girl in her first year of teaching, without a boyfriend, overwhelmed by my work, feeling pretty lonely and very unsure of myself in many ways. Things aren't all sunshine and roses these days, but boy, the Lord has sure been up to a lot in the seven years since then. I am reminded again and again that He is able to do IMMEASURABLY more than all I can ask or imagine. It doesn't always follow our ideal timeline, and we certainly aren't in control, but wow, friends- He keeps showing up in big ways. If you are in season of waiting, wishing, and hoping- feeling lonely, overwhelmed, or ready to throw in the towel- hang in there. God is at work, and He's going to knock your socks off with His good plans for you! In a world where so many things will fail us, His love never will. 💕🎉
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From there, we got things officially recorded with the county, and then worked to get building plans underway in order to apply for permits and get to work. We had gone back and forth about building our space first or building our home first, and we had also considered building some sort of space where we could live in part of it and use part of it for our original intended purpose: gathering people around a table for great food and conversation, giving them hope to live life full. It was (and still is) our biggest desire that people would see that a life lived with Jesus didn't have to be boring or less than a life without him: that it would literally be overflowing with a joy that was contagious.

In some areas, we made great and quick progress- getting our name settled on (more about that soon!), getting an LLC started, and continuing to dream of and pray about all that the Lord would do with our space. In other areas, we struggled. We were working to design this on our own with some help, but we kept feeling like we were hitting roadblocks here and there. It was easy to get caught up in a desire to hit a certain timeline and feel the pressure to get things done when the weather still permitted, but we had to let go and let things happen as they should: all in God's timing. This journey has been a process of letting go of the tiny bit of control I so desperately try to hold onto, and yet it has been freeing at the same time. There are so many things we would have done differently, and things that we would have probably regretted had we put our heads down and made decisions to leap into huge loans or proceed with architectural plans (that I would have likely changed my mind on). Instead, we took one little step after the next, trusting that seasons of waiting would pay off in the end, and that we would be led down the correct path. And boy, were we ever.

 In the midst of all the crazy planning and working, Aaron and I scheduled another little getaway, this time for January of 2019, and to a place we had never been. We continued to think and pray about our plans, feeling a little stuck but refusing to give up. An unexpected adventure and meeting lay ahead for us, and it all started with a little idea that kept making its way into our brains: a chapel. In conversations, in books, it just kept coming up. And so, with designs on my mind, I googled chapels.

We could have just gone and built one, and that, again, would have been a pretty great end to a pretty great story. But our story would continue to develop into something pretty incredible. Something almost unbelievable. Something much bigger than us.

To read part three of our story, click here! 


  1. This is really cool. Excited to hear about your next chapter

  2. This post looked liked you are having the time of your life. Thanks for sharing

  3. Wow, what an incredible blessing! Having a vineyard sounds like a dream.

  4. How amazing! I'm so excited to see what's next for you guys!

  5. A vineyard?! That is absolutely amazing! What an exciting adventure. I cannot wait to watch as your work progresses! I’m so impressed!

  6. Wow, this is such an amazing story! I can only imagine the process and how much work you've put into it already. Having a little vineyard is going to be so cool though, I wish you the best of luck!

  7. It’s amazing what can happen when we let go and trust! I love when God surprises me in this way. Look forward to hearing more.

  8. I always enjoy a look at your stories! Can't wait for the next chapter. Who doesn't love this great adventure called life?

  9. this is such an incredible story! i love the idea of having a little vineyard!

    cute & little

  10. I love that you are going to use your land for community purposes - that is so great! Beautiful family photos too!



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