Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Time ticks on...

Well, I realize it's been a while since I posted. But I wanted to include photos and that would require me being organized enough to know where those photos are!!!

We are winding down on the nice weather. Just after I posted last time, Gabe fell off our almost finished deck and broke his arm! Cassia is just growing like a weed and is best friends with her big brother! Micah is walking and getting around like a boss! And baby BOY #3 - well, frankly, we just found out today he was a boy! But he's moving and grooving! And he's due to be seen in late March!

I do want to start posting some before and after pictures of the homestead, but I keep thinking - let me just get that one more thing done before I take a picture.... Needless to say, that hasn't happened... YET! We did just get all new windows in today, not installed, just delivered. It was during a blizzard that they came. So that might delay getting them in by a couple days anyway!

Speaking of weather, we had an amazing fall in ND - that's part of the reason for my absence! When you have a nice fall, you've really gotta get out there and enjoy it because you never know when it's over. Well folks.... it's over. Yesterday, the high was like 14. Today it couldn't have been much better than that, besides the inches of snow that was flying. I think it's here. The winter has arrived. Hope we cleaned everything up, because at this point, we won't find it till the great meltdown, in June!

On a happier note, Gabe informed me today that we lived in the "Frozen Tundra." And he does NOT like that. He said that his dad said we could move to Florida and he thought Cassia and I might really enjoy that because he would. (Poor boy, I just didn't feel right letting him know that his daddy has been promising something like that for the last 10 years!)

We did celebrate our 9 year anniversary in October - that was really nice - hard to believe that we've been on this journey that short of time - feels like a lot longer! But in a good way! :)

We do have a busy week ahead, so I'm not making any promises, but I will be getting those pictures together soon and getting back on here to update soon!

Here's to keeping warm!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Hanging in there....

Continuing life at the ranch....

It's becoming always exciting! I'd have to say we are a pretty healthy family, for the most part... but not accident free. I never said that.

We are crazy finishing projects around here - pictures are sure to follow! I'm just not quite organized or techy enough to get them on here all at once, so they will be coming....

So our "powder room" bathroom is shaping up really nicely, and we are using old barn wood on the walls, which includes some real nice long, rusty nails! So Sam was busy getting them installed the other day, when Gabe comes crying wailing into the house. My 2 year old Cassia came in to interpret. Isn't that nice of her? "Ummm, Gabe hoit he-self rearry bad." You think? As he was walking in, he was leaving a trail of blood and I don't know about you, while you are worried about what might have happened, you are also thinking - I don't really want to try to get blood out of the carpet - so he got carried in and luckily Sam was home. I don't really like blood. Finally he got ahold of himself enough to let us know that he stepped on a rusty nail.... Nice.... So he and I headed in to make sure his tetnus was up to date - which he had just one shot left, so he's doing great!

Then the next week came....

We've got this deck and we've been working on it for two whole months. And most of that time it was just the frame with no floor boards. But we have our second story walk right out onto it and there has always been a door there. So I know it's bad, but Gabe just climbs all over it and he does fine. It's not super high off the ground so I can touch the bottom of it when I'm standing on the ground. Well, just this weekend, we had some dear friends over for dinner and Mike offered to come back and finish our deck! What!?! So awesome!!! So he came in on Monday and worked on it, Tuesday, he started getting floor boards down, so now you can walk across part of it! And then I heard it... the wailing again... And the interpreter made it in first "Ummmm, Gabe just fell off da deck." Oh Lordy! Here comes Gabe holding his arm and screaming quite a bit more than the rusty nail incident, so I knew it was bad. Meanwhile Micah was screaming for dinner and it was getting late. So Sam took him in and he came home sporting a nice little splint!

So that's about how things are going for us these days! Stay tuned for those promised pictures!

Monday, September 8, 2014

The next step....

Let's see, now where did I leave off.... Oh yes, it was now time to sell our house - in a sellers market! Shouldn't be too hard, right? We LOVED our little house on the hill in Mandan! Like, LOVED it! It wasn't necessarily the house I could see myself in for the rest of my life - not enough bedrooms on one floor, but we just loved our house. We made so many memories there, so many people made so many memories there. When people walked in, they just felt a lot calmer and more at peace. I loved that about our house. I always said that if I built a house, it would have the same layout, only a little bigger....

Well, I hardly know where to start. We put our house for sale by owner just because that's what we were feeling the Lord was leading us to do. That way we had a little control over when people came through and with 3 small kids, you can imagine that was a major issue! We had approximately 1 family come through in about a 4 month period. That was very productive. Then in March, we had a few people come through and one young couple was going to be getting married in the fall and they just fell in love with the house! It seemed so perfect! We were just a young newlywed couple when we moved in and it was just perfect for us! They came by probably 3 times and then were ready to make an offer, which they did, but it was just so low. We counter offered. Back and forth. But in the end while we really wanted to be able to sell the house to someone who was really going to love it, we just couldn't swing it. After all, we were about to move to country and take on quite a hefty mortgage.

We were getting a little discouraged since time was flying by... The first weekend of April was a big one! We had 3 of our very best friends coming into town and we were going to start remodeling the Circle C Ranch Homestead - which is the property we were hoping to purchase as soon as our house sold! On top of that, we had 3 appts. for people to come and look at our house! This is it! I could feel it! We squeezed the appt. in around our friends and busy activities and it was obvious in the first 1 minute that they were there that it was a waste of time. Talk about discouraging.....

Then the weekend was over, it was fun and we had some people come through the house (even if it that wasn't successful, but the house was clean!) And coming off of a weekend like that with a clean house is a plus! We were out at Circle C and looking at the progress that Sam made on that - we pulled ALL the flooring out of the entire house! As we were driving back into town on Sunday night, my phone rang and there was a couple that saw our house and wanted to come by right then to look at it. I was less than excited and exhausted and so I told them we wouldn't be able to meet for an hour. They seemed kind of disappointed but said they'd come in an hour. Sam had to go to a meeting, so it was just me when they came by... I was doing the normal rigamarole and showing them everything. He was quiet and taking it all in, she was trying to keep her 2 year old in line and flying through the house saying how much she loved it! I thought this was just going to be one more no call back. So as she was leaving 15 minutes after she got there, she said to her husband, I love this house. I want this house. And Boom! That was it. Have a nice night.

Monday came. No call. Sam and I decided we'd better just go ahead and put our house on the market with a realtor, we might loose a lot more money but better to sell the house. I felt like the Lord said, just get in touch with that family once more before we called the Realtor. So on Tuesday morning, I really quick texted the gal and said that I wanted to check in with her because we are about to list with a realtor. She immediately texted me back and said, "oh no, I definitely want the house, we were just getting squared away with the bank yesterday. Would you be willing to take $______?" Her first offer was the lowest amount that we had previously decided we would be willing to take. So just like that - we SOLD OUR HOUSE VIA TEXT MESSAGE!!! What?!

The process went so smoothly, it was scary. We didn't actually think it was going to happen until closing! In fact they wanted to move up the closing, they were so excited to get into the house! They love flowers, they loved our yard, the colors of our house and I really think they will just love, love, love living there as much as we did!

Goodbye Little House on the Hill! When I find my pictures, I'll post them! :)

Friday, August 29, 2014

Sometimes it's for the better....

It was a balmy 12 degrees in early December and Sam was out duck/goose hunting. Do you know about the "secret spot?" Like when you find the "secret spot" for fishing and hunting, it's oh so sacred. If you are invited to someone's "secret spot," you don't even have to know that rules - you just don't tell another single soul about it - Sam is FAMOUS for his "secret spots!" Seriously, you could get there and see 50 other people, but you don't tell anyone about the "secret spot!" Got it?

So back to the balmy day - Sam invited a friend to his "secret spot" and horror above all horrors, that friend BROUGHT a friend! What?! Needless to say, Sam wasn't all that happy of a camper! But the waterfowl hunting slowed down a little and his ADHD self saw a pheasant across the way and went to hunt it. The unwelcome "friend" came along for the walk. They started talking. The friend asked what was going on in Sam's life...

So Sam told him all about Circle C.

He told him about the past ministry there. He told him how the Lord brought us there. He told him about our dreams. He told him about how our dreams lined up with Trish's dreams. He told him about our dilemma with the land. He shared what was going on his life.

You know what Troy said? "That's interesting. Did you know that I buy land for investment? I'd like to a take a look sometime."

Gulp! It wasn't a done deal, but real quick Sam saw how God works through our disappointments on a much bigger level.

Troy and his wife came out to Circle C Ranch with Sam and really got a vision of the future ministry there. He is interested in having ministry going on around this city as well. His own vision was to add a high ropes and low ropes course on the property.

He has such a heart for God's work, guess what? He bought the land. HE BOUGHT THE LAND. 300 acres. He paid top dollar. He immediately donated 40 acres right back to the ministry. And then he said, you need more land than that to carry out God's vision here, so as I can, I will continue donating land back to the ministry. And then he joined the board at Circle C so that he could establish those ropes courses....

Who does that?

God. God does that.

Next step... Trish found somewhere to live. She moved and now it was time to sell our house.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

And I heard God speak....

Remember how I said we planned on moving to some mountain town for our big dream. Remember how I said we wouldn't be in North Dakota forever. At least I kinda hoped not. After all, I don't call it the Frozen Tundra for no reason!

After Sam talked to Trish and we found out so much more information on Circle C Ranch, I literally heard the Lord talk to me... Like literally. You want to know what He said?

Just like someone sitting right there, He said, "Sarah, if this is my plan for you, will you be content to live in ND for the rest of your life?" Whoa. That completely stopped me short.

But the answer was "YES" - because I might not know much, but I do know this much - I'd much rather be smack dab in the CENTER OF GOD'S WILL than in paradise doing my own thang!!!

So that's where we were, saying yes to whatever God threw our way! And I'm here to tell you, it's been no walk in the park! We had a look at Circle C Ranch Homestead and were smitten. Most people, ok, all the people who had a look at it thought we were nuts! It had the history, the character, the space, the views, our dreams - all in one spot!

There was one obvious problem.

Trish owned 340 acres. And lived there for her whole life. So she couldn't sell her home and 40 acres to us without selling the rest of the land. This is her life savings. Her only income. And she had to split it 50% with her sister. So that's where we were. Sitting on our dream property - lead here by the Lord and stopped short by 300 acres. Doesn't seem to be that big of a deal, right? Anyone would probably want to buy that land. But that was the problem, we couldn't have just anyone buy the land.

Remember our original dream? The retreat center? The coffee shop? Circle C Ranch, the ministry, already owns a log cabin office, a church and an indoor arena. So we needed to find someone to buy the land who had a vision for the ministry and wanted to see it succeed! If you've been following ND news at all - you know we are sitting in the middle of PRIME REAL ESTATE! I heard someone say that rent up a little north of here is more expensive than LA and NYC right now. That's what we are dealing with. The whole world is in this financial crisis and we are having to close businesses because we can't find help. There is a help wanted sign in every business and restaurant in town! It's crazy!

So you want to hear about our amazing God and how He provides?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The saga continues....

Here's a great story! Sam decided that our little house on the hill in Mandan wasn't cutting it anymore. He decided our kids need to roam free in the country, like he did. That is all well and good, but on a youth pastor/artist/stay at home mom salary, I didn't really feel like that was really going to be all that realistic! (SOMEONE had to keep it real!)

So despite my objections, the next thing I knew, we had two little kids in the realtors office looking at properties...

Here's kinda how it went:

Me: Don't touch that!

Me: Sit down!

Sam: We want about 40 acres with old buildings. And a big red barn. I want to turn it into a studio.

Me: Don't climb on that!

Realtor: What you really want is 40 acres and to build brand new buildings.

Me: Don't touch that!

Sam: Well, we like the history and character of OLD.

Realtor: That's not very efficient and with the way you can build new buildings now, you can make them look old.

Me: Sit down!

In the middle of this very stimulating experience, Sam received a text from a good friend of ours wanting to know what we were doing.... in the realtors office looking for a farm..... He said we should contact this lady north of town... a few years ago she was selling some land........

Sam: Well, thank you very much! Let us know if you find anything!

Sarah: Yep, thanks, and sorry about the crayon all over your desk.

Realtor: We'll find the perfect thing for you guys!

Fast forward, like literally 1 hour 35 min.....

Sam told me that he called the lady our friend was talking about. "It was crazy," he said. "Guess where she lives?"

I dunno know.

"Circle C Ranch."


Then he started telling me a little about the place... Her family homesteaded this place a hundred years ago and in the 80's, it used to be this functioning youth camp. Kids would come and learn rodeo skills, sleep in teepees and learn all about Jesus! But that wasn't it's original purpose.

Originally, Trish had plans for it to be a retreat center with a coffee shop, art gallery, ice cream shop, etc. She actually had the plans drawn out and everything!


She said that she thought she would live her entire life here, but the Lord had just been preparing her heart in the last six months and telling her it was time to move.


Circle C Ranch - where Christ is the center of all things. Coleman ranch for those who didn't even care about the Lord - it would span both types of people. Kind of creepy the way things were shaping up!!!

We went to look at it. We drove over the hill - the first thing we saw - a BIG RED BARN! and talk about history - well, we'll have to go there another day, this post is already getting too long!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Back in the Saddle Again....

Well, here we are, back in the saddle again, like literally this time! We've moved to a ranch - WHA? That's right, whether people read this or not, I've decided that I need to start writing just to testify what God is about here in North Dakota! So here we go again!

First up, the history: Did you know that before Sam and I even met each other, God had put a similar dream in each of our hearts?

From my perspective, which is the only one you get here :)

The Lord laid on my heart to be involved in a conference center/retreat center. I really want to be involved in a place where families can come and connect and get away from the distractions of their lives. I want a place where couples can come to some Christ-centered marriage retreats. A place where fathers and sons can focus on doing things that bring them closer and develop their relationships. And that's the start of it. Seemed like a big dream. One I kind of put on the shelf because how in the world could it ever come to fruition......

And then I met Sam..... all of a sudden EVERYTHING seems possible! But I digress! Anyway, as it turns out, the Lord had given Sam a similar dream! 

So together we got a plan - Sam would develop his art and eventually we would move to Wyoming or Montana where his art could finance this whole dream! North Dakota was temporary. 

Or so I thought. and hoped. 

I will continue the saga, but in the meantime, here's an update on our family since I see I haven't posted since our #1 was just born - now we have 3!

They are pretty cute, if I do say so myself! Stay tuned for more stories and pictures!