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!