Have you ever had to move when a home isn’t ready? What about start enacting your dreams, that you perhaps felt were a “someday project”, not today dream? Ever had God change your comfortable life?
Our story began when we left the security of the Department of Defense position Feller had had for over a decade with seniority to work for an outside company that we had never heard of near his aging father and our older children. (we’re a blended family) It was a whirlwind experience of saying “Wouldn’t it be crazy if” exercise and then within thirty days an offer came, we decided to take big chances to follow our dreams and move to a new home in Northern Oklahoma to be nearer to our grown children and Feller’s parents. We bought a brand new home for the first time and it was a so nice in a kind neighborhood with folks we appreciated.
The year was full. We were transitioning out of a family home, a city home that had served as our college children’s home base, and a cottage on in a little town on a hill called Trinity where we planted our hearts in 2013 after my parents died.
Moving to Oklahoma was foreign to me personally. My work requires an airport, strong dsl computer connections and folks to work with. NE Oklahoma is beautiful, especially near the Grand Lake of the Cherokees, but it was as different as moving to a foreign land to me regarding working with authors, speakers, and creatives who work as families in business. It was a year of asking myself long before Covid hit, “What really is my mission here? What is God asking me to do? It was a year of depression, a year of hardship at Feller’s work, and in general a less than stellar time. God’s silence was deafening, so I kept doing what was put before me to do.
Fast forward sixteen months almost to the day. Covid cancels Feller’s job a financial hardship to be sure, but also stress relief. Our insurance, and our plans for retiring in a few years went away. We began to discuss what mattered to us if things got worse. We both knew deeply within days that it was time to find our land, a mini farm space to do the things we do: cultivate projects that grow people and empower them, to do personal and professional training for families in business. It felt right, but how in the world does one do that when one is going through a Covid downsizing, no future role in sight at what Feller does, and an in-town home in a space that just won’t have the space to do the things we seek to do with other families in business. I don’t know about you, but when the going gets tough, we hit our knees.
We looked at farms high and low, we looked at another new home that might work and really appreciated it, but it just didn’t have the land for farming, for gathering, for building Sweetie’s Schoolhouse, a place to do community gathering and learning.
Then my friend Janet came to town from Southern Arkansas. We were driving back from the beautiful home of Arthur and author, singer, songwriter Crow Evans Johnson, and there she was…a sign “for sale by owner” and the most forelorn looking little cottage with a building next to her that looked to be just about right for a Sweetie Schoolhouse to begin in.
Janet, one always willing to do the fun work of adventures, jumped out and wrote down the number on the sign. I called the number and a man said I could come see it another day. We arrived home and I asked Les if he would take a ride to the country with me…we arrived back at the cottage fence and low and behold it was open and the owner was present. The house was full of awful. The owner’s extended family had had hard times, and the house had fallen in disrepair.
Life in the country is different than in the city. After we talked a while to the owner, and explained our hardships of losing a job, and need to sell homes first, a handshake move in deal was struck. It took some effort, we leased our current home, our home in Alabama is set to close in October, but ultimately God sent the right people at the right time in similar situations and we all connected the dots. We were going to be moving to the Berry Happy Farm in less than 3 weeks.
So here we are, now four weeks later. The water well wasn’t working, and now it is full. The air conditioning unit wasn’t operational, but praise God it’s fixed in this 90 degree heat. The walls and the floors are still a work in progress, but I have one.bedroom.done. It holds my sanity together, or at least what’s left of it, so we have a place to rest our eyes and dream this dream more deeply as we work each day.
We are happy as a threesome, Feller, Madi and I. We each have individual dreams that involve this land and interconnect with our current clients and family. We’re starting this adventure with both eyes open knowing there’s work that will have to be done…but it’s the joy of the dream becoming 3D that keeps us excited and exhausted as we go!
The tireless workers…Feller & Madi, who just get things done! I am so thankful for their vision and their work!
Our beds were too heavy and big for this little cottage, so Facebook Market Place to the rescue! I love finding things used that cost more than I could invest new! Loved this local redo from a new friend in Missouri!
Mr. Bingley, our fifteen year old, half blind shih-tzu loves the new cottage…he thinks it’s just for him. (shhhhh)
So much of our decor is repurposed from other homes, I love things that share memories and stories!
One quiet place to rest, to write, and to share a quiet moment. I’m so glad we did one room to completion as we work for weeks on the rest of our home. The Berry Happy Cottage has already become a family project, we’re thankful for our grown children and children in love who have come to help us after work and weekends when they can. What a fun thing to be creating home.