There’s No Place Like Home in Kansas

For as long as I can remember, Jershon and I have talked about how someday we wanted to buy a house and have a little bit of land.  The details of this dream were pretty vague until a couple years ago when we spent a few months learning about our Swedish ancestors and heritage.

Those experiences deepened and grew this dream of mine/ours and filled in a lot of the details.  We wanted to pursue the dream of buying a house with some land and having a mini hobby farm complete with a few animals… but especially sheep.  Why sheep?  Here’s an excerpt from my great grandfather, Dan’s, history where he talks about his childhood in Sweden.

“The early childhood years were happy years.  We lived in a nicely furnished home, wore good clothes and associated with the better class of people.  Father’s salary was not large, so both he and Mother were constrained to enhance the income in various ways, as I gather from early record books, in which Father listed every little income and outlay.

Thus he profited by many of the arts that he had learned in Sloyd School at Onnestad in Skåne, such as book binding, printing (with movable type) calling cards and small greeting cards etc., and mending various household articles and such, as occasion might require.

He was very ingenious and able to accomplish most any task requiring mechanical ability.  Most of the tools that he used in bookbinding, brush making, printing, etc., were of his own making.

Other ventures including raising a pig and some sheep.  The cost of the pig at the start, and each purchase of feed for the animals (very accurately tabulated along with the gain, if any) added to the yearly income.

I recall how, as children, we would go with Mother out in the surrounding woodland and gather leaf-covered branches, tie them in small bundles, and when the leaves were dried, store them away for the winter.  They were then used to eke out the feed for the sheep, which greedily munched on the dry leaves and twigs.

Then when the sheep had been sheared, Mother would take the wool, card it into slender rolls about 3/4 inch in diameter, and spin it on her spinning wheel into soft, white or gray yarn, and then during every spare moment, knit stockings, mittens, mufflers, etc., for the family.  The gray yarn was produced by using half white and half black wool on the carding paddles.  

Mother even grew flax in the garden and, by the method in vogue, separated the fibers from the long, slender flax stems, then spun the fine, strong linen thread, and on her hand loom, wove the most wonderful tablecloths and napkins with fancy designs.  (The world of today has little idea of the wonders of handicraft that were wrought in many a humble home in those early days.)”

photos of the actual “surrounding woodland” where they would gather leaf-covered branches for the sheep that my Great Grandfather Dan mentioned in his history. I took these photos when we were visiting the Röena Schoolhouse (where my ancestors lived and worked) in Sweden.

Doing our Swedish Unit led to the Sheep Unit that I did with the kids in Summer 2019 and also led to the trip to Sweden that Jershon and I went on in September 2019.

And all of this deepened and grew our dream to have a little mini farm of our own.

For about a year and a half now, we have been looking for the right place to buy and call our own.  At first the search was pretty casual.  I’d just look at home listings online every once in a while and we weren’t even certain on the location yet.

As time went on, I started feeling really drawn to the Kansas City area (mostly the Missouri side at first) because it met a lot of our criteria… close to a temple, close to an international airport, close to some family (I have a few aunts/uncles and cousins in the area and my parents live a couple hours away)

Finding the right place was much harder than we thought it would be and we ended up looking in several states… pretty much all states that have good homeschooling laws.  … but through it all, I kept feeling drawn back to the Kansas City area.

One of the hardest parts of our search was finding a good place that also had good internet since Jershon will still be working from home and needs to have fast internet for his job.  Country home with great internet is a hard combo to come by.

Our casual search turned more and more serious as 2020 progressed.  We did several virtual tours (long distance home buying is not easy) and had a handful of properties here and there that we were more interested in but that didn’t work out for one reason or another.

There were many times that I felt pretty discouraged and that we may never find what we were looking for.  I tried to have faith and patience for the most part though and many conversations with Heavenly Father ended in Him communicating to me that He knew my dreams and desires, He was preparing the right place for us, and was working out the details.  Making the seemingly impossible, possible is what He does best.  Everything would work out.  I just needed to trust His timing.

In the middle of September, we found a place that we thought was perfect… but before we could have our virtual tour (which was scheduled for the next day), the owners accepted another offer and our virtual tour was cancelled.  We wanted to give this one our best shot though so we decided to put in a back up offer, not knowing if we really had a chance or not.

A couple weeks later (at the beginning of October), that first offer did fall through and we ended up under contract… on a house we’d never even seen virtually (besides pictures).

Jershon and I flew out to Missouri a few days later to check it out in person.  We had every intention to go through with this and the possibility of backing out never even crossed our minds.  When we got there, we looked around inside and outside… and it just didn’t feel right.  I didn’t feel excited about it.  There were parts of the land that were a lot different than we expected (or could tell from the photos).  I just couldn’t picture my dream coming to fruition there. 

I was having a hard time discerning if these feelings were coming because this wasn’t the right place for us, or if I was just feeling tired, hungry, and hormonal since I was in the middle of my first trimester of this pregnancy at the time.  

The next morning, in our hotel room, I woke up thinking about how I needed to make a pros and cons list to convince myself that there were more pros than cons (because there really were a lot of good things about this place)… but that didn’t seem like a good sign.  I shouldn’t have to convince myself to buy a house that is supposed to be fulfilling my dreams.  haha.

Jershon woke up at about the same time as me (although neither one of us knew that the other was awake), thinking about all the costs of things that needed to be fixed.  After realizing that we were both just laying there awake and thinking to ourselves at 6:00 am, we decided to get up and discuss our thoughts and feelings.

Within minutes, we decided that this wasn’t the right decision for our family and that we would back out of the contract. Luckily we were still within our inspection period and since there were some major repairs needed, we could back out without losing any of our earnest money.  After making this decision, we both felt relieved… which was a good sign to us that we were making the right choice to not buy this home/land.

Over the next few weeks, we still looked at new listings everyday but at first didn’t really find anything we were super interested in… which I’ll be honest, it was nice to have a bit of a break from the emotional roller coaster (plus, I was still battling the first trimester nausea/fatigue… so I was pretty exhausted anyway).

Towards the end of October, we ran across a few listings that we were more interested in.  We had a virtual tour of one and seriously considered putting in an offer… but again, I just didn’t feel right about it.  I felt like I would be settling if we bought this house/land (even though there were many great things about this one as well) so we didn’t end up putting in an offer after all.

On Sunday, October 25th, as we were getting ready for bed, we were talking about how maybe we would just keep waiting until next year sometime to move. The holidays were coming, then it would be winter and I would be getting more and more pregnant. …and then we would be having a baby.

We both felt pretty good with this and figured that we would just slow down on the house hunt…not entirely give up or stop looking, but not try to force it either.

A couple nights later, right after we finished dinner, Jershon happened to be browsing house listings (like he had been for weeks) and saw one that we were instantly interested in… well.. honestly, my first thought was “not again!… I thought we had decided we were just going to wait!” …. I was just feeling burned out by the whole roller coaster process and had gotten my mind settled on staying put for a while longer. haha.  But I quickly switched gears again and we got excited about the possibility of this one.

The house looked great, with a lot of very new renovations (including a new roof, new siding, new windows, new paint). The land looked much more like what we were looking for…a big yard with several mature trees, but also a lot of flat pasture. It had 5 acres… which was the lower end of what we were hoping for, but would be enough… for now at least. The location also looked good and was in a city that we had heard good things about… on the Kansas side (still a suburb of Kansas City).

It was  for sale by owner and had only been listed for 1 hour by the time we saw the listing. Jershon immediately called the owner and talked to him about how we were super interested and wanted to do a virtual tour. So we set up a virtual tour for the next day.

The next day (the 26th) we did the virtual tour and loved what we saw. We decided that we wanted to put in an offer.

With our offer, we included a letter so the owners could get to know us a little better.  Jershon wrote up the letter and this was one of the last paragraphs…

Shelly’s reason is a little more meaningful. A few years ago, she and the kids learned about her great great grandmother who raised sheep on her land in Sweden. To say that Shelly was inspired by it is an understatement. It has evolved to become her passion. She taught the kids to card, spin, and knit wool. We visited and worked at three different sheep farms. She had a whole homeschool unit dedicated to sheep. Shelly and I even made a trip to Sweden to visit the same sheep farm that her ancestors lived on. When we took that virtual tour today and saw the field behind your house, we didn’t just see pasture. We saw Shelly’s dream.

 

Before sending our letter, Jershon had me read through it.  As I was reading the final paragraph, I literally started getting a little emotional.  Tears and all. … I’ll blame it on being pregnant but really I think it’s because I felt the feelings and meaning behind it. This has been my dream for so long and here, we had a real shot at it coming true.

So we sent over our letter and put in an offer.  And then we waited…  there were a couple other offers and we weren’t sure who the owners would end up choosing.

On October 30th, the owner called Jershon and told him that after a lot of thought and prayer, they had felt like we were the best fit and they wanted to accept our offer!!!

We were so excited!  On Halloween, we signed the paperwork (online) and were officially under contract.

We found out that we have a lot in common with the owners.  They have 5 kids and we’ll have 5 in a few months. They homeschool and we homeschool.  Their 3rd child’s name is Evelyn and our third child’s name is Evelyn.  And the husband’s mom’s name is Roxanne!  Some may say these are all just random coincidences, but I know that they were little gifts from a loving and thoughtful Heavenly Father to His daughter (me) that loves details and finding meaning in everything.  It felt like a sign to me that this really was the right place for our family.

A few days later, Jershon and I flew to Kansas City.

We arrived in Kansas City at about 10 pm on the 5th and got back on our return flight to Salt Lake on the 6th at about 4 pm… so we spent less than 24 hours there. The time that we were there (besides sleeping) was almost entirely spent at the house.

We spent about 4 or 5 hours at the house on Friday the 6th. We were there for the inspections and also just to look around and see it in person. Luckily we both felt good about continuing to go through with our contract because the inspections went really well and we both felt good about the house/land.  It felt right.

The next day was Saturday and we started getting serious about packing and getting ready to move. Our closing date was set for November 30th… which was just over 3 weeks away.

So for the next 2 1/2 weeks we packed and packed and packed (well… mostly I packed since Jershon still worked during the day. … I would do school with the kids in the morning and then pack for a few hours in the afternoon).

I was so grateful to finally have entered the 2nd trimester because I was able to feel a lot better and have the energy to pack.  It would have been a lot harder to do this a few weeks earlier.

Those few weeks were a busy blur of getting ready to move.  Thankfully, everything went smoothly with the home buying process and at the end of November, right after Thanksgiving, we drove across the country from Utah to Kansas. 

Here’s a little video that I put together of our trip across the country and of the kids seeing the house/land for the first time.

 

 

And here are some photos of the process…

Most of those boxes are books. haha. 32 boxes of books. We love books around here!

Our moving container all filled up with everything we own and ready to be picked up and driven across the country to our new home!

 

Our last photo of our family in front of our townhome.
Somewhere in the middle of Wyoming
Our new house!

The view from our new schoolroom
The kids brought a box of legos with us in the van and they didn’t take long to get settled in and make themselves at home.
Our meal set up for the first 7 days while we waited for our moving truck to arrive.
first time homeowners!

 

We’ve been here for almost 3 weeks now and we’ve been loving it! I woke up in the middle of the night a couple nights ago and laid there thinking for quite a while… which isn’t unusual for me these days.  haha.  But instead of thinking about what is on my to do list, I was tearing up because I felt so emotional and incredibly grateful to be here in this house, and on this land.  

I wake up every morning, look out the window and ask myself if this is really real!  Am I actually living this life?  Or is this all a dream… because I have dreamed about this for so long.  It feels so unreal that it’s actually happening, that we’re actually here. 
 
I feel super blessed and grateful and humbly wonder why 2020 has brought me so many good things when it’s been so hard for many, many others.  I don’t feel like I deserve it, but I’m grateful for the blessings, even if they are undeserved.  My word that I felt impressed to choose for this year (chosen at the very end of 2019) is Gratitude.  I’ve been wearing my Gratitude necklace nearly everyday this year.  I really do have so much to be grateful for.
 
My word necklaces for 2018 (feel), 2019 (pray), and 2020 (gratitude)

 

I’ll definitely be sharing lots more details in future posts.  And I’ll continue to share about our journey and progress as we get this little farm up and running. 🙂

8 Responses
  1. Keira

    So excited for you guys! I can’t wait to see what you turn it into!
    It’s amazing just how much God is in the details of our lives & how He sometimes keeps us from the good to give us the best!
    Congratulations!!! I’m so happy for you!

  2. Roxanne Walder

    Shelly,
    Congratulations! I am so grateful that you shared your beautiful story with us. I was tearing up as I read it! It’s amazing! May your new home continue to bring many, many more beautiful stories.

  3. Camber

    Wow, what a journey. I admire your passion and your vision for what you want for your family. You are such an intentional person. It looks like such a beautiful place to live! I’m so happy for you guys.

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