August 13, 2012

5 Years In Montana - a Recollection

August 1st marked five years that we've lived in Montana. It's crazy to me that it's already been that long. Those first weeks and months are so crystal clear to me, I would think they just occurred last year.

It was a sunny, beautiful summer morning in Durango. My parents were there, as were our pastor and wife, and a couple friends. Matt left bright and early to pick up the moving truck, which is attached to a now (not then) funny story. Matt picked up the truck and was moving along back home at a very rapid speed. Whilst driving a tiny voice piped up in the back of his mind, Don't forget to release the parking brake on your car. Immediately he looked into the rear views and unbelievably there were flames! Literally flames coming from underneath the Jetta!

He screeched to the side of the road and was frantically trying to wave people down to help him put out the fire that was infernoing our car and nobody would stop! Finally an older man and his wife pulled over and sloshed bottled water as quickly as they could and miraculously were able to get it put out.

This all served to fill Matt with lots of peace and joy at the start of our two-day journey north.

(I had actually never seen him so angry and flustered.)

But our car was saved, our house was packed, the truck was loaded, the good-byes were made, and we were off. Full of excitement and curiosity at what this new season held.

Knowing what and who we know now it's impossible to imagine that we didn't know then. How could we not know the friends we would have and the places we would live and the sons that would reshape the very center of our hearts? They're all so deeply ingrained into who we are now, how could we have been absent of them then?

After two days of driving we pulled into Missoula in the dark. I had never stepped foot in this place, everything was foreign to me. We drove down Higgins looking for our "hotel." Hotel is a vast stretch of the imagination. Seedy place across from the seedy adult bookstore is a more apt description. We fell exhausted into bed and woke to begin our first day in this new place.

Our friend from Durango flew up that day, for the day, to help us move our things in. Who does that? To this day one of the most humbling and kindest things anyone has ever done for us.

We spent the next few days unpacking, settling in, getting to know this new city. We heard somehow of this thing called Church at the Fair. It was the first year in which dozens of churches around Missoula were coming together to worship together as a united body of Christ at the fair. We went hoping to meet some people. (We didn't.) I watched all the people greeting each other, knowing and being known by one another. It seemed so foreign and impossible to me. What would that look like to know and be known in this unimaginably different and unfamiliar place?

I say all that to say that yesterday we again attended Church at the Fair. But this time we were accompanied by our boys. And we sat with friends. And I stopped to chat with another on the way in. And throughout the morning and afternoon we made small talk with people we know and love. And I called my mom who now lives ten minutes away to tell her about Micah loving the pony ride.

Everything was different.

But we couldn't have gotten here without having been there. We couldn't skip the hard parts. In fact the hard parts were part of the story.

As one man said,

Lord, to everything that has been, thank you. And to everything that will be, yes.

I'm a ways from there yet, but I'm closer than I was five years ago. And Montana has a lot to do with that. Happy 5th anniversary, Missoula.

Our first apartment

Matt cooking our first meal for our first guests and friends.

Our first friends and dinner guests, Chris and Gloria.
Still dear friends today.

First visit to Glacier Park. Always beautiful.

Our first winter here.
(It was literally close to zero degrees in this picture. We're tough like that.)


  1. I like that story. :) Dylan and I have been here for 4 years come end of the month. We're in a good place. It's a time of change, but the change is coming slowly and I'm tired of the way things are and I think I just want to cry. Can't because I'm at work and the boss just got here. Oh well! God never ceases to be good though. He is always so good.

  2. Thanks Laura! Yes, change is always hard, but once you're on the other side, it's hard to imagine any other way. Most of the time at least... We'd love to have you guys over sometime soon!

  3. Awwww. What a sweet story. No doubt, following the Lord is an adventure! And your boys? Absolutely adorable! ~Linny {who now lives in Phoenix - the complete opposite of your Montana!}

    1. Miss Linny, I'm so honored that you read this! :) Yes, I read every one of your posts (I'm a long-time lurker, I need help!), and I've followed your family's journey. I will be very jealous this winter when we haven't seen the sun in weeks! Keep writing and know that you've had more of an impact on my faith and family and walk with the Lord than you'll know this side of eternity!

  4. It doesn's seem like 5 years! It is so hard for me to understand people that never take the plunge to make the first move to relocate! I can't imagine all the friends I would never have met if I had always stayed in the same location. Life---a fun adventure. Some good moves some not so good, but always friends to help you along the way to feel connected. In fact--its probably time to reconnect with some Albuquerque friends! Just kidding. I want you and Matt to live wherever God calls you and wherever that is I will visit. I'm just happy I get to share life with you!

    Love, Mama Linda

    1. I always love my Mama Linda and especially your comments! Yes, 5 years has gone by very quickly, and it's bittersweet to think the next 5 will too. :( We miss you all the time and can't wait to see you again soon! Love you!

  5. Really cute post! I always love taking trips down memory lane! 5 years ago marks something special to me as well, my wedding anniversary! Although the timing may be a bit off, its just neat how we are all living our lives with these precious milestones simultaneously! Good read!

    1. Thanks Lady Vee! I was able to read some on your blog just now, good stuff! I liked the gossip stuff, we can't hear too much of that. :) Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Oh Sara, what a good post that comes at a good timing too! Moving is hard, making new friends is hard, but the rewards of doing so make it worth it. It's only after going through tough stuff though that we realize the good parts! I'm trying to work on enjoying the hard moments anyway, because I know in the end things will get better. Easier said than done though, of course :)
    Glad you made it in Missoula, you and your cute little family look happy!