Today is a special post on my blog– because I have a special something to say. Here it is (drum roll please): My family is safe and sound in Montana and is settling in! Okay, maybe it isn’t that much of an announcement since you all knew we were moving in the first place, but it is exciting that we are finally here.
Emphasis on finally.
It’s been a long, long journey to get here, and it started years before we even considered moving– but if you read my previous post about our move, then you already knew that. 😉
The Road Trip
It pretty much goes without saying that Montana is a long way from Georgia. Which means, if you are driving, you have a long road trip (Just look it up on Google Maps). For us, the road trip took a total of four days, each with about 8-10 hours of driving. And let me tell ya, that is a long time to be squeezed into a tiny rental car whose third back row is more like an afterthought to make customers think they can fit more people in the car than dictated by common sense. But, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be, all things considered, though my younger brother, who actually got a seat in the back row, might disagree.
We pulled out of our driveway in Georgia on May 19th after a long and exhausting week (physically, emotionally, and mentally). I’m not really going to dive into all the details here, but basically that last week consisted of my grandma flying in for my older brother’s graduation, our final Sunday at church, catching COVID, changing travel plans, and throwing away all earthly possessions that no one wants to buy (like barely used curling cream, *coughs* I’m responsible for that one) or else piling them in the garage for a church friend to take to Goodwill. It was truly a miracle that we ever left Georgia.
We had four different stops along the way for our trip. Our first hotel was in St. Louis, Missouri. Not the most fun hotel sleep considering we didn’t actually sleep because of some VERY loud people in our hallway slamming and yelling all night. Fortunately, our other two hotels, in Nebraska and South Dakota, were a lot quieter at night. Our final stop was, of course, Montana.
Along the way, it was cool to watch the scenery change and, of course, we had the thrilling pastime of trying to count all the Amazon trucks we saw on the way. I started the tradition early on in the road trip before we had even passed through Atlanta because there were like 16 Amazon trucks all in a row on the highway. Turns out, the game became surprisingly popular among my other family members (mom interrupted her phone call one time to point out an Amazon semi in the opposite lane). Unfortunately though, by the third day of driving, the Amazon trucks had become less and less frequent (though Fed Ex still had a strong showing so kudos to them). We stalled out at the grand total of 52 trucks (mostly semis).
Over and over again leading up to the trip, my parents had warned us about what a shock the scenery change would be once we got to Montana, but there is nothing like seeing it for yourself. The last 100 miles or so on the road were very surreal. We saw antelope (yes, I did say antelope) and lots, and lots, and lots, and lots, and lots, of flat fields and cows with the occasional blue outline of a mountain in the distance. The closer we got to our destination though, the more hilly it got. In fact, the town we live in now is sort of nestled between several mountains, with hills and fields in between. And in case you are wondering, yes, I do have pictures (keep reading to see)!
The first few days in Montana were pretty cold, but after that they got hot (but no humidity, yay!) and it turns out we don’t have AC in our rental sooooo.
Speaking of our rental– it is so amazing how God provided it for us! Like everywhere else in the U.S. it seems the housing market (and the car market, and the building market as it turns out) is pretty insane. Just like in Georgia, there are little to no housing options in Montana. For the longest time, my family thought we would have to live in an RV or at our new church (not an exciting prospect for my parents, but I was naive enough to think it would be interesting). Fortunately, God had other plans for us. A sister of a member of our new church offered to stay in her parent’s basement so we could live in her house! God really does always take care of his children.
The house itself is pretty small– it’s a two bedroom one bath with a basement. Currently the boys are sleeping in the basement, I get my own room being the only girl (*smiles slyly*), and we are having a lot of fun juggling bathroom rights. The house is cute, though, and it has a small fenced in backyard for my dog, Gracie, which is something we didn’t have in Georgia (I’m getting spoiled being able to let her out without worrying she is going to attack an innocent child on the street). We are so, so grateful that we get to stay here– and it’s already starting to feel like home. Plus, it’s fully furnished, so we didn’t have to buy new couches or anything! (Though we did have to buy bed frames/mattresses for myself and the boys)
The town we live in is about 2 hours away from the nearest city, which is where we do most of our shopping, and has a population around 6,000. There are only two grocery stores where we are now but I personally am enjoying being in a small town. Everyone is super nice and learning to drive here isn’t nearly as scary as it was in Georgia (I have a whole story of almost dying in an intersection in Georgia when I first started driving but you don’t need to hear that). So far, we’ve had several large shopping trips already to start replenishing everything we gave away.
The week before last, we went on a hike for my older brother Ethan’s 19th birthday at a stunning lake in the mountains. A couple weeks before that, my dad had his installation service at our new church. For the first time in over a year, my mom and I actually went to church with the rest of our family, and we’ve continued to go the last couple Sundays! It’s been a little overwhelming trying to get to know an entire new congregation, but we’re here, and we have, Lord willing, all the time in the world to meet new friends and form relationships. In fact, that’s one thing that you can be praying for. It’s always hard moving to a new place and trying to make friends, while still missing those you left behind. But, transitions take time, and that’s okay.
I just wanted to stop and say thank you to all of those who have been praying for my family’s move and for my mom and I’s health! We are very grateful that you have kept us in your prayers. And because there have been so many of you who have invested so much love into my family (both old friends and new) I did just want to stop and give an update about where we are in our health journey now that we are in Montana.
First, to start out with, we are doing better. In small ways, we are seeing improvement. For instance, Mom’s energy is better and mine is as well. Mom has also been sleeping better. However, to be honest, getting COVID certainly hasn’t helped things, and now that I am in Montana, my allergies have been going crazy and causing lots of problems. But now that we are out of Georgia, we are finally in a place where we can start to make the long and slow journey upwards that may one day lead, Lord-willing, out of our mold illness. And while progress may be slower than we would like, we are very thankful to be here.
So please, don’t stop praying for us. There are still hard days. There is still fatigue. There is still pain and ridiculously narrow diets. But also, praise God with us that we are already seeing improvement and have hope for our health in the future! Our chronic illness and everything else is in his hands, and whatever he has planned, it is very, very good.
So what does the future look like for The Nonconformist? Now that I’ve moved, will I keep blogging?
The answer, for now at least, is yes! I will keep blogging, and, in fact, I already have a new post that will go up sometime in July, so keep an eye out for that.
However, I did want to put in one last note in regards to my blog before I close. If you’ve followed my blog for a while now, you know that a post like this (where I give life updates) is not the norm. The majority of my posts come from what God is teaching me from his word and the struggles and trials of life (in fact, that is what the post next week will be about!). With that in mind, if you would like more regular updates on how my family is doing, then I would encourage you to join my email list. On my email list, I am going to send out monthly updates on what is happening in my family’s life as well as special looks into my writing journey and projects. So, if you are reading this and want to stay updated and in the loop with what is going on with my family, then subscribing to the email list is just the thing for you (I promise I’m not spammy)!
And of course, whether you subscribe or not, I so appreciate your support and the fact that you are taking the time out of your day to read this post. There are so many things that you could be giving your attention to right now, and the fact that, out of all of those options, you chose to spend this moment with me on my blog means so much.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you!
Alrighty, you’ve made it to the end! And now, at last, what you all have been waiting for!
I have set up a little gallery here with some pictures of my family in Montana as well as some drop dead gorgeous scenery. You can click on the pictures to expand them and flip through. Enjoy!