I had originally thought I would tell you about the cow that bloated on Easter Sunday, but I got to thinking it’s been a year since we moved here to Virginia. For all of you who have been getting my newsletter, you know it’s been kind of a crazy year, Covid not withstanding, lol.

At the time, I had NO idea of what the Lord was doing. I felt needed and useful and like I had a clear purpose in Pennsylvania. I had to give up pretty much everything aside from my writing in order to move, and I honestly didn’t want to.

I have some thoughts about that I am considering sharing next week, but first, I wanted to put the story in that I wrote last year this time:

If you’ve been getting my newsletter for any amount of time, you know we have a trucking company, some big laying houses, and about ten thousand blueberry plants. A lot of stuff going on. I have five children, one that’s been married for over a year—I love his wife like my own child—and they all live within ten minutes of us (as do my parents), and they all work here and have all their lives.

Honestly, my life has been a dream come true, with family and fun and work all blending together. I’ve told you stories (the ones that won’t get me arrested), and I think you all agree God has been better to me than I deserve, for sure.
Things have shifted a bit for me in the last few months, and I want to tell you about it now.

First, I want to say, when I was a kid, before they built the new highway, on the rare occasions we went to town (usually to buy shoes, honestly, LOL), we’d drive through the small town of Skelp in Sinking Valley and over Skelp Mountain. It’s unremarkable, really, except there’s a dairy farm there with a tree-lined drive that I just loved, even as a small child. I used to pray that God would give me a farm with a tree-lined drive.

When you’re little, you think anything’s possible, right?

As I got older, I commuted to college, and I drove that way on purpose, just to go by that farm with the tree-lined drive that I loved. (I’m a goody-goody and never skipped a class—not one—even when it snowed, and I probably should NOT have been driving over Skelp Mountain in the snow, but hey, I was young and dumb and I loved that tree-lined drive.) But honestly, by then, I figured I’d never own a farm, let alone one with such a beautiful tree-lined drive. Still, I loved to go by and look at it.

I know God wants to give us good things, right? Maybe He wanted to give me a farm with the tree-lined drive. I can only imagine Him scratching his head when I married a truck driver who was just as dirt poor as I was. (I can see Him going, “Hey, kid, help me out here.”) LOL. I’m just kidding. God wasn’t baffled. But over the years, I kind of gave up on those childhood dreams and worked hard on making my husband’s business a success and on doing my best to raise our children.

Eventually, God gave me the farm, although it was a poultry and produce farm and not a dairy farm, and there was no tree-lined drive. Along with the trucking company, it was a lot of work, LOL, but I loved it. Like I said, God has been far better to me than I deserve.

Then this past December, my husband said to me, “We’re going to move to Virginia.”

Now, I know I’ll catch some flak for this, and I love the idea of having a marriage where we talk about things and make decisions together, but that’s not what I have. He makes the decisions, and I go along with them, pitching in as hard as I can. We don’t argue, and we never fight. (One time, one of my kids came home from Sunday school and said to me, “Do you and Daddy fight? I’ve never seen you guys fight.” I found that an odd question, but after some probing, I found out that at the beginning of Sunday school, one of their classmates had asked for a prayer for their parents who were screaming at each other, fighting, and apparently throwing things at each other. The kid was crying in class, and my kid was traumatized by it—and I guess he was worried he might have missed something at his own house, LOL.)
Anyway, I usually don’t have too much trouble going along with whatever. It seems like my husband is in control, but I know it’s really God, and normally, I have faith that God will work things out.

I have to admit, though, I was really struggling when, on December 23rd, not ten days after my husband dropped the Virginia move bombshell on me, we were driving to Central Virginia to look at a farm.

I did not want to move.

I did not want to leave my boys (who would stay to run the trucking company and everything else) and my elderly parents, my home where I’d raised my family, and the state that I loved. I could stand at our chicken barn and look across the valley at the hollow where the farm that my dad was born on sits. Just five miles from that is the farm where my mother grew up. My children would be the seventh generation of our family on that land. I had my burial plot picked out in the churchyard above the cow pasture where my ancestors from the 1700s are buried.

On Christmas Day, my son and his wife announced that they were expecting.

Holy smokes. Now my husband wanted to drag me away from my granddaughter, too!

I wanted to pray that nothing would work out and I wouldn’t have to move. But I didn’t feel it was right for me to pray against my husband.

I did confide to a couple of people what was going on, and I know several of them were praying along those lines. Not hard enough, though, LOL, since we looked at two farms and made an offer on one.

Or maybe their prayers were working, because the owner came back with a counteroffer that was MORE than his asking price. I said, “I think they do things a little differently there in Virginia. Maybe we should stay in PA.”

My husband said, “Forget that place, let’s go look at the other one again.”

We did, and the day after that, we made an offer on it.

I said, “You know, if this doesn’t work out, maybe we should just forget about the whole Virginia thing and find a farm in PA.”

My husband agreed. And I was pretty excited! 🙂 All I needed was for this owner to decline our lowball offer.

Not only was our offer was accepted, but he offered us an additional 150+ acres at a very reduced price. (The owner and his wife were there when we looked at the farm, and I guess they liked us? That’s what they said, anyway, but I had a hard time believing it.)

I’ll save you the details on the rest of the almost two-month process, other than the whole time my prayer was that God would work His will out—for us to move or not move—and I would have the faith to follow.

Last Tuesday, I drove south out of Pennsylvania, crossing the Mason-Dixon line, with my car packed and Julia beside me. My husband had left earlier with our youngest daughter and a friend, pulling a livestock trailer.

My husband arrived at the farm while I was still an hour and a half away. He called me immediately, and I answered on the hands-free. He said, “Do you really think we ought to do this?” (I’m not making this up. He really said this to me.)

I have to admit my mouth did one of those open-and-shut deals, where it’s moving but no sound comes out. THIS WAS NOT MY IDEA. LOL.

“This is an interesting time to ask that question, Watson,” I said. Watson is not my husband’s name. That’s just what I call him. (Long story. LOL. He calls me George, and I have no idea why.)

“It’s not too late to change your mind.” (MY mind??? Seriously?) My husband doesn’t get nervous. Although this is the closest I’ve ever heard him to that state. (In his defense, it feels like the whole world has gone crazy, and this was a huge step to take, even in the best of times.)

Julia was sitting beside me. She knows some of the struggle I had. Knows that I really, REALLY didn’t want to move. I’m driving, but I glance over at her. I lift my hand off the steering wheel in that universal sign: what in the world is going on?

So I say to my husband, “Well, you know, it’s really up to you.” Goodness, of course.

And he says, “I’m only moving to Virginia because you want to. Are you sure about this?”

I probably should have pulled the car off the road, because I wanted to laugh hysterically. “Watson, this is your decision. I’m down for whatever you decide.”

So, my husband and I chat along those lines until I lose service. When the call is disconnected, Julia and I burst out laughing. Seriously, how in the world am I getting blamed for us moving to Virginia? And my husband never doubts himself. So the whole thing is just weird.

When we’re done laughing, Julia says, “Mom, you should never have let Dad drive down by himself. You steady him and keep him balanced. He’s gone a little nuts without you with him.” LOL. I guess I’m his ballast.

Our closing was at two, which was ten hours before Virginia’s “shelter in place” order went into effect. It’s crazy the way the Lord worked everything out up to that point.

The closing went well. (Our lawyer, whom we’d never met before, was from Texas, went to school at Pitt, had cows, milked his own goats by hand, and raised bees. We had a lot to talk about. LOL. I’m not big on lawyers, but shortly after we sat down, he choked on his spit and coughed on us. He apologized profusely, of course, because in today’s environment, that could almost get one sent to jail, but there wasn’t too much he could have done to make me feel more at ease. LOL. We had a great time. ; )

We walked out of the lawyer’s office, Watson and I, and he said, “You know, we could still change our minds. We got it at a great price, and I think we could take the timber and turn around and sell the farm for more.”

And I said, “We could. But that’s really not like you. I can’t believe you’re not itching to dig in and make this thing work. You know you can.”

I don’t know. Maybe it won’t work—with the way things are going, that’s a distinct possibility—or maybe he’ll hate it and we’ll sell and move back to PA. Only God knows, right? Anyway, I said all that to say two things. First, I’m writing this from Amherst, Virginia, where I now live. And second, I wanted to show you a picture of my new driveway that God gave me below.

God is crazy good, isn’t he? LOL. He not only remembered the prayer I prayed all the time as a kid, but he answered it decades later. All I had to do was trust and obey. : ) (That pic was taken last fall and not by me since the only thing I’m worse at than taking pictures is finding my car when I come out of Walmart.)

One other thing along those lines: When we looked at the house the first time, the wife turned to me and (out of the blue, because we certainly weren’t talking about it) said, “Do you play the piano?”

Of course, I do, and she said, “If you buy the house, we’ll include the (baby grand!) piano.”

I mentioned in last week’s email how much I love to play, and so I arrived in Virginia with a hymnbook in my purse (and boxes of music in my car) so that I would definitely be able to enjoy the housewarming gift that God had waiting for me. Isn’t He good?

Alright, I have a pic of my drive to share with you:

Thanks so much for spending time with me today!

Hugs and love,

~Jessie