Friday, May 27, 2011

V and Co: good bye middle of nowhere



4 years ago as we drove through the middle of nowhere to arrive to our little middle of nowhere town...i turned to jake and said "really? can we really do this?" i was born in L.A. and moved to San Diego in 7th grade...to which then i moved to a "small town" of (back in the day) 30 thousand called San Luis Obispo. i fell in love with a local that had lived there all his life. we made a few moves in between california and utah for grad school, and for the national guard.
then we took a job in a little town that not many know.

our little town in the middle of nowhere has a whopping total of 500 people (give or take a few births and passing aways) with a 45 minute drive "over the mountain" to the "big town" that has 12 thousand humans or so. so when i turned to jake and said "...can we really do this?" i definitely was thinking about shopping, about recreational things (we have one movie theater that carries two movies a week on thursday through saturday), no fast food, and did i mention shopping? (not to sound redundant but the nearest target is 3 hours away.)

yeah i was scared, and missing the life we were leaving behind...but, had i known at that moment the people i would meet and the great/life enhancing memories that we would create here through the trials and peaceful times we were about to encounter...i would of done it with the knowledge that things would be okay, and that we would come out the other end a much stronger, and (i think) better family because we moved to this little middle of nowhere town, and because of the trials we would endure as a family while here.

we moved here after jake was released from a 6 month military training. (that he had to be in a different state and away from us) ...that was the end of april, three months later (in july) we found out jake was going to be deployed for a year over seas in afghanistan, my eldest son started his long road of ups and downs, including emotionally stressed induced complex tics. they got so bad that he had to concentrate to lift a glass of water to his mouth, he would have to put down the glass a handful of times before he could reach his mouth without spilling. he was drained physically from his tics... and we started our series of tests that would last almost 2 years to try to figure out what we could do for him...8 months after moving here jake left us on a year long deployment, my son and my children and i had a very long year, he came back, and then two years later (6 months after selling our first house here to upgrade to our second house here) the corporation that owned my husband's company decided to close it's doors along with the two other company's owned by them... all in my little town.
we have been (i think) through some of our hardest trials as a family here.

so middle of nowhere people, this is for you.

THANK YOU:
thank you for lending us animals to put in our pastures after someone saw us mowing them. thank you for teaching these two city kids how to plant, grow, and can from their garden. thank you for teaching me how to make bread. thank you for showing us the importance of rocking on rocking chairs on your front porch on friday AND saturday night and well why the heck not on sunday night too. thank you for teaching me that you don't need the city except maybe for christmas to get a few little something specials under the tree. thank you for really teaching us the "make it do or do without" way of living. thank you for after only a day or two of moving here: knowing all of our names, and our children's names, where we came from, and if we were related to anyone here (nope!), thank you for understanding that even to this day it boggles my mind who's related to whom and giving me the constant reply of: "oh i'm from here and even i get confused!"
thank you for raising some wonderful children, thank you for giving my children best friends, thank you for not letting us not be related to you matter one bit, thank you for taking turns adopting my boys while jake was gone for father son's campouts, and for making derby racing cars.
thank you for nominating me into community council and thank you for making the grants finally happen to get a playground for those wonderful elementary kids, thank you for making sure we were okay and taking care of my family while jake was deployed, thank you for shoveling my driveway with a big yellow tractor thingy while jake was deployed, thank you for understanding my frantic calls of "have you seen nathan?" when he would run away while jake was deployed, thank you for crying with me when nate started to show hints of healing. thank you for taking me in your arms when i didn't think i could take it any more watching my child suffer, thank you for laughing at my stupid jokes,
and the tears that were shared as we talk about all the improvement and healing that said oldest child has made since the first day we found out jake was getting deployed, thank you for all the best friends i've made here, thank you thank you thank you for understanding my tears and joining with me in tears as we talk about moving away, but mainly...thank you for somehow becoming as close as family.

as we find ourselves getting in the car and driving on main street leaving behind our little town we've called home through all of this, i find myself strangely in the same place i was 4 years ago...turning to jake and saying "really? can we really do this?"
and, again i find myself scared, and missing the life i'm leaving behind.

i love you.
and thank you.

73 comments:

Katy (France) said...

Oh gosh you made me cry :-( I have moved many times (army) over the last twelve years, including giving up my native country and moving to a foreign country where I didn't speak the language. I have become good at convincing my children how great the new town or village will be, whilst my heart is breaking inside. I with you the best of luck in your new endeavours and lots of joy and happiness when you find your new home. New friends and new experiences are new memories to be made ♥

Blue Is Bleu said...

I've moved so many times and when I married my husband I moved to his little town and I'm bored out of my mind. Not quite as remote as your little town, but I'm a city girl so it's still not easy to handle, even 4 yrs on. One fine day I'd love to bid this town farewell too!

Anonymous said...

touching! good luck in your new place. tho you leave your old house behind, you've made lots of memories and friends that can never be taken away! :)

amylouwho said...

The leaving is always heartbreaking for me too. You are going to handle whatever comes next just as you always do: with spunk and your new found make it do attitude. You are awesome and I can't wait to hear about what's next. **hugs**

Karen said...

I'm so glad to read that the first person said it made them cry... I, who only know you recently through your blog, was wiping away tears... at the incredibly precious life you have shared these last four year, the richness of the relationships, the lessons learned... but, also recognizing that you will take all of them with you and your so positive and appreciative attitude with you and your family, and you will have a different but wonderful life going forward... good luck in transit and be happy when you put your roots down!

Kwilt Noob said...

Well, it is 6:55AM here in Ohio and I'm already crying. That must be some kind of record. You and your sweet family will be just fine as long as you have each other! Good luck, and keep us posted!

Cath said...

Do you know the song "You'll never walk alone?"

I learned this song when I was a young girl. It gave me strength when I young and "afraid of the dark", and many times in my adult life as well.

You are not alone no matter where you go. While I and many those here in blog land have never met you, we are "going" with you.

Please keep us posted along the journey and remember we are right here waiting to hear from you.

Cindy Lou said...

Wow....well written. I wish you the best of luck and can't wait to follow you along on your journey.

Larissa said...

That was beautiful. You may have already made me start to reflect on our leaving here...THANKS;), I so don't want to cry yet.

Good Luck, friend!

momof3girls said...

I'm crying down in Alabama too . :). We grow stronger through the tough times but isn't nice to have some truly good times sprinkled in between. It's wonderful to see so many caring people out there in the world . The blessings just keep getting passed along . I hope you're able to find another small town that can become just as special (or maybe a corner in the big city). I'll continue praying for you (here in my small town ).
Tammy

Vickie said...

That is just beautiful! I live in a small town too. Not that small, but small enough to know people just like that! Aren't people grand?! And isn't God good to have planted you right where you needed to be when your husband was deployed?!?! Hugs!

Jennifer at Ellison Lane Quilts said...

That made me cry too and you have such a wonderful way with words. I know your friends will be very touched by your heartfelt thank yous. You really give new meaning to it's the people not the place that matter.

Colleen said...

I don't even know you and this made me cry. I'm a small town girl. I follow your blog. Hope you find wonderful people over the next hill.

rachel griffith said...

considering i've been along for the ride with you for quite a few years - and was totally crying my eyes out during those deployment times when jake would come home and his visit was too short - i'm dying a little bit inside for yall. BUT i also know that if there's ever a family that can handle this...it's the christenson's.

i love you v.
muchly.

Needled Mom said...

I'm crying too! What a beautiful and heartfelt post this is. Good luck to you for all future adventures.

Annelies said...

ok...add me to the list who are feeling the tears too. I know that feeling of leaving and starting again. If you could see in your future, you would see kids who remembered ( and now as adults treasure) that we were SOOOO close because we were all we had. They thank me for the places they lived and the things they got to do. It was a hard Mommy journey to start again and again. Know you are in our prayers and someday ( long from now) you can add an encouraging note to someone's blog that they too will survive and remember with smiles ( not tears) the journey they are on. XXX

Jessica said...

what an awesome story. we're moving this week and i can feel all these emotions too. thanks for putting some of them into words.

Gloria said...

So sorry your family is having to go through this. But, as you already know it is where strength and humility and gratefulness is learned. Hopefully moving means Jake has a new job which in itself is a blessing in these times. Thanks for blogging fun and not so fun times.

Stacy said...

This is a special, loving, amazing, heartfelt love letter to your town. Thank you for sharing it.

Collette said...

Wow! I don't know you and this made me cry. I know the small town feeling. I grew up in a town of 1000...slightly bigger than the middle of nowhere. Good luck on your next adventure.

Gordostyle said...

Oh my gosh... I'm bawling! What a nice "thank you" to your little town! I hope your future has another one in store for you! Best of luck!

Purple Quilter Queen said...

Dang V - I don't know you personally or even live in the same state, but it feels like you are leaving me too. Crying my eyes out! I guess that's because you've been so real at letting us into your life over the past few years so it's like we "know" you and really "are" friends. So THANK YOU V for all YOU have done for us! Love ya girl! Jenn

Rae Ann said...

The best lesson from years of being an Air Force brat? Bloom where you are planted. There is something to like about everywhere you go. Good luck on your new adventure!

Bolo heads said...

I met you at he blogger party at market and if I had known that this post was coming, I would have hugged you a little longer and a little harder. That is how I am feeling, I wish I could just hug you better.

Lee said...

Home is where your heart is and you will always have your little town in your heart, it will always be a place called home. Everyone has a journey in life and you are so very lucky that you will have such special memories to take with you along the road. Something tells me that as much as your little town gave you, you also gave back in everyday small kindnesses and big smiles. Not only will you miss your little town, it will miss the whole Christenson family.

Good luck and bloom where you are planted.

ellen said...

I was born in LA too (well, Van Nuys). Good luck with the move and getting settled in your new home. I moved to Boston 23 years ago and it was the best thing ever!

wackywoman said...

And of course the answer is "Yes you can".

Laura @ ON{thelaundry}LINE said...

Aw, you have my icy cold heart all melty and I'm tearing up. I find myself fighting the sudden urge to pack it all up and move to a small down. I'm not sure how I'd manage to not live five seconds from safeway (seriously, I live on a quiet sidestreet but it's closer to the doors of safeway from my driveway than from the far end of their parking lot.) but I'm sure I'd cope. Sometimes I wish I was forced to mend and make do, I kindof am financially of course but I think I'd feel more awesome about it if I really didn't have any other choice.
As another blogger said, wherever you go, your bloggyfriends will follow you! I'm almost done the quilt top I'm making with those pink fabrics I bought from you, I'm doing a topsy turvy quilt with loads of white to feature the fabrics. Sadly enough, they don't smell amazing anymore, lol, so I guess I can wash them now. ;)

Laura @ ON{thelaundry}LINE said...

(a small town, even. Apparently spelling comes after the bottom of the SECOND cup of coffee)

Kristin said...

uummm...i hope i can type this out through the tears i'm shedding...*thank you* to your sweet little family, for giving my little one a dear, dear friend...you are going to be missed *dearly*!! but as you know you can't get rid of family and you now have a whole county of them!! :0)

xoxoxo

kristin

Sharon S said...

Lucky you! Memories are always a thought away. The friendsips and love from your "middle of nowhere" will lift you up for the rest of your life. I grew up sopmewhere small & that is why I am who I am today! Best wishes on the next chapter in your life!

fishyfacedesigns said...

You wrote that post with such emotion I found myself crying... I wish you all the best with this new and wonderful chapter... It is so wonderful all the memories you and your family have...
Yes you can!
Take care,

mamabug said...

Wonderful words of thanks!! You stated beautifully what small towns are all about, that those from large cities cannot understand until they've lived where every person in the neighborhood are just that....a neighbor!! And being a neighbor thus entitles you to being loved and cared for. God Bless Small Towns of America!!

Everyday Mom Ideas said...

just so you know... you were such a light in our little town. Thanks for always making time even when you had none to give. I will always remember you going out of your way and coming over and chatting with me on my patio. I don't think you will ever know how much that meant to me. You made a lot of people feel special and important. What ever town gets you next is very blessed. I mean it.

Charlise said...

Wow! As I sit her at my desk and read your post, I am trying really hard NOT to cry...I don't want to look like a raccoon. What an amazing experience that you have had in your little town. I am sure that your new town will be just as great!

jordan said...

What a sweet post. I truly believe everyone needs to live in a middle-of-nowhere town sometime in their lives. The slow pace and kindness is like nothing else you'll ever experience. You've described it perfectly.

My husband and I just recently moved from our own middle-of-nowhere town (Star Valley, Wyoming) to Austin, TX. I never thought I'd miss the lack of shopping and good restaurants as much as I do.

Good luck on your move. And keep writing. It sure helps the rest of us get through our moments too!

girlsmama said...

My dear Vanessa, you are in my thoughts and prayers. I cried for days after we left the old neighborhood. I hope you find the same love in your new place. Love you.

Dana said...

So sorry to hear that you must leave your little town. The other ladies are right, though, you will make the next town your "home". I recently started reading your blog and honestly, I have so much respect and admiration for you and your family. I wish all the best to you as you start the next "adventure" in your new home town.

Sherri said...

I always consider my town the middle of nowhere...even though I'm only an hour away from Target. But my town is quite a bit bigger population wise--still no much shopping though. I always picture myself being really, really, happy to leave one day, although your writing today made me realize some of the good things about living here. So thank you...and best of luck! I'm sure you will be loved and appreciated wherever you end up!

Cheryl said...

Bless your heart V. In tears as I type. Knowing how you feel.

We've plenty of times in our married life and probably will once more yet. Got has you and your family covered. He has an adventure waiting for you all to embark on and new friends you can call family.

YOU CAN DO IT!!! What you have been through in the four years you were there has proved it. The Lord doesn't give us anything we can't handle.

Keep the faith dear friend and enjoy the ride of life!!

Hugs to you. : )
Cheryl

Sarah said...

It's always hard to start a new season of our lives as we look back on all that we are leaving. Your post was truly touching.

The Rx quilter said...

Wow, that was so beautiful. What a tribute to the people who crossed your path and made a difference. Best wishes for the journey, our family is 'wandering in the desert' somewhere now and hope to have our new journey revealed in God's time. Lisa in Texas

bethanndodd said...

Whatever the adventure that lies before you I have no doubt that you and your family will make it the the best of all your adventures thus far. Good luck to all...my heart goes out to you during this transition. Smiles~Beth

Anna said...

beautifully put vanessa. I love heartfelt posts like this.

Tiffany said...

best of luck to you and your family, V! i hope you are moving closer to me so we can craft and sew together!!! you are amazing for all you do and can't wait to see where your life takes you next. :)
tiffany {Simply Modern Mom}

Deborah in Atlanta said...

As others have said, your story has touched my heart. I am a civilian that was employed by the US Army from 1975-2008. From 2001-2008, I worked in Germany, Kosovo, Bosnia and Bulgaria. Seeing the wounded warriors at Landstuhl truly was an eye-opener to the sacrifices our heroes make each and every day for us (many of them were young enough to be my children). To this day, I still shake the hand of someone in uniform and thank them for their sacrifice for our country. Please thank your husband. And thank you - the wife behind the soldier. The one that keeps the family together while he is gone. I consider myself blessed when I have a friend such as you. I've worked alongside many wives of military, and I know first-hand the sacrifices you make also. THANK YOU. Your story was touching. You've lived with some wonderful people, and I'm sure they'll miss you as much as you'll miss them.

linda said...

If you could bottle up all the tears that have been shed for you, you would have your ocean. I'll think about you everytime I drive through middle-of-nowhere, i'm sure it won't be the same without you. Best of luck.

Erika said...

well now you have a bunch of people crying including me. I am happy for you and your family and I pray for the best in your lives. As you well said change is hard but what is coming will be better.
Cheers,

Monique said...

what a beautiful post...and wonderful way to thank those who have done so much for you. Safe travels and happy new home.

Thimbleanna said...

What a sweet post! I'm so sad that you're leaving your perfect little town ('cause I'd gladly give up shopping to live there) but I know wonderful new adventures await you. I can only hope that you're moving to my boring little town LOL!

The One and Only said...

Of course you hear, "that which does not kill us, make us stronger" and by what you and your brave stronger family has endured....I can see it has made you all stronger....will you be divulging where you will be moving? I'm hoping it would be CA again?

Julie said...

(Wipes tears away)...Congrats to Nate again! I'm so happy for him what a note to go out on! And you should have seen Sully come running when I told him there was a pic of Katie! So sad! We have missed Loa too though I will feel much better come December then I won't miss it as much....Love you guys I hope you end up on our side of the world!

rosa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rosa said...

I don´t understand English very well... I´m sorry!
I would like to offer an award in appreciation for your tutorials and wish you beautiful things in the experiences you are living. Greetings, Rosa
http://mininyabonita.blogspot.com/2011/05/6-premio.html

Line said...

Are we French people (or people living in France) too emotional?! I cried, just like Katy...
I just wanted to say one thing: you're a very valuable person because you know how to say thank you.
And at least for this (if we do not count the many things you've shared with us and taught us, blog readers)thank you and good luck.
linedupuy(at)hotmail(dot)fr

LeAnn said...

I have no doubt that you will thrive as you go through the next phase of life. No doubt at all!

Sarah said...

Thank you for sharing your willingness to take a risk in Middle America and proving that it is not the size of your town, but the heart that lives in it.... and yes you made me cry.

Team Clark said...

GREAT post, Vaness - and you can do this! I believe in you!

Oly Momma said...

This is the first time I've ever read your blog and I have to say that your thank you post is beautiful, it brought a tear to me. Thank you for sharing.

meowie said...

Thank you for sharing the thoughts in your heart

Susan Fogel said...

I found your blog via a Facebook post that Joan Hawley made.
I am so touched by your story.
My father was career military...I know what you are talking about.
Ten years ago we left San Jose , California for La Paz Baja California Sur, and I know what you are talking about.
I have tears in my eyes. What a wonderful post. And good luck in your next life.

Funky Kim said...

I'm so sad for you guys leaving all this behind. And so excited to see what life has in store for you next!

Heather at Happy Chippy Junk said...

Gosh I don't even know where "we" are going!! Did Jake get a job? Is there a thrift store where "we" will be? Do tell!!

Heather at Happy Chippy Junk said...

Maybe this will lighten your load a bit. I read this blog: http://jengrantmorris.blogspot.com/
Jen is moving from the UK to New Zealand. WOZERS! This family is moving from Seattle-ish (I think) to the UK. double wozers!! You can do it too!!

KatheG said...

I believe I can imagine what you are going thru and just know that you all are on a brand new adventure. I also lived in the SLO area (loving it much) and moved from there to the South (population 1 million -just the opposite from you) but talk about culture shock. Living here I, too, have also learned the value of what a community can do for you and how much people will take you into their lives - it will happen again. Blessings on you and your family in your new home.

Faund Images said...

Well, I hope I can type through the tears... I miss you already. You know how much you are loved and that is what matters... The community in which you find yourself next will enjoy the sunshine your bring! Thank you for your friendship, the LAUGHS! You always make my day... PLEASE learn how to text and keep your phone around so I can text you now and again and actually get a response! haha! Love you, dear friend! Thanks for the memories....

Erin @ two more seconds said...

My eyes were welling up until I read about you mowing your pastures & that busted me right up ;]
You'll do great! Can't wait to hear where lifes adventures are going to take you next!

Felicia said...

I cried all the way home after we said goodbye.

Such a crappy day...

Mary on Lake Pulaski said...

You are one strong woman and have proven you can take care of your family no matter what's thrown at you as long as you have a little help from your friends.

Beth@seasonsofhome said...

I'm crying! Small towns are so wonderful.

Anonymous said...

The gods tempt people for which they are most weak. Artificial Intelligence will create desire in people's minds for the following sins:::
1. Alcohol
2. Drugs
3. Preditory "earning"
4. Homosexuality
5. Gambling
6. Something for nothing/irresponsibility (xtianity)
7. Polygamy/superiority over women/misogyny (Islam)
Much like the other prophets Mohhamed (polygamy/superiority over women/misogyny) and Jesus (forgiveness/savior), the gods use me for temptation as well. In today's modern society they feel people are most weak for popular culture/sensationalism, and the clues date back to WorldWarII and Unit731:TSUSHOGO.
It has been discussed that, similar to the Matrix concept, the gods will offer a REAL "Second Coming of Christ", while the "fake" Second Coming will come at the end and follow New Testiment scripture and their xtian positioning. I may be that real Second Coming.
What I teach is the god's true way. It is what is expected of people, and only those who follow this truth will be eligible to ascend into heaven as children in a future life. They offered this event because the masses have just enough time to work on and fix their relationship with the gods and ascend, to move and grow past Planet Earth, before the obligatory xtian "consolation prize" of "1000 years with Jesus on Earth" begins.

Your job as a future mother is to learn the god's ways and to help your child understand despite the negative reinforcement and conditioning of today's society. Without consciousous parents the child will have no hope, and may even exaserbate their disfavor by becoming corrupted in today's environment.
Your ultimate goal is to fix your relationship wiith the gods and move on. You don't want to be comfortable here, and the changes in Western society in the last 100 years has achieved just that.
1000 years with Jesus is the consolation prize. Don't be deceived into thinking that is the goal.

The Prince of Darkness, battling the gods over the souls of the Damned.
It is the gods who have created this environment and led people into Damnation with temptation. The god's positioning proves they work to prevent people's understanding.
How often is xtian dogma wrong? Expect it is about the Lucifer issue as well.
The fallen god, fighting for justice for the disfavored, banished to Earth as the fallen angel?
I believe much as the Noah's Flood event, the end of the world will be initiated by revelry among the people. It will be positioned to be sanctioned by the gods and led for "1000 years with Jesus on Earth".
In light of modern developments this can entail many pleasures:::Medicine "cures" aging, the "manufacture" of incredible beauty via cloning as sex slaves, free (synthetic) cocaine, etc.
Somewhere during the 1000 years the party will start to "die off", literally. Only those who maintain chaste, pure lifestyles, resisting these temptations, will survive the 1000 years. Condemned to experience another epoch of planet's history for their ignorant pursuit of xtianity, they will be the candidates used to (re)colonize (the next) Planet Earth, condemned to relive the misery experienced by the peasantry during history due to their failure to ascend into heaven before the Apocalypse.
Never forget:::It is not a house of Jesus.
If this concept of Lucifer is true another role of this individual may be to initiate disfavor and temptation among this new poulation, the proverbial "apple" of this Garden of Eden. A crucial figure in the history of any planet, he begins the process of deterioration and decay that leads civilizations to where Planet Earth remains today.
Which one is it? Probably both:::
One transistions into the other, allowing the gods to wash their hands of obligation to The Chosen One.

Now you are faced with a lifetime to work and prepare for your next chance. Too many will waste this time, getting stoned, "Hiking!", working, etc.

missavene said...

I didn't read all the comments, but I'm sure they are all crying like me.... oh dear, It looks as though we may be facing a move too in the near future.... it's always scary isn't it..... but we always fall in love with where we live and the people we meet. I suppose it's best to look at the big picture, all the people we get to know, and all the places we learn to love enrich our lives and bring us joy.... even if it's a bit painful at first.... looking back you always see the possitives. All the best to you and your family on your new adventures!! :)

Anonymous said...

I have followed your blog off and on for awhile now. Thank you for your sincere post about small towns. I am from the middle of nowhere in Nebraska and GET your feelings!!!
I wish you much continued success and happiness in all you do!

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