Yesterday, we were out driving around Whitefish. The sun came out, and it was nice. As in, I didn’t need a coat over my flannel shirt and jeans to be warm. However, we did see a shirtless man out walking his dogs. Maybe getting a tan? Storing up vitamin D for the long winter ahead? I don’t know, but I suppose if you have lived here for a while that seems balmy? Just another great thing about moving to Montana. Maybe by next year, I will not be huddled up in flannel while everyone else wears shorts.
Things have been interesting. The kids are adjusting pretty well. They are making friends, and getting involved in activities. Tim and I mostly sit around the cabin sending emails, making phone calls, and looking at each other. Some day we will have friends again. That sounds kind of pathetic, but really it’s been okay. I feel like there is always something to be done.
We went to the Whitefish High football game on Friday night, along with the entire town. It was really pretty exciting. It’s a different experience to be in a small town, where EVERYONE cheers for the same team. We sat in the top row of the bleachers, and quickly realize that like in any small town, we probably were sitting somewhere that some family has been sitting for like 40 years. We will have to learn these things as we go…
We went to look at cars on Labor Day. The minivan isn’t going to cut it in the snow and the treks up Big Mountain. We were looking for an AWD or 4×4 something or another. Guess what? Every car lot in the valley was closed. On Labor Day. I love this place.
So maybe you are wondering WHAT ON EARTH ARE WE DOING IN MONTANA?
Well… it’s like this: About 2 years ago, Tim told me he felt like he might be ready to sell his practice and do something different. My normal reaction to this would be “Let me think about this…um, no.” But the truth is, I was feeling it too. This pull to have an adventure. To see what else we could do, and maybe just Narrow the Gap. Anyhow, Tim began journaling a lot, and we began praying specifically to know what to do. So 1 1/2 years ago, he sold his practice to his associate of 3 years, and he started writing, speaking, studying, and figuring out the next steps. He and his good friend Jon Ball of Page One Power, put on a 2 day seminar called JOLT, and it was kind of the first step in this journey. Since then, Tim has been speaking and doing training for businesses. This evolved into a desire to have a place of his own where people could come and have an experience in nature while receiving valuable education, inspiration, and training.
We figured this “place” would be down the road a while. But he kept thinking about it, and even drew this picture of what he wanted.It was very specific, and his declaration about what he wanted and what he hoped to accomplish was very specific, but we were sort of at a loss about how to make it happen. (Go ahead and roll your eyes, I know it sounds hokey). Then this past spring, feeling frustrated by the direction (the many directions) that his speaking was taking him, and by his lack of control over how he was making his own path, we began earnestly looking. We sat down and talked about where this place would be.
We love Boise. We never thought we would leave actually. But Tim wanted to be in the mountains, and we knew that would be a tough sell from there. Getting to Boise is a bit tricky, as it’s almost always a 2 stop flight in or out situation, and then we’d have to be another couple hours north to get into the mountains. It just seemed kind of like a stretch to expect people to do that, plus it complicated our situation. Where would we live? In McCall or Garden Valley? No. Too remote for us. Stay and commute? Ugh. So we made a list of a few places we could imagine living, and started looking. The criteria was that it had to be reasonably accessible, no further from family, and a beautiful mountainous region. Preferably it would be an existing resort, already making money so as not to be such a huge capital endeavor. Montana seemed obvious. So with that as our criteria,
I googled the most random thing, something like “log cabin event center retreat for sale in Montana”. And up popped the North Forty.
Current event center, soon to be renovated and expanded.
Our hearts literally beat faster, and we just knew when we looked at it, that this could be it. It actually had everything we wanted on the list, except a river running through it. That is a mile away. (But we are innovative, and we will most likely build a large pond, waterfall on the back 26 acres). So we hopped in the car 2 days later to check it out. You know that feeling you get when God intervenes in your life and it seems obvious? Yeah. That was it.
Tim has always been successful, but we are by no means high roller types. Buying a property and a business of this size was pretty daunting. We started by asking questions. We got a lawyers and accountants to look at the tax returns and make an assessment, we wrote a business plan, we put our house up for sale, we talked to bankers, we made projections, got inspections, talked to architects, builders, more bankers. We sent letters to potential investors, made phone calls, emails, texts and more. Once we had a plan in place we made the offer.
We made the offer, the same day someone else made an offer. UGH. So then we were in a counter offer, double offer situation. I don’t recommend it. We decided we would just make our offer, and see what happened. Well, they accepted our offer and we have been under contract ever since.
The past 4 months have been a virtual roller coaster. One minute everything seems great, and we are on track, then the next minute some of our finances have fallen through, or something has come up that will set back the closing date. Our emotions have gone from elation to desperation, to exasperation, to exhaustion more times than I’d like to recount. One amazing thing though is that every time we feel we are up against an insurmountable problem, something miraculous happens when we continue to move forward. It feels as though this is going to be BIG for our lives, and the bigger the potential, the bigger the obstacles I suppose.
There have been many times when one of us has been ready to throw in the towel, and say, “forget this, it’s too hard.” But anytime one of us feels that way, the other person has been ready to point out all the great things that have happened that have gotten us this far. I am grateful it’s that way, and convinced it’s one of the reasons Tim and I succeed at marriage, raising kids, and business.
We were supposed to close on the property August 1. That obviously didn’t happen. Then it was supposed to be September 1. That obviously didn’t happen. We knew the paperwork, underwriting, appraisal, and all that stuff could slow us down, and it has. The valley is experiencing crazy growth right now, and everyone is weeks out on these things. Plus we have been firming up investment deals, and making sure we had the money in place…which takes a surprising amount of time. With all this going on, we have had a busy, crazy summer. We were going to stay put until the deal closed, but then felt strongly that we just get up here, and get the kids going in school right from the beginning of the year. The decision was made about 2 weeks ago, and it’s been a frantic time since.
The really cool thing has been that we have been LIVING what Tim has been TEACHINGfor the past year and half. It isn’t easy, but we are stretching, growing, and becoming more than we were, which is amazing.
Plus, we just love a good adventure.