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When I was 5 years old, I have this fond memory of days spent at my grandparent’s home in Harbor Springs, Michigan. They lived in town on top of a hill. It was the home my mother grew up in, graduated high school in, and let go of her father in. There at that home, my grandfather grew an acre size garden that took up one whole lot in the city. He worked all day for the city and then came home to manage his garden by himself. My grandmother would can up the items they grew and store them away for the enjoyment for the winter months. As a child, my parents would drop me off to spend time there with them. My grandfather at that point, retired, would spend his days with me working in the garden, showing me what was edible, and how to grow most everything. After our day in the garden, we would come in and clean up and enjoy his favorite snack saltines with jam and butter on them. I remember these times in some hazy fog in my brain like any early memories of childhood. I am sure at the time my grandfather had no concept of what he had instilled in me at that age. The dirt from that garden didn’t just get under my nails, but into my blood. So much so, that I made sure his name passed along to our son. My grandfather died when I was young at an age where you have memories of them being sick, but no real connection of what was happening to them. Since, then I have thought many times about those days in the garden especially the older I have become.

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After college, I had a dream of leaving school, finding respite back in Northern Michigan near the water, by the lake, and in the woods. I desired simple things like gardening, living without expectation, and waking up to great coffee and the sun. Most kids leave school with ambitions to take on the world, instead, I felt I needed to ground myself. Back home, I did that and the first year of marriage living in a tiny house that was 600 sq ft with no laundry we lived out of our garden and walked to the beach during the warmer months. The house wasn’t perfect, we had a roommate, we lived on nearly nothing, but that garden, the willow tree, the creek and the sliver of a view of the lake were precious things that helped us realize what mattered most.

Then the itch to explore hit hard. We left our life in Traverse City that included dune hikes of all seasons, long days in the garden, a life focused on the seasons and traded it in for the city far from our family. That was a time to define ourselves, figure out who we were separate from our families, from the comfort of what was home. But the thing about leaving home is you realize what makes you who you are and about a year and a half ago, I started to feel those things lacking in our life. I missed the walking out of our door and seeing the lake. I missed the cool mornings in the fall and late spring. I missed the winter months of hunkering down and embracing the coziness of life in the north. I missed the woods. But most importantly I missed the garden. I missed the seasonal life that dramatically happens along the west shore of Michigan.

As I began dreaming about my goals in life I realized they were shifting from those typical success metrics you may assume most Millenial entrepreneurs have such as making some 30 under 30 list, winning awards, gaining exposure, publishing books, etc. I found myself with the goal to get back to the dirt, to become grounded again to my roots. The memories of days in the garden with my grandfather seemed to be the constant reminder of what I desired most. I wanted to grow my meals, preserve the flavors of the season, dig into a community that believed in those ideals, and most importantly focus on bringing those people around tables together and cultivating a community of creativity and a culture of intention. My goals were simple, I wanted to be the lady at the farmer’s market, I wanted to teach my children the importance of providing for yourself, I wanted to inspire others to find small and/or large ways to do the same in their lives as well. Many of these things I tried to picture how they would happen in Raleigh and many of them I tossed up to being idealized dreams that were years away.

Then cue finding out we were having a baby.  When Hayes came along he shifted everything in us. Our goals became ever more important and immediate feeling. When you have a child the space you have in life to pursue anything but the things you really want to is so limited. I knew I had to focus on what inspired me, filled me, and aligned with every inch of what I was passionate about.

That was how we came to the decision to move to Leelanau. Our weekend with friends at the farmhouse in Northport solidified every question we had about the decision and made it very clear that without a doubt our life was going to be back here.

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Now after making the move back to Michigan, our house sold and our life somewhere between a rental we are renting from our friends on Old Mission and the rest in storage, we are finally feeling settled this week. In the coming weeks, we will be beginning the job of designing our home and you can see what we have been dreaming about on this Pinterest board already. We asked my dad if he would design it. My dad was a contractor and designed homes when I grew up and even though now he is a pastor, designing homes is one of his deepest passions and I love watching the excitement he gets about doing it. There is nothing more special to me than to think of raising our family in a home designed by my father. It is the kind of legacy I am happy for him to share with our family. We are deciding to spend the fall and winter concepting, asking hard questions, and developing what this space will be. We don’t want to be rushed because for us this is our future and all that we have been dreaming of and saving for for years whether consciously or subconsciously.

Years ago when Mike and I got married, I had a dream of showing up to a job site on a hill. We got out of the car and lifted a toddler out on to the ground. The home was on the edge of the woods. Mike walked ahead of us as I held the hand of a little boy in a jacket. It was a chilly morning. I told him this was his home and we walked into the house that was no more than framed at that point. I remember waking from that dream and crying because it felt so right. It felt like I was home and I wanted in EVERY way to stay there and never wake up. That dream at the time seemed random and out of place, but as each piece has actually come to be, I know now that was nothing short of a glimpse into the direction life would take us and soon enough I will be walking Hayes to the job site knowing that our dreams are coming true and soon enough we will be home.

I am sure you can slightly imagine what lies ahead for us here and as much as I want to spill 100 ideas to let you into our heads about what we plan to share as we begin this new journey, I feel it is best to allow it to unfold. What I can promise is you is that you can expect more passion, intention, and purpose. There will be a lot more posts about gardening, bringing food to the table, gathering around the table, building stronger relationships with those who matter most to you, about family, and of course about the process of designing and building that home of our’s.

We have so many dreams right now it is hard to grasp where to head next, but we plan to take one day at a time, enjoy the quiet of our rental in the woods and enjoy a slower pace in life for a while. We plan to embrace winter with open arms because we hear it is going to be a wild one and we plan to be intentional about being with those we love.

I am already currently planning the row of broccoli that will grace our garden and feed our family. My intention? To never forget the days in my grandfather’s garden that was the beginning of showing me where I belong. It is important to always remember where we came from and to keep ourselves close to our home no matter how far away the path may lead us. We will always find our way back home.

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  1. Megan, i am so happy for you guys ending up back in northern michigan, since i’m originally from alPena on thr northeast side. I love that you are following what feels right for you in every way. The part about your dream of taking a toddler to a work site of a home had me in tears, as i think about my little guy jack and where our family might end up settling down. We’re still trying to figure it out, but i try to listen to My heart more and more, aNd am constantly inspired by you and mike on your adventures through life as a family. Looking forward to all you do to olant your roots!

  2. This was beautiful Megan and had me in tears. One CORRECTION, lol, dad had an assistent gardener. Me! Whether i liked it or not! I couldnt go to the beach or to play till i picked the peas, beans or swiss chard. Oh and those pesky RASPBERRIES, where i had to wear long sleeves and pants in the heat. At the time i resented it. But now, as i planted my little pallet garden, i thank dad for showing me the way. I helped him string and plant every row to make it straight. He had a beautiful garden the whole town appreciated. Thank you for the memories. Hope Grandpa smiles down on you in your venture. I kNow he wouLd be proud, and helping you If he was here.

  3. What a beautiful post, I think this might be my new favorite one. I got the chills when I read about your dream. Have you posted it before because it felt eerily familiar? This is a huge step and decision to make and I already know it’s going to come together exactly as you dreamed. I can’t wait to follow along in your posts through the new home process, building the community you’re seeking, and all that entails. Congrats you two!

  4. Megan, So inspired. As someone who doesn’t have any one place with Family and History, we’re currently trying to decide where we want to grow our roots in Michigan. Your words and story have inspired me to keep pursuing an intentional home. Thank you for Sharing.

  5. This all sounds so wonderful! IT’s pretty lucky to have a dad who can design your house for you. I’m hoping to wrangle my dad to help build when the time comes. My husband and I have been reading a lot of books lately about different kind of homes and gardening and the like. Keeping our minds occupied (or at least mine) until the time is right to move back to Michigan.

    I was a bit distraught last week because my dad informed me he’s selling the cabin we lived in while he built the house he lives in now in northeast michigan. I have a bad habit of trying to hold on to everything that means something to me. as much as it hurt it was a good process of working through it and learning to let go in order to move forward. The option was there for me to buy it but I have different dreams and dreams to build a home just how I like (preferably on the other side of the state).

    Anyhow here are a couple of the book i’ve been enjoying: Little House on a small planet and the backyard homestead. I look forward to seeing how things unfold. What an exciting time! I look forward to the day when I can grow a big garden and spend hours in the kitchen cooking, preserving, pickling, drying, and the like and then taking a dip in the lake. Perfection.

  6. Your post oozes inspiration. you’ve clearly found – or prehaps just reclaimed – your place. and that dream1 a similar thing happened to me before we had our “a-ha!” michigan moment. then the dream came true <3 i feel confidently that will continue for you. best wishes!

  7. Your post oozes inspiration. you’ve clearly found – or perhaps just reclaimed – your place. and that dream! i experienced something similar before we had our “a-ha!” michigan moment. then the dream came true <3 i feel confidently that will continue to happen for you as well. best wishes!

  8. loved this! maybe saltines with butter & jam is a ‘grandpa’ thing as mine shared this with my sister & I (and every now and then, cheese & saltines!). We also spent a lot of time in their garden, Grandma canned like crazy! Nice to know that some wonderful memories are shared & carried on!

  9. Thank you so much for sharing this and for this blog in general. I feel like you just give so much wise words of wisdom that really resonate with me and help with some of my steps in life. Especially since I now understand that I also yearn for simplicity and need to figure out how that looks like in my life.

  10. What a gift to read this post – brimming with love, joy, inspiration, and a strong sense of place. Of rootedness. My heart feels full for you and your family and for all that you are offering this community you have built together. Feeling grateful that we get to follow your unfolding.