Finding Our Homestead and Smelling Roses

Embracing God’s grace along the way.

We decided to move to Tennessee for many practical reasons, but mainly because we felt we were following God’s plan. But how could we possibly know for certain. This uprooting of our lives, selling our home, and taking a leap was very sudden. And, yes, there were moments of doubt and uncertainty, but along the way God would give us enough of a glimpse to keep us moving forward along the path.

Once our decision to move was made, I quickly set the wheels in motion. We decided to move Thursday (see my December 9th post and I called my California realtor Friday morning. I told her I was putting our house on the market, and we met that day. I immediately began the steps necessary to sell the house – mostly purging, packing, and painting. The weekend was a blur with sleepless nights and house cleaning days.

By Monday morning I was exhausted. I knew I needed to find a realtor in Tennessee, but I had a busy day ahead and told myself it could wait until Tuesday. I made my breakfast and sat down to eat when I felt a prompting to call one of the recommendations I had collected for realtors in Tennessee. I had three numbers. Two of the numbers had names included with the realtor’s number. The third was just a number. I decided to call the third.

I pressed the number into my phone, listened to the rings, and heard a voice on the other end.

“This is Joshua Christian.”

The name Joshua is an English translation for the Hebrew word Yehoshua which means “Yahweh is Salvation.” Joshua is also an English derivative of the name Jesus. (Joshua – Wikipedia)

So, when I heard over the line

“This is Joshua Christian.”

I thought, of course you are. I call a number with no name on a whim, and I get Joshua Christian.

That morning, Joshua Christian became our realtor.

And he did a great job. Joshua understood what we were looking for and we began the search based on a price range and location radius.

But looking at the properties for sale, nothing felt right. The market was slim and anything that was a good deal was getting purchased quickly. After a week I began to worry. So, without letting Joshua know, I increased our price point and expanded our search radius. And I found it.

I found a property meeting our acreage and resource requirements, with pastures and ponds, located on Genesis Road.

Genesis Road.

We were seeking land where we could develop a regenerative homestead following God’s plan and this property was on Genesis Rd.

On top of that, I was “feeling” it. When we had purchased our last few homes, I always had a very visceral reaction. I knew it was the right home despite the wallpaper, paneling, or orange carpeting. I could feel the potential and rightness of the home. I was beginning to get that feeling with this property online.

Joshua said if we were serious about this property, we would need to fly out to see it. We made our reservations and flew out to Tennessee the day our home went on the market back in Southern California.

Arriving in Nashville, we then set off to meet Joshua at the property. There were a few things we noticed as we got closer – cell reception was poor, and the scenery was dramatic.

We found the property, drove down the lane to the front of the home, and got out to meet Joshua in person for the first time, shaking his hand.

“Something has happened since we last talked,“ Joshua began. We find out that two days before, the owner of the property, Jack, had a heart attack and was currently in the hospital having open heart surgery.

Oh, goodness. The gravity of this fell over us. The wife was on her way from the hospital to greet us and would be here any moment.

We then face the home. As I take it in, I smell a strong floral scent surrounding me. I think “how lovely that the plants were designed to greet guests with such a lovely scent.” But this leaves my mind as another car comes down the drive.

Lynda, Jack’s wife, drives up and rushes to meet us. We ask about Jack. She is stretched thin, her husband is in the hospital, yet she comes to help with any questions we might have. I give her a big hug overcome with all she is going through.

“I don’t know what we are going to do,” Lynda shares, “if we have to run this place one more winter it will kill Jack.”

This property had been on the market for two years. And here we are. Right now.

We tour the property trying to take in as much as we can with the time we have left in the day. It is a lot to take in. It is overwhelming. But it is beautiful. Amazingly beautiful.

We leave at dusk with the decision swirling in our heads. Is this the right place? There is so much work to do. The house is much larger than what we are looking for. Such a big decision. We need to think about it. Is this God’s Plan? How do we know?


Flying home the next evening, sitting next to Mr. J, I am reflecting on the house and the decision we need to make.

And then I remember: I smelled flowers. But not just flowers.

I smelled roses.

I turn to Mr. J. and ask, “When we first got to the house, and we were looking at it, did you smell any flowers?”


“No flowers? Did you smell flowers at anytime on the property?” I pressed.


“I smelled roses.” I said looking at him seriously. There were no rose bushes where I had been standing, and I smelled roses.

He understood. At that moment, we knew we were buying the property on Genesis Road with the help of our realtor, Joshua Christian. Because I smelled roses.


Roses? Why roses?

In my Catholic faith, the scent of roses, when no roses are present, is seen as a grace or consolation. It let’s one know that God is there and that His blessing is present.

We continue this homestead journey and embrace our path knowing that when I stood in front of Fiat Farm for the first time, I smelled roses. We pray for God’s continued blessing and are thankful for His grace.

A Blanket of Snow

Finding God’s Grace in the Struggle

Day two of the freezing cold. The recent storm dropped six inches of snow on Fiat Farm. The perfect snow – light and fluffy. And it stayed perfect for 2 days. For my friends in warmer climates, snow stays perfect because it is cold. Very cold. Like, below freezing cold. The kind of cold that makes your fingers and toes ache.

I happily spent the first snow day bundled up inside while the guys hustled out to take care of the animals and walk our property looking for fallen trees.

But now it is day two, the sky is clear, and I need to pitch in and do my part. I offer to feed the animals so Mr. J can continue to work on the fence. Yes, we are still working on the fence. I “gird my loins.” I put on several layers of clothing, wrap a scarf around my neck, put a watch cap on my head, and don ski gloves. Ready for battle, I steel myself for the cold, open my front door, and am greeted by this:

A feast for the eyes. Fiat Farm has been transformed by a blanket of snow. I am in awe.


There are brief moments at the beginning and end of each day when the light is just right. The landscape is transformed by this veiled softness, the sun is closer to the horizon, and one can glimpse God’s subtle grace. Those moments beckon us to slow down, observe, and absorb.

I moved through my chores, but there were many times I was compelled to just stop and marvel. The Easter egg blue of the sky. The red flash of a cardinal searching for food. The hues of earthy brown carved out in the bright relief of snow.

Snow is cold. Freezing cold. Harsh. Everything is harder. Keeping warm and dry, finding food and water, moving from place to place, all become a challenge in the snow. It makes real nature’s struggle for survival.

But in that struggle, there is stark beauty. And it beckons you.

A familiar path becomes enchanted:

A previously unnoticed tree demands attention with a dramatic silhouette.

Form and texture invite marvel and imagination:

Attention is brought to the hidden life around you:

And, if you are lucky, in the midst of the struggle you get a glimpse of God’s mystery.

And it takes your breath away:

Knowing, that today would be bright, sunny, and in the 40’s I made a point to walk and marvel. To soak in God’s creation. To reflect on His plan.

His plan is good. And in the struggle, there is Grace.

Slow down, observe, and absorb. These moments of grace are fleeting. The blanket of snow melts, and the familiar path returns.