The front of our townhouse.

After over five years apart, the rest of the family followed Nolan and, on December 17, 2018, we moved to Williston, ND.

To give you an idea of the change this has been for us, let me put it this way:

Langdon — population of 1,738 nice folks of German and Norwegian heritage, 110 miles from Walmart (an all-day excursion), largely rural and ag-based economy. Traffic–riding lawnmowers allowed on the streets of town! (Those are the old guys who can’t pass the senior driving requirements, but won’t give up their independence!)

Williston — population 27,096 at last estimate from the Census Bureau (Most believe it to be much higher due to all the people who live and work here, but keep their out-of-state resident status.). Walmart is a five-minute drive! Oil-based economy with a lot of ag, too. Traffic is a lesson in speed, agility, reflexes, and the ability to see around gigantor pickup trucks, most with lift kits and more headlights than anyone would ever need. Note: The car in the photo above is what I drive. (I would like to piously claim such conditions have improved my prayer life, but most of the time it leads to reasons to head to the confessional!)

The other huge change is where we are living. After fifteen years on three acres a mile and a half from Langdon with our nearest neighbor a quarter mile away, we now rent the townhouse above. This is our neighborhood:

We live on the left side of this photo in the second row of townhouses. The first row faces a street. We face their backdoors.

This is our backyard:

What I refer to as our “postage stamp of a backyard!”

Obviously, we have gone through some drastic changes! We laugh about the first time our dog, Bonita, saw the yard. She looked back at me as if to say, “You’re kidding, right?!” Not only is it tiny, but we are very limited in what we’re able to do with it due to mowing being included in our rent. We can’t put up a fence for the dog (the one in the photo is now gone from the neighbor’s yard), plant into the ground (planters are ok), etc. In other words, nothing permanent. I’m rather daring with leaving up the bird feeders, but try to get the birdbath out when I see the lawn guys coming. (Why the rock is there I have no idea as each “yard” has one.) It’s okay, though, because this is only temporary and, besides, under that pretty layer of grass is a couple inches of dirt and then gravel for, most likely, several feet.

However, the best part of Williston for us is the parish, St. Joseph’s. Our priest, Fr. Kovash, is a man of deep prayer with a love for Jesus that is evident. He calls the congregation to go deeper with Jesus through prayer and frequent reception of the sacraments, urging us to avail ourselves of all the graces Jesus offers. The parish has grown in the eight years he’s been here and “life-ers” tell us his ministry has brought many people back to the practice of their faith and help to deepen the life of faith in the rest.

So, this is where we are now and where the newest part of this adventure we call “life” has led. It’s wonderful to be living close to John and Emily again (they share a house across town) and to have the hours to Daniel and Alee’s down to nine (drive-able in a day). How long will we be here? Who can say? We don’t believe it will be a long time. But, for now, it’s okay and is perhaps the best stepping-stone to what’s next.