More than a Map and Darts: OMG and the Madsens are Moving to Minnesota (with, I concede, new maps. No darts.)
Well, here’s our little family’s news:
In the early part of June, Karl, Else, and I are moving to Two Harbors, a small town just north of Duluth, with about 3,700 people, considered to be the Gateway to the North Shore. It’s right on the banks of Lake Superior, with an interesting combination of industry and artists and outdoor tourism.
And an occasional moose and bear.
And now a freelance theologian and her family.
Many of you know that we were planning on moving this summer to Omaha to serve in a marvelous congregation. The decision to not continue with those plans was right but bittersweet (I have tremendous admiration for the staff and the congregation, both of whom have vision and a sense of justice and an appreciation of liturgy and abundant good humor to boot!).
Once the decision was made, however, we looked around at our home and realized that it and we had just gone through such the process of sifting, and sorting, and pitching, and donating….and then it dawned on us that we were all packed up and ready to go, but with no where to go, exactly.
But then it also dawned on us that we -could- go.
That’s one of the cool things about being a freelance theologian. You can lance theology freely pretty much anywhere.
Our first instinct was to follow Else’s method (offered with a grin): “Mama, we have a map. We have darts….”
Ultimately her approach seemed a bit more random than we were both comfortable with. So then I said, “Egirl, what sort of community would be perfect for you?”
Never having been up to Northeast Minnesota, she said, “Mama, although I love the prairie, I wouldn’t mind living in a town with a lot of water. And hills. And trees.
So….Duluth, then, little girl?
In my pre-accident life, my late husband taught me to love to tromp around in the great outdoors: in fact, we even honeymooned in the area–Grand Marais–in January. The woods and lakes of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (to which my cousin Kris Annette Stenslie Haugen introduced me decades ago!), and the paved paths that meander all along the shore, invite my whole family easily and often to get outside.
So over Easter, the three of us buzzed up to Duluth, partly for a mini-vacation, and partly to poke around the place as a new home. Long story short, we looked for houses in Duluth, but stumbled on one in Two Harbors. An offer was made and accepted, and we are filled with expectant gladness.
Actually, it is not just a house.
It’s a farm house built in 1922, already mostly accessible, with a barn that can store my father’s beloved band-saw and drill press and other tools, and a double garage that has an apartment above it, and it just happens to come with 20 acres of wooded land, with a view of Lake Superior, and a small orchard with apple and peach and pear and cherry and plum trees, and a large garden, and raspberries and blackberries and strawberries and gooseberries and rhubarb and asparagus, and a dog run, and a trail running through the property, and said occasional bear and moose and deer and eagle and wolf.
It is perfect for us, and is already more than a house: it already feels like home to us.
The place is so beautiful, people.
Our new homestead will not only will give the three of us peaceful gladness, but it has any number of possibilities for creating a retreat space for OMG. That apartment, for example, could be used either to offer space to a caregiver for Karl, or for someone who would want to spend a few days sipping dark coffee, wandering our woods, walking along the shores of the Grand Gitchigumi, and thinking through some theology with me.
I am leaving with no parish call in hand, but rather a call to steward OMG in new and more dedicated ways, and most of all a call to mama these kids in a new place, with new adventures in the offing.
I am grateful that my South Dakota Bishop David Zellmer and my soon-to-be Northeast Minnesota Bishop Thomas M. Aitken have blessed the idea and the move, and are allowing the transfer of my papers from one synodical file cabinet to another.
It’s completely a leap of faith, and a leap over all sorts of reasonable questions and factors that might make a more practical person not just balk, but walk…away.
But instead, we are all eagerly going to walk, and roll, and wander toward and in our very own wilderness, trusting that God–as well as big and small wildlife–will be walking and rolling and wandering with us in our new Two Harbor home and woods too.
We will miss many friends and good memories shared in Sioux Falls! There are good people here, and we wish this place and its people all our best.
So. That’s our news. New news, new beginnings, new adventures, and new learning curves that include how to use that big red machine in the barn I’m told is a log-splitter.
Anna and Karl and Else