Home in the Hills
Our family took a leap of faith and moved where we belonged.
omething about the Black Hills has always tugged at my heart. My parents held their wedding here, and our family’s history is rooted here.
Memories from many family gatherings and explorations made it my home away from home. For a couple of weeks every year, the whole family would “go home”— back to the Black Hills, to stay with my grandma and grandpa. So ever since I was a child visiting this wonderful place with my family in summer and at Christmas, I knew that I loved this land.
SHome-school assignments and old journals reveal my dream of living out here, but that dream slipped to the side, lost in the excitement of school and church activities. As a student at Eastern Illinois University, I studied vocal performance and wholeheartedly pursued a career in music.
That is, until one pivotal summer when the realization struck me like a freight train—I adored the Black Hills more than anywhere else on this earth, and nothing was more important to me than living there.
When one of my sisters and I first brought up the idea of moving to our mom, we were hesitant but serious. We thought our family needed to go home, because the Black Hills were home in a rather intangible way that Illinois just wasn’t. Deep conversations came next, then Dad’s decision to sell the family business.
The following two years were the longest of my life, finishing my college degree and wrapping up that chapter while I waited for our one-way trip to South Dakota.
And the day finally came! We left the prairies and cornfields of rural Illinois for the rolling hills and towering granite of the Black Hills.
We left a lot behind in Illinois: our family business, longtime friends, our church, post-college career options that “made sense,” and even a sister, Jess, who was getting her career established as a farrier and starting a life with her husband. That was the hardest one.
The relocation required a leap of faith, and we took it. I felt like we