Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Price Tag

"We get what we want, but there's always a price."

Our move to the wide-open spaces of Montana, from the populous (and expensive) confines of Southern California has been one of the best life-decisions my dear wife and I have made (by God's grace) in our 21 years of marriage.  (I feel fairly confident to speak on her behalf in this matter :-)  Here are some of the other choices that have benefited us greatly, or allowed us to simplify our lifestyle in an effort to pursue contentment with godliness (1 Timothy 6:6-11):
  • Owning one car, and using public transportation when necessary.
  • Becoming a one-income-earner family, allowing us to consistently supervise our children's growth and development in accordance with our faith, without relying on (i.e. paying) someone else to do so.
  • Home-educating our children, using readily available and straightforward materials, drawing out our children's God-given aptitudes and interests, in accordance with the Scriptures.
  • Avoiding involvement in "organized team sports", in order to minimize unnecessary drains on our family's time, attention and finances.
  • Preparing most of our food at home, in order to facilitate nightly dinners together, be more healthy and save a lot of money.

Like Abraham in the Scriptures, we left all that was familiar to us and, by faith, moved to a land that was "foreign" to us.  Now, we live in one of the most beautiful places on Earth, and while our means are still humble, God has blessed us with so many incredible relationships and opportunities, including the ongoing effort to purchase and build a house on our own acre-and-a-half of fertile, wooded land.  We are so very grateful to Him for His provision.

Still, this undertaking has come with a price or two.  We are now much further (2-days' drive) from some dear family members, whom we miss very much.  I had to leave the comfortable and familiar venue of "full-time paid church staff work" (notice how I avoided the term "ministry" -- that's a blog post for another day).  Instead, I had to practically change careers, spending at least 2 years before I began to feel confident and adept at this new line of work (2-way radio and internet installation, and radio tower groundwork).  And ultimately, having my earnings reduced by at least 50%.

All that notwithstanding, I wouldn't change a thing.  And now, we have a beautiful new "Made in Montana" addition to our family, firmly "anchoring" us to our residence here, as it were:

Meet "Elliana Mercy Calvi"
So, for those of you contemplating leaving the bustling metropolises of SoCal (or any other densely populated area) for the rural life in wide-open spaces, I would first caution you to be aware that there is a price to pay.  You'll have to trade one lifestyle for another.  It may cost you your "nest egg".  (As the joke goes, "How do you make a million dollars in Montana?  Bring 2 million." :-)  You may have to leave the comfort of your extended family... but who knows?  Some of them may follow you there.  In any case, any major life choice is inevitably followed by a lengthy period of adjustment, as you know.  But for those of us who live by faith in our Creator and Redeemer - King Jesus - our hope and trust in Him is never misplaced.  He provides everything we need!

"As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life."
1 Timothy 6:17-19

So go ahead and grab hold of the rural dream.  With Christ, all things are possible.  Desire Him above all else, and He will work all things together for your good (Romans 8:28).

As always, I welcome your comments.  Have a fruitful day.



  1. Great post Ric! My heart has been leaning towards the life you describe for many years now; however, my wife is a bit more attached to the conveniences and created comforts of the big city suburb lifestyle. I am curious, what influenced your decision to select Columbia Falls, MT? There are so many different places in the US that offer what you have found in Columbia Falls and it would be interesting, and educational for me, to learn how you selected it. Thanks, Dennis in Oceanside, CA

    1. Dennis, may I post your comment on the blog (name and address withheld. of course), before I post a reply? I think other readers may find this conversation useful. Let me know.