Our new Washington homestead!

we are officially residents of washington state!  we almost can’t believe it!  we’ve been here for three weeks now and we pretty much pinch ourselves every day that we wake up and look out the window.  it’s so different.  everything is new.  and at the same time, it feels more like home to us than anywhere else we’ve ever lived.  back in southern california we always felt in limbo.  it’s strange to say, but our old house that we owned never felt like home or where we envisioned growing old in. we didn’t buy it because we fell in love with it, we picked it because it just felt like the next step that we were supposed to take and because it was a good investment…  you know, get married, have 2.5 children, buy the house you can barely afford in a safe neighborhood with a white picket fence, plan for retirement and don’t ever color outside the lines.  we did that and we didn’t think it was a bad choice.  and we still don’t.  it was necessary for us to get to where we are now.  wisdom only comes after time and struggle.  we don’t have regrets.  but once we struggled long enough and got up the courage to chase our dreams, everything became much more clear about what we wanted our future life to look like.  and it’s pretty amazing to say that we are currently living it!  now, i know from experience now that there will be some of you out there that may feel bitterness towards us because you aren’t able to quite jump in head first like we did.  please, take heart.  it takes a long time.  it took us quite a few years, lots of financial and logistical planning and  lots and lots of prayers for God to show us the right time for us to begin this journey.  and we are still on it!  this place may not be the final destination for our family, but for this current season it is just perfect and we aren’t in any rush to change it up anytime soon.  what we have learned, though, that God is the author of our story and to enjoy the current moment, never say never, and be open for change if it needs to happen.

i think that has been what we have learned the most over the past year… that we are okay, no matter where we live.  whether it be a house, a trailer, a hotel, with family, in a cabin or in a teepee (who knows?!) as long as we have the bare essentials for living and one another, life can still be good.  it is all about perspective.  i will add that things aren’t all rainbows and lollypops, even in our new dreamy surroundings, life is still stressful.  it will always be that way… we live in a broken world. but we are quicker to resolve our issues rather than let them eat away at us that we once were.  our travels and hundreds of hours of driving really forced/blessed us with an opportunity to learn how to communicate better with one another.  we are more supportive of each other and know how much we have endured to get to this place.  we are embracing it all whole heartedly.

so… about our new homestead!!!  we are country folk now!  we are about a half hour outside of bellingham, out in the middle of nowhere with farmland as far as the eye can see.  we have views of the mountains, wild animals that visit now and then, and tons of space for running free.  when we were anticipating our move here and decided that we wanted to live in northwest washington, we did lots of looking (and i mean, hundreds of hours of looking) online at houses for sale and farmland for sale.  it was so overwhelming, also because we had to make a decision on a place site unseen and didn’t know where anything was!  it was going to all be so very new to us, we weren’t even sure if we would like living in this part of the world and we wanted to be certain before we went making a crazy decision and getting ourselves into a financial hardship as we had back in california.  so we began to look at farmhouses with land that we could lease long term and that seemed to be the wisest choice for our family.  i ended up finding this amazing house (on craigslist!) that was on three acres of land and that offered a long term lease option and everything worked out!  i’d actually tried to secure several other properties before this one but things kept falling through and just didn’t feel right.  but this one was meant to be.  and so we did all the paperwork over email and moved up two weeks later!  the owners of the property are the most kind, thoughtful folks that welcomed us with open arms and have encouraged us to truly make the house our own which has been such a big blessing.  when we first arrived it was literally like Christmas morning to all of us!  we all ran around in and out of every room, squealing and jumping and rolling around.  i can’t remember ever feeling that kind of anticipation as we drove the last few miles to get here except in anticipation to meet my babies for the first time.  it was thrilling.  we have since settled in but the wonder of it all is still fresh.

there are about a million photographs below to hopefully give you an idea of what life is like for us now!  i did my best to narrate in between all the photos below as to what it is you are looking at…

this is us… content and happy in our yard.washblog-101 washblog-102.1this barn is on the land that we share with the neighbors.  it’s so beautiful!  i used to drive around for hours and hours trying to find beauty like this to use as a backdrop for photos and now it’s just outside!washblog-102 the apple orchard.  yes, apple orchard!!  :)  washblog-103 washblog-104 washblog-105 washblog-106 this is our little fenced-in pasture all ready for some farm animals.  we are doing lots of reading up on the kind of animals we’d like to have, most likely some miniature dairy goats and maybe some sheep, in addition to our chickens.washblog-107 we have large maple, willow and walnut trees.  we have been doing lots of tending to the land, raking leaves and collecting hundreds of walnuts!washblog-108 this is the pond surrounded by huge blackberry bushes!  it’s just about 50 yards outside our front door.  i already have “build a dock” on donny’s to-do list.  i’m already dreaming of a little rowboat out there come summer.washblog-109 washblog-110 washblog-111 washblog-112 washblog-113 washblog-114 washblog-115 washblog-116this is the chicken coop!  and it is the first thing i fell in love with about the house.  once i had seen the picture of it, i knew it was the place for us!  i mean, the gingerbread scalloped edging, the moss on the roof and that perfectly aged baby blue paint, swoon! washblog-117 this is the “hen house” with the nesting boxes and a little hole in the back that leads to the actual coop which is super huge!  our baby chicks are two weeks old now and it will be the perfect home for all 28 of them in a few months once they are big enough to handle the cold weather.washblog-118 washblog-119 washblog-120  we enter into the mudroom.  i never thought i’d ever have a need for a mudroom, hah!  we didn’t even barely have cold weather clothes!  we arrived in our flip flops!  i’ve done a good share of thrifting since we got here and now everyone is well equipped with thick rain and snow attire.  on a side note, the thrifting in washington is amaaaazing!!!washblog-122 so this is the first room you enter into when you walk in.  that’s the front door straight ahead.  i am showing you what it looked like when we first arrived… we have done a little work to make it our own since then as you will see later on in the photos…washblog-123 from the front entry room you turn the corner and then you are in the kitchen.  it is really big!  it’s quite a treat to be able to have ample storage and room to move around and cook after spending months attempting to cook in my mini 20 square foot kitchen in the trailer!washblog-124 here you can really see how the space is laid out… the rooms right beside one another.washblog-125 so from the kitchen, there is a little dining area beside there with french doors that lead out back and the bedrooms down the hall (where the blue carpet is) and then a little den/living room that is two steps down (where the green shag carpet is).   :) washblog-126and this is our outdoor tub just outside the master bedroom!!!  yeeeehaw!!  we have an indoor shower/tub in the bathroom too but this one is pretty much the coolest thing ever.  it is currently not working but i’ve got big plans for it eventually.washblog-127 washblog-128  so we pretty much just started painting everything white.  just needed some freshening up.washblog-129 washblog-130 so that was the “before” of the kitchen and below is the “after”!  we painted the walls and cabinets white and used the rustoleum countertop paint to reglaze the blue countertops into a soft gray.  i will be doing a full house tour eventually but this is the in progress set of images.  ;)washblog-131 washblog-132 and this is my view out the kitchen window every afternoon while i do dishes!!!washblog-133 washblog-134 now this is the greenhouse built on to the side of the house.  this was another super amazing thing i fell in love with immediately.  with the cold winters it is such a treat to be able to keep things growing.  we are doing our best to really be self sufficient out here.  especially because we are so far from town, it will be so nice to have fresh things growing to be able to use for meals straight from the greenhouse.washblog-135.1 we began working on this space right away.  i bought all of the materials for in here at the habitat for humanity restore and was able to do it for less than $100 (the doors for the walls, the drawers for planter boxes, the chairs, hundred of pots and planters, paint etc).  i am still working on it but it’s coming along.  we have already planted lots of berries, herbs and vegetables.washblog-135.3  i first fell in love with washington when i saw all the mossy rooftops and trees!  it’s such a novelty coming from southern california where everything is so dry!  so i decided the greenhouse needed a mossy floor, just for the added dreamy factor.  gracie and i dug up moss from our yard and laid it down like sod.  i’ve also scattered clover groundcover seed so i’m hoping it will continue to flourish.washblog-135.4 washblog-135.5this is the view out of our living room.  we all just sit and stare outside all day long.washblog-135 the weather has been quite a treat for us!  everyone said we would hate the rain, but we just love it!  and it’s been sunny on and off most days with a chill in the air, it just feels special. it’s been extra cold lately so we’ve gotten frost in the mornings which looks like a tiny layer of glittery snow as the sun peeks out above the mountains.washblog-136 washblog-137 washblog-138 this is the apple orchard.  we share it with the neighbors.  it is unbelievably amazing!!!!  we also have cherry trees.  i am already dreaming of the cherry blossoms come spring time!washblog-139 washblog-140 washblog-141 wild blackberry bushes in abundance!washblog-142  washblog-144so here are some random photos from the last week or so as we have started to get adjusted.  all of the furniture i have gotten from thrift stores and estate sales since we arrived.  with an exception of the things we had already in the trailer that we have brought into the house, and our new mattress and mabel’s crib which i ordered from overstock, i have furnished our entire house with furniture for about $700.  it was a challenge for me to do it on the cheap and i couldn’t be happier with how it’s all coming together.  i’m not done yet but it’s getting there.washblog-145.1 so this is our new and improved school and playroom!  i really wanted to get it all set up so that the kids felt at home right away and also so we could start living life instead of being in limbo.  it’s been so great to have a place for them to each have their own nooks to work and play.washblog-145.2 washblog-145.3 these are our new chickies!  they are currently living in our garage with heat lamps until they are big enough to move to the coop.washblog-146 here is clementine in the living room with a kitty in her baby carrier.  we adopted two kittens from the animal shelter, benjamin and bear.  they are the cutest little guys!  and they also keep the kids really entertained on the rainy days.  washblog-145  another fun rainy day activity.  fort building.  we found quite a few quilts on our journey and they have been put to good use.washblog-147 washblog-148 one thing that is so very foreign to us, coming for southern california, is how to heat a house when it is 20 degrees!  we have electric heat as well as two wood burning stoves.  we bought lots of wood for the winter.  and i can’t complain about the cold when i have such a studly guy to gather wood and keep me warm.  ;)washblog-149.1 washblog-149.2 washblog-150.2 washblog-150.3 this turkey lives somewhere down the road, we think, and he has visited us every day for the last week.  he/she is just the sweetest bird!  he is sure making himself quite at home here and the kids think it is so funny!  he even purrs when they pet him.washblog-150.4 washblog-150.5 washblog-150.6washblog-149 washblog-150 this is one of the parks in bellingham.  it’s amazing.  we truly cannot believe we get to live among such beauty.washblog-151 washblog-152 washblog-153  washblog-155the end for now.  more to come in time.  thank you for taking the time to read to the very end, i know it was a long post!  (hopefully you made it this far!)  and… happy thanksgiving, friends!!!  we could not be more thankful for such an amazing community that has supported us all along the way.  thank you for cheering us on, we love you!

This entry was posted in our family adventures, our journey to simplification. Bookmark the permalink.

100 Responses to Our new Washington homestead!

  1. Beth says:

    Joy, these photos are absolutely breathtaking! Your journey is remarkable and the joy you find in simplicity is so inspiring. So excited for your family as you begin such a blessed season of your life!

  2. rikki says:

    what a lovely depiction of the pacific northwest. it took me some time to truly appreciate everything this place has to offer, but once i ventured past my work and home, i immediately fell in love. you have a most gracious and beautiful space. such a joy to see those littles so free and happy.
    all the best :) .

  3. Suzi Kern says:

    Thank you sweet joy for all of your courage. I want to be a better parent, a more attentive human because of your story. You guys raised the bar. Best Wishes To Your Gorgeous Family, I dream of the day our paths meet <3

  4. Christie DuPree says:

    My sisters and I are all just in love with your family.
    You are so inspiring and it’s a blessing to be able to follow your journey through instagram.
    Thank you for being an example in the world of a Godly woman and mother and for sharing your heart with us!

    <3
    -Christie DuPree

  5. Stephanie says:

    This house is so dreamy! I love it! You should take your sweet little ones on a day trip to Leavenworth. It’s the perfect little Christmas town. We are getting married there in 4 weeks in the gazebo and it’s the cutest lite town! It’s so close to you. The kids would LOVE it. Our kids loved it when we went, they are 4,4 and 2. :)

  6. abbie says:

    AHHHHH. Oh my goodness. this is so beautiful. i know there’s days when it must not feel so beautiful, but thank you for letting us in on part of your little life. I love hearing from you on your blog and everything and pray that you have much grace and joy this winter settling into your new homestead.

    PS. ALSO. those blankets/quilts. Wow. :) i’m collecting blankets and quilts and your photos are music to my eyes. ;)
    and your style and painting and furniture and…most of all the moss on your greenhouse floor! Ahhhhhh. Seriously. so gorgeous!! and you must be the most productive woman ever. wow.

  7. emily hope says:

    discovered you via instagram – love following your journey. and you’re making me look at Washington with fresh eyes … i grew up there but moved to California when I “grew up.” I have to say I enjoy the daily sunshine here. but your perspective of there is lovely.

  8. Erin Wetzel says:

    I can almost hear the laughter and feel the coziness from your photos. ^_^ Washington is a better place with y’all here! It’s so exiting hearing your first impressions and all the things you love about this area. Reminds me of all the things I cherish and sometimes take for granted about living here. xoxo

  9. Vale says:

    As always your pictures are lovely, inspiring and captivating. I’m so happy that you feel at home here in Bellingham! Thank you for always sharing your heart, your joys and struggles, your journey and your hope. You have an enduring perspective and a beautiful heart. God has richly blessed you with talents and gifts and we thank you for sharing them with us. Happy thankful day to all of you.

  10. shawna says:

    It’s 3am and I haven’t yet slept, but my boy is finally asleep on my chest and I have thoroughly enjoyed the beauty in this charming & rustic

  11. shawna says:

    Darn, he woke up and I hit send. Ha! Continued…place you call home! I can wait to see the magic unfold! Happy winter!! Xoxo.

  12. Carmen says:

    Wow! What an incredible transformation!! you have already made the house into your home, and it looks amazing. I have only followed your blog since the beginning of your caravan journey, but I can see that this house and countryside looks just perfect for your family. Thanks for sharing the next stage of your journey with us. xo

  13. Jackie Kirsten says:

    Wow and wow again!
    Just amazing!

  14. Malin says:

    Oh Joy.
    This is a wonderful place! You are truly talented at conveying the feel and emotion of your family and home. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your story.
    So much love, Malin, your grateful follower and supporter

  15. Jackie says:

    I’m so happy for you and Don to have such a peace about this new stage in your lives for your family! How wonderful! Your pictures are gorgeous and I can’t wait to see how you guys keep making house and learning to live self-sufficiently in this new home!

  16. Amy Lynne says:

    Such an amazing journey! Wishing you many blessings as you start your new life in Washington!

  17. KImberly says:

    SO amazing Joy!! I just love following your story it is so beautiful!! I hope to be the mother and wife you are someday!! Can’t wait to hear more about life in the future!

  18. Elise says:

    This is wonderful! I am so happy to see other people picking up and leaving behind a life that wasn’t making their heart’s sing. My wife and I sold our home in Florida, and left our great jobs to move to Maine. We, too, were told by people that we were “crazy” and how could we move to a place so COLD?! It was like we didn’t know it was cold here?! Ha! We knew that we needed to live in a place that honored our marriage (i.e. had equal marriage rights) as Florida certainly did not. Once we got up here we traded in our Florida cars for Subarus so we now feel safe driving in the snow and ice. We also found new wonderful career jobs. We are under contract on our 1800 farmhouse on 5 acres in a town that we love. I believe that if you follow your heart and soul and do your 100%, then everything else will be ok. Keep on being brave!

  19. Kelly says:

    It is truly remarkable the amount of hard work you have put in to everything you do. Thank you for sharing these beautiful moments and for inspiring us to work hard towards our dreams!

  20. Jeannie says:

    What a beautiful home! Thank you for sharing your personal photos and story. It gives me hope that one day we too will find our place in this crazy world. On a side note – that photo of you laying moss and the one of Danny with Clem on his back- oh man, I can’t imagine what a blessing it is to your kids to have such beautiful, truly joyful parents.

  21. Kat Forsyth says:

    Eeek, that looks AMAZING! I would never have been able to live out of a trailer for as long as you do did, but THIS I could do! It’s stunning. What an amazing find, and how perfect for you all! Here’s to many years of happiness in your new home!

  22. Michelle Metcalf says:

    Breathtakingly beautiful! And looks to be the perfect respite and creative outlet for your sweet family!! Looking forward to more!

  23. Jenny says:

    So magical! Love every last bit!

  24. Dina says:

    You and your family are such an inspiration. Just love following you. Thanks for letting us, complete strangers, into your life.

  25. Tonia says:

    So excited to read this and see your homestead! My husband grew up in central WA and seeing your photos has brought back so many memories of trips up north! I know I shared this with you on IG but the way you are able to take the mundane of everyday life and see it through the lens of beauty is a gift! Thank you for sharing!

  26. Aileen says:

    This is so amazing and wonderful! I’m so happy for you and your family, and while (I admit) a little jealous, I’m hopeful that one day I can have something similar myself. That greenhouse is to die for!!!!

  27. coraly harlan says:

    Adore it all. If you guys are up for an adventure I believe this weekend Lynden has their Christmas parade. I have never seen so many tractor with that many lights on them. Take a thermos of hot cocoa and enjoy. Wishing we could go but it is not going to work out this year!

  28. Monica says:

    Amazing post. I love all your pictures. Everything looks so perfect in that house. Thanks for sharing your life. Your family is wonderful and your kids adorable. Your life is inspiring for many reasons, motherhood, GOD, home, crafts, kids, life, :) . I will continue following you . It is like reading a book. Really good book that doesn’t get me bored. Blessings for you and your family. I am going to try quilting next year I want one for each of my daughters and I will keep trying taking better pictures. Thanks!

  29. Brooke Rosenblum says:

    So inspirational and divine! Bless bless

  30. danielle says:

    So lovely! You’ve done so much already! And those parks with the moss! Swoon!

  31. Ann Pomphrey says:

    It has been such a joy to follow you and your family on your journey!
    I began following you when you began your tour in yor gorgeous trailer. It has been a delight to know that you have found a home in the PNW~what a lovely spot to be in!
    Blessings as you settle in!!!

  32. Lisa S says:

    Perfect in every way. Such a great spot for an adorable family. Love the kitty in the carrier. Sweet souls you are.

    May peace and love follow you forever.

    Love,
    Lisa

  33. allison martin says:

    Welcome to Washington!!!! It’s so inspiring to see you guys get settled (I follow you on Instagram)… the northwest truly has a lot to offer in terms of beauty and the outdoors. I live in Seattle, but have been to bellingham many times… it’s a great area! Hope you continue to settle in and find beauty in the small things! It’s a treat to read and see!

  34. Claire says:

    Such a happy conclusion to this great story! I love how you aren’t afraid of the darkness in your images. So inspiring.

    Also, that turkey is a Jenny/hen, it’s a she! And they are super friendly–keep an eye out for her laying a clutch near the house in the Spring!

  35. Jessica says:

    Absolutely charming. I love it all. Every touch is perfect and I so appreciate you sharing your lives with all of us. Congratulations on this new adventure.

  36. Tami says:

    CONGRATULATIONS! I just Ooo and Aahh every time I read an update on your blog and see your wonderful photos. At 55 years of age, with grown children and grandchildren, I appreciate seeing young families living their dreams and loving life! Thank you for sharing this with us and may God continue to bless you!

  37. Julie Griffith says:

    Welcome to the NW! You’ll love it! I live in Marysville just about an hour or so south of you. I LOVE Bellingham and the surrounding area. You’re an inspiration through your lens and your life! I have to fully agree with you on the ‘thrifting’ in the NW. You’ll have tons of options esp. in B’ham!

  38. Jean Loper says:

    I’m so so so happy for you and your family. God is truly blessing you abundantly! Agape, Jean

  39. hill says:

    hooray! this is all so lovely and beautiful and real. love it. xoxo.

  40. lora says:

    everything looks so incredibly beautiful! not to mention warm and cozy and colorful and full of vintage treasures! you are so blessed! happy thanksgiving! God is so good. :)

  41. Nikala says:

    Oh my! What a dreamy home+property!! I just found you on instagram, so am enjoying your posts!

  42. Trish Reda says:

    Do you need a sister wife? If you do, call me first!

  43. Samantha says:

    Joy, I have loved following your family’s journey! I fidn great joy in seeing all your beautiful pictures on Instragram and I recently foudn your blog and I love it! You and your family are so inspirational. I feel like I have been blessed by getting the chance to have a tiny little glimpse into your beautiful life!

  44. melody says:

    oh joy it’s just so dreamy!!! i am so so happy for you family. you deserve every bit of this happiness!!! much love to you. keep shining bright xoxoxo

  45. Jessica says:

    What a dream. Your children are so lucky to have two loving parents that are providing such an amazing place for them to explore and imagine and grow! I love viewing your instagram feed every day and can’t wait to keep seeing more adventures in your new beautiful homestead. :)

  46. Gwen Moore says:

    How absolutely delightful. I am so grateful and thrilled for you and Donny and the kids to be in such a beautiful place. I always thought I would enjoy Washington state. I will miss you on my visits to L.A. I’ll have to figure out a work-around, but meanwhile I’m so grateful for the photos and your commentary. Double love–please give each other a hug from me.

  47. Lex says:

    I’m so jealous and so happy for you guys at the same time! Husband and I have been talking about a little farm land, and greater self-sustainability for a couple years too. Hopefully we can get out of debt in the next year, and then we’re on our way. Your pictures are so inspiring! Thanks!

  48. Kaila Dorlong says:

    I’m in Hawaii and just seeing these beautiful pics of the PNW is a treat! Your family is so lovely, and you have written a lot of inspirational messages in dealing with daily struggles that I have really appreciated. I was following you on Instagram, but it looks like you went private and now I will have to just check in on your blog – please write more often! You are really inspiring so many! Peace and happiness to you all!

  49. Jessa says:

    Joy, thanks for sharing your magical life. I am kind of jealous in a good way. I dream of living like this but you made it a reality. I thank God for you as you inspire me to keep living for God’s glory and keep trusting in Him for everything in life. I truly enjoy your photos and posting and hopefully one of these days I can attend your photo workshop. God bless and have a joyful thanksgiving.

  50. Lindsay says:

    Very happy for your family Joy! I’m finding this very inspirational right now. My husband and I have recently decided to transition out of the military and move to the PNW. It’s very scary to go from safe and predictable to totally unknown. It takes a lot of trust that God will provide for all our needs. Thank you for opening your life up!

  51. Debbie Nicholas says:

    Welcome to Washington. As I look around my own piece of property here, you remind me to see it again. SEE IT. Just like you are seeing your new home. Congratulations on your new home. I’m looking forward to seeing more pictures.

  52. Jenni says:

    It looks absolutely amazing! Thank you for sharing your life with us! God bless you!

  53. Rose Bailey says:

    So blessed! Have a beautiful Thanksgiving Day.

  54. Heather Ferguson says:

    You are SO inspirational, Joy. Thank you for letting us into your life. I enjoy your blog, photos and instagram! What a wonderful chapter in your life. So happy for you and your beautiful family. Your new place is MAGICAL! Sending lots of love to you & yours!

  55. gina says:

    awesome! happy thanksgiving to you and yours.

  56. CarrieAyn says:

    I cannot remember how I stumbled upon you, or through who, but I am so glad I did. Your story, your family, your experience, is all just so awesome. If we believe, it will happen. I look forward to watching your journey and can only hope we meet someday. ♥

  57. haverlee says:

    Yay!! So glad you posted! I’ve been off Instagram for a while and just missing all of your adorable faces and beautiful photos so badly! We found our own little homestead this week, here in Iowa, and put our suburbian house on the market today to move somewhere with room to run. I know there’s going to be a whole lot of craziness (in showing the house and moving) but I just feel like I’m following in your footsteps and I’m so excited! Only, at the house we’re hoping to buy, there’s a corn field nearby instead of a mountain. ;)

  58. Jessica says:

    There is something about your photos that just fills me with so much happiness. I live in BC and totally love it here too with all the amazing and gorgeous northwestness all around. Seeing your new home makes me pine for what I once had on Salt Spring Island here in BC. Although the house itself did not work well for my family, the property was awesome and I dreamed big of having chickens and a vegetable garden. It’s still something I hope for one day. For now I shall live vicariously through your instagram and blog :-P

  59. Liz says:

    My brother lives in Bellingham!!!!! I don’t think I can state this enough: I LOVE VISITING THAT PLACE and I get butterflies every time I go. Especially that park with the waterfalls. Oh lordy. What a wonderful life;)

  60. Andrea says:

    I have enjoyed so much following your life journey and I am excited to see what our Lord has in store for your family in this next adventure. Many blessings!

  61. Wendy says:

    It’s Thanksgiving morning, I just put the turkey in the oven and sat down with a cup of coffee to read your post … on the big computer, so I could enjoy your photos. What a beautiful story! Congratulations on your new home … may you all be blessed with many wonderful seasons there. Have a wonderfully Turkey Day! xox

  62. Paula says:

    Congratulations! It is so beautiful! Thank you and your family for sharing your adventures.

  63. Mau says:

    I follow you on IG and, while you were on the road, used to look forward to your daily photos because they gave me courage (and I also couldn’t stop sighing at the beauty of the places you visited). Seeing how you moved your whole family from the heat to such an incredibly beautiful place inspires me. We live on a very hot and dry (most of the year) island in the Mediterranean and dream of moving our family to a green, cold place. For now, at least, I can live my dream through you.

  64. Resi says:

    This looks like a great place to call home! And you made it feel so cozy in just such a short time, congrats on that! I know what it means to find a home for your family :) very happy for you and your people! Thanks for sharing with us and showing us pretty pieces of the PNW! Yay!

  65. Carie says:

    Wow it’s just so lush and gorgeous – I can see why it calls home!

  66. Melissa says:

    Your new place is amazing! Love that you jumped right in to start fixing things up. Your kids will love growing up there.

  67. Michelle Maddox says:

    Beautiful! A photographers paradise for sure with all those awesome textures of nature! I was going to recommend Alpine goats to add in your pasture. We have 7 of them and they are the sweetest. They are big goats, but sweet ones. You may like this site.. http://www.goatmilkstuff.com/ They make and sell soaps and lotions, but also raise and milk their own goats. She home schools her 8 children, all while running this very succesful business. She blogs about all things business, homeschool, & goats. Thought you might enjoy! God Bless!

  68. Ninie Pouce says:

    This new life and home look amazing, and your pics ! So lovely. Hope I will find my Home one day…

  69. Faith R says:

    I have enjoyed following your journey on Instagram – but this post is just SO beautiful!!!! You are such an amazing photographer and I’m totally inspired by this post. Thanks so much for sharing your living art even in the ups and downs. For everyone who might have something mean to say there are a hundred more who are inspired to stand up and get out of the rut and go find some beauty.

  70. katey says:

    I love your new home. I am excited for you and your family. I am looking forward to how it changes with the seasons. Bless you.

  71. Tia says:

    Thank you for sharing your sweet little family with us! You guys are doing it right! Keep it up :)

  72. Joye says:

    In AWE!!!! What breathtaking beauty you are surrounded by!! Your photos just feel so magical and ethereal! I LOVE seeing your kids run free with the mountains as their backdrop! And all the work and love you are putting into that place is just incredibly inspiring!! It looks so cozy and dreamy, Joy! I’m sooo happy for you all!!!

  73. Ayla says:

    So cool to see whatcom falls like this!! (:
    Can’t wait for the photos of chuckanut and fairhaven. You’re family is as adorable as always. The PAC NW looks good on you all.

  74. Erin says:

    This is amazing. I read it for inspiration. (Actually I tried to follow you on Instagram but it didn’t take). We are about to take plunge and move from Brooklyn to Washington. We have been visiting my cousin outside of Seattle for years and have been planning the whole year to go. It so finally time to make that drive. I love that area so much. You are so right about the thrifting too. All my favorite things have come from thrifting out there. And the beauty. I’m from Maine, here right now, and Washington is matched in beauty to Maine minus the cold cold weather. Anyway thanks for a final push to get a few things done before we do the drive. Truly inspiring. Change is coming. :)

  75. suzanne says:

    Lovely post! Great job fixing up the house! So happy for you guys!

  76. Kate @ Songs Kate Sang says:

    Oh, Joy! I’m so happy for you!

  77. MaryBet says:

    I love Washington too. Lived here all my life. Right now we live just down the road from you all in Conway which is between Mount Vernon and Stanwood. You really have brightened up that house. Love the kitchen and school room. Have fun with your new life and ENJOY!!!
    MB

  78. Melissa says:

    I love your new place. Cant wait to see what you do with it!

  79. kimmi says:

    your new home looks like a fairytale. I’m envious!

  80. Rachel says:

    i just love your new homestead and how you are making it so your own!!
    as soon as the Lord sells our home, our family is going to set out on a cross-country move from PA to Kansas and when i come here to your blog and see how you all have gone into so many unknowns and yet, you are embracing it and letting God guide you, it makes my heart so happy. it’s so good to know that God doesn’t call us to somewhere that is isn’t, because He is always everywhere and waiting for us to join Him!!
    thank you for sharing your world with us; your blog is truly one of my favorites!

  81. Adria says:

    That last photo! Amazing! Absolutely stunning! I guess I need to move to Washington! Thanks for sharing!

  82. elizabeth pellette says:

    Congratulations on your beautiful new home..

  83. rachel banek says:

    Hello Joy!
    I just discovered your amazing work and just wanted to say what an inspiration you are to me ( a hopeful photographer..one day!). Each of your photoshoots are adorned with such beautiful, crafty touches and each one tells a stunning story.
    Oh, and your house is AH-mazing! Hope you are enjoying this wonderful christmas season.
    much love from Canada,
    rach
    [ http://rbanek.blogspot.ca ]

  84. Salome says:

    Joy and Donny: It’s truly amazing what you’ve done, where you’ve been and now settled!!! The simplicity and beauty that surrounds you is breathtaking! I cannot express enough how happy I feel for you guys! Keep on dreamin’ on! You’re living it! I, too, long for and miss the simpler life I led for two years on the island of Crete, Greece many years back! Continue to enjoy and appreciate every moment of your life, as I know you will! Much love to your beautiful family! The Brands

  85. kristen duke says:

    SO beautiful, such beauty, indeed Can’t wait to hear more.
    Kristen Joy

  86. Rita says:

    Gorgeous photos! Just discovered your blog. Beautiful family! Will be stopping by often. I also have for kids, but all boys :) .

  87. Desiree White says:

    I am truly inspired..Me and my husband have also been dreaming and talking about living off the land and simplifying our lives. You are living our dream! I wish the best for you and your family and thank you for posting. Keeps me dreaming =)

  88. Amy says:

    oh wow. I’ve lived all over too, but Washington was the first place to feel like home for me. Reading your post and seeing your pictures just makes me want to cry, I miss it so much. Tulsa, OK just isn’t Washington. Hoping you find community and flourish in your new spot.
    Where are you? Looks like Carnation to me. xoxoxo
    Amy

  89. Amy says:

    oh and the Mercer Island Thrift Store is the bomb. Seriously.

  90. Hilary says:

    I hope you will post more pictures of your homestead soon! I’ve noticed so many updates on Instagram and I love every picture!

  91. Amy says:

    Holy moly!!!!!! Cannot believe such a beautiful perfect places exists let alone that you found it and that regular people can afford to live there! I will hold back my bitterness and be happy for you!

  92. emily says:

    So exciting Joy! I’m sure cold weather is quite a change for you, but it sounds so nice to me right now! It’s been in the 80′s here in So Cal and I’d like a little bit of winter :)

  93. { lydia } says:

    This post makes me happy!

  94. Charissa says:

    Just wanted to welcome you to Washington. I, stumbled upon your website today and was admiring your work. I, too, live here in WA and have a similar love for all the state’s mossy goodness and beauty. I also just have to comment that I have a new baby girl named Mabel. It brought a smile to my face to see your beautiful children and see another adorable little Mabel out there. Perhaps one day I will get to attend one of your workshops. In the meantime, if you are ever in need of a WA photo friend, please don’t hesitate to contact me! Best wishes to you and your family!

  95. Pamela Susan says:

    Joy–I just read through this post for the first time. I am so happy for you and your family. You’ve created a beautiful, enriched life for yourselves. Thank you for sharing such love and beauty with the world!

  96. sandi says:

    I’ve really enjoyed your blog and photos and share many things in common with our motherhood styles. I’m local to bellingham, raise dairy goats and four kids if you ever need help on farming and gardening just give a shout. Many blessings!

  97. amira says:

    I fall in love with your life family and everything
    So exciting!!been following you quite sometime,
    you inspired me to be super cool mom!

  98. noel says:

    i have not been following your journey, but this is gorgeous, and i am so very happy for you. what a magical land, i would miss the so cal beaches, but you sure got me thinking….:-)

  99. Elaine Vandiver says:

    What a great blog and wonderful post – I almost feel like I was there – you are a very talented writer, photographer and decorator (loved the kids room!!!). My husband and I just bought a property in Walla Walla, complete with old farmhouse and barn. We are calling it our homestead. So great to have found your blog, a fellow homesteader and Washingtonian! Cheers!!

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hello, i’m joy!  sunshine chaser, child of God, mama to four & wife to one good man.  we traveled all over looking for a place to call home and we found it.  we live a simple life out in the country with bare toes and happy hearts.

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