The Downtown Chapter for a Free-Range Family

Our free-range lifestyle is on pause for right now, and a downtown chapter is unfolding. I’m writing this at the beginning of our newest chapter. Last month, we were living a life that we had intentionally set up for our boys to grow and thrive. Country living is not realistic for us at this time. We had, however, created simple free-range/minimalist kind of lifestyle that prioritized time together and time in the dirt and in nature bug hunting, bird watching, and gathering sticks and leaves.

The Storm that Upended our Tree and Lives

Then at the end of August, we had a 60-year-old oak tree come thundering into the middle of our home at 9 pm. Ironically we chose this home for the beautiful trees that were on the property. Rain poured into the house and soaked our home for 7 hours. (You can read the full story here)

We left the home that night, but it was declared uninhabitable the next day by our insurance company. The week that followed made it clear the repair process wouldn’t last weeks, but rather months. We would need to find temporary housing.

Photo of Elizabeth and her boys at Hall's Pizza downtown
Outing to Hall’s Pizza

How the Downtown Chapter opened

The market in Oklahoma City is such that there aren’t a lot of homes open for 3-month leases. The only way to get a place of our own was to choose an apartment. We had a couple of house options but they didn’t have the space we needed or highway access to Joseph’s job.

People live in apartments all over the world, and we want to know what it’s like. Joseph and I moved into that house the week we were married and missed the chapter of newlywed apartment life. We immediately recognized potential problems for apartment living with two small boys. This made us determined to find a location that would have high walkability.

Our Long-Term Staycation

Since we already live minimally we had a lot of options on what we could pivot into. In the end, we decided not to try to replicate our previous life. We are embracing a different life and experience altogether.

Over the last 12 years, OKC’s downtown is exploding. There is no way we can keep up from where we living in the city. We’ve fallen behind in exploring and getting to know our city. Moving downtown we are within walking distance of so many things to do. Our hope is that walking will wear out our two busy boys. We can’t help but hope with how different it is here that it will keep us from feeling homesick. It already seems that our downtown chapter is making time go by more quickly.

Stay True to your Roots

While we are here we plan to stay true to our roots. I’ve already purchased some plants for our balcony, and the sandbox at the Myriad Gardens is their favorite. I dress them in adorable outfits to go out and the come back covered in paint from the library, and dirt from every little stop along the way. They know where to look to have fun. I’ve already discovered a couple of patches of wild sunflowers between our apartment and the streetcar stops.

Bloom Where You’re Planted

I know it is cliche, but the words I am living by are “Bloom Where You’re Planted”. So many things have been taken away, but if I focus on my dead gardens, my torn up house, and displacement, I would be miserable.

I don’t know what the purpose of this part of our story is, but I do know that we have a God who is working all things for good. Having that hope empowers me to look for the good in my own life. To notice the blessings, and even to work to build good back into my own story!

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