If you’ve spent much time with me, chances are you’ve joined me on a hike.  You might even be one of the lucky ones who trekked to see a water fall and ended up sharing a dramatic helicopter rescue, saved a frostbitten dog in a wolf trap, hiked to the top of a Hawaiian volcano and gazed at a neighboring volcano covered in snow, rescued a heat stroke victim, frantically dodged wild cows, discovered the mother lode of blueberry patches or enjoyed one of the hundreds of amazing experiences I’ve had while hiking.  I’m a nature fanatic and can’t think of many things I enjoy more than trekking out in the middle of it!

 Three years ago a couple of trail masters invited us to join them on an epic hike.  They were enthusiastic and experienced and we were honored to join them.  They carefully studied the trail and planned the expedition; we came alongside to help carry the load of supplies necessary for such a journey.  We had just completed our first breathtaking pass when one of our partners terribly twisted his ankle.  He could have tried to continue on, but the strain and weight on the rest of the team would have been detrimental to the mission, and the continued damage to his body could have rendered it irreparable.  So he made the difficult choice to turn back and seek medical care.  Come to find out, his ankle was weak because of a chronic infection, and if he had not wisely sought treatment he may have lost his leg or possibly his life.

  We were not angry, nor did we take the unexpected turn of events personally; we were grateful that his health was restored, and we saw God’s hand in the timing- a little while later his family suffered tremendous tragedy and his renewed strength was vital to carry them.  Nevertheless, we found ourselves feeling rather alone in unfamiliar territory, not knowing if we should also pack up and return home or continue on.  As we cleared the trail and kept camp, praying and waiting on God for an answer, dozens of fellow sojourners passed through, many of them needing a dry tent and warm food for a few days, weeks or months as they recovered from trail weariness and injuries.  We had purchased more provisions then we needed for ourselves, so we freely shared.

Priceless lessons were learned and precious relationships formed during this season, but the question has remained: is this how we are to use our resources of time, money and energy?  We no longer need all these tents and equipment; the journey planned for has been cancelled.  This was a surprise to us, but not to God.  As we have faithfully kept camp, the burden has increased-Scott is traveling further and longer foraging, fewer travelers have needed respite and I am weary of the required upkeep by myself. After a long season of waiting, we feel it’s time to pack up and continue pursuing the pilgrimage we began six years when we physically and theoretically left home- the amazing tundra town where I was born and raised and where we abundantly lived life the first twenty years of our marriage.  Our people, our past, our comfort zone.  There are several paths before us and they each have obstacles to overcome, but we are full of peace because we have learned to stay close to the Trail Maker- He has always faithfully illuminated our steps.  I’m a Jesus fanatic and I can’t think of a better way to live then trekking alongside Him!

I have struggled for months trying to figure out how to share my story with you without over burdening you with details and emotion.  I hope these five-hundred-ninety-nine words sufficed.  There are many factors that have made sharing this news very difficult, mostly because the whole idea of leaving this beautiful farm and the dreams it represents is painful.  And my pride flinches at the criticism I know some may have towards our zig zag life- but I have come to see that God rarely leads His people on a straight path.  Mountains are usually traveled via switchbacks; flat, straight paths are for the cozy and complacent- I am no longer satisfied there.

It’s been a challenge and a privilege to share my experiences and open my heart to you the last few years.  Thank you for reading and the encouragement, prayers and friendship you have graciously extended to me and my family.  I am feeling led to begin writing about some of the deeper lessons that have been cultivated during this Thirsty Goose Farm season of life.  I have needed the perspective and wisdom that required time, distance from the experiences and sitting quietly with Jesus.  This will be an important part of my next season- wherever that happens to be.  I’m excited and nervous and covet your prayers for my family.  And if you know of anyone who needs a seven bedroom “tent” with fruit trees, berry bushes, nut trees, grape vines, herbs, flowers, oodles of developed garden beds and silly, spoiled birds to entertain them, please send them our way!

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Olive and her boys
Me and My boys- PC Deby Aho
Our beautiful daughters- PC Deby Aho
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sweet potato harvest from just 3 plants!
why the clothesline??!!
My Mr Wonderful- PC Deby Aho

23 Replies to “Switchback”

  1. Visiting the camp is great, but the camp owners much greater! Much love & blessings in the road ahead. You treated us sojouners well. Thank you.

  2. There is joy in the journey and although hiking sometimes yields scratches and scrapes from thorns, branches and rocks, it also yields refreshment and wonders from streams, flowers and berries.
    Love you much and so glad you are writing again.

  3. I so love the imagery you used to tell your story. It has been an adventure full of risk, faith and challenge and you have followed faithfully in obedience and love. Ive been so blessed with your stories and the way you reveal the raw and the real. Im so thankful to have been a little oart of your story. Ill always remember the motherload of blueberries patch and our deep conversations and ill never forget the stranger that made tons of gf food for a scared little boy when he made his first trip to the last frontier. I love you my friend and so exxited for this next season.

    1. Thank you for your writings Lalena …was hoping to come visit and work alittle with You n Scott 😊 Keep us posted as we want to meet up with you all …
      If ever in Redding, you are welcome here anytime :)!! Keep in touch !

  4. Wow! I love your hearts. A grand sense of adventure. I for one am glad that you share your journey with us. May the Wind be at your back.

  5. May God grant you special wisdom and grace. Sorry to see the parable end this way. May he guide you and show you all of the reasons. I will be praying for a buyer for the farm.

    David P Wilson


    1. We’ll be praying for you! You definitely need to keep writing!!! Blessings and peace for the next part of your journey!

  6. You definitely have a way with words, we would enjoy your beautiful story no matter how long or short you made it. It’s good to share your heart, we will pray for you during this difficult transition. Your farm sounds lovely, I wish we could have visited. I will think of who might be interested in it and pass information along.
    Do you have any idea where your trail maker is leading you next??? So excited for this next journey!!!
    Looking forward to your next writings, your faith and obedience are an inspiration to many.
    Hugs and peace sweet friend,

  7. Dearest Lalena, I am ALL FOR YOU!!!

    Go back to HOME. I am ecstatic to hear this. It feels good and right ,and all along I was hoping at some point you would head back.

    Well done!

    Nothing is in vain. Hard, hard, hard work requires a season of restoration. Writing a book and being still sounds just wonderful for you. I will buy that book for sure!

    Don’t listen to anyone’s negativity or opinions or judgements. Your heart is telling you the truth. If you are having a rough time in the process, just shoot me a message saying you need prayer.

    It is God’s will that a husband and wife be together. It is God’s will that a season of rest follows a season of hard, hard labor, victories and heartache, endless battles, and glorious serving, and missing your hubby…… and carrying the burden yourself. I am thrilled at the thought of you having a good, long rest from your labors and just BE-ing.

    So proud of you, so in awe of you, and so in support of your decision! Yipeeeeee! God works all things together for good!

    Alaskan blueberries and Salmon and all the other things you have written about longingly (I could hear it!) are all going to be yours again. Soon!

    I love you and am cheering for you! Shellie


  8. I have always loved you guys. I have always loved your writing. I have always loved your maturity. But I have been burdened during your stay on this Farm and the Myriad of things that went wrong. My spirit feels lighter when I think of you now as you move on, being a fanatic for Jesus, and finding where he leads you next. Thanks for your Witness. Hi to your neat hubby. Love, Rob

    Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.

  9. Lelana and Scott, having been in your situation , I know the frustration of seeing a vision die. I believe you handed me the article about that very subject. I still remember what it said. Some visions have to die in order to resurrect Gods new path for your life. It said a lot more but as I encounter loss that statement encourages me to move forward. I’m excited for you and your family as you move into this new season. I know it’s a cliche but God is on the move and you guys get to be part of it. Still praying that the right family or ministry will come along and buy your place. What a gift that will be for someone…love you guys. Keep me posted, Cheryll

  10. Thanks for sharing. I have found that my life has never been a straight path. But, when I look back I can see why God took me places for seasons. Years ago my life plans were not going as I had planned and Ben sat me down and said it is OK to change your mind and your path. You don’t need to be stuck in one direction forever. That was some of the most liberating advice I ever received. Because ultimately, I am the one living my life and it is OK for me to live it freely and fluidly. To go where I feel God is calling me to be.

  11. Lalena ~ I love reading about your life, faith, and family! Your story has that common thread of always being willing to be right where God wants you, when He wants you there! ❤️

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