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Farewell to the Air Force

Well, after 24 years it’s Farewell to the Air Force. It’s been a part of our daily lives. More than just a job, it was a career, a lifestyle, an accomplishment, a burden…but it was never just a job. That’s the difference between a military career and a civilian career in my opinion and that’s what makes the last day in uniform bittersweet. Chris was the one in uniform but all of us were affected by his career more so than his current civilian job. And so here we are 24 years, 3 months, and 29 days later. We have grown up in the military, all of us. It has molded us, shaped us and forever changed us. 

The stats of a 24 year career:

1 year-long deployment

6 deployments

13 bases

14 moves

18 houses

In a previous post (https://missykuester.com/dear-air-force-had-it-not-been/ ) I shared that had it not been for all the Air Force gave us and took from us, all the adventures and the missteps, that we would not be who we are today. So, we say thank you. We have found our home in Utah and we’re gonna plant some deep roots here. Thank you for getting us here.

Years ago Magnum was asked to speak to a room of JROTC cadets at SHAPE American High School Dining Out. I snuck this recording so don’t mind that it’s not the best quality. I believe he said it best.

Air Force Thank Yous in the style of Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show:

https://youtu.be/K8bRDAJE23M

Dear Air Force, Thank you for 24 amazing years….

(First day to last day)

Haulin Kuester Acres log

Haulin Kuester Acres a year later

Wow! That year went fast. So let me refresh your memory. We closed on September 14, 2020, and this land officially became ours. We were all here until about October something and Chris returned to Washington to continue work. The boys and I stayed here and we had lots of visitors and achieved more than we imagined. The day after Thanksgiving we all returned to Washington. In April we returned to HKA and after a week of achieving even more, the boys and I returned to WA while Chris stayed here and began his internship with Vulcraft. Finally, on June 18th, we left Washington and returned to Haulin Kuester Acres for good.

A visual recount of all our accomplishments

Here’s a little reminder of all the changes we have made in the first year. Man, no wonder I’m tired.

You can see some of my previous posts about what it looked like in the beginning and projects we have taken on in the past year. 

https://missykuester.com/its-better-than-it-was-yesterday/

https://missykuester.com/haulin-kuester-acres/

https://missykuester.com/quirkiness-is-the-new-trend-in-todays-homes-inside-edition/

Enjoy this gallery of pictures. As we say, It’s better than it was Yesterday.

Lamp post before

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This lamp was not connected to electricity and there was a solar light stuck in the top of it.

Thank you!

A big thank you to all our family and friends for the labor you have provided, your ideas, your visits, your laughter, and your joy. Thank you for those who have prayed us through this process and will continue to encourage us. We’re excited to see what’s next…

What is next?

We have met with a draftsman for a house plan

Plans for a new garage

Refurbishing the front gates so they can be used

Finish the pump house and add a water filtration system

Finish the RV pad so it is useable this next year

Electricity to the Jeep Barn

Tear out more shrubs

Put down gravel

Work on the inside…too many things to mention

My soul Sings sunrise

My Soul Sings

Ever since we bought this farm, I have tried to describe the feelings I get. Not too long ago, I talked about my daily walks along what I call The Prayer Road. See my post https://missykuester.com/walking-the-prayer-road-each-morning/.  This morning as I walked and listened to music, a song came on that probably best describes my feelings. It is a song by Maverick City Music called My Soul Sings (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNIMIUtz9OE). The lyrics struck me:

I feel Your goodness on the mountain
And I saw Your love down in the valley
And Your grace still surrounds me
God You’ve been good to me
Yes You’ve been good to me .
And my soul sings
My soul it sings

Instantly I knew that was the emotion I had been feeling all along

Psalms 108:2 

Arise, my soul, and sing his praises! I will awaken the dawn with my worship, greeting the daybreak with my songs of light. (TPT: The Passion Translation)
I’m grateful that right now my routine is to wake up, have a cup of coffee and then walk in the morning. It gives me time to reflect and set my mind on being joyful and intentional. Then I get to work. This routine may change in the coming months but for now, I will awaken the dawn with my worship for My Soul Sings with joy, goodness, and thanksgiving.

What do you think?

Consequently, I have contemplated creating a devotional based on this farm. It would be short observations I have here on the farm. Think anyone would be interested?

 

 

 

Air Force

Dear Air Force: Had it not been

Dear Air Force,

Where to begin? How do I put into words how I feel at the end of a 24-year relationship that brought some of the best experiences but also some of the hardest moments? I can remember feeling excited and exhilarated but I can’t ignore all the times you made me feel scared and alone. Had it not been for the highs and lows, I wouldn’t have learned what I have.

Lamenting and thanksgiving

Honestly, I wrote and rewrote this post a dozen or more times. I just couldn’t find all the words nor the right ones. A couple of versions sounded too angry and I don’t want to bow out now with anger. My friend Ashley is a minister and preached many sermons on lament. See her sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vv7UxeFzbcU  The Bible has a whole book of Lamentations, prayers of anguish calling out in faith. Part of walking in faith is lamenting. Job lamented. Even Jesus wept. I realize now that had it not been for the lamenting, thanksgiving would not have followed. With pain, disappointment, sorrow, chaos comes praises of thanksgiving in the morning. Therefore, I find thanksgiving in the ‘had it not been’ statements.

Had it not been

Had it not been for Chris washing out of pilot training, he never would have crossed trained into Airfield Management. That career change opened up many opportunities for us. We never returned to a previous duty assignment or location which was a good thing.

Had it not been for his year-long remote to South Korea, I never would have discovered just how strong I really am. I met some of my dearest friends during this time. Even though it was a really hard time, I found out what I was made of. A sweet reward of this remote was that we were handed an assignment to Germany!

Had it not been for The War on Terrorism and living in a foreign country, I would not have experienced childbirth with three of my closest friends. This was by far the scariest thing I have ever gone through. It is a barometer by which I measure all the hard things in my life thereafter. I thought I was strong from that year-long remote, but this made me stronger.

Had it not been for all the moves, I wouldn’t have friends around the world. The friends we have collected are by the far the greatest treasure we have gained.

Had it not been for all the deployments, I never would have known who Missy Kuester is when she is alone. Over the years, I have spent a lot of time alone and I like my own company.

Had it not been for Oklahoma, Germany, and Delaware, I would not have my three sons.

Had it not been for all the places we lived, I couldn’t share those experiences with others. I can say definitely that I have lived there and known what it’s like. I’ve lived in other cultures and with people not like me. It makes me a better human. See my previous post about the exciting life my kids have lived, https://missykuester.com/reasons-i-dont-want-you-to-feel-pity-for-my-military-kids/.

Had it not been for assignments to Germany and Belgium and South Korea, we wouldn’t have traveled and seen places some people only dream of. I have sailed the fjords of Norway, stayed in a home given to General Patton near Normandy, and experienced the 70th-anniversary activities. I have stood on battlegrounds, been to Paris, gone in a boat in the canals of Amsterdam, Venice, and Switzerland. I have eaten whale, reindeer, and a lot of weird stuff in Korea. The experiences are too numerous to list here but I treasure them all.

Had it not been living away from our families, I wouldn’t have been able to show them the world and our beautiful country.

Had it not been for the 7 deployments, I would have never experienced the homecomings

Had it not been for all the goodbyes, I never would have had the hellos.

Had it not been for all the heartache and loss, I never would have known how truly blessed I am.

Had it not been for the Lamenting I wouldn’t have Praises of Thanksgiving.

Who holds the future

When I started this blog, my friend Angie asked me what I wanted to write about. She asked if I wanted to write a military blog. My answer was a resounding, “No!” As I explained to her, I want to be something other than a military wife. It has defined me for the past 24 years. It is time to be someone else. I don’t yet know who that will be but I’m looking forward to meeting her. I don’t know exactly what the future holds but I know who holds the future.

It’s been an honor.

It’s been hard.

I believe those two statements best describe our years as a military family and go hand in hand with one another. I’m glad we did it but I’m glad it’s over. I’m tired.

So, to you, Dear Air Force, thank you, for making me who I am. While you didn’t always live up to your end of the bargain, I know I gave you everything I had. 

Thank you Air Force, had it not been for you my life would be profoundly different but in the end I wouldn’t change a thing.

Now, off we go into the Wild Blue Wonder…….

 

 

 

Utah house in winter

Quirkiness is the new trend in today’s homes: Inside Edition

Watch any home show on HGTV and you will see decorators using today’s hottest trends to remodel, update or create new homes. The only problem is that there isn’t one on the quirkiness of a home and how to embrace it or turn it into the hottest new trend. Where is that show? What Joanna Gaines did for shiplap, I could do for quirkiness. That’s the show I need. I may just have to embrace the quirkiness of our old house. Truthfully, we may have to gut the entire thing and start over. What quirks, you ask? Let’s look at some of the quirkiness things we discovered. But promise me you’ll abide by our farm rule. You are not allowed to ask why things are the way they are. We just don’t have the answers.

Quirkiness or Character

Oxford Languages defines quirk as “characterized by peculiar or unexpected traits.” That would definitely describe our house. However, Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines quirky as “unusual in especially an interesting or appealing way.” https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quirky  Our house is interesting but not necessarily appealing. 

Stairs to Quirkiness

Let’s start at the stairs because it’s fascinating to me. At some point, the owner diverted the stairs. According to the last owner, the house was two living units at one time with the stairs running up along the exterior wall of the house. Later, they turned the stairs to come out to its existing spot but left the old stairs. It is currently a closet in what used to be a foyer but then became a bedroom and is now a room in question. Are you following? This spring we are going to open the wall up and see if we like the original route of the stairs.

New stairs going up

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Can you find the water heater?

With everything, I am sure that at the time it was the best option. Now, it just perplexes me. Somehow I didn’t get a great picture of our living room. Our hot-water heater sits in a closet in our living room. Everyone notices it because it’s that quirky. The goal is to relocate it because we want to tear down the adjacent wall. But in order to move the heater, we have to move it to the other side of the wall in what will be the laundry room. To do step C, we have to do steps A and B.

It won’t always be like this, right?

This entire room is full of quirkiness. We will remove the carpet to see what is underneath. The whole back wall needs to be redone. The “bay” window is three different size windows. Behind the curtain is the world’s ugliest sliding glass door. As we understand it, the original kitchen was here which would explain some things. 

back living room
You can see the edge of the hot water heater closet to the left of the couch

While we are in this room, look up. Let’s see if we can get one light for this small room instead of four. It will require moving the fake beams and the ceiling that seems to be lower than the rest of the room. Quirky!

Living room ceiling
These beams are probably decorative. But what is more troublesome is the many light fixtures. This will be rectified once we figure this room out.

Goodbye awkward Sauna

While a sauna sounds like a good idea, we found the one attached to the back of our house to be dangerous. It was close to setting the whole place on fire. The wiring was questionable. And as you can see the only creatures using it were the birds. It was ugly as well and was not appeasing. It had to go.

Goodbye awkward, quirky sauna! It looks so much better.

sauna1

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A better solution for storage in eaves

I appreciate that someone removed the knee walls of the attic to make the bedrooms larger. My quandary is what to do with that space. Thank God for Pinterest and all the amazing ideas I have pinned. https://www.pinterest.com/  

Here is our current situation upstairs in two of the bedrooms.  I have included ideas of what to do with the space.  Also, can you spot the hidden hatch in the floor? That secret storage may very well be the reason the ceiling is so low downstairs. We shall see!

This website has a lot of great ideas as well for building dressers into the space. I really like these ideas for added storage.. https://diyprojects.ideas2live4.com/knee-wall-storage-dresser/

Closets where all the answers to why are stored

We obviously need to rethink this situation. Here is a fine collection of our closets:

upstairs closet. The second smaller door is what was the original attic access

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Windows

We need all new windows but that will be one of the last projects along with exterior work. But this one window is always the subject of dinner conversations. It’s two storm windows used to make one window. You promised not to ask why!

Window
A double-pane window? I don’t think so. ©missykuester.com

Adventures in quirkiness

There is a long list of things that aren’t quite right but this blog only has so much room. I will include and explain the wall we took down in another post.

This can all be fixed. When we change things it gives us a sense of accomplishment. One day this blog will show us how far we’ve come. Thanks for following along and not asking why.

In the meantime, revisit some of my past blogs on Haulin Kuester Acres. https://missykuester.com/renovation-update-outbuildings/ Next time we will talk about the quirks of the outside. 

Haulinkuester house

Haulin Kuester Acres

Happy New Year! We are excited about 2021. I wanted to update all of you on our farm. Ideally, I consider it a hobby farm as we don’t plan on using it for large farming or animals. As a family, we decided to name it Haulin Kuester Acres. It was the name all 5 of us could agree on. You offered many amazing suggestions. We felt this best reflected our homestead and would maybe help people remember the correct pronunciation of our last name.  Thank you for sharing in our enthusiasm and watching along.  Due to weather and other commitments we are not currently undertaking any projects until the weather improves. Also, we currently maintain two households so fiscally we are trying to be responsible.

Please check out our Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/haulinkuesteracres.  And if this is your first time here please read our last renovation update on this blog: https://missykuester.com/renovation-update-outbuildings/

Additionally, my talented sister, Larissa designed our logo. We wanted a logo that could stand on its own but also be identifiable and unique. She accomplished that. Next up will be to get some swag with our new logo. 

Haulin Kuester Acres Logo
Haulin Kuester Acres logo created by Larissa ter Veer ©missykuester.com

In my next blog post, find out the reason you are not allowed to ask “Why?” on Haulin Kuester Acres.

Farm at sunrise

What’s in a farm name

Recently, I went to my Facebook audience to crowdsource names for our new farm in Utah. I was blown away by the suggestions. Quite frankly, you are all very creative. I wanted to document the name decision so here is the process, chronicled for years to come. It’s not easy to pick the perfect farm name.

Round One

This is the initial list we got from Facebook:

Kuester Acres

haulinkuester Acres

The Best is Yet to Come

Next Chapter Farm

Prayer Walk/ Road

Stars and Stripes

Rocking M Farm

Condiment Farm

M and M Farm

New Journey

Kamp Kuester

Kuester Corral

A Wing and a Prayer

Kozy Kuester Kabin

Princess Missy Farm

M Squared Ranch

Scrabble Ranch

Muddy Paws Ranch

Kuester Kingdom

After AF Farm

Kuester Retreat

Beautiful Acres

Chez nous

Greener Pastures

Places des Grand Hommes

Magnum Way

Black Dog Fields

Magnum Acres

Where the Pavement Ends Farm

Where the Road Ends Farm

The Haven

Kuester Krossing

Wabatucky West

Mis Mag + 3 Farm

The Destination

Kind Kuester Korner

Omega Alpha Acres

Kilo 5 Ranch

Wallis-Frome-Kuester Farm

End of the Line Farm

The Open Commissary

Hallelujah Hollow

Delilah Downs

Magnum Manor

Missy’s Family Farm

New Beginnings

Kuester Homestead

Haulin Farms

End of the Road Farm

Delilah’s Boys’ Farm

Delilah’s Farm

Road’s End Farm

Flying K

Lazy K

Crazy K

Magnum Farm

Answered Prayers

Rest Your Kuester Farm

Where my Kuester Farm

Wonderland

Topshelf Farm

Kuester Downs

Kuester Hole

Green Acres

Pretty Acres

Peaceful Valley

My 3 Sons

Joyful Acres

Kickin’ Kuester Farm

Hidden Treasures

Kick in the Kuester

Kuester Ranch

Fly Over Farm

Golden Acres Retirement Home

M+M Family Farm

Permission to Land Farm

The Forever Homestead

The Sanctuary

New Chievres

It Ain’t Wabash

Delilah’s Playground

Delilah’s Ranch

Red Devil Pastures

Destination Acres

Wild Blue Yonder

Final Flight Plan

Flight Plan

Kuester Korner

Mountain Ridge

Done haulin Farm

Kuester Lane

New Life Farms

Circle K Farms

Aim High Farm

Nua Farms

That Last Stop Farm

Sit on your Kuester Farm

ChrisMis Farm

Lazy M Ranch

Kuester Horizon Estate

DD-214 Acres

Retired Homestead

Rustic Kuester Ranch

Missy’s Meadows

Place for Kuesters

Delilah’s Family Farm

The Lord’s Bounty Farm

Test and Peaceful Farm

Thanksgiving Farm

The Forever Home and Farm

Kuester’s Resting

Dirty Kuester Ranch

Heaven Homestead

Water Well Acres

Lost in time Farm

Three Magnums Farm

Hoosierville

Almost Wabash

Kuester Kurve Farm

Secondhand Farm

LaVraie Montagne

The World’s End

Where the Pavement Ends Farm

Red Devil Acres

Round Two:

This is what is left after the first cut of names:

Kuester Acres

Wild Blue Yonder

haulinkuester Acres

haulin farm

End of the Road Farm

New Beginnings Farm

Kuester Homestead

Next Chapter Farm

Circle K Farm

Aim High Farm

The Last Stop Farm

Where the Road Ends Farm

Where the Pavement Ends Farm

Kuester Korner

Round Three:

We lost some good ones…

Kamp Kuester

Kuester Corral

Flying K

ChrisMis Farm

Kuester Ranch

Fly Over Farm

Permission to Land Farm (bar name)

M squared Ranch (Math!)

Muddy Paws Ranch

Greener Pastures

Kuester Retreat

Kuester Krossing

Omega Alpha Acres

Done haulin Acres

Wild Blue Yonder Acres

haulin Farm

End of the Road Farm

Circle K Farm

Aim High Farm

Where the Road Ends Farm

Final Approach Farm

haulinkuester Acres

Flying K Farm

ChrisMis Farm

Fly Over Farm

Permission to Land Farm (Bar name?)

Final Flight Plan Farm

Stay tuned as we dwindle down more names on our way to finding the perfect name for our farm. And thank you for helping!

Before renovation

Restoration Update #1: From the Inside

We still haven’t named our farm/ranch so for now it’s just Our Place.  What is the difference between a farm and ranch? https://www.land.com/buying/difference-between-farm-and-ranch/  According to this article our 7.5 acres with no current animals or crops is a farm. Don’t tell Delilah, the dog as she considers herself a ranch dog. So, we’ll keep stewing on that name for our farm.

Our house was originally built in 1908 in Logan, Utah but at some point, it was moved to its current location. If I had to guess, it is a kit home. http://www.searsarchives.com/homes/1908-1914.htm

So here is our first Renovation Update: From the Inside.

Don’t judge a house by its crappy vinyl siding

In the Cache Valley, it’s hard to find a house with land. This was a unique piece of property but it ain’t pretty. We have grand plans down the road. When we move in permanently in July 2021, we will hire an architect or engineer to tell us if the house is worth remodeling or if we should start over. For now it’s liveable.

People asked for pictures of the inside. Here are some. Excuse my photo gallery, it’s not perfect either.

 

Thanks for following along. I hope you’re in for the long haul.

 

 

 

 

Utah house in winter

When God plans it, you can’t stop it

I’m a praying woman. But I haven’t always prayed expecting my prayers to be answered. I know that makes me an imperfect Christian but it makes me human. Several months ago when Magnum and I started talking about our plan when he retires from the Air Force in July 2021 I began to pray. I began to pray to settle on a certain town, area, or state. Then, I prayed for opportunities and doors to be opened. In addition, I prayed for jobs and housing. I prayed for God’s will but I failed to specify a time. They say timing is everything but God’s timing is not predictable. Opportunity knocks when you are doing something else. But I know this, with His timing comes his provisions. When God plans it, you can’t stop it.

If I could buy this place I would

Spring Break of 2019, Magnum was deployed. I decided to drive with Kid #2 and #3 to see Kid #1 in Logan, Utah. T is a student at Utah State. It’s our favorite place to visit and where his brothers wanted to go for the week. I rented a house, saw lots of friends in the area, got a surprise visit from one of my best friends, and cried when I had to leave to return to Washington. I felt a strong sense of home.

Fast forward, Magnum returned home in October and we decided we would go back to Utah for Thanksgiving. It’s been our tradition. Instead of staying at a hotel, it’s more economical to stay in an Air B&B. I selected a place in the country. It was advertised as a quaint farm. It would allow all of us to have a room so it was perfect and cheaper than a hotel.

While staying at the house, it snowed 8 inches overnight. We were surprised to wake up to no electricity and find out we were snowed in. But it was like being in a winter wonderland. If I didn’t need to get out to go to dinner with family, I could have stayed snuggled up in the house. I posted a picture on Facebook and jokingly said, “If I could buy this place I would.”

If God brings you to it, He’ll get you through it

Fast forward again to July 2020. We had big summer plans but then Covid-19 happened. So, we salvaged what we could and decided to go camping in Utah, the Cache Valley. On the way, we stopped at our friends, the Hughes near Council, Idaho. They have a beautiful place. Sitting on their porch watching the sunset made me ache for a place of my own.

We made our way to the Logan, Utah area and set up our camper in a campground. I then received an email from Kurt, the owner of the farm we stayed at the previous Thanksgiving. In March, I had told him that if he ever considered selling we would be interested. At the time, he had someone interested but their financing fell through. The very day we arrived, he offered it to us.

I immediately said yes and arranged to meet up with his wife. We had to pass her approval process first. In the meantime, we continued to look at other places just in case. After we met her and she approved, the process went rather quickly. We made an offer, they countered and at the end of the day, we agreed on a price.

We returned to Washington and finished the process with the assistance of our realtor, Johnnie. All along the way, things just worked out. We had some hiccups but I kept remembering the phrase, “If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.”

Utah House first day
This is us in front of our house on the day we closed. ©missykuester.com

Immeasurably more

Many people talk about the struggle to decide where they will retire after a long military career. When I prayed that prayer, I forgot how our God can respond; immeasurably more than we can imagine. I love Priscilla Shirer, author, preacher, and speaker. She talks about praying big prayers. We sell God short when we don’t pray bigger.

That’s why I am so content. I was along. For the next several months, we will divide our time between Washington and Utah. It is scary to think we will need to maintain two households. But I am certain that God will provide, He always does. 10 years previous to this, we owned a house in Delaware. Times were tough but we were certain we wanted to sell our house when we relocated to Texas. The house did not sell by the time we left and sat empty for nearly a year. All that time, we lived on less and paid a mortgage and a rental. God provided and He’ll do it again.

A change of address but an unchanged God

It is a season of big changes. We are taking them in stride. There are still a lot of unknowns but we are certain we are where we are supposed to be. We have a change of address but an unchanged God. God’s plans are unmistakable and they work out, you can’t stop them. Man, I’m so glad I rented this place for Thanksgiving. It gave us a chance to try it on for size. I’m also grateful that we live 13 hours away; we never could have done this living across the country. We have a lot of work ahead of us and big plans but God is in it. We’ll pass along our address with due time. Watch for updates on here, Facebook, and Instagram.

We are contemplating names for the ranch/farm, so stay tuned. Please leave a comment with name ideas.

https://www.explorelogan.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cache_Valley

Although our address is Amalga, we are closer to Smithfield. Our address is interchangeable.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amalga,_Utah

https://www.bestplaces.net/city/utah/smithfield