I’ve lived in Idaho 27 years now, and still the mornings take me back to my childhood.  Every summer we’d leave the miserable Missouri heat and come visit the grandparents in Idaho.

I’ll forever love the gorgeous Missouri thunderstorms, but the heat?  Not so much.  In Missouri if it’s hot during the day, it’s gonna be hot the whole darned night too.  Oh, it might cool off a few degrees.   But basically you wake up to the same tired humidity in the morning as you went to bed with the night before.   No one with an A/C would think of turning it off at night.  You’d melt into a puddle in your bedsheets.

Not so in Idaho.  It can be 100 degrees at 5PM in Idaho, but by midnight it can be down into the 60’s.  The mornings are dewy and crisp.  And the smell?  Amazing.   You walk out to get the mail and you know it’s a new day. I’ll never forget that waking-up-on-vacation feeling of our Idaho trips, stepping outside and glorying in that smell of fresh alfalfa hay blown in on fresh dewy morning breeze.  Each day was a new adventure.  Kittens to cuddle.  Haystacks to climb.   Cousins to visit with.  Grandparents to walk or have a tea party or go irrigatin’ with.

With so many hours spent delighting in Idaho, you’d think I would have been overjoyed when my parents decided we were moving to Idaho during the summer before my junior year of high school.  After all, most of my extended family lived in Idaho, including cousins that I adored. But no.  I was  profoundly miserable, to the depths of my soul in that way at which teenage girls excel.

The life that I cared most about was wrapped up in Missouri.  My friends.   My school.  After 8 years of private school, I was just finding my place in the huge public high school at which I’d been for two years.  It was the worst thing in the universe to imagine beginning again at a new school where I knew no one.

And yet to Idaho we came.  The Idaho with the lovely mornings and the many relatives and the strange high school where I ate lunch with my brother for two entire months, so desperate was I not to be alone in the strange newness.

And slowly, slowly, friends came.  First to my brother, who still graciously let me hang out with him until I found my bearing.  Later in the year to me.  Boys’ friendships are simpler, less complicated.  High school girls exist in a world of cliques and clothing and complications.  My junior year I floundered, barely getting by.   I pretended to be a chatterbox airhead, and was so fearful of being labeled a brain that I rarely answered questions in class. But I survived.

Senior year I was still an outsider, at least so I felt.  But part way through the year I met a guy, the first boyfriend that my parents actually liked.  A guy who always thought he would end up with someone not from Idaho.  Gradually, gradually, as that relationship flourished and grew and became the relationship in my life, I came to realize that change isn’t always bad.

That Idaho might offer something more than its crisp mornings and houses full of family on holidays.  That maybe this miserably painful change had been needed to move me to the next place in my life.   A place with new mornings and new love and new happiness.

A place I actually desperately wanted to be.

Even if I didn’t realize it that miserable day when the moving van pulled away from our old house so many years ago.


  1. Wow, how beautiful!

  2. I came across your blog totally by accident about 8 months or so ago. I don’t even remember how I got here, I just know that around the 4th of July(when you posted pictures of the “rally”) I realized we lived in not only the same state but the same city (we live on the outskirts of N also). I also realized why your name sounded so familiar. My youngest daughter briefly had a teacher in the first grade with the same last name (I don’t know if you are related or not-I just thought about it later).

    All that to say- that was the best description of Idaho I have ever read! I love it here. I grew up in S.Cal and moved here in the early 90’s. We moved to the midwest in 03 and a very gracious God brought us back here in 06. “Here” is where I consider home, though I’ve never heard it described so beautifully. Thank you for starting my day off right. =)


  3. God takes us from where we are to where he wants us to be. I, a Southern girl, could never have imagined meeting my Sweetness, a New York born, California raised boy, but after disastrous first marriages brought us both to Wisconsin, of all places, we’re sure that we’re exactly where we were meant to be. Much love to you, Mary.

  4. I miss Idaho! We live in Utah now, and during the summer, nights are so miserable! We didn’t need air conditioners in Idaho because as soon as the sun started to drop, the air cooled and you could open all your windows and relax!

  5. Shelly Roberts says:

    Love this! What a great reminder that change can be surprisingly wonderful!! 🙂 So glad God took you to Idaho and you met your man. 😉 Ya’ll are cultivating a wonderful legacy!