Since January 1st, we’ve been having daily, family scripture discussions. With three teenagers, they get pretty interesting. (Ahem…what is circumcision, Mom?) Last night, we philosophised about how one personal choice can ripple down and affect generations. It’s a pretty scary thought. No pressure or anything, but which kindergarten teacher your child gets could alter their entire life.

This brings me to my point.

My husband is the veterinarian in our small town. Before he came, there hadn’t been a vet here in a couple of years. Everyone had to drive to the next county over…and they didn’t like that. When we arrived and ever since, I have heard hundreds of people say, “I’m so glad y’all moved back here. I just love Dr. Auten.” Or some form of that.

Here’s the thing though: Neither he nor I deserve the credit.

After we moved away for vet school, we weren’t planning on coming back. It was nice to be off on our own and we loved living up by Virginia Tech. LOVED. I cannot stress this enough. The rolling green hills, the elementary school, our church, Target, Chick-Fil-A, Barnes and Noble, the recreational activities available, my brother’s awesomely fun family fifteen minutes away…

It was pretty much perfect.

But there was a hitch in our plan.

A tiny little blonde, dimpled hitch.


She didn’t want to stay. Everyone else was perfectly happy. And even she was happy. She loved living by her cousins. But not a day went by when she wouldn’t remind me of the 300 acres we’d left behind and how much she loved running through the fields, swimming in Grandma’s pool, eating Grandpa’s ice cream. Not a day. She prayed for and she lived for us to return.

At one point, I realistically told her, “You can stop praying to move back. We’re never going back.”

I mean, we visited all the time but moving back? No thanks. We liked our new adventure. Our new town.

Emma still would not relent. She gently persisted, reminding me daily that we may all be happy there but she would settle for nothing less than the farm. I felt bad for her. She was dreaming for something that wasn’t to be.

And then my dad died…

After his funeral, humbled and heartbroken, I knew in my soul that we were supposed to come home to the farm and start a practice. Nothing had felt that right in a very long time. I’d been kidding myself; we belonged on the farm.

Dang it if a little girl hadn’t known better than me.

When we told the kids they were so excited. Emma smiled victoriously.

And didn’t I feel like a fool?

It had never occurred to me that maybe she knew deep in her soul. Looking back, I know she did.

Here’s the scary thought? What would’ve happened if we hadn’t made the choice to come home?

I’ll tell you what. We would’ve missed out on a thousand wonderful things—helping my mom, opening a practice, our sweet church here, acres of room to run and never worry that my kids might get kidnapped, four wheelers, baby deer, four dogs, a cat,chickens and a rooster, a dream home, Addy’s amazing school, all the friends my kids have made, and getting to know all the people that I’d lived near and never even met. I know people now and it’s wonderful.

Yeah, some crappy stuff has happened too..but life happens no matter where you are.

I can’t imagine the other choice. The one where we’d stayed. It probably would’ve been good. But I don’t think it would’ve been as good.

All I’m saying is, make your choices wisely. Follow your heart, go after your dream—but keep an open mind. And when your six-year-old tells you that you need to move, maybe don’t shut her down.

Maybe she knows better than you.