The ‘Montana Powells’

We used to close out every card, newsletter and exhortation to visit with “The Montana Powells.” It was part of our identity. It succinctly summed up our lifestyle and way of life. And to boot, we were the only “Powells” living in Montana, at least from my family lineage. For 8 years that was who we were, and then we moved.

I know I’ve talked on this before, but here is a rundown of why we moved to Oregon. First, as often is the case, was the financial reason. Elijah was born and Jess wanted to stay at home with him. In order to do that, we’d need to be frugal and I’d need to be industrious. Through the summer, that was okay. I had some wedding photography lined up and a couple other media jobs. We couldn’t float all the bills, mortgage, student and car loans with just my income. Moving would allow us to extract the gains in appreciation of our home to pay off our debts. A change was going to happen at some point.

There were two other reasons that I’ll sum up as family and social-sphere changes. All my family lives in the PNW, as well as Jess’s parents. We started to float the idea of moving relatively closer to them, even came close to a job offer on the San Juan islands. Socially, we were a bit lost. We had and continue to have great friends in Montana, but for a portion, there was a season that strained relationships and broke what were once strong bonds. (One day, when I can find an edifying way to say it, I’ll tell you about it.) Eventually I received an offer from Skyline Hospital in White Salmon doing the same work as I had been (IT) and we took it. Now, if I’m honest here, the career move wasn’t bold or advancing, it was safe. It was close to the same pay in a region with similar housing costs (that we couldn’t afford), so we ended up buying a house in The Dalles, 25 miles away, as it was cheaper than any rentals in the area. It was not just any house, it was a fixer-upper.

So why have I given you this background story? What’s the point? Our season in Oregon is ending. Montana is beckoning and we cannot resist its call. A job opportunity presented itself and I have accepted a position with Headwater’s Economics! I will be working out of Helena, with frequent trips to Bozeman.

If you’ve followed us for long, you know how busy this season is for us. over the next few weeks we are finishing a house and putting it up on the market, closing out a job, starting a new one, moving a household and come August, adding a new member to our family! I hope to share more on this process, but we’ll see how it all goes. It has taken nearly two weeks just to write these words.

Our time in The Dalles has been interesting. We’re still trying to figure out the exact purpose of our time here as we believe that there are no accidents in life. There were some damnably hard moments, but also some that have stretched and grown us. What have we learned? For one, I’m no Chip Gaines. I have no plans on a DIY renovation project for some time. We’ve also learned some lessons on busyness (and business for that matter) and how we need to make quality time more available. The road ahead is pretty exciting!

The Montana Powell’s

Posted by Brent

A God fearing, husband to one amazing woman, and a father to a handsome son (with another child on the way!) A media making, camera wielding, sometimes-running, outdoor enthusing, tinkering, coffee loving man. Oh, and he also does some IT stuff... Brent lives in the beautiful PNW! He is the founder of Thirty Five Media, member of Approach International, and Web & Media Manager for Headwaters Economics.