There is nowhere in the world with the same look and feel as Central Oregon. The scruffy evergreens grow straight and proud, their bark slightly red and peeled. The sharp smell of pine never leaves your memory. No matter how long you have been away the return of that dry, aromatic scent brings you full circle in life, back to every moment spent within their forests.

We recently moved into a home cradled among those signature trees, and equally watched from above by a cluster of mountains in the Cascade Range. Each window sheds light on a different peak. Every room in the house is a room with a view. If not of blue-green pines with rough red bark, then of snow-covered mountains and piercing blue sky.

It feels good to be back in Oregon, to be home at last.

The window wall upstairs is a sea of stars by night. I stare into the depth of those twinkling lights and remember a time not long ago when I looked out the window and realized I had lost the night, lost my way in the darkness of a bad economy – yes, but quite literally, I had lost the night for a whole year.

It’s called apartment living. The lights are always on in an apartment complex. People come and go every hour of the 24 afforded them. They work day shifts, night shifts, two shifts, and sometimes 6 days a week averaging over 10 hours a day like my husband, for example.

Day fades into night and night fades into exhaustion, the kind of tired that allows you tunnel vision, so you can focus on survival and not fret about your future. This is what losing the night does to one’s spirit, it erodes the possibilities for wishing on a star or finding solace in the sliver of a moon.

Regardless of a moon or no moon, stars or no stars, overworked and underpaid or not- we didn’t give up hope. We didn’t quit trying to find a solution, the right answer; the door ajar to a new life, a new job, and a new state if possible. California had not, afterall, been especially kind to us.

And then one day not long ago it felt as if God had looked us in the eye, and kissed our cheek. His presence came in the form of a job that appeared almost out of nowhere- like so many my husband had applied for, only to watch them vanish into never-never land. But this one didn’t.

We could almost see the sky open up and the sea part as ducks fell neatly into a row and marched us down the path of a preordered destiny. As if the power of nature itself was willing the march into new terrain – Central Oregon terrain. Exactly where we wanted to be but dared not dream could ever happen.

What have I learned from this whirlwind relocation after several years of one job lead drying up after another?

Never question the power of purpose.

Whoever or whatever you refer to as that greater being that created you and perhaps lives within you, or beyond you, maybe even all-consuming of you – is not to be denied.

I personally believe that much of scripture’s profound truisms will be revealed to us if given the chance. By trial and error we learn how all the lessons are, well, worth taking notes on.

For instance- patience really is a virtue. One I have never possessed, but thankfully my husband does because in the end, after I had all but given up- he had not. He forged on, continuing to apply for positions despite how they vanished into thin air.

Thanks to his patience we are now exactly where we want to be, and he has a job that he loves. I am hoping to get on at one of the two colleges here and it looks promising. Dare I say I have faith it will work out?

California seems a bit like a restless, disturbing dream of the past at this point. A place where you had to hang on to your hat for fear that a coastal wind off the Bay might blow it away, exposing your vulnerable head to the endless, scorching, sun-filled days.

When I first moved to the Golden State, I read East of Eden. Who knew by the end of my decade here the book would resonate with me in more ways than I might have ever thought possible at the time?

This land of plenty houses some of the world’s best wines and has become quite sophisticated since Steinbeck wrote his novel. Nonetheless, California has remained a delicate balance of the rich and plenty versus the grapes of wrath.

I don’t regret my time in California. Quite the contrary, it has been a decade to remember. It will be my fifth novel. (Journey, my second novel, will be released in 2015, followed by a couple more already penned.)

Now, while I fall asleep to millions of stars outside the window of my Central Oregon home, bits and pieces of people and places from that ten-year time twinkle brightly in my mind, giving me a burning desire to write about them.

I have made some amazing friends during my California adventure, and have done some daring things, even some ground breaking things- like, for instance, getting my first novel published (Benjamin) and finally getting my short story collection released (Fractured Hearts).

But it’s the people I will remember most – those I came to know well. Those I came to love. Salt of the earth, they are. Just like good people everywhere, in any state or country, they are what matter; what make our journey palatable, meaningful, rich and full regardless of the economy or any other calamity that befalls us.

It is other people that help us understand ourselves singularly and as a society. The ones that penetrate our hearts make our heavy loads lighter. They give us hope.

They shine like stars from the windows of our minds.

I can only hope to capture their souls on paper, as I write about the last ten years… from my room with a view.



Kathryn’s next literary suspense novel, Journey, will be released in 2015.





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TW: @KathrynWriter