I promise there is a grand excuse for the quietness that has been going on ’round these parts. It seems that the entire month of December whizzed by and left us a bit dizzy with some big decisions our family was suddenly making. To be quite honest, while the holidays were lovely, our minds and hearts were elsewhere. Now that things have been finalized and pieces to the puzzle are hopefully beginning to fit, I wanted to make sure and share with you some really big news our family has along with a peek behind the scenes of our leap of faith and adventures in moving. Yes, moving. Courage, dear heart.
In order for you to really know where are our hearts are, I must start at the very beginning. Get cozy, okay?
I have always felt disconnected to where I live. Don’t get me wrong, Arizona and the Phoenix Valley have been home to me for 34 years and have amazing qualities. I’m a second generation native so you can definitely say the desert is in my blood, but I feel no energy from it whatsoever. And while yes, the sunsets are beautiful and the winter weather is rather nice, I have always known deep down that I was meant to live elsewhere. And the subject of moving began far back in my high school days when I would beg my mother to think of other location possibilities. It wasn’t in the cards however with my mom being a widow, having three daughters to care for, a wonderful job as a CPA with a great company along with a solid support system in her own parents and our church family. And besides, not live in Arizona? I mean, how would I even function. The valley is all I have ever known.
Fast forward to 2004 when I meet and marry Jarett and the talks of moving are still alive and well, but now they are between the two of us because I just happened to find another Arizonan that would be thrilled to move. He had lived in Alabama for two years serving a mission for our church and talked often about how nice it was to be somewhere with beautiful scenery, big trees, history and culture. I have been a professional creative for 16 years and I have always known deep in my heart that living somewhere with all four seasons and with scenery that I actually feel connected to would allow me to thrive in ways I never imagined. And if that doesn’t make sense then it is simply not something I can explain, but goodness do I feel it. Does my creative heart ever feel it.
So what happened then? The short answer is we got comfortable. It was easy to stay put, to stay still. Or when it wasn’t easy, it was financially impossible. And then there was the problem of – where would we move to?! And how would our families cope and… you get the idea.
Fast forward to 2006 and beyond. We begin having kids and while we would enjoy a season here and there in the desert, the next one we would be day dreaming about leaving it all behind. The kids would even chime into these conversations and talk about how fun it would be to live somewhere else, we would waste time looking at homes and jobs only to then table the conversation once again with a heavy sigh, tell each other “wouldn’t it be nice” and then get back to reality. At three different times we found ourselves under contract for a new home only to walk away from it without any explantation as to why except for “it didn’t feel right”. And the years continued on.
I would see a blogger’s beautiful home in Wisconsin… “what about Wisconsin” I would say to Jarett. Perhaps the winters are too extreme.
“What about Idaho? We have loved visiting and we do have extended family there”, Jarett would say. The winters are definitely too extreme.
“Oregon is nice. I really loved Portland”… Too expensive.
“Connecticut” …. Perhaps it’s too far away from family. And then there’s the winters.
“The government pays you to live in Alaska”…. *crickets*
Looking back, I can guarantee that all 50 states were discussed at one point or another. And extensive research was done on the handful that we felt connected to.
And then 2018 happened. Talks of moving continued as they always had, but this time it felt even more distant as we were working hard to grow Jarett’s business. I mean, if the growth continued, we would be stupid to walk away from it only to have to rebuild, right? We have five kids who we need to make sure have everything they need. Five kids who have become accustomed to things like eating and bathing. So again, the conversation was tabled. Besides, we always promised the kids that if we made a move it would be before anyone starts high school. A big move always seemed easier to grasp when you didn’t have teenagers who had really started to put down their own roots as well and Tanner just happened to start 7th grade this year. The clock was ticking and it didn’t seem to be in our favor. It didn’t slow down the daydreaming though.
People we would meet would spark our interest and inquisitively we would ask where they were originally from. We became obsessed with wanting to know the why behind people’s moves mostly in part because it still seemed like such a foreign idea. I mean, all of our immediate family lives here. Who moves somewhere with no reason to move?! A lot of people come to find out.
Then August happened. The start of school and we hit bumps early on that caused us to completely reevaluate what we were doing in public school. I never in a million years would have imagined myself with homeschooled kids nor myself as a homeschooling mom, but never say never, right? By mid-September we had done just that. It only took a few days of heavy conversation and realistic thinking before I marched into the front office and asked for all of my kids to be withdrawn. If I’m being honest, I had no plan, but I knew in my gut it was the right move for our family. So we made the leap and figure it out along the way. This has come to be a theme in my life if you have been reading over the years. I trust my gut faster than I wait for numbers to meet up or resources to come together. I don’t advise it for the faint of heart, but it sure has kept life interesting over the years.
With the new found freedom of homeschooling, my wheels began turning. And my heart began to wander once again. With five kids at home all together and me to teach them, I found myself wanting to move more than ever before. To find a place that would offer us more opportunities outdoors, that would offer us more culture. In Phoenix, you have summer or you have winter. And the summer can last from mid-April when the temperatures start to rise and sometimes won’t cool off until mid-November. And even when the weather is nice I don’t find the idea of hiking through flat, barren desert to be all that enticing. And neither does the rest of the family. We just found ourselves really craving something different with the new lifestyle we had suddenly found ourselves in. It was important especially to find a place with better schools to give the kids the opportunity to go back to public school if they wanted to because, well, Arizona is severely lacking in that area in the most embarrassing of ways.
Jarett and I then sat down and had a really honest discussion. If we wanted a big change for our family and weren’t sure where to start then let’s pray. Let’s pray for signs. Let’s pray for comfort. Let’s pray for confidence. Whatever it was, just something to help us know if this was entirely not possible for our family or something that we needed to trust in. And from past experience, I can honestly say the things that stir in your soul are things you should listen to and this one had stirred for 34 years so far.
So the praying began. And we continued on with life as if nothing was going to change aside from continuing research for possibilities to call home. And then December came.
After four years of never having a client cancel their service contract with Jarett, two companies close their doors and break the news to Jarett. Okay, we still have plenty of others… but wait. Was this a sign? We continue praying and researching and living life. And after discussing so many factors and reasons we had narrowed our future home, not knowing if it would ever come to be, to two places. I knew so much about one and none about the other. So I did more research and this time I reached out to people in the area.
Not a single negative thing in response to people who have both lived and currently live there. And three connections came out of the wood work and told me they would love to discuss some business things with me when I make my way out there. Really? Could I already have business connections and jobs booked before even moving?
Again, more praying, more research and living life.
Our current lease was ending this month, in January. The real estate agent had reached out at the beginning of December to make sure that we wanted to renew for another year and to also inform us that the rent would be raised again after reviewing comps in our area. Not a surprise, but… was this another sign? We told them we were planning to renew and the raise in rent was fine because our plan was to keep living life, waiting for inspiration to strike. Or continue to strike, I guess. However, something stopped us from signing the agreement when they sent it over just before Christmas. We needed to pray more and spent the week of Christmas on our knees. We then went back to the real estate agent and asked if we could do a month-to-month agreement as we weren’t sure what our immediate future plans were. After all, while we weren’t ready to move just yet, we didn’t want to wait an entire year to follow through with it.
“Because the owner would actually like to sell the house.”
That is when my angel of a mother stepped in. After offering her place as an interim option for us, we knew that it was the best way to continue forward with our plans to move as we have always wanted to. And I put a 3 month timestamp on it all. And within a week we were beginning to pack up our five bedroom home and whittle down our must-need belongings for the 7 of us (and a large dog) to be able to squeeze into two bedrooms in my mother’s three bedroom home. The upside? She only lives five doors down. Oh, and the fact that we aren’t homeless.
We have been drawn to an area that is fast growing and that many families and creative entrepreneurs are beginning to call home. A place where the outdoors will be right at our fingertips, a place that we already feel inspired by, a place that has some of the top school districts, a place that will give us all four seasons, a place where life moves a little slower, where we’ve heard southern hospitality is never in short supply and a place that has been on our radar for two years now.
Somewhere out in Tennessee is our future home and we are making yet another big leap knowing in our gut that there is something out there waiting for us.
Here’s to living boldly, seizing adventure with the time we are given and giving life to the things stirring in the deepest parts of us…