Tell us a little about your family.
My husband, Nate and I are high school sweetheart. We got married at 19 and have been married for almost 9 years now. We have a 3 year old son, Carter and an 8 month old daughter, Paige.
What do you and your hubby do for work?
I am a wedding photographer and my husband is a videographer.
Where did you call home before you were uprooted?
When did the possibility of relocating first come up and why?
We grew up in Oregon and moved to Phoenix for a church internship the week after we got married. After the internship we moved back to Oregon and were just not very happy there. We weren’t pursuing jobs we loved, we had no community, our marriage was fine, but not thriving. We knew something needed to change so when Nate got laid off we saw it as the perfect opportunity.
Were you the instigator of the idea or the follower?
I’m usually the instigator. In this case we both knew it was time for change so fortunately we were on the same page.
If you were the instigator, what brought you to bring it up? How did you know it was right? What obstacles did you face from your spouse?
Nate and I were in complete agreement about moving. I mean, who is that resistant about moving to a tropical island?Everything in our lives was feeling so ‘blah.’ Maybe we could have worked harder to find friends, to make our marriage thrive, to enjoy where we were, but there just seemed to be a fog over us that we just wanted to get out of. We honestly didn’t KNOW moving was right. We just knew that we were together, that God was our rock, that He wasn’t clearly closing doors and that whatever happened our foundation would remain.
Describe a little bit about the atmosphere of your home during the deciding process. What did that unknown feel like? How did it affect your marriage? Your children? The environment of the home?
I was nervous, excited, a bit anxious. I am a homebody and making such a huge leap across the ocean felt kind of scary. That fear of the unknown pushed my closer into the arms of Jesus and my husband though.
What about your former city made you feel like it wasn’t the place for you?
Nothing against Portland. It can be a fun and beautiful city, but it just felt so grey. Grey skies, get roads, always raining. We struggled to find community because people just seemed to hibernate for months and months. We really just felt like we were living in an oppressive fog while we were there.
What about the city that you moved to were you drawn to? What things about it led you there out of all the cities you could’ve moved to?
I could write a novel on the things I love about Maui. There’s the obvious sunshine, beaches, palm trees, etc. But we also love the culture and community. There is a strong value of ohana (family) and aloha (love) running thick through the people here. So many people here are transplants and don’t have their immediate family here so we become each other’s family. We really do life together. Our weeks are full of beach bbqs, intentional conversation, taking our kids to the beach and having friends over for dinner. A day rarely goes by that we don’t see one of our friends. There is something very unique, simple and easy about the island life. It strips away “keeping us with the Jones’” and material goods that hold no eternal value and focuses on what matters most.
What made you consider the next city as a better fit? Did those expectations of the new city come true?
We had never been to Maui, but we had heard about the community and how older generations hang out with and pour into younger generations. We had never experienced anything like that and really wanted to be a part of something like that.
How did you decipher between feelings of,”I need to be more content” versus “God is leading us somewhere else no matter how content or discontent we are?”
We definitely battled feelings of “we just need to make it work” in Oregon. Our families were there so it seemed “right” to live by them. We know that God does sometimes call people to very specific things, but we also know that sometimes He gives us options. We prayed fervently for direction and answers and did not have any clear answers from God. We did have some options laid out and knew we could “make it work” in any of those places. Our lives would look differently depending on the location we chose, but our foundation would remain the same no matter where we live. We kind of look at it the same was as finding a spouse. It sounds really nice to think that the “one” is out there for everyone, but that’s not the case. We get to choose who we marry. Some choices are better than others. (I thank God every day that I made the best choice I could have made in this area!) We felt the same openness in our residence. We could have stayed at made the most of mediocre circumstance in Oregon, or we could go somewhere and seek out better community, jobs we would love, ministry opportunity, and a place that would stretch and strengthen our marriage. So that’s what we did.
What are some things that you did during that seeking phase that were instrumental in making your decision?
We prayed together, sought wise counsel, did all the things you’re ‘supposed tot do.’ But ultimately after God gave us the go-ahead, just being on track with my husband is all that really mattered. He’s the one living this life with me!
Did you have work lined up in the new city before you moved? If not, how did you survive when you got there? If so, what did you have set up?
Nope. We had a few thousand dollars saved for first and last months rent, groceries and some basic home essentials. We moved with suitcases of clothes and just a couple boxes of photo albums and such, so we had to start all over. I went out a got a job at a surf shop and Nate worked odd contraction jobs for a couple years.
What were some of the hardest parts of relocation?
Moving to a new place is always a transition. We had never been here and didn’t have friends here so there was a lot of “putting ourselves out there” which is not my strong suit. The hardest part for me, personally was making friends.
What have been some of the best parts of relocation?
It was the hardest thing at first, but now it’s one of the best things – making new friends. Our community here is just incredible. Our friends are our ohana (family). Shortly after moving my husband revealed some personal struggles which was so hard to hear, but eventually strengthened our marriage. During those hard, dark days we reached out to people we didn’t know very well with vulnerable hearts and they walked alongside us through that time of hurt and healing.
Moving can be lonely and loneliness really makes you cling to Jesus and draw closer to your spouse. Those two relationships were significantly strengthened in our move.
What have been some of the unexpected blessings you never thought about before you moved?
This may sound like a negative, but having to significantly downsize has been the craziest blessing in disguise! Our family of 4 lives in a 1 bedroom cottage with our essentials. Our lives and simple and uncluttered and that gives us clarity to focus on what matters most. We are SO happy!
What are some of the unexpected tough things that you’ve experienced that you didn’t take into account when you were deciding?
Now that we have children, the only hard part is not living by grandparents.
Do you regret your decision to take this leap?
At first we did. I cried a lot. I wasn’t making any friends and felt lonely. I told my husband I wanted to move back. And even though he didn’t want to, he agreed that we would just stay a couple months and try to make the most of it, then move back. Something changed in my though. I started to see clearly what this move what doing in our lives and since that time 5 years ago I know it is one of the best life decisions we’ve ever made!
Was there a point in this process where you and your spouse were not in unity about the decision?
Tell us about that moment you decided to stop talking about it and make it happen? What did that process look like? What were some of the practical steps you made to make this happen?
We only ‘talked about it’ for a couple days. The conversation pretty much went like,
“How about Maui?”
“Sure, that sounds cool.”
We gave away all our furniture and even a car to a women’s shelter, shipped over a vehicle, packed a couple boxes of photos, books, etc. We found a place to rent and went for it! I used to get easily overwhelmed so keeping a sense of adventure and unity between my husband and I was very important through this process.
Get rid of stuff. Ship Stuff. Find place to live. Find jobs. :)
What was the scariest thing for you about the thought of moving? Looking back, would you say those fears were warranted? What would you tell your former self about taking this leap?
Fear of the unknown. Moving somewhere with SUCH a different culture and worrying about fitting in.
Yes, those were real things and I think they are a deal-breaker for some people. Not everyone fits in with the Maui culture and lifestyle. I think I would have just told myself to have patience.
What was the scariest thing for your spouse about the thought of moving? Looking back, would he say those fears were warranted? What would he tell your former self about taking this leap?
Learning to surf. ;) Yes, he would have strengthened his shoulder muscles. ;) Seriously though, he’s so incredibly easy-going. It was a very easy process for him.
What would you tell people on the other side? Those of us that are just starting this journey into uncharted waters? What do you wish someone would’ve told you?
Do it! Go until you get a ‘NO’ from the Lord. So many people waste so much time in a place where they are lukewarm and unhappy. Life is too short for that. If you are living under oppression because of your living situation, get out of it! The Lord wants you to draw near to Him. He wants your marriage and your family strengthened. He wants you in community! If you go searching for those things, I can’t imagine him not honoring that. It can be a scary journey, but use those feelings of fear as opportunity to draw closer to God.
Have you found a peace and “settled” feeling in your new location that wasn’t there before? If yes, how does that feel? If not, do you think you’ll ever feel settled? Do you feel that when you are where you’re supposed to be that there is a peace and a rest that comes with that? Or do you think we as humans will always feel unsettled this side of heaven?
Absolutely. [It feels] Ah-mazing! I feel home. Personally I have found a great sense of rest and peace living where I’m supposed to live, but there is always a part of my heart longing for and looking toward my true home – heaven.
Have you ever considered moving back? If yes, do you think you will?
What are a few things that people considering this should have set in place before they make a move like this?
Having some savings is definitely wise. Otherwise, basic necessities like a place to live, a way to make money or least a place to land until you figure something out.
Were there any specific Bible verses that you clung to during this time?
Proverbs 3:5-6 - “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.”
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