Tuesday, November 3, 2015

We’re Moving! What?!!!

Big sudden changes are happening!  We’re moving to Kauai!  The crucial bits are that we leave Texas the first week of January.  We’ll drive to my parent’s house in California, pulling our belongings in trailers behind our two vehicles.  Jon and his van will go to Kauai ahead of the rest of us to secure work and a place to live.  The kids and I will stay with my parents, helping them to pack up their belongings because they are also moving to Kauai!  My parents and I will share a moving container that we’ll have dropped off to their house and picked up to be taken to the ship.  Then, when Jon gives me the okay, we’ll ship our family car and all go join him in Kauai!  We’ll be taking our dog, which complicates the process.  Hawaii has a lot of hoops to jump through to get an animal through their many regulations.  We’re very excited and have so much to get accomplished in the meantime.

I’m convinced that this move is completely the hand of the Lord.  It is perfectly in his timing for us.  Before moving to Texas, God told me that we would only be here for 3-5 years.  I felt that God’s purpose for our time in Texas was to teach Jon to “live and live fully,” to not just live in survival mode and missing the many blessings in his life while he had his head ducked down trudging through life while working hard.  I felt that God was teaching Jon how to learn what he wanted in life and to learn how to pursue that.  Jon was not good at wanting things in life; he was not good at valuing himself, his wants, or his needs.  I felt that God was going to help us get out of all the debt we incurred from being self-employed in California.  Sometime after we had been in Texas awhile, I felt that God was also going to complete our family during our time in Texas.

Sitting in a booth at the local wine bar on a date night, soon after arriving in Texas, Jon said to me that he didn’t want to go back to school.  He didn’t want to go through the traditional college path, which was a key piece of our plan to move to Texas.  A light went off for me and I was so happy to tell him how big of a deal it was for him to realize he didn’t want something, which is the same as wanting something!  I felt the rightness of this in my bones.  Within the next few days, God gave me a vision of a switchback trail.  Each bend in the trail was Jon meeting someone, putting him on the next leg of the trail.  I felt like the trail overall represented Jon’s career path and journey to living fully.  I knew that Jon would have an unusual journey.

One afternoon, shortly after our move to Texas, I was sitting at home babysitting my neighbor’s four children.  These children were going through the emotional aftermath of their mother walking out of their lives.  They needed a hawk eye on them at all times in those days or you could pretty much guarantee that something would end up broken or someone would end up hurt and crying.  Two women walked up to my door, complete strangers.  I stepped out onto the porch.  They said they had been walking our street praying and were leaving when they felt like God wanted them to come back and talk with me.  They wondered if that would be okay.  I looked back inside at all the kids in the living room and felt God tell me that He would watch them.  I accepted God’s offer and sat on the porch with the ladies.  One of the women did a majority of the talking.  She told me many things the Lord was showing her.  Most of these things were things the Lord had already shown me.  I sat there completely quiet.  For some unknown reason, I didn’t want this lady to know she was dead on.  I was laughing hysterically on the inside, but kept a very serious poker face on the outside.  The lady wrapped up with telling me about a picture she saw of a switchback trail and how it was for my husband.  She went on to describe the same gist of what God had already shown me.  How about that!  At the end I thanked her and let her know a little about me, my story, and how right on she was.  Bonus, the kids were perfectly behaved while I sat on the porch for close to an hour.  God came through in so many ways!  Moments like that are so rare and special and I felt so loved by God!

Fast forward 4 years: Sometime after I was recovered from the c-section from Ella’s birth, I got the feeling that we were nearing the end of our time in Texas.  We completed our family, we got out of debt, Jon and I matured so much individually and in our marriage, and I didn’t feel that Jon had started the first leg of his switchback trail yet.  I saw that switchback trail as leading us to thriving and I was ready for that to start!  We finished the agenda God had told me about, for our time in Texas, and it was right at the 4 year mark!  It’s time!  I prayed and prayed, but didn’t get a clear indication of where we were supposed to move.  I totally panicked for a couple weeks on the inside.  Jon and I had big discussions about what our priorities were and where we’d like to live if we could live anywhere.  My ideal was to live near the people I love and have meaningful relationships with.  Most of my closest relationships and my family are in California.  Jon wanted to live near his family in Kauai.  He so regrets missing out on his niece’s and nephew’s childhoods.  The more we talked, the more we realized that if we lived in either California or Kauai, we would likely both have to work to be able to make it financially, as both states are very costly to live in and we don’t want to get into debt again.  If I worked, then I couldn’t homeschool, and we didn’t want to give that up.  This area in Texas has excellent resources for homeschooling that I knew I wouldn’t find so prolifically anywhere else.  Giving Caleb his best chance to be successful with his high school, college, and future career rated as a very top priority for me.  This area is prime for having exceptional science and engineering opportunities for Caleb.  All of this is almost beside the point we knew, because we have zero dollars to move and moving is expensive.  We really couldn’t see how we could save enough money with our current circumstances to move anytime soon.  I felt like God was telling me to “Be Ready.”  So I tried to adjust my expectations, accept that we wouldn’t be moving, and make my peace with my perceived discrepancy of what I believed God had told me about only being in Texas for 3-5 years not actually happening.  We began to make plans to put more roots down in Texas.  My parents began their plans to move to Texas to live near us.  It was all in motion.  However, I still had a savings envelope labeled “Moving” to “Be Ready” like God told me to be.  It was empty, but it was there.

Jon flew out for a quick trip to Kauai to help his brother build the interior of his new music school storefront.  In the process Jon talked to a few people who work in the building industry out there.  We’ve never had a doubt that Jon could get plenty of work on the island.  We knew there was a good market for him there for work possibilities, but we anticipated that he would have to really hustle and work more hours than we preferred to make a livable wage in Kauai, and that I would also have to work to help keep us afloat.  We were leery of putting ourselves in a tenuous financial position.  Once Jon got home, it opened up the dialogue again for moving.  We again began thinking about our priorities and God completely flipped them around on me! 

God had been strongly putting it on my heart for the previous few months that we really needed to find some other people to come alongside us to be spiritual mentors for Caleb.  He is hitting the teen years and we don’t feel like we’re enough.  I want my kids to know the Lord.  I want them to have an active relationship with Him.  I want that so much for Caleb.  He knows what we believe as a family, he sees what we model, he participates, but it’s not completely his own yet.  We have really struggled to find a church community here in Texas.  We’ve been doing another round of trying to find our church home and we realized that what we see here in church is not what we want to teach our kids.  I felt like God was pulling my heart to Kauai and the church community there.  I don’t know anything about it, but I feel like God is telling me that those mentors for Caleb will be there.  I’m jumping out to trust God on this.  My new top priority, in regards to where we live, is for my kids to know God.  I’m trusting that obeying God by following the path I feel He is laying out for us will help us accomplish that.  If Caleb can gain a relationship with God, then I don’t need to fear the lack of schooling resources in Kauai.  If Caleb knows God, then I’ve been a successful parent and have done the best for him that I can; then his home schooling, college, and future career will be entrusted to the one who can help him.

What really made this move possible is that both of our parents are going to help fund our move!  We are so thankful to them for that aid!  I again see the Lord’s timing in even this, because neither of our parents have been in the position to help us financially before and they both suddenly are and they both volunteered to help us!

We know we’re taking a big financial risk by moving.  We believe that Kauai has greater earning potential down the road for Jon than Texas has.  This was substantiated by a website we found created by MIT listing the bare minimum livable wages, typical living expenses, and typical income per industry for each county in America.  It reinforced that Kauai values the construction trade more than Texas does and the deficit between the livable wage and the typical construction income is vastly narrower in Kauai than in Texas.  I have to say that I felt much better after finding that website.  We found it after the decision was made, but it really helped validate our decision and calm my nerves.  We anticipate the first few years to be very tight while Jon is building his reputation in Kauai, but we expect that his craftsman skill level and reliability will quickly earn him a great reputation on the island and that eventually we’ll be doing well financially.  I plan to pick up a little bookkeeping work to help make ends meet, but not so much as to interfere with time for home schooling. 

The wonderful flip side to the financial risk of moving is that we’ll be living near both sides of our family!!!!  Our kids will get to grow up with their cousins!  They’ll get both sides of their grandparents loving on them!  And their Auntie Julie, Uncle Jeremy, Tia Val, Uncle Pete, and Great Grandma Jean!  Plus we’ll only be an island away from cousin Anna & her new husband!  We’re sooooo excited to be close to family!  It was very difficult to spend the last four years without much family in our lives.  We are thankful to Texas for the time we did get with our Swinky cousins:  Andrew, Aaron, Aaron’s new wife Kara, my Missouri family:  Kara, Jude, Aunt Dar, and Uncle Darrel, and my Oklahoma family.

We’ll really miss Caleb’s birthday celebrations adventuring in the Austin area with the Swinky cousins and our 4th of July tradition celebrating by the pond with Kara, Jude, and our friends.  We’ll miss camping in some of the amazing places Texas has to offer with our friends.  We’ll miss the beautiful rural land we live on.  We’ll miss our cat Susie Q who is staying behind, the Rusches, the Goycos, the Hamiters, the Ericksons, the Grants, our park day friends, our One Day Academy friends, and our newly arrived California friends who just moved to Waco!  Please pray for us to all make close and meaningful friendships in Kauai.  The boys are both sad to leave their Texas friends, especially Caleb.  It’s really just been in the last year that Caleb has finally made some close friends and he is really saddened to leave them behind.  Ben’s excitement about our move is trumping his sadness about leaving his friends for now, but I know it will hit him at some point.  He has lots of neighborhood friends that he really loves and plays with everyday.  This is always the most difficult part about moving.  I’m really having a hard time with leaving my cat behind.  I love her so much.  I know she’ll be happier staying in the woods she loves, with our neighbor to care for her, than she would be dragged to California and then on to Kauai.  It’s really hard on me though.

Overall, Jon and I feel like we’re coming home even though we’ve never lived in Hawaii.  The general atmosphere feels similar to our California life.  This is the first leg of Jon’s switchback trail!  We’re so excited!  Blessings on you and yours and cheers to our new adventure!

The Hartshorns

1 comment:

  1. We can't wait for you to get here! I know the time is right, and I know every member of your family will be blessed.