Opinion Saturday

OK, I need your advice this week. Every single time we go to the coast, we talk about moving there.   Without fail, for the past decade we’ve cruised through towns on the way home wondering if this town or that one would be a good place to live. 

We love the weather.   We adore the beach.   We love the trees.  Because of our African American kids, the racial diversity in the Portland area is also very appealing.

This year we got serious.   We collected real estate brochures.   I even called one real estate agent and asked a few questions.  

We decided our ideal place would be within an hour of the ocean and within an hour of Portland, and would have a bit of land, maybe an acre, hopefully with a bit of forest or at least edging the forest. We could either build our own house, or buy a fixer-upper.  If we bought carefully, we could probably even sell what we have here, and own something free and clear there, since property values have increased tremendously around here, and we have a ton of equity.

The dilemma?  Family.  All the grandparents live near here.   Most of the aunts, uncles and cousins are within an hour of here.  

 Most of them enjoy the Oregon coast too.   In fact, in the past year or so, we’ve have two family get-togethers on the coast.   So I know people would come visit us if we moved.  

We’ve even talked about using our travel trailer as a guesthouse, and adding RV hookups on the property to make it easy for family to visit. 

 But no longer would we be able to invite the whole clan over to help us celebrate a kid’s birthday.   No more could the kids sit with grandparents in church. We’d have to find a new church.   The kids would have to make new friends. 

 It would be a big, big move.  Our kids have spent their whole lives here.  I’ve lived here since I was 16.   My husband has lived here since he was 3.

So what do you think?   Are we crazy to be thinking of letting proximity to the beach trump proximity to family?

Possibly we’d wait 10 years to do this– that is actually what we are leaning toward.   But by then some of our kids might be married and established around here, and at that point we’d be moving away from our own kids.  If we moved sooner, chances are greater that at least some of them would be Oregon people as adults too.

I would love some input on this, some clarity of thought. Some of you must have faced this dilemma.  Did you go?  Did you stay?  Did you regret it? 

I am allowing comments on this till Monday evening, and awarding the Golden Keyboard on Tuesday morning to the person whose advice makes the best sense to us.  I’m going to have my hubby help me judge, since he is wrestling with this dilemma as much as I am.   So, c’mon.   Hit me with your best thought.

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  1. Hi,

    I am not great with advice, but I can tell you what we did…

    Three weeks after our wedding we moved from central Canada to Southern California — after 7 years we have almost recovered from the culture shock. Oh, and our parents have also recovered.

    There have been times it has been hard, and times it has been great, and the good far out weighs the bad.

    My best advice is pray like crazy and seek the Lord's direction. He will show you the right thing, and He may be moving you.

    Although I do recommend staying up north as real estate all throughout the California coast is completely insane.


    P.S. we are now the happy owners of green cards, this move worked out well enough that we plan to stay…although God seems to be moving us within CA at the moment

  2. As someone who lives in Oregon (about an hour and a half from both Portland and the beach), I have to say it's a wonderful place to live. Great for gardening, horses, and lots of outdoor things to do.

  3. I'm going to take this from the grown kids standpoint: If you wait until your kids are grown and married…they may not be too happy that they won't have their parents around to help them with their children, and to be there and be loving grandparents. My husbands parents decided to move in Aug of '02 all the way to Mesa Arizona to live by their friends. Ultimately, my husband and his brothers feel that they chose their friends over their sons. Now, 4 years later, 2 of the sons are married and there are 4 grandchildren, and 1 on the way…they never see their grandchildren. They finally made it here (Illinois) to see our baby when she was 3 months old, and they could only stay for 2 days! We were so upset.

    My husband grew up knowing and visiting both sets of his grandparents regularily. He loves to tell stories about his grandfathers and his grandmother is the only one who was able to make "the best potato salad" in the world.

    I grew up going to my paternal grandparents house every weekend, and then when they moved to Texas we visited them every summer for a month. Family is very important…knowing your roots, sharing secret family recipes, listening to grandpa tell old stories
    …those are the great things. I know that helping my grandma in the kitchen, and my brother helping our grandpa in the tool shed are memories that shaped us into who we are today.

    We live 3 hours from my parents and a gazillion miles from his parents. We get to see my parents about once every 3 months. HIs parents, like I said, once a year. My children won't know their grandparents as well as my hub and I knew ours…that's sad.

    I guess my advice is this (and of course you don't have to listen to me at all!) stay put. Maybe you can purchase a condo on the coast that you could make regular trips to. Maybe you could convince eveyone to follow you out there? Probably not.

  4. too long to post as a comment but please visit and read my thoughts! http://chinesetake.blogspot.com/

  5. Don't know that I can help in any way, since we are kinda in the same spot. It is such a hard decision to make. I grew up in Toronto, Ontario and hubby grew up in Halifax, Nova Scotia, we both had lots of family around. We met in Alberta and ended up moving back to Ontario to be closer to each of our families. We now have 4 kids and have toyed with the idea of moving farther away from here (bigger property and waterfront sounds awesome!!).

    We have narrowed our decision to move, right now, based on what is best for our kids. We have a great HS'ing community here, our church is the greatest and all of my immediate family lives here. Moving would mean leaving all that behind. This is where we are kinda stuck too. However, I never did think of my kids growing up soon…even more to think about now!

    So, I guess I may not have any advice, other then to pray and pray and pray and talk it over. We know one day we will be moving somewhere, right now we are just waiting to hear when.

  6. I moved from my hometown to study and now I want to go back very badly. Because close to family is something I want and sometime I want for my future children to have. As fun as this city is, being close to family is too precious for me to sacrifice. I'm hoping to move back in the next year or two. Or as soon as I'm pregnant.

  7. I love reading your blog…. I have to say without going into a long story about my own family etc… That being near grandparents, sharing church time and other milestones is the most important thing about a home. The beach his wonderful and so is having an acre+ but no matter what, everydayness with family is a lot better in the long run for both you and your kids than people visiting once in a while. You can always go on trips to neat places but people are unique and you cannot replace them in your life or in your kids' lives. That is my 2cents…. Good luck with your decision!

  8. I'm the child of parents who do the same thing every year on the trip to "our" coast. I wish they would just do it. With me in college and my brother homeschooled it really is just a matter of when the timing would be good for such a move. My much older cousin made the trek 10 years ago to Florida himself and hasn't regretted a second of it yet. He's living a good 12-14 hours away from where we do and every year he has a gaggle of relatives visiting him. We are all going down in December for his wedding in fact.

    I tell my parents this all the time. You only live once. You could stay in the place you've always lived, stay near all the family, and never make something you've dreamed about come true. Or you could just do it. In then end you would have your kids with you and your husband. As well as the experience of living near the ocean. (Which umm, hello, is like one of my biggest dreams ever! Haha)

    And by the way, as someone approaching real adulthood (I graduate from college in 2 years)…this is something I wish my parents had done sooner. I will now face the issue of networking in my home state and possibly face living in separate states from my parents and brother if they make the move.

    Not to mention another 10 years could involve missing out on your own grandchildren. (Not trying to be the depressing one here, but it is another thing to think of.)

  9. I feel your pain, Mary. We live in Texas, in the suburbs and, I'm sorry to say, it's downright ugly. My parents live in Colorado, and my husband's parents live in Vancouver…… I know, what the hell are we doing in Texas???

    We love the people here, and the support our family gets from our friends, etc. But.

    But there is nothing like family. And I do miss it. Very much. We are looking to move closer at some point, and that is our ultimate goal. I say, don't sacrifice your close ties with your family. The grass may look greener now, but it's hard to share the coast with family if they're not there!

  10. Wow, this is a hard question to address for someone else. So I will ask you a question in return. Where is your future? Is your future on the coast with your husband and with children settled (hopefully nearby)? Than maybe it is time to get on it and move now. Is your future with your family members that you live close to now? Than you should stay.

    My sister and I were talking about this just today. My future lies with her and my sister-in-law–their companionship, their children.

    Best of luck with your decision. I thought April's comment from the perspective of an adult-child of parents who struggled with the same issues was great. Only you and your husband know how stongly your hearts pull you in each direction.

  11. This is a toughie. Speaking from our own experience? We've lived near family (where we are now) and far from family (in Chicago, when we first became parents). Being away from them was SO hard. We decided it was worth financial sacrifice to do whatever it took to get back to them. We've never regretted it.

    We too have a vacation spot we love, and every time we go we pick up a real estate brochure. But we always end up wondering…the charm of the place is that it is our "escape" from real life. If we lived there full time, it would no longer be an escape, would it? I wonder if some of the charm would vanish.

  12. You’ve obviously thought a lot about this. You’re clearly intelligent people. And you’re considering the best possible situation for your family.

    Our family’s been writing a perpetual “moving pro’s and con’s” list as well. Our soul search has revealed three truths:

    1. We must consider what’s best for our immediate family, above our extended one.
    2. We must think of our needs NOW, not what they might be in the future.
    3. We must recognize signs from God.

    Since marrying 12 years ago (our anniversary is today – please read today's post
    – it’s pretty cool), we’ve lived about an hour away from our families. We don’t visit them as often as they’d like, and it would wonderful to have the built-in convenience that close-proximity grandparents could offer (and relish.) But we live on a lake, and love the lifestyle it provides. That wouldn’t be possible near our folks.

    Sometimes we still consider moving closer to them, mostly because the schools are better in the larger city, and we’d have stronger extended-family relationships. But so far, it hasn’t been enough to leave the location we’ve come to love.

    Secondly, as a daughter, I understand the guilt that comes with the pressure to do what was expected. And I’m not willing to do that to my kids. We live where we do because we love it. In ten years, maybe it won’t be so important. My kids may grow up and live on different sides of the continent. And I may go to live near them, or I may not. Maybe we’ll all end up in the same town where they grew up. None of us knows this, but I’m not going to make a decision now about future events only a crystal ball would know.

    Finally, sometimes there are signs from God. We were recently looking at homes to consider a move.

    The first place we looked at was gorgeous! Loved it, too expensive, but we could probably swing it. Walked out to the marshy lake entry and a big, black, thick, make-me-faint SNAKE slithered by our feet.

    Second place we looked at – great deal, not big enough, but could be added onto — dead walleye on the shore.

    Coincidence? Maybe. But for the time being, we’re not moving.

    It can be an adventure to pursue an opportunity. And most likely your intuition will guide you as you go. If it continues to feel right, you’ll continue to pursue it. If red flags and reptiles appear, you may reevaluate. The process, itself, teaches your children that it’s okay to take risks and family is family, no matter where they live.

    I wish you all the best! I'm sure whatever you choose will be what was right for you.

  13. All I would say is: ask the kids. You've only got one pre-talker, looks like. Tell them you're noodling around an idea and explain the pros and cons just like you did for the blog. I'm continually surprised at the thoughtful responses my kids give, and they're only 4 and 3. Your kiddos may even have ideas you haven't come accross yet on this matter. Sit down and have a family brain-picking session! PS – We're in Salem and will NEVER leave the area! It's an hour from the beach, an hour to Portland, has a great children's museum and the HomeSchool Co-Op is awesome!

  14. You have to follow your heart, Mary. I, too, know the pull of the ocean. We left New England 5 years ago to move closer to family in the mid-west. I desperately miss the smell of the sea and the diversity and life that Boston offered. BUT….I'm glad my kids know their relatives. Really know them — not just "vacation-hanging-out" know them. My DH's parents are central to our lives and as much as I miss my old friends and the feel and look of my beloved Northeast, my family-in-law is more important to us right now. I don't doubt that one day I'll be back in Boston but I know that as long as my children are young, this is where we will stay.

  15. What a thought provoking topic!
    I'm encouraged to hear what other families have gone through making these important decisions. It's hard work!
    Six years ago we moved from grandparents in favor of a job which offered our family a slower pace (amazing husband is a teacher) during the school year, so we could spend time together instead of at school activities he was required to go to. We currently have an intimate church family & his job is a dream come true.
    Every year we take really amazing low cost vacations to places that have things we don't have here in Mid-America: mountains, oceans, huge lakes, canyons, etc. Our longest was five weeks & we LOVED it. So of course we always discuss why it is we choose to stay here.
    I think there are two reasons this works:
    Our parents are flexible. They travel to us willingly, spending time here often, & making time together a priority when our life is crazy.
    Secondly, we have summers pretty free. My husband will often work a little on the side, but we have time to take vacations, as long as we can take them frugally (is that a word??).
    So we have the main things. Involved grandparents (not on daily basis, but we are very thankful). Close community. Opportunity to let kids experience God's creation & discover the world.
    Oh! and all that stuff that others have said about praying & letting God lead you is definitely necessary too!
    (long long long…sorry)

  16. Since you have close and loving ties with your extended family, I'd say to stay near them and allow your children to know them. Land is land, and there are great vacation memories. Maybe the everyday living could tarnish dreams.
    Or, Oregon could have an earthquake.

    I have never been real close to my mother, so when I met a man in the college cafeteria, and we married, I was willing to follow him to wherever. In fact, our wedding invitations said the quote from the Book of Ruth about "whither thou goest".
    My family lives in Ohio and my mother-in-law in Seattle and we are on the prairie of Illinois.
    Any visits in either direction are sporadic and more of duty than beneficial.
    In some ways quite sad, but there are reasons for the emotional and physical distance.

    Our sons had surrogate grandparents with the neighbors, whose own children had moved to the west coast.

    Plus, we found a good church family, some positive jobs, and made our own circle of love.

  17. Wow, Mary! I had no idea you guys were thinking of this. I, also, would love to move to several different places to live. I have traveled to so many cool places, and love many of them. I'm single without anyone else to worry about, and I have still decided that my family is worth staying close to. I have loved being the auntie to such awesome little ones, and the bond that I have with AM's little one is something that I wouldn't trade for the world. So i definitely understand your wanting to move to the exotic destination, but in the end, I always love coming home best of all 🙂

  18. Multi-taskingmom says:

    Just a thought….maybe you love it so much because you were on vacation? Several years ago….pre-kids, we went on a vacation of a lifetime. 5 days of white water rafting and horse back riding in Glacier National Park Montana. We LOVED it, never had we seen skys so blue, air so fresh, people so nice. We brought home brochures and real estate listings – we were ready to move there.

    After we got home we realized that part of the reason we loved the area so much was that we were on vacation and were out of our day to day responsibilities.

    Just wondering if it could be that for you folks too?

  19. My moving stories:
    The summer before 6th grade (my brother was just about to start High School), my parents moved our family from California to a small town in Oregon – 45 minutes from Portland, just over an hour to Lincoln City. I was outgoing enough to make friends easily, but still spent a lot of time “in mourning” about the friendships I had left behind. In California, I attended our church’s small private school since Preschool, so my social interaction basically involved our neighborhood and church/school. All of our family lived in California, but none close enough to make the drive worth it if we visited for less than a weekend or more. For the first few months, I was bitter about the move. I was angry about being uprooted, and I didn’t like being “the new girl.” But by the end of that first year, I was adjusting to small-town life, had made friends, and was genuinely happy to be there. By the time I went off to college, I was immensely grateful that my parents chose to move us when they did. It was absolutely the best thing they could do for our family at the time.

    Three years ago, my husband and I moved from the Northwest to the Kansas City area. We have no family here to speak of. We now have a one-year-old daughter who sees her Grandparents only a few times a year, instead of the frequent visits she would have if we lived closer. We miss our family and friends, but we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God has placed us here for this season of our lives, and we do not regret the move for one second. We cannot imagine leaving at this point. However, our family doesn’t get to experience the same sense of purpose and belonging that we have about our presence here, so they feel the sting of our absence with a bit more potency. They frequently remind us that they are eager for us to return. We do want Abigail to grow up knowing her Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, and extended family, but our distance from them is not in and of itself going to make us go back. We will make a conscious effort to maintain and strengthen those relationships as long as we are here, and visit as often as we can. We do also miss the Northwest because of the mountains, the ocean, the lakes, and all the natural beauty that we used to take for granted. I can understand why the Oregon Coast would be tempting you to stay on a permanent basis, in that regard!

    Now, some thoughts about your specific situation:
    Duh, #1 – Pray, pray, pray, pray, and pray some more.

    Is there anything about moving in general that is appealing to you? Or is it just moving to the Oregon coast that is enticing? If the thought of moving in general is unappealing, why? Now reconcile that with the advantages of moving to the coast. Are you just glorifying a place that’s great to visit, or are there deeper things you’d like to achieve through a move?

    You mentioned the appeal of Portland’s racial diversity. This is a valid, valuable consideration. You also mentioned wanting land – maybe an acre. That sounds reasonable and appealing. One thing to consider based on my experience is that most of the smaller communities situated between Portland and the coast do not have the same racial diversity as Portland itself. If you stay closer to the city, you may be able to find what you’re looking for to keep the multicultural aspect, but property values are probably higher in those areas, so would it still be possible to get your chunk of land? I guess that just depends on your price range, and the specific areas where you look. Just something to keep in mind.

    It sounds like your family would still be able to visit without excessive difficulty (i.e. It won’t require purchasing plane tickets or scheduling weeks off from work), so it’s not like you would be removing their influence from your kids’ lives altogether. How important is it to you that they be involved in your kids’ day-to-day (or week-to-week) lives, versus having strategic visits throughout the year? How essential is your extended family to your practical support system? Will their absence impede your ability to function as you normally do as a family? How much do your kids rely on family for emotional support? Is it possible to supplement the absence of sitting next to Grandma at church on Sunday with an extra-long phone call on Sunday evening?

    How easily do your kids make connections with peers? How do your kids handle change in general? Do you feel reasonably confident that you would be able to find a like-minded church to attend? What will you miss about the place you live now? Do the benefits of your current situation outweigh the potential gains of a new environment? Does exploring the unknowns of a new town feel like an adventure/a risk/a gamble? What is your tolerance for things going differently than you planned? Do you feel that God has a purpose for you in this move?

    As for the time of the move – I personally cannot conceive of the idea of planning a move 10 years in advance. It seems to me that if you are going to do it, just go for it. Yes, plan things out and try to time it when it works best for everyone. But – 10 years? – that seems a little long. If you are thinking of it as more of a place you’d like to retire to some day after all the kids are moved out, then that’s a whole different ball of wax. In that case, I say just wait until the nest is truly empty – but then you’re still looking at moving away from kids who want to stay where they’ve been planted. If my parents waited until I was well into high school to move, or if they moved after I left for college, I would not feel a sense of connection to their hometown. I wouldn’t feel like I was going “home” when I visited them. I would feel like I was visiting them at their “we’re done raising kids” house. I don’t’ think I’d like that as much as returning to the place where I grew up. (Now watch my parents announce that they’re moving to Florida or something…)

    If you do decide to pursue this, here are my suggestions about moving in general, based on my own moving experience as a kid (I only moved the one time, so I don’t have lots of experience, but that one move was a Big Deal to me):

    If you want to get the kids’ opinions before making the decision, that’s fine, but tread carefully, and make it clear that the decision will be made by you and your husband. If you have already made the decision to move, don’t act like it’s a discussion about what they want. It’s tricky to gather opinions, and then make a decision contrary to those opinions, without people feeling like their input wasn’t valued.

    Moving is a hard transition, and if you’ve never done it before it can be really scary – give your kids time to adjust to the idea.

    With homeschoolers I don’t know if it’s as much of a concern, but with kids in public/private school, I’d recommend trying to move when kids are at a natural break in grades (i.e., right before moving from Elementary to Middle School, or from Jr. High to High School). Being the new girl when everyone else is also adjusting to a new school is just a little easier. With lots of kids I don’t think you could make that work for everyone, but maybe give deference to the ones who you think will have a harder time with the transition, and time it according to when they might handle it better.

    Oh my goodness, I had no idea that I had so much to say on the subject. I hope you get lots of great advice, and hear from the Lord about what to do.

  20. I vote to stay put and vacation more frequently. I am a military wife (now living in DC) and having roots and family and memories all tied in……I say STAY PUT. You can't trade that feeling. Luckily, we'll be here for as long as we want. We plan on staying here 10 years then moving back to Alaska.

    But I am with ya, the Oregon coastline is just DREAMY….

  21. We entertain thoughts of moving to every place we ever visit. It's fun to envision us living in Mexico, the Texas Hill Country, Seattle, New Mexico… We've picked up scads of real estate information over the years with an eye towards retirement or maybe a vacation home.

    I've moved a LOT in my life. One of the things that has prevented us from moving in recent years is the reality of aging parents. My husband's parents, two hours away, relied on us extensively as his father lost his battle with cancer. Now his mother is alone and we are able to drive up to help her with things my FIL used to take care of and she is unable to do. So, extended family is and should be a consideration.

    Kids are resilient and can adapt easily – I know this from my own childhood relocations. There's no garantee your children will settle close to you, although with a large family the odds that one or more will live nearby are pretty good.

    Since you say this is an idea you will probably not act upon for some years, I'd say spend those years praying about it. Where does God want you? It may be right where you are, it may be in your dream location, it could even be in an area you've never visited and do not even anticipate. If the desire of your heart is in keeping with His will, you will ultimately be most content in the place He desires for you.

    I take that back. Ultimately, you will be happiest in the place He is preparing for you. Anywhere else is really just a pit stop, isn't it?

  22. As one who has followed her heart to far away places, I can only encourage the adventure. It would be a wonderful family project, getting everyone involved, in the choices and planning. The new experiences could create great growing opportunities for you all.

    But as a middle aged woman who has sick and aging parents who now live so very far away because of my adventurous moves, I share with you the heartache I have at not being able to always be with my loved ones when need be.

  23. OK, you've read my blog so you probably know where I am headed with this one, but the kids are the secondary, if that high, in the decision process. In our post Dr. Spock society there is a strong tendacy to "wroship" the kids, and the role of the child. Unfortunatly this action creates the exact opposite of what you want to happen. As they watch the parents living their lives to meet the needs of the child they learn that the adult life is one of servitude to the child, and as young adults begin to dread having children. The flip side of this is if you continue to live your life for you, and place the desires of you and your spouse over that of the child, thus leading the family into a wild anf fun adventure, the kids learn that life if fun, risky, and learn to be a family unit where life is lived in fun and adventure.

    As far as extended family I can't really talk about that one, we moved 600 miles away from ours, and there are times I wish I could double it. Me, I love to move around, I love to find new places, and see new things, meet new people and create new relationships.

    Only you know you. Ony you know the dynamics of your family and if it would survive the move. Me if I had the opportunity to move into my dream location, I would do it in a heartbeat and never look back

  24. What I have learned is that if you have a strong relationship and open communication with your extended family it doesn't matter where you live — the relationship will remain strong. If there are underlying unresolved issues that hamper communication, well, you could live next door and not have a healthy relationship!

    Would you still be within a one day drive of most of your extended family? That makes a big difference. My extended family has the rule that you have to live where Southwest Airlines flies!!

    I grew up in the Midwest but now live in Texas, I have a sibling on the East Coast and one on the West Coast. My parents stayed in our hometown. But we remain a close-knit extended family. My mother has visited every about every three months since my oldest was born 8 years ago. Until his recent death, my father accompanied her at least twice a year and we went up north at least once a year as well. The whole clan gets together al least once a year, often twice. But most importantly, we all talk regularly on the phone, we are all part of each others lives. We know each other's friends and neighbors. Real letters and little gifts go back and forth (to my silblings as well). I know, and my kids know, that we are a priority in their lives and they are vitally importantly to us too (the physical distance does not matter).

    Sadly, my husband's family is radically different. They do not call and do not connect with us. The distance has grown with each child. There is little communication of any sort and visits are rare. They are not interested in our lives or the lives of their grandchildren. This is painful for me and my husband. It has taken 15 years for us to learn that this is simply the way that his parents are, due to disfunction in their own natal families. We could live in the same town as them and the emotional distance would be as great, maybe greater.

    My guess is that you have strong relationships with both sides of your extended family, relationships that would change, yes, but that would still be there no matter where you lived. You would keep your ties to the place that you are now and grow and extend these ties in a new place.

    Don't discount the importance of greater racial diversity either, particularly as your little ones grow up. I live in a fairly diverse area but just visited Minneapolis and was blown away! Africans, everywhere! Asians everywhere! Transracial families everywhere (I don't know about residential patterns but at spots with children — zoos, museums, airports, — the diversity was everywhere and ordinary.)

    I would bet that the bonds within and among your immediate and extended families could more than handle the move. What does your heart tell you? If you are excited, feel bigger, feel better about it, then do it!

  25. Mary that is exciting that you guys are beginning to consider moving! I am all about finding new adventures and while I've never been to Oregon I've heard it's BEAUTIFUL.

    I would definitely say, don't rule out the idea of moving simply because it would put you farther from extended family. I think family, if you have tight relationships with them, is so important, but so is living in a place where you want to live. Plus, like someone else mentioned, moving farther away won't mean you suddenly won't be close with them anymore. And who knows–maybe some of them will follow you to Oregon!

    Good luck with what you decide. I really admire people who have a dream and go for it, especially when it means taking a risk or leaving a comfort zone. We'll probably be moving in a few years time ourselves–not sure yet, but the idea is both exciting and terrifying!

  26. Three and a half years ago my hubby and I moved from Western Washington to Southern Idaho. We both grew up in WA; had never lived in another place. Our families, friends and church were there. We were struggling with the cost of living, as well as the unemployment rate, but we still figured we were "home".

    Then the Lord put on our hearts that we should move to Idaho (a place we had said we would NEVER live). My mom lived here, but other than that, we were leaving everyone else behind. It was a hard decision.

    After the move, God immediately started opening doors for us. We both got good jobs. We were able to buy our first home. We even got pregnant two weeks after moving, after over two years of trying!

    We do miss our families back in WA, but we manage to see them quite often. We miss out on the little things, like afternoon family get-togethers, but in contrast when we do get together, we usually get to enjoy a few days of quality time. One of our favorite memories is when we hosted all 14 of my immediate family members for Thanksgiving week, just three weeks after our daughter was born!

    It took us about a year to feel "at home" in Idaho, but now we love it. And now when we go back and visit our families in WA we agree that it is a beautiful place to visit.

  27. We have always lived at least 12 hours away from our family members. I can tell you that I have been sad to not have family baby showers, family birthday parties, or family holidays. it is very hard to deal with emergencies without family members nearby, and without family members to help with childcare, outings as a couple are very expensive, and a weekend away is basically a pipe dream.

    My kids will never get to know their grandparents in anything but a visitor sort of a way, and I think that is sad. But, at least my kids do not experience the loss of having had family nearby and then not having it. I would think that the loss of that would be very far-reaching.

    I guess a good factor to consider is how far away you will be from family and how frequent the visits will be.

    of course, this is just one aspect of the decision. If things start to unfold for you in that direction, I would consider that a sign to move.

  28. Six years ago, we moved 1,000 miles away from family for my husband to take a business opportunity and it was a wrenching decision. We are both very close to our families. Had it not been for this corporate move, I'm sure we never would have had the guts to 'up and done it'. We both feel a strong connection to our families, we had small children and grandparents who mutually adored each other. We, too, loved spending time with our parents, who are getting older. We even felt guilty about leaving them, although none of them ever said a word to dissuade us from going. We moved to a lovely seaside community in northeast Florida. We can walk to the beach and swim in the Atlantic any time we want to. We love living at the beach and I feel very fortunate that we had this opportunity and life led us here. Yes. There are many times that I miss my parents deeply, and just want them here. Sometimes I feel alone and disconnected without an extended family with whom to share the special times. But they do come to visit us. They visit each winter, and our summer vacations are always to Michigan where our kids spend time with both sets of grandparents and make wonderful memories. The relationships our kids have with the grandparents is very strong despite the distance. We are commited to our Michigan summer trips because we believe in giving our kids (and us!) time with family that reinforces our connectedness and sense of belonging. I think with your own large nuclear family, wherever you are will be home and with your many family members, you won't feel as lonely living away as a smaller family might. It's such a tough choice. I think it's really wonderful to consider moving somewhere else, somewhere you feel pulled to. A different locale is really broadening and makes for new and interesting experiences. It's not wrong to want make a life somewhere you love; my husband really hated the cold weather and I hated the incessantly overcast days so prevelant in Michigan. Now, we love the climate we live in; everything is different here. It was such fun, making the leap to a different state, a new (better, except for hurricanes 🙂 climate, and life in a beach town. We never would have done this without the impetus of a career opportunity. I love living here. If things changed and we needed to relocate, I can't say I would rush back to Michigan – I think I would carefully consider another region/climate that appealed to us, and make that decision. I think it's fine to let your own interest, longing and desires drive your choice of where to live. Leaving family IS hard. Absolutely. But I am here to tell you that family relationships don't fizzle just because you can't pop over in the afternoons for a visit, Certainly, that changes. They continue to get together for the smaller, more ordinary occasions and we miss out on those times. But we spend time together, several days uninterrupted, twice each year. Even our newest daughter, home one and a half years and adopted at age 3, totally is bonded to her extended family. Of course, I know you will carefully consider God's will in your life as you make your decision. But I say, don't rule it out. Change is invigorating. Pros and cons – I'm happy that we were able to move. I love the beach. The people I've met here. Our church community. The weather. Our life here overall. I miss my parents a lot. But it's still good.

    I'm praying we don't have to relocate.



  1. […] Hubby and I were up late last night, reading through all the great, thoughtful comments you wrote regarding our  Opinion Saturday moving dilemma .  Thanks for taking the time to write.   It really helped us clarify things.   I think for now we’re going to stay put, but try to fit in two trips to the ocean each year, since we enjoy it so much there. […]