“Look, our old DutchBros Coffee!,” shouted my son, as I drove down the familiar roads of our old neighborhood in California. We pulled into the drive thru and each got a favorite drink. “Are you ready to go see our old house?” I asked my two oldest kids. “Yes!” they joyfully responded. 

Last week, my 2 oldest kids, my best friend and I flew to California to attend a dear friend’s wedding reception and to see a few of our sweet friends who still live in the Golden State. It was my first time back in California since we moved to Texas in August. It was a wonderful weekend full of special time with so many people that we love dearly. My son got to spend the weekend with his best friend. My daughter got to see and spend lots of time with her dear friends from her old school. They both got to experience flying on a plane for the 1st time–which they loved! We made a lot of great memories.

And while it was a special trip, here are a few reflections I have from the weekend:

1.True Friendships are Stronger Than Distance

“Friends are friends forever if the Lord is the Lord of them. And a friend will not say never, cause the welcome will not end…” Who else does that classic Michael W Smith song bring back memories for? Over the weekend, we jokingly sang that cheesy tune a few times, but all joking aside there is some sweet truth to those lyrics. What a sweet reminder that we are bound, not just by friendship, but by who we are as fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. How heartwarming that we are bound eternally together as we look forward to our eternal home. 

The hardest thing to leave is and will always be dear family and friends. I’m sure this is true for most people who have moved across the country. However, this trip was a reminder that true friendships are stronger than distance. It was like no time or distance had passed when spending time with people that I love. It wasn’t just refreshing to see close friends, I was also greeted with so many hugs and so much care while walking into my kid’s old school and our old church. The same went for my kids and their friends. My 14 yr old texts her friends, but she hadn’t seen them since August and yet the minute they met up it was like no time had passed. It was such a sweet thing to witness. I am so thankful that we have been blessed to have so many people special enough to miss in California. 

2. Our Quality of Life has Drastically Improved

I knew this was true, but driving by our old stomping grounds definitely solidified this truth. As we drove past our old home and neighborhood, it was beyond obvious just how much our quality of life has improved. Don’t get me wrong, we loved our old house and nothing can replace the countless memories that were made inside those walls. However, our new home and neighborhood is definitely an upgrade and we are already filling this home with many new precious memories.

Our home in Texas is almost three times the size of the home we sold in California. Our neighborhood in Texas is quiet, safe and full of neighbor kids to play with. There are no homeless encampments down the street or graffiti on the walls. Not to mention, all the crazy policies that are coming down the pipeline. While it was fun to drive past and visit many familiar and favorite spots–like the kid’s school, our favorite park, our favorite shopping area, our old church and our local donut shop (that kids frequented with dad), it didn’t make me miss the area the way that I thought it might. Instead, we enjoyed reminiscing while also being content on eventually heading back to our new home. Honestly, seeing California again up close and personal made me a little sad. It is sad to see how bad politics and bad policies negatively affect people and their everyday lives. 

3. Texas Feels Like Home

I’ll be honest, I was a tad nervous that being around so many friends and familiar places might make me miss California. I wondered if I would be partially home sick or want to move back. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. The whole time we were back in California, I was constantly reminded just how thankful I am for our new life in our new state. It is clear to see just how the Lord has directed our steps.We are exactly where we are supposed to be.

Near the end of the trip, I felt so ready to be home in Texas. My kids felt the same way. They were, of course, sad to say goodbye to friends. However, as we sat in the airport with groggy eyes and with our “comfies” on for our early flight home, I asked them if they were ready to go home? They both enthusiastically concluded that they were ready to be back in Texas. I am so thankful that this new state is feeling more and more like home with each month that passes. 

All this being said, there is a part of me that will always be a California girl. Me, my husband and all five of our children were born in California. It will always hold so many dear and precious memories for us both individually and as a family. It is home to gorgeous places that I will miss visiting regularly. However, after our quick trip back, I can honestly say that I am so incredibly blessed to be where we are. God has blessed us so abundantly. If the Lord is leading you and your family to move to a red state, don’t be afraid. Check out Erika’s great post on this: http://redstateramblings.com/how-to-know-when-to-say-yes-to-a-hard-thing/

I encourage you to do your research. Say your prayers. And if God opens the doors, how exciting to head out on a new adventure. Moving our family to a red state has been an incredible blessing.

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