My journey to San Francisco began when I left Colorado in 2001 to study New Media at Academy of Art University. When deciding where to go to school, it was either the East Coast or the West Coast for me; I can’t say it was a terribly spiritual decision, but I did my research, made up my mind, and I set out for the Golden State. And I’m so glad I did!
After a year in SF, I moved 20 minutes south to the beautiful coastal town of Pacifica.
It’s now 12 years later and I am still in awe of this beautiful area
each time I drive down Highway-1 on my way home or to work.
I’ve been teaching at a small private Christian high school for the past 7 years and have never enjoyed a job more than this. It’s probably the most challenging job I’ve ever had, but it’s also been the most rewarding by far.
Why leave a job I love and such a beautiful city?
A lot of great things have happened over the 12 years that I’ve been out here, and I’ve met so many amazing people. I honestly never thought I’d leave California, but the desire to be near family has been growing for some time.
After going on some life-changing trips with my sister to Peru and Costa Rica in 2010 and 2011, I tried to get Emily to move out to California so I could have some family out here. But if you’ve ever looked at the housing prices out here, you can easily guess what one of the biggest hindrances to that plan was!
The only thing that has made it possible for me to stay out here on a small private school salary has been renting a room from different families or having a roommate (yes, like in the college dorm sense of having to share one room, like my current situation!).
I could always try to get a higher paying job so I could stay in the Bay Area, but it still comes down to the fact that my family isn’t out here.
This summer, while playing on a cross-country music tour with a singer/songwriter friend of mine (Nate Currin), I allowed myself to consider (for the first time since I’ve been out here) moving to be closer to my family.
Being the analytical type of person I am, I almost immediately made a pros and cons list. Nerd alert! (At least I didn’t do it in a spreadsheet!)
Where would I go if I moved?
If I were to move, would I try to be near my parents, my brother, or my sister? I love them all equally. But they live in 3 different timezones.
My brother lives in New York and has 3 amazing kids. My parents are in Colorado, which is where I’m from, and is also a beautiful state. And then there’s my sister… in Oklahoma.
I think out of those 3 choices, most people would at least eliminate one of the choices pretty easily; I’m pretty sure most of you eliminated Oklahoma just now. I mean, it’s just cowboys and tornadoes there, right?
That’s pretty much what I was thinking when I texted my sister while on the trip:
“So are you guys pretty set on Oklahoma?”
I’ve always been close to Emily because of our similarities in personality, interests, etc. Serving in two foreign countries together bonded us a ton as friends. It was on those trips that I realized I had a best friend 1600 miles away who I also happened to be related to!
We also tend spark each others’ creativity and humor. One example was when we did a video shoot for her photography business a year ago. It was so much fun working together! The second half of the video below might give you an idea of the fun we had.
Some more motivation…
This summer, Emily had her first baby (Isaac) and we’ve all fallen in love with him.
I’ve never been a “baby guy”, but this summer, it’s like a switch was flipped, and I suddenly was incredibly excited to be a part of this little guy’s life.
It’s definitely not that I love my other nephews and niece any less, I’m just excited that I’ll get to be part of his life and actually feel like an uncle.
I’m hoping that this will somehow lure my parents, my brother, and his family to move too so we can all be together, but baby steps, right?
When would I move?
Even though I have been thinking through this for the past 6 months, I knew that I needed to stay through this school year to help make the transition smooth. The plan is to move the first week of July, right before my family goes on a vacation together, which will be the first time we’ve all been together since Emily got married.
I’m actually going to be moving out of my apartment the second week of March. I’ll be moving in with some dear friends of mine for the next few months before I head out because my apartment recently gave me notice that they’ll be raising the rent by $300 a month!
What will I do in Oklahoma?
While I was considering Oklahoma this summer, I remembered that YouVersion, the organization that created the Bible App was based there, but I had no idea where exactly. Ever since they created the app, I’ve always thought it’d be awesome to work with them, especially when I started learning iOS programming.
When I did a little research, I found out they’re located in Edmond, yes, the same city where Emily lives. That was interesting. A couple days after realizing that, YouVersion was featured on the New York Times. The timing of that article was perfect for me, and I started to think about what it’d be like to work on a project that impacted over 100 million people. As I write this, they’re almost up to 130 million.
Even if I don’t get a job with them, I definitely want to volunteer there and offer the ideas I have to make it even better.
I have another option of potentially working with a company called WhippleHill which creates great private school software. I’ve been working with them for the past year to implement their system at our school, and it’s been so great working with them, I asked them if they might want to hire me! I’ve got a phone interview with the president of their company tomorrow, so we’ll see what comes from that!
There’s also the obvious option of working with Emily and her photography, as well as a new business that she, her husband, and their friend have started called Digital Legacy.
I’ve also considered getting into college education, so I’m also keeping that door open. I definitely love teaching, but if I do teach out there, I’d like to work towards teaching at the college level.
You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.
—C. S. Lewis
What about ministry?
Even though it’s strange to leave all the ministry I’ve been doing out here, it’s cool to know that it will continue without me and that God has things under control.
I’ve led worship at the church I’ve been helping get started (Vintage Grace Communities) for the past year and a half or so, and really didn’t want to leave them in a bind. But when we started to have a guest worship leader come in to help me transition out of leading each week, God provided an awesome couple (his best friends from Texas) who felt called to come and be a part of our church and lead worship here. The timing of it all was so perfect.
Even at work, I see God taking care of things that even just a year ago would have left them in a total mess if I left at that time.
As I go out to Oklahoma, I plan to plug into LifeChurch, which is a great ministry that I’ve been following for years. Craig Groeschel is an awesome pastor, and LifeChurch’s ministry serves so many churches and individuals all over the world. The Bible App was started by LifeChurch. I feel like there are many ways I can get involved and use my creative gifts there.
If you’ve made it through all this, you’re a real trooper. You’re probably also one of the many people who have been there for me over the past 12 years in California. Thank you. I’ve got so many people in CA who are dear to me and plenty of good reasons to come and visit often! Oh yeah, and that view!