Dear California,

When we started looking at orders about five years ago, picking your location was more out of dislike for the other options rather than a strong desire to move across the country. When we learned that the Navy accepted our pick and we were moving there, I felt so many emotions, but mostly anxiety and fears of the unknown. How was I, a self-proclaimed homebody, going to survive 3,000 miles away from home?

I was determined to stay positive, to find reasons to look forward to this new adventure. I could see Hollywood, maybe run into a star. I would see landscapes unlike any I have seen on the east coast. I moved there looking forward to the touristy charms. I got so much more…

I found a church that instantly felt like home.

I found a worship team that welcomed me and found ways for me to continue serving even when my husband was deployed and I had a preschooler and toddler in tow with no babysitter to call on.

I found some of the strongest friendships that I have had in my adult life—women who embraced me, supported me, and stretched me; women who have left a lasting impression on my life.

I found a new appreciation for my home and family, especially my mom and sister, realizing that I cannot take them for granted but also seeing, in action, just how far they are willing to go for me and my little family. I will never be able to repay them for all they have done for me.

But I think, most importantly, I found me. I discovered my own strength and came into my own. I grew as a mom, as a friend, and as a person. I found my voice, learned what I needed from friendships, learned how to be a better wife, learned how to better trust in God. I truly believe that this move was designed for my own self-discovery. I could not have grown as I did if I always remained close to home and safe in my own comfort zone. California was my leap of faith.

My first dip in the Pacific circa Aug. 2015, just days after we moved to CA

I cannot believe how quickly four years in California flew by. We have been back on the east coast for a week now and it still has not fully set in that we will not be returning to the home we worked so hard to create for ourselves in Port Hueneme. I do not know if it will fully hit until we are leaving my mom’s and making the long drive to our next adventure. 

California, you were a place I was scared to move to and you became a place that broke my heart to have to leave. Thank you for the lessons, the love, and the friendships. 

Until we meet again, xo

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