When You Know it’s Time to Move

It’s one thing to move when you’re unhappy, it’s quite another to move when everything is going positively swell.

We’ve got ourselves a swell life here in Phoenix. Our kids are here, family and friends abound, we have jobs we like.

Heck, I even like my coworkers. How amazing is that?

We live in a decent neighborhood, in a decent house, with decent neighbors who watch out for each other.

But yeah. We’re moving. To Minnesota.

When people ask us why, it’s not always easy to explain.

“You know it’s cold there, right?”
“Yeah, I’ve heard that.”

Snowing in April
The view from our hotel the first time we visited. It was mid-April.

We could say there’s a danger in getting too comfortable. You start to feel like you’re coasting along. No longer striving, no longer trying. Just settling in and waiting for the inevitable.

Sometimes what you need is a change of scenery.

“You know what the state bird of Minnesota is? The Mosquito!”
“Haha.”

Bench by the river
The Mississippi as it flows through Little Falls, a ten-minute drive from Randall, MN

Do you ever get an antsy feeling that something is not quite right? You feel a bit unsettled. Despite your life being perfectly fine, you have this voice inside saying, “You need a change… It’s time… Do something!”

And as Husband is a Presbyterian minister, we tend to put stock in that sort of thing.

We’ve been in the same house in Phoenix, at the same church, for 17 years.

Seventeen years. That’s half a century in Pastor-years.

He wanted to try something different. Still ministry, of course, but somewhere different.

Sometime after Thanksgiving, he “activated” his information. In essence, it alerts churches looking for a new pastor that he’s available. As per usual, he didn’t narrow the parameters as to where he was willing to go.

We’ve always been foolhardy in that regard.

“Hey, maybe we’ll wind up in Hawaii!”
“Yeah… or maybe Detroit.”
“Um…”

trees, Minnesota, small town
The sleepy little town of Randall, Minnesota

Fortunately for us, Presbyterians allow pastors to have a say in the matter. We’re not moved willy-nilly. We can scope a place out, take our time, interview the people there as much as they interview us. Do everything we can to make sure it’s the right move.

We were in no hurry, and with Husband having recently turned 60, we figured it’d be a slow process. We expected a year, maybe two, before we found the right place.

So imagine our surprise when he started getting emails from Florida, Pennsylvania, New York, California, Texas, South Carolina, Oklahoma…

“Oklahoma?”
“Um… no.”

river, small town, Minnesota, Little Falls
Look at all these homes blessed with riverfront views. Do you think they know how lucky they are?

Another thing we weren’t prepared for was how much politics would enter into it.

With each interview, Husband had a clear impression they were fishing for his political views, especially with regards to gay marriage. They weren’t asking overtly of course, but the meaning was there. And almost without fail, the churches contacting him were very conservative.

We began to wonder, was there some sort of code language we missed? Was there a phrase he used in his information form that inadvertently labeled him Alt-right?

He began researching locations as soon as a church contacted him, mostly to see how their area voted in the last election. What we hoped for was an area with some political diversity, neither all red nor all blue.

We look great in purple.

Most of the areas were heavily one sided. Such as South Carolina.

“I saw that 86% of your county voted for Trump.”
“Well, we ARE the Bible Belt, you know.” (Said in the most charming accent ever)

quilt shop, coffee shop, creamery building, randall minnesota
Randall’s quilt and coffee shop, housed in the old Creamery building. Soon to be my favorite hangout.

Then sometime in February he was contacted by a church in Randall, Minnesota. A Google image search showed us… well, honestly they need to hire a new photographer for that town. Most of the images are less than stellar.

But our emails with the church were lovely, as was a phone call. So a Skype interview was scheduled.

That then had to be rescheduled.

“So let me get this straight: no one from your committee can get to the church right now, on account of snow?”
“We really didn’t want to tell you that.”

snowy path, trees, minnesota
Are we nuts? Yeah, probably.

The eventual Skype interview was one of the most pleasant interviews he had, lasting for over an hour. It led to a second Skype interview, followed by a third… then a fourth… then a fifth…

The conversations were open, honest, forthcoming. They classified themselves liberal. They’re also pro-military.

They’re an interesting bunch.

They flew us up there. We hugged. (Heck, after five Skype interviews you’re practically family.) They put us in a nice hotel, drove us around town. Showed us the best roads for scenic motorcycle rides. (Husband took notes.)

They took us to a restaurant by a lake (of course), where Husband watched two snowmobiles make their way across the ice.

“That looks fun.”
“Um… yeah, actually. It does.”

snowmobiles, minnesota, family in the snow
Sure it’s cold, but dang it’s fun!

It’s an odd thing, but sometimes it takes a move across the country to find your kind of people.

So Husband wanted something different.

I think we found it.

church in randall minnesota

Author: CJ Hartwell

Christi lives in Phoenix with Husband, Son, Daughter, and Dog. She enjoys moonlit walks on the beach, but as she doesn't live anywhere near a beach, she's usually in bed by 9:30.

38 thoughts on “When You Know it’s Time to Move”

  1. I’ve never met a Minnesotan I didn’t like. How wonderful to “click” with a congregation like that. I have been looking forward to the answer to “why Minnesota?” since Minnesota is not often an end destination. At least now you won’t have to worry about Arizona running out of water.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I’m so excited for you two! Funny thing, I have never been to the creamery. Been to the Randall muni for a Silo beer a time or two though. We are UCC’er’s ourselves which is pretty close to Presbyterian. I would have not been thrilled about Oklahoma either! I am here for you as you make the transition to your new state-Hubs and I moved from Wisconsin after living there for 15 years, to Colorado so I know very well what you are going through 🙂 I’m always here for support or tips CJ!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Rhonda!
      We heard a lot about the muni, but didn’t get a chance to visit yet. (It’s on the list!)
      I didn’t realize you were in Wisconsin that long before your move. It’s quite a process moving after all these years, but I rather like the feeling of starting over, too. So yes, plenty of emotions at work!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I think this is great, nothing like moving to get the blood flowing again.. I’ve lived in 5 different states and never have I regretted any second of moving. And just think, you can take your snowmobile to services and school. Phonix will always be your home, you’re just adding another home and new memories.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, Phoenix will always be here and we’ll be sure to visit often, especially as our kids are staying.
      I know what you mean about getting the blood flowing. We’ve been meaning to clear out useless stuff for so long, but now we have a reason to do it and man, are we ever! It feels great!

      Like

  4. What fun! I’ve moved lots so here’s some advice. The #1 best way to move is … open the front door of the old house, throw in a half a dozen fragmentation grenades and walk away. More advice anytime you need it.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I have tears. I’ve checked and it’s not the menopause (that passed my way early in my forties after a hystericalectomy as my youngest daughter called it at the time) so they must be happy tears. Yes, they are. Happy happy tears. Your post speaks of patience and perseverance and a sure knowledge that the right place would present itself. And it speaks of a new start and a chance to do even more good in this world than you have clearly both already done. And forgive me, I barely know where Arizona is on the map of this mahusive land let alone Minnesota so I just have to take it from you that it’s quite a large distance both geographically and culturally from where you are. Upping sticks and moving at any time is hard. Doing it when you have firm roots somewhere is brave. But this will be good. And all shall be well. And I so look forward to your missives as you settle into this new mission. You will polish your words perfectly and I will sit and your readers will be enriched a little. Because that is what you do.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Goodness, Osyth, you take my breath away!
      I’m both anxious to write about this upheaval we’re experiencing (because I know with my memory, feelings will be forgotten as soon as they’re felt), and desperately lacking the time to accomplish said writing. But I’m doing what I can with a little flowered notebook by the teapot, because there is always time for tea. (I learned this from souls far wiser than me.)

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I don’t know where either of those places are but this post has made me really excited for you 😉 I think I would love to live somewhere that had decent winters. I’m not very well travelled myself, nor that coping of change, but I love to see others’ adventures. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Welcome to a glimpse of my reality, Christi – and I mean that. I moved away from my family and friends in Phoenix to this very region (Northwest). After a decade I roamed around the country again for nearly a decade and I’m glad to be back – sans family now, but mostly glad. Me moving back to IL, WI or MN would require an additional winter home almost anywhere south. In WI you’ll not only be closer to other dear blogger friends (and some of my offspring). annnd you might just acclimate well and wind up loving it. I look forward to the continuing saga.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Yep, there’s some good folk in Minnesota. Of course I a little biased (you can take the boy out of Minnesota, but you can’t take the Minnesota out of the boy.) Better not pack those recipe books too deep, especially the ones with the casseroles in it.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Wise move on the ixnay of Oklahoma, I know that baggage and it’s not something you want to put in your attic. It’s good that you feel good about the move. And really, if you’ll excuse the wee bit of politics, most liberals do support the troops, firmly. It’s the decisions behind military campaigns that bring questions…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, it’s wasn’t the support of the troops that surprised us, rather it was the unabashed support of all things red, white, and blue.
      I wondered what you’d think of the OK comment. By the way, we looked into a position at Canyon Lake, TX, but nothing came of it and in the end, MN was a much better fit. Ever been there?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I had to look up Canyon Lake, as it didn’t ring a bell. I see that it’s midway between Austin and San Antonio, an area of the state that I haven’t really explored. Austin is great, so you would have had a very liberal city to explore and enjoy. (And you would love the “celebrate difference” attitude.) San Antonio is supposedly quite nice as well, but I’ve only been there once, briefly and at night, on our way to Padre Island…

        Liked by 1 person

        1. People in the know told us it was very conservative but has starting edging a little closer to the center due to an influx of younger residents. I think San Antonio is supposed to be very similar to Phoenix on the political spectrum.

          Liked by 1 person

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