willing# t h e e l l e i n r e l o c a t e | four

It’s that brief moment of time between night and day. When the sun is just below the horizon, yet its light is visible. In the morning, the purple sky appears just before dawn, and offers its glimmering hope that a new day is about to begin. It’s called twilight.

That is precisely how the question first came to us. As the slightest trace of possibility. It had been a year since we first felt called, and then pretty much dismissed the idea to sell our house without a plan. And yet there we were, preparing to do exactly that. Once we knew we didn’t have a choice in the matter, it was mere days before the thought struck.

Why are we clinging so tightly to this desire to stay in Nebraska? Once we no longer have our house, other than family, what is keeping us here?

“Other than family.” When you put it that way, it sounds as though family alone wouldn’t be enough to keep us. And I suppose, as it turns out, they weren’t. But that wasn’t always the case. So on this particular day, asking that question in no way diminished what family means to us. It was simply removing them from the equation, and asking ourselves what other reasons might exist to keep us from leaving.

What we came up with rather quickly became a list of reasons to go…

  • We didn’t have kids in school to worry about.
  • Our photography business was in a good place to make this sort of move.
  • For the most part, our closest friends either had moved away or weren’t local to begin with.
  • As much as we love Nebraska, the climate isn’t ideal for our business.
  • If we’re ever going to go have this sort of experience, now was the time to do it.
    And so on.

Having realized that there wasn’t a single good reason to stay – and remember, for the time being, we weren’t considering family – we found ourselves overwhelmed with possibility.

What if we moved somewhere else?

The really fun part about this question was, there were no limitations. Once we began looking outside of the proverbial box that had been previously surrounding us, anything and everything became a potential. Suddenly, we were like two kids with the world as our oyster.

I was born a dreamer, so to be honest, I answer the “what ifs” with “why not” way more than I let on. Kel typically balances out my head-in-the-clouds approach to goal-setting by ensuring that we follow up ambitious fantasies with practical application. We’ve been perfecting this dance through years of coming up with projects to do around the house, planning trips, and building a business together. And we certainly aren’t strangers to the “If you could do anything in the entire world, what would it be?” conversations.

But something about this exchange was different. It had been a long time since we had gotten this excited about the possibility to shake up our lives. Somewhere along the way, around the same time when our hopes and dreams were being crushed on a monthly basis, we had lost a piece of ourselves that knew what it was to really imagine a different life together. We shouldn’t have been at that point in our marriage. Two thirty-something-year-olds should still be anticipating the next chapter of their life together, right?

It was then that we realized that we were living in a rut. A rut that had been worked down deeper and deeper and deeper over the years. Most days it didn’t feel that way to us. We’d been just moving along, trying to make the most of our situation, and sharing a lot of joy and laughter along the way. In fact, we were having a hard time really wanting to leave that life behind. It was comfortable. It felt safe. We knew what to expect from it.

But a rut it was, nonetheless. And deep down, we longed for more. We recognized that we had been settling for far less than we were meant for. We began to accept that moving on from 1644 wasn’t simply about living in a bigger and better house. It was about allowing a transformation to take place within. It was about confronting whether we love our Savior more than we love this life. More than we wanted to be in control. More than our desire to stay close to family.

That’s when family entered the equation again. Only before we could even factor them in to the decision, we knew that as much we wanted to be near them, what we truly needed was to be willing to let them go. And so, in the spring of 2015, before our house was even on the market, we began praying…
Lord, if you want us to go, we are willing. Just make what you want of us obvious, and we’ll be on our way.

That’s not at all how it happened, though. He didn’t make it obvious. For months it felt like the sun was stuck beneath the horizon. With just enough light to see what was directly in front of us, we were left mostly in the dark. We were moving forward with no plan, and without so much as a hint of certainty in what laid ahead.

the elle in love, tennessee, smoky mountains, #theelleinrelocate

Coming up, next week:

Uncertainty –
“There was a lot of hesitation on our part to admit to others that we didn’t know what we were doing next. We were convinced that everyone around us most likely thought we were being foolish..”


  • Love love love reading this journey. and love you guys even though we've never spoken in person.