Leaving you is bittersweet. We heart you.
Your beaches. Your culture. Your food.
You see, the first half of our story began with you. We love the memories our family made here.
We love that Azusa Pacific University is where Bryan and I met and fell in love (although I played hard-to-get for far too long).
We love that as newlyweds we lived within walking distance of downtown Brea and spent entirely too much money eating out and buying clothes for our post-college careers.
We love that we became “us” in San Luis Obispo County, Bry working at Atascadero Bible Church, together exploring every nook and cranny of those whimsy towns. Gum wall, and Novo restaurant on the river, buying our first home in Templeton, and planning events at a Paso Robles winery. We love the church we made some of our dearest friends at, and discovering our love for antiquing and central coast tri-tip and how to perfectly plan traffic patterns when visiting family down south. We love our Atascadero mountain biking days and hiking the Bob Jones Trail, stopping at Avila Market for sandwiches and putting our feet in the sand and pushing Tanner in the BOB stroller.
We love that God brought us back to Orange County, to a Huntington Beach cottage, for 5 years. To a season of healing and loss and a marriage that almost didn’t make it. But God. We found ourselves- our truest selves – independently and then together. In a whole, grounded way.
We love that Ty learned to walk in our HB living room, his thick curls bouncing from side-to-side, and we journeyed loss and heartache and ministry and tackled big faith questions on our couch on Cindy Lane.
We spent Honeymoon Fridays biking your neighborhoods and grabbing our usual corner booth at Eat Chow. We referred friends to visit Petals & Pop Flower shop in Seal Beach and “You have to try this hole-in-the-wall Thai place off Adams.”
We love that on Sunday afternoons, when the boys were tired and our souls needed rest, our family drove along Pacific Coast Highway to where the Blanchette’s told us about; La Sirena Grill. We devoured chips and guacamole and those calamari tacos with the creamy sauce and to-die-for margaritas, and then we parked streets away and played football at Treasure Island Beach as the sun went down.
We love your San Diego sights- downtown Encinitas and Solana Beach and Claires on Cedros where the servers offer blankets from vintage ladders and serve breakfasts that resemble childhood comfort on a plate.
We love that our beach pass invited us to Tower 2 off PCH, and for quick trips or whole afternoons, we’d park and lay towels down and chase seagulls and breathe sea air and savor snacks and experience a sense of home and solitude for our family.
We love your libraries and Mexican food and LA bookstores and Olvera Street vendors. We love your warm summer days and chilly coastal evenings.
But mostly, California, we love your people. They are our people. We want to bring them with us, yet we know they are exactly where they are supposed to be. We love having our brother and sister and niece and nephew down the street. We love inviting neighbors into our home and talking about faith and parenting and exchanging recipes. We love our Christmas season tradition of meeting friends at Balboa Island and commemorating Thanksgiving in May in our backyard, the cafe lights casting a warm glow over glasses and appetizers and intimate conversation. We love roasting s’mores and baking a million desserts in our oven and writing love notes on bathroom mirrors to remind our boys they are loved regardless of how they behave.
We love doing life with people in your beautiful state.
So more than your ideal temperatures and emerald soaked hills, more than your Rose Bowl Flea Markets and warm goat cheese salads, please watch over our people. Offer them safety and rest and reminders of us, long after we drive away and make roots in a new state. Bring wind whispers of our laughter, of our heart-to-heart conversations. May they see hearts on the sidewalk and smell fresh cookies from local bakeries and know they left a mark on our family; one that will forever be imprinted on our story. Bring bright spring blooms to Mimi’s garden and invitations to pause and look up and respond to faith all around. Please carry our joy to every home and soul we love and may they know we are connected, regardless of miles.
And California, when we next visit, we promise not to complain of your traffic or new developments or busy pace, for in those unique qualities are the people we love and adore and there is beauty in all of the rush and texture and bustle of life.
Thank you for letting us grow and fail and become who we are meant to be as we step out and trust scared. As we venture toward Tennessee.
California, you have made us who we are and we are bringing much of you with us as we begin this new chapter.