Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Bravery....or a Lack Thereof.

I was born in Phoenix, Arizona. We moved to Rogersville, Missouri (Springfield area) when I was just about 14 months old, and lived there until I was eight. I have wonderful memories of that time. We lived on 35 acres, and spent most of our time outside. We even had a horse, a dog, a cat, and some chickens. Fun times!
The summer after I turned eight we moved back to Phoenix. These were probably the most fun years of my youth. I had great friends, good schools, lots of opportunities, and stayed close to the gospel.
When I was 16 we moved back to Springfield. I admit, at the time, I almost didn't go at all. I was so happy in Phoenix, and was involved with a touring performace group called Sound Celebration. We had traveled to L.A. and had just returned from Hawaii. I didn't want to lose that. The directors (an LDS husband and wife team) offered to let me stay at their home, and I had decided that was my plan. However, after singing in church, I really felt that the Lord wanted me to stay with my family. We moved back to Missouri that August.
Throughout my last two years of highschool, I struggled to find friends at church, and ended up dating a guy that had very different standards than I did. During all that time I had a plan to return to Arizona after graduation. I did spend about six weeks there, but couldn't get a job that would support me, so I had to return home to Missouri. I finally took a job as an usher at a theater in Branson. I wanted so badly to be in the show, but had missed the auditions that year, so I took the ushering job, hoping that it would lead to a role later. It did ultimately lead to a role, but it also lead me to Russell.
He was there with the show, having moved from Texas. We had a pretty short courtship, of only a few months, married, lived in Branson for about a year, and then moved to Springfield. After our first two kids were born, I quit performing to stay home with the children. Eventually Russell quit, too, and moved on to a "real job". We lived in Springfield until moving to Texas, along with my parents and grandparents, a couple of years ago.
Now I sort of feel about Springfield the same way I felt about Arizona before. I miss it. It was home. There are things I love about Springfield, and there I are things I don't love. There are also things about Arizona that I love, and things I don't love. And, believe it or not, there are even things I love about Texas!

Here's the thing.
Russell is finally almost done with his MBA. It's been a 4 1/2 year journey, working full-time to support our family, but he will graduate this May. He has been working for AT & T for over 7 years, and we assumed he would stay with them, but now that it's time to start looking, he's open to other options, and now we just have to decide what we want for our future.

That's the question. What do we (I) want? See, as I said, I moved when I was 16 years old, and it was so hard. It nearly "did me in", having to start over at that time of my life. I don't want to do that to my kids if I don't have to. Chandler is 11 years old. He'll be 12 in July. So, I want to be where we're going to be by the end of this year. I want my kids to have the kind of friends that I had before we moved.

Springfield is probably out of the question, because there just aren't many job opportunities there. There should be plenty of jobs here, if we want to stay here, but do we limit ourselves to that option? The question is, am I willing to move away from my parents in order for Russell to get the best job he can get? Hmmm.. I'll just be honest here, I am TERRIFIED to leave my parents! I've always lived near them, and I depend on them for so much. At the same time, there's a part of me that does want to "strike out on my own". Aren't we supposed to leave our parents and cleave unto our spouce? Perhaps I would do more "cleaving" if we were away from our comfort zone.

Arizona still calls sometimes. I miss the strength of the church there. I miss the mountains. I miss the temple at Christmas. I miss Disneyland being only half a day away. Maybe we should be open to that possibility.
Again, it all scares me, and I seem to change my mind a lot. Sometimes I get set on one thing, and it seems set in stone, but then I get too scared and back off. My poor husband just deals with it.

Any thoughts? Sorry about the novel, but I wanted to really think it out, and I wanted all of you to understand where I'm coming from. I really am looking for your thoughts and ideas-


Eden said...

It's so exciting that Russell will be graduating!

Our family totally understands your dilemma. When Adam lost his job last year, we had to decide how to approach his job hunt. Adam had a desire to stay here and I love it here too, but there was a part of me that desired a change. So we spent time in the Temple and went through our criteria for a place to live if we were to move.

#1 Not a major metropolitan town and not California. (Springfield's such an awesome size for things to do, school district but still not huge).
#2 A Temple within an hour to an hour and a half away (if we were going to move, it was going to be CLOSER to a Temple).
#3 Not officially a rule but with my dad's cancer and my 91 y/o grandmother relying on me so much, I didn't want to be more than a day's drive away.

So here's how we figured out places to look - Using MS Streets and Trips, I created "Drivetime zones" of 60 minutes and 90 minutes from each Temple in the Continental U.S. We then narrowed down our focus locations based on that - Quincy, IL/Hannibal, MO; and Omaha/Lincoln, NE. We also looked a little bit towards St. Louis like Rolla and Sullivan. Because we didn't have to move, we looked at jobs in Spfd, Monett, and Joplin. I even looked at Albuquerque.

With our primary locations picked, I then went to Chamber of Commerce websites for these areas and got the list of major employers. And then found their websites and saved them in my Favorites. I also made the same list in an Excel spreadsheet. Each day we checked the websites and marked it on our printed out spreadsheets with a date so we knew how long it'd been since we looked at that company.

Whenever I would look at a company's website from these lists, I didn't limit the locations, except to eliminate CA and NJ/NYC. So we looked at jobs in TX, NM, OK, etc.

Places we've talked about in the past but didn't focus on last year are Rochester, NY (Palmyra is only 30 minutes away so you can still live in semi-country but have the advantages of a large city) and Raleigh/Durham NC (Adam LOVES Duke basketball and Duke has a great health system to work for).

Adam wasn't gung-ho about moving. He really wanted to stay here. But his desire to have A job was greater. I was excited, until the point where the hospital in Quincy called for a SECOND interview. Then I freaked out for a little bit - do we really want to live there?

It came down to this - we were both willing to be where Heavenly Father wanted us to be. And we put our efforts that way, which included applying locally. We were blessed to find a great job locally so apparently this is where Heavenly Father wants us. And I'm really thankful to be able to be here for my Mom now that Dad's gone, as well as my grandmother.

So there's my novel in response to your's. Trust Heavenly Father to put you where he needs/wants you to be. And don't eliminate Springfield without at least job hunting here. You'd be welcomed back into the ward with lots of cheering! Now, if you picked a different ward, I won't make any promises :)

Cheryl said...

Leaving ALL of our family so far behind to move to VIrginia was scary and exciting at the same time. Our relationship grew because we depended more on each other and I think it was good. BUT our difference was that it was a temporary move. We knew we wanted to go back to Arizona after school to be near family. The thing is, we moved back to Arizona to be near family but it was a horrible place to start a career as a dentist and we've been struggling ever since. Sometimes I wish that we could just pick up and move somewhere else that would enable us to have an easier life. But now we're stuck because his practice isn't worth what we paid for it and yet it's not supporting us well either. Going back, I wish we would have relied on the Lord more for that decision. Who knows, we may have still come to Arizona. Maybe we were supposed to struggle in this career. I definitely wouldn't completely base it on family if there are other good options out there. I definitely would pray pray pray. Good luck Ashley! P.S. I hope you do come to Arizona

Thompson Family said...

Congrats to Russell! That's awesome!

Since Justin is in the Air Force, we will have to move whenever and wherever the Air Force sends us. It is a scary thought for me, but these are some of the things that have helped me cope with the possibilities.

First, the attitude of the parents makes all the difference. Kids pick up on that and if mom is positive and upbeat about it, then they are most likely going to be positive and upbeat. Paint it as an opportunity to make new friends and draw closer as a family. Encourage them to be pen pals with the friends they may be leaving. Make it an adventure.

Second, it really does make a family closer. We moved a lot when I was in Jr. High and I believe that is why Jana and I are such close friends. We had to rely solely on each other before we made friends at church or school. It also helps kids grow closer to their parents!

It is scary to leave family, but it is a good thing too. We have lived here in Texas for four years now and I feel like Justin and I have grown so much closer. We love our families and miss them badly, but living away has given us an opportunity to become our own little family. It can be a wonderful thing to be away from the constant intrusion and they are only a phone call or email away!

Third. One of the greatest blessings of being a member of the church is how the gospel is the same everywhere in the world. No matter where you do move, there will be a ward ready to welcome you with open arms.

Justin and I will have to move sometime next year and in all honesty, it scares me. I don't know yet where we will be going but I do know that we will only be there for a year before we have to pack up and move to the unknown again. I just think of it as an opportunity to grow individually and as a family. Justin and I have talked a lot about going back home to Utah when we are finished in the Air Force (whether that be ten or twenty years) and while that continues to be the plan, we remind ourselves that the Lord may have a different plan that we are not yet aware of.

My advice is to keep your options open and do what you believe the Lord wants for you and your family. Luckily you live close to the temple and you can go there for guidance and direction.

Good luck with everything! I will be excited to hear what you end up doing and no matter what it is, I'm sure that everything will work out for the best!

Love ya cuz!

Kristy said...

Do I even need to say, ARIZONA! It would be so amazing if I could get you and Evelyn to move back in the same year. I would be the happiest girl alive!!!

Sheri said...

I have to start with thanking you Ashley with sharing this and much congratulations to Russell!

When I first moved to the East Coast (long story on how I ended up here) I really hated it. I would get depressed every time I would come back from Arizona and literally counted the days until I was moving back. But it did make me stronger as a person and it actually made my relationship with some of my family better. Then life through my husband in my path and the decision on where to stay and live became more difficult. Especially as I have developed a wonderful network of friends and truly feel that my in-laws are my family. By our nature (those with a positive outlook - which I feel you have!) we will find things we love about anywhere we are, and can become attached to a place. However what I've learned is that if you have those you love and are doing something you love, where you are is just a location. If I was in your situation I would base the decision on where Russell can find a job that is fulfilling for him personally and financially and where you will have a strong church family. Your children will be strong and will be happy - because you both will be leading by example (please note that I say that not being a parent myself).

From my experience you should take a few days away from thinking about it so that you can get a clear perspective and are able to make a decision and not waffle on it. Try making a list: one column is "must have's" - these are things that are mandatory in your life, things that make you complete and happy and cannot be compromised (such as a great network of friends or a wonderful church or a job where Russell is fulfilled or a great school district). Next column - "wants", things that would be nice to have and should be considered. Last column - "wishes", things that you would like to have but aren't necessary for your happiness. This process may help you to clarify in your own mind what's most important and help you see what you need to be happy and fulfilled.

"Jump and the net will appear."

The Mullers said...

Ashley, rely on the Lord. I know you are probably doing that but still...that is the only honest answer that I can give. If you want my biast answer, I'd say move back to AZ. I LOVE it here!!! But my honest answer is that you need to go where the Lord wants you to go. Maybe open up all of your options...have your hubby apply to anywhere you'd be willing to move to, then let the Lord lead you to where he needs/wants you. Congrats to your husband!! And keep me posted if you move back to AZ, I know a good realtor :)

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