We’re moving to Florida

In February we met with a realtor to discuss putting our house on the market.  We were ready to upsize.  We wanted more space for ourselves, for our children and we wanted to be able to host out of town family when they came to visit.  That was our plan.

God had a different plan.

On April 6, our house officially went on the market and we began looking at new homes here in town.  A few weeks later, Lee got wind of a job opportunity in Tampa, Florida.  We’ve always wanted to live in Florida so whenever a job opened up down there we checked it out.  The thing is, we love St. Louis.  We’re so deeply blessed here that for us to pull the trigger on moving was difficult.  No job ever felt good enough for us to actually make that move.

Until this one.

Lee got really excited about this job potential.  More excited than I’ve seen him in a long time.  But I wasn’t sure.  There were other things playing out in my mind and heart and I was kind of at the point where I was ready to abandon the dream of living in Florida and stake our claim in St. Louis forever.  So I waited skeptically while Lee interviewed.

We decided to put our house hunt on hold until we found out more about the viability of the job.  About five weeks ago, we got the call from our realtor that we had an offer on our house.  At this point we’d heard little from the people in Tampa so we began looking again at homes locally.  But two days after the house went under contract, Lee was asked to fly to Tampa for an interview.

This is the part of the story where I began developing an ulcer.

I waited as my husband flew to Tampa for two days to interview.  And while I waited, I prayed.  I prayed that the Lord would give us wisdom to make the right decision.  Like I said, we’re terribly blessed here.  And a large part of that blessing stems from our amazing church family.  The thought of leaving our church home and the friends we have there makes my stomach tie into knots.  But I don’t ever want fear of change to hold my family back, so I determined to loosen my grip on the familiar and embrace what God might have for us.

I can’t go into all the details of how God showed us His plan, but I can say that He answered my prayer above and beyond what I imagined.  I asked Him to make it obvious if we should go and He really did.  From things like our house selling at exactly the same time the company needed to make the new hire, to our roof needing to be replaced and insurance covering it, to our furnace needing to be replaced and home warranty covering, and on and on the list goes…


God placed random strangers into our lives to speak such wisdom and peace into us that both of us began to shake our heads in awe.  From someone sitting by Lee on the airplane down to Tampa to a bartender, God used others to give us peace in this decision.  It’s truly been amazing.

We did not mention this to many people because we just weren’t sure what would happen.  It’s tricky when a lot of life plays itself out online.  These matters become much more delicate.  We didn’t want Lee’s current company to get wind of this, obviously.  Nor did we want anything said to our kids inadvertently.  But it’s been hard.  We have tried to answer questions honestly without giving too much information away.  It’s felt deceptive, but I sincerely hope that everyone understands that that was never our intention.  This has been a difficult process for us.

On Tuesday of this past week, Lee’s paperwork cleared and he was officially given the job that would move us from St. Louis to Tampa.  We closed on our house the next day.  Once again, God confirmed in our hearts His plan.

But this is hard.

This is really, really hard.  Painful.  Lee will leave in two weeks to begin working in Florida.  The kids and I will leave a few days after him.  And my heart is ripping in half.

My family moved to St. Louis when I was 12.  Though I lived in Texas for six years, St. Louis was always home base.  For 21 years, this has either been home, or home base.  Minus the wicked winters…and crazy tornadic springs, I love everything about this town.  Especially the people.  Lee and I moved here a year before Sloan was born.  This is the place we became a family.  We have friends who have poured into us for the last nine years, watching us grow, watching our children grow and giving us some of the sweetest years of our lives.

I’m sad to leave.

But I’m also excited.  Like I said, living in Florida has been a dream of ours since we got married.  We have family down there and we love everything about the beach.  Our kids have been begging us to move to Florida for years.  They’re thrilled.  And we are too.  But it’s tempered by the dread we feel to leave.

So that’s where we stand.  We are spending our last couple of weeks in St. Louis doing all the things we love to do, spending as much time with friends as we can, and shedding a lot of tears.  We are also rejoicing in the Lord’s provision and look forward expectantly as we await what He would have for us next.

I said it beforenew adventures await us.


  1. Exciting AND bittersweet.

  2. Kelli! Congratulations – that is such an exciting adventure. OBVIOUSLY we’ll still have to meet half way in Nashville for Blissdom. So excited for you and your family.

    • I’m already planning on it, Hannah! I want to see you there with a baby strapped to your chest! 🙂

  3. Elizabeth Ward says

    Ahh Kelli-
    We are excited for you and will pray for you as you make the move. I am feeling sad though because I am losing a dear friend… and yes, I know I am not technically losing anyone… but I need to say that I am going to miss you. I cherish our friendship and want you to know that you are important to me. Important enough to mourn the move for a bit. Know you are loved…. -E

    • Oh Elizabeth. Tears. I love you. I’m still trying to figure out how I can get back up here every other Tuesday night to be with you ladies…

  4. I know just being able to write those words has been very therapeutic. God’s timing was just plain amazing. Praying for your heart daily and that He will prepare you for the new story that lies ahead. love you much!

    • Thanks Becke. It is a relief to get it out in the open. Love you! We’re lookin’ for a house big enough for you guys to come and stay fora long time. 🙂

  5. We are beyond sad to lose you guys. I’m sad for Coop to lose close ties with Sloan. I’m sad to lose a running buddy (ok, I’ll walk, you run). I’m sad for Jeremy to lose his friend who he occasionally makes passes at. I’m sad to lose sight of Tia and Landon as we are just getting to know them more. But I’m so excited for the adventure your family will be on. God will use you guys mightily. Keep stuff open. Pray for those desires of your heart and tell us about them so we can rejoice with you guys! I’m so excited for your house hunting, for visits and vacations, AHH! My heart is happy and sad. We love you guys.

    • Please, please, please come visit. Southwest runs cheap fares down there! I’m sad to miss seeing your boys more too. But you guys really paved the way for us in this. We saw how blessed you were in your time away and we take comfort in that. Big kiss to you!

  6. Everything is in God’s hands. Ever! We have the chance to see that it is really true. He will provide more nice opportunities for you in a new place you are going to call your new home. You are TOGETHER and this what really matters. Love you…

  7. I know you are filled with lots of mixed emotions! Praying for you tonight! We used to be military and moved A LOT. At a friend’s suggestion we got each of the kids a disposable camera and let them take pictures of things that were important to THEM! When we got to our new destination they made a scrap book of ‘remembrance’. They loved doing it!

    May Lee settle in quickly…may you find a house suited to your needs…may your find a wonderful church family and ‘heart friends’.

    • Thank you so much, Karen. That really spoke to my heart. And I LOVE The idea of letting the kids document things themselves. That’s a GREAT idea. Thanks!

  8. Congrats! Sounds like a great opportunity.

  9. You forgot the best part: you’ll be so much closer to me! 🙂

  10. Wow. What an awesome story. It must be very exhilarating to see one of your dreams come true! The hardest part about that is that to make a dream come true, it almost always involves leaving something else you love behind. There is only so much room, I guess!

    Here’s the great thing about so much of our lives being lived online, though, you really don’t lose touch with the PEOPLE as easily as you once did. It’s easier than ever to keep those connections.

    Have fun on your new adventure!

    • This is true, Gregg. I’m even more grateful for Facebook and blogs now! 🙂 But I will miss being in constant fellowship with the ones I love here. I cling to the knowledge that new fellowship and adventures await. Thanks for your encouragement!

  11. wanida says

    oh me, oh my… you’re story could not be more ordained. wonderful news kelli. pulling up roots is never easy. the plant struggles through it for some time, but in a fresh new pot of soil, it’s never bloomed so beautifully. excited for you, lee and the chickens. yes, chickens. 🙂 be patient with yourself, i recommend a good dose of hefty tears, daily.

  12. Thanks Wanida. I love the analogy. With that said…you guys want to come to Florida? I mean, it’s no San Diego buuut….

  13. Wowzers!!! Lee, one of my best buddies that I don’t get to see nearly as often as I’d like and Kelli, my unbelievable copy-editor… I will SO miss you both! On one hand I am sad, but on the other I am thrilled about this new door our LORD has opened for your family! And Kelli, I will certainly stay in touch about a book 2 if that comes about… 🙂

    • You better!! I can still help you out from afar thanks to the lovely digital age in which we live! Thanks, Jason. We’ll miss you too. Looks like you guys will just have to plan a vacation to Florida, eh? 🙂

  14. Oh! i’m just now getting around to reading this. CONGRATS! I may be a teeny bit jealous, but I know exactly how you’re feeling: a mixed bag of excited/scared.

  15. Very exciting news! I’ve never been to Tampa, but I do have a good friend who has lived there for 6 years and is very happy there. I’ve been looking into making the move to Florida as well (from Texas) and have been keeping my eye on some homes for sale in South Florida, the Coral Springs area specifically. I do think it’s a great place to live, especially with young children– you can’t beat childhood memories of trips to the beach and sunny weather to play in. Best of luck to you and your family, I know you’ll all be very happy there.

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