They say it takes two years


Two years ago, we played Tetris with all of our earthly possessions, stuffing and shoving and twisting them juuuust so into two giant PODS and the back of our (smokin’ hot) minivan. We waved goodbye to the POD men and began a three month odyssey of moving from one place to the next until we finally found and bought a house.

It’s been a hard, hard two years.

The first year was spent just trying to figure out our place in this new town. We spent a lot of timeΒ mourning the loss of seeing and being with people who were more than just friends – they were family. That first year was spent visiting the beach, sticking our toes in the sand and trying to convince ourselves that we made the right choice – that everything would be okay.


The Beach – God’s Glory Land…

“It takes two years in a new town to feel settled,” we heard from more than one person and I’ve clung to that adage these last 24 months. On the nights when we’ve paced the house in the wee hours of the morning fighting hyperventilation and panic attacks, I’ve told myself to wait for that magic two year mark. Other days, as I felt lost in loneliness, I searched out the Facebook pages of my dear friends so far away for some connection to the life I missed, and I told myself it wouldn’t be long before this all got better.

After the first year, I felt like the worst of the mourning had passed and we finally began the arduous task of rooting ourselves to this new place. We found a church, made some friends and looked for ways to plug ourselves into this place that we desperately needed to call home.

This second year has been equally difficult, but for so many different reasons. So many times I have desperately longed for the friends who knew me best to come close, hold my hand and let me cry. Early on this year, I started to get a little lost inside my twisty head and I knew I needed to get out and meet people or things were going to go down hill quickly. So I found new friends who met me for coffee and even though we hardly knew one another, they listened as I let my broken heart roll down my cheeks. Just thinking about those glimmering moments of grace in such a dark time brings tears to my eyes once again.

Moving is hard. It’s so very, very hard to start over, to not be known, to feel like you have to smile when you just want to cry. But one thing our new friends have taught me these last two years is that there’s no faster way to get to know and love someone than to be raw and real with them. I could have stuffed all my sorrow inside and kept it hidden, but I would have been a miserable person as a result.

IMG_1310They let me be real. They passed me notes in church when they noticed my eyes were full of tears. They called just to check on me, to make sure I wasn’t staying in seclusion. When I apologized for crying so much they shook their heads and told me not to worry about it as tears glistened in their own eyes.

These people who were practically strangers felt my pain and in so doing, they took some of it on themselves, relieving me of carrying the burden on my own.Β 

They say it takes two years in a new town to feel settled and I’m embracing this two year mark. I still miss St. Louis so deeply that sometimes I feel a physical ache in my chest. I miss my friends so very much. Just today I called three of them because I just needed a little more than a Facebook status.

In two weeks, we head back to the ‘Lou to touch home base again. I think it will be perfect timing. Five days won’t be enough time, but it will quell the ache of the heart enough to allow us to continue to grow here – to continue to plant roots and gain a familiarity with this new place we call home.

Yesterday, I woke up, got dressed and it dawned on me that I was really excited to go to church. I was excited to see the people that are settling into that special place in my heart that’s reserved for the closest of family and friends. It’s been two years since we waved goodbye and I think “they” were right.

It’s starting to feel like home.


  1. Reading this I had flashbacks to when Corinne, Sean (3 years old). and I packed it all in a few boxes and moved to Brazil. Moves are tough and stretching ourselves emotionally, physically, and spiritually is never a comfortable place to be. The journey God has called us to is not without “oh, crap” moments and times when strange walls seem to be closing in on us. That is when we pray, as Steve Brown puts it, to “hear the soft sound of sandaled feet” moving around us. So glad you moved and know a bunch of cousins, nieces, nephews, uncles, and aunts that are just as thrilled!

    • Being close to you all has been a huge blessing for us, too. Seriously, I can’t tell you how much we’re looking forward to Thanksgiving. I just wish we could have settled in Orlando originally so we could see you even more! Love you!!!

  2. In a nutshell ” ditto” my friend. Only we have since caved in to those Overwhelming emotions. To me Florida has been filled with so many breathtaking moments over the beauty that is Florida, but at the same time, Florida has been one huge Threshing floor that has brought me closer to the Lord. A place where I have learned to walk by faith not by sight, and a place I will be FOREVER grateful that the Lord brought us together. You all were a life line, a blessing, and I know you will continue to settle in and continue to “grow” in this grand adventure of life. Love you guys so much!!!!

  3. Whenever I met someone new to LA, I’d say “persevere for two years!” I think homeschooling should be attempted with the same two year plan.

    • Yeah…sometimes I wonder if I would have enjoyed it more had I given it a second year. I dunno. I do think there’s something to be said about giving a full two years to any new endeavor before you decide to change. πŸ™‚

      • I’m a dork. I didn’t mean to call you out as a quitter or anything. Was just agreeing with the whole two year plan on a number of fronts. Love you!

  4. I agree and am clinging to the 2 year mark too. We are about to approach that mark and while we have come so far in the past two years, I feel we still have a way to go. When we moved here we had no one and I had never even been to Cali before. We dove in head first and have come so far but still praying God is taking us farther:). We have made some good friends but I also miss St. Louis dearly.
    Hope you continue to feel like home there and that God uses you every day!!!

    • Thanks, Julie! I hear you on feeling like we have a long way to go! πŸ™‚ I don’t think the two year mark is magic, necessarily, but I do think that there’s some relief in knowing we made it this far and we can keep going! πŸ™‚ Praying for you all too as you continue to settle in gorgeous northern Cali!

      • HI Kelli – thanks for this great post.

        We moved to BC, Canada 1.5 years ago (we were in the Cayman Islands for 7 years before that and in London, UK before that!) and there are so many positives here (people are very friendly but it is a small community and many of them grew up here so have friendships set over the years) yet I still feel that I am always trying to make new friends… so I totally understood your post about giving it two years to feel at home…

        I loved your honesty and how you were open and real with new people – I think I have been hiding my true self sometimes in order to make sure that I am not burdening others with my feelings and concerns. Your post has made me re-think this thought process… thank you.

        We are so lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the world and we are lucky to have our health and wellness – so in time everything else will fall into place too for you and for us, of that I am sure.

        Have a wonderful day
        Tiffany πŸ™‚

        • Wow, Tiffany! Those are huge moves! It’s so hard to share ourselves with people who don’t know us well, but there’s no quicker way to feel like you know someone. I will be praying for you as you continue to plant roots in your new home! πŸ™‚