At the cabin over Labor Day last year we were sitting around the dinner table with my parents and my oldest brother and his family. Our nephew had recently graduated from college in Oregon and had been hired by a great Bay Area company. We were talking about the cost of living in Oregon versus California (and Idaho, Montana, Texas, and all the other places to which people we knew were moving). With Silicon Valley booming, prices in the Bay Area housing market were continuing to skyrocket. Good for us as home owners. Not so good for my young nephew just starting out.

I look back at that conversation now as a turning point in our thinking. If our nephew was going to find it difficult to get into the housing market with a good-paying job, how much harder would it be for our own boys who had at least eight and eleven years to go before they’d be looking to do the same?

I remember feeling a pit in my stomach. Derek and I were working hard, doing our best to provide for our family, living in a nice home that was rapidly increasing in value, but we were feeling the pressure of it all. We were getting by, but not ahead. We were paying for private school but not saving for college. In the construction industry, Derek was feeling the grind and questioning how many more years he could maintain the pace at which he was running.

That conversation was the first time we really started to be honest with our feelings and speaking them out loud about staying in California. Derek and I had privately toyed with the idea of moving out, but we’d never said it publicly. I guess somehow it felt disloyal. We love Pleasanton. We always will. We are grateful our parents chose this town in which to raise their own families. Ironically, they came “all the way out to Pleasanton” from Oakland and Castro Valley because Pleasanton was more affordable and they could buy a new home at a reasonable price (which, back then, meant only one income was considered for the mortgage).

Derek and I were both born and raised here and we met at a dance in our high school gym when we were 14 and 15 years old. We went away to different colleges and grad school and returned to Pleasanton to get married and raise our family. We had never thought of doing anything else. I don’t think that speaks so much to our lack of creativity as to our satisfaction with our circumstances. We loved our town, being near to our family, hanging out on the weekends with old friends and doing life as we knew it.

We were comfortable (and there’s that idea of being “comfortable” again. God was calling us to get a little uncomfortable). We knew what to expect. We were just no longer sure if Pleasanton was still right for us. Although it will ALWAYS be our hometown, we were no longer certain if it would always be our boys’ hometown.

Obviously it’s not the same town we grew up in. The population has grown from about 15,000 when our families moved in in the late 60’s, early 70’s to its current 75,000+. Growth is inevitable. Life moves on. Times change. But we found ourselves longing for a simpler lifestyle.

We want to slow down and breathe. We recognize that we only have four and seven years left with our kids at home and we want to be present. And sane.

Within days of that conversation at the dinner table I saw a friend on Facebook who had recently relocated from Orange County to Texas (she’d been in Pleasanton prior to that). I was curious about what prompted the move. I called her up and we talked at length and interestingly found the reasons she and her husband chose to move their family of five from the Golden State were the same ones causing us to have more frequent discussions about moving.

Two weeks later I got an unexpected invitation that literally changed the course of our lives…

We captured this sunset on the way to the cabin. I now feel like God was starting to do a working in us as he prepared our hearts for the weekend.

Derek and I went for a long hike at Bear Valley that weekend. We started really asking questions about moving from California.