Warning: Long post ahead. Very long post. But its something I need to write down...
When you think of Iowa, what do you think of? Me: I honestly couldn't think of anything I would associate with it. I knew it was up north, near Missouri and stuff ;) I thought of a whole bunch of nothing, fields, farms, etc. I didn't even know they were famous for corn. I was clueless. So imagine my thoughts when Joey shows me a text from his old boss(from YEARS ago in Corpus) asking him to come work for him in Iowa...
Well, let me backpedal a bit and give you the scene of our life at this time. I had been feeling a little unhappy where we were. Life was good for the kids, decent for Joey and okay for me. Kids had friends and overall were fine despite a few little hiccups with certain friends, but thats life and it wasn't anything huge. I remember feeling like I didn't think I wanted to raise them in such an affluent area. Their friends had everything. Kids in our neighborhood were driving golf carts that belonged to them. Teens were driving sports cars and convertibles. I mean, on Halloween we were just about the only family that walked to trick or treat. Everyone else cruised around in golf carts or 4 wheelers! Anyways, the kids were fine though. They were all happy. I just didn't like the mentality of some of their friends and their friends parents. Joey's job was good-he made enough money for us to live in a beautiful home and do the things we wanted to do without ever having to stress about finances. He was however feeling stuck in a rut. The same thing everyday. No advancement opportunities. He had gone back to school to get his MBA a few years ago and had moved up the ranks/levels in RF engineering and gotten as high as he could go. He was wanting to shift to management(which is why he worked hard to earn his MBA). There were no openings or opportunities. He was feeling frustrated by certain things and wanted the opportunity to lead. He wanted to do more as he knew he had more to offer than the tedious tasks he was being given. Me: I was feeling antsy and felt the urge to look on realtor.com all the time! I just never really "felt it" in the town we were living in. I had a couple of gals that I talked to and hung out with every so often which I was grateful for. But the overall feeling I had where we were was this: I didn't belong. There were just a lot of people who I just didn't sync with or feel like I fit in with. And our neighborhood was full of unfriendly people (though we did have a couple of sweet friends there that we will never forget-they weren't all bad! :) But we felt snubbed by our next door neighbors as they never invited our kids over to play or to their birthday parties when we had always invited them to play with ours. We lived there almost three years! And not a single time did we or our children set foot into their home. We even took them holiday goodies. We could hear their kids and see their kids in their pool or jumping on their trampoline with other friends all of the time. And their kids were great and loved our kids. But I guess the parents didn't like us. Just made me sad. Especially when I found out their kids had parties and they invited lots of our daughters friends, but not our kids. The ones that live right next door. I'm still puzzled by this. I'm such a people pleaser and I want everyone to like me. This ate at me. Anyways, I was feeling like I wanted to move.
The real kicker was when our HOA decided to send us violation letters for our children's toys being left in our BACKyard(I honestly think this happened to help me get on board with moving to Iowa..by the end of this I was done!) Our kids toys! We have iron fences and we soon learned that neighbors actually complained about a few toys being out. The stupidest thing ever. Joey and I even had to go to a board meeting to argue our case. They then targeted our playground(our plastic little tikes one) and said that needed to be either removed or approved by their architectural committee(as if it was a pool or deck or something). It was crazy! One comment from one of the board members was this, "It just doesn't 'go' with the feel our of neighborhood." SNOBS. They felt like since they were at it, they would tell us they wanted our playground gone on top of the toys. I honestly felt hurt by this. I felt like our neighborhood didn't want us there. I felt like our neighbors didn't like us. I remember during all of this Joey and I were trying to figure out what to do. I didn't want to get rid of the playground. 1. I didn't want them to win. This whole thing was absurd. We had been in several HOAs and never had we been told something like this. 2. I love that playground-its the perfect size for our littles before they are old enough to play on the big one. 3. I didn't want them to win. (Did I already say that?)We even had people come out to give us estimates on planting bushes around our property to give us privacy. For an acre of land, it was several thousand dollars! We were not going to do that. I remember holding little Luke on the back porch while the other boys played on the playground one morning and just crying and crying over it. I remember looking around and wondering who was watching me(or feeling like someone was). And I remember seeing some women walking their usual morning power walk and wondering, was it them that complained? Who was it? I just felt no sense of privacy and no sense of belonging in the community we were in. I felt the strongest desire to leave. I remember calling Joey and just sobbing on the phone about it all. We looked online at homes in the area but nothing made sense. We could sell our home and make a lot of money but then where would we go? His job was there and we would sell high only to buy high. He applied for a job with his current company in Florida and we felt really good about it. He didn't get it. We were pretty bummed out. But knew it wasn't meant to be. However, in his pursuit of this job, he called his old friend Brian. He is the director of a wireless company and helped Joey in the interview process by giving him a mock interview and just chatting on the phone about it, giving him tips. I remember hearing Joey laugh so hard on the phone and the thought came into my mind, "I wish Joey could work for him again." This guy was the best boss! And a great friend and mentor to Joey. They hadn't seen each other in years but had kept up with each other. I asked Joey later where Brian and his family lived and he said, Iowa. In my mind I was like, eh, never mind that thought. LOL. I might have even said something about how great it would be to work with him again(Did I, Joey?) I know I was thinking it until I heard where they lived and then that idea left my mind...hahaha..
Fast forward a couple of weeks after we found out he didn't get the Florida job..Joey decided to fast on fast Sunday about his job and about opportunities. We were also praying to figure out what we were supposed to do since nothing felt right at the time. Not even two days after his fast, he gets a random text from Brian, "How much would I have to pay you to come work for me in Iowa?" Joey forwards it to me. And I'm not going to lie, though the idea was scary, I felt something when I read it. I felt like this could be it. This might be the answer to everything. Even though it meant moving to friggin' Iowa(we called it that for awhile..if you watch The Last Man On Earth, you might get it;) They obviously talked on the phone a ton about it/details/pay/hrs/benefits/etc, Joey and I and the kids had lots of talks. We prayed a LOT. I remembered that a friend of mine was from Iowa and so I talked to her on the phone about it. She raved and raved about it. Talking to her brought me comfort. I talked to lots of people with lots of good experiences there. Turns out a lot of people have either lived in Iowa or are from there. Who would've thought :) Joey was told he would have a phone interview and then fly up for face to face interviews. He rocked the phone interview with HR so much that she told the VP and CEO of the company to hire him. So they did! He didn't even have a real interview! Seriously! Because of both Brian and her recommendations, they just hired him. I was so proud of him! And you know what else occurred to me, Joey applying for the Florida job prepared him for this..well, not just prepared him, but in my opinion when he called up Brian to help him with the Florida interview and Brian gave Joey the mock interview it was almost as if he was being interviewed for this job. Does that make sense? So he didn't get the Florida job, but then he was offered another job. A better one. I think Joey calling him put Joey's name in his mind if it wasn't there already. The company in Iowa he was working for needed help at the time-an RF Manager. And thats what was being offered to Joey. It was exactly what he wanted to do, but even better because this is a smaller company with way more responsibilities and room for growth that a big company wouldn't offer. It just sounded so right for Joey. I knew he could do really big things for this company.
I remember the moment when I knew we were doing this for real(well once everything officially happened and the official job was offered to him). I felt this nervous excitement and this overwhelming feeling of love from my Heavenly Father and my Savior. I was driving to the grocery store and started to cry. A happy cry. I felt like Heavenly Father heard my prayers and that He loved me so much. He knew I needed to leave. He knew Joey needed a new job. He knew the kids needed different friends. I felt all of those feelings. I'll never forget that moment. It was a real testimony builder in my life. Our prayers were answered so perfectly. And for whatever reason, the Lord needed us in Iowa(fast!). Or we needed the people in Iowa. Or both :) We had to go through some tough moments but He was there all along waiting to give us the best gift: an answer to our prayers.. if we remained faithful. My faith was tested a little bit, I'm not going to lie. I had some hard moments this past summer. I stuck it out. I kept doing what I knew I was supposed to do, even when I didn't want to anymore. I can't even go into all of it. Really hard moments. And I'm sure having a new baby and those hormones on top of it all didn't help ;) Poor Joey. But we survived. And we are now a stronger family because of it. Our kids were awesome about it. They put their faith in us as we put our faith in the Lord. They were all very brave! I was so proud of them. It was really only going to affect Aubrey and Ella as they are older, but I knew they would do fine in a new place. The more we talked about it and looked at new homes online, the more excited they all became too. So, we very quickly arranged a house hunting trip and put our house on the market(it sold within hours with multiple offers above our asking price!). That in itself told us this was right! The new company lined up a temporary place for us to stay. We packed the stuff for our temporary place and the company paid for packing and moving us(hallelujah!) And on Saturday, August 8th, we rolled out of Texas into the unknown. So even though Iowa would have never been on a list of "Places I'd like to live" we did it. We felt good about it and we went for it. We decided to start a new chapter of our lives and move our family across the U.S. completely away from our family and brace ourselves for the cold...it sounded like a crazy thing to do when we told everyone we were doing it(and it even sounded a bit crazy to us some days;), but we knew it was right. And we knew that home is wherever we are.
But I do hope that someday we end up back in Texas. Just sayin y'all.