Monday, June 18, 2007

"Don't be fooled into thinking your life is not
turning out just the way you want it to"

It is hard for me to believe that we have lived here a year now this week.

The above photo was the first time I saw the Maryland sign as we pulled in on the 495. I couldn't stand how excited I was to become apart of a new place and love it. I have driven by that sign now 50 times if not more and still think of this moment when we first drove into town. In fact when it catches AK's eye she will say, "remember when we first got here and there was all that traffic" we went 5 miles in 45 minutes.
As I am preparing these next two days to do my "What to do in D.C." night at my church I have been looking through photos and just having a cry fest on what a great year it has been for our family. I estimated (thanks to smugmug) that I have taken about 4301 photos this year of our sightseeing adventures - what a great year it has been.
So since the move has now come full circle it seems like the thing to do and tell the rest of our moving story.
We moved here because in 1995, my husband joined the Army to pay for his graduate school. A decision that would not affect us for 11 years. Last year was when he finished all his schooling and then we had to start paying back his rich Uncle, Sam. We started watching our other friends in town finish and get some great jobs, buy some big homes, pick where they wanted to live and in our mind, begin their life. Where as we were told we were moving even farther from family, could not afford to buy a home, working where you told to work - if we thought about it too much the extremes started to get depressing. I will say moving is HARD no matter how you move, your choice or someone eles choice, but these factors seemed to compound our prior decision. We were leaving the best town, best neighbors, friends, school, church. Those months prior to moving were difficult.
Jeff and I never really talked about it until one night when going for a walk I asked him, "did we do the right thing in have the Army pay for school?, This all seems so hard" I don't think either of us even wanted to let ourselves go down that road of thinking we made the wrong choice.

It was not two days later I was talking with the Bishop (like a Pastor) for my church congregation in his office. We were talking about something totally unrelated and in mid sentence he said to me, "I don't know why I am telling you this, but don't be fooled into thinking that your life is not turning out just the way you want it to" I was a little surprised by his comment but then not surprised at all. It was exactly what I needed to hear. He gave me some great advice, one being, don't be in such a hurry to grow up and settle down. The many other words advice stuck to me like super glue that day and I gave myself no other choice but to have his opinions become mine. If anything it was much more fun to feel that way.
I learned many lessons that day but one was to use the wise people around you. I would never have thought of talking to a church leader about these feelings, and now I think why not?

I look back now and laugh thinking I thought moving here was a trial - something I would have to endure. Can you believe my lack of perspective? This has been the greatest year of my life - seriously it has. I learned a huge lesson in not comparing yourself to others, even if their life appears to be just like yours. Jeff's work is like an adventure and with the war going on gives such a great purpose. The people he was met & experiences he has had while working here will affect him forever. Being in an academic center, something we would have not chosen, has been so rewarding. We now think what a blessing it has been to be given even more time to figure out what he wants to be when he grows up.

our tennessee moving boxes 2006

I have so many thoughts on moving as I am seeing many friends getting ready to move this summer. It is hard. The fact if you were to move across the street it is hard, but to leave a town, a neighborhood, a church - it is so overwhelming.
So here are a few tips I have learned from moving.

My 20 thoughts on moving
keep in mind this says my thoughts, not have to's
  1. Before you move write every thing down that you loved about where you are moving from - you will forget once you leave and it is so fun to go back and read. goodbye Tennessee
  2. the first time you go to church assume it is every one's first Sunday too. (because it just might be) your new line is "My name is Kristi, I have not met you yet." Make yourself say that at least 8 times every Sunday. If you leave church that first Sunday and feel like you didn't meet anyone, it is no body's fault but your own.
  3. before you move let anyone you know you are coming. Call your local church, if your friends have friends that live there and say "oh let me call them and say you are coming" let them call their friends. you need help to move even if you think you don't. The best thing about our move, seriously the best thing, was staying with my college roommates brothers house our first few nights. They probably have no idea but they saved us emotionally. My friend Emily kept saying, "you need to stay with them when you get there" I kept refusing because I thought I don't know them, we can get a hotel, I don't know them. But driving into town where someone was expecting us was such a huge help. Those first few days were so lonely.
  4. look and see if they have a book about how to be new in your new town, they have books about everything these day.
  5. Where you are moving to is the most exciting place in the world, at least that is what you tell your kids! Moving is hard on kids too, so let them cry a few days with you and then help our kids fall in love with their new school, neighborhood and town.
  6. if you live in a big city get a GARMIN!!! having a GPS system has saved me many hours of crying and getting lost here. I also have no sense of direction so this may not apply to all.
  7. sit down and find a moving buddy! seriously pick someone who you can ask a list of questions to (this may be your new visiting teacher) - like their favorite grocery store, who cuts their hair, what gym is the best to join (i did not do this and i joined the one with the worst baby sitting service, all my friends go to the one where you could probably leave your kid for three days and they wouldn't care) is one library newer than the other, ask them if they can be your emergency contact on all the school forms your will be filling out, where are the best garage sales, (garage sales are the best way to get to know your new town, it is kind of like a scavenger hunt) thrift stores, etc. My moving buddy was my new visiting teacher and after a year she still gets all my, "where is the best place to...."
  8. Punch in every new number into your cell phone in one sitting, (this only applies to people who actually use their cell phone, this would not be me) new work number, school, your moving buddy, a few people from your ward (they don't have to know you, this is for emergencies)
  9. Make little gifts, loaf of bread, repackaged cookies from Costco, for all your neighbors with your name on them. This has made all the difference for my last two moves. You don't remember their name until you have heard it 5 times, well the same goes to you. So type up a cute card with your name so when they see you out front, at least they can call you by name and you won't feel so new anymore.
  10. get over the fact that your old town had the best bakery, sandwich shop, fabric store ever or whatever it is, because honestly no one wants to hear about it. Discovery what is great about your new town. one of the worst things you can do when you move is to say how much better everything is where you used to live. I found myself feeling that way when I moved here and then I thought is it better or is it just what I know. I can guarantee that everyone in your neighborhood lives there - so saying how much better it is somewhere else comes across as not liking where you are now.
  11. pick your crying buddy. find that one phone number of the person you can call and cry on the phone with, when the top 10 items above just don't work. make sure this friend is also someone that when you get done crying then says, "now put on your big girl panties and get over it"
  12. send out moving cards as fast as you can! I would even think about it before you move. Don't worry how cute they are, save that for Christmas and birth announcements, just get them out! You might get phone calls from friends you have not heard in awhile or you might have moved to the same town as your old friends sister.
  13. Relish in the fact that you can go places and NO ONE knows who you are. wear your pj's to the grocery store, no make up the whole day, (story of my life) It is lonely at first but there are perks to being able to go somewhere and not run into anyone you know. But then the first day you run into someone in town relish that too! This means your are not as new anymore and you are making roots!
  14. take advantage of the extra family time. Not knowing anyone made Jeff and I our only friends. We have spent more time together (one because his schedule is better) because I didn't have any other distractions to not do so, no baby showers, friends birthdays etc. Find the good in the new change.
  15. Sometimes signing up for everything when you move somewhere is not the best idea. We purposely did not sign up for any sports, lessons and such for the girls to have our schedule be our schedule. We took a year to fall in love with our town and now that we do we can spend the other three being normal people. Again the words of my bishop ring true - Don't be in such a hurry to grow up!
  16. Invite people to your new home. It does not have to be a party but have people over for dinner, ice cream something.
  17. Get a blog! seriously this was such a huge helped when I moved.
  18. After living in your new town write down everything that you love about where you are - you will forget once you leave
  19. Don't be fooled into thinking your life isn't turning out just the way you want it to!

Moving here was exactly what our family needed and we didn't even know.

my crying at a gift given to us by our TN neighbors

Man's feelings are always purest and most glowing in the hour of meeting and of farewell.
~Jean Paul Richter

our TN neighbors - best of times!!

Nothing makes the earth seem so spacious as to have friends at a distance; they make the latitudes and longitudes. ~Henry David Thoreau

my girls still talk about grandma Shari

How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard
. ~Carol Sobieski and Thomas Meehan, Annie

two of my young women in Tennessee I miss you girls!

Happy trails to you, until we meet again.
Some trails are happy ones,
Others are blue.
It's the way you ride the trail that counts,
Here's a happy one for you.
~Dale Evans


emily said...

I'm so glad that you moved to DC! Adam and Katie loved hanging out with you guys those first nights! You need to post all your fun "What to do in DC" ideas! I love the quilts--I think I could even make one like that!

Neighbor Jane Payne said...

This is pure wisdom, Kristi! What great advice--we've all watched you live it and now we can read it, too. Thanks for taking the time to write it down.

I loved this paragraph, " 'don't be fooled into thinking that your life is not turning out just the way you want it to' It was exactly what I needed to hear. He gave me some great advice, one being, don't be in such a hurry to grow up and settle down. The many other words advice stuck to me like super glue that day and I gave myself no other choice but to have his opinions become mine."

Great advice.

Michelle A. said...

Kristi - Perfectly put. I love what your bishop said, it's such a blessing to see it this way. When we moved from DC to Utah, we were so upset that we were leaving what we "wanted" behind. Yet our adoption of the girl's couldn't of happened if we hadn't of moved; and some upsetting events in our family couldn't have been helped if we weren't living there. We were in California for only 18 months, yet during that time I met my birth family who was living two miles away - crazy.

I'm not sure why we're here in Montreal yet, but I'm certain we'll know when it's time. Your moving tips are perfect. Very uplifting post today!

Neighbor Jane Payne said...

I forgot to mention, Kristi, that your moving from Tennesse post was the first post of yours I ever read and I was hooked after it. I love your attention to detail. said...

This was a wonderful post, Kristi!

Marie said...

Moving is both scary and wonderful, isn't it? I like it when I have complete anonimity too. I feel like I don't have to be what people expect me to be, because there are no expectations. Horay for no makeup!
But then, being in a place long enough to bump into people you know is wonderful too.
I moved back to my hometown 5 years after moving away for university and the first Saturday we were here we went to Costco. I bumped into half a dozen old friends, former primary teachers, etc and really felt great that I was somewhere where I was already loved.
What does your husband do in the military?

Lauralee said...

Love all your moving tips.. we have moved quite a bit...4 times in the last 4 years. It is hard.. emotionally way more than physically.. Your tips are all so true.. I enjoy the no one knowing me phase just a little bit.. but am glad when I start recognizing people in town.. and introducing your self- I actually enjoy that part.. but I think it is hard for some people.. so I am always sure to introduce myself to the new families..
thanks for sharing..that bishop's advice..what a blessing to have him be so inspired.. what incredible advice.. I am going to write that one down!

Anne said...

I laughed when I saw the picture of the Welcome to Maryland sign with the cars and brake lights below it. That is what I visualize when I think of 495, brake lights...lots and lots of brake lights.

What a great post. I can't believe you guys have been here for a year. Crazy!!

Your list made me cry, well really the whole post did. My sister and her family are moving back to Utah next weekend and I am SO SAD. I've been in denial for so long, but it's becoming too real as their home gets more and more empty and the boxes start piling up. I'm going to miss them so much.

katherine said...

Thanks for sharing your moving experience. You know somehow reading your blog about DC a few months ago gave me inspiration to start enjoying myself here and not missing our old home. This post has given me even more inspiration and perspective, so thanks.

Julia said...

I think you wrote this post just for me! I really appreciated our phone conversation last week, and this post was the icing on the cake. You have no idea how much help this has all been.

We may not be moving to a new town, but the neighborhood is SO different, we might as well be.

I love what your bishop said. It is so important to realize that so much of our life is what we make of it.

Seekins Boyz said...

So, I just moved 1400 miles away from my family in Arizona to Lufkin Texas and am fortunate enough to have a friend that knows I needed, yes NEEDED the link to your blog this morning. Lost in tears and home sickness I read your story and tips and I was so thankful for your advice and experience. Do we ever learn to fully live in the moment of where we are (1400 miles away or not), what we are doing and who we are without things or people or jobs attached to our identity? Gosh I hope I do, it sounds like your move has brought that for you, thank for sharing.
Sunshine Seekins
Lufkin Texas

kristi brooke said...

hey sunshine seekins. thank for your comment! oh good luck with that move, they are so hard.
i loved your profile but could not link to a blog for you. I bet it is great with a profile like that.
you also might be interested in signing up on a good mail list here is a link to liz who is starting one.
good mail helps many things.

kristi brooke said...

anne - please don't tell me your sister the photographer is moving - please please! i was hoping at some point to get some family photos taken for christmas this year... oh darn! keeping my fingers crossed it is not her!

Rachel & Ryan said...

you give some great advice! You guys definatley prove the statement..."bloom where you are planted"

Rebecca said...

Okay, you caught me. Now you know that I am addicted to your blog. You have such great style and I love all of your ideas. Want to know how I found friend Allison has a friend Jessie who has a friend Jamie and you are her friend. Fun, huh! Thanks for letting me look!

Anne said...

Kristi, unfortunately it is my sister, the photographer, who is leaving. :( I may not be as good as she is, but I'd be happy to take your photos. I've taken engagement photos and covered a wedding reception, so I'm not a complete novice (and I'm cheap, aka free). Although, if that makes you nervous, I have a few professional photographer friends in the area I can refer you to. said...

I had to come back to comment again on this post. It's hard to believe that I've known you for seven years now. It just really doesn't seem possible. What surprised me about this post, is that you were doubtful of your move to DC and whether you and Jeff had made the right decisions about his school expenses.

I will never forget the day I was standing outside of the condo talking to my parents about the place and trying to decide if I wanted to schedule an appointment with the realtor. You came outside and were so friendly. You invited us in to look around, you gave me your phone number. I remember thinking, I can't believe she is so friendly. Making the decision to buy the place next to yours was probably one of the best decisions I could have ever made. You have taught me so much!

You always seemed to have a good attitude about things, even when I knew times were hard. I could never move around like you have done. I am not nearly that brave or confident in myself, so I love being able to read about all of your adventures.

Seekins Boyz said...

the link to my blog is
It mostly features pictures of my kids to help keep family at home up to date on things. Thanks for your interest and tip on "good mail"

Amanda said...

Well we sure have been spoiled by having you move a little closer to us! I am so glad everything has worked out so well. You guys have really made the best of everything.

Jennifer said...

Thank you so much for this. I need it right now as we steady ourselvs for our next move in 11 days! We are becoming specialists in cross country moves. I'm looking forward to the move but having a hard time leaving this place we worked so hard to make our home for 3 years. Your advice is truly wise!

Julie said...

Super timely advice for me as I just left Louisville yesterday, and Ryan is currently driving the moving truck across the country. Your words of wisdom are just what I needed to hear. I need to make a copy of it and carry it around with me so I can refer to it when I am having a "pity party" day.

Karen said...

so so so true. You are such an inspiration to me! I am excited to be back in DC because of your infectious enthusiasm. I've taken your advice to heart these last few months and it has made a world of difference!!! thank you...

Elizabeth said...

I think those words from your bishop are some of the best advice I ever heard. I am so glad you shared.

Rachel said...

I agree with all ofthese comments! Yu are amazing, Kristi and I appreciate all of your wonderful advice! And, like everyone else, what fantastic advice from your Bishop...So inspired!

Jamie said...

great advice! I feel like this post was just for me! you sound quite experienced!Seriously....perfect timing. Thank you so much.

cassi said...

First of all- I LOVE reading your blog. You have the greatest ideas and I enjoy reading about them all.

I also loved this post on moving. We have moved to MN for my husbands medical school. I never thought I would live so far away from family! I had to laugh when i read #14 because I was just telling my husband about that perk a few days ago! haha. We've been here now 2 years, but I still take advantage of that one maybe too often! :)

Jenny said...

Ironically I posted about a quote I found the other day dealing with we make the best of every situation ourselves. We are our own happiness for sure.

I am glad to hear you guys have adjusted so well to DC. Like you said moving is NEVER fun. I'll never forget the time I left the border of Louisiana...I think I cried for a week. I am sure I will do the same next year when I leave Texas.

My favorite thing you wrote was don't get stuck liking the stores, restaurants, etc where you used to live. I really can see myself doing that. You get stuck with the things you love and are not up to change.

Great post!

Kara said...

Once again you inspire me! We moved one year ago next week too. Even though it has been a year, there are several suggestions you gave that I am going to hop on! Thanks!

Lindsay said...

I often remind myself of the scripture, "anxiously engaged in a good cause...for the power is in them." Especially, when moving, we have to be actively seeking to make for ourselves a new situation that is full of friends, memories, and joy.

I am still working on that here in Utah, ten months later. Thanks for the reminder. I think I need to go invite someone over for ice cream!

Jill said...

What a fantastic post Kristi! It's so nice to read your thoughts, life lessons learned and advice for others who are moving, it almost makes me wish I was going to be moving soon! I definitely need to remember the wisdom of "don't be fooled into thinking that your life is not turning out just the way you want it to," so thanks for sharing that.

Melinda said...

I love all of your quotes. Things I really needed to hear also. My husband and I were just wondering if we had mad a mistake moving to this new home. We really miss our old neighbors and ward. I love your ideas for the moving list. Even though I have only been here a yr I could still do all of them.

melanie said...

I LOVE this post Kristi! I moved a lot growing up and I share many of your same thoughts. I too loved your goodbye Tennessee post, so touching. I can't wait to see all you do for your 'what to do in DC' night. No doubt it will be fabulous!

Amanda :-) said...

Very good list, Kristi! It's touching that this very heartfelt post has produced a lot of lovely, lovely comments. You are truly blessed, aren't you? :-D

Laurie said...

Thank you for this. I love tidbits that are easy to stick in my head and remember and repeat to myself regularly. It's far to easy to let myself slip into doubting or questioning life when it needed and shouldn't be that way.

Lacie said...


I haven't read your blog in a couple of days and I finally sat down for some computer time and there is was, YOUR BLOG!

We moved about 2 months ago to a totally new place away from VERY close friends and a wonderful church family.

It was a move we chose...we wanted to raise our boys in a small town and school (sort of how we grew up).

While I was excited about the adventure my heart broke at the same time. It has been fun to move from a large city to a small town because they are so differnt, but in the same breath I have had my personal struggles!

It was so nice to hear about what you learned and how you handled certain feelings. There have been perks to being the "new guy" like you mentioned but there has also been the quiet lonely moments that you cpmare the new with the wonderful old!

Things are better and I am learning to find the joy in the quiet moments. We have really enjoyed some small town things and each day we feel more at home.

It's funny you mentioned starting a blog- that was the whole reason I started my blog- my first post kinda explains my deep feelings.It has allowed me to keep up with friends like- Holly (marathon bird)and many others!

I pray that I will look back on our one year anniversary of the day we moved and smile. Thanks for sharing your wisdom- I needed it today!

Shauna said...

Great post! I spent my growing up years moving all over the US. Thank you for your perspective and sharing! Each move brought a very sad good-bye and a new adventure. I am soooo thankful I always had a great church family waiting at the other end of a move. It made all the difference!

Kelly said...

This was a great post, Kristi! I loved the quotes you used. I am going to use one of them to make something for a friend who is moving away this week.

And, I love the quote from your bishop. I might need to make something with that, too!

lisa h. said...

great list! we just lost all our good friends to the med match...i could use a few of these tips as i feel we're in a new place, even though we moved 10 min from where we were.

Katie said...

What a lovely, beautiful, and eloquent post Kristi!

Having lived in NYC, Portland, and Minneapolis I've had my share of moving experiences!

Your advice and ideas on how to cope/survive/thrive the entire ordeal of moving really inspires me!


Jordan said...

Kristi! I've been so stressed the past few months about our upcoming move next spring. We are finishing residency and have MANY options for our next locale. I'm just scared to choose one and hope we can be happy there, whether we are near or far from family. This was a needed boost of optimism for me, thanks.

michelle said...

I am crying now, Kristi, and that takes some doing. I am so happy for you that you took on this challenge and have found so much joy in the journey. I can't wait to email Jessie and tell her to come read this post! As Jane said, it is pure wisdom, and I love the paragraph she highlighted. Thanks for sharing your hard-earned perspective, what a beautiful thing to have documented for your children and your future self!

mothergoose said...

This was my first time to your blog and I'm so happy to have stumbled across this post. You made my day. what great and needed advise. you sound like such a fun person! I actually live in Northern VA, so I can't wait to read your post about things to do in DC, too!!

(I found you through your comment(s) on loveboxes giveaway post, ha)

love.boxes said...

This is one of the best posts I've read this year. You are a great writer with an amazing attitude.

I think I would love D.C. because I love Museums and I understand from my cousin Shelese who lives there that many Museums are FREE... my favorite!
This is my cousin.. you guys could be neighbors!

Christie said...

i have to tell you that you touched me today... my sister forwarded me your blog... we also live in the DC area, we're in savage mill ward. My husband is also Military (med core) and we are awaiting our first assignment out of school. We have so much in common, even our name! Weird.. Any way, I needed your words of encouragement as I've trust in the Lord that we will go right where we are supposed to be. I want to put what your bishop said in l vinyl lettering. :-) Thank you

Emily said...

Hi Kristi-- You don't know me, but I am a friend of a friend of yours. Thank you so much for this post:) I've needed that wisdom.:) Hope you don't mind if I put a link up to your post. It really was great.

gina said...

I just came across your blog, and I'm sure the Lord sent me there. I just moved to Longmont, CO from Boise, ID about 6 months ago and have had the hardest time. I was glad to have found your 20 thoughts on moving. They are encouraging and great ideas. And I probably could use the advice on not talking about the best school we had and best street to live on and all that other stuff we miss about ID. Thanks for your positive outlook! Gina

Harris Family said...

You dont know me but ive stalked your blog recently!! Me and my husband have moved a lot and it is hard. The last few moves I have put a wall up and decided to not make close friends or get attached, its too much work and it is too hard knowing that we will move again. Ive felt depressed!! Weve recently moved to AZ 3 months ago. I just read your thoughts on moving and it has inspired me!!! I decided to go to Homemaking last night and Im going to a play group today! When you said "Jump in with two feet" and "I wouldnt have it any other way!" It made me stop and think. I keep telling myself those words and Im going to do it-- Jump in with two feet. I regret not doing it the last place we lived.

I just wanted to say a big Thank You!!!!! You are an amazing person with a great attitude and out look on life. Thank you for your example. I also used to live in the DC area and laugh at the fun things you write- I have felt so many of those same things when we lived there!!

Thanks again,