Yup, it’s happening. Soon too. I’ve struggled with how to write this post because I have so many mixed emotions about the whole thing. I’m sad. Deeply sad but also proud and excited for this next chapter in our lives.
So here’s the sitch, from the beginning. We have had one wild, crazy, changing year. The first few months of marriage were blissful and everything you would want. I vividly remember saying to Sterling “Man everyone says that the first year of marriage is the hardest but this has been a breeze”. And then as if the forces amongst us heard, everything started to shake up. In January Sterling and I were pushed full swing into prayer and prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed about what to do about the possibility of pursuing academic jobs. We were faced with a decision and then pushed into the deep end when the answer became clear that it was time to walk away from his current job. He resigned from his job and so kick started the intense process of job searching in the academic world. We knew that his heart was in higher ed and working with students who are learning their craft as counselors. It is his wheel house and it was time to pursue it. He applied all over the place! I’m talking Colorado, Kansas, Virginia schools, and then it just happened that a spot had opened up at Johns Hopkins. He asked me what I thought and I said what I’ve been saying “No stone left unturned”. Little did I know that this stone was going to be our next milestone.
In the midst of Sterling leaving his job, we moved from our comfy 3 bedroom townhouse (with an attic space) to a one bedroom apartment (with no storage). It was a swift and tough move. People on the periphery judged us – wondered why in the world we would move and downsize? Telling them that we wanted to save money felt embarrassing, which is ironic because it should have felt powerful to make a smart decision for our family. We knew it was what we needed to do and that we honestly didn’t really need that much space. Dave Ramsey’s plan showed us that we needed to make this tough decision and live small so we can live big later. But even with that knowledge we were still sad to move. We had lived in that house for three years and it held a lot of sentimental value. We got our first Christmas tree in that house, got engaged and planned a wedding in that house, cried and cried, fought, laughed, and laughed and laughed some more. It seemed that with each day we fell more deeply in love. Leaving was tough. Granted we did get to moved just down the street which helped. 🙂 We had to give away a TON of stuff, and were acting like crazy people getting rid of anything we hadn’t looked at, used or thought about in at least a year. We needed to live simply, because let’s face it, we didn’t have the room to keep it all. We packed up 2/3 of our stuff and scattered it in storage from Charlottesville to my friend Jessie’s attic and storage shed. We are SO grateful for these two women for giving up their space to us, especially Jessie who let us tramps around her house and move things into her attic for what felt like months!
So fast forward a few weeks, we’re settled (ish) into our one bedroom with just the basics when he got the interview. An interview at Johns Hopkins University and then an offer. A JOB OFFER at JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY!? So what do you do when a school like this comes knocking at the door?…. You take it! Sterling has worked so hard for an opportunity like this. He deserved it. Never have I met anyone who deserves an opportunity like this more. I watched him write his dissertation day in and day out, staying up until 6am everyday writing only to take a few hours of a nap and then jump back into it. Beyond his hard work though it’s his passion for his craft and for those that he serves that make him so deserving of this opportunity. I couldn’t be more proud of him.
And then the reality of what accepting this job means sank in.
Leaving what feels like a new life here in Richmond. A job that I love, a school that I love, friends that I love. Richmond had finally started to feel like home and now it’s time to leave. It didn’t seem right at first but then it became clear that this wast the right path. In the process of all this change and all this unknown I had prayed for a big wide open door, that all of this change be worth it for something bigger. And then the interview came. Then I prayed and prayed and prayed that the decision be obvious. I wanted it to feel clear and obvious so I wouldn’t have to emotionally choose something. And then the offer came. God has been so faithful. The opportunity IS a big open door of opportunities and it was clear. But that doesn’t make it easier. It doesn’t mean we don’t have to leave people and comforts that we love. But there is a saying that rings so so true here “How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard” – Winnie the Pooh.
The past seven years here in Richmond have been such a blessing. One that to be honest I didn’t always appreciate but I should have. It was here that I became a teacher for the first time. It was here that I fell in love with my classroom and my students. It was here that I got First Year Teacher of the Year and then later Teacher of the Year. It was here that I moved in with my boyfriend, got engaged, planned a wedding and built a life together. It was here that I brought my brand new puppy dog home. It was here that I met friends and families that I LOVE and became blessed to start taking their pictures. It was here that I learned how to work my camera in manual mode and then was crazy enough to start a blog! It was here that I built my business and grew to love family and children photography.
Never would I have been brave enough to take the chances I have if I had moved back home right after college. Who knows what my life would look like. Each small change through this journey here in Richmond has been blessed and led by God. I know that’s true.
So now, what’s next!? We’re doing it – we’re jumping in and taking a leap of faith. We’re moving to Baltimore Maryland! Sterling will start work at Johns Hopkins University as an Assistant Clinical Professor for their Counselor Education program. And me? I’m going to be the K-12 Technology Integration Specialist at The Gilman School. It’s going to be a whirlwind but we’re getting excited. We leave in 3 weeks! (CRAZY!) but are going up a little early to paint and clean our rental. We’re excited that we move in the summer so we can enjoy things like baseball games. I am excited to take get settled and then go to the beach and unwind from all of this if anyone wants to join – please do!
Life is going to be different, and we’ll have to make new friends and find new places and things that we love. BUT this is the big open door that we have been blessed with so we’re going to embrace it whole heartedly.
What does this mean for my business and current families? Well Richmond folks – you’ll be seeing a lot of me still because I’m honoring the sessions that I’ve already booked through out the upcoming year. I’m also going to try my hardest to make it down and still do holiday minis too. I’m hoping that this move will also be a next step for the business and I’ll be looking to start working with new families up in Baltimore! So if you’re interested, let me know!
For all our friends here in Richmond and Virginia – PLEASE let’s get together soon before we leave and then come visit!! We can go to a baseball game and get crab cakes! 🙂
While I’m sad to leave and sad to say goodbye to so many people I love, I’m looking forward to this next step because I’m doing it with Sterling, together.