Goodbye, Texas
Goodbye, Texas

Goodbye, Texas

There are some things in life I never thought I would be doing.

Like packing up everything I own into my car and moving to Southern California.

Ever since I read the Christy Miller Series when I was in high school, I’ve been fascinated with Newport Beach. (By the way, I highly recommend this series for all young women. And old women. And any women currently breathing.) It seemed like such a dream place and somewhere that could truly change a person in ways he or she never expected.

When my sister and I visited there a few months ago, my heart fell in love. As soon as we arrived, I felt a strange sense of peace, and I really felt like I was where I belonged. I felt this way the entire trip, but I assumed it was because I was so overwhelmed by being able to be in this place I had only imagined for so many years.

On the plane ride home, I started praying and had this moment in which I felt the Lord prompting my heart to move there. I tried to brush it off by telling myself that I had just really enjoyed the vacation with my sister and was on an ocean high or something.

But when God really wants you to do something, you can’t ignore His calling.

When we got back home, I still felt the uneasy feeling that I belong out there—whether that means forever or for now, I have no clue. But it just felt so right, and I couldn’t get it out of my head. I kept praying about it, and every single time, the answer was clear: Move there.

I started applying for jobs, and I will say that it was a very discouraging feat most of the time. Apparently a lot of companies aren’t interested in hiring some girl from a completely different state when they can easily hire others more local who can actually show up to interviews at the drop of a hat and not have to make arrangements at work and book travel and possibly be compensated for relocation and whatnot. I can’t tell you how many hours I spent filling out seemingly endless applications for companies from which I would either never hear or from which I’d receive one-line emails saying they were pursuing other candidates.

Rejection hurts.

But then an opportunity came along for a marketing writing job for a private school system, and I jumped at it as soon as I read the job description. Within the next couple of days, I interviewed via Skype and then was asked to complete a writing assignment. I received great feedback and sent my references. I had hoped to hear back the same week I sent those, and I tried not to get too upset when I didn’t. It wasn’t until I woke up from surgery (which was successful!) the following Monday and checked my phone that I heard the voicemail offering me the job.

Holy schnikes—things just got real.

It’s incredible to me how quickly everything has fallen into place and how wonderful God’s timing has been throughout this entire process. (I don’t know why I sometimes think mine is better. It obviously is not.) I immediately booked a flight that night—and it’s slightly surprising I was functioning enough to do so, because I was very heavily medicated and had been advised not to make any big purchases or big decisions that day. Oops.

The following Saturday, I made a one-day trip out there to try to find a place to leave. I told myself I wasn’t flying home without a new home, but my time was VERY limited. I arrived Saturday morning (after having to take a shower with water bottles that morning—thank you, city of Dallas, for the “scheduled” six-hour water outage) a little before 9 a.m. and had a departing flight Sunday morning at 12:45 a.m. (or so I thought—the plane had some “mechanical issues,” so we sat on it for two hours before actually taking off. (P.S. Word of advice: It’s likely not wise to take such a trip the same week of a surgery and one day after having a kidney stent removed from your body. I do not recommend it.)

Biking along the beach heals the soul.

I visited a handful of places and started to get a bit down. What was I doing? What was I thinking? How did I think I could afford to live in California in a nice place? It became apparent that I was going to have to live in a dump for the amount I wanted to pay. I needed a break, so I went to Huntington Beach and rented a bike. As I rode, I tried to clear my head and just enjoy the peaceful scenery. I began praying and asking for some sort of miraculous provision.

It’s amazing to me how much God listens to and cares for us.

When I turned in my bike, I asked the homeboy behind the counter if he knew of any good apartments nearby. He directed me to a place that, as soon as I entered, I knew I wouldn’t be able to afford. I mean, a security guard had to open the garage for me and escort me to the leasing office. When the woman told me what the starting rates are for one-bedroom apartments, I cringed. I asked her if, even though she wasn’t supposed to suggest other apartments, she could recommend something nice, yet affordable.

I was just really happy that I found a place, had just eaten what tasted like the best chicken sandwich in the world (I was starving before it), and still had time for a nice evening walk before heading back to the airport.

That’s when Alex came to the rescue. He immediately stepped in and told me about a sister property in Newport Beach. He gave me all of the info and let the people there know I was on my way. As soon as I arrived, I knew I had found my home. It just felt so right. I found an apartment I adore, and it’s in the perfect location. It made the fatigue, disheartening moments and tears from throughout the day all worth it.

It’s all happening so fast, and I don’t have a lot of time left in Dallas. I’d be lying if I told you that I’m not a little scared. I’m not afraid of not knowing anyone in a new location—meeting new people and making friends is one of my all-time favorite pastimes. But I’m afraid of leaving my people. I won’t see my parents every Sunday and get a big hug from my mom right before I leave. I won’t be able to get together with my sister as often or stop by her apartment and see her and her husband and their crazy dogs and cat, and that tears me up inside. I won’t be able to hang out with my niece every weekend and visit with my brother and sister-in-law. I never knew I could love a tiny human who wasn’t even my own child this much until I became an aunt. And I can’t get started on all of my friends and my favorite froyo place—we’d be here for hours.

But even though this is going to be difficult, I know it’s right, and I’m incredibly excited. And I know that the people who are in my tribe forever are the ones I will never lose, regardless of where I am or where they are. I’ve said this before, and I still believe it with all of my heart: Love is so much stronger than distance.

And no amount of miles will ever change that.


  1. Moving away can be scary but fun! I went to Rutgers in New Jersey for college and at 18 years old, packed up and moved 12 hours away from Chicago where I grew up. Now I live here full time and met the boy I’m going to marry. Sometimes big changes lead to the best things. Best of luck with everything Natalie!!

  2. I visited CA this summer for the first time and I’m jealous you are moving there! It’s such an amazingly beautiful state and I love that you are trusting God to care and listen to you through every new transitional phase you will go through. He is a great God and will sustain your heart through every step!

  3. Angee Bright

    Congratulations! How awesome it is to be able to follow your heart and dreams! God said as long as we stay in His Will all things will work out and He’d direct our path! My daughter is there at the University of California Northridge and lives by The Grove. She absolutely loves it there as well! Good luck!!! 😗😗

  4. Great post! Congratulations on the big move! I’m sure it must be scary, but this sounds like such an amazing opportunity God has given you and you’re so brave for being willing to take advantage of it. Wish you all the best – speak766

  5. Brittany

    Natalie, your personality and your faith in the Lord will get you SO FAR in your journey. How exciting to start fresh in a beautiful place; just to worry about yourself and let go and let God! You will be so happy and I’m beyond inspired by your posts, you have no idea. Good luck!!

  6. Donna Mason

    OMG!!! I am so proud of you and happy for you. I have “silently” been reading your blog for years now. I live here in Redondo Beach, CA You are moving to one the NICEST places in Orange County and I just love it there in Newport Beach. It is not too far from where I live. I would be more than happy to help you or see you when you are here Natalie or bring you some WHEAT THINS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don’t really drive the freeways but once you are settled ping me and we’ll figure something out. WELCOME TO CALI. When are you moving?

    Very excited and happy for you. Sometimes in life you just need to follow your heart. You are in a perfect time of your life where you COULD actually make this kind of move in an instant and you are following your dreams. REALLY so proud of you.


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