I have BIG news! Know what else is BIG? Texas.

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Well – the DeFeo’s are packing up their Disney ears and heading west, THIS SUNDAY!!!

 

Dallas, Texas! Here we come.

 

Here’s the quick answer to “WHAT! HOW ARE YOU?” I could not be more excited or more proud of my husband. Plain and simple, this decision marks a really neat moment in our marriage. I am not just saying the words. I mean it. I am going joyfully for him and with him. We are absolutely on the same page.

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More of the story.

 

I grew up in a suburb of Atlanta and lived there my entire life except for my Auburn years. So, when Ron got the incredible opportunity with Darden a few years go – and we moved to Orlando, it simply rocked my world. Full dramatic tale here.

 

A big move was all new. I loved my church, my community. I loved being right there with Ron’s family and mine. I loved ALL of those things, but I loved my marriage more.

 

It was super hard. And super emotional.

 

Yet, I never doubted it was exactly where God wanted us. I clung to that. We were prayerful and He confirmed it. I felt safe in His will for us, but still sad.

 

In Orlando, I found a great community, beautiful actually. Friends that loved us – even when I had one foot out the door the entire time. I found my literary agent and his precious wife in this town.

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I found two wonderful schools (The Weekday School and The Christ School) and teachers that loved my children so well. I found the Werner family. And Summit Church. We lived it up at Disney during prime time magic years for our girls.

I wrote my book here and met Curlie and have so many precious memories etched in my heart.

 

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And yet there was always an aching to go home to Atlanta. I missed my family – seeing my nephews and niece and our parents regularly. What I didn’t know that God had a bigger plan (as he always does) – bigger than my desire to get “home.”

 

Ron is always getting recruiter calls because he’s insanely talented, so I always knew there was a chance we could move again and was praying it might be in driving distance to family. Or specifically Atlanta, so I could just plop right back into my life again and sit next to Katie and Joy and Ashley at church.

 

Then, we thought there was going to be a very real opportunity to get back to Atlanta and I jumped on it emotionally. I was searching houses, calling schools – officially getting my hopes up. I would not suggest going this far until the deal is done. And, it never materialized. I sobbed, really sobbed. For about a week.

 

So, control freak here finally decided to hand that desire over to God – because he’s already aware. He knows my love for those people and how I miss them. I decided to stop demanding like a little kid and pray earnestly for His will. He loves me enough to know the very best for our family. So I decided he must, in fact, want us in Orlando with both feet.

 

So, I decorated my house. Ha! Isn’t that what everyone does when they decide to “bloom where they are planted?”

 

And I went to my pastor and asked how I could serve the church more regularly. I invested more in my friends and started looking at my city as a more permanent home then a temporary stop. I essentially let go and trusted God with where we were supposed to live.

 

Then, a few weeks later after this mental shift … Ron walked in with a look. I had seen this look before.

 

American Airlines had contacted him through a recruiter with a position in Dallas. It was everything he wanted. And all that he has worked towards. And truthfully, we both knew from day 1 it was going to happen. Something was just right about it. But we did our due diligence. We prayed together. We prayed separately. Ron sought wise counsel from several executives that have walked similar roads. We had our friends praying.

 

And he got the job.

 

And much different than the Orlando moment ….

 

I sent him this photo right away with the girls. And it said,

“ We are with you.”

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Because something changed in my heart. I realized it was about us four – we were the family. (Kelsey helped me see this). And if I could trust that Ron was following God, I could always follow Ron. (Kristen helped me see this). He’s never steered us wrong yet. And I truly can’t imagine holding him back from something like this.

 

I wish it didn’t take me 12 years to grow into a supportive wife. It feels so good to be fully with him – physically and emotionally going to Dallas. Sure, there are details and it’s scary. Imagine what life would be for all of us, if we know our spouses had our backs and were behind us 110%? He is standing taller and more confident. I am looking at him different.

 

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God showed up in Orlando for our family. And Dallas will be no different. I will be less anxious (like having a second baby), because I’ve seen Him do his work before. In fact, He has already been working – we found a great school in Grapevine and the girls start very soon. We’ve been there to visit and meet new friends and they are truly excited. We looked at some houses – this one had cows in the back, no joke.

 

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We are trusting and holding on to each other tight. We are praying LESS about what we are going to GET in Dallas – and MORE about what we might GIVE. We want to shine a light on Dallas. So we are praying for direction on which community needs His love.

I am not scared. I am excited. I am praying for friendships and community for my girls that will grow them closer to God. Not in panic mode, but anticipation mode.

 

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Ron’s new job has just been announced and I could not be more proud of Ron! He’s made for this job and we will get to take our girls to some neat places – including speaking gigs with mom and meeting our compassion girls. Praying how we can use this as a ministry perk and for God’s glory.

 

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Looking back, you can see God laying the groundwork – I took the summer off blogging and traveling and needed all of that time to go back and forth to Dallas and get my house ready to sell. Speaking of – anyone need a great house in Baldwin Park? Holler! It comes with a lovely castle and ballet studio. And newly decorated first floor. 🙂

 

I’m going to fit right in.

And, in case you didn’t know – I did teach country line dancing in high school. And we have huge hair. Just saying. And I can pound tex mex. So, it’s all going to be just fine. And I might sweat in the summer still – but I can wear a scarf and boots in the Fall. Oh, Lord, you love me.

 

And, there’s Kay Wyma there. And God Centered Mom. And Kristine Hunton. And Katie St. Clair. And Wynter Pitts! And Shay Shull! AND my AMBER! I get to drive to Amber. I have many fun coffee dates coming in Texas.

 

And of course – I will be road tripping to see my other “friends” Jen, Jeannie, Big Mama, Chip and Joanna… a girl can dream. (I absolutely emailed chip/joanna to find us a house… I’m certain we will hear from them any second. #fixeruppercallcourtney)

 

Thank you.

Thank you Orlando. You opened your homes, schools, families and hearts so wide for this new loud family. And, you made an impact on our lives. I never dreamed we would find such rich community so quick. The most amazing cheerleading team for my book launch, business and personal walk with Christ.

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This has NOTHING to do with Darden and everything with the best next steps for our family. That company is amazing and we have been proud to be a part of Darden (and will thoroughly miss the breadsticks).

 

Don’t worry – we will be back.

Ronald can’t stay away from Disney too long.

 

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It’s been so very magical Orlando. Thank you.

Comments

  1. I’m so sad to see you go, but I love, love, love what you’ve shared here. A move was hard for me, and we were in the same city! I know it isn’t always easy, but so excited for you guys!

  2. I am so proud of you, Courtney!!! You are going to love Texas and this will be an awesome opportunity for your children to learn important life lessons in an authentic way – making new friends, becoming more flexible and how nothing else really matters besides God and Family. Sometimes it easier to grasp these things when we are living outside our comfort zone. We have moved FOUR times in our short little marriage of 10 years and have lived in Nashville for SIX years. I never thought that would happen! You can do this and I cannot wait to follow along with your story. Praying for you!!!

    • thank you jennifer. i always envisioned my kids growing up in one home forever with one community – but it appears their road will be different and they will be stronger for it. excited to show them new cities, cultures and friends. xoxo

  3. Congratulations to Ron! Such exciting news for your family. Thank you for sharing your heart on this! It is one of my biggest fears that we would have to move someday for Chris’ job. Having lived in Chicago all my life, I have a hard time imagining living anywhere else. Trusting God with these big life decisions can be so difficult! Can’t wait to see what He has in store for you all in TX!

    • You would rock a new town. He has proven to us – that a new town IN his will is far more exciting than our favorite town OUTSIDE of his will. Yet sometimes, it can be both. Don’t fear! 😉

  4. I love this so much! The idea of truly showing up as a supportive spouse and believing in them is something all of our marriages need. I can’t wait to see what God is going to do with you in Texas! I’m calling my family in Ft. Worth right now to alert them another AU Tiger is headed their way!

  5. Howdy and welcome to Texas!!! You’ll be about three hours from me so when you get all settled – lets throw you a gigantic service project party and bless the socks off your new community!!! Good luck with the move! It’s beautiful to see how proud of Ron you are! God bless you guys, safe travels, and patience for all that unpacking. You’ve got this, mama!

  6. You’re gonna love your new home!! (I grew up down I-35 in Denton) And you will all make the adjustment seamlessly. Best of luck to you, and War Eagle! (you’re close enough to go to the A&M game this fall!)

  7. Saw Insta and had to come look. I am so dang excited for you Courtney!!! I already love you, your family, your book, your blog…and I LOVE this post and your beautiful words. It is so amazingly awesome when you and your hubby are on the same page and totally in it together following God’s will, isn’t it?
    And…let me just say, if you get that call from Chip and Joanna can I come to Texas and visit?

    • In all honesty – I think the couples they are helping are just perfect. I have heard many are from their church. They do amazing work. And love Jesus and have fun and represent joyful marriage. It’s amazing. I hope to meet them, but will cheer them on forever!

  8. I just replied to your email, not sure you get it but I am in Dallas and just moved here about 3 years ago,,,.YOU WILL LOVE IT! You and I have VERY similar stories with trusting and following our husbands as spiritual leaders (as well as with their careers). Look forward to having you!

  9. HI there! Soooo excited you are coming to Grapevine! We live in Flower Mound, just north of Grapevine Lake. Our girls attend Coram Deo Academy. We would love to have you visit us at our church, First Baptist Grapevine, just off historic Main Street. It is a wonderful community! You are going to looove Grapevine!!! Please let me know if I can offer any other suggestions!

  10. Girl… you can officially move “secret keeping” from bottom 5 to top 5! I know first hand because when my move was in God’s hands–you were the first to know and didn’t tell a soul! Even seemed surprised when it was “official.” And you held this all summer–that’s big! But I am not surprised… Ron is super talented and I was sure all along God was about to reveal His next big plan. Selfishly, I’m sorry that it wasn’t in NC or Atlanta (more for you than me, but still). But I know, as do you, that HIS plan is always better and BIGGER than anything we plan.

    You and your girls stormed by heart and took it completely when God moved you to Orlando. And no matter where you are, the love shared is there. I will love on them from afar and watch them grow and bloom from afar. I can’t wait for that. I can’t wait to see God use you. Them. And Ron in TX. Texas doesn’t even realize the gift they are getting.

    Know what else?… there’s always a gymnastics meet in TX. And for your little tumblers… there are some seriously good gyms there.

    Thank you for trusting, sharing and most of all loving the way you do. Fully. Completely. Outloud. Love you sweet friend.

    • You are so kind. PLEASE come see us and we would lOVE to cheer on that precious tumbler in Tx. You’re a lifelong friend for sure. A great blessing of our time in Orlando.

  11. Hi Courtney! A friend of mine just emailed me this We made the same move to Texas 2 years ago. It has been a total God thing for us too. We’d love to have you guys visit us at Gateway Church. You can email me if you need anything at all. Blessings to you & your family in this new season!!!!

      • Yay!! My husband is a pastor at Gateway. We’d Love to have you I have heard great things about The Village as well. So many wonderful churches here.

  12. And there’s CFA…thank goodness that has moved west! 🙂 Congratulations! We’re entering a new phase, too- retirement from the AF next spring. I’m so used to picking up and moving everywhere and now we get a say in it !

  13. Courtney!!! I am so excited for you. I remember reading your first moving post and crying along with you because we always knew that we’d probably have to move for Russ’ job one day too. I could agree with everything you said in both moving posts! Our WHOLE family is in Atlanta, we both grew up there and never moved except for college. After our 3rd baby was born Russ got a promotion that moved us to Albany, GA-not too bad-only 3 hours to ATL and 2 hours to Auburn. THEN-only 10 months later-we got a random phone call on a Monday and Russ’ company wanted him in Jacksonville, FL…. ASAP! So I look at Albany as our practice run for the real thing. God is so faithful, SO many amazing things have happened, He provides, we are strengthened as a family, the kids thrive, we know this is where HE wants us. It has taken me a couple years to truly accept that our life is not going to look like my childhood, and like you said…even though it is hard and heart breaking at times, it is worth it! Praying for you! Can’t wait to see everything the Lord has for you in Dallas and hear more of your story in the years to come. God is good! Can I come visit and have lunch with you and Shay Shull?? Love her!

  14. I discovered you at a cute little shop in Winter Park that sells your scripture cards. I’ve bought many sets to give as gifts, as well as your book for our daughter. Everyone just loves them! You are such an inspiration! I am blessed to know you from your blog. I love the photos you’ve shared – are your girls not the cutest??? Oh my goodness! Your new adventure sounds amazing! God bless you as you, and the Lord, light up Texas!

  15. Well, look at you, all EXCITED about moving! So glad that God worked on your heart in just the right way so you can get on the road with a smile. It’s amazing how He knows our language, and can use our own weaknesses to show us His mighty and majestic power and love.

    I’m thinking there’s a lesson here for me, too. My husband has lived his whole life in one place and gas no desire to move. I’m from a military family, and I admit that the idea of living the rest of my life in one spot is a bit of a let-down. I guess I need to ask God to work on my heart a little, and to believe that He is leading my husband to the right place at the right time, even if that’s right here in Orlando. Forever.

    Cannot wait to see what wonders Texas will bring to this blog and all the lives you touch, Courtney!

    • thanks so much. it takes me a while – and maybe a few hard knocks on the head – but i get there. i grow. God works. 🙂

  16. The Huggins are in Texas, too. Please add us to the road trip and welcome service party invite list (what a great idea.)

    Congratulations to Ron and to his girls! God is blessing and loving and stretching you all. Thanks for sharing that with us. Our family will start praying BIG for this transition and hope we’ll get to see you soon.

  17. Exciting news!!! We moved to the BIG state 2 years ago from PA. Our second move as well following an insanely talented husband who leads our family well because God leads him well! I had to say goodbye to a community of women’s study where we led about 300 women and incorporated your scripture cards and Light Em Up in our Christmas program! We are 15 minutes from Grapevine, and attend LifeChurch.tv in Keller!! You’re going to love it and your family will be blessed! I’m positive God is leading your family well too
    I wouldn’t be a friend at all if I didn’t introduce you to this…go. Fast!! As soon as you hit Grapevine!! Blessings on your move!!
    http://www.themainbakery.com

    • ha! i love it. that’s a great friend. thanks for telling me about your church. i can’t wait to get to know the area.

  18. The Lone Star State will shine a whole lot brighter with you and your family in it. 😉 Love your heart, girl! Keep shining!

    • Amanda! When we were driving around – it was like flashbacks. I feel a coffee date with me and you and ole Stan.

  19. So can’t wait to chat IN PERSON rather than over the phone (yipppeeee!!) … and you never know about the Gaines. Chip’s folks could be your neighbors 🙂 XOXOXOXO

  20. I am so very excited for you and your family! Welcome to the Lone Star State! The whole time I was reading, I kept thinking to myself about all of the amazing women in the blogging world that you will minutes away from in the DFW area! Praying that the next few weeks go smoothly for you all.

  21. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I’ve never been pregnant or married so my moves are solo and quite lonely. I’m currently in a post – Christian part of the country where on average, 66%+ of residents have no interest in any form of religion. I miss my holy huddle & cancer only magnifies that longing. Please pray that I will develop community & Christian friendships. This is the most transient city in the US. Most people view friendship as a revolving door. If you have any contacts in Boston, please send them my way. Your faith journey just lifted my heart in ways you’ll never know. Praying for you as you transition.

  22. Ohmagoodness, I’m so excited you’re moving to Dallas! I found your blog while I lived in Colorado Springs. We went to Red Rock Church (partner of North Point) and I felt like I had a connection with you, even though we’ve never met. We only lived there a year before returning to Texas and I’ve followed you ever since! I live just north of Grapevine and hope someday to meet you in person. You’ve been such an inspiration through these past few years and I’m so grateful. Hope you have a safe & easy move. Wishing you many blessings in Texas!!

  23. Hi Courtney! I’m Heidi Maranell’s sister and she just told me you are here in DFW!! So excited. Please get my info from her and let me know what you need and how I can help as you get settled!! Welcome to Texas!

  24. What a beautiful post Courtney. Excited for your journey. Be sure to look up Cari Trotter, Susan B. Mead and Jan Greenwood in Dallas too. Thank you for your honesty and example.

  25. Thanks so much for such an encouraging post Courtney. We recently moved for my husbands job and I am still feeling much like how you described Orlando – like this is a temporary home and someday I’ll be back with all the beautiful people I’ve had to leave behind. You’ve encouraged me to see that God wants us here and to get 110% behind my husband. Thank you, it was definitely something that I needed to hear!

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