(This post has not been edited for errors. These are my raw thoughts without spell check :-)
Short Story :: I am in California packing up our home to move to Kentucky. I’m making the cross country trip this Friday by myself and would like to crash at your house :-) Rai and the kids are already there. That’s where we’re from. We’re excited and amazed. After 15 years of being away from Kentucky, it will be our new home base and I will travel often to New York and California for some exciting things ahead.
The Real Story :-)
This time a year ago, in August of 2011, my life as I knew it was really falling apart at the seams.
I had placed so much value on what I did (pastor Courageous Church, work in Haiti, lead TwitChange) that when I lost all three things in a span of a few weeks I found myself sinking into an unfamiliar place of depression and confusion. Couple that with not having a way to provide for my family and I was in one of the lowest places emotionally that I had ever been. It was low. Lower than you know. I wasn’t suicidal, but I was all the way depressed. I’m an eternal optimist and didn’t know how low I was until I was already deep into it.
Thankfully, a great man that I admired from afar, but hardly knew, named Dave Gibbons, reached out to me, encouraged us to free ourselves of any possessions we had left and to move to California for a time of recovery and discovery. It would have sounded crazy to us, but it was honestly our only option. I sincerely believe that God shook up entire life last year in ways that I would have never done myself.
California has been amazing. I love it here. We’ve been here for 10 months and it has been the most refreshing time of healing and self-discovery for me, Rai, and for all of our kids. Literally, from the first moment we got here, we were happy. California may be may favorite place I’ve ever lived. It’s so beautiful and I love the people and culture here.
I want to thank Dave Gibbons for seeing me from afar and believing in me enough to allow God to use him to help rescue me out of a low place. Dave – I expected a few other people to be there for me, but they were nowhere to be seen brother. This time last year, you were God in the flesh to me man. Your love, support, prayers, warmth, advice, and friendship softened my heart right before it was about to turn hard. I know I am not the easiest guy to work with or even get to know, but you saw past my faults and became like a big brother to me. THANK YOU.
Without you, Dave, your support and your coaching – I doubt that HopeMob would ever exist and all of those people would’ve never been helped. Thank you for helping me embrace my destiny and my unique path in life.
I want to also thank my new Southern California family in Sam Oh, Sam Song, Peter, April Diaz, DK, DJ Chuang, Scott Overpeck, Hanju & Maria, Julie & Sam, and the entire NEWSONG staff. You all welcomed me, Rai, and the kids from Day 1. When I showed up in SoCal I was more broken than any of you knew and it probably made me hard to get to know, but I want you to know that I love you like family. Because you were there for me when I needed you the most I hope to always be there for you when you need me. I hope we get to do life together in other ways somehow.
I want to also thank my good friend Tyler Merrick and the team @ Project7. I admire you so much Tyler. I had hoped to be able to serve you and the team and help grow the brand, but more than that, I really looked forward to just working alongside you every day brother. Thanks for your prayers, your encouragement, your warmth, and for always keeping it real with me. You are my friend.
Why We’re Moving to Kentucky
Never, never ever ever EVER in a million years did I think I would ever move to Kentucky. I was born and raised there. It’s a beautiful place. All mine and Rai’s family is there, but I never thought I’d move back.
I love big cities. Kentucky doesn’t even have a big city. Haha. But over the past few months, some real things have changed that made Rai and I really consider it for the first time since we were teenagers.
1. Rai and I have both had deaths in our family recently and we found it very hard for us to be there for everybody while we were all the way in California.
2. Until last week, I had not seen my mother in nearly a year. Our kids had not seen their grandmothers in that long either. Our kids are growing up without any family and our mothers are aging before our eyes. When I was in my 20s, this didn’t matter to me as much – in part because I lived in Atlanta and could see my family more often, but now that I am in my 30s – family means more to me than ever before. We just want to be with family. Our family has never been to a play, a musical, or a sporting event for our kids – this is crazy. At the end of my life I don’t want to say that I pursued my dreams, but my family never knew me or the kids.
3. As you may know, Rai and I adopted our niece, Taeyonna, 8 years ago. We also stepped up to adopt our nephew, Ethan and have taken care of other nieces and nephews across the years. More than ever, we feel like it is going to be easiest to care for the children in our extended family by being in Kentucky. We will have our moms and aunts to help us carry the load as well. This was a huge factor for us. We want to be there for our family like they’ve been there for us.
4. I have tried not to travel much while I’ve lived in California because I hate leaving Rai alone with our big family – especially since we don’t have any family support out here. Now that we’re moving back to Kentucky, we will always have our family to help us while I travel. In the months ahead, I am going to need to travel to New York often and this just wouldn’t be wise without the support of our family.
I don’t have a job in Kentucky, but we have family and friends. We will likely be moving the homebase of HopeMob to the East Coast. I am going to be working on a new entrepreneurial venture as well that will allow some flexibility in where I live. No matter what, I want to provide my family with some real stability during this season.
This will be the 4th home we’ve lived in in less than a year. That’s rough. Everybody is ready to settle down now and I think Kentucky is the place to do it.
Rai and the kids are already in Kentucky. We’ll be moving into a new place in a few weeks. I just flew back here to California after my grandmother’s funeral in KY to pack up our stuff. I rented a truck for this coming Friday and will be loading it up and driving cross country from California to Kentucky alone. I hope to use the time to think and pray and dream about what’s ahead.
I don’t have my route mapped out yet, but I’d like to crash at your houses all across the country if you’ll have me. I’ll post my route soon and hope some of you can meet me along the way. I’d love your prayers.
Thank all of you for your support and encouragement during this past year. Wow it’s been a wild ride.
I sense that some really great things are ahead.
I gotta run – I have a ton of packing to do!