Do you know how, when you meet someone for the first time, one of the first questions asked is “Where are you from?” To which I reply with my own question– “How much time do you have?” I honestly have a hard time giving a short answer! The best I can do is this: I was born in southern California and I lived there until middle school, at which time we relocated to east Tennessee. When I was in 8th grade, we moved every 3 months. I graduated high school in Atlanta, attended college back in southern California, and spent my “single, working adult” years in middle Tennessee. After a few years of marriage and having a child, we headed to North Texas where we have been now for 6 years. There just isn’t one single geographic location that I consider myself to be “from.”

It’s always interesting to me when I meet someone who lived in the same house until they left for college, and their parents are still living in that same house. That seems like such a pure form of home. I don’t think it’s necessarily better or worse than how I grew up; it’s just different. Looking back, I love everything I was able to experience because we lived so many places. I met a lot of people from a lot of different backgrounds. And I got really good at packing!

I thought it would be fun {for me} and perhaps mildly interesting {for you} to recount each place I’ve lived. I made the list and then I had my father check it—turns out, I was missing one. To my credit, I was only 3 years old when we lived there. Ready? Here we go…

I was born in San Diego, California, and I don’t remember the first three houses we lived in. Two were in the San Diego area, then we moved to Orange County—it was the second house there which provided my earliest memories, including a cow we owned named Sweetie Hamburgers. We then moved back to inland San Diego County, where I attended the same {elementary} school for four years. When we moved to a different area, about 20 minutes away, I spent 5th grade at a new school. That summer, we picked up and moved over 3,000 miles away to a city named Knoxville {pronounced Knox-vil like e-vil if you’re from California}. We had three addresses there {one being a La Quinta we stayed in for about a month while our house was under construction} before my parents announced we were moving to Hawaii to join Youth With a Mission. Thus begins what I call “The Missionary Years.”

During “The Missionary Years,” we moved really often. After spending a few {gorgeous and memorable} months on “The Big Island,” we moved to a condo in San Diego owned by my great-grandmother. Maybe two months later {maybe less}, we moved to another YWAM “base” in the L.A. area. Just a few months there until we made our first transatlantic trip to Holland. Spring in Holland is so beautiful! But as summer approached, I vividly remember feeling extraordinarily homesick for the States {as I considered how July 4th would just be a normal day in Holland}, and my parents let me move back early and live with my grandparents—first the ones in L.A., and then the ones in Kentucky. We then reunited and traveled back to Knoxville in time to start the school year in the same district we had been in, though from a different house. The house we owned was occupied by renters, so we rented another house in the same neighborhood, one that was on the market—the owners had already moved out. We did that in 3 different houses during my freshman year. Next, we moved {overseas again} to Barcelona in order to assist with the YWAM outreach during the 1992 Olympics. When we first arrived, we shared a {large} apartment in the city with another family until we found our own apartment, outside of the city on the coast {yay beach!}.

After an amazing year in Barcelona, we relocated to Atlanta, since my parents had heard it had a thriving job market, affordable housing, and good schools. We lived in an apartment until my dad got a job that allowed for the purchase of a house. My younger sister lived in that house from 4th grade until she graduated high school; however, I was only there for about a year and a half until I left to attend college in southern California {Azusa Pacific University}. Like a typical college student, I moved every year until I stayed through the summer between my junior and senior years. After graduating, I took a staff job on campus and moved into a nearby condo with friends.

Once I landed my “dream job” in Nashville, I initially moved in with my grandparents in Kentucky. They lived in Bowling Green, which is one hour north of where I was going to be working. It was quite the commute, but it gave me some margin to meet a roommate and find a place to rent. We lived in 3 different apartments together until we parted ways and I got my own place. That was short-lived because circumstances of the financial variety necessitated a change; I was able to rent a room in a friend’s condo until she got married. Around the same time, my sister got a job in Nashville, and my parents invested in a house that she and I could rent from them. I lived in that house in Franklin—first with my sister, then with a couple of roommates, then with my husband—for 9 years. That goodbye was the absolute toughest {and the 31st} of my life.

We relocated to Fort Worth, Texas, for my husband’s job; I could do my work from anywhere as long as I had a good Internet connection. We rented a house for a little more than a year until we were ready to buy. We closed on our current home on my 40th birthday, and it is an incredible blessing for which we are so thankful. I’m sure move number 34 will come, but hopefully not for a good long while.