Willow's Cottage is on the move. Again. After 4 1/2 years of living in Los Angeles's inner city, we have made the decision to change our surroundings. The reasons are many, but some of the more obvious ones are the changes in our family as Chaplain Dan leaves for the mideast soon, our approaching retirement, stresses of living with noise, dirt, air pollution and violence.
So, we have gone looking for housing and employment. First, where shall we live? We have life commitments and goals that in part guide our decisions. We want to be near our children, but they are scattering to the far reaches of the globe. (Why should we be surprised when our kids do this? It is what we did and what we taught them was normal behavior. We moved around a lot when D and D were young and we were in grad school, and ended up in Indonesia on the island of New Guinea for most of the 80s and M and M were born there. After 12 years in Oregon, we migrated south to Los Angeles. Our kids are just following our examples of wanderlust and adventure.) We want to be near other friends and family and not have to start all over again building community and putting down roots. We want to be able to afford to live without spending our whole lives, every day, for the next thirty years, working to make a house payment. We are committed to living simply, remaining physically active, having time to pursue our interests.
After long debate, discussion and prayer, we hit on the solution. It simply was an aha moment for us. Less house=less money=less work=less stress. This is how it works out for us:
We have purchased a place in a 55+ manufactured homes homeowners park in southwest Ventura County, California. John gets his freedom from lawn mowing, but I get enough space for gardening. We will be living less than 12 miles from one sibling, several close friends and a very good and supportive church where we have a lot of long time connections. We will have plenty of opportunities to hike, bike, and beach comb along the Pacific Coast and in the Santa Monica Mountains. Our children love this area and want to visit us there. The cost of living is lower than in Los Angeles County, but we are still close enough to hop the metro train for a day trip when we miss LA and all its weirdness. It looks like there will be ample job opportunities for both of us.
We like to use the term "semi retired" for what our lives will be like.
We will miss our friends and co workers here at World Impact. Over the past four years we have make some really close friends on staff. We'll miss our weekly dinners with our small group at the Peters' house and playing with Olivia and Naomi. We will deeply miss our church, Grace Brethren Church of Long Beach and our Bible studies at Journey of Faith Church in Manhattan Beach. Our plan is to stay connected to people with periodic visits to them and from them, email and phone calls. There is always the grief of parting and we are well acquainted with that grief, having parted so many times from friends through the years. But we will have our memories and we will still have the connections.
When will this all take place? June-July.
It's time to get out the boxes and start packing again.