To spare you the details let me sum up our life….
Married almost 35 years, both having been divorced, we have six children and now 8 grandchildren.
We started in Corona Del Mar, CA. in a small 3-bedroom bungalow and 5 children from my previous marriage coming and going. It was a small coastal town and we lived about 3-4 blocks from the beach.
We have moved 12 times, twice as a result of losing everything we had, including our homes.
When the financial and real estate collapse of 2008/2009 hit, a real estate investment which was funding my business/ministry, fell apart. The leaser of our commercial business bailed on us and suddenly we had no income. Spending two years looking for a local job in So. Cal. with no prospects I wondered upon an opportunity in NW Iowa. We lived there 7 ½ years.
In the midst of all the things that were happening to us, now to top it off, we had to move 2000 miles away from the people we loved the most. Lamenting to my friend and mentor, Pastor Steve Struikmans, “why would God do this to us?” His answer: “Maybe it’s not about you. Maybe there are people there He wants you to impact.” His words could never have been more prophetical because God allowed us to impact literally thousands of people.
Although it was a great job working for a wonderful company (www.pizzaranch.com), every birthday, every holiday, and every special occasion was painful and torturous for us. Not to be with our family on these special days was painfully hard. Frankly, every Sunday was hard as we knew the family got together regularly. We missed our family so much. The cost to us psychologically and emotionally was devastating.
Reaching that magic age 2 ½ years ago, along with the support of my employer we moved to Henderson, NV (aka: Las Vegas) since at the time it was the only place we could afford to move and have a 2BR/2BTH home (condo) and be in driving distance to our family.
Mind you, at the time nothing was available in So. Cal. anywhere near what we could afford. It simply seemed impossible and not reachable to be where our children were. We would have to settle for this as the closest location within driving distance we could get to them.
For the past two and a half years we’ve probably driven down to So. Cal about 30 times! 4-4 ½ hours…. occasionally 6. There were many times we drove down and drove back on the same day. It was tiering. While better than only seeing our family once or twice a year, we were now able to attend special days and celebrations. Still, we lacked the intimacy and availability to be with our family.
Then, about 6 months ago our Daughter in law, who was pregnant, began sending us pictures of condo’s in Leisure World in Seal Beach Ca. that were available in our price range. It was her and our son’s desire that my wife be able to help care for our new grandson while they were are work, at least a couple days a week. And so, we began the search, albeit, during a pandemic!
A one bedroom, one bath was all we could afford. Questions sprouted up within us: How would I conduct business since I would no longer have an office? Could we live in such a small space comfortably? Could we afford the higher taxes and California costs? Could we live there on just Social Security?
And yet, in the midst of the questions, and in the midst of the pandemic, and after all this time, could this really be happening? Could we really, in the winter of our lives, live within a few minutes of our children and grandchildren?
You see no matter where we were living, we were never really home without our children and grandchildren around.
And now, here we are, in Seal Beach, CA, a small coastal town in which we live about 1 ½ miles from the beach, living within minutes of most of our children and grandchildren.
And I can tell you, we are finally home.
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