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This question and photo from my Instagram/Facebook feed sums up our past month. If you read my super long post last year about the job search Jon and I went through and the decision process that resulted in Jon taking his current job, you know we moved to Pittsburgh last summer with the knowledge he would be relocated somewhere else a year later. After a year in this new location, Jon will have completed the program he is in and will apply to job openings within the company.

We got a list of about 20 locations to choose from the day we drove down to NC for Christmas break – which gave us lots to think about on the long drive! I was super excited when I saw all these options and the fact that we had to rank only our top two or three choices, because last year we were only given four choices, and we had to rank all of them, which made us nervous that we could be assigned any of them. Jon had heard that Raleigh would be an option this year, and I when I saw it on the list with my own eyes, plus a few places in California, one in D.C., and one in Georgia, it was real assurance we wouldn’t have to “choose” any place we weren’t excited about!

Once we ruled out places we knew we did not want to live (anywhere further north than here and all the middle-of-nowhere places), and Jon ruled out the jobs he isn’t interested in and/or don’t fit his skill set, we were down to just two options: Raleigh, N.C. and Costa Mesa, C.A.

The decision process, over this past month of January, has involved a lot more change of heart and change of mind than either of us was expecting, I think. Going into the decision, we thought being in Raleigh for our second year could compromise our chances of staying there after the program. I was a little fearful that Jon might be advised to go somewhere else for his second year if he wanted to settle in Raleigh.

However, from the beginning, Jon got the opposite response. His program manager told him it made sense to go to Raleigh for his second year if he knew he wanted to end up there. That was great news! But…Jon loved the sound of the job in Costa Mesa. It’s a unique opportunity to work in aerospace because all the aerospace plants are out west. But…there are all kinds of hard things about going to a new place for only one year, and I wasn’t excited about the thought of starting that over, again. But, I wanted to support Jon in a once-in-a-lifetime kind of opportunity. I started to get a little more excited about California, and then we found out how ridiculously expensive living there would be. It was a lot of back and forth thoughts like this. But every day we prayed about the decision together, especially that we would be in alignment with each other about it. And last week we were brought to that point. 🙂

We’ve decided on our first choice, but we haven’t heard officially that we are going there, so I don’t want to say it just yet. Here is the breakdown of our pros and cons for each location, though, and you’ll probably be able to tell what we decided  🙂

Costa Mesa, C.A.


  • awesome weather!
  • opportunity to experience living in a “cool” new place
  • experience in the aerospace industry for Jon, “working on cool things”


  • decreased hope of Jon being hired in Raleigh after the program –> meaning we might have to go somewhere else far away or stay out there more permanently
  • expensive; really high cost of living –> decreased budget, teeny tiny apartment
  • far from family and friends
  • don’t know anyone/have connections there
  • long workdays for Jon (the manager warned him of 12-hour days)
  • #1 + #4 = little opportunity to experience what is cool about living there
  • starting over in a place where we know we’ll only be for a year again (limits work opportunities for me, opp. to build strong relationships/have community)

Raleigh, N.C.


  • greatly increased chances of Jon being hired on in Raleigh after the program
  • close to friends and family (just minutes away from our almost one-year-old nephew, who will change so much over this next year)
  • greater hope of continuing my current part-time job (more on that later!)
  • lower cost of living –> saving more!
  • being able to think longer-term relationally, knowing it’s likely we’ll get to stay after Jon’s program
  • getting to be present for the many weddings and engagements among our friends over the next year and not spending tons of money on flights home for them


  • we won’t experience the awesome weather in CA
  • Jon won’t get the year of experience in aerospace
  • we won’t experience living in another new place/CA

The experience of being confused about this together, while also praying continually together and relying completely on the Lord’s guidance, has been such a strengthening process. We should know where we’ll be going for sure by this coming weekend, so stay tuned!