Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara, image from fanpop.com

“Where?” I said.

“Wichita,” said my husband. And so it began.

The small successful company where my husband works has been acquired by a big successful company headquartered in Wichita. And they’ve offered him a job he really wants to do. In Wichita.

That’s Kansas. The state, not the band. Dorothy’s home turf before the tornado whisked her away to Oz.

All right. To my Midwestern friends, please excuse the sarcasm.

The Midwest is a mighty fine place and I understand why you like it, especially if you were raised here, went to school here, or got married here. That’s precisely why I like The South.

I’ve been very open about my desire to move back to The South and raise a Carolina boy who grows up to attend a fabulous University in an enchanted place called the Triangle. Wichita doesn’t fit into that plan.

Back in August when I posted Welcome to the Wild West, I boldly wrote: To the west, young woman, as far as this horse will take you.

That was figurative. I didn’t mean to actually go west.

Wichita doesn’t have a J Crew store. According to Wikipedia the city’s nickname is Cowtown, although my husband disagrees. He says Dodge City is Cowtown. Can you feel my pain?

However, we visited Wichita to discover the people are kind and welcoming. The schools and houses are great. And I’d have a chance to become a real cowgirl.

My husband is excited about the job. His mentors are positive. Lots of people move, they say. We shouldn’t worry about our son. He’ll adjust to it fine.

“Did you tell them it’s not your son you’re concerned about?” I said as my head fell to my keyboard. Crash!

We’ve relocated twice before. Vowed never again to follow companies around the country for jobs in states that don’t have ina at the end.

East coast, please. Thirteen original colonies, south by southeast. Lakefronts are beautiful, but they’re not beaches. I miss my family, my ocean, my people.

When my husband first mentioned Kansas, it took all my strength to pull my hair up into a ponytail and run to the mall. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: Where else does a Gen X girl go when in flight?

surprise lilies

As I brushed and gathered the locks, silver strands shined through winking at me like tinsel. I’m an adult. Have to act like one. Be thankful he has a job.

So does blogger girl put on the brave Midwestern face? Spit and shine her attitude? Think of this as a new adventure?

Or does she kindly, with the sweetest tea accent she can muster, decline the invitation to dance, hike up her hoop skirt, and get back to where she once belonged, bless her heart?

Gotta love a good cliff-hanger.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9 NIV

Ladies and gentlemen, The Beatles.

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Filed under America, family & friends, life

58 Responses to Wichita

  1. While I totally understand your desire to go back home, I have a feeling you’ll follow your husband since that’s what we signed up for when we got married. I’m currently living in Portland even though I miss my friends and family in California incredibly. If it were up to me, we’d wait out the lease on our apartment and move back home. But my husband likes it here, so we’ll probably stay. Oh the things we do for love… I am sorry you have to face this situation though!

    • Ariel, sounds like you have walked this path before. Thank you for your sweet words of encouragement. My husband is my family now, along with our son. We go together. We do what’s best for everyone involved. Easy to say, but to live it out involves tough, bittersweet choices…

  2. Oh, Aimee… will be praying for you all… from a “Carolina Girl” whose roots run so deep I don’t know if I could ever fly, I admire you and know you will let God guide your way.

  3. Vicki Tatko

    Wow. Aimee. This news has brought tears to my eyes and a lump in my throat. I loved bumping into you guys on the shuttle last week and was SO looking forward to spending time with you. Of course, I’m guessing at the cliff hanger, but I’m assuming that I will need to wait on that–to wait for the Great Architect of our lives and future to make good on His promises. I definitely want a seat near yours at the Banquet.
    Will pray for you!

    • Thanks, Vicki. We’ve loved seeing you and B and the kids too. We loved our time at EF, and we love CPC now. I can confidently tell you it is a good place. That’s been one of the hardest parts about this decision. God has always been faithful to provide incredible church homes for us wherever we’ve lived, but it will be hard to leave CPC. No matter what happens, I will definitely sit with you at the Banquet (she writes through tears). Wouldn’t miss it for the world. Stay tuned for the outcome of this decision…

  4. @Carolina cowgirl blogger:)

  5. Kari

    First Evangelical of Wichita. Mike Andrus; how I love to hear him preach. Will be praying for you all during this decision-making time.

    • Thanks, Kari. Mike Andrus was the reason we came to EFree in West Co. He is a phenomenal preacher. So sensitive and empathetic. We have friends in Wichita who are members of his church. Mike recently retired (again), but our friends said he groomed a young pastor as his replacement. First Evangelical will be on our short list of churches…

  6. Christel

    Always want the best for you. Sure would love to have you back in the tarheel state. Come back, Jeff can quit his job, and you can be a famous wealthy writer! I think Jeff would be great as “Mr. Mom! “

  7. Aimee, I just old fashioned called you! Now I’m commenting from my phone on a plane. Wichita has a great social media club and scene that I got acquainted with a month ago. I’m also there in November for an event. You are going to light up Kansas and I can’t wait. But let me be clear: I’m a Midwest girl that LOVES the South.

    • Oh no! Sorry I missed your call, Katie. Things are a little crazy here, as you can imagine. I know you love The South. The Midwest is precious to me for many reasons including my husband and son. Wichita is an adventure we didn’t expect. Hope you’ll be one of my Midwestern lifelines. I’m going to need all the cowgirl friends I can get!

  8. Diana Byrd

    Well-well Girlfriend. From shagging to square dancing go ye, it appears. Go filled with joy – not drenched in tears. For God has prepared a place for you – to live – to love – to journey through. FEAR NOT!

  9. Kim

    Aimee: Our souls are quite particular in where they find their homes. Yet, sometimes, they find in the new, the unexpected, something for which they’ve longed and you’ll discover that you can’t imagine life without that place, for that time. Blessings on your pilgrimmage!

  10. Cheryl Brewer

    I know your going. You would be silly not to go. My question is why is the move even in question? Yes, start packing. It will be fun!


  11. Lisa

    Aimee – in the south you are just another sweet, southern belle, in Wichita you will be a fabulous southern lady in the midst of the wild west. You will shine wherever you are, but maybe, just maybe there is something or someone in Wichita that needs your light, your style and your charm as much as we here in St. Louis have needed and enjoyed it all these years. The easy part is asking God for direction, the hardest part is when it doesn’t match up with yours. My thoughts and prayers are with you my dear friend.

  12. Having relocated many times for work, I know what its like to want to get back to a place. I actually had gotten back to Memphis, my home, spent 4 years there and just moved again. It took careful consideration but I made the right choice.

    On another note, Wichita doesn’t really feel Western to me. I went to college for four years in that part of the country and doubt you can find more genuine people. Last month at the 140 conf I met quite a few folks from Wichita who were freakin awesome.

    Good luck to you & Jeff as you decide what you want to do. I know its not easy and nobody else can tell you what would be right. Keep thinking and talking is the only advice I can give.

    • That’s great advice, Janice, and I appreciate it from you as you’ve been through this before. I’ve heard the same about Wichita, that the people are genuine, welcoming to new folks, and just great overall. We’re excited about the possibilities. But change is stressful regardless.

      PS: You’re right. Wichita is probably not as Western as I’m imagining. I’m not telling Jeff that bc I’m holding out for riding lessons. There still may be a horse in my future lol.

  13. Oh Aimee…typing this through tears, as I’m guessing I already know the outcome, my friend. I can’t wait to see the next chapter of your story, via this blog, of course, as it unfolds west of where you imagined you might be :)

  14. Amiee~ As a Navy wife, I have followed my hubby and packed up my family for 8 moves across the country so far. I’ve learned that home is where my little family is, no matter where the Navy sends us. I keep hoping to get back to NC, too, but so far no luck. I have found that each move has brought new friends and new adventures that I am always grateful for. Good luck to you and your family!

    • Betsy, I’ve known you for umpteen years and still manage to learn something new about you every time you write me.
      Eight moves. Wow! This will be our third since we’ve been married, but our first with our son. It’s true what you wrote about how each move has brought new friends and adventures that are good. We maintain friendships we’d never trade with people we knew in NC and Chicago and I’m sure it will be the same with our friends from St. Louis. And the experiences we’ve had so far I could not have imagined. Thanks for such an encouraging reminder!

  15. Whoa. That’s big news Aimee! As a wife who did the unthinkable and followed her hubbs into the Army of all places, I feel ya. I can tell you it’ll be an adventure. But you know that…

    Praise Jesus for online shopping, eh?

    It’s sad for us to lose you guys but I’m excited for the opportunities that await you guys. Hugs to my bloggy friend!

    • You military wives are the bomb (pardon the pun). Did you see the comment from my friend Betsy above?
      Online everything makes the prospect of moving a little easier to take. The world is one click away and that is such a blessing to me. Hugs back to you!

  16. Well, I left Louisiana to marry my love.

    As long as both of you are on the same page, spiritually and mentally, and, also importantly, as long as the job looks like it’s not going to leave y’all high and dry shortly after moving.

    As for Kansas… yeah… then again, at least it’s not the Dakotas.

    • Oh, WA. The things we do for our spouses. This time, I draw the line at the Mason Dixon. We spent two cold, cold winters in Chicago prior to moving to the Lou. Brrr! Have some friends from the Dakotas who read this blog and their photos of their land are phenomenally beautiful. I also have a childhood friend who loves living in Wyoming and a college friend who joyfully frequents Idaho to visit family. All nice places to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there in the winter.
      For that, I can be thankful about Wichita. And the job seems to be a good opportunity.

  17. Dear Aimee – I love your writing style. I have no doubt in my mind that you will bloom where you are planted and win over the hearts and minds of Wichita. I moved so often (Air Force brat) that I stopped counting the homes I lived in when I surpassed 20 in college. I found most every move to be a fresh start. Best of luck making the decision!

  18. Suzie

    Hahaha, LOVE THE LINKS!!! ;D And though I can’t, via experience, “feel your pain,” I feel for you. I can’t imagine being uprooted and whisked away from my family. It would kill me. BUT, I would follow my husband wherever he needed to go… because I can do what I do from anywhere in the country. ;)

    Now let’s look at pros for Wichita… you have a great conservative governor in Sam Brownback (something you do NOT have in your current state…); Kansas is right smack dab in the the middle of the country… kinda like the belly button of the U.S.! :D; the headquarters for Payless Shoes is in Topeka; Wichita has been dubbed the “Air Capital of the World”; Wichita is where the first electric guitar was played… OK, enough Wiki-examples.

    Seriously, you can find peace in Kansas. And your Beatles link has a bit of foreshadowing in it… it may SAY “Get back to where you once belonged” but the stage they’re playing on… and the beautiful blue sky in the background all look Midwest to me… perhaps not unlike the blue skies of Wichita. :)

    Love you, cuz. <3

    • Oh, Suzie! Love you too! Thought you might get a kick out of the links. Especially Slick Willy ;)!

      There are definite pros to Wichita. Those already mentioned and Jeff said he thinks we’ll have more sunny days in Wichita bc of it’s location on the jet stream. Not sure where he comes up with some of this stuff, but I’ll take it! Now we simply must plan a trip for you and the fam to come to visit…

      Say hi to D, C & B for us!

  19. H Brecht

    Aimee, we have never met, but I have enjoyed following your writings based on Jeff’s comments on Facebook about your stories. What an exciting time for you, Jeff & T. I remember 10 years ago evaluating a career change & spending a lot of time praying for direction.e In the end I made the change & although it didn’t involve a move for my family it did involve a lot of change for me personally. The end result was very positive. One of those positive things has been the opportunity to work with Jeff. I trust whatever your decision you will be able to look back on it and see it as positive for you and your family. May Hod continue to lead you and Jeff, and bless you in ways you can’t even imagine.

    • Thank you for your encouraging comment and for the tremendous compliment you gave to my husband. Working with the people at your company has been a great blessing to him and to our family. The changes can be difficult, but as you pointed out the end is usually positive. Thanks for reading. I hope you’ll visit again soon!

  20. H Brecht

    I meant to say may God (not Hod) continue to lead you. That’s the problem with trying to type on a phone with big fingers.

  21. Joan Bailey

    Aimee- Many years ago, while traveling through Kansas, I witnessed the most magnificent sunset I have ever seen in my life! Enjoy those big skies and beautiful sunsets!…I also recommend rereading My Antonia…you will see her there in the landscape and it will have a deeper impact on you than it ever did before. ( also look how much closer you’ll be to Denver…you can come visit me!)

    • Joan, at your suggestion, I just put My Antonia on reserve at the library. The landscape is so different there. So unbelievably flat. Will be looking for meaning everywhere. And I can’t wait to see those sunsets. Maybe I’ll get to see you too, as Colorado will definitely be on road trip list…

  22. Aimee — Life is one big adventure and you never know where and when the next curve is coming. The most important thing is to embrace change and enjoy the ride. I know how tough moves can be — but think of all of that new material you will have to entertain the readers of your blog.

  23. Aimee – if I can offer one piece of advice, just don’t worry. I mean, literally, do not worry. Worrying makes it all the worse. When I moved to the States, I had no chance to visit beforehand or even know what I’m coming into (long story why). It was a rough time adjusting (and some things still blow my mind; like buying meat in a plastic tray or the expression “catty corner”), but I tried to keep an open eye even after the first adjustment shock, and find bits and pieces I liked and that made me feel more homely.
    Whichever way your life takes you, you will be fine. As long as you stop worrying and take time to absorb the change, you’ll be fine.

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  25. I can totally relate to this. Five years ago this coming January moved to Kansas- from Florida. You know, the land of “my family, my ocean, my people.”

    There have been rough spots- I’m not going to lie- but I have learned to love this land out west. I hope you do too. Take advantage and visit a few barb wire museums, the little towns that replicate the Yellow Brick road and get to know a cowboy. Also, make sure to bring a good bottle of wine with you- it makes all situations better.

    Best of luck on the move :)

    • Thanks, Jodi. All good advice from someone who has been down the yellow brick road before. Perhaps we’ll run into each other on the way to Oz, no?
      Seriously, we plan to take full advantage of the experience and our time there. You never know where you might end up!

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  28. Wendy Turner

    Sometimes, sometimes…dare I say… I wish we would move away and start fresh…bite me tongue…what did I say….never mind

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