new (slow) starts


We live in Nashville now.

Yes, this is a new start for us—a new address, a new job, a new lifestyle, a new church, a new community, a new Trader Joe’s—but like a lot of new starts, it doesn’t have a clean beginning and ending.

The beginning: Almost two years ago now, Brad and I were making dinner in our closet-size kitchen 25 minutes outside of San Francisco. I was wedged into the 1-1/2 square feet of space in front of our stove, stirring something, Brad was shuffling around the 10-inch perimeter around the dishwasher putting clean dishes away. What started as a “How was your day?” conversation turned into a “What do we want our life to look like in 3 years?”

If you’ve never asked yourself or your partner that question, you should. It was incredibly clarifying and fun as we both started dreaming out loud.

“I’d like a house with an extra room where someone could stay for a few months if they were in a rough spot.”

“I’d like kids—“

“—and enough flexibility in our work that we can both be around at least some of the time during the day.”

“I want to see family more than once or twice a year.”

“I want a big garden so we can grow some of our food.”

“I want to simplify our budget, how we spend our time, our work. We need a margin and then we can give that margin of money, time, and energy away. We can say yes to serving.”

“I want a house where our community knows they can stop by every Friday night. Where there’s an open invitation to be with us.”

We went on like this for about 10 minutes and our smiles grew bigger and bigger as we got into it (“we should have fruit trees!” “and a sofa deep enough for us to both lay down on it at once!”). Then we made eye contact and had the same thought. I’m not sure which one of us said it first: We can’t do this here.

That was a big enough conversation for that night. But over the next 18 months, we inched the thought forward over dinner, while watching Jimmy Fallon, in the Costco parking lot, while staring at the ocean.

The ending: We didn’t make a clean break. It took about 12 months of talking and six months of job hunting for both of us before I got a job offer in Nashville. Almost two months after that before we rolled up here with our potted lemon tree in the back seat of the Malibu. Another three weeks before we settled that lemon tree on the front step of a rental house—our house!

Our conversation hasn’t ended there. So much of moving here feels emphatically Right. Some of moving here feels like we have a little work to do still. A little bit of margin-making to figure out. It’s kind of uncomfortable. I love love love feeling settled. I feel most able to be brave when I’m safe and centered. But the off-kilter feeling I get from big changes also pushes me to trust, pushes me to pray, pushes me to depend on and receive from others (that last one is the hardest for me).

Keeping me anchored while I balance my kilter? Seeing family more times in the last six months than in almost the last three years combined. A winter warm enough to go for a walk outside almost every day. Hanging out with these guys IRL. A whole gosh darn house with nobody above or beside us. And the rock solid promises of provision, lovingkindness, and being with us that put this transition in its place: Same God, different geography.

I think we’re going to like it here, y’all.




  1. Erin

    Welcome to the south!

  2. joannalinberg

    Erin, thank you! (And P.S., I just took a look at your blog (and subscribed) and I am ALSO an INFJ. Can’t wait to read more from a kindred spirit. :))

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