Falling Into Place: The Most Beautiful Time of the Year

Settling In

Just a mere five days after carrying the first box into the house, school began. Not much of a breather, but it brought some normalcy to a chaotic season.

To celebrate this fresh beginning, the girls were decked out with all new backpacks, lunch boxes, and outfits. Back in CA, the girls attended a charter school just one town over. This meant, many of their school mates never lived close by. Now they ride the bus home with, not simply their school mates, but their neighborhood friends as well. Seeing them build new friendships within our community has brought so much joy to our hearts. It's difficult to describe the discovery of this longing we didn't realize we had was being met.

Every morning the sky seemed to cheer at our arrival. Kevyn and I would sip our coffee in peace while the Sun's rays slowly crept over the back deck. We would briefly break the silence with comments of the morning's beauty as the sunrise, and steam from our mugs, warmed our faces.

Despite the welcoming tones of Autumn, we knew Winter was right around the corner. After our daily moments of appreciation, we got to work. We had much to do in the yard to prep for winter. Kevyn tackled the garden and I made way too many trips to Home Depot for tools and supplies.

The lawn was finally wrangled back into shape after almost two months of neglect. Daily, Kevyn harvested from the four raised garden beds. Everyday, we were eating what we could and giving away everything else to neighbors and friends.

For a brief weekend, Kevyn's parents visited and helped us knock out a huge chunk of our to-do list. Being Master Gardeners, they gave Kevyn tips for the garden and pruned one of the backyard trees that was encroaching on the roof and rotting out.

It was no small task, but Kevyn got the entire garden weeded. She covered everything in cardboard (to prevent future weed growth) and laid down bark an top of it. I, after an embarrassingly amount of time on YouTube, winterized the sprinkler system, clearing it and shutting off the outside water line. I'm still crossing my fingers I did it correctly.

The first frost was on its way quickly and hit the week of Halloween, but I'll talk about that in the next post.

Settling in was quite the experience, but through it all there was so much peace beyond words. So much appreciation for what God has given us.

Every evening the sky lit up with a different shade of pink or orange like a hug welcoming us home.

The State of the House Address: How to Turn Disappointment into Joy


We expected leftover junk from the previous owners, but not to the degree to which we found. We fully admit it could have been a lot worse. There are horror stories littering the internet and we don't want to add to the pile of lost faith in humanity material out there, so we wanted to share how we dealt with it and the opportunities that came from it.

Before we could even move our stuff in, Juan had to clean the garage. Practically top to bottom. Cob webs in corners, rodent poop behind boxes, hundreds of dog treat bits soaked and crusted to the floor, and broken appliances on the shelves. After three hours, it was swept and cleared of all of the left over junk. Just in time for the movers we hired to show up and unload the truck.

These guys were great. Locals making a living with their many side hustles. They made quick work of our 20' truck loaded to the ceiling. They even carried away a full truck bed of the leftover garbage to the dump for us, at no extra cost. (Garrett, you rock!)

One of the items left was a sound machine, which our oldest daughter quickly claimed. There was a also free-standing cabinet in the kitchen that looked like the previous owners intended to take with them, but ended up leaving it instead. It's in poor shape, but I'll repurpose it for the garage. Can't complain about extra storage, amiright?

In the backyard, it appears the previous owners didn't dispose of their dog's waste, but instead piled it behind one of the trees in the back corner. I've been told we can use as fertilizer. Anyone have any tips on that? Is that safe for a vegetable garden or just flower beds?

Lastly, they utilized command strips for much of their wall pieces. They work rather well in not peeling off the paint when you remove them. However, the previous owners never removed them when they repainted, leaving highly noticeable unpainted strips throughout the house. This honestly made us laugh. You can see the brush strokes around each of the strips, as if special care was taken to preserve these temporary fixtures. It would have been far less time and effort for them to simply remove the strips in the first place. People are truly silly sometimes.

Because we want to be truthful, the first day or so we felt a bit disappointed. If this is how they managed their house, what other shortcuts are we bound to find? But we quickly got over it and chose to feel blessed with what God has provided us. We knew there was a lot of work we wanted to do to make this house our own, so what's a few extra tasks on our to-do list anyways?

We don't know the situation of the previous family that lived in this home. We won't ever know the struggles they had. So why hold onto bitterness? At the end of the day, we know all of this leftover mess is trivial. Extending forgiveness and grace is what God calls us to practice and that is just what we did.

We are truly grateful for this house—even in its current state. We're excited to start working on our projects to improve it, make it our own, and ultimate leave it better for the next family when it's time for us to move on.

Follow along with our home renovations as we tackle each project, make mistakes, and learn to trust the process.

Leaving California: The Long Haul Through the Desert

750mi | $550 in Gas | 2 Vehicles (towing a 3rd) | 6 Humans | 2 Pets | 1 Jungle of Houseplants

We had so much help packing up our home into one 20' truck and two vehicles. Loading an entire home in four hours has got to be a record! Nostalgia sat in as we did some minor cleaning to our place and gathered the few remaining items. It felt like it was only the day before that we were filling that empty condo with our stuff. How time flies.

Early the next day, Juan took off in the moving truck with a friend who agreed to help drive with us. The ladies had a later start, but we all happened to meet up at our first gas fill-up in Reno at the same time. Every two hours or so, we made gas and/or food stops. At which point, Juan made sure to check on the plethora of houseplants stowed away in my car. Because it was being towed, the AC couldn't be on, so ensuring they weren't being fried in the August heat made Kevyn more at ease. Nevada, which made up the majority of our trip was beautiful, but it's easy to dismiss the desert dust and dry shrubs in the Summer. Our guess is that it's stunning in the Spring.

Dinner was a welcomed break from the drive. We stopped in the city of Twin Falls, ID to meet up with some new friends, who also recently moved to Idaho. They took us to a fantastic local restaurant. Our planned 45min pit-stop turned to into two hours of delicious food and laughs. No regrets.

We rolled into our new town a little after midnight. In my tired state, I accidentally slammed a car door on my thumb. It required a splint for a few days as the swelling and pain subsided. Now I just have to wait the next month or so for the blackened nail to grow out and heal.

After all of the gas, food, truck rental, and plane tickets (for our two friends to drive out with us) this was definitely the most expensive road trip to date. I don't want to down play the stress involved in such a move, but honestly, it felt so smooth and rather painless, aside from my thumb. It had it's moments, but in the end we made it.

We're so thankful for the friends and family that helped us pack and load the truck, and to the two who made the drive out with us. Y'all are amazing!

Can't wait to share how we're settling into our new home and town.

Faith and Wisdom: How to Trust God While Uprooting Your Family


After sharing my dream with my wife, we had many hours of discussions about what it would mean for our family and how to move forward. We've had a missionary mindset for much of our lives and marriage, so the thought of uprooting to a different state or country has always been an option for us.

For me, moving and traveling was always quite desirable and exciting. It's the adventure I've longed for since reading Bilbo's unexpected journey through Middle Earth. It's the call to a larger purpose like Moses received from God through a burning bush.

If my dream was that call to adventure, where do we start?

Moving out of California was a simple enough answer, but, as anyone with a family, property to sell, and a community to inform would tell you, there is no clear plan of action. We quickly had so many questions, unknowns, and fears. So we fasted.


For a full week, our whole family fasted. My wife and I fasted alcohol and as a family we abstained from entertainment. The idea was to have clear hearts and sober minds to hear from the Lord. No distractions. No mindless scrolling. No clicking the "Next Episode" button. No collecting our daily game bonuses. No screen time.

In the evenings we prayed as a family for God's wisdom and direction. Kevyn and I would make lists with our desires and needs, logistical problems that needed solutions, and most importantly, places to which we thought God was callings us. Innumerable Zillow links were shared between the two of us that week. Real estate researches were becoming borderline replacements of the void from a lack of entertainment.

After that week of prayer and fasting, we felt God was leading us to Idaho. If I'm being honest here, we actually came to that conclusion on Day 3, but used the rest of the week to sit on and confirm it.

We have been looking at the Northwest region of the U.S. for quite some time. With the amazing views of Colorado, friends recently moving to Montana, the beauty of Yellowstone in Wyoming, and the desire to still be as close as possible to our family and friends in California, it just made sense.

Around that same time, some friends of ours recently moved to Idaho. This was highly influential in our decision making. These friends are the godparents of our children. We highly respect them. Enjoy their company. And love them so much. We helped them move to Texas back in 2009 and have longed to live near them again ever since. It felt like this move would answer not only our current prayers to God for direction, but the prayers we made over a decade ago.

We hopped on a video call with these friends to tell them what we've heard from God and that we would be joining them in Idaho as soon as God allows. Needless, to say there was much excitement and tears.


Our location was picked out. It ticked off the majority of our list when it came to needs for our family and our girls. There was community we can plug into and thrive in. It pushes us even further towards some of the goals we've been talking and dreaming about. And most of all, we felt God's peace.

We met with a realtor to discuss what it would look like to start the process of selling our condo. Thinking it would take about a month or so, with her encouragement and a few late nights, we had our condo on the market in just nine short days. That was the moment it got real for us.

That same week, we made the rounds to tell our friends and family of our decision. Understandably there were lots of tears as we explained our plans, but surprisingly we received so much understanding and love.

Over the last decade and a half, we've said goodbye to countless friends that have moved away. Slowly losing contact afterwards was an inevitable, but still heartbreaking, part of that process. It was truly a surreal feeling being on the other side of that conversation for the first time, knowing the same could, and probably will, happen to some of the people we're hugging goodbye.

If you were one of the people we talked to during this decision making time, we want you to know it was not lost on us that when we hugged you goodbye it might have been the last time we would get to do that. Our hope truly is that it wasn't, but if we happen to lose contact it doesn't mean we've lost our love for you. We will still think about you no matter what. Often, we fondly reminisce on those we've lost contact with, hoping for their best, praying they are in God's love, and enjoying the memories we made together.

We know life happens, we all settle into routines, and the saying "outta sight, outta mind" is all too real in these moments. But we'd like to make it very clear, no matter how long it's been, we would lovingly welcome a call or text from you. Seriously. Anytime.


After a whirlwind weekend trip to check out a few houses in Idaho, things started falling into place. Kevyn was offered a new remote job (this came after 2-3 months of silence from employers). We accepted an offer on our condo, for our asking price, in a time when the market was down turning fast. And had our own offer accepted on a house in Idaho that our whole family agreed felt like it was already ours when we viewed it.

God had been answering our prayers and was continuing to answer them. He was showing us that he was in control. During this time, our hearts were open to hearing from God, not presuming we knew better, or acting thoughtlessly. Our prayers were, and still remain:

"God, we want to follow you, be in your will, and to live in wisdom and thankfulness. If it is your will, make it so. If it is not, shut the door."

Next few weeks were a blur of cardboard boxes and packing tape, goodbye tears, way too much fast food, and squeezing in as much time as we could with those we love.

With our belongings packed and goodbyes said, we hopped on I-80 east, out of California.

- Juan

Waiting for the Call: A Tale of Mourning and Moving


Earlier this year, I, Juan, had a dream that I truly believe God used to speak to me. I get a fair amount of dreams, as I suppose many do, but this dream was vivid, clear as day, and has stuck in my mind with almost perfect recall since.

The dream began with my wife and I overlooking some property that we owned. It was a nice plot of land along the beautiful California coast. Amazing 360 views of the ocean and the surrounding hills, high up on the cliffs above tides below with plenty of space to grow.

We had decided to partition some of our land and build a small house on a pleasant nearby cliff that overlooks a small cove feature. This would be for our guests to stay as well as a rental for some passive income. We received help from our friends and family to build this cabin-like home. Upon finishing, we were floored at the generosity of so many and incredibly grateful to our community for their help.

I walked in through the back door and sat down at the kitchen table for a quick break. Inside, my wife was putting the finishing touches on some of the interior decor and an older lady was at the sink hand washing some dishes.

As I was admiring my wife's attention to detail—hanging art frames and rotating the plants for optimal viewing pleasure—I, again, was overwhelmed by all of the people that helped us and thinking, "We've done it! We are achieving our goals and building towards our future."

Within seconds, I heard a deafening, terrible noise. Despite being almost 200 feet up on a cliff, the sea waves were swelling at an immense pace towards us. The surge had risen and spilled onto the cliffs in paralyzing quickness.

The cabin, along with its visually aligned adornments and freshly cleaned plates and mugs, was plucked from its foundation and imitated a boat made of Swiss cheese. The chaotic waves buckled the walls, the roof peeled back like a candy wrapper, and my eyes stung of salt as I desperately looked for my wife. The safety of dry land was depressingly out of reach.

Shock sat in as I treaded water through the rampaging waves. After a few moments, a large wave lifted and hurled me towards a rock. I woke up upon impact.


Surprisingly, my heart was not pounding. I quickly sat up to let out an audible and inquisitive "hmmm" as I pondered what I had just experienced. It felt different. I knew it was different.

For almost five years now, I've been praying to God for direction. Direction for my family and where to live. What’s ahead of us? What are the next steps? Should we stay or move? How am I supposed to reach others with the Gospel? Where would I, and my family, go to make the greatest impact for God? The usual questions I ponder about life and how I should live as a Christian.

I personally feel called to disciple and teach. I see the culture, the politics, and social issues that are overtaking our daily lives. I ache to speak to those matters. I desire to instruct others to think biblically and live their lives with Godly wisdom. Living where we are, in California, makes this quite difficult. The culture is vehemently anti-God. Truth and logic are overtaken by emotions and entitlements. The fractured church has given rise to false doctrines and complacent followers of Christ.

For a long while now, I've felt like I've been stuck between figuring out if I'm a Jonah or a Lot. Am I called to be a light in the darkness that is California or do I need to take my family away from impending destruction lest we be destroyed along with it?

I have tried to be a light, live for what’s Godly, and be a part of the edification of others, but sooner or later the proverbial door is closed. We’ve been a part of small groups that ended due to the sins of the leaders or bad theology, and we’ve had to leave churches that dissolved or changed in ungodly ways. We’ve had too many Christians friends, very close to us, “deconstruct” their faith and turn away from God. I’ve tried a personal ministry of reaching out to friends and family members on how I can encourage them in studying the Bible and understanding hard topics, but the major response has been that they are uninterested. People who claim to believe in God are saying they’re uninterested in learning more about Him or the Bible! It’s been heartbreaking for me. 

Would anyone really blame me for wanting to throw in the towel and go somewhere else or am I just being a coward?

Is my desire to move away like that of Jonah's desire to avoid the seemingly fatal task of preaching to Nineveh? It’s a dead-end. It’s pointless. Or am I, like with Lot, living in a culture that is beyond reconciliation with God and must take my family and flee or be doomed along with it? I’ve been torn on this for years. I want to be a light, but ultimately I want to follow God where he leads.


California is the primary source of entertainment throughout the country, and a major contributor globally. Streaming services, like CA based Netflix, promote increasingly anti-God and sinful content. They boast of their library of content that focuses on deviant sexual actions and ideologies that are contrary to the Word of God. Other California media companies, like Disney, are being exposed for their “not so secret Gay Agenda” towards kids and wanting to desensitize our children to the corrupt morals of LGBTQIA+ culture. A staggering 90% of all US-made porn comes from California. The major social media companies that have had a devastating effect on this generation with increased mental health issues and the destruction of the nuclear family and community—not to mention they have played a large role in dividing this country even beyond the political arena—are all based in California (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, YouTube, etc.). California is also the birthplace of dating apps, like Tinder, where with a thoughtless "swipe right" you can have endless, immoral hook-ups. California has created almost unimaginable ways of unfettered access to fulfill any earthly pleasure free from commitment, free from moral obligation, free from consequences, free from guilt, free from God.

California fails to properly report abortion statistics to the CDC, more than any other state. In its latest reporting in 2020, and only successful reporting in the last 5 or so years, it showed California performed the most abortions, of any state, at 16.6% of all US abortions. California boasts of having the most clinics to kill babies at 161 centers, which is 10 times the US state average. For all of human history, the killing of babies has been a practice of the demonic, a sacrifice to false gods. It is pure evil. Our culture glorifies the shedding of innocent lives to promote the lifestyles of the ungodly. Our nation, and California especially, is stained with the blood of our children.

Depravity is California's number one export.

Many in this culture hate God. Social media is riddled with posts about wishing death upon Christians and scientific truths about biology is considered hateful, bigoted, or “phobic”. 

Our culture is beyond backwards. They reject the truth for lies and rage against God and His people. They are actively saying, “if you are not for us, then you are against us.” And that is perhaps the only thing Christians and the current culture have in common.


Of course, California has plenty of Christians fighting against the culture. That is no small thing to overlook! But Christians can be a mixed bag. We are a broken people after all.

Over the last decade or so, or at least in my experience, I've seen a pacifying wave slowly cover the church lulling Christians to sleep. Silencing them. Compromising them. Neutering them.

The Gospel is being distorted in a church near you. Pastors are telling people Jesus is not the only way to heaven. Messages saying that prosperity and wealth only follow the faithful—”believe and get rich!” Congregants repeat that "God is love and love approves of all lifestyles." Every week, from the pulpit, the Word of God is being twisted to fit some sort of financial or cultural agenda.

How did all of this start? Well, the distortion of truth ultimately began back in the Garden, but we're not going back that far. From what I've witnessed and studied, it truly became evident throughout CA in the early 2000s. Shortly following the Toronto Blessing, a world famous revival at an unsuspecting airport in 1994, revivals began popping up across North America. Brownsville, in Florida, is quite a noteworthy event to look into. However, California was hit rather hard by this revival movement and permeated throughout the many churches I attended growing up, which, unarguably, has had a huge impact on me.

The movement fundamentally reshaped how worship was conducted on Sundays. As a child, I saw bodies shaking and convulsing on the floor, distracting me from the normal routine of singing and clapping along to worship songs. Odd whispers and strange yelling, in almost other-worldly languages, are inseparable from my memories and experiences at church services, small groups, and youth camps. I've known friends who have driven hours to other churches in an attempt to witness gold dust or angel feathers fall from the sanctuary ceiling. “Claim it, brother!” or “You’ve got to receive it, sister!” became regular conversational proclamations. I sat in a folding chair in the front row to the beginning of church culture that focused more on getting from God rather than what they were giving to God.

Before I continue, I want you to know that I am not trying to imply God was not present at these events or churches. Honestly, I believe there was a lot God was doing, but I know the heart of man is selfish, deceitful, and sinful. I know this because I have a great capacity to be selfish, deceitful, and sinful. It’s human nature to long to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. This longing, coupled with these easily fabricated outward actions to show godliness, or connection with God, or being touched by Him, can be a great temptation for many. Only God can know if one's heart is genuine.

As revival culture became normal church culture, I witnessed the fracturing of the church not seen since Martin Luther’s time. The response was to go hyper. Hyper-charismatic or hyper-conservative. Glory seekers came out of the woodwork. Doomsday/Y2K Preppers abounded as the end of the century neared, along with the rise in popularity of the Left Behind series. Secondary beliefs defined the type of Christian you were. We were dividing ourselves.

The church’s response to all of this is, I believe, one our greatest downfall to this day. In an effort to get back to God, to become more palatable to non-Christians, and not seem as strange as our “brothers and sisters over at the other church”, it gave way to a series of deviations that watered down scripture and the gospel to appear less rigid or extreme. It destroyed the metaphorical back-bones of pastors and leaders in the church and propped open the gates to unbiblical and ungodly teachings as we let culture shape what church should look like.

The first and most notable deviation, as I will call them, was the Emergent Church. These churches discarded chunks of scripture in order to appeal to the emotions of man. It was a mix of traditions, to tug on nostalgia and feelings, a flowery gospel, so as not to offend the sinner, and pseudo-psychology to stimulate the mind. I completely understand why these churches became so popular. They were conducted in small groups, usually in people’s homes. They held rituals that put faith into action. They attempted to address cultural issues, such as racial diversity within the church. However, these growing small churches and the desire for such a culture in the christian church fostered the second step toward deviation called New Age Christianity

New Age Christianity was hit with some resistance by many church leaders. However, it was undeniable that the church was growing with these new ideas. NAC attempts to “redeem” pagan practices like Astrology, the Law of Attraction, Oneness, and “Following One’s Heart.” If Christians "redeemed" Saturnalia to create Christmas, why couldn’t they do this with other practices, right? Unfortunately, these practices aren’t easy to redeem as they are outright contradictory to scripture and its teachings. Church leaders, like that of Bethel in Redding, endorse Destiny Card readings, which are essentially Tarot cards, or Grave-Soaking, the act of trying to take someone’s “spiritual mantle” by physically laying on top of a person's grave—literally burying their face in the grass next to the tombstone or climbing directly on top the tombstone. These practices are witchcraft, demonic, and not for Christians to partake of.

The third deviation is taking place right now. It’s called Progressive Christianity. This movement, although endorsing many NAC philosophies, takes it further. Beyond embracing extra-biblical religious practices it also turns to culture to ask, “what should we believe?” It blatantly takes scissors to the Word of God to cut out His commands and His truths. Progressive leaders distort scriptures to create a new “truth” about reality to fit culture. It takes LGBTQIA+, what God calls an abomination, and declares it righteous. It affirms abortion as life-giving. It lifts cultural moralism higher than Biblical teaching. It calls Jesus a mere moral teacher, ripping Him of his divinity. It promotes cult-like ideas that we are almost equal with God in divinity and power. And worse yet, it ignores sin as the ultimate separator between us and God, reducing repentance to an antiquated ritual not to be bothered with anymore, all in an effort to not offend.

Most popularly, it stretches the truth in Genesis, in saying we are divine in nature, like little gods. Not simply that we were created in God's image, but that we are like God. We can save ourselves. We create and judge morality. Progressive Christianity is not about God anymore, but about how great we are. The ultimate lie. The first lie.

Due to these deviations of theology and biblical understanding, much of the Christian church today is practically unrecognizable. It’s a false gospel. It’s a distortion of truth. It’s a lie. I’m bothered by it. I’m sick of it. I’m ashamed by it.

We are called and designed to care about what God wants over what we want or think should be. When you push aside the truth of God in order to be culturally relevant or non-offensive you damage future generations and risk eternally endangering your soul.


So what about the dream and what does this all mean?

After much prayer and counsel, it meant we needed to move. Specifically, out of California.

In my dream, we’re trying to build our life, plan for our future, be a part of our community, and share what God has given us. The Bible is abundantly clear on this point that God created this world, and each of our lives, to reflect His Being and His beauty, to live and grow on the vines of His truths, and to share the Gospel. I believe what we were doing in the dream wasn’t sinful or outside of His will for our lives. We had gratitude and thankfulness in our hearts.

However, it was where we were building it. I believe our property on the coast represents our lives in California. It was a warning of something to come.

The parable of the two builders came across my mind, as it probably did yours. I thought, “but we were building on top of a high cliff, not on the sands below. Doesn’t this count for building upon ‘the rock?’” Then God reminded me of when I was treading water in the dream. I could see higher ground further inland, but it was too late to reach it at that point. The “rock” we were building upon wasn’t high enough. The sand, referred to in the parable, is also called a “Wadi” in the original language. A Wadi is a leveled out, sandy area near waterways and streams. They are lush, close to water sources, and a very desirable place to be. However, these areas are known for sudden and violent flash floods. So it’s only a matter of time when the flood waters will instantly take out your home, family, and livelihood. California is a cultural, political, and economic Wadi. Seems pleasant at first, but the flood waters are coming.

In my dream, the water could represent practically anything. I have no clear understanding of whether it is meant to be an isolated destruction for simply just my family or a more far-reaching catastrophe to California. It could mean a natural disaster. It could mean an economic collapse. It could mean war, or famine, or civil unrest. Any one of those things could destroy a person’s livelihood and/or their life. I highly doubt Lot considered rotten-egg smelling, flaming projectiles from the sky as a legitimate mechanism for how Sodom was to be destroyed. So I will not venture a guess myself at what the flood waters of my dream could mean.

All I can do is listen, pray, and follow where I believe God is leading me to take my family.

There is one aspect of the dream that I do want to happen, or at least continue, and that is our heart of thankfulness and gratitude to our friends and family. Our hearts are filled with love to everyone who has helped us financially, has watched our girls, has laughed and cried with us, has shared a meal with us, and been a friend to us. The life we’ve built so far has been surrounded by and foundational upon our relationships with you. We do not take our move lightly or without trepidation, but with wisdom, caution, and faith.

We are born and raised Californians. We truly love the state—from its sunset beaches to its snowy peaks. It’s been our home and our playground for decades, but it is in disrepair and falling apart. We mourn, shake our heads at, and pray for the state constantly. We pray for its people, for our neighbors, to know Christ. We mourn the damage that rejecting God has caused multiple generations. And we hope repentance and redemption with God comes swiftly.

As for me and my family, we are going to follow the Lord and where He leads us. Please pray for us as we pray for you and for California.

- Juan