Our Story – Part 2

Last week I shared the story of how Nick and I met, began dating and eventually got married. A couple of people mentioned they wanted to hear how we got from Detroit to Kansas City, so here’s the cliff notes version!

After getting married in October 2002, I moved to Michigan to be with Nick. He was working for a Methodist church in a suburb of Detroit. The church seemed huge to me at the time, with about 1,400 members but then I was coming from a church where 100 people on a Sunday was a good week!

I spent several months as a stay at home wife. I think Nick loved that, because he’d come home to interesting dinners and treats I’d made. It’s always about the food, right? Pretty soon I found a part time job at a Christian radio station in Toledo. Yep, Ohio. I would drive 65 miles each way just to work an on-air shift. Obviously I love radio, otherwise I wouldn’t have been willing to drive that far for the amount of money I was making. Other fun jobs in Michigan included waiting tables, working the front desk at a fitness club at a horrendous hour and delivering flowers (probably my favorite part time job to date).

OK, now those of you from our Michigan church family, please do not be offended by the following part of the story…

I was not a fan of Michigan. At all. I hated the never ending, gray winters (seriously the sun was almost never out!), I disliked that I was having such a hard time meeting other girls my age to hang out with and I disliked that despite my best efforts, I was not feeling well connected with adults at our church (I was well connected with the kids Nick worked with and the youth I volunteered with though). I was seriously unhappy.

In the spring of 2004 I started pushing Nick to look for another job, preferably on the east coast so we could be somewhat closer to family and friends from college. He began his search and applied at quite a few churches all up and down the east coast. We were shocked when he didn’t even hear back from most of them.

Just when I had come to terms with the fact that we wouldn’t be leaving Michigan any time soon, Nick got a phone call (in November of 2004). The call came out of the blue and was from someone who had been a member at the Michigan church when Nick first started working there in 2002, but had since moved to Kansas City to take a job at a church there. She was the director of Children’s Ministry at a large church and wondered if Nick was interested in coming to interview for a position in her department.

Shortly before Christmas, Nick and I flew from Detroit to Kansas City so that we could both check the church and area out. Even though I had hoped to move closer to family, instead of further away, I loved Kansas City right away. Even more so, I loved the church right away! Despite it being an extremely large church (nearly 12,000 members at the time I think, which was almost 10 times bigger than the Michigan church), I felt welcome and at home right away. We attended a service that weekend and I felt so welcomed by the people around me. It was an amazing feeling and took me by surprise, considering the size.

After some discussion and prayer, Nick decided to go ahead and accept the job in Kansas City and in late January of 2005 we packed up and moved even further into the midwest. We got plugged into a small group right away and started making friends. I loved the shorter winters and the fact that it was so sunny all the time. We also loved the cheaper cost of living – we were in an apartment twice the size of our Michigan apartment and paying $150 a month less!

Within a month of moving here I had found a full time job at a Christian radio network. The job was in advertising sales, which was something new to me but I was excited to still be “in” radio and that it was a full time job. After about a year it became clear sales was not for me (I could do it, I just didn’t enjoy it) and the network shifted me into a newly created Copy Writer position. I loved that job! For the first time in our married life, Nick and I were both working full time jobs that we loved. It was wonderful!

We did a lot of traveling in the early years here in KC (before kids, obviously). We would fly back to New England a couple of times a year and we loved taking mini-road trips out here! Drives to St. Louis, Oklahoma or throughout Kansas are some of our favorite memories. Someday we’ll get to do those road trips again.

So there you have it – how we got from getting married in Maine, to living outside of Detroit to moving to Kansas City. Hard to believe we’ve been here in Kansas City for 6 years now! People often ask if we’ll move back east, and right now I just don’t know when that’ll happen. We love it here!

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  • What a cool story! Thanks for sharing.

    That “short winter” thing makes me wish I could move to KC. Wisconsin winters are just as horrendous as Michigan ones. 🙁 We got 18″ of snow in the last 3 days AFTER it was finally in the forties for almost a week. Oh, well.ReplyCancel

  • Mollie

    What a cool story! I got excited when I saw a picture of you guys in front of the arch. I grew up (and still live) a half an hour from St. Louis. Even though the weather here is very unpredictable, we still have some great days! I didn’t realize we were so close!ReplyCancel

    • Mollie, I loved our visit to St. Louis! We would love to take a little family trip that way again sometime soon.ReplyCancel

  • Cindy in San Antonio

    We NOW know that Nick CAN take good pictures! Thanks for the story.ReplyCancel

    • Ha! True! Maybe having kids is what transformed him into a mischievous picture taker… 😉ReplyCancel

  • Melissa

    Where at in Michigan (what city) where you in? I ask because I was born and raised in Michigan and now I’m living in California. I can completely relate to the long gray winters. I also ask because I was in a suburb of Detroit.ReplyCancel

    • Melissa, he was working at a church in Plymouth and we lived in Canton and then in Westland for a short time.ReplyCancel

      • Melissa

        Wow what a small world. I was born/raised in Warren and moved to Dearborn after I married. I lived in Dearborn/Romulus area for almost 5 years before moving to California.ReplyCancel

  • Nellie Bragg

    Helen, I have enjoyed reading your “auto-biography.”:-) What a blessing to feel at home and welcomed at UMCOR! And to think – all your children were born into this family of believers there. I am sure you have had a great out-pouring of caring from the congregation. How wonderful it would be if all congregations were the same way. As always, I wish all of you the very best!ReplyCancel

  • What a journey. Thanks for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • Judy Comstock

    I vividly recall making that phone call to Nick and extending an invitation. I could tell when I first came to know Nick in Michigan that he wasn’t “home” yet. Nick had great potential and after I moved to KC an opportunity opened up at the church. I felt our team needed a man…we needed Nick. I had no idea you guys were already looking for a change. Must have been a God “thing”.ReplyCancel

    • Helen

      Definitely was, Judy! I am continually grateful you made that call! We miss you and Carl, and hope you’re doing well.ReplyCancel

  • Cheryl

    Thanks Helen for sharing! 🙂 Loved the story!ReplyCancel

  • Thanks for sharing.ReplyCancel