Costly Dreams

Today’s blog post comes from Carol Stratton, author of ‘Changing Zipcodes: Finding Community Wherever You’re Transplanted.‘  Carol is a veteran mover (22 times!) and has written articles for The Grand Rapids Press, Zionsville Times Sentinel newspapers as well as Purpose, The Christian Communicator, Fandangle, In Touch, Women’s Touch, Your Church and Forsyth Woman magazines and has reviewed books for the Christian Book Previews. She won the 2005 Paper Cottage “Smart Women” Essay contest and has taught at The Write-to-Publish Conference and at the CLASS Christian Writers Conference. She has kindly agreed to share one of her stories from her new book with The Graduate Wife. You can find more information about moving tips and moving stories from her website:

Living in South Lake Tahoe, California seemed like a dream location for a new job. My husband and I had the Sierra Nevada Mountains in our backyard and one of the most beautiful lakes in the world only a few miles down the road. When my husband accepted a position managing a camp, I knew we’d hit pay dirt. I pictured us taking leisurely days off to hike the trails, boat the turquoise lake, and explore abandoned gold mine towns. In winter we’d ski down the powdery slopes.

Reality quickly slammed us. My husband worked almost seven days a week, on call like a country doctor. He faced strong-willed staff members, a flu epidemic that almost shut the camp down, an overturned boat (with the threat of the boater going into hypothermia), and a health department inspection…all within the first four months. Throw that together with my becoming pregnant with bad morning-sickness and my rose-colored view of his job turned gray from stress and led to exhaustion for both of us. Suddenly those snow-capped mountains didn’t matter much. I missed seeing my husband as I craved an opportunity for him to have a day off.

Sometimes our dreams collide with practical life. We were newlyweds when we took the camp job, but before we left the area for a new job, I gave birth to a 7 week early son. Our Tahoe experience taught us that we, as a couple, need to really think things through before we pull up stakes and jump into a new career. Though we both tend to come out high on the “craving adventure and change scale,” we’ve learned through hard experiences to take time to research and understand the impact a move will make on our family. Planning and analyzing is essential. Seriously scrutinizing a possible move may save us money and heartache down the road. We ended up moving to another state and couldn’t sell our home for eighteen months. That particular dream cost us a lot of dollars.

Are you considering a move state to state or even just a change of houses in your town? There is a story in the Bible that reminds us that when a man decides to build a tower he first counts the cost. How will this possible relocation affect the emotional, financial, educational, and social needs of your family? Trust me; sometimes it’s easier to ask these questions before a move, not after one.

Taken from Changing Zip Codes: Finding Community Wherever You’re Transplanted, published by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas Available through Amazon.


One thought on “Costly Dreams

  1. So true. We moved for my husbands grad school knowing nothing about the area other than what we’d seen on TV. We very quickly realized that we do not like it here. Over time we found a few things we like, but we still want to get out as soon as possible. In a way, I’m lucky. I’m lucky that this happened during a temporary stage like graduate school, because now that he’s searching for jobs we are so, so aware that we need to consider what places and jobs will REALLY be like.

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