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Welcome to Our Site: The Back Story

Things started to change for us back in January of 2023. Somehow we sensed a shift. Emily and I were seeking God, praying, reading books, and were beginning to get an idea that we were being led to step out, take risks, and experience something new. We didn't know what that was, but a few weeks later we found out that my boss, the president of my company was leaving later in the year. We decided this must be the shift and began the process of applying and beginning to envision ourselves as president of the ministry organization where we worked. At the same time, we knew we had something stirring in the back of our minds of traveling, living somewhere different, and some other visions for our family. We decided, though, that if the Lord was calling us to lead the ministry, those things would wait.

In the ensuing months, we continued to experience new levels of growth and we made room in our lives for the shifts we were anticipating. We honestly couldn't even 100% explain why, but we resigned my leadership position at the church, stopped attending our church, pulled our girls out of the dance and art classes they were in, and began making room in other ways as well. It was hard to explain, but again, we just had a sense something was shifting and these were changes we needed to make in order to make room.

We had no idea what was about to happen next.

At the end of August 2023, we found out I was not to become the president of the ministry where we worked. Four months later, the ministry's board made the difficult decision to close the ministry's program that I led. So in January of 2024, we found out that I was to close our program in 60 days, by the end of March.

This also meant we needed to vacate our campus housing by the end of May. The home where our three girls were born ( our bedroom) and raised. The only home they'd known and where we'd grown very comfortable.

So, in the course of a year, I went from planning to lead an organization, to preparing to leave that organization and our home.

Truthfully, though, as painful as it was for us to tell our staff, clients, supporters, and all constituents about the closure, we genuinely had peace through it all. We had done lots of personal growth work over the years, so we leaned into the grieving process and also could easily see that this was actually the shift the Lord was preparing us for in the past year.

Everything seemed to move very quickly as we told staff and clients about the closure in early February. The program we'd run was like a family for us, a way of life. It was also a solid foundation for a lot of alumni who kept in touch, joined monthly video calls, and came back to annual reunions. Telling our team, current families enrolled in our care, and alumni about closing our doors were among the hardest tasks I've had to do professionally.

People were gracious and we knew that ultimately the Lord would care for them as He would for us. It felt like trusting Him as we moved forward was all we could really do about it after all options had been exhausted for keeping the ministry running.

After officially closing our doors, we turned our focus to packing up our home and preparing for our new stage of life. We had been working and living at the ministry for nearly 20 years. We imagined we'd stay about another 10 years, but sometimes we'd say that if we'd ever leave, why not go rent in Florida for a year and take some time for respite to enjoy an area where we'd enjoyed vacationing as a family? We decided not to take an in-person job or settle down in a new permanent residence right away. We felt like we'd been preparing for an adventure and began exploring what it would look like to travel for awhile as a family.

An author/pastor/seer friend of ours had given us a word earlier in the year that the Lord had been giving us all the right ingredients we needed for the work He was doing in us. All along in this journey, we have seen that to be the case. He has given us the resources and pointed us in the right direction at just the right time.

So as you come along on this growth journey with us, we're excited to share with you about all we're doing with travel, world schooling, coaching, visioning, house sitting, teaching, and all other forms of living wholehearted!

-Mike, Emily, and the girls

The Wholehearted Family

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I cannot wait to sit down and read your journey! I love that you are sharing with us all! I love you family! Thank you!!

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Thanks for following along! :)

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