The Decision: When leaving is what’s right for your family


As the sunsets on the 25th of July 2016 we sit back and reflect on the little decisions in life that have made huge impacts on our lives.  17 years ago to the day, Field and I stood outside my parents house holding hands, staring deeply into each others eyes, and laughing uncontrollably and nervously.  That morning about 12:10am Field asked “So does this mean you’ll be my girlfriend?” with his dimpled adorable smile.  I was unable to resist this sweet boy from a small town in Nebraska, and that nights little decision set the course for the rest of our lives.  From that day forward I would not go a day without laughter, a day without unwavering love, and a day without talking to my best friend.

That night was half a lifetime ago, I have spent more days being by his side than I spent days on Earth before.  That 16 year old Karie Michaels had just days before let her mom know “I have met the man I’m going to marry”, and seeing how my parents started dating in the 8th grade, she didn’t bat an eye.  I was born to 16 year old parents in Litchfield Park Arizona on an Air Force base, as it was a place where military family members could go seek medical attention for a fair price.  I had spent my whole life here in Arizona, minus a couple trips to California for Volleyball  and Six Flags.  I had a great childhood with fun, loving parents who have always worked to and succeed at giving us advantages that they never had.

Field was born and raised in Gordon Nebraska.  A small town of 1,300 in what he affectionately calls the heartland of America.  He had a small town life, friends with farms, a family ranch, and he also had parents who worked hard and succeeded in giving him a great life.  If you’ve ever spent more than 30 min. with Field I’m sure he has told you all about how he has lived in AZ for 20+years, but he is still bleeds scarlet red and only Cornhuskers know why.  Field has always raved about the type of life he had before moving to AZ, and 5 years ago we were able to travel as a family to lovely Gordon Nebraska.  We all got to experience a small taste of “The Good Life” that the state motto proudly proclaims.

As our kids have grown we have constantly been in search of what is best for us as a family, and it is exhausting!  We’ve flipped our lives upside down to move to the best schools in the state, we’ve homeschooled as we quickly realized that we had very different opinions on what a good school actually was.  We watched them grow up in ways we didn’t know were possible, we’ve watched them blossom into kind, loving, fair and compassionate individuals.  We’ve seen them give freely, serve, and fail with grace and dignity.  All the while though, we felt something missing.  An opportunity, a lifestyle, and a call for adventure.

Field’s family moved to Dallas the day before he proposed to me on April 8th 2003, and since that day we’ve traveled all over that gargantuan state.  We’ve seen the good, the great, and El Paso.  All the while living here in Arizona we have been blessed with great friendships, great jobs, and unbelievable community of photographers and creatives.  Our kids have been blessed to live so close to my parents who just recently reached their 50’s.  Walking around town with their grandkids, they look young enough to be their parents.  Going on trips to the beaches of San Diego, Disneyland, Six Flags, Knotts Berry Farm, you name the place and their Nana and Papa have taken our kids there.

Field’s parents have been wonderful, flying us out for visits, meeting us in Disneyland, and being a huge part in our kids lives from a distance.  And over the past couple years there has been a gentle (sometimes no so gentle) pull to the Lone Star state.

We’ve been searching for ways to simplify our lives, smaller houses, less things, homeschooling etc.  And while everyone one of those simplifications led to more work, harder decisions, less “fun”, and the occasional strained relationship, we’d do each of them again.  They have taught us so many things about who we are as individuals, who we are as husband and wife, as parents, as children, as followers, as leaders and as servants.  We have learned that what we want in a home, is far different than what Field and Karie of 1999 wanted in a home.  We want a little bit of land (Field may want a lot of land), we want a farm house, and a farm life.  We also want to make financial decisions that change our lives, and have the possibility of blessing the kids with opportunities that only come with financially sound parents.

We have searched and searched, prayed and prayed, cried and cried.  Karie has seen more towns in Texas than probably exist in other states, and we have found the one.  We have found a home that will not only provide our family a more simple lifestyle, but provide a unbelievable financial opportunity.  This changes many, many things for Ace & Whim, and the whole Denny clan, but we would love if you, our friends, would follow us on this journey.  You’ll be able to walk with us in our journey, as we renovate our 1958 Farmhouse, as we teach our kids (and ourselves) how to raise chickens, pigs, and (if I get my way) goats.  You may even learn with us the benefits of Micro farming, and how you can (hopefully) make a living off just a couple acres.

We love our AZ family, and our amazing community, but we can’t wait to build a new in Corsicana Texas.

  1. Corsicana! That’s the tiny little town I got stranded in this year because of flooding. Very charming people. Great BBQ. 🙂

  2. Savanna Lee says:

    How sad & (mostly) exciting!!! It will be so amazing for your family, so looking forward to seeing what God has in store for you sweet people! It has truly been a blessing getting to know y’all, sending much love + hugs <3

  3. How fun!

    I pray God’s richest blessings to you and your family.

  4. You guys are in good hands with God, big things in store! We are excited for you guys!

  5. What an exciting new adventure for you guys!

  6. Jeana Castillo says:

    Congrats on your new journey!

  7. Robin Reece says:

    This is so rad. I’m following along and super happy for you guys. Phx is gross. This change will be amazing. Yay!!!!

  8. Shannon Carpenter says:

    Yay for you guys! We miss Texas. Now you must be Cowboys fans. And learn how to turn one syllable words into two. Example hair is now hay-er.

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