To My Kansas City Sisters…

You know who you all are. You’re an army of amazing women I am beyond blessed to call my sisters.

You are one of the biggest reasons why moving to Denver has been such a bittersweet transition for me.

I came to Kansas City as a newly-married, 25-year-old baby and you took me under your wings. Now, I’m a full-fledged ahjumma and I’m proud of it (well, minus the mini-van…soon!).

You showed me how to laugh about the things our husbands would do that would drive us crazy, and helped me realize that marriage is messy and imperfect and something you have to fight for every day.

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New Home, New City, New Season

Yes, you read that right…the Lees have moved to Denver, CO!

We’ve been praying about this transition since the fall of last year, actually. At that time, we didn’t know where God was calling us to next. But, we just knew. Although we loved Kansas City and it had become home for us the last almost five years, we knew that God had a new place and a new season in mind for us.

Long story short, my husband and I got connected to a Korean-American church in Denver (that connection is it’s own crazy, divine appointment kind of story), and we’ve been getting to know them since the beginning of this year. We flew out to visit a few times, and each time we felt like this would become our new home, our new family.

After we gave our “yes” to their offer for my husband to be the senior pastor (upon being ordained), it was a whirlwind of change.

I remember watching as our agent stuck the “FOR SALE” sign into our front yard. For the first time, it felt REAL. Yes, I know we had been talking about this for months, preparing our home to be listed for weeks, and sharing the news with those closest to us for a while now.

But the bittersweet tidal wave of change hit me smack in the face. Yes, we had so many new and exciting things to look forward to in Denver. And we knew without a doubt that we were called to that place. But that also meant we were saying goodbye to so many friends and so many memories that had shaped the first almost five years of our marriage.

This house on 108th Street would forever be etched into our memories. This was the place where we built our family. Where we brought home our first-born son. Where we watched him take his first steps and say his first words. This was the place where we built forever friendships. Where we ate around the table. Played countless rounds of Catan into the wee hours of the night. These walls held the rich sounds of laughter and joy. These floors had soaked up so many unspoken tears and prayers.

And yet, within 48 hours of being listed, our house went into contract. With an offer that was even higher than what we had listed it for.

And we knew. God was sending us out. Kansas City was our home. Now, Denver would become our home.

Miraculously, God also provided a home for us in Denver. And one day, we hope we can bring home more babies to this new home. Where we can some day watch Josiah become a big brother. The place where we will build new, forever friendships. Where we will eat, and play, and laugh, and cry, and pray once more. And as hard and good as this season of change is, I am so, so grateful.

A friend of mine once told me that change, no matter how joyful it is, always demands a period of grieving. Because you can never go back to what was. And that’s the way it should be. But in order to walk with confidence and hope into the next season, we must honor what was.

So in the midst of drowning in cardboard boxes and too much stuff, we’re doing the best we can. Expectant, hopeful, and excited for what is to come. But remembering all the good that happened in our first home. And trusting that there is so much more good to come.

Kansas City, you’ve been good to us. We love you.

And Denver, here we are. It’s gonna be good.

Living in a Place With Four Seasons // The Joys of Early Spring

I am thoroughly convinced that living through four seasons a year is good for the soul. If you’ve never witnessed the subtle shifting of seasons, where the whole earth seems to be stretching out of its long hibernation in the spring, or where the horizon lights up in brilliant fiery hues as it lets go of all its trappings in the fall, well…you just haven’t lived yet my friend.

Yes, I may have spent all of my childhood in the desert of the Southwest and the majority of my early twenties on the beaches of the West Coast, but there is something so sweet and peaceful about the Midwest that it truly is the best place to live.

Today was one of those days where I realized I had taken for granted all the sunshine I’ve experienced on an almost daily basis all my life.  Although I think fall is still my favorite, spring with all it’s sunshiny freshness is a close second.

So, without further ado, here are a few of my favorite things about spring! Read more…

How We Renovated Our Basement For Under $1,000 // The Story of Our First Home

Almost exactly a year ago, I flew into Kansas City from Phoenix and spent about four days looking at 20+ homes to find “the one.”  We were going to be first-time homeowners, and we were in for a steep learning curve with the housing market and the loan/mortgage process.

Thankfully, we got connected to a really awesome real-estate agency in the area and started looking at hundreds of homes through the MLS listing.  This is how our conversations went as we would talk on an almost daily basis to narrow down the search –

“Did you see the new house that popped up on the listing today?  What do you think?”

“It’s okay…”

“I checked out the details and it has a brand new roof, a new heater, no foundation issues, and a history of clean ownership.  And it has the 2+ full baths that we want and it even has three bedrooms.  It looks great!”

“Yeah, but…I just don’t like the kitchen that much.  And the paint all over the house…what were those owners thinking when they painted each room a different color?”

Can you tell who was saying what in the conversation? 😉

After realizing that walls can be painted and minor renovations are a part of the home buying process, we narrowed it down to a couple of factors that were absolute “must’s” on our list – (1) located within a few zip codes that we loved and had that safe, cozy feel, (2) 2+ bedrooms and 2+ bathrooms, (3) most major renovations already done as we needed to drive halfway across the country after we got married to move in right away, and (4) within our budget, of course!

Turns out, the whole home search thing is not as easy as it looks.  In the first two days, we had gone through all of the homes we had starred and none of them were the right fit.  We went through the MLS listing again and decided to look at several more homes that I had initially written off of our list. Read more…

Living in a Place with Four Seasons // The Beauty of Fall

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Over the last ten months, we have now officially lived through all four seasons in Kansas City.  And while each one is a little miracle of its own, there really is one season that is so beautiful, it just has to be my favorite (along with like a million other people who have been blogging about or posting/snapping pictures to document their love for it, also)…yes, the best season of all is FALL!

So for my friends who look at pictures of fall and dream of living in it…it really is more glorious than even pictures can capture :).  Below are the reasons why! Read more…

Our Actually Kind of Cool New Hometown

When we first told our friends and family from Southern California and Phoenix that we were moving to Kansas City, we always got one of three responses…

  1. *silence*…”so, what’s there to do there?” or
  2. *silence*…”so, what’s there to eat there?” or
  3. “Good luck with that winter snow!”

We were actually thinking the same thing, so when we got here and realized KC is actually kind of cool, we started to fall in love with our new hometown… Read more…

#theLeesinKC

Now that hashtags are the way to document entire life adventures, here’s ours – #theLeesinKC – what I’ve been using on Instagram to capture some of our daily scenes here in Kansas City 🙂

I haven’t seen many of you since I left Southern California and Phoenix, so here’s a quick snapshot of where we are now.  A week after we got married, we made the crazy drive from Phoenix, AZ to KC, MO.  We packed everything that was donated to us from family, all of what we owned (which wasn’t much compared to everything else), and the gifts we generously received from our wedding into a 27′ Penske moving truck (pictured below, husband for scale).

Read more…