Longing for home


It’s been four months since I left Minneapolis, four months since I sent my things to storage and walked out of my house for the last time.

I have a hard time talking about losing my house — and yes, that is the language that makes most sense to me: losing my house. Because while it was my decision to sell it (and I made that decision wholeheartedly at the time), just three weeks before closing, my life and my circumstances changed. In the end, I was forced to leave that house not on my own terms. Suddenly, in the context of the new shape of my life, it was being taken from me in a way I couldn’t stop.

I lost my house.

I hesitate to use this analogy, because I want to be sensitive to those who have experienced this nightmare in a literal sense. But I hope you’ll give me grace when I say that packing my house was a sort of emotional stillbirth: informed that the life I was expecting had no heartbeat, I still had to labor, only to arrive on the other side with… nothing. Stacked on top of the relational loss that I was simultaneously experiencing, it’s one of the most profoundly sad things I’ve ever been through.

So here I am, four months later, still processing, still without a home. Thanks to the kindness and hospitality of family and friends, I’m not exactly “homeless”; I’ve never been without a bed, and I know I never will be. But it’s exhausting to live out of suitcases and duffel bags and the backend of a car. It’s hard to be organized when you don’t have your own space. It’s inconvenient to bounce from place to place with a dog in tow. It’s frustrating to realize that so many things you wish you had are buried deep in a storage unit somewhere in the suburbs of Minneapolis.

I have given myself these months to sort through my options, ask big questions, and make some decisions. I still don’t know where those decisions will ultimately lead me. But I see no harm in telling you that when it comes to re-rooting, Nashville, Minneapolis, and Kansas City are the cities on the table.

Right now, I am free in every way. I’m single. I have no financial ties or dependents. I have a job I can do from anywhere. The world is wide open to me, which sounds like a dream — but to be honest, this sort of openness feels less like freedom and more like a burden. If you’ve never been in a similar situation, take it from me: when anything is possible, the abundance of options can be paralyzing.

So while some people are encouraging me to continue to float from place to place, to extend this untethered season for as long as I can (probably because they’ve never been in this position, which makes it easy to romanticize), I’ve decided that it’s time to decide. I believe we’re wired for commitment, and that commitment — to a place, a person, or a vocation — equals freedom. Responsibility, routine, and ritual root us in a healthy way, and I’ve found this rootedness difficult to maintain without the consistency of home.

I also believe that we’re created to long for home, and that while this longing is ultimately a symptom of our homesickness for heaven, it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t create a nest here and now. So I hope to have some news to share about where my next home will be soon. I think I know where I’m leaning, but who knows, man? I have a lot of options.



  1. Mrs. Chesney on November 16, 2017 at 3:29 PM

    This: “routine, and ritual root us in a healthy way”.
    Look forward to seeing you in the next place…xo

  2. Tiffany on November 16, 2017 at 4:36 PM

    The analogy of still birth was so beautiful Annie. I’m sorry for your loss(es). But I love the way you share your heart ❤️.

  3. Kendall on November 16, 2017 at 5:51 PM

    I had a year of living on the road, out of the back of my subaru, working and moving around. It was quite the difficult and rich and humbling space of time. I definitely overstayed some welcomes and felt plenty awkward. Met a ton of amazing new friends, many I still get to share life with, and one became my wife. Ya just never know what’s coming down the line…

  4. Elizabeth Irish on November 16, 2017 at 7:01 PM

    Hey Annie
    I feel like you just rewrote my story. But I’m here to let you know that your living Heavenly Father is watching over you and He has a purpose for your precious life. You have many many gifts and abilities, maybe a great way to start is dig deep down and discover what it is YOU are needing in your life at this time of healing. If it’s family, we’ll KC is the place, that’s for sure. If it’s friends that are there to help you through this, then you know the best place for that. I’ve learned just this last couple of months that God actually is acquainted with all of our pieces of life, and wants us whole so that we are able to just fall in love with Him, and let everything else fall into place. I personally over -hink and feel everything too much, when I just need to be still. But through this trial now, I have been learning that our loving Father is in the business of bringing about our healing through the love and care of others, and time for everything takes time! Life is such a gift, you have many who love you. Be where you feel you can heal best. Even if it is temporary, that’s not at all bad because it will lead to a positive outcome. Taking time for you is OK. The rest will fall into place. Unpack somewhere you are overwhelmingly loved and can love. I’m praying for you and send my love. Elizabeth

  5. Michelle on November 16, 2017 at 9:08 PM

    Annie, this is beautiful and I am sure that there are many that can relate to it. Options can be totally overwhelming. It is hard to see the blessings in optionality, except when you lack it. Miss you and love you. Sending you a big hug through space.

  6. Marijke on November 16, 2017 at 9:14 PM

    I vote Minnesota. It’s still on my list for the not too distant future.

  7. Michelle Klippert on November 16, 2017 at 9:18 PM

    Grow your roots where you are planted. Often God takes us on a new journey and often to not our own understanding. The common denominator is often “home” or our sense of it. Plant yourself where you feel currently will enrich your life. Then grow. Home is where you make it. It is not the structure and not the stuff but it is you and the spirit you give to the place in which you are. Know that it is you that enriches an area and you that can take your experiences and enrich your character. The cycle never ends. I am so excited for you hootenannies….this has given you another sounding board for your perspective on life and another enriching moment for me your audience to watch you grow. Breathe deep. The future and your next home will be so exciting!

  8. Katie Noah Gibson on November 17, 2017 at 2:07 PM

    Having a lot of options can feel overwhelming – I hear that. Thank you for sharing so honestly and beautifully, Annie.

  9. Pat Cassidy on November 18, 2017 at 9:32 AM

    Will be praying for you Annie as this journey continues and will be anxious to hear where God leads you. love you!

  10. Barbara on November 19, 2017 at 7:58 AM

    Annie your home is already firmly settled within your sweet gracious being. The outside building is just the manifested

  11. Candy on November 27, 2017 at 8:23 PM

    Sooo this might sound crazy because I don’t know you at all but recently read your blog and my heart aches for you. I immediately thought of you today when I saw the post below. I know you have a career, this may not be your thing, etc., but I thought I would share with you anyway!

    Wanted: live in nanny/personal assistant, North Shore, Oahu
    I’m looking for a live-in nanny/assistant to help with cooking, housework, errands, babysitting etc for approximately 15 hours a week (depending on the week) in exchange for room and board.
    It’s a big home near Sunset Beach, and the space for whomever we end up hiring has a private entrance with a private bedroom, private kitchen, and semi/private living room and bathroom. (Re the living room: It’s the home’s second living room, so it will generally not be in use by us unless we are entertaining or the kids are hanging out down there with friends on the weekend.)
    We are an LDS family. We have 3 sons: 14, 12 and 11.
    Ideally, we’re looking for someone to start the beginning of January. Commitment can be negotiated, but ideally, a 6-month commitment would be great.
    If you have your own car, that’s a plus. But we do have a truck to provide for errands etc.
    If you’re at all interested, please email me at natalienorton@gmail.com, subject line: Nanny.
    In the email, please tell me a little bit about yourself (be sure to include your age).
    Note: I’m also open to the possibility of two “nannies” moving in together, sharing the room and dividing up the weekly hours/duties.
    If this isn’t something that’s a fit for you, it would be super helpful if you could tag some friends who might be interested!

Leave a Comment