Sep 13, 2017

How we ended up in Payson, AZ

Very few know the story of how we ended up moving here to Payson. And it starts way earlier than even we realized at first. For months we held a secret that we only shared with a few people. It was scary, it was exciting, and it meant change.

When we made the decision to move to Winslow for Cameron to teach at Northern Arizona Academy, we were ready to go up there and settle down and make that area our home.

Winslow Arizona Standing on the Corner

And then the Winslow campus lost funding and Cameron was transferred to the Taylor, AZ campus (north of Show Low). We moved to Joseph City to save on rent and stay close to friends we’d already made, and Cameron drove himself and students the 45 minutes to school every day.

As soon as we made the move to Joseph City, Cameron and I both knew it wasn’t permanent. We don’t know why, but we both had this gut feeling that it wasn’t permanent. It broke our hearts a little. We loved the area, we loved the people, and we had made some of the most amazing friends. Maybe we’d get to stay!

But this little voice kept telling us different. How do you tell people that though?! We didn’t bring it up. In fact we kinda tried to ignore it. And we did, until it came time for contract renewals.

NAA had been so good for Cameron and so incredibly hard at the same time. Little did we know it was exactly what he needed.

February rolled around and we had to decide if we were going to renew the contract or not. We talked it over and prayed on it for days. I knew what I felt. And it was scary. I had the strongest feeling that God was preparing something for us, and it wasn’t NAA. When I told that to Cameron he sighed in relief. “That is exactly how I feel, I just didn’t know how to say it.”

So even though we had no clue what was going to happen or what Cameron’s next job would be, we told NAA that we would not be renewing the contract. As crazy as it sounds, we were completely at peace with that. We knew something was around the corner. Somehow though we felt silly telling people. That was the secret. We knew for months that we’d be leaving Joseph City, but we didn’t know where or why or when. And each time we left from visiting a friend or attending a town function, we felt sad knowing we were leaving. But how do you tell people, “Oh, yeah! We’re not staying here. Don’t know where we’re going, but not here!” without sounding rude? We loved our life in Joseph City…it was hard knowing we were going to leave.

A month later we got a tip that there’d be a biology opening at Eastern Arizona College. Was this what was around the corner for us?! Back at EAC?! And then not long after we learned that their extension campus in Payson, Gila Community College, would also be looking for a Biology teacher for the next school year.

Cameron got all his stuff lined up and turned in an application for both positions. And we waited and waited. All the weeks and months between we kept looking for other job openings, but no posting we found felt right. We both still had a very distinct feeling that God had something else prepared.

The day the call came from EAC saying that Cameron had an interview, we nearly peed our pants. This was it! Surely! We started casually looking at houses and dreaming and throwing dance parties. It fit our dreams perfectly. We bought Cameron a new suit, and went down for the interview. Everything went amazing.

But he didn’t get the job. We were crushed. I bawled like a baby. He did still have the job interview for the Payson, AZ position and the Globe,AZ position that had opened up.  To be closer to family and to the core of my clients we hoped that if he was offered either, that it would be Globe. Again when we looked at other jobs, nothing felt right.

And then Cameron was offered the job in Payson. Payson had never really been on our radar. It was so different from all our plans. It was far from both sets of parents. We didn’t have a network there already. We were scared. To be 100% honest, at first we were a little upset and put out. It just didn’t go with anything we had planned!

It took us a few weeks to make any public announcement. Now looking back we were throwing an adult temper tantrum, and we feel a little silly about it. It just wasn’t what we’d planned.

However, it is exactly what God planned.

Wild Blackberries in Payson

We’ve been herein Payson a little over a month now and we laugh at ourselves that we felt put out about moving here. This is what God was preparing for us, and preparing us for. The job couldn’t be more perfect for Cameron, and we feel so blessed that he got this position. I am SO proud of Cameron. This is his dream job, and it took a long windy road to get here. Looking back now though we can see how every step we were guided to exactly where we needed to be from transferring from UofA to WNMU, to Cameron’s half biology half education Masters Degree, to the job at the charter school. It was the perfect combination of education and experience that he needed to have this job right now.

I was worried it would be a hard place for me with photography, but now we are almost smack in the middle of the state. I joke we’re in the lopsided bellybutton of Arizona. I’m only a few hours away from every corner of the state. I can attend Rising Tide Society meetings in Gilbert/Mesa. The Mogollon Rim is right here!

It’s amazing to see how our path has wound around to lead us here. We hope this is a more permanent stop than the last few. We’d be perfectly content if that were the case! Every time we leave, as we drive back into Payson the sweetest feeling of peace and excitement washes over me. This is it. Payson is where we are supposed to be. This is the place, and we couldn’t be more excited to be here!

Check out more blog posts in and about Payson here:

Peter and Samantha’s Mogollon Rim Engagement Session
Our Family’s first Weekend in Payson: Picking Wild Blackberries
Charlie and Rachel’s Mogollon Rim Wedding Portraits

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  1. Karen Shoufler

    September 13th, 2017 at 11:26 am

    So exciting! I’m glad you love it there. Isn’t it funny how sometimes you just KNOW?!

  2. Claire

    September 13th, 2017 at 11:30 am

    I love this post!! We went through something similar, on a much smaller scale, with deciding on a school for our girls to attend. God made it crystal clear (in time!) which option was best of us, and we are now in year two at that school. I still feel at peace and overwhelmed with gratitude each day when I drop my girls off at school. I hope you guys continue to feel that for many years to come over your decision to move to Payson.

  3. Kimberly Campbell

    September 13th, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    Wow! It can be so hard to let go and trust in God’s plan and what He has for us! It usually isn’t our plan! lol Glad you are feeling peace and contentment to stay there.

  4. Danielle

    September 13th, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    I can’t get that Eagles song stuck out of my head now. LOL! That picture is awesome. Isn’t it amazing how our plan is all mapped out in our heads and then God decides to jumble that all up. But in the end, He knows what was best for us all along.

  5. Holly Frazier

    September 13th, 2017 at 3:48 pm

    Aww I love this story!! Sometimes our plans are not God’s plans and it’s amazing the peace He gives when He shows it to us! I hope you continue making an amazing life together in Payson!

  6. Misty

    September 14th, 2017 at 11:17 am

    It can totally be hard moving to somewhere in the middle of EVERYWHERE! But it sounds like you guys are thriving! 🙂