Indiana, we’re breaking up. It’s not you, it’s us.


Farewell Indiana, Hello Florida!

The title says it all, Jess and I have decided to move to Florida-for good! Come mid-september, Jess and I have decided to leave the great state of Indiana and pursue 100 more days per year of sunshine in Florida.

Jake and Jess Mansfield

It’s an exciting season and we think it is the right move for us at this time in our lives. We have been debating on this idea for the last couple of years and finally decided to make a move. As a native hoosier for the last 37 years of my life, I have many ties, close relationships, and wonderful memories of every corner of Indiana. My wife Jess, on the other hand, is a native Dominican, New Yorker, Philidelphian, and Miami girl. That being said, Indiana is just as special to her as any other place she has lived, if not more. She has spent the last 8 years here in Indiana with me and rarely complained about anything. She is adaptable and is used to change. In fact, besides the Dominican Republic where she spent the first 13 years of her life, Indiana is the longest she has lived in any one location since. Needless to say, making this move was a hard decision for us both.

We thought it would be a good idea to share with everyone how and why we came to this decision. In classic David Letterman fashion, let’s take a look at the top 10 reasons why we are leaving Indiana to move to Florida. Hit it Paul!

Top 10 Reason for moving to Florida:

10A change is good – Every once and while, you need to shake things up in life. Complacency and boredom can easily become a way of life if you are not actively pursuing things that will stretch yourself. As much as I love Indiana and am grateful for all my years here, I personally want to see and do more outside of this state. Since Jess has had a taste of living Miami, FL previously, she knows what to expect. Although the winters were not nearly as bad as they were for her in New York, she is still okay with leaving them behind. Together, we both would like to be stretched in our lives and this move will be good for us in that regard.

9What do we have to lose? – Jess and I have posed the question to ourselves, “What if Florida is not all it’s cracked up to be?” What now? Well, we don’t have much to lose. If we find out after living in Florida that it’s not the place for us, we can simply move back to Indiana. We have very little to lose and much to gain.

8Adventure – Adventure is not everything, but it is fun to experience every once and awhile. We have done and seen just about everything that the midwest has to offer in terms of outdoor adventures. The last few years have left us feeling bogged down with trying to come up with new ideas for weekend plans and exciting getaways. Florida will solve this dilemma for us for a while but we realize that if we live based off of this idea that all places will eventually become old. Nonetheless, we want to have some fresh and new adventures in life and Florida is a starting point. We plan on doing the following in excess; boating, fishing, deep-sea fishing, exploring, snorkeling, island hopping, camping, swimming all year-round, etc. You get the picture.

7Exploration – Similar to adventure, exploring florida will be apart of our weekend cycle. Our plan is to visit the beautiful coastlines of Florida nearly every chance we get. From Clearwater Beach, to Naples, and Miami, we plan on exploring everything in between as time permits. Some of this exploration will be to find out where we want to settle in. In other words, where do we want to live when we grow up. Other parts of this exploration will be to just simply experience a state we really have little knowledge of. Exploration is not our main reason for moving but it will be fun for a while!

6Winter is not coming! – Sorry John Snow, you know nothing. Winter is not coming! For a guy who loves winter, it will be a strange sensation for me not to expect winter to come. I just can’t get over the idea of stupid lights on a Palm Tree or a snowless Christmas. Can you imagine watching Ralphie beat up Scut Farkus while its nice warm outside? It just doesn’t seem right to me but apparently millions of southerners do it every year and can look past it. That being said, come January and February, I think I’ll be okay with 70 degree temps. Once again, this is not our main reason for moving but it does add the the excitement for us. No more snow!

5Food – Once again, I would never suggest the someone move based on how they feel about a certain variety of foods available in that area. That’s not the point here. That being said, bring on the Cuban sandwiches, cortaditos, crab legs, lobster tails, shrimp, and anything from Miami. It’s not that you can’t get all of these items here in Indiana, it’s just that you’re in Indiana while you’re eating them. The location of eating food is just as fun to me as the actual taste of the food. Eating these foods with my family around makes it even better!

4Holidays with family – On to more serious reasons. For the last 8 years, Jess and I have spent the majority of our Holidays with many different families with whom we now call our very own family. We can only extend a humble “Thank you” to these families who have invited us into their homes during Thanksgivings, Christmases, and Birthdays. Our hearts are so overwhelmed by your thoughtfulness in inviting us to all of these events. Knowing that we haven’t had much family around during these times, it was a wonderful comfort to know that we were always welcome in your homes during the holidays. That being said, we do have a desire to be close to our families during the holidays and this is a major reason we want to move to Florida.

3Island life anyone? – The Dominican Republic is our second home. With half of Jess’s family still living in the DR, we tend to make our vacations revolve around visiting them whenever we can. With the goal of Miami being our new home, a quick flight from Miami International Airport to Santa Domingo, DR is much cheaper and quicker! Although it’s still not optimal, we will be much closer to her family in DR along with her sister Michelle in Miami.

2New life – As of 8/7/2017, Arian Djencic, Michelle’s first child was born. Needless to say, Jess and I have been anticipating this moment for the last 7 months. Jess is excited to meet her new nephew and to be apart of his life. We are very excited to be close to Michelle so we can help out where we can, babysit as he gets older, and do all the fun things Tio’s and Tia’s are supposed to do. This is a large part of why we want to be in Florida and I think that is a good reason in itself.

1Family, family, family – And the number one reason we have decided to move to Florida is to be with family. As I have mentioned above, Florida is central to most of our family. My mother and Pappa Joe live in Brooksville, FL where we will be staying for the next few months. My Grandma Fuzzy and Uncle Bob also live in Brooksville close to my Mother’s house. Pappa Joe’s son, my half brother, and his family live in Sarasota, FL. Michelle, Jess’s sister, is in Miami with her new baby. The Dominican Republic is closer and less expensive to travel to and visit her father and brothers in San Francisco de Macrois, DR. Altogether, we have much more family there and hope take full advantage to be with them every chance we get.

What’s the plan?

The plan is simple. We will be leaving for Florida in mid-September, driving a uHaul, pulling my Jeep, and Jess will be following me in her car. Our first destination is Brooksville, FL where we will live with Mom and Pappa Joe for a few months until we get settled in. We will take this time to visit Florida as much as we can to get an idea of where we will end up. The goal is to find a condo in downtown Miami or in the Miami Beach area. However, we are open to wherever the Lord directs us.

I will continue to manage my business virtually from home while Jess will be looking for a new position wherever we end up. I would love to say we have thought through every aspect of this plan and have it completely mapped out, but we don’t and we’re okay with that. Part of this new season of life is to leave some things unplanned so we can enjoy the discovery process. That’s the plan!

Where does God fit in with this plan?

Those of you who know us well may be asking how God fits into this plan? So far we have talked a lot about preferences, likes and dislikes, etc. for moving to Florida but was God’s will consider in making this decision at all? I think a better question would be, “Does our mission as Christians change as we make this move?” That answer is easy, no it does not change. We will still make it our aim to obey, love, and trust God as we do on a daily basis in any location, no matter where we are. I have come to understand that God allows us quite a bit of liberty to make decisions based on preferences and likes. However, that doesn’t mean we are free to sin, nor does it mean we are to make our lives solely focussed on our own selfish desires. 1 Corinthians 10:23 states, “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. I want to be careful not to take this out of context, but the point is that we are free to do many things but those things must be profitable. Profitable for what? Towards the end of chapter 10 Paul writes this, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God…not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.” Jess and I both have a ultimate goal in mind of being profitable for others that they may see and know the beauty of Christ. That they might be saved from eternal hell and that we might be an instrument God uses to do His will in their lives.

All this to say that our motives for moving are mixed. We desire to be around family, we would love to see and experience new things in life, all the while continuing to serve God through the local church as we seek to find a new church family awaiting us in Florida.


Adios Indiana

In conclusion, I think it is fitting to say that this was a hard decision for Jess and myself. We have grown so close to so many people here and we felt like this move was abandoning our friendships and church family. However, we quickly realize that we are not and this is a good thing. We will continue to have strong relationships with all of our family and friends here in Indiana as long as it is possible. We will do our part to be intentional about staying in contact and keeping up-to-date about everyone here. We will be rebuilding our community again and that takes time and effort. That being said, we saw fit to make this move at this stage in our lives for the reasons mentioned above. As we get settled in we fully expect all of our friends and family from Indiana to come and vacation in Florida with us!


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