2020 – A time to reflect

2020. What a year for all of us. As I sit here each night and reflect upon what seems to be somehow the longest yet the fastest year so far, I can’t help but think about all that has happened around the world, in our country, and even in my own life. I think about the losses that so many have had to grieve due to COVID 19 and the grief that I’ve been through in losing some of the most loved people I knew, though none of them lost their lives to COVID 19. I think about the losses that the country felt and how they impacted change for the better. I think about Kobe Bryant and RGB. I think about George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. I think about our police officers and how many of them just try to truly protect and serve us.

Trying to process this year has been hard. Though through all the loss, I have hope. I see the progress that our country has made and certain wins show us that we are finally headed in the right direction. Our country is coming together to fight for change and while we are still so very far away from where we should be in 2020, we are at least moving forward.

I think about my family. I think about myself. I think about how at the beginning of this year I was going through one of the hardest mental breaks of my life, though many didn’t know. I think about how this virus shaped 2020 and I appreciate that it’s given me time to truly become one with my thoughts and really take a deep look inside. I think about how Keenan and I have had a chance to become closer and really spend some amazing quality time with each other. That’s when I start to feel grateful and fortunate, and then I start to feel terribly guilty that I’ve been so lucky this year while so many people around me aren’t as fortunate.

I think about the holidays. I think about how different they are this year and how filled with fear I have been of spreading a potentially deadly virus rather than the magic that usually fills me so full of love and happiness. I think about how thankful I am that members of my community still put up lights and Christmas decorations to bring some sense of joy and normalcy to this otherwise chaotic year. My heart gets warm and fuzzy with each holiday card I receive in the mail from my loved ones. I’m so grateful for the little things that I normally don’t stop and think twice about. On one hand I’m scared to death of passing on this virus to my family, and on the other hand I’m just so glad I’m fortunate to be able to spend the holidays with them all. The struggle is real.

I could complain about how much this year sucked, but what good would it do? It won’t solve anything and it certainly won’t make me feel better. So instead I choose joy.

Like many of you, I want so badly to say that 2021 will be better, but I also know that come January 1st, 2021 all the pain and issues we are dealing with today aren’t going to magically disappear. So as we all fight our own battles and adjust our expectations of what we thought life would look like in 2020 or 2021, I urge you all to take a moment and be truly grateful. Think of all that you have rather than what this year has taken from you. Think of the good that 2020 has brought you; maybe that’s more time to read your favorite books, listen to your favorite songs, spend time with treasured loved ones, or maybe focus on other goals. Let’s be thankful for what we’ve been given and try to focus on the happiness that 2020 brought us, rather than the sheer misery that accompanied it.

Let’s hug our loved ones a little tighter each time we see them. Let’s call our bestfriends at the most random times just to hear their sweet voices telling us that they love us too. Let’s throw frisbees outside with the kids next door just because we can. Let’s express gratitude that we are healthy and choose joy over despair.

Until next time, let your light shine bright.
Happy holidays, friends.

Good, Long Distance Friendship is Hard But So Worth it

Woman getting into car

I cry every time she arrives, and I cry every time she leaves. Because each time I see her, I feel a little more like myself, and each time she leaves, I feel like a big piece of my heart drives away in her car.

Because one of my very dearest friends lives far away. And it’s just hard.

We can’t just hop in the car and meet for coffee.

We don’t make weekly shopping runs to Target when we both need to get out of the house, and I can’t run her over a plate of cookies when she has had a bad day.

I can’t show up on her front porch when I’ve gotten bad news or sit on her couch in tears when life gets hard. And she can’t drop by unannounced because she has something exciting that she can’t wait to tell me.

We can’t do everyday life together. And it kind of breaks my heart and I’ll always wonder what life would be like if we could live closer.

But you know what we can do?

We can FaceTime like the bosses we are. Even while we are feeding babies, folding clothes, changing diapers.

We can send each other cards and flowers, and when we do get to see each other, we usually show up with gifts and chocolate.

I can still call her and hear her reassuring voice, and she can call me when life gets hard. We give each other knowing looks over FaceTime, and they still translate when we are in person.

Because even in friendship, absence makes the heart grow fonder, and the time together sweeter.

When we do get together, our hugs are long and precious. We don’t take for granted being able to look one another in the eyes and really listen. We laugh more in the few hours or days that we have than we do with anyone else, and the knowing of each other’s hearts is so evident, even though we have our differences. We brag about our husbands and giggle (and cry) about our kids and we STILL share life together like no time has passed.

Which is why it makes her driving away just hard. But friendship . . . good, long distance friendship is hard, but so worth it. Yes, every time she leaves, she takes away a piece of my heart. But she always brings it back the next time I see her.

Originally published on From Blacktop to Dirt Road.

The adventure of moving to Austin – Summer of 2020

Once Hubman accepted his new job, we started on what was next. The move. We came back to the Austin area a few times over the summer to look at homes. It wasn’t easy because I really didn’t want to be right in the middle of a big city and hubman didn’t want to be out in the sticks, (to be fair, I didn’t want to be out in the middle of nowhere either) so we searched and searched for something that was somewhere in the middle.

Living just a few miles from the ballpark in Arlington, the Cowboys Stadium, 3 huge malls and having I-20 quite literally in our backyard had taken it’s toll on me. I was sick of true city life, but I’m certainly no country bumpkin either. We both wanted to be close enough to the city to have fun and enjoy the conveniences that come with it, but also far enough away to not hear a highway when we stepped outside or sit in mall traffic when just running up to the grocery store. I wanted 5 bedrooms, (more on that later) a pool that I didn’t have to clean, and lots of trees. I didn’t want a back neighbor, because sitting on my back patio without being stared at over the fence is simply no longer an option for me. I wanted trees and a creek and nature, but people too, definitely people.

Hubman wanted the suburbs and a white picket fence neighborhood. He wanted a new community with room for growth, as close to the city as possible without actually being in the city. He wanted me to make friends with neighbors who had pools so he wouldn’t have to deal with one, (Okay, that’s fair.) We both wanted a big kitchen with lots of storage. We wanted lots of rooms, and an open floor plan. We knew for sure that two stories wasn’t an option, so at least we agreed on that. He wanted 4 bedrooms so he could have his office and I could keep the guest bedroom for our family and friends to feel welcome in our home.

So many requirements that we wanted and nothing was checking those boxes. How in the world would we ever find a compromise so that both of us could have some of the things we wanted?

We searched and searched for the perfect home and finally found the cutest neighborhood on the outskirts of Austin. There are many amazing things about this neighborhood: The location, low taxes, lots of beautiful trees and nature around, a community pool that we don’t have to clean or maintain, decent schools, an awesome hangout right down the road with live music, and a just a few empty lots for us to build upon…

Yep, you read that right! We are building!

My most favorite part about this whole thing so far is the lot that we chose. It’s right on a green belt at the top of a hill so we’ll have no back neighbors and a view with trees. We’ll still have neighbors right next door, (entirely too close for my comfort but – compromise) but we get the trees and the nature that I was so very adamant about. We fell in love with a certain model and from that moment on we’ve never really looked back. Even as we kept looking at other houses to be sure that this is really what we wanted, we kept coming back to the option of building.

A full view of our lot – pardon the construction mess.
Our future back yard – a close up of all the beautiful trees.

We met with our DFW realtor and got a solid game plan in order for our current home. It was then that we finally made the decision that we would move forward with building our own home. However, now we had to figure out where we would live while the house was being built. Luckily I was still working remote due to COVID-19 and hubman’s new job allowed him to stay put for a few months because they too are working remote due to the pandemic. This allowed us to gather our thoughts, and get our ducks *somewhat* in a row. We didn’t have to rush into anything crazy.

Our DFW realtor was super helpful and found us the perfect realtor in Austin. We’ve been so lucky in having 2 perfectly amazing realtors that have our best interest in mind and we get along with so well. We couldn’t have asked for better people to lead us on this journey and both of them have been there for us each step of the way. DFW and Austin friends – if you need a realtor, just let me know!

We met with our realtor in Austin and dare I say, I made a friend. She’s the coolest soul with an awesome personality! We immediately started the search for the perfect temporary rent house. After coming up short each time, and quite frankly feeling a bit defeated, we finally just took what we could get since we knew it would be super temporary. She knew what we were looking for and found us a cute 2 story house in the perfect location and all the paperwork was signed. We finally had a move date & this whole dream was starting to become very real.

Cute little rental right on the corner.
The shapes around here are so unique.
Never thought I’d love a green door.

Stay tuned to hear about the packing and moving experience. We aren’t done yet, friends. This story is only just beginning.

Until next time, my beautiful friends, sing loud in the shower and drink champagne from the bottle. Life is short and you deserve to be truly happy and free!

Promise yourself

I came across this poem a long while ago. It’s something that I read on the regular to keep my head space focused and clear.

I thought I would share it with you all. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Promise yourself

To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.

To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet.

To make all your friends feel that there is something in them.

To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.

To think only the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best.

To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.

To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.

To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.

To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.

To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world, not in loud words but great deeds.

To live in faith that the whole world is on your side so long as you are true to the best that is in you.

Christian D. Larson

Until the next post, wander like you’re lost, you might just find yourself – and remember that I love your gorgeous soul!