Ain’t Gone Girl!

There’s a quote from Henry David Thoreau that I often think about when it comes to writing:

“How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.”

Now the word vain might be a little harsh, but I like the… freedom, excuse(?), wisdom…to take a mini break from publishing life and simply just stand up and live!

I can hardly believe it’s been 2 ½ months of marriage. Michael and I have been on the move—literally!

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In March, I started to pack up my life in Charleston, SC to move back to Richmond, VA in April. I was there for a few weeks to finish preparing for the wedding and to spend a little quality time with my family! After the wedding in Charlottesville, VA and a honeymoon in Alaska, Michael and I headed to Memphis, TN for a month-ish for him to finish up his work project where he has been the past year and a half. The adventure has brought us to where we now call home: Johnson City, TN! We just moved here for his new job assignment and I’m so relieved to “settle” a bit with all of these boxes. I’ve been shuffling belongings far too long.

Moving so much hasn’t been ideal with so…..much…..shhhtuufff. + a cat + shifting from single-hood to marriage. HELLO TRANSITION! It’s definitely been an interesting combination for Michael and I to experience in the first few months of our marriage… which is a polite way of saying it’s been an exhausting psychology experiment.

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He and I are both fans of routine, consistency, and organization…a few things that we’ve been forced to forfeit for a brief time. But you know what? We’ve survived, thrived, and now we are exhaling a bit as we create a new routine together! We’ve learned a lot about ourselves and each other already and I can honestly say I love and admire that man more each day. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all of the changes (and towering storage bins), but we are taking one day at a time and remembering to keep our faith central and trying to be as kind and gracious with each other as possible. Some days we do better than others, but overall, I’d say we are doing a pretty good job!

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I still have so many wedding pictures and details to share on Bird’s Nest, a handful of thank you notes to finish, and a few boxes to tackle at the homestead.

I just wanted to say hello, we’re alive, & see ya soon!

(p.s. we just watched Gone Girl this past weekend for the first time. That movie is crazy!)

Giving Up. Taking Up.

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It’s time to diet! I mean LENT. IT’S LENT!

Every year I joke (but not) about people giving up some food item for the “sake of Lent” and to “share in the sufferings of Christ” but we all know secret ambitions of weight loss are rooted deep! Ok ok…some people are the exception. Yaddah yah…

Let’s talk real things to give up. I recently read this article that gave a great list of suggestions. Some of my favorites on that list…

  • Worry.
  • Excuses.
  • Fear.
  • Sense of entitlement.
  • Envy.
  • Comparison.

What if we gave up those things instead of that piece of chocolate? I mean if chocolate (or time on Facebook, soda, etc) really has a stronghold over your life…by all means…give.it.up.

But worry? Sense of entitlement? Fear of what others think? Ah, now we are talking! Those are things that entangle my soul more than a square of dark chocolate.

And this whole idea of “giving up” something for lent…what if we “took up” instead?

I give up worry and replace it with remembering moments of God’s faithfulness in the past.

I give up entitlement and make a list of undeserved blessings.

I give up the fear of what others think and lean in closely to hear God’s voice for validation and direction.

The days between Ash Wednesday and Easter are supposed to be an intentional journey–not just self-denial of a luxury but dedication to seek, pray, and grow spiritually.

I’ve never been more excited for Lent! Yes, I am giving up something physical but beyond the physical representation, I’m responding to a call for an inward journey. I’m “giving up” a little personal free time and “taking up” the invitation to go deeper in my faith. I have high hopes for the reading I’m “taking up” (The Interior Castle by St. Teresa of Avila”) and the writing I’ll be doing. What a sacred journey this could be!

So instead of telling people what you’re giving up for Lent, what are you taking up?

Will you meet us

in the ashes

will you meet us

in the ache

and show your face

within our sorrow

and offer us

your word of grace?

-Jan Richardson

2012 Highlights.

What a year it’s been!  The first six months were fairly predictable—just like I assumed it’d be. The last six months have stretched me beyond comfortability! I’ve grown more as a person in the past year than I imagined I could. I’m so incredibly GRATEFUL for the really tough moments of rejection, struggle, and frustration. New life, vision, and purpose were birthed in those moments and I can hardly wait to share those dreams with you. 2013 is going to be incredible! (More to come for 2013, especially on the job front, but for now let’s celebrate this past year!)

Here are roughly (but not limited to) 12 highlights of 2012…so many outstanding moments!

1. For example, ALL of the traveling I did!

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[Miami, FL]

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[Cozumel, Mexico]

2. Memorable moments like finally trying brussell spouts (love them) and tried Bikram yoga (didn’t love), going into and out of an 8 ½ month relationship, and Gossip Girl ending. Big stuff for this year!

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That’s not the only change in 2012.

3. I no longer drive my red Honda civic, Roxy. She’s been passed to my younger cousin who I USED TO DRIVE AROUND WHEN SHE WAS 5! *First time I’ve ever truly felt “OLD.”

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4. Speaking of driving…I’ve never been pulled over until 2012…and it just so happens I got pulled over THREE times! (Rolling stop, headlight out, expired tags). Blessed to still claim I’ve never gotten a ticket: 🙂

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5. I finished my 3-year master’s degree. MAJOR WAHOOS!

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6. Keeping up with a consistent fitness routine that included taking body pump, body flow, other core strengthening & cardio pumping classes, as well as teaching Zumba at least 2x per week. Also, having a few new gym buddies made the experience enjoyable and could give me an extra push when I needed it!

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7. Playing “Rachel Ray” with the Junior League. We did a live cooking demo in front of a crowd teaching healthy eating. SO much fun!

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8. I baked my first wedding cake for some dear friends!

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9. I crafted some new creations, like paintings, canvas lettering, cards, wreaths, vases, and my favorite DIY headboard/wall art!

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10. Taking my roomie to her first college game ever! Good thing it was to a game where my Hokies won!

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11. Oh, and I couldn’t forget to mention this year’s autumn. It was BREATHTAKING!

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12. And then there were my nieces! Ohhh my goodness I cannot even begin to tell you how much fun I’ve had as an auntie this year. Amber is now 3 years old and full of personalities and conversations. My sweet baby Elena is now 3 months. I have the best of both worlds with a fun toddler to play with and a baby to cuddle. My heart is so full with love for those girls!

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Sigh. Such a beautiful life and a beautiful year filled with so.much.love. It was hard, yesssss indeeeeed, but I’ve never been stronger as a person. Cheers 2012, you’ve been better to me than I could have dreamed! My gratitude runs deep to a loving God for health, protection, and unconditional grace and love.