relationships

my heart is in Spain

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Some of you may have wondered if/when I was going to return to this blog. I have also wondered that too lately. There’s so many thoughts and ideas that pop into my head, but I never make the time to just sit and write anymore.  For the better part of my life, I would journal each day. It’s like a lost art to me now.

As my intention for this blog has always been to create a forum for self-expression with life, design & creativity, I tend to want to avoid super-personal posts. Well, this is one of those I’ve avoided for awhile now.

You know how every once in awhile you begin to feel like you have it together – that you have a plan formulated, goals to achieve, and a path to follow – and then Life comes in pulls the tablecloth out from under you? Well that happened to me back in January.

I started the new year making a list of goals:

  • Self discovery
  • Slowing down and embracing the moment
  • Living each day fully present
  • Read a book each month
  • Give freely
  • Go to Europe
  • Follow my dreams

It all sounds good, right? It totally is. And I know I’m destined to do each of these things. I just wasn’t prepared for the means to get there.  Let me explain.

On Martin Luther King Day, I got an email from Nate telling me about a work trip he was approached with and to give him a call at work. He never wants to talk on the phone at work. Really he can’t even bring his cell phone into his workplace.  He got news that morning that he could sign up to travel across Europe for his job. For up to 6 months. And oh, by the way, they would like to leave in the next few weeks. Gulp.  I felt like I had instantly gotten sucker-punched. I don’t deal well with change and this wasn’t exactly part of the plan for this year. He told me I had veto power on the decision, but they needed an answer pretty quickly. I asked him what he wanted to do. He said, “I think it’s the trip of a lifetime. I want to go.” And so I said, “Then that’s what I want you to do”.

The thoughts that followed over the next hours and days fell into pretty much every emotion category. Sadness. Excitement. Fear. Anxiety. Worry. Awe. There were moments I’d think: “Wahhhh. What about ME??” Then the next day was like, “Wow, what an amazing opportunity for you! I’m just so happy for you.” Yup. All over the place.

After saying goodbye became a reality, flashbacks of 2009-2010 entered my mind. Straight back to that time when he had just gotten back from his last tour in Iraq. Anyone who knows our story knows about the 2 year time period of us being apart while I was at college at Michigan State and he was in Florida in the Air Force from 2006-2008. And then us finally being in the same spot again and him getting deployed to Iraq in 2009. His re-enlistment was up in 2010 and he wasn’t staying in the military, so all I could think about was how we’d NEVER have to do the long distance thing ever again! Hooray!  Well, HA, the irony. Never say never.

He left four weeks ago today.

I haven’t wanted to disclose that to the world. Really, just my close friends and family know. I guess I didn’t want people to know I was alone. Furthermore, I didn’t want people to feel like they have to do anything out of the ordinary for me. It’s kinda crazy how reserved I’ve become in comparison to the very open person I once was.

I think that’s about to change though. I’m going to make the time to start blogging again. Writing and sharing ideas is something I really do enjoy, so I owe it to myself to do it. I’ll also share the journey with you. That way I won’t feel so alone, right?  Plus you can see all the phenomenal places Nate’s visiting.  And of course all the super cool things I’m doing with my life too ;).

Here’s to a life changing year of personal growth!

xo

 

 

 

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five.

On this day 5 years ago, my life was about to change.  I was excited and hopeful.  Maybe a little stressed because of the rainy windy, 35 degree Michigan morning.  Our pup,  Maci, was about 6 months old, and as I took her out for a walk, my thoughts were a mix of calm and chaotic.  

the dress

the shoes

I had just completed the nearly year long task of the wedding planning rollercoaster.  Self-labeled as “the biggest party of our lives” for nearly 200 guests, I couldn’t believe I was actually going to pull it off, planning it all from 1000 miles away.  More importantly was the realization that today I was giving my life to another person.  For me this has always been a big deal.   I wanted to marry someone I could see myself growing old with.  Someone who you consider a best friend.  And sometimes as girls we get caught up in the planning, but this is one of the most important decisions you can make.  After 6 years of being together, I felt so ready to be his wife.  We felt like we knew it all, but really we were just 25 year old big kids, ready to take on the world together.

So back to that chilly morning-  I was so exhausted running on about 3 hours of sleep.  The bridemaids and I cut watermelon til almost 2 in the morning the night before, but dammit we were going to have those Strawberry Watermelon Mojitos I planned or else this whole event just couldn’t go down.

I didn’t consider myself a Bridezilla, but as an interior designer, I couldn’t have been too far off.  Design is in the details.  I DIY-ed everything.  From the invites to the centerpieces, to the drink picks to the name cards.

coral, tangerine, & champagne wedding details

That morning seemed to fly by.   You feel like a Princess or celebrity.  People running around, catering to your every need.  Something I definitely am not used to.  Hair. Check.  Makeup.  Check.  Get dressed.  Check. Alright now hop in this car and we need to get you to the Church and get you married.

We got there a few minutes late.  But that’s okay because they can’t start without you when you’re the bride, right?  As I was standing in the back of the church, there were people trying to sneak in, thinking they were late, but nope it hadn’t started yet.  It made me laugh but also almost cry seeing friends and family I haven’t seen in years.  It was one of the best feelings knowing everyone was there from near and far just for you.  Really, all I could think was wow I’m about to get married. It all just felt surreal.

me

Walking down that aisle was a moment I will never forget. I wasn’t scared. I wasn’t nervous.  I really just couldn’t stop smiling.

It all seemed to go so fast.  The whole world just seem to melt away and it was just us. We said our vows and then POOF we were married!

you may kiss the bride

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And then it’s easy coasting from there.  Because all the things you stressed out about for months during planning just seem to come together.  Finally I could relax, let go, and just have fun!

trolley pic

bridesmaids hidden lake gardens

I may be biased, but it was the best party I’ve ever been to.  We danced all night.  We got to hang out with our friends from all different points in our lives, from Elementary School to new friends we made in Florida.  It was so incredibly weird yet so exciting to have them all under one roof.  Every chance Nate & I got back together to dance or check in with each other, it was like “OMG I’m having so much fun. Isn’t this the best night?! ”

MSU roomies nate & paul the fam dance

Words cannot describe that day really.   It’s more like this overwhelming amount of love you receive from all angles.  I felt so happy.  Like I was in some type of daydream that just happened to be true.

So basically what I’m trying to say, is if I was to do it all over again, I’d do it the same way.

first dance

Nate, you are my heart and soul.  And my (heart-shaped!) rock.  You made me a believer in love at first sight.  You have been there for me when I’ve needed you the most.  And I hope I can find ways to love and thank you for another 50 years.  I love you thiiiiiiiiisss much, Hun.

Love, your Precious.

sunset kiss

(Photo credit: Silver Thumb Photography)

thursday thoughts: the greatest gift you can give

Warning: This isn’t your conventional Thursday Thoughts post from me.  It’s a little personal,  but from the heart.

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I woke up yesterday morning thinking of my Grandma in the last few years of her life.  (A little back story:  I was raised by my Grandparents.  My Grandpa passed away when I was 18, and my Grandma passed away 3 years ago when I was 25.  I miss them dearly, but I’ve taken so many life lessons away from them.  In my memories, they still continue to teach me so much.)  Flashbacks of visiting her in her independent living apartment (or senior dorm as we jokingly called it) ran through my head.  I’d stop over for lunch on my days off, come by every Sunday to take her to church and fill her pill-box up, and other various times out of the week to help with laundry, doctor’s appts, and other household tasks.  As her primary caretaker, it was very hard at times to balance my  life and hers, but I thought of how happy she always was to see me.  Each time I walked through the door, it was like the best day of her life.  Although she never wanted me to leave, she was always so appreciative of the time I did spend with her.

In a blog post on my 28th birthday, I came up with a list of 28 things I had learned in life thus far.   One of the things on that list was “Take your time and give it to others.  It is the best gift you can give”.  Remembering all my Grandma’s joy has just solidified how true that statement is.  Is there a greater gift?  I really don’t think so.  In time, there are memories made, relationships founded, love shared.  I think in the end this is greater than any amount of money or any material possession.

It seems like as life goes on we are always having a time struggle.  When you’re a kid, you have so much time you are bored.  When you’re in school (if you were like me) you procrastinate and you’re up at the last second trying to finish a 5 page paper.  When you hit the real world, there isn’t enough time in the day to do things around the house AND work your 8 hour job.  But then at some point after retirement, I’ve watched some older people feel like they have so much time on their hands alone, they get so lonely.

Ironically now I find myself complaining more and more that I don’t have time to blog, time for myself, volunteering, working out – the list goes on forever.  As we get older, our priorities change.  Truthfully, there aren’t more hours in the day then there were back then.  We gain responsibilities, and sadly the things we should make time for get pushed to the side.  I think we forget that we aren’t promised tomorrow.  So really we should me making the most of today, right?

The little moments I spent with Grandma I can never get back, and I’m so happy and thankful I made the time for her when she was around.  I encourage everyone to give time to someone you love today, or this weekend.  Whether it’s a phone call to friend,  dinner with a family member, volunteering in the community.  I think we should all pay it forward because one day we will be 83 and be hoping someone walks through that door to see us.