The easiest place to live

Ruby Diamond

Tallahassee, how I’ve missed you. This has been the greatest trip. I’ll always hold this place so dearly. I know to most people in the world a mid-sized town in the panhandle of Florida sounds awful, but so often I find myself not wanting to be anywhere else.

Tallahassee is comfortable. More than anywhere else it feels like home. It changes and yet it feels the same. I’ve missed the beautiful green mossy trees, the people lightly peppered with southern drawls and the smell of our favorite pizza place. I miss the ease of being about to commute traffic free. I miss and will likely always miss this place. Tallahassee means so much to me. More than words could convey.

It’s times like these that I must remind myself, I’m not called to do easy things. I’m not called to be comfortable. I can see without a doubt why we need to be in California and how immensely blessed we’ve been in our move there. It has not be perfect, but Tallahassee was never perfect either and I can see that too. Both of them have been better than we could ever deserve and even though this garnet and gold dripped town will always be a treasured possession, I know that whether it’s California or other worlds unknown that something amazing is waiting ahead.

The Year I Became a Californian (Year Two in Review)

Wellllll. It appears I haven’t used this blog in forever. Maybe I should fix that. Regardless, I would be remiss if I missed my review on the second year of our West Coast adventure.

Last year in my review, I wrote of patience, thankfulness and security. As I re-read that post, I remember how hard the first year in a new place is. Not knowing anyone is exhausting and terrifying even for the most extroverted of people (of which I am not). It takes so much time to build the kind of relationships I want to have with people. I feel like I’m honestly just on the edge of getting there.

When I wrote last year, we had yet to go back to Orlando. Now, we’ve been twice and have tickets booked for our upcoming holiday trip. I’m immensely thankful that we’re able to resume the fun and hilarious times of hanging out with our families.

When I wrote this post last year, I hadn’t gotten my new job. I was enduring and it was a struggle. I’m glad I went through it and I’m glad it’s over now. Now, I’ve been at my new job for six months. It’s not perfect. (What job could be?) But, it’s good and I’ve met some great people. Always a win in my book.

When I wrote last year, I didn’t really like California. I still wanted to be in Tallahassee desperately. And even though I’m so excited to be there (See you in September!) California has finally grown on me. It snuck up on me. I think I only realized it recently, but I finally feel like we have a home again. What that means who knows, but I think it’s mostly a feeling.

Onward to more adventures on the best coast. (Sorry, east coasters! Come visit us!)

My Take on the Rose Bowl

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You would imagine that spending not an inconsequential amount of money to painfully watch your favorite team hand a game over to another, get out-coached, and whatever else ESPN is saying about this year’s Rose Bowl would have been a miserable time, but Taylor and I had a truly wonderful time despite the horribly embarrassing defeat.

As a pair of rogue Seminoles on the West Coast, it was so nice to see at least 30,000 fellow Seminoles in garnet and gold,  to do the chop, sing the fight song and yell at people to actually hold the ball. I didn’t fully realize how much I missed that. It felt like a piece of home came to visit us in California. It made me miss Tallahassee so much more.

I’ve never laughed so much and been so puzzled at the reactions of drunk adults in my whole life. As I sat around some of the most obnoxious people I’ve ever witnessed and heard some of the foulest things I’ve ever heard, things that should never be said about anyone, I was mostly impressed by the Seminoles around me. Barring a pack of ridiculously drunk frat guys who I believe had bet insane amounts of money, the Seminoles around me were nice and pleasant and didn’t instigate anything even when beers were dumped on them by intoxicated Ducks or when accusations were flying for hours about their personal character.

It was fun and painful and sad and I miss Tallahassee all the more for being there.

P.S. To the ridiculous Oregon fan behind me: The game was not reffed by the ACC, I do not have a rap sheet (really?!), and I am still always proud to be a Seminole and your personal, loud opinions of our players could never change that. Unconquered.

2014 (in review)

(I didn’t blog nearly as much as I want to in 2014. I’m going to work on posting more frequently. Here’s to a year on more decompressed thoughts.) 

Now, on to this post…

2014 was a wonderfully, beautiful challenging year. This was the first entire year we lived in California and it was fun and adventurous and complicated all at the same time.

I loved so much of this year. I loved watching Taylor love his work and grow as a philosopher and as a person that sleeps normal amounts. I loved exploring the West with Taylor. The wide open spaces and the new locales  made for fun vacation, weekends explorations and offer never ending amazement of the vast beauty of God’s creation (especially after this week’s snow!) I loved showing family around our new home and I look forward to even more visits (hint hint).

So much of this year was challenging. Work challenges and continues to bewilder me (but who can’t say this to some degree.) I’m still so immensely thankful to have a job to go to each day and I’m trying to work harder and faster in 2015.

I think the most challenging part of any move is meeting your people in a new city. Not just acquaintances but friends that are like your family. I miss this so much about my friends in Tallahassee, the friends that were my brothers and sisters,  that took care of us when we needed them and that we cared for so dearly could never be replaced, but building those kind of deep relationships hasn’t gone how I’d imagined it would. Nevertheless, I keep moving forward in prayer and hope that these beautifully messy relationships would form.

Through the challenges of 2014, I learned that I am so much stronger than I thought and I am strong because of Christ. I felt weak and afraid when we left Tallahassee and yet God carried me through the loneliness and depression and joblessness. He made a foreign place feel like home. He taught me that I am never alone and that there is no fear to be had in the plans he has for the future. (Now, if I could only remember this when anxiety comes!) He constantly showed me the rich blessings of marriage and in sharing all the good, bad and down right ugly moments of life’s changes with your best friend.

I’m hopeful for 2015 and for the beautiful changes and challenges it will bring. I’m looking forward to the new friendships that will form, the new adventures to be had and most of all a deeper understanding of the beauty of the gospel.

One Year Down

I’ve officially been at my job an entire year.

This is a blessing. Work is a blessing. And yet, it is truly not without difficulty. This has been an incredibly difficult and trying year. I’ve prayed more and cried more than I have at any other time in my life. There have been many days when I didn’t know if I could keep going or if I should.

And yet, in spite of the brokenness of sinful people working in offices marred by sin, God has been so near. He has brought people around me to encourage me and pray for me and love me on even the worst of days. He has encouraged me to work in honorable ways and love even the hardest to love. I don’t pretend like I’ve done this perfectly or even very well this year, but by God’s grace I’ve tried.

Many days, I’ve thought about the verses of this song

Oh God, you never leave my side – Your love will stand firm for all my life.

Thankful for this truth. Thankful for this year. Thankful that my God has not left my side and will not leave me in the year to come.

One Year a Californian

As of today, we’ve officially lived in California for an entire year. Crazy.

This year has been a great year. This year has been a hard year.

Taylor and I have done some amazingly fun things, seen some beautiful places and tasted delicious things. We’ve been fortunate to make some great friends and we were amazingly fortunate to find an awesome church instantly. (I mean not many people can move and not even church hop once. What a gift!)

We’ve both dealt with homesickness and there are still things I miss on a weekly basis and people I miss even more. I’ve worked through some trying circumstances and continue to do so.

There’s lots that I could say about this year but  when I look back through my Instagram and when I think about this year. This is what I’ve learned:

Patience

Learning patience is hard. Last year when I was applying for jobs and going to interview, my patience was tested. By the grace of God, I wasn’t even out of a job very long, but I’ve learned patience over and over in this season of moving, learning new places, sitting in traffic(!) and of course doctoral studies. 😉

          “The opposite of impatience is a deepening, sweetening willingness to stand in the place that God has  appointed or to move at the pace God has appointed. ” – John Piper

I read that quote recently and I found it very appropriate to my life this year. I’m simply learning to be in the place God has appointed. In this city, in this job and in this season I’m trusting that God knows the seasons to come and the time for it.

Security

I had no clue the security and value I placed on the comfort of my Tallahassee life. It was easy for me to be comfortable there in my freeway-less existence. I know where things are in Tallahassee and I know great people there. I can drive home any weekend if something were to arise or if I felt like it. But this comfortable easy existence isn’t what I’ve been called to. God is calling us to risk comfort for something else. Right now, that’s a degree that will hopefully lead to a job. I don’t know where that will lead. Could be closer to home but it could be in a foreign land.

What I have learned this year that will help me in the season ahead is that God isn’t calling me to a place that He is not. He is in all things. He is not leaving me alone. My life is secure in this not in the comfort of the sleepy Southern town that I love.

Thankfulness

Speaking about this year, I would be remiss to not mention my gratitude toward the people we’ve met. These people have invited us into their lives with such hospitality. God has provided for my loneliness is such a sweet way in our friends here.  I look forward to more foodie dinners,  game nights, football rivalries and much more in the upcoming year.

However, the person I am constantly the most thankful for is Taylor. My husband is seriously amazing. I knew that a year ago and I know that in an even more profound way a year lately. (I mean any person that is crazy enough to drive across the country with me is amazing and crazy.)  Taylor has taken care of my anxiety-riddled self when I couldn’t fight through it, prayed for me and loved me through some tough days. He has taken me on an adventure that I could not have imagined when we got married five years ago and I can only imagine what is ahead. Marriage is awesome.

On that note, show me what you got California 2.0. I’m ready.

My Hope

What is my hope in? Where does my joy come from?

I know the Sunday School answer is Jesus, but I want that to me so much more than a Sunday School answer. I want it to be true. Completely true.

I want my hope to be in Jesus above all else. Not in my job or the ability to budget my money well. Not in my marriage or the happiness I feel in it. These things were meant to point me toward Christ not to become their own God.

I’m fighting this in my life and I pray you are too. I don’t know what you think of when you think of what gives you the most joy in life, but I pray that it’s knowing Christ more intimately apart from all other things. I want nothing else to matter to me. By God’s grace, this can be made completely true.