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 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.

California/ Florida

California is growing on me.

It’s perfect weather. The mountains. The sea. It’s beautiful. It’s endless places to explore and see. It’s people, nice and charming. (Unlike what some have told me – I have not had bad experiences with Californians, unless they’re driving. Crazy.)

California is tearing me a part.

I miss my friends in Tallahassee so much. I miss weekends with family. I miss the comfort of small town life. (I do not miss the humidity.)

Life will never be the same again. I will always been conflicted. In fact, it will likely keep growing as we move and change. I’ll be split between more places and more people.

What I do know is this: California has been a huge blessing to my family and for this I am eternally gratefully, even if by moving here I’ve been torn in two.

Where are you torn between?

Moving as an Introvert

I moved over 5 months ago. How can it have been that long?! When I think about these last few months, I think about the rich blessings and miraculous provisions that are far better than I could have imagined when we set sail for the West Coast. These last few months have definitely proved over and over why we had to leave Tallahassee.

However, these last few months haven’t been easy either. One of the hardest things about any move is leaving those you love behind. We have the best friends and family in Florida. I miss them. I miss my Monday afternoons holding beautiful babies and playing with toddlers and I miss the Saturday morning coffee dates with close friends you could say anything to. Those kind of things have been challenging to find here. Building relationships is tough and takes time.

I think it’s hard for me as a rather introverted person  to step out and start building those type of relationships again. Compounded with the busyness of life and work, I’m failing at this. In 2014, I want to try harder to build new relationships and step out of my comfort zone. I’ll admit some days this might be a challenge for me and I think it’s hard being in between seasons (married, no kids yet is the official between season in my book) for a number of reasons. I want to push through all that and really work to build a new community. I know it’s for my good, the good of my family and the good of those I’m going to meet to.

Christmas in California

We had a simple Christmas. It was cozy and relaxing. It was a good day spent with my favorite person in the world. 

It was an odd day. As the first Christmas we haven’t spent with one of our families, it was different. It was quieter. It was a beautiful day, even if it was difficult for me to not think about how much I miss home and how much I wish we lived in closer. 

I think Christmas will always be just a little hard because at least for the next several years it doesn’t look like we’ll ever be home for Christmas day. It’s hard to think that we might not ever get to be home for Christmas. Even though Orlando hasn’t felt like home in ages, family is home and it’s still hard to live so far away lots of days.

Even though my weeks of crying every day are over – I still get homesick. I wish we could make a weekend visit. I long for visitors. I’m not even an extrovert and those weekends seriously tire me out, but oh, how I miss them. 

I know I am not owed anything – even good things like family-filled Christmas. I had such a blessed, simple Christmas and it was full of joy even if it is hard to strive through my longing for home. 

A Friend from Home

Recently, one of our friends from home moved near by and let me tell you it has been the best. I constantly realize how much I miss all of our friends from Tallahassee all the time and it has been so great to make California feel like home these last few weeks.

Friendship is an amazing thing. Even though we haven’t seen each other since at least July we picked back up just like nothing ever happened. It’s been fun to show someone around our new home. (Our first visitor!) It’s also fun to reminisce and be able to make fun of how weird California is to us.

Truly one of the biggest blessings of the year. A little taste of home all the way on the West Coast a Thanksgiving/ Christmas miracle. Who could ask for a better gift?

 

 

Where Have I Been?

I guess I took an unintended break from blogging. Work has been crazy and I’ve been too exhausted to have new words to formulate or really time to process or think about anything new.  But here’s some highlights (and lowlights) from the last two weeks.

  • I think I’ve been in it right now. I don’t know what I’m trying to process or work out, but I know that I’ve felt very melancholy. I think it might be everything with my parents/siblings, it’s been a rough month on that front for sure.
  • The best thing happened yesterday when we found out one of our bestest friend’s is moving a mere 95 miles away. (Okay, he’s really Taylor’s best friend but I like to pretend we’re buddies too) 😉 This is going to make California so much greater. Can’t wait for time hanging out in San Diego and for him to come visit us here. Gonna feel so much more like home.
  • I’m running/ working out more. It’s been great. I’m feeling stronger and better and healthier. All good things.
  • Work has been incredibly stressful and there have been some days and some situations that were incredibly hurtful, but I’m persevering in spite of the difficulty and I’m thankful for this job and for all it means for my family.

All in all, it’s been busy, stressful and yet there has been so much beauty and enjoyment that has come from working and from relationships and I can see more and more each day why this move to California was the best thing for us.

Taylor and I exclaiming our excitement for Fernando's arrival to California

Taylor and I exclaiming our excitement for Fernando’s arrival to California