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I graduated from Troy University with a Sport and Fitness Management degree in May of 2010. Currently employed at Vestavia Hills United Methodist Church as the Director of Recreation Ministries. Loving life, and I can't wait to see what else God has in store for me.

Me, Grace, and Tommy

Me, Grace, and Tommy
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Friday, January 13, 2017

2016


#BestNine has been trending on social media the past week few weeks. I did one but decided that I needed a blog post dedicated to it.


Not sure if you noticed a recurring theme (spoiler alert: it's my mom). 2016 was my first full calendar year without her (January 1st - December 31st). In 2015 I had her for almost 3 months. I spent the remaining 9 months wandering. Wandering in sorrow, depression, hopelessness, among other things. I remember how I felt January 1st of 2016. I vividly remember taking a deep breath and taking my first step toward a full calendar year without her. 

2016 brought about a lot of changes. Most notably my move to Nashville. A move that I still stand firmly by today. This city has given me a lot of insight into who I am. It has also given me insight into the world. I've met some interesting people. I've watched and learned from these people. I've learned from my own experiences, too. I strongly believe that when I look back on this move 50 years from now, I'll be grateful I did it. 

My mom was at the center of my 2016 #BestNine. She'll always be at my center. She will always be what grounds me. While I spent 2016 discovering who I am, I will spend 2017 making decisions. That sounds like an "all work, no play" kind of plan, but it's not. Not in the least. I've been able to float a bit this past year. I consider floating to be like rolling with the punches. Something I will continue to do, but the decision making will come into play. I need to decide what I'm going to do. What do I want? How can I actually help others? Where can my gifts be used to benefit others? The community? The world? All big decisions that will not be decided in a week, but WILL be decided in 2017. Also, at my center, I need more Jesus. I have not been actively ignoring Him. I still believe I have a relationship with Him. However, I have not been feeding it. I have not been nourishing it. That needs to be a priority. 

2016 felt like a recovery year. A lot of things happened in years past, and I needed to mend. I needed to move forward in a way that I could heal. I'm not 100%. Or maybe I'm just a different 100%. I have good days and bad days (like everyone does), but life does look a lot different. In a good (sometimes challenging) way. 2017 is going to be a decision year. It's going to be challenging, but I'm going to make it fun.

You know, some people will say they had a bad year. And maybe they did. Who I am I to judge YOUR year? As for me, I like to think that if out of 365 days I had 100 bad days that just means I had 265 good days. Hell, even if I had 182 bad days I still would get 183 good days, and that counts for something. 

So moving on to 2017. A little more Jesus, a lot less me, and some decisions. 



*Shoutout to Adele for making my #BestNine. Your concert was magical! 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

August Nashville Update (I've got to get more creative with post titles)


It's been almost 4 months to the day since I last posted. That was not my intention, but A LOT has happened since then.

Let's start with my house in Birmingham. I "put it on the market" (sort of). As soon as I told my realtor I was ready to put it on the market someone was already interested in looking at it (I've got a great realtor!). They checked it out and made an offer. The rest is history. I finally got my name off the utilities, mailed/returned the keys...everything. It was bitter/sweet to let it go. My mother found that house (she specifically wrote "GREAT DECK!" in her notes...that I still have). She loved it! She decorated it. She made it a home. She took such good care of me, and she was so excited about the new chapter in my life 3 years ago when I decided to buy a house. I'm so sad she hasn't been a part of this new chapter. I feel like I'm finally coming into my own and she's not here...physically. We can't talk about it. As much as I like to think I know what she would say, I don't know exactly and well, it just sucks. But it's also because of her (and my dad) that I'm able to do this. They've taken care of me since before I was born. They helped make me who I am today. Somewhere along the way, I took over but it all started with them, and I still learn from them everyday. I'm so honored and overjoyed everyday that God chose them to be my parents. 

Next up...job. Yes, I have left Mountain High, and no, not because I hated it. I loved it! I loved who I worked with and who I came in contact with! The hours, weekends and pay just made it difficult. I found a new job shortly before I left MHO. I am currently working at a company called National Coatings and Supplies. My hours are 7:30am - 4:30pm Monday through Friday. I'll never work weekends or major holidays. Benefits started my first day and the pay is better. I don't necessarily see myself doing this forever, but it's good for right now. I want to travel and have my weekends. I'm able to do that here.

Now to the not so fun stuff...

I'm going to be 30 in 7 days. I wish my mom were here, and I wish I knew what I wanted to do with my life. One of the greatest things about picking up and moving to Nashville was that it was something that I wanted to do and it was way out of my comfort zone. I don't regret it for a second. One of the hardest things about picking up and moving to Nashville is that it has forced me to figure out what I want to do. Figure out what I'm passionate about it. The feeling I get when I can't come up with anything I'm passionate about is gut wrenching. I feel lazy, worthless, and just damn sad. So that's where I am right now. Figuring out what I'm meant to do, or at least finding something that will lead me in that direction. I wish I could tell you more. So much more. But I can't. At least not right now.

And contrary to what you may think now, Nashville is great and it's where I'm meant to be. Birmingham was and is a great city. VHUMC was a good job and one that I enjoyed for a time. Somewhere along the way, either do solely to the job or the loss of my mother, or maybe a combination of both of those things (and others) I became unhappy. If I hadn't picked up and moved, gotten out of my comfort zone, I'm not sure where I would be. I'm here for a reason. Just gotta hold on long enough to figure it out.

Love to you my friends. Nothing but love.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Leap of Faith


Shortly after my mother died, I wanted to make a change. In the beginning, I was trying to run away from all of the pain and sorrow, hoping that a change of scenery would fix everything. When I came back to reality I knew that wasn't the answer. However, a change of scenery was still heavy on my heart.

In October of last year I visited Nashville with my best friend and fell in love. The city was beautiful and just a breath of fresh air. By then it had been about 6 months since my mom passed. Since the feeling to "shake things up" was still there, I decided it was time to make plans to move forward. Now, my plans were a little different. I wanted to take some time off. I didn't want to find a job immediately, which I know is different from the norm. But I had the ability to, and with everything that had happened, I felt like I deserved it. 

So, the ball started rolling. I made arrangements at work. It was all a little bitter/sweet. I was leaving my first very first big girl job. I learned a lot about others. I learned a whole hell of a lot about myself. There were bad days, and really good days. This job gave me the ability to be with my ailing mother during the last years, months and days of her life. It had great benefits and a lot of freedom, but I couldn't justify working there anymore. I loved a lot of the people I got to meet and work with, but my heart wasn't in it anymore. Ministry is not something you can fake. Or at least it's not something you can fake for a long period of time. It wasn't fair to me, it wasn't fair to the people, and it wasn't fair to the church/ministry/community. It was time to take care of me, and figure out what I really wanted.

Sometimes learning about yourself and who you really are can be a painful process. Mine was no different. I had to peel back layers that had built up over the years for whatever reason. I finally knew who I was and I wanted to go and be it in Nashville. I'm a work in progress and I feel like that's an ongoing thing for most people. Never been mad about learning new things about myself and others everyday. So, here's to that.

Now, here I am (more or less) settled in Nashville. I just got offered a job yesterday with Mountain High Outfitters. Yes, retail. Yes, I'm ecstatic about it! Turns out they are in a bit of transition with their managers, and I interviewed very well and with my past management experience have the opportunity to "climb the ladder" fairly quickly. This may end up being a career, it may not. I am just enjoying the ride. I want to do that...enjoy the ride. I'm a laid back, hard worker. Those can work together. 

Balance. I'm learning that's what life is about. There will be good and bad. Sometimes you gotta work to find the good. Sometimes it just comes. You have to take the bad as well. It's just part of life. 

I will never get over the loss of my mother. I've wanted to call her (actually almost picked up the phone yesterday to do so) and tell her everything. But I will make the most of this life. I'll have some really bad days, and some really good days, and I'll push forward. I'll take care of myself, the ones I love and all the souls I've yet to meet. And whenever I'm called Home, I'll be ready and at peace. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Caretaker


I have been trying to write this since August of 2015. A lot has happened since then, but one thing has remained... my father. He's been through so much, and I just don't feel like he's gotten enough credit from me over the years. A daughter's relationship with her father is different than her relationship with her mother. I always felt so lucky because we had a lot in common (sports, hunting, etc). Still do. My love for my daddy runs as deep as my love for my mom. We just show it differently. So, here's the original post, with some edits...

Over the past few years, I have dedicated so many posts, pictures, etc. to my mother. She deserves infinite posts, but another person that deserves the same is my dad. The caretaker of our entire family since day one. And more so, my mom's main caretaker. He has gone above and beyond. My mom didn't get sick until my second year of college, so I haven't been at home watching him everyday. But I didn't need to be. When I was home for weekends I would see plenty. His care, concern, and love overflowed out of him. We know that my mom took care of him for years, he was returning the favor love. My parents were so very in love. After my mom passed my dad made the comment that it was just easy with them. I felt the same way about my love for my mom. Easy. More so when I got older and less selfish. She was easy to love, and everyone loved her. Especially my dad.

The man is a saint. Or at least as close to a saint as you can get. He has 3 sisters, 3 daughters, and works with all women. Even our cat (both of them) were females. I mean, can the man catch a break? He sort of did when my sisters married and he got a few grandsons. He's also warmed up to his sons-in-law (ha!).

He's a man of few words on the phone, but will chat with you until late in person. He's a good man with a kind heart. Most of which I have discovered without him knowing...

Many years ago I found a thank you note written to him from a gentleman whose name escapes me now. Thanking him for some dental work my dad did for him. I gathered from the note that it was a favor from my dad. I never though that my dad wouldn't do that for someone (he's done it for some of my friends), just was cool to see it written down. And the gentleman was just so thankful, and appreciative. Which tells me that he needed it, and my dad gave it. Genuinely.

I've given credit for a lot of my positive attributes to my mother and mainly given credit for my gift of procrastination to my father. The truth is I am who I am because of both of them. We are different in many ways, but we're alike in a lot of ways, too.

Since my mom has passed, we've all been doing the best we can. Days can be long. Nights can be longer. Conversations can drift towards her and you still feel the sting of her absence. You can be in a room full of people, and only notice that she's not there. But I suppose we're all still here, so that counts as doing pretty well.

A while back I asked a friend of mine if she could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would she choose. She answered then gave me the same question. I thought for a moment, and said that the first half of dinner I'd like to have my dinner with my mom. Then the last half, I'd like to have my dad join us. I miss their interactions. You could always see how much they loved each other, just in the way they spoke to one another. It was effortless.

I love my daddy, and I can't imagine him not being here, too. We got pretty close a year ago, but he's here and getting healthier.

I guess I can't really use the line, "when I grow up..." anymore...which just means I hope I'm like my daddy now. I hope I'm making him proud, and I hope that as he's making his way through his grief, he's knows that I (and my sisters) are right there with him. I love you, Daddy. You are the best caretaker, son, friend, brother, and father there ever was. Thank you for being you.

September of 2009

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Memories fill my mind, love and hope fill my heart.


This time a year ago, life was going in a direction I never thought it would. I was gradually saying goodbye to my mother. It was a bit of a roller coaster. She would have a good day or two, then a bad day. It was such a roller coaster of emotions. It was exhausting but I kept fighting it because I knew my time with her was limited. Tough to fight the inevitable.

Here I am almost a year after she left and I feel even heavier this time around. In a different way I suppose. Life is different, but I miss her just the same. I want to call her all the time. I catch myself still. My insides tighten when I realize I can't. I know I'm not the first person to lose their mother, and I know I won't be the last. But I am the first to lose MY mother. She was truly one of a kind. A daughter, sister, friend, mother, aunt, grandmother for the books.

I am still looking for a job in Nashville. A little scary, but I know it'll work out. It always does. God has been so gracious and merciful. His complete understanding of where I am and how I feel has made the days a little easier. He has given me certain people and experiences that have carried me. Kept pushing me. Thanks be to Him.

Until next time, my friends, all my love.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Nashville - Quick Update


Well, I'm here. I have moved. Just the necessities for now, but I'm here. This city is great! I'm very excited about exploring, but letting go of all that's in Birmingham has proved to be very difficult.

It's crazy how you can be pulled forward and backward all at the same time. I'm being pulled back to Birmingham because of all of things and people I miss. I miss the comfort. The familiarity of it all. But at the same time I'm being pulled forward to this great, big adventure...where I have no idea what's going to happen. I really do believe that eventually the things I miss so much back home in Birmingham will morph into something that instead of making me feel sad, will make me happy about from where I've come. And where I'm going. This has to be good and meant to be otherwise everything wouldn't have worked out the way it did.

Nashville, I'm going to give you the piece of my heart that's not a part of Birmingham, and I know you're going to sweep me off my feet!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Adventure


For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to just go. Just pick up and go somewhere. And for some reason, I never have. Either the timing wasn't right, something came up, or something inside me just knew it wasn't right.

Well, here I am and I'm finally getting to go. I'll be leaving for Nashville, TN in mid-February to explore and start anew. I do not have a job yet, and I am completely okay with that. My whole life has felt like one big plan, and now I don't want to plan. I just want to do. My oldest best friend is currently living in Nashville for a few months for work. I will be joining her. When she leaves, I'll stay behind and figure things out. She's easing me into a new state, new city, new life. I am completely overwhelmed by how I feel about all of this in the most positive way. I'm pretty laid back when it comes to most things. I don't normally get drawn to anything. I have experienced the exact opposite the last few months. I've been drawn to so many things. I've let the moments consume me like a fire. The beauty of "right now" has taken over and it has been breathtaking.

Another best friend of mine is taking over my house in Birmingham. That'll be a safety net of sorts. If Nashville doesn't work out, I'll still have a place in Birmingham waiting for me.



Ever since my mom died, a change of scenery has been heavy on my heart. I told myself that if I still felt that way after 6 months to a year, I would take the leap. And here we are 9+ months since she left this earth, and it's as heavy on my heart now as it was when I first thought of it.

Thank you to my family, friends and co-workers for all of the support. It's been an absolute roller coaster of a year and I could not have made it without anyone that's been along for the ride.


More to come soon...





"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." - H. Jackson Brown