Sunday, June 22, 2014

Far Away

In June 2005, less than two weeks after my high school graduation, my family made a big move from Maryland to Florida. I can’t believe that so much time has gone by already! The decision to move was made just weeks before I began my senior year of high school, and so I shifted my impending college search and application process to the southeast to consider universities I had hardly ever heard of. I still applied to my dream school, the University of Maryland, but ultimately decided to attend the University of Florida, because it seemed to be my Maryland in the Sunshine State. It was imperative to me that I be close to my family, because at the time, my brother was only 7 years old and I didn’t want to be that older sister who leaves home, moves away, and doesn’t even know her siblings.

I am only realizing now, nine years later, how smart I was at the time, to make the decision to stay close to home. I had the tremendous privilege to be a Gator (and who in their right mind doesn't want that?!?!), and for five years I was two and a half hours from my family. I then worked for three years in a town only seventy miles away from my parents’ house. I lived so close that I did my laundry there, because I didn’t have a washer and dryer in the place I rented. I was able to be home for birthdays and holidays and long weekends. I could even drive home in the middle of the week if I had to.

1,500 miles makes a big difference. I haven’t been back to Florida since the day Drew and I left to move to Texas. I haven’t hugged my parents since August. I have missed weddings of close friends. A year of family birthdays and holidays has gone by. The beach is so far away! Most recently, I was unable to watch my baby sister walk across the stage at her own high school graduation. We are blessed to be able to use Face Time to “see” each other and phone conversations and Facebook keep us all updated on daily goings-on, but it has been a new and difficult sensation to feel like I am missing out from all the way over here. I love life here in Texas, but sometimes I feel so isolated from my family and friends.

I was really blessed earlier this week when my sister called and asked, “What are you doing this weekend? Can we come visit?” Drew and I visited her and her husband for Thanksgiving, which feels like forever ago, so our immediate response was, “YESPLEASECOMERIGHTNOW!” It was a short reunion, but very wonderful and full of laughs. It made our new house feel more like home to have some family here. :)

Group selfie at the park. Miracle of miracles, it only took one try.

That ant was probably one inch long. But we think he had a broken leg. :(
Sometimes weeds are the prettiest flowers.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Early Morning Musical Musings

A funny thing happened Thursday morning as I was driving into work while most normal people are settling into their last REM cycle before the alarm goes off. It was 4:30am, and maybe that added to the humor, but I promise that I did actually laugh out loud when Sara Bareilles’s song, “I Choose You,” was immediately followed on the radio by “Gives You Hell” by The All-American Rejects. Laugh. Out. Loud! Can you think of a more diametrically opposed lyrical duo? As I sat at a red light, awkwardly cracking up in the drivers seat, the honest thought that came to mind (as I enthusiastically sang along) was that I can truly relate to both songs.

I would imagine that for most people, at least one person quickly comes to mind when they hear “Gives You Hell.” I know that the sentiment is neither very Christian, nor charitable, nor forgiving in nature, but singing along is kind of a lovely, super-passive-aggressive means of getting out any pent up frustration towards the said individual(s) with whom you associate the song. Plus, when the instruments drop out at the end of the song and all to be heard are many voices are belting out the chorus, I just can’t help but get caught up in joining.

For me, “Gives You Hell” now just brings up memories of a time that I felt let down and heartbroken as I worked on healing my aching soul. In a weird way, it is a nostalgic feeling, because I do not look back on it with sadness or resentment, but rather, gratitude that I managed to thrive through the hurt feelings and because I now have so much joy and happiness in my heart.

Today, “I Choose You” is far more relevant to my life, especially since Drew and I just celebrated our One Year Wedding Anniversary! Although we do believe that God used the many events and experiences in our lives to bring us together, we also know that it was by our own free-will that we sought out a relationship with the other and chose to marry and journey through life together.

Pre-anniversary-dinner selfie

Post-anniversary-dinner toast with the champagne flutes from our wedding. :)

How do we celebrate our anniversary? By taking artsy-fartsy photos of the condensation on the wine bottle.

I know many people who are in the “I Choose You” phase of life; some are experiencing “Gives You Hell,” and others go back and forth between the two. I just found it so strangely appropriate that these two songs were played back to back. It reminded me of another song, “This,” by Darius Rucker, because I am eternally grateful that all the events in my life, both wonderful and difficult, have led me to where I am today. In conclusion, I am constantly amazed by how much a song can strike a chord with me and become so attached to certain periods of my life (bonus points for those of you who caught the very intentional pun in there).

What songs do you feel describe your life now or in the past? Or what you want in the future? Leave a comment below!