We Have an Announcement

Back home currently has the most snow in the United States. A lot of feet of snow have fallen. Flagstaff, Arizona has a ton of snow right now also. In fact, a friend of mine that lives in Tucson posted a snowy video today too! Needless to say, I miss the snow. Alabama has no snow, but that’s no surprise.
And snow isn’t even the most important thing to me, especially in a place that I want to live.

I moved to Alabama sort of on a whim. I thought I was being called here. I thought my life was going to change and I would be put on a path that would launch me into a career I could only dream about. It’s funny how I’m usually wrong about these things. Because what I thought I was stepping into was not at all what I actually stepped into.

I had not lived here six months when my mother passed. I was reeling from her loss and found comfort in alcohol and watching stupid Netflix shows with someone who was starting to become a very good friend. It wasn’t much later that he was more than a friend and I fell in love with Bobby.
Moving to Alabama changed my life. Losing my mother changed my life. But loving Bobby has changed my life for the better.

Last year, Bobby and I took a road trip across the country because I was homesick. Along the way we stopped in Flagstaff, Arizona to buy some film and get coffee at Dutch Bros. because I discovered they have one there. We had been in the city half an hour when we both decided we wanted to live there. We planned to make the move after I finished my graduate program, and I would just go through the licensing process in Arizona. I had some anxiety about the difficulty of finding someone to supervise me so I could get my license, when I would have no contacts in Arizona, but I figured it would work itself out.
But I’ve been homesick for a long time. Alabama has made me more and more miserable. I thought if I quit my job and made a change that I would be happier, but in December I only felt more depressed. I felt like I couldn’t make it. I just wanted to go home.
So I called my dad. And I called my brother. And they said that Bobby and I could move back to my childhood home for the summer to save money. So we’re leaving Alabama in May and will be in California for three months. I’m ready to go home.
Bobby and I decided that we didn’t want to wait until I finished school, especially when the licensing process in a different state might be challenging. So I’m going to finish my degree in Arizona. We’ll be moving there in August, and I am so excited.

Since I’ve been missing the snow and sick of all the rain here, I figured now would be a good time to announce that we’re leaving. Finally.

Europe

I just took a trip through Northern Europe with my dad.  We flew into Copenhagen, rented a car, then drove up through Sweden to Norway, where we spent a couple days outside Oslo.  We walked through the city of Oslo, went to a viking ship museum, then drove down to Kristiansand and went to the zoo.  It was amazing.  We saw capybaras.
We then took several ferries to get down to Germany through Denmark.  We spent a night in Hamburg.  I don’t recommend it.  We drove over to Switzerland where we spent several days in Interlaken with people from all over Europe who are a part of my home church, the Lighthouse.  It was the trip of a lifetime.

Two years ago, I took another trip of a lifetime.  I went to Ireland, where I spent ten days touring and writing to be part of a coffee table book.  That book didn’t end up being what it could have been, but that’s besides the point.  It was there that I really started dreaming about driving through Norway with my dad.  His entire heritage is Norwegian, and it was really cool to see where we came from.  Next time we’ll spend more time just in Norway, and maybe travel up to see the fjords.

But this trip was one that I think we both really needed.  While we were overseas we hit the year mark of my mother’s passing.  It’s hard to believe it’s been a whole year.  We got to see beautiful landscapes that she would have loved.  We rode a gondola up a mountain and hiked across, looking down on houses and lakes and trees.  We drank coffee and ate chocolate.

This was a trip that I’ll always be thankful for.

European Dreams

This post will be short.  I’m about to leave Florence, AL to drive to Atlanta, where I will get on a plane with my dad and fly to Europe.  I have dreamed of this trip for so long, and now it’s here.  For two weeks I will be exploring Norway, Switzerland, Germany and Denmark.  I will get to see where I came from.  And maybe I’ll get some insight on where I’m going.  I wish I had time to write more, but I’m already running late!  I’ll try to post while I’m there, but it probably won’t happen.  Sorry that this isn’t that thoughtful, I just found it necessary.

Northern Europe, I’ll see you soon.

A year.

A year ago today I arrived in the city of Florence, AL, the city that I now call my home.  I got here with no job, no place to live, and no idea what I was doing.  And I still don’t really know what I’m doing.

I thought moving here would bring me better writing opportunities.  And I have gotten offers, but none that have followed through.  Sometimes it seems that I’ve been so caught up dreaming, that I’ve forgotten how to write anyway.

Since moving here, I’ve gotten my first apartment on my own.  I got my own car insurance.  I have a dog and a real relationship.  Every decision I make is mine alone.  I’m finally fully discovering adulthood.

Florence has shown me that community is like the tide.  It comes and it goes.  When you really need it, community is there for you.  But community disappears when you stop asking for it.

Florence is a place I have fallen in love with.  It’s unexpected, but so am I.  It’s the place where I fell in love.  And, for now, it’s my place.

I’m one year in.  I’ve made it.

Not Even Falling

It’s easy to feel forgotten in the familiarity around you
But you are not forgotten
It’s easy to feel you are losing yourself, caught up in it all
But you are not lost

Maybe you were led here for a reason
He’s waiting patiently for you to embrace it
So wrap your arms around this confusion
And realize that it’s not confusing at all
It’s all a part of the adventure

Maybe you feel small, that you could have no impact
But a raindrop can cause a tidal wave
A butterfly’s wings can cause a hurricane
And it’s hard to notice anything outside of the storm anyway

You might dive in straight, afraid to make a splash
But you’re a freaking cannonball
These waters are churning

He holds his breath in anticipation
Excited for your next move
While you fear the wrongness of each decision
He has already seen the outcome
And it is BIG

You are a BIG DEAL
Created more than worthy
Here with more than a purpose
And maybe your impact feels small because you’re already a giant

Don’t be afraid of the next step
Or the next
Or the one after that
This ground you walk on is solid
It will not cave beneath your feet

But even if it does
You are not forgotten
You are not lost
And there will always be hands to catch you
Even when you’re not even falling

Nashboard Dashville

Last Wednesday I had one of the best days I’ve ever had.  My favorite person and I drove up to Nashville because we had tickets to see one of my all time favorite bands, Dashboard Confessional.
Before the concert, we spent most of the day at the zoo, then had dinner at the pub connected to the venue.  Zoo was great, got to pet a kangaroo.  Food was great, ate really good sandwiches.
Then we went to the show.

The openers were both really good.  They were both local Nashville bands.  Dashboard was phenomenal.  They played most of my favorite songs and some new ones, which I never expected to happen.  I think I really just thought that Dashboard was over.  That’s definitely not true.

One of my favorite parts of the show though, happened to be the conversations I overheard.  Most of the people in the audience seemed to be talking about the music on an educated level, like it mattered.  They talked about the stage presence and sound quality and the musicians.  And later, we did too.

I like experiencing music.  I like it more than just listening to it.  I’m going to make an effort to make shows like these more of a priority in the future.  Be enveloped in it.

Love is Scary

Valentine’s Day was last week.  I don’t know much about the origin of Valentine’s Day, and I’ve never really fully partaken in the holiday, because it’s become a hallmark holiday to sell merchandise and make single people feel lonely.  However, this year was my first year as part of a real couple on Valentine’s Day.  Not that I find the holiday important, but it has gotten me thinking.

How does one know that they will love someone forever?  How do we trust that our partner will love us forever?  What is forever?  Love is about trust.  Love is about loyalty.  Love is a choice.  I’m in a relationship that I could perceive lasting forever.  I have zero desire for it to end.  It’s just sometimes hard to wrap my head around someone wanting to be with me forever.  People are constantly changing and evolving.  But my parents were together 43 years and would have been together another thousand if possible.  I want that.  Maybe I have that.  Giving your heart to someone is just a little terrifying.

But is it the same with God’s love?  Because he is love and will love me forever.  His love is not dependent on whether we’re in the same place or like the same things.  It just is.  As long as I can trust that, nothing else really matters, I guess.

So what if love is scary?  It just might be worth it.  God’s love brought me all the way across the country, didn’t it?  And there are probably a thousand more adventures to be had.

Within Love’s Grasp

Within love’s grasp
We can rest
We can dance and sing
Wait and see
What this brings

Love pulls you in
Love holds you close to its chest
Lets you feel those heartbeats
Reminding you that love is alive
And love is for you

Close your eyes
You don’t need to see the future
To know that love will still be there
Holding you in its grasp
Taking you on countless adventures

Because love is adventurous!
And love has got its eyes on you
Love has dreamed about you for so long
Waiting for the day you would be within its reach
Just wanting to grasp you

Love understands you
Stands with you in freedom
Cries over any bondage
Fights for what is right
Desires better than the best

Love has got you
Within its grasp
And will hold you there
So you can relax
And be loved
Finally

Goodbye 2016

I think most people would say good riddance to 2016.  It hasn’t been the worst year, but it’s been quite a year.

I started out the year working far too much and being home not enough and tired quite often.  I was spending time with someone who didn’t value me. I didn’t make priorities of the things that I should have.

In March, I made the biggest decision of my life so far and decided to pack up and move across the country, with no job, very little savings, and no place to live.  But I’ve fallen in love with my home here in Alabama.  I have great friends and my heart is finding somewhere to belong.

2016 will always be the year my mother died.  It’s not fair, how much this year has claimed.  The door is about to close here, and there’s nothing we can do to make 2017 the same.

I want to do great things in 2017.  I want to be healthy again.  I want to be even happier.  I want to adventure and try new things.  I want to learn to save and plan, while still having time to explore.

I want to fall in love with 2017.  Maybe fall in love in 2017.  We’ll see, I guess.

I wish that I had more to say.  There are a lot of words in my mind, but they tend to get stopped before they reach fruition.  So maybe writer’s block is weeds.

Here’s to 2017.

Blogging Everyday in July|Social Media

Do you ever log onto Facebook and see someone’s post about something great that happened that day?  Do you log onto Instagram and see photos from some new and exciting adventure?  Do you see tweets on Twitter from all your friends who appear to be hanging out without you?  Can I let you in a secret?  It’s not real.  Not really.

Yes, great things are happening in your friends’ lives, but that’s not all.  Think about what you post on social media.  You only share what you want people to see.  You of course share the good times, the fun times, the spontaneous jam sessions, and midnight adventures.  How often do  you post the dark times, the lonely times, the times you feel left out?  Exactly.  Because when people are negative on social media, they look annoying and pessimistic, unless they find a way to do it in a funny way.

And I’m not saying any of this to point a finger.  We all do it.  I do it.  Go through my feed and you’ll see photos from my adventures and posts about how great my friends are.  I once had a friend from college say that I only take photos in scenic places.  Which is only true because that’s what I share.  I do my best to make my ordinary surroundings look extraordinary.  I go out of my way to find something beautiful.  I push myself.  And I think for a while it became less about the adventure and more about the photo.

When I lived at the camp in Mammoth, 85% of my photos were taken in the same location, but if you didn’t live there, you’d never know it.  I could walk less than 200 feet and get a completely different vantage point.

I took far too many ski lift photos to show how sporty I am.  Except I rarely skied more than three hours at a time, and I usually went up for less time than that.  But that’s only because I had the luxury to do so.  I want my life to be an adventure, so I did my best to show that I really was adventuring.

In reality, I spent a majority of my time at work, and the rest of my free time drinking, sleeping, or wasting time with the boyf on Netflix.  I’d probably ski once every week or two.

I gave the illusion that I travel a lot.  I’d post photos of Costa Rica or Ireland like it was no big deal.  But those trips were life changing, and I have no idea when I’ll be able to do another one.

A lot of times social media can bring depression.  We feel alone or sad or lost, and people post about how their lives are so great.  You’d never know that those same people have struggles too.  If social media is getting you down, maybe you should unplug for a little while.  I know I’m thinking about it.

Because social media isn’t all negative.  It has a way of building community.  I am able to keep in contact with my friends from literally all over the world.

So we have to take the good with the bad.  Step back, look at what you have.  And maybe, the next time you get annoyed at how great someone’s life appears, think about what you’re sharing.  Because you’re probably comparing their positive with your negative, and that’s never a good idea.