"Eventually all the pieces fall into place....
until then, laugh at the confusion,
live for the moment, and know that everything
happens for a reason"

Monday, September 24, 2012

Our Journey Around Tennessee

Surprisingly, living out of suitcases has had it's perks over the past few weeks. Sure it's a little bit of a hassle only having "x" amount of clothes and somewhere along the way I've lost a pair of shoes but otherwise, things are going peachy. And when your personal belongings have been condensed to 2 suitcases, it makes is very easy to pack up and head for a quick trip to well, anywhere we want. That's another perk of our life right now. No job, no plans and no obligations.

So, after just a few days in Scottsboro we packed up our few belongings and headed to Paul's grandparent's house near Memphis. We spent 5 nights there visiting with family, playing dominoes and eating. And when I say eating, I mean stuffing my mouth on a continual basis. Unless I was sleeping of course but even then I was dreaming about the wonderful food that Paul's grandmother can cook. My stomach is growling now.

Anyways...our next stop was all the way across the LONG state of Tennessee to see JoDee Messina perform at the Washington County Fair in Virginia. If you didn't read my last post about it, you should. JoDee is awesome. Before we left town on Sunday we met up with our sweet, newlywed friends Sarah and Sam for lunch then headed on our way to Gatlinburg. For the next 3 nights Paul and I relaxed in our quaint cabin nestled in the trees. We tried our hand at Dollywood in the rain, but that didn't last too long. We decided that soaking in the hot tub on a cool, rainy day was a better option. Paul also took me to a magic show one night, which I've been dying to do! It was so good! We were on the 2nd row and I still couldn't figure out the "magic". And to top it all off, we went to The Melting Pot for dessert. My man sure does know how to make me smile.

After our 10 day journey across and around Tennessee, we headed back to Scottsboro where we unpacked our suitcases again. We're turning into quite the nomads. In the past month, we've slept in 7 different beds in 7 different locations. I think my back misses our old mattress the most but as long as I can cuddle with Paul, it'll be alright. :)

Love and Happiness,

Friday, September 21, 2012

Gotta Bend When The Wind Blows

Life doesn't always go as planned.

And if you've been keeping up with this blog lately, you know that's the truth. Throughout all of the packing and decision making in those last 2 weeks, one of the most difficult things was letting go of all of the plans we'd made for our future in Johnson City. Now, Paul was probably most disappointed that he wasn't going to get the chance to remodel that house. And I was most disappointed that we weren't going to get to go to the Washington County Fair.

Now, I'm sure that must sound weird to everyone, so let me explain. Months and months before we left Johnson City we heard on the radio that JoDee Messina was going to be performing at the Washington County Fair. My excitement level was indescribable. So, when I realized that moving meant that we wouldn't be going to the concert, my disappointment level was also indescribable. 

You must be wondering...What's the big deal? It's just JoDee Messina. But not to me! Let me take you back to 1998. I'm 8 years old and I'm obsessed with JoDee's new album. Not only did I know every word to every song on that album but I also made dances to approximately half of them. Even to this day, a road trip isn't a road trip if I can't dance away to a JoDee song in the passenger seat. Paul even bought me her greatest hits CD so I could rock out to the best of JoDee for months before the concert. 

When everything fell apart, JoDee's songs were just the right thing to keep my spirits up. I went through 4 stages of JoDee inspired acceptance. 

Step 1: Bring On The Rain

Step 2: That's The Way (It Is)

Step 3: Heads Carolina, Tails California

Step 4: Was That My Life

I listened to these songs every time I got into my car and they inspired my to keep my head held high and to bend when the wind blows. Heads Carolina, Tails California helped validate our decision to pick up and move with no plans and the last song reminded me that we only live once and to make the best of our lives. 

And that's why when Paul suggested we make the drive back to Virginia for the Washington County Fair, I didn't hesitate to say yes. So, after 8 hours of driving from Memphis to Abingdon, I got to experience the best concert I've ever been to! JoDee was awesome and it was a perfect time. Paul said that every time he looked over at me, I was smiling as big as possible and singing along to every word. It's true, I was giddy.

It has definitely been the highlight of our time off, for me at least. Just writing about it now makes me smile. 

Love and Happiness,

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Marking Things Off The Bucket List

When Paul and I started looking to buy a house back in June it was exciting. And then it became stressful and now 3 months later I'm struggling with the temptation to think that those 3 months were just a waste of time. All of that hard work, all of that planning and all of that money we invested in a house we didn't even get. It's pretty frustrating. Were the last 3 months a waste? Did I accomplish anything? Did I ever even enjoy myself? 

Well, of course it wasn't a waste and yes, I accomplished a few things. So today I'm going to focus on the things that went right over the last 3 months; the things that I accomplished that I've always wanted to do. 

1. Go On A Ghost Tour: As I mentioned in my last post, Paul and I did a ghost tour while in Charleston. It was so much fun. I would definitely do another in Charleston or somewhere else, even. Even though we didn't see any ghosts, it was such a fun experience. Did I have fun? Yes. Was it a waste of time? Absolutely not! If you want to see the pictures click HERE.

2. Make An Unexpected Life Decision: If you read my post When It Rains, It Pours you already know that  I've made a pretty significant life decision that I would qualify as unexpected. So, even though these past 3 months didn't go just as planned, it set us up to mark another item off my bucket list. I'm learning slowly that sometimes the best plans weren't planned at all and I'm hoping that is what comes from this unexpected life decision. 

3. Cut My Hair Short: And finally, when I got back to Scottsboro this week I took the plunge and cut my hair off. No pictures of it just yet, but believe me it's the shortest I've ever had it. When it was done, 8 inches of my hair was scattered on the floor. The weirdest part? No more ponytails for me! Never in my life have I not been able to put my hair in a ponytail and I'm positive this is going to take some time to get use to. But I figured with me not working, it doesn't much matter if I can pull it back or not! 

So, I guess if I'm still marking things off my bucket list, life isn't so bad. If you want to see what's left you can read the post HERE. Paul and I are already making fun plans for our "time off" and hopefully I'll be marking a few more off very soon! 

Love and Happiness,

Charleston 2012

Paul and I don't go on too many vacations. Sure, we take day trips pretty often or camp a night or two here and there but VACATIONS, not too much. Well, we decided to take an end of summer trip to Charleston, SC to relax, unwind and explore this town that we've heard so much about. We had the best time! With all the stress that was going on in our lives, not to mention the stress that was about to enter it, we needed this time to get away from it all.

There were so many things to do in Charleston that could suit most anyone. There's good shopping, there's good food, there's good fishing, there's good beaches and there's good history... so make sure you bring good shoes! Paul and I walked and walked until I rubbed a blister in my cute flats, then we walked some more. The downtown area is so interesting with the old buildings that have been beautifully restored. There is something so charming about walking down an old cobblestone street, lined with historical lanterns between southern mansions. It makes you want to put on a sundress, grab a glass of sweet tea and sit in a rocking chair watching the tide come in.

Charleston is just so dang old and they've done a wonderful job preserving so many things from yesteryear. Our first stop in Charleston was The Angel Oak, recommended to us by a friend. Even the trees are old in Charleston, and this tree is no exception. I've never seen such a spectacular tree. Pictures really don't do it's size justice.

Next we checked in at our hotel. This cute place was situated on a busy canal used by shrimpers. We loved watching the shrimp boats come in and go out towards the ocean. We had awesome views of the water and had a boardwalk down the canal for romantic walks by the water.

Now, from then on out I don't remember which order things played out, so I'll just list a few. One morning we had a private kayak tour into the saltwater marshes and out into the ocean. It was so peaceful kayaking around the peaceful backwaters, seeing dolphins in the ocean and listening to the waves crash around us. Despite the sunburn and sore arms, it was well worth it.

We of course spent some time at the beach and splashed in the waves for an afternoon. Unfortunately, the jellyfish were very attracted to me and I got stung not once, but twice before we called it a day. We ate at wonderful restaurants and enjoyed browsing the homemade crafts and goodies at the open market. And every time we passed a candy store with warm praline pecans, we stopped for a free sample. Vacationing on a budget is key. :)

One of my favorite days was spent going to the Boone Hall Plantation. It has the longest avenue of oak trees and it is beautiful to see. There is so much history there at the plantation and it was interesting to take a tour inside of the house, as well as tour the original slave cabins on site. We spent hours there exploring the grounds, the house, the gardens and the oak trees.

My  favorite night of our trip was going on a haunted ghost tour! I've always wanted to go on one and Charleston was the perfect place to do it! We chose a ghost tour of the old jail. Come on, old-school jails are creepy enough, then they turn the lights off and talk about ghosts of old prisoners. Pretty scary stuff if you ask me. Glad I can check a ghost tour off my bucket list now!

Charleston was a great end of summer vacation that we desperately needed. I'm glad we were able to fit it in before we left Johnson City and have one last great adventure before we left the area.

Love and Happiness,

Friday, September 7, 2012

When It Rains, It Pours...

A lot has happened since I last wrote. Honestly, sitting down and updating my blog was the last thing I had time for as our lives turned upside down. But now that things have settled and we're not fighting the clock, it's time I document the way the past 3 weeks played out for Paul and I. Now, this story will be long and it most likely won't be filled with creativity and fun word play. Sorry but this story just is what it is. Here we go...

Three weeks ago Paul and I were on the brink of going on a vacation to Charleston, SC. I was very excited to have 6 days off work and to enjoy some quality time with my husband, free from the stress of our lives. I was also very excited that our lending agent had called to say that we were scheduled to close on our house the upcoming Wednesday, the day after we returned from vacation! Finally, things were going to fall into place and everything was going to work out. Charleston was amazing and on our car ride home, Paul called the lending agent to figure out when and where to meet for closing the next day. So, there I am in the passenger seat anxiously waiting as I watch Paul's face transition from excitement to pure disappointment. Long story short, the loan fell through and we were no longer getting a house. 

We were in complete shock. Not only were we not getting this house, we had to be out of our apartment in 10 days. Now, this is where our story gets a little weird. The decision we made under this type of pressure most likely is not the decision most would make. But Paul and I aren't like most. 

Within 10 minutes of me crying and yelling, "What are we going to do?!" and Paul snapping, "I'm thinking!" we had come to our decision. We decided to uproot again and move out west.  And it felt right. A little rushed but right. Ever since our honeymoon, we have dreamed of one day moving out towards the Rockies, where we could enjoy the beauty of snow and mountains. In all honesty, we were planning on making a big move this winter anyways, so what's a better time than when all of your stuff is already packed up and ready to go? 

So the decision was made on Tuesday and the next day Paul and I put in our 2 weeks notice at work. There's no time to play around when each and every day leads you closer to homelessness. Talk about shock, for me and for everyone else. Two days ago we were going to buy a house a stay in Johnson City for a while and now in 2 weeks we're going to move halfway across the country? Things sure did change quickly. It's hard to keep up sometimes. But once again, Paul and I stayed relatively calm as we said goodbye to old plans and said hello to new ones. Things seem to go much better for us when we accept the fact that things rarely go exactly our way. 

The first few days after making this decision I was a crying mess. Not only were we having to pack up the house into a PODS having no idea when we'd see our things again, we were also having to pack some suitcases for us to live out of in our homelessness. I was tore up having to say goodbye to all my friends at work and realizing just how quickly this 2 weeks were going to fly by. And the hardest part was calling my parents and asking if we could crash at their house until we made official plans, like having jobs and all. They said yes, of course, but moving back into my parent's house, even for a little while, is very depressing. 

The next 9 days flew by with me working at the hospital many of the days and having to come home to an empty house that needed vacuuming, dusting, mopping and pretty much a thorough cleaning to hopefully get our deposit back. For the last week of our stay we slept on an air mattress and sat in 2 lawn chairs in the living room. We eventually had to stop cooking because all of pots and pans were packed away. Styrofoam plates and plastic cups were our saving grace so we didn't have to use our dishes. It was a little like camping but mostly like torture. But we made it through and we made it out of that apartment on Friday, just as planned. 

I unfortunately had to work Monday and Tuesday so we were forced to stay in Johnson City a little bit longer despite us not having a home. Thankfully, a family from church let us stay at their empty house while they were on vacation! It's funny how when everything seems to be falling apart, some things come together perfectly. 

With all that said and done, here I am writing this blog in Scottsboro, AL, sitting in my childhood bedroom while Paul searches for jobs downstairs. I feel like the unofficial theme of my blog has become "Nothing Ever Goes As Planned" and that's okay. I feel like the pitfalls that we've endured over the past couple of years has really helped me grow into a much stronger and mature adult (says the girl who moved back in with mommy and daddy, haha)

But honestly, this has been a very exciting time for us. Sure it's a little scary to quit perfectly fine jobs, move back home for an undecided amount of time and hope for the best when searching for a place to move. You should see people's faces when we tell them. They smile and say, "That's so exciting" but we can see the panic in their eyes. Maybe that's how you feel, too. But don't worry about us. We're going to be alright.  We've got some savings in the bank, confidence in each other and a lot faith in God that everything is going to be okay. I'm guessing this just might be our biggest adventure yet! 

Love and Happiness,