Two weeks down

What am I even counting up or down to…

My second week in the Pacific Northwest was much better mainly because I was traveling and the reality of the move wasn’t directly in my face every second. I got to adventure with my husband and this time, we even got to bring Parker!

Yosemite was magical, amazing, beautiful, and even made me cry a bit (so shocking). The waterfalls were spilling over every peak and edge and the river was rushing in an intriguing and intimidating fashion. The lush greenery and hints of wildflowers created a canvas so perfect even Bob Ross couldn’t haven’t concocted it. I fell in love with her and sensed the magic that I envision John Muir himself was drawn to. Even though there was a lot of work to be done (mainly for Brent), it felt very relaxing, enjoyable and fun. We had a hiking guide with us every day and a few other friends/work companions which added to the experience. Somehow, everyone was perfectly matched for weirdness and friendship. We all got along as if we had known each other our whole lives. I was reminded of my doubts about moving and being afraid I wouldn’t make new friends and my uneasiness concerning feeling connected to others.

I learned a few things on that trip. I learned to appreciate my husband more, to see just how smart and amazing he is. I was able to watch him work, be himself, share his knowledge and engage with others. He is truly an impressive man. In my mind, I have always known he had talents and of course, he must know what he is doing because he continues to be elevated in this field. I have been on many trips with him and seen him take pictures, but somehow, this trip was different. The way he relates to people, the way he is himself, his honesty and authenticity, it draws people in. He is warm and inviting. He is hilarious and goofy. He is super smart about photography and art and fashion and social media and marketing (like way smarter than I thought). I don’t say that in a negative way, but I began to look up to him more and respect him much more than I had before. I think back to leaving Ohio and am reminded of my fear of allowing someone to take care of me.

At times when I feel afraid, I always reflect on Doubting Thomas in the Bible, how he didn’t believe Jesus was raised from the dead until he saw him in person and saw his wounds and touched him. How I have seen miracles and life change over and over again, yet I still find myself hesitant and doubting Gods goodness at times. How I walk into a space trusting His plan but with lingering doubts in my mind and heart. I moved across the country because I believe that is part of God’s plan for my life. I left my job and son and community and friends because I believe that there is something even bigger happening. I was scared. I still feel scared in moments. I did not have a lot of answers (and I still don’t have a lot of answers) but God continues to remind me that He is with me and He sees my every worry.

Everything I could consciously be concerned with has been taken care of and He even shows up with relief from things I didn’t know I was troubled with. Every moment I feel stressed about an outcome, He has given glimpses of hope. Every anxious feeling I sense is replaced with ease and laughter. When I worry that I will feel alone, He gives me comfort and when I am scared that I won’t be taken care of, He reminds me just how cared for I am.

Years ago, my husband had a literal dream and without elaborating too much, the dream detailed how God had a plan for him and it included freedom and him going outside to play with Jesus. I was reminded of this dream last night, as God has continued to open doors and offer up multiple opportunities for our future. Even since we have moved, God has increased our opportunities, He has answered more prayers and continues to shower us with blessings and kindness and joy.

I do not know if this goodness will cease at some point. Sometimes I think my husband and I endured so much pain and brokenness in the first 40 years of our lives, that we won’t have any more during these next 40 years. Or maybe we will just never experience pain and suffering in the same way because we have a hope and faith that shifts our way of experiencing heartache. Maybe we are storing up goodness for when that day arrives…

I am just along for the ride, praying my decisions align with Gods plan, praying I can glorify Him in every moment and being grateful for every season I have walked through.

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Week one down

It’s been one week since we departed Ohio for the Pacific Northwest. The drive was uneventful (especially compared to our February blizzard experience). We made really good time considering we were towing a U-haul trailer and believed we needed to drive under 65mph to be safe. We arrived “home” Wednesday early evening and I promptly began furiously unpacking. Unpacking turned into crying which was not very helpful to my task at hand, but probably healing for my heart. I completed my unpacking and settling by Friday. I probably should have drug it out longer to distract myself but I’m not much of a procrastinator so…

Our apartment is super cute. It sits on the Spokane River and is within walking distance from everything (AMC, Lululemon, MOD Pizza, Nordstrom etc). There’s a really awesome paved trail (Centennial Trail) and we can take it all the way to Idaho if we want. I imagine myself skating along it or us buying bikes one day and riding out to Idaho for adventures. Parker loves walking along the trail, sniffing every smell and seeing all the new friends. Everyone loves him already (how could you not)? Every place we eat has allergy friendly options galore. Gluten free options always, oat milk everywhere, vegan, vegetarian and probably some other stuff I’ve never even thought about.

Not working has been strange. I mean, I assist Brent with his work a lot so I am by no means laying around day dreaming, but it’s definitely different. I have way less interaction with people which is in many ways peaceful and calming. My tendency is to overfill my schedule and life but my insides yearn for solitude and quiet. This downtime is probably very good for me as I process all the changes. I do miss familiar faces a lot. I cry a little bit everyday.

Something very surprising that has happened is that my anxiety has risen. I don’t feel it in the forefront of my brain all the time, but my body knows it’s there. When I walk Parker or run an errand, I quickly become aware of the lack of comfort: I don’t know this area, I don’t know anyone really. I find myself being challenged in new ways, to evaluate my perception of others and to turn to God much more. I can logically talk myself out of a complete freak out/break down, but it’s unnerving to say the least. I think everyone I see is probably unsafe. I am hyper sensitive to everything and am nervous driving or venturing out in my own.

It’s strange how much security I drew from my life in Ohio. I had no idea I was so comfortable. I am feeling emotions I’ve never felt, fears I don’t recall ever experiencing. I find myself constantly praying, asking for security, a sense of safety and for the ache inside of me to leave. I would not have guessed for this to happen. I did not think leaving would be this difficult. My feelings well up in my throat and are almost uncontainable. I want so badly to think my way out of my pain. I want to convince myself that this isn’t that hard, but it is really hard and I need to be ok with that.

A younger me would be running from this, doing drugs or seeking validation to avoid myself, obsessively cleaning to “process”. Even though this pain cuts so deeply within me, I will run to it. I believe this experience is growing me to be more brave, more bold, more confident and more capable of leaning on God alone, before all others, before any worldly thing. I believe this process is on purpose, to teach me about being myself at an even greater level. I have almost nothing to distract me, I’m alone with my thoughts constantly, and I do not think that is an accident.

Brent asked me today if I just wanted to move home. He feels guilty for my pain. It reminded me of the day I told my mom I was pregnant, twenty years ago: she said, “you can always just come home” and somehow, I had enough wisdom to reply, “if I do, I will never learn to handle hard things or grow.” I can always go home. This is not permanent. In fact, if I’ve learned anything in the past five years, it is that nothing is permanent.

I trust whole heartedly that I am here for a reason. I do not know the reason but I have faith it exists. I believe my husband and I are doing this together on purpose. God has affirmed so many things along this journey and I cannot ignore Him. I believe, no matter how much I dislike it, that Matthew is in Ohio for a reason. And I trust that the bigger picture is way more important than my sadness. I will continue to grieve my losses. I will allow myself to cry as much and as hard as I need to. But I will not accept my feelings as fact and I will not run from this painful experience. Comfort is for napping, discomfort is for growth.

They say change is good

I know it’s inevitable. Every day, every moment, something is shifting. As a massage therapist, one of my biggest things is, “there isn’t stagnation.” Our bodies are always progressing or digressing, our lives are always ebbing and flowing, the seasons, the minutes in a day, the sunlight, all constantly moving.

I’ve found it to be true, that even the smallest of changes can create really huge emotions. For instance, when someone tells you dinner plans changed, sometimes you’re super pissed, angry, betrayed, let down, sad, disappointed, you name it. Super small things can really feel hard sometimes even though we can logically see that it’s not such a big deal. I’ve definitely found myself in a puddle of angry tears over some pretty minuscule stuff before.

I guess it should come as no surprise that I’m in a huge season of mourning and loss all jumbled up with excitement and anticipation. After years of dreaming, it is official: we are moving across the country.

I never felt at peace about leaving Ohio until now. I always found reasons to stay. I wanted our debt to be gone. I didn’t want to have to rebuild my business. I couldn’t bear to leave my family or friends. I kept thinking a move would happen far in the future or possibly never at all. Deep down I wanted to stay in Ohio, with my comfort and dependable life forever while also yearning for mountains and adventures every moment.

Leaving people and a life feels so permanent but if I have learned anything in these past four years, it’s that nothing is permanent, don’t cling too tightly to any space or tangible thing. When we moved into our apartment a year ago, we settled in expecting to live there for 3-4 years. I couldn’t have imagined a move across the country, leaving my business behind, totally switching gears and being a stay at home dog mom.

I believe this is the right decision even though my heart wishes it wasn’t. I know that it is time to embark on a new adventure, one where my husband and I get to grow closer and expand our influence. I know this will be a good thing for our family and I trust that the outcome of this is even greater than anything I can fathom.

Stuck

I’m sitting in my car.

I don’t want to get out.

The heat is on high, just how it like it. I’m warm and cozy. I turned off the radio and the lack of distracting sounds is calming. All I hear is the whirl of the defroster and my brain.

But my brain isn’t comforting and cozy right now. It’s actually really sad and crazy and bipolar (not clinically but momentarily). This happens often. I finish work or an activity and I drive home quietly only to arrive in the parking space and feel compelled to stay, inside, safe. No one can ask me a question. I don’t have to entertain my dog (whom I adore). I don’t have to face bright lights or temperatures I dislike. I can’t focus on dishes in the sink or a dirty bathroom. I’m alone and at times, that’s all I want.

Sometimes I think I can just stay in the car and be productive. Technically, I can perform a lot of tasks from the safety of my Nissan and with the assistance of my cell phone. I can answer emails and listen to podcasts. I can read or write a blog post. I can daydream. I can just be.

And then reality hits. I can’t idle my car forever. I have to get out eventually. Even though I don’t like the wind and rain right now, I have to endure it. And solitude and silence is awfully desirable but I know the path that leads to and it’s not a good one.

These are the moments when I dream of running away. Moving or selling everything and just disappearing. Everything and almost everyone feels dispensable (even though I know that’s temporary and false).

Yesterday I witnessed a car accident and as the police were trying to back us up off the exit ramp, it was raining and I couldn’t see well. The office yelled at me and I immediately yelled back, “I DON’T KNOW WHAT I AM DOING!” Then I started to cry. When I just want to hide away from the world, I definitely don’t want to be reprimanded like a child. Even my warm car couldn’t protect me from that unexpected hurt.

It’s weird to think about all the things that we see and feel and process subconsciously. The things that effect us and make us yearn for a hiding place. I didn’t imagine my reaction being so extreme (and maybe it’s not really). And why did that make me feel like a kid? And why did I cry anyway?

I weighed myself this morning (usually not a big deal) but today I felt annoyed by the scale. The number really wasn’t different than it’s been for the last six months but for some reason it made me angry. Then I looked in the mirror and thought maybe I looked a little heavier. I don’t know. Why do I even care?

I’m sure certain parts of this stem from my period coming next week (sorry if that’s TMI). But I know that some of these thoughts and feelings are deep inside me all the time. And if I just hide in my car forever, I won’t ever get through them.

So I’m stepping out into the rain….. again.

Logistics

Last Friday evening ended our adventures out west and although there are a ton of profound and deep things we experienced, there are also a lot of logistical things we learned from. I wanted to share some of the lessons we found valuable in a stand alone post. Since my husband and I will be traveling at least once a month for a while, I feel some camping/hiking/adventuring tips are in order.

Our trip took us through Colorado where we only stopped for a few hours. It was the first time we saw the mountains not covered in snow which was odd. Granted, we didn’t go hike up into the Rockies but even driving though Aspen and Vail, we found them to be bare. It was also somehow a cloudy day (Denver specifically has the most sunny days per year of any city). To say we were disappointed is an understatement. One of my favorite views is approaching Denver on 70 and seeing an endless sky full of snow capped mountain tops. Unfortunately, we did not get that experience this time.

Moab, Utah is only five-ish hours past Denver, just across the Colorado state line. That was our first stop and our third time visiting. We spent two days there and thanks to the owner of our hotel, we had some amazing hikes that were outside of Arches National Park. Which brings me to tip #1: ask someone local where they like to hike. Most of the area around Moab is public land meaning you can park your car on the side of the road and just trek in any direction. We ended up doing one of our favorite hikes ever which culminated with a beautiful arch on a cliff. To top it off, there were only two other people hiking at that trail. It was incredible!

Enter food…. as we drove along 191 through Moab, my husband declared, “I could really go for the best eggs benedict right now.” That’s his favorite breakfast meal so it’s not surprising he was craving it. Well wouldn’t you know, maybe two blocks after that, I saw a sign outside The Jailhouse Cafe, “Best Eggs Benedict.” I mean, what are the chances?? And just to confirm, my hubby is an eggs benedict connoisseur and he agreed they were in fact the best he’d ever had. I’d say tip #2 is to try the small, old looking local places over your familiar, nationwide chains. On a prior trip to Estes Park, we tried a place named The Egg & I and just like this trip, we quickly fell in love with the food and atmosphere.

Tip #3 is all about the heat. And let me tell you, we messed up big time in this department. We booked a campsite in Page, Arizona for a week. We knew it was the first week of July and that Arizona and Utah are both hot but we also know that the desert cools at night. We’ve camped in Joshua Tree in June before and while the days were scorchers, evenings got down to the 50’s. Page, Arizona is somehow an exception to that rule. The lows were in the 80’s….. We prefer camping over hotels for cost efficiency and also proximity to beautiful views and star lit sky’s. Just make sure you check thoroughly before booking a site or else you will waste money, end up staying in a hotel anyhow and be annoyed.

Last few tips: if you forget something important, live without or buy a replacement. DON’T TRY TO HAVE SOMEONE MAIL IT TO YOU! Our package got lost for a week and by the time it was found, we were already home.

Once you pack your belongings, take 1/3 out. I never wear everything I pack and it’s wasted since really. From a camping and hiking perspective, where showering daily isn’t even always an option, changing all your clothes all the time becomes less important. To be honest, most established campsites have laundry facilities also so rewearing things after washing is way easier than having a full outfit for every day.

Lastly, a decent amount of hikes and adventures require advance planning, special permits or a cash/check payment. If you wanna see The Wave in Arizona, it’s a lottery and only 20 people total are allowed per day. You can only enter the online lottery 4 months in advance. If you wanna hike Half Dome in Yosemite, you need a special permit and similarly, they have limits on how many people can go per day. Make sure you prepare well in advance, have all your ducks in a row and carry small bills at all times.

Hopefully these tips are helpful! Let me know if you have any questions! I will be sharing a lot of tangible tips and emotional growth experiences in the coming months and hopefully even adding a vlog!