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My husband and I moved from Mississippi to South Carolina in July of 2012. We are excited to share our adventures from our new home!


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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

A Year Later, Refocused

It is almost a year since my last post. I had several things occur in the last year that I would normally write about. I also had people ask if/when I would do another post. I am not sure why I have not written when there were ample opportunities. I embarked on a few adventures this past year that took up my extra time... starting a private practice with a colleague and eventually closing it, leaving the hospital where I worked for another position which I find myself leaving again for yet another job.  I don't like that I change jobs so many times since moving to South Carolina but I must say I found a little peace in reading a summary about "myself" from a Myers Brigg's Personality test. (I know, we don't put a ton of stock into these....but still!)

As an ENFP it stated the following "ENFPs are very likely to pursue several different careers during their life. They may seem directionless and without purpose to others but they actually know how to keep consistent as long as what they do is in line with their values. ENFPs needs to feel they are living their lives according to their true selves and that they are doing what they believe is right." So of course, I am now justified in my numerous changes...wink, wink.

The past year was also a stage for personal changes. While the move to South Carolina stimulated changes from the get go, it seems that I settled into them more in the past year. I understand that people grow and change their entire life, but I feel like I have just begun being me. I cut my hair into a pixie and got two tattoos. While these are physical examples of change, they represent a mindset that I am moving into. One of honest reflection and confidence in who I am without too much weight being placed on outsider opinion. (A rather big step for me). It is all-at-once exciting and calming to start "coming into yourself" and being okay with what that looks like. I think people do this at different times in life. My perception is that I am doing this later in life than others, but who knows.

In the past couple of months, J and I began aggressively de-cluttering our home of things that we've
held on to for the sake of having "stuff". Up until a few weeks ago, I enjoyed getting rid of things but still fought the urge to want to keep getting new things. I am obviously not saying that buying things is bad- I still shop!- but I struggled with wanting to still "keep up". I am not sure what the shift was but now I seem to be more at peace about our choices and motivated to continue with them because of how it affects our life, not because it is hip to live in "tiny" houses with minimal possessions.

 I had to fill out paperwork for a gym that J and I started attending last year (I obviously did not complete it in a timely manner) and it asked me what my goals/motivation were. If I answered it for when I first started taking the classes, then my answer was "to get hot!". I obviously would write "to lose weight, tone up, shape up, etc" but we all know what that really means- I want to look good! Answering the question almost a year after joining the gym now produces a different response- I actually want to be healthy and strong and feel good internally. I enjoy the balance that working out and doing yoga brings to me mentally. Aside from this being more introspective rambling, I see it as another example of my focus shifting from outside views and noise to inner peace and purpose.

I have rambled a bit, but to come full circle, I believe that this progression of simplifying/coming into myself has also affected my blogging. When blogging, it is easy to get caught up in how many people read/like/comment on your posts and trying to make sure I write things that can be shared on "blog parties" to rack up even more followers/readers. That is exhausting and even stressful! It felt like another thing that was cluttering my life. I believe my new focus is to write when I feel compelled and if that means it is a super, introspective post, then so be it, but if it is a quick blip about businesses and events around town then that works too.

(can't get my spacing to cooperate for some reason)

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Going Bald for a Cause

I am trying to get back in the groove of writing and this story seemed as good as any to share with you. This started with a friend/coworker revealing her utter obsession with Starbucks coffee by driving to the hospital, in the middle of a snow storm, because it was the only store open. As much as I want to delve into her coffee obsession, I am forced to look at the good things it has produced. 

I have to imagine that she started making connections with the baristas at Starbucks when they questioned her about the countless selfies she was taking. If they didn't ask questions at that point, then I am positive they started questioning when she began posing with a miniature stuffed monkey. Whatever the reason, I am glad the conversation got rolling.

Hollyi (the selfie taking, coffee addict) got to meet Britteni, who is working to raise money for an amazing cause. 

You read correctly. Britteni is going to shave her head on March 16, 2014 in hopes of raising $3,000 to help fight child cancer and support Julia. A few months ago I cut off 10+ inches of my hair so I could sport a pixie cut...and I thought this was scary. Britteni is going to shave her head! I don't know many girls willing to  do this. Another amazing fact is that she's not doing this alone. St. Baldricks Foundation is going to have many people shaving their heads in order to raise money for children's cancer research. While Britteni is definitely amazing for what she is doing, it doesn't compare to Julia and the battle she continue's to fight against the brain tumor.

You can go to St. Baldrick's Foundation to read about the little amount of funding given to research on child cancer. Then you can make a donation in the support of Britteni and child cancer research by using the ID#674795. 

Hollyi is trying to spread the word through her Facebook page The 365 Days of Starbucks. Not only did she have the pleasure of meeting Britteni and sharing her story but she also met Julia and her grandfather, Ernie. This sweet man now brings his therapy dog, Pumpkin, to our work every Thursday so that our children can love on her. We work at a residential facility with children who are definitely in need of kisses filled with puppy breath. 

 I encourage you to follow Hollyi's Facebook page in hopes of being exposed to other wonderful and giving people like Britteni, Julia, and Ernie. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Falling in Love with Fall

It's that time of year again. I absolutely love all of the colors splashed over the mountains. We decided to go for a hike, yesterday, and see how Tucker would hold up. Some pictures in this post crop funny compared to the original pictures, but you get the gist.

I think the sun roof was his biggest adventure of the day.

 Hiking buddies :)

Bright sun!

 King Tuck!

It's safe to say that we all had a great time. And yes, we still love our other pups...

Monday, August 26, 2013

Savannah Weekend Trip

We got to take a quick weekend trip down to Savannah! J's parents were down there for the week so we got to spend a little time with them too. It was so fun to revisit some of our favorite stops and try new restaurants. 

We decided that we could easily spend an afternoon watching and waiting for the "big boats" on the river front. We weren't sure if this big guy was going to make it under the bridge. (It did)

Being from "The Delta" in Mississippi brings about a certain appreciation for cotton. It is a little hard to see in this picture , but the building says Savannah Cotton Exchange.

There is often the discussion of which is better: Charleston or Savannah. Savannah gets my vote for several reasons, but a  big one is getting "to go" drinks from the bar and walking around with them! I enjoyed my Blue Moon in the park :)

J took a picture of me enjoying some peach sangria at The Public Kitchen restaurant and bar. We ended up spending a few hours here. J tried an awesome Kentucky Bourbon Ale- basically a beer with a big bourbon after taste. It was awesome!

This tends to be how we look in picture because he is always tickling me when the camera snaps.

And... a little late night "selfie" :) 

Just a few recommendations for a quick Savannah trip:
1. The Public Kitchen
2. Cha-bella
3. Noble Fare
Such great places for meals and/or drinks. Everything is fresh and simply delicious!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Not Perfect, But Progress

J and I decided to take advantage of a weekend with fall weather and attack our mess of a front yard. Actually, J asked what I wanted to do and was sweet enough to take part ;) We had a great time all the same.  

I am learning that I am a little addicted to Before and Afters be it houses, people, yards, etc. So in that spirit, I will share some of our handy work!


Underneath all that over grown mess of grass are a lot of railroad ties that were a pain to get rid of. We also have mysterious roots from an unknown source that invade both beds and the yard. Those were fun to dig through. After lots of sweat and work in the rain we reached our goal!


We planted Limelight Hydrangeas, Coneflowers, StoneCrop Limelight, and Gold Flame Spirea. Hopefully we won't kill them and we will see them again next year along with more flowers!!
Also- Many thanks to the Bickels for lending us their tiller :)

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Childfree and Happy

I am always hesitant to come out and talk about this honestly. I know how confident I (we) are about not having children right now, but I worry about what people would say if one day we ended up having a child. "Look who is having a baby after all that 'childfree' talk." "I thought they hated kids." "What happened to all that no baby talk?" 

I mentioned in a previous post about how frustrating it was to constantly be asked/told "When are you having a child?" "Why are you not pregnant?" or the best "It's just a phase..." Being constantly misunderstood and feeling unheard by people is incredibly disheartening. If you have seen any of the articles for the Time magazine  then you know the big topic is about being childfree. What bothers me is that people that are choosing not to have children are getting clustered into stereotypes that don’t reflect my (our) position. The childless by choice are cast as selfish, narcissistic, unfulfilled, incapable of knowing real love, etc. 

Just like not all parents are the same and not all children are the same, neither are the people who are choosing not to have children. I have read a lot of articles written by people that are choosing to be childfree and this article titled Parenthood Optional seems to explain how J and I feel. Her reasons have nothing to do with being too irresponsible to care for a child, or about needing fancy cars/trips/etc. She simply does not want them.

One difference is that she never wanted children, where up until a short while ago, I craved children. I thought that in order to have a complete life I would have to get married and have 2.5 children with a picket fence and a dog. When I realized that this was not a requirement for fulfillment or happiness, the stress melted. I grew up being told what a wonderful mother I would be. Giving, helpful, self sacrificing- all that jazz, so I thought surely I am put here to be a mother. But I have realized that is not the case and that I don’t want children. 

This is where the frustration and the feeling of being misunderstood set in. When it comes down to it, folks that have children and/or desire children don’t understand what its like to not desire children. In the same sense that we don’t understand what it is like to be a parent. Maybe, it would be best to acknowledge there is a disconnect and leave it at that. However, that is not what usually happens as shown by the many responses to Time’s article

I have already mentioned some of the responses, previously. Some responses/reasons for having children are as silly as the reasons for not having children. Having a child so that you have someone to take care of you when you get older is as selfish as not having one so you can travel. (But I would point out that only one of those ensnares an innocent party into your selfishness.)

There is the “fear” response, that I will regret this when I get older and then it will be too late. Maybe. That is impossible to know and impossible to refute. We all have regrets. We can only make decisions on the information we have at hand and I can’t justify bringing another being into this world on the basis of assuaging a potential regret 20 years down the road.

But the upsetting responses come from the Christian community.

“Parenthood (more often Motherhood) is our highest calling” (Another version – “Children are the greatest gift God can give” Anytime I’ve heard or read this it has come from a parent. I appreciate their enthusiasm but I don’t think they understand the implications of that statement. (At least I hope they don’t) What is implied is that my call to be childless and in the mental health field is of lesser value – it is a “lesser” call. This is also a backhanded way of calling someone selfish. Unless there is a way to reject God’s “highest calling” without putting yourself before God.

Then there are articles such as The Problem with the Childfree Life, from The Gospel Coalition. It states “the most basic problem is that the childfree life does not take God into account.” As I mentioned at the beginning, we realize that God might change our hearts and give us a desire for children. But if he doesn’t and we don’t then we have ignored God? This is a thought process, I fear, that much of the church holds. (The Gospel Coalition was founded by Tim Keller, a prominent pastor in the Presbyterian Church of America which is our denomination.) Whether intended or not, that thought process effectively marginalizes those of us that choose not to have children.

I do want to help, make a difference, encourage, and nurture, but I have realized that I don't have to have children to do those things. I am a mental health therapist at a residential facility that works with children from ages 5 to 21 every day.  Every day is a call and a chance to help, encourage and nurture. I get to go to work and fight for these kids who, often times, don't have families to fight for them. And those that do have families are often so damaged from other traumas that they need extra help.  I would argue that not having children allows me to fully give myself to this calling and to “my kids”. 

Working in this field has taught me a few things 1. Having children does not mean you are a good parent and 2. There are a lot of children out there with parents and families that still need non-family in their lives to give them encouragement and strength.  

In the LA Times article, she makes a point to say that people who chose a childfree life are not bound to put in community service to better everyone else's children. I completely agree. This is simply where I am coming from. The decision to not have children is a personal one and that decision can be as selfish or unselfish or as holy or unholy as the decision to have children.

*Justin and I shard the experience of writing this post together*

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Sunday Fun Day

This was mine and J's first weekend together to actually veg-out and enjoy the house. I'd say our favorite place is the front porch swing and watching the puppies play.

This is my favorite :)