Tag: 2013

2013: Who knows where, but home…?

For Christmas, the girls received cupcake necklaces from two different sets of family. The necklaces came in jewel boxes shaped like cupcakes. KK decided her case was like a compass; she promptly opened it up and began her own adventure game, the compass leading her who knows where.

As I sat New Year’s Eve night in my parents’ house, which was quiet after a family lasagna dinner, dimly lit from the twinkling Christmas tree, and offering me plenty of opportunity to reflect, I felt… for the first time in years… no sense of anticipation about the new year, other than it’s new. In fact, the “resolutions” I have for the new year involve things I hope to, pray to, plan to avoid:

– No moves
– No new business ventures*
– No weight gain**

*unless it comes with up-front, ample investors with signed cashiers’ checks
**Lord, please grant me the resolve to lose real weight and get healthier this year

There is nothing ‘on the horizon’ as I begin 2013… as I turn 36… as I head home from a warm, cozy (ok, cold and cozy) visit home. Sure… there are changes ahead. My job has gone from crazy-full-time-theatre-manager to part-time-church-media-event-person. Subsequently, we have removed KK from pre-school and I will be starting kindergarten with her at home. I will also be helping Josh & Kirsten plan their wedding for next December, and whether she likes it or not, helping Paige figure out her next chapter. And since Rod is going to be traveling just as much if not more for work, I will be settling our butts down, unpacking the rest of the boxes from our move in June, painting some walls, working on a year of, well, settling.

2012 was every bit as unsettling as 2011 was. I mean, we moved again. We put the girls in a strange new school again. We started new jobs again. We started a theatre…again… except this one actually opened. We welcomed our big kids back to us. We rolled with it. It’s what we do.

I expect it is what we continue to do. It’s not that we don’t have dreams. It’s just that, right now, our compass is lying dormant. There is no great unknown to explore. So I plan to more fully explore the territory around me… more time at the beach, more time connecting with the people around me, more time using what God has given us to make a difference in the world around us.


These days spent back in Chicagoland are always the basis of good reflection…deep questions with emotionally-charged answers. What have we missed? Does it still feel like home? Would we/could we ever move back?

It is always obvious what we have missed: businesses come and go. Kids grow. Families grow. Our home church barely resembles the place we left not two years ago. Our old street doesn’t feel familiar. Our old house… I’d rather not talk about.

To me, one who lived here more than 34 years… had her babies in the same hospital where she was born… once had her junior high guidance counselor show up at her garage sale… this will always feel like home. I will always know these streets and sink into the comfort of my mom’s couch or my friends’ kitchens or El Cortez/Aurelio’s/Hollywood Boulevard. But now I have another home, too… where I smell salt water and marsh daily and eat vinegar-seasoned pulled pork and venison my friends shot on their own land, where “Yes ma’am” comes as naturally as breathing and, on one Friday afternoon just a few weeks ago, I ran into 5…F-I-V-E… random people I knew!

On New Year’s Eve afternoon, I sat around a table with some of my closest friends (the biggest drag of moving away that visits never afford me enough time to see everyone I want to for as much time as I want to), sharing a few Deep Life Conversations and then, a teary goodbye. There are days I would just about cut a finger off to be near them again. It took me 30 years to cultivate the friendships I now have in Illinois. But I also know God moved us for a reason… and I do love the life we are slowly, with missteps and do-overs and plenty of laughs…making there.

There is no turning back. But there is looking back, as we move forward. The truth is, I am blessed to have a new home, with my husband of almost-10(!!!) years and our amazing family and a family of friends that continues to grow, and I am blessed to have a strong and steady circle that opens back up every time I send a text or come for a visit.

2013. May it be steady. May it be fruitful. May we be home.


Whoa, 2012.

We met my parents in Disney World. I got a cool hat and spent my 35th birthday at Cinderella’s castle and the day after at Harry Potter-world. My children have no idea who Duffy the Bear is, but loved every second we were there.
The day after we got back, I dropped the girls off at school, went home and returned to be. Thus began a period of depression, uncertainty, and fear that I haven’t written about much. Now that it’s over, I will….            



Rod’s work as a telecom consultant saved our financial booties.
Josh, Kirsten, & Paige (& the Carters, & Mamaw & Grandpa) all visited for KK’s 4th birthday.
We got a dog named Max.
And with saved airline miles, Rod sent me for a secret trip to stay with Jen for a weekend. It helped.



The future started to look brighter.
I made 6000 recipes from Pinterest, thus ending the weight loss of January & February.
Rod and I took a marriage class and bought a 2005 minivan, with a cassette player. The girls started swim lessons at the Y.
My friend Becky visited me for a lovely weekend, and Rick visited for a lovely week during which I fell in love with Charleston and Pawley’s Island.



We went back to Disney, because we have a time share that we use well! We met the Paris family there. The day we got back, Wayne and Wanda came to visit. During a trip to the beach with them and the Carters, Rod got hired by Time Warner Cable!

Oh, and our church decided to lease a theatre, and named me General Manager.



I took the girls to Chicago for a week while I was also beginning my new job. It was stressful and crazy and great. I vowed never to do it again, but am making plans for this coming July!
Also, Miranda got her ears pierced, we went to our first Pelicans baseball game, and found a new house to live in, about 45 minutes southeast of our old house.


We started saying Aloha, a lot.
Josh & Kirsten moved in with us, then two weeks later moved into an apartment, then one week later helped us move to our new house. In the mean time, Annie and Laura came to visit and didn’t mind our boxes and brought us cookies!


In between Aloha-ing and Illusions (2 house shows at The Grand Theatre), we hosted Jeff & Sue Duffield, some of the most real and fun people in the world, and we went to the beach a few times.
Also…our nephew was born!


Journeychurch held its grand opening.
We welcome the Wonderettes to The Grand and said Aloha to Aloha.
Miranda started kindergarten, and sleep was a thing of the past.
Mom & Dad came to visit on the busiest Labor Day weekend ever, but one that included an unforgettable concert and Labor Day lunch with Russ Taff.


We had visits from Wayne and Wanda and Mamaw and Grandpa and the Carters. We finally made it to “What Do Pirates Do?” (aka Pirates Voyage). We found a dance class and a dentist and a little time to be together.

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With 2 house shows running at full steam and Daddy traveling lots, we turned to the mall food court for helpful nights on the town. Rod made his debut as a Willie Nelson tribute artist and I perfected my 1950s look (teehee). We went on a hayride past the ocean. And we finally met neighbors while trick-or-treating.

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My friend Deanna came to visit…she helped me lay groundwork for a moms’ group and we ‘rocked the block’ at journey together. The Groves family joined our wonderful Thanksgiving festivities, and we returned to Disney again. I would so live there.


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I vowed to have a quiet advent. I failed. We finished an amazing season at The Grand. Randa danced in The Nutcracker. KK finished pre-school. I made a trifle. We traveled to Ohio and Illinois and have annoyed everyone with our complaints about the cold. We met our baby nephew. We will end and begin the year in Chicagoland, eating Italian food with people we love.

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2013, for me, will be a little bit about things I don’t want to happen (depression, financial woes, etc). I am considering carefully what I do want to happen. Whatever it is, I hope it includes good health and shared happiness. Happy New Year, one and all!