Sunday, January 29, 2017

Thank you 2016 for another great year!!!!

Well, we have welcomed 2017 with open arms and open minds.  As alway, there is so much unknown  and excitement with the start for each new day.  While listening to the radio on my way to work the other day, the dj mentioned how he just celebrated his 30 year wedding anniversary.  He explained how over the past 30 years he has continually learned new things about his wife and is continually seeing change through the phases of their lives together.  It is such an amazing concept to think about how through the phases of our lives we are continually changing from one year to the next.  I hear so many times that people grow apart, or get bored with their significant other, but if you truely take the time to listen and learn about your significant other, there is nothing like the conversations, love, and closeness that can be formed over the years and throughout the phases of life.

2016 was a fun year that both Jessica and I embarked in new positions within our career.  For Jessica, she is still working hard as dietitian and exploring her passion for diabetes education.  It has been intriguing to watch her grow as a dietitian and find her niche and passion within the broad spectrum of dietetics.  I cannot be more proud and excited for Jessica as she builds her reputation within her current position.  Everyday she comes home and is full of stories of people who's lives she has positively impacted.  There are also cases where the education side of her job is not the easiest, as diet is a controversial and emotional topic that for many is a difficult subject.

My career has seen a stark change and transition over the past year as I transitioned out of the health and wellness field.  As many of you know, I have been a massage therapist and yoga instructor for over 8 years, as well as a student for much of that time.  After graduating undergrad, I transitioned straight into grad school working towards my MBA.  January 2016 I began working for Wells Fargo, and my work experience has been an interesting roller coaster ever since.  It has definitely been a great experience and has opened my eyes to the many ways I can use my passion to help people through the world of finance.  I love helping people navigate through the different options they have, and educating them as they move forward with their new purchase.  When dealing with people finances, it is not always a happy and joyous conversation.  I have been called names I did not know existed, listened to people cry, heard sad stories, and at times lost compassion for people.  Through it all though I want more and more to be able to educate people as they make financial decisions.

Our crazy fur baby Athena has really enjoyed being a part of our lives, and we have learned so much from having her as a part of our family.  Her care free enjoyment of life and never-ending expression of love for us has provided us with unlimited smiles, laughs, and snuggles.  She has such a personality, keeps us active, and shows us how much we can love and spoil one of Gods creations.

Having fun with family has been a big part of the past year.  We have intentionally simplified the amount of people we have hung out with and made plans around family and close friends that have been around over the years.  It was nothing negative about the many great people that have been apart of our lives over the years, but we have really felt the pull to grow extremely close with our amazing families that God has blessed us with.

From trips to Simply Natural Creamery, to Olivera Street Tacoria, many of our adventures and family time consists of great food and amazing time with family.

From east to west, north and south, we have been in NC, NJ, and CA to visit family.   

We have welcomed a new niece and little fur baby

into the family last year, and with each change and addition, more joy and happiness grows within our lives.  Love for nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, fur babies, and each other has grown shifted and changed in the most amazing ways with the intentional time we have spent with family.

With the passing of each day, week, month, and year, time continues to move along as our lives grow closer together.  The life long journey of our lives together has seen many adventures and each one is more exciting than the next.  The opportunity to continually learn new things about my amazing wife, and make it a point to always be intrigued by her life, thoughts, feelings, opinions, is what motivates me to see what change lies ahead as we pass through phases of life together.

As an ECU alumni, Jessica  experienced many football games.  I had never been to a game until last year when we were able to share that experience together.

The past year has also brought the best neighbors we have ever had.  It has been so much fun being able to share life with this great couple.  Who would have thought we would have found our town home because of a Jersey Strong bumper sticker, because only cool neighbors are from Jersey (=.  Well one is from Jersey and the other from Gods country as they call it, but we love them both the same.  We tore down the fence between our yards and our dogs let themselves into each others houses.  Oh and this is Athena's boy friend Otis, she loves having him right next-door.

Overall last year has been one of balance and learning how to just be.  Through reflection and searching we have realized the importance of making time for the things that really matter.  Life so easily can become overwhelmingly over complicated, when realistically there is no need to complicate the beauty in the simplistic life God has made available to us all.    

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Full Circle Part 2

So I left off Full Circle Part 1 with, The adage that, "you do not realize what you have until it is gone", really hit hard as we began saying goodbye to friends, with no reason in our minds to believe we would be back to Greenville anytime soon....

I will pick up on our last day in Greenville before our new adventure to a little town just north of Charlotte, NC called Cornelius.  

Everything was packed and we finished up with the last bit of cleaning before we headed off into the unknown.  

The truck was loaded with the essentials and we got on the road realizing that heavy footed me was in  a vehicle that would not go much faster than 65mph with a long trip ahead of us.  

After a lot of help unloading, we enjoyed some of the things we enjoy the most, friends and famliy...

Settled into our cute little place, we discovered the coolest place ever called IKEA which we just so happened to have only 20 mins away and began decorating.  

Jessica was working full time with UNC and I continued undergrad through Liberty University.  We enjoyed exploring everything Cornelius and the surrounding areas had to offer as we settled into the new town we called home.  

It was so nice being so close outdoor adventures, hiking, water, and family.  This was our camping trip with my sister to Badin Lake.  No internet, no power, simply outdoors and enjoying nature.  

After our fun camping adventure, the apts we were living in had a pumpkin carving contest which I obviously won with this magnificent piece of art lol.

As you get older you realize more and more the people in your lives that mean the most to you and how precious the time you get to spend with them truly is.  Nana was one of the most caring and lovely ladies I have had the pleasure of getting to know while being married to Jessica, and now that she is gone, everyday I see a little of her in Jessica as the memory of her lives on.  

Jessica and I loved walking around our neighborhood in Cornelius and had a wonderful time walking through Birkdale village at Christmas to see the lights and all of the frantic shoppers searching for our next Goodwill find (= 
P.S. the goodwill in Cornelius was hands down the best Goodwill we have ever been to.  

This hike to Crowder Mountain was a pretty important hike in many different ways.  One, it helped me decide a direction to head in my future, and two it was the last hike we made as a non dog family (=
 That day after our hike we went to the humane society of Charlotte and fell in love with our fur baby.   When we got there she actually was being looked at by an older couple who were just sitting in chairs as she pounced around in the cage with them.  About five minutes later they put her back and she was ours.

  She has become an important part or our family and has definitely changed us in many ways.  We realized how much responsibility it is to have a dog, but with that responsibility comes the joy of providing a loving caring home for an animal that has endless love for us.  There is not a day that passes that I do not walk in the house without being greeted by the most affectionate dog I have ever met.

My brother was able to come home from Japan not long after we got Athena and fell in love with her as well (=.
Athena has tore up her bed but never our   furniture so that is a plus.

So a year in Charlotte had passed and Jessica's job had come to an end.  We decided that since we were not sure were our next step would be and neither of us had jobs that we would move to Wilmington, NC.  No we did not buy a FIAT... Our poor  Volvo broke down a day before our move and we had already taken a load of boxes to Wilmington and left the other car!!!!  We had to rent a car for a day before we packed the truck and towed the Volvo to our new home at the beach.  
 We took one last stroll through Birkdale Village and all shared a Ben & Jerrys ice cream cone (yes our dog is spoiled and we wouldn't have it any other way) before yet again another move.
 We only spent four months in Wilmington, but in our time there we realized how important it is to enjoy everyday to the fullest and every phase in your life for what it is.  It would have been so easy for us to stress out and worry about what our next step was going to be.  Instead, we enjoyed every day and took every chance we could to go play at the beach or spend time together.

     Jessica was trying to teach Athena how to swim  

So Carolina beach has an amazing place called Wake N Bake, and the only way to describe it is amazing!!! hands down the best donuts ever!!!!

The sunsets were beautiful and we loved the sand between our toes, but as much as we loved our four months at the beach, Jessica was offered a job in Greenville.  If you remember in the beginning we had no plans on coming back to Greenville, but God has a funny way of reminding us that when we tell Him He is in control and to open and close doors, that we are going where He wants us to be. 

We packed up yet another moving truck and headed back to the Pirate Country with no idea what the future would hold.  Little did we know that the job God had opened up for Jessica would be her dream job, and that she would be able to make an impact in the lives of the individuals that need her help the most.

We rekindled relationships with friends that honestly we took for granted, but have quickly begun to realize how important those friendships really are to us

We have come back to a church that is just as on fire for God as when we left, and realized that as much as we were ready to plug into a larger church when we were gone, we really missed the community we had right at our fingertips before we left. 

We have realized how important family is to us, and to cherish every moment we get to spend with them because we are not promised tomorrow.  

But most of all we have realized that no matter where we are, what city we live in, what jobs we work, or the unknown that lies ahead, 
that we are better together and our God will always provide for us when our eyes are focused together  on Him.