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SOMEHOW, IT\’S BEEN A YEAR.
I\’ve never written a blog. That might become clear the further you read. Yet for some reason I\’ve felt pressed to write about this past year, and perhaps let this be the start of something I have been missing. A way to articulate life, current projects, renovations, inspirations, and frankly, whatever I want.
(J) And then there\’s me, her husband. I asked if it was okay to voice my thoughts in her blog and she obliged. We both want an outlet to show our creativity, share our projects, and generally just comment on the weird twists and turns that life gives us.
I sit here and know what I want to say, but have no clue how I am supposed to say it. I know what this past year has done not only to me, but to my husband, our marriage, our outlook on life, our career trajectory, our plans. But I don\’t want to sit here and act like this little “blip” in our “plan” was life-altering, jarring, dramatic, mind-blowing, or tragic by any means. It was something, but none of those things. In fact, I\’m not even sure I can find the word to describe what transformations took place in these 373 (1 year+8) days. Other than vaguely that, transformation.
You know how the saying goes: If you want to see God laugh, tell him your plans. When we had moved to Denver and bought our home, you can assume we had planned on living in it for quite some time. That was the plan. Live in our house, make it ours, do our jobs, grow my business, make our friends, enjoy our community, and start a family. We started doing all of that, we got comfortable, and then God laughed.
That laugh sounded like “move to Midland, TX” Come again, God? Do what now?
(J) Here\’s where I\’ll provide some clarification on why exactly we moved to Midland, TX. My company had “asked” to relocate me to Midland for one to two years. I put that word in quotes to emphasize that it was either move or be let go. And frankly, the move made sense from a career standpoint. It would provide me with excellent experience and knowledge to become a valuable asset down the road. I obviously said yes, signed some paperwork, and off we went! While moving to Midland is an unfortunate way to get ahead in one\’s career, being able to change your direction while keeping your job is a nice benefit.
Granted, we don\’t have human children yet, so moving is fairly easy at this point in our lives. But we do have two furry ones, and five feathery ones. A house that we loved, a backyard we just refinished, friends, church family, oh and did I mention my mom, who had just moved there to be closer to us?
So without the faintest idea of where we would be living, what we would need to bring, or what the heck life would look like for the next 12-24 months, we became temporary Texans. Sold and donated most of our things, stored the rest, said a tearful goodbye to our chickens who had to be re-homed, handed over the keys to our home to my Mom while apologizing for leaving her, and we were on our way.
Our apartment was about ten times nicer than expected, I\’ve learned to keep expectations low for reasons just like this. Same goes for Midland, it\’s no Denver, but it ain\’t no Glendive, MT either. (lived there for a year, would chose to never do that again.) So here we were. Living in temporary 800 sq/ft quarters with rented furniture, and windows and a patio that faced a busy, loud street. My “office” now consisted of my desk fit snug in one of the corners of the living room, my massive 50lb printer decorated the side table across the room. This was how I was supposed to run a business for somewhere between 12-24 months. Challenge accepted. Hesitantly so, but accepted. Getting two dogs to be okay with no backyard and being leashed up to use the bathroom is also something I was not too excited about. Apartment aside, we could deal. But man would we miss our home.
We quickly learned what boring people we were without house projects or a garage to work in. So we took up drinking, but in a totally socially acceptable way. The Beer Garden. Somehow you felt classier than ever drinking a beer while surrounded by plants and flowers. The drive-in movie theater still exists in Midland, TX. Take your dogs to the movies with you? Sign us up.
(J)The Beer Garden was one of the only local places to get a beer, socialize with friends, and listen to live music while skipping the bar scene. In addition, their beer selection is huge! Coming from a craft beer capital like Colorado, this place felt very welcoming.
We had successfully entertained ourselves for a full two weeks in West Texas. Okay, so this might be a long couple of years just yet. With most of our friends back home starting families, buying homes, planning amazing vacations, doing life together, we felt so removed. Unfairly left behind, as if our life was put on pause. John was working insane hours in the Texas summer heat, I was spending 97% of my time alone with my dogs, trying to keep Grain+Dot afloat. My plans to grow my business had to wait, there simply wasn\’t the room nor the resources here. If you\’re keeping track, that\’s a whole lot of stuff being kept on hold.
(J) If you\’ve ever been uprooted while your life is just starting to get normal, you know the feeling. Like my wife said, your life gets placed on hold. Kids? On hold. Housing renovations? Also on hold! But God has a funny way of changing your life when you least expect it. I was working long, hot hours in the field, but I was able to really talk with the Lord during those long days.
Three months felt like six, and it was wearing on us. But now that the weather was becoming tolerable, we vowed to spend our unexpected time in Texas, exploring as much of it as we could. Ask our 4Runner, shes just 7 months old and is nearing 11,000 miles. This is coming from the girl who had a car for four years and only put 22,000 on it.
Carlsbad Caverns, San Antonio, New Braunfels, Boerne, Dallas, Arlington, Fort Worth, Austin, Monahans, Alpine, Ft. Davis, Marfa, Lubbock, Amarillo, and everywhere in between. That\’s a whole lot of Texas. We saw and did a lot, and our dogs, they have got to be some of the most well-traveled mutts out there.
Honorable mention happenings: Sold our cars. Bought a 4Runner. Paid off student loans. Saw a Cowboys game. Ate the world largest cinnamon roll. Shopped at the world\’s smallest Target. Saw Styx. Made friends at the dog park. Visited one of the darkest areas in the world and stared at the sky through telescopes. Went sledding on sand dunes. Celebrated ten years of dating and four years of marriage. Ate the most magnificent donuts (Gourdoughs). Overate amazing BBQ. And rescued two strays.
(J)One of the strays was a brown Chihuahua that I found on an oil well site in the middle of nowhere. I spent a full hour letting him get comfortable before I could grab him and put him in my truck. He was so grateful that he spent the entire ride into town sleeping on my lap. We let him off at the local no-kill animal shelter here in town. Hopefully the final stop before his furever home.
Being adventurous at heart, John and I took to exploring eagerly. Not only discovering Texas, but ourselves, and God in a whole new way. It takes getting your world rocked a bit, getting pushed outside of your comfort zone, to see what is the most important. In a way this year has been a purge. Not just of things, but how we spend our time, who we spend it with, even how we day dream.
I am truly thankful for this opportunity, this change, this year of life unexpected. But I am also thankful that we are able to return to our home, that Midland was as temporary as it ended up being. In no way do I expect to pick up and return back to the life we left, I pray that doesn\’t happen, not even a little.
(J) This year changed our perspective on life. We embraced normal in Denver. While career wise I was doing good, I was seeing where it was leading, and it wasn\’t what I wanted to do. God handed us the answer of breaking away from the pack and really doing something special. He answered a prayer of change. We\’ve learned that a normal life isn\’t for us, we are best by living on the seat of the unexpected.
It\’s been a year of redirection. Having the rug pulled out from under us. God laughing at our plans, while revealing just a peek at his. Maybe that\’s what this year has been, maybe we still don\’t know. It\’s been one of the longest years of our lives, yet also the shortest.
Somehow, it\’s been a year.
Photos by Sydney Tolifson Photography who was an absolute pleasure to work with!