Hey y’all – welcome back! I apologize that it’s been quieter than usual around these parts since my last update and I’ve only posted a few times since my January 1 edition, but don’t fret. I haven’t given up blogging, though I confess I have certainly had a few rough moments when I considered it. I’ve just been cleaning house and moving house, both literally and figuratively, and I’m tuckered out!
I’ve painted living, dining, kitchen and bedroom, participated in a Great White Shark expedition, bought a washer, dryer, couch and bedroom set, written half a dozen articles, voted, attended Monster Jam, hosted on The Chat twice, organized a photo shoot for my new site, worked like crazy on the Angie Away facelift and dealt with a barrage of online threats. So please excuse the lack of frequency around here. I’ll be back on track shortly!
WE BOUGHT A HOUSE
When I posted the 25th edition of Reflections from the Road on January 1, I mentioned that Rick and I needed to start thinking about finding somewhere to live because our apartment lease was set to end March 31. The rough plan was to re-sign the lease for another 7 months to a year before finding a house to rent. Buying a house wasn’t really on my mind…
So naturally, I’m writing Volume 26 from our brand new couch in our brand new house. There’s no way this could’ve worked out so seamlessly without it being God’s plan, and as surprised as I am to be sitting here, I’m 100 times more grateful for His providence. He’s always, always, always faithful and I don’t know why it still catches me off guard sometimes!
Snapchat house tour and post about how it all came about coming soon – keep an eye out!
Five months in to this deal and we are having so much fun being married! I’m so…surprised at how quickly we’ve adjusted to living together. There are kinks to work out, of course. I admit, we are starting to really see the parts of ourselves that could use some finesse – I thought I was really clean until Mr. OCD moved in – but being married to Rick is hands-down the easiest & most pleasant part of my life.
I’m still getting the hang of saying “ours” instead of “mine,” particularly when I hear myself say, “You are not putting that ugly bass on any of the freshly painted walls in MY new house.” Whoops.
C&C VISITS JACKSONVILLE
Kristin came to visit! It was a brief stop en route to St. Augustine but we managed to avoid Whole30 completely by eating at Moxie, Candy Apple Café and Maple Street Biscuit Company. We have lots of adventures planned for the coming year – at least three I can think of. So glad she’s in my squad!
It’s an unspoken goal of mine every year to have at least one epic shark experience, so how lucky am I that the world’s foremost shark research project OCEARCH came to Jacksonville for its latest expedition? I went out with the crew on Day 2 and didn’t see a single shark, BUT it was a treat just to hang out with all the researchers and scientists either way. The expedition ended today and they didn’t find any Great Whites out there, but they did manage to tag four tiger sharks. I talked about my time on the M/V OCEARCH on The Chat a few weeks ago – check it out!
I just remembered something else keeping me busy – writing for Travelocity! As one of a few Gnational Gnomads, I’ve been contributing to Travelocity’s Inspire blog. Check out a few of my recent stories for travel tips:
- 10 Surprises to Watch Out For at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
- 5 Wild Animal Encounters You Can Only Have in The Bahamas
- How to Have One Hot Weekend in Miami
- 5 Ways to Spend Spring Break in the Florida Keys
- 6 Tips for Visiting the Swimming Pigs of Exuma
- Planning for Adventure in the Exuma Cays
I HAVE IT. Thank you, husband! After more than 5 years of healthcare-less life, I’m finally able to go to the doctor and the dentist. Please excuse me while I go participate in dangerous activities with reckless abandon!
THE WEDDING SAGA CONTINUES
Thank so much to everyone who read, commented and shared “The Curious Case of the Disappearing TripAdvisor Reviews” from January! It quickly became one of my most-read posts of all time and it means a lot that you’d all take the time to chime in.
After the post went live way back in January, I’ve been pretty quiet on social about the ongoing drama with our wedding venue, but let’s just say it’s uglier and nastier than ever before and has escalated to a level that’s all at once terrifying and pathetic. I haven’t decided if I’ll write anymore about it because I’m just so tired of reliving it (one wrecked wedding week was enough – do I really need to experience it over and over?), but at the same time, I have such a strong sense of justice, I feel a responsibility to make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else. What do you think?
REFLECTIONS ON BEING OLD AND CHUBBY
Thanks to the stress of home buying and the above, I have just lost complete control of my health. I’ve been sick and pain, stressed to the max, unable to work out and eating whatever is available when I realize I’m starving. I actually thought I was having a heart attack at one point, and thankfully I wasn’t. Now that we’re moved in and the kitchen is more or less unpacked, it’s time to get back on that healthy Whole30 wagon. Giddy-up.
In the spirit of transparency, I would like to let all the aspiring entrepreneurs and bloggers out there know that doing your taxes every year is a painful, hideous, demoralizing process. Add a husband and his paperwork to the mix and we’re talking 7th circle of Hell stuff. I will be spending the rest of this weekend rounding up those last forms and documents to finish the deal so I can find out what fat check I get to write the IRS this year. Weeee.
Spending much more quality time with Vader & Leia since we moved closer to my brother’s house
And you know what else? Mortgages are a racket, man! As much as I’m enjoying our new house, I am in awe that anyone pursues home ownership, what with having to prove that every dime you’ve ever made is not from money laundering or drug dealing. That might not be a big deal if you have one paycheck from one company, but I have a zillion sources of income, and the mortgage company, like most of my relatives, didn’t comprehend exactly how I do what I do. It’s done now, but seriously, I’m never buying another house! (Says the girl who was never going to be non-nomadic, never going to live in Jacksonville and never getting married. Yeah.)
WATCH OUT FOR 2X4S
In a hurry to get to a meeting one day, I rushed through the church parking lot, turned the corner around the back of a pickup and slammed my face/head right into a 2×4 that was sticking out of the back of the truck. I said words I normally wouldn’t say, certainly not in the church parking lot! But I didn’t drop my Starbucks and after sitting in the car for a minute to make sure I wasn’t going to pass out, I carried on with my day. Smooth one, Ange.
I have absolutely got to chill out and say no to some projects. I haven’t had a day off in months, I’ve been neglecting the blog – well, the content of the blog. (The design is coming along beautifully!)
Practically, I know I need to cut back on some projects to make time in my life for A. God-commanded rest and B. the next step in our lives. But then I look around the new house and think, “Window treatments. Rugs. DIY faux fireplace. Beds. Endless Pool. Pergola. Outdoor kitchen.”
Do you see my dilemma? I want to work less and have more money. Life’s great challenge!
FAITHFULNESS AND PROVISION
When we decided to move forward with buying the house, Rick & I didn’t have enough money for the down payment… not by about $20,000. I had some paychecks and outstanding invoices coming that, when coupled with Rick’s income, would put us close, but it was going to be a real stretch. I began to worry that we wouldn’t be able to scrape it all together, and for a moment I considered not tithing on my checks when they came in just to be sure we had it all. After God has been so faithful in blessing me with work and opportunities, I actually considered doing things my own way. I lost sight of the fact that He’s never left me hanging and He promises to always provide for those who are faithful and cheerful givers.
I prayed about the situation and God really quieted my anxiety. As the checks rolled in, I tithed as I always do and left it up to Him to show up. Of course, He came through in a big way.
Not only did all our checks and invoices come in on time (that never happens), but multiple opportunities to earn extra money popped up unexpectedly. AND, one of my vendors paid me almost $1,000 more than I invoiced him just because. In the history of time, no one has ever paid more just for fun.
We ended up with a surplus in the bank and didn’t have to borrow from our 401ks or family, something we thought we might have to do. Is God awesome or what? And am I just a forgetful Israelite who can’t keep track of the fact that God has provided for me every step of the journey?
DON’T KNOCK THE MONSTER TRUCK SHOW UNTIL YOU TRY IT
Hubby & Brother dragged me to Monster Jam, the world’s most famous monster truck show, and I was sure I wouldn’t care for it. Afterward, I was promising that next year we’d do it up bigger and better. Box seats! VIP pit tours! It was such a fun night – I’m still shocked that I liked it so much!
We can make our plans but God determines our steps. Proverbs 16:9
FACELIFT AND GIVEAWAY
The updated AngieAway.com is just around the corner and y’all, it’s so pretty! I can’t wait to unveil what I’ve been working on with the geniuses at Further Bound and giveaway a BIG travel prize to kick it all off. I’m serious when I say BIG. You won’t want to miss it!
NEW AND IMPROVED REFLECTIONS EXPERIENCE
After 26 editions, it’s time to give Reflections from the Road a little facelift as well. The next edition, planned for July 1, will have new features & a whole new look. Yay!
Now that I have a beautiful, cozy house that I want to buy dozens of throw pillows for, it makes sense that duty calls and I’m heading out on the road again soon. I’ve taken a few months off of traveling to let the glue dry on this whole marriage thing, but watch out world because Angie Away is back! On the agenda: Panama City Beach. Cuba. Martha’s Vineyard. Minneapolis. Canada. Costa Rica. And perhaps a return to Treasure Cay, the scene of the wedding crime. We shall see…. all I know is I’m already tired just thinking about all those flights!
Since I kicked off this roots & wings lifestyle back in 2010, I’ve written bimonthly/quarterly roundups chock full of details and musings not found in my other writings. Reflections from the Road posts are my favorite to look back on, as they capture what I was up to and how I was feeling. If you ever wonder how I made it to where I am now, the RfrR series is the best place to start.