Reflections from the Road | Vol. 52

Hey friendos! Since last we met here at the virtual campfire, there’s been a pretty solid mix of wonderful experiences and really difficult ones. What’s new, Ange? 

If I could choose all the good stuff and none of the bad, I sure would. But that’s not how life works. (If you elect me as Student Body President, I will totally work on all this. Plus Gatorade in all the water fountains.) For now, here’s a little glimpse at the highs and lows from the past 90 days. 

Highs

COMING TO A BOOKSTORE NEAR YOU

The hardest secret I ever had to keep is finally out – I got a book deal! Thank you all for the sweet messages and virtual high fives since the announcement. I can’t wait to get it in your hands… in 2024, which feels about a million years away instead of just 1.5. I’m so pumped that this is finally happening. I just have to finish it first. Read all about it here.

NORTHERN LIGHTS

After two rotten years where it looked like our days of galavanting the world were over, we are getting back out there and taking you! There are only 6 spots left on our Northern Lights Iceland trip though, so if you’re thinking about booking, now is the time. If you have any questions, please reach out to Rae or me! More details here. 

Jet Sisters Iceland Trip

MY SUPER SWEET 16

We celebrated my Sweet 16 as a blogger with confetti, cake and sparkles. As they say, the days are long, but the years are short. I sure never thought I’d get 16 years down the road and still be publishing a blog. I would’ve laughed if anyone suggested such an outrageous thing. And here we are. And I love it and I’m so blessed that I still get to do it. READ MORE: 16 Years of Blogging!

SHARK BESTIES

I had the chance to get away to West Palm for a few days to see my girl Alex in Wanderland. She has a wildly successful women’s retreat business, so I came down to sample some of the goods before the guests arrived. And of course, we went swimming with sharks! There’s nothing like some quality friend time to fill your cup, you know?

Lows

HURRICANE IAN

Jacksonville made out far better than expected, though that doesn’t mean we aren’t still cleaning up and rebuilding. (Many still without power, as of this writing.) My parents didn’t flood this time, thank God. I didn’t even live with them when that happened during Hurricane Irma, but it still brings up some very raw emotions. It makes me feel some kind of way thinking about all the people in SW Florida. right now who are coming back to find their homes gone or waterlogged. It’s a loss you can’t understand until it happens. 

For those asking, yep, Rick is out there working on power restoration, along with something like 200,000 out-of-town linemen and tree service folks. It’s incredible to see how quickly those crews can mobilize and get in here to help. 

HAVE KIDS, THEY SAID

It’ll be fun, they said. I’ve never done anything harder than what we’re doing right now. I never, ever could have imagined the stuff that we’ve faced since that fateful day in July 2021 when we got our first foster care placement. You wouldn’t believe me if I told you. And obviously, due to privacy and safety and such, I will never get to share here. Please pray for our kiddo and for us. 

REST IN PEACE, LILIBET

I watched the Queen’s funeral with a cup of tea and a box of tissues. It hit me harder than I expected. Maybe it’s my English roots. Maybe it’s because I was raised on Disney Princess movies so the monarchy was the real life embodiment of my childhood stories. Maybe it’s my middle name. I’ve always felt a connection to her, and I really thought I’d meet her at some point on this side of heaven. No such luck unfortunately. 

The older I got and the more I learned about Her Majesty, the more I respected her. She was no Disney Princess. No damsel in distress. To think of all she’s seen and lived through is mind blowing. She gave her entire life in service to the Crown, and I can’t imagine there are that many women made of such strong stuff anymore. 

She was a bridge to the past and I think we’re all worse off without her, and without people like her with decades of perspective and wisdom. All it takes is 15 minutes on TikTok to see that we are in a world of societal trouble. 

DR. GASLIGHT

So my GP recommended I go to this specialist for an evaluation. The first one I went to told me to “Google it” and get back to him with a diagnosis from any internet quiz I could find. WHAT. The second one didn’t even ask me about my symptoms and basically just said, “Yeah, everyone has that.” 

So this has been a lot of fun. I’ve probably been to 50 doctors over the course of my life, maybe more? And probably 90% of them have been totally useless. It’s so frustrating when you try to advocate for your own health only to be told, “Meh, I dunno. I don’t feel like evaluating this.” I’m so tired. 

Lessons

HE SAID, SHE SHED

The She Shed is so close to being finished… and yet, it is not finished. Every imaginable obstacle has popped up since it arrived in Q1 of this year, so I’m just trying to muster up enough patience to continue to wait for it. At this rate, my book will be finished before my book-writing nook is. READ MORE: SHE SHED UPDATE

SHUT UP, KAREN

I’m a Karen now! At least according to the kids on TikTok. I posted a sassy video this week, in light of Hurricane Ian. Y’all know I choose my words very carefully, and I would never purposely say anything offensive to anyone. However, I guess I delivered my message with too much bite this time. I knew I should’ve just stood outside in the wind waving an American flag! That’s the real way to keep people alive in a natural disaster.

Real talk: the Internet is kind of a scary place. Sure, I’ve had a few mean comments over the years, mostly to do with me being fat or ugly. But this whole Karen thing was new. 

Another thing about TikTok and Reels on Instagram. No one really seems to want my helpful, informative travel content. People want drama, confrontation and rage. Which of course gives me hives. I’ve been sharing a new series on some of our Airbnb host horror stories (Thank you for all the positive feedback – it’s SO outside my comfort zone) and tellingly, that’s going better than anything else I’ve published lately. 

The lesson here, I think, is that I have to prepare for a whole new level of judgment once my memoir is published. There’s nothing remotely offensive in it… or so I think. I’m sure there will be hordes furious with me for making the life choices I’ve made, or volunteering in Kenya or petting a koala or not having kids. I’ve been accused of being too liberal and too conservative… I’m really curious what will ultimately get me cancelled. Ah well. We can cross that bridge in 2024. 

Next Steps 

We can make our plans but God determines our steps. Proverbs 16:9

WHERE TO?

The final quarter of 2022 is pretty busy. I’m speaking at TBEX again next month, heading to Oregon for a Jet Sisters’ campaign and possibly going on a vacation with Rick if hurricane season allows. 

DEADLINES

The main thing I need to focus on is, no surprise, finishing the book. I’m getting there but after 10 years of drafting and rewriting and processing, it’s wild to me that I can always find something to change. Even though I know without a doubt that no one reading will care about sentence structure, tone or word choice even half as much as I do. Eventually, probably right around my deadline, I’ll have to let it go into the world and actually stop making changes. And then it’ll be PERMANENT. That’s pretty dang scary if you ask me.

Celebrating Rick’s birthday with some Boys vs. Girls Axe Throwing

I’ll probably be busy with post-hurricane helping until I leave for my next trip, so if you don’t see me online a ton, that’s why! Florida is really going to need prayers, donations and all the help we can get. Let me know if you’re looking for ways to get involved and I will connect you with the right resources.

I’ll see you back here Jan. 1 for Vol. 53 of Reflections from the Road. Stay safe and enjoy the holidays, friends!

What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen on the Internet in the past 90 days?

If all this big news comes as a surprise, I’ve been sharing in real time on Instagram! Another way to stay in touch (and win free presents!) is to subscribe to our newsletter. Sign up here, and rest assured that we will never spam you. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

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