Have You Seen My Moxie?

My great-grandparents were world travelers. When my family would visit their post-retirement home on the west coast of Florida, I would spend hours sifting through the wall of cabinets that held all of the treasures from their adventures. There were dolls from Mexico, delicate jewelry boxes from China, wood carvings from Scandinavia, and countless other baubles from far away places. By the time they were in their late-eighties, they would let us kids each choose an item to take home because they knew they couldn’t take such treasures with them on their next adventure.

Their daughter – my grandmother, passed away this summer. As her children and grandchildren sorted through her worldly belongings, we came across some items that were once housed in that wall of cabinets. My father and aunts insisted that us children take anything we wanted – whether it be for practical use or for sentimental reasons.

I ended up with an assortment of items, some pictured here. An unfinished needlework, silver tongs, a hand-stitched table cloth, well-used measuring cups, and a paperweight featuring my grandmother’s senior year portrait. Of all the items, the unfinished needlework project of Michigan resinates the most with me. It was buried within an ancient sewing box so I doubt she was recently working on it but a needle and thread were still attached. To be honest, I am not sure why I am so drawn to it. Was it a practice piece? Did she mess up and decide to start over? Did she ever intend work on it again? Perhaps I wanted it because it reminds me of my own start-and-stop nature of so many projects.

I feel like this blog is one of those start-and-stop projects. When I first started writing years ago, I had no plans to grow an audience. I wrote simply to write. Along the way, I became disenchanted with the competitive nature of blogging. I also became crippled by my own self-doubt and talked myself out of writing about so many things. I felt like that if I wasn’t being authentic, then what is the point of even writing? I would write a blog post here and there and even contemplated deleting everything – all while feeling a bit like a loser because it was quite silly to write about my non-extradinary life. I hadn’t accomplished anything worthwhile. It appeared that I didn’t have a great story to tell. I wasn’t the best writer. I wasn’t the best anything. I wasn’t contributing to society by writing on this silly little blog. I wasn’t. I wasn’t. I wasn’t.

At my first ‘real-world’ job with my first blog seen on the monstrosity of a computer.

Rather than doing my usual routine of ending a blog and starting another (a’la The Sour Patch Kid Experiment and My Goal is Simple), I am simply pushing forward in this space and no longer letting fear dictate my actions. Somewhere along the way, I lost my moxie. So from this point forward, I am determined to find it and plan to document my journey here. I will no longer talk myself out of writing because I somehow convince myself that I don’t have anything to say that people will want to consume. To hell with that mind set. I invite you to follow along. Or not.

I don’t know yet what the wall of cabinets will hold for my children and grandchildren. But I am excited to find out.

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Back to the Regular Scheduled Program

About three weeks ago, we officially became residents of Northern Virginia again. When we found out Clay was being assigned to the Washington DC area, we briefly flirted with the idea of living in the district or directly across the Potomac in one of the fantastic urban areas that we totally would have called home before introducing children to our team. However, we ended up choosing an older house in the village we lived in during our previous assignment. And we couldn’t be happier. We’re still super close to everything, the kids are enrolled in fantastic schools, and the sense of community is amazing.
Because this is our 12th address in our almost 13 years of marriage, we handle this PCS #likeaboss. Not that this move wasn’t without its hiccups – and the last minute nature of everything literally prevented us from planning much beyond 24 hours in advance, but in the end, everything worked out. But my goodness, we are certainly looking forward to not having to move next summer!

We unpacked the last box 10 days ago so our house is beginning to resemble a home. This home is over 60 years old (the floor boards creek – swoons) and our neighborhood has that quintessential east coast vibe. The elementary school is within walking distance, huge trees line the street, neighbors congregate in the front lawns, and people are greeted with a wave and a warm hello. It feels great to be back in Virginia. It feels like home.

Georgia – The Peach State

We’ve been in Georgia for the past week. Our plan all along was for the kids and I to spend as much of the summer away from Texas as possible visiting family and friends on the east coast with Clay flying back and forth in-between TDYs and such. A curveball was thrown our way (more on that later) so our plans were altered slightly but we still managed to get to the lake for the July 4th weekend.

Throughout my adolescence, I would watch reruns of Designing Women on Lifetime. The exploits of Julia Sugarbaker and Co. were my only tie to Georgia until my parents moved from mushroom capital of the world to the land of peaches during my senior year of college. While we always enjoy visiting my parents, this area is not home – it is simply where my parents live. In fact, I often feel like a stranger in a strange land while in the South, despite having spent four wonderful years at Clemson University.

Not that I am complaining – we always enjoy being on the lake when visiting my parents. We took a sunset cruise on the 4th and were able to watch fireworks on the water.

We took the kids kayaking and determined that they’re now officially old enough for us to break our personal kayaks out of storage and start taking kayaking trips as a family. Shortly after, we had to take Clay to the airport and finish the rest of our time in Georgia without our favorite guy.

We’ve spent time fishing off the dock.

We’ve shimmied across logs in the woods.
We’ve seen a Jimmy Buffet cover band perform in the local town square.

We’ve had early morning rides on the jet skis and paddle boat.

And we’ve spent countless hours in the pool.

So while I still may feel like a stranger in a strange land when visiting this part of the country, I’m thankful that my parents have a place where our kids can spend their days in swimsuits, be around extended family, and enjoy the outdoors. Because it’s summer.