Merry Christmas, internet. 

‘Twas the night before Thursday, and all through the house, only one creature was stirring, clicking the mouse. The stocking were hung on a wall with great care, in hopes the wife would fill them with more than just air. The {fur}children were nestled snug in their beds, while visions of rawhides and catnip pranced through their heads.

I know, I know. Be amazed at my poetry prowess. (Insert sleepy eye roll here) In truth, though, it’s Wednesday night, just a mere 11 days from Christmas, and while the husband and dog and kitty are snoring, I’m making sandwiches for tomorrow’s lunch because it’s range week (PBJs if anyone was curious), wrapping a few more presents, and am generally just doing things I should’ve done during the day, but didn’t, because….well, because I didn’t want to, that’s why. 

I love Christmas. Everyone who knows me knows that Christmas has always thrown up in my house just days after Thanksgiving, and maybe a few days earlier this year ☺️, and Christmas music has been playing for several months now. #sorrynotsorry 

But as I’m doing busy tasks around the house while my little family sleeps, I’m struck a little dumb. It’s my first Christmas away from all my family. And I know I should be real melancholy about it, right? Don’t take this the wrong way, fam…but I’m still very happy. 
I miss having tons of people eat the bajillions of cookies I bake, and having gazillions of people to give them to, because you know I can’t eat them all. (Or shouldn’t.) I miss my parents, and my siblings. I miss my best friend. I keep looking back and reminiscing on all the Christmas traditions my families have had. 

At my grandparents, we always read the Christmas story out of the Bible on Christmas morning. We assigned a “Santa” who passed out all the presents. At my mama’s, we picked out a new Christmas book every year, and read it on Christmas Eve. (Every year or so, my sister and I convinced my mom to let us open one present on Christmas Eve, too.) 

It’s funny how my mom won’t read my Christmas story this year. I won’t get to be Santa at my Mom and Big Dad’s. I don’t get to traipse through the Festival of Lights in Hopkins Park, sisters in tow, Texas flags made out of Christmas lights shining bright and independent. 

Sure, husband and I drove through neighborhoods to look at other people’s Christmas lights. I’m going to buy a Christmas book to read to Luke and Eastwood on Christmas Eve because that’s what good {fur}mamas do. I’ll read the Christmas story from the Bible Christmas morning, to remind my little family what Christmas is really about. But I’ll be doing it without my mama, without my siblings and the horde of cousins I have, without my dad and my grandparents. 

It’s been a little over half a year since I struck out on my own, waiting on deployment to end. And that half a year has been tumultuous. It has seen tears of infinite joy, & infinite sadness. It has heard slammed doors and angry hangups. It has seen tearful phone calls with my best friend at 2 am because I miss home, and I miss her so much. It has seen laugher and happiness, and our first home has been filled with love and light, sadness and anger, too. 

We added to our little family a cat who is more dog than feline. He’s a jolly little guy who follows me around, mewling pathetically until I sit down to snuggle him. Our spare room has plans to not be a spare, God willing. We have made this place that isn’t our favorite, still the place we end the day with joyous hearts. 

And just 11 days before Christmas, 6 days from our 1 year anniversary as a married couple, I am reminded of what Christmas is about: not just Jesus and the salvation of us crappy humans, but also the love and joy we can bring each other. I’m not perfect. Some days, I lay in bed all day, too emotionally tired to move. I don’t cook dinner every night, and I forget to turn the Keurig off when I’m done with it. My husband isn’t perfect. He forgets the tasks I’ve asked him to do. He never replaces the bag in the trash can unless I hand it to him. He doesn’t like to eat the vegetables I make (when I cook dinner).

But you know what? 

I am smart. I know how to budget groceries and make sure the bills get paid. I can cook, and attempt to at least 4 nights a week. My house stays relatively clean (at least the downstairs). And my husband? Not perfect, but still probably better than I deserve. He takes care of me on the days I find I couldn’t get out of bed. He switches the laundry over whenever he sees it needs to be. He cleans the entire kitchen while I shower just so I don’t have to. 

We are two imperfect beings trying to make our way in the world, without leaving too dark a stain, with God lighting a path unto our feet. Sometimes I trip, and he rights me. Sometimes he stumbles, but I help him back up. 

This Christmas, I am graced with a wonderful husband, a moody old man of a dog, a sweet kitty who likes to use knife fingers and his little shark mouth to show his love, and a Savior who never falters in His love for all of us. 

This Christmas, far away from all I’ve ever known, I am graced with the opportunity to carry on and create traditions that will last my family for many more generations. 

This Christmas, like every other Christmas, is not about what is under the tree. It isn’t about the money that was spent on stocking stuffers. It’s not even about us. It’s about something bigger than us. It’s about love, and joy, and peace. It’s about knowing that the Great I Am has my family in His hands, and knowing that He isn’t letting go anytime soon. 

This Christmas is about growth and change, and about roots and endurance. 

What’s this Christmas about for you? 

Merry Christmas from us to y’all. 

Xoxo, 

Em. 

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Holidays, and How to Get Through Them 

Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years… 

Everyone does holidays a little differently. Some people refuse to decorate for Christmas until Thanksgiving is over, and then you have people like me…I’ve been listening to Christmas music for two weeks, Thanksgiving is on Thursday, and my house is covered in Christmas decorations I got from Hobby Lobby because they were 50% off. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, ya know? 

And it’s the most wonderful time of the year, because for the first time in what feels like a long time, I’m not playing the guessing game of “is he coming home this year? Did he get leave? Was it approved?”, and I’m also not wondering how to navigate the holidays without upsetting one side of the family or the other. Instead, we’re buying a Christmas tree and ornaments and dressing our pets up as Santa Claus and giving them ugly sweaters, there’s a wreath on the front door of our house, and I’m wondering if Thanksgiving/Christmas dinners will be edible, or if we’ll end up eating peanut butter sandwiches that night. And even though I’m stressing out about things like dinner and pies and Christmas presents and whether or not my dogs ugly sweater is on correctly, I’m so very grateful that I’m getting to celebrate our first Thanksgiving, and second Christmas and New Years married and together, in our home, with our fur children who are more spoiled than probably your kids. (Sorry not sorry).

But for the long time I’ve waited for these moments, I still remember the way it felt when the holidays came around and I wasn’t sure if Rick would be there, and all I dealt with was the questions of “is he coming home? What do you mean you don’t know? What’s leave; how does that work? Why can’t he just buy a plane ticket and come home?” 

So for the SEVERAL wonderful ladies I know or have the pleasure of a Facebook acquaintance with, that have to deal with this this year…girl, I am so sorry.  I was lucky enough that all we missed together was one Thanksgiving, but trust me, I understand the amount of stress, annoyance, and sometimes just plain loneliness that the holidays bring with them, now that it’s getting colder (maybe not so much in Texas, but a girl can hope), and light festivals are happening and you feel like you’ve got no one to go with because you’re not sure if he’s even coming home. 

So here are my tips and tricks for getting through the holidays until he’s on a plane on his way back to you:

  1. Forget about it. Don’t stress about the “what if he doesn’t come home” aspect. Just decorate your tree, make your favorite pie, buy a bottle of wine…you know, whatever gets ya through the night.
  2. Ignore the people. I know, I’m so rude. Who cares? Honestly, you can only hear, “Oh, that must be so hard,” and “I’m so sorry for you” like twice before it gets annoying and you want to punch some sweet old lady who only means well. She’ll forget all about it and you shouldn’t waste any time being upset over it. Cut Grandma some slack.
  3. Plan for the best case scenario! Don’t be a sourpuss the entire holiday season until he’s on his way home for a measly 96! Look up fun things to do around your area for the holidays, like ice skating, the Riverwalk in San Antonio, the Festival of Lights in Dickinson…sorry, you can take the girl out of Texas, but you can’t take the Texas out of the girl.
  4. Don’t forget, he’s not the only person in your life. I know, I know. He’s the best. Maybe the most important. You love him the most. (Sorry, Mom.) But while you’re waiting on word from him, don’t forget to show the people around you that you love spending the holidays with them, too. Don’t be lackluster in family traditions just because you’re sad. Love the people you’re with, even if he’s not there. 

Something else, that I think is just as important, even if it doesn’t necessarily pertain to just the holiday season:

It. Is. Okay. To. Be. Sad. A lot of the time, people say “cheer up” so often, we begin to feel like it’s a crime to be unhappy. I know I did, during that first month of deployment. But you know what? Your soul mate is somewhere other than near you. You deal with time zone differences, being in different countries, reaching milestones alone, and so much more. You are so very entitled to every single emotion that your situation brings you, even if all of those emotions aren’t positive. Don’t you dare let anyone devalue your emotions. This is your experience, and feeling it is all part of the journey.

What if he doesn’t get to come home?

I’m sorry. I really, really, am because I know that sucks. But you know what? Make a cute Thanksgiving/Christmas care package. Be corny with it; that’s half the fun. Think of starting traditions that you don’t necessarily have to be together to partake in. Those will come in handy during the dreaded deployments, where he’s bound to miss at least one major holiday at least once. Don’t let yourself be sad for the entire season. Go to the Festival of Lights, and FaceTime him. Skype on Christmas morning. Send him a letter on why you’re thankful for him. 

This life is hard, and sometimes, it’s really lonely, too. It’s okay to be disappointed, and it’s okay to be happy, too. I hope all your guys come home, ladies. I promise, the wait is worth it. I know it’s hard right now, but in a little while, you’ll be together for the holidays wondering if the cat’s Santa costume is too tight.

And for the people who ask all the questions: for the love of all that is holy, STOP.  Thanks

Also, for your viewing enjoyment, Anna Kendrick, showing how we all feel during this busy time:

“Is he coming home”

“Do you know what day he has to go back?”

“Are you going to stay here, or over there?”

“What will y’all be doing?”

“Are you sad? Am I asking too many questions? Is that a bottle of wine? Did you just drink that whole thing?”

Merry Christmas, y’all! 

Xoxo,

Em. 

I Miscarried, But I’m Not Broken. 

I know what a lot of people were thinking when we announced we were pregnant. Grandparents were excited, parents were chomping at the bit to buy baby gear, friends were scratching their heads in confusion because “what happened to the no kid adventures?” 

The thing is, the adventures end. You can always go new places and have late night excursions, you can make plans at the drop of a hat and go wherever whenever. But having a kid is an adventure all on its own. And we thought it was time for that adventure, but it wasn’t. 

Miscarriage happens. A lot. 3 out of 5 women have lost at least one child in their lifetime, and 20% of first trimester pregnancies end in miscarriages. Doctors see it as a normal part of reproductive health, because it’s so common. But no one really talks about it. It’s a sort of taboo. But why? 

Yes, it sucked. My heart hurts. My copy of “What To Expect When You’re Expecting” is sitting on the nightstand unopened. It hurts, and I cry in the shower. It’s a sort of emptiness you feel when you didn’t even know that a space had been filled. 

So many people have called, or texted, or messaged me with their own stories. People who have been through the exact same thing, and I didn’t even know it, because it’s not something anyone talks about. And that’s a personal preference, to keep your grief to yourself. A lot of couples do. But I’m different. I’m grateful for the love and support of my family at a time such as this. It’s not only my grief. It’s my husband’s, my mom’s, my best friend’s. 

That baby, as short as it’s life was, existed and was loved by so many in such a short time. I don’t know why it had to happen. I don’t know if it’ll be the only time. I don’t know the plan of God. I do know that He has a plan for all things, including me, my husband, and future children. 

I can’t wonder about what won’t be. I can only pray for what can be, and allow God to work in my life to show me what will be. I am sad. I am hurt. I feel empty and am struggling with my emotions. But I’m not broken. I’m not allowing this event to define me, my marriage, or my relationship with God. I am not less of a woman, or incapable. I am grieving now, but I will be stronger, more worldly, and wiser. I’m not broken. I’m just sad. 

Thank you to everyone who has called, texted, messaged or otherwise, even if I haven’t answered. We appreciate your love and your support, and just ask for a little patience. 

Xoxo,

Em. 

“If ever there is a tomorrow when we’re not together, there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is: even if we are apart, I’ll always be with you.” 

The “No Kid” Adventures of the Teepes

I woke up at 08:34 this Sunday morning. Nothing particular woke me up, unless you count the dog wiggling his way over to bury his nose in my hair. 

It’s 08:40 and I’m downstairs cooking breakfast while the dog and Rick are still in bed. It’s 0900 and we’re walking the dog and just enjoying each other’s company. We had a plan for today, you know. We were just going to clean up and do laundry and hang out around the house. 

It’s now 10:11 and we’re speeding down Interstate 5, towards the San Diego Zoo. On Friday we went to SeaWorld and to go see a movie in the middle of the day. Yesterday, we went out with the intention of just going to lunch, and instead ended up going to lunch and buying new home decor, because hello! Fall is here, our house needs to smell like pumpkins in order for me to be happy, and thanksgiving themed placemats needed to be on our table. 

Tomorrow, we have tickets to DisneyLand and after next payday, you know we’re going to Universal Studios in Hollywood, because Harry Potter world and the Walking Dead and all that fun stuff. 

And more than once the past few days, we’ve made the comment, “we couldn’t do this if we had kids.” And it’s so true. If we had an infant, you know we wouldn’t have woken up at almost 9 am this morning. We couldn’t just decide “hey, let’s go to the zoo!” 

We’re young, and married, and just enjoying life as it comes. We’re waking up whenever and going to theme parks and zoos and walking the dog and cooking dinner and going shopping. And I love it. A lot of people seem to think that marriage=kids. And that’s not true, at least not for us. Maybe someday. But if this is how life went for the two of us for the rest of forever, that would be okay, too. Lunch dates don’t happen when John has a dentist appointment at 2 and Becky had to be picked up early from school because she had a fever. (FYI I’m not naming my future children Becky and John. There will also not be a IV, sorry in laws.) Packing up and spending the day on the beach doesn’t happen in the middle of the week because we don’t have a babysitter. DisneyLand will lose all its charm because I do not want to ride Dumbo with the 2 year old. 

We’re 19 and 20, and we’re totally rocking this adventure God gave us. And we’re doing it without worry and without wondering. We’re waking up at 9 am and cooking dinner at 8 pm. We’re spending less than $200 to go to DisneyLand, and nothing to go to SeaWorld. 

This is our life, and stay tuned for more of the “no kid adventures of the Teepes.” 😘

Xoxo,

Em. 

I Fell in Love at 14…so what? 

It’s 4:30 in the morning, and I’m downstairs on the couch because I couldn’t sleep. The dog and the husband are currently snoring loudly in bed upstairs, and I’m going to wake him up for work in an hour. 

Sitting here has me thinking about all the things that have gone on the past few years. 

I met my husband when I was 13 years old. And at 14, he told me he wanted to marry me, and since then, that had been the goal. He proposed when I was 17, we were married 6 months later, and now at 19 and 20 years old, we’re 1,700 miles away from Smalltown, USA, and the beginning of our love story. 

A lot of people said we wouldn’t make it. We were too young. We’re still too young. We didn’t know what love was. But so what? I think we’ve proved them wrong for the most part. Is it hard? I mean, yeah. Name one relationship you don’t have to work on. Does he annoy me? Oh, goodness. Yes, of course. And I know for a fact I annoy him when I guess very loudly at all the endings of our TV shows. Do we make each other angry? Uh…is this even a question? He gets mad that I like plans for everything. And I get mad that he’s mentally 12 years old almost 24/7. But so what? 

Love isn’t a feeling, I don’t think. It’s more like a mix of feelings and choices. I choose to love my husband, everyday, and that’s what makes our marriage work. Every day, since we were silly kids in high school, he has been my favorite choice. Not always the easiest. But my favorite, and I will always choose him over and over again.  

Love isn’t easy. It’s arguing over breakfast and being annoyed with each other. It’s getting frustrated with his driving skills when he hasn’t driven your car in 7 months and thinks he’s a NASCAR driver. It’s locking the bathroom door so your partner will leave you alone for 20 minutes. 

But love is fun. It’s playing with the dog together. It’s going on late night trips to get food even after you’ve decided to go to bed, and now you look terrible in mismatched pajamas and wet hair. It’s making breakfast and waking up next to the person you love most in the world. 

And right now, it’s my husband trudging downstairs and plopping on the couch, his head in my lap, because he’s decided he can’t go back to sleep without me. I fell in love at 14 years old…but so what? I think it’s worked out pretty well so far. 

Xoxo, 

Em. 

Motivation Mo-Thursday? 

I know, I know! It’s been almost a month since my last blog post and I sincerely apologize. I’ve been lacking in the inspiration department, and also the effort department, and not to exclude the time department…just in all the departments, really. 

Since my last post, I’ve had my Nana visit, my friends Yenette and Spencer visit, hit my 5 year anniversary with the weirdo I call husband, had bad days, good days, and the funky days in between. 

If I’m being 110% honest, this move has killed me. The motivation I had back home sputtered to a halt at the California line, and it shows. So as of yesterday, I decided to get my butt back in gear and get back in the gym, back in my books, and back to blogging. 

So for anyone needing a little motivation, here’s the tips I got from various friends and the ever-helpful Pinterest. 

  1. Don’t wait until Monday. (Obviously I didn’t, I started on Wednesday.) 
  2. Don’t stop until you’re proud. (But always be proud of who you are. You’re you.) 
  3. It’s a slow process. Don’t make it slower by quitting. (Mama didn’t raise no quitter, so…) 
  4. Water is the new wine. Drink it. (Use your imagination.) 
  5. Wake up with determination. Go to bed with satisfaction. 
  6. You have to be in shape to kick your husband’s butt. (Thanks, Mary. Definitely the most motivational.) 

Now, everyone has a different goal. Mine currently is to lose the weight I gained all back during this move. But maybe for you it’s getting up early, or reading a new book. Maybe it’s trying a little harder this school year or actually cleaning the kitchen completely. Maybe it’s finishing the laundry. It doesn’t really matter what your goal is, everyone needs a little motivation. 

My absolute favorite pieces I’ve found that are plastered to my mirror right now are: 

“Don’t be so focused on your circumstances that you can’t see Jesus.” 

Wow. How absolutely powerful, really. It doesn’t matter how I got to where I am, all that matters is that I work towards my goal in the right way and keep my eyes on the Cross. 

“You have been assigned this mountain to show others that it can be moved.” 

You never know who’s watching. Maybe if you study for that test, a classmate will, too. Maybe if you finish that book, someone will value your opinion when you recommend it. Maybe, if you slay yourself in the gym, someone passing by will be inspired to start their own journey. 

Move your mountains, doll face. 

Xoxo, 

Em. 

19 People to Thank 

Hey-o! Today is July 30, 2016, and that makes me 19 years old at 14:13 central time! (My family is weird, we know the times, whatever.) 

And in honor of 19 years of incredibly blessed life, here are my top 19 heroes in the life I’ve been living: 

1: my parents. You made me and all, so thanks for that. I learned that nothing is free, hard work will get you farther than anything else, and Jesus is my savior. Y’all taught me how to stick up for myself, fight back when fighting was necessary, and how to forgive when forgiveness wasn’t comin’ easy. I love y’all more than my luggage. 

2: my stepparents. Love is a choice. You have to continue to choose to make it every single day, and thank y’all for showing me that just because life gets a little whompyjawed, it can always get better. Thank you for teaching me how to make the choice to love someone unconditionally. 

3: my grandparents, biological and otherwise. The lessons I’ve learned from past generations will be taught to your eventual great grandchildren, I promise. Thank you for always being examples of followers in Christ, for letting me stay up late to play dominoes, for never letting me get too big to sit in your lap, for teaching me how to fill deer feeders, for being my shoulder to cry on, for always being there, whether I think I need you or not. (I always do.❤️) 

4: my siblings. Y’all drive me nuts. I think most of the time y’all were born to annoy me. But you’ve taught me how to love when I’m irritated, how to speak softly to the little people, how to argue quietly in bedrooms so mom doesn’t make us hold hands…thanks for being my built in best friends. 

5: my inlaws, grandparents, aunts, uncles, the works. I’ve been blessed with a family who can argue like no other, but loves even harder. Every moment spent with y’all is full of laughter, jokes, love and more. Thank you for accepting me as I am and welcoming me into the fold. 

6: Ms. Lewis. In the 6th grade I didn’t know much, and thought I knew more. Thank you for saying, “you’re too smart for this”, and pushing me to apply myself in literature. Without you, who knows if I’d be here? Much love, always. 

7: Mr. Licon. You drove me nuts. For three years, we argued, we joked, we took AcaDec trips that took RIDICULOUS time to get back home. But for all the joking around, you were there when I didn’t think I had anyone. You showed me God’s love when I had forgotten, you pushed me when I was giving up, and you picked me up when I had fallen down. You were a good teacher, a great mentor, and an even better example of Christ. You are a rare bird, and the youth of La Porte is lucky to have you. 

8: my Gra. Grace Amelia, I don’t know what to say. You have laughed with me, let me cry, let me yell and be angry. You rap with me, and have stuck up for me when I was too busy crying in the bathroom to stick up for myself. You are a light to the world, and never let it go out. 

9: Mary. Thank you, darling friend. You answer my 11 o’clock phone calls and listen to me cry when the day has kicked me while I was down. You have been 1,700 miles away, and closer than people down the street. God put you in my life to hold my hand, and I couldn’t be more grateful. 

10: my dog. He can’t read, but whatever. Almost exactly five years ago, through a somewhat hilarious chain of events, I was coming home from the beach with this little bundle of black in my lap. He doesn’t play, except in the first five minutes when I walk in the door. He isn’t necessarily other dog friendly, but he loves me. He sleeps all the time, but he makes the best cuddler. He has been the best listener, the best shoulder to cry on without judgment (because he can’t talk), and the best constant in this life of recent change. Without those big ol’ ears to listen all through high school, who knows who would’ve had to listen to me? 

11: band. This isn’t really a person, but more a collective family. For seven years, I grew as a musician with some of the greatest people I’ve ever met. Band gave me a family away from family, introduced me to the love of my life, and gave a girl a place to go when she didn’t know where else. 

12: McKenna. 2 years ago, you were huge pregnant with Brex, we were both emotional messes, and I don’t know how we’ve made it so far. Thank you for always checking on me, potato. Happy birthday, twin! 

13: Katelyn. New friends, old souls. Thank you for always being down to drive clear across base with me, just because. Thank you for knowing the lyrics to all the country music and more in my car. Thanks for being you. You can semi live with me when Noah leaves, and I promise to try and make sure he and Sasha don’t starve when you leave. 

14: all the people who left. There’s a whole separate post for you, already written. But without y’all, I know I wouldn’t be who I am. You taught me heartbreak. You taught me that people aren’t always good. You taught me that sometimes, the best people aren’t meant to stay. 

15: Carrie Gore. Thank you for being mom #2 and emergency contact #3. Thank you for the school night sleep overs and the home away from home. Thank you for being there even when I didn’t know you were there. Thank you for picking us up and dusting us off sometimes. 

16: Yenette & Spencer. Y’all come as a package deal, so whatever. Yenette, thank you for always answering my phone calls. Thank you for talking to me at 3 am because I’m sad and just need a friend. Spencer, thank you for sitting in parking lots and letting me just talk, because sometimes I forget how homesick feels until hometown friends get together. Thanks for bringing a teeny tiny piece of home into the terrible place of California. 

17: Texas. Let’s be honest: greatest state in the nation. Full of sweet tea, rich history, and good people. I don’t know how it would feel to say, “I’m from North Dakota,” and have nothing to be proud of, and frankly, my dear, I don’t want to find out. Texas is part of who I am, and I’ll always bring a little bit of the Lonestar everywhere I go. 

18: my husband. A little more than 5 years ago, I met this boy, right? And we made fun of each other and I knew right then, he looked at me the way I wanted to be looked at for the rest of my life. You’ve held my hand and led me through the dark, fought with me, told me when I was wrong (I think this has happened like twice), and loved me when I forgot how to love myself. Thank you for being my best friend. 

19: Jesus Christ. Thank you, Lord, for blessing me with all these people and more. Thank you for giving me the trials I have already faced in this short life, and providing me a way through them. Thank you for being there always, even when I didn’t know I needed You. 

19 years is a short time in the face of forever, but I’ve already learned and loved and lost so much. I can’t wait to see where the next 19 take me. Thank you everyone for all the love! 

Xoxo, 

Em. 

I’m Down, and I Can’t Get Up. 

The past few days, I can’t even begin to explain. I haven’t been able to sleep well in 4 nights. I can’t eat more than a little bit without feeling sick. I got out of bed yesterday and decided, “I’ve got this. I will be productive. I’m going to clean, or cook, or do something.” What did I do all day? 

Took the dog for a few walks. Put my phone on do not disturb, sat on my couch and basically just cried all day. Why? Multiple reasons I suppose, not all of which I can go into, because it’s no ones business. But mostly because I’m lonely, and I’m nervous, and I’m scared. Homecoming is closer than it was before, and it makes you wonder: am I going to know the person who’s coming home? 

The person I’ve grown up with, have celebrated holidays and birthdays with, the person who has held my hand on the dark days; is that the person who’s coming back? Or is he someone else entirely, now? When someone is gone, you notice all the little things they stop doing, the things they’ve always done. And there’s a lot. Am I going to just fall back into the swing of things, or am I going to have to fall in love with someone new? 

I wonder about the what ifs. What if the new person in my best friend’s body isn’t as in love with me as my best friend used to be? What if all the things he used to like about me drive him nuts now? What if I can’t stand him? People change and love prevails, blah blah blah, I know. But just because I know that if those things happened, we would make it work, doesn’t mean that they aren’t scary. 

I turned my phone off because I didn’t want to talk. I didn’t want to hear “don’t be silly” or “it’ll be fine”. What do you know? Have you done this? Have you laid in bed and said, “Dear God, please, don’t have him be someone entirely new.” And even if you have done this, honestly, I don’t want to hear it right now. I want to cry and be miserable for a while. 

That’s another prop of having your own house. Crying quietly isn’t a thing anymore. If I want to cry loudly and have hiccuping sobs, I can. And it’s so great. Very cathartic. 

To all the people calling and texting that I’m not answering: I’m fine. Just please leave me alone. I’m sad and I’m over deployment and I just want to have quiet for a little while. That’s all. 

I’m down, and I can’t get up, but then again, I don’t really want to. 

Xoxo, 

Em. 

California Living, Texas Roots. 

Well, it’s been two weeks since moving in as of yesterday! I can’t believe I’ve been on my own and independent and living in my own house for two weeks. I won’t lie, it’s different. 

Everything is different here. People don’t understand what I mean when I say, “no, you’ve never had good Mexican food” or “no, really, I promise, your barbecue is not good.” I mean, they don’t even cook the same. I had to order my spices! I also got told that eating red meat would kill me. My response? “If I die, give me a good steak first.” 

I’ve ordered Bluebonnet seeds to plant in my flowerbeds, because I miss home, and who doesn’t like the flower of the greatest state in the nation? Thank goodness, in the midst of all the California strangeness, I found Katelyn (and also a Raising Cane’s). She lives down the street, and she’s from Texas, too. She understands what I mean when I say y’all, and I swear she got just as excited as me when I gave her a bottle of Nature’s Seasoning. I’m an awkward person. No, really. Making friends is a daunting task in this state of unfriendliness. But I’m glad I found a woman who misses Tex-Mex as much as I do, who also likes to make pot roast in the crock pot all day, who goes to the gym with me and blogs and loves history and is down for driving around wherever because #housewifelife. 

The best part is the fact that she loves Jesus, too. I will always believe that God puts people in my life for a reason, and I’m so terribly lucky He brought a friend into my life that will go explore new churches with me. 

My person, Mary ❤️, is now only 2 hours away instead of 21, and I get to see her for my birthday next Saturday and we’re going to San Diego, for which I am very excited. 

All in all, I’m enjoying California. The weather is gorgeous, except I miss the rain. The traffic is terrible, it’s true, but it’s bearable when you’ve got a fun shotgun rider (I also really appreciate the fact that she knows the lyrics to the old school Miranda Lambert that’s in my car). My house is only a semi mess right now, but I promise I’m slowly cleaning it. 

Also, another great thing is having hometown friends down the road. So glad Spencer is still in Pendleton for at least the rest of summer! I didn’t realize how much I missed home until he was over at the house, but even then, having someone you went to school with right down the road makes the homesick hurt less. 

I’m loving making my house my home. I love putting up pictures and making it look as though we’ve been here a while (this is achieved by my clothes on the floor). We’re in the homestretch of deployment, we’re in the double digits, and it somehow feels like each day is passing more slowly than the last. But my Nana is coming to visit in a little bit, and then my friend Yenette is also coming to visit. I’m forcing myself to get back in the gym. I’m forcing myself to clean my house. I am almost finished. I am almost at the finish line. I am almost there. 

I will not let deployment beat me, in the last few months. I will not let the loneliness cripple me. I will not allow myself to be defeated in spirit, when I have such a wonderful support group. I will come through this trial simply a better version of myself, and you will all be shocked at how you will not hear from me for two weeks once he comes home. #sorrynotsorry. 

California is different, it’s true. 

Blame it all on my roots, I’ve showed up in boots. 

Xoxo, 

Em. 

The Things They Don’t Tell You About Growing Up

There will come a morning when you wake up and realize a few things. And you will wonder why no one told you. 

1. Not everyone has your best interest at heart. There will be people who offer their help, but only if there’s something in it for them. If it becomes an inconvenience for them, there will always be a super good reason that plans change and suddenly they’re unavailable. 

2. Knowing people doesn’t make them your friends. At the end of the day, your friends are the people who answer the phone when you call at 11 at night crying because you’re lonely. Your friends are the people who come over when they haven’t heard from you in a week because they’re worried about you. I know a lot of people. I have like 5 friends. And I’m okay with that. 

3. Blood isn’t thicker than water. There will be times that water is there and blood isn’t, and that’s when you find out that sometimes, friends mean more than the family you were born into. Friends are family you choose. 

4. You aren’t someone else’s opinion of you. Maybe your mom thinks your hair looks better a different color. Maybe your sister thinks you’d be so cute if you’d just dress a certain way. Maybe you feel like you just don’t measure up. But that’s not true. As long as you can look on the mirror and be comfortable with who you are, that’s all that matters. If you’re most comfortable in sweat pants, wear those sweats. If you feel best with a full face of makeup, put on the war paint. You are you, and that’s all that matters, because you are the best and only version of you. 

5. The biggest lesson in growing up? You grow out. The people who you thought you’d always talk to, you don’t even know where they live anymore. Remember when you were so worried about what so and so thought of you? They don’t matter. Being liked by everyone doesn’t mean anything if you’re not loved by a few. 

Be kind. Be humble. Be loud. Be fearless. Be loving. Be unapologetic about who you are. 

Growing up doesn’t suck. It just means learning some things and and deciding that you don’t mind what other people think. Grow up, grow out, and be yourself. 

Xoxo, 

Em.