What We Don’t See

Stairway | Moving Peaces

Sometimes I hesitate to share the victories without sharing the trials. When I write I try to be transparent and make it clear that I don’t have it all together, but I know it still stays vague. Because frankly, it’s not very fun to tell about the challenges and at times, it’s not appropriate to share, be it to protect people or because the timing is just not right. Sharing and showing just the moments of glory–the vacation plans, the promotion news, the family photos, the epic adventure, the finished product–whatever it is, doesn’t tell the whole story. It instead leaves the rest of us to believe that it happened, just like that.

In those moments, I struggle with jealousy. I couldn’t care less if you had a bigger home or a fancier tech gadget. But when I see someone get an amazing opportunity or live an incredible-seeming life, it can sometimes get ugly on the inside for me. Suddenly my mind is off and running that so-and-so had everything handed to them on a silver platter or had the right connections or just naturally awesome hair. I don’t know or care how they managed to pull it off, but why not me?! And then I stamp my foot and pout for awhile.

I see the glory and the end result. I see the attention and the appreciation. I see the success and imagine the dollar signs. I see the art and the opportunity. 

You know what I don’t see? What it took to get there.

I didn’t see the effort they made and all of hard work they poured into it. I didn’t see their fights for what mattered and accompanying sacrifices. I didn’t see the scrimping and saving. I didn’t see the insecurities and doubt. I didn’t see the practice or failures. I didn’t see the years of struggle or nightly prayers.

I didn’t see the journey, all I saw was the reward. 

Then I got jealous or made quick assumptions or gave up on my own goals. I can’t keep doing that. We just can’t do that. Why? Because nobody wins that way.

You want to know how it happened? Ask them. Put in the work and the effort and the years that it takes. Think big breaks never come your way? That’s probably true, but they don’t really happen for anyone who isn’t trying. Sometimes people stumble in to things, but rarely because they were sitting around waiting for it.

I can’t promise that you will get the same end result or that your effort guarantees what you want. But there are ways to lessen the sting or escape the distractions. If I focus on working towards my goals and you focus on yours, we have less to be jealous of and less assumptions to make. Finding friends and support with whom to share our hardships and our dreams strengthens everyone. Gaining an understanding that you are not alone in the struggle brings perspective. Instead of playing the comparison games, we can together walk through the challenges and celebrate each other’s victories.

Thursday Three

You know what I find really annoying on blogs? When almost every post starts with the writer talking about how much they’ve neglected posting as often as they would like to and promise to get back in the swing of things soon. It distracts from the actual content of the post itself and frankly just gets old to read. Soo…I won’t do that to you. I know, isn’t that so sweet of me? I’ll just, uh, leave the meaning of this paragraph up to your own interpretation.

1. It’s what time of year? Every time I see something Christmas-y online or someone mentions Christmas, it seems like it must be a long way off or a long time ago. When it’s 70 degrees outside (seriously, my windows are open), it’s hard to imagine Christmas being a mere week away. I’m not sure if it is the weather or the blur of events this past year, but it all seems strange and out of place. Or maybe it’s just this guy who insisted we get a photo during dinner.

Santa | Moving Peaces

2. Do you ever have a practically perfect day? Because for me, Saturday came pretty close. At the last minute someone unexpectedly offered to cover for me at work and suddenly the day was wide open. It was the perfect mix of rest and recreation. After a slow morning, we went on a ten-mile bike ride, then went straight to rock climbing for an hour, and then came home to get ready for a night on the town with some dear friends for dinner, dessert, and a show. I enjoyed every element of a day well-spent.

3. Do you know what the best part about a trip is? Planning it. I think it is safe to say that I love to travel, but maybe if we get to the root of it, I really love to plan and dream. Studies show that the anticipation of a trip gives a big boost in happiness. Well, this year’s Christmas presents from family (yeah, I know it’s early, but they couldn’t keep it a secret) happen to include a few trips so my planning mode is in full effect.

Trip Log: Des Moines to Raleigh

Trip Log: Des Moines to Raleigh

Due to popular demand, I am telling you all about my solo road trip halfway across the country and back. This is the third part, starting at mile 1,681.5 because yes, I kept track of all my major stops. If you want to catch up on the miles before now, here’s your chance: Miles 1 through 465.9 and Miles 466 through 1,440.4. Otherwise, let’s get back on the road!

1,681.5 miles Des Moines, IA: I arrived to the place I called home for several years and the clock started ticking. We’ve taken a few trips back in the past, and it always feels like a race to see all the people we love in the amount of time we have (oh yeah, and I kept working during the day on this trip). So, I saw a LOT of people and was so glad to do so.

Mason City, IA: I arrived in the area and then promptly headed a few hours north. I don’t have the miles because this time I got to ride instead of drive to my next stop. A few friends were headed to Minneapolis, MN and I caught a ride to Mason City, IA, which was on the way there. This is where the real surprise was planned.

There’s a reason I didn’t post much about this trip until after it happened. My mom has NO idea I was coming. I thought maybe this trip would line up with Mother’s Day, but when it didn’t I decided not to tell her anyway. There was a part of me that wanted to record the moment, but then I decided to experience it instead. Her jaw dropped as soon as she saw me and this is her trying and failing to reenact the expression. Just know that it was worth it. After the surprise had subsided, she showed me all around her new town as I had never been there before.

Surprised Mom | Moving Peaces

Music Man Square | Moving Peaces

Me & Mom | Moving Peaces

Ames, IA: On the way back to Des Moines, my mom and I swung through Ames to visit my alma mater. It’s funny, when I was in high school, I refused to even visit a college in Iowa because I was so bent on moving, which is why my first year was spent at Missouri State before I transferred to Iowa State. Now I am so grateful for my experiences at Iowa State and proud to be a Cylcone, even from afar.

ISU | Moving Peaces

Des Moines, IA: Are you ready for a whole bunch of pictures of people I love and far less description of how my week went? Good, because that’s about to happen. In summary, I spent the week working during the day like a normal person and then using the rest of the time to catch up with great friends over lunch, coffee, dinner and dessert. I stayed with friends who are new homeowners, held tiny babies, checked out the new building of my old workplace and celebrated the next season in life my friends are entering in to. Des Moines was beautiful all week and I kept feeling like a tourist who wanted to capture all that is great about that place. Somehow, there are several more people I got to see and spend time with but didn’t get a photo with this time.

Michelle | Moving Peaces

Emily | Moving Peaces

Jen | Moving Peaces

P. Family | Moving Peaces

Carrie | Moving Peaces

1,817.1 – 2,467.4 miles Clarksville, TN: In one day, I traveled 650 miles by car as I went from Des Moines to Tennessee. While originally planned as a two-day trek, this is another one of those plans that just changed and probably for the best. Luckily for me, it went incredibly quick as I had a co-pilot to keep me company all day. When Nancy and I realized we were thinking of going back to Iowa around the same time, we coordinated our trips so that we could do part of the journey together. She is another friend about to enter into a new stage of life as she was 30 weeks pregnant at the time, and I am so excited for her and her husband to be parents.

Nancy | Moving Peaces

2,516.3 miles Nashville, TN: I got on the road thinking I might simply wave hello to Nashville and be on my merry way. Originally, this was to be a stop-and-stay-with-a-friend location, but when you’re on a road trip you’ve got to be flexible and ready to shift plans around. Once I arrived, I realized how much I still wanted a chance to stay for awhile. So, I did. One might think it was for reflection on this trip before returning home and in a way it was, but the reality was that I finally finished journaling about our trip to Argentina earlier this year. It gave me the chance though to let some of my thoughts flow from pen to paper and was just the rest I needed before driving the remaining 450 miles back home. I’d just spent time with a lot of people, heard a lot of truths and challenges and traveled almost nonstop for a few weeks and had a lot to process, so I was grateful for those last few hours driving through the mountains alone on my final stretch of the journey.

Journaling | Moving Peaces

Nashville | Moving Peaces

Mountain Driving | Moving Peaces

Sunset Driving | Moving Peaces

3,066.3 miles Raleigh, NC: Home at last.

Trip Log: Birmingham to Kansas City

Trip Log: Birmingham to Kansas City

I’m telling tales about my solo road trip last month, which took me from Raleigh, NC to Des Moines, IA and back. Clearly, this is in the middle of those two places, so feel free to start reading about the first leg of the journey if you haven’t already.

638.0 miles Birmingham, AL: After a few hours of travel, I was thrilled to stop for coffee with the ever-so sweet, Jamie Golden. A friend introduced us on twitter, so when I realized my travels would take me through Birmingham, I was feeling bold and thought I’d reach out. Jamie is a podcaster, cake pop maker and simply all-around fantastic person. We talked for a few hours and laughed like we had been friends for years. We told stories, she shared some wisdom and told me about a podcast I had to hear. Our conversation carried me through the rest of the day as I drove through big rainstorms, flash flood warnings and parts of Mississippi.

New Friend - Jamie Golden | Moving Peaces

879.8 miles Memphis, TN: You heard me set the scene there, right? “It was a dark and stormy night…” and then I arrived in Memphis. Well, okay. So I didn’t have the best set-up for my destination, which just isn’t fair to this fine city. On the trip, this was the part I was most on edge about beforehand and ended up being my least favorite. I did stay with a couchsurfer, who just wasn’t quite how I had hoped or expected based on her profile. But when it’s late at night in an unknown place, you roll with the punches and decide that you can make it through the night, so I did. The next morning I woke up bright and early, determined to work in a few places that would change my outlook. Thankfully, a blogger sent me some good recommendations of local coffee shops which helped a lot. I think Memphis likely has a lot of awesome things going on, but I didn’t get the chance to experience them this time. At the end of the day, I decided to keep on with my trip and embrace the next place, but I truly believe many will visit or live in Memphis and love it.

Coffee Shop in Memphis | Moving Peaces

Memphis Mural | Moving Peaces

1,037.9 miles Little Rock, AR: I had no idea what Little Rock would be like. I knew it was a city in a state that has some natural beauty and lakes in it, but didn’t know much else. This was my final stay with couchsurfers on the journey, and they were as kind as can be. Immediately upon my arrival they greeted me along with all their friends before we headed downtown to eat some fried catfish. They really tried to convince me that not all of Arkansas was about fishing, but they sure did talk about it a lot. The whole group seemed to love being outdoors, whether that meant hiking or kayaking or exploring. Unfortunately, I had arrived too late to join in for any of those activities, but I so appreciated being a part of their group of friends for just an evening as we walked along the Big Dam Bridge downtown after dinner.

Big Dam Bridge | Moving Peaces

Michael & Mary | Moving Peaces

1,257.4 miles Bentonville, AR: This is the point in the journey where I felt like I had arrived. Hardly my final destination, but this is where I would stay for a few days with my dear friend, Angela. Do you ever have friends you can talk to for hours and then still want to call them again tomorrow? This is that kind of friendship. We’ve been friends for over a decade and to this day, she’s one of my closest friends. The funny thing is, we haven’t lived in the same place for more than half of that time and hadn’t seen each other in over a year. It was so good to see where she lived and get a better feel for what her life looked like (not just how it sounded over the phone). We both worked during the day and then at night we would explore the town and a few museums. Bentonville is a small town, but it’s also the home and birthplace of Walmart, which makes for an interesting mix of bigger city culture with a small town size. We walked through Crystal Bridges, ate dinner at her favorite restaurant, browsed some antique shops, visited her workplace and toured the propaganda Walmart museum, where I proceeded to eat the tiniest ice cream cone that has ever existed.

Angela | Moving Peaces

Tiny Ice Cream Cone | Moving Peaces

1,440.4 miles Kansas City, MO: Okay, this is where the trip took a bit of a twist. Kansas City was a planned stop… and then it wasn’t… and then it was one anyway. Angela and I originally talked about visiting the area together and finally decided to go together for just the day but in separate cars. About a half hour into the trip, she called saying her car needed repair, a bit unexpectedly (it’s a long story), and she had to turn back but to keep going without her. At that point I figured I would just drive straight to Des Moines since I didn’t really have any real plans in KC and had been there before. Then I saw a sign for the Kansas City Zoo in one mile and on a whim took the exit. You see, my freshman year of college I actually went to a college in Missouri and still had a few friends in the area, one of whom happened to work at the zoo, which I knew thanks to social media. So I showed up at the zoo asking for Janna and was sent in towards the new orangutan exhibit to find her. Knowing I lived in North Carolina, she was quite surprised to see me for the first time in over five years. This was not the KC visit I planned, but it was the best kind of detour.

Janna | Moving Peaces


And then I kept driving. More to come.

Thursday Three

Thursday Three

Hey there Thursday. It’s been a week, hasn’t it? The leaves on the trees are really starting to pop around here, which I LOVE but the dark mornings and dark evenings are not my favorite. Let’s look back on the week and all of its lessons, shall we?

1. A weekend away can do a world of good. I know the plan was 31 days of blogging, but over the weekend I was just all out losing steam. It’s been a packed month and none of my guest posts came through for the weekend. I thought about blogging but realized I wasn’t going to provide any depth and it would instead just be me checking off another thing on the long list. I love blogging and writing and all the things, but I’ll be real, I’m ready for this month of blogging to be over so we can go back to our regular scheduled programming.

2. Time with friends is so important. In the busy of life, it’s easy to cut friends out. We all have obligations and can only do so much in a day. But I need keep reminding myself that being over-committed shouldn’t mean that my relationships are what get cut out of my schedule. You need your friends and your friends need you.

Finding Five Dollars | Moving Peaces

3. And then I found five dollars… literally. I am that person who is always picking up pennies and dimes left behind in the street, but this weekend I found a $5 laying around outside in the dark for the second time this year (weird, I know). I think my point is, we don’t always know what we will find in life, it might be a pretty average penny or it might be a not-so-common $5. Either way, we have to keep an eye out and be ready for whatever it may be. How’s that for some Thursday night vague wisdom?

Moving Part 4: Making it “official”

Moving Part 4: Making it “official”

Packed Truck | Moving Peaces

As a continuation of my series about moving, here’s a little lesson on breaking the news. If you missed earlier posts in the series you can check them out here: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

It all feels like a dream until you start telling people. It should feel like a dream for a little while. Dream away. Because once you start spreading the news, people will have questions and even more so, they will have comments. For instance, one friend told us we were crazy, to our faces and then walked away. Someone seemed to hardly find it interesting and kept talking about how good their soup was. Others were shocked and said very little, but some immediately celebrated with us and for us. We just never knew how someone would respond.

So, think through what your plan is and then tell people in stages, starting with those closest to you. I had talked about the desire to move for years, so to some it was not much of a surprise. For others, sharing the news about a move can seem monumental to those first hearing about it. It’s important to get some feedback along the way though, which is why it is helpful to share it with those you trust and love first. The more you share your plans and story, the more you will get a better idea of just what you are about to do means to you.

Further, don’t just think about what your plan is but have an actual plan. Without it, people will quickly tire of this “official” stage when you haven’t yet hit the “it’s really happening” stage.

Somewhat contrary to what I just said, here is the order in which my husband and I broke the news.

  1. Landlord (our lease required a 60-day notice, but otherwise, he was not the closest person in our lives)
  2. Parents
  3. Close friends (limited details)
  4. Siblings
  5. Close friends (extensive details)
  6. Friends
  7. Employers
  8. Commitments (i.e. utility company, volunteer organizations, bands, book club)
  9. Extended family
  10. Social media

The order of your list might be different but it is good to consider what your timeline will be based on your comfort and your responsibilities.

Have you had to break the news about a move? How did you do it and how did it go?

Thursday Three

That’s right. Two blogs in one day, but hey, I’ve got to make up for some lost time. After my earlier update regarding where things were at, I feel it’s high time for some photos of all of the awesome things that have happened in the last few weeks! 

1. Took a trip to my homeland. Got to see some lovely people, catch up with family, rummage through old photos and congratulate my sister on her high school graduation. 





2. Beach trips are always welcome. The day after returning from the Midwest, I packed up our bags and we headed to the coast for the annual family beach trip with the hubby’s sister and her family. It was warm and sunny, perfect for swimming in the ocean. We ate donuts, shared stories and visited our favorite seaside thrift shop. 


3. Holiday weekends are awesome regardless of your job status. Because everyone else was celebrating the time off, we returned to Raleigh to spend time with friends from Charlotte, host a couple from Wilmington and enjoy a barbecue in the neighborhood.