South Carolina

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We moved to South Carolina September 1st, 2017.  Same job for Paul — just in a new locale. 

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In these past five months I’ve grown quite accustomed to pine needles and friendly neighbors.  We’ve enjoyed blue skies, warm days, nights on our screened-in back porch, and even the occasional sweet tea—-because “if in Rome”.  We miss family & friends and yet have been blessed with their generosity of time in visiting us. Christmas with Paul’s sister, Moira. A too-good-to-be-true Charleston trip with my sisters. A weekend with my brother, Matt, my sister-in-law, Jessica, and their charming brood of kids. And one of my all time favorite memories of last year—painting with my parents and Paul. 

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We are all the time grateful for new experiences, whether difficult or wonderful or a mix of both. Adventures with the kids tramping across new parks. Dinners, brunches, and clinked whiskey glasses with friends. And the bad? Well, mostly just that the ceiling quite literally fell down in our rental. That and I can’t find a salon I like to save my life.

Things most missed back in Springfield: walking my neighborhood, seeing my sisters (gah),  seeing my sisters’ kids hang out with my kids (can’t let myself think about that one), Andy’s (frozen custard), being close to everything, our backyard, our YMCA branch, and our homeschool co-op.

But there are so many wonderful things here (just as there are everywhere).

Here’s one. When I looked up Catholic churches in Columbia, there was only one even remotely close and upon further peeking online seemed to be… not even a traditional building… just kinda…temporary? I had my doubts. But from sliding into that padded pew for our very 1st mass, I was in love.  Father Jim’s style is so wonderful. He speaks plainly, directly, practically— without watering a single thing down. He seems to be circling around one core message: come as you are.  I look forward to mass every week in a way I haven’t felt in such a long, long time. It will break my heart if/when we move away.  

Homeschooling has been difficult since the move. Rather, homeschooling was difficult. For the 1st time since embarking on homeschooling, I completely doubted what we were doing. I felt so anxious, angsty & confused why we were doing something so confoundingly difficult. It feels light again. And steady. And good in just the way it did, or maybe better, than before the move. I will hopefully write more about this when I can. 

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Moving has an incredible way of sifting things out ‘till you’re left looking down at a few glints of gold. It helps us see us as we are—at our core. Going through all those possessions. Pulling even less possessions out of boxes. We can’t un-know what we finally grasp during the climax of a move. Who we love. What weights we were happy to toss. It’s been (at times) a difficult process I’m endlessly glad to have gone through. I pity the alternate version of myself who said no to the move. 

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I’m painting steadily again. And working out. And reading. All things I would love to share with you here once again. This is all to say, all is well. Now that I feel on firm ground, my heart is swelling up with new ideas, goals, and plans! 

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Plans. I’m so excited for so many things this year. I want to pack in as many adventures with the kids in as we possibly can! Playing at the beach. Camping. Hiking. Discovering!! And we have family visiting & we’ll visit family, and I could not be more excited. I’m such a planner and seeing things on the horizon to look forward, to benchmark time with, to anticipate—-ah, it’s the greatest joy for me! Mostly, I feel very open to that vulnerable, quiet, exciting space of being new to a place and learning so much as we meet new faces & spaces. 

I’ll stop there and save some more for another day.  Say hello if you’re here. I’ve missed you guys. 

~Ashley 

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P.S. If you are reading this and you are one of the many, many friends and family members who have helped us transition (either on the MO end or here in SC), thank you, thank you, thank you!! The advice, messages, tips, hugs, calls, and just everything will always mean so much to us.