Times Keeps on Slipping

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Where did the past two months go?

And how did I allow myself to get roped into so many activities?

The truth is- I decided to live intentionally. I said No to the things I did not want to do and yes to things I did want to do.

Apparently I wanted to do a lot. 2019 has been better for it! I got so busy living life that I just quit worrying about keeping old friends up-to-date on my current goings-on and decided that if new friends wanted to know what was happening, they would need to make an effort. That’s right, dear readers. I, Nicole Kirksey, decided to stop being the one that tried to make relationships work. It took 46 years, but I am living my best life free of any entanglements that might not have my best interests at heart.

How ’bout dem apples?

For one, I have recommitted my life to seek spiritual matters on my terms. Yes, this means I have been attending a church. Not particularly my denomination, but it is nearby and I really, really like the congregation. I’ve missed a few Sundays recently due to travel, but for the most part, there is a definite improvement in this area. I like it. It feels right with my soul.

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District 2 Town Hall Meeting at Union Tabernacle Baptist Church

But I have also been very busy with work. In the past three weeks I have completed at least three speaking engagements. One: At the State of Georgia’s Regional Visitor Information Center Conference in Jekyll Island.

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Me! Talking about how to create the visitor experience. Jekyll Island Club.

I also got the chance to speak to the Presidential Pathways Travel Association about how to use strategic marketing to promote your destination or attraction. And just last night I spoke at the District 2 Town Hall meeting at a local church. Not too shabby for a kid who actually enjoys public speaking. (Though I have to admit, no matter how many times I do it, I get super nervous right before!)

At home, we have been busy landscaping our yard. We finally settled on gardenias, knock-out roses, and azaleas – all white flowers for the front yard. I’m looking forward to seeing the fruits of our labor.

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Karen-Ann, 16

I’m also proud to announce that Karen-Ann attended her very first prom! Isn’t her dress just beautiful?!

But wait… let me back up a minute. The last time we chatted I had just gotten back from my 46th birthday weekend in Atlanta. Well….. our 2nd Anniversary trip was the VERY. NEXT. WEEKEND. Yes, Tim and I have celebrated two years of marriage (with very few bruises.) And guess where we ended up? In my favorite town in Georgia – Savannah.

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First stop: The Paris Market!

We drove the 3 1/2 (maybe 4 hours) to Savannah, Georgia. We made a beeline for City Market and decided to wander down Broughton Street. It was sort of fitting that we kicked things off with a little Parisian Flair (since our Honeymoon was in Paris. Oh yes, it was! Want to read about that magical experience? Click HERE.) I sniffed and swooned over all of the beautiful items at the Paris Market. My main source of satisfaction came from a delicious assortment of macrons.

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Macrons. Delish!

If you will remember, I was in macron heaven in Paris… well technically Versaille, and I discovered the mothership- Ladurée. The one I am about to devour above was a rose flavored pastry. Sweet baby Jesus… it is worth the trip.

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Best. Lunch. Ever – Bernie’s Oyster House, Savannah, GA

We left Broughton Street and headed over to River Street to look for something a little more filling. It was about two in the afternoon and I could very easily eaten my arm. I went to my tried and true spot – Bernie’s Oyster House on River Street. Oh the stories I could tell, about 22 years of stories. But for now, I will tell you about the fantastic stuffed shrimp and great conversation with my awesome hubby.

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I may have snagged half of Tim’s peel n eat shrimp…

After lunch, we were in top spirits and Tim had one request – to visit Savannah Sweets. Well of course, I had to oblige him… and well…

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I may have bought the store. In turn, I have probably gained 10 pounds and 5 cavities.

I just noticed something on the ground. Look to the left of my purse. That, my friends, is a dangerous frozen concoction from Wet Willies.

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To say we were a little buzzed would be an understatement.

Okay, maybe my over spending in a candy shop had something to do with my lack of inhibitions…. or… anyway.

We left our little adventure and drove to meet two really wonderful friends of mine that happen to reside in Savannah: JJ & PC!

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We just love JJ & PC!

We enjoyed viewing their new home and catching up on the world. Around 7 that night we invited them to join us for our anniversary dinner. I mean, why not? It was PC’s birthday just the night before and honestly, isn’t celebrating so much more fun with friends? So we headed to Circa 1875.

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We found a French dining establishment in Savannah!

I opted for for the Steak Frites and a champagne cocktail. We dined like the bourgeoisie that we were pretending to be and had a marvelous time!

The next morning we went with JJ & PC to church then decided to find this little coffee shop I had heard so much about.

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This coffee shop stole my heart!

We found Bitty & Beaus.

It is so much more than just a place to grab a cup of coffee – it’s an experience. While the shop is run by people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and the customers really come in for the unique customer service experience. It made such an impression on me and I think it would for you also. Here is a little more about their mission:

Next time you find yourself in Savannah, do yourself a favor and check these guys out. #NotBroken

 

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GREAT Sunday buffet!

We were very lucky to have acquired a $50 gift certificate to the Pirate’s House. The Pirate’s House does history and good cooking right! Yes, it is a bit touristy, but YES it was worth it. Situated a block from the Savannah River, this former inn became a rendezvous for pirates and visiting sailors from the Seven Seas. The building remained intact through the centuries, but lost its spark & had fallen into disuse after World War II. Finally, it was saved and now it is one of Savannah’s most famous landmarks and restaurants.

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Churchill’s Pub

After lunch we checked into our hotel and took a nap, only to head back out to wander City Market and finally head for a cocktail. We stopped by Churchill’s Pub on Bay Street and proceeded to indulge our fancy at the rooftop bar!

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Rosé all day.

We had a wonderful time sipping wine and beer and chatting about life in general. This was exactly what my soul needed.  After our cocktails we headed to Kevin Barry’s Irish Pub .

KB’s is my FAVORITE place to visit in Savannah. It has authentic Irish music every single night! Here we were on a Sunday night, having cocktails and fun. Gosh I miss living in a larger, more metropolitan city.

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Kevin Barry’s Irish Pub

After drinks and dinner, we headed back to our hotel to rest before our drive home.

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In one of the many park in Savannah

To say we needed to relax and unwind and not worry about family and children would be an understatement. We needed this. We needed this so very badly. Because when we got back to town, the whole world flipped upside down.

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Dad & I at the Spring Festival at Wolf Creek Plantation

For one, my dad’s diagnosis ended up being a little more complicated than we expected AND on top of the cancer, he now needs open heart surgery. In. The. Same. Year. Talk about a lot for one human to handle. He basically needed to clear his head and came down to spend the week with us. I’m glad he did and I am glad I was able to be a safe haven when in need. Keep him in your prayers. He’s my dad, and I’ve only got one. Our parents age and we all will have to deal with this… but…

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Happy Easter from the Thurston’s

And we celebrated Easter together as a family.

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Autumn turned 13!

Which just happened to be Autumn’s 13th birthday. Geez, Louise. She is a sassy 13 year old. I mean SASSY. Blue hair, alternative lifestyle… like… who is this kid? Where did my little Autumn go?

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But you know what? I love her. And I am proud that she is attempting to live her best life ever. She is smart, she is funny, she is kind, and she is a good kid. What more could you ask for?

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My great-aunt Sarah! 90 years old!

Tim and I took some time to visit with my mom’s side of the family. My great-aunt Sarah turned 90 years old! It was great to see her and the rest of our family.

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Generations

It is so strange seeing everyone. I rarely get to see them in person, which in and of itself is weird to me. We were all, or at least in my child’s mind, we were all so close when my Granny (my great-grandmother) was alive. I saw them so much more often and felt a sense of community and family. Now, not so much. It is a shame. I have always tried to keep a relationship, to the best of my ability, with cousins and aunts and uncles on both sides of my family. Can’t say I’ve been the most successful at it, but I have tried. It’s all any of us can do.

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What I do when I am home – alone. Which is a lot.

Sooo… back to that whole friend & family thing. Yeah… I haven’t been as successful as I would have liked. My family lives farther away. That’s mainly my fault, I’m the one who happened to move. My in-laws include me, but it is sometimes hard to make new connections when there is someone else constantly standing in the place of where I technically should be. (The ex.) She’s not going anywhere. Blah.

The relationships are all pre-established and the kids are the link that keeps everyone together. I had hoped to move here and kind of have this ready made safety net of friends (my sis-in-law and her partner are close to my age,) and even my oldest step-daughter is at least an adult. Though they are kind to me, I am not really a person they call upon to go places or do things or anything like that. And you know what – that’s okay. I accept it and can create my own tribe. Though that has sort of failed miserably.

I have met a lot of really nice people. Honestly. I have been invited to group gatherings, and as much as I appreciate that, it is hard to create those personal relationships when surrounded by 50 other people that are already close. Again…. their dance cards are full.

I guess I am going to have to one day bump into another newbie in town. Perhaps that person can be my coffee & shopping & travel buddy. Yep.

Moving on…

I have a few more stories to tell, but honestly, I’ve run out of steam. This will give me more to share in the coming days as I TRY to get back to blogging. I haven’t really felt like it… since I spend more time alone or with Tim, I’ve learn to become a little more private (about the big stuff.) Or at the very least, more carefully curated. I decided enough was enough. Back to authenticity… because honestly, is anyone really noticing?

(See what I did there? I buried the lead. 😉 )

Love to all… more later!

Learning to Forgive & Accept

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Creative Art Wings Art Shoppe – Photo credit: Leanne Wargowsky

I was scrolling Facebook, as I always do in the morning or around lunch, and saw a fellow friend/blogger/artist friend of mine posted this picture. It was taken at her Art Shop she owns in Illinois and the words spoke to me. Or perhaps it moved me.

You see, I have been doing this over the past year. Something happened when I moved down here. Away from my family, my friends, people I had known for my entire life… and instead of just immediately being welcomed with open arms into a new circle or tribe, I’ve slowly been poking my head into circles and trying them on for size.

The beauty of moving someplace where no one knows your faults, your screw-ups, your idiosyncrasies is that you can reinvent yourself. That’s all fine and good, if that is what you need to feed your soul.

It’s not in my bag of tricks. I’m married to the idea of being authentic and letting the chips fall where they may. And with that, it’s hard to find the right circle to show all your cards to.

Professionally – sure. I’m good to go. Maybe even more so than others. That’s never been my Achilles heel. But the fact that I have a marriage (or two) under my belt, or the fact that I am very opinionated or even outspoken (about a wide variety of topics,) can be jarring, and let’s face it folks – I’m in the DEEP South now. Southwest Georgia. Small towns. I’m pretty darn liberal. I have to tread these waters carefully.

So I entered this new life with so many good things: Great guy, great job, beautiful new home… and I sat there guarded. Feeling like I was a captive in my own skin. I have watched as others (new to the community) trusted the wrong locals and have all but found themselves fighting for their jobs, their reputations, and so much more. THAT scared me. Maybe even scarred me a little. I’ve never lived in such a small place and I did not realize how vicious it could be.

Recently, I’ve spent some time analyzing my actual experience, not the experience I feared. People are kind to me. They like the work I am doing. People have extended invitations. Things are just fine. What has been holding me back is myself. And like the photo above, I have decided to forgive myself for all of my past mistakes and transgressions and set myself free. I’m letting my guard down, and the universe is responding. I’m in a good place, and at some point, I must have allowed poison to enter my mind and hold me back.

That is so not my style.

What holds you back? What do you need to do to set yourself free?

 

Avoidance

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I made it through September fairly unscathed! Now I am marching toward the end of October. I’m tired. I’m weary. I’m working super hard.

I’ve been a little home sick. Just a little.

More so missing my tribe. The trusted friends. The comforting circles. The natural laughter.

God how I miss it.

Now that is not to say I don’t have tons of acquaintances here. I do.

But they are acquaintances. And that’s okay.

Did I mention I am now a full-time mom to Tim’s biological oldest? I sure am. She lives with us Monday – Friday and every other weekend. That’s an interesting change. It sort of shifted the dynamic. He loves it, and that’s great. I’m still adjusting.

Work is work. So. Much. Work. I love my job and what I do – but it is pretty much a a job where the public gets to criticize our community (regardless of how many strides you have taken) and I am “ON” 24-7.

We did decide to build a house – which we are in the middle of. We might be in by Christmas. That’s crazy all in and of itself. I’m at the: Pick the light fixtures and ceramics/wood/carpet phase.

Didn’t I just get married in Feb? Oh… it’s already been 8 months. Where in the hell did the days go? And didn’t I just rebrand a community? Oh yeah.. that was 6 months ago.

Le Sigh. This little girl is tired. I did always say – go big or go home!

This is why I have sort of avoided writing. My brain is swirling in circles and I’m finding myself sort of….

Checking out.

I knew it would come. This is not my first rodeo…. moving to a new place. If I think back far enough, I need to remember those first two years in Birmingham. They were sort of lonely and not easy. In other words, I need to be more patient with myself.

I made the mental list of all of the good things in my life – and they are plentiful! Then I made a list of all of the things stressing me out… and unfortunately, that list was a heck of a lot longer. The good: Love my husband, my new home to be, the type of work I get to do, and the potential for all of the above. The bad? Eh… just day-to-day triggers. Nothing horrible, but they were starting to annoy me a little more. That annoyance triggered some impatience, snippy remarks, a poor attitude, and a lack of tolerance for anything and everyone.

That can’t be good.

Is it hormonal? I am experiencing issues with some potential… dare I say it… menopausal symptoms. Is it stress? Doing too much in such a short time? Is it lack of a spiritual community? I have yet to find a church home. Is it social? No real TRUE support system as of yet. (Outside of my sweet hubby, which I can’t possibly dump everything on?) Those are the questions I am pondering and working through.

One strategy is to make a list of all of the things that I enjoy doing – alone. This I can control. Then prioritizing those things. First step was FINALLY joining a gym. I’m going to start this weekend. Then, I am just going to bite the bullet and start attending the Catholic Church. I’ll figure out the rest as I go. And then there are the fun hobbies….

Who knows?

I remember years ago, a sweet therapist once said – It’s all about being self-aware, and that, my friends, is exactly what I am doing.

No more avoiding. I’m a fixer and a doer. Time to go do… and stop waiting for some magical fairy to swoop down and fix everything.

Until next time..