Transitional Transitions: How do you transition?

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So, I think it is time I break up – break up with my past, what could have been, and what is no longer.

Does that make sense?

I’m transitioning – AGAIN. Don’t worry, nothing is wrong – quite the contrary, everything is exactly as it should be.

Let’s see if I can explain:

Birthdays always make me a little reminiscent of days gone by. I often look back at my friends, my work, my hobbies – whatever – and find myself wistfully comparing my old life to my new life. I feel sad that  so & so does not call as much or visit as much as they used to. I over glamorize a past job that I had, or maybe even the absolute freedom to do as I wanted when I was a single girl. Ugh.

Guys… the truth is – the honeymoon period of moving down here is over. Nothing more, nothing less.

The expectations have shattered (as they always do,) and now I am left with reality. What was once quaint and adorable and friendly feels more constricting, less friendly, and limited. (But it is not.)

Perceptions, my friends. Perceptions.

This is that point in every move where I take a good, long look at the issue and then say… “Oh… wait a minute. I’m officially settling into my new role.” Yes, my friends, the dust has settled.

What do I see? Newer, but a limited amount of possibilities. I am clear on how things work around here, be it with work or family. I understand my limitations and I am comfortable with navigating the rougher waters. I’m setting boundaries, where once I simply left the door wide open – hoping to see how things would pan out. And thank God I am that way, or I would have never made some of the connections that I have been fortunate enough to make. But at the same time, I need to sweep out of my life what I never should have allowed in: toxic people, judgmental people, and negative people. (Again, don’t worry.. I never actually let them burrow, but they did come in for a visit.)

I had a lot of little things to work through in 2017: married life, becoming a mother, a new job, AND building of our home. (Which we are still getting settled into.) We just celebrated one year of marriage, and while on our trip, we counted our blessings, our lessons, and made numerous realizations….. and it was GOOD stuff. I am so ridiculously lucky.

With that being said… here we are. Gone long enough from my hometown to where I rarely hear from any of those people by phone, in person, online or otherwise. I have sort of just… fallen off the radar. Which often make you wonder why I even kept the connection in the first place, but then I relax and realize some folks are simply for a season. The others are there, but it appears I will have to do the scheduling (and honestly, evaluating whether those relationships are worth investing my effort into anymore.)

I’ve been gone waaaay too long from Birmingham to really know what is going on over there, and honestly, that situation was different, it wasn’t my hometown. Then I find myself in the new space- delicate, new relationships budding up everyday. It’s like I plant a seed – and sometimes the flower blooms, and other times it just fades away. It’s fascinating to witness!

Embracing these transitions has always been a specialty of mine. I am the queen of re-invention and like the phoenix – I rise. 😉

However, there is something about this transition. It’s because this is the final move. THIS will be home. (Unless life decides to uproot me yet again. And if anybody knows whether or not that is possible, I most certainly do.

To help me get a better handle on what is going on, I did a little research and even read old blog posts on my old blogspot journal that highlighted the other major shifts in my life. I think the biggest difference was the fact that this time, I transitioned by choice and in the past, it was because something hardcore had happened in my life.

One common theme kept recurring were the following:

  • I need to expect to feel anxiety & a little depressed. According to an article I read in Psychology Today: “Whenever we move forward we leave something behind, and this creates a psychological state of grief, however small.” In other words – We are out of our comfort zone; our imaginations run wild; and we worry about an unknown future.
  • I need to realize that this is a new chapter in my life. While I need to acknowledge the loss of what life used to be like, I do not need to get stuck in the past. Acknowledging that a door is closed is psychologically healthy; spending your time staring at it is not.
  • I need to think positive. According to that same article in Psychology Today, during times of transition, when everything seems to be in flux, when my old patterns have collapsed, I may feel unsteady but are also most malleable to change. Apparently now is the time to explore, brainstorm, consider the make-over before my life begins to naturally solidify into new patterns.
  • It’s good I hit the ground running. I gave myself very little transitioning time. I basically jumped right in. I didn’t have time to over think, to over plan. Things have happened more organically, and I think in the end, that is a good thing.
  • I also read that I need to get support. And about a year and a half in, I decided to chat with a therapist for a couple of sessions to sort out any anxiety and home sickness I was feeling.
  • And finally, set realistic timelines & expectations. Which is why I wrote this post today.

I needed to work out what was going through my head since the big 4-5 hit. Creating a sense of place and finding my tribe are high ticket priorities when it comes to my happiness. I’ve been impatient with the process, and now it is time for me to relax, reevaluate, and make this my home.

 

Birthdays & Old Ways

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Back in June, I surprised my husband, Tim, with a birthday trip to St. Augustine, Florida; the oldest city in the United States. He had never been, and I had visited half a dozen times over the years, so I figured it would be an easy trip, with little concern over directions, what to do, and where to go.

We took off on a Thursday night. Part of the deal was to give him a clue every few hours as to where we were going. Before we even pulled out of the driveway, I have him his first gift. I said, “It will either be insect repellent (for the mountains,) or sunscreen (for the sea.) He opened the sunscreen and knew immediately that we were heading South.

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We drove about two hours and stopped for a night in Valdosta, Georgia. Valdosta is right on the Georgia/Florida border. My guy loves steak, so we picked a steakhouse and indulged our carnivorous tongue. We pulled up to an Austin’s Cattle Company , located just one exit away from our hotel. The location was a bit odd to us – a nice steak house in this budget-looking motel, but the quality was super delicious! After dinner, we popped back over to our stay for the night, the Drury Inn.  Surprisingly, our hotel was really quite nice, with lots of little features to make our stay comfortable. The price was right, and the room was quiet – and off we went to sleep. Before we went to bed, I gave him our next clue – a peacock pen. Now, if you have ever been to St. Augustine and visited the Fountain of Youth, you know about the beautiful peacocks roaming free. However, he had no idea. Still puzzled… we went to sleep.

The next morning, we were pleased to find a fantastic breakfast bar in the hotel (and it was free!) So far everything was going swimmingly!

We headed south. His next clue would still stump him until much later – it was a stuffed lion. He looked at me, smiled, and said, “Oh I know where we are going! Busch Gardens!) Well.. I started giggling and knew I had officially stumped him.

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Right before we got to Jacksonville, I gave him his next clue – a painting my mom did of the St. Augustine light house. Still.. not sure what beach we were heading too, but knew we were heading toward the coast. Finally, as we turned to head south down A1A, I gave him his final clue – a book about Hernando de Soto (the explorer that founded St. Augustine.) Finally – he got it and was incredibly excited.

As soon as we got to the town, we stopped at the Fountain of Youth. Since this was his actual birthday, I thought this would be appropriate – so have a sip of this magical elixir.

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While there, we walked around, admiring the sites and reenactors, and enjoyed the views!

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After the FOY, we drove over to St. George Street to explore the gorgeous city and grab lunch.

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Our pick was the Bull & Crown Publik House. Man oh man.. hands down one of the best pubs I have ever visited. The food was incredible!

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I cannot recommend this place enough. Seriously. Make sure to pop by there if you are visiting.

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It is hot as hell in Florida in June, but they had these fantastic fans blowing on us the entire time, so it was completely possible to eat outside without feeling like you would melt. It’s right on St. George Street and perfect for chilling out and people watching.

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After lunch, we walked around and visited a ton of the shops.

19390685_10155410827039929_3911272965060972149_o I bought Tim this super fancy hat from the Panama Hat Shop. Then we made our way over to the oldest Catholic Church in America.

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After saying a little prayer for my guy’s birthday, we decided to make our way over to our Air B&B.

Our place was located one block from the light house.

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We were in the second oldest house on St. Augustine Beach! We rented the top floor and had an adorable set up. So private and very shabby chic. Our host left us a bottle of bubbly!

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We rested up a bit, then headed back into the historic district for dinner. I made reservations at Columbia – a Spanish Restaurant on St. George Street.

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As soon as we got there, we ordered the homemade Sangria. They literally prepare it for you table side.

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Our dinner was amazing.. and the salad.. have mercy! The 1905 Salad was the hit of the night! It’s rare for a salad to upstage everything else. But man oh man!

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We next morning we got up to catch the sunrise. Another first for Tim! He had never watch the sun rise on the Atlantic, so we set our clocks and made our way over to the beach!

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After that, we went to this total dive –

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Little Margie’s Cafe! The food was really good and the service incredible. Talk about some delicious omlettes!

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After breakfast, we went home and took a nap. Only to pile back into the car and drive to another St. Augustine Beach favorite –

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The Conch House. We met my former foreign exchange student, Elena (from Moldova,) and her husband, (Mexico!)  We went from eating English to Spanish, to Cuban to Caribbean!

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We got to sit up in these cool little tree houses. The drinks, the view, and the breeze was awesome!

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We were having so much fun, we did not want the afternoon to end. So Elena and her husband took us to San Sebastian Winery – where we enjoyed a fantastic wine tasting! You guys know I can’t pass up a good wine tasting!

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After we indulged (again!) we drove to Palm Coast to meet her family. We enjoyed traditional Russian cuisine and village dances. Yes… they danced… in a circle.. holding hands.. to music. It. Was. Awesome.

Add Russian food to the weekend.

We finally headed back, got a good night sleep, and drove back to home.

It was probably one of the most random trips I have ever half way planned.

What was so refreshing was getting the opportunity to introduce my husband to things I liked, and seeing how he would respond. From the history, to the foreign cuisine, to the culture, to the beach – we were in heaven. Happy 47th, Tim!

 

First Comes Love… Then Comes Marriage

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We did it! We finally tied the knot! Yes, allow me to REintroduce myself – I am now Mrs. Kirksey.

On Saturday, February 25, 2017 at 5:00pm – Tim & I gathered with our closest friends and family in Preston, Georgia (his hometown,) at Preston United Methodist Church.

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This was the church he grew up in, and where his parents married and where their parents and so on and so forth. It is the quintessential little country church, right in the center of town, diagonal from the Webster County Courthouse.

About 40 people gathered together to witness our quirky little union. There was nothing traditional about this service, and that was exactly how we wanted it. I ended up wearing a navy blue evening gown and glittery gold shoes. He wore a black Vera Wang tux with a navy vest and tie. I carried a brooch bouquet that my mother made (complete with a brooch that belonged to my great-grandmother.)

Our processional was a song that he and I fell in love with a very long time ago. We have both been down the aisle before, and we were both burned before. The song we chose had lyrics that we could relate to.

A Thousand Years

Heart beats fast
Colors and promises
How to be brave
How can I love when I’m afraid to fall
But watching you stand alone
All of my doubt, suddenly goes away somehow

One step closer

I have died everyday, waiting for you
Darling, don’t be afraid, I have loved you for a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more

Time stands still
Beauty in all she is
I will be brave
I will not let anything, take away
What’s standing in front of me
Every breath, every hour has come to this

One step closer

I have died everyday, waiting for you
Darling, don’t be afraid, I have loved you for a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more

And all along I believed, I would find you
Time has brought your heart to me, I have loved you for a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more

One step closer
One step closer

I have died everyday, waiting for you
Darling, don’t be afraid, I have loved you for a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more

And all along I believed, I would find you
Time has brought your heart to me, I have loved you for a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more.

We had a gentleman play the instrumental version on the piano. As the song started, my Tim’s sister, Paige, and his mother, Ann, walked down the aisle together and stood before a photo of Tim’s father, Jerry. Mr. Kirksey died a few years back from Lymphoma. We both wish he could have been there, and decided this would be a nice way to honor his memory.

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Jerry apparently was the life of the party! Always laughing, always smiling, and he was even the Mayor of Preston for several years. According to my friends, when Tim made it down the aisle, he paused for just a minute and looked at his father’s picture. *sob*

Next down the aisle were my parents, Mae & Jack Thurston, followed by my sister, Heather Busby.

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After my sister made it down the aisle, my niece, Autumn and Tim’s niece, Micah, walked side by side down the aisle.Autumn carried my Grandma Thurston’s bible with Tim’s ring on it, and Micah carried Tim’s father’s bible down the aisle with my ring on it.

Next was Tim’s daughter, Kaitlyn, her husband Miles, and their daughter (my now) grand daughter, Cotton.

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Then Tim’s daughters made it down the aisle with us following right behind them. He and I decided to walk down together – it was a statement that traditions were thrown out the door, and we were in this together. Two adults, in their mid 40s, making a promise.

My dearest friend for almost 2o years was our minister. Tonya and I had met back in 2000 at the Girl Scouts of Middle Georgia, where we both worked. Many years later, I would return to Macon and she and I would work at the Tubman Museum, and during that time, she got her Master’s in Divinity and got ordained. We were her first wedding. Not only was she my minister, she is truly one of my best friends.

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She started the ceremony off with a prayer and our intention. We loved how when she asked the congregation whether or not we should be joined  – Cotton made a noise and everyone started laughing. It was the perfect moment to break the ice!

We started off with a poem by ee cummings. My sister recited it.

[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]
BY E. E. CUMMINGS
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

Following the poem, Tim’s sister, Paige, read a verse from the book of Ruth.

But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. 
—Ruth 1:16-17

Following that, my dear little 10 year old niece recited a poem she had written for us. It was so sweet and beautiful! This was the one time I teared up a bit.

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After that, we had a wonderful “vowed” moment with Tim’s daughter, Kaitlyn. It was basically a promise that the only “step” in our lives would be a step toward more love, etc. You see, Tim’s daughter is actually his ex-step daughter. (legally speaking.) But in this family, Tim is Daddy. He will always be her Dad – and for that, we were recognizing how important she and her little family unit were to us. It was a very sweet moment.

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After that part, we made our promises to his two biological daughters – Karen-Ann & Alex. They are still young and live with us more than 1/2 of the time. Again, the promises we made to one another were very special.

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After this, we finally recited our vows to one another. We made the crowd laugh and cry! It was a very special moment. The girls brought up the rings, and we exchanged rings and were announced husband & wife!

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And of course, in fine Nicole fashion… I did THIS:

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We walked out to the instrumental version of Don’t Stop Believing by Journey.

Seriously…

We did.

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After the ceremony, we made our way to Plains, Georgia and to the little downtown area. Our colors were navy blue & gold – A Starry Night in Paris. We danced, we partied, and I even had a taco bar and the best DJ ever – DJ Deck. Life was grand!

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Yes – you see an Eiffel tower, with Wonder Woman being proposed to by Superman!

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My super cool bouquet

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We served petit fours!

When we arrived, over 100 people were already in the reception hall! Our minister jokingly said she was going to re enact the wedding… and suddenly the DJ cues up the “Let’s Go Crazy” by Prince opening and everyone died laughing! It was a hit. Tim’s best friend Tag came up and gave a great light hearted toast, and my bestie, Telisa, came up and gave such a touching toast that she cried, and I cried (which I NEVER cry,) and so on and so forth. After that, my friend Qaijuan led us in the blessing!

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None of these pictures will ever do the party any justice. We had such a great time! So many good friends from all stages of both of our lives.

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But we did it!

If you have been following my stories – from my old blog to this one. You know this new blog is about a new life. I have closed the old volumes and I am writing a new story – a new book.

And so it begins!

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