Nash-versary

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Five years ago today I moved a couple of hundred miles west into a new time zone and began to make Nashville my home. That first night in my basement apartment off of West End feels like yesterday. I think about how seasons of Gilmore Girls got me through those first few days of only knowing a couple of people in this big town.

As I was driving downtown this morning for a fitness class I think about the changes over those five years of being in Nashville. How one year ago today I lost the job that brought me to this city, another chapter on my life (and career) closing. I think about the relationships I have begun and ended, both romantic and friendly in that time. I think on who I was when I moved here at 29 and who I am at 34…the growth in every aspect of my life as well as the broad range of experiences that being in Nashville has afforded me.

In five years in Music City I can most assuredly say this place has changed me, and I am better for it. I finally stopped accepting less than in my life and started pursuing more than I can fathom. I stopped believing it was in my power and left it with God (that’s an ongoing thing). I valued friendships above selfish gain and realized that one’s wellbeing is in one’s power to care for.

Five years has shown me so much in Nashville and beyond. It’s given me the opportunity to pursue a new call and purpose for my life, afforded me the benefit of great mentors to learn from in this new pursuit, and shown me that the truest people of your life will stand with you when you cannot hold yourself up anymore. Oddly enough, five years ago I questioned my decision to move to Nashville as I sat among boxes in my new apartment. It’s been a decision I have often questioned over the last five years as well, and one I have dwelt upon over this last year in quiet with God.

I have wrestled in this last year, as this day inched closer knowing it also meant it had been one year since I lost the job that brought me to Nashville. Questioning God’s hand in a situation and circumstance became my banner for a couple of months, and then I turned to seeking what He’d have me pursue in bringing me to this place. While I don’t see it fully, I do know that He lead me here by His doing, and He keeps me here by His hand steadying me along the path He desires for my life. It’s when I attempt to go outside those bounds that He gently guides me back, reminding me the doubt I had five years ago and the control I had to let go of in these moments.

So I celebrate five years of Nashville today, looking at photos of friends made and kept…amazing people I have gotten to know and walk alongside…students I have gotten to see become friends…places that hold dear memories and relished friendships. I think about all the people I count as friend today, that five years ago I did not know, the people still to meet, and the stories still to be written for me in Nashville. I celebrate the breath this city brings into my heart and the joy of the ones whom I hope with. They are the rocks to my roll.

Saturday Adventuring

IMG_4663It’s the unofficial start to the summer with Memorial Day upon us. I don’t know about you all but here in the South it’s already gotten hot. But one thing’s for certain, Saturdays in the South in the Summer were meant for adventuring.

Sometimes it’s planned and other times it’s on a whim. That’s kind of how I like living my life these days. And we all should enjoy plans and spontaneity.

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Stay tuned as I share photos over on the Photopalooza tab (we may rename that to Adventuring) and share some of your favorite places of unplanned or planned collisions with adventure.

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Happy adventuring everyone!

Back to the Relationship

Recently friends and I sat around the dinner table talking about life, love and other pursuits (okay, it was about Brett Eldredge). It was a rejuvenating time as we try to get together once every couple of months to just catch up and step into each other’s lives a bit. You need that, a community of people who you can shrug off the dust of life with every now and again to refresh your mind and spirit.

As we broke biscuits and talked through some things, it came around to relationships and men…a common thing when single women gather around a table for an extended time. We are all in our 30s now with some past relationships now under our belt and something struck me as we talked. It takes hindsight, and often much time, before we can see areas of our lives in perspective, like who we are in dating relationships.

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It’s incredibly easy to lay blame at the feet of the other person when a relationship ends, but as I recall it does take two people to have a relationship, otherwise you’re just crazy. Ultimately you have to be able to see what you learned from that situation about your own self and your dating habits. As I have explored my own dating life further from past relationships, it has helped me make choices about my present and future dating as well.

Putting boundaries on a dating life is something that was new to me several years ago. But as I have evaluated myself in dating relationships and as a single, I see that often I made poor choices simply out of shear unknowing. Ignorance about ourselves is often what gets us through life without much living. We go with the flow, cave to peer pressure, and seek to have others make the decisions for us. In all honesty, I have been much the same way.

Up to this point, my choices and that way of thinking hasn’t been very successful in the dating department. There’s been a couple of relationships that ended amicably, and we are currently friends. But I also learned something about myself even in those times. When we don’t take time to learn from our past, I firmly believe we are doomed to repeat it.

The last thing I would like to do is repeat a past relationship-and end up married to that individual. If you are single, choose this time to take stock of your life and your relationships. While there are situations where the failing of it could be entirely on the other person, what can you see about yourself in that relationship and the post-breakup? Choose to see your own role in it and how that can impact your current dating life and future relationships.

One of the biggest realizations I had when I took stock of my dating habits over the years was that I often made my spiritual life fit my dating life, instead of putting my spiritual journey out there and allowing my dating life to be a part of that and mold to it. I hold to a firm belief now that had I originally held that in check I would not have been in a couple of relationships in my past. Those have taught me about forgiveness, grace, and my own inner self so for that I hold no regrets. I am utterly thankful that even at 33 I can see the impact of a right frame of thinking has impacted my life drastically when it comes to companionship and relationship. Frankly I believe much of the issues surrounding dating and marriage these days would do with a bit more reflection and lot less wooing.


Interesting in learning more about boundaries in dating? Want to explore your past relationship more in depth? Check out Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend’s Boundaries in Dating.

A Single Foodie

Pardon me while I gush a minute about this past Saturday. And to think I almost didn’t go.

Earlier last week I found out via Lynda over at Southern Kissed that my favorite chef, Stephanie Izard, would be in town along with chef Michelle Bernstein to judge a grilling competition at Macy’s. Cue fangirling. Saturday as I was getting ready, I almost talked myself out of it. I had this voice whispering that this wasn’t something I could enjoy solo, and that I should just stay home.

As a single gal, that voice of fear gets loud sometimes. She sounds alot like doubt and a snarky friend you’d really not be friends with in real life. But man, can she cut right to your heart about fearing doing something solo. Last month when I kicked off the theme of a NoHSummer I had some swagger and confidence. Now that I am in the thick of it, I am finding fear of singleness grip like never before! A friend of mine tells me this is merely affirmation of the correct journey for me. I tend to agree with his perspective rather than that snotty girl whispering that people will talk that I am by myself.

So I went…and I am ever so glad that I did, for many reasons. First of all, I got to see amazing home-chefs grill their hearts out for the chance at $10,000 and picstitchto grill in NYC for Macy’s on the 4th of July (how awesome is that?!). Next I got to try some amazing food prepared by Michelle and Stephanie that they sent out in sampling form. There was Orxata, and for a lactose intolerant girl such as myself, this on a hot day was incredibly refreshing and delightful. We sampled two types of salads, one variation of a Caesar and another with grilled shrimp (which I dumped onto my cute dress I had in the excitement of playing trivia with Wells). They picstitch(1)sent out mini-brats that had enough kick for me…but y’all I saved the best for last. A tempura cooked chicken sandwich, with creamed feta and slaw (I may be Southern but I don’t like slaw…but this I would eat a million times over) and a peach fried pie with cinnamon and sugar. I gushed over this repeatedly to my new found foodie friends on either side of me. I wish I had the recipe for the sandwich, although I have to be semi glad that I don’t because I think I would get sick on it from eating it so much. It was that good.

So needless to say it was more than worth the internal battle I had with myself over whether I should go. In fact it build confidence in me to really pursue this NoHSummer with fervor, exploring things I can share with you all (singles/couples/marrieds/etc) in the hopes you’ll explore a single outing for yourself to enjoy the moment and this life we are created to live out.

picstitch(2)Before I go I have to share I tried a new local place that had a booth setup as well at the event. It’s called Padrino’s Pops and they are so delightful and refreshing. Had I not gone, I wouldn’t have been able to try their offerings and see that they are going to give Las Paletas a run for their money here in the 12th South District. They did not pay me in any way to post this, but I had to rave about them and how great they were. I tried the watermelon, as well as some of those sitting around me, and every flavor was a hit! Definitely check them out this summer if you’re in Nashville and needing a rescue from the heat!

I realized as I drove home on Saturday that I got to experience quite a bit over three hours that I could have missed out on, including hearing Josh Farrow perform (fan of his now too!) and getting to meet another blogger and connect. (Hey Blonde Mom Blog!) So I urge you the next time doubt creeps in about going somewhere solo, weigh the regret of a great experience with the doubt that tells you are not confident enough. And keep on going til you get there…because the regret of not going far outweighs the fear of being solo.

The No H Summer

For a very long time there has been a very real stigma attached to singles. We have to have someone in order to enjoy life. You have to have someone in order to own a home, to choose a life of fulfillment, to be content. It’s about the outward presence of another in order to be living life. 

I have come to realize in the last year to find contentment is to be joyful in spite of circumstance, to choose a perspective that is not my own but one in which God colors my life. It’s to surround yourself with women and men who are the picture of life and love. It’s to fall in love with a contented life that isn’t bound by a boyfriend or spouse. It’s loving fully this glory which is set before me, walking confidently and with dignity through it in every moment. 

As I referred to in a post just days ago, a life isn’t defined by a marital status. I do believe you must be an example though for others, in coming out of something you have endured with heartache and hurt, in joy and triumph. So this summer I am choosing the theme of the #noHsummer for my life.  (My name is also spelled without an h and something I throughout my days as well)  

Follow along this summer on my social media and right here on the blog as I share the adventures of being a no H Sara that has no H (husband) and what life looks like in that. What joy and fun and adventure awaits if we stop waiting for Him to send us someone and instead we live this life He has gifted us with abandon.