Hello, October. 

It all began on October 5, 2015. Hard to believe that approximately one year ago today, we broke ground and our home-building journey officially commenced.   

In honor of our “groundbreaking” month, I am breaking away from the topic of my house and delving a little deeper into some personal stuff, for at least a post or four. So if you thought you were tuning in for another home construction chapter, buckle up and prepare yourself for a detour. You have officially been warned.  

Welcome to my life…and every street in downtown Biloxi, MS.

This will happen quite a bit as there are many topics to be discussed . . . and well, because I feel like discussing another topic at the moment. Life is full of unexpected detours (from my experiences at least), and because this is a lifestyle blog (or so I wrongfully assumed until late Friday evening: see my first mini-post for reference), we will be taking the scenic route from time to time. And what better time to take a scenic route than in the fall. Am I right? 

Photo credit goes to my sister-in-law, Kimberly Lyons, taken on the back roads of Columbus,MS. (I just added a little filter and quote action–3 things I love all in one image: backroads, good quotes, and fancy text graphics)

Much like a detour sign (and if you live locally you see them EVERYWHERE lately with all the roadwork), the colors that immediately come to mind when the word “October” is mentioned are orange and black. Because, Halloween. Duh.

To be perfectly honest, Halloween is not my favorite, but there is just something about the month of October that makes me happy. Whether it’s football season in full swing, pumpkin spice everything, the color orange everywhere, or cooler weather — it is definitely my favorite month. 

In Mississippi terms, that cooler weather is in reference to the shift from 105 degrees with 120% humidity to about 85 degrees and 99% humidity. And if we are lucky, we might hit the 60 degree mark a couple of times before November. True story. 

That is one thing I miss the most about living in Virginia: having four actual seasons–main season being fall. Here in Mississippi, like much of the southeast, we have summer and winter. . .that’s it. Some people like to say we have spring, but I tend to disagree. The first day of fall and spring, while they obviously still exist, are (usually) a joke when it comes to the outdoor temperature gauge. 

 I am, however, thankful for this two season situation in the sense that winters here aren’t extreme (at all) as I am a terrible driver in general, much less in the snow. I also find it rather amusing when they shut the entire city down for a freeze “warning” when there is the slightest bit of frost on the ground. 

Moving really helps to give perspective on a lot of things…weather included.

I miss the crisp 60 degree fall air and leaves changing from green to beautiful autumn hues of burnt orange and sunny yellow. I miss driving with the windows rolled down without feeling as though I am having a minor heat stroke. I miss not sweating every ounce of makeup I put on within 5 minutes of walking out the door. Most importantly I have to shave my legs 10 months out of a 12 month year…and that in itself is just a plain ole travesty. 

But, there are certain perks to prolonged hot weather (I think). Actually, there is only one that comes to my mind (but I’m sure if I thought really hard I could come up with a few more):

1 . Prolonged hot weather means getting to go to the beach until late October, sometimes even early November, with zero crowds and warm bath-like calm water.

There is nothing like Destin, Florida in October. 

It is not only my “happy place”, but it is Erin Edits‘ “happy place” as well and she gets photo credit for every single beach pic in this post (yep, they are all real life images taken in our happy place). In fact she often refers to the beach as her church, figuratively speaking, of course.

There is just something about it, I agree. It’s hard to find a more peaceful place, especially early in the morning as the sun rises or late in the afternoon when it begins to set. Important things have been discussed in those sandy beach chairs, but it’s really the things not discussed that speak volumes. Just to sit there, sound of waves coming to shore, whether you are all by yourself for some much needed alone-time and self reflection or you are with people you love; people who know you well…

The beauty of it is—you don’t have to say a word.

A “happy place” as defined by the English|Oxford dictionary is (with possessive adjective) a place which a person associates with happiness, visualized as a means of reducing stress, calming down, etc.; (hence) a happy state of mind.

While a “happy place” can be a physical locality or a mental state, a happy state of mind is easier said than felt (for me at least). More often than not, unhappiness is masked behind a happy face because we live in world where you are supposed to “put on your big-girl panties and deal with it”, whatever the circumstance may be and you “happily” deal with it, of course, because “life goes on”.  

And, as they also say, “looks can be deceiving”, and I bet they are; my money is on 99.875% of the time when it comes to feelings. I don’t care how “happy” someone seems on the outside. . .they are dealing with something “not so happy” internally. (99.875%) Guaranteed. (All you folks in the 0.125% category, congratulations on being superhuman.)

That being said, “not so happy” ranges in severity (We will use a 1-10 intensity level scale here for range demonstration–1 being least severe and 10 being most severe). Like, for instance: Someone rushing out the door for a speech they are running late to present in public speaking class and out of nowhere, a bird shits on their head, as they make their 12-step trek to their car is on a different level (1) than someone who tragically lost a loved one in a vehicular accident (10), and they are merely trying to hold on for one more day (singing, again…sorry).

But, you have to take into consideration that someone with the birdshit experience may have never experienced a deeper tragedy, so it is, therefore, a Level 10 crisis in their life. Or to make things more complicated, when the bird shit (literally), it may have been the last straw for said someone who was already dealing with a cup full of Level 10 “not so happy” so they just lost their shit (figuratively) when the said scenario went down. 

yes, this really exists.

Bottom line is, everyone deals with things in their own way, in their own time, and there is no definition of how one should react to/cope with bad situations, or how bad they really are. 

In more forward terms: Everyone has their own shit.

 (Yep, I said it.—Sorry Mom, you can wash my mouth out with soap, later. I’m just trying to make a point here.)

I am a big fan of the quote, “Be kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about”. Every time it comes up on a social media feed (or anywhere really), it resonates deep inside, because the statement could not be more true. 

To put things into perspective, 10 years ago, the birdshit experience alone would have ruined my day, possibly my whole week (true story, and I’m sad to say it did; Level 10 crisis-mode: total tragedy). That’s right, I was one of those lucky few that really hadn’t experienced anything suddenly tragic outside of the deaths of grandparents and older family members/friends (I guess a bird crapping on you may actually be a sign of good luck). While it was never an easy thing to lose someone I loved (and I still miss them terribly), I was able to mentally prepare for the fact that one day they wouldn’t be around. And when that “one day” came, there was a concrete reason for which the tragedy occurred. 

Unlike me, Thomas (my sweet husband) wasn’t dealt such a great hand in the card game of tragedies and the reasons for which the tragedies occurred were (are) far from concrete. I will skim through a few things here because it’s really not my place to elaborate; although he gave me free-rein to do so. I do realize, however, that Thomas isn’t the only one affected in the equation. His family, now our family, is comprised of some amazingly resilient people and it’s been a rough road for all involved: 

-His parents divorced before he reached his teens

-Hurricane Katrina completely wiped away his family home in 2005 (2 days before his birthday that year)

-His father died 4 months later in 2006 (details of which are unimaginable)

He really is the strongest person I know.

Pre-Katrina, Thomas wrote me an unbelievable (love) letter. Yes, on paper, and mailed it in an envelope with a stamp. While I am completely obsessed with this gesture (because email definitely existed at the time), I obviously misplaced it during one of the million moves I made. Otherwise, I would totally share it with you right now-so sorry for the let down.  

Anyway, “the letter” was his attempt to make me understand that we were supposed to be together and that he would do anything to make it happen. Although it was very sweet and straightforward, this romantic profession was something I just wasn’t prepared for. I was not only dating someone at the time, Thomas was my best friend–My best friend who lived many, many miles away. 

As most women know (and most men despise), guy-friends of girls tend to reside in their own little category in life, we call the “friend-zone” and Thomas was in that category for a number of years. But fast forward a few years after “the letter” and I finally decided to listen to him (the process leading up to which was far from unicorns and rainbows–he even gave up at a point and I don’t blame him).  

All the winding, detour-filled roads kept leading back to this Thomas Lyons guy-friend of mine, no matter the distance and I could no longer run from it anymore. Once I listened (for once in my life) not only to him but to God; I can honestly tell you that it was hands down the best decision I have ever made. I whole-heartedly believe we are together for a reason. And in the next few posts you will most likely understand why. 

He is my person. 

After we married in 2009, I’d like to say that our lives moved into complete and utter fairytale mode. I mean, Thomas had already been through so much. Things were finally moving in a more positive direction when I decided to stop being stubborn and we could finally ride off together in the proverbial sunset. And while there were the typical ups and downs of everyday married life, for the most part, life was pretty darn good. 

But little did we know there would be an inconceivable roadblock on the horizon; A roadblock we never saw coming that still takes my breath away when I think about it for too long. 

Something everyone growing up assumes they will “just do” once they are married (heck, sometimes before), wasn’t (isn’t) a possibility for us and there is no concrete reason why.

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