Hey everyone! First let me apologize for the long delay in posting. I have intended to post more often but I made the decision to really unplug for the most part and take in the last month or so! Italy has been amazing to say the least. I literally can not believe I am heading into month 3 here. Wow, has time flown by!
It’s been a journey, let me tell you. Literally. I have been ALL over Italy and will share a little of where I have been and what I have done later on in the post. It has been so beautiful here and there have been days where I can not believe I actually made this jump! Truth be told, it has also been challenging as well. Much more so than I expected, but in ways that have forced me to grow and become more flexible. I am a control freak (more so than I care to admit) and I have had little control in anything since getting here! It has forced me to figure things out and that many days has brought a lot of frustration. Not speaking the language, not knowing my way around, not having internet (I know, I know…) and not having that place that ultimately quiets your mind when you’re frantic. For me that has always been outside on my patio or in taking a long drive with the sunroof open in my car. Being in that familiar place where you can “regroup” is what has always worked for me. I haven’t had that here. Now, there have been moments- a lot of them- where I’ll be watching a sunset here or I’ll be on the beach or I’ll be in a park on a pretty day and I feel that peace. But the loneliness that comes with doing something like I have comes in huge waves at times. There have been moments that have brought me to tears numerous times. BUT I have to say that God has shown up! He has brought people into my life at certain times JUST when I needed them. And continues to do so. I also know that He is growing me in these moments. I don’t know how at the time, but I do know. A part of this journey has been giving up everything and having to solely rely on Him. I knew that going into it. But it has not been easy.
Many thought this was going to be an incredible vacation for me, and in a lot of ways it has been. But I “jumped” because I wanted to see 1. If I could do it…and I HAVE! And 2. I wanted to get uncomfortable and open my eyes to new things and see if I could envision my life in another way and 3. I needed to follow through with what I felt God was calling me to do. This was actually the most important reason I did it. I had all these big expectations coming over. Big mistake! Lesson one: Things never really go as you expect them to. But that doesn’t mean it’s any less beautiful. It’s just different. The dream I have is still there, but I have to intentionally keep the light on it so it can grow. The light is noticing the people and needs around me. The light is self reflection. The light is leaning on God and praying for guidance. You see dreams worth going after are never easy. As Steve Harvey says, you get scraped up and get your clothes torn off. You’re gonna bleed hitting the rocks on the way down. But eventually your parachute is going to open. It has to. But you won’t know until you JUMP! Whatever it is for you, seek out the light. Find what enables your dream to grow.
To quickly recap where I have been as some have been asking me, it’s hard to summarize it all! I think I may do smaller break downs by city with pictures (for the blog) when I return and can organize it better. There are so many great places I’d like to recommend for any of you that may be traveling. There are so many must sees! Since my last post, I spent a weekend in Scarperia and it was absolutely breathtaking. I saw the road that Roman troops use to make their way on and that is now one of the most popular hiking/cycling trails in Europe. I then drove several hours to Milan and discovered Parco Sempione! It’s like a smaller Central Park and I spent several hours over several days hanging out there watching kids play and reading. I highly recommend it! I had my first piadina which is a delicious sandwich made on Italian bread that is like a puffy tortilla. DELISH! I then traveled to Lake Garda, Lake Como, Isola Bella at Lake Maggiore and visited the Dolomites! I met the most wonderful ladies on this trip and hope to stay in touch with them. Two were form Australia and 1 was from Utah. They made our trip to the Lakes so much fun! I traveled to Ortisei and then to Lake Lugano, Switzerland. I got to see the Arena di Verona and Juliet’s balcony in Verona. I shopped and drank wine in Bellagio and went on a boat ride to see some beautiful gardens in Stresa. I got to attend Hillsong in Milan and found that they are doing great work in Italy for God- no shocker there! I have washed clothes and hung them out to dry in the sun. I have eaten gelato and pizza several times a week and have managed to somehow lose some weight!! All the walking and stairs, no doubt! I’ve eaten Austrian dishes and even had decent sushi at a shopping mall! My daughter flew over from NYC and we got to travel to Calabria and rented a Fiat to drive to Tropea and then took a ferry to Sicily and Cefalu. THAT was an experience and I highly recommend Tropea for beautiful beaches as well as Cefalu! It was an amazing 10 days with her and I was so grateful she came to see me. I flew to Naples and look forward to the next few days. I’ll have a separate post for that upcoming experience as well! This week includes taking a cooking class with a new friend and dinner with her and then spending a day in Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast later this week and I can not wait!!! That about sums it up for now! Just wanted to provide an update so everyone knew what I have been up to. More specific details to come later!
Side note, today marks 13 years that my mom passed away and I have had her on my mind. I’d like to think she’s be proud of me and my courage in doing this, even though there have been challenges. I will say that she taught me to stand on my own two feet and be strong. I owe a lot of who I am today to her. I hope she is dancing with my dad and smiling down on all of us. I miss being able to pick up the phone to call her and ask for advice, but I know she’s near. If your parents are still alive, pick up the phone and call them. I know it would make their day. Never get so busy that you don’t make time. That has been a hard lesson I have learned over the years. So pick up the phone and call.
Buona notte from Naples!
Unfortunately, I have spent a lot of time being afraid. As I sit here, I’m in a new place. An unfamiliar place….and the doors DO NOT LOCK where I am staying. So it’s like I’m camping out in the open, alone. Well, I’m in a house, but it feels like that to me. Even in the states, I have a big dog, lock all my doors twice, have a weapon in my nightstand, lock my bedroom door AND use a heavy metal doorstop on my bedroom door. Crazy, I know. Always have. People here in Italy have little fear. They act like it’s no big deal to have no locks. They look at me like I’m crazy. I always thought of myself having that sense of peace, but I’m not sure I do as often as I’d like to think.
And that leads me to follow up on my last post about my past. This will not be fun to read, so fair warning. You see, fear goes back a long way for me. Although I’m not sure I knew it at the time. It has always been a companion, maybe. It may have all started back in 1975 when our house caught on fire in Louisiana. We had just built a new house and I was just shy of being 2 years old. My dad had been drinking earlier that day and had been fighting with my mom about something; probably that. Long story short, there was an explosion after dinner. A spark from the AC unit landed in a bucket of glue that my dad was using to lay some flooring down. He tried to run but tripped up on that bucket of glue and ended up with 3rd degree burns over 90% of his body. My sister got me out of the house (she was 9) and my mom pulled my dad out. Thankfully I have no memory of that day. My dad “lived” for about a month after that at Brooke’s Burn Center in San Antonio, but later died 10 days before I turned 2 years old. We lost EVERYTHING. My mom had no plan B. I’m not much older now than when my mom lived through that, and I can tell you I’m not sure how she went on another day. Well, in some ways, I do. That fire forever changed our lives. I can only simplify this story, as there is enough to write a book. Seriously. But my mom was never the same after that. Who could be?
So, the years after that were so many years of sadness. My mom suffered from severe depression and tried to sooth that with alcohol and painkillers. There were numerous times she tried to commit suicide. I saw her with slit wrists. I found her after taking a bottle of sleeping pills and then having to get her stomach pumped (several times). I saw her date men that were abusive to her. Physically and mentally. I saw her cry EVERY year on her and my dad’s anniversary, his birthday, the day our house caught on fire, the day he died, EVERY holiday. She spent most of her life in pain and as I type this, makes me cry. It makes me so sad for her that no one was able to help her back then. She drank a lot and I remember spending many nights as a child at the local VFW or American Legion and then having to go to school the next day. Sometimes my sister would even have to drive us home way before she even had a license. But I don’t want to paint my mom as this awful person. She just had a really hard life and no support, really. And she tried the best she knew how to take care of me and my sister. She would clean houses and mow yards to buy me things. You know, I’m not even sure as a teenager that I once told her thank you. I was so hurt by all the other stuff she did. We were ALL so broken and lost and didn’t know how to find/have peace. During all of this time growing up, I was raised by my single mom and for most of my life we lived in Low Rental Housing on Wolf Street in Killeen, Texas. I go back now and it is literally like the movie The Blind Side. I’m not sure many I went to school with knew that about me or knew I lived in low rental housing, if so, I never knew. You see, I thought ALL of this was normal at the time. I never knew my life could be different. Until my DECA teacher in high school dropped me off after an event one day. I asked to be dropped off last and when he saw where I lived, he said nothing that day, but pulled me aside after class the next school day and told me “You know you are meant for more than this. And you can do more with your life.” That’s all he said, but as I mentioned in my last post, that was all I needed. It was life changing as crazy as it sounds.
During this difficult time in my teenage years, I am sure I had a dream from God. He assured me everything would be okay. He was clearly standing at the foot of my bed one night after me and my mom had been fighting when I woke up from a bad dream. Funny thing is, I didn’t even go to church. Or read the bible. Or know exactly who Jesus and God were. But I KNEW. I can vividly remember it even now about 30 years later.
So what does this all have to do with fear up until this point? Fear will tell you there is no future. That people can’t change. Fear will lie and tell you that you aren’t worthy of more. It will try and convince you that you’re not enough. Fear will make you constantly compare your life with others. Fear will tell you that every bad thing that’s happened was caused by God. That is SUCH A LIE!! I have so much more to share about this journey I’m on with God with you guys!! I can tell you though, that even when I didn’t know Him, looking back now, He was ALWAYS shining His light on me. Directing my steps. Protecting me, especially from things I thought I wanted. Providing for me and my daughter, as I was a single parent for most of her life. I can assure anyone reading this that as broken and messed up you THINK you may be, He loves you. He is waiting on you and will continue to do so. I know this as sure as I know that the sun rises in the mornings. And I also know the joy that comes from knowing Him.
This is only the start of this journey with God. I have many more valleys in this life that ultimately led me to Him years later, so more on that next time. It really is the foundation that gave me the courage to do what I’m doing. I’m sure He’s been waiting long before now for me to jump, but he just waited. He often waits and prepares us for the journey He has planned. Sometimes, as in this case for me, you just have to jump not knowing the outcome. That scares me to death. I gotta be honest. But again, fear is a liar. I know I was called here to Italy for a reason and I am coming to terms with the fact that there is not a timeline to the destination. Yes, I’m here in Italy. But I don’t know the next step until the next day. I may not get the answer I’m hoping for while I am here but I am okay with that. I keep expecting to have this ah-ha moment but it may not come. I do know though, that He is growing me. My goodness have I grown in 3 weeks. I am so far out of my comfort zone. I literally have to google EVERYTHING. Nothing here is familiar to me. But He has opened my eyes to notice the beauty in so many things. Kindness in people. Beauty in old things. How calming nature is. How you can be happy with so much less. On that note, I have to mention something from today before wrapping this post up. I am staying at an old Tuscan farm- way out from any town. Full of animals and gardens. And the people here work hard. They have a very simple life but they have that light in them that I’ve heard about and seen, just not often enough. They have this joy about them. The owner is so generous and even brought me fresh eggs from his chickens for breakfast tomorrow. They invited me to dinner at their house for a home cooked meal. They have little but still give. God has reminded me to be selfless. To be even more generous. He will always supply our needs. Phil 4:19
With that, be encouraged. Be brave. God makes beauty from the ashes. And as I head to bed, I can know that fear is a liar!!! Stay tuned for updates on my 3rd week here in Italy. It's been a fun one!!
“Kindness is a simple way to tell another struggling soul that there is love to be found in this world.” I read this quote a couple of days ago and it is true. Kindness. It’s free and oh so powerful.
I arrived here in Italy 16 days ago, which in itself seems unbelievable. It’s hard to believe I have been here already for over 2 weeks. Since my last post, I have been all over the hills of Tuscany, including San Gimignano, Pistoia and Florence and I have met THE most friendly and kind people. I could go on and on about the kindness from my new friends Mila, Tommaso, Cindy and Frank, Vane and Giorgio. In the last week, I have been invited and taken to dinner twice, been invited to go horseback riding Sunday, met a couple from Switzerland at Mercato Centrale in Florence and had the best conversation and afterwards, they bought me dessert. Tommaso invited me over to see his villa where he is doing renovations and expecting to open it up for visitors in late April. It was hands down I place I could dream of living! Last night, Giorgio, an owner of one of the airbnb’s, invited me into town to give me a tour of the city and he gave me a lot of insight into the history of the buildings and city. He then took me to dinner and wouldn’t let me pay, saying that “Men in Italy never let a woman pay for dinner!” It was the nicest dinner I have had yet. One thing I didn’t mention earlier was that Giorgio’s wife gave me her boots to go hiking in yesterday morning. All I brought with me was my Nike’s, a pair of sandals and some casual shoes. When she saw my Nikes, she said I had to have proper shoes to hike in. We actually wore the same size! She is letting me keep them while I am here so I have good shoes to go hiking in. This is the kindness I have experienced almost every day I’ve been here. And for that I have been so grateful. For a moment I was even a little bit sad at one point, thinking, “Why aren’t people more like this back home?” And then I felt that nudge. It can start with me. When was the last time I brought a new person breakfast? Have I ever offered someone new to the city my time to show them around? So the takeaway for me is, if you want to see more kindness, be THAT person. If it makes me feel good and welcomed, then I can help someone feel that way, too. It doesn’t take much. (As I am typing this on this amazing patio overlooking the countryside, Giorgio pops his head out of one of the windows and says, “I’m making a coffee, would you like one?” – THIS y’all. I love it!!)
A few things I have learned this past week: The history here is never ending. I could be here a lifetime and still not know half of the history here. It’s quite amazing. For instance, I took a picture of an old church here in the countryside and later found out that it was built in 998. Yes, you read that right. Over 1,000 years ago! And it’s still standing and in decent shape! I also learned how they go about hunting wild boar in the hills here. The hunters form long lines on each side of the hills during early winter and they basically walk in towards each other until they trap all of these wild boar and then they start shooting them. It’s very well organized and Giorgio says you can hear them and see them in the hillside when it takes place. Gruesome I know for some of you reading this, but wild boar is a huge part of their diet here. And I have to say, it’s delicious! Secondly, I am really drawn to this simple life. Much more simple than what I was living. This has surprised me! I have been shocked at how easy it really is to live out of a suitcase. I have missed the comfort of my own bed at times, or a coffee in the morning while watching HGTV on the weekends, but for the most part not having many possessions has been pretty nice actually. I hope to quickly find work when I get back back to the states, but I want to live a much simpler life when I return. I am a pretty frugal person anyways and hope to just continue to simplify my life and house- wherever that turns out to be. And lastly, I thought I knew how to just be still. It takes much more effort than I thought and I have really struggled with not having a schedule; a routine. I have found myself missing work at times. I think it’s because work defines so much of our lives. Our lives tend to revolve around work and a work schedule. Now that I am not working, I feel like I am constantly trying to understand what value I bring to anything. I’m also struggling with not being plugged into a church yet, although that is coming when I get to Milan and then when I am helping with our Missions team in Naples. But for now, I’ve been watching services online and searching for places to attend that I can get to easily. I loved my Saturday morning time I served on the prayer team. I loved my Sunday mornings with friends at church followed by brunch. And I miss First Wednesdays. But one thing I know for sure is that I was called to get OUT of my comfort zone. It’s not about what I want, but what others need and what God thinks I can help with. So, I’ll continue to keep seeking guidance and appreciate every single moment I am here. It’s been the experience of a lifetime and I am so grateful I made the JUMP!
I will make an effort to post more often and I still am trying to clean up my blog so that I can post more pictures here. So stay tuned. Also, several have asked about my past and what led me to this point in my life and I hope to share that on the next post. I will leave a little something to chew on. I thank Mr. Torres back at Ellison High School for speaking life over me. I didn’t know it at the time, but he was the person that gave me hope for a better future than what I was living. Having seen where I lived (in low rental housing) and having known a little about my home life, he forever changed my life by saying to me, “You know you are meant for more than this. And you can do more with your life.” That’s all he said and that’s all I apparently needed to hear. It became the wind in my wings and set me on a path to work hard and get out of the situation I was in. Words of advice until next time: You are capable of changing your life. Of doing more and becoming better. You can change your family tree and not accept things the way they are. Know that. I am living proof. My hope is that if you are in a dark place, whatever that may be, I hope you can see the light and feel me cheering you on. Dream big and go after the life you want!
Well, it’s been 1 FULL week since I landed in Rome. The last week has been beyond my expectations. Over the last 7 days, I have been in Rome, Florence, Siena, Caserta, Santa Maria Capua Vetere and Pelago to name a few places. And they all have been beautiful and very different. I can say, as I sit here tonight in Tuscany, that I feel most at home here, outside of Florence. I can see why so many great writings and so much great art originated here. You can’t help but feel inspired. I have a peace that I can not put into words. Tonight, I had dinner outside on my patio and just to hear the birds and feel the breeze and watch the sunset, well, it brought me back to being a kid. Feeling free and noticing all the things I loved about being outside when I was younger. I guess that is what I loved about training and running a marathon. Running had me outside and I felt free. I really miss those days. More than I realized being at home in Birmingham. There is something about nature that just brings down my blood pressure.
A few people have asked what I am doing here. Truth is, I’m not really sure yet. I know I was called to Italy for something, but I am honestly praying that God directs me and reveals that to me while I am here. I do have a mission trip in Naples next month and I feel a tug towards Hillsong church in Milan, but other than that I feel like, so far, that I just need to be still. And listen. And relax. God has really put on my heart that I have been so focused on things that were/are not as important as I placed them in my life. So I think there is something He is trying to teach me as well. Patience. Trust. Just the gift of slowing down. I lived by a calendar before and I was always planning the next day. The next week. The next month. And that’s been a hard thing to adjust to here. I have zero control of anything really. And as I sit here tonight and watch the sunset, I realize that God has so much more for us than living a stressed out, self absorbed life. And I have also learned that we really need WAY less than we think we do. Having been living out of a suitcase for a week, I have realized a couple of things. He always provides. Example: I had a neighbor where I have been staying the last week that has brought bread and croissants to me- EVERY morning. Never knocked. Just silently left them hanging on my door in a bag. The few groceries I bought at the local store somehow lasted me the entire week. The other thing is that when you feel lonely (and are in a new place), He often brings someone your way. I met a lady named Mila who is a Chemist here and works to make sure food is chemical and pesticide free here in Italy. A complete stranger in a foreign country and she invited to pick me up and drive us to dinner. AND I ACCEPTED. It was a great night and our hour long dinner turned into THREE and she was a gift to me that night. A God wink. And we are going horse back riding next week! I also met a pastor and his wife and got invited to spend Easter with them. And it was nice. God is doing some great things in Italy. I can see it with the young people. So story is, be open to meeting new people. People different than you. That has been a real blessing this past week.
I feel like I could write a book. Seriously. This already has shown me that I can do more than I think I can. I can be brave and try new things. I can be still and be just fine. Before I left Birmingham, I told my daughter that I felt like in some way this move/journey would be healing for me and it may just be proving to be that. I didn’t know I really needed to be healed of anything, but I have cried several times since I got here. Maybe because I can’t believe He picked me to to this. Maybe because growing up the way I did, I never in a MILLION years thought I’d have an opportunity like this. Maybe because I feel like I don’t deserve it. Maybe because I feel I’m not ready. But He has quickly helped me to shut it down! You see, the enemy will fill you with LIES. He will make you second guess everything. But I am choosing to believe in the God’s word. I knew going into this that I would have tough days. And I have. But I will continue to move forward. To cherish each day and to be grateful.
So that’s all I have for today. More to come. I have an epic sunset to watch tonight and that’s taking the next time slot in my current schedule. Thanks for taking the time to read my story. I plan to share a little of my past with you later this week, so stay tuned. Also feel free to check out couragetojump on Instagram. I’ll be posting most of my pictures there!
It’s been a little while since I last wrote. My apologies, but I forgot how much work it is to move! The weeks leading up to the move were busy and so stressful, but there were so many confirmations along the way that this was what I needed to do. My house was rented out by the first person that saw it- 4 hours after it was posted! I sold a lot of my furniture and scheduled movers to come and do the rest the Saturday before I left for Rome- which was 2 days later. Well on Saturday at 2:00, we hadn’t heard or seen anyone so I called. They had me down for the WRONG date! The fact that they were able to get movers there by Saturday night AND get it all moved was a miracle to say the least. Thankfully my sister and a long time friend came to help pack, move and clean and I could not have done it without everyone’s help!! I was literally packing (for trip) and moving stuff to storage up until the morning I flew out!! Talk about stress!! Yes, let’s talk about that for a second. So after all this, I get to the airport and I had the biggest runaround with my passport and (lack of) visa. The visa thing is still in the air and if I can’t get one here, then 90 days in Italy is the max I can stay. Because I had a flight to London during the summer, they accepted that at the ticketing counter and issued my tickets. Then as we are boarding- 2 hours later- they call me to the counter and say a note won’t suffice and that “there’s no way I can board the flight”. I literally had a meltdown. From being exhausted to just plain desperation to get on the plane. I told the lady that I didn’t have a car or a place to stay and that one way or the other I was getting on this plane. By the way, I DO NOT recommend saying that but she somehow worked her magic and held the plane for me to get on after making a call to someone. Once I got on, sat in my seat and buckled my seatbelt, I felt an enormous weight lifted off my shoulders and as soon as we got in the air, I cried. I did it!!!!
So fast forward…yesterday I arrived in Rome and the smile has not left my face since I landed. I got upgraded to a ridiculous sports car for free because it was the only automatic they had at the time. Secretly I really wanted a tiny Fiat!! I still may go and exchange it. J I managed to navigate my way to an Autogrill for some caffeine and made my journey on to a small town outside of Florence. The weather has been amazing, but chilly. I have one sweater and one long sleeve shirt since I’m here through the summer, so I’ll be wearing those things every other day til it warms up!
The views are something out of a movie. I just stand and look around because I can’t seem to take it all in just yet. Remember when I said I feel closest to God when I’m here? It’s true. I have moments where I can feel him and I am so grateful He gave me the courage to do this!! I’ll share some pictures from yesterday and today under My Adventures. They really don’t even come close to what it actually looks like here. I am in my happy place.
Today was an adventure. I got creative and found a way to make a decent coffee this morning and watched the two labs here run around and play. It made me miss Bailey. I ventured out and had lunch with another incredible view and then ran to COOP to get some groceries for the next few days. THAT was trying. No one spoke any English. I had to google words on stuff because I wasn’t sure what some things were. LOL. You have to weigh fruit and veggies BEFORE checking out, so guess what? I held the line up and people weren’t so happy. Then on the way home, I got stuck on a roundabout and couldn’t get over to exit. Yes. Just like Chevy Chase in European Vacation. I rode around that thing 3 times before I could get off!! Now, it’s hilarious to me but not so much at the time. Lastly, I was praying on the ride home because the Italian drivers y’all!!! OH. MY. GOSH. I was positive they were going to send me over a hill riding my tail around these winding roads. And doing like 3X the speed limit. And yes, I know that makes me sound like an old lady but I got wheezy on the roads here and they are SO NARROW. Yikes. I have to actually laugh at it now that I’m typing this! I got home sweating. LOL
Tomorrow I need to start some sort of schedule/cadence. I plan to start working out again and read my bible every day as I have missed a few days. There is no TV here and I am a way from town, so I have lots of free time to read, cook, blog and just be for now. I’ll be connecting with one church this week and hope to attend their Easter service Sunday. I was even invited over to have dinner with one of my contact’s family. The connections made here already with new friends over FB and with the churches has eased this move so much. I pray for more divine encounters with people while I am here.
So as I wrap up the day making pasta and relaxing, all I can think is how grateful I am that God gave me the courage to do this. I seriously COULD NOT have made this all happen without His hand on it. I am so encouraged tonight about the upcoming months. I’m proud of myself. I grew in this one step alone. I didn’t let fear win and I will continue to listen for God’s voice and direction in all this. Let the journey begin!!
Angie – one tired chic
Today was a day that has absolutely tested me. This is shaping up to be what would be a massive year for me at work after 2 years of laying the groundwork. Like I would WAY exceed my quota potentially. And that is VERY hard to walk away from. I have received the nicest emails from customers and that alone has been bittersweet. To know you’ve done a good job and built good, honest relationships with people is so rewarding. I have had people call and reach out to me saying that they are praying for me. That they want to keep in touch and follow my blog. That they want to see me before I leave. CUSTOMERS y’all. People that have become friends. And THAT has left me in a puddle of tears at one point this afternoon.
But the test is to walk away from the money. To do that and not know what the future holds even when others can so easily say “Oh, you’ll find something! Don’t worry about it.” is scary. I know friends have the sweetest intentions and just want to encourage me, but man, this is DIFFICULT. All the "what ifs" start flooding in and I have to choose to push them aside. I have been so blessed to be in IT and work the past 2 years for a great company. I have to believe that something will be available somewhere when I get back or that God has something so big and exciting, that I can’t even imagine it at this moment.
After my meltdown, I had to take Bailey outside. You know what I saw? 2 red Cardinals fluttering around. I have mentioned this before in posts on Facebook or Instagram, but when I have been in really difficult situations or had a really big decision to make or just been sad, Cardinals show up. Because both my parents are gone, I like to think that it’s them stopping by to remind me to smile and keep going. Or give me confirmation to keep going. Call me crazy, but that’s what I choose to believe. That instantly makes me feel better.
Some good news that came late this afternoon is that I have several people in line to look at my house! If it gets rented before April 1, that would be great!!! Fingers crossed. So, I move forward. I keep packing and planning and doing what I can here to get ready for the next phase. Whatever that may be.
God knows my heart and what I am having trouble letting go of. Security is such a big thing for me after having been brought up as a child in low rental housing and struggling for so long. There will always be highs and lows and it’s just time to turn the page and see what’s next. And I will trust in His promise of Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” And that is enough.
Hey, y’all! Well here goes nothing. This is a vulnerable moment for me and that says A LOT! I am typically an open book and actually catch some grief for that from people. But I wanted a place for family and friends to be able to follow me and the experiences I have while in Italy. I also hope that maybe this reaches someone that is nervous about making a jump. Let’s be honest, it’s SCARY to leave your comfort zone. And really hard. Nothing about this is easy for me. But I also know, it’s the only way to grow. I have prayed to find my purpose. To grow my faith. To help and encourage people more. And although I know some may find this crazy, I am at peace knowing God will meet me there in Italy. And that makes me excited and it eliminates much of the fear! I’d like to say all the fear, but there’s still some nervousness if I am honest.
I am leaving a place that I actually really like and leaving friends that have become family. I’m leaving behind a church that I absolutely love and believe in. Along with my daughter (although she’s grown), my house, my car, my Golden Retriever and my job. Yep, all my belongings that will fit in a storage unit are getting packed away and/or sold. I’m leaving the US for a foreign country. I don’t speak the language. I don’t know anyone. I won’t have any sense of security while I am there, so I HAVE to trust God. That’s the only way I can do this. But I know He wants me there for some reason and I know I may not know until after I come back or maybe not until we are having coffee up in Heaven watching the movie of my life. (Hey, that’s how I picture my heaven!) Again, have I mentioned I am scared to death but full of faith??!
I have started packing and moving things and let me tell ya, there’s a TON to do before I leave Birmingham. Lord, like a TON! But it will get done. I’m having to take it one day at a time. I plan to write about my thoughts as I prepare myself the next few weeks and then while I am over there. I know there will be nights of loneliness. Even days. I know I will be overwhelmed with getting around and getting lost. But I also know that I can’t wait to experience what has drawn me to Italy and that’s the sound of the church bells. Watching older couples with arms linked walking down cobblestone roads. Seeing younger people come to these amazing new church plants and start a relationship with Jesus. I hope to love on people that are having hard times and running away from things we can’t even imagine as Americans. May I never miss an opportunity that God puts in front of me while I am there.
I hope you enjoy my blog and if I can be so bold to ask, please pray for me as I make this move. I’m excited to share a little of my past with you and how God showed up out of nowhere in my life when I really was at a low place in life. May He be glorified in all that I am about to do.
Hey, everyone! I'm Angie and I hope you enjoy my blog about how and why a single woman in her 40's decided to drop everything she was doing and follow her God sized dream to Italy. I may be scared to death but I am FULL of faith as God gives me the COURAGE TO JUMP!