For those of you who have been waiting patiently (thank you) for an update on  my move back home, here it goes.

Let me first start off by sharing this: As I was reading my devotion this morning I came across this paragraph- it sums up what I'm hoping the next year of my life will look like.

"God is waiting outside the door of your heart to walk you through the rain. This may not be what you would have chosen, but it will be a journey you'll always remember."

So that's where I stand today- January 11th, 2011. Soaking in the rain, but willing to take the umbrella that's being offered to me. A year ago this wouldn't have been what I chose, but it's what I have. To get you to where I am now let me back up and tell you how this all started.

I would leave out names but everyone knows who I'm talking about anyway. A little less than a year ago I made the decision to move to Charlotte, NC. Why, you ask? To be with the love of my life, of course! I was hesitant at first but by June (ish) I was ready to head out. And I did. I sold everything I owned (I literally did) and drove to Charlotte, NC. I was ecstatic, at first. Then I stepped foot in the doorway and all my built up excitement fled. From that moment on  it was a roller coaster ride. Everything went wrong from finances, to jobs, to car problems, and on top of that a sad heart. I was alone in a strange city and had no friends to call my own. I got lost CONSTANTLY- for those of you who know me, you know how much I HATE being lost :) I can't tell you the stress that I had.

Now, don't get me wrong. I had some AMAZING times in those first few months. I met a lot of really awesome people and I'm sad to not be a part of their lives anymore. Slip and slides, racing, sunny weather, spending little time with the boy (he's was gone on the weekends but I already knew that was an issue). Oh, and I forgot to mention the gym- by this time all I did was work out so I literally had "buns of steel" - kind of miss that now. :)

So the months went on. Then October hit- my birthday month. A real turning point in my life. I made the list that I will forever love and remember. With this list came other things I will miss about Charlotte- Hiking to be one of them.  On the outside things seemed perfect. I had begun working, I spent more time with Matt and RJ. My circle of friends was increasing and I didn't get lost (at least not as much).

On the inside I was constantly struggling with the option of going home. I missed my family, I missed my friends, and I was scared to let go of all of it. I wanted to be with Matt- who I've loved for a total of 4 years now.

INTERRUPTION: Yes, we both dated other people in between these years but you will always remember your first grown up "love". Probably one of the reasons why both of the relationships we had with others failed.

and were back... so originally me moving to Charlotte was a trial period. A trial to see if I could actually live there and to see if me and matt could survive as a couple. In my mind I had put a deadline on when I needed to decide. That was Thanksgiving. At the end of October I started working at Red Rocks. I gained so many friends right away and it made the decision of leaving or staying even harder.

I began to panic when the middle of November hit. I mean, this was when I was suppose to have life figured out, right? Stay or go?

I'm sure the majority of this situation is my fault because I never gave it its full potential. The reason? Because deep down I knew that the good in Minnesota out weighed the bad, and no matter how much I loved someone, my family and dreams come first. Someone should understand that. November and December went by and it was hell to say the least. I was working 55 or so hours a week, I never saw friends- outside of work, and I was stressed with the move. How was I going to pay to get home? What would I do when I got home? With all of this stress that I took on myself I never realized the bigger picture. To say that I intentionally sabotaged my life in Charlotte is a lie. Looking back now I don't feel it was intentional because I didn't realize what was going on. One day everything just blew up and I didn't see the consequences of my actions until then. Subconsciously- Yes. I wasn't ready, or able to make a decision on my own so I let things happen the way they did. I'm not proud of the way things went down but ultimately I believe it all happened for a reason. To continue the time line of my story we'll start back up in December- Christmas. I went home- YAY for Christmas. Debating over staying or going I sought wisdom from some friends and family. The one line that sticks out to me the most is from my aunt Rosie, "You know, no one in our family has ever left. If they have its been for a short time." If you knew my family you would understand how true this is, and why the decision of staying in Charlotte was hard. My family is AMAZING. One of a kind really. I  mean have you met my Grandma? Starting from her and leaking in to each of us is a little part of her love, her humor, her grace, her persistence, and her strength. It all ties us together in to one amazing group of people. Anyone that has met them should be honored... wow- that was a bunny trail.

So, it made my decision to move home easy. I wanted my family. Plain and simple.

I flew back to Charlotte (despite my option to just not go and stay here). The welcome home (Charlotte) wasn't great. Luckily I had made some amazing friends who were able to support me and love me my last few days in Charlotte. I made the final decision to move on January 4th, 2011. I packed my things and I was gone by January 8th. Some might say I'm running from my problems. But I ask, "what problem is that?" It's more so a decision between two things you love equally. I loved Matt- probably will forever. And I love my family, and I will FOREVER. I couldn't see myself happy there in the long run and although it might have been selfish I left. I looked to myself for once, and decided that I needed to chase my own dreams instead of holding on to the coat tails of someone else's.

So this is where my new life starts. Right here in the pouring rain. I'm soaked and shivering- scared to death of what my future holds for me. The thing that I'm looking forward to is the Rainbow after the storm- maybe in my case, a double rainbow.

As I leave the past right there, in the past I must thank those that made an impact on my life during my time in Charlotte. I don't know when or if I will see you again but please know you will never be far away in my thoughts.

Lastly I want to repeat something that one of my soccer coaches told me, "Ashley, what ever the reason for the decision let it be known that you did something many people your age will never do in their lifetime. You took a chance and moved to a new community. Many more opportunities will present themselves to you over the years which require tough decisions. Follow your heart."

I did. I followed my heart to Charlotte, and now I'm following it back to where it truly belongs, snow and all.

(For an update on things to come in the next year check out my new tab -------------------------> under "MORE"  at the top of this box. It's titled 2011. )


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