What Texas taught me

June 25, 2014 in Uncategorized

Today I just wanted to share some things I’m working through in my own life. Maybe you’ve been there.  So maybe you can understand.

At the moment, things aren’t easy.  I just uprooted and moved my children out of the only home they’ve ever really known to a completely unfamiliar state.  We have gone from the city to the country for the most part.  Everything is different.  And to be perfectly honest–I don’t even know if I made the right decision!  But that is what taking a risk is all about.  And taking risks is NOT something that I ever thought I would do.  In fact, I’m the opposite of a risk taker.  I’m a play-it-safer.  I am the one that overanalyzes things.  In fact my mother used to always call it “analysis paralysis” because I would analyze things so endlessly that I became stuck.  If there was a deadline on making a decision, it would have passed by the time I came to a conclusion.  Mom would also call it “Decision by indecision”.   I basically had decided NOT to do whatever it was simply by never making up my mind!

I never was one to go on adventures.  Give me a book and I’m fine.  I’ll read about adventures.   That way I never have to risk the consequences.  I always liked playing it safe.  That’s partly why I married my husband.  He was career military.  He stuck with things.  He was a straight arrow.  Predictable.  And that’s what I’m all about.  No surprises.

I had my whole life mapped out.  I knew exactly what was going to happen at every stage.  And then one day my predictable, dependable, straight arrow of a husband decided NOT to be so predictable anymore!  Suddenly I looked around at my life and I no longer had a game plan.  I no longer knew what the future held.  I only knew that one baby needed her diaper changed and the other one needed a bottle.  My preschooler wanted breakfast and my 4th grader needed school supplies.   So there was no time to crumble.  Not when 4 kids have their eyes on you.  Life must go on, right??  But how?

When I came to Texas, I was married and totally dependent on my husband.  I had never experienced independence before in my life.  Even before I was married, I was dependent on my mother for help.  Oh sure I had gone to college and lived in a dorm.  But I wasn’t really on my own. Not really.  I had someone helping to support me.   And the same was true when I was married.

But almost as soon as I moved to Texas, I found myself a single mother of 4 children.  I’m talking BABIES.  There I was alone, scared and totally clueless as to how I would survive.  But I had moved to the right place.

 I had moved to Texas.

Texans are different from most anyone you will ever meet.  They have a deep pride in who they are and where they are from.  Texans do things like decorate their homes and trucks with the Texas flag.  They make sure everyone knows you are now in Texas!

Texas is big.  If you want to get out of Texas, keep driving.  And then drive some more.  Because Texas is just big.  And as they say, everything is bigger in Texas.

Texans have big hair, big crosses, big jewelry, big trucks and big ideas.  They also have pride.  Pride in their history.  Pride in the fact that they once were their OWN COUNTRY.  And most of them think they should be again.  Because Texans are independent people.  They’re strong.  They say things like….

Don’t mess with Texas

and

I’m from Texas–what country are you FROM?

Texans have a spirit that says we can overcome anything.

We don’t give up

We don’t surrender

Lt. Col. William Barrett Travis wrote what is considered one of the most heroic letters ever written while fighting at the Alamo.  He vowed never to surrender.  Never to give up.

VICTORY OR DEATH

Travis meant what he said.  Even though the Alamo fell, he never surrendered.  He followed through.  He never retreated.  He went all the way to the end.

Here is a picture of me touching the wall of the Alamo before I left.  Some of my friends took me through downtown San Antonio in a limo a few days before I moved and they said “Go touch the Alamo!”  For Good luck.  For courage! Of course we had been there a thousand times over the course of living there but this time was different.  Because I knew I was leaving.  So I had to take some of that spirit with me!

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I believe it was Davy Crockett who said “You may all go to hell.  And I will go to Texas”

Texans have pride.  Pride in where they are from.  Pride in their home.  Pride in themselves.

When I moved to Texas, I had almost no pride at all.  No confidence.  No self esteem.  I knew one thing.  I could never survive on my own.  NEVER.  I didn’t have it in me and I was sure of it.  I truly believed that God had placed more on my plate than I could handle.   I wasn’t going to make it through a divorce and be able to function.  I would never be able to raise 4 children on my own.  Two still in diapers.  I was going to crumble.  That was it.

MY LIFE WAS OVER

But God knew what He was doing.  Because even before I knew my husband was going to walk out the door, God did.  And when we got the orders to move to our next duty station—God said TEXAS

There was never a time in my life when “Pull yourself up by the bootstraps” was more signifiant than the day I became a single mother living in a new city 2500 miles away from anyone I knew.  And you can’t pull yourself up by the bootstraps—unless you have boots!

I met many people during my time in Texas.  I learned from their spirit.  I learned from their mindset.  And it helped to create in me an independence of my own that I never knew I had.

Divorce is a trying time for anyone.  Being a single mother is not for the weak.  And sometimes  you just want to roll over and die.

But instead I embraced a new way of thinking.

Victory or Death!

Never Surrender!

And because of that I became someone who could handle things.  I learned to have pride.  Self Esteem.  Courage.

I became independent.  And I learned what it means to survive.

I had to do the same thing in fighting for my life at 417 pounds.  Once again, I had to embrace the spirit of never giving up.   To fight hard.  To have pride in myself and to never surrender.

But Texans are more than that.  They aren’t afraid to take risks.  They aren’t afraid to claim what they feel belongs to them.  They are adventurers.  They don’t run from something.  They put it in 4 wheel drive and barrel through!

When I first felt that God was leading me to make a big move—I wasn’t sure about it.  Once again, I went into my default personality.  Analysis Paralysis.  And I wasn’t sure which way to go?  Could God be leading me to move back to Virginia?  It had been on my heart for more than 2 years but only now the door had opened.  How could I be sure?

I’m a single mom of 4 kids.  I’ve never bought or sold a house on my own! How can I go all the way across the country to some unknown location where I know only ONE person and start over??? Sure, I’m from Virginia.  But not THIS part!  Do you know how scary that is?? How insane it sounds?

But the more I prayed about it the more I kept feeling as if this was God’s leading.  And if it was– then how would I find it within me to follow through?

As much as it hurt to leave Texas, I never could have done it if I had never lived there in the first place.

You see, it was Texas that taught me to be independent.  To embrace my fears and keep going.  To have the courage to fight for my dreams and never surrender.  Texas is where I learned that you don’t have to be afraid of the future.  That inside each and everyone of us is the ability to make things happen. Even if we feel inadequate.  Even if we feel scared.

Before I moved to Texas, I never did my nails.  I never did my hair.   But after my husband left me, I always felt bad about myself.  Just BAD.  I was overweight.  I wasn’t in college anymore.  I woke up every day and looked in the mirror to the thought “I’m not good enough”.   When I was over 400 pounds, I struggled with this even more!!  But I learned something from the Texan women I befriended.  You may not have everything you want in life right now.  Life may be hard.  And you may feel like staying in bed and crying all day but you know what?? Get up anyway.   Do your hair.  Do your nails. Do your make up.  And if you’re so big that your feet won’t fit in shoes, then get some flip flops with bling on them and keep going!!!

It may sound silly but you know what…it works!  You don’t feel like getting up.  Get up anyway.  You have no one to look good for?? Look good for YOU!! Take pride in yourself!  You don’t need anyone to tell you your’e worth it.  You ARE worth it.  Now believe it.  Embrace it.  And go forward into the bright new day!

This hasn’t been easy.  My oldest daughter is attending UTSA this fall.  Back in Texas.  And moving away means not seeing her as often.  Of course that was already in the cards for me.  That’s what happens when kids get older.  It’s her time too.  Time to claim HER independence and Texas has taught her well!

But here I am once again in a new place.  A new home.  A new neighborhood.  And I find myself once again having to start over.

So many things are the same as they were in 2006 when I initially found myself alone.  I’m still a single mom of  4 kids although thankfully everyone is out of diapers!!  My kids are all school age now.  Life is different.  But in many ways , it’s still the same.  I still have to make decisions on my own and hope they are the right ones.  I still have to get up every day and face this world without the comfort of a spouse to bounce ideas off of.  And so if I make a bad decision, I have to own it.  There is no one else to blame but me!

Did I do the right thing in leaving Texas and moving to Virginia? Only time will tell.  But I know one thing.  I followed my heart.  And it was Texas that first gave me the courage to do that.   It was that independent and adventurous spirit of Texans that helped me learn how to be a risk taker.

You may not be from Texas.  And I may not live there anymore.  But we can all learn something from their spirit.  From their sense of pride and their willingness to take risks.

Life is short.  Embrace it.  Take pride in yourself.  Be independent and don’t be afraid.

Even if you fail, you tried.  You didn’t shrink back from hard decisions.   You took the shot.

And that’s what it’s about.  Not being afraid to take the shot.  Just ask the Spurs who recently won the Championship.

But guess what? Last year they did NOT.  I even wrote it about here when they lost: What We Can Learn from the Spurs

They lost last year.  But this year they came back and won.  And won BIG!

And that is what it’s  really all about.  Taking victory over our life.  Making our comeback no matter what it takes!

We don’t always know the outcome but life is only an adventure if we are willing to be the Adventurer!!

That’s something I learned in Texas

And wherever I go—I’ll take that with me

texas.002

PS.  Weight Loss Update–Moving here was also an effort to shake things up for me.  Shock my brain and my body into doing new things and get back on track with health and weight loss.  I’ve been in a RUT for a long time.  I needed something different. Today I took my first morning walk in the neighborhood.  It wasn’t far.  Literally about half a mile to be honest.  But you know what? It’s a start.  And my neighborhood and the country all around me is gorgeous.  It reminds me of God’s beautiful creation and how He shows His Majesty through the many amazing things we see around us every day.  Tomorrow I will do it again.  Further.    I hope you are doing well too!!

 

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Pam Holmes June 25, 2014 at 3:24 pm

Good luck in Virginia Holly. I know you will do great wherever you live, because you have spirit and determination and GUTS! I’m pretty sure I couldn’t have done what you did, but I have a sign in my house that says, “You never how strong you are, until strong is the only choice you have.” I like that. It kind of represents my situation with Du’s terminal cancer right now. I’m finding strength I didn’t know I had.
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Karen June 25, 2014 at 6:31 pm

Praying for you that the you will continue to trust in the word of God, PRoverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not to thy own understanding but in all thy ways acknowledge him and he will direct your path.” Keep on trusting…

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Kerstin June 25, 2014 at 8:15 pm

I think you are incredibly brave and amazing, Holly! Even though I have moved 25 times in the last three decades I still appreciate all that goes with a new start in a place where you don’t know anyone (except for your friend of course). I don’t have children of my own but my mom was a single mother of three in the 70s when there was still a lot of stigma attached to it. Financially it was never easy but she had a fierce and independent spirit and she never ever allowed her situation to beat her down. You’ve been through so much since your divorce but, from what I can see via your blog, you’ve always been an amazing mother and your kids speak volumes to your own spirit and love. Transitions are never easy and it takes a while to get used to your new surroundings, to find your bearings and set up your new routines. I moved back to the UK last December and even though this is a place I know well and despite all my moving experience it’s taken me until now to shake that feeling of unsettledness and not being sure if this was the right step for us. To be honest, I am still not sure. But I decided to focus on my weight loss journey and make the most of living in an area that is also pretty nice. I hear that Lynchburg and its surrounding areas are beautiful and so glad to hear you starting to embrace that. I look forward to seeing how things unfold for you, I have a feeling that it will all be exactly as you are meant to be doing and where you are meant to be.
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Tori June 25, 2014 at 9:36 pm

Sadly-I can be pretty indecisive myself. Sometimes just to get off the fence about a decision that needs to be made I yell the Nike slogan at myself! thinking about your post and Texas I see now that whomever came up with the slogan for Nike must have been from Texas (even when you don’t feel like it do it anyway!). But it’s hard…sometimes the record skips and you find yourself doing something you’ve already done because it’s comfortable. Some days just getting out of bed is all I can accomplish.
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LuckyMama June 26, 2014 at 1:20 am

A woman after my own heart!!! I lived in Texas for 22 years – moved away 5 years ago and am counting the days until I can go back. It really is a wonderful place to live – lot of spirit there!

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tb June 26, 2014 at 4:35 am

Dear Holly, Wow, you are such a blessing! I just love your outlook, and you just seem so nice. Your kids are cute, you seem like a great mom and a very lovely person. I just adore your faith, your dedication to God, and the way you insert bible quotes and stuff like that. God and I don’t agree on stuff, but I sure am trying hard to keep right on praying!! I think you are really awesome, I just love ya!! It can be very hard to lose weight. I also am trying to lose weight (fifty pounds). It does not sound like much, but I find it hard actually. I am still trying anyways. It will take time, but we will keep on working at it! All the best!

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Anneli June 26, 2014 at 10:58 pm

Awesome article as usual. I’m wondering if sometime you could address something that always throws me a little psychologically. I’d love your brothers words on this too. I love how you just started with 30 seconds of exercise a day. My question is that nobody ever talks about where does it end?? If I exercise a little more each day, and eat a little less each day eventually I’ll be eating nothing and exercising 24/7. Really, I think I have this worked out for myself–and I suppose the answer will be different for everyone, which is maybe why nobody ever officially says when you can stop. It’s just that every time somebody says, “Just do a little more each day” I can’t help but picture myself on an endless treadmill. I guess once I’m exercising for 24 hours then I can always work on getting faster right? Keep up the good work!! Anneli
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Anna June 27, 2014 at 12:42 am

I haven’t posted in a while, but I’ve been reading and keeping tabs on you. I’m happy you have made the big move. It sounds like you and your children are going to experience some great new times. May God Bless You in your walk. a

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Melissa June 27, 2014 at 1:46 pm

I will be making the move to Florida from NYC this Fall, part of me is excited and part of me is terrified. We have family there which will make it easier, but I still wonder if it’s the right decision for my family. This post really inspires me, thank you so much.

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Sheila June 27, 2014 at 3:08 pm

Awwww, beautifully written as always Holly! Moving is a BIG deal and I love how poetically you put “And so if I make a bad decision, I have to own it. There is no one else to blame but me!” I love this because by gosh we all love to BLAME someone for our problems don’t we? And I love what you have learned from Texas, you were MEANT to be there just as I’m sure you are MEANT to be in Virginia. Good for you, congrats on your move. You are so inspiring!

“That’s right you’re not from Texas, that’s right you’re not from Texas, that’s right you’re not from Texas, but Texas wants you anyway!” Lyle Lovett
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Tess June 27, 2014 at 3:30 pm

GREAT post, Holly, thank you for sharing. Every day is a “start over” lately for me, and you’ve taught me to embrace that. Every morning, no matter if you’re in a new place or an old place, you get to have a new start. Yay for going for a walk in your new neighborhood! If you need help, go to the people around you. That’s one thing that’s different this time around, you have the courage and strength to ask for help. People WANT to help, just ask! Keep at it, woman, you got this!

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Siobhan June 28, 2014 at 9:50 pm

Thanks for the wonderful post, Holly. You have put into words what I’ve tried for years to tell people why I love Texas. (I wasn’t born here, but I got here as soon as I could. 🙂 One of my favorite Texas’ quotes.)

Best of luck on your new life in Virginia!
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Jae July 3, 2014 at 5:58 pm

I was sitting in FunnyShrinkGuy’s office one afternoon, so anxious I was close to a panic attack. I was facing the decision whether to return to school, at the age of 55, terrified. I, in that moment, had returned to 1979, in college, and failing. Literally, I was flunking. The thought of going back to that place, the place of feeling stupid, surrounded by people for whom it seemed so easy was terrifying. In his wisdom, he looked at me and said “You’re not the same girl. You’re strong. You’ve journeyed all these years to arrive at who you are today. You’ve changed, you’re wiser, you’ve learned to start trusting yourself and God. You’ll make the right decision.” I returned to school, completed my undergrad, and will graduate next year, becoming a Marriage and Family therapist.

You’ve changed. You’re not the same person. The beauty is while you were here in Texas, transforming, you gifted yourself with a strength that can never be taken away. The challenge is learning to trust the NewYou, the person with such courage, that she left a place of familiarity, and followed your heart.

One of my favorite quotes is “Leap and the net will appear”. God honors people who leap. He will bless this part of your journey like he has done before. Such an honor to witness your travel. And besides, Texas isn’t going anywhere, you can always come back home 🙂
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