virginia is for lovers.

For those of you who didn’t make your way here through social media, let’s start with the big news: after a little more than two years of calling Richmond, VA home, Jordan and I feel so blessed to say that we are officially moving back to our hometown of Charlotte, NC for this new chapter of life with our baby girl!

It is a blessing in so many ways to know we’ll be close to family as we start our own, and the immense answer to prayer that this has been — all with the backdrop of perfect timing that could only be orchestrated by God — will be unpacked in a future post. For now, our focus and our prayer has been to “finish the race strong” here in RVA (something I have to thank my husband for setting as the ultimate goal here), saying goodbye to friends who have undoubtedly made our Richmond experience far more fruitful and enjoyable than we could have imagined, and soaking up the last bit of local charm that we may miss when we make our way back to the Tar Heel state. And naturally, the writer in me has one more item on the checklist: digesting all of this with words.

Goodbyes have never been easy for me, no matter how much I look forward to what’s going to happen next. If we allow it, even the harder chapters of our lives can be so sweet, allowing God to put on display just how present He is in both our trials and our triumphs. Richmond was such an unexpected gift to us, not only in our life here but even how we managed to find ourselves here to begin with — we had one reason to move here: Jordan’s job. But very soon, we’ll leave so much more behind.

This was the start of our lives together as a married couple, and I remember shortly after we had gotten married and moved everything into our apartment, I coveted the lives of so many of my friends — lives that allowed them to start their marriage off with family nearby and all of their familiar surroundings still intact. It never made me sad, but it always sat in the back of my mind as somewhat of a ‘slight’ to us as we tried to figure out this whole marriage thing in a new city, with a new job, and the majority of our family 5 hours away.

As I reflect on how far we’ve come, though, I know that having the opportunity to move away and really ask ourselves what OUR life would look like on its own was so critically important. It has truly shaped us for the better, and I can say with total confidence that our lives would not at all look the same if we had stayed in our comfort zone and opted to stick with what we knew. Everyone grows and learns in different ways, but for us, God’s hand was 100% in the decision to bring us here and allow us to grow as our own family.

I have prayed for God to make a way for us to return to Charlotte for a long time now — and when we found out I was pregnant, the desire and the dream to head back felt even more real. We have made countless (really, I think countless is accurate here) 5-hour trips back and forth from Richmond to Charlotte over the past two years, and I am honestly so grateful that the stress of traveling back and forth will soon come to an end. We’ve felt like our hearts were in two places for so long now, and there is a lot of relief that comes with this move — although we know it will have its own set of challenges.

The other night as we were packing up our apartment, Jordan and I talked about what we would miss most here. There are so many tangible things I could cite, but what I realized more than anything is that I will always be able to look back at this place and this time, and see it was fully ours — just the two of us. The transition between our life as a couple to a family of three will bookend almost simultaneously with this move, and I know that will leave me so sentimental as I look back on the gift it was for the two of us to have these two years together — just us, in our little apartment, figuring out how to set the foundation for our marriage and our life together. That is how I’ll remember Richmond, and I hope I never forget just how sweet it all was.

I can’t cap this off without sharing so many of my favorite moments from our time spent learning about this place, so enjoy the multitude of pictures that are to follow. It’s true what they say: Virginia IS for lovers. :)

Parking lot pic from King’s Dominion during one of our first weekends in Virginia.

Carter’s Mountain in Charlottesville, VA: probably one of my favorite experiences we had here… both years. (because is there any better way to celebrate Fall?) Read more here.

When we spent an otherwise drab January morning trying to make a dent in this foodie gem they call #RVA. (More on that morning here.)

All smiles after trying Proper Pie for the first time. You can read more about that experience here.

The night that the Tar Heels won the 2017 National Championship, and we (read: I) screamed our heads off with the Richmond Carolina Club.

Night races at Richmond Raceway — my favorite race to work, because it meant I could bring my best friend along. :)

L-O-N-G walks along the James River, but totally worth it for these gorgeous views. The River City doesn’t disappoint, y’all.

Oktoberfest (Richmond-style) with Jordan’s family, followed by what my iPhone just couldn’t do justice with a photo: a sunset from a hotel rooftop.

My favorite time of year in general, but also for how perfect our apartment was to create this cozy little haven at Christmastime – I love everything about this photo and how I’ll remember this sweet season.

When it snowed the FIRST time in 2018 and it was exciting… 3-4 snow storms later (including one in April), and this view got a little old. But glad I snapped this pic when I got the chance. :)

When I got to set up this little announcement on the back porch of our apartment… the news that changed everything. :) (Read more here.)

Celebrating Mother’s Day with sweet friends on a picnic blanket at Maymont Park, back when I could fit into my non-maternity clothes and had to emphasize my “baby bump” as best I could… no longer a problem for me these days, in case anyone was curious.

When the sweetest, most thoughtful friends planned a beautiful baby shower for me here in Richmond, giving me all the feels as I thought about how much our circle of friends has grown over these two years. I’ll always cherish how well people loved us in this place.

And to my forever partner-in-crime: thank you for moving us here with total trust in how God would bless this time, for loving me so well every time I squandered the gift of this place, and for faithfully leading our family back home to start this new life together. No matter where we are or what we do, you will always bring a joy to my heart that no city or home could top. I am beyond blessed to live this life with you.

We can’t wait to share more here as we kick off our time in Charlotte and begin what I can only imagine is going to be one of the most chaotic, rewarding, sanctifying seasons of our lives thus far. Thanks for following along on this journey with us!

4 thoughts on “virginia is for lovers.

  1. We just relocated to Charlotte from DC! We are loving it here (for some reason, this city more easily feels like home than DC ever did…!). Would love to see you or meet up when you’re in town! I know motherhood will keep you quite busy, but I’m hoping to start a book club here!!

    • Hi Shannon! Ah I love that, so exciting! There’s something so fun about returning to where you grew up :) Yes, I’d love to meet up! Keep me posted on any book club meetings you are planning, but I’m always up to grab a cup of coffee and chat as well! :)

  2. Pingback: calling me home. | this beautiful life

  3. Pingback: new spaces. | this beautiful life

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s