love where you live

When I started college at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, I had zero idea about who I was, who I wanted to be and what I wanted to do with my life. I felt like my options were pretty generic...teacher, doctor, nurse, lawyer, etc. So many of my peers had chosen some pretty amazing sounding career paths, things I had never even heard of what on earth is a Computer Network Architect?? Following in my mother's footsteps, I walked right down to the education office and signed up for the College of Education; I was going to be a teacher.

I took my basics and then a few education courses, but I was miserable. I was unmotivated and unfulfilled, so after two years, I started looking at other options. Pre-med sounded fabulous. After a session with my advisor, I made the switch to Biomedical Science and started a pretty rigorous road of Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry, Microbiology and more. I LOVED it, my grades were pretty great and I felt so excited about this career path. After a couple of years, I decided that I wouldn't go the medical school route but, would instead go to physical therapy school after graduation from undergrad.

I graduated from Texas A&M, was accepted at a top ten physical therapy school and, after two super fun (but really hard!) years, graduated with a Master of Science in Physical Therapy. I worked in the field for ten years, opening a practice with a colleague (and friend) of mine where we focused on Women's Health. We treated pain with pregnancy, pain with sex, urinary incontinence, fibromyalgia and a whole host of issues that afflict women. We did yoga, taught pain management techniques, assessed homes and workplaces, posture assessments, helped our patients with scheduling their day, helped with diet and so much more.

Then, I had to move.

My husband's (at the time) medical career took us from medical school in Dallas to medical residency in Winston Salem, North Carolina. We packed up our small townhome and our 9 month old and headed northeast. In North Carolina I had the opportunity to make great new friends, explore new places and was blessed to become a part of a pretty amazing Greek Orthodox church community. Over time, I grew restless. I absolutely ADORED staying home with our daughter but, money was tight (a family of three living off of the income of one medical resident was pretty darn tough) and I was feeling the desire to do something outside of our home. I accepted a position at a local OBGYN office where I began to practice Physical Therapy again.

Our second child arrived and then, once again, we had to move.

This time we moved from Winston Salem to Charlottesville, Virginia for medical fellowship. That was a painfully isolating year. We lived in a two bedroom apartment, my husband was working over 130 hours a week and, unfortunately, we chose an apartment that was located pretty remotely from the rest of town. My best friends were both under the age of 5 years old and I felt very suffocated in the small rooms of our apartment. I would often pack up the girls and travel back to Winston Salem to attend church meetings but to also just have something to do with them. we lost another pregnancy that year which only made our time in Virginia that much more painful. By the grace of God, I became pregnant with our third child, fellowship was over and we were able to move back to glorious Winston Salem.

We settled back into our house in Winston Salem and my husband commuted to Greensboro (45 minutes away) to finally begin his medical career. We were elated to have finished up a decade of medical training and we FINALLY felt like adults! We knew the commute would grow old so after many months of searching for a home in Greensboro, we decided to build what we couldn't find.

Over the next nine months I had countless meetings with our builder, subcontractors, our realtor, and our kitchen designer. I spent hours browsing Pinterest and Houzz for paint colors, room layouts, kitchen cabinet ideas, bathroom tile options and more. Almost every day, I would drop our oldest off at kindergarten, our toddler at preschool and load our newborn up to make the 45 minute drive to Greensboro to just sit in the car and watch as our "dream home" was being erected. Sometimes, I would get out of the car and wander around the property, bouncing our little one on my shoulder and dream about what life would be like in this new phase.

Closing day arrived and there were quite some sanfus with the closing company. What should have taken an hour or so turned into many hours of waiting. My husband could no longer wait and, apologetically, he returned to work. With tears in my eyes at this anticlimactic but momentous occasion, I sat at the closing table alone, signing paper after paper while nursing our baby. The closing attorney handed the keys to me and bid me "Congratulations". I remember thinking, "Ok, now what to I do? Do I go to our new house alone? Do I go back to Winston Salem and wait for the girls to finish school?". I decided to drive to the closest Whole Foods and I stocked up on a few pantry items, hand soap, cleaning products and paper products. Then, for the first time, I walked into the house that would never really be our home.

So much life happened in the time that we were in that house (I'll save all of that for later blog posts). There were so many ups and downs, good memories and bad. Our oldest felt uneasy in our "new life" and started seeing a counselor. The counselor's observations left such an impact on me:

"Eva's fine. She has just been kicked out of her nest in Winston Salem and she is having a hard time adjusting to this new one in Greensboro".

Wow. SAME HERE. Our already fractured marriage was spiraling downhill at this point and I started to hate that house. I hated where it was located, I hated that it was so beautiful but it felt so ugly, I hated that that house just did not feel like a home. After two years, my husband and I separated. I must have PTSD because I have a hard time remembering a lot of what happened during that time. I remember the big things but the little things, like when did I pack up my clothes, completely escape my memory. I was walking through mud, numb all over, and God led me to another house.

A house on a beautiful street lined with oak trees. A house nestled in a quiet neighborhood. A house perfectly suitable for three growing girls. A house that needed a lot of loving, but also needed someone like me who had a lot of love to give. We moved into that house and it took no time for that house to feel like a home. My girls were the first to comment on how good our new home felt to them. Then, over time, as I became a little more transparent with family and friends about the destruction of our marriage and I felt strong enough to have visitors, people would come over and would say that they, too, felt the sense of home in our new place.

During the construction of our custom build I realized that I had a new ambition and discovered a love for interior design that I didn't know that I had. I began design school before we separated and continued to take classes in our new house, often working late into the night while my three girls were sound asleep in their beds. At some point during the last few months of design school I realized something.

A house and a home are not the same thing.

A house can be grand and beautiful and high-end and look just like it belongs in a magazine. A home is a feeling, not a place. A home provides comfort and peace and happiness. It was at that moment that I discovered my own personal mission statement. I decided that I would work to help my children, my family, my friends and my future clients to love where they live.

my blue nest

a perfectly put together mess