It’s Mrs. Smith now.

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Photo by Sarah Warden Photography

Hello! Sorry for the time off, I was a little busy getting married and going on my honeymoon. It was a busy week before the wedding, we had a house guest and we had a lot of prep work to do. But despite any stress leading up to the event the wedding itself was perfect. It was everything I could have ever imagined. My only complaint is that it went by too fast! I wish I could go back and relive it.

Marriage is a big life event, it’s one I’ve been waiting and praying for. I have responsibility for more than myself now. I am two parts of a whole and I am 100% in. There is no half-assing anything at this point. I’m excited to go on this adventure with Chris and I’m excited to take on the world with him at my side. It feels exactly like it’s supposed to. Or at least, how I imagine it is supposed to. It’s hard to say for sure, I’ve never been married before and I’ll never be married again.

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Five ways to make your new house feel more like a home:

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We’ve moved into a new house, I know I’ve mentioned it a time or two, but I’ve been surprised at what it takes to make a house feel like home. Obviously a lot of it is time, those first few nights there you’re still waking up wondering where you are, but even after that passes and it starts to feel like home, you notice that certain things are missing. It’s a layering process, and it’s been interesting to learn. So here are somethings I’ve noticed help make a house feel more like a home:

  • Rugs, blankets, and textiles galore: One of the big things I knew I wanted but couldn’t get for a few weeks was a rug for our living space. The room felt incomplete without it, because with an open floor plan, there was nothing defining the space. I didn’t think getting a rug would make it feel more like home, but it did. It did so because it made it feel finished, sure, but also because it added a layer of personality and comfort. There was something softer about the space that made you feel more relaxed once it dampened the echo and gave your bare feet a break. I also picked the rug, so it felt like me, and that helped it feel like my home. I think pillows and blankets can do the same thing. Things that bring us comfort help make a room feel cozy. They’re important.
  • Bring personal items front and center: It’s easy to want to buy all new stuff for a space, most of us can’t afford that, so we like to decorate with the new stuff. Decorative items are cheaper than new furniture so it’s easy to replace them and change them out, but a lot of our decorative items from the past help make our place feel like our own. I’m not saying not to buy new, I’m just saying to put those personal items in the front and use the new stuff to fill in. The amount of people I see run off to Hobby Lobby and come back with all their house decorations is startling. There is nothing wrong with pieces from chain stores, but you need to make sure you have your memories mixed in.

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Reflection: What makes a person’s personality consistent or spontaneous?

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If you know me now, you’ve known me since 11th grade. I wrote that I was thankful for our ability to edit and change ourselves in my thanksgiving post. I meant it, I know a lot of people who have changed for the better, I’ve changed for the better, but when I look at myself now compared to then, I realize that it wasn’t really change that happened, but more of a consistent polishing.

I’m a consistent person, a remarkable feat given that I’m bipolar, but I guess with enough time that becomes a constant as well. I remember talking to someone and telling them that I felt like I only knew one version of them, and that was all I could know, because they had changed so drastically over the years. Then I looked at myself and realized that there were only three versions of me. My outgoing crazy energetic and social childhood. My self loathing almost bullied to extinction middle years. And the adult version of myself, that surfaced a little early due to all that happened in the stage before. I say adult version lightly, because you can only be so much of an adult in high school, but if you knew me then you would see me now. There is a lot of similarities and though they’ve been edited, my dreams and wishes haven’t changed a ton.

Honestly, I wonder if it makes me a little boring. But I think I’m like this because I figured out some tough questions early on. It was easy for me to pin-point what mattered in my life, and I didn’t have to have violent revelations of self discovery. I fell into a pattern of picking up traits and interests that made sense, if you had been following along you’d see them and go “of course Anna liked and added that!”. Simple. Easy to define.

Again, maybe boring? But I don’t know if people would describe me as boring either, because I’ve got a lot going on, it’s just the type of things in my whirlwind of character are typical for me.

It makes me wonder what makes a person this consistent.

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Life update: I’m engaged!!

Yesterday the love of my life asked me to be his wife. I’ve been in a daze all day, and I mean that in the best way. I’m so overjoyed that my body is having problems processing it. I’ve wanted this since I was little, and Chris, somehow managed to be everything I didn’t know I needed. He’s my match, he’s so good to me, and I’ve never felt more at home with a person. To say I said yes would be a giant understatement, though I’m pretty sure that was the only word out of my mouth. I was caught off guard. It wasn’t how I saw my Thursday night going. I actually didn’t cry till later that night because it hadn’t fully hit me. It’s still hitting me in phases if I being honest. I’m just now wrapping my head around the fact that we have to plan a wedding now. I’m going to be Mrs. Smith!! I’m so beyond excited.

I’ll let you know how it happened:

Chris proposed right after my horseback lesson, which was perfect because the farm has always been one of my favorite places on earth. I saw my parents and I was confused then it hit me and I went “is what I think is happening happening?” I stumbled off the horse, my foot getting stuck in the stirrup. He asked me I said yes, we hug, everyone cheers. It was magical in more ways than one, and I’ve been watching the video all day smiling.

The ring was custom made with my moms help. It is from the same jeweler that my dad bought my mom’s ring from. It’s absolutely perfect and I wouldn’t change a thing about it. It’s stunning. Chris was planning to propose this weekend, but once he got the ring in his hand yesterday he decided that he couldn’t wait. I’m glad he didn’t, I wouldn’t change a thing, though some natural light would have made for better pictures.

I’m so overjoyed, I’m so beside myself. Congratulations keep pouring in and I keep pinching myself to prove that this is all real and happening.

The date is to come, but let me tell you, it can’t come soon enough.

A giving of thanks:

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Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and I know everyone and their mother makes a post about what they are thankful for, but I love it, whether it is repetitive or not, because I love reading peoples posts and finding other things that I fail to be grateful for on a daily bases. It’s so important to give thanks and I’m glad we’ve created a holiday around it, after all I believe gratitude and perspective are two big keys to happiness.

So without farther ado here is what I’m thankful for on this Thanksgiving:

2018. I’m thankful to be alive in this year. No matter what bad we have going on, (there is always a lot of it) I’m thankful to be alive at a time where the global poverty rate is dropping faster than it ever has. I’m thankful to have transportation, technology, grocery stores, medication, vaccines, running water, organizations that help the needy, and organized systems of living that improve our quality of life.

My family. I wouldn’t be who I am today without them. I’m thankful that no matter what happens I know I can lean on them when I’m weak. It’s wonderful to have this much support and this much love pouring in from the very people who know me best.

Love. This year has blessed me with romantic love, something I’ve been praying for for a while. I’m beyond thankful that Chris has walked into my life and that I have a partner to take on the world with. I’m thankful he is the kind of man I’ve always needed, not to mention wanted. I’m thankful God didn’t listen to me when I tried to take control of his timing during my dating years.

Growth. I’m thankful that we aren’t stuck in our lives or our opinions. I’m thankful that I’ve been able to grow my opinions, change my stances. I’m glad I can move on from things not meant for me. I’m thankful that I’m not stagnant, that I’m not who I was a year ago, or ten years ago. I’m glad I get to keep getting better, and if I get worse, that I’m able to correct it later on.

Work. I’m thankful to be able to work (I wasn’t able to for a long time) and I’m thankful to be working a job I love. I’m thankful for good co-workers and good bosses. I’m thankful to be able to make my own living and not have to rely on a system that often fails. I’m thankful that I can see the benefits of my labor.

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Who is Anna? Where is Down South?

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I haven’t written a post introducing myself in well over a year. Most my posts include little details about me, but few of them show the big picture. It’s a hard task, because there is a lot to me. Here are some lightning facts:

  • I started riding horses in third grade. I finally got my own at 14. I named him D’Artagnan. It’s pronounced Dar-tan-yon. It’s from The Three Musketeers.
  • I got bit by a horsefly and came down with Lyme Disease immediately after my college graduation. At least I didn’t have to drop out!
  • I majored in my learning disability! I’m super dyslexic and dysgraphic and I majored in English. As they say, if there’s a will there’s a way!
  • I barrel raced all through my childhood, but stopped when I got busy with college, I’m going to try to start again this spring. I’ve missed it.
  • I’m a writer a heart. I once thought that a Youtube channel would have better reach than this blog, the the truth is I’m not a graceful speaker. I’ve always loved words and spilling my thoughts the old fashion way.
  • I was bullied to attempted suicide in 8th grade and was diagnosed with bipolar at the age of 6, both of these things have to do with my love for exploring mental illness and restoring mental health.
  • I’m a Christian. I was raised one, but I lost my way in the teens, college brought me back to having a healthy relationship with God. I’ve been working hard to keep it since then.
  • I’m a Marketing Specialist at my day job. It’s my only job actually, it just happens to be during the day.
  • I write novels in my spare time. Mostly fantasy, but I dabble in everything. I have thought about trying to get one published, but I’m in no rush to pursue it.
  • I was raised in a very loving household and still aspire to be my mother when I’m older. I know that my parents are where all my morals come from, even as they’ve shifted and grown as I’ve gotten older.
  • Not to be a typical millennial but I met the love of my life on Tinder when I was 23. He had Lyme too, oddly enough. His is in remission though.
  • I was born, raised, and educated in North Carolina. I’ve traveled a fair bit, but it hasn’t changed the fact that this is home. I always end up wanted to come back.

I think that’s enough to a least get a better grip on who is behind this blog. The Anna to the Down South. Tell me a little about yourself in the comments! I’d like to know you too.