Let’s face it // Mondays stink. Or at least we typically expect them to stink. That is why, every Monday, I post seven positives from the previous seven days of the week as a reminder of what I have so that the week starts out on an upswing. There is much truth in the belief that happy people attract good things, so it is important to start the week out right. Sometimes it’s the more grand, but other times, it’s the simple things.
It’s been a while, longer than I’ve ever abandoned this website, since I’ve written a 7 for seven, showing gratitude to everything I’ve experienced in each past week. Ironically, I have more to be grateful now than ever since I’m gaining new family, but I haven’t sat down with all of this newness and allowed it all to sink in completely because, to be honest, it’s overwhelming — but in a good way.
This blog, keyandarrow.com, is set to expire in less than one month, and I’m thinking I may allow that to happen — not simply because of recent changes, but because recent changes are a sign of perhaps more necessary changes. It feels like the time is right to ride the momentum of this shift and see where it takes me.
I’ll still have the domain, ww.keyandarrow.wordpress.com, so nothing will disintegrate into nonexistence; I’ll be able to preserve all the embarrassing moments of my life and all the mistakes I’ve made along the way (joy!). But soon, I hope (all fingers and toes crossed), I’ll visit again soon with an update of where I will migrate — because writing will always be my closest confidant.
For now, I want to leave you with my final (maybe! – eek!) installment of 7 for seven: The Engagement Edition:
1. Austin to Marfa. I’m spoiling the “ending” here for all readers who don’t follow me on social media, but I got engaged a few weeks ago (wahoo!) — Memorial weekend, Patrick and I’s first day in Marfa, TX, to be exact. I knew that day felt special right when I woke up that morning, but to be honest, I didn’t know why. Well, besides the fact that my favorite person and I were taking a road trip — our first of many together (fingers crossed). They always say (“they” referring to people who tend to be right about things) that a couple first learns of their true compatibility during their first trip together, so rightfully, I was a bit nervous/excited to see how it all turned out. Patrick got home from a business trip late the night before we left, so I woke up happy to see his cute face again, and he was so excited. I’ve been on road trips with guys before who didn’t seem excited, and that bummed me out. WHO DOESN’T GET EXCITED ABOUT ROAD TRIPS?! Alright, sorry, that was a bit much, but it echoes my enthusiasm. On our way there, we stopped at our favorite taco place for breakfast and coffee for some road-trippin’ fuel, and that road-trippin’ fuel must have been good because we made it there in one piece with smiles on our faces after a 6 1/2 hour drive. It helps that Patrick made some sweet knock knock jokes (e.g. “Who’s there?” “Thurgood” “Thurgood, who?” “Thurgood to be back home with my thweetheart.” and “Who’s there?” “Sara doctor in the house? I think I’ve fallen for you.”) on the way there. His dorkiness matches mine, so it’s all good. We stopped at a cute little antique store in Alpine, Texas, and then made it in time for a lil’ bit of Marfa shopping.
2. That Day/Night. Patrick took me to a contemporary farm-to-table restaurant, Stellina, after some window shopping. We indulged in wine, pasta, and pie (the three best food groups) where he questioned me on how crowded this star party was that we were going to later that night. I told him it was crowded and dark, and I could see his wheels spinning… but his wheels are always spinning. We are perpetual over-thinkers, which makes for a great relationship (trying not to over think that).
3. The Proposal. He decided we needed to make a stop on our way to the star party at the McDonald Observatory, so we drove into the Davis Mountains. He insisted on paying the overnight entrance fee with no attendants, which reiterated in my mind what an honest man he is — so many in my past have been quite the opposite.
The small things matter. Ladies, and gentlemen, pay attention to those small things.
We drove up a ways, to the top of a peak. Then we walked a trail to the edge of one mountain with an incredible view of the sun setting. Patrick told me he was getting thirsty and wanted to go back to the truck to see if he brought a water bottle. He told me to stay there. I don’t know what got into me, but I’ve always had strong and powerful intuitions. My nerves took over, because I felt it in my bones that this was going to be the moment. I had to sit down. When he came back, I could tell he wanted to find a way to get me to stand up again, so I got myself together and walked a bit with him until he stopped me and said, “I have another joke for you. Knock, knock.” OH GOD, it’s happening, “Who’s there?” “William.” HA! I knew it. “William who?” “William marry me?” But then, he didn’t get down on one knee or present a ring — he had frozen, so I jokingly said back, “Duh!” Finally, after his mind entered his own body again, he got down on his knee and tears came out quicker than I could process the moment (damn tears have a mind of their own – for both of us). Then I said, “yes,” just to make it official as the sun went down.
4. The Day After. I believe I did what most freshly engaged people do, and I annoyed the shit out of every passerby by calling Patrick my fiancé and staring at my shiny finger all day long. We couldn’t wipe our stupid grins off at breakfast. We couldn’t wipe our stupid grins off at the Donald Judd exhibit, at our greasy pepperoni pizza lunch, or at our second star party, this time at the home of artist, Donald Judd. That party was the highlight of our entire trip (besides the whole engagement part – duh). We happened to be in Marfa on Donald Judd’s birthday, so his amazing house was open for a tour. Talk about design inspiration! Plus, the pork belly sliders were the most delicious things we ate the entire time we were there (and that’s saying a lot after the delectable blueberry pie I had the night of our engagement). Patrick and I took our party to the road for a bit to see if we could catch some Marfa lights (spoiler alert: we didn’t), and enjoyed some wine from our enamel-ware cups (not while in the vehicle of course). Double duh.
5. The Engagement Tour: Impromptu Engagement Party. Patrick planned a quick, last-minute engagement party the night before we left to meet some more of his family. We knew not many people would be able to make it because of it being semi-last minute and because of the torrential rains we had all day, so we were grateful to have a good-sized group stop by for tacos and merriment. We live in a cozy little house, so it worked well that friends came and went and then a new crew would come in. My sweet sister and her husband came by before the party and helped us cook and set up, and I am so grateful for their help and company. Patrick and I felt so loved.
6. The Engagement Tour: OK + TX I had known for a while that Patrick and I were going to visit his mom in Kansas for her birthday after we visited Marfa, but what I didn’t know is that it would turn into a beautiful “engagement tour,” visiting home towns and meeting family. He let me know that we would be able to stop in Oklahoma (where much of my extended family lives) on the way to Kansas, so I contacted my sweet cousin, who recently had a baby I had not yet met, and she so graciously opened up her home to us. Her sweet baby and dog both approved (babies and dogs LOVE Patrick – I feel they are a good barometer for knowing good people when they see them), and it was so great to see my cousin and her beautiful family. We arrived late, so I was sad that I didn’t get to see any of my other family, which is why I was even more excited when Patrick decided instead of staying in Kansas on the way back from Iowa (where we would eventually drive to), we were going to stay in Oklahoma again. This time, I got to stay with my Aunt Lee and Uncle Rick, and let me tell you – they are the most amazing hosts on this planet, I am convinced. At last-minute, my aunt and uncle whipped up an incredible grilled feast (not to mention set it out on a beautifully decorated table) for us to see when we arrived. She had also invited other family members who live in the same town over for dinner. They toasted to Patrick and I at dinner, and made us feel so loved and cherished. They have a way of doing that so well. When we woke up the next morning, exhausted from being on the road for so long in a failing-air-conditioned truck, they had breakfast tacos sitting out for everyone. More fuel (not just the tacos, but the love) to send us on the road again, back to Texas.
Patrick, knowing how sad I was that I hadn’t seen any of my immediate family after the engagement, surprised me by contacting them to get together on the way back to Austin. This is why he had decided last-minute on staying in Oklahoma instead of Kansas (besides also wanting to meet some of my extended family). We were able to make it to my brother’s mid-day BBQ he was having at his cute house in Dallas, with my mom and dad. It was so great to see them, and hug them, and share my new joy with them. Plus, I was just so dang proud of my brother and how well he had put together a home for himself, and he and his roommate (also a Patrick), made such a good little BBQ party.
7. The Engagement Tour: KS + IA. Back to Kansas! After staying at my cousin’s house, initially, in Oklahoma, Patrick and I drove to Kansas to visit his mother. We spent a good amount of time digging through relics of Patrick’s past (stinkin’ cute baby pictures, paraphernalia from Patrick’s army band days, and… okay, his mom saved EVERYTHING, so basically anything Patrick touched as a child), which made me love them even more. We then headed to a Kansas City Royals game, and it was the most magical game for us to see. I always love a good come-back story, and they rose up from being down seven the entire game and even scored three or four runs in the last inning of the game to win it. We bought hats, stuffed our faces with bratwurst and beer, and then headed back home on a victory high to look at more adorable pictures of Patrick.
The next day, Patrick drove me into Lawrence, where we ate at the oldest brewery in Kansas, The Free State Brewing Co. and went shopping in their cute little square. He drove me through his old college town in Ottowa, and he showed me where he used to live in and go to grade-school (at my request). I don’t know that he cared about going back there, but he’s sweet like that and knew I wanted to see all the pieces that made him who he is today.
On the fourth day, Patrick’s mother drove us to Iowa, but not without stopping at the infamous Kansas BBQ heaven, Woodyard Bar-B-Que, so I could experience a different kind than that of Texas BBQ (Patrick claims it is better, and I’m not sure I disagree). I had the burnt-end sandwich and onion rings, and I’m STILL dreaming about that meal. Drooling in my sleep. We also stopped at an Amish store for some nostalgic candy before arriving at Patrick’s grandparents’ house, and oh my goodness, they were cute! I got to see where ornery six-year-old Patrick carved his initial into the wood border of their kitchen and look at even more old photos around the house.
That night, we left the house for a bit to attend his aunt’s Thankful Thursday event that she organized in the town, and I secretly cried into Patrick’s shirt as we watched the big band play at the gazebo around the corner from the alleyway town get-together. I felt overwhelmed — with happiness, of course. His grandparents reminded me so much of my mother’s parents, who are no longer with us. I loved them so much, and being around his and then hearing the big-band music they loved so much brought back so many good memories.
His grandparents were so sweet-natured; I saw this mostly in how they took care of their grandchild’s children and their old family friend’s children so generously. One of the little girls took to me quickly, drew me a picture of bees buzzing around a tree that she had seen earlier that day, and made me follow her looking for bugs around the backyard.
Later that night, Patrick and I attended a “Meet Lauren Luau,” that Patrick’s aunt also put together, so that the rest of their extended family could meet me. I was surprised that all of his aunts and uncles made it out to this and most of his cousins were there as well. This made me feel so loved, accepted, and grateful to have another family that echoes the same love I feel from the family I was born into.
Lastly, I finally got to meet Patrick’s stepfather on the way back from Iowa, as he drove us home (he is a trucker who was working all week), and although he wasn’t around much during Patrick’s youth, I was happy I got to meet the last piece of the puzzle in Patrick’s life. He was sweet-natured, and I enjoyed seeing how much he cared for Patrick. Just like I do. And just like the rest of his family does, and now my family does.
I hope to inspire you to reflect on all you have to be grateful & that your week brings you even more positivity + balance + bliss! Feel free to share your seven with me as well / or even just a couple!
Have a wonderful week! I’ll see you again soon. I promise!