writer and proofreader



Friday, April 5, 2013

Bliss is my new favorite word. Last September I bought a wobbly little play table and chairs from a consignment store for the girls' room. I planned on it being an entertainment area for tea parties and hours of coloring. I brought it home, sanded, and painted it canary yellow. It livened up with the fresh new skin, but lacked that something unique. The original design was a god-awful grey with an impressive, yet horribly gaudy painted floral motif. I decided to freshen up that idea by hand-painting subway-style words. These words, I knew, were supposed to be positive, inspiring, feel-good words. It’s a kid’s table after all. In the middle of my restoration, I sat with a big gap right smack dab in the middle of the table, unable to come up with different ways of saying, “happy” or “create.” Then a new word struck me. Bliss. I instantly fell in love with the word; it slid on my tongue like Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake. I painstakingly painted “bliss” directly in the center, wedged between the words “shine,” “family,” “imagine,” and “write.” (Imagine is another one of favorite words. Love me some John Lennon inspiration.)

After the table set was complete, I found myself using bliss and blissful in everyday conversation. An often forgotten word, it just made me feel good using it. And feeling good is nice.

One day I made a Target run for some much needed space away from my kids and new spring-inspired makeup. Upon driving out of the parking lot once I got my new springy shades, I turned a corner and I saw a building I never before noticed, Bliss Hair Salon. I sat speechless and utterly dumbfounded behind the wheel of my car for a minute. How I ever missed this building is beyond me (although my husband would beg to differ because he thinks I don’t notice any of my surroundings when I drive...) Truth be told, I had driven by the salon many, many times before.  It was like my new favorite word was following me. Or, perhaps, it was like when you buy a new car and you suddenly notice your new car’s make and model on the streets, having never before noticed that particular style of car. But since you have one of the same, it’s more in the forefront of your mind. Yeah, that. So then I found myself at Bliss Salon for my root touch up color. I figured any place that used bliss in its business name was a place I wanted to spend my very valued dollar on hair highlights.

Once the first of the year rolled around Brandon and I found ourselves greatly anticipating what our next duty station assignment was going to be. We’ve been assigned to Fort Benning, GA for the last 2.5 years, and we were both itching for a change of pace. Active duty military families typically move to a new base, or installation, about every 2 – 3 years depending on deployment length, unit assignment, and schooling assignment. So our number was up. We knew that 2013 was going to be a year of change – we just didn’t know where we were moving to or when in 2013 that would be. That’s one of the army’s lovely little nuisances.

Among our top three wish list destinations were Hawaii, Germany, and Fort Lewis, WA. All three vastly different, but all three were where we desperately wanted to live. We both knew that the first two destinations were long shots, but we can dream, right? So we had our fingers crossed for Fort Lewis, WA and envisioned family vacas. to Seattle’s Pike Place Market and the Space Needle. With its sprawling metropolis and stunning natural wonders, we hoped to marvel at Mount Rainier and stroll through the Fremont District doped up on Starbucks. What’s more, we both have family in Washington. Brandon and the girls have never met my maternal grandmother, and it would have been the most convenient way for us all to spend time together. While Hawaii and Germany would have been pretty super rad, we would have really enjoyed living in Washington.

Then one day in late January, I was in the kitchen baking enchiladas for dinner when Brandon walked in through the carport door having just gotten home from work. Before we exchanged any other words he stated, “I know where we’re moving to.” He smiled a reassuring, warm smile that lead me to believe this was the good news we have been waiting for. Finally, we could start planning our move and a life in Washington State.

I responded, “OHMYGOD. Where?!”

Him, “Fort Bliss, TX”

Me, totally instantly pissed off, “That’s not funny! I don’t like being jerked around with army stuff. Where are we really getting stationed?!”

Him, “Fort Bliss. I saw a copy of my orders today. I’m as shocked as you are. I’m going to see if I can get reassigned to Fort Lewis. I’ll use my contacts, shoot out some emails, and see what I can do.”

I just stood there in total disbelief. He walked in with his perfect boyish Brandon smile that lets me know that everything is going to be alright, and then he lays this bombshell on me. I felt betrayed. Fort Bliss. Texas. Freaking Fort Bliss, Texas.

The reality of the news curdled as I cut up cheese-filled tortillas to cool off on Tinker Bell dinner plates for the girls. I was really pissed. How could we not get any of our wish list bases? Fort Bliss?! What the heck is out there, I wondered? Hot, heavy tears started streaming down my face as I grabbed my phone to text-blast the news to my family. My mass text message said, “Sooo, Brandon got orders for our next duty station. Sometime between May-August we’re moving to Fort Bliss, TX.” They responded with initial shock, but then pure excitement. They were excited to find out that Fort Bliss is an easy 6.5 hour drive from Phoenix, AZ, our hometown and where 99% of our family lives. Right now at Fort Benning, GA, we are 1800 miles away from them. That’s a planning-your-trip-saving-your-money-for-a-plane-ticket type of distance. I know that compared to the distance from Germany to Phoenix that 1800 miles is nothing, but we’re not talking about Germany, (maybe someday…) I haven’t even seen my parents in over a year and they have missed out on being physically present for all of Kennedy’s firsts – walking, talking - everything. At least the distance from Bliss to Phoenix will be good for our girls to spend more time with their extended family - something definitely to look forward to.

Brandon did use his contacts to try and reassign us, but as time drew on, we both started falling in love with the idea of continuing our crazy army life in Texas. Personally, I have always wanted to live in Texas, and looky what’s happening… I’m going to be a Texan.

Serendipity means “happy accident” or something you didn’t know you needed until it finds you. It was like the universe read my mind. It knew - long before I knew - exactly what I needed, where I needed to go to continue my life’s journey. And I was given little droplets of hints along the days leading up to our next duty station news. I wish I had the wherewithal to understand that those moments are little hints, road signs, and warnings of what’s to come. But I guess it would have been impossible and maybe reckless of me to assume that all of my “bliss” sightings where a sign that we’d in fact be moving to Fort Bliss. Only in hindsight are we made aware that the warning signs were there all along. Interesting how life works, isn’t it?

And so by May 1, 2013, we are literally moving to Bliss, our happy accident.


I started writing this post on Wednesday shortly after lunchtime during Kennedy’s 1pm nap. By 1:30pm a knock on the door notified me that the UPS man had just delivered a package I had been waiting for. I ripped open the Amazon.com wrapping to reveal the book I had been eager to read all week, Carry On,Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton. I have been following her blog, Momastery.com for several months now, and was interested to read her Thoughts on Life Unarmed. So I pushed the laptop aside, promising myself I’d finish my weekly truth session and blog post writing later. I immediately poured over the book, reading deep and fast while the baby slept. When I got to the chapter entitled Holy Holes, I once again sat speechless and utterly dumbfounded – this time at my kitchen table. There in black and white were the words, “bliss.” She writes, “I also move a lot. I start feeling empty and restless, and instead of remembering that sometimes life is uncomfortable and empty everywhere, I decide that bliss is just a new house or town or state away.” There I was in the early stages of writing this very Bliss post when I stopped writing to read the words from another strong, honest, and powerful woman about moving to find bliss. This tiny droplet instantly fell and soaked deep into my heart.

Serendipity indeed.

The girls' table I refinished.

Simply Blissful.

Bliss Salon in Columbus, GA.

Words from Glennon Doyle Melton in Carry on, Warrior, April, 2013.

1 comment:

  1. Love it. I absolutely love reading your posts and hearing about your life through your eyes. Keep it up and stay strong! On to the next journey. :)


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