Maybe if you ignore it, it'll go away. This is a concept that many of us use in our everyday lives without even thinking about it. Whether consciously or unconsciously, it's there. Maybe it's the big paper that you should've started working on over a month ago, or that huge box of junk items that you'll eventually have to face, or maybe the last thing you expected to avoid: Christmas

A couple weeks ago, Dan & I kind of decided that we weren't going to get a tree or a bunch of decorations for Christmas. We hung a few lights in the apartment and that was it. It's not because we were purposely trying to be Scrooges, but because it meant more work and more money for things that no one else was probably going to see but ourselves. With being so far away from home and family it almost seemed like what's the point this year? Now grant it, that's not what we were saying, but maybe how we felt inside. - One of those, I don't want to think about it (being away) kind of thing. We figured we'd save all those goodies for next year. I'm not sure why, but that was our plan. It seemed to make sense then. Plus, Christmas without the freezing weather and snow just seems weird. Haha.

But once the gifts that we ordered for our families started arriving in the mail, and we had to get ready to prepare them to ship out, we started easing more into the Christmas mood. While we were out and about last weekend, we decided to check a few places for trees for the heck of it.  Originally we were looking at fake trees...
    
Well, to make a long story short, we caved. Meet Douglas (our live Douglas Fir tree):
Isn't he lovely? He's Dan's first REAL tree! 
  
We only have lights, 4 ornaments, & a star on Douglas this year, but I'd say that's a good start. It takes time to build up some great ornaments. And no tree skirt? That's okay! A small old red sheet works perfectly.

We are both so happy that we changed our minds! It just brightens up the place altogether. And here, the very thing that we were avoiding actually made us feel closer to home. We are much more welcoming toward the holiday now, and we're excited to combine our family traditions into our own. <3 Thank you to everyone who encouraged us to give into the holiday spirit. It was totally worth it. :)
As long as we know in our hearts what Christmas ought to be, Christmas is. - Eric Sevareid 
 
During my commute to class, I notice the blinding sun glossing the tops of beautiful palm trees, and realize where I am. The desert of Arizona - over two thousand miles from the rolling greens of a place I’ve always known as home. Sometimes I still can’t believe I’m here. It’s like on those days I enter a zone of confusion, where I coast through my day at work in a blur. It’s not that I’m depressed during these moments, but just surprised or at a loss of understanding of how and why God brought me here. Four years ago, I swore aloud to other ears that I would never move away from my family, yet here I am.  
   
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Don’t get me wrong; I don’t regret moving out here. The weather is amazing and I’m living with the man I love. It was a move of opportunity and chance‘This is the time to do it,’ many people said and they were right. We have no kids and our part time jobs were important experiences, but not those of careers. Nothing was concretely holding us back. We needed to try something new, and we wanted to experience it together. So at the end of last May, we packed up our things and traveled our way. And good things have come.

Although I do love it here, I've been fairly homesick lately. I come from a large family and they are my life. They are the reason I believe and the reason I have strength. Through the good and even bad memories, I have learned so much from my experience in Pennsylvania and it lead me to who I am today. Plus, even an adult needs her mommy and daddy sometimes. And I do have those cravings for a hug- make that hugs- from those at home. Nothing beats that huge squeeze of excitement you get from your little brother when he hasn’t seen you for five months. I want to feel that again already. Especially being so close to a big family holiday like Christmas, it’s hard not to think of them all.

We did recently fly home for Thanksgiving, and it seemed to go by so quickly. By the time we were back at the Harrisburg airport to return to our new home, I found myself dismally pointing out ‘It feels like we were just here...’ My boyfriend shared wise words: ‘...think of the details.’ He was right. When I focused on everything we did that week and everyone we’ve seen and spent time with, it made me realize how emotionally productive we had been. We built more great memories. It may not have seemed like enough time - it definitely wasn’t - but because we only had so little time to spend, we made the best of it that we could. We had such an amazing time with family and friends and each other. And the ton of smiles received are ingrained in my mind, and they keep me motivated every day.

God, I’m so blessed to have all of these wonderful people in my life. I’m thrilled to see where this journey flows with the support and love from them all, including that from my best friend and partner in this great adventure.  
       
Sometimes, you have to be apart from the people you love, but that doesn't make you love them any less. Sometimes, you love them more. ~The Last Song
 
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Hi. For those of you who don't know me, my name is Keara. It sounds like it's spelled, with an ear in the middle. 

This is my first time really blogging, well, as an adult. I remember writing on some social network when I was a young teenager. That doesn't count. 

For a little while now, I've thought about blogging, especially since I've made a big move from home not too long ago. Maybe as just a way that I can let family and friends know what I'm up to, or something of the sort. 

But now that I'm starting, I'm not exactly sure that I'll have any specific type of focus. 
I just think it'll be fun. 

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A friend I met a few months ago loaned me a great book by Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project. If you haven't read it I recommend it. Gretchen mentions about how people tend to avoid certain things due to being afraid of failure &/or rejection. She was afraid to begin a blog as well as other things, but she tried it out, which made me think about doing it myself. Grant it, I'm not a professional writer, but it's the thought that counts. 

I mentioned the idea of blogging to Cathy, owner of the book, after she shared her blog with me. By the way, it's great, so you should check it out at http://cathytrails.blogspot.com. :) She encouraged me to get started, and after struggling with myself for a little, here I am. 

Actually posting this is difficult for me. Why? I'm reluctant to share my writing or thoughts publicly, to people I don't know and people that I do know - maybe because of that
fear of being ridiculed or judged. But the fact is that I do enjoy thinking and writing for myself, so why not try to share? I'm going to take the chance in doing something I feel I may enjoy, and maybe- just maybe- others will too. 

So here it goes!

Sometimes what you fear the most to do is the very thing that will set you free~ Robert Tew