People often ask why we moved back from Cincinnati. I normally tell them that it was the fun weather - cook in the summer and freeze in the winter.

As an example, this is from our last winter in Cincinnati:
Actually, that is the "easy" reason. The real reason - which becomes more and more important at the holidays - involves being near family.

I was lucky that I was always right here near family. I'm not saying that they didn't nearly drive me to therapy a few times, but I grew up seeing my grandparents and great aunts and uncles, etc. all the time. I know a lot of people who were basically transplants to the area who didn't experience that same closeness. It means a great deal now with most of them gone (my parents are just a tad older than the norm for my age).

My great-grandmother in the living room of our house on January 21, 1986 - showing off the UT hat after the spectacular Sugar Bowl win vs. Miami.

My kids are getting the same experience I got. They have both sets of grandparents and their great-grandmother here. I don't think that is something you can put a price tag on. Have I turned down promotions to move for more money? Yes - 4 to be exact. But, what they will remember is what I remember about my childhood and you never know just how long you have to make those bonds. There is no amount of money worth that.


On a related topic about never knowing what might happen, it's amazing how I have found blogs searching for pictures or other things and I was lucky to come upon this one by simply searching for nice beach wallpaper so I could turn on the laptop and always see the beach:

Barrier Island Girl

Through D.J.'s fascinating blog (and yes - one of her pictures is serving as my wallpaper), I discovered much more than great pictures. Her blog is a wonderful snapshot of her personal work and what makes Pensacola Beach so special. Through D.J.'s blog, I also discovered Kirsten Dahlen's blog:

Traveling Turtle Girl

I was catching up on blogs today and was stunned to read that Kirsten had passed away last week in her sleep at only 38 years old. That is quite a wake-up call for me and I wanted to link to her blog here so you could see some of the phenomenal work she had done.

People who frequently blog do so for so many different reasons and I have discovered quite a few great people through blogging. I write mainly to share with my family what I discover on my many work travels. I also enjoy having a place for "creative release" (writing instructions and designs all day can really stop up the creative flow!!).

The fact that we can make random connections through our writings is something to celebrate and I am glad that I had the opportunity to follow along and be inspired by Kirsten's writings.