Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Simple Cup of Tea

The Need for Ritual

Something truly amazing happens when you take that magical first step towards the realization of your dreams. The world opens up. People appear to help you. Doors begin to open.

Sounds like rainbows and unicorns doesn’t it?

It’s not.

In fact it’s hard. Very, very hard. We left an area where we’d lived for the entirety of our married life. An area where we’d established ourselves, made friendships, had weekly routines that put us in places where we were known, cared for, and loved.

Twelve years ago I moved away from the only home I’d ever known. I packed up my bedroom and moved 200+ miles away to start my adult life in Savannah, GA. For two years I called the Hostess City of the South my home and then, without warning, my wandering soul tugged me back Atlanta-ways. And now I’m sitting here, in a shaded courtyard, back in Savannah, this time with a husband and a cat in tow.

I thought this time it would be easy.

I thought this time it would be a piece of that proverbial cake.

I was wrong.

It’s been tough, Dear Reader. Because of health challenges, this is the first time I’ve had a full time job in five years. We downsized to half (read that HALF) the living space we were used to. My husband has yet to find a job and parking in Savannah is anything but a dream. We are still getting the house in order, still trying to piece together the things that came with us and wondering where some of what was supposed to come ended up. Many nights I wake up and wonder, “Am I just %^*$*^$ crazy?”

The positive: 

1. I HAVE a full time job and I LOVE IT! Seriously. I have never, ever been able to say with 100% conviction that I love my job until now. It’s a gloriously cheerful boutique kitchen shop smack in the heart of the historic district, right outside one of the busiest tourist spots. It’s maddeningly crazy but after two weeks I STILL want to one day own my own shop. I must be doing something right.
2. The owner of our carriage house is awesome.
3. My boss is fracking amazing. 
4. We live 20 minutes from Downtown Savannah and 20 minutes from the Atlantic Ocean. 

Yes, Readers, it IS a wonder to watch your dreams come true. A crazy ball of mixed emotion wonder.

It took me a while, but I finally understand why it’s been such a hard transition this time. Over the past twelve years I’ve established rituals and routines that give my psyche the much needed recognition of “this is life and this is good”. When most of everything you own has either been sold or packed and left behind, it’s hard to find your footing. Yes, it’s just stuff but we are -for right or wrong, better or worse- connected to the things we carry. We’re thrown off balance when the things that anchor us are lost at sea. I found myself seriously wanting to go back. What brought me back to sanity?

A simple cup of tea.

The sound of water in a kettle, the clatter of sugar spoon against porcelain, the smell of a bag of green tea. Nothing profound. Chances are you’re thinking, “It’s tea. Big deal.” When the soul is thrown into a tail spin it is, most definitely, a big deal.

I’m discovering many things that are grounding, things I always took for granted: a playlist for an as yet unwritten novel, a particular series of books, consuming ridiculous amounts of Chick-Fil-A, country music from 1998. Rituals. We need them. And it doesn’t matter how petty, how ludicrous, how insignificant they may seem to others. If a cup of tea can calm my nerves and give my soul the assurance that I am in the right place, that I am HOME regardless of my surroundings, then it is a most important thing. It deserves recognition and it deserves a certain solemnness of enjoyment.

Thank you for your patience, Dear Reader. Forgive my long absence. Tell me, what rituals bring you back to your soul-center?

Happy Tuesday,


  1. Such a great post! Change is always so hard and takes time to settle in. I've been off track lately and this is such a good reminder how the simple things can bring us back. Thank you! Love watching your journey.

  2. This was beautiful. Beautifully written. And I love your heart......I needed this encouragement today. Thank you, Jen

  3. I have sold most of my things and moved cross country twice in my life. You're right. It's hard. But once you nest, and it sounds like you are doing that by re-establishing your precious rituals and routines, it begins to be a bit easier. Making new friends can take time, but it will come. And yes, Jen, that was beautifully written.

  4. It will be an adjustment, but it will happen. Awesome that your job is so cool. And you live in a carriage house not far from downtown? Whoa - that is really cool!!

  5. Tracy - Thank you so much. Happy to have you along for the ride :)

    Becky - Thank you so much! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. Thank YOU for your encouragement and positive, beautiful attitude!

    Karen - Thank you for this. Yes, I do feel as though I'm finally "nesting" and things are getting easier. Thankfully, I work for and with wonderful people. That's made the transition so much easier!

    Alex - Our tiny carriage house is about five miles from downtown...and 20 minutes from the beach :) All 700 square feet of it!

  6. Hi, Jen,

    A few weeks back I remember your post and HOW EXCITED you were to move back to Savannah.. I was so happy and jealous of you... But now.. okay you got through your nerves and life is good again.

    Adjusting is difficult, but it will be home.... YAY for that cup of tea!

    I HOPE and prayer that I will be in your position soon. Keep your fingers crossed for me. I'm sitting on pins and needles, like you were a while back. I may be getting out of Chicago and moving south SOON! YAY. I still need to be here for the next four months to finish up a job, but if all goes well, I can move south. I just don't know where. I LOVE Florida, but I lived there for many years. BUT I ADORE Atlanta... the home you have just left. I had lived there in the 90's and never wanted to leave, but had to.

    What to do? Gotta love the excitement of a new beginning. Yours may have had a few bumps but your job sounds AMAZING and you are with friendly and vacationing people who are always HAPPY.... So keep breathing. Once you get you house back in shape you will be FANTASTIC....

    I too am downsizing. A much smaller apartment until I get south. But I will have a HEART STOPPING view if all works out...

    I hope to have some news by the end of this week....

  7. Wonderful new setting and the challenges you are facing will be overcome. You have the energy and verve to do that!

    Ritual: A fly rod, a small stream or lake, sunrise or sunset, a place to breathe and smile. Simple pleasures, really.

  8. I am behind on reading your posts, so forgive the question, why did you have to move?

    PS:So great when you love your job. I've been lucky to know that feeling many times. It's wonderful.


Thank you for taking the time out of your busy, fantastic life to pay a visit! I appreciate every, single comment and I'll continue the conversation here :) It makes this big blog-verse of ours feel a little more like home.

Cheers! ~J