October is easily the favorite month for both J and me (I know we’re not alone in this), because it’s the pinnacle of all things fall and more importantly it’s our anniversary month. It literally feels like we just got married and we’re still trying to figure out how we’re not newlyweds anymore and how we are closer to 30 than 20, but we’re not here to dwell on that. I’m not going to lie we for sure went HARD IN THE PAINT this go round on the whole celebrating situation which is totally justified because we made it FIVE YEARS everybody and any anniversary, with exception to the first, ending in a 5 or 0 calls for a little something extra. Now I feel like I must share my love/hate relationship of choosing to get married in October and simultaneously being a part of teaching/coaching/ministry; obviously we love the fall so choosing October was a no brainer, BUT we got married smack dab in the middle of football season, in TEXAS. If you happen to be reading this and are not Texan I’ll try to explain this as simply as I can; Texas football is borderline another religion and when you coach it, there is almost nothing that counts as an excuse to miss a practice let alone a game. This includes getting married or even having a child, both we just so happened to accomplish (only one of those being planned). I share that piece of insight to say that when we got married in 2013 Justin was in his first Texas football coaching and teaching job, so time did not allow for a week long extravagant, out of the country, tropical or exotic honeymoon. J surprised me with the cutest little place in Round Top, Texas called The Prairie by Rachel Ashwell and it was the most unique, perfect location for us especially considering we had to be back by Wednesday for him to be at the last practice of the week before the games on Thursday and Friday. The only difference from then and now is J coaches running sports, but we still couldn’t go out of the country for a week to celebrate, so this called for another out of the ordinary Texas celebration for us.
God did gift us with J’s school fall break matching up exactly with our anniversary weekend, so after he returned from his cross country meet Saturday afternoon we headed back home to God’s country. I will always also call Texas home for several reasons; I grew up there, I went back to be with family after Harding, and it’s where we started to build our lives together as the Horschigs for the first four years. Texas is a special place for us and what better way to celebrate than going back to the great state, plus when you have roots in a small town you get to see mom and dad and the village of people that helped raise you and now love on your husband and daughter. We didn’t even make it to my parent’s house before we stopped at our favorite hometown Sidekicks restaurant and Sunday morning worship consisted of sweet hymns, holding babies and sharing millions of hugs followed by lunch at the next hometown favorite Tex-Mex restaurant, El Manna. Prior to our evening planned in Dallas I spent my Sunday afternoon talking with Sadie, one of my very first students I had as a seventh grader that I ever taught. She was one of the first kids to walk through my door and from the beginning I could see her desire to be a world changer and it’s been a complete honor to watch from afar that first impression come into fruition as she’s now a senior preparing for life beyond high school, Harding is even a possibility for her, how cool?! We sat and shared our hearts that are both still in Africa and I got the chance to catch up on the last five years of growth in her life. I even ran into another wonderful old student of mine in her same graduating class, Rhett, who was in absolute shock to see me, it was such a special surprise!
THEN J and I began our journey through the yucky rain and forever existent traffic for a fancy evening in downtown Dallas. We made it #justinthenikkatime for our reservations where I barely scraped by in looking fancy enough for our dinner date. Never have I ever traded flats for heels to eat the fanciest food inside “the big bright ball” or “microphone” as I called it growing up, aka Reunion Tower, to see the Dallas night sky underneath me with the most handsome husband in the world AND never have I ever stayed in “the hotel that always has the crazy lights”, aka the Omni, in the middle of downtown until this year. We watched the city spin beneath us as we reminisced the fullness of the last five years the Lord has so graciously led us through.
year one | First teaching jobs in Sulphur Springs, first coaching job for J, extremely surprising but grateful pregnancy, moving the first time and rooming as adults with Emily again my first roommate in college, and traveling on what was planned as just a vacation turned babymoon trip up the coast of Highway One in California
year two | Teaching in a new District which just happened to be my Alma Mater, coaching more/different sports, McKinlee’s healthy entrance into the world, building a house thanks to the Chastain family, moving into our new home, opening our doors for house church and my bright idea to become a cheerleading coach of all the crazy things to pick up
year three | Continuing coach life, mourning and grieving the loss of J’s grandpa and within the same month of our dear friend Blake, committing fully to part time youth ministry also known as Summit and watching our house church grow deeper, and the Lord planted early the mustard seed for the move to Bentonville
year four | Still in the middle of the coach life grind, I changed campuses from HS back to JH, the seed God planted began to grow into a desire for something nourishing and after watching Kenna graduate RHS everything came full circle and we decided to say goodbye to our home in East Texas and moved to our new home in Northwest Arkansas
(Sidenote: I had the honor of speaking about this decision and transition on my friend’s Be Nourished Podcast, you should give it a listen)
year five | Began our new teaching/coaching jobs at one of the best Districts in NWA, grieved the loss of my mama’s parents Lolo and Lola within a week of each other, mourned the loss of my co-teacher’s (our co-worker) sweet baby girl Maisy in the same week, traveled almost every weekend in the fall because we could for the first time, and through the Spirit’s leading later decided to both take on new positions; Associate Youth Minster at the church we already were members of and High School Teacher/Coach at the school awesome District we live in
That. is. so. much. to. take. in, but so much goodness and growth weaved and embedded into every piece of our life together, and when I thought the night couldn’t get any better J surprised me with a beautiful, delicate and dainty Tiffany & Co. diamond necklace along with a memory journal for us to document the next five years. Seriously in the words of Lauren Daigle, what have I done to deserve love like this?! The night had already fulfilled any desire of celebration, but it continued with a stay at the Omni, which has the most amazing view and a TV IN THE BATHROOM MIRROR. Excuse me, what? I surprised J with a TreeHut watch engraved “Every second I love you more. -Nik” and in true Justin fashion he didn’t get the pun until the next morning. Yes, I still love him anyway, and after a delightful morning of sleeping in and having nowhere to rush to, we continued to see more of our people while in the metroplex.
- We had a yummy brunch date with my hometown bestie Danielle catching up and meeting someone new….
- I finally met my insta soul friend Emily and her precious boys in real life. We spent an afternoon at her house like I’ve known her forever.
- We caught up with our friend Jackson, who is one of the coolest and smartest guys I know.
- And to wrap up the day, we met McKinlee, my parents and our favorite Chirharts for dinner at Texas Roadhouse. I totally wish we all lived in the same place.
The trip continued with one more night in my childhood home and a long overdue visit to Lola at the dentist office followed by lunch at my favorite Tex-Mex place ever. TaMolly’s. Last but not least we rounded out the trip with a quick coffee hangout with the whole Speir family and although it was a cluster, I do not regret one second.
WHEW take a deep breath if you’ve held on this far, you deserve an award. Secondly, did you get all of that?! Texas was just what we needed and God provided more for our hearts in one weekend than I believe any exotic week away elsewhere could ever give us. Thank you, Texas and thank you, God for the last five years.