Happiness Highlights: Limping Home

Every Monday, I start my week by highlighting what made me happy from the previous week, because I believe we multiply what we focus on, and that gratitude is the first step in learning how to be happier.

The past week has been dynamic, with the feelings changing as quickly and dramatically as the scenery. We started the week hiking in Moab, Utah and ended it attending a funeral in Parkersburg, Iowa. In both places, as well as on the drive in between, we found reasons to be grateful and reminders that the time for counting blessings and pursuing happiness is now.

Before packing up and heading home, we spent one last afternoon in Arches National Park. It was a beautiful final adventure that challenged our senses, muscles, and minds. I will miss the rocks and deserts of the West.

Tuesday afternoon we began the long drive back to our family and friends, only to encounter car trouble a few hours into our trip. With a dead battery and no mechanic open, we pulled into a Kum & Go parking lot in Silt, Colorado. We were grateful that the Trailblazer held out long enough for us to get off the highway and that the staff at the convenient store was friendly and willing to let us squat on their property for the night.

The next morning, our car troubles seemed to have mysteriously disappeared – even a local mechanic was hesitant to replace any parts after numerous diagnostic tests came back normal. We hit the road again.

Five hours later we broke down for real on the side of the interstate. Jared used the RV battery to jump start the SUV (three times) so that we could get to a nearby mechanic, who assured us they’d get us fixed and back on the road within a couple of hours.

It seemed a bit surreal to be ending our trip the way it started – with car trouble. I hadn’t anticipated the bookends of our USA road trip to be local mechanic shops. This time, we were lucky to only be left waiting for a few hours and to get away with just a $300 fix (and a $5 bike helmet that Jared picked up at the nearby Goodwill while we were waiting.)

Finally, nearly 48 hours after beginning the drive and 10 months after starting our cross-country journey, we pulled into my mom’s driveway. Even though my mom was at work and I have never lived in her current house, I was still overwhelmed by the sense of security that always comes with being home. As wanderers, Jared and I are especially lucky to have a place and people that remain steady, always ready to welcome us back with open arms when we need respite.

After a night at my mom’s, we hauled the RV over to Jared’ parents’ house, where we began the overwhelming task of unpacking our life into their guest rooms. We’ll be staying with them for the next few months, which will give us the chance to catch our breath, regroup, and visit with family and friends before we make the move to our next home. I’m so happy they’re letting us stay with them and even more happy that I’m at a place in my life where the idea of staying with my in-laws doesn’t scare the crap out of me.

(OK, it scares me a little, but not too bad.)

For the first time in 10 months, I’m facing a new week with no immediate travel plans. I’ll have to keep my eye out for slower moving blessings to count.

What were the highlights of your week? Before you rush off into a new week, I invite you to play along and share your happiness highlights in the comments, or leave me a link to your own Happiness Highlights post.

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  1. Amanda says:

    I felt sad when I heard your travel was coming to an abrupt end, but I think you made the right decision (not that you need my approval)! It’s nice knowing that there are people out there who put friends and family first.

    Here is my “happy friday” post from last week. It’s not my usual “happy friday” post because I’ve been “off” lately, but I still found things to be happy about: http://ajigreer.blogspot.ca/2012/03/happy-friday_30.html
    Amanda’s most recent post: happy friday!

    • Miss Britt says:

      I’m glad you were able to find some steady footing this week, despite some swirling doubts and what not.

  2. that photo is gorgeous.
    i’m thankful that you are safe and can rest a bit. and i love that you were able to be there for your friend. i have a feeling that your continued presence in her life these next weeks will be priceless.
    there were lots of happy points in my previous week, but i yesterday really stood out as i met a woman who TRAVELED FROM GERMANY TO VACATION IN PITTSBURGH. no shit. she loves pittsburgh and i was thrilled to join her at our zoo for an afternoon of girl time. so exciting to see my beloved city from her eyes. it is her second time vacationing in pittsburgh truly an honor for me to be a part of it. great fun!

    • Miss Britt says:

      That is SO cool! Did you know her before she came??

      • nope. only knew her via twitter for less than a year. when i heard her say she was coming for a vacation i knew i would make time for a meeting and fortunately she emailed several of us about a sunday afternoon adventure so it was perfect. i have to admit, it was incredible to hear her talk of how a girl from germany came to fall in love with pittsburgh (and convince her friend to join her on vacation here). i’m looking forward to again meeting up with christina and gabi on friday evening…bonfires cement friendships, ya know?!

        check out http://slopinginthesky.blogspot.com/ for stories about her time in pittsburgh (she recaps our zoo adventure)
        hello haha narf’s most recent post: Life Changing

  3. Marsha says:

    I loved this sentence: I was still overwhelmed by the sense of security that always comes with being home.

    My happiness highlights were celebrating my daughter’s 8th birthday with a slumber party (7 girls!) and catching up with some family members.

  4. Darla says:

    Welcome to Iowa!! I’m just happier knowing we are both in the SAME STATE!

  5. Megan says:

    That’s so weird about the car trouble. You’ve come full circle.

    And now it’s over, which feels weird too. It makes me kind of sad, but I don’t know why since it’s not happening to me! I cannot wait to see where you all ultimately end up.

    My happiness this week? One of my oldest and dearest friends’ daughter made her professional acting debut in a production of Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and I got to see it on Saturday afternoon. I’d never seen the show before but I enjoyed the hell out of it. And I loved that she loved the picture of the flower I gave her instead of actual flowers (she’s allergic).
    Megan’s most recent post: The Confidence Question

    • Miss Britt says:

      It is very weird and kind of sad. I wonder if I’ll be very boring now.

      I LOVE that show – and what a thoughtful gift you gave her.

  6. Leslie says:

    This week I was dreading moving forward. We were in Florida and planned to be in Washington state the middle of June. Twelve states to visit on the way from one corner of the US to the other. It sounded exhausting packing up again and moving after being in one spot for 12 days. But I felt so much better putting things where they belong and moving on down the road. We’re one step closer to home and family so that makes me happy. Plus I Skyped with my mom and sister yesterday and that made me happy. I’m so looking forward to being with them after this year long trip in addition to six years of the military keeping us apart.
    Leslie’s most recent post: The Everglades

    • Miss Britt says:

      Your adventure looks familiar. :-) I remember the dread of packing up after enjoying a temporary “home” for a bit. Of course, it was almost never as much work as I imagined it would be!

  7. Liz says:

    I’m glad your car troubles weren’t too bad and that you all got home safely. I’m also glad that, even though it ended early, you got to drive all across the country. Enjoy this break and take some time to breathe. <3

    My happiness highlights last week were: seeing (good!) reviews left by complete strangers on my ABNA submission, having dinner with new friends, and hearing about different things that my godkids have been up to.
    Liz’s most recent post: April 2012 Goals

    • Miss Britt says:

      I am definitely going to make a point of enjoying this time. Part of me wants to hurry up and get to the next part (because OF COURSE I do), but I know this time is limited and needs to be appreciated.

      Hurray for good reviews from strangers – even though I have no idea what ABNA is!

      • Liz says:

        I’m the same way. I’m always racing to the next part.

        ABNA is the Amazon contest, with a publishing contract with Penguin as the grand prize. My novel is in the quarterfinals and the semifinals are announced on April 24th. Excuse me while I breathe into a paper bag… ;)
        Liz’s most recent post: SADE ON THE WALL Makes it to ABNA Quarterfinals

  8. Little Miss Sunshine State says:

    After 6 years of college and 2 changes in majors my daughter only has one more semester of student teaching and one teacher certification exam and she’ll be qualified to teach K-4 elementary, special needs students and English To Students Of Other Languages.
    We celebrated with a lunch and shopping date.

    I’m glad you got back to Iowa safely and will spend time with your family.

  9. Isabelle esteves says:

    I am glad you are home Britt it sounds like your adventure was worth the effort. I have been following you sincealbuquerque with great interest. Did you ever do the mariachi mass? I am doing a press trip in may to Pittsburgh .

    • Miss Britt says:

      I did NOT get to go to the mariachi mass. I really wish I would have pushed it with my family more!

  10. Lisa says:

    I’m glad your car troubles were much easier fixed this time. Nothing stresses me out like car trouble! I’m also happy for you that you get to rest for a while in one place. Sometimes you really do just need a dose of “home.”

    I was sick all week so I’m trying to find my happiness and I think it came on Sunday when I cleaned the crap out of my house. Between sickness and whatnot it had been way too long and it was really starting to freak me out. I feel so much better when it’s clean, as much as I hate doing it.

  11. martymankins says:

    So glad you got to experience Arches before having to cut your trip short to head home.
    martymankins’s most recent post: Year 4 – Giveaway Day 1

  12. the muskrat says:

    Am proud of y’all for taking this adventure. Wish y’all could’ve come through Atlanta, but glad I got to read about the trip here and hear about it last summer at Mom 2 and BlogHer.

    Last week’s happy highlight was going out of town with the family for a few days after realizing I had nothing on my calendar for much of this week (and it was the kids’ spring break). Tranquility by a lake is always nice.
    the muskrat’s most recent post: meme like it’s 2008 (compliments of “always home and uncool” kevin)

    • Miss Britt says:

      Glad you got a few down days – doesn’t seem like there are too many of those in your schedule.

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