Oh, Statesboro! I never thought you’d have me back.

by Ashley on August 19, 2010

December 2008 was the last time I was a resident of Statesboro, Georgia.  Getting ready for our wedding, excited about graduating, and anticipating moving to Orlando for baseball, I think it’s safe to say that I was more than ready to leave my college girl life behind, and was welcoming my new role and life as a wife.  Because of what happened in 2009 (the girls wreck), Statesboro always brought me unwelcome memories. 

Yes, I had many fun nights, game days, tailgates, socials, lunches, and actually even learned a lot, but I unfortunately overlooked these things because of how my college ‘career’ ended. The crazy, fun freshmen days were sort of forgotten because of the more recent dark, junior days without my friends.

When Dustin told me that after baseball ended he would have to return to GSU to finish his degree, this made me hope baseball would last forever.  If I knew anything, it was that I DIDN’T want to ever live in Statesboro, Georgia again.  I didn’t want to move there the first time that I did (HOPE scholarship confirmed my first move) and I really didn’t want to EVER have to move back (life is funny like that).

Well, as you most know Dustin’s career in baseball didn’t last forever and it actually ended before we ever expected it to.

June 24, 2010, I was sitting in Orlando just ready to watch Dustin pitch again, no matter where it be:  Mississippi (double A) would be great, Myrtle Beach (high A) would be, well, the beach, and Rome (low A) would be a change of senary.  No matter where we went, I was ready to go.  On June 25, 2010 I learned not only would we not be going to any of those places, but we wouldn’t be moving to a baseball town at all, rather we would be headed home first to Alpharetta, and then to…  STATESBORO, GEORGIA so that Dustin could finish his degree!   <——- Not a happy exclimation point (about the Statesboro part, anyway).

After long thought and prayer however, I think God wants me to come back here and do things right the second time around.  He wants to give me a chance to join a church, join a small group, make friends outside of a bar, and learn to love life again.

As embarrassing as it is, I didn’t do any of these things the first time I was here, well, maybe I loved life in the beginning, but it was a superficial life, a life lacking a relationship with Jesus, which to me is the most important thing to have.  I went to church maybe 2 or 3 times in the three and a half years that I was down here and nearly every friendship and relationship that I had was made and formed in a bar.  Luckily, I must add, most of these friendships have grown and become much more than than just friends to ‘go out with.’  Now it is more about the relationship and less about the party.

God is giving me a second chance to truly love, respect and appreciate the incredible things this small town has to offer.  I never thought I would be able to say this, but after our entire world was rocked when Dustin had to walk away from baseball, I’m absolutely loving life again, even if it’s not the life I had planned.  I’m loving my nutrition classes and finally feel comfortable in my own shoes.  I feel like I fit in and am doing what I am supposed to be doing for the first time in a long time.

A few of my favorite things so far:

1.  The Statesboro Farmers Market

2.  The local bakery: Sugar Magnolia Bakery

3.  The local, grass-fed beef farm: Hunters Creek Cattle Company

4.  The local wine cellar: Midtown Wine Cellar

5.  The Statesboro Organic Foods and Herb Shop

6.  Having our own grill

8.  Our backyard pool and newly built (by Dustin and his dad) Tiki Bar

9.  And hopefully, after Sunday, I can say our new church, too!

I’m almost finished with my first week of classes, so cheers that and I hope you have a great weekend!

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