Flashback Friday: Kiwi Cotter

As I sit here, thinking over this past year, I almost get a little teary eyed. For me, that says something. I may be corny, but shedding tears of emotion? Pah-lease. Haha, actually, I share in tears of joy. And that’s why I am writing this today. For me, to share joy, to look back at life and THANK GOD for all He’s done.

You see, a year a go today we were on a plane to New Zealand. We wanted to escape, we wanted to rest, we wanted to heal, we wanted to simplify, we KNEW it was worth the risk. And oh how it was totally worth it!

We sold a lot of our stuff, put the other half in storage, and just went for it!

hills and james

It was in New Zealand that I realized I had life all backwards. I often thought that I needed to do more, be more, make more, and please more. A constant state of stress and pressure brought upon solely by myself. And the same goes with James. He stressed over trying to provide more, give me more rest (even though I wouldn’t take it), and make me happy. We danced around one big stress ball 24/7 . His  training and my health suffered as well.

But when you move thousands of miles away with nothing else to do but to take care of each other, rest, and just be a wife, you learn that that is more than enough. I struggled for the first half of that move. I struggled with being restless. Not knowing what to do. And then it was if God physically said to me “STOP, take my PATH!”


Oh yes, I listened this time.

Rest. Love. Listen. Work to live, not live to work. Disconnect to reconnect. Have Faith. Have Hope. RESPECT each OTHER. Laugh. Be kind. Ask for Help. Give a helping hand and a listening ear. Hug. Stop and Smell the Roses. Buy Flowers for yourself. Walk slow and take in the scenery. Read God’s Word. Worry less, thank more!  Dream BIG.

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Those words, those phrases, have been glued to my mind ever since we left New Zealand to come back to the states. I try to remember them daily. The hubs does a pretty good job of reminding me as well. To say that we never get caught up in the busyness and stress of life back in Austin would be a LIE. It’s hard not too. But as soon as I start to feel that way, I look back at this year, I look at how far I (we) have come. I look back at how much we have slowly gained (physically, spiritually, and mentally). I look back and see how our love (and marriage) grew stronger. I look back at it all and smile. A year of true growth and I don’t want to stop! Amen!

A year ago today we left for New Zealand. We were nervous, anxious, happy, excited, tired, and weary. Can you tell from our eyes?


A year later (picture below), we are so much more restored and THANKFUL for new strength.

us again

I know this was totally off the beaten path today, but it was on my mind and I had to share. I wrote this post for me. And boy did it feel good!

Enjoy the rest of your Holiday weekend! And be sure to checkout the Healthy Bites Facebook Page tomorrow for a Small Business Saturday discount!


The Cotters

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  1. It’s crazy how much can change in a year! You both have come so far and you learned so many lessons from living in New Zealand! I’m glad you wrote this post for YOU! Keep sharing that beautiful strength you’ve gained! It’s awesome to see the difference!

  2. did you write this because you knew this was exactly what I needed to hear today? because it was. I feel like I’m in the same place you guys were a year ago…selling off me stuff, new country, stressed, anxious, worried…and desperate to escape where I am and grow into something new. I will have to remember to take a pic just before I get on the plane to Tucson so I can take another a year later!

  3. Beautifully written. And what makes it so beautiful is the TRUTH behind it. The need to simplify. Choose God’s path. And live. Abundantly. Love to you and James today. Thank you for being a dear friend.

  4. Beautiful post. You are so smart. I am still trying to learn those lessons. Maybe I need to run of to New Zealand because, Wow, it looks amazing.

  5. So beautiful! It really is crazy how much can happen in a year. :)

  6. So beautiful. I’ve been feeling a little bit of that weariness dragging me down lately as well, and I’ve always wanted to visit New Zealand… I think it may be time to stop dreaming and start doing? It’s really amazing that such a simple thing can impact a person so profoundly… or maybe it’s something in the water 😉

  7. You may have written the post for you, but it was interesting for me to read. Thanks for sharing! There’s always something we can learn from sitting back and listening to other’s experiences.

  8. You guys have totally grown in the past year! It’s amazing what God can do with us when we are willing <3

  9. It’s so hard to believe you guys left a year ago! I really love the new, refreshed you after New Zealand.

  10. I love this post so much because it really shows how far you’ve come, both of you, over the last year, in really putting simplicity to the test and trusting faith to get you through and leaning back on those NZ moments that were so life-altering, in a way, to ground you, and reset you, when need be. You are my inspiration to continue to simplify! As I sit here on the couch, during a purposely unplanned post-thanksgiving weekend, in entirety (!), I am happy, and feeling at peace. Simple. Not planned into a corner! XO!

  11. so happy for you guys! you look great!

  12. Awesome post, my love, awesome post. It’s important to write for YOU sometimes, huh? It’s my favourite form of therapy :)

  13. you guys are so cute!! I needed to read this post today. It helps to stop and slow down sometimes. I hardly ever slow down and I’m always focusing on the next, but it’s good to just be in the moment!

  14. SO fabulous that you two were able to make this trip and learn theses lessons. I think we also need to step back and realize the importance of the passing moments.

  15. You are absolutely glowing in the current picture! Not that you weren’t beautiful before, but you’ve…you glow.

  16. Love it! And how awesome and beautiful is New Zealand!! I hope you did lots of fun hiking during your rest. :)

  17. i absolutely love this. and new zealand is my favorite place on earth

  18. New Zeland looks so beautiful! I’m glad you are happy and your pictures show it! Happy Thanksgiving friend!

  19. This is such a beautiful post, girl! I love reading about how much you two have grown as individuals and a couple in the past year. I cannot believe your bravery and how you just WENT for it and went to New Zealand. So admirable! And the lessons you learned on your journey clearly have stuck with you and you are still benefiting from them each day. I hope your Thanksgiving in Austin was wonderful!

  20. new zild FTW! i always get super relective during this time of year and cut myself much more slack because i recognize with every passing year how precious this life really is! i am so happy to hear that you are restored :)

  21. Oh friend, this makes me so happy to read. The year since that fateful day when you two left for your NZ adventure to today? HUGE change, needed change, beautiful change, and so, so so inspiring. I look to you for that ‘slow down’ vibe that I often need over here, you always have the right words or examples that remind me what life is truly about, that perspective has been so awesome and so needed and I LOVE you all the more for it. I am so happy that the Cotter family is in such a good place today, love it. love it. love it.

  22. Sounds like an awesome restful year!

  23. So beautiful and so happy for you and the hubs! My two favorites from the post: buying yourself flowers. I absolutely love doing this. It’s an instant smile and present to yourself. And two: Dream Big! Always! xoxo

  24. loved this post! a great reminder that life is not about the big things, or even the little things. It is about the moments. The small ones, big ones, good and bad ones. Life is full of all types of emotions, and sometimes getting away from it is the best thing we can do for our self.


  25. It’s so nice to just sit back and reflect on how much life can change in a year. Steve and I were talking about this just last weekend. This time last year, we were stressed and worried 99% of the time, living surrounded by family and friends but not truly appreciating that, working stressful jobs…a whole year later it’s just the two of us in a new city, new jobs, and even more love and commitment to each other (we didn’t think that was even possible).
    Love hearing your stories. I feel so connected to you and your journey.

  26. 1. You two are the cutest ever.
    2. All those pictures make me so nostalgic of my trips to New Zealand as well. Even then, I was young and already knew these things. I cried when we had to return to the US – I hated the rat race, the materialism, all the craziness that goes on in living a “so-called fulfilled” life here. I was so happy to take the step back and just enjoy life, nature, and exploring – bare bones. To be strong in faith takes courage – and you two had the courage to take that leap. Successfully. Kudos! :)

  27. oh my goodness wat a HUGE milestone and how different life is just a year later! i’m so happy that both of u have found ur way to happiness and ironically i’ve heard so many others voice the same in that if u move to a spot or focus ALL of ur attention just on a sport, or single focus, not only can ur happiness suffer but watever u are trying to accomplish will to. there’s a lot to be said to balance! :)

  28. I am in LOVE with this “Rest. Love. Listen. Work to live, not live to work. Disconnect to reconnect. Have Faith. Have Hope. RESPECT each OTHER. Laugh. Be kind. Ask for Help. Give a helping hand and a listening ear. Hug. Stop and Smell the Roses. Buy Flowers for yourself. Walk slow and take in the scenery. Read God’s Word. Worry less, thank more! Dream BIG.”… Planning to print it out and put it on our fridge- great daily reminder! XO

  29. Its crazy how you can really see the difference in your eyes and faces in the last two pics!

  30. what a wonderful learning, growing year this has been for you guys. and we are so fortunate to learn from your growth as well Lindsay. those 2 pics speak volumes-wow! such serene faces on the second pic. i LOVE IT!

  31. I love this! I love how much wisdom that you have and how you have allowed God to work through and in you. You are a blessing friend!


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