It Is Finished…

August of 2010 I was driving back after a very long week “vacation” that was actually a fun and tiring week of taking a bunch of “my” kids to the beach. On the way back the driver, who was also one of my co-workers and I were talking about school. He was in school, and I was gladly not. But, in the exact moment he asked if I would ever go back to school, I said something along the lines of no, but knew that God instantly was telling me yes, I was in fact going to go back.

Not long later someone else asked if I would ever consider going back to school. I said no, I had no reason to go back, I mean, after all, I had been working as a Director in my field for the last three years, what would a degree do to help that situation? But, in that moment I knew God told me I was going back.

Throughout the course of the next week or so God and I had the conversation several times, each time I said I had no need for school, and each time, He told me I was going to go back.

I cried.

I began looking into schools and programs, but firmly decided that it was likely to not work out because I was absolutely not going to take the GRE, and I had no interest in getting a masters degree in the same area I had an undergrad degree in… I needed something that sparked my interest if I was truly going to pull this off.

So, I searched… and searched.. and searched..

All the degrees looked the same, boring.

I finally decided I was probably going to settle on an MBA, because it seemed to fit with my communications degree.. But, I was bored at the idea of getting an MBA,Β my predominant thought over and over as I continued my search:

“everyone who has a communications degree gets an MBA, I don’t want to be like everyone else…”

Somehow, I stumbled upon a duel masters degree program that combined an MBA with various other degrees, andΒ it did not require a GRE test to get into nor did it include a dissertation.

I felt like I was cheating the system, but I also felt like two masters degrees were better than one (no matter how you look at it). So, I chose the program that combined an MS in Leadership with the MBA because it looked the most interesting. Plus, it was the two degrees that would combine with my communications degree to be the most ambiguous education that offered the widest range of job opportunities.

And then, all the financials went through and two weeks later I was starting my first class.

A week after that, exactly what God told me would happen happened, and the week of my two-year anniversary at my workplace I found out that I was going to need a new job by the two-year anniversary of when I was verbally told by a former boss that I would be given two years. So, not only was I starting a two and a half year program, I was also looking for a new job.

Yet, somehow, through it all I was completely secure because I knew that God had informed me two years prior that this would happen, and it did, so I was not at all surprised.

I applied for more than 70 jobs in less than a month, and prayed that the Lord would give me exactly one option so that I would not freak out, but have clarity on where He wanted me to go. I got one call back, one interview, and one job offer. So, I packed everything I owned once again and moved to the DC area to live with four girls I did not know in a fabulous house.

The first 10 months in DC sucked. All I did every day was go to work, go to the gym, then sit on the couch for 5+ hours doing homework. If it were not for one of my fabulous roommates I would have ate cereal for 10 straight months for dinner… The only thing I did that changed this routine was going to church on Sundays. And, man did I love that church. It was the least involved in a church I had ever been, and it was the most in love with a church and its mission I had ever been. But, the worst part was that I had no time to be involved, and that weighed pretty heavy on my heart.

Thankfully God knew what He was doing, and around month 9 He sent me a friend from where I used to live. And, while we were not super close, but merely in the same group of friends, she quickly became one of my very best friends. I would never have thought before that we would get so close, but in literally a couple short months she had secured herself as not only a trustworthy friend, but someone who I could depend on for being challenged, gaining perspective, laughter, silence, adventure, inside jokes, and someone who figured out my heart and shared it. Pretty quickly our Sunday’s consisted of church, food, movies, reading, and me doing homework.

Always homework.

After about a year in a half I realized that I actually loved DC. I loved my life, my friends, the atmosphere fit me. Except I had to get a new job, so I began looking and praying a lot for God to open doors and make it exactly clear… And, that He would not ask me to leave DC.

Three months later He opened a door wide open, and I asked Him to close it.

We spent 12 straight hours talking.. Ok, really I spent 8 hours talking.. or rather yelling, then he spent the next four hours overcoming my fear and anxiety and just gave me peace. It was singlehandedly the most intense 12 hours of my life.

And, throughout the process of all of it.. there was always more homework and another class to make it through… It was so overwhelming that I stopped counting classes and weeks in the classes, and just focused on getting things done.

I injured myself pretty badly just before I moved, which created an interesting stress on me because I absolutely had to ask those around to help me. I felt like God was telling me, “I will move you to Michigan.” So, I packed very carefully so I would not injure myself more, and I did more homework, and I cried, almost every day for a month…

Then I moved, started a new life somewhat near where I had grown up. I began working, and working, and working… And then, I would go home and do homework, and more homework, and more homework… Then for kicks and giggles I did consulting work on the side, as if I was not busy enough. And, somewhere in there I got a Great Dane puppy, and he took up pretty much the rest of my time.Β (How does someone with a family go back to school?!)

That was my life for seven months.

For an extrovert like myself, it was an incredibly difficult growing experience. I have no actual idea how I pulled it off, and I have no idea how I did not meltdown more than I did. I have never experienced so much alone time, and surprisingly never reached depression due to it… But, I also have never been in a position where I have spent so much of my time praying. Pretty much if I was not actively using my brain capacity for something, I was praying over something else.

All I kept thinking was, I just have to make it through these last couple classes and I will be golden. I worked and did homework like a crazy person with the perspective that I could endure it long enough to get through the last of the classes and everything else would all become easier and just sort of fall into place. I would have time for a social life, and I would be able to make a new fabulous group of friends, and I would soon have no more homework due.

The key trait that allows me to pull so much of the stuff I do off is, I work hard, and I work long in order to accomplish the task. Working long and working hard was the really the only reason I made it through the last two and a half years… That, and a lot of praying, a lot of crying, and a lot of support from family and friends.

So, today, I posted my last discussion board response, after having turned in my last paper yesterday, and I am done.

It is finished.

I am fairly uncertain and a little nervous about how God is going to use the education, traits, skills, and prayer time that have taken place over the last few years for the next few…

Should prove to be a crazy adventure for sure.

Expecting 2013…

So, much like my Wrap-up of 2012, this is my annual post introduction into the next year.

For whatever reason I never do these posts the same.. or even similar. So, if you would like to check out previous year’s looking forwards, here are the years:
2009
2010
2011
2012

For 2013, I have no real idea what to expect from this year, although I do know a few things I have planned…

I have my 10 year high school reunion. Whoa.

I graduate with a double masters degree in May! Two classes to go, and I simply could not be more excited!.. Then I have to decide if I want to pursue an M. Div… Oye!

I get to travel to East Asia in February, as well as India in the fall. I. Am. Stoked. — Seriously I get paid to travel!?

My baby brother — who is not so baby and huge is getting married to the most amazing and wonderful woman that is not only a perfect partner for him, but she fits into the family like the missing link we never knew we were in need of.

My older brother is going to have a 4th little one. I am SO excited about another niece or nephew!… Even if the child is due in June.

My bff and her husband are having their first baby! My little cousin and her husband are having their first baby!! A couple other friends are having babies as well!… I am so excited about all the babies!

My beautiful baby sister turns sweet 16. Seriously, when did that happen?!

Because of my job, which I love, even if it is stressful sometimes and is pushing me more than I expected will provide lots of first experiences. I am stoked about what God is doing in my church. I am praying and expecting God to not only provide, but to supply more than enough of Himself to make it through. I am confident that He will change the hearts of those that need changing, and I know without any doubts that He will blow us away when we look back next December at all the things He has done. I am humbled and amazed at how He is choosing to use me, and I have a laundry list of prayers that compliment those feelings.

My little baby puppy will become a full grown beast haha

I fully expect to add at least 4-5 more 3×5 cards to my bathroom mirror!.. Which means I expect God to also do amazing things and answer my crazy prayers.

My 2013 Goals:
(In no particular order)

  1. I want to continue to try and post 3-4 times a week. — I also want to continue to use this platform to reach and encourage others.
  2. I want to put a substantial down payment on my 90k student loans in the fall when I have to start paying them back… My goal is 12k.
  3. I want to continue to live off of 74% of my income. — (Tithing 10%, saving 9%, gifting 7%)
  4. I want to cross 5 things off of my Before I Die list, and add 5 new things to the list.
  5. I want to get back to a regular workout schedule… which means healing my hip completely.
  6. I want to read through the Bible.. I’ve gotten half way through one year, and while I’ve read the whole Bible in random chunks, I’d like to read through the whole thing!
  7. I want to experience God this year unlike I have in any other time in my life. — I have every expectation that I will be shocked at all the things God has done and revealed to me a year from today.
  8. I want to read 40 books this year (not counting school books or the Bible).
  9. Like last year, I want to pray my way through this year.
  10. I want to learn and understand love, compassion, and grace this year unlike any year before.

2012 Wrap-Up…

Virginia Beach at night

Every year I do a year end wrap up.. I tend to do each year differently for some reason… And, this year is no different… in that it will be different than the others haha πŸ™‚

I have been blogging since I was 18… Basically since blogging began “back in the day” haha.. However, I switched from my Xanga (what?!) to this one in 2008 when I moved to Central VA. Here are the previous year’s in review posts:

2008 – Who Were YOU a Year Ago?
2009 – The Year I Was 24
2010 – 2010… Never Again…
2011 – Hello, Good-Bye 2011

DC

(This gives a great view of how much my writing and views have changes and grown due to experiences, trials, friends, etc..) What a crazy thing to look back and read the year end reviews.

In the early part of 2013 I will post my goals for the year and some of my thoughts on where I feel like God is or is not leading me.

Power of Propaganda – Holocaust Museum

I love these two posts more than any other I do because it helps me wrap up and finish a year, and then look forward. I love that I can look back and remember what God is and has been doing in my life for so many years, and have a physical representation of the journey He is taking my life on… Plus, it is just sorta fun to see how accurate or totally off I was!

Favorite Memorial

I went into 2012 feeling like God was asking me to just take things as He brought them to me.
I had a few goals or “resolutions” going into 2012:
I wanted to exercise more compassion, grace, mercy, and love than I have in years past.
I wanted to diligently complete the next year of my double masters program.
I want to work better at controlling my mouth.
I wanted  to draw closer to my sweet Jesus Christ,  I want to learn more about who He is, and subsequently who I am supposed to be…
I wanted to learn how to love people on behalf of him better this year…

And then, I ended with saying “Now to pray them into existence” … Boy did I have little idea at the time how much of this year would revolve around prayer…

New Years Eve

In January I started my own business.. which I dabble in still, but it is not my main focus.
A relationship I was “seeing where it goes” ended.. lamely, but it was definitely for the best, even if the reason given was over text message, and late came out to not actually be the real reason. I am thankful that even though it hurt, I learned so much about dating. — This also was the start to just being satisfied with my single path that God has me on currently.
My bff came to visit, along with my best friend from Lynchburg, and then we toodled around DC with my best friend from DC and celebrated my 27th birthday.

My first “work” friend in DC

In February I felt like I was on the cusp of something.. Like I was running towards a cliff, getting ready to throw myself off of it, but I was unable to see what was over the edge.. Little did I know it was the start of changing things to bring me back to MI.
I wrote the single most visited blog post that I have ever written: Gay, Lesbian, Laws, and Christ… — And, I am have gotten some really great feedback from people from all different backgrounds and viewpoints.. Including a dear friend who I have never seen face to face but is on my 3×5 cards πŸ˜‰

Meg came!!

March really sunk home the year of prayer I felt like 2012 was turning into. I loved it, but it was definitely challenging, and at times almost physically painful.
March was a very humbling month
I also was faced with some very difficult relationship situations

Easter Weekend with best friends

In April it dawned on me how many prayers God is answering in my life!.. It also left me feeling mentally blank when I would try to blog… Which lead to a lot of randomness…
I realized how much I loved my church, how much I enjoyed being a part of it.. and even still how much I feel connected through it.
I was reminded that I will serve and praise the Lord during the good and the bad.
I realized I never meant to be a career woman, and my heart ached.. Ironically I vocalized my desire to be a catalyst…

Memorial Weekend on the Capital lawn..
Before we got stormed out

Unannounced to me May started months upon months of adjustments and pain that really is due to a chronic problem I have…
My mom and I talked multiple times a week on our drives home, and had lots of interesting conversations
I updated my life goals
I also decided to be bold over the summer.. Pretty funny considering all the changes summer brought me..
God and I continued our never ending learning curve about leadership and marriage.. One day maybe it’ll be put to good use!

Small group friends
Meeting Vera!

June. Was. Crazy. Seriously, I have no idea how I fit so much into it.
I met a longtime friend FINALLY.

4th of July
DC Fireworks

Then there was July… Oh the infamous July… In the beginning of the month I prepared to start a fast that would kick off in the middle of the month.
I had my fill of “single” comments.. and my need to share my sentiments spilled out into a mostly sarcastic and humor infused post..
I struggled with relationships, and conflicts.. Which is good…. and usually feel terrible.
And then.. I naively posted about despising parts of change. God and I did battle as I kicked off the 40 day freedom fast.

“The Pencil” – Washington Monument

Prayer and Change, that is what this year felt consumed with.

 

Bachata Congress!

August was C.R.A.Z.Y. – I interviewed for a new job.. danced.. seriously injured myself.. accepted a new job.. and prepared to move.

Ice Cream eating competition – with our Ref.

September was a blur of packing and painting, saying good-bye, crying for all sorts of reasons, and a hard to explain mix of emotions. I am not even kidding when I say, no matter how shallow it may seem, choosing to leave DC and move back to MI was one of the hardest things I have done. Not because it was actually hard, and not because I struggled with whether God was leading me, but because I loved my friends and church there, and it felt safe, like home.

The murals I painted in my office

Then, what felt like the culmination of the first 9 months of 2012 finally exploded into crystal clear depiction of what it was pointing to… And, as always, God took care of me.

Vormund!

Oh man did I begin to get overwhelmed and totally humbled by the task before me… I set to the task of doing my job, and doing it well… and then I never slept. Literally.

Change.. oh October was about change.. in every sense of the word.. Life, Work, Puppy.. change change everywhere..

Three of my siblings – They make me laugh a lot

Oh sweet November… I don’t really remember you because I was busy.
Busy raising a puppy and loving people for Jesus.. That is until I got sick, then I still had to raise a puppy and love people for Jesus, but felt like I was going to die.. or cough up a lung.. or never ever get enough sleep again. (dramatic much?)
After a much needed trip to DC to see people I love, I became consumed with work.. I loved every bit of it, despite the 80 hours a week I was putting in.
My great grandma passed away.

My first “for real I’m an adult” Christmas tree!

December brought with it crazy amount of hours of work, but I began seeing things happening and started seeing the work I was doing having an impact! But, in the midst of seeing the impact, I also began to see difficult things, and started realizing I have no “outlet” and will quickly burn out at the pace I was keeping.

Getting to be a fun aunt

I wrote my first guest post: Don’t Be Afraid to Date
And, my puppy is growing.. a lot.. and is sick..

Teaching munchkins how to make funny faces

What is crazy to me is that I tagged a LOT of the blog posts I wrote throughout this year.. but, I only chose a few from each month.. which means, this is merely a glossary overview of the year, the trials, the struggles, the joy, the friends, the trips, the meltdowns.. it amazes me at the sheer amount of things God has done and the prayers He has answered this year. Blows my mind. I am somewhere between totally overwhelmed and really stoked to see what He uses this building block of a year for in the future…

I have grown so much this year, and as difficult and at times painful as it was, I would never give it back nor change it. I am so beyond humbled at the task before me, but also at the friends and family that support me…

Who am I that God should use me?

2012 was a year unlike any other.
2012 was a year of prayer.
2012 was a year of change.

27th Birthday…

Today I turn 27.

I have had one of the best birthdays, and have been reminded of how incredibly blessed and fortunate I am to have so many people in my life who love me dearly… even when I fall short.

I will write more about the weekend later… Right now, here are the top 27 things from the last year (in chronological order):

  1. Two of my best friends getting engaged 30 seconds after the the ball dropped on New Years. 
  2. My bff marrying the man of her dreams, and getting to stand up in her wedding with her.
  3. My best friends and roomie surprising me for my 26th birthday.
  4. My little brother showing up for my 26th birthday with a dozen roses from him and my older brother.
  5. Spending Easter with my best friend from college and his wife.
  6. Getting to surprise my older brother for his birthday.
  7. A friend moving to DC and becoming a close friend.
  8. A new roomie moving into the house.
  9. The wedding of a great friend.
  10. My two best friends getting married.. and spending the weekend with so many close friends.
  11. Throwing my parents a 30th anniversary party and seeing everyone.
  12. The Bachata congress here in DC with such a wonderful friend. 
  13. Lake and beach days.
  14. Helping my bff and her husband move.
  15. Visiting my cousin in California.
  16. Learning to Paddle board.
  17. Finally letting God take control of my frustrating work situation.
  18. Finding stability and peace internally for the first time in two years.
  19. Surviving the first year of Grad school.
  20. Reconnecting with an old college friend.
  21. Making Thanksgiving dinner with a my wonderful friend.
  22. Letting God use others teach me about my value and worth.
  23. Going to Philly with one of my amazing friends to dance and spend time together.
  24. Driving to MI and back to DC with my roomie.
  25. An old roomie/sister getting engaged.
  26. Christmas.
  27. Surviving 2011 officially when the ball dropped and it was 2012.

Some of these are obviously a little tongue and cheek, a few I am well aware make no sense unless you lived through those moments with me, and others are amusing, but completely true to how I feel.

26 was a really difficult year for me (as was 25), but I am incredibly hopeful about this year. I am amazed at the things God is teaching me already in this year, and I am so excited for what is to come (and filled with a little Holy trepidation if things continue to go the way they are currently).

Thank you to the friends and family:
That have stood by me, listened to me vent, ramble, cry, yell, laugh, and for the times you sat next to me in total silence because the were just no words. Thank you for the cooked foods, the movie nights, the galavanting around, the trips, and the memories we built this year. Thank you for sticking through the really difficult times, and for all the times you were more gracious than I deserved, and chose to love me despite my shortcomings and flaws. Thank you for your patience as I learned how to be patient. Thank you for your compassion as I learned what true compassion meant. Thank you for all the times you sought me out because I was unable to look beyond my own pain. Thank you for all of the hugs, dances, snuggles, running, goofing around, and for all the talking around the dinner table. Thank you for all of the phone conversations, for telling me when I was wrong, for listening to me when I needed to bounce my ideas and thoughts off of someone, and for praying for me whether I asked you to or not. Thank you for encouraging me more each day to draw closer to the Lord, and for all of the times you were on your knees on my behalf. Thank you for the unconditional love and forgiveness that I do not deserve, and for picking me up when I was unable to get up. Thank you for the faith you shared with me and for the confidence in our Savior when I was doubting. Thank you for sticking by me when it would have been much easier to walk away.

To my friends and family, I do not deserve you, but I simply cannot express how thankful and humbled I am that you are in my life. You show me Christ in new ways every day, and words simply cannot express how much each one of you mean to me. Thank you is not enough, but thank you is all I have.

Nice to Meet You 2012…

So, while I have always said I do not typically make new years resolutions (if you need a resolution.. do it now.. today.. don’t wait for a fake time to start one), last year I had a couple, that I am proud to say I accomplished! I wanted to blog more (check!) and I wanted to get in better shape.. (double check!)

Typically I have feelings about the year to come.. a lot of hopes.. but often times my feelings are fairly accurate about what is to come. Now, I do not mean specifics or situations.. I literally mean feelings. What is interesting to me is I do not have ANY real feelings or direction for 2012.. Other than it being pretty apparent this next year is going to be… different than what I have been experiencing lately (last couple years), I realistically have no idea what to expect from the next year. You see, it is not that I feel like God has me in a fog so I CANNOT see what is coming… but, much more that God literally is just asking me to be in the here and now… and take things as they come.

Which leads me to my New Years Resolutions… I would like to continue the 2011 resolutions.. get/stay in shape, and blog as many days a week as I can. It is really nice to have this running history, especially since I have now been blogging for several years.

Ok, so, this year I want to really focus on being in the here and now.. I do not want to worry about tomorrow nor borrow tomorrow’s trouble today (yup, I said the same thing two different ways..).

I want to exercise more compassion, grace, mercy, and love than I have in years past.

I want to diligently complete the next year of my double masters program, which will mean I will have one or two classes left at the end of 2012.

I want to work better at controlling my mouth.

And, I want to draw closer to my sweet savior Jesus Christ, and I want to learn more about who He is, and subsequently who I am supposed to be… I want to learn how to love people on behalf of him better this year… 2011 was a year that caused me to struggle with this more than I am ok with, I want 2012 to be better.

So, those are my “New Years Resolutions”… Not your typical resolutions, but that is sorta how I roll… Now to pray them into existence!

Hello, Good-Bye 2011…

I really love keeping a blog, I enjoy the outlet it gives me to speak my mind, the comfort it offers in getting out the thoughts that are both dear to my heart or frivolously in my head. I made a serious concerted effort this year to blog 4-6 days a week, and for the most part, I am surprised to say I have kept that up.. Not perfectly, and sometimes only because I almost always have my phone in tow and shared pictures of my travels throughout the summer.

However, I have two favorite posts that I have posted annually, the first one looks back on the year and the second one looks forward at the next year. In preparation to write this year’s 2011 review I went back and looked at the 2010 look back, and the 2011 look forward. These two blogs really serve as a perfect little reminder of where I am and where I want to be going… Plus, it allows me the chance to update on the goals I had for this year. Christmas just always proves to be one of the best and most memorable times to review and take an internal check so that I can then move forward next year.

So, as always, this year in review will likely be a fairly long post, and while I almost never review the year the same as I have in the past, it remains my favorite post to make each year.

January

The year started off surrounded by so many wonderful people in my fairly new house. Two of my best friends got engaged (to each other) seconds after the 2011 ball dropped, which commenced all of us into seven months of wedding planning and excitement (more on their wedding later).

We got our fifth and final roomie (for a while), and we welcomed into our lives a wonderful and incredibly broken person. Another roomie and I began having serious issues, and as much as I tried, I could not seem to communicate in a manner that helped either one of us… And, eventually the relationship sadly dwindled into co-existence at best.

I began another difficult class in my double masters program, and proceeded to sit on the couch for hours every night having near melt downs trying to understand finance…

My very best friend in the whole world got married in Georgia, and I was so thrilled and honored to stand up in her wedding with eight other beautiful girls and nine great guys. It was a fantastic trip down, and a great celebration!

I joined a gym, and ended up signing up for what turned into five months of personal training sessions twice a week. I looked forward to and loved these couple hours a week because the trainer was a great match to my skill, passion for martial arts, humor, and he improved my body in ways I was unsure could happen… Well worth the money for the time period I was in and how I was feeling.

My birthday… dun. dun. dun. Was actually amazing this year. (whew!) I have had so many issues with my birthday over the  years that this year I was just too scared to hope for anything good, and just decided I wanted one thing. For one of my best friends to come and stay the weekend with me. She surprised me (by showing up late.. haha) with two more girl friends that I love to death sitting on my couch when I got home from dinner.. Which, because of the stress level I was under, I began to tear up just seeing and hugging them.. I then turned around to another friend creeping across the living room, which of course sent me into more tears being just so excited that he too was there… THEN, I was tapped on the shoulder, turned around to find my little brother holding a dozen roses (hands down my favorite birthday gift every year are these roses from my brothers). I just stood there dumbfounded and silent, then finally blurted out “Why are you here?!” then proceeded to hug the life out of him.. and SOB. As in, I could not breathe, I could not talk, I could not see.. I just sobbed and hugged my brother while everyone laughed at my reaction. THEN, the next day my friend/sister/old roomie showed up with cake and two more of my good friends.. and we proceeded to have a perfect weekend around DC exploring the Spy museum and getting Thai food. It was perfect, and I was reminded I am loved.

The day after my birthday we had 30 (or so) people laid-off from my workplace…

February

February is a bit of a blur, I mostly just remember hating life, arguing with one of my roomies a lot, sitting on the couch under blankets, and trying to understand my homework.

I also really remember struggling with my job situation and being totally and completely unhappy.

 But, the most overwhelming thing I remember from February are the feelings of total despair, being stuck, miserable, and totally feeling forgotten and unimportant. I literally remember feeling like I was not myself, but having no idea how to FIND myself again.

March

The most significant thing that happened in March was an out of the blue friend was made from reading my blog. I have no idea why or how she found me, but we began e-mailing several times a week about life, Jesus, pain, hurt, brokenness, Christianity, Christians, etc.. I was totally unsure how to handle the situations she presented me with, but what did end up coming from it was a lot of prayer on my part for her. I was amazed at the honesty she had when talking to me about her life and situations she has been in. I was humbled by the trust she had in me and broken for her and her situation. (I have not heard from her much in the last several months, but I still pray for her, her salvation, and that Jesus would do, what Jesus does in her life.)

I spent a great deal of March trying to figure out how I fit in the DC area. I did not like DC, I did not like my life here, and I really did not like that I felt stuck here. I had little to no friends, and had even fewer people who understood me.

I continued to hate my online class and felt more and more belittled and frustrated at work.

The biggest feelings I have from March are that of feeling unsafe and like the best I had to offer was to “keep it together.”

April

April brought my best friend and his wife to visit for our annual Easter weekend together. I needed them more than I think they will ever understand. They understand me, they laugh with and at me, and more than anything, their friendship is solid no matter where we are in life. We had a great weekend in DC, we even went roller blading (old school I know, but it is our thing!).

April also brought with it an acute understanding that I was missing my Savior at my very core. I knew something was missing, I knew I felt lost, and I also knew I had no idea what to do. I felt empty and broken, and felt like I was completely directionless.

What I do remember though on a positive note is how pretty DC is in the spring. The flowers, trees, warm breeze.. it was truly beautiful and I finally found something I enjoyed about living here!

April also kick-started my insanely hectic always busy weekend summer schedule.

May

May brought a lot of wedding showers.. Several friends were getting married, so I traveled to and from Lynchburg a lot in order to feel like I was much more a part of something than I actually was.

I realized in May that I truly was beginning to hate my job because of a couple particularly challenging individuals, and I really was struggling with the Lord on my attitude towards my job and the people causing the issues. I also began seriously searching for a new job…

I spent most of May exhausted. I had almost every moment of every day for the entire month planned out, down to how long it took me to get places. It was all rather ridiculous really… But, the busyness allowed me to fake ok. It is easier for me to fake that I am ok because I was so busy every “not ok” moment can be blamed on exhaustion and not getting enough sleep, and then anything that did not fall under that category could be lumped in with the stress of school and being incredibly busy at work…

I hid my heart and refused to acknowledge the pain going on at my core to anyone else for the entire month.

June

One of our roomies moved out, and another one replaced her. It was both sad and exciting at the same time.

I went home for the first time since Christmas to surprise my brother for his birthday, loved being home and seeing everyone, and it gave me a good reprieve from not feeling like I belonged or fit anywhere.

I left from MI back to DC for a night, then down to FL for a week-long annual convention for work. I spent the better part of the entire month traveling, I acquired a cough I could not get rid of, and spent the majority of my time doing homework in the hammock we had set up in our backyard… I am pretty sure that hammock saved my life this summer haha πŸ™‚

I had more wedding showers and more traveling back down to Lynchburg, and I honestly have no idea how I found the time to do my homework.. much less understand and pass the class…

I spent a great deal of June trying to do an internal check and figure out what I needed to do to make my life “ok” again. At this point I really realized how much I disliked my life, and I knew I needed to make a change, and I knew a lot of it was that I was not willing to humble myself enough to talk to my Savior about the things really bothering me.. So, God and I began having some pretty serious “what the hell” conversations.. It was actually quite liberating to know He was listening to me spout off like a little child, and that He still cared and loved me..

Also, while this is my first mention of it in this post, I L.O.V.E. my church, and throughout the whole year they really were the one lighthouse that I had. Over the summer, they did a series called the God Anthology, they picked and talked about nine attributes of God. While I was crazy busy, my church remained the one thing about DC I loved and was (and still am) unsure I ever wanted to give up…

The one thing that began to offer some genuine reprieve that I did not even know I needed was having a friend from Lynchburg move to DC. While we were in the same group of friends there, we were not super close.. But she has become such a God send to me. Her friendship, loyalty, humor, adventurous spirit, and level headedness… as well as her love for fun and doing things has been exactly what I did not even know I needed.

July

The two best friends that got engaged on New Years got married over the 4th of July weekend. It was a pretty epic weekend.. One that included a lake day, 11 other bridesmaids, 12 groomsmen, several flower girls and ring bearers, three pastors, and a sneak attack surprise of chucks shoes for the dance off at the reception… I got to see so many old friends, meet new ones, and party like crazy celebrating the union of two of my best friends! It was a pretty epic and fantastic wedding weekend πŸ™‚

It was about this point in the year that I finally began realizing I (while crazy busy) was finding my place in DC. I did not particularly like most of the things going on, and it was not my ideal, but I was able to say that I had friends and that maybe I was making a life here after all… With the exception of the fact that I was still job hunting… and still really wanting to move to Atlanta…

I also realized in July exactly how stressed out I was… So, I took a couple day trips or mornings to relax.. I really thought a couple times I was going to lose it on some poor unsuspecting soul…

I had a period of time in July where it seemed that my virginity came up over and over in almost any situation. I found the conversation empowering and very intriguing as well. I was quite surprised by the interest others had in my choice to remain a virgin until I get married… the reactions were.. priceless and pretty much spanned the gambit. Some were not surprised in the slightest, some thought it was purely accidental, others were completely blown away because apparently I do not seem “the type.” However, it really caused me to begin looking at those areas of my life and realize that not only am I not ashamed or embarrassed by them in the slightest, I am very thankful and proud that God and I have this story together.. and that I have the boldness to talk about it with others, and explain eloquently why I am still a virgin.

August

I went home in the beginning of August to help plan and celebrate my parent’s 30th wedding anniversary, and it was awesome. We had a blast, and I was reminded once again how absolutely amazing my family is. I am always amazed at how close we are and how much we all genuinely LOVE to be around each other, joking, laughing, reading, talking, watching movies.. whatever.. we love it.

I also went with one of my friends to the Bachata congress here in DC, and we had SO much fun. We were so sore, tired, and our poor feet suffered greatly, but overall it was a fantastic experience, and one that helped me learn so much more about dancing, and helped renew my love for it.

In August we also had an Earthquake in DC (which you can see the destruction my place suffered here), and a hurricane… although I left to visit my best friend and her husband during the hurricane, and helped them move.. It was a long and tiring weekend, but I loved every minute of it because I was with them!

I could tell by the end of August I was really getting antsy for life to FEEL normal. I wanted to feel like I belonged, like God and I were close again, like I was important, like I had value to offer, and I longed to enjoy my job once again…

September

I spent the first half of September really evaluating where I was, and really ready inside to take a moment and breathe. I felt like I was drowning and like nothing anyone said was relieving my stress.

Thankfully I had a free airplane ticket to use and some extra time off, so I peaced out to California to see my cousin. We spent four days in southern California doing whatever we pleased to celebrate her 3rd anniversary (even though her husband was deployed at the time). We laid on the beach, played in the VERY cold water, got pedicures, ate amazing food, walked down the beach, took paddle boarding lessons, made amazing homemade food, and watched movies.. not to mention talked and laughed for all four days. It was during that break that I FINALLY felt something break. It was like God had released the pressure valve on my stress level and I could finally think, feel, and process clearly. I felt content inside my soul once again… I had almost forgotten what that felt like.

We also celebrated the 10th anniversary (has it REALLY been that long?!) of the 9/11 terrorist attacks…

I was reminded during September how much I am loved, and for whatever reason I was finally able to start understanding it deep down.. I am surrounded by friends who love me and send flowers just because they knew I was having a rough week..

October

I finally knew what contentment felt like, and it was like a dew kissed morning.

I became debt free except for my student loans in October, and the new found freedom is awesome!

The biggest thing I remember from October is feeling like I finally found my groove. I finally felt like I was BUILDING a life.. and while I was not too thrilled with certain situations with work or school still, I had peace once more, and knew I was going to be ok.

I made the decision to sign the lease at the end of the month, which essentially meant I was committing to another year here in DC… I was a little worried I was making a mistake, but knew I needed to make a choice regardless and let God do his thing and figure out what was going to happen.

I also ran my first 10k.. and I RAN the whole thing.. the furthest I have ever run.. in my ENTIRE life.. I was pretty stoked.. then I walked like an 85 year old man for several days haha!

November

November seemed like it FLEW by to me. I am not entirely sure where the month went..

I think the most unique thing about November for me was all of the things that felt like they began settling into place. For starters, it went down in record as the longest I had lived in one place for the last nine years (whoa!). I had not realized how transient my life was, and how almost bizarre it felt to live in the SAME place not having to pack up or move anywhere… Such a unique feeling.

I was able to reconnect with an old friend from Freshman year of college, and it has become such a welcome surprise and rekindling of a friendship.

I cooked my first Thanksgiving dinner with the help of a friend… and it wasn’t easy, but we had fun and only had a few minor mishaps..

I began reading and finished reading Start Something That Matters by Blake Mycoskie (the founder of TOMS Shoes) and was incredibly inspired…

Work became suddenly significantly easier and less stress filled due to staffing changes, it was almost a visible change in my stress level and it could not have come at a more perfect time. This made it easier to decide that I can stay where I am until God really moves me elsewhere…

Overall it was a good month, not void of frustrations or annoyances, but definitely one of the best months I have had in around a year in a half…

I also met a guy through a mutual friend that I have been on a few dates with, he has proven to be much nicer than I am used to in the men I typically date. I have absolutely no idea where it is going, but after a few (somewhat minor) freak outs I have settled into trusting that God knows what He is doing and walking through this door and seeing what happens.

December

I cannot believe December is almost over… Where did this year go? The most challenging thing about this year is there were so many reoccurring feelings and frustrations that it makes the entire year blend into itself…

This month I have spent a great deal of time feeling like life is normal.. Well normal aside from trying to figure out if I like this guy while at the same time understanding that the emotions do not accurately reflect reality and just enjoying it is really the key.

What I do know is that the Lord and I are reconnecting.. Prayer comes easier again, and just sitting and being with my Savior is something I am enjoying again.

2011

Hands down of the most stressful and pressure filled years I have ever had… While I would NEVER.. ever choose to re-live this year, I can honestly say I am so thankful to have been through this year and survived. I learned so many things about prayer, stress, pressure, friends, and know without any shadow of a doubt that patience was created and increased ten fold in my life this year.

While this is a gross exaggeration of what has happened this year, I feel like Job at the end of his book in the Bible, an overwhelming sense of peace and an acute awareness of the blessings in my life.

Please Lord, do not ever make me repeat this year, but thank you for all the times you carried me and comforted me while I struggled. Thank you for proving once again you are faithful and that no matter where I am, what I am going through or who I am dealing with you not only care, but you hear me when I talk to you. Thank you for giving me the chance to learn and for putting the people in my life I needed to survive. Thank you for teaching me another thing or two about humility and compassion, and for growing my heart for the lost and broken.

I have no idea what to expect for the next year, I would love for it to be a fantastic year, but I have no sense of what is to come at all. But, what I do know is, if the last couple years are any indication, it is going to be a very… interesting year!

Easter 2011

Clearly I have been a poor blogger recently, and certainly have not kept up with my blog like I wanted to at the beginning of the year, however, life happens sometimes, so I really do not feel all that badly about it.

This weekend was what has turned into the annual Corwin/Katie/Krista Easter Weekend. I love these friends of mine. Corwin was one of my best friends in college, especially the last couple years, and Katie is his beautiful wife that has turned into my friend as well.

I am constantly amazed by their friendship.

Katie could not be a more perfect match for Corwin, and vice versa. I am so blessed that not only do I still feel as important, cared for, and loved by Corwin now as I did in college, but even more so since adding Katie to our group.

I cannot help but wonder/hope/pray that the man I marry will be the perfect 4th edition to our group… But, amazingly I never feel like the third wheel with the two of them. We tell stories, we laugh constantly, tell jokes, talk about Christ, and just do things together. I always leave spending time with them feeling built up, encouraged, and loved.

This weekend we spent Good Friday walking around Alexandria and National Harbor (in the rain). And had Thai food for dinner.. which Corwin was in absolute heaven haha!

Saturday we went to Eastern Market, had some amazing donuts, then walked around DC seeing the sites.. And of course being total goofs.

And, thankfully Corwin carried my heavy purse with all of the jackets for a good portion of the day… One of many reasons I appreciate him and his personality! haha πŸ™‚

Today we went to church, walked to get some food.. then went roller blading for a few hours. We got a little more sun then our just wintered skins can handle, but had an absolute blast.

And… because an Easter post would not be complete without this… If you do not know, today is a celebration because Jesus died on Friday (2,000 years+ ago) and 3 days later, today (Easter Sunday) He came back from the dead unlike anyone ever had before or since. He took my sins and yours, and marked them paid in full. He is my Savior, God, and Lord, and He wants to be yours.