2019 – Redefine & Reshape

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A few weeks ago I met with a few of my closest friends, and we talked about 2018, the themes, struggles, process, and how it all worked together… Or totally threw us for a loop and turned out totally differently than we expected. Then, we talked about 2019. – This has become one of my favorite yearly traditions: Get together and do dinner with some of my closest friends and process and pray through the coming year (each year is a different mixture of friends because of schedules usually).

Because of the struggle of the second half of 2018, (which you can read about a little of it here) I was really unclear and unsure of 2019. If I’m being honest, I was still hurt, I was still angry at God, and a load of people. – How do you vision cast for a year to come with a heart full of hurt and anger? You don’t. But, my friends talked about where they saw me grow through 2018, and what they felt like 2019 was going to be about and bring for me. I wrote it all down feeling nothing at all.

Instead, I revisited all that they had said numerous times over the last few weeks. And, as only God can do, I also had several conversations with people who unknowingly echoed what my friends had told me.

For 2019, I have two words (a DRAMATIC reduction from the 8 for 2018!), Redefine & Reshape.
Redefine – To define again or define differently. To reexamine with the view to change. To reformulate a concept or thought.
Synonyms – Specify, Delineate, Revisit, Reinvent, Reconsider.
Antonyms – Defend, Uphold, Maintain, Assert.

Reshape – To shape something differently or shape it again. To give a new form or orientation.
Synonyms – Influence, Determine, Develop, Ripen, Mature.
Antonyms – Stagnate, Remain, Stay, Continue.

The two words are obviously remarkably similar, but also with just the slightest fraction of a difference between them.

As I have continued to process these two words, I feel very hands off and maybe a little apathetic about them. – Like these things will happen, and they will take place within my heart and mind but instead of me doing anything, it is because God will do it. My feeling is as though 2019 isn’t about me doing the changing or forcing anything, but that God will restore what has been broken because of others and because of me. Very much a shoulder shrug acceptance of what is to come with no dramatic thoughts or feelings about it one way or another… I am hoping that a year from now, I will be totally overwhelmed with all that God has done between now and then.

It seems as though I have a hint now of the avenue with which God is going to be using to Redefine and Reshape me in 2019…

For the last several months, I have been searching for a job… (Side note: Job hunting is THE. WORST. Seriously, it’s slow, frustrating, exhausting, mind-numbing, and to top it all off, it is really discouraging.) I have however been in a slow interview process that was also long, but also encouraging because they were excited about who I am and what I have to offer. However, I am now at a place financially of needing to make decisions and move forward; my timeline and theirs do not match so the door has closed. Throughout the interview process, I have been delaying building up my two business’s because I didn’t want to have either company grow beyond what I could handle with full time work.

But, in the interim, I have been paying the bills with BuilderChicks – the company I co-own with one of my best friends. This friend had her last day at her full-time job a couple weeks ago, so that she could shift to doing BuilderChicks and her personal training and fitness company Aiming 2b Fit. She has been planning this transition for a long time, well before any of my job changes took place.

At this point, with what is the closing door of the other potential job, and the timing of my friend shifting her career goals, I am shifting my focus too. I have been praying through the timing of everything, and that if things did not fall into place by certain dates that I would begin having dreams for BuilderChicks and BackIn Consulting (my other business). – Well, this week I started having fun and creative ideas that excite me.

So, I am officially switching gears and pursuing my two self-owned companies!

2019 should be an interesting year at least! I would appreciate all of the love, support, and prayers as this shift is likely to be challenging and maybe overwhelming.

2014 in Review

I love reviewing my year and looking forward to the next one to come. Each year the review looks different and takes on a vast array of feel and styles. But, I love taking the time to pause and really look at how the year went, what I did, learned, went through.. friends I made, experiences I had, but mostly the growth that happened.

I think this year was one of the most difficult, different, and unique years I have had to date. So, to prevent a bit of rambling, here are 29 things from the year I was 29:

1. I was unemployed or not full-time employed for 50 of the 52 weeks this year. – I applied for more than 400 jobs, got rejected from almost 100 of them, didn’t hear back from 200 something of them, and finally got a job!

2. I started pursuing consulting work in February, and made the transition to doing it full-time in August. I discovered that I absolutely love consulting work. So much so, that I plan on continuing it part-time on the side even with a full-time job.

3. I made a list of 29 things I wanted to do this year, I accomplished maybe half of those things.. Some of them were hopeful, some are sad that I was unable to do them just because of my financial situation, and others I am surprised and pleased that I was able to do them.

4. I had three late payments this year, but didn’t miss a single bill all year. I actually have no idea how this happened. Knowing my lack of money all year, I am totally and completely blown away by this fact. Astonished.

5. So. So. So. many people literally stepped in and prevented me from:
being homeless,
starving,
without a car (three times),
pursued for the money I owed the IRS,
in severe neck/back pain,
and a plethora of other things.
I am so shocked and amazed at how so many people stepped in and helped me with so much love and support that came out in so many ways.

6. I was able to have so much fun this year despite lacking finances to have any fun. I played for my birthday, went to New Orleans with some of my favorite people in the world, visited friends, grilled out, game nights, long talks, surprised friends for their birthday, and I got to hang out and watch movies and tv shows with family and friends.. Just so many fun things.

7. I had my sense of self and identity destroyed by being incapable of taking care of myself. It literally shattered my understanding of who I was, and what I had to offer the world to not be capable.

8. God strategically placed old and new friends in my life this year to slowly speak life back into my heart and soul. And, with their voices over the course of many many months, he slowly began telling me and showing me who I am and what my identity is once again.

9. I got more family time in the course of the last year than I have in probably the last ten years combined. Just so many fun memories, long conversations, laughter, joking, annoyances, tv shows, movies, date nights (with various family members), good food.. Literally so much wonderful quality time.

10. I have watched more tv in the last year than I have in probably the last ten years combined.

11. Last year, I had someone give what I have come to describe as a prophecy over me.. It was the awful hope that I clung to throughout the year.. Things were going to get so much worse, and I was going to look dead, and then I would grow back more fruitful and with more blessings than I would have otherwise been capable of beforehand.

12. I gained weight and was incredibly unhappy with my body.. Then I made some changes to my lifestyle and lost weight, and became much more content with how I look.

13. For the first time in my life I decided to be intentional about properly rehydrating myself. It was one of the best decision I made this year.. That is until the days I forget or am unable to consume the water my body needs/is used to.. those days I now feel awful.

14. I drove hundreds upon hundreds of miles this year. I loved every mile, and the time I got to catch up with friends or pray or contemplate and mull over things going on in my life.

15. I was able to see and re-connect with several old friends, and make a bunch of new friends.

16. I didn’t dye my hair for TEN MONTHS. Ten whole months I went (mostly cause I was poor) without dying my hair.. I spent the whole time telling myself I was giving it time to “heal” haha

17. Vormund and I spent so much time walking and traveling throughout the year. I am amazed at how much a dog can become such a place of comfort and stability.

18. I was able to spend quite a bit of time dancing this year! It had been more than a year since I was able to dance consistently so it was so nice to finally get to dust off my shoes and practice!

19. I got some pretty cool clients that are super fun to work with/for… Plus, it’s given me such great insight and knowledge into so many other industries.

20. I was reviewing my Facebook timeline for this blog post, and kept laughing at things people posted on my wall that were funny, insightful, interesting, and just overall engaging. I love the things that make my friends and family think of me, and how much they go out of their way to share those things with me! So much fun.

21. I got to take my two nephews out for birthday adventures. We had so much fun. I think I am going to try to make that a new tradition whenever possible!

22. Vormund put on around 30lbs this year, and turned two at the end of August.

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8.5 weeks old

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Just over 1 year old.

 

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Just over 2 years old.

23. I feel like this year was a year of pain and hurt.. but with a purpose at the end (that I do not currently entirely understand). Throughout the course of even just this year I have been able to encourage someone and completely understood what they were going through. It was weirdly encouraging for me as well to find people who we had struggling in common, as if not being the only one experiencing the issues helped.

24. My faith and relationship with God has been dramatically different in 2014 than it has ever been previously. We did very little actual talking, but a whole heck of a lot of sitting in silence together experiencing pain and just being in each other’s presence. I did a lot of sharing my heart, but more just pushing my heart towards Him and with a distinct lack of words to describe how I was feeling. My comprehension of who He is, and my faith in His unfailing love has grown into an unmoving solid understanding

25. I have never in my entire life stressed and worried or stayed up at night with straight up fear as much as I have this year. I spent countless nights just laying in bed physically stressing over money… I hope to never repeat those feelings or nights.

26. I gained a greater understanding of how frustrating cliché answers can be to someone truly going through a season or situation. There were days that cliché answers just made me see red and want to punch someone in the throat. When something is so profoundly emotion, cliché answers are not encouraging, but rather frustrating.

27. I learned so much about hope, hopelessness, strength, faith, pain, joy, anxiousness, stress, peace, and patience even without understanding. I would never choose to repeat this year, but I also am very thankful for how I have grown because of it.

28. It is hard to explain the level of relief I felt when I got the job in DC… To be moving back to a city I love, and to have a job, to work for a place I have loved for so long, and to finally feel like I have direction.. Huge amounts of relief… Followed by the stress of trying to figure it all out. I have been cycling through relief and stress on a regular basis for about a month now. Repeating to myself, God has carried me this far, He cannot let me go now.

29. Despite everything, love has been overwhelming this year. Friends loving me. Family stepping in and loving me, even when I was about as interesting as a little blank grey piece of paper. Loved when I couldn’t love well in return or had nothing to offer.

As I reflect on 2014, I am amazed. So many things went wrong, yet I am in a state of awe for the way that God has done things this year. Thank you to those of you who reached out and loved me, supported me, encouraged me, gave me money, did fun things with me, talked to me for hours, told me how much I mean to you, prayed for me, hugged me, took care of me and/or my dog.. Thank you for loving me strongly, gently, fiercely, and when I did not deserve the love. You all made this year possible (as in actually made it possible). I do not deserve the love and I am humbled knowing how little I had to give in return.

Thank you.

 

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 🙂

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 😉

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.

Ringing in 2012…

I went out with several friends for New Years Eve, we had.. a lot of interesting things happen, including almost getting hit by a drunk driver that was trying to outrun us.. or run into us… while driving without a tire and spraying sparks and flames… Praise the Lord that the cars that had a green light didn’t go so I could run the red light (after already stopping) when I realized he was going to rear end me going 50mph… Whoa.

Anyway, here are a few pictures from the evening.. lots of fun and laughter!

 This is a dear friend I have been able to reconnect with a couple months ago. Which is awesome!

My fantastic friends who made the trek up to DC to ring in the new year with me!

 Haha.. we became friends being in a wedding of a mutual friend.. and we dance TOTALLY ridiculous at the reception, it had been a while since we had the chance to have a ridiculousness dance session.. so we had to take the opportunity to interpretive dance to the music haha

On the train on the way home, we discovered we both are complete cheesers when we smile for pictures.. So, we had to take a few to laugh at.

Such a fun evening with friends, even with a few minor mishaps…

Happy New Year!

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!

Who Were YOU a Year Ago?

So, obviously since it’s the end of the year it’s kinda naturally the time where everyone looks back and figures out the year.. and tries to make decisions for the next year.. So, my big question is:

Who were you a year ago?
What was going on?
What were you worried about, thinking about, stressing about?
What had your attention and focus?
What changed your life this year?

So, who was I a year ago?

Well, a year ago I “rang in the New Year” with Ash and Megan in Chicago.. it was one of my favorite New Years memories EVER! 🙂 I was getting ready to go to Africa for the first time. I was a little worried about the dynamics of the trip, but SO excited that I was getting to go. I was stressing about my financial situation, both normally and with going to Africa.

My friend Lisa and I had dozens of talks about direction and God’s path for us.. I needed her and God knew that 🙂 (She also went to Africa with me:)

I was feeling “stuck” like I was in a situation I couldn’t get out of.. and had no plan or vision for how I was going to get out of it. Which is weird because I LOVED my family, living at home with them. I LOVED working with our teens and being super involved in our church, and I really liked the time I was getting with my extended family working with them and getting to know them… But, at the exact same time, I felt like I had graduated and taken the easy route, moved home to work for family, so I felt restless. I knew I had this desire and passion inside me but I didn’t know what it meant. I had a desire to do hard things with my life, but felt like currently I was doing the easiest well traveled path. Almost as though I was MADE for more, but had no way of attaining it. I felt blind and like I was in a heavy fog and couldn’t see God working in my personal journey.

I was operating on the concept that it didn’t matter how I felt… I KNEW God’s call to us is to, “Love Him, Love others” so I was doing everything I could to do that, regardless of how I felt. But, even still I felt a little like I didn’t have a direction.

January
I went to Africa for the first time. I LOVED IT!.. But, I was also frustrated at my/our lack of ability to DO more while we were there. I met two amazing missionaries that I love dearly, and I got to have some pretty amazing talks with them, and just really connect. I treasured that time with them 🙂 I accidentally was put in the middle of a lion pride and got stalked by a crocodile… It was a GOOD trip, wonderful next step, although at the time I wasn’t sure what to say about it.

February – April
After Africa, I became insanely involved all over the place. Looking back I’m not sure how I had time for ANYTHING… I got involved with a local martial arts school and taught karate a couple nights a week, I joined Compassionate Life Foundation as a board member, and became increasingly more involved with the youth group as other leaders became too busy or had other situations come up, I helped with the youth vision team, and joined the youth leaders small group, as well as help get the 18-30’s group started at my church… Not to mention the random little things like doing a dance for church, interviewing/informing the congregation about my trip to Africa, chaperoning youth events for my best friend who is a youth leader at another church etc..etc.. When I think about it I had things planned every single day and every single evening for each week, and I had roughly one night a week where I could fit friends in for hang out time. Whoa! I was seriously trying to do my part to make a difference, and I’ve always felt more like I was “on my game” when I was too busy to think!

May
Most of the after work things stayed the same, but in terms of work, Labor Day consumed my life because of working for Covenant Cemetery Services and as odd as it sounds “Labor day is like Christmas for cemeteries” because it is INSANELY busy.. we will see 80% of our people that weekend alone. So, things have to be perfect and together, and if we want to do any sort of survey or coupons for stones, memorials, shepherd’s hooks etc..etc.. that has to be in place before the end of the month. And, then there’s the marathon weekend that feels like it kills you every time. This also marked my one year with Covenant Cemetery Services, and a dramatic shift in location…

June – August
Beginning of June, I shifted the way I worked for “The Company” as we all called it 😉 and I went to part time, moved to Ohio and work for Camp Carl as a boat driver. haha That to me is one of the more random things I’ve done. I still offered my knowledge and services to the company… But, even though I LOVED working with family I was seriously doubting my abilities. I fought so desperately hard for everything, and was then told I didn’t understand, didn’t get it, was too young to understand etc..etc.. I began to believe it and it began to seriously effect my view of what I was able to do and what I was GOOD at. So, I went back to camp on a fluke e-mail that spiraled into a job offer. There was also a good chance I would be able to get a full time job in the fall, and since I love camp so much and I love the people I worked with I was PUMPED to say the least! I “went home” to camp and loved the ability to work hard, be outside ALL day long, soak up the sun (seriously I was the darkest I’ve ever been), meet new people, love on old friends, reconnect with myself, and get to know and laugh with hundreds upon hundreds of kids… I got to read a lot, laugh a lot, hang out with friends from college who I desperately love and missed like crazy! I learned to wake board.. almost broke my ankle.. wiped out on roller blades… and had THE most “American” 4th of July ever. I got to work with people who showered me with love and affection all the time! It was a GOOD summer 🙂

However, God and I did a lot of arguing throughout the entire summer.. I wanted direction NOW and didn’t want to wait anymore. God told me to be patient. I was not thrilled with that answer and complained to him constantly. He essentially laughed at me and told me his answer was final. 🙂 I still argued (man am I stubborn). I think he seriously made me wait until THE LAST MINUTE.. cause I found out the weekend before our last two weeks that things were not going to work out and I was not going to be able to stay in Ohio… So, out of “spite” I applied for about 20 jobs online over the weekend all over the world. I felt very “HA! See, I can do something fun and exciting cause I’m able to!”.. (not sure why I felt this way though… or even WHO I felt this way towards lol).. But, none of them replied, and if they did it was “thanks but no.” And, then I get a random e-mail from a non-profit in VA asking me to apply for the job cause I look like I have the qualifications for it. So, I did. Set up a phone interview for a couple days later… began wrapping up camp.. Drove home, flew to VA, interviewed again, flew home, got the job, accepted the job… went camping, moved Megan to Mass., packed and moved to VA.

September-November (Pre-Thanksgiving)
The first month was one of the… weirdest, loneliest, scariest, exciting, “green house” time with God that I’ve ever had. The first week was scary and lonely cause I seriously KNEW NO ONE. I couldn’t get anywhere, and I couldn’t understand the “real southerners” without reading their lips.. lol I had to adjust quickly to not being in the same environment, I never got touched (which seems like an odd statement, but I’m a touch person.. sooo…).. It was so incredibly good though, I got really acquainted with myself. I went from not thrilled about my 45min-hour drive to and from work to treasuring it and finding that time I covet almost more than any other time of my day… I get MY God time, Him alone is what I get while I drive to and from work.. It’s great 🙂 Then I found a Sunday school class, a small group, a roomie, moved again (only 2 miles though), found another small group, met a million people that are now my friends, figured/figuring my way around town now, did a couple service projects, got connected with a girl who introduced me/convinced me to go to Ghana, met the rest of the team, God said “Go” so I trusted Him and made plans to go. I prayed for about a month prior that God would really break my heart and I would FEEL Him. And I went.

November (Post-Thanksgiving) – Now
I went to Ghana, learned more things about love, service, submissiveness, support, faith, trust, and comfort zones than I have ever before. I saw practical examples of what I desire most, and was able to have my “aha!” moment in multiple areas God’s been patiently trying to teach me. My life is completely different. I felt like finally dozens of pieces of my puzzle have all come together and I’m beginning to see the picture and it’s beginning to make sense to me now. I feel God differently now than I did before. I see His plan, feel His heart, and desire Him more than I have ever that I can remember. Things that I struggled with have begun to take a back seat cause it’s not important compared to my purpose and my mission. I’ve realized how truly, totally, and completely blessed I am. I have parents who everyone should know (and love clearly) 🙂 I have a family that is one of the most supportive and loving families I know. I have friends who are pushing me to grow towards God like never before. I sincerely see the world differently now. Which is what I prayed for. 🙂 I am content, I mean truly content, joyful, happy, and peaceful. I am not where I want to be because now I know what I want.. but I also know I’m where I’m supposed to be.. And that gives me contentment but also keeps my drive and passion alive and pushing.

So, a year.. Wow so much has happened. It seems like a whirlwind, and I am so thankful for God working on me even when I objected loudly. I am grateful for the dozens of times He told me “no” “not yet” and “be patient”… especially when it came to guys 🙂 I am excited about this next year.. cause it’s possibilities are ENDLESS!! I can’t wait 🙂