Saturday, August 31, 2013

Life and stuff.

It's been a while, I know. Happy long weekend! I hope you're all taking this time to relax and spend time with those you love. Last night I got all of the cleaning and laundry done (praise!), so today Derrick and I slept in, enjoyed our morning at home and then had a simple, sweet and productive date day.Thank God for long weekends! 

Here are a few updates on my life. 

Work's going surprisingly well. Getting settled. Every day is a new challenge, a lot to learn and busy from the time I get there to the time I leave...but I can definitely see God's hand in everything, and it's great to be a part of a strong team with the purpose of sharing our passion for Campbell! 

I have a huge weakness for fast food. I love eating out. I try to take my lunch to work and then end up running to pick up french fries or these past few weeks I've been making a point of stocking up on beautiful, fresh, healthy options. I'm aware how important it is to choose healthy foods - and I'm trying to discipline myself to make better choices. 

Fall is just around the corner! I'm getting excited. Work gets busier in the fall, but fall also means mountains trip with the family, our 2nd wedding anniversary, warm and cozy weather, delicious smells, leaves changing... 

Weeknights are still busy with family nights, church and nights out with friends - and I wouldn't trade any of that for anything. Right now we're making our way through the show Supernatural - being brave enough to watch it every night before bed. Derrick has been playing a lot of guitar recently, and I love listening, dancing and singing along. He informed me today that there was nothing in the world that he needed. I feel the same way - we are truly blessed. 

It's been nice checking in with you. 
The rest of our long weekend includes worshiping our amazing Creator tomorrow and filling the rest of our time with resting and relaxation. Hope you have an amazing weekend as well! 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Don't Settle

Last time I wrote, God had just uprooted me from my comfort zone at work and illuminated a different path. This one had a few more stones, twists and turns - and took more faith step to step. Sometimes He does that so we don't settle - settle for just making a difference within our comfort zone, settle for not growing and struggling and coming out stronger, settle for handling it on our own, never needing to cry out to Him or begging Him to carry us on the next step because we're unsure of what it may be. 

It has been a crazy two weeks, and I can definitely say I'm not settled. But things have unfolded in big ways - ways that only God could have seen. 

My new title at work is Admissions Campus Coordinator, and I'm excited that I'll have the opportunity to manage current students who work for admissions, plan the private and small group visit experience, recruit locally, act as a liaison for my Arts & Science family, and implement some new ideas and strategies. 

With the chaos of switching jobs in the midst of faculty coming back,
 new students arriving and office'll be a few weeks before I can truly judge the new position. But here are a few things that have made me unsettled...

The upstairs offices, where most of the counselors work and I will soon join them, are being renovated. We've all been downstairs - using laptops and trying to be productive in any open space available. I like having a nest, a bubble, a home. Having organized files. Having a to do list. Having photos and quotes. Having everything in place. So this was a challenge. Everyone was so gracious about it, but it definitely gives me something to look forward to: getting settled. 

In my old office, it was just me. I had a tidy to do list and the peace and quiet to stay focused to quickly get it done. Days went by with little human contact - other than the mailman, drop-by visitors and people at meetings. I really didn't have any other direct co-workers, and my other staffmembers were in a different building. I was a bit of a hermit - which made the introvert in me very happy.
In admissions, there are about ten things going on all the time. People everywhere, working together, talking about their weekend, asking questions, celebrating holidays. It's taking a little to get used to, but it's also nice to have a team of supporters around you all the time. My extrovert is feeling appreciated. 

In the midst of all of this, it was announced this past week that my previous boss (who I love and was so incredibly blessed to work for, one of the primary reasons I was so heartbroken when my job changed) has been chosen to be the new Provost and VP of Academics for Campbell. I'm very proud of him - and see that God wanted to give me a new home before shaking up my old home. Plus, it's exciting that both Dr. Hammond and myself will be getting used to new roles and responsibilities together this semester. Big things are happening in little Buies Creek :) 

All in all, I'm inspired by the possibilities. I'm blessed with the people. I'm open to the opportunities.  I think that being in admissions has shaken me up from settling. And I like to think that my presence there and my ideas and implementation of those ideas will help the admissions team not settle either. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

For I know the plans I have for you...

Jeremiah 29:11 has been hanging on the wall in my office for years. 

"For I  know the plans I  have for you," says the Lord.

His plans. The plans He has for me. Not the plans that I have for me. Or the plans I think He has for me. Or the plans I think I have for Him.

It's reassuring that God can see the whole story. The whole picture. The puzzle is complete when He looks at it. It's also unnerving that I can't see the whole story, the whole picture. My puzzle is very incomplete. 

I was reminded of this a week ago.

I sat in my boss' office. Don't cry. Be gracious. Smile. Just don't cry.  
I had just learned that my job was shifting. I would no longer be the Admissions Coordinator for the College of Arts & Sciences - my job of 3 1/2 years. I would now work in the Admissions office as a counselor. I would no longer work for the dean that I loved, with the professors who had become my family, and no longer in my own office with windows all up one side. 
My mind was spinning. What would they do without me? What would I do without them? I was numb, brokenhearted, confused, humbled, proud, disheartened...
yet, still open to the knowledge that God saw it all and had a plan. I knew I needed to be open to His plan, even if I didn't feel like it.

That was last Tuesday. The rest of the week was a mixture of frustration, sadness and curiosity. I cried more than I'd like to admit. And my mind was constantly spinning. I felt like my work-world, which was so much more than a job, was crumbling down around me, and I had no choice in the matter.

For me, it was more of a spiritual struggle than anything else. I struggled to have a positive attitude. To give my whole heart to God's direction in my life. I struggled to even know what that direction was. I felt out of control, and it drove me crazy to not know what the next step might look like.

The situation seemed so big. So life-altering. 

I was also afraid that I might take the wrong next step. That I would go down the wrong path. That I would disappoint. That I would fail. That I wouldn't be good enough...

I was struggling- big time - with pride. I was good at my coordinator job. I was proud of my coordinator job. I was loved in that job and needed in that job. And now, something that I had found an identity in and felt confident in and sure of myself in, had been taken away from me. My self-righteous heart couldn't believe it. My sin nature fought hard core with the Spirit in me, the part of me that knew God was humbling me, and He would give me strength in Him to do whatever the next step held.

Now I sit here a week later. God is good and, oh so, mysterious. That's the beauty of His plan. I'm feeling much better. Still heartbroken and a little disoriented. Ready to learn the new job and get settled - feeling disorganized in limbo. But I'm also excited about the possibilities, the plan, the people...and open to seeing what God sees up ahead for me. 

And I'm thankful - very thankful - to the people God has put in my life to encourage me and speak truth to me during this time. My husband has been a rock, my friends and family have been so understanding, and my coworkers have been showering me with love.

And, once again, I am reminded of my favorite passage of scripture in John 10 - which, in God's perfect timing, actually made an appearance in my personal bible study just today...

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

Sunday, August 4, 2013

What a Weekend!

Derrick and I had a whirlwind weekend - 
which was much needed to give me some perspective.
First of all, I don't share my weekend activities because I think I'm so important that you should care what I do every second of every day. I share because how we spend our time shows our heart. And also because Derrick and my life is often summed up with the words "busy" and "blessed". Mostly blessed... okay, and a lot of busy.

I'm sitting here in between two loads of laundry, 
reflecting on another fantastically full weekend.

Friday night we went out to eat with all of the adults in our small group from church. This group of people quickly welcomed Derrick and me into their group a few months ago, and we've been growing closer and sharing our hearts every since. 

It was First Friday in Downtown, and the weather was wonderful. We had a reservation at Sitti. At first, when we googled the menu, Derrick and I were at a lose for what we would eat at a Lebanese restaurant. It seemed so foreign and weird...but we embraced it when we arrived and had a delicious cultural experience. More than the food, though, the conversation was great.

We woke up on Saturday morning, and after an-almost breakdown moment by me, we were off to Charlotte for a day of fun and fellowship. 

We met John and Jessica for lunch. It was the first time the four of us had been together since their wedding, and it was so great to catch up with them. I had forgotten how easy the conversation flows and how well we all connect with each other.

Then it was off to see Carrie's play. She had the lead role in Little Women, and I knew I wanted to be there to celebrate. Carrie's so great about always coming home for all of our special activities, and it was exciting to get to be there for her. She did an aaaaamazing job of bringing the character of Jo to life. I was definitely impressed. 

Derrick and I then made our way across town to Elevation Church's main campus. We often watch Steven Furtick's sermons on the weekends, but this was our first time visiting. One word to describe the experience would be overwhelming. The music was loud, the people were friendly (except for one woman, but we'll forgive her), the crowd was electric and the sermon was convicting. Plus, we got free t-shirts :) 

One of Derrick's coworkers and his wife were also in Charlotte for the weekend, celebrating their anniversary - so we met up with them at church and headed to dinner afterwards. It was my first time really connecting with church people outside of our small group, so it was a time of great fellowship and food. 

Then the phone GPS took us through back roads - horror movie settings - and I was so happy to crawl into our comfortable bed when we got home.

This morning Derrick had to shoot some footage for a video at the first service at Hope. After I dropped him off, I headed to Target. 

With life being so busy, I was falling behind on my homemaker duties. My sweet husband was running low on tooth paste, socks, shampoo...and our home had no groceries or toilet paper. Thank goodness for a quiet hour in Target on Sunday morning to re-stock the house. 

The 11:15 sermon at Hope was great. A breakdown of Psalm 23. God must be trying to teach me a lesson about David, because all of my personal bible study and church sermons have been breaking down his life and it's application. I'm starting to realize that David understood God so much better than I do.

After church, Derrick and I finished getting groceries and then headed home. I was more than happy to finally clean and organize groceries and do laundry and do the budget and re-stock the cabinets...

We're ending the weekend with dinner and Big Brother catch-up at my parents tonight.

A full weekend, busy and blessed!

A busy week at work ahead, full of a lot of new adjustments and leaning into God's plan.
And then birthday beach trip with my hottie husband! 

Friday, August 2, 2013

August 01.

When you get married on the first day of the month, every new month is the celebration of a new beginning AND the celebration of another married month! So, happy 22 months, handsome hottie husband!

I love being married.

Having a home of our own. 

Having a bed buddy.

Having my best friend around all the time. 

Cooking meals and cleaning the house. 

Making decisions together. 

Holding hands on the path of life -
 even when it twists, turns and goes dark before you can see the next step.

Going through changes together and learning together.

Laughing together and making memories together.

Being involved in church and worshiping together.

Feeling like fast food, board games and hours of TV watching on the couch
 is the best date ever.

Having your shows and your traditions and your foods and your inside jokes
and your friends and your routine.

Having someone I can be completely silly with and stupid with and immature with
and crazy with and vulnerable with.

Having someone who completes me in a human way and
 helps speak truth into my life when everything's fuzzy.

So, happy August, everyone!
And happy marriage!