Expand my rib cage – my heart feels bigger.

Quick update because I have to pack, clean, and grab myself a large dirty chai latte to go for my ride to Grand Rapids!

I had such a good day yesterday. Honestly. My heart really does feel bigger. I got into work, charged a ridiculous amount of time to admin, and went through an exit interview with the main tax partner. There, I got the opportunity to read over the comments that my work buddy and manager with whom I worked on the huge project wrote about me. Such encouraging words. They both spoke of my fit with the group and recommended me for employment. The line “asset to our team” was mentioned. It’s hard to walk away from that but I am proud of myself and grateful for the people I met and worked alongside. My dad would have teared up hearing the partner tell me how glad he was to have my positive attitude and smile around the office, especially considering that I had made up my mind to do something else following the completion of the internship. “Take pride in everything you do,” my dad says. Done and done! And it feels great to have been such a positive person throughout this time and for people to recognize that; and what may have been challenging at specific points was easy in total. I want that in my life, every day. Attitude is everything.

After work, I headed over to Chili’s to meet up with work friends for a very quick minute. I’m so glad I got to see the people who were there. I am going to miss them. I made some really great friends at my internship.

Hopped from the car to the shower and got ready for my night in Ann Arbor for the Mike Posner and B.o.B. concert. Picked up by a friend, took some time driving aimlessly, and met up with our other friend and some new acquaintances to walk down to the concert. The weather was perfect – although the venue was moved indoors. The music was great. Followed with drinks, chats, and a late night meal before an even later night’s drive back to Rochester Hills. Such a good night! Honestly, I am fortunate to have such good people in my life.

So that’s it. Quick update. Now I gotta pack, tidy up, grab that latte and hit the road for the continued saga. Cannot wait to see my Grand Rapids friends! It’s been far too long!

I am what I say. I'm not what I say. What I say goes.

I am more excited than words can s.a.y. for my April 15th start to summer!

I am so glad to be moving on from this path in life. In the words of Mike Posner, “I’m grateful but not content.” (Yes, I just took it there.)

I am fortunate to have had my exit interview with a woman who is passionate about what she does but more passionate about who she is. Who could put aside the shock of a turned down opportunity to express genuine excitement for my prospects. Who encouraged me with examples from her own life, looked me in the eye, and told me that she always puts her family first – even if it means risking her career. And who encouraged me to do the same.

I am really opposed to feeling locked in. I won’t find myself in a situation I don’t want to be in. Good or bad, my grandpa’s belief that “if someone’s going to be unhappy, it isn’t going to be me!” is looking better every day. So don’t be misled when I waiver with regards to restaurant choices or evening plans. I may not always know what I want, but I know what I don’t want.

I am lucky to have people in my life who are patient with me while I figure things out for myself. Who take my indecision in stride and help me to seize moments. Who put up with rants like the one directly above and always find a way to laugh it off.

I am hard-headed… not… hard-hearted… but…

“Hey Cupid” Mike Posner

I want to do something that matters. Say something different.

I need one of those breathe-in-the-robust-scent-of-a-fresh-brew-while-I-warm-my-hands-on-my-favorite-mug-and-the-sun-warms-my-face kind of mornings again. Some time for myself. To collect my thoughts. Redirect my wayward wanderings and dedicate myself to my goals anew. I need some time for peace. For prayer.

When this transition period began, I prayed fervently, nearly filled with panic that my stubborn unwillingness to feel would rob me of needed growth. I prayed daily and repetitively: “Lord, break me down to build me up in You. Continue to break me down to build me up in You.”

I am struggling to find a way to put this into words, but this prayer is profound to me. Not that I think I’m profound for muttering it to myself again and again, but rather this uncalculated reliance on faith – summarized in words which were not conjured from some inner strength but rather a release of control in a time of confusion – this is profound to me. I don’t think I’ve ever embraced a prayer so honestly.

I mention this because I realized yesterday that I’ve stopped praying that prayer. I don’t know that it’s a bad thing. It’s a strange (albeit beautiful) sensation to feel pain in such a way that the best solution that occurs to you is to ask to be broken down further until you stand in a raw, unclouded state, hoping to find some truth or insight from your experiences that currently evade you. While it is powerful, it wouldn’t make for a very good state of being day in and day out. But I was a little disappointed to find that I had not naturally transitioned into praying a more positive version of this prayer. It’s like the song by David Crowder Band which implores: “Break my heart with the things that break yours. Break my heart and make it purer.” It’s just a good thing to keep in the forefront of your thoughts.

Now that I’ve recognized it, I can work to bring (a more upbeat version of) it back into my routine. I think it’ll be good for me; it has proven to be so already.

“I Was Here” Lady Antebellum <- This is one you should download/mark as your favorite/sing to yourself in the morning or when you need a pick-me-up. This is me – in a nutshell.

Sunny Sunday, I have to pass you by.

 

Sunday. The day of rest work… Weird.

I’ll be heading into work today. I have to get everything wrapped up today so that Monday I’m smooth sailing and can take care of all of the little things that will get sent back to me right before the deadline. I don’t mind putting in the extra work; it needs to get done. However, giving up my Sunday is not ideal. I put in over 70 hours this past week – my first real taste of busy season, so I’m told – and I’m exhausted. Not to mention, I’m missing disc golf for this today!

With everything wrapping up on this end, I’m starting to see things move in my life. Thursday is my last day at work. We get out at 3pm and head right into our April 15th party. Friday is my sorority formal in Grand Rapids followed by a Sunday morning at Mars Hill with my girlfriends. Back to Westland for appointments and meetings on Monday then back to Grand Rapids for grad fest (unless I can work my way out of it). Off to Rochester for some ink on the 22nd and Grand Rapids to see Carrie Underwood in concert on the 23rd. I graduate on the 1st and have a 25 page paper to start and finish before then. Then I move – possibly in with a friend/in a place by myself/or with complete strangers. May 8th is Mother’s Day. The 11th is my 23rd birthday. And I’m finishing up this “planned spontaneity” in Chicago that weekend to see friends that mean the world to me. Welcome to my fast-paced life – taking some time to live it the way I want to live it!

Carpe diem! I’m so filled to the brim with excitement and anticipation; I imagine these next few days will crawl as I (try not to) look ahead of the moment. 😉

I did manage to get a jump-start on the adventure this weekend, however, despite my 70 hours.

Taking a trip to East Lansing on Friday night with a friend to meet up with some of our other friends from college proved that I have people in my life which are well worth a late night road trip even when the thought of a Saturday work day looms overhead the next morning! I feel very fortunate to have such good friends in my life – and friend that don’t let circumstance get in the way. It can be a frightening thing to go through changes in life that have the potential to shuffle around friendships and have people choosing sides. It’s an amazing thing to realize that the fear is unfounded and that I have friends that are above drawing lines. Who wants lines anyway?

“Here Comes the Sun” The Beatles

8 words to 8 days…

I had forgotten how bittersweet the end of busy season feels. I’ve worked over 30 hours in the past two days but even with the extra hours I’m logging this week, I’ve started to feel a let down of sorts.

…It’s funny how we don’t anticipate becoming attached.

I’ve spent three and a half months here. Redefining my routine, my perspective, my goals, my relationships. At this point, what of me is left unchanged? It’s difficult, to be divided. I suppose I had hoped my decisiveness last week would spare me from the sadness of leaving. I am eager for Grand Rapids but despite that and the lack of consistency or time here, this place has become a home to me.

It’s also strange to think that while I have been so positively affected by my experience, I will soon be another intern who wasn’t hired – a set of initials on prior year’s workpapers – to the majority of those with whom I shared office space.

But I have a great many things to take from my experience here. Though it will be difficult to leave, it’s necessary.

So here’s to you, internship/Rochester/coworkers/new faces/friends/place of employment/extended family/lessons learned/adventure: You have found a fresh place in my heart and I am grateful for you.

“American Honey” Lady Antebellum: “She couldn’t wait to get going but wasn’t quite ready to leave…”

Daddy-Daughter Car Rides

There are few things better than a long, night drive on the highway with the windows down and the heat on to keep the night chill from settling into my bones.

I remember the first time I experienced this contrast of temperatures. My dad had leased a sporty, manual, two-seater Honda S2000. It was a summer night when we decided to take it out on Hines Drive for a spin, but one of those summer nights which surprises you with the coolness of the air following a hot day. Despite the temperature, we dropped the top back and took to the winding road. I hadn’t brought a heavy enough jacket so during our drive, my dad reached over and cranked the heat. I vividly remember thinking, “This makes no sense.” I was shocked that we were driving around, heating the open air around us. It was impractical – but it was so much fun, rosy-cheeked from the cold wind and legs overheated, hanging out with my dad.

Every long night drive when the temperature is around what it was that night, I roll down my windows and pump the heat. It’s not the same in a ’99 Taurus by myself, but I always think fondly of hugging those corners in the convertible with my dad.

Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!

So here are a couple of things: Posting twice a weekend is actually a lot harder than it seems. I’ve been getting out and trying to make the most of each day – which is what I wanted to chronicle in my blog – but by doing that, I pass up prime writing opportunities to get out and see friends or family or get lost in my car for hours at a time. I’m not scrapping my goal, but it ought to be mentioned that it takes effort to meet it; I suppose all that really means is that I’ve chosen a worthy goal! Another thing is that while it’s fun to answer 50 random questions, that’s not the direction I want to take this blog – so questionnaires are out. The former post will be my first and last; those things are better left to MySpace anyway!

I actually have a ton to relay about my week – so I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t sit down on Friday to split this up a little more and catch things while they were still fresh. My mom mentioned today that some writers take notepads out with them and jot ideas or images throughout their day so they don’t lose things. Now I know that’s probably not the coolest thing to do, but I’m considering adopting that into my routine. I figure, I have so much junk that I carry around in my purse currently that it’d be a nice change to have something useful in there taking up space!

This week was a big week. It starts with the weather. Sans my adventure with cross-country skiing this year, I didn’t participate in any exclusively winter activities. I hate being cold. And I’m very impatient in winter traffic. But if Michigan has no other redeeming quality (which would be untrue – Michigan really is a great state, despite the current economy), it does host a change of seasons worth experiencing. Winter may not be my favorite season, but the contrast it provides lends to the preciousness of the other seasons. I think it’s such a natural stimulant to walk outside and feel your shoulders relax when you realize the cold you’re bracing for has dissipated and rather than a sharp cold bite, it’s a warm breeze that you face. Or driving home from work, opening the windows, and getting that blast of hot pavement, fresh buds, and barbeques; it’s a scent that revs my soul. This weather immediately lifts my spirits and I have found myself this week, if this is even possible, smiling a little bigger and with a little more frequency.

It’s energizing – the warmth of the Spring sun. The downside is that it makes sitting in a cubicle stifling. What was once an accepted part of my day becomes an obstacle standing in front of me and the outdoors. It’s not right! Toward the end of the week, I couldn’t handle it anymore so I decided I had to leave early to hold onto that feeling that I’m living rather than alive. That’s when I first experienced the release of tension in my shoulders. I was so pleasantly surprised when I walked outside that I laughed out loud and allowed a skip or two on the way to my car. Mind you, leaving early means leaving at 9:00pm but it was early enough that I felt compelled to call a friend for a drink on an open patio. We ended up sharing a bottle of wine and talking about the things we want out of life. I love how friendships evolve as people enter new stages of life. We’ve been friends but I feel like the past few times we’ve gotten together, it’s been a new friendship. We’ve come to appreciate similar things and look for similar things out of life. I’m hoping over the summer we can orchestrate a road trip together – bringing along anyone who would be open to the idea. I think there are friends you can do that sort of thing with and those you can’t. Better yet I think at an earlier point in this particular friendship, we would’ve been the friends that couldn’t – but that’s what I mean about evolving.

It’s not chronologically sound, but early that day I made either one of the best or worst decisions that I have come across in quite some time. Well, to be honest, I know in my own heart that it was for the best. Those of you who know me well enough know that I have struggled with embracing a career in public accounting. I’m capable. I’ll walk across the stage at the beginning of next month to accept an undergraduate degree from the GVSU School of Accounting and perhaps find a way to use my skills within a company or in an unforseen way, but this week I closed one door that I believe was opened. We had to fill out self-evaluation forms and questionnaires at work to round out our internships and one of the questions simply asked: “Are you interested in a full-time position?”

8 words. Eight simply posed words that could either set the course of my future or derail it. Eight words that potentially employ me in a downtrodden economy or send me packing with nothing more than well-wishes and a few months’ worth of built up leeway in the bank. Though it might seem dramatic to measure these eight words with such weight, let me explain to you what these words mean to me:

If I check “Yes,” I commit myself to an upcoming year in the Masters of Science in Taxation graduate program that I began this past summer. I commit myself to focus on a career in public accounting and set aside winter months and the transition to Spring. I commit myself to studying for the CPA exam within the next year and sitting for as many sections as I can within the shortest amount of time. If I check “Yes,” I can’t do it half-heartedly. My dad has always said to take pride in everything you do, no matter what you choose. If I do this, I’m doing it.

If I check “No,” I shut the door. I tell a company that I have been lucky to work with that I am going in a different direction. I gather up all of the recent encouragement and talks of employment that I have received within the past few months and I hand them back with gratitude and humility. I change course and get off the path that I’m on. I notify my graduate program director and let him know that I will not be attending for my MST. And I walk away. I can’t do it half-heartedly. If I do this, I’m doing it.

And I did. Heart pounding, hands shaking, nervous excitement crackling head to toe, I checked the box and pressed “Send.” I know that my decision was right for me because through my fear, a smile broke out on my face that expressed the lightness I felt in my heart. “Are you interested in a full-time position?” … “No.”

I can’t do things half-heartedly. And if I am hesitant with my future, I run the risk of getting swept up in someone else’s. If I can’t be confident in my decisions, I can’t expect anyone else to be either – and if I’m going to convince others that my heart is being called in a different direction – I better start with my actions.

I can’t help but relate it to my trip to Ireland. My favorite way to explain my trip is as follows: “Two days in Dublin. One day in Ireland.” We took that train to the coast without a plan. We walked through miles of neighborhood and left the paved street to hop a little stone wall overlooking rolling hills which eventually led us down the bluffs to the cool, splashing water. I tell that story all the time but it’s so much more than a retelling of a single day out of my trip abroad to me. It’s a reminder that the best decisions often come from setting aside the plan and veering from the path. Checking “No” brought me back to that wall in Ireland and I can’t wait to get my feet wet again!

It’s a big thing to transition from word to action.

Hello, perfect song. I’m so glad I found you. “The Guy Who Says Goodbye to You” Griffin House]

Blessed Easter to you!

Question Master: Did you read that blog yet?

  1. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are? If I didn’t know how old I was, I would judge my age through interactions with others and the closer I felt with them, the closer in age I would assume I was to them. On any given day, following this line of thinking, I could be 18 or 64. That’s kind of liberating in a way. I wonder what things we could get away with if we didn’t have the restrictions of our age whispering in our ears.
  2. Which is worse, failing or never trying? In the words of Gretchen Rubin: “Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly.” I think that’s a quotation to live by. Why does failure have to be such an embarrassing thing? I’m choosing to reject that notion – and Lord knows I do my fair share of failing – and embrace life’s opportunities (one step at a time though…let’s get serious)!
  3. If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do? We get this notion in our heads that life ought to be a certain way and that we ought to find fulfillment in certain things. Part of it is life – needing to get done what needs to get done – but I think a greater part is trying to meet the expectations of others.
  4. When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done? Absolutely; I’m full of hot air! Ha! I do believe that I will have said more than I have done but I believe that the greatest truths will be witnessed in my actions; I pray that the greatest truths will be witnessed in my actions.
  5. What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the world? I think we could all stand to love a little better.
  6. If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich? Here is a question that I really have been pondering lately. I find happiness in interacting with people. In helping. In making a difference or positive impact. In writing. In communicating. In leading others to lead. – If that’s an equation, what does it equate to?
  7. Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing?  I think Sugarland says it best 😉
  8. If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently? I don’t really live my life with the end in mind, so I’m not sure that it would change that much from today. That being said – if the human life span (as opposed to mine alone) lasted only 40 years, I’m sure we’d all become accustomed to growing up just a little faster…which would really be a shame.
  9. To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken? To copy and paste from my Facebook information: I believe that life is what you make it – but not in that “self-made man” sort of way – rather in a way that makes a person aware that he has the power to choose his own attitude even when he cannot always choose the results of his labor.
  10. Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things? Depending on the way you read this, either statement can be negative or positive. I’m going to choose the latter and say that doing the right things means living the best life rather than the “correct” life and loving people above meeting expectations.
  11. You’re having lunch with three people you respect and admire. They all start criticizing a close friend of yours, not knowing she is your friend. The criticism is distasteful and unjustified. What do you do? I’d just be frank with them and tell them that I’m good friends with the person they’re talking about; suggest a new topic and move on with a smile. You can’t force people to act the way you want, but you can lead conversations in different directions – something which is always best done with a smile.
  12. If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be? Wear sunscreen. Ha – bringing it back to my youth for those of you who know that song. My advice: Keep your heart open; learn to listen; respect others.
  13. Would you break the law to save a loved one? Save – from death – yes.
  14. Have you ever seen insanity where you later saw creativity? All the great minds have been called insane. I think there’s something to be said about being a little of kilter.
  15. What’s something you know you do differently than most people? That’s probably a longer list than it is short. I make faces – all the time. I get way too excited for scarf weather. My friends tell me I have a unique sense of style. I cry at commercials.
  16. How come the things that make you happy don’t make everyone happy? It’s what makes us unique. And thank God for it! I love seeing someone find joy in something that I wouldn’t ever think to appreciate. It provides fresh takes on life.
  17. What one thing have you not done that you really want to do? Go sky diving. It’s been on my “bucket list” for quite some time now. This summer I will see it to fruition!
  18. What’s holding you back? I don’t know that I’m held back so much as I’m choosing to fulfill an obligation before embarking on my intended journey.
  19. Are you holding onto something you need to let go of? In some ways I hold onto the hurt of being left without answers, but I think it’s a natural process to see that subside with time. I don’t cling to it, but I find myself paying mind to it from time to time.
  20. If you had to move to a state or country besides the one you currently live in, where would you move and why? I want to move to Washington because I saw a job post for the National Kidney Foundation that sounds perfect for me – but I suppose I should polish my resume and apply before I get caught up on that path!
  21. Do you push the elevator button more than once? Do you really believe it makes the elevator faster? Sometimes I push the “close” button to see if it works. I’m always pleasantly surprised when the door does seem to close faster and mildly amused when it doesn’t.
  22. Would you rather be a worried genius or a joyful simpleton? Simpleton. Worry is hell.
  23. Why are you, you? It’s a culmination of upbringing, biology, a series of events unfolding in a particular way, innate reactions and feelings, lessons, failures, and successes – which have been, and continue to be, lovingly guided and planned by the Lord specifically for me.
  24. Have you been the kind of friend you want as a friend? No, although it is something that I strive to do. I also find it much easier to be a friend having moved away from everyone because the people I stay in touch with mean enough to work for.
  25. Which is worse, when a good friend moves away, or losing touch with a good friend who lives right near you? I think both are painful but a friend moving away can be more painful because you are apt to think if things (distances) were different, you would have the same relationship that you once did. When you lose touch with a close (distance-wise) friend, you can find peace in knowing that it’s meant to be.
  26. What are you most grateful for? Love – particularly that reciprocated through family and friends, taught by God.
  27. Would you rather lose all of your old memories, or never be able to make new ones? I suppose if you lose your memories you have no memory to remember what you’ve lost. Then in comparison your future, which becomes your present then past, might seem off to you when you think back to the memories you have from a long time ago. If you make new ones but don’t have old ones, you might believe that you’ve learned to make memories and it might seem a more natural transition. So I choose new memories – assuming that I will lose the knowledge of what I have lost if I do.
  28. Is is possible to know the truth without challenging it first? Yes, though foolish.
  29. Has your greatest fear ever come true? No, my mind is healthy. May it ever be.
  30. Do you remember that time 5 years ago when you were extremely upset? Does it really matter now? Let’s see…I’d be 17/18 years old. I don’t remember being extremely upset about anything at 17/18.
  31. What is your happiest childhood memory? What makes it so special? Walks with my parents in autumn (my favorite season), wearing my Keds, swinging between them by the arms. 1…2…3…weeee!
  32. At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive? If not now, then when? Now!
  33. If you haven’t achieved it yet, what do you have to lose? Great question. The only thing you can lose is the thought that you can, if you can’t. I suppose that’s where a lot of fear lies. If you aren’t capable and you don’t try, you don’t have to admit that you cannot. But that really goes against the “Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly” philosophy – so forget that and get your feet wet!
  34. Have you ever been with someone, said nothing, and walked away feeling like you just had the best conversation ever? Yes. Precious moments.
  35. Why do religions that support love cause so many wars? Sin and misguided leaders.
  36. Is it possible to know, without a doubt, what is good and what is evil? Eat of the tree of knowledge. Or ask the Man Upstairs.
  37. If you won a million dollars, would you quit your job? If I had a million dollars, I would give to charity and create a school curriculum for myself, travel, and yes, quit my job for a while. But not too long. There’s not much good to be said of idle hands.
  38. Would you rather have less work to do, or more work you actually enjoy doing? Either one sounds like less work to me so I could settle no matter the choice!
  39. Do you feel like you’ve lived this day a hundred times before? Never. Although I do feel like I’ve stayed up late far too many nights in the recent past. I’ll be regretting this tomorrow morning and again come 2pm – which seems to be the time I always begin to nod off.
  40. When was the last time you marched into the dark with only the soft glow of an idea you strongly believed in? Isn’t that sort of what I’m doing now? Holding my hand over the light to keep some faint breeze from sweeping it off into the wind until the wick gets long enough that it can hold its own.
  41. If you knew that everyone you know was going to die tomorrow, who would you visit today? What an awful thing! I choose family. They’re my rock.
  42. Would you be willing to reduce your life expectancy by 10 years to become extremely attractive or famous? Beauty and fame hold their own pains and hardships and I’m becoming quite good at weathering the troubles that come my way, so I think I’ll stick to what I know on this one.
  43. What is the difference between being alive and truly living? Purpose.
  44. When is it time to stop calculating risk and rewards, and just go ahead and do what you know is right? Right now – that’s what this whole blog is supposed to be chronicling. I suppose I should do something right then… Haha.
  45. If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make a mistake? Learning, while crucial to our development, is not an easy feat.
  46. What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you? I would sing in my cubicle. I think about that every day when a good song comes on the radio, but my cube-buddy is never appreciative when I let a line or two slip.  Oops!
  47. When was the last time you noticed the sound of your own breathing? When I’m at work and stressing about something – I tune in and hear myself sigh so loudly that it gets on my own nerves. Haha. So dramatic to being sighing all the time. Is it really necessary? I think not.
  48. What do you love? Have any of your recent actions openly expressed this love? Writing – if you couldn’t gather. I’m glad I’ve come back to it after what seems like a lengthy hiatus.
  49. In 5 years from now, will you remember what you did yesterday? What about the day before that? Or the day before that?  Well, to be quite honest, yes because a busy season internship will go down as a signficant achievement of sorts in my life. But then again, I may have thought that when I was 17/18 as well.
  50. Decisions are being made right now. The question is: Are you making them for yourself, or are you letting others make them for you? I’m learning to make them for myself. It’s a liberating experience. I just need to stay on track. It’s easy to slip back into old habits but so important that I don’t.

Bean & Leaf Cafe: a rainy day, coffee shop Sunday afternoon

Today is a rainy day Sunday.

Despite my long laundry list of things to accomplish, I find myself at the Bean & Leaf Cafe in downtown Rochester, sitting at a window seat table, looking over the corner intersection. The leaf design artfully displayed in the foam of my dirty chai latte is expanding into an unrecognizable spattering of browns and creams and there’s a cool wave of air coming from the window that washes over my hands, reminding me to take hold of my drink from time to time for a warm up and a sip.

Days like these remind me to take deep breaths, to stop, to just be. There’s something about rainy days that inspire me, make me stretch out my fingers and attempt to come up with something new – be it blog, perspective, or adventure. Good thing too because I’m already one blog short of my weekend quota. I’m going to go ahead and make the executive call that one long, insightful entry is the equivalent of two quick commentary-styled entries. So buckle up; this might take a while.

I had the privilege of going out for a chat over some drinks with a friend this weekend. It was one of those good chats that come around only every so often but leaves you feeling like you know a little more about yourself as well as the other person. I got the opportunity to delve into what I’m doing in the moment – just opening up to possibilities and listening for direction – with him. I think him agreeing to meet up with me last minute and asking innocent questions which led into the conversation fulfilled a purpose unplanned by me. It was a talk that lasted a few hours but managed to reconvict me; that’s powerful.

I’m looking forward to moving to Grand Rapids. People ask me why and I don’t have a definite reason. I love the city and I feel like there is much more to discover there. I left prematurely for this internship and although I don’t have a purpose in returning – job/relationship/home – my decision to return is purposeful. It’s a  sensation; I feel pulled to Grand Rapids. I decided today that my first step will be hooking into Mars Hill. I think the closer you work with God, the closer you come to living the life you are called to live. So there you have it: Step 1. Why am I moving back to Grand Rapids? To get involved.

The conversation also gave me some insight into career decisions. I wish that I could sit here and proclaim my career calling definitively, but I can’t. I still don’t know where I’m headed, but I do know that I cannot allow myself to take the easy road. And I have renewed conviction. Some people can follow the path of least resistance but that’s not me. Struggle defines all of us – and how great to struggle for what I want or the chance to discover what I want? I know that life is a series of decisions and that happiness isn’t some end result but rather the journey through those decisions – so I know that I could be happy taking the path that’s stretching out ahead of me, but it will take me in a direction that I’m not willing to go. I might fall into my career, but not this way. Not yet.

Side note: Chai lattes are perhaps the best drinks; even when you let them sit and they become cold, they’re delicious.

I just discovered that I can throw my camera memory card right into my computer. In celebration of that, let me share the latest image from the card:

Although it was probably inappropriate to get my camera out mid church service to take this picture, I had to. This couple stands in each other’s arms every service. They sway in perfect rhythm with one another as they sing and every so often, one of them pats their hand on the other’s side – as if to say, “I’m here for you.” I think this is what love looks like.

At this point, my thoughts are apt to wander. My long laundry list of things has begun to creep back into my mind. The cool breeze washing over my hands can no longer be warmed by the cup beside me. And I’m faced with a decision: Do I cut this short (short because it needs to be the equivalent of two) or do I order a hot tea and travel in a new direction with my thoughts? Or I could order a hot tea and open up the book beside me which I have not had the time to open in a while. Hmm…decisions.

I think spending time with myself is delightfully addicting. Not in an anti-social way; it recharges me for the social atmospheres that I love (and those I don’t). I told my aunt as I was leaving that it feels a little ridiculous to set aside everything I need to do in order to sit in a coffee shop with a book, computer, set of headphones, journal, and my thoughts – but she assures me that it’s necessary to take some time off. I think she’s right. I have a smart aunt.

I think it’s also part of accepting who I am and what I enjoy. Silly that you have to learn to accept those things about yourself. I don’t know what else I could be doing on a rainy Sunday, but I’m sure many people would scoff at my ideal. So be it. To steal a page from Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project (the book beside me), I’m just being Meg.

Being Meg. What does that entail? Well, coffee shops and blogging on rainy days, obviously. It’s interesting to get other’s perspectives when asking that question. At work, it seems to be popular consensus that I’m happy-go-lucky. Always in a good mood. While that might be far from the truth on a lot of days, it’s nice to hear. I never thought of myself that way – but perhaps that’s my new approach being exhibited in my life. That, or I’m a great pretender 😉 haha. I’ve heard that I’m difficult to read – not like “most girls.” I don’t really know what that means. Whenever I hear that, I want to argue on behalf of those women. They can’t really all be so similar. We’ve all got things that make us unique. I’d also like to believe that everyone gets the opportunity to hear that at some point in his/her life. It’s important to feel like you have something that sets you apart – and you do!

I like seeing those things in other people and letting them know. I sat through a presentation the other day that was well delivered. I sent the speaker an e-mail thanking him for his time and sincerity (I hope it’s true sincerity – but even if not – kudos for delivering in such a way that I’m led to believe that it is!). I didn’t get any response and I suppose I thought I would, so this isn’t a very good story or illustration of the point I’m trying to prove… but I think it’s important. And I think a lot of times those kind words are lost on people but sometimes they’re conveyed at just the right time and that makes up for those previous pearls cast among the swine. Haha, I couldn’t help throwing that in. I by no means mean to say that this man is a swine for not recognizing my kind words. Ha. No, I’m not saying that.

Alright, I’ve gotta stop putting off responsibility. I’ve crossed over the necessary “recharge” time and am now just avoiding the inevitable. Shameful. I gotta bust my own butt sometimes so I can get my act right. Back to the grind…after just a few more songs from the James Morrison channel on www.last.fm first…Haha.

Pour a glass; it's time to un(wine)d.

Tonight, I attempted to burn the midnight oil at work but called it quits around 11:15pm so I could walk out with a coworker. I’m incredibly busy right now and this project that I had previously sunk days into from February has finally come back to me, as was promised – though I hoped I could manage to avoid it. In the past two days, I have logged 6.75 hours into this one project and in the end, I walked out today with nothing more than an empty recycle bin on my desktop.

It’s ridiculous to admit, but tears welled up in my eyes as I entered my time tonight. I have 51 assignments in my “work in process” bin right now and those are only the ones for which I have bothered to route myself the workflow; there are more on my desk or buried in my e-mail inbox – no exaggeration.

There’s a lesson to be learned in this. What it is – I couldn’t say for certain but lessons are always discovered in times of frustration. Here’s what I think it might be: I have an amazing foundation of friends.

Yes – in the face of work, budgets, time restraints, assignments, deadlines, and impossible projects, this is my conclusion. I’m blessed. Little texts or phone calls or even songs on the radio remind me that I’ve got a great support system. I don’t think I’ve ever been so aware of it before as I have been during these past few months. My friends are always in my thoughts and prayers and although I often find myself too busy to make that phone call or drive out, they always seem to find ways to check in with me.

In closing, I’ve gotta share this prayer my mom gave me from the church services she attended this past Sunday. I feel like perhaps God had a way of ensuring it would get into my hands:

“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.”

Btw, I can type a ridiculous amount of words per minute. Chalk one up to the internship!

“How Far Do You Wanna Go” Gloriana