Life has been a little hectic lately.

Life has been a little hectic lately. In the last 7 weeks or so, I have worked in inordinate amount of overtime. Do you still call it overtime when you’re a salaried employee? Not just a few late nights here and there or a few early meetings but multiple days’ worth of time. Leading up to our project launch, I was in the office for a 14 hour Saturday backed up to a 17 hour Sunday and back in by 7:30am on Monday (but only because I slept through the 6:00am scheduled start).

I have never before and hope to never again experience the kind of exhausted, not-enough-eye-drops-in-the-world, mental/physical/emotion strain of that kind of timeline for a project launch. Take it from me, you should never attempt to launch before you’ve completed your mock launch activities.

But my project team and I did it. We’d been preparing for an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software implementation. We were already using a previous version of the same software but instead of looking at this change as an upgrade, we pulled out all of the data that had been erroneously entered over the past several years and sifted it out. We remapped table keys. Restructured business processes. Rewrote code and reports and work instructions. And despite a few misses that we’ve worked to clean up over the last two weeks, this project has been considered an overall organizational success!

But can we zoom out a little?

I’m exhausted. Still, almost two weeks later. My husband, who pulled all of the weight of family life during this period, is now fighting off his first illness of Autumn. My house is full of tiny fruit flies from a misplaced can that wasn’t properly recycled during my usual cleaning routine because, well, there was no routine. I worked out this past Saturday (taking it slow) and it nearly killed me. Fast forward half a week and I pulled a muscle playing with my daughter; my body is wrecked. And my beautiful little girl wants “Momma, Mom, Mommy, Mom, Momma. Did you hear me calling you, Mom?”

We’re all a little drained from the chaos. And to be honest, there’s no way we all would’ve made it without these things right here:

  • My Tribe
    • Friends who continue to pour into me when I go dark. Friends who continue to text or Snap without a response. Friends who send flowers to work for encouragement.
  • My Husband
    • Who allowed our roles not just to flip flop, but to completely shift onto him. Who put his career behind mine for a period. Who bit his tongue – a lot. And who continued to encourage me even if he felt like I should be waving the white flag.
  • God
    • For putting those people in my life. For continually tapping me on the shoulder with scripture or songs about being a light or a door for others to experience his goodness. For keeping me from completely morphing into a troll at the workplace.
  • Whole30
    • For categorically denying my desire to stress eat. For minimizing the impact of skipped meals, small meals, or late meals on my system. For giving me the energy that I needed to make it through a 17 hour shift at all, let alone without getting sick immediately following. For giving me something else to commit to when the project felt all consuming. For teaching me ways to cope without food.

So really, this post is a gratitude post for those things that kept me going. At work, we passed the project launch, cleaned up the few misses, and we’ve already started sliding back to normal. But me? I’m changed. I’m exhausted and more experienced and more filled with gratitude. It took overtime and high stress and looming deadlines to remind me that my focus is really on people, and that includes me.

Thank you, tribe and Freddy, and God, and Whole30, for shaping me during this time. For showing me grace. And for teaching me about my priorities and the balance that leads me to my best me.

Without you, I am a lesser me.

I Cannot Deny that He is Present

I start off my day with an alarm clock chirping to warn me of the impending workday. It’s not just any workday, however; it’s Saturday.

I roll over in an attempt to ignore my alarm clock and realize that sometime between going to bed and waking up, I’ve been joined by my handsome husband. The thought of leaving him so soon on one of our mutually free mornings seems cruel.

He gently reminds me to get up and I finally come around. No time to shower. Start the coffee and grab a bowl of cereal. Who knows how long this day could be.

I borrow the Jeep for traction and head off. When I arrive, I’m not surprised to see that I’m the last one in.

Five hours sneak past me and I look up to find myself no longer surrounded by a team, but rather I am with only one other woman who has stuck out the day with me. I tell her to pack up and head home. I need a break and I’ll come back to finish.

One hour is all I can afford to see my husband before he goes to work for the evening. I plan to shower him with attention but by the time I walk in, my stomach is growling. I need lunch.

He makes me a lunch and patiently listens to my exhausted babble before sending me back to work to finish out my day. I hate to leave again but I go, knowing I have less than two hours to meet my deadline to ship; FedEx should have later pick-ups on Saturdays.

I get to work and the door doesn’t open. Locked as locked can be. I pull out my extra set of keys to trigger the unlock and remember I took the pass off during the week. It’s on my main set now so I can have them when I need them. But I took the Jeep today. A week too late.

A phone call and a few minutes later, Fred pulls up and hands off my keys, giving me a small pep talk before zooming off to work. I truly love that man.

Race the clock. One hour down. After losing so much time with my key debacle, I now have to cut my losses. I pack up the Jeep and head off to FedEx to make the 4pm delivery. On the way, I call Fred for reinforcement. He tells me to back and finish the job. Whether FedEx delivers or not, I’ll have done my part.

I know he’s right so I head back to work for the third time today. I let myself in and this time, I turn on the radio. Black Keys. I get into a rhythm and start to feel a little rush of energy now that my deadline’s blown. I go over the paperwork for the shipment carefully and, once convinced that I have everything in order, I head back to FedEx.

The woman smiles when she sees me. “You again?” she asks.

“Last one of the day.” I reply and turn to leave.

“Just in time.” she says. “They haven’t come yet.”

I, forty-five minutes past pick-up, make the deadline. The rush of relief is tangible – formed into tiny droplets that well-up under my eyes.

I hastily exit with a smile and tears on my face and take a deep breath of the cold air outside.

God is ever-present in our lives.

I don’t know how people can go through life denying His hand… He is there.

My heart is humbled and joyed on my ride home and my head is full of thankful prayers. It might seem simple, but it is the simple things that make up our days.

I turn into our apartment complex and see “reverse” lights coming toward me. She’ll see me. I’m driving a big, red Jeep. She has to see me.

I reach for the horn to tap a warning but the horn hasn’t worked in over a year. It’s not my car and I’ve wasted precious reaction time.

CRUNCH.

I look down my driver’s side window and see a hood dented up toward me. The driver drives back into her parking spot and I park on the opposite side. I open the door, expecting the worst.

The door swings freely and I shut it with no extra force. I look at the door. Then I look at the front. Then the back. Then I rub my hand along the side. I crouch down and look at different angles.

That car did hit my driver’s side, didn’t it?

I replay the collision in my head and I’m certain she back up into my driver’s side door.

At this time, she walks over. She’s young. She seems apologetic and admits that she didn’t see me. I continue to look at the car and ask her how she is. She was doing fine until now but I tell her my day had started poorly and that unexpected things happened to make it better.

“It’s weird.” I tell her. “I don’t see any damage on my car. I think this is another one of those good things.”

By this time, her mother has come out to join us. She asks what happens and her daughter explains the situation. Now all three of us are looking at the car. After some disbelief and relief, an offer to come over if I see anything later, and well-wishes, we part ways.

This is strange. Strange, but good. Strange because it is unexpected. And certainly from God. I am not deserving, but He loves me. And it won’t happen to me often (though it might), but He wants me to feel His love in my life.

I am loved.

I started my day with stress, regret, and guilt. After blowing my deadline, I started to struggle with the choice between husband and work while conflicted that the deadline wasn’t entirely my own to begin with.

I believe that God used the snow’s delay at FedEx to let me know that He values my relationship with my husband. To remind me that I am a hard worker and that I should find some peace in that, even if I miss a deadline. I believe that a car collision without damage or harm is a definite warning that the horn needs to be looked after – that God gives us the tools to be safe and that we need to empower ourselves to use them. I also believe it will be a warning for the young woman who backed into me – a “painless” lesson in the importance of staying alert.

I believe that today has been a very loud message from God to say nothing more than: “I am here. You are looked after.”

And that says it all.