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.

Too Many Too Young

This year is a hard year.

We have lost a lot of people this year as a family, a school, a neighborhood, a community, a state, a people. We have lost Brian, Fred Sr., Paul, and Lindsey – to name a precious few.

They were all too young.

Lindsey was one of my sorority sisters and I was shocked to learn that she passed away last night. We weren’t best friends; there were 80-some girls in our chapter at the time and I wasn’t close with all of them. Yet you wouldn’t know that if you saw Lindsey walking up to me before meeting or on campus. She always greeted me with the biggest smile and one of those greetings that you only use with your closest friends; the ones that make your friends feel like they are so loved in just a few words. She was always full of uplifting energy, compassion and kindness, which are wonderful qualities to possess – especially for someone so outwardly beautiful as she.

Lindsey was a wife. I think of what her husband must be going through and I have no words of my own to express how my heart breaks for him. I think of her as a wife and I think of Fred Sr. as a husband. When I think of her in Greek life, I think of Paul.  And when I think of that contagious smile, I think of Brian.

I am reminded through Lindsey’s passing that this isn’t just a tragic death of one friend. It isn’t an isolated event. It’s a hard year.


When we talk about death, we say that we lost these people. But they’re not lost. They are wrapped in the arms of a loving God and they have never been more found. We are lost, left trying to define our new norms. But in our grief, we can have hope.

In times like this, I think of a passage that I have had to turn to too many times this year:

Romans 8:26-28 (The Message): “…God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans…”

What a beautiful sentiment.

If you have experienced grief, you are too familiar with that deep ache. The one that resonates through the body, mind, and soul – incapacitating you of words. And yet here we are promised that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us and gives words to our suffering. The Spirit speaks out our prayers for us.

The passage is significant to me not just because it tells me that our sighs and groans have meaning to God but because it means that we are in the presence of God when we are most vulnerable to feeling isolated.


Perhaps the greatest lesson I have learned about faith so far in my adult life is that we can be utterly broken with God. I think a lot of times we focus on the good attitudes and the feelings of joy when we talk about our faith. But we can come to God with our anger, our grief, our feelings of vengeance or anxiety – or our silence – and He hears us. And we can be angry at God. If we keep that dialogue with him open, we can express our anger to him until we are ready to turn it over to him and he will take it up for us without hesitation.

I hope you find as much comfort in that as I do.


Love His Plan

Enjoy Living in the Now. Act Spontaneously. Embrace the Unknown.

Love His plan.

It’s only April but this year has kept me running from day one (not in the marathon or even 5-k sense of the word, but you get my drift). As proof of constant movement, I am very happy to announce that I have finally gotten to a point which allows me to button my favorite style of jeans in my “formally-average-and-hopefully-average-again” size. Last year was marked with several milestones, including jumping up a pant size having packed approximately 20 lbs. to my frame. Unable to wear my high school and college clothes, I bought a pair of jeans in a +1 size which quickly became my favorite. At some point, however, I realized I had gotten far too comfortable putting them on and promptly went out to buy the same jeans, one size smaller. Those smaller jeans have sat for months – with tags attached – unable to work their way up my thighs (let alone button) until this. very. weekend.

Thank you. I know!

But the year has been so much more than pant sizes for me. As of late, I have started and stopped blog post after post feeling as though words could not cover all that I have experienced already. Simple announcements might be interpreted as bragging and would certainly cheapen the emotion that surrounds them. And so, I have gone a little deeper to realize that 2011 has given me more than a degree, a new car, a fiancé,  a graduated sister with whom to celebrate, etc. It has given me an additional action verb in my life motto: Love.

When Proverbs 19:21 first struck a chord in my heart (“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails”), I thought I understood the message. What I wanted was not what God wanted. What I thought was His lead, was my own selfish desire. And though that might very well be the case throughout my life, I still didn’t grasp the words completely when I read them. I fell in love with the verse in the midst of heartbreak; I couldn’t understand why things had happened the way they had and so I told myself that it was God’s purpose to put someone else in my life. I thought that I was surrendering to God’s plan by letting go of the thought that I was supposed to be with that one person and instead by focusing on opening myself up to whatever else may come my way. And in the best way that I knew how, I was surrendering my life – but what I didn’t realize is that God’s purpose is so intricate that it would bring me right back into the arms of the man I once thought God was leading me toward.

God’s ways truly are mysterious.

I was not simply led back to where I started, however. I was led into something new, something better. The plans in my heart were devastated. I had thought I saw my future and was instead redirected to this overwhelming and terrifying fun-house of mirrors and obstacles that caused me to look at my own life and reach out for others. But the Lord’s purpose wasn’t to separate me from everything I had understood as His plan; I was right in thinking that God was leading me into this relationship but so wrong about the details. It was instead His purpose, I have come to believe, to use that time apart to create in my life a more sure-footed foundation and to do the same with my now future husband so that we could begin to be better for one another.

I can’t help but laugh – I picture God shaking His head sympathetically at my deep desire to understand His will. When my fiancé and I were first dating, I thought I saw God’s plan and ran full steam ahead in that direction. When I came across a switch in the track, I panicked. I ran out of steam and halted until I could muster up the courage to go ahead in that new, uncharted direction. When the wheels began to move again, I was encouraged in His plan once more and started dashing off full steam ahead toward the unknown.

I’m like a little wind-up toy that God had to pick up and move in order to keep me from falling down. He had one destination in mind for me but had to redirect me around the bigger obstacles I couldn’t see coming. But I keep thinking I understand His will for me, so I just keep taking off wildly in these straight paths. Luckily, God’s plan for me is fluid and beautiful not direct and obvious. And so I add to my life motto: Love His Plan.

I think that Proverbs 19:21 doesn’t ask us to let go of our plans to take another direction, like I thought, but to simply let go. Forget about the direction. Who am I to interpret God’s purpose for me? I keep seeing His signs and reestablishing a plan in that direction but fail to realize that I am again establishing a plan for myself. I am going to attempt to love His plan in place of my own – to stop trying to interpret it, predict it, understand it, and lead it.

I have so much to learn! But I am sure of this – God has chosen my fiancé for me. He has built us up apart and together so that when we come across those future obstacles, we have the strength to overcome them as a unified couple. We have a relationship today which I could not have seen in the past but which is so much better than I imagined that now I cannot see it any other way.

Thank you, Lord, for your prevailing purpose in my life despite my many efforts to misinterpret them.

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