Two Year Review

Two years ago, I woke up with a long to-do list. 1234541_10151887019438582_1626246702_n

Wake up on time … make sure everyone eats breakfast … get my hair done … do my nails … put on wedding dress … take photos … try to savor each moment.

It was by far the most important day of my life, and I had to be prepared! The day flew by with to-do’s getting mentally checked off or forgotten. Before I knew it, I was a wife. Together as husband and wife, we celebrated with family and friends before spending a week in paradise … perhaps the most unrealistic place to learn how to be married.

DSC_0006 editIt took some time to adjust, but we quickly learned to love our new life together. Cooking side-by-side, sharing our adventures together, and learning to cope with change, transition, and disappointment.

If you would have told me our first anniversary would be spent saying farewell to our first church family, I doubt I would have believed you. But September 15, 2013 brought us right to that place. Our first home together was packed neatly into boxes and with teary eyes, we drove away to our new adventure.

2 ANNIVERSARYYear two came with its own set of challenges. Plenty of transition comes with moving to a new area. Meeting new friends, getting to know the community, adjusting to new expectations. But we tackled things as a team and encouraged each other through highs and lows.

But there were victories to celebrate too! We had new jobs, bought our first home, and started a journey to a healthy lifestyle. We spent time with family, we got plugged into our new church, and we had to work harder to make time for each other.

But here we are! End of year two … looking forward to so much in year three.

Soul Food

Ever have one of those weeks when you question everything? When it seems like you work hard and accomplish absolutely nothing? Like nothing you do matters? Last week, I felt that way.

I’ve been working at my job for just over six months now. Most days I like it; I get paid to shoot and edit videos at a university. Pretty cool! But when there’s a slow period and I don’t have a lot of work to do, I just feel like I’m taking up space. It feels like I’m letting everyone down and not meeting expectations.

But then Monday came, and projects got rolling again. We had our weekly staff meeting, and I was so encouraged by it. Turns out the only expectations I’m not meeting … are my own. I expect too much of myself and when I don’t meet my (unrealistic) expectations I beat myself up and feel like a failure. Turns out I work with a team of people who feel otherwise – which really improved my outlook and productivity this week.

Last week was also the final week to prepare for the VBS dramas I was asked to lead for church. Since this was our first year being involved in VBS, I had no point of reference to compare to. I didn’t know of our rehearsals were right on track, or if we were way behind. The scripts were entirely too complicated and confusing for children, so that was making it hard for people to memorize their lines. But Sunday’s dress rehearsal was hard for me. I felt like everything should have easily clicked into place, but last minute an actor dropped out – which totally altered everything we’d been working toward.

Even though Sunday’s rehearsal felt like a failure, the team brought their best each night. And midway through the week, I was encouraged by a cast member who told me I had done an excellent job leading this year. I’m relieved to have this experience behind me … and I know that if I’m involved next year, there are some things we can learn from this year.

To top it all off, I got an encouraging e-mail from a former supervisor thanking me for excellent work I had done for them last year. It was very out of the blue, but reminded me that I have and CAN be successful … even on weeks when I feel like a failure.

Thanks to all who encouraged me last week … whether you knew it or not. And hey … if you haven’t encouraged someone lately, why don’t you? It could never hurt … and you just might make someone’s week a little better.

We Weren’t Really Living

Sunday night, Jonathan and I rented a movie and ordered a pizza. A stopping point between one busy week and the next. He looked over to me and said, “Does it feel like we weren’t really living before?”

I knew exactly what he meant. Before we moved up here, we lived in a small town. The closest fast food restaurant was at least 20 minutes away. Our hobbies … were eating and watching television. And our church activities consisted of Wednesday night band rehearsal and Sunday morning service. During our first year of marriage, our life was lazy – and we were okay with it. We didn’t realize we weren’t really living.

Now, we are part of a church that loves to have get togethers, play recreational sports, host meals, and have events outside of Sunday mornings. It’s been a change, but we have more friendships, more opportunities to serve, and more to stay busy. We’re reading through the Bible in a year, with accountability from another couple at church. We spend time dreaming about what we can do to make our ministry better, and how we can stretch ourselves outside our comfort zones to meet the needs of others.

We’ve starting maintaining a fitness routine, which has given us more things to do together, more time to talk, and more things to talk about. If you told me a year ago that 30-60% of our conversations would involve exercise and healthy eating, I would have laughed at you.

Jonathan just spent a week at youth camp, and while he was gone I could have easily binge watched a whole new television series. Instead, I read two and a half books, editing a wedding video, and tried new recipes. I watched a few shows, but the DVR is no where near cleaned out.

We are living now. Staying busy, being active, pursuing new goals and challenges. During year one, our marriage grew through the transitions: adjusting to living together, sharing spaces & things, dealing with family, managing expectations, and dealing with the loss of a senior minister. Our second year has grown our marriage through overcoming obstacles: moving to a new location, trusting God with our shelter, buying a home, living with family, learning to live healthy, and prioritizing time with each other among busy schedules.

I’m excited about the potential our marriage has to continue growing as our life continues to change. I hope no two years are the same, and I welcome the challenges of the future.

Insane Courage

276502e223f4db4e8f8b9b003fac55d9I found this quote on Pinterest. For some reason, it really stuck with me. I feel like there are a lot of things I want in life, but something (or someone) always seems to be standing in my way. Sometimes it’s comfort that stands in the way – stability, normalcy, not wanting to shake things up. Sometimes it’s a person – someone who disagrees with me or opposes me, maybe even discourages me without realizing it. And sometimes … I stand in my own way. I talk myself in and out of good ideas, I lack courage and guts to do something bold. Something that could be life changing.

So here I sit. Typing at a computer at work. At a job I searched so hard for … and that’s been in constant flux since the day I started. I don’t know how I fit in here … sometimes I don’t even really feel like I’m here at all. Like my presence just goes unnoticed. I have no idea what the next few months might bring … maybe more hours … maybe less.

The uncertainty of it all is getting to me.

And then I think, if I could do anything I wanted in the world what would it be? And my dreams explode from inside me. I think about what I’d do if money was no issue … or if failure was impossible.  I feel so strongly about some things I want to just jump in … but often lack of courage or lack of resources, holds me back.

What would happen if I just jumped?