Tuesday, April 28, 2015

losing my single status

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Well kids, it's finally happened. This longtime single girl is single no more. Yes, I have a boyfriend! Are you still breathing? Did you fall over in your chair? Take a step back and just breathe. Everything is ok. You have not been transported to Tomorrowland or any other land where dreams come true. This is real life.

Two months ago I had a different job and was just mildly testing the waters on Match.com. I'd messaged a few guys and a few had reached out to me, but I hadn't found anyone I was particularly interested in. Then one day I received a sweet, well-written message from a cute, LDS guy from the Tri-Cities that made me laugh out loud and smile in a special way.

Over the course of a week or so we sent a few emails back and forth and started getting to know each other. I could tell that this guy was truly interested in me and honestly, the whole thing really freaked me out. It was such a foreign feeling. I was excited but also scared and unsure how to act. 

A few days after we initially started talking I started my new job and used that as an excuse to not reply to his latest message for a couple of days. I wasn't sure how to move forward or if I even wanted to keep emailing. Do I really like this guy or is it just nice to be wanted? What does dating even look like anymore? Can I really do it? Am I capable of letting someone really know me again? All of these questions, along with so many more, bounced around in my head. I was definitely having what they describe in the scriptures as a "stupor of thought". Then, he sent me a short message saying he hoped my first week at my new job was going well. It was time to make a decision--jump in or walk away.

I've struggled with my spirituality over the last few years, especially this past year or so. In my darker times I let simple sources of strength like prayer and scripture reading fall to the wayside. When faced with my aforementioned stupor of thought, I decided to do something I hadn't done in a long time--say a real, heartfelt prayer. It was a short, simple prayer asking for direction and guidance, but it was the first time I humbled myself enough to submit my will to Heavenly Father's. I was blessed with a distinct answer that I should continue my correspondence with Mr. Tri-Cities. I jumped in and haven't looked back.

Next week it will be a year since my personal essay, Accepting the Single Status When Everyone Else is a Couple, was published on The Everygirl. I am in complete awe at how quickly one's life can change. Everything they say about finding love when you least expect it is true. I always thought it was a load of crap, but now thanks to Mr. Tri-Cities, I've joined the believers. And I've got to say, it's a pretty amazing place to be.

I've found that light at the end of the tunnel that I've been searching for. Like I predicted, it's certainly a different hue than I ever imagined, but it's brighter and more brilliant than anything I could have ever hoped. The kind of happiness I am experiencing right now is unlike anything I've ever encountered.

The smallest step really can lead to great things. I believe that with all of my heart.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

learning to define yourself

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Taking risks allows you to define yourself. You learn your likes, dislikes, interests, beliefs, and opinions. By being vulnerable with someone, you not only get to know them on a deeper level, you come to better know yourself. It's empowering to be able to answer questions about what makes you who you are and why you've made the decisions you have in this life. 

One of my favorite songs by the duo Elenowen is called 'Losing the Lonely'. There's a verse that says: "Long shot, we went against the odds in a game you'll never win, if you never go all in..."

I think the ability to "go all in" develops as you mature and can mean different things at different times in your life. Sometimes it means having the courage to try out for a sports team or sing a solo in front of a crowd. Other times it means changing your entire career or choosing to walk away from a dysfunctional relationship.

Going all in requires you to be brave. Being brave means discovering what you need to do and doing it despite your fears. The path we forge ultimately influences our character and the lives of those we touch.

Life is both uncomfortable and exhilarating. That's why we're here. To learn and grow. To develop meaningful relationships. To remember who we really are and to whom we belong.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

satisfying moments

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Today I had one of those rare, satisfying moments where I felt on top of the world. Like I could conquer my demons and accomplish my goals. That maybe I could have it all.

It's week two in my new job so I'm still in major adjustment mode. There's a lot to learn and grasp, but so far so good. This new role affords me a kind of freedom I didn't have in my last position, and I confess it's going to take some getting used to. I have a voice and the power to direct a creative vision which is extremely refreshing. My boss told me she doesn't want me chained to my desk (hooray!) so today I went out to meet one of the managing librarians and discuss social media and communication strategies with her. It was so awesome. We had a great discussion and I had a burst of creative energy as a result.

In addition to finding my bearings and pushing myself in my new job, I'm also trying to be braver and more vulnerable in my personal life. For whatever reason, it's hard for me to accept that I might actually be attractive and interesting to the opposite sex. It's scary to put yourself out there and start to let someone see the real you. But I've learned the hard way that you don't know if you don't try. So right now it may just be baby-steps, but I'm trying and that feels good.

Today was fairly ordinary. I got up, went to work, and came home. But what made today different was the strong, comforting reminder to believe in myself--that who I am is not only enough, it's extremely valuable. I'm grateful for tender mercies that remind me of my true worth. It's easy to forget, but don't stop believing in yourself. I know that good things--big and small--happen when you do.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

starting a new chapter

It's been a long time since I've written on my blog. Why? I'm not totally sure. I think too often I have ideas and then don't take the time to go through the writing process, which is odd since I consider myself a writer. I've had plenty to say but lacked the conviction or drive to say it. The time has come to break my silence.

I've lived in Spokane for over seven months now. That's kind of hard to believe. At the end of 2014, I made the decision to leave my awesome downtown apartment and move in with my parents. Student loans are a tough pill to swallow. Living with my parents is allowing me to pay down my credit card debt and student loans so I can starting saving to buy a house. My goal is to have purchased a house in Spokane by my 30th birthday--2+ years and counting! Being financially responsible and realistic is not a very fun part of adulthood but I keep reminding myself that making sacrifices now will help me secure a better future for myself.

When I accepted my job with Gonzaga and moved to Spokane last summer, I thought I would be at Gonzaga for a long time. I saw my current position with the Virtual Campus as the first step towards a successful career as a Zag. However, I've decide to cut my time at GU short.

I recently interviewed and was offered a Communication Specialist position with the Spokane County Library District. This Friday will be my last day at Gonzaga--at least for the time being.

My new role with the library is exactly what I branded myself for when I graduated from grad school. I have several years of professional experience, but this job feels like my first real move towards a career in non-profit communications. I'm excited and scared to peel off the security blanket of higher ed and put myself in a position where I can really showcase and improve my skills. School has always been my safe place, which is why I think I've always gravitated towards working for a university. Up to this point in my professional life, I haven't known anything else.

Taking this new job is a brave step for me. I have hope the risk will reap great rewards. Slowly but surely I'm working on improving the varying aspects of my life. I'm trying online dating and two weeks ago started working with a physical trainer to get myself back to a normal workout routine. Even though it hasn't been very long, I'm already starting to feel stronger and healthier. I forgot how awesome endorphins can make you feel. I've been attending church more regularly and with my new work schedule I'll finally be able to start attending institute on Wednesday nights.

Change is always a little unnerving. As I start this new chapter I'm both thrilled and terrified. However, despite my roller coaster of emotions, I have confidence that I'm charging forward on the right path.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

the beauty of greenbluff

Since moving to Spokane I've spent many weekends with my family exploring the beautiful farm country of Greenbluff, WA--a mere 20 minutes away. We've picked cherries, apricots, raspberries, peaches, cucumbers, tomatoes, and apples. Although spending hours in the kitchen canning isn't my favorite thing to do, I'm looking forward to enjoying the jam, applesauce, pickles, and salsa in the coming months.

I enjoy baking over canning and we've done plenty of that too. When my brother and his husband came to visit we made a delicious peach crisp, which wouldn't have been complete without our favorite Tillamook Old-Fashioned Vanilla Ice Cream. This past Sunday my dad and I made an apple pie using Honey Crisp apples. Hands down best apple pie I've ever had. Last month my mom and I made a homemade cherry pie using a recipe from The Hoosier Mama Book of Pie. Pie crust can be intimidating but years ago my mom stumbled upon Martha Stewart's recipe. You make the crust in a food processor, which really helps simplify the process.

Fall is now upon us, which means there are still many more weekends to enjoy and explore the beauty of Greenbluff. I can't wait to go get pumpkins for Halloween, see the kaleidoscope of changing leaves, and drink warm apple cider. Isn't fall the greatest?

Friday, September 5, 2014

we all have a story to tell


Each one of us is living his or her own story. No two stories are the same, and yet, we play pivotal roles in how the stories of others turn out--often without even knowing it. Reality differs for each individual despite the mutual sharing of experiences.

I've found that at times we willingly, although not always consciously, allow others to write our story for us. It's difficult to reconcile your feelings and emotions when you realize that while one person has taken up five chapters of your life, you're only worth a sentence or two in their story--proving the adage "they are always two sides to every story" to be entirely true.

Agency is both beautiful and alarming. As Lord Grantham says in Downton Abbey, "We all have chapters we'd rather keep unpublished." Making mistakes and wrong choices are a part of this life. It's why we're here. To learn and grow. Failure and sin are a natural part of our existence. I wish that was something I had understood earlier in life. It hasn't been until my adult years that I've truly come to see the intrinsic value in failure.

What must we do to ensure we form a narrative we can be proud of? How do we take control of our own story? Right now, the only answer I have is to keep going, to keep trying. Even if everyday you feel like a failure, don't give up. Keep the faith. Have hope. Sometimes phrases like that seem trivial and empty to me, but I know deep down they are true.

The concept of faith and hope has always perplexed me. Which comes first? Can you really not have one without the other? At this time in my life, I feel like I have hope but I lack faith. I think you need faith to take action. Hope is not enough to facilitate change. I need to push through my personal doubts and questions if I'm to find my faith once again. It's been cast aside for too long.

We all have a story to tell. I need to re-invite Heavenly Father to be the co-author of mine.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Furnishing My One Bedroom Apartment

Going from a studio to a one bedroom apartment with both a living room and dining room has required a significant amount of furniture purchasing over the last few weeks. Moving cross-country and buying a new car means means I'm on a really tight budget. As nice as it would be to buy all new pieces from places like Anthropologie and West Elm, I simply can't afford it

Lucky for me, Spokane has a ton of awesome thrift stores; plus, it's summer so there are yard sales and estate sales every weekend. Instead of being frustrated with my meager budget, it's been fun to search for bargains and see what quality used pieces I can find and refurbish.

Here are some of my finds. So far I've repainted the dresser I found and bought paint, fabric, and the needed supplies to re-do my dining room set. It's going to be a lot of work but I'm excited to see how it turns out. After pictures coming soon!

$75 vintage brass bed frame found at an estate sale
(similar bed frame at Anthropologie goes for $2,000!)
free nightstand from my parents' basement
$20 lamp found at a thrift store

$75 dresser found at Pine Street Market & Boutique

$65 dining room table with six chairs found at Union Gospel Mission thrift store
(This has definitely been by greatest find so far. I'm going to host Thanksgiving for my family this year with this table!)

$20 coffee table found at Union Gospel Mission thrift store