Trust is a fickle little thing

I’m coming upon some big life experiences: things are going well in the AIA, I’m trying to navigate my career, and I’m buying a house. You heard me right – a house. All by myself.

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That’s not actually the point of this post, though. It’s just a piece of it. You see, the big things make you BE big. You have to act like a grownup because…well…the real world doesn’t take kindly to throwing toys, much less temper tantrums.

These big things, though? They also have a way of making you play it safe. They frighten you into doing the thing that ruffles the least amount of feathers. They keep you in a bad situation out of fear. A mortgage, a car payment, a family. They’re all things to answer to and answer for. And sometimes the fastest answer is the least frightening one. Because let’s face it, it takes a lot to stand up and push for better when you might have good enough (or something bad that keeps the rest of life comfortable).

I’m moving through this process right now in a lot of ways. And tonight I realized just how much I’ve grown over the last couple months.

I’ve been given a lot of opportunities in the last couple months at the moments I needed them most. Some of them have continued to grow and provide fruit, and some of them appear to only have been temporary. I still learned from them, and I will continue to try to do so, but I sense that opportunity to learn is quickly ending. I’ve been praying about what the right move looks like, that I might be shown the path.

Today I got an option to that path and I’m struggling with it a little bit. It has become increasingly clear to me that a part of my career path has provided as much fruit as it ever will and from this point will only continue to rot (to continue with the fruit metaphor). This new option would provide me ample learning opportunity from people I know and respect, but currently cannot promise to be long term. I’m struggling with waiting it out in a bad environment while hoping something better comes along – and taking the leap of faith and learning as much as possible in the time I am provided while hoping it turns into a long term situation.

Here’s where the difference comes in. In the past, all of this would have made me a straight up HOT. MESS. I would have been such a worry wart that I probably would have given myself an ulcer by now thinking over every option and outcome and figuring out every single minute step of the plan.

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But in the last couple months I’ve come to see all of the grace from a loving God showing it in tangible ways that mean something to me. A really great AIA Convention where I was able to build the foundations for relationships that have continued to grow to this day. A job that gave me the chance to learn the front-end side of the architecture world. Things in a part of my life aren’t panning well and I’m unhappy and uncomfortable and have been praying about it. And He’s presented me with a new option that solves the issues of the uncomfortable scenario…the option just doesn’t have a defined ending. The very thing that would have made me so very anxious…

But what I realize now is that if it did have a clear path…I wouldn’t have to trust Him as much. To trust that it will all work out. And that’s where I’ve grown, because I’m more okay with that thought than I’ve ever been.

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Let the good things grow

So…after a couple hard months of the beginning of the year trying to get on track, things have been steadily arching in the right direction. The hard work, the determination, the belief of better things…

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The job came first. I had been applying to places right and left. Locally, out of state, you name it. Katie had been trying to get me to apply in Sacramento, but I just couldn’t bring myself to apply to a city I’d never even been to. Anyway. I applied to a job in Chicago using the AIA Careers Center website and when uploading my portfolio and resume it asked if I would like to keep them public for other employers to see. I thought, “Why not?” A couple days later, the new firm called me saying “The partners would like to meet you. Would  you like to come in?” This firm does substantial work, but flies under the radar, so I spent the weekend researching them and making a game plan. I went in, pitched myself and what I have to offer, and pitched what I thought they needed. By 8:30 the next morning, they were asking me what I wanted in my offer letter. Sweet baby Jesus that was an awesome feeling.

The convention and events surrounding it was another great experience. Not only did my lodging end up being pretty amazing, but I had an awesome time volunteering and attending the convention. There will be more discussed on this at www.L-2-Design.com when I have a chance to write about it (hopefully this weekend), but it was so great to meet architecture friends I had made over twitter and experience the city of Chicago after not having been to the Windy City in awhile. Also, while there, I won airfare and hotel stay for next year’s convention as a part of a Tweet Up contest! (And my mom think’s twitter is silly, but it just saved me over $1k!!) The Saturday or Sunday of convention, I noticed that AIA National was running a question on twitter asking who would be attending the Tweet Up and why they were looking forward to it – the winning answer chosen at random would win the airfare and hotel. I responded, and my response won!

And last, but definitely not least, I found out this morning that I passed my Structures test! This was wonderful news because I honest to goodness thought I failed this test. There were fill in the blank questions that I knew required multiple formulas and I felt like I had just as much of a chance creating the right answer as a child with Tourette’s mashing the keyboard. But it’s passed and behind me. Now I just have to pass the last two!

So…all in all, things are looking up. There are still times where I worry about my future, or focus on trying to solidify an overall plan, but I think in general I’m having an easier time letting go of the reins and trusting that it will all work out. It doesn’t mean I don’t work my tail off every chance I’m given, but I’m not screaming too loudly on the rollercoaster of life (unless it’s for fun at a concert). I’m focusing one at a time. And letting the pile of good things grow.

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And so I return…

I apologize for the hiatus.

That’s all there really is to say about that.

I took a hiatus, mostly because I didn’t feel like writing, or that I had much to write about, or was simply too overwhelmed with other stressors to focus on writing. Writer’s block is a real thing, and it comes in the form of life events, stress, and sleep. That last one may be a reaction to the first two, but still…no writing gets done (and I like things in threes).

I think I was stressing about the job situation, the lack of income situation, the “fresh meat to the market” situation (that had my phone blowing up with notifications, which was slightly confidence-boosting)….The perfect storm of chaos was reigning down on me. And so, at a time when I probably had good material, I didn’t write. I was focused on the storm.

Sometimes you need that, though. You need to shut down the outside world and focus on the storm. You need to focus and just get. sh!t. done. Sometimes it’s not necessarily soul food, but it’s finding the next thing that will actually put food on the table. Either way, the little things slide. They probably shouldn’t, but they do.

It’s important to take the storms of life seriously, but as I’ve learned over the past couple years, it’s also important to do the little things that feed your soul. That keep you full, happy, alive with a fire, eager to begin the next day…and not just begin, but charge forward in hot pursuit of your dreams. The things that feed yourself and your soul and your mind. Those little things are different for each person, but they’re equally important.

My things are my friends, my family, this blog, and a good book. I’m eager to get back to them, now that I’ve resurfaced from the storm and can resume a more balanced life.

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I actually bought myself a piece of jewelry recently that is called the “balance necklace”. It was hand-designed, with the description that read:

“A happy life is one of balance, not perfection.”

Sometimes you get caught up in the storm and start to lose air, start to lose the things that bring you joy, that feed your soul…and it only sucks you into the storm more. I am a focused and determined person and I know I struggle with this, but I think, if I were to create an overarching goal for this year, it would be one of balance. There are many things that I would like to achieve, many things that are important to me, but if I only focus on one of them, all of the others fall away. This is not to say that there are moments and things that require one’s full attention because the outcome of them makes everything else easier to achieve…but balance overall is the goal.

And so I move forward, ship steadied, ready for adventure…

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Merry Christmas: The journey to the light

I’ve struggled the last week or two with whether or not to write this post. I didn’t want to only share negative, selfish thoughts surrounding a most blessed of holidays. But this is about my journey, so I’m sharing.

I’ve run the gamut of emotions this holiday season. After the last several years of my life spending this holiday with someone, it is underwhelming to spend it alone.

I LOVE Christmas. I love the holidays spent with those you love, doing things, making memories, decorating, relaxing. I’m a giver. I love finding the perfect gift for someone and seeing their face light up when they receive it. But I have no special someone to share these moments with this year, so it all seems very sad. It’s not that I feel the need to have someone to make things special in my life. It’s not a body count. I’m certain that spending your days with the wrong person, especially holidays, is probably just as bad, but you get what I mean. It is its own brand of suck known only to those who’ve spent holidays alone. *raises glass of alcohol to all the singles reading this*

I’ve never wanted a holiday season over with more than I do this year.

I’ve spent many a night wondering where my path is taking me. Feeling surrounded by darkness in the moments where families are busy brightening their homes with Christmas lights and holiday cheer. Wondering the plan God has for me.

I realized tonight as I listened to the sermon of the Christmas Eve service that Mary must have had similar concerns about her path and her plan. How the months leading up to Jesus’s birth, that night when no inn would take them, her son, the Son of God, being born in a barn among the animals, must have been wrought with dark moments and questioning thoughts. She must have wondered who was she to have this burden, how would her life change, what would lie ahead.

But she kept her faith. Even in the darkest of moments, she kept her faith. And she was rewarded with the ultimate Light. A light that continues to shine in each and every one of us, even in the darkest of our moments.

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And so in the moments of uncertainty, I am reminded to look to Him. In the sadness, loneliness, questions of the future…He is there. In the moments where I wonder my path, where I wish for someone to share these days with…I am reminded I am so blessed. I may not have a him in my life right now, but I have HIM.

In my darkest of days, He is the light. He shines through me. And that is enough.

For His birth, His death, His love…I am amazingly and wonderfully blessed.

Merry Christmas.

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Before we return to our regularly scheduled program

I know I took an even longer hiatus from writing than normal, but I promise it was with good – albeit serious – reason.

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Last Tuesday, Grandpa T was brought to Methodist by ambulance complaining of chest pain. Dad called me and we met there to check on him in the ER. After a couple EKGs and other tests, he was admitted for overnight observation while the cardiac team decided to do a stress test or a cardiac cath. Katie was able to fly in that night and we spent the following two days in the hospital with him, waiting for tests and test results.

Good news. As a 90 year old, he’s evidently been doing something right, because the heart attack he survived was his first…and the cath they performed only showed 50% blockage in one artery and 30% in another. So they sent him home on some new medicine. No stints needed.

Yesterday? He was back at the hospital he volunteers at in the maintenance department, helping the electrician run down rogue bulbs and outlets.

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The man never ceases to amaze me. When I wasn’t sure what might happen during the days of last week, I had time to sit and think about how much he has, and continues to impact my life.

This is a man who, without fail, attended 95%+ of all of my and Katie’s sporting events. To cheer us on, rain, snow, or shine. To congratulate us on our wins, console us on our losses, and take stats in between. (You may think I’m kidding, but I still have some basketball stat sheets to prove it.)

A man who taught us that there’s always room for ice cream, a little dirt never hurt anyone, and the sky is the limit.

A man who taught us stubbornness, perseverance, kindness, compassion. He showed us, and continues to show us, that it is fun to read. That ideas and intelligence are worth pursuing. That pennies are worth pinching for the right things.

He’s the man who consistently and lovingly asks to be my Valentine every February 14th and I can’t imagine anyone better suited for the job. His love and affection for my grandmother taught me what true love is really like and I hope someday to have someone in my life who can remotely hold a match to the compassion he showed through the years.

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I always learn something new when I’m with him and continue to look at him in admiration and respect, just as I did on the dance floor (above). I know there are so many things he has still to teach us and I look forward to every day learning from him over a bowl of his favorite soft serve.

I love you Grampa.

 

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Project 365: Week 10 Recap

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DAY 57: “Whatcha doin’, mom?” Miss M watching me work on the computer.

DAY 58: Chris Botti at work with the ISO.

DAY 58: Chris Botti at work with the ISO.

DAY 59: Happy Thanksgiving! Cuddle pic post-walk with Madeleine.

DAY 59: Happy Thanksgiving! Cuddle pic post-walk with Madeleine.

DAY 60: Merry Christmas! Helped put the tree up at Grandpa Bob's.

DAY 60: Merry Christmas! Helped put the tree up at Grandpa Bob’s.

DAY 61: Guard dog looking out the window while I read.

DAY 61: Guard dog looking out the window while I read.

DAY 62: Snug. As a bug. In a rug.

DAY 62: Snug. As a bug. In a rug.

 

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Project 365: Week 9 Recap

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DAY 53: Beautiful sight of a waving American Flag in the sunset spotted from my desk at work.

DAY 54: Sitting with me while I work.

DAY 54: Sitting with me while I work.

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DAY 56: Dinner and drinks and wicked shenanigans before going to see WICKED at the Murat!

DAY 56: Dinner and drinks and wicked shenanigans before going to see WICKED at the Murat!

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