Saying Goodbye

Today is my last day of employment at Park University.

It is truly bittersweet. I am sitting alone in my office today feeling very nostalgic and somewhat anxious. Overall I just don’t like change, but sometimes you just have to summon up the courage to embrace change for yourself when you know it is the best move for you.

I’ve been driving to Park University almost every day since we moved to Kansas City. For 3 and 1/2 years, I’ve grappled with the limited parking, the tons of walking required to get from where you parked to the building you’re headed to, and watched the seasons change with the ‘Hogwarts-esque’ towering building of MacKay in the background.

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As a student, I had amazing classes, classmates, and even better professors. I couldn’t have asked for better departmental faculty to guide me as I earned and completed my Bachelor’s degree.

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Shortly before my rapidly approaching graduation, I was sitting in a meeting as the student representative for the Higher Learning Commission Steering Committee and this woman I had been watching in these meetings for the past few months handed out an organizational chart for her department to depict a restructuring they had recently gone through. The handout showed two positions currently open within her department. Up until this point, this woman had shown herself in these meetings to be organized, wonderfully candid, and articulate. I knew that she was someone I could potentially see myself working for and what better place to work than my soon-to-be alma mater?

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After getting the job in student accounts working directly under her, I was literally thrust into the middle of chaos. The department was in the middle of Spring enrollment confirmation, they’d just switched to an entirely new phone system, and I wasn’t the only new hire they were trying to train. It was crazy to say the least. Add to that the fact that I was given the responsibility for processing all third party tuition assistance invoices each term. ME. The English major. Who hates Math. That was super fun to figure out.

Despite the chaos and the stress, I’ve enjoyed my job because I quickly grew to like most of the people I worked with and I loved my boss. She was an amazing trainer, an avid support, one of those true go-getters, and one of the best examples of outstanding leadership I have ever encountered. You just don’t find incredible bosses like that very often and it is even rarer that you eventually become good friends with them. Some things in life are irreplaceable.

I have become friends with so many of my Park coworkers, including the friendships formed back when I was a student and work study….Now (even though leaving Park is absolutely the best move for me) I have to say goodbye to these wonderful people and there’s been a lump in my throat all morning long.

So even though it was my own choice to leave, I will still miss the people I met through Park and will miss seeing their faces everyday. One of the biggest things I have learned in my life is that time moves us all along. I’ve had to make new friends so often in my life it should be considered inhumane (especially for an introvert! haha). From this experience, I’ve also learned that whether life brings you new seasonal friends or new forever friends, you have to take advantage of every moment and cherish each of them for as long as you possibly can…

The Joy of Solitude

This might be silly to some of you, but…. there is almost nothing so relaxing to me as getting on our ride-on lawn mower on a perfectly beautiful evening and spending the next 2 hours mowing our ridiculously large backyard with nothing but my thoughts and my country music playlist coming through my headphones.
(All I was missing was an ice cold beer, folks!)

I love mowing our yard.
I love the solitude of it.

I love making neat straight lines in the grass and watching the sun slowly sink lower into the horizon.
I love seeing the birds come to look for fresh bugs to eat in the newly chopped grass lanes.
I love feeling the sun warm my exposed shoulders and feeling the breeze brush off the tiny flakes of grass sticking to my warm skin.
I almost always have to listen to country music when I am mowing the lawn because there is nothing quite so perfect as sitting on a John Deere tractor mower and enjoying songs about being a Redneck Woman and how some girl touched Tim McGraw’s heart Not a Moment Too Soon.

I love feeling so grounded doing something so normal and feeling like, for just a second, all the cares and concerns that have been building in my life and in my mind and on my heart are silenced in that space of time.

I think God meant nature to be a place where we can go and feel centered in Him.
A place where we can breathe deeply.
A place where being alone with ourselves is a therapeutic choice and immensely gratifying.
A place where we can watch the ever-faithful sun set, and remember that He is faithful and that He holds everything in His perfect hands.
By being alone in nature, I am reminded of how very close He is.

“It may be laid down as a position which will seldom deceive,
that when a man cannot bear his own company there is something wrong.” – Samuel Johnson

 

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2013 sucked (Part 3)

Alright, folks.
Here it is.
Part 3 of this “2013 sucked” series and I am writing it a whole 1 1/2 months after Part 2. I would say I am sorry it has taken me so long since my last post, but I am not. haha. So much LIFE has happened since then. So much change settling in the air around me like a dense fog so that finding my way to actually sit and write in this blog was easier said than done.

Quick recap:
In Part 1 of this series, I explained that 2013 sucked because it was a year of so much unending struggle for me. Aside from struggles at work, struggles with coworkers, struggles with finances, and struggles with family – my primary struggle to get pregnant left me feeling like less of a woman, less of an adult, less of a contributing member of society, and less of a person overall.
Something in me is broken and 2013 was the year I felt every single ounce of that brokenness (and not the “good” kind of Christian-ese brokenness that is desired, but the genuine I-no-longer-know-what-to-do-with-myself-and-I-seem-to-have-forgotten-how-to-breathe kind of brokenness.) I truly felt by the end of 2013 that I was clinically depressed and I allowed very few people to see it. I pasted on a smile and cheerful demeanor each day and later would often break down crying when I was finally alone.

 

 

 

 

 

Then everything I discussed in my last post (Part 2) happened.

 

So where does that leave me now in Part 3 of this journey into the new year?

Well….

It is still a struggle every day to cope with the fickleness of my body, the unasked-for opinions of others on how I should be pursuing starting our family, and the relentless bombardment of people around me getting pregnant, talking about being pregnant, buying baby things, discussing baby names, PREGNANCY, PREGNANCY, PREGNANCY, PARENTING, PARENTING, BABIES, BABIES, BABIES, BABIES…!! (etc.)

My circumstances have not changed, but something inside me has.

I’ve struggled these past few months to put into words the difference in myself that I feel. It is a combination of still feeling broken, but at the same time more whole than before. It is a realization that with as much sadness as I have had in my life, I’ve also had so much joy. That realization has left me feeling incredibly thankful and it is hard to feel sorry for yourself when you’re feeling thankful. (I credit this epiphany to Melody Morgan and Ann Voskamp.)

There are two very specific songs that came out recently that have been the best expression of how I feel now compared to last year. The lyrics of these songs can change your life; they contain the ability to move your heart into a new and deeper place with God.
When I listen to or sing these songs (in the car at the top of my lungs when no one else can hear me, but myself), I feel my heart settle into a beautiful place of peace, surrender, and trust.

I am at the place in this new season of my life where I truly desire to be led out deeper onto the waters.
The place where all I have left to look at is His face to keep from drowning.
There place where all I have left to offer is a broken hallelujah.
The place where I can raise empty hands up to Him and receive something beautiful from my ashes.
The place where my trust doesn’t come with boundaries that keep everything comfortable and within my control.
The place where I trust Him and nothing else to uphold me.

 

THIS SONG:

 

 

AND THIS SONG: