Sunday, September 17, 2017

From PAH to EB

And just like that, it's all different. 

Last Wednesday was my last day at Partners for Affordable Housing. It honestly didn't really hit me until about 4:45pm that I wouldn't be coming back the next morning. Looking back over the past two years, I am so thankful for the experience I had and gained at PAH. 

PAH brought me back to the community I grew up in. It helped increase my self-worth and self-confidence. It gave me a chance for my creativity to grow and shine. It introduced me to some amazing and incredible people. PAH brought to attention a huge need in our community and a desire to help fight for that cause. It even helped strengthen my muscles with all the furniture moving. :) 

My time at PAH was exactly what I needed, when I needed it. It's crazy to look back and be able to see how that happens. (But God always knows what He's doing!)  I needed to be involved with a type of work that provided purpose and meaning. I needed the chance to really let my wings grow. I needed to have those people in my life, both personally and professionally.  

Deciding to leave PAH was a hard choice. So incredibly hard. I realized that this is the first time in my career that I decided to leave a job that I really love on my own terms. I obviously have reasons why I was looking elsewhere, but that did not make having to tell my team I was leaving any easier. It's a strange feeling. 

To my PAH family: I'm not even sure what I can say about the past two years. Thank you. Thank you for the fun and crazy work experiences. Thank you for being such a supportive group. Thank you for your friendships that have grown over the past two years. Thank you for your humor and your jokes. Thank you for your huge and caring hearts. Thank you for the work that you do for our community. There is truly nothing else like being a part of the PAH family. And I'm glad that we keep the family growing and that we can't get rid of each other. :) I am excited to continue to work with you all in this new capacity. And I'm excited that our friendships will be able to continue to grow. #PAHlife forever!! 

And then, it was Thursday morning. My first day at Eide Bailly. My first day at EB was.... one for the books. It also had me reflecting on my first week with PAH... Within a couple days of starting, I was already in paint clothes, painting an upstairs apartment with my new co-workers, in the summer heat with no AC. My first day at EB did not quite include that much hard labor! :) 

I arrived at Eide Bailly at 8:30. I received a very quick (and partial) office tour, I was out the door by 8:45 and headed to St. Peter for a recruiting fair for accounting students at Gustavus. I spent the morning learning about what EB has to offer accounting students for their internship options and probably could have given the spiel myself before the morning ended. I was back at the office around 12:30 and had lunch with the Office Coordinator. I spent the next couple of hours going over the new hire paperwork. I finally had a chance to get back to my desk around 2:45 and had some time to read through all that paperwork and explore some of the training information online. I realized I should open my email and see if there was anything and there were 30 emails waiting for me. Then at 3:45 I was headed downtown for an Estate Planners event where I spent the rest of my day acting as bartender. 

Everyone kept promising me that every day was not like this. I'm not sure if I should believe them. :) But honestly, it was a great way to start a new job. Jumping right in, getting a feel for things. There is a huge learning curve as I start to learn as much as I can about this new industry and how to market it. It was nice to know that I can still jump in and do some things right away! And to everyone's credit, Friday was a much more relaxed day. I had a chance to work on some projects, continuing reviewing the training information but also familiarizing myself with the different tools that I'll be using and learning that new information. 

I also had a chance to go out to lunch with my new Marketing team. I can honestly say that I think this is going to be a good fit. They're a great group of people, eager for me to start doing more and more than willing to help me understand everything. It will also be a chance for me to grow professionally with some of the things I'll be doing. My position is a newly created position and I'll be working between three different areas. So it will be interesting to see how the job grows as I learn to manage my time between these areas and learn how to prioritize between them. But if there's one thing I like, it's a challenge. 

It is going to take some time to adjust back into the corporate world setting. Going from a small nonprofit with seven full time employees to a company with 29 offices in 13 states and close to 80 people just in our office... it makes things interesting! But that's all part of the fun. Everyone I have met so far has been super nice. 

I'm excited for this new step. I'm excited to see what it will bring. I'm excited to continue to meet more new people. I'm just excited. :) 

To close, #EideLike to say that I'm thankful for this new opportunity. Let's go! 

Friday, September 8, 2017

A Hesitant Welcome to Fall

For maybe the first time ever, I am hesitant for the start of fall. 

Fall has always been my absolute favorite time of the year. The cooler weather. The beautiful colors. Open windows and warm drinks. Hay rides, apple orchards and pumpkins. Bonfires and football. Sweatshirts and boots. A fall rain. Birthdays and anniversaries. The start of a new school year and new school supplies. Homecomings and Outfly. Halloween and candy corn. The season of harvest and combine rides.

While my love of fall has not diminished, I must admit that I'm welcoming this fall season with a touch of hesitancy and melancholy.

This fall season will be my first since the divorce. I'm not sure I understand how to handle that.

How do I reflect on that fateful September weekend? How do I handle the memories of wedding planning or the pictures that show up on social media? Should I expect my birthday to feel different? How do I acknowledge the date of our wedding?

I don't know how to feel about these. I don't know if there should be a specific emotion. It doesn't feel right to just let it all slip by but it also doesn't feel right to make a big fuss.

In addition to all of that, Jacob is starting preschool. And while logically this has to happen and kids grow up, there is still some gut punching feeling of sending your baby off to school. Proud, yet nervous. Excited, yet scared. Happy, yet sad.

His first year of school. A new phase of his life. A new start. A new adventure. A new beginning. It's a bit terrifying. 

We had orientation night the last week of the month and Jacob of course was in heaven, playing with the dinosaurs. And earlier this week, Jacob had his first "conference" where we had a chance to meet his teacher one and one (Jacob played with the dinosaurs) and got his picture taken! 

And in case you've missed the news, I'm starting a new job.

I'll be working as a Marketing Assistant at Eide Bailly. I'm excited and nervous. I'm anxious and trying to stay confident. I'll have a lot to learn as this is a new industry for me, but that's part of the challenge I enjoy. Eide Bailly is a CPA and consulting firm. I think it's going to be a great next step as I continue my career.

I am incredibly sad to be leaving PAH and the amazing team I work with. But part of what I loved about getting a job at Eide Bailly is their willingness to give back to the community. I'm excited to continue supporting PAH, just in a different capacity. 

Fall seems to demand these new and fresh starts. I found this quote on pinterest and it really seems to fit my life. 


Looking back at the month of August, I would say we had a successful last month of summer. Jacob got to spend some time in Iowa at the beginning of the month - something he ALWAYS looks forward to! :) We did manage to freeze some corn this summer. We didn't do any last summer because the crop wasn't great. Let me tell you, freezing corn is not as much fun when there are only three people working! Ha! But we managed! 

We made it to another Tractor Pull as well, but Jacob didn't last as long as I thought he would! Jacob and I also went camping in the backyard on night! This was Jacob's first time in a tent and he was super excited! He was a great helper too when it came to pitching the tent and taking it down. And we also made it to a "On the Move" event where Jacob could go exploring different vehicles like a dump truck, school bus, firetruck, etc. He loved it. 

We took a week vacation and headed north. We had a small cottage on the lake at a resort near Meg's. The weather was a little chillier than we were hoping for, but we still managed to have some boat time out on the lake and Jacob even did a bit of swimming. We visited different parks for some hikes and even drove up to International Falls one day! It was as relaxing as a vacation can be with a four year old. :) 

We also got a State Fair visit in! Jacob was a big fan of the food and really wanted to try out all the rides. Unfortunately time limited us there but we did make it down the big slide once! Megan and I stuck around the cities and went back to the State Fair that night for the Pentatonix concert!! Megan got tickets for her birthday and invited me along. It was amazing! Such a great concert, I wish it would have lasted a lot longer!!  

Looking forward to the next couple of months, things will pick up and be extremely busy as we apparently like to be during this fall season. Jacob will be doing swimming again, which will start at the end of September. There are a couple of fall festivals that we plan on attending around the area and hopefully another visit to Iowa for Jacob! 

I will once again be working part time at Fun.com and might be even crazier for doing that this year on top of a brand new job. But I'm going to give it a shot. And so, if you're willing and able to watch Jacob, let me know. I'll probably take you up on the offer! :) 

Jacob has been asking if it was fall yet for a while. He's been so excited to start school, to ride the combine and to dress up as Frank the Combine (Disney's Cars) for Halloween! :) And speaking of which... I should probably get started on that costume... 

Welcome, Fall. 

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Our Current Struggles

Some days, the struggle is so much harder. I mean, it's never easy. But then there are those days where it kicks you in the ass. 

It seems I've been having more of those really tough struggle days lately. I wish I knew why these are happening. But do we ever really know? 

I hate "playing this card", but being a single mom is hard. I hate playing that card because I still question whether I can call myself a single mom when I live with my parents. But for the most part, taking care of Jacob falls solely on my shoulders.

Jacob has taken on some very difficult personality traits lately. Luckily, this is not 24/7 but it's enough to be draining. He will openly ignore me when I'm asking him not to do something naughty. He has been demanding of the things he wants rather than asking nicely for them as he was taught. And then he gets super upset when he doesn't get what he wants. He's been refusing to get dressed or pick up his toys, claiming he can't do it when he's perfectly capable. 

And I get it. He's four. He's so little and is dealing with big emotions. I understand that, I do. But as a single parent, you take 100% of the blunt force of these emotions. And I can't quite explain how emotionally draining that is for you, as the parent. 

But what's really been a struggle... bedtime. Jacob has become very persistent about wanting to "sleep with mommy in the tall bed". (aka, Mommy's bed) And I mean super persistent. He'll cry and scream and throw a fit. He won't stay in his own bed, continuing to make the trip to my room over and over. Climbing into my bed. I'll put him in the crib (yes, I still have the crib set up - no he hasn't tried climbing out of it), but then the bloody murder screams will start. Some nights I try to out last him. But the kid is stubborn. And he normally wins. One, I hate the fact that his screams keep my parents up (their bedroom right above his) and two, with school starting school, I know that trying to get him to go to bed earlier rather than later is pretty important. 

And then the knife twist happens... through all of this, all the screaming, the tears, are the words he'll say to me. 
"I want to cuddle with mommy because I love you. I love cuddling with mommy. I love you mommy. Cuddling with you is fun. Please, mommy. I want to cuddle." 
He knows how to pull at the heartstrings. And this is where I struggle. This is where I go back and forth and back and forth and back and forth again. 

He's only little once. There will come a day where he'll want nothing to do with me, much less want to cuddle in my bed. Soon he will be too big for all of that. Soon he'll think he won't need me anymore. Soon it might not be so easy to get the words "I love you" out of him. 

And so after a full day of maneuvering big emotions from a little person, being asked a thousand questions, each a hundred times, being climbed on by someone who doesn't understand personal space and always needing to be present and paying attention to this little person, I am tired. 

I am in desperate need of some 'me time'. I just want to catch up on social media. I want to read my book. I want to watch an adult-only show. I want to spend some time in the quiet, reflecting. I want to lay on the bed with no one kicking me or pushing me. I want to eat some ice cream without sharing. 

But often, I lose this fight. I hear his words and they cut deep. I hear his desperate want to be near me. Sometimes I feel like I can hear some fear in his cries. 

Because this is where else we're struggling. We're struggling with finding a consistent routine for Jacob to see his dad. Between end of summer vacations and crazy work schedules, those visits have been less than normal. And its when that happens, when it's been longer than "normal" since he's seen his dad, I can see a change a home. 

Jacob acts like he has to constantly be in my sight. He always wants me paying attention. If I wander downstairs, I'll hear him yelling for me "Mommy where did you go?" If Nana picks him up from daycare and I'm not home when they get home, "Where is my mommy?" Even in the morning when I get out of bed to shower, "where are you going mommy?" It's enduring, but exhausting. I guess I can't tell you 100% that these reactions are a result of him seeing less of his dad, but it certainly feels that way.

Also, I have to say here, I'm not placing blame on anyone. We're still trying to figure out this whole co-parenting thing. I'm also not looking for advice. Yes, I should stop this habit before it gets out of control. Yes, I should just cuddle him while he's still little. I'll figure it out. Or I won't, and we'll just move on to the next thing. Sometimes I just need to write out my thoughts and feelings to help me process them. To make sense of them. Maybe this last paragraph should be my disclaimer on all blog posts. Haha! 



Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Confidence

I feel like a page has been turned. 

**knocking on wood** I don't want to jinx this. 

You know those moments in life that leave you a bit in awe? Those moments that you know are going to a defining moment of your life? 

I think I'm having one of those. 

But let's back up a little first...

I think I've always struggled with my self-confidence. In all areas, but particularly when it comes to my performance at work. It's always been there some, but I had one bad experience at a job that left what little self-confidence I did have pretty much shattered. I struggled for a long time after that. Questioning everything... my purpose; my calling; my past work performances... 

Fast forward about a year and I find a job that I absolutely love. A job back in the field of communications but also working with volunteers and working for an organization that every day was making the difference in people's lives. 

I needed that job. I needed the feeling of purpose. I needed the feeling of making a difference, of feeling accomplished. Little did I know how much I would need the amazing team that I got to work with every day. 

Looking back over the two years I've spent there, I can see some of that self-confidence starting to rebuild. I started to feel better about the work I was doing, even while knowing that it could always be more. I became proud of the work I was doing. Looking back, I can see the clearly successful events; I can see the increase in awareness on such an important issue. I love seeing our hard work recognized. 

Don't get me wrong. I still struggle with my self-confidence. I still struggle with the idea of recognizing my own ideas and promoting them as my own. Honestly, I love doing a good job, seeing the finished product, and knowing it was successful. And I don't want the credit for that. I like the behind-the-scenes aspect. But why shouldn't I own up to my ideas, especially the good ones? 

For example, just recently, I was in a event planning committee meeting. I made a comment along these lines... "At the United Way Kickoff Rally, we had this idea of....." and finished explaining the idea. My ED immediately said, "No, that was your idea and I really like it!" Why is it so hard for me to take credit, to take ownership of my ideas? I know they won't all be good, but still. 

And so we've landed at the present time. I think I've written a bit about this previously, but I've been struggling with the idea of staying in this job I love. When I look at my life now as a single parent, the importance of financial stability and benefits are much stronger. When I look at my career path, I want to be able to see an opportunity for growth, for progress. And while I love what I do, while I love the organization and all that they stand for, while I love my team and the amazing work and difference they make every day, I came to understand that personally, I needed more. 

I started applying for jobs when I saw something that sounded interesting. Obviously I was looking for jobs that would provide an increase when it came to benefits and financial stability. I was looking for jobs where I could see an opportunity to promotion and growth. 

One day, I saw a job posting. It was a marketing job back in the corporate world. It was with a company I was somewhat familiar with through our nonprofit work. The more I researched the company, the more I saw a company that wants to give back to the communities it serves. I had seen this personally. I saw a company that promotes learning and growth. I saw opportunity. 

Going through the interview process only confirmed all of this. I was told about how the company promotes a healthy work/life balance and how they offer their employees time to volunteer and match donations given. I was walked through a benefits package with benefits that I had completely forgotten even existed but will be so valuable to me as a single mom. It was a lengthy interview process with quite a bit of paperwork, but I saw the value in everything and understood that the company wants to invest in the right person. I was super intrigued. 

I spoke to no one (almost) about the interview. I told no one who I was interviewing with. Deep down, I wanted it too badly but didn't want to get my hopes up by sharing it with everyone when I had no idea if the job would be mine. 

Then the call came. 

The job was offered to me. 

I was ecstatic. I was thrilled. This could finally be my opportunity to really find my footing, get a fresh start.
And then the question popped into my head. 

"Should I ask for more money?" 

I have only ever asked for more money with one job and that was because there were no benefits provided so it seemed like a fairly simple ask. I have never asked for more money due to my confidence in my skills. My lack of self-confidence has usually kept me from doing so. 

But I've read plenty of articles and seen studies about this. Men are much more likely to automatically ask for more money. Men are paid more than women in general. What is it that holds women back from asking the same for themselves? For me, it's been that self confidence. 

Thanks to the encouragement, advice and a pep talk from an amazing mentor, I understood that I only had one shot to ask for more money. One shot to advocate for myself. One shot to look out for my family and how I can provide for us.  

And so I did it. I called back and asked for more money. I even went a little higher, I figured if they were to come back and say yes, they'd offer me less than what I wanted. I was told that HR would need to discuss it the managers and they'd get back to me. 

I made this call right away in the morning. That whole day, I was on pins and needles, waiting for a call back. Nervous about what I had done. Wondering if I should have asked for less or maybe none at all? 

The call came around 4:45 that afternoon. I anxiously answered the call. And then I heard something I was not expecting. "We can do that." 

!!!!!!!

They were agreeing to give me what I asked for! The emotion that washed over me at that moment... wow. 

Not only was there a big relief of knowing how much I'll be able to support my family by myself, but there was this huge feeling of satisfaction and a self-confidence boost. Not only had I taken a chance to advocate for myself, I was shown that they believe enough in my skills and what I can bring to the company to give it to me. I can't explain the awesomeness of that feeling. 

For the first time in - who knows? forever maybe? - I was bursting with self-confidence. I was proud of myself. I felt respected as a professional. 

And it was over the next 12+ hours that I came to realize - why shouldn't I always feel like this? Why do I continue to doubt myself and my skills? Obviously I still have a lot to learn and I will make mistakes. But I shouldn't dwell on that, especially if it hasn't happened yet. We all make mistakes. But we should be confident in our mistakes, taking it as a learning opportunity. 

I got ready that next morning jamming out to the "Bad Moms" soundtrack which was probably the perfect playlist I needed. And here's where that page turn happened. I have the opportunity to go into this new job with a completely different attitude. I can walk in there confident. I can walk in knowing I'm valued. And because of that, I'll walk in there wanting and eager to do the best job I possibly can.

I wrote at the beginning of the year that 2017 was going to be the Year of Me. The Year of Liz. And while I plan on doing a recap at the end of the year to determine if I think it was a successful year of that or not, I think I've realized what my next step should be. And that next step should be to work on boosting my self-confidence. To take pride in myself and my work. 

I'm only starting to realize how much of a difference something like self-confidence can make. 


http://mindingherbusiness.co/ebook/






Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Who Am I?

I am 31, almost 32 years old. It's a weird age to be at. I wouldn't call myself old because that's probably insulting to everyone older than me and honestly, I don't feel (too) old. But I don't feel comfortable calling myself young. Young is having much less responsibilities in life. Young is your 20's. And yes, I realize I'm still very close to my 20's but a shift happens at 30. I wouldn't even call myself middle-aged because that makes me feel like my life is already half over and gosh I hope that's not true! 

I am (still fairly recently) divorced. This is also weird. Especially if you're the first or one of the first of your friends to get divorced. There's sometimes an awkwardness in conversations when everyone is talking about their SO. There's a huge learning curve on how to co-exist and co-parent with your ex. There's just sometimes a feeling of being a little outside the circle. This is something you of course never planned, never imagined happening to you and yet here you are. You're left mourning the life that you had planned. Mourning what no longer is. Sometimes terrified about what happens next. 

I am a mother. A single mother to a terrific little boy. I am blessed to be his mom. And while most of your friends have more than one kid and some are still having kids, there can be a feeling of... "missing out" when you look at your own small family of two. You wouldn't trade your little ball of energy for anything but you mourn the idea of him not having siblings right now. Even if, to be completely honest with yourself, you have no idea how you would handle more than one on your own anyway. 

I am also considered a "mother of a little one". Do you know the type? Is there a catchier term we could use? It's the type of mom that doesn't get to connect with her friends nearly enough. Your friendships get placed on the back-burner as all your attention goes into your kid(s). Phone calls get cut short because someone fell off the couch you told them not to be jumping on. Text messages go unanswered because someone was busy watching those silly YouTube videos - of other kids playing with toys - on your phone. You long for those mom dates and a chance to have a conversation with another adult but they happen not nearly enough. 

I am living in my parents' basement. That one's a little harder to say. Who wants to admit that at 31 years old? But I am. And it is financially impossible for me not to live with them. Looking around at everyone else your age (or younger), they have homes to call their own. But for you, it's only ever been a seemingly unreachable dream. You have to wonder what you're doing wrong. Why are you not financially more stable? Is it the divorce and supporting your family on one income? It is past spending mistakes you made when you were younger? Is it because you haven't pushed yourself more professionally even though you're working at a job you love and making a difference, but just doesn't pay great? Or is the economy? The student loan bills? The high costs of rent? Maybe all of the above. 

I am - thankfully - employed. I am working a job that I love. I am working with an amazing team. And we are working to make a difference in our community. But then you find yourself questioning it. How and where can I grow professionally from here? Wouldn't it be nice to have a job with more financial stability and benefits? Is this really what I'm meant to be doing with my life? What is it that I want to do with my life? What's next or is this it? Those are the questions that keep me up at night. 

I am dating. Kind of. Very casually. This is something I honestly never thought I'd be doing again but has also been surprisingly refreshing. Refreshing in the sense that for a couple of hours during some weeks, I can hang out with someone who doesn't know my entire backstory. Who doesn't know all the drama. Who I can just sit with and enjoy the company, talking about stupid things or unimportant things or just getting to know each other on a fairly basic level. It's definitely not easy dating as a single mom and obviously not my biggest priority right now. But for the time, I think I'll keep trying. 

I am obviously a lot more that just what is written above. And I could probably write a book about all the other things I am... sister, daughter, Christian, overwhelmed, liberal, exhausted, reader, friend, blessed... the list goes on.

But it is those seven statements from above that I've been thinking about the most lately. These are the statements, when putting them all together, I struggle with my identity. With asking myself who am I? Where is my place in this world? Where do I fit in? I feel alone in my unique position. Maybe I'm looking for others in my position. Maybe I just need to let it go. 

What are your biggest "I am..." statements right now? Where is your place in the world? If you're a not-old-or-young-or-middle-aged recent divorcee, single mom of a little one, dating, employed but maybe searching for more, and living in your parents' basement, let me know. I'd love to share some stories. 


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Jacob's Anecdotes

Jacob is at one of the most precious stages right now. His imagination and creative play is growing so quickly and it is one of the most amazing things to watch and be a part of. This kid is funny, quick, witty, and just downright awesome. 

I've decided to record some of his more better anecdotes here on the blog. Not necessarily because they'll be that funny to anyone reading it (you always have to be there!), but so that we have these posts to help us jog those memories down the road. So here are just a few of Jacob's recent anecdotes.... 

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After eating a really good dinner, Jacob announces to the table. "I'm full. My tummy said I'm full. I'm done. My tummy said I'm done." He starts to push his chair away from the table to get down. He spots the container of chocolates on the island counter. He pauses. You can see the light bulb turn on... "My tummy said it wants dessert. I want dessert please." 

****

We went to a local event where kids go get in and explore different types of vehicles - firetruck, school bus, dump truck, etc. Jacob's favorite was the school bus but he also enjoyed going into the dump truck, mostly because it was the one vehicle that you could press the horn. Right towards the end of the event, Jacob honked the horn and must of startled or at least gotten the attention of the two police officers that there next to their squad car right in front of the dump truck. Upon seeing this, Jacob yells out "I'm sorry!! It was an accident! A silly accident! I'm sorry to scare you!" The police officers couldn't even hear him, but it was adorable. 

****

Jacob is still in a cuddling phase and to be honest, I'm trying to enjoy it the most I can. But some nights, when it's past his bedtime and he won't settle down, I try hard to keep him in his own bed instead of cuddling "on the big bed" as Jacob calls my bed. One night not too long ago, I managed to get Jacob down in his own bed without too much of a fight. I went to my own room and started to catch up on a TV show. All of a sudden, Jacob runs into the room and yells "SURPRISE!" catching me completely off guard and scaring the crap out of me! (I might scare a little easily...) After my heart rate slowed down I asked Jacob what he was doing? Jacob said, "I was thinking about cuddling you." Aw. Heart melted. Jacob got to cuddle that night. 

The best part about this story is it isn't the first time something like this has happened. Jacob knows I scare easily. He will stay as quiet as he can, opening his bedroom door and even tiptoeing until he gets to my room. One night he tiptoed his way in all the way to the end of the bed when I suddenly saw movement! Another night he quietly came up to the bed and said "peek-a-boo!" This kid... 

****

While waiting for our food to come at a restaurant one night, Jacob kept asking me "What should we do?" Finally I suggested that he tell me a story. He proceeded to tell me three or four very good (and tiny) stories! They all had a similar theme... Mommy walking down the street and is suddenly being chased by a _______ (big squid, big t-rex, big sharp tooth dinosaur....). And each story ended with a 'the end'. It was quite adorable and I was impressed by his story telling skills. When his daddy came back from the bathroom, I told Jacob, "tell your daddy a story like you told me." He continued to tell his daddy a story about a daddy walking down the street when suddenly big Bowser appeared! After that story finished, his daddy asked for another story. Jacob sat for a moment and then said... "You give me money first!" Where on earth he came up with this? I have no idea. But he got paid! Six coins for six more stories! And oh what stories they were! Jacob was very excited to get home and put his well earned money in his piggy bank! 

Monday, August 14, 2017

A new look

"The only thing constant in life is change"


We've all heard this quote. It's the one thing we all know is true. And so with recent life changes and trying to determine my place in this world, I thought the blog could use an update. 

I still plan on using this to update family and friends about the things that are going on in our lives. I love going back and reading old blog posts that help me remember our experiences or fun things we've done. 

But I also plan to use this blog as an outlet for some of my thoughts about life - my personal struggles and experiences. What I see and think and feel. 

I decided to go back to the theme of Sand Dunes. I've written about sand dunes before. It's something that really resonates with me. When I think back to my experience of climbing an actual sand dune, it really summarizes what life feels like so much of the time. At least for me. Below is an excerpt from a previous blog post, with some edits. 

During May Term my sophomore year, I traveled to Africa and spent three weeks on a safari in Namibia and South Africa. One morning, when we were still in Namibia, we woke up extra early - when it was still dark out. Then we drove a little ways to this huge sand dune. The dune was about a mile high. Most of the sand dunes are off limits but this one is open to the public and you can climb to the top. So we started the mile high hike on the sand dune. I don't know if any of you have every tried to climb a giant pile of sand, but let me tell you. It is not the easiest thing to do. For every step you take, you go back a little because there is nothing firm to find your footing on. I got about half way up and I was exhausted. I decided that I wasn't going to make it any higher up and was going to wait where I had stopped. After about 5 minutes, with more and more people passing me on their way up to the top, I changed my mind. I worked my way up the rest of the sand dune and finally made it to the very top. I remember being so proud of myself for deciding to push myself and make the rest of the climb. And once I was up there, the reward was amazing. We all sat down and waited. We waited and watched. We watched the most spectacular sunrise come up over the desert and other sand dunes. To this day, it is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. We literally watched as the sun made it's light fall across the desert. I wish I could describe what it was like, but it was simply too amazing. One of God's greatest creation. It was completely worth every hard and exhausting step of the climb up. Would the sunrise would have been just as beautiful from halfway up the sand dune? Probably. But would I have enjoyed the sight more? I'm not sure. Knowing how hard I had to work to make it to the top made the pay off that much more amazing. 

I hope that you'll continue to join me on this journey of life. Let's keep climbing.