Month: August 2014

The Makings of An A-Venture And What I Learned Along The Way

It was October. I had just crawled into bed, when, it was as if my soul whispered, change is coming.

Generally speaking, I’m good with change. I like new and different, discovery and challenge. So, for the next few months, I contemplated and pondered and scenario-played and prayed. And there was one thought that I just couldn’t shake: I want to go home.

I played and replayed scenario after scenario. I talked to different companies in different cities about opportunity after opportunity. I played forward what staying would look like, what leaving could mean. I put every extreme option on the table and played each one forward as far as I could envision. I had gut-wrenchingly hard conversations with people who love me enough to speak truth into my life. I admitted fear and frustration and clung on to hope for something amazing. And after five months, five job options that just weren’t right for one reason or the other, I had come to the end of the road.

And yet this nagging urge to sell my house had turned into the only sure step I knew to take.

And so I did. And it was that one bold step that turned into the catalyst for one of the craziest adventures I’ve been on yet. (If you haven’t read about it yet and want to, read it here.)

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There were some desperate days. There were some rock-me-to-my-core conversations. There were exhilarating moments in preparing for a fresh-start ahead. But throughout the entire process, I learned a few things from wise, loving people and from the adventure itself.

  1. You don’t have to feel courageous to be courageous.
  2. Sometimes you don’t get to know the whole plan before you’re required to take the first step. Tip toe if you have to, but take it.
  3. When God has something to teach, reveal or show you, He will stop at nothing. (Bonus tip: It’s probably in your best interest to listen.)
  4. The journey is just as valuable as the destination.
  5. It’s worth taking time to swim in your muck. Unless you deal with it, the muck goes with you wherever you go.
  6. You can only be loved to the extent that you’re known. Be real, be honest and let people who love you, know the real you.
  7. Life is complex and tough and filled with unexpected twists and turns. Having grace for yourself and the people in your world goes a long way.
  8. Never settle. Dream big dreams and then go after them. Once they come true, take a minute to stand in wonder and then do it all over again.

Since settling in, I’ve been feeling very Midwestern and loving every minute of it. I’ve made beef stew in the crock pot. I’ve walked barefoot as often as possible through the grass. I made tater tot hot dish and homemade popcorn and chocolate chip cookies. I think I’ve made tater tot hot dish (not casserole, because in the Midwest, we make hot dishes) once in my life. I can’t remember the last time I made beef stew. And, while Mama Sheila makes the best chocolate chip cookies, mine will do when hers are miles away.

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I’ve appreciated parking lots and roadway systems that make sense to me. I’ve slept with the windows open and been awakened in the middle of the night from a crack of thunder from a good Midwestern summer thunderstorm. I’ve breathed deeper. I’ve paused at the sunsets and the wide open spaces.

So, with a big exhale, it’s good to say: I’m home.

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Our A-Venture

A new chapter. A fresh start. A change of scenery. A getting out of the boat moment. It was all of those, I suppose, mixed in with a new challenge and the hope of new friends to meet and new experiences to be had.photo 4 (2)

We summed it up by calling it “Our A-venture.” (The four-year old may have had something to do with that.)

It all started with an undeniable urge to sell my house. For about a month, most of the conversations went like this:

Any given friend: You’re going to sell your house and you have no idea what you’re going to do?

Me: Yes.

I had no idea where I was going to go or really, what I was going to do. I knocked on many doors and the only answer I kept coming to was: sell your house.

So I did.

“If you don’t get any showings within two weeks, we’ll need to talk about the price,” my realtor said as he pounded the For Sale sign in my yard.

48 hours, 16 showings and 3 offers later, I had a signed contract.

I got up to go to bed and fell to my knees, almost as if reality itself knocked me down. I had just sold my house out from under me with no earthly idea of what I was going to do next.

Through sobbing tears, “God,” I prayed. “I have no idea what I’ve just done. I know that I know that I know that I was supposed to do that. I don’t need to know the plan, but can you at least show me the next step?”

I had 8 weeks until closing. For the next two, I had no answer. No direction. No plan. And complete peace.

I have no idea how. Well, I do know how, but it was weird having peace like that through such uncertainty. I was assuring my concerned friends that it was going to be okay. And then at night, in the quiet, I’d wonder if it really was going to be okay. But I slept. I prayed. I kept on with what needed to get done.

And then, two weeks later, I got a call from a company asking if I’d fly in for an interview. I flew in on a Thursday, interviewed Friday and was offered the job on Saturday. I accepted on Monday and resigned the same day.

When it’s right, it’s right. When it’s meant to be, there is no uncertainty. Will it be perfect? No. Easy? Not necessarily. But worth it? For sure.

A month later, after many good-byes, with my four-year old passenger tucked between Dora books, a LeapPad and plenty of snacks in the backseat, we left “home,” for a new one. We left what had become familiar for the unknown. We left life as we knew it for life as we could only imagine.

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From airplanes to airports, selling items and buying them, the east coast to the west and a few international experiences in between, I’ve been fortunate to meet some pretty amazing people through some pretty random circumstances. And I wouldn’t change my wildly diverse bouquet of friends and people in the ring with me for the world.

So, when 19 hours between destinations meant stops in four cities, it was a perfect opportunity to see some of those friends along the way. I’m too familiar with the funny way God works to call it a coincidence that there were dear friends mapped out at just the locations we needed to stop each night.

We experienced kindness and hospitality like I’ve never quite experienced before. Vanilla lattes at the Soule Café, Wet and Wild Waterpark fun. Homemade breakfast and a car inspection before heading across Tennessee. Sight-seeing in St. Louis. And the best Midwest welcome, complete with a bonfire and roasted marshmallows to welcome us “home.”

There was coffee-making and wine-drinking. There was laughter and tears. There were hugs. Lots and lots of really good hugs. There were late-nights of catching up and early mornings.

And there were texts and phone calls and emails of encouragement and support.

 

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Kindness, simple kindness, can just make a heart explode with gratitude. And friends, real, there-for-ya, friends, are not only the best, but necessary and needed to get through this life.

And so, “Our A-venture” begins…or maybe, it just continues.

Because after 19 hours of driving, I realized, our lives are meant to be adventures, I think. When we stop limiting ourselves merely because of a fear of failing. When we stop choosing fear disguised as practicality. When we are open to risk and discovery. When we try. When we take one brave step, that’s where life is lived, at least for me anyway.

Safe seems comfortable, I get it. But rather than asking what happens if I try? What about asking what happens if I don’t?

Here’s to taking one brave step with knees knocking. Here’s to the A-venture!