Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween 2014

I guess since I haven't blogged in a while, I'll take the opportunity to do so today and show off our Halloween costumes!

This is the 3rd Halloween that Will and I have been together for, but we've never dressed up! That in and of itself is horrific! I LOVE Halloween and have ever since I was a kid! There is just something about actually being able to dress as someone else for a day, oh and candy of course! The past couple of years we haven't dressed up because the Halloween party that my college friends throw is always the Saturday before Halloween which has conflicted with Will's birthday or a home football game, so we weren't able to go and therefore no real need for a costume. Well this year was different, Will could have cared-less about turning 32 (we did celebrate the day of) and there was an away game so off we headed to Rock Hill for the 8th annual Halloween party at my best friend's house!

Back up for a second. When we realized we could go we started to brain storm costume ideas. Will has a nickname at work, "TBird," which is play-on word to his last name. So I said why don't we be Danny and Sandy from Grease and have "TBirds" on the back of your jacket. He happily obliged. I stopped off at the fabric store on my way home from work on September 30th and bought 2 yards of hot pink felt and some wide elastic. Got home, all excited to sew it and realized my stupid machine was broken. Borrowed a machine in the next couple of days and sewed that sucker together! I had a friend put the poodle on and Voila! I had a poodle skirt! Will is more proud of the skirt than I am. He keeps telling everyone I made it. Makes me feel special! :)

Here are a few pictures from the party!
#wegotogether

college girlfriends!
Since we were already equipped with costumes, we decided to participate in our church's trunk or treat event! We had a blast putting everything together. Next year we might make a juke box! Here are a few pictures from Wednesday night!


















Will's jacket came from Party City and then he made a Vinyl sticker with the logo and put it on! Him and two of his friends have a sticker business so that made it easy! It turned out great! His "Chuck Taylors" were a Walmart find! I purchased my shoes from Payless.com, I HAD to have them! I will admit Pinterest played a major role in my costume! I made the skirt from this tutorial, and the collar was made from this pattern. I bought the records at an estate sale and I purchased the jukebox door decoration from ebay. The table cloths and balloons were from the good ole Dollar Tree. We got so many compliments from the parents at trunk or treat, but of course the little kids didn't quite get it! This was a great event that brought tons of people from our community to our church and was a great outreach! We will definitely participate next year, with the same theme! I think we're going to use these costumes for several more years to come! :) Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

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Friday, August 15, 2014

Finding the New Normal

I realize it's been a hot minute since I posted. But lately there have been a few changes and I felt it important to sit down, reflect and write.

If you know me at all you know I'm not a fan of change. However, you can't continue through life without change. In my life I've gone through several changes that made such an impact on who I am. Those would include moving when I was 9 to a new town and school, graduating high school and moving to college, and in that same time frame my parents selling the house I grew up in and moving to a new house. I also remember graduating college, moving home, then moving into my own home. In fact, I just "celebrated" living in my house for 5 years this past July. I was thinking about it, I've lived in my current house longer than I've lived anywhere in the past 10 years. #crazy

Other changes that have made an impact are career changes. Normally, I'm the one that leaves and that creates the change for myself. However, now the shoe is on the other foot. Since May, four people that I was close to at work have moved on to other jobs. Totally by their choice, which is great for them! But crumby for me! It made me think that everyday you come to work and you think "oh it'll just be a normal day," and then one day you realize that it's not the same anymore. You won't take a 15minute break to walk to someone's office to have a conversation and laugh about pointless things, because that person has moved to California. Or you won't sit in your managers office and discuss work items only to have the conversation divert to clothes or men. So you have to find a "new normal." Finding that new normal is difficult. I've only been in my current position for about a year and 1/2, and so the people that have left are people that have been here before me, therefore I've never known it to be "different." Well now it's different.

I'm excited to see who is hired to replace my manager, although I don't think you ever replace her. She was truly a mentor to me. I had finally met someone in my professional life that not only cared about my success but also cared about me as a person and friend. I was able to take on a few of her responsibilities which I have come to love and I hope I get to keep them even when the position is filled. So, change has actually brought on a learning opportunity. #winwin

Another change that always seems imminent is relationship changes. I have two close girlfriends I still keep in touch with from high school. Both are married, however, one has 2 children now and lives across the country. The friendship dynamic is completely different. Normally, I would say that we are able to pick up right where we left off the last time we were together. But this most recent visit she had here, I can't say that. It doesn't feel like we are strangers, it just doesn't feel like we have anything in common. Again, not a good change, but a necessary evil of the evolution of time.

I guess my point is that I understand and accept that change is important, however, I never said I had to like it. Some changes are good and bring new opportunities, experiences and relationships. These changes have effected me indirectly and I'm having to find my "new normal." I can only pray that when a change impacts me personally that God creates in me feeling of security and reassurance that all change is part of his plan and he will reveal his true purpose in due time.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Soap Box// Contemporary Worship

{Disclaimer: I know normally I don't discuss to many hot topics on my blog, I really do try to keep it light and happy. After all nobody likes a "Debbie-Downer." I also never talk about money, politics or religion. Today, I'm breaking that rule. Sadly, I don't use my blog as a format to share my faith, but I'm also not someone who feels the need to overwhelm others who might not believe the same things I do, with my Christian perspective. However, this post is likely to include a few bible verses and my opinion on modern worship, I totally understand if you don't agree and I'm not here to offend.} 

Over the last few months my mostly traditional southern baptist church has been in transition mode, to a more modern, contemporary style of worship. This has occurred for many reasons including logistics, size of the church, members of the church, leadership, and overall the direction that worship is going in this day and age. I understand that every generation probably endured some type of change in worship style within their lifetime in church. I would be naive to think that worship should be the same it was in the early 1900s. I'm sure the first church to have an orchestra accompany their choir got a few push backs from the elders in the church. I can hear those church ladies now sitting in those hot sticky pews, fanning themselves with the bulletin with their big hats saying, "remember when we just had a few choir members and the organ?"

Well, now I'm that little old lady sans hat. Except I'm not old. I'm in the demographic (between age 10 and age 50) that SHOULD like contemporary worship. The upbeat songs with lyrics projected on the screen, the keyboard, the 4 necessary guitar players, the variety of vocalists and let's not forget the drummer. However, I just can't stand it. Honestly, I've never been a fan of singing the same song that has 7 verses, 11 times. (We call the 7Elevens) And that is an exaggeration of sorts, but, sometimes the songs seem to go on forever. In fact our "new service" has been extended by 15 minutes, just so we can get all the verses in.

I'm really trying not to be critical, because I know this is how a lot of people worship. However, I am distracted by so much during the service, like, how the worship leaders recite scripture during a song, or how they raise their hands to the ceiling, and how informally dressed they are. None of that actually matters when it comes to worshiping Christ. You can worship Christ whenever, wherever you are, but it should be reverent no matter what. I feel that a lot of the actions are done because the worship leaders want everyone to think they are so worshipful and it just has a feeling of "look at me, look at me." While I could totally be wrong, it makes me uncomfortable and embarrassed for them. There are churches (in our area) where this is solely the only style of worship they participate in. I guess it's hard for me to understand why a traditional church with a steeple is trying to compete with the hard-ware store converted to a church. There needs to be a balance. I had chosen not to participate in contemporary style worship, which is why I was still attending my traditional style church. Now, I have no option.

Finally, I grew up where we sang "contemporary songs," not hymns, at summer church camp or during discipleship weekends, or on church trips. They were part of the experience and helped to create the spiritual high that we all got while on the trip so that when we got home our experiences would be reflected and we could reach others for Christ. Those songs served a purpose there, then every Sunday we would sing reverent hymns that our grand-mamas had sang to us since we were babies. Now that those contemporary songs are the norm, and the praise band is the norm, and the choir and orchestra are in the backdrop and the piano and organ are on the sidelines, the hymns are barely existent in their traditional form. It all feels like such a production. Sometimes less is more. I will miss the days of picking up the hymn book and singing one of the greats. Hymns can transform you mentally and spiritually to a place that I can't seem to get to through modern songs.

I know the devil is attempting to have a foothold on my heart during this transition. All my concerns, my reservations, my distractions, my negative opinions and attitude are all from him. I know that the Lord doesn't care how we worship Him as long as we do. Change is hard for me in regards to anything, and this is no different. I am continuing to pray about the situation and that everything will work out for His glory.

All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name. For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God. 
Psalm 86:9-10

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

5 People in My City

Hello lovelies... it's been a few weeks, er months. I apologize. Clearly not sticking to my resolution of blogging on the reg. Ooops! I have stuck to the one about cleaning out/decluttering my house! So there's that! :)

Anyways, I follow Ashley over at Love and Wrinkles and she posted this cute little post about 5 types of people you would meet in her town in South Dakota. I've never even known someone in South Dakota, but because of her post I feel like I've been there. So it got me thinking about Columbia and thought I would do the same!



 The College Student

I'm lucky enough to live in a city where there is a major university. Though I did not attend the University of South Carolina, it gives the city the feel of a college town. On any given day you can find students around town or on the Horseshoe in their leggings worn as pants, or in running shorts with Ugg boots, complete with messy buns on the top of their heads. The university also provides the city with collegiate sports entertainment. Fall is for football and spring is for baseball.  

There is also a section of town where mostly college students hang out called 5 Points. It's an eclectic part of town with neat shops, small pubs and restaurants and a street named after Darius Rucker, lead singer of Hootie and the Blowfish, who got their start right in the heart of the district.

The Young Professional
 

There are quite a few large companies and industries in the area and since it is a college town, many of the students stay in the area for employment. However, they move their social lives a couple miles away to an area of town called, The Vista. Young professionals as well as professionals in general migrate to this area of town during happy hour as well as on the weekends for fine dining and entertainment. It's a great place to meet up with friends after an event at our arena!
 
 Politicians

Columbia is the Capital City, and the state house is located smack in the middle of downtown. When legislature is in session it is not uncommon to see members of the house and senate around town. Not to mention the protesters, rally's, etc. that go on on the state house grounds. If you recall SC is kinda famous for it's politicians, ie. Strom Thurmond and Joe Wilson.

The Socialites
You can find this group socializing downtown in Vista, but you will find them shopping on Devine Street. A trendy boutique district. If you want high-end specialty shops, this is the place to be and be seen in your Lilly Pulitzer, or seersucker. They are all locally owned businesses so while the prices are a bit higher, there is something about saying, "Oh I got this at 'Just the Thing' on Devine Street."

Lake Lovers


Just outside of the city is the "jewel of SC," Lake Murray. She is beautiful. I have the pleasure of seeing her everyday on my commute to and from work. I am lucky enough to have grown up on her shores and enjoyed many a summer evening on my parents boat. The lake actually spans several counties. On a beautiful day you can find many people walking on the dam, and in the late summer you can watch the Purple Martins swarm over Bomb Island.



 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

New Years Resolutions...

...can start anytime right?? Who says they have to start on Jan. 1? Oh wait. Nevermind. Well Jan. 1 was on a Wednesday, logically you can't start something new in the middle of the week! So you start on Monday, Jan. 6, unless you wake up with a migraine from hell and it's freezing cold. So then you start on Tuesday, oh wait, nope you can't because it never gets above 30 degrees all day, your pipes freeze so you have no hot water for half the day, and your office has no power for the majority of the day. So that brings you back to Wednesday and again you can't start something new in the middle of the week, SO I'll start new years resolutions on Monday, Jan. 13th... although it's the 13th. Not a very lucky number! ;)

Oh who am I kidding, other than myself! I guess I'll start them this weekend and gradually ease into them full force. I was planning on posting about my resolutions earlier this month or even before Dec. 31, but that didn't happen because I LOST the piece of paper I wrote them on! Fantastic. So from what I can remember these are my 2014 most likely to not achieve resolutions/goals.

  • Lose weight. Well duh. This is an annual goal. I even tried the Whole30 diet in November to kick start my resolution. Eh.. not so much. I did learn a lot during that 30 days, but I think I will go with a diet that is a little less extreme. I mean, cheese isn't all bad for you. Lean proteins, veggies, fruits, minimal amounts of dairy and no sugar sounds good to me. My 10 year high school reunion is in August, so I have a motivator. I CAN. NOT. go the way I am right now... so I best be hitting the gym come Monday!
  • Keep a cleaner house. Once upon a time I thought of myself as an organized person, now not so much. Somewhere along the way laziness began to creep in. I let mail pile up on the counter, I let laundry linger for days in baskets, my closet is in a constant state of explosion, and there is normally clutter from the front door to the back. I could NEVER have friends just stop by without shoving things here, there and yonder. Well, in 2014 I resolve to throw stuff away, clean junk out, donate, and overall have a "clean sweep" and keep a constant smell of PineSol. I have too much stuff and I don't even use it all. I am taking on a minimalist mind. Less is More. #purge
  • Dive into Devotion. In previous years I haven't been one to do much of a daily bible study. I know I deserve a slap on the wrist for that, but I felt like I was "getting enough" from worship and Sunday School. WRONG. I was given "Calling Jesus" last year around my birthday/graduation and I didn't want to start it in the middle of the year. (I'm a classic procrastinator.) So I am going to read that daily as well as a devotion book that is distributed monthly in our Sunday School class. Also, we are getting more involved in our Sunday school class and look forward to opportunities for us to be involved in that Christian community.
  • Be more organized. At home and at work. I need to be more diligent with keeping up with bills/finances and important adult (tax) information. For example in 2013 I let my car insurance lapse because I'm an idiot. That won't happen again because I have insurance drafted now, but I can not afford another costly blunder such as that. At work I need to do a better job of organizing electronic files, emails and anything I do with our accounting department. Make copies, copies, copies!
  • Read. Traditionally I am not a reader. In 2013 I read a lot for graduate school, but had NO time for pleasure reading. This year I want to read a book a month, but that is setting a really high goal, so I'm going to go with 6 books for the year. 3 of which can be chick-lit, but 3 must be non-fiction/self-help/or on a subject of which I am interested. I need to relocate my library card.
  • Cook. This kind of goes along with the first one, to lose weight, but I have GOT to stop eating out so much and just grabbing something quick after work. For Christmas I got an electric fry pan, two new cooking pans, an electric veggie chopper and a potato masher. Now I just need to get to cooking some veggies and meat! Less eating out, more eating in. We even have a grill, so really beyond laziness I have no excuse. 
  • Blog more. Let's face it sometimes I'm not a regular around these parts. I really want to be a better blogger, ie. figure out some HTML stuff/improve my writing abilities. I really would like to acquire a few more readers. But I promise to make more appearances on here.
  •  Professional goal: I am presenting a webinar in March with my manager on "Employability Skills." I want to also write an article on that topic for our magazine and possibly present an ed session on it at a regional conference in the fall. Lofty goal, but on a topic that is becoming more relevant as more millennials enter the work force.
I'm sure there are more items I could add to this list.. and maybe I will once I find that stupid piece of paper I originally wrote them on. At least blogging the list will hold me accountable, or at least it should! Stay lovely...

Friday, January 3, 2014

Reflection

{WARNING: this post is extremely long. If you make it to the end, I commend you!}


I felt that after a year I owed it to myself to write about it [2013]. It had its highs and its lows and it is certainly a year I am never going to forget, but it is one that I'm ready to close the books on.

I had such high hopes for 2013, after all, 13 was one of my favorite numbers. But I have also come to learn that throughout my life even years tend to be better than odd. Maybe because I was born on an even year..I don't know. That probably has nothing to do with it, and it's weird that I think this much about numbers especially since Math isn't a strong point for me!

I had some definitive goals for 2013: lose weight (well this is every year), finish graduate school, no drama and hopefully get engaged. I realize I had no control over that last one there, but a girl can dream right? Well from the last week of December 2012 until now has been a roller coaster of emotions, struggles and good times.

A year ago today, January 3rd, 2013, my life changed unexpectedly. It was a rainy cold morning. It was the first day that most of my co-workers returned from the holiday break. I had been there all but Christmas Eve/Day and New Years Day. I had turned over a new leaf for the new year to let a lot of petty work drama go between myself and my manager. However, that morning she came to my cubicle and escorted me down to HR. I knew what was happening, but it was like an out of body experience. Immediately I had a surge of emotions: anger, shame, guilt, sadness, relief, embarrassment, and failure.

It seemed to me that 2013 just didn't get started on the right foot. While I wasn't happy there, it was still a devastating blow. I wanted to leave there on my own terms, not theirs. My plan was to stay there until my reimbursement for graduate school was paid for and then I would move on. As always, my plans are nothing compared to God's plan. I left work that day at approx. 10:30am, and immediately went to church to talk to someone, our music minister was the only one in the office I felt comfortable talking to. After I left there I called my best friend, then I called my Sunday school teacher who helped me get to the unemployment office and think about my next steps.

I cried most of the afternoon, I wanted to throw up. I slept. I stayed in a hermit like state until about 6pm. When Will got home he knew how emotional the entire situation was. He held me, let me cry, let me get mad, etc. and then he said "this is for the better, you just don't realize it yet." He allowed me to spend the next day and the weekend in my little pity party and then Monday I had to hit the ground running. I applied to so many jobs, many of which I knew weren't right for me, but I was in a world of panic trying to figure out how I was going to make ends meet.
 
It occurred to me that if I wanted to work in event planning I would need to switch my mindset from corporate to non-profit because non-profits hold events. I Googled SC Non-profit jobs and an entire website popped up with dozens of non-profits hiring. I applied for a few, and one in particular stood out to me as I had heard of it when I was on my college programming board at Winthrop. I had no idea it was located here, in my home town. I immediately felt drawn to it. About 2 days later I was driving my dog to the vet for her annual appointment and my phone rang. The HR director had invited me to a phone interview on Friday at 1:30. I thanked her and was ecstatic! After the phone interview they invited me to the office for a face to face interview the following Wednesday! When I arrived they informed me that it was between me and another individual. No pressure! I knew I nailed the interview though. I've never been more sure about anything! They told me they would have a decision made by Friday. Ok, a two day wait. Well... I never heard anything. So all weekend I wondered why they hadn't called, I assumed I didn't get it and they didn't want to ruin my weekend by telling me I didn't get the position. Side note: I have no patience ever. God was surely teaching me that virtue. This was simply not a normal weekend, Monday was MLK day and so they were out of the office. Finally on Tuesday January 22 around lunch time I got the call I had been waiting for. I was actually at lunch eating a Firehouse Sub with Will. It was so loud at the restaurant that I had to step outside in the brisk January air and then the words I'd been waiting for... "we'd like to offer you the position!" I could have screamed at the top of my lungs in excitement, but all I could manage to do was cry. I had cold wet tears running down my smiling face.
This job has made my year. I love what I do everyday. I am gaining so much experience in event planning. I love having projects that I own and create without others making decisions for me. Working in higher education has given me the opportunity to meet and network with so many, and I can tell this job is just a stepping stone to something even greater. It is laying a solid foundation and I am taking in every opportunity to learn. I am so thankful for this job. Although I could not see God's on January 3rd, he knew that in just 19 days my life would be on a much better track. I would be a happier person and on my way to making a better life for myself. God's plan is always perfect.

A year later I am reflecting on that very gray day in my life and recognizing the valley I had gotten myself into.  Earlier in December, I wrote a letter to my previous manager. Below is the letter:



I know you probably don’t even want to hear from me, but I’ve done a great deal of thinking since the last time I saw you on January 3, 2013. I was so infuriated at you and the situation on that day that I wasn’t even thinking clearly. I still know what I did and what I didn’t do and I still feel that it was the at companies disadvantage to lose me as an employee. That day was so upsetting and detrimental to my self-esteem, but what I didn’t realize at the time was that in just three short weeks later it would be the best thing to ever happen to me, and I feel like I need to thank you for that.
            For the six months preceding that day I had been angry, upset, worrisome, hurt, let down, and mostly depressed. When I joined the company in 2010 I couldn’t have been happier. It was a great place to work and HR had filled my head with so many opportunities for advancement. That never happened nor did it look like it was anywhere on the horizon. I thought that obtaining my master’s degree would put me in a better position for some new experiences and growth; however, after I was enrolled it seemed that you were almost jealous of my opportunities. Pretty much after that I knew you were not going to help me advance and grow, so I gave up trying to impress you. Reflecting I realize that I do need to apologize for my behavior, my attitude and a few things I said those last six months, but I was acting in retaliation for how you were making me feel, but I am sincerely sorry.
            About two weeks into my unemployment I applied for a position at a non-profit, three days later interviewed, and five days later was offered the position and started two days after that. It was truly proof that all things work for God’s glory. He knew that I was beyond miserable in my position and that I wouldn’t leave unless forced. So while on January 3rd I couldn’t see his plan, I look back and can see just how God was at work.
            Thank you. If you hadn’t forced me to leave I would have missed out on this amazing position I now hold. I work independently, my manager never pressures me, demeans me or micromanages me. I am planning events for a national association in higher education where I am able to network with members who are involved in university programming as well as talent agents across the country. I learn something new every day, I am growing as an event coordinator, and my manager does everything she can to encourage professional development. 
Something else this position has given me is the opportunity to travel; I’ve been to Nashville, Texas, and Oklahoma this year and in February I will be going to Boston.
            I realize now that the corporate world was never for me. I’m not a conformist, I’m an individual and this organization recognizes that and embraces it. While I wish I had left on my own terms, I truly thank you for forcing me out of a less than ideal situation that I didn’t have the courage to take the steps myself to get out of. I am a completely different person! Happier, more energetic, positive, and inspired every day to work hard to achieve my next set of goals.
            Finally, I hope you are happy and doing well. I hope you come to work every day and realize that doing something you love is fulfilling, because now I do. I know from personal experience that it is a waste to come to a job every day for years that you don’t enjoy, it not only makes you feel awful but it makes others around you miserable. I wrote you so I could move on from the situation and not hold in my feelings any longer. So again, thank you for dramatically changing my life, when all was said and done, it was for the better. 

 I never mailed it & never will. However, writing the letter was a perfect way to finally let the emotions of that situation go. I know I will eventually unexpectedly run into her, and that will be an awkward moment, but I will choose to be the bigger person and look past it all. 

As I am nearing my "workiversary" I look forward to all 2014 has in store for me here. I was very fortunate to find a job so quickly and spend most of 2013 here. It's so great to look back and see where I was a year ago and realize that God's plan is sovereign. It reminds me that He has His hand on every aspect of my life and His plan is so mighty compared to mine. My faith in Him will guide and direct me in every step. Psalm 37:4