Confessions: A New Chapter

Hello?

Is anyone still following this little blog?

Real talk….This year has thrown me for a loop (side note: I feel like I have said this in almost all of the posts I’ve published in the last two years). There have been many challenges and what has felt like one very long, hard season. I haven’t had the motivation or the courage to write about it in this space–or at all really–and talking about anything else just didn’t feel authentic… so, we had silence.

I’m still working through some things but I am finally feeling like it’s time to post a life update. So, here we are.

One of the most exciting changes is that Farmer Ben and I made a big move! As of November 1, we now live in Rochester, NY! (Also-never imagined that I would live in Rochester!)

How did this happen?

The short-handed version is that I was dealing with recurring frustration and a lot of unknowns,  and after what felt like repeating the same conversation numerous times, Ben encouraged me to talk to someone about it…so I reached out to a friend of mine for some advice and he casually mentioned that his home church may be looking for another staff person. I didn’t take this seriously but I ended up speaking to his boss a few days later and before I knew it, Ben and I were driving to Rochester that weekend to meet him and see the church. It happened so quickly that I had to call my boss and explain the situation to see if I could even go…which still cracks me up when I think about it.

The longer version is that after a long period of remaining and trusting God in the midst of said frustration and unknowns, something shifted. Sitting in church one Sunday and not knowing what our next steps were, He finally told me it was time to move on. I say with all seriousness that God made it very clear that our time in that church was coming to an end…and two days later, we were making plans to go to Rochester for an interview.

“It’s just a conversation.” That’s what we kept telling ourselves. This made it seem less intimidating. And less real.

Now, this is a running joke because, well… we just moved to Rochester because of said conversation!

A week after that first phone call, I accepted the offer but because of some other circumstances, Ben and I decided to wait until the end of October to make the move.

So, on November 1, 2017, Farmer Ben and I drove from Plattsburgh to Rochester to begin a new chapter. I am now the Family Life Pastor at a church here. I am on the hunt for a side gig. Ben started working last week.

The church is very different than where we came from so Ben and I are figuring out how we fit into this new church family, along with navigating a new city and this huge change in our lives. But we are full of hope for our future here!

Not gonna lie, I am not loving the free time. I am not good at down-time. But I have to admit, I have been out straight for the last two and a half years and I know that God wants me to slow down and take a breath as I step into a new role…So I am trying to be intentional.

There is a lot from the last three years that I am still processing and grieving. One of the main things is Duane’s death and the aftermath. I’ve also been especially challenged in my calling this year and what that looks like as a female pastor. I’m using this time to work through these things.

That being said, the last couple of weeks have been a time of restoration and refreshment for us and while we still have a long way to go, I truly believe that God has a plan for us here and we are so hopeful for what He has in store! There has been overwhelming confirmation that we made the right choice…when I stop and think about it, it almost takes my breath away.

We have been so blessed by the kindness we’ve seen in our first days here as we settle into our new normal. I am more excited about ministry than I have been in a long time and Ben is dreaming about what his next steps are.

So … that’s where we are right now. Joyful, expectant and loved.

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Let’s catch up! What are you doing/working on these days?

What are you excited about? 

 

 

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Life Update: March & April

Hi Friends! It’s been a while since we chatted, so I figured I should update you on what’s happening behind the blog! Prepare for a ramble! (Note: I actually started writing this post on March 17… and then again on April 2. Oops). 

The meeting that I had at the beginning of March went well… it was actually my interview for my district minister’s license. So, starting in April, you can officially call me Pastor! After getting my district license, I’ll have so many years to complete my classes and work as a pastor until I move toward ordination. It’s so crazy to think about how I ended up here. If you had told me even two years ago that I would be taking this path, the path of full-time ministry,  I probably would have laughed in your face.

Speaking of which, I cannot believe that I have been at my job for a year (it was a year on March 18). If I am being completely honest, this is definitely the most difficult job I have ever had, but I know that it is exactly where I am supposed to be. That week was really bittersweet because it was also a year since we lost Pastor D. Looking back over the last 12 months is a bit overwhelming. There has been so much change! Some of it has been really hard and some of it has been incredible…either way, God is in control.

I have not had a lot of time to just sit down and reflect on all of this until recently. Yes, we are still grieving this loss, but God has been so faithful to us! He has revealed Himself, even in the midst of tragic circumstances. I cannot even wrap my head around how much He has carried me through in the last year. Even in the moments of doubt (and there have been a few!), He shows up.

So, though it was a tough first year, I have also been very blessed. The song It Is Well has come up so many times throughout this year and our lead pastor mentioned it in her sermon on the 20 (which was the anniversary of D’s death). Not gonna lie, I had a few “moments” on that Sunday.

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In other news, Farmer Ben and I took a vacation a couple of weeks ago and it was awesome. We got to spend time with the family, including this cute little lady!

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She looks so much like my sister it’s crazy! (And said sister would kill me if she knew I posted this. Ha!)

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We also drove around the finger lakes, ate way too much and I did something a little wild (for me)….

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I got my nose pierced! My sister and I decided to do it together. She even caught my blood, that’s a good sister! Bahaha!

I also got to show Ben the sites and all of the places I hung out as a kid, including the ice skating rink. I have so many amazing memories there! We didn’t have much time to actually go skating because of the hockey schedule, but it was nice to show Ben some of my past.

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Side note: I JUST now noticed the hockey player falling in the background! 

In other news, we moved! We were renting a cute little house just outside of town but we just moved into a house that’s about 1/2 mile from the church. Not gonna lie, I will definitely miss our sunny little kitchen in the mini-house.

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We are currently in the midst of finishing up renovations/painting/cleaning but we have all of our belongings in one place now and even have a lot of them unpacked!

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While I am a little sad to be leaving our old place, it was the perfect time to move on. I loved our mini-house but it was just a hair too small and we were starting to feel it (note to self: one closet for two people is rough!). I am most excited about having an office and a guest room. I am on the hunt for the perfect desk.

This month has been full of lots of fun things besides the move. I was very excited when I got to spend a few hours with some of my favorite people from high school. Two of them were in town visiting so we randomly got together for lunch and coffee.

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Ben and I also spent some time at our friends’ maple farm to help them out with an event and eat copious amounts of maple syrup/drink lots of sap water coffee. It was rough. We even got to go for a ride!

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In other news, I started doing an online bootcamp with Erica House. We are doing a carb-cycling program, complete with workouts. So far, I am really loving it, especially the accountability. With my schedule, it is all too easy for me to put off doing a workout, so this is great motivation.

I’ve followed Erica’s blog for a long time so when she opened up the program I knew it would be a great fit for me! She even sent each person a sweet journal and water bottle.

I’m a week into it and so far I am feeling pretty good. It definitely doesn’t feel like a diet and I am loving the motivation to get out and get some exercise!

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Phew! I think that’s pretty much it! So, long story short, Farmer Ben and I have been busy!

What have all of you been up to? Any big weekend plans? Most exciting thing that’s happened in the last month? 

I have an event tomorrow and then hopefully I’ll have some time to unpack/clean/paint. Very exciting, I know!

Happy Friday!

 


Stuff on My Phone

Hi Friends!

Happy Friday!  Not gonna lie, it’s been a while! Let’s catch up!

I finally crossed over to the dark side and got an iPhone a couple of weeks ago. In all honesty, I had been thinking about it for a while (since August/September) but my poor old phone was finally on its last legs, so I gave in and made the switch.

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to show you some pictures I’ve taken in the 2 weeks since switching phones. I have to say, the camera on this phone is WAY better than my old one and I LOVE that. I also love that I can take screen shots(as you’ll notice!)…I know… I’m like 2341343 years late to the screenshot party. It’s fine.

What you’ll find: 

  • My friends’ excitement over my finally switching to the iPhone.
  • Final grade in the last class I took (So pumped about getting that A!)
  • Screenshot of some books I recently added to my Kindle library
  • Food (Lots of food)
  • Chocolate (the BEST chocolate for baking)
  • Farmer Ben (my favorite person) and I freezing our butts off at a youth retreat
  • The not-too-shabby view at said youth retreat. Still freezing.
  • Screenshot of my workout summary on Map My Run
  • Some books I ordered and am excited to dig into (both for class and for pleasure)
  • A page I really liked in my reading for the class I just finished.

(Click on the collage to see individual photos)

Enjoy! 

 

That’s all I have for today! Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

What are you taking pictures of lately? Screenshots? Let me know! (I’m really nosey like that and am dying to know!) 

 


2015 In Review

Hey Y’all! Happy New Year! I totally started writing this post last week last year but I put it aside for a few days….

Last year In December 2014, I wrote a post outlining my goals for 2015. There were three (marathon number 2, coaching certification and cleaning up my diet).

Not gonna lie, reading this post now makes me laugh!  I have only partly accomplished one thing on the list. Just ONE (half)!

While a normal person would look at this as a major failure, I am giving myself a bit of grace this year. Am I letting myself off the hook too easily? Probably… but I am okay with that.

I was dissatisfied with myself last year in 2014.  I was stressed to the max, ready to snap at any moment!

This year… I don’t really feel that way…at least not as much. Am I perfect? Heavens NO! Of course not! But I have made some progress. While I am still striving to make improvements and I still have stress, I’m not obsessing over it and I am enjoying this chapter and what God has planned.

One of the major changes of 2015 was on the work front. I am in a job that I love. Is it easy? No. Absolutely not. But I know this is where I need to be. This is where God wants me, a place where I have to fully rely on Him.

A hard part of my work is that it requires me to work on Sundays. Unfortunately, this means no racing on Sundays….and all of the local(ish) half marathons and marathons take place on Sundays (except one…which I was and will indefinitely be unable to attend due to another work conflict).

As a result, not only did I NOT accomplish marathon number 2, but I also did not do ANY races this year. Not a single one! I realized this the other day… am I little bummed out about this? Yes, but it’s not the end of the world.

Another change that 2015 brought was going back to school. I started taking classes for my minister’s license in August. This means that a typical day (while classes are in session) starts around 7 am and goes until 2 am, when I finally finish my homework. I’m still working on my schedule and how to fit in regular life activities (including exercise and dinner!

While finding my footing with a new job, classes and the many changes that occurred (and are still)  with our head pastor’s death, I had many days where I was just trying to hang on… But even in that, I am amazed at the work that God accomplished. I haven’t written about this (on the blog) very much, and I am not entirely certain that I will, but it’s been a very good year. Tough… but good.

Will I ever get that run coaching certification? I think so. I get updates about upcoming courses and I would still like to take the certification course, but my reason for wanting it is a bit different than it was last year. I guess I will let that one roll over to 2016.

2015 was also a year of friendship.

This afternoon, I sat around my kitchen table with five other women for our monthly book club. As we laughed together, I realized how lucky I am to call them friends. When I started the book club, I never knew how much of an impact it would have on me. When I was first approached about working at my church back in February, I sent an email and with the click of the send button, I knew that I had (at least) 12 people praying for me, asking God to give me direction, even though they didn’t know the details.

When our pastor was sick, and eventually passed away, Ben and I knew that we had friends we could grieve with and walk through this chapter with.  We’ve been blessed to have support in many areas of our life and are glad to offer our support to the people in our life.

Ben and I have an ongoing group text with our friend’s Ben and Ashley. There are many times throughout the week when these texts will absolutely crack me up… but we can also send out a group “Hey, can we pray about XYZ together in the next few minutes?” It’s comforting, knowing that we have friendships where this is a normal occurrence. God is so good!

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image via She Reads Truth.

To be honest, 2015 was a huge blur! There are a few moments that stand out, but honestly, I have no idea how it is already January 2016!

I had no idea what was in store when I wrote this post last January….but I hope that I don’t lose that boldness and that desire to speak life!

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I’m looking forward expectantly, wondering what God has planned for us.

 

Cheers to 2016!

Let’s chat! Favorite moment in 2015? Did you accomplish all of your goals? 

 

 

 

 

 


Life Update: What Day Is It?

Hi Friends! It’s been a hot second since my last post. Life has been…. kind of a beautiful mess!

The truth is that I am exhausted. The last month has been a total whirlwind and most days I am not entirely sure which way is up. If I don’t write something down, I don’t remember it.

As an example, about two weeks ago (Maybe?) I had a meeting on a Monday and didn’t realize that I had completely forgotten about it and not shown up until Thursday. Oops. Luckily, I was able to reschedule.

I’ve been so busy that I didn’t post anything on Instagram for 3 WEEKS! If you know me, you know that I typically post about once a day!

Also, the blog turned 4 years old a couple of weeks ago! I had been thinking of doing a sappy throwback post with a lot of fanfare…and then I completely missed it… so thank you to everyone who keeps reading! Moving on…

In other news, Ben and I are adjusting to a new schedule as he started a new job a few weeks ago and I am still trying to figure out balancing schoolwork and adulting. Most days, I am usually up until about 2 am doing homework. Needless to say, this month has required a lot of prayer, patience and coffee (mostly on Farmer Ben’s part-#besthubsever).

 

But even with all of the hustle and bustle and adulting failure, life is good and Ben and I have so much to be thankful for.

Life is SO good!

Ben and I took a quick trip down to see the family for Thanksgiving. (We drove down Wednesday after work and drove back on Thursday night). Yes, it was a lot of driving but Farmer Ben is probably the best car dancer road trip partner on the planet so we had a blast.

I spent a large portion of the trip scanning radio stations (I know, I’m incredibly behind the times) so I could belt out Adele’s “Hello” while speeding down the highway, eating Trader Joe’s chocolate almonds and drinking coffee like a champ!

The highlight of our trip was going to Wegmans on Thanksgiving day and completely blowing our grocery budget on beer and cheese buying some awesome foodie things that we may not be able to get at home.

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Just kidding! While this beer and Wegmans brie are both wonderful treats, it was even better to spend time with the family….especially because I finally got to meet my beautiful niece! Her name is Olivia and she is perfect!

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She already looks so much like my sister! (Side note: Can we talk about how good my sister looks after delivering a human baby three weeks ago?!) It’s crazy….strong genes! It was awesome to see the rest of the family as well… I always hate to leave!

Since being home, I’ve been going pretty much nonstop but I am thankful that I am able to do what I do.

Phew… this was an incredibly random post! I had something much deeper planned when I first started typing and…well, clearly that didn’t happen. Next time friends!

Let’s catch up! How was Thanksgiving? Favorite road trip snack? What’s your favorite foodie item/beer? 

 

Also, linking up with Amanda at Running With Spoons for today’s Thinking Out Loud Post….check out some of the other posts! Thanks for hosting the link-up!

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Confessions: On Turning 28

Today is my 28th birthday. Ever since I turned 25, I have begrudgingly gotten older, panic setting in as I realize that I am hurdling toward my thirties and there is no turning back. As an example, I vividly remember a conversation with an old friend last year. They wished me a happy birthday and asked how my day was. My response? “Thanks. I’m okay… I just thought that I’d have my sh*t together by now.”

But this year is different. I am totally okay with 28. I feel that I have fully used my 27th year and am ready for the next adventures that God has for me. I want to celebrate this life that I was given!

As I reflect back on the last year of my life, I smile at that conversation. I had no idea of the wild ride that God had in store for me.

I am so incredibly grateful. Not that it was an easy year, by any means, but I (eventually) chose to be joyful. And I am so grateful for the blessings that came with all of the hard things.

Year 27 was a year filled with loss. Ben and I left the restaurant; we lost a great mentor and friend and closed the book on jobs, projects and relationships that meant a lot to us. I struggled with not feeling my best and not doing things that I enjoyed doing. Not gonna lie, the first few months of 27 were spent very angry, upset and feeling as though I could snap like a rubber band.

But then something changed. I surrendered. And I let go of the fear and the bitterness that I was holding onto. Life didn’t get any easier; I simply chose to be grateful for whatever good I could find. I sought contentment and it changed my life.

Because of that choice, year 27 was filled with blessings, renewal, strength and so much love! Looking back, I realize that these things never would have happened if I had not decided to find joy and to submit to God’s plan.

I am absolutely amazed and humbled by how much God has done in my life as a result. He has blessed my marriage, my career and my friendships. Everything! I’m not saying that I have it all figured out, and there are definitely hard days where I would rather choose a pity party than gratitude, but I am actively seeking Thanksgiving and Joy.

I took a chance to start a book club, and have seen so much growth, friendship and wisdom come out of this.

By clearing out our schedules, Ben and I were able to spend more time with another couple. As a result, Ben and Ashley are some of our closest friends and we can’t imagine doing life without them! We’ve been through a lot with these two and are so grateful for their friendship.

We were also able to spend more time together. This year, we were able to have dinner together almost every day. Before my 27th birthday, I don’t think we ever did that more than 1 night a week. We’ve been able to take walks, to try new things together, to read and just be together in comfortable silence. I know that it won’t necessarily be like this forever but I am so grateful for this season of life.

I also took risks. I left my comfortable, secure job and am trying something new. Every day is filled with new challenges but this is exactly where I am supposed to be. I am doing something that I’ve always wanted to do, but it is not anything like I imagined it would be.

So, this year, instead of groaning at the thought of turning a year older, I am smiling. And I’m looking forward to what year 28 will bring. Because God has a plan.

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What’s Next? Fitness Goals in 2015

Hi Friends! It’s Saturday! Can we talk about how amazing it felt to sleep in?!

Today is our church’s youth Christmas party, so this afternoon, I’ll be busy making a ridiculous amount of mac and cheese and hanging out with some teenagers who are way cooler than me.  
Moving on, today’s #elf4health challenge is to set (and announce) a new fitness goal…so I figured we would discuss goals again.

The New Year is one of my favorite holidays because of the feelings of expectation and being able to turn over a new leaf. Making a fresh start is always exciting…and sometimes terrifying. I have to say that I have been very blessed in my 27 years with many “new beginnings.” That being said, I very rarely make resolutions any more. Goals, yes. Resolutions, no.

As I mentioned yesterday, 2014 was not the year of fitness. And that’s okay. But, I’m ready for another go at it!

So knowing that I’ve had this challenge coming up and keeping in mind everything that I’ve learned over the last few months, it was tough to settle on a goal (not resolution) for 2015.
 
This is what I came up with:

1. Marathon # 2. It didn’t work out this year, but I am ready to commit to it in 2015. I’m not sure which race I’m doing, so I’ll keep you posted.

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After Marathon 1, 2013 Adirondack Marathon

2. Coaching Certification. This is something I’ve secretly thought about for some time… I’ve been searching for a way to better serve others. Running has opened up so many doors for me and brought me so much joy and I want to share that!

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So I will be working to become a certified running coach in 2015! I have the certification narrowed down to two programs… any advice on this is welcome! Stay tuned!

3. Life is too short for cheap chocolate. I try to live by the 80/20 principle… But lately it is more of a 70/30 ratio. So this is my new reminder.

There is a candy drawer in a co-worker’s office and for whatever reason, I have been making way into it a lot more often than I care to admit…and you know the ridiculous part? When I eat the chocolate in this drawer, it’s not all that satisfying!

Please do not misunderstand, I am NOT giving up chocolate, or even depriving myself, but I want to get back to being more intentional with everything I put in my body.

I know there are foods that make me feel terrible. And others that make me feel not so great. So why am I wasting my time eating something that doesn’t do it for me when I could be enjoying something else that satisfies me and doesn’t have a lot of weird junk in it?  Exactly.

Your turn: what are your fitness goals for 2015?