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.

behold verse

 

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

What are you excited about? 

 

 

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Life Lately, Weird Edition

Hi friends!

Please ignore the fact that I’m behind on my blogging. To be completely honest, I have no excuse other than I’ve been struggling with some nasty headaches and their side effects. They leave me feeling drained and with little to no motivation. I’ll discuss them more in another post.

In the moments I’m not dealing with said migraines/side effects, I’ve been juggling race planning, helping with Bistro to-do items, running, catching up with friends, cooking and squeezing in moments of quality time with Farmer Ben…and you know, regular life and work stuff.

As a result, I just haven’t had the urge to sit down and blog. And I haven’t felt that I’ve had much to say.

Life is kind of weird right now…and I’m trying to wrap my head around it.

Here is some of what is happening:

For a long time, I’ve worked my regular job and then worked job number 2 at least three nights a week…typically more. I’ve had a routine that required a lot of planning and remembering, keeping my work clothes and shoes in the car and trying to keep a somewhat set schedule… but a few weeks ago my time at job number 2 ended.

I knew it would happen sooner or later…but…The circumstances were bizarre and although issues were resolved I can’t really explain how or why. I will say that my tenure was up at least a month before I was planning on it. In the end, I left on a good a note, so it worked out.

As a result, I have some unexpected free time…kind of.

I’m NOT used to just going home after work, to having a somewhat flexible schedule in the evening.  I am not a schedule oriented person, but I also don’t do well if I have a lot of free time. Needless to say, it feels weird to be finished work at 5 PM.

Granted, this will be short-lived once the bistro opens, but its been a period of adjustment. It feels a bit like… limbo.

I’m savouring this time, however, because I know in a few short weeks, the nights where Ben and I can sit down to dinner together will be few and far between.

I’ve enjoyed being able to come home and cook something delicious for the two of us. Or being able to rent a terrible movie and hang out with a glass of wine…and being able to go to bed before 10pm if the mood strikes.

I’ve also used the free hours I have to get some race details taken care of and to get out and connect with some sponsors. I’m constantly amazed at how generous people are. Have I mentioned this before?!

In addition, because spring is finally here, I’ve been able to squeeze in some runs after work.

This week, Farmer Ben used my car to run errands and such. This forced me to either run to his workplace (~4 miles) to catch a ride home or to stay cooped up in my office to catch up on little things for a couple of hours until he picked me up.

As it is finally above freezing, I’ve chosen to run more often than not. Whether it’s a long run or run/walk to catch up with a friend, I am enjoying the time outside…especially because I stare at a computer for most of the day.

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Yup, the lake is still frozen.

I’m happy that my running mojo is coming back.

Sometimes I forget why I run… I forget that I enjoy that time of tuning out the world and just being. And that time is exactly what I’ve needed the last few weeks.

Not gonna lie, I haven’t been running every day, but I am savoring the days I do get out the door.

So, that’s where I’ve been/where I am at this moment.

What have you been up to? How do you deal with times of transition? Favorite terrible movie?


Confessions: Coffee Heartbreak

Today is not going well, friends.

I stepped out of my car this morning and immediately dumped my coffee all over the parking lot (and maybe the passenger side door of a co-worker’s car…oops). Needless to say, I was heartbroken. It was a full-to-the-brim, large coffee and there was a mere sip left after I scrambled to pick it up. I am almost ashamed to admit that I took that last sip– I had to!

I don’t know if I’ve told you about the coffee at my workplace…if I haven’t, I’ll fill you in: It’s awful. And, for whatever reason, there is only non-dairy creamer available (what is that anyway? Corn starch?! I don’t even know…) unless I remember to bring my own half and half…and when I do, I have to hide it in the community fridge because it tends to disappear.

This morning, I got out of the house early enough where I had time to go through town and treat myself…so I stopped at Stewart’s.

If you are unfamiliar with Stewart’s, it’s an upstate NY/Vermont chain…a gas station/mini-mart deal. They have good, no-fuss coffee, on the cheap.

So, you can imagine my disappointment, when, upon opening my car door, I immediately dumped my entire coffee all over the ground…granted, it was only a dollar or two, but still! It’s the principle of the matter.

And there I was, a coffee river at my feet and unable to process what had just occurred. So after entering the building, I went to the community coffee pot and filled up.

Heartbroken in Upstate NY,

Noelle

PS. Luckily, I had some half and half stashed in the fridge…still not good.

Coffee Talk: Have you ever had a coffee heartbreak? Workplace coffee, good or downright awful?!


It’s Finally Friday!

Just kidding. I mean…it is Friday. But it was a crazy week-it flew by…seriously, where did it go? And why did I not accomplish 3134 of the 4231 items on my list of things to do?!

In other news, I’m pretty proud of myself; I’m down 15 lbs (11 since using mfp) and I’m ALMOST into another pair of pants I haven’t worn in a looooong time. Again, big surprise.

I’m also back to running-after I got that nasty stomache bug a week or so ago, I’ve been bad about pounding the pavement…until this week!

Also, I’m having a minor freakout-I am running a 5k tomorrow! For fun. But I haven’t run a race in a long time! I’m not expecting much time-wise (not yet, anyway!). I’m just hoping to keep my nerves down until I start the race. Gah! Seriously, thinking about this is making my stomach flip-flop and… I think I just started sweating!

Another plus about this weekend? I’m off. So is Ben. We have brisket to smoke, 5ks to run and worlds to conquer! I am pretty excited!

We also signed up to be “Foodie Pen Pals!” For more information, click the badge on my homepage. We find out who our match is tomorrow and I am completely stoked. It’s a really awesome concept and I can’t wait to join in. I love mail…I turn into a kid at Christmas when I get mail…especially packages!

Alright, over and out folks.

Have a great weekend!!!


So Far…

This morning the following has happened:

  • I hit the snooze button 437 times.
  • I walked out the door without brushing my hair.
  • Applied my deodorant in the car.
  • Upon closing my car door, I quickly realized that my car still smells like burnt coffee.
  • Got to work and realized that my desk is slowly disapearing underneath all of the little things I have to do.
  • Had more little things added to the piles on my desk.
  • Spilled coffee…mostly on myself and the floor. And some on my desk.
  • Discovered a new food blog and updated my “current web obsessions” page, after attending to some of said piles.
  • Used my excellent powers of investigation to uncover falsehoods. And truths.
  • Started planning something pretty cool.

So far, it’s been a pretty good day. No complaints.


This Is How You Remind Me…

As I was lying in bed last night thinking about all I have to do today, I knew that getting up at 5:45 in the morning was not going to be easy. I’ve been a stressed out lately and I tend to worry more than I should, so sleep has eluded me.  I am pretty slammed at work right so I decided to go in early. On top of that, I have to work at my part-time job this evening, so it’s going to be a long day. Needless to say, I was not looking forward to hearing my alarm clock.

But a funny thing happened this morning. I actually woke up at 5:30…feeling somewhat refreshed. I stared at the ceiling waiting for my alarm to go off…and then hit the snooze button because, well, it’s what I do. Ben was not feeling as awake as I was, so he wasn’t too happy about the snooze…I decided to spare him and got myself out of bed.

Although I was more awake than usual, I wasn’t looking forward to stepping outside. Last night the temperature had dropped below zero (this may not seem odd for northern NY, but it’s the coldest night we have had this winter) and it was a brisk 7 degrees this morning. I bundled up and hurried out of my apartment to start my car.

I stopped at the bottom of my steps. The view before me stunned me-I momentarily forgot how cold it was outside. The sky was painted with hues of  deep royal purple and shades of orange and pink. The clouds were feathered and delicately scattered across the sky, accented with colors I haven’t seen in a long time. Although it wasn’t as bright out as normal, I could see the lake in the distance and the mountains were tinted a deep purplish-blue. It was absolutely breathtaking.

Ben and I live a bit off the beaten path, so we are surrounded by fields. On a clear day, you can see the lake and the mountains are always in the distance. The view is actually one of the things I love most about it. We also get a lot of natural light, giving our home a wonderful warmth. However, with the short winter days, and having to travel to and from work when it’s dark out, I had forgotten about this. This morning’s sunrise was a quick reminder. It was one of the most beautiful I have ever seen.

Once I started to feel the cold again, I quickly started my car, ran back upstairs and finished getting ready. Even though I knew that it was going to be a long day, I felt better. Energized even. I think it was God’s way of telling me that he is paying attention, taking care of things, not to worry. I am kicking myself for not taking a picture.

As I was driving in, coffee in hand, I was still mesmerized by the gorgeous sunrise. I also heard one of my favorite songs on the radio. I don’t hear it very often, but it’s one that always lifts my spirits, even if it is a little corny.  It’s also got some beautiful harmonies. It’s called I Won’t Let Go, by Rascal Flatts. Here are some of the lyrics.

“Cause I will stand by you
I will help you through
When you’ve done all you can do
And you can’t cope
And I will dry your eyes
I will fight your fight
I will hold you tight
And I wont let go”

Like I said, it’s a bit corny. But today I am taking it as another sign not to worry… just to remember that God is with me and that  I have been truly blessed with some wonderful opportunities and people in my life.

It’s amazing to me how little things like a sunrise or hearing a certain song on the radio can completely change your mood or turn your day around. Is it just me? Have you had a moment like this lately?

Have a great day everyone! Keep those chins up!


Mini Mental Break…

Can I just say that the last place I wanted to be today was at work? Is that wrong? Probably. I much rather be driving around blasting country music and singing along at the top of my lungs… Or at home with Benjamin, baking up something fabulous, maybe enjoying a PBR… Or out running and getting lost in the thick fog that seems to have taken over the North Country.

I don’t know if it’s this time of year or if it’s just been a crazy week, but I am mentally checking out. The to-do stack on my desk is getting pretty big, and seems to double whenever I move something to the “Completed” stack. And there is no sign of it slowing down.

This morning was a bit rough and the day seems to be dragging on…but that is probably because I have some pretty awesome plans for later…no big deal. The hubs and I had our usual Wednesday lunch date and now I am anxiously watching the clock to make sure everything goes off without a hitch… it’s torture.

Besides the evening plans, there are a few other things on my mind.

  • Lentils. I absolutely love lentils. Especially when topped with a fried egg, Parmesan cheese and a few slices of avocado. They rock my world. Dinner tomorrow. It’s happening.
  • This macaroni and cheese. I am making this for some friends of mine. So easy to make and absolute heaven. I used Cabot/McAdam Jack & Cheddar. Only the best.
  • Sweet Potato Fudge. I usually am NOT a fan of white chocolate, but the sweet potato aspect is really grabbing my attention, I may need to substitute some dark chocolate…
  • Chocolate Beer Cupcakes with Irish Whiskey Buttercream . This looks awesome. I am a huge fan of beer flavored chocolate cakes. I definitely need to make these sometime. It looks like they can also be made gluten-free! I may have to make it this way and  then try it with regular butter and milk, just for fun, either way, these are going to happen in my kitchen.
  • Quinoa Patties. These are so easy to make and so good. Please try them.
  • My husband’s birthday. Ben is turning 29 this weekend. I know he’s working all day, but I am so excited to celebrate as a married couple. So corny, I know. I am currently try to come up with something good. He snooped through the box that contained his present… accidentally-the stinker!  Now I am scheming for some sort of surprise. More on that later.
  • Christmas. I never used to like Christmas but the last few years have really opened me up to it. I’ve been very blessed and I love to share that with the people I love. The major lack of snow is a bit weird for this time of year, but I am soaking up all the merriment, regardless  (If you still have shopping to do, check out my previous post for an awesome gift idea!).
  • Measuring Spoons. Okay, maybe it’s only hilarious to me, but Ben and I always put the measuring spoons back in different drawers. It drives me absolutely batty.
  • The stack on my desk that’s not disappearing….

… Time to go! Until next time!