February 17, 2017

...The End of a Season...


We often think of the word season as a short time during the year.  Fall, winter, spring, and summer.  There are seasonal fruits and veggies that are best during one of those times.  People often refer to football or baseball season.  But in reality a season is simply defined as a period of time.

The most recent season of my life has been one of testing.  I'd be hesitant to call it a season because it's gone on for ten years.  It's been a time of character building and faith testing.  It's been a time where I've discovered who I am and what I'm truly capable of enduring.  The last decade I have bounced from job to job, apartment to apartment, and have had emotional and mental strength tested.  It's be a really rough "season".

Ten years ago my parents split up.  Dealing with that during my last two years of college presented it's challenges in having to overcome the grief while still remembering to do assignments and get to class on time.  I graduated in 2008 which most will remember as one of the worst years to have to find a teaching job.  So I got a job as a TA and made less than $15,000 that year.  I only managed to do that because I lived in a dirt cheap apartment and didn't have a car payment.  The following year I got my first teaching job.  But by the end of that year, I watched as an unfair and uncaring principal torched my teaching career. Over the next three years I tried to salvage what was left.  I taught preschool, worked side jobs, and endured more supervisors that just didn't seem to care. After that, tired and soured, I decided there was nothing left to salvage and tried to convince myself that I wanted nothing to do with education.  I tried to believe this for the next four years.  But, no matter how I tried, it was just something I could never truly let go.

After so many hard years I made the move to Grand Rapids.  2016 was a year of adjustment and transition and soul searching.  Weight crept back on, finances were tighter than they'd been in a long time,  and by the end of the year and faced with yet another supervisor who just didn't seem to care I decided enough was enough.

But now, a new season has begun. I got a job offer this month that has allowed me to re-enter the world of education.  Not as a teacher, but as part of a team of administrators.  This opportunity has already proven to be an answer to years and years of prayer.  I will be working with a demographic of families that I am passionate about.  At my new school there are 70 different cultures represented, 30 plus languages spoken in the students' homes, refugees, and 76% on free or reduced lunch.  There are children from broken home situations and children who just need positive role models and caring people to love on them.

I feel in my gut that a combination of the work I did in schools and my office experience have prepared me for this exact place.  For the past ten years I've wondered what God was up to and sometimes even wondered where the heck he was during my struggles.  But I'm finally starting to understand as I enter a new season that healing from past hurts and experiences can still take place as we move forward from them.  Everything I've gone through has led me to this exact place.

Hope has re-entered the picture.

Not only will I be back in my field and serving a community of people I have a heart for, but for the first time in seven years I will be able to pay bills on time.  I will be able to stop living on credit and finally be able to work towards being debt-free.  I will be able to start planning for the future instead of just worrying about today.  This means starting to save for retirement and saving to buy a home. I will be able to be as generous as my heart desires to be without fear of having enough.

My  pastor recently said, "we can't know how good God is if we've only known him in good times". Never have I understood this more than I do now.  To see His plan start to come together is an amazing thing to watch.  To finally start to have answers to all those "why's" is a weight lifted and proof to me that God is truly working through any and all circumstances.  There is hope for the future. As my bestie has said so many times over the last week, "it's time to bask in the sunshine".

December 22, 2016

...A Birthday Cometh...

Warning: emotionally vulnerable curves ahead...

I'm usually one of those people that get excited for their birthday.  I look forward to gifts, discounts at restaurants, calls from family and friends, and an excuse to eat as much yellow cake with chocolate frosting as I want.  This year however, feels different.

30 was no big deal.  I actually was excited about 30.  My twenties were just so awful between my parents splitting up, graduating without a job, then losing my first teaching job and basically kissing my teaching career good bye thanks to a bitch of a principal, followed by years of financial struggle and searching for a career path, and additionally watching all my close friends marry off one by one and start their families while I waited in the wings... my 20's weren't what most older adults reminisce about.  They were AWFUL and I was not sad to see them end.  I welcomed 30 with open arms.

But this year is 31.  31 feels different.  I'm officially IN my thirties now and that is terrifying in my eyes and from my perspective.  I'm in my thirties and I still have no idea what career path I'm headed down.  I'm in my thirties and I'm still surrounded by married friends and friends with small children, questioning if any of that will ever present itself in my future.  I'm in my thirties and still living paycheck to paycheck.  I'm in my thirties and back to square one in the health and fitness department due to setbacks presented over the last year.

I don't share any of this to gain pity from anyone.  But there are people in my life who don't seem to understand the state all of this has left me in.  I want to make it clear to those people, somehow.

I don't need pressure to get back on the fitness wagon because "you were just so happy when you were doing that".  As it was in the beginning... losing weight and getting healthy is like a drug or alcohol addiction... no one will get help or do what they need to do until they decide to.  Pressuring doesn't help.

I don't need married friends and friends with children telling me that marriage isn't all it seems, or that marriage is a lot of work, or that children cost a lot of money, or that these things completely change your life.  Blah Blah Blah. Your point?  Saying things like this does NOT help someone who longs for a family of their own, it just pisses them off.  So stop it.

As of right now, I still don't have a permanent position at my job.  There is so much tension and nervous energy that has built up within me that it's literally started to take a toll on my health.  There is a reality that if I don't receive an offer soon that I'll be forced to consider looking for a new job...again... and I'll have to say goodbye to one that I do enjoy and friends I've made in my office.

Again, none of this is said for attention or pity, but merely for awareness.  For those around me that may wonder why I've not been my happy self or have slipped back into old habits and negativity... it's not on purpose.  The best thing (and only good thing really) about having a birthday right after Christmas is that it falls right in line with the New Year.  Most people would agree that 2016 was probably the most ridiculous year on record and I don't think anyone will be sad to see it go.  I have to try and combine the hope that 2017 will be better with the determination to make 31 better 30 was. I have the power to be good to myself, take my health back into my own hands, surround myself with people who enrich my life, and choose where my career will go.  I have faith that things will work out and God's plan for my life is a good one even if I can't see that right now.

December 1, 2016

...Hello December...


The Christmas season is officially here!  I'm ready for snow, holiday movies, baking, and lots of peppermint mochas.  I'm also preparing for my second 30 something birthday which has me a little freaked and continuing to pray for a permanent position at my job.  What are you looking forward to most this season?

Things to look forward to:
*Holiday party at HSWM
*Christmas shopping
*Holiday DIY projects
*Snow
*Holiday movies
*Christmas music
*New Year's Eve and a fresh start!

Goals to reach:
*learn a new crochet pattern
*be more active
*less eating out

Things to pray about:
*getting a permanent job
*peace with turning 31 instead of freaking out
*contentment with my current and very long phase of life
*more wisdom to pour out onto young teenage girls at NowGen

November 23, 2016

...Gratitude Lately...

↠Happy almost Thanksgiving dear ones!  So much to be grateful for this year.  Hope you all have a wonderful holiday with friends and family and that you are able to reflect on the little things that make you grateful every day. ↞









          ↠FAMILY↞

















 Ramona Geraldine
↠FUR BABIES↞

Lucy May


↠FRIENDS↞  
Aren't I fortunate that I have too many to post here?  Friends in GR, friends in Illinois, friends across the country.  I am thankful for each and every one of you.


↠GRAND RAPIDS↞ and what you've done for the adventurer in me.

↠GROWING FAMILY↞  
For additions that love my family as their own.






















Brando (adopted!)

Fendi

Nike 
Fang and Gabby(adopted!)

 Midnight, Sherlock(adopted!) and Fendi
HSWM↞ and the chance to get to spend every Tuesday night with those who need it most.







 Under the Roof
Grand River Cleanup

FZ Ride for Veterans     

↠OPPORTUNITY↞ to give of myself and of my time to causes I believe in.



↠CREATION↞
and the Creator who loves me always, no matter what.


November 21, 2016

...Awkward Awesome Friday (errr Monday)...

(This lasted a good 10 minutes with no fighting!)

Awkward:
*Yeah so I'm three days late posting this...
*putting up Christmas decorations the second weekend in November... but I just couldn't help myself.
*the sheer volume of comments I get about the damn candy jar that sits on my desk.  Because, you know I love to hear everyone complain about what is or is not in the jar.
*How Lucy will sleep anywhere.  She could sleep in the cat tower, on the couch or on the ottoman... but sometimes she chooses to call it quits in the middle of the living room floor.

Awesome:
*Monday afternoon my office was visited by a WWII veteran.  The building we are in is a renovated elementary school.  During renovation, a few guys found a WWII plaque in the basement and FZ had it restored.  It contains the names of all the school alumni that served in the war.  This gentleman's name was on it.  He was adorable and listening to him point out people he knew that were also on the plaque, talk about going to school here and admire what we'd done to the building was so sweet.  There are so precious few WWII vets left and I'm so grateful to have met one.  He even served in the Navy, which is where my Grandpa Vince served. :D
*Get to see my family and one of my besties next week!
*Vikings on the History channel.  I'm hooked.  Go watch it, you'll thank me.
*Every Tuesday evening I get to spend with mushy faced fur babies at the animal shelter.  I swear if I had a house with a yard, I'd have taken home at least three by now.
*Receiving a thank you donut from a co-worker on Wednesday.  Those moments when my work is appreciated really keep me going.

November 1, 2016

...Hello November...


This year has absolutely flown and now we are officially staring the Holiday season in the face.  Craziness!  October always escapes too quickly in my opinion. Fortunately, November brings some wonderful things as well!

Things to look forward to:
*Scarves and mittens
*Thrive women's event at Frontline
*Adoption counselor training at HSWM
*Thanksgiving and time with my family
*First snowfall
*Decorating the apartment for Christmas

Goals to reach:
*Hold a Friendsgiving dinner
*Plan more game nights

Things to work on:
*Overthink less
*More activity
*Less TV
*Read more

October 14, 2016

...Adventure...


Today is it.  Today it has officially been one year since I left my home of 11 years, left the state I was born and raised in, and moved to West Michigan.  And I have to say, I haven't looked back!  It has been such a year of adventure.

A year ago I was...
*Using my GPS to get EVERYWHERE.
*Using each weekend to explore a different part of my new city.
*Walking into my new church home for my first official Sunday service.
*Doing most things alone.
*Wondering was the year would hold.
*Missing my best friend like crazy.
*So excited to experience all things West Michigan.

A Year Later I...
*Don't use the GPS nearly as much.
*Still love exploring new areas of GR and the surrounding areas.
*Have been on more dates than the rest of my years combined. (O_o)
*Have made great friends, said farewell to a couple moving back to Illinois, and welcomed home others.
*Have two cats even though I always swore I'd only have one. (no explanations there)
*Have learned more about contentment and how it is can never truly be found in where you live, who you are with, the friends you have, or the money you earn.  It is found in the little things God shows me everyday.
*Am more in love with West Michigan than I ever could have imagined.

This Year I Hope to...
*Visit the UP and northern Michigan.
*Find financial security with a permanent job.
*Adopt a dog.  (yes, I want more animals and I'm ok with that)
*Camp more.
*Get back into shape now that I'm adjusted and more at home.


This blog post is dedicated to all the people in my life who made this new season possible, encouraged me and supported me.  I've been told numerous times by the people I've met here that what I did was so courageous or so brave, and I know I could not have taken the leap without the PEOPLE surrounding me.  So thank you.  And here's to another great year filled with more new adventures.

October 3, 2016

...Texas...

This weekend was a special weekend where the Reeves clan welcomed a new member to the family.  A year ago my dad (a Chicago native of 55 years) reluctantly moved down to Dallas, TX for a job. Not long after, he met Juju and his life was turned upside down in the best way.  This past weekend they were married on a houseboat on a small lake in Frisco, TX.  (Who knew boating would be a thing in Texas?!) The ceremony was short and sweet, the weather was perfect, and lots of happy tears were shed.  The ceremony was followed by a small reception and a lively after party back at the house.

My parents no longer being married has never been an easy thing for me. Even ten years later. Whether it was the first time I met my mom's kind and generous partner in crime, Phil almost eight years ago or finding out my Dad was going to be remarried to the sweet and vivacious Juju.  It's never been 100% easy from a daughter's perspective.  But after this weekend and getting to see first hand the life that the two of them have started to build together and how happy they are, my perspective shifted in a even more positive way.  My sister put it perfectly while we were sitting around Dad's fire pit her, me, and my soon to be brother-in-law.  She said "I just want everyone I love to be happy".  And there was so much simplicity and truth to that statement.  Because, that's exactly what I want too.

Change can be hard, but I think I am heading into a season of acceptance so many years in the making.  I'm ready to switch from feelings of "what if" and "used to be" to feelings of growth and joy that out of a hard circumstance, each person in my family was able to find good things.  My family might have felt broken for a while, but now I can start to see it as growing instead of divided.  I've gained a stepmother in Juju, I will soon have Josh as a brother in law, and Phil is practically my stepdad in my eyes.  There is growth and joy and promise for more good things in the coming years.

Ok, enough mush.  Here are a few photos from my first trip to Texas.

 Thankful to say I stayed very calm on all of my flights.

 Friday Night Bonfire (aka, war against the fire ants)

 Saturday morning Texas sunrise.

Boating is a thing in Dallas.  Who knew?!  (#ourlakeisbetter) ;)

 Me and the sister.  We actually look a little alike with sunglasses on.  (jk, we look nothing alike)

 Me, Al, and Daddio

Josh and Al get hitched July 15, 2017.

A perfect shot that pretty much sums up the day. :D

 
 That cake was damn good!

 A perfect shot of the lake shore from the sky!

A huge smile on my face watching the sunshine peak through the clouds onto my beloved west Michigan.

Oh, hey Grand River!

I promised a friend I'd bring back sunshine after a week of rain in GR.  I kept my promise!


October 1, 2016

...Hello October...

I love October.:

Welcome to the most beautiful month of the year!  It's so cliche, but fall is here and I'm so happy.

Things to look forward to:
*Grand Rapids on fire!  Not really, but the trees are spectacularly orange, yellow, and red.
*Volunteering at the Humane Society.  All things furry and I cannot wait.
*Spending time in Dallas with family
*Hoodies, boots, and scarves
*Fall tastes and smells
*WALKING DEAD!!!
*Apple and pumpkin picking

Goals to Reach:
*Take advantage of cooler but not cold weather with more jogs at the park.
*Read a non-fiction book
*Make a budget and stick to it

Things to work on:
*Decrease meat intake and increase plant food intake
*Making smarter financial decisions
*Less sugar

September 13, 2016

Why Fall is my Favorite


Cool breezes and the end of summer humidity
Bonfires and scent of them on your clothes
Changing leaves on trees and hiking through forests of them
Cozy blankets and open windows
Boots, scarves, and smartwool socks
Hoodies and bluejeans
Flannel shirts and all things plaid
Camping trips
Mums
Apple orchards
Baking
Hot cider
Pumpkin fields
Pumpkin carving
Roasted pumpkin seeds
Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves
#pumpkineverything
Halloween costumes and memories of childhood
Time with family and reminders to be thankful



What are your favorite things about the changing seasons?  I don't know about you, but they make me thankful to live in the Midwest!

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