Saturday, July 4, 2015

A Peak Inside My Head

Hi friend. I am writing to you from my fire escape, and I have just watered the plants lining the small fence. It's quite New York of me, I know, though my view is of mountains rather than skyscrapers, and I have no idea what the plants actually are. Speaking of plants, I am considering using flowers as insults and compliments - adjectives in general. I was walking through botanical gardens the other weekend, and some seem quite apt. For instance, that dude is a total brodiaea or you are being a real campsis radican today. Clearly, I don't have much cohesive to say, but I think it appropriate to exercise my free speech on such a day.

Since we last spoke, I have decided my dreams are not prophetic. I was clinging to the hope they were because I dreamt the Cavs won a championship. Then they lost, and I had a dream I had cancer, a friend died, and a woman I know was killed. So I'm going to let that idea go - but maybe the Cavs will still win a championship. I was also thinking perhaps the success of my dating life will correlate with the success of Cleveland sports. My mother told me I probably should not proclaim that.

There's this Seinfeld episode where George stops having sex and becomes a genius because the portion of his brain dedicated to sex is now free to exercise its power elsewhere. I think this theory affects females in a slightly different way in that we have this portion of the brain that can be consumed with the idea of a guy. Anyways, with that portion of my brain free from any sort of preoccupation, I have been quite productive lately, cranking out killer grad school essays. Turns out, I like writing about myself. Who knew.

Charlottesville added a superfluous traffic light on my ten minute commute. It's now twelve minutes, and I must control my indignation each extra minute. I think they made some adjustments, because the first day, there was literally a point where no cars were able to go. Just when I thought Charlottesville was understanding traffic flow, they do something like this and totally lose my trust.

We have this sales tool at work that allows you to see when people open emails. The idea is you call someone when they have your email open, they think it's fate and subsequently purchase your product. Something like that. Anyways, it works with my personal email, too, so I know when people open my emails and are not responding. Creepy.

I've also been thinking about freedom lately - freedom of choice in particular. On one end of the spectrum, there is paralysis of choice, where an individual gets overwhelmed with choice and does not act. For instance, in the chocolate aisle at the store, when you cannot decide whether you want Godiva, Dove, or Reese's, so you simply leave without chocolate.

I do not struggle with that. I just buy all three. My struggle lately has been with obsession over choice. What if I get accepted to grad school? What if I get accepted to multiple? What if VividCortex raises funding? What if my job continues to get more interesting and I am growing there? What if I leave Charlottesville? What if I have a reason to stay? It is a futile spiral, though, as those decisions are not yet upon me, and dwelling on an unknown future keeps me from contributing in the present. It is far more beneficial to rest in the present and trust that when the time comes to make decisions, I will know the decision I need to make.

So thank you, America, for giving me so many choices. I will never take that for granted. For now, though, I am going to enjoy a day by the pool.

Happy Fourth of July, all!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Confessions of a Rabid Anti-Dentite

I had too.

First confession: I fell on my face the other day. How does that relate? Follow me, friend.

Perhaps you were one of the privileged youth who went to a dentist with cartoons, ice cream flavored fluoride, and a massage chair. I was not. My first memory of the dentist was at age six, listening to him yell at my mother and me as if I was drinking bottles of tequila instead of juice boxes because I had a couple cavities. I dreaded the bi-annual visit. We entered the sterile building that smelled of old women bathed in Robitussin. After thirty minutes of waiting, during which I piously considered how many dental emergencies made the complete disregard of my schedule acceptable, I heard my name.

I took my place beneath the light and closed my eyes indicating that I had no desire to communicate. Instead of receiving the hint, the assistant asked how is your day, how is school, are you even in school right now? I hate small talk. But I especially hate small talk when someone is picking at my teeth's crevices. If I were administering the cleaning, I think I would fill the time by telling the client my general thoughts on life. There's a captive audience if there ever was one. Obviously, this scenario is a win-win.

Instead, though, I grunted what answers I could, feeling as though I had digressed to the evolutionary state of a cavewoman. This was only perpetuated when the hand was removed and a stream of drool flowed from my mouth. I must admit, though, I like the suction utensil they use to gather said drool, and I often wish I had a pocket-sized one for those times when I over-salivate. As you know, I have over productive facial fluids.

Back to my rant. I am not really an anti-dentite. If my tooth is in extreme pain, I am immensely appreciative of administered care. I am a grown woman, though, and do not need to visit every six months to make sure all is well. Because let's be honest, the whole ritual is a nuisance stemming from a false sense of necessity imposed by an entity with an inferiority complex.

Since when did six months become the standard? I have not been to the physician in seven years, and I think my vitals are more important than my teeth. I probably have a lot of weird things accumulating throughout my body, yet it is absolutely imperative that I get them removed from my teeth. What if plaque is actually your teeth's natural sealant, protecting them from the really harmful stuff? Maybe I like the plaque build up.

So when I tell someone I have not been to the dentist in five years, they are appalled, looking at me like a deviant as they gasp in dismay and question the very morals on which I base my existence. Really? I'm supposed to be okay with the fact that you have not done a single activity to benefit your body's well being the past ten years as you shove another fast food burger in your mouth, but you're aghast that I have not been to the dentist in a little while. I am still enforcing the daily habits that lead to dental health. I am simply not spending a precious half hour with someone's fist halfway down my throat. And fifty dollars.

Why don't I buy dental insurance and save myself money? Good question. Because between the deductible and the monthly payments, my teeth would have to be dropping like flies to make it worth it.

This year, I decided to go to the dentist, because five years seems like a reasonable amount of time. My appointment was this past Monday. Because it was my first time, I obviously had to pay $200 for an x-ray. After awkwardly biting a contraption for a couple minutes, I lay down, mentally preparing for the torture that lay before me.

I was pleasantly surprised when the dental assistant told me she would not be able to clean my teeth. Why? Because I had fallen on my face and my lip was too fat. The following fifteen minutes was spent in robust, human conversation as we waited for the dentist. He stopped by, looked at my teeth, examined the x-rays, told me I had a beautiful, healthy mouth, and I was on my way. It was my favorite trip to the dentist ever. I'll go back in five years. Maybe ten.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

We Are the Israelites

... Metaphorically speaking. Kind of.

Whole Foods sells Passover Matza when seasonally appropriate. It is covered with dark chocolate, almonds, glutinous sucrose - I don't even know what that means - and sea salt. Sixteen dollars a pound. I think Whole Foods gets the spirit of the season.

Today is my one year anniversary at VividCortex. I thought it appropriate to reflect. I have done some big things the last year including establishing myself as the best looking woman in the office and the smartest person in the marketing department, learning the difference between front end developers and backend developers and increasing my love for bacon.

Honestly, it's been hard.* Learning a new role in a new industry came with challenges. Being the only female and the only person dedicated to marketing proved more isolating than I anticipated. Who do I talk to when someone ticks me off? Or when I want to admire Apple's or Gatorade's marketing approach? Or when I can't decide what color to paint my toenails? The answer has become everyone - much to their dismay at times, I am sure.

More than that, though, this job was the latest in a seemingly endless transition in Charlottesville, during which I sometimes feel as though I am swimming through tar to make life work. So this post will be a reflection on that rather than the steps taken in my illustrious career. Rest easy, though, I can assure you I am closer to taking over the world than I was a year ago.

Earlier this year, I revisited the Old Testament for the first time since 3rd grade Sunday school with Mr. Pitrone - a class in which I learned more about Greek roots than I would my entire life. Twenty years later, I find the story of the Israelites' exodus from Egypt and journey to the Promised land less abstract and more relatable. The story is incredible and the lessons abound, but I will keep my extraction relatively brief.

We will join the Israelites immediately after Pharaoh releases them from captivity, and they begin to wander the desert. As a sidenote, I thought it fascinating that it is not until after God parts the Red Sea and destroys Pharaoh's army that the Israelites put their trust in Him. Really, dudes? The gnats and the frogs and the hail and the firstborn dying were not enough? Then again, how often is God so clearly working in front of us, but we are too stubborn to recognize His power? Okay... To the desert.

The thing is, they weren't really wandering. They were deliberately traveling, and God was leading the entire time. "Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people." Beyond that, though, there was a reason God was taking His time. In Exodus 23, God spoke to Moses, "See. I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared... to drive the Hivites, Canaanites and Hittites out of your way. But I will not drive them out in a single year, because the land would become desolate and the wild animals too numerous for you. Little by little I will drive them out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land."

In a world of instant gratification and entitlement, this is both convicting and comforting. I often envision myself as a little girl, tugging on the robe of God - velvet, with gold and silver bling - crying, "I'm ready for this. You promised this, and I'm ready for it." Whatever this may be. He graciously answers, "you think you are ready, but if I gave it to you now, you would be overcome. Let's continue our deliberate traveling as I lead you.*" My response can either be: "Alright, Lord. Let's roll," or "I kind of feel like going back to Egypt. Slavery wasn't so bad.*"

It is easy to become disgruntled in the desert, and easier still to forget God's faithfulness in the past. But if we are open to His calling, know that He is leading us, and further recognize that we are not ultimately living for an earthly kingdom, the journey becomes more peaceful and fulfilling, even if it is still hard.

There is one other aspect of the Exodus I really enjoyed this time around, and that was the specifications of the tabernacle. Though admittedly, I still found the nearly six chapter explanation a bit excessive, I had a fresh appreciation for God's attention to detail. God cares deeply about the intricacies of our craft, as well as the intricacies our life.

Maybe Charlottesville is my desert. Maybe it will also be my Promised land, or maybe that will lie elsewhere. I do believe, though, that retrospectively, my time here will be part of a detailed picture of God's goodness. And at least in my desert, there is chocolate covered Matza and Sportscenter.

* I know, I know, I think a lot of things are hard.
* Doo-doo doo-doooo. That's my deliberate traveling tune.
* No, Anna, don't be an idiot. Disobedience often leaves you chilling in the desert longer.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

How I Rocked the GMAT

I couldn't help myself. But for real now...

Hebrews 11:6 "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." When I was a ten year old zealot, I resolved to put a different Bible verse on a note card every month and memorize a multitude of Scripture. I would be a regular concordance. This verse was my first and last note card, and I have seen it in my mirror every day since. Better than nothing, I suppose.

I have been wanting to write this for awhile, but alas, the months have been moving at a seemingly reckless pace. After taking the GMAT, I spent a couple weeks traveling with the youth group and work. More to be written about those later, but for now - the GMAT. I am done. No more studying. No more waking up at five o'clock in the morning. I no longer live in a sea of books, and my Saturdays are open to do with as I please.

I began studying because I believed God told me to do so, and I asked that He would bless it. In January, I looked at what lay before me between studying, work and life in general, and I could not overcome my exhaustion. I questioned how I was going to have the strength and discipline to dedicate myself to studying, and my answer was, per usual, found in Him.

"Be anxious for nothing, but in all things, through prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God... And your God will supply all your needs." I saw that provision in different ways, from new friendships to encouragement and support from steady friendships to a community group that has been challenging and uplifting. These were not necessarily the provisions I would have chosen, but in retrospect, they were exactly what I needed.

A month before the exam, my family began emailing our prayer requests to one another. I have come to very much enjoy this habit, as it is a great way to keep up with the goings-on of family members around the globe. Plus, any time Don and Nance are praying, I believe the odds of answers are greater. I responded to the chain and began submitting the request that I would get over a 700, because 1) that score would likely get me into a solid program 2) I knew I was capable of that and 3) if I asked for something higher and did not achieve it, that meant disappointment and failure.

As I was typing, I heard a small voice of conviction say, "Don't limit Me based on your skills and comfort level. Don't ask for something you know you can achieve on your own. That is not faith. That is weak. Ultimately, this is not about you. It is about Me and what I choose to do through you. Trust that. Ask for something you know you cannot achieve without Me, and allow Me to be glorified through you when you achieve it."

That was the gist of it, at least. I hit backspace a couple times and changed my sentence: I would like a 750. I told my family and my church, and I prayed for that.

The more I grow, the more I encounter the cyclical nature of a relationship with God. Depending on the day and my mood, this can be encouraging, frustrating or both. It seems to be a cycle of obeying, asking, giving and trusting. Obeying his call. Asking for what you know is only possible through Him. Giving those desires to Him. And trusting that He will do what is best for you and for the advancement of His kingdom.

There are plenty of areas still progressing through this cycle, but the GMAT cycle has closed. When I finished the test, hit submit, held my breath, and saw 750 on the screen, I gasped. I knew only one thing. That score was not mine. That was God's.

The funny thing is, I do not know what He is going to do with the GMAT, but the least I can do is encourage anyone who will read my ramblings that He will do more with your desires than you will. For me, this was a good reminder that God is real. He is faithful. And He rewards those who diligently seek Him.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Why I Love March Madness

I was eleven years old, and my sister and I were having one of those little/big sister moments that she probably forgot the next day, but being the little sister, I remembered*. She was advising me on my upcoming adolescence and emphasized the flirtatious advantage of taking interest in sports, March Madness in particular. It seemed to work for her, and growing up under my father, I was no stranger to the competitive field. I was glued to the couch that March, watching Mateen Cleaves lead Tom Izzo's Spartans to a national title, arguing with the seventh grade boys as to why Izzo was a better coach than Krzyzewski and why my bracket was technically superior.

Here I am, fifteen years later, alone on my couch, staying up past my bedtime to see if Xavier will pull off the upset against Arizona. Though it began as a means to complement my extreme baseball knowledge and make me more appealing to the middle school jocks, the tourney continues to define each March, and I still argue Izzo* is a better coach than Krzyzewski. Though this has yet to land a guy, the sport does provide a lot of scrumptious eye candy, especially on the latest addition to my pad, a 55 inch HD Samsung. I believe I am at the ideal age to justify an admiration of both the athletes and the coaches without feeling inappropriate - except for Kentucky, because I know every player is eighteen. And Rick Pitino, because HD is not doing his complexion any favors.

From sneaking to catch the final seconds of a 5-12 upset in our math teacher's office to skipping college coursework to taking particularly long lunches and working from a sports bar, those clutch hours revolve around the next key matchup for the basketball faithful*. Why is that?

Of course it's about money. That's why the Big East has shriveled to a memory of its former glory, I see Reese's logos everywhere on the screen - which could explain why I am currently eating chocolate - and the days of the live look-in are a thing of the past. But for the players, it's not about the money. No contracts are on the line. It's about the dance.

It's bodies on the floor. Athletes throwing themselves with reckless abandon, seizing the hope of one more victory, one more game. It's disregard for fear and denial of doubt. Raw, unadulterated passion. And yes, the chiseled biceps.

It's linked arms lining the bench. They're playing for each other, and for most, this will be the greatest stage.

The floor is unforgiving, though, and ultimately, 98.3% of those young men will lose. Yet on selection Sunday, teams don't shrivel when they are announced an opportunity to win. These guys believe they can win, become the Cinderella team, have the undefeated season, make history. They play with that belief, and in the hundreds of games I have watched, I have yet to see a team go down without a fight.

When they do go down, the agony of defeat is all to real, from the weeping players to the stoic coaches to the fan resorting to the fetal position. I wager if you ask any of those athletes if they would rather have been watching on a 55 inch HD Samsung, each would say no.

As a fan, the spirit of March Madness represents an attitude you want to see in the world, in others, in yourself. A desire to commit to a goal, work tirelessly for it, be willing to dive for it, recognize failure as finite and experience as eternal, and walk away from the floor knowing you were part of the dance.

* Older sisters: your little sisters take everything you say as gold for a certain period. Do with that what you will.
* I mean, come on, every one of the man's graduating seniors has been to a Final Four.
* As a side note, as one of my Presidential campaign points, I would propose we take away Martin Luther King Day and President's Day as government holidays and instead, give workers the first two days of the tourney as holiday. After all, we can remember these fine gentlemen and their contributions any day, but you can only see Duke lose to Lehigh live once. Plus, I am quite sure productivity on those days is below average. Don't worry, those of you unaware of the tournament's greatness, this will 1) give you a chance to become aware and 2) give you two days off in March, which is great because the drought of government holidays between February and May is harsh. Everyone wins. You're welcome.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

That Time I Clogged the Public Pool....

I drank coffee at hour 1600 yesterday. I was cold, and it sounded cozy. After three sips, I deemed it unwise to continue, as caffeine in the late afternoon tends to rouse me quite early. I come to you at the ungodly hour of 0500, chipper as a foxhound on a summer's eve.* As is normally the case after a particularly personal post, I will make myself chuckle. When we first met, I promised humorous anecdotes of my ridiculously awkward life, even if that meant retreating to the archives. Let's dive into the deep end...

As with most of my mortifying experiences, we can trace this to a few root causes:

1) The back of the bus
2) A slightly extreme level of youthful curiosity
3) A childhood ailment

1) Sitting in the back of the bus always gave us elementary schoolers a sense of maturity. During one such ride, a classmate demonstrated this as she regaled us with stories of skinny-dipping in her parents' pond.

2) In the days prior to children's total inundation with technology, you had to create your own, unique experiences. That often included activities stemming from thoughts such as, "I wonder how the dog's electric fence collar feels on my neck at full voltage. For five seconds. How about on my tongue?"*

3) Self-diagnosis: I have over productive facial fluids. Though this may not sound scientific, it explains constant sniffling, occasional drooling, and most pertinent to this story, ear wax accumulation. I was twelve the first time I experienced this inconvenient phenomenon, and when the doctor shined the flashlight into my canal, he gasped at the yellow blockade. It was too intense to irrigate at the moment*, so I was instructed to dissolve the malady with a daily dose of warm water and baking soda. Each night, I lay with one side of my head on the table while the little bubbles went to work, breaking down months of build up. Sadly, this is not the most humiliating aspect of this story.

Only days later, with my head half clogged, I traveled with my sisters and mother to visit my oldest sister, Julie. A recent college graduate, she was enjoying the small luxuries of adulthood, one of which was an apartment complex pool, soon to become infamous in my life annals.

In between shopping and eating copious amounts of ice cream, we spent an afternoon poolside. I had not yet reached the point of adolescence where I could bask for hours, so after a short while, I turned off my walkman and ventured into the hot tub, located in a small area on the way to the locker rooms. It was not entirely public, but it was certainly not private.

And so we reach the point of factor convergence. My mind wandered to the conversation on the bus, and as I sat alone, curiosity led me down the path: "I wonder how skinny dipping feels." My mental faculties may not have been functioning at a balanced level, i.e., the common sense neurons were flailing in an attempt to swim through wax. Instead of firing and telling me this was a terrible idea, I heard, "You should try it. Five seconds." I listened. Five seconds later, and not a millisecond more, I reached for my bathing suit top, but it was nowhere to be found. Mind you, the bubbles were not even running, so the absolute disappearance of the top was quite improbable. Yet, I turned and turned only to grasp at water.

So there I was. Aghast. Dumbfounded. Topless. And although I was quite young and mostly undeveloped, I could not meander to the outdoor pool to gather my clothes or towel. People would notice. A few people passed the hot tub area, and I held my breath, thanking all of the things that they did not enter. When traffic broke, I scurried to the women's locker room, curled up in a shower, and sat.

After what seemed like an eternity, Julie came to ask if I was alright. I quickly requested she bring my clothes and promised myself to never speak of the incident.* Hours later, however, I weighed the pros and cons, and decided I increased the odds of solving the lost bathing suit top mystery by employing their aid. After all, it was a super cute tankini from Venus, and I had spent hard earned money to buy it. Swallowing my dignity, I confessed. After a couple blank stares and some confused laughs, my mother was on the case. The following morning, she stopped by the pool desk to ask if they happened upon a rogue bathing suit top. The attendant confirmed that indeed, they had. It had been suctioned into the filter, causing it to clog and the entire pool to overflow. Apparently, they had been dealing with the issue since five o'clock in the morning. After returning the garment, he told my mother that "her daughter had some explaining to do."

Here it is. Fifteen years later, a robust explanation. It was the first and last time I went skinny dipping, and I think it is best that age has severely curbed my extreme sense of curiosity. As with all my stories, there is a lesson to be learned. Apart from the obvious, make sure you put your bathing suit top outside the hot tub if you decide to take it off*, it reinforces one of my favorite lessons: if you can't laugh at yourself, life is going to be a whole lot longer than you'd like. I hope it made you laugh as well.

* I've decided to create my own idiomatic expressions.
* That game may have had a greater lasting affect than I credit it.
* For those of you unfamiliar with this, irrigation is the process of flushing out the wax via an industrial grade syringe.
* We all know that wasn't going to happen.
* Or maybe don't take it off in the first place.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

On Marriage, Life and God

Mitch*: "Gail and I have been together seventeen years. We are champs."
Dad: "Nancy and I have been together thirty-seven years. What does that make us?"
Mitch: "Yea, but you got married in a different time. That's only like fifteen years now-a-days."
Gail: "Yea. We're the Hewitts. Hewitts rule."

That might be a you-had-to-be-there or you-have-to-know-them exchange, but it is a light way to begin what is on the heavier end of my blog spectrum, so I stuck it in there. Don't worry. It's not like Coldstone brownie sundae heavy but like Haagen Daaz cookies&cream* heavy.

Today is my parent's thirty-eighth wedding anniversary. Since Gail and Mitch started dating when I was eight, I grew up watching their relationship. When I think of marriage, I see both these couples. I see their mutual respect and adoration for one another, and the way they stand by one another and work through differences, hardships and disagreements to build a strong foundation for their families. And I've always wanted that.

That's right. I'm a twenty six year old woman who wants to get married. Grab your manhood, run and hide! No, I don't spend evenings pining after a hypothetical someone, and I don't see every guy I meet as a potential partner. On the contrary, I accept Seinfeld's general rule that 95% of the population is undateable, and I much prefer to wait than settle. I am well aware of the benefits and freedoms of being young and single, and I take advantage of them.

But I do want marriage. This is not because I need someone to validate me, feel the pressures of society or sense my biological clock ticking. I want what I see within my family. I want to build and share a life with someone, and let's be honest, I just have so much love to give. Of course, having someone obligated to give me gifts, tell me I'm beautiful and fix my electronics would also be nice.

Some people greatly desire adventure, but I never did. As an adolescent, I wanted to stay near family, get married, run a bakery with my cousin - and be a professional tennis player sponsored by Nike - and I realize there is still time for (most of) that. However, the past five years have been filled with decisions to follow where God has led, but that does not mean it has been where I would choose. It seems I am pushed further and further outside my comfort zone, and when I reach a point of relative stability, he calls me to leave.* Alone. Struggling to be confident in my decision and myself. Struggling to do so with a smile. And sometimes, I'm exhausted.

I recently had one of those weeks, upset with God and questioning why I am where I am. Truth is, I have had them more than I would like to admit. I was going to write in the heat of my hot mess, but that would have likely been incoherent babble on how January sucks, the Browns are depressing, and Buzzfeed represents everything that is wrong with society. Instead, I write today, with a relatively clear head, offering those truths the Holy Spirit consistently brings to mind when I am most discouraged.

1) My life is not mine. Christianity is a daily surrender. It is taking up your cross and following Christ. It is not about me. It is about God's glory. He wants others to see His love through me. It is about building my relationship with Him through Jesus Christ. I think God calls us out of our comfort zone so we rely on Him for strength, calling us further out so we have no choice but to reach further in. It is in those moments of desperation that I feel Him most. When I reach the end of myself and am empty, there is room for Him to fill me.

2) A little theory I call maximizing Christ. This is definitely the math geek in me, and though it is not fully flushed out, I like the idea. So I have all this love in me, and away from family or a significant other, I need to channel it elsewhere. I look at the relationships I have cultivated during my time in Charlottesville, and I see God. I see him working through me to comfort others, bring joy to their lives, challenge them, and share my beliefs. He works through them to do the same. On an ROI driven note, I consider, if my experience brings one more person to know the reality of Jesus Christ, then isn't that cool?

Before I start sounding like I think myself a martyr of sorts, I move on to points three and four.

3) I am small, and my desires are small. My favorite C.S. Lewis quote - besides the entirety of the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe which I can quote by heart is, "We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” C.S. Lewis refers to drink, sex and ambition, but we could seek our joy from a great number of things, good or bad. If the source is not ultimately God, however, we are selling ourselves short. It is easy to be overwhelmed by my own goals and desires, especially when I do not see the full picture of my life, but in giving those to God, there is a promise. He shall supply all our needs*, and even more exciting,

4) There is a joy. My man Paul exhorts us to, "Run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."

You know I love Paul, however, I prefer to think of it as a tennis match. Surprising, I know. Though I think if they had tennis back in the day, Paul might agree with my metaphor. While a race is finite, a match has no clock and could theoretically last forever. It is a grind, some points won quite easily and some when it seems that no matter how strong your shot is, the opponent's shot pushes you to a new limit. Indeed, I am thankful for the wonderful people and opportunities God has placed in my life, and I cherish those points. During those long points at pivotal moments, I hold on to the joy that is set before me. A joy I cannot comprehend. And afterward, I am one point closer.

I could drop more Scripture bombs on y'all, but I won't. I am quite a child of my faith. I am as human and fallen as they come, justified by grace alone, and continually being refined. When I write such posts such as this, it is not to be melodramatic*, but it is with the small hope that God uses my experience to encourage and draw someone closer to Him.

In the spirit of anniversaries, I will end with this verse: "This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus."*

* Bro-in-law - read my blog more if you don't know that!
* Blogger does not spellcheck cookies&cream which I respect.
* Incidentally, my adaptive personality means I get stable quite quickly, making the time between transition shorter. Perhaps a startup is the perfect fit, because by definition, startups are rarely comfortable.
* Phillippians 4:19
* Hebrews 12:1-3
* Though it could totally appear melodramatic.
* 1 John 4:17