Thursday, January 23, 2014

Hello from Kentucky!

Hi everyone!

I hope this post finds you well, wherever you happen to be, which could be in so many places I've lived! I have a gut that if you are reading this you are one of the people I miss, or maybe you're one if the awesome people who I've met since my move to Kentucky. I am so thankful for you all!

I haven't wrote anything here in nearly 2 years
(although had over a dozen attempts when I looked in my drafts folder), primarily due to the sheer craze of being a full-time grad student and part-time employee at WMU. Now I've graduated and moved to central Kentucky for my first full-time job. I've really struggled since moving to Kentucky with feeling really out of the loop with everything, wayyy more than I did when I was in Michigan away from family & friends that I love. It's been on my mind to improve feeling connected & allowing others to know that I care about them, and this is one of those places I plan on doing just that. I am so excited and grateful to invite you into my life as I currently know it! It feels homey here, and I really love that:-) Let be honest, I have been craving that feeling to. 

If you've been around this little place before, you can see it's new & fresh & bright, and I think it perfectly parallels how I am feeling about life right now.

I have plenty I could write here, and I think a glimpse into the past 6 months is a perfect place to start, as that marks the time I have lived in Kentucky, which is all still pretty crazy. A little over a year ago I was introduced to the job by my now stellar supervisor at a conference, and I just felt that it was what was going to be my place for my first full-time, professional job, Like He prepared this job for me in a sense (it is brand new to EKU). I am grateful I get to do what I do more everyday. I really love it, and my co-workers and colleagues. And the students are just awesome.

So you may be wondering, what do I do? In short, I am a student affairs professional, focusing on student development and success. In detail, I am the Assistant Director for Student Life-Leadership. I am in the process of creating a co-curricular leadership program for EKU. I have a strategic plan I've created where I've been doing research and doing lots of listening to really create a set program for the upcoming school year and beyond. I am doing programming that I can right now, to really build the foundation for what is to come. I created a leadership certificate series for this semester themed the Leadership Olympics that I am really excited about! I also serve as a consultant, where I have done tailored trainings with student groups who have reached out to me. I also work directly with our student organizations, in terms of helping them get started and whatever they need to be successful! Mostly, my time has been richly made by all of the welcoming professionals I get to work with at EKU, and the students who are super excited about leadership development. It has been so enriching to have so many supporters to launch new leadership initiatives at EKU:-)

Since I started, it has never been just these main areas, lol. We've had a lot of turnover since I started, so I took on the Community Service and Alternative Spring Break responsibilities toward the end of September. It was quite the task trying to maintain programs while trying to create something shiny and new, but we survived! We also had a vacancy for Greek Life, so it was a very "nutty, but good" first semester as I frequently have described it, with so much going on all at once lol. Both positions are now filled with talented professionals, and for the first time since I got here we have a full office! And soon, I will be doing primarily just 'my job,' which will be entertaining to figure out I am sure.

Overall, I am finding myself feeling more settled each day, and am so excited for what is to come this year, with life and work and all the things He knows are on my heart. I want to include some of the highlights/defining moments with 2013 since moving to KY, and will write soon about what's shaking now!

1. Culture shock. I had no concerns about culture shock prior to moving, so I assume when I got here the lack of anticipation made it that much more noticeable. I'll just be honest, and say I kinda felt like a flamingo in Antarctica. I never thought about not sounding the same as the majority of people around me, or how few people have any connection to what I've known forever. I found it very hard, especially moving in the middle of summer when all I could think about was wanting the campus pool to turn into Lake Michigan. It's much better now, and I proudly own my accent, my 'pop,' and 'you guys.' But trust me, I miss the mitten something crazy still.

2. My knee. I screwed it up training in what now I know was too short of an amount of time for the Homecoming 5K, and for weeks I iced it daily when I got home for work. It has seemed to define much of my time in KY. I have been going to physical therapy and it's the best time I've invested in my health in a while! So thankful it's made such a huge difference!! I've gotten almost full mobility back and pray I can start running again soon!

3. I have a date! (No I'm still single, not that kind of date, lol)! For a long time now I've been around people who have had that 'date' when they fully surrendered their lives to Christ. I've found a church that I love that frequently brings up this topic, and it was really bugging me because I didn't have one. I think it bugged me because I've really been pursuing Jesus and living for him for quite some time, but when I got to Kentucky there were a lot of unknowns, which for me translated into a lot of fear and discomfort. I kept hearing, "Do you trust that I will take care and keep you safe Sarah?" many times from Him. And I don't know, one night at life group we were watching this series on sharing Jesus with others, and I was really convicted. And Jesus kindly whispered, 'Are you all in?' And of course I said yes, of course yes! That night I invited Jesus to live in my heart forever. It was one of the neatest moments, so simple and pure at the same time. My life group sang me Happy Birthday after. I was glad it happened around people who I will always care for. It was perfect :)

Oh! My date is 11.24.2013! I haven't shared it much yet, and I really don't know why. I am really excited for what comes from here!

4. Learning. Oh goodness, thankfully I love learning and meeting new people and working hard because that has been the name of the game! I am a better person for all of the working on my tip toes, and learning to be adaptable, and accepting grace upon grace. I really love my job, and I am really learning to love it here in Kentucky.

Plus there's Chick-Fil-A. Let's be honest.

I am really looking forward to the new semester, and sharing life here! I am not sure how often I will post, I assume 1-3 times a month, so we shall see. I will be sure to always let ya know when I do. I have a Facebook 'Like' page that I hope to get up and running again soon. I would love to hear from you all to! Please consider this a place for conversation, or feel free to write via internet or snail mail. I would love to hear what's going on your way. Snail mail has a special place in my heart, it really does.

I really like new years--and even years at that! Woo 2014! Looking forward to sharing life as I know it here with you all!

Lots of love!


Thursday, May 31, 2012

Something in the Genes (50/100)

"But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore, do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall I eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall I wear?' For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all." --Matthew 6:30-32
Yesterday could easily appear as if it were any other Wednesday. Yet it was special, a day where I was reminded the importance of looking in between the lines to capture the loving and creative God we serve. 

I was reminded of that as I reflected on what 50 days without clothes shopping has looked like for me. 

Honestly, I am grateful to say it has not been nearly as bad as I thought; I think it's because the reason I decided to do 100 days without shopping what because I felt called to--not just because. I had a great peace to start the challenge, and it has been pretty darn amazing thus far. 

When I began telling my friends and family about my challenge, the reactions were very scattered. Some flat out laughed at me. Some told me they were excited I was challenging myself in this regard. Some requested they be present to see others reactions when I told them the first time. One went who far as to say jokingly, "what are you going to do, spend more time at home now!?" (love you too mom). Nonetheless, the conversations that budded from this topic were just too funny.

So you ask, how am I doing with the no clothes shopping thing? It's quite funny because when I started it didn't seem like that big of a deal. I will tell you that these first 50 days have held significant impact, with all gratitude and thanks to our awesome Creator. 

I feel I have been really living and recognizing the value of Matthew 6:30-32, as quoted above. Here is a few ways as to how:

1. Appreciation of what I have
My goodness I have truly been reminded within this 50 days of how immensely blessed I am to have a closet of clean clothes, from casual to professional, Sunday best to Friday festive. I've been even reminded of what a blessing it is to have a washer and dryer and the means to personally clean and care for my clothes. Instead of looking at my closet and thinking "what's missing?" I now think "What can I find to where today?" My closet used to be viewed as kind of like an evergreen website page, which constantly needs to be refreshed. I don't feel that way at all anymore, because I am grateful to have what I do:-)

2. It's ok to like fashion
As it is probably apparent, I have an affinity for fashion. Besides liking jeans, I know it is in my genes. Before I could read I would flip through my moms fashion and family magazines all day (commonly upside down). I designed two of my homecoming dresses in high school that my oh-so talented mother brought to life. I love picking out what to wear, finding fun color combinations and well-fitted outfits. I see it as an opportunity to express my creative heart. I feel God has significantly reshaped my once strong fascination of clothes to one that glorifies Him thoroughly--I look forward to what 50 more days will bring! I feel God's reaffirmed that yes my dear Sarah, get dressed and enjoy it, and by doing so glorify me! 

3.  Compliments
I know this may seem funny, but I know it's a God thing because it has caught my attention every time. On many days where I've worn a piece of clothing that I have had for a few years--I was complimented about it! For example, I wore shoes today that I've had since senior year of high school--and they were complimented!! 

4. Returns
Typically when I buy something it's for good--no messing around. After I started my 100 day quest to not shop, I stared at my closet one day and a few items caught my eye that still had tags on them. I realized they weren't needed, and promptly returned them. Not only did I have money to do other things with to bring glory to Him and had opportunities to be in community with friends, I was just about as excited for returning the clothes as I used to feel when I bought them. Pretty groovy huh?

5. Acts of Kindness
I have been exceptionally thrilled to give back or simply give to others. I always have, but something about having possibly a little bit of extra money each month to go to a cause I believe in, to church, to treating friends to ice cream or den pop and snacks has been abundantly refreshing, energizing, and purely fun. It has been rewarding to use my money toward building relationships and feeling as if I am forwarding the Kingdom of Heaven in more abundant ways. 

With all of the goodness and happiness it have brought me, I challenge you to give up something that could make an impact on your life, others, and most importantly, His glory. Pray about it see where He leads you--He may surprise you in marvelous ways only a Heavenly Father could sculpt!

Peace & Happiness, Sarah

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Tulip Time and Mother's Day

Hello and happy Friday!!

My lovely little life in Kalamazoo has been full lately--with love, family, friends, church, and living the student affairs graduate student life! I am genuinely happy--I truly enjoy my calling and simply where I am in life. I don't feel as if I am striving or overwhelmed or anxious. I feel content, cared for, loved, and silly happy. 
Of course I have my moments, especially dealing with my first series of 40-work weeks, split between my SALP hours and my Career Services internship hours. I know it is something that I need time to get used to! Oh, and my car demanded another $700 of work--fuel pumps are kind of a big deal! 

The past two weekends were full of fun! I went to opening night of the annual Tulip Time Festival fireworks with Kirsten and Lindsay, and spent Sunday walking around Holland in the pouring rain--literally. Julie and Hollie were able to come to, so it was lovely to just all be together--something we weren't able to do in quite a while! 

For mother's day my mom and sister visited, and we just had the best time! We went out to one of our favorite Kalamazoo restaurants, the Texas Roadhouse, and I made sure they experienced Sophia's House of Pancakes. They got to meet my good friends Chavonna and Yu, and we all went to my church (love Centerpoint!) together. It was a wonderful mother's days service and I was so thankful to experience it with my mom! It was truly a magical mother's day! 

The Lord has truly blessed me lately. I plan to write more this weekend about what He is doing in my life. I've been dreaming lots of big Jesus dreams lately and I can't wait to chat more with you about them. May the Lord bless you and keep you this lovely Michigan weekend!

Fireworks with Linds and Kirsten!
Lindsay Lou love. 
 The only group shot we got, ducking under awnings of downtown shops.
Sad rainy friends. Sad tulips.
Love my sissy--she is doing great things!
I love my mommy:-) She's the bomb dot com. It seemed only appropriate I got her tulips this year!