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I Have a Choice…

Today I have a choice. I can be upset and stomp my feet, act like I’m 7 years old and say horrible things about what I’m angry about OR I can be an adult, be gracious, forgiving, open, honest, and willing to know that God has a plan and I just need to chill.

Today was a pretty good Tuesday. In fact, a REALLY decent one. I enjoyed laughing with my co-workers, had a fantastic interview for a job I would love to do, and shopped at H&M. All in all… pretty great… Until my dear sweet iPhone delivered an e-mail I knew was coming… but didn’t want to read.

My time working at the church I grew up at is coming to an end. Please note, this is not a blindside. It was actually supposed to happen about 2 months ago. I am not shocked. I am ready, but that doesn’t make it so that I am not sad.

When I decided it was time to live a better story, I quit a great job, left some of the best friends I’ve ever had, and completely changed my life. There is no regret associated with this choice, just a little bit of loneliness.

I’ve been asking God to give me people that support me. Easy request right? Well, yeh, it was. He provided a whole squad of people that have known me most of my life that remembered to encourage me when it seemed like no one else was. In hindsight, it’s been pretty amazing.

Alright, back to Tuesday. I read this e-mail, replied, sighed and thought I had let it go, accepted it, and put my trust in God. That was, until I started trying to transfer my files between 2 laptops. I couldn’t do it! Wait, what? I’m not an idiot, I’ve done this a dozen times before… what in the world?

That’s when the tears/anger/frustration/heartbreak happened. I’m convinced only crazy people cry over not being able to link two laptops via firewire cable. There had to be something more there. It hit me. I was mourning the loss of this odd, little God-given support system. I was getting ready to walk out into the cold world again. Phew, I’m glad I figured that out, because I was ready to find a padded room.

Ok, let’s play a game? Ready? Did I stay mad/crying/bitter or did I get over it?

Do you think you’ve figured me out?

Well, I did a little bit of both. I had a meltdown, complained about how all of my computer cables that work are in a d**m box in the garage, and how my whole life was falling apart, how broke I am, and how much I hate people… THEN I started counting my blessings.

Yes, I am hurt, deeply, that I was not the right choice for this position in a place that I hold so dear to my heart, but how amazing is it to consider the fact that a new person will be able to get embraced by this amazing community? REALLY! I am beyond excited for the person taking my job to meet these people, fall in love with them and allow them to nurture his soul. Pretty darn cool, in my opinion.

I do want to reiterate that I am rarely this positive in the moment of anger/frustration. I am an impulsive, heart-before-head thinker and I usually say terrible things before I get to the good part. I think where the choice comes in is when the smoke blowing out of your ears fades a little.

I always have a choice. I have a choice about where my life goes, how I react to things out of my control, and when I keep a smile on my face. I have a choice of what to say, what to do, and who to keep or cut out of my life. I have a choice of MY actions. I am not a victim. I am a dreamer with the control to be who I want to be.

Do I often react in ways that I shouldn’t? Ummm, YES! Don’t we all? I think the power of choice is found in how we react when the smoke clears and if we are able to force a smile on our face, grind through the tough stuff and know that few things are permanent. Life is a journey, story, adventure…if there were no conflict, no swear words, no moments of anger or sadness, I honestly believe MY story wouldn’t be very good.

Friends…

I should be submitting my resume for jobs. I should be doing my laundry. I should be figuring out a way to pay for my recent $2,000 car repair, but I am not. 

I am thinking about how blessed I am to have the friends that I have. 

There are 400 things I should be doing, but this one feels more important. 

I was looking through job rejection emails, you know, to gain some inspiration for submitting resumes tonight. :) Anyway, I got distracted from the depressing rejection letter email folder by one labeled Jonny Rockstar. (Sorry Jon, please don’t kill me) As I was reading through these letters, reminiscing about our past few years, I was overwhelmed with appreciation for the friend I have in Jon. True, most of our emails were about music, or stupid people or just to say hi, but there were several where we completely dumped our frustrations with where we were living, what God was doing, and how we felt stuck. Funny thing about these letters… I don’t remember them. 

I remember all the bad stuff from that time of my life. I remember crying myself to sleep, feeling absolutely alone, eating a lot of Coldstone Icecream, and wishing I was anywhere but where I was, but I don’t remember these letters of encouragement.

As I read one of my letters to Jon I gave myself a high-5. Man, I was encouraging and awesome and inspiring and optimistic when he was in the dumps. But as I read my e-mails where I’m venting, I’m seeing this huge dichotomy between who I encouraged others to be and who I was in the moment. 

And I quote, “Jon! You’re going to be awesome. Seriously. God has a plan, and although I wish it was moving you back to Minnesota, I know that He’s not gonna let you down.” As I think back to those first few months in Fargo when I was sharing these letters with Jon, I remember wishing that I could believe those words for my own life, and honestly it’s not the words ‘God has a plan’ that tripped me up… It was the ‘…going to be awesome’ part for myself. 

Your early 20’s are your formative years. They are when you really start to figure yourself out, what you are passionate about, and how you like to live. They are also the years where I made most of my huge mistakes. My biggest mistake in my early 20’s? Forgetting who I was. 

I could write now about how I secluded myself, lied to people about my level of sadness, changed who I was to have someone love me… blah blah blah. Let’s skip that for now… that’s a whole other adventure. It’s not the process of forgetting who I was that I want to talk about, it’s about the friends who reminded me. 

Jon reminded me that I wasn’t alone. He was one of the people who pushed me to make new friends. He was one of the driving forces behind me going to a Fargo Starbux one night to meet a group of crazy hipsters who I can now call some of my best friends. He was just one friend who pushed me into others.

I have been blessed. There are people all over the try-state area (and beyoooooond) who are on my team. They are my friends, my cheerleaders, my coaches, my confidants, my friends. They are the people who saved me from myself. They are the ones who made me look in a mirror and see myself all over again. When I was lost and invisible to myself, they saw me. 

Friends are pretty great, right?

…now if one of my friends could just apply for all these jobs for me… 

400 posts written 40% of the way

 I’ve just spent the last 30 minutes reading all of the posts I have saved as a draft, 40% written and all ending in …  

The Ellipsis

This seems to be the story of my life currently; always waiting for the ending of the sentence, the end of the story, the next chapter to start. Dear Ellipsis, you are officially THE WORST. 

Thanks to Grammer.com I learned that, “The ellipsis can be used to indicate a pause in the flow of a sentence and is especially useful in quoted speech”. Awesome. The ellipsis is used for pausing. I am paused. Life is paused… in limbo… not sure how much time has passed or when it will matter again… in pause. 

There are 27 tabs open on my Internet browser right now, each holding a job posting that I need to apply for. Each application sent with a prayer that I won’t be lost in the sea of 200 applications for an administrative assistant position. With each click of ‘apply now’ reminding myself that God has a plan. Each tab will soon to be accompanied by a politely written rejection email.

The current unemployment rate in Minneapolis/St. Paul as of March 7, 2012 is 5.7% which honestly isn’t horrible. The unfortunate part about that number is that it is flawed. It does not account for those that are unable to claim unemployment because they have been unemployed for so long. AND it doesn’t account for people like me who are working minimum wage jobs with shiny college degrees and 7+ years of experience collecting dust on a shelf. 

You will never hear me say that I am unemployed. I feel like it sometimes because I am not doing what I am good at or want to do, but I am employed. I spend my mornings laughing and singing show tunes with some wonderful girls while we serve coffee to and flirt with amazing guests. I leave most mornings with a smile on my face because I had fun at work. I’ve also been allowed to continue in a communications position for a church that I love dearly. It’s heartbreaking at times knowing that I will not and have not been afforded the chance to continue on past part-time work, but again… God has a plan. I am not unemployed… I am paused.

I keep thinking about all the things I’ve paused, VHS tapes, DVDs, life dreams (whoa deep). ok, back to fun things. There is a quote from a movie (maybe 40 year old virgin) where one of the characters says ‘if you pause it just right you can see her (an actresses) bare chest’. Ok, I know that is a horrible example but haven’t you ever paused a movie to catch something you thought you missed? Better example: it is rumored and proven that if you pause several Disney movies at just the right moment you can catch words that the illustrators snuck in, i.e. in the Lion King when Simba falls down on a bed of leaves they fly up and spell sex for 2 frames (about 1/10 of a second). 

Ok, where the heck is Laura going with this? I’m getting there. I promise.

These past few months I have been paused, I have been at the end of a sentence accompanied by the dreaded ellipsis, BUT the beauty of being paused is that there is a guarantee that SOMETHING is next. Think about it. I’m paused as the leaves fly up in the sky with the guarantee that when play is pushed they will fall with grace. We are all guaranteed that play will be pushed again and that there is something next. Sometimes it just requires a moment of pausing. 

I think it’s ironic that I got a tattoo this summer that reads ‘Be Still’ as a daily reminder that God is in control and I should just shut up and let Him work. I just never knew my period of stillness would be so lengthy. I guess I shouldn’t worry so much, tomorrow will always come and the chance for my story to stop being paused is refreshed each time the sun rises. My leaves will fall… someday. 

Hello New Year…

I’ve been thinking long and hard about what to declare as my “new life change” for 2012. I could vow to exercise more, or eat better, or dress nicer or work less… but this year’s resolution is going to be a little more profound… I think.

Dear 2012, I have decided that you will not be another year of feeling lost. You will not be a year where I feel like I am dreamless, and undecided. I had a friend say that the turn of the clock changes nothing, but I refuse to allow another opportunity of change to be missed. I will stop letting my heart fall for all the wrong things. I will pray for those that I care about, that good things would happen to them, even if it means things changing for me. I will make good choices that leave my heart more whole instead of broken. I will rejoice instead of feel jealous, I will laugh instead of feeling sorry for myself, and I will seek out relationships when I feel alone instead of belly aching about. To use one of my co-workers ideas… I will continue to be cute and fun and dance ridiculously just to make others laugh and join with me. I will give and receive good hugs. :)

To: 2011, You brought a lot of excitement and change for my friends and myself. You brought new people and old friends back into my life to challenge me, love me and make me laugh. You gave me great adventure, a life of southern living, and showed me how to be humble. I’m not a huge fan of you in some ways, but I know that when I look back in 5 years, I will see things that happened that made me better. I have some fond memories and some sweet moments of laughter and appreciation that I will cherish dearly. You allowed me to Live a Better Story. I will always remember the nights of dreaming big dreams with Ashley, and the nights of crying over broken hearts with Tracey. I will cherish the day that Randi sent me a picture of an engagement ring, and the sound of Brittany’s voice when she exclaimed, “He proposed!”

I’m not too keen on remembering how it felt to hear my Aunt had cancer, or that my Grandma had died suddenly. I dislike the feeling I get when I remember the last day I saw the family farm, or when my Grandpa asked me who I was. I’m also not a huge fan of wondering how my bills are going to be paid, or when I’ll finally get a full-time job. BUT I know that each struggle enriches my story. They help me to be deeper, go deeper and love deeper. 

So I say goodbye 2011, you weren’t as bad as I think you were, and HELLO 2012! I have a wall calendar that reads, “I’m going to make it through this year if it kills me.” Indeed, I am going to make it through this year and I am going to be happy, supportive and joy filled for all the awesome things happening for the people around me.

I wish you peace.

Have you ever been “un-friended” on Facebook? Who was that person? How did you feel about it? and most of all… why the heck does it matter?

Ok, context. My last year or so was plagued… no wait, that’s too strong of a word… nope, gonna used plagued. Ok, my last year was plagued by a “friend” of mine that took an incredible amount of time pursuing a relationship with me, saying all the things he thought I would like to hear, and then vanishing for months at a time. As I look back at my “year in review” I realize that a lot of time was wasted on this. Not 100% sure how it all happened or why my stupid girl brain allowed our friendship to grow, but that’s a whole other chapter in my story that I am not ready to document quite yet.

When you look at the relationships in your life I’m guessing you can see how some of them are one-sided or mutually giving relationships. As I take inventory of this one, the only thing I really got out of it was some nice videos of fireworks on the 4th of July when mine got cancelled, and a silly iPhone. I’m not sure he really got anything out of it, and I’m not saying that the point of friendship is to “get things out of them” but just flow with me here. I kinda feel like I went through hell and all I got was this t-shirt except in this case the t-shirt is watching my “friend” number drop on Facebook. 

Last night I was jumping around on Facebook and writing nice things on people’s walls and I thought, “hmmm… I should say something nice to him!”… his name didn’t pop up on my list. Needless to say, I’m angry, I’m hurt, I’m offended, I’m confused, I’m pissed. But if I take a step back, gain perspective, I realize that I have been all of those things then entire time I have kept this friend in my life. How dumb is that? For realz. 

To those that I consider my friends that put me through ridiculous emotional roller coasters, that end with me feeling stupid and played I shall now quote an Eagles song. 

I wish you peace when times are hard 
The light to guide you through the dark 
And when storms are high and your, your dreams are low 

I wish you the strength to let love grow on, 
I wish you the strength to let love flow, 

I wish you Peace.

And for me? I wish me freedom and the strength to never say hello again.