You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘faith’ category.

So it’s been 20 days since my last post. In the past few weeks, David and I have kept plenty busy:

1. 1, 2, 3, 4…1, 2, 3, 4…C L E M S O N T I G E RRRR S! – with football season right around the corner, the alumni group in our area is starting to have some functions, and we’re planning to go to as many as possible. Clemson fans around Savannah are few and far between–I’d say the ratio is about 15:1 in Georgia/Georgia Tech fans to Clemson fans. Too much black and red and black and gold. Yuck! We’re planning to represent in our purple and orange soon enough.

2. Hotel Mertens – just shy of nine months away from getting married, Jo and Craig came down after visiting family in Hilton Head. It was great to play host, and we look forward to doing it again. If you’re going to be in the Savannah area, just give me or David a call; we’d love to set you up with free lodging!

3. Faitha little over a month ago, I started a Beth Moore Bible study called Believing God with a group of gals on the islands. It’s been pretty incredible so far, and through the study, I’ve decided to start attending BSF in September. “BSF” stands for “Bible Study Fellowship.” It’s an international, non-denominational Bible study that meets weekly from September to May of each year. In the course of seven years, you make it all the way through the Bible, analyzing scripture line-by-line. It’s not for everyone, I’ve been told, but it sounds like it’ll work really well for me. Can’t wait!

4. Run, Mertens! Run! – David and I are about three weeks into our half marathon/marathon (respectively) training, and it’s going so-so right now. It’s still so hot in Savannah that we either have to run on the treadmills at the gym or run at 4:00am before there’s even a glint of sunlight (and yes, we now have a headlamp so that I don’t fall down…again). The heat is showing signs of breaking, though, as this whole week our highs are in the mid to upper 80s with the heat index in the 90s. In previous weeks, that index has been in triple digits. So glad that fall is on its way!

5. I only burn what in a day!? – In the past six years since I started working out with rowing and ultimately running, I’ve never really gotten a handle on what I should be eating to fuel the amount of activity I do on a daily basis. I opted to go to a nutritionist, but before my appointment, I had to get my resting metabolic rate (RMR) taken. Essentially, the RMR is the amount of calories you burn when you are completely at rest. I was in a reclined comfy chair for 15 minutes while the test was going on–definitely relaxed and at rest. Based on my height, weight and age, the doctor administrating the test estimated that I burn around 1400 calories at rest. Wrong! I only burn around 850. I couldn’t get to the nutritionist fast enough after that to figure out how many calories I could eat in a day and not gain weight over time–around 1300-1400. So much for that “based on a 2,000 calorie-a-day diet” note on every packaged product’s nutrition label. It’s been an interesting adjustment so far, but it’s going well. Getting my RMR checked really opened my eyes to what I’m up against. If you have struggled with weight gain or knowing what you should be eating, definitely pursue a nutritionist and get your RMR tested.

6. Pedaling like crazy but going nowhere – this time around in marathon training, I’m taking a slightly different approach by cross training more frequently–specifically biking. Problem is, I don’t own a bike. I’ve been using the YMCA’s “spinning” bikes one or two times per week, and it’s been pretty awesome. The spinning room is dark except for black lights on the ceiling, so if I wear all black, I’m pretty much invisible–besides my teeth if I smile and my shoes. I’m hoping that training on a spinning bike with pretty heavy resistance will prepare me for riding on a real bike later on down the road.

7. Clouds and wind are evil – Well, only when the presence of both makes you decide to not wear sunscreen while walking on the beach. Saturday was an overcast day–the first day of no rain since the beginning of Fay–so David and I opted to go out to Tybee Island beach and walk for a bit. We packed a picnic lunch, but opted to walk on the beach for a few minutes first. Well, a few minutes turned into an hour or two. It was in the mid-80s out with extremely strong winds (considering there wasn’t a storm nearby) of around 30mph, so it felt fantastic, and neither of us realized how badly we were getting burned…until about four hours later. We’re recovering and will never underestimate the sun again. Whew!

8. Working hard for the money – I love the Gap. I think that deserves some repetition action: I really love the Gap. My job there as brand logistics expert is fun, a little challenging, rewarding and exciting. Plus! I get a fantastic discount on the clothes, get to work in the middle of downtown Savannah (gorgeous), and get to be a part of a wonderful leadership team. And I get paid to do it. So awesome! I’m still working for Clemson too and have the most flexible boss around. It’s so nice to be able to work right out of the home office. So both jobs have been keeping me busy. David’s working pretty long days right now, but starting in the middle of October, he shifts to 21 days of 12-hour shifts each day with no weekend breaks. Just three straight weeks of work. I still can’t picture what that will be like…intense I’m sure.

9. Livin’ on a prayer – so much is going on in our lives, our family’s lives and the lives of our friends that we’re constantly praying. Some are getting married, some are moving, some are expecting a first child really soon, some are changing jobs, some are struggling in various areas, some are triumphing in areas and on it goes. We love our friends and family dearly and wish we could see them all more often. Know that we keep you in our thoughts and our prayers, truly.

So yes, that’s kind of what’s been going on around here in the past 20 days. We’re looking forward to the holiday weekend as we’ve both got Monday off of work. I doubt we’ll go to the beach, but I’m pretty sure we’ll be exploring Savannah. What a great place to live!


So, I’ve been busy. David’s been busy. So life goes, right? At least we’re busy with things we love, and for that, we’re truly thankful.

To get you up to speed, I’m doing a couple of posts about what we’ve been up to in the past month. It’s been a whirlwind!

Ooo! Horses! On June 14, David and I redeemed a “free, private carriage ride” coupon that my parents gave us. With Ladybug (our Amish horse) pulling, Diana, a student at SCAD, steering, and our “Just Married” sign fixed squarely on the back of the white carriage, we were off. Yes, it said “Just Married.” It was fun to ham it up for the tourists! We got a great tour of the historic district of downtown Savannah filled with funny quips and trivia facts from Diana. Afterward, on the recommendation of a former professor of mine, we ate at Vinnie Van Go Go’s New York-style pizzeria. It was fantastic, by the way, but they only take cash. Plan ahead!

I know them well. My parents came to town during the third week of June for a speedy visit. They’re just as busy (if not more so) than David and I, so we take any time we can with them. My mom drove down on a Tuesday night, and my dad flew in on Wednesday. We went to a church softball game, ate dinner at the Crab Shack, walked out to Tybee Island beach, enjoyed the boardwalk in our backyard, went shopping (which led to something I’ll talk about later), and got all caught up on the happenings of everyone. It was a wonderful, wonderful few days.

Believing in God vs. Believing God. I just started a Beth Moore Bible study with some gals from FBCI called “Believing God,” and it’s all about trusting that what God says is truly what He means and that he comes through on his promises. It looks to be an interesting study, for sure. I’ll keep you posted.

Sample 25 food items? We’re there! David and I went to our first ever Tastefully Simple couples party at Travis and Kristy’s house. What is Tastefully Simple? Essentially it’s a home-based business where the consultants sell these little seasoning packets that you add to one or two other things to make delicious dips, marinades, breads, cakes, etc. At a TS party, you get to sample a bunch of the items that you can buy, and it was delicious. Too bad most all of the seasoning packets had to be mixed with one of the following: sour cream, cream cheese or mayonnaise (depending on the type of dip/spread, etc you were making. No wonder everything tasted so lovely! After the TS part of the party, the 15 of us had a cookout (oh my stomach!) and played Guesstures until we got super tired and left. Fun times.

Don’t go! My cousin, Jennifer (mother of my first cousin once removed for those of you who’ve read this blog for a while), is leaving Georgia and moving back to Virginia Beach. A series of events out of her control led to the move, and I was bummed. David and I decided, though, that before she left, we’d drive up to Athens to see her and meet Marlee. We’re so glad that we did! Marlee is adorable and can stare you down, and Jennifer looked great. It was good to see her mom, Susan, as well. A mini family reunion! On top of that, David and I got to have eight+ hours of in-the-car time to talk about everything under the sun. We treated it like a mini vacation–good move, I think. It was a blast!

When you live near a beach…yes, you go to the beach all the time. But for us, it’s all about walks on the beach–especially after dinner. We’ve had a beach day that I’ll talk about later, but for the most part, we get our fill of sand on our walks and soak up the sun by the sand-free pool at our apartment. Woo!

On the road again. David’s in a couple of our friends’ wedding this summer, and the groomsmen all had a bachelor weekend in North Carolina at the end of June. I hitched a ride (ha!) with David up to Greenville to spend the weekend with my parents and friends while he went the rest of the way to the “Bearly Ours” cabin in NC. Based on the pictures, the guys had a great time hanging out, whitewater rafting, playing cards, etc. I enjoyed seeing some friends and getting to spend time with my mom, dad and brother–not to mention go downtown. I miss downtown Greenville so much sometimes! Downtown Savannah is pretty awesome, though, and is giving Greenville a run for its money.

Would you like to open a Gap card? Remember that shopping trip I mentioned earlier? Well, when my mom and I were in Gap looking at shorts and jeans, the manager (didn’t know that’s who she was at the time) suggested that I work at Gap. I had been small talking about my job with Clemson and how I wanted to have an additional job outside of the home. Anyhow, a few days later, I opted to apply. A few days after that (while in Greenville), I got the call that I had an interview. During the interview, the manager threw me a curve ball by not interviewing me for the position that I applied for. Instead, she was interested in training me for a higher position. No complaints here! So, I started yesterday, and love it. I look forward to seeing where the job takes me!

Sorry for my obvious break from updating. David and I are up to our necks in boxes, packaging tape and sharpie markers. We’re hitting the road bright and early Thursday morning and will be making the drive down to our new place in one shot (after stopping for a good southern meal at my grandparents’ house along the way).

We cannot wait to be at our new place! We’ll miss Pittsburgh and the friendships we’ve formed here, but we’re anxious to see what God has in store ahead. Our internet in GA should be up and running by Monday of next week, so look for an update then.

Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers.

Four days from right now, David and I will be around an hour into our marathon, so hopefully close to mile  seven. It’s kind of intense to think that 18 weeks of training have come down to this Sunday, no pressure or anything.

Please say a prayer for us–that we’d make smart speed choices, have crazy endurance and finish strong, without too much pain if possible!

The header above is from our half-marathon race last October. It’s like “Where’s Waldo?” Can you find us in the crowd? This was at the very beginning of the run. That race was a really tough one for several reasons: my knee had only been out of physical therapy for about a week and was in no shape for a half-marathon, it got up to the 80s outside, and we were running a ridiculously hilly route around North Park. That said, though, we finished the race.

In Cleveland, the temperature should be a bit more mild, the course is flat, and my knee is in much better shape. It might be a rainy race, but that’s ok. We’re ready for whatever is thrown our way–besides, rain would certainly keep us cooled off!

I’ll be sure to post all about the race when we get back because I doubt my hands will be hurting; typing should be simple.

*If you would like text messages or emails as David and I cross the 6.2 mile mark, 13.1 mile mark, 18.6 mile mark and the finish, post a comment to that effect, and I’ll give you instructions on how to do that. Really cool free feature offered by this race.

March 22. Easter eve. Wonderful day covered in God’s hand. This past Saturday was a whirlwind to say the least, but definitely provided a fun ride. Want to know more?

We started out our day with a 12-mile run in North Park. Since we are still here in PA, we had to deal with frigid temperatures, wind and of course, snow. We’ve sort of gotten used to it by now, but this was our first 10+ mile run in such conditions (we’ve been blessed with better weather for our previous long runs). That said, it was a little tough to stay motivated. Then we passed a sign:

“J.C. Stone 50K”

There was an arrow on the sign pointing in the direction we were running. That’s right…we were running right along a race route of a race already in progress. For those who aren’t so familiar with kilometer-to-mile conversions, (don’t worry, I’m not either…I looked it up), that’s a 31 mile race. Needless to say, running alongside some “Ultra-marathoners” was enough to motivate us to push right through the conditions and finish our run. Fabulous! Thanks for that little nudge, God!

We rushed home, got ready in record time and headed back out the door to meet up with our tax guy. We had already prepared ourselves for “You owe Uncle Sam some cash” to come out of his lips, but no. We’re getting a refund! How cool is that? So we left that meeting feeling pretty pumped up and certainly in high spirits and high energy–despite such a long run that morning.

As we had planned that morning, we headed over to the National Aviary in downtown Pittsburgh. It’s essentially a zoo for birds (200 species), and it sounded like fun, so go we went. It wasn’t a very large place, but we stayed for nearly two hours admiring the toucans, lories, flamingos, etc…at one point, we watched a “Flights of the North Shore” bird show and had some extremely close (and awesome) encounters with an owl (the thing was HUGE and flew right over our heads) and a penguin. Although the penguin was named Elvis, he was definitely my favorite. God’s so creative. I knew that already, but the aviary definitely solidified that thought.

After leaving the aviary, we planned to go straight home, ice our legs, relax and maybe even nap, rent a movie and go to bed. God had other plans.

We were driving out of the aviary and saw a sign for the Carnegie Science Center. We had talked about going there at one point, and I piped up suggesting that we just head down, park and check out their rates. “Just to see,” I said. Before we knew it, we were pulling into the parking lot with cars lined up behind us and realized that we had to pay to park. We were both kind of irritated, but figured we could just go ahead, pay to park and check out the one exhibit that we really wanted to see: “BODIES…The Exhibition.”

Now, you may have heard of it before–especially with all the recent controversy surrounding it. Unclaimed bodies from China were preserved (sometimes taking nearly a year to complete) and dissected so that you could really get a sense of the inner workings of the body. We were really intrigued by the thought of it, so we headed in. We were immediately slammed in the face with a $22 per person fee. Whew! No AAA discount either. So we were getting pretty discouraged, but went ahead and bought tickets. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” we thought.

After buying the tickets (our tour didn’t start for 45 minutes), we sat down in a row of four chairs by the entrance. We were reading some handouts about how the bodies were legally and ethically obtained, etc…when another couple sat down beside us. Not wanting to hold on to my handout anymore, I asked them if they were headed in to the BODIES exhibit. “No, we just came out of it,” Linda said (introductions happened later, of course). We kept talking to John and Linda about all the normal “we just met you” sort of topics: they were from Indiana County, PA, were in town for the Penguins hockey game at 7:30pm, but were killing time until then.

Then John said, “You know, we have two extra tickets to the game tonight. Would you two like to come?”

Ok. Hold the phone. You don’t know us and you want to give us two tickets to a sold out Penguins game (they’ve sold out the last 51 games)? Of course we’d like the tickets! So, we took them, thrilled beyond believe. We had toyed with the idea of going to a game, but the tickets were just so expensive. Thank you, John and Linda! And thank you God for encouraging us to head to the science center.

So, we headed into our BODIES tour, Penguins tickets in pocket, and were blown away. We spent a little over an hour looking at the displays and reading all the signs. One of the most poignant displays was of the lungs. They had a set of normal lungs beside a set of a smoker’s lungs. The difference was obvious of course, but beside the case was a box full of cigarettes. There was a sign above it saying “A cigarette takes 2.5 hours off of your life, and we want you around here for longer. Throw your cigarettes in here.” It was pretty awesome to see.

I’d definitely recommend checking out the exhibit if it comes near you. It’s a little intense, but it will certainly help you see the insane intricacies of everything. For me and David, it really enhanced our view of God’s amazing design for each of us. So incredible.

After we left our tour, we were getting pretty hungry and set out to find food. David suggested Spaghetti Warehouse in the Strip District of downtown, but on our way there, I really wasn’t wanting to go there. We decided that we weren’t in an Italian food mood and headed off in another direction. We found out Sunday morning, that there was a shootout right outside of Spaghetti Warehouse that night. Glad we went somewhere else!

We ended up eating at Houlihan’s in Station Square. The restaurant was pretty empty when we were seated, so we ordered and got our food right away. Then it sank in. We’d never been to a Penguins game before. How did we get to the arena? Where were we supposed to park? Oh man. We planned on asking our server, but before we got a chance, a couple was seated right beside us (in an empty dining area). They were decked out in Penguins garb, so of course, we asked them.

Larry and Melanie gave us wonderful directions and tips on parking, but while they were waiting on their dessert, we kept right on talking. Turns out, Melanie is from Pickens, SC! What on earth!? So she knew all about Clemson and Greenville and all things near and dear to my heart. Small world! After chatting all about our time at Clemson and how we ended up in Pittsburgh, etc, we mentioned that we’d be moving to Savannah, GA in a few months and had been having a tough time finding apartments.

Well, God rocks. Larry and Melanie mentioned the name of a church (Iron City Church…it’s in our backyard practically) and said that they knew that the pastor and his wife were in their 20s and moved up from Savannah, GA. No way! So we’re planning on meeting up with them this Sunday to get some pointers.

We left dinner and walked with the Hart’s over to the T station, then to the arena where we parted ways. We found our seats–15 rows or so behind a goal. Amazing! The game was against the NJ Devils, and since David and I don’t know much about hockey, we didn’t know that the Penguins and the Devils are the #2 and #1 teams (respectively). What a game! We enjoyed chatting with John and Linda (from the BODIES exhibit) since we were seated right next to them. They extended an open invitation to come over for dinner/coffee when we’re up their way. Can’t wait!

The Penguins ended up smoking the Devils 7-1 (we left with five minutes still to play, and the score was 5-1…a lot can happen in five minutes)!

We got home around 11:00pm after leaving our apartment that morning at 11:30am. We had a fantastic Easter eve, and experienced God’s guidance and protection throughout our day. So yes, a day of wild happenings, but divinely inspired ones.

I promised in a previous post that I would blog as David and I continue to pursue our passions. We’ve taken some steps, and it’s been great so far. We can’t wait to see where God leads next.

God closed the door on the praise band, and that’s ok. I got in touch with the gal in charge of auditions and set mine up only to realize later that week that there are mandatory practices on Thursday nights–the same night as our couple’s Bible study. I love our small group too much to sacrifice those nights for praise band practice. I’ll just keep singing in my car and playing the piano–and listening to Pandora while working. If you’ve never used that website before, use it. It creates a radio station of songs related to whatever artist or song you input. Wonderful way to get exposed to new music that you’ll likely enjoy!

As far as the fitness passion goes, all is wonderful. We’ve really amped up the amount of time we spend exercising each week:

1. For the marathon training, we’re running on Sun, Tues, Wed, Fri and Sat, and we ran a half marathon on Sunday. Woo!

2. For weight training, I’m working out with a trainer at the gym three mornings a week for around an hour and a half. Tough, but fun.

3. For fun, I’m running with a friend one to two mornings a week.

I love doing this so, so much. I just can’t get enough! If you had asked me six years ago if I’d ever fall in love with exercise, I’d laugh at you. At that point, I could hardly jog a mile and was (unbeknownst to me) just about to walk on to the NCAA Women’s Rowing team at Clemson.

And as far as great relationships go, we’re making a joint effort to invest more fully in relationships both new and established here in Pittsburgh, back in SC and beyond. Since we’re looking at a lifestyle of moving around for a little while longer, we want to feel connected wherever God places us next–whether we’re there for a few months or a few years. Pittsburgh has been a learning experience for us as far as friendships go.

When we first moved here, we were brand-new newlyweds, and honestly, we couldn’t care any less about meeting new people. We were fully invested in spending all of our free time together–all the time. Well, as any of your married folks know, we ultimately got to a point where we were hungry for other friendships. We got to that point around May/June of last year.

After visiting several churches with no luck and being certain that we’d never make friends with David’s co-workers (most 15-20 years older), we sort of reached a point where we felt like we’d missed our chance to make friends here. We briefly lived in the mindset of “we can’t wait to leave here and move to GA.” I was so close to starting a countdown, and for those that know me, whatever is at the end of the countdown is something I absolutely cannot wait to happen. I don’t do trivial countdowns. It was definitely a low point for us.

Then God revealed a truth to us: if we didn’t invest in any friendships here, we’d never have any real sense of connectedness or sense of roots in Pittsburgh. Without any connection here, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy our time and would inevitably take the “glass half empty” approach toward everything. Plus, I kept referring to SC as “home.” That was a big roadblock for me. David and I are now of the mindset that “home” is where we both are. So now, home is Pittsburgh. SC is where my parents live and where I went to college. As far as we know, we could be sent back to Pittsburgh later one, so why not invest in friendships now?

We made some great friends through a church we attended in the summer, but the services weren’t a great fit for us. We kept in touch with the friends we made and went church hunting again–ultimately visiting a church that David passed every day on the way to work. We loved it and still do. We immediately got connected with a small group and have made several new friendships we wouldn’t have otherwise. We love those folks more than even they know. It’s so wonderful to do life with others in similar life situations.

Of course we miss our friends back south, but they know that whenever we’re in town, we’ll stop by and get caught up. We still love them and are so thankful that they’ve been with us through such pivotal parts of our lives. Who knows? Maybe we’ll live closer to them one day, but for now, we’re letting God stretch us however he sees fit. If that means living far from familiar places and far from “comfortable,” so be it. This was not my attitude last year, but God has a wonderful way of being a catalyst of change in our lives and attitudes.

So when we move in June, we’ll continue to invest in our PA friendships while immediately seeking out friends around our new home. We’ll take what we’ve learned in Pittsburgh and apply it quicker. Should be fun–and hard–but most of all, worth the effort.

It’s a nice thought, isn’t it? Going to college and pursuing your passions, then finding a job that aligns right with those same passions. Unfortunately, a lot of times, we elect to pursue majors in school that provide promise of job security, high paychecks, geographic locations we like, etc…instead of what we’re passionate about. Or if we do pursue our passions in college, we end up settling for a career that has little or nothing to do with those things we were passionate about as kids or as young adults. This isn’t the case with everyone, but definitely with a lot of folks I know.

I have a hard time with this. Mainly because it’s been a while since I’ve really taken time to thoroughly examine those things in my life (or not in my life) that I’m truly passionate about. Those things that fill me with an inexplicable happiness inside.

Sure, when I was a little girl, I had little-girl passions and dreams: I wanted to be a concert pianist (and a princess and gymnast before that). Bottom line, though, I was wholly passionate about music. I pursued music through over 10 years of piano lessons, choir participation from the time I could stand in front of church and avoid acting out, musicals for the same amount of time, playing keyboard and providing vocals in a couple of praise bands, taking guitar classes in college and making music a part of my everyday life since as long as I can remember.

So, what did I choose to pursue in college? English and communication studies. Grad school? Professional communication. What’s my job now? I’m a publications assistant. I design and develop marketing materials among other job responsibilities for the graduate school of my alma mater. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy it and am so thankful for the job as it allows me to move from place to place with relative ease.

But what went awry? Why did my passion for music get side railed?

That’s just it. It didn’t get side railed, but rather, put on hold. In my case, I still have music as a constant in my everyday life, but through Internet radio and my iPod. I yearn for the days when I played piano for hours, sang in choirs, participated in musicals and plays. Making music and listening to it warm my soul, truly. I’m emotionally affected by music; it’s got an incredible power over me. And while singing praise songs and hymns is when I often feel closest to God.

But being a musician wouldn’t have paid the bills, or so I thought. Being a musician wasn’t an impressive career–at least at first, so I was told by peers. In all honesty, saying that I was an English major was probably met with the same “Oh…” as if I had said “I’m pursuing classical piano.” Then the all-too-common-question, “So, what are you going to do with that major? Teach high-school? Become a writer? Be an editor?” And I had no real response. You see, although I love to read, write, and edit, it’s not one of my core passions.

So, I finished undergraduate school, was in a serious relationship with David, but not yet engaged. I decided to go for graduate school. Why not? I knew that I’d always wanted a graduate degree, and it’d make my parents proud. On top of that, I believed that it might help me better understand what I wanted to do with my life. So I started the MA program in professional communication. And the new questions started, “Are you going to be a news anchor? A reporter? A professor? What is professional communication?” And again, I didn’t have a real answer. I knew that I was good at editing, so I opted to use that as my default competent answer. “Oh, I plan to be the managing editor of a well-known fiction author one day, but in the beginning, I’ll edit small pieces while I work my way up.” Again, while I did (and still do) enjoy editing, it too is not one of my core passions.

I had kept myself so entirely busy since high school with school work, jobs, and extracurricular activities that I never took time to really assess my situation. I just figured, “Hey, I’m in college now, and I don’t want to switch majors because it’d put me behind. I’m going to finish this thing out. Besides, I really do love English!” Then it turned into, “Whoa. In grad school…this is tough. Do I really love this? I think so. Well, I’m not a quitter, so I’ll finish it out strong too and then figure things out.”

So I graduated with my master’s degree and got engaged on the same day. Enter wedding planning. Six months later, I was married and living 600 miles north of my hometown still working a version of my graduate school assistantship position. After settling in, I really wanted to make some girlfriends in PA. Since I worked from home, making friends wasn’t the easiest. The first gal I met invited me to a Mary Kay event. Less than two weeks later, I had my own Mary Kay business.

My business grew and grew, and I thought, “Finally, I’ve got something that’s definitely fun and that I’m definitely passionate about!” But I didn’t get into Mary Kay for a career. I did it for friendship. I’ve made some awesome friends, but I started not enjoying it as much. To clarify, I love my customers and my team members, but I started losing the drive to make Mary Kay a full-time career. I think I will always be a part-time consultant.

On the heels of a Mary Kay training seminar January 5, David and I sat down, and for a few amazing hours, talked about our passions. Our relationships with Christ and with each other came first and second. Then for me came great relationships, working out/health/fitness, music (piano, singing, etc). Third and fourth for David were helping other people via volunteering and using engineering to make a true difference in the world. We had others, but those were at the top.

It was sort of staggering, really. We started praying right then for God’s direction in pursuing our passions, and it’s an ongoing thing, but already we’re feeling a renewed sense of peace. I’ve stepped back from pursuing Mary Kay so intensely and am instead focusing my energy on training for our first marathon, building up a running group, practicing piano as often as I can and working up the courage to audition for our church’s praise band. It feels amazing. I’ll be sure to keep the updates flowing as God continues to lead and guide me and David in this incredible journey.

There are so many wonderful opportunities that life has to offer, but God has given us gifts and passions that guide us to where we need to be (along with his help, of course). Sometimes I think we’re afraid to use our gifts in the way that God seems to be guiding us to. I mean, honestly, it can be scary to step away from the familiar and comfortable and instead, pursue the unknown, untrodden path. But we have to remember that we have such limited vision. God sees the entire scope of our life and the lives we have the potential to influence. As unnerving as it may be, pray for his guidance and follow it in faith. I can’t say what will happen, but I trust in his promises:

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
Proverbs 16:9 We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.
Isaiah 48:17b I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is good for you and leads you along the paths you should follow.
Proverbs 1:33 But all who listen to me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm.
Psalms 37:23 The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.
Psalm 32:8 The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.”
Isaiah 58:11a The Lord will guide you continually…

What are you passionate about? How about pray that God would reveal those passions to you and guide you in how you should pursue them. You will likely be in for a wonderful journey of growth.

First, briefly, David and I went out to dinner on Friday to PF Chang’s Chinese Bistro. The food was amazing, and at the end, we got fortune cookies. My fortune? “Don’t give up. The beginning is always the hardest.” Ok, God. I get it. Don’t give up. Don’t quit. Got it.

Alright, moving on.

I feel so much better about things this week already. I still have a lot of work to do to pursue my goals, but I’m focusing more on the here and now instead of staring 100% at the goal and letting it paralyze me. That’s what was happening last week, essentially. I got overwhelmed with a few of my goals and froze in place. I figured that it’d be easier to walk completely away from the goals than actually face them and execute the activities I’ll need to in order to achieve them. After lots of prayer, wisdom from people I know and from some I don’t, I’m back on track.

I sometimes err on the worry and doubt side of things instead of consistently trusting that God has everything under control. Don’t get me wrong, I have a tremendous amount of trust and faith in God. But like any human, I have my moments of doubt.

Over the past week or so, I have been praying that God would make it undeniably clear whether or not I should make a decision that I’ve been pondering. It’s a decision about quitting something, and historically speaking, I’m not a quitter. Period. It’s hard to even consider.

So, over the past week, I’ve been introduced in one way or another to scripture about trials, not worrying, enduring, keeping faith, etc. I was messaged on Facebook by someone I’ve never met before who encouraged me without even knowing it, I believe. Then I opened my Bible study book for tonight’s meeting. The topic? Endurance. Not quitting. Pushing through quitting points.

That said, I think anyone would say, “You shouldn’t quit. It’s obvious God’s moving in your life and telling you to keep pushing.” But for whatever reason, I feel like I might be overanalyzing-as I tend to do in situations such as this. Or maybe I’m looking so hard for a sign that everything suddenly becomes a sign, you know?

In this situation, quitting would be the easiest out in the short-term. Long-term, though, I do believe I’d regret it.

I’m praying that God will work in my heart and open my eyes to the truth in the situation. I don’t want to be a doubting Thomas or a worry-wart. One of my friends brought to light the following verses today just by posting the reference online. The verses are familiar to me, but I hadn’t read them in a long, long time. I’m working to abide by them and to not doubt, but to trust:

Matthew 6:25-34
“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life–whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?

Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will surely care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring it’s own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”

A short entry for today, but David and I had a fantastic conversation yesterday afternoon. It probably lasted for an hour or more, but we grew so, so much during that time. It was a cool feeling to grow so much closer in such a short amount of time. I love him deeply.

As a result of our talk, I’m reevaluating a couple of commitments in my life. No more details for now, but some decisions will be made by the end of the month. We’re waiting on God’s guidance in a few situations.