Is that you, God?

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I find myself going through this very bipolar stage in my life. Some days I am in love with what I’m doing, the people I’m around and where I’m going next. Then the following day, I ask myself why I’m still here. 

It’s very difficult to explain to others, and even to myself, why I am this way. I honestly think it stems from my need to travel. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t feel as though I shouldn’t be in this country. My soul itches to explore what’s around me, connect with others and share stories.  My desire to write and experience goes far beyond my desire for a steady paycheck. My desire to see the world and make it my home goes beyond my desire for a long-term relationship. 

I want to fall in love with the world. I want someone to love me like I love the world. But the one thing about that is you have to get into the world. Here is where my issue lies. I don’t know what the eff I want to do next.

I could stay in Iowa for another year or two (yawn), save up some more money like a responsible adult would do. I could move abroad for grad school, and finally go through with it (third time’s the charm, right?), I could move abroad for a fellowship in Greece, I could move abroad to Prague, I could volunteer abroad, I could go teach english abroad. I could sell everything I own and never come back. I could become a llama farmer (though probs not, considering they sorta scare me). 

My beautiful life is full of a lot of options, which I now embrace. However, one of my biggest fears is that I will make a choice and then hate what I’m doing. Where do I need to go (that’s a question for you God) to feel like I’m in the right place? 

It’s ironic and interesting and frustrating as all get out, cause I’m like 96% positive God lead me to be in CF this year, and yet every other day I question if this is where I should be. I am messing up in life, I feel sort of helpless at times, I’m having lots of health issues, I feel like my small group hates me sometimes, etc. And yet, I can’t help but feel like God said- “Go there” and I went!

Is this Satan doing this? Making me question my life? Or is it just the crazy chick that’s insecure and who desperately wants to go abroad again? Or is it both? Cause I honestly think the devil is a lot easier to hear. Ugh. I’m seeking out the sound of God’s voice. I don’t usually hear it. I see his action in my life- putting things in place. But to hear his will- yea… I’m not a very good listener. I was just about to say if only God… 

That’s super ironic. I was just reading this morning about Lazarus being risen from the dead. And how frustrated Jesus was with Mary and Martha when they were like, “well if Jesus had come when we asked him, Laz wouldn’t be dead right now.” It was something Jesus did to glorify God. And I was juuuuust about ready to say if only God could uncover his will for me. Ha. He can, he did. He does. I’m just the goof that’s not paying attention. God is doing things in my life that I am too oblivious to pump the brakes and say- I see what you did there. 

Shoot. I really need to work on my God skills. Listening, patience, unselfish love. I need to be more faithful and know what goes on in my little head is just a fraction of what God is setting into place for me. That scares the crap out of me. Because I obviously bit off too much this year in taking these steps. And yet, here I am. Waiting. Figuring out what’s next. I guess that’s why people always say, God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called. 

 

 

a legacy

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Tonight, I’m feeling inspired. After having a long chat with a couple of my girlfriends at work, I have had the chance to reflect on things going through my mind in the past couple of weeks. 

I’ll be leaving my job at Central in the next few weeks, and I’ve started to think about my last days there. I’ve begun the process of producing my legacy.  Now I’ve been at Central for less than a year, and yet I feel like I will have a lasting impression.  At least that’s what I hope will happen.  

For those that know me well, it is obvious that I am a communicator. My joys in life come from sharing and learning from others. While I hope my legacy in life is far greater than what I hope to give now, today this is what I hope people take away from knowing me and being part of my world. So below I share some of the wisdom given to me and given by me.

I had the opportunity tonight to watch a video from the Teen Choice Awards. It was a speech given by a fellow Iowan, Ashton Kutcher. The things said in this video are things that ring true to my heart over and over again.  Here’s the video. Watch it. Then watch it again. 

Ashton talks about 3 things:

1- opportunity looking like hard work

2- being sexy

3- building a life

Now, for me and my legacy, these things are all fitting.  I’ll start with each of these and expand upon them.  

Opportunity

From a young age I understood that I needed to work hard and be good at things to succeed. For those of you who have ever played a board game with me know that I am ultra-competitive. I thrive on winning. I thrive on doing my best, and I get pist if I don’t get what I want. This is not a bratty characteristic. It is driven. From the time I was a child, I put my mind to something and I made it happen. It’s something that’s gotten me to this point today. Hard work pays off. In Ashton’s speech he talks about never being better than a job. I preach this to every student I work with.

The other day, I had the opportunity to impart some of my dad’s wisdom on some of my student workers.  When it comes to a job, you should be the first one there and the last one to leave. When it comes to a your job, never expect to get off easily. Put in hard work and ask for permission to leave. Never expect that it’s ok to go because everyone else has.

We had an event going on all last week at work, and the students I talked to about this, the next days afterward, when I was the last of us in charge to go home, I still had each one of those students asking me what they could do. They heard what I had to say and they internalized it. They understood what I had said. Work is never a luxury. It’s their job. I hope that my students one day can lead by example to those they’re in charge of. I hope that they can show their counterparts that working harder and longer than their peers will pay off. I know I am respected at work because of this. I know people can count on me to get the job done, because I’ve proven it to them.  Opportunity looks a lot like hard work. You just can’t be lazy and pass it up.

Being Sexy

In Ashton’s speech he discusses how being smart equals being sexy. Being smart,  thoughtful and generous are the best ways to be sexy. I couldn’t agree more.  

For me, as a girl who isn’t teeny tiny and has too many rolls on her belly to admit, I have never been one to think myself beautiful, or sexy. I however, have a sharp wit, a way with words many people envy, a confidence in self that’s strong and a huge smile. I also happen to be quite savvy on culture, society and I’m as sharp as a tack. Now while my quick wit and sharp brain may not get me a smokin hot guy like Ashton, it’ll help me keep a man longer than any societally considered sexy woman could.  I will take being Ashton’s definition of sexy any day of the week. And by that definition, I AM sexy. 

Again, to the students I work with- and the girls in particular- you can define your own form of sexy. You are smarter than you know, you are braver than you think, and you are way better looking than you’ll ever understand.  You are the epitome of sexy and you can show that to the world.  I want my legacy to you to show that you are uninhibited in thinking you can do something, I want you to know that showing care and compassion aren’t weak traits, they are strong. I want you to know that I will never be too busy, too tired or too distracted to listen and understand your problems, issues and heartaches. I will be smart and give my best advice and knowledge with help from my experiences, I will be generous and open my heart to you when you need it or wallet when you visit for dinner, I will be thoughtful and think to send a card or stop to visit when I’m in town.  Never underestimate the importance of others in your life, nor your life to others. Relationships are the most powerful thing you can offer the world, nurture them and help them grow.

Life

“The world is the way it is.” How many times have we been told that in our lives? When I went into the working world, I had this preconceived notion that I would be able to have freedom and no rules and that I could do whatever I wanted with my life. It turned out, that isn’t always true.  The world is the way it is because people made it that way.  I want my legacy and those that see it, to remember that just because the world is a certain way, doesn’t mean it should be that way.  Don’t be afraid to be an innovator. Don’t be afraid to stand up for what you believe in. Don’t be afraid to go against the grain and do what makes you happy instead of doing what’s right. When you think about your life, please God first, then yourself. The rest will fall into place. Ashton talks about building your own life. Please friends, family, readers- do this. Build a life that makes you happy, makes your extraordinary. Do not fall into the box that defines your work, your relationships, your faith or your world. As my good friend Simone says, you do you. 

To my students, never let someone “older and wiser” than you, tell you you can’t do something. You want to go start your own bakery? Do it. You want to go teach abroad? Do it. You want to get married and have 10 kids- don’t do that, you are nuts! Just kidding, do that too. Do whatever it is that God has called your heart to do and go toward it. Be aware that you are extraordinarily made and that God has called you to do your life and no one elses. There’s a brilliant quote I have loved so many years that encapsulates the way I feel about my life, my work and my world. As a legacy, I ask that those around me know and internalize this quote. 

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson

It is my hope that throughout my life I continue in a way that I may serve others. I want to continue to impact the lives of those around me, especially those younger than me. You all are the seeds planted in the future, and I am continually amazed by the beautiful and impacting things you are doing. Those that I have touched with my heart and soul, I hope you carry my legacy with you. Know that I am always a phone call, facebook message, skype session away. 

all my love- Jacci

a different love

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Good evening world. It’s been since November that I last wrote. I think my heart needed to reflect on life before writing again. For me, taking to the page or keyboard needs to be organic. And there are moments each day when I feel the need and desire to write, but the inconvenience sets in. Tonight is the first time where convenience and desire have intersected in a very long time. 

My life has taken a drastic change in recent months. It’s interesting for me to look back to just two posts ago to believe, obey, persist. I talked about my life and my opportunities in terror. Today I face those same obstacles, more opportunities and this time I am running in the best direction with them. 

Let me break it down. Since the last time I wrote here I: 

  • Celebrated a new year
  • Celebrated my 24th birthday
  • Broke up with my boyfriend of over a year
  • Got into grad school
  • Quit my job
  • Got offered another job
  • Confused the shit out of myself and everyone around me
  • Reconnected with who very well could be the love of my life

Okay, so now that you’re all caught up, let me break it down even further. Over the last several months I have been contemplating relationships (as per usual) and their meaning. Love is far more complex than life really lends you to believe. I recognized after breaking up with my ex, that love sometimes just isn’t enough. Love is the foundation to a relationship, love is the mortar, but all the extras are the bricks. Without the bricks, you can’t build a solid foundation to a relationship. This was the problem with my last relationship. We had a whole lot of love. Strong love, but we lacked the bricks. Bricks like common goals, views on God, education, etc. While love will hold you together for a while, when it comes to setting the foundation for a life together, the bricks are what become increasingly important. 

Since my time in Greece in 2009, God has shown me a variety of things. Love, loss, confusion, hurt. All of it. God also showed me a different kind of love I never knew in 2009. He put a man named Kosta into my life. Now if you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know our story. This blog started with our story. When I began my first post here, I was writing in preparation for seeing Kosta again for the first time early 2010. Today, I write about him again, in 2013. 

When I last wrote about Kosta and I’s relationship, I had closed the door to that chapter. He was with another girl, he was happy, and he planned to marry her. How so much can change in two short years. In the time between last seeing or speaking to Kosta- I met a man I fell deeply in love with, I graduated from college, I moved out of state, I moved back to Iowa, I got my first real job, I got into grad school, I quit my job, etc. etc. Two days ago, the last thing on my mind was Kostas. 

He was a distant memory I could look back on fondly. But the last thing I knew was he wanted to marry another girl. For all I knew he was married. Until the magic of the internet came alive. A simple message came through. It was him. After two years of silence. Him. Suddenly it all floods back. The smiles, the jokes, the embraces, the kisses. I remember it all. And it intensifies. 

I look at the quote from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind above and think of Kostas. Apart from special holidays and his birthday, which happens to be the day after mine, I had all but erased him from my mind. My thoughts were on me and my future. Not him. But he was still in my heart. It took all but a few words to remind me why. 

I have loved several men in my life. All differently, all in different ways. Some were immature, others deep, some passionate and intense. Each love brought me something different. But the way I loved Kosta is unique in its own. I never realized it until two days ago. He explained it well. I asked after all this time if he still loved me. His response was, “I will always. You are a different love.” Kosta is the type of love that you can’t erase. He is the love that you ache over. 

It’s amazing to look back at little things over the years and thousands of miles apart. We can go silent for weeks, months and years, and still pick up life as it were the day I left Thessaloniki. Though he is in Greece, and I am here, the bricks are in place. He is the kind of love that I would knock down my life and rebuild with him for.  I don’t know what God has planned for my life. If anything, the last several months are a testimony to how God can change a life so quickly. I can’t help but believe that God wants me in Kosta’s life again. Or he needs to be in mine. 

Our love is something that transcends distance and time. It’s something that with God, could do big things. A life changed like that is worth it to risk. My heart is open to what God is moving me to do. It’s open to interpreting why Kostas was brought back into my life. It’s open to the memories and the rush of emotion that comes to remembering our time together. A walk along the docks. A passionate kiss. Tears and sheets and turkey for Thanksgiving. All of the memories rush back in.

My heart could never erase the love I have for Kostas. He is an extraordinary love. A different love.

Let Love Speak

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In the past several weeks, I have done some soul-searching. My life has changed in many ways in the last several months, and I am happy where I have landed.A job that I am good at, a home I can call my own, a boyfriend that lets me be exactly who I am and a piece of mind that I  haven’t felt in years.

This holiday season brings much to be thankful for and I can confidently say I have never been more humbled and joyed with what God has blessed me with. The sound advice from friends and loved ones that have helped me stand up for who I am and what I believe in. The support of people around me to be that person. And the spiritual peace I have been looking for.

I have had a lot of inner dialogue in the last year about who I need to be, as a woman of God, and have looked to my bible, devotionals and friends to push me forward. I feel with the help of a few, and a lot of battles, that I am finally headed toward that path.

I am not perfect, nor will I ever be. I am self-conscious, impatient and emotional. All of these things are true. But more importantly, and what I realize today, is that I am a good woman. I am a strong woman. I am kind, gracious and loving. It has taken me years of trying to prove myself to others, to impress people, to win others over for me to realize that so many of the people I try to impress and win over, will never give me the love and respect that I deserve.

I am a good friend, a good daughter and someone who other’s rely on. Yet when the tables are turned, I have found so few people to cover my back. No longer.  I am investing in the strongest relationships in my life now. My relationship with God, and my relationship with myself.  I have learned recently that giving yourself time is not selfish, and sometimes putting yourself first is not greedy. It’s loving who God made you to be. That’s not selfish or greedy at all. But giving back to his kingdom.

So you see, I’m done trying to be anyone that I am not. I am finished with trying to please others with what they think I should be. I am going to be who I am. Who I want to be and what God has intended for me.

I had a conversation with my cousin the other day and she said, “Be the voice for your other half. Stand up for them when other’s speak against them. They need to do that for you too. Soon enough, your relationship will speak for itself. Be happy in who you are. Don’t let the hate overpower the love in your life. Let it speak for itself.”

She blessed me so deeply with those words. And helped me to let go with that. I am going to love everyone around me, feel happy and blessed- because I am, and let my relationship- with myself, with God and with my significant other speak for itself. The act and words of God will speak far louder than any hate from others could.

Remember that this season. Take the blessing God has given you in being who you are. He made you that way for a reason. Take your blessings and be loved and spread that love as God wanted. Be the blessing.

believe, obey, persist

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I am terrified.

Terrified that I’m making the wrong decisions, moving in the wrong direction. For the first time in, well, ever- I don’t know my next step. I have a potentially MAJOR opportunity down here in Atlanta and if it happens, I would be a fool not to take it. I also have potentially strong opportunities in Iowa, and potentially would be making a foolish decision if I didn’t consider them either.

People are now reading my blog and cursing at me, because I’m complaining about opportunity. Who does that? But really, I have good reason. You see, I’ve always known I was good at what I do, I’ve always excelled at where I was going. Now I’m in the big bad world where things I don’t know come up in a normal day. I DON’T LIKE THAT. I am comfortable with what I do know and what I’m good at. There’s a reason I don’t swim frequently or play basketball, why? Because I suck at it.

I’m at this giant transition point in my life where I don’t know whether it’s smarter to make the safe choice and not make a fool of myself and end up bored in a job that could just maybe build up to what I want, OR taking a job that I may in fact be highly under-qualified for, make a fool of myself and be challenged every day and not have it build to what I want.  No. I take that back. I’m at this giant transition point in my life where I don’t know. Period. End of sentence. I don’t know whether I’m being an idiot when it comes to job choices, when it comes to friends, when it comes to relationships, because everything around me is a giant and resounding question mark!  Again, people are probably reading and cursing again saying- “yeah you stupid *****, welcome to the real world! Wake up and smell the roses!”

Here’s the thing though. The people who are cursing are right. I have sheltered my thinking my entire life, because I have had the privilege from my upbringing and my wonderful parents to live a very safe and easy life. I’ve made decisions that have been very hard, and I have, in fact- earned where I am today. But I haven’t struggled like other people have. That’s never happened to me. And I curse myself for that.

I’m at this crossroads, scared to death to make the wrong decision, or rather, to make the right one. Who’s to say if I take a job down here that I won’t be miserable? Who’s to say I’ll be happy back in Iowa? No one… not even me. I’m just so scared that the choices I make in the next 30 days could set me up with what’s to come, literally, for the rest of my life. That pressure is astounding and crushing, all at once.

See, the thing is, I am so scared of failure. I will do so much to avoid it, almost too much sometimes. And that’s what freezes me every time I weigh my options of Atlanta vs. Iowa vs. wherever else in the world.  Because no matter what choice I make, I take a really huge risk with my life. With my career, my friendships, my relationship, with my future, everything. This is a high stakes choice.

Ha, it’s really funny what God just did right then. I went to church on Sunday and the sermon was on faith. And one of the things I wrote down in my sermon notes was this. “Faith is a combatant of fear.” And that thought, moved right into my head just then. My fear is overwhelming in my life right now. While I have faith in a lot of my life, I lose sight of it when it comes to my future. Stupid right? Here’s three things to remember from my sermon notes:

1- Faith is first believing when you don’t see it.

2- Faith is obeying when you don’t understand it.

3- Faith is persisting when you don’t feel like it.

Alright, God. Work in me then. I believe. I’ve got that, but the rest I’m hazy on. I hesitate and question when I should obey. And while I persist in much of my life, I lack persistence in possibly the most important area. I let fear overcome my faith, when God can carry me through anything.

This was not how I expected this post to end. I didn’t intend to speak about the Lord in any way, but it hit me. The decision I have to make is not mine to be made. I need to believe, obey and persist.

running the race

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I haven’t done this in a long time, but I’m going to do it again. I’m going to preach. I went to church today at 12 Stone Church in Lawrenceville, GA. I love this church. Today began with worship and two baptisms of men in their 40-50’s. My heart swelled for them.

As some of you may know, and others no clue, I have several friends in the Olympic Trials this week. One of my best friends, Norris Frederick, is one of those people. In the past he’s been a high jumper, but now he focuses on long jump. Tonight he jumps in the finals to make the Olympic team.

Okay, you’re probably wondering where this is all going. I went to church this morning and my friend is jumping for London. Is there a disconnect?? No. I was in church this morning, where they’re in a series called- It’s a Guy Thing. Lord have mercy on my soul already. What does preaching about men have anything to do with little old me? Well actually, a lot. Last week the message was about father’s and how important a role they play, and God as our one true father play in our lives. Today we talked about going one more round.

Specifically, we spoke on Samson and David. For those of you less entertained by the bible, Samson’s the dude who fell in love with Delihla, who then betrayed him and cut off all his hair. The same Samson that Regina Spektor’s song is about. Well Samson gave up. David, as in David and Goliath- who’s also King David- did not. David faced some crap back in the day. Instead of throwing in the towel though, David got up and went one more round.

There’s this quote by James Corbett- a famous boxer, who at one point in his life fought in one of the longest boxing matches of all time. 61 rounds. about 4 and a half hours long. And he, the champion, said this, “You become a champion by fighting one more round. When things get toughest, you fight one more round.” Cool, huh?

So here’s the difference. Samson fought alone, while David had people in his corner. Samson lives by reflex, while David lived by reflection. Samson was a roamer, while David put down roots.

Kay, that’s all peachy and wonderful but what does that have to do with Norris and the Olympics. Ooooh, everything my friends. You see, in the past few weeks Norris and I have been discussing his faith and his journey with God to carry him in this time of his life. Norris has been challenged with adversity throughout his life and still overcome it all. In large wonderful part, thanks to God.

Here’s the cool thing that came to me this morning. Norris is like David. Norris has people in his corner. A LOT of people. In a little bit, I’ll talk about these people as witnesses. Norris has taken the time in the corner- matter of speaking- to reflect on his journey, on his path with God and where he wants him to go in the future. Finally Norris has put down solid solid roots. Seattle is so much of Norris and his roots, family and friends are all there.

You see, going again with the boxing metaphor, when you go back to your corner after every round; after facing sin, defeat, your burdens and fears; you go back to your corner and reflect. Prayer is that same time. Prayer is when you sit in your corner and analyze. When you give to God and let him fight for you. When ding ding! The bell starts all over again and God covers you.

For Norris, this is the greatest part. In the days leading up to him going to Trials we’ve been discussing giving everything to God. We’ve been talking about giving God the glory of every aspect of his life, his jumps, his training and all. And this was the scripture today…

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses (your friends, family and supporters), let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of 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.” -Hebrews 12:1-3

Pretty much quintescential to Norris and what he faces today. But here’s the cool thing. This doesn’t just apply to Norris and his cool life of potentially jumping as an Olympic athlete in London. It applies to you and me too. If you’re questioning if you should throw in the towel, whether it’s to give up on God, work, family, relationships, even on your life- this lesson- this passage- asks you to go one more round. Jesus Christ endured the cross for you and for me so that we may endure the joys and pains of life here on earth before eternity in heaven. Kind of a great burden to bear, if you ask me. God has trusted you with the life you lead. He has given you the opportunity to do with your life great and powerful things. Take them, don’t run scared, don’t fear the challenges God has given you. Face them. Give God the glory of carrying you through them, above them, and past them.

Don’t throw in the towel when the worst is at your feet. Give the worst to God and he’ll take it from there. Trust that he can carry your baggage, cause he knows you sure can’t. Give it to God.

part of the dream

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I’ve taken a much needed hiatus from writing lately. It’s funny, because I hate writing when it’s not on my mind. If it doesn’t just flow, I feel like I don’t have something to say. There have been a lot of changes in my life in the last month or so, and I finally feel prepared to discuss them.

I’ve moved to Atlanta. I’ve started my job at the Center for the Advancement and Study of International Education (CASIE). I’ve hated being here. I’ve loved being here. I’ve decided not to go to France. See what happens when I don’t write?! Things accumulate in my life.

So here’s what’s on my mind today. Since Thessaloniki, my life has changed dramatically. Not just how I look (thanks to all that tatziki), but mentally and emotionally I am in a very different place in my life. When I went to Thessaloniki I fell in love. EVERYONE and their mother knows that. That was the first time in my life that I felt I was in a different place in my life physically (only being a sophomore in college) and where I wanted to be (a graduating senior). Had I been a senior that year, my life would be drastically different. I would have stayed in Greece. I would have been with Kosta. But, I wasn’t in that place in my life yet, so I had to wait. Many things changed in that time. Kosta and I moved on, he fell in love again, and now is getting married. I FINALLY graduated school. I had the opportunity to move anywhere.

Here’s what’s changed since Thessaloniki. After Kosta kinda sorta broke my heart, I told myself that I wouldn’t let a man dictate any of my decisions. My career became my baby, and I wanted to nurture every aspect of it so I could get farther in life. That’s why I chose to go to grad school, why I chose to leave Iowa for Georgia, and why in the past I continually move.  Put a pause button on that though.

I’ve been waiting for a reason for my life to change for a long time. I originally thought that change was going to Greece and meeting Kosta. Nope, that wasn’t it. He changed my world and made me know what I wanted to do next. I then moved back to Iowa to finish school. Nope, that wasn’t it either. It took me moving to Georgia to realize what I need, what I want and where I’m headed in my life, and let me tell you- it is nothing like I thought it would be.

There’s a statistic from my university that says that about 85% of UNI grads stay in Iowa after graduation. When I was younger I made an adamant remark saying I would be part of the 15% that leaves Iowa and part of the .01% that leaves the country as soon as possible. Now here’s the kicker. I left right after graduation for Atlanta. And I love this city, it’s beautiful, diverse, cultured and always has something to do. But here’s the thing I never thought I’d say. I miss Iowa. Pause for giant gasps. Yes, I actually miss Iowa. It’s beautiful and clean, it’s safe (overall), it’s a wonderful place to live and raise a family and it’s where my family and friends are.

I was on the phone with Alex the other night, and while our relationship has been a very tumultuous one, it’s based on a really strong foundation. Since he and I met back in March, he’s known about my plans for my life- my career, my travels, etc.  He knew when he met me that I would be leaving 3 months after he met me. He knew that no matter what happened in those months that we would be long distance if things continued. For the first time I was given the ok to put myself first and go somewhere without feeling guilty. When we were on the phone the other night I told him  that my boss was offering a full-time job to me here in ATL. He said, “well if that’s what needs to happen, you should take it.” If it were any other situation, I’d already be apartment hunting and planning my new life down here. But I thought to myself instead. Because from the beginning he always told me, “I don’t want to get in the way of your dreams. I don’t want to stop you from traveling, from pursuing your career, wherever that is.” While I’ve been offered an opportunity here in Georgia, I want my life in Iowa. I told Alex, it’s not that he’s getting in the way of my dreams, it’s that he’s becoming a part of them. Whoa, deep right? I have never let a man become so important to me that I incorporated him into my plans. That’s not like me.

Yet that’s what’s going on. That’s what’s beginning to happen. This decision however is not due to Alex. I realized while here in Atlanta, that while I want my master’s one day, there is no reason saying I have to get it right now. There’s so much in me that wants to push forward and prove myself to people and show how great a worker I am. I want to appreciate my degree and I want to know that it’s 100% the right decision for me at the time. Instead I want to go into the working world. I want to form a base in my life. And I want to give Alex and I the fighting chance I feel our relationship actually deserves. Considering we’ve been at least 2 hours away from each other, and now 17, since we’ve been together.

I’m looking at the part of my life I didn’t think I would consider until my late 20’s or early 30’s. I’m considering a relationship, the thought of family, and a long-term commitment. Not just my career. Not just the next place on my list of travel destinations. That’s a big step for me. Especially considering the relationships of my past and where I hoped my relationships would take me in the future.

Among my closest friends, there have been questions of Alex, and believe me- there have been questions in my heart as well. The thing I have to remind myself though is that the relationship I’m in has nothing to do with the other people in my life, and everything to do with just me and Alex. I spoke with my cousin Christie the other day, asking her opinion- and after explaining myself and my situation she said this:

“We all deserve another opportunity when we fail. Love is no different. Love causes us to give more chances than we would in other situations. It sounds like your heart is in this so I say go for it. The worst that happens is it doesn’t work out. Then you learn and grow. If it works, than you’ve gained a stronger love than you had before.”

Boom. That’s what I needed. I needed to hear ‘go for it’ and if it doesn’t work, tough, if it does you’ll be stronger in the end. That’s what I remind myself every day, and what I hope my friends and family can take away from the negative times. That I am willing to forgive failure and love past them to get to the end and be stronger from it. Because unlike a lot of the people in my life, I see my future in him.  I see my husband in this man. So while others may look at my decisions and question why I’m making the choices I am, if I’m letting a man dictate my decisions in life- I simply have to say I’m not. He doesn’t dictate anything. He simply is becoming part of my dreams, and for once, I think I’m making the right decision.