Project Reverb: Prompt 17: Work

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Work: What sort of work did you do in 2014? Was it new to you? Did you take on new responsibilities? Change jobs? Or take on a new task at home?

I spent my entire life working in retail and this year was no different. Until it was.

I had enough. I wanted out of the retail madness. I wanted a life that included holidays with my family, weekends with my boyfriend, and an occasional dinner at home.

I made it a goal to have a career change and in August that finally happened. It was great, really great, for a while, but then I started having horrible migraines.  I began spending more time in doctor’s offices, or sleeping at home, then I did at work. It was a tough decision, but my employer and I decided it would be best to part ways.

So, yeah, I’ve taken on a new responsibility. Getting better.

I had hopes that 2014 would be the year that I would feel confident and stable in a career again, but it hasn’t come to fruition yet. And that is OK. My health is important and it turns out that I am kind of fantastic when it comes to all things domestic.

Project Reverb: Prompt 14: One Word

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One word: What one word could describe your 2014?

Tough: involving considerable difficulty or hardship; requiring great determination or effort.

2014 was TOUGH.

The physical, mental, and emotional challenges that I faced this year felt like they were harder than any other year before. The challenges that life handed me were constantly pushing me to the brink. Every day felt long and weighted. Nights were dark and sleepless.

My determination, will, perseverance, and faith were all tested over the course of the year. I couldn’t find balance, I lacked self-assurance, and I spent a lot of time questioning the things in my life. I felt miserable that so many things were happening outside of my control.

“If Love could have saved you, you would have lived forever.” 

Losing everything but gaining some is an incredibly challenging thing. I don’t have the capacity to be happy in one area while struggling in others. I felt more pain, fear, and heartache, but I also felt an inconceivable amount of joy and blessings.

“Give me strength when I am standing and faith when I fall.” 

It was a tough year. One that I pray does not carry over into 2015, but I know now that I can handle it. For as tough as this year has been, it has made me tougher.

Project Reverb: Prompt 13: Writing

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On writing: Chances are, if you’re participating in #reverb it’s because you like writing. Or at least want to like writing. Writing is like a muscle. Use it or lose it. What do you do every day to hone your craft? Or, what would you like to do each day to contribute to your writing?

Growing up I wrote in journal after journal. Back then it was mostly about boys and junior high drama, but at the end of the day its the same craft.

I continued to write in journals, on sticky notes, or scrap paper well into adulthood. Sometimes just a thought, other times it was a full entry. It wasn’t until a friend introduced me to the blog world that I transition my writing to the digital (and public) world.

About two years ago I took a creative writing class as a college elective, and it was a game changer. The professor was great, I learned so much, and it gave me the opportunity to decide that writing was something I really enjoyed doing.

It was that semester when I realized how much I love the art of writing and the expression it gives me. Unfortunately, I have done little to continue building upon that art since that semester. Some days I want to write but feel like I have nothing to write about. Some days I just feel more comfortable with the old-fashioned pen and paper.

Lately I think I’ve tried to pigeonhole myself too much. I’ve switched blog names a lot, and for some reason I keep going down one path. It’s made writing on the blog difficult and but when I open a three-ring notebook the entries are easy and they flow.

I often feel like I have to write a certain way when I open up the blog. But why? That was never the intention, and it’s not my natural writing style. I’ve given the blog a lot of thought over the last few weeks and I think that the new year will bring a new blog, too. It’s important that opening up my blog equal to opening up my old notebook.

In 2015 I just want to write.

Maybe even take another creative writing class.

Migraines: Part IV {The Unemployed Edition}

I didn’t intend to go silent this week but I left my laptop at my parents. Whomp Whomp! So currently I am trying to blog from my iPhone and that’s not always convenient.

Anyways.

Last Friday was my appointment with a neurologist, finally! The MRI showed no abnormalities and no brain tumor. Thank you, Jesus! However, there is still NO answer as to why I am having these migraines with no relief.

The struggle is real.

I’ve missed a lot of work in the last month either because I couldn’t stand to get out of bed or because of doctor appointments and tests that I had scheduled. On Wednesday morning my employer and I decided it would be best to part ways while I work on healing. My job was talking on the phone (read: headset) to our customers for 9 hours a day. Regrettably, it was the best choice for my health at this time.

Since Wednesday morning I have spent a lot of time sitting. Yep, sitting.

Sitting and feeling sorry for myself.
Sitting and drinking all the wine.
Sitting and wondering how we will manage.
Sitting and wondering how the holidays will turn out.
Sitting and job hunting.
Sitting and enjoying the silence.
Sitting and thinking of chores to do.
Sitting and thinking about all the things.
Sitting and asking why things happen as they do.

And no job means no health insurance. Yeah, that’s a problem right now. *sighs*

Just keep swimming. That’s my mantra right now because I’m trying my darnedest to keep my head above water.

Project Reverb: Prompt 6: Money

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Money.  Where did you spend your money this year?  Did you save it instead?  What, if anything, would you like to do with your finances this year?

I am horrible with money. I earn it and I spend it. It’s really been that way my entire life, with two exceptions: 8 years ago when saving for my car and this year.

Something changed. I don’t just buy things on a whim anymore and $75 shopping trips to Target are few and far between. That’s progress, right? I didn’t even participate in online Black Friday shopping just because there were great deals to be found. (Hello 50% off at Old Navy.)

This year a bigger picture started to come to mind and I realized it was no longer just about me. It was no longer about the right here, right now. There was someone else to consider, a future, and that had to start immediately.

So, this year we both managed to find more stability with our income. Individually we made more; together we saved more. We cut out some luxuries and added some necessities, but at the end of the year we are more stable than we have ever been. It’s a most welcome feeling.

We have a budget and a savings. We live quite modestly, sometimes more modestly than I ever imagined, but it’s comfortable and it works for us. We are happy and more importantly money isn’t the focus of our relationship or our lives.

Next year we want our money to have balance. Balance to have the things we need, do some of the things we want, and save for whatever the future might hold.

 

Project Reverb: Prompt 5: Letting Go

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Letting go: For next year, I’m letting go of…

Next year I am letting go of fear and excuses. It wasn’t until late this year that I figured out just how liberating it is when you can let go of all those things.

Those suffocating things.

I’ve been the kind of person who is easily held back by her own fears. Fears become excuses, and excuses become complacency.

Do you see? It’s a vicious cycle. It’s easy to get stuck. I don’t want to enter my 30’s with bottled up fear and a list of excuses to match. I know I need to do more if I am going to continue moving forward.

I think it was this past May, right around my 29th birthday, that I had an “Oh Shit!” moment. Something clicked and in that moment I realized that I really needed to start letting go of the fears that I’ve been holding onto so that I could begin to move forward the way I wanted to. Shortly there after I started applying for new jobs, looking into bachelors programs, and talking about moving with Alex. The months that followed were huge. Scary, but huge.

So, yeah, I think I’ve already made some progress in letting go. I’ve taken some risks this year, but none bigger than the one I am currently taking. A lot rides on it, but I am trying not to be overcome by fear of failure or the distraction of excuses.

In the coming year I want to let go of the fears and the excuses that tend to hold me back and keep from moving forward. I want to let go so I can change and grow. I want to let go so I can be better.

Risks are enough to be fearful of all on their own, but the rewards are well worth reaping. At least that is what I am trying to learn.

Project Reverb: Prompt 4: Do Over

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Do Over: Hindsight is the one thing we never benefit from in the present.  Is there one moment you wish that you could do-over?

It was fast, aggressive, and hit like a ton of bricks. I couldn’t change the fact that my best friend of 12+ years had cancer taking over her stomach and entire lower digestive system.

Over the course of 10 days I was faced with the worse decisions of my life. It was impossible to let go and say good-bye but I knew I was doing the right thing for her.

There is nothing about those last few weeks that I could have (or would have) done differently.

But there are a lot of moments over this past year that I would have done differently. I would have spent more time with her. Gone on more walks. Thrown more balls. Bought her more toys. Or even scratched her nose a few more times.

It is a big dagger in my heart. Deep down I know I gave her the best life possible over those 12+ years but I wish I had more time. I wish I spent more time. Hindsight is 20/20. If only I knew that her life would be cut short by that horrible disease.

Chloe was my whole life and my best friend. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about the moments I would have done over with her. This prompt made me emotional.

At the end of the day I take comfort in knowing that I gave her the best life possible and that her last few days were filled with the maximum amount of love. But I still can’t help but wish that I had those moments to do over.

my girl