2015 Here We Go – Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone!

That’s right, 2015 is here and a new year is upon us. 2014 was an awesome year, packed full of great experiences, blessings and challenges in the Lord and new beginnings in pretty much every area of my life – I really don’t think there was one area left untouched by the events of this past year :).

I actually thrive on the thrill of new beginnings in life, so the start of a new year always inspires me to think about the endless possibilities I have at my fingertips. Of course, this means that I want to do everything on my bucket list in 2015 and I’ve already been thinking about goals that I have for this next year. Obviously that won’t happen (says the realist in me), but I am hoping that 2015 is as full of “firsts” and crossing off bucket list items as 2014 was.

2015 is already a unique year in the fact that it may be the first year I haven’t pondered any “traditional” resolutions – because let’s be honest, most new year’s resolutions are broken before Spring time comes around! BUT that doesn’t mean I don’t have aspirations for this year, because I absolutely do! I’ve actually got too many to list, but here are are few of the major things I’m asking the Lord to allow me to experience in 2015 and I’m asking for your prayerful support as I pursue them upon His leading:

Volunteering in DC – I’ve been here for 5 months. Now that I’ve got a feel for my new surroundings I’m beyond excited to dive into our community. The Lord has provided an opportunity for me to volunteer with a local ministry here and I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity He’s working out there. I’ve had a heart to serve in a ministry focused on helping families in crisis (specifically women) and the timing hasn’t been right in life the past few years, but the Lord has opened this door now and I say “bring on this season!” I’ve learned that when the Lord gives our hearts desires for specific ministries He will always provide opportunities for us to serve Him within those ministries – in His perfect timing.

Ministry at RCC – I love the people who are connected to our Redeemer City Church plant and I cannot wait to see what the Lord has planned for our body in 2015. We’ve been vision casting and throwing around ideas/planning what our next few months will look like and I’m privileged to be a part of it. My prayer is that the Lord would use me to minister to families and individuals within our body in a way that crosses cultural, age, and stage of life differences. My heart is to see our church continue to grow in closeness as a family and to be molded into the church the Lord is calling us to be within this city. No matter how that looks and whatever role He has for me to play, I’m on board and I will need lots of prayer for wisdom and strength through it all!

Active “aunt duty” – For the first time since I graduated high school (11 years ago!) I’m living within an hour of most of my family – namely my two nieces and new nephew! Not to mention that I’ve got another sweet little nephew who lives a few hours away, an “adopted” niece and TBT niece/nephew on the way an hour south in VA, another “adopted nephew on the way in Cali and lots of awesome kiddos at RCC to pour into and love on. Clearly I’ve got my work cut out for me in the “aunt” role area. I’d really like to invest more time and energy into these precious lives and I’m praying for wisdom about how it should look and for opportunities to go about doing that specifically with my older nieces in Baltimore and with the older kids at our church. I see a few slumber parties in my near future :).

Turning 30 years old – That’s right people, I’m getting old and what an honor it is to grow older. If you know me, you know I mean that in a positive way. I don’t ever see myself avoiding questions about my age, or dreading another birthday, because I truly believe that getting older is a blessing. But back to the turning 30 bit, I love birthdays and I really like celebrating with friends – this is kind of a special birthday too! I’ve got some goals and fun stuff that I’m working on so that I can cross them off my “30 by 30” list. Stay tuned to my blog because I’ll be posting about them as I cross them off my list.

Next level product development – I have a pretty rad job and I work with a rather talented group of people (I’m being a bit modest in my descriptions here, of course). I’m looking forward to the goals my team has for this year and being a part of breaking records as a company. I’ve also got some stuff up my sleeve regarding my own personal goals; I really want to achieve new and higher levels of experience, knowledge and value within my position, within product development and within the internet marketing industry as a whole. It’s going to take lots of dedication to learning and hard work. We shall see how it goes!

It feels great to write those out. I’m more inspired now than I was before I wrote this post!

Please be praying with me and for me; pray that the Lord would be the focus of my pursuits in this next year and that I would get to know Him more through each area. None of the above really matters if I’ve forgotten Him in it all.

I’d also LOVE to hear about any goals you have for 2015 – I’d like to pray about those too! You can email me or leave a comment.

Life Has Been Rather Busy… But I’m Back With the Longest Post Ever!

I cannot believe that it’s been almost two months since my last post!  Wow, what an uncommitted blogger I can be sometimes. I am still hoping to build up my blog and to gain more of a following; which I realize is going to take some serious dedication and effort. I’ve been trying to take pictures of recipes I’ve been trying and adventures I’ve been having so that I can post lots of fun material in the New Year – 2015 is going to be my blogging year!

But enough of the apology for not posting, I’ve got some updates for those of you wondering about what I’ve been so busy doing these last two months! In short, since my last post I’ve traveled to the other side of the country and made several visits to see my family in Maryland. I’ve also had some great explorations around DC, Georgetown and Virginia. 

At the end of October I went to California for almost two weeks. I had the privilege of visiting my friends and loved ones there, worked in the office with my SD loves and celebrated the marriage of two good friends. I was there for Halloween (I took advantage of my freshly cut bangs/hair style and dressed up like a well known cartoon character from the 90s, otherwise known as Daria). I got to visit my favorite place in SoCal: DISNEYLAND! I even got to participate in a yummy family tradition of dear friends of mine; we made homemade donuts and watched an old thriller on Halloween night. Needless to say, I spent some much needed time with my team at work and I got to spend time with so many of my good friends from the six years that I lived there and overall it was a fantastic trip. Here are some pictures from that visit:

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I got back to DC after the first week of November and had a lot to do for work, church stuff and familial commitments – I dove right back into the routine!

Our church plant has been meeting on Sunday mornings at a local Starbucks (this coffee addict likes that of course) and our core group has been meeting on Sunday nights. Our Sunday mornings have been reminiscent of my Youth Ministry days (both as a leader and as a student). It’s been such a unique and fantastic experience to return to this concept of working through our faith “like a child” with pictures and small groups and white boards. I’m excited that our Sunday mornings have actually broken the mold (for now) of what I’ve grown accustom to expect of a church gathering.

Our Sunday nights have been times of much discussion about vision and direction, as well as getting to know one another and encouraging each other in our walks. Everyone has a story and I absolutely LOVE learning about their stories in bits and pieces and even all at once over a coffee or dinner date. I continue to grow in love for this group of people and I am beyond blessed to call them my church family. At times it’s still surreal to me to think that I’m here, living in DC on mission with such an amazing group of people. The Lord truly has spoiled us with such a well-rounded  team and it’s all possible because of Him.

November was full of good times with friends. I had friends from Baltimore come down to Pentagon City for a day and I got to meet up with them for lunch at the mall there (and do a little Christmas shopping!). I also fit in several coffee dates and dinners with people from my church that I had been hoping to connect with before the holiday season.

In other November news, my roomie Mandi and I volunteered with the McLean Bible Church Turkey Outreach and owned the frozen turkey line for a good hour. Emilie and I hosted a Hunger Games movie day at our house a few weeks ago; a group of six women came over and we literally were here from lunch until 9 pm eating and talking. We watched both Hunger Games movies in preparation for the third one being released and then a group of us from our church went to see it the day it came out. It was a blast smuggling Mexican food into the theater (thanks, Derek) and getting lost in the twisted story that is the third Hunger Games movie.

November also brought the opportunity to explore Georgetown since moving to DC. I had a fabulous tour guide; my friend Melissa actually works at Georgetown University, so she knows the area really well. We went to lunch at this delicious french cafe and had delicious savory and dessert crepes. We experienced the water front of Georgetown and enjoyed a caffeinated beverage from Baked and Wired (such clever marketing!). Here are some pictures from my afternoon in G-town and from the outreach at McLean:

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November ended on the best note of course: Thanksgiving weekend!  It’s my favorite holiday for many reasons, but most importantly this year I got to spend it with my family for the first time in a while. Not only were my brother, his girlfriend and their two kids in town from WV, but my little sister and her boyfriend were in town from VA Beach and I loved seeing my older sister and her three kids. What made it more special was that all four of my mother’s children were present for this one. We had a great time and my good friend Emilie joined us for the day. I stayed with my grandma for four days, took my youngest niece out for a birthday shopping spree and dinner, and got to visit some dear friends of mine on my way back to DC. Here are some pictures to commemorate the occasion:

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Enter December  2014. I mean where did the time go?! December came so quickly and here we are eleven days into the month and it feels like the final two weeks have already been used up. I started the month off getting a Christmas tree with the roomies, starting the decorating process of our home and preparing for my trip to California for our final work week of the year. December also started with a much needed coffee date with a great friend from my church (she is a fellow two “n” Jenn) and making cake pops for my niece’s 9th birthday party.

I went back up to Baltimore for her mustache themed party and it was so much fun. I haven’t been able to make it to any of her birthday parties because I’ve always lived too far away; it was important for me to be there and to help make it a special day. I absolutely love this little lady and her siblings. My nieces and nephews are so dear to my heart! Here are some pics from the mustache shenanigans:

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This week I’ve been finalizing my prep for my work trip next week, all while working each day and decorating/baking stuff to prepare for our holiday open house and our church’s Christmas party this weekend. It’s all fun, but as you can see it’s been really busy and I am looking forward to exhaling on January 2, 2016. My trip to Cali should be a good time of productivity and connecting with loved ones and then I’ll be traveling to see family for a few days over the Christmas weekend.

Writing this post has made me stop in the business and reflect on the Lord’s many blessings and realize how I take them for granted all too often. My hope and prayer for this up coming year is that I would be more vocal about my appreciation and love for the people the Lord has allowed me to cross paths with and to walk this life with. I also pray that I would grow in gratitude toward Him for my salvation and His plan for my life and increase the times I allow myself to get lost in knowing Him and getting to know Him better.

Now that the longest post ever is finished, this blessed (and spoiled) woman is going to bed. Good night world!

7 Updates on Life & My Move to DC

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind, but here we are at the tail end of it all.

If you’ve been following my journey to DC, you know that my friend Emilie and I will be moving to DC soon. In fact, we’re moving next week! We’ve packed up our stuff, filled two U-Boxes, shipped everything off and mapped out our cross country road trip. We start our drive on Monday. AHHHH!  I’m a little excited about it because I absolutely love road trips.

I can’t believe it’s already here, and yet I’ve had moments where it feels like the days are passing by so slow. But I know soon enough I’ll be on the open road pondering about how my last two weeks in California flew by with just the blink of an eye (I wasn’t planning on that rhyming, but I kind of like it). It’s been an exhausting and fun couple of weeks; between the many “final” hangouts and lunches, working and creating, preparing my car for the trip and looking for housing in DC.

Since it’s late,  so I’m going to try to type this as fast as I can. But I thought I shouldn’t go too much longer before posting some updates about the last two weeks and my move to DC. So here are seven updates for your reading pleasure. Why seven? Well, it’s my favorite number and why not?

Here they are:

  1. Packing & Shipping:  We had a bunch of friends show up to help us pack our house throughout the month of June, to pack our UBoxes and to move our beds. We couldn’t have done it without them and I’m so grateful for the people that came to help us pack it all up. We managed to have many laughs throughout the process, which made it an awesome memory. We also were given the opportunity to give away stuff we couldn’t take and to be a blessing to several people who needed those items. It felt great to part with our stuff in that way.
  2. DC Housing: We still need to finalize a place to live in DC; but we’ve got an awesome third roomie (Mandi) whose been doing the leg work in DC to find the perfect place for us to call home. Please pray that we find the place by the time that we arrive in DC on July 21st. We’re confident that the Lord will provide the place in His timing and we’re even applying for a few this week.
  3. Cross Country Drive: We’re leaving bright and early on Monday, July 14th. I’m not a morning person, so I’ll be getting the largest coffee I can order and hoping my car mate doesn’t mind a little silence the first hour of the drive. We also have places to stay with people in every city but two. We’ve booked a hotel for one of those cities and we have some friends checking on options for us in the second city. I was so happy to see how many people supported our cause by connecting us with people who were willing to host four women over night as we make our way through each state. We’re still trying to raise money to cover our moving costs; we’ve raised about $500 of it so far (I think).
  4. Farewells: I’ve been spending “bye” time with people and it’s been super fun. I feel so loved and it’s been great to catch up and spend one-on-one time with dear friends. We also get two last chances to see people at our going away parties this weekend. Not only are our friends throwing us a going away bash this Saturday night, but our church is hosting a BBQ after church on Sunday. I know it will be a bittersweet time, but I’m looking forward to the memories that will be made at both parties and all of the hugs that will be passed around.
  5. Career Stuff: I’m still loving my new position. It’s been so much fun to get to know my new team better; I’ll really miss them when I move. I’ve also enjoyed exploring new ways to make magic happen within our industry – I work with amazingly talented and inspiring individuals. We also just had a fantastic mid-year meeting and it’s amazing to see the new adventures we plan to go on as a company. I’m privileged to be able to still be a part of it all from my new home in DC.
  6. Fun Times at Disneyland: It’s not secret, Disneyland is my favorite place in SoCal. So not only did I get to celebrate a dear friends birthday there last weekend, but I got to spend an entire weekend at my favorite place over the 4th of July holiday. There is A LOT of win in that sentence, I mean A TON of win! I had a blast and got to spend one of my last weekends in Cali with women I’ve been in a Bible study with since 2008. These are friendships that will continue across the miles and I’m so glad we got to make more memories before I moved.
  7. East Coast Greetings: There are lots of people I CANNOT wait to see once I get to DC. Family, friends and new church family. I’ll be driving up to Baltimore as soon as I can to give my family and friends there the biggest hugs and kisses. I’m going to plan a few mini road trips to see my little sister and my dear friends the Stanley’s as soon asI can. Our core team has been making their way to DC from different parts of the country and surrounding states. I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone again, meeting the new members and discovering everyone’s story. I’m excited to begin meeting with our team regularly and building deeper relationships with our new community. Reunions in general are the best, so bring it on!

There you have it folks. Stay tuned for some fun updates from the road as our cross country adventure begins.