My Awesomely Random Life (and Everything in Between)

Posts tagged ‘Faith’

Leaving My [Book] Mark

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Hey guys! I hope you all are having a great Friday so far.

It’s been kind of a doozy of a week for me. This past Wednesday I found out that Westwood College, the place I have called “home” for almost a year now, the place that took a chance on me and let me spread my kick-ass and cooky librarian wings, the place that was far more than a job but a calling and a passion project, this wonderful place will be closing its doors by the end of December.

As I sat with my fellow coworkers, the professors and program chairs who have spent the last 5, 10 even 20 years selflessly giving their time, their energy, their love to this school and these students, trying to soak up the news, my heart absolutely broke. Westwood College is/was different from a lot of other colleges and universities. The student population have seen struggle, have had to overcome obstacles in their life that most students have never had to face. They didn’t have people in the lives that necessarily believed in them, or who told them time and time again that they couldn’t be or make anything of themselves, couldn’t achieve their dreams.

That is until they came to Westwood. Our amazing faculty saw the potential in these students, recognized that they had challenges to overcome, but more importantly saw that they had the power to succeed. The staff at Westwood were more than professors, advisors, and program directors, they were guidance counselors, friends and the biggest cheerleaders you can imagine. They didn’t work for a paycheck or ask for any recognition, they did it because they loved their students.

The first thing that came to my mind when I was given the news wasn’t that I was losing my job, but instead it was “What does this mean for our students? What’s going to happen to them? Are they going to be okay?”

The past couple of days I’ve run the gamete of emotions: angry, sad, confused, scared, upset, worried and anxious. Oh, there were a lot of feels happening. There still are. I’m not quite sure what to think, what to do. I want to be strong for my students for the remainder of the term, I want to be there for them, but if I’m being honest, there are times where I just can’t. I lock myself in the bathroom stall and have a good cry. I go out to my car and pray for strength and courage.

But I’ve realized that that’s okay. It’s normal and very much needed.

I’ve shared a lot of tears and given a lot of hugs over the past few days, but the thing that has really stood out to me was how appreciative each and every student has been. They’re disappointed, as well they should be, but despite everything, they’ve all expressed just how much they’re going to miss me, how much I helped them, how I inspired them to be great, how I believed in them. My heart couldn’t have smiled more, couldn’t have been more full.

Dammit here come the tears again. I should really think about taking up stock in Kleenex.

The reason why I decided to become a librarian was to in some way make a difference in the lives of people, to inspire them, to make them think and do and discover. I’m incredibly sad that I have to say goodbye to my Westwood family in just a few short weeks, but the lessons I have learned, the friendships I have built and the impact I have made on the lives of these students will forever stay with me. And I hope with them.

As for what comes next, I’m not too sure. Am I scared? Absolutely! Am I a little worried that I’m not going to a)find a job and b)find a job that I love? Of course! I’m more than freaking the baked beans out a little bit. It’s natural to feel this way. But I’m also hopeful that everything will work out in the end, that it’ll be okay.

In the meantime there’s always Ben & Jerry’s. Just alllll of the Ben & Jerry’s.

I was talking with one of my best friends the other night about everything and he said something that’s really stuck with me:

“Change, the unknown? Of course it’s scary. It’s terrifying! But it can also lead to some of the most amazing experiences you will ever have. You just have to have a little faith.”

You know what? He was and is absolutely right!

I will take everything that this job has given me, the skills and lessons, the smiles and the laughter, and most important the memories and carry them with me to this new and exciting chapter of my life.

I’ve left my [book]mark on Westwood.

Now it’s time to do it again.

When God Winks at You

Faith.

Aptly defined, it means a confidence or trust in a person or thing.

It is belief that is not based on proof.

It is a belief in something that you may not see or hear, but something that you feel.

It is also what fills my heart and soul, gives me courage, and guides me in my every days and every nights. I have talked about how important my faith to me is before, how that unyielding and never-wavering belief in the big man upstairs and His infinitive love has gotten me through some of the most difficult times in my life. I may not understand all of His motives, His decisions or plans. I may get frustrated and even upset at times. But it is that very faith that lets me know my life is in the best hands possible. That all of ours is.

I recently read an amazing book called When God Winks at You.

The author of this wonderful page-turner Squire Rushnell says that there are silent little miracles called ‘godwinks’ – messages of assurance that no matter what is happening in your life or how uncertain things may seem at the moment, God is with you and will help you move toward certainty.

I like that. 🙂

When God Winks at You is an amazing array of real-life stories that really help you (And you. And yes…even you.) begin to recognize the godwinks in your own life and attain an unshakable confidence that you are never alone…and never have been. Written as a compilation of real-life stories submitted from people just like you and me, it sheds light on moments in life, personal experiences or occurrences that held a special meaning, a deep impact or a pivotal turning point in these people’s lives.

I have been fortunate enough to have had many similar experiences and moments in my life compared to those found in this inspiring book.

One of these key moments was getting fired from my first ‘big-girl’ post-college and what had seemed to me, my ‘ultimate dream job’. At the time, I was absolutely crushed and devastated. My world had come to a screeching stop, sending me into a whirlwind. I felt like a failure. That I simply wasn’t good enough. Having been always on the top of my game, always liked by all, and never really even having had the words “FIRE”, TERMINATE”, and/or “LET GO” in my vocab before then, my self-worth and esteem seemed to go down the drain. I didn’t know who I was anymore. What I was. In a lot of ways, I felt lost and confused. Like someone had totally reprogrammed my GPS and left me willy-nilly to fend for myself.

In the midst of this confusion, this heartache and loss, God winked at me. He took off that blindfold that was preventing me from seeing what was really in front of me, what even greater opportunities laid before me and gave me the kick in the bum I needed to go after what I really wanted. He knew that I wasn’t destined to stay at the company, in that position. That sneaky little wink of his made me realize how strong I really was, that I could get back up after a fall and come back even better than I was. He made me see that I cannot be defined by my work, by my need to be perfect all the time. He opened up a whole new world of possibilities for me.

A Godwink.

Another example of a wink I received was when I made the big move to Colorado just a little over a year ago (it’s been a year already?! Craziness!) I decided to take one giant leap of faith, so to speak, got into my little VW bug, traveled clear across the country and began a crazy but pretty amazing adventure. I didn’t have a job, a place to live or really any idea what was waiting for me when I got there, but something just felt…right. At the time, all I could do was pray that the decision I made was a good one and hope for a sign, for a wink, that everything would work out. I think every once in a while we all need a good kick in the ass to do things, to take a chance and be fearless. This wink did just that! Moving to Colorado has been the best decision I’ve made in my life thus far and I couldn’t be more excited to see what the next year brings.

Touché, God. Touché.

I think each one of us experience subtle “winks” all the time, it’s just that we aren’t paying attention. Or maybe we pas them off as a coincidence or luck. I have been prone to this thinking myself, however I’m beginning to realize that maybe there are no coincidences, that we make out own luck.

Whether you believe in God or not, I think that faith is a universal feeling, a feeling that gives you something to believe in, something to hope for.

Be open to the winks that occur in your life.

You never know what they might bring! 😉

Question of the day: Do you have any stories of “god winking at you”. If you think really hard I know you do 🙂

When you least expect it

Hey guys!

Happy Sunday-funday!

I hope you all had an amazing weekend!

I’m not going to lie. Mine was pretty great. Like, if great drank five cans of Redbull right before it climbed Mt. Everest while juggling pineapples. Yeah. It was THAT great.

I am on cloud 9,000 for so many reasons. Seriously. I haven’t stopped smiling since Friday afternoon. I’m giving all of those Housewives of Everywhere a run for their money in terms permanently-plastered smiles, except without having to pay an arm and a leg for botox. My jaw is beginning to hurt in all the best ways possible. Not a bad problem to have in my book. 😉

Tomorrow is my first day at Westwood College. I am officially going to be a librarian. Holy barrel of monkeys. HOW COOL IS THAT?! In all honesty, I had begun to wonder if this was ever going to happen for me. It was a very long two years of trying, of rejection, of false hope. It’s always been a dream of mine to be a librarian, to work in a capacity where I could help others discover their full potential, as well as the magic and power that books have and can give. I never, ever gave up on that dream, but after not getting that chance, that opportunity for so long, I began to wonder if I should stop trying, to let God just do his thing and have faith that everything would work out as it was supposed to.

And if you’re anything like me, handing over the reigns and giving up the driver’s seat (I’m totally mixing up my metaphors here, aren’t I?) is a wee bit of a challenge.

I’ve actually had the same thoughts when it comes to my relationships. I’ve been single and ready to mingle for a while now. And don’t get me wrong; I’ve loved it. Meeting new people, being selfish for a bit (having the freedom to come back from a long day at work and drop the pants the second you walk through door and having no one to sneak attack your secret Oreo stash are definite perks of singledom) and spending time with friends and family has been great. But I began to realize that I could have and do those very things with a kick-ass partner in crime by my side, in fact, it could and would be all the more awesome–albeit I would have to find a better hiding spot for my Oreos.

I’ve always loved the idea of love, of meeting someone who gave me those butterflies pterodactyls, who constantly made me laugh and smile, who challenged me and made me want to be a better version of myself. I’ve been on many a disastrous date as I’m sure we all have at one point or another, have had my heart broken, and was part of relationships that while great, weren’t that head-over-heels, homerun, over-the-park and swing for the fences kind of love. Being witness to the kind of relationships that my grandparents, my parents and some of my friends have had and do have, I knew it was possible. To find that kind of amazing and indescribable love. But I began to wonder if and when I would ever find that. Like the pursuit of my dream job, I began to think that maybe I should just leave it up to the big guy upstairs, to pray that in time, it would just happen, when I least expect it.

lifeAs cliche as it sounds, that’s kind of what happened. Kind of exactly what happened.

Just when I was about to throw in the proverbial towel on the ‘ol job hunt, when I was ready to take a break from trying to land that dream position, I got a call. I landed an interview. I was offered an opportunity of a lifetime, THE one that I was waiting for for so long.

It happened. Just like that.

I wasn’t necessarily looking to meet someone who was oh so funny and sweet and kind. Someone who shares my love of really bad dad jokes, who is as much of a baseball fanatatic as I am, (shhhh….he’s a Rockie’s fan but I won’t hold that against him…too badly), who is ambitious and smart and has a heart the size of my book collection (aka pretty much the biggest in the history of ever). I wasn’t expecting to feel those butterflies pterdactyls, to smile from ear to giant ear every darn time my phone lit up with a text from him and I definitely was not expecting to fall so hard, so quickly. But I did. And as scary and crazy as that is, it’s also kind of the best feeling in the world.

It happened. Just like that.

I guess life is funny like that.

It’s almost as if the second before the moment you’re about to give up, to put your dreams and hopes on the back-burner, it throws you a wicked yet wonderful curve ball, reminding you that you’ve still got a lot of game left to play. That even though you may have been sidelined or injured, that you dropped the ball or struck out in the last inning, you’re an all-star. A player full of heart and determination and skill.

miracleAs much as you’d like to make things happen at the moment you’d like them to do so, sometimes God has a bigger plan. A better one. And It’s in trusting that plan, in believing that the pieces of the puzzle will fall into place at the opportune moment…

…that they actually will.

When you least expect it.

So if you’re currently facing a crossroads in your life, if the direction you want to go isn’t meshing 100% to the direction you’re going, stay the course. Don’t give up and most importantly have faith.

I’m a firm believer in everything happening for a reason, at the exact time, in the exact moment when it is right for you.

You may just have to hand over the reigns and give up the driver’s seat for a while (I’m totally mixing up my metaphors here, aren’t I?)

Cultivating happiness

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If I just get this new job/promotion…

When I get married…

When I own a home…

If I rescue a dog…

If I lose 10 pounds…

When the Brewers win the World Series…

When the stars align…

Then I’ll be happy…

I’m guilty of the if/when happiness trap. Of putting my happiness in the hands of The Future [which we all know is a mythical land that does not exist.] Yet, that is where we place the majority of our happiness.

More than once I have found myself in the situation that I knew would make me happy, only to realize that I felt the same. Not unhappy, but not as elated and ecstatic as I imagined my life would be in that moment. It took me a long time to realize that I had been mistaking excitement for happiness.

Cultivating daily happiness, rather than cultivating excitement, has been a practice of mine for quite some time. Life is exciting, absolutely. But not every day is a parade, and the practice has been choosing to be happy in the mundane.

For example, I recently was offered my dream job. A job that I had been wishing and hoping and praying would happen for as long as I can remember. During this time, I couldn’t help but eat, sleep and breath all of the if’s and when’s.

If only I get this interview…

If they really like me…

When they offer me the job…

When I finally begin my career as a librarian…

Then I’ll be happy.

I was in this constant state of limbo, living, but not really.

It was only after I took a step back to realize that even in these moments of doubt and frustration, I was happy. Would having this “dream” job be fantastic and amazing and crazy-awesome?

Of course it would.

But did not having this “dream” job make my life any more less fantastic and amazing and crazy-awesome?

Not really.

I have so much to be thankful for.

I’ve truly got the best friends and family a girl could ever ask for, a job where people really appreciate and respect the work I do, I am lucky enough to be living in such an incredible city with new adventures just outside my doorstep and most importantly, I have a sense of who I am and where I want to be.

I was able to cultivate happiness, not just excitement.

Looking back, I can see that this journey, this very long and sometimes frustrating journey, was in and of itself pretty exciting, The thrill of a call-back, the nerves I would get every time I went in for an interview, the jubilation I would feel when I was given praise and accolades due to my talent and passion for reading and helping others discover that very same joy. In every thing that I did, every step I took or leap I made, I not only learned more about myself, but also was able to experience life in a different way. It gave me perspective, another way of viewing things.

I am a big believer in everything happening for a reason. Many times, that reason doesn’t make sense in the moment; it doesn’t have a neon sign flashing, giving you any clue as to how and why this or that occurred (or didn’t).

But man would life be a whole lot easier if it did, wouldn’t it?!

What I think this whole experience has taught me is that you can make your own happiness. It’s not something that you have to wait to be given (if you get that job, if you buy that house, when you get married or when you loose those ten pounds). You can choose to be happy, to cultivate it even when you think you can’t or don’t deserve to.

In fact, it’s in these very moments when you need it the most.

You’ve got that power.

Pretty incredible, right?

As I begin this new chapter in my life, I am going forward with a new-found appreciation for what I have and not just what could be.

The time is now.

Get excited!

P.S. I’m pre-cultivating happiness and excitement because this is the year that the Brewers win the World Series. After all, as Terence Man once said, “If you…cultivate happiness, they will win.”

Or something like that. 😉

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Do you remember that time I…

…WAS OFFERED A POSITION AS HEAD LIBRARIAN AT WESTWOOD COLLEGE?!?!?!

WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

That’s right, guys.

It finally happened.

Finally, finally, finally, finally, finally, finally, finally, finally, finally, finally, finally, finally, finally, finally, finally, finally happened.

Finally.

After a very long, lonnnng three years of job hunting/searching/applying and interviews. After many, mannnnnnny rejection letters, emails and phone calls. After a *bushel and a handbag of almosts, so-close’s and no’s….I did it!

*Sidebar (Is that still a phrase people use? If not, I’m henceforth bringing it back! Is henceforth still a word people use? If not, do it people. Any word that in any way resembles these guys is my favorite word ever.)

No matter how frustrated I got, how much I wanted to throw in the towel and give up, I kept trying. I kept putting myself out there.

But most importantly, I kept praying.

I don’t always know what the big guy upstairs has up his sleeve for me. In fact, I never do. None of us are privy to that information. But I think it’s better that way. It gives us something to hope for, something to strive for, something to keep our faith steadfast and true. Whatever His plans for you and I are and/or will be, I know that they will be amazing. And they will happen on His time, not mine or yours (something I have struggled with for pretty much always. And probably will continue to struggle with.) But if I have learned anything through this experience, it’s to never, ever give up hope and never, ever stop believing. And know that things happen when at just the right time they are supposed to.

HOLY REESE’S PEANUT BUTTER CUPS, SUPERMAN!

I’M A LIBRARIAN!!!!!! 🙂

If I could give any piece of advice–which as a librarian, I would like to think it’s my business to do so–it would be to not be afraid to dream. Dream big and dream loud. Do everything you can to make that dream a reality, even if it takes a very lonnnnnng time, if you get mannnnnny rejection letters, emails and phone calls and especially after you receive a *bushel and a handbag of almosts, so-close’s and no’s.

Do. Not. Give. Up.

Sorry Nike, but in this case, I am urging you to just NOT do it.

Keep doing, trying, and most importantly….

….keep praying.

Friday Fav’s and a Special Prayer Request

Hey guys!

Everybody say it with me now…..

“YIPPY SKIPPY!!! IT’S FRIDAYYYYYY!!!” When I was in middle school, my principal would start his morning announcements with this exciting sentiment, sending all of the 1200 pubescent students in the building into a frenzy, yours truly included. It was just a nice way to start off the day and put everyone in a yippy skippy kind of mood heading into the weekend.

Before I get into my Friday Favs for this week, I’d like to share some news with you all.

First off, my little sister who has been battling endometriosis for a few years now had surgery this morning. She had this same surgery two years ago and while it seemed to help for a while, the symptoms just seemed to get worse over time. She’s a fighter and I know that she will do great, but I am hoping that the doctors can figure out what is causing this chronic and debilitating pain she’s been having and will be able to do something for her. It hurts my heart to see people who I love going through something so hard, knowing that there isn’t anything I can do but give them all of my support and love (and in all cases, my beast-mode bear hugs). Plus, being so far away from home, not being able to be there for her in person is really, REALLY hard. But small fry, if you’re reading this, you got this girl! You got this!

Secondly (and less on the important scale), I have my final interview for the Adult Librarian position this coming Monday morning!!!! I’m weirdly enough not that nervous (although I say that now. When I’m walking into the library come 10:30 next Monday I know my stomach will be filled with butterflies pterodactyls). I think it’s partly because I am so confident in what I can bring to this position, partly because I know how passionate I am about it, and partly because I have done these interviews for what seems to be forever and a day now. I know what to expect going it which definitely helps a bit. In addition to the standard interview spiel, I have to give a brief 5-10 minute presentation on an adult program that I would like to implement in the library. I chose to do a take on a Pinterest Party where patrons can not only learn how to use this amazingly amazing–and addictive–social media site, but also make projects inspired by ideas found on Pinterest. At the end of the five-week Pinterest Party program, there will be a Pinterest Party Bash where all of the projects made in previous sessions will be on display for everyone to see. Patrons will also be invited to bring a dish/dessert they found through Pinterest to share with the group.

Oh. The theme of the projects during these five weeks will be “Getting Crafty with Books”–projects that incorporate old and used books, repurposing them into things like lamps, storage containers and clocks. SO BOOKING COOL, RIGHT?!

I think it sounds like it would be a great way to not only get older library patrons tuned into their technology side (using the actual Pinterest site) but also their creative, tactile and social side (creating awesome projects while at the same time meeting new people). I really hope they like it!

Of course I can’t give this presentation without props, right? I’m planning on baking these babies to hand out after my presentation, just to give them an example of some of the things that could be incorporated into future Pinterest Party programs 😉

With everything that’s been going on lately, I’ve been having some seriously long but amazing talks with the Big Guy upstairs. It’s a good thing I have unlimited minutes and full data coverage. I would however so greatly appreciate any additional prayers, especially for my sister. God truly does work in the most mysterious of ways and while the methods to his madness don’t always  make the most of sense (at least at the time), there is a reason for everything. You just have to have faith.

Speaking of, I have the utmost faith that you all have an amazing weekend but until then, please be sure to check out my finds from around the web and more in this week’s addition of Friday Favs!

Favorite Feel Good: Because sometimes, you just really need a high-five, no? This just makes me so, so, sososososo happy! high-five-800

Favorite proposal: I Want to Marry You Cookies. Two kinds of chocolate (TWO!) and pecans?! I do, I do, I doooo-ooooh!

cookie

Favorite drool: Hanging Library. Pretty much? This is EXACTLY what I want in my future house.

books

Favorite place: Emerald Lake. Just 20 miles or so west of Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada, this lake is absolutely breathtaking. I would rent a house here for a week in the summertime in a heartbeat!

EmeraldLake_mini

Favorite treat: Easy Homemade Funfetti CupcakesNormally I’m a 4:1 ratio of cupcake to icing kind of gal, but holy buckets I would totally reverse the rule for these babies. Mouthwatering, and adorable!

Easy-Homemade-Funfetti-Cupcakes-with-Vanilla-Buttercream

Favorite furball. Temptation…

Puppy

Favorite snuggle. This WILL become my winter weekend uniform. Just need that vest!

Favorite cozy: Cinnamon Bun White Hot Chocolate. This is soooo happening as soon as the s*&# starts flying. And when I say s*&#, I mean the white, cold and fluffy stuff that shall remain nameless.

Favorite truth: Sometimes…app

Favorite funny: We’ve all been there. Some of us more than others (*cough my dad’s whole side of the family cough*)

fart

The Answer to Your Question? Patience.

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Lately I’ve been learning that try as you may, life will always hold more questions than answers. I feel like everyday, whether we acknowledge it or not, all of us feel a quiet uncertainty rumbling inside of ourselves. Who am I? Why am I here? Am I a good person? Who ate the last of my Pringles? Frustrating as that is I really think it’s better that way.

Life is not meant to be answered in one fell swoop, and thank goodness too. I don’t know about you, but I get bored extremely easily. One project finished, and immediately I’m onto the next one. That’s just the way I work. But much to my dismay life won’t seem to let me take any shortcuts. In life there seems to be only one answer to all of my questions — patience.

Darn it all to Reese’s Pieces.

Patience isn’t really what anyone wants to hear. But luckily the big man upstairs is smarter than us, and patience is the only way to find any answers worth having.

For posterity’s sake here are a few questions I still have a 27:

1. What is it like to be in love? Am I’m not just talking about the new Pumpkin Spice Oreos that just hit shelves.

2. Will I ever be able to do the one thing career-wise that makes my heart smile? (I’m still, STILL waiting to hear back from the school about that library position I interviewed for. Gjnflerkjewmfsmf!! Patience, Wendi. Patience.)

3. What in tarnation is a 401k?

4. Does Beyoncé wake up every morning and think “Damn, I’m Beyoncé… sweet!”

5. When will I live in a house that has a laundry machine, dishwasher, and central air again? And why did I not value this more in my youth?

6. Will humans ever go to space?

7. Are we born as ourselves, and then spend our lives trying to figure out who we “really are?” Or do we gain taste as we grow up and become who we want to be?

8. Am I going to be single forever?

9. Are the Brewers EVER going to go to the World Series [in my lifetime]?! *crosses fingers*

Faith is believing that the answers to these, and other questions that you might have, will be answered one day. And not only just answered, but that they will be done so in a way that exceeds any and all expectations.

Just like those Pumpkin Spice Oreos.

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