mural "You are exactly where you need to be"

Exactly Where You Belong

A few weeks ago as I was walking across my university’s campus to go to my Tuesday yoga class, I noticed these words written on the sidewalk in chalk: You are right where you belong.

"you are right where you belong" in sidewalk chalk

I knew that these words had been written for the incoming freshman to make them feel more welcome, but I honestly felt like they were written for me too.

I’d been struggling over the past few months with feeling like I wasn’t sure if I was in the right place, or if I was going down the right path. I’d been laser-focused on accomplishing certain goals, and I had been failing at achieving them. For over two years now, I’ve thought I was going to have another baby – but infertility struggles have prevented that so far. Failure. At the beginning of 2022, I had a specific career path in mind, and even interviewed for a job I felt like I would be perfect for, but ended up not being chosen for it. Failure.

If you follow my blog, you know that what ended up happening with my job was that I worked with my boss to find a better fit at my current place of employment, and it’s been a really great change for me. And if I hadn’t been rejected by the other place I interviewed at, I would have never even considered moving to my current department. (I’m still in Library-land, now working in the Special Collections and Archives department.)

The unexpected job change still kind of rattled me though. (In a good way.) I had been so sure that I was going to be working at a different place, or possibly having another baby, that I never allowed myself to consider other possibilities. I had been stuck in a season of waiting, instead of a season of truly living. And I needed to be rattled in order to me to make me realize that.

It’s hard to give up on dreams – maybe “give up” is too strong of a phrase. It can be hard to simply have your dreams change. It sort of feels like a shift in identity. But I’m trying to lean in to the place where I’m at, and make the most of it.

As I go about each day, I’m trying to believe that I’m exactly where I need to be – that the people I interact with and the places I go are purposeful and important. That they are integral parts of my journey, and that someday I’ll look back and be able to see that so much more clearly.

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Long-Awaited Moments Vs. the Unexpected

Some things you wait a long time for, and you have years and years to mentally prepare for them to happen. Other things happen in an instant, with no warning, and you have to act in the moment on instinct. I recently had both of these experiences within two days of each other. 

THURSDAY – AUGUST 19TH

My son started Kindergarten on a Thursday. 5 years ago when he was born, I knew that one day I would be dropping him off for his first day of school. But it seemed so far away. (And it was!) But as he turned 2, and then 3, it started hitting me that it was coming faster than I thought it would. When people asked me where he was going to go to school, I always just kind of shrugged my shoulders and said he’d probably go to the public school nearest us. I wasn’t really ready to wrap my mind around it yet.

Once he was 4, I admitted I really needed to begin thinking about it seriously. Did I want him to go to public school or private school? I work for a private Christian university, and they also have a K-12 private school that I could get a large discount at if I sent him there. 

My husband and I both went to public schools, so it seemed like a logical decision to have Calvin go to public school as well. And the public school near us was said to be one of the best elementary schools in Abilene. I hadn’t heard anything negative about it (except for the drop-off and pick-up lines!) 

I weighed the pros and cons of public vs. private school. I thought about class size, curriculum, teachers, demographics, and location. Ultimately, we decided that public school was going to be the right choice for our son and our family. 

My son has a summer birthday (late June), so people also began asking me if I planned to hold him back a year before sending him on to Kindergarten. I didn’t see a reason to do it unless his Pre-K teachers felt like he was really struggling or that he seemed to lack certain skills needed for Kindergarten. Since they didn’t, we were ready to send him on. Would he be one of the youngest in his class? Yes – but that is okay. I knew moving Calvin forward would be the best thing for him. He was ready to learn and go to school. 

Thursday morning arrived: the first day of school. A moment that had seemed so far off when my son was born, and yet here we were. I had played out this scenario many times in my head. Would Calvin cry? (He did not.) Would I? (Yes indeed.) Would he like his teacher? Would he make friends in his new class? 

The transition to Kindergarten felt like a big milestone. Before having a child of my own, I had always kind of rolled my eyes at things like preschool or Kindergarten graduation ceremonies. I didn’t understand why “every grade” (an exaggeration on my part) needed to have their own celebration or festivities. Well, the reason is (I have now learned) because they are actually a big deal. When Calvin dressed up in his graduation cap and outfit for Pre-K, and his class put on a little program of songs for all the parents, I got emotional. And I was so proud of him. 

Going to Kindergarten is a big deal. And the moment I knew was coming one day, had finally arrived.

SATURDAY – AUGUST 21ST

Two days later, something happened to me that I could never have imagined would even be possible. I guess if I had thought about it, I could have determined that it would technically be possible, like by the laws of physics, but the chances of it actually happening had to be miniscule. 

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Turning Point Anniversaries

I’ve been thinking lately about dates. Important and significant dates. We all have those times in our lives where something significant has happened, and our life is forever separated into the “before” and “after” of an event. Take for example, the birth of a child: like how I now refer to my life in terms of “before Calvin” or “after Calvin.”

I thought it would be interesting to create a collection of all the significant dates and anniversaries in my life, and create some sort of timeline. Below is my list of the dates that represent significant turning points in my life, the pivotal BEFOREs and AFTERs. I may have left a few out, but it is interesting to see them all in one place, and to note that most of my turning point events have been positive. It’s also interesting to note that most of my dates happened when I was at least 20 years old – so as a young child I did not experience a lot of huge changes in my life – aka my life was pretty stable. Maybe this explains my resistance to change… even positive changes.

January 18, 1987 – Birthday – 0 years old

September 21, 1998 – Baptism – 11 years old

June 5, 2009 – Marriage – 22 years old

(mid) June 2009 – Moved to Abilene – 22 years old

June 30, 2016 – Birth of Calvin – 29 years old

July 26, 2016 – Admittance to Abilene Behavioral Health Hospital -29 years old

August 14, 2017 – Started job at ACU Library – 30 years old

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What are your turning point anniversaries? Have they been mostly positive or negative? It’s an interesting exercise to reflect back over your life and see the exact moments when something happened that would forever impact your future.