Monday, January 26, 2015

Wait, It's 2015 Already?

I rang in 2015 sitting in the fifth row of chairs in Ryman Hall C at the Gaylord Opryland with John Paul, Mike, & Chris Stefanik (cough name dropping cough cough). We were pouring over the SEEK programming timeline, making sure every detail for the opening of the conference would be just right, making sure it would set a tone of fun and openness so the Holy Spirit could begin to work in the hearts of the 9,500 college students that would be in attendance.

At 12:03 AM, Mike noticed the time. "Hey guys, it's 2015." Chris suggested we pray a Hail Mary. We did, and then got right back to work.

The next six days were a blur of conference production and coffee, followed by a blur of moving and adjusting. When I finally got a chance to process that it was already 2015, I was tired. I spent a lot of 2014 tired and lonely. It was kind of a crap year that I don't really want to repeat. I wasn't focused, and I wasn't purposeful.

I've never been any good at keeping resolutions. So instead, I'm going with two words to set the tone for 2015. I want them to be my mantra, my rally cry, and the motivating force behind all that I choose to do. Be intentional.

I turn 25 in March - quarter of a century old. For most of my life, I've lived in that relativistic, do-what-feels-good mindset. And even though I'm aware of it now, it can still creep into my habits and my daily choices. So this year, I'm going to combat that by being intentional.

I want to ask myself "how can I be intentional" about all the different priorities in my life: my faith, my relationships, my career, my time, my health, etc.

I think this 2015 mantra could mean big things for my year, especially as I focus on it day by day.

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Friday, January 23, 2015

7QTs on 38+ Goodbyes in 7 Days

Woof. It has been a whirlwind of a two weeks. I have packed up my entire life, driven it to Kansas, and found place to live in Illinois. More importantly, I have listened to Serial in it's entirety and am obsessed. I cannot wait for season two, or to start listening to This American Life on my new public transportation commute.

But I digress. Since I waited to tell anyone I was moving until I told the Events Team after SEEK, my last week in Colorado was packed back to back saying goodbye to my favorite people and my favorite places. So today I give you 7QTs on 38+ goodbyes in 7 days!

The day after I got home from SEEK, my housemates and I had our last dinner. It was awesome to sit around the living room with Carolyn, Mary, Jenna, & Matika talking about life and eating Swing Thai - Colorado Bucket List Item!


Last Thursday, I met up with my favorite Camp Tecumsehites who live in Denver. It has been a huge blessing to have Holly, Arielle, and Molly living in Denver while I was here. We ate at Trattoria Stella's and talked about our lives and our hopes for the futures while drinking delicious wine. Eating here was a Colorado Bucket List Item!

On Friday, we had an Events Team Send Off. JP is getting married and moving to LA, and I'm moving to Chicago. I love these people fiercely and already miss them so much. When I joined the Events Team, I didn't realize how great of friends these people would become. As I continue to grow in my life, I hope to become more like them in their professionalism and their faith. 

Saturday was a road trip through Colorado. In the morning I met Shelby in Boulder for brunch. After some great catching up, I made a quick stop at Celestial Seasonings, then drove north to Fort Collins to meet baby Pierce and say goodbye to the Sebastian's. Miles and I are finally best friends, right in time for me to move. Dana was my missionary at Drake and it has been such a blessing having her and Derek so close. They are a beautiful example of a fun and holy family could look like!

On Sunday I got to hit a few of my favorite Denver spots. It started with Mass at the Cathedral, followed by brunch at Fork and Spoon with Sophie and Lindsay.

Then I got to do some writing at The Book Bar. I ended the night at St. Jude's

The girls in my discipleship group are so sweet - I'm going to miss them so much! It's crazy to see how much they've grown and matured in the last 1.5 years. We read through Luke ch. 4 and Jesus talks about now it is time for him to go to a new place to preach. It was the perfect passage to end my time with these girls on.

After youth group, the leaders went and got a drink. I have a special bond with these people. It has been awesome to work for the same mission alongside them and have some good, old fashioned fun with them. Pray for Megan, Ramon, Alexei, Terri, & the Candler's as they continue to show the teens at St. Jude's Jesus' love.

Bible Study is on Monday's, so we had a big party this week. These women have shaped my past semester in such a profound way. I seriously don't know how I would have survived without them. It is incredible what God does when a group of people get together with the intention of growing closer to Him. They are going to keep Bible Study going and that just makes my heart so happy!

On Tuesday, I got dinner with the newly married Stephens and got to catch up with them. It had been awhile since I'd seen them, so it was cool to see how married life was treating them!

Wednesday was my last day in the office. It was filled with Beau Thai and many bittersweet goodbyes. 

Finally, Mom and Tommy arrived Wednesday night. We rounded out the goodbyes to my friends by grabbing dinner at Beau Jo's Pizza with Steph and Joanna.

The next day we crossed off "appreciate the mountains" and "pray at the Mother Cabrini Shrine" off my bucket list. 

In the end, the only two things I didn't get to do on my Colorado Bucket List were skiing and visiting the 16th Street Mall. I'd say it was a pretty successful week of goodbye's!

For more quick takes, check out This Ain't The Lyceum.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Moving On & Identity

SEEK2015 is over. I'm sitting at my kitchen table, drinking coffee, with Penny & Sparrow playing in the background thinking about how strange that is. Every waking second for the past four months have been consumed by this conference. This past year has been spent pouring over preparations to make this conference for 10,000 a reality. And now it's all over.

Sure, there are bills to pay, wrap up meetings to have, and summary reports to write. But for the the vast majority of the world, it's over. On to the next thing, right? Now it's time to pour into NST and into SLS and wrap my mind around the next big event FOCUS will be hosting.

That's what I thought the plan was.

Instead, I will be packing up all of my things and moving away from Denver and away from FOCUS to a fresh start in a few days. I'm terribly overwhelmed, excited, and sad. These people I've had the incredible honor of working with these past 1.5 years have shaped me so much. I look up to them in their faith and in their professionalism, and I hope to be like them one day.

Though it is hard and though I am sad, I am at peace. Jesus' hand is upon my shoulder, mourning FOCUS with me, but turning my head towards the Chicago skyline as we take this next step in the journey together.

What is scariest for me is what the answer to that daunting question of "who are you?" will be now that FOCUS Events is in my past. I remember a moment at the very beginning of the second semester of my senior year of college when I first confronted this question. I was stumped. For the past 3 years when someone asked me who I was, I was able to list a paragraph of positions and titles that made me important on campus: Panhellenic President, VP Greek Programming, Director of Special Events, etc. When I was a second semester senior, I no longer held those positions, and I didn't know how to define myself anymore. I was asked the question, "who are you," and I didn't know how to respond.

Now here I am, three years later, when my defining role is gone again and I am left with just me and Jesus. I don't know how I will respond when the question is asked. I thought it would terrify me. Instead, the future is exciting.

On the plane to Nashville, Holly & I sat by Sr. Amata of the Servidora's.  Out of no where she started talking about how when we work in the Church, we have a higher risk of attaching our consolation and identity to our work instead of simply attaching it to Jesus. She said that when people leave their work in the Church, they are uncomfortable for a bit as they stretch and learn how to just be with Jesus, but God usually calls them out so they can learn in a deeper way that their identity lies solely in Christ.

That's what I want for myself. Identity has always been my core issue, as it is for so many. For years after my conversion, I pretended that I no longer struggled with attaching my identity to what I do and the titles I wore. But as I walk away from FOCUS, I know it is still my biggest struggle. So as Jesus and I drive the 1,111 miles to Chicago, I pray that He can begin to chip away at who I think I am and replace that idea with who He wants me to be.

So pray for me as I move to the city, and pray for me as I wrap up this chapter of life in Denver. Though I do not know what the future holds, I know it is bright, because I will face it with Jesus.

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Farewell Colorado Bucket List

The Task: Visit all my favorite Denver/Colorado spots before I move.

The Challenge: I move on Friday and most of my time will be spent wrapping things up at the office and packing up.

Also, I care more about saying goodbye to people than I do saying goodbye to these places. So I'm sure most, if not all, of these places will not be visited. But I'm up for the challenge!

Farewell Colorado Bucket List

Eat at Trattoria Stella. Best. Restaurant. Ever. It's in an adorable old house and it has the best food ever. If you haven't been here, you need to go now!

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Completed 1/8 with my Camp Tecumseh friends.

Appreciate the Mountains. I'd hypothetically like to do something in the mountains, but I don't really know what I want to do in the, I just want to appreciate the mountains before I can no longer see them out my window and on my drive to work every day.

As excited as I am for the the train, it won't look as good as this.

Buy Colorado things on 16th Street Mall. The cheesier, the better.

What even is this thing?
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Go to Celestial Seasonings. Definitely got to stock up on the tea's that they don't sell in stores: AKA the extra caffeinated black team. #caffinefordays

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Completed 1/10.

Pray at the Mother Cabrini Shrine. I've actually only been here once, right after I graduated college. But overlooking the mountains and the city with the Sacred Heart of Jesus seems like a good way to end my time here.

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Drink Coffee, Buy a Book, and Write a little at The Book Bar. I'm obsessed with this little place; it's a coffee shop, bar, restaurant, and bookstore all mixed into one.

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Completed 1/12.

Eat with my team at Beau Thai. Delicious Thai food, but more importantly, this place is filled with memories of my team bonding. I'm hoping we'll grab lunch here on Wednesday...actually I'm going to set us a meeting for this now.

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Get take out from Swing Thai. Mary & I recently discovered this thai place around the corner from us and it is so good!

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Completed 1/7 with my roommates.

Eat Beau Jo's Pizza. I mean, just look at that pizza.

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Go to Mass and pray at Basilica Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

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Completed 1/12 with Lindsay and Sophia.

Bonus Item: Go Skiing. This probably will not happen. But, I've never been, and I'd love to go before I move.

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Well, there it is! What else would you visit before you moved away from Denver?

Friday, January 9, 2015

7QTs on Anything Other than SEEK2015

I titled my first #7QTs post after SLS14 like this, and I like it, so I'm doing it again. Like last year, I get one quick take on SEEK. It's over and that's crazy. I don't know how to handle it. The team got back late Tuesday night, and I've taken the past two days off. It's actually be great relaxing and gearing back up to launch into real life.

JP is moving to LA to get married this weekend, so we're having a big team dinner and party tonight to say goodbye. I've had the privilege of working with JP very closely on AV, sponsorships, and production these past few months. He's a great guy and I'm going to miss staying at the office really late at night watching movies in the background with him.

So, I have some news. I have a new job and I'm moving to Chicago a week from today! I don't think I've had much time to process this information until yesterday. I do not have a place to live, but I'm headed there very soon!

Verily Magazine has a great article about how to move to a new city, so I have officially made a "goodbye Colorado" bucket list. I've gotten calendar time with almost everyone I want to see, so now I just need to add calendar time to visit those few last place I want to say goodbye to. Also, I really, really want to go skiing before I move. I've lived here for a year and a half and I still haven't been skiing or snow boarding. I think I need to take care of that before going to the mountains become a long trip.

I arrived home on Tuesday night to many Christmas Cards, so that was pretty fun! Thanks to everyone who sent me a card.

Have you guys started playing Trivia Crack? My sister and brother got me hooked while I was home for Christmas. I can't stop playing.

My teammate from Nebraska, Steph, is getting married in four months! I'm super pumped. However, I have to order my dress soon (like today), and I can't decide between these two...any thoughts on which one!? The left is the Poplin Dress and the right is the Marilyn Dress!

Head back over to This Ain't The Lyceum for more quick takes!