August update

I know you probably all feel neglected. I have been more than little absent this July and August; this whole lack of a normal routine-thing is really messing with my attempts to consistently write. But enough excuses.

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Here’a brief update: We are doing well with the house process. The mortgage application paperwork is in, the insurance taken care of; now we are waiting as all the parties involved in making this happen for us to do the necessary paperwork. We scan in pieces of paperwork asked for by the bank, or insurance company, or realtor and then we wait. We also have been procrastinating actually put our lives in boxes as we hope to hear a set close date for the house soon.

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As for the cars: well they are still being worked on. The new-to-us car (300M) has been in for an initial check up and we are glad we brought it in because it needed new struts and for a filter to be replaced; still waiting on the filter piece because it has to be special ordered. As for the CRV? Almost there but not quite done; sadly it’s still being brought back and forth to the transmission place throughout the last month.

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In the mean time I have been busy finishing up my summer course with Keuka’s ASAP program and preparing for classes in the fall. One interesting note: after having almost a full unit prepped for the high-advanced reading and writing course I was asked to switch courses. So as of last week I am now teaching low-advanced reading and writing which is a nine hour a week course (MWF) with two hours of class and one hour of lab. It is a large course to prepare for but I am excited to teach summarizing, reading comprehension and analyzing, and research writing.

Overall, it has been a full summer requiring patience and flexibility. I am definitely being stretched in taking things as they come and one thing at a time; my control-freak perfectionistic nature has really been tested. At the same time this season has helped us  be grateful for what has gone smoothly and taught us to handle what hasn’t with grace.

How has your summer been going?

Contentment is . . .

“Contentment is a choice based in actively choosing a perspective of thankfulness”

I thought I would follow up my post Summer projects, the waiting game, and being content with this quote. It is easy to get frustrated when you are looking ahead and wanting to be there and not where you are. But awhile ago when I was just as discouraged, impatient, and frustrated with waiting and job search as I was a week ago, I wrote down this quote and put it up on my dresser mirror to remind me.

I need to actively look around to recognize I am in the here and now for a purpose. What will help me be patient is actively focusing on that which I am thankful for now. And there is plenty to be thankful for, many things I have learned to take for granted beyond a great family and wonderful husband. There is a large portion of the world that is not credit card debt free, or doesn’t have a roof over their heads, enough food to feed their family, a bed to sleep in, a working car, and means to pay the bills on time. I can easily forget thankfulness in this culture that teaches us consumers to be discontent so we want more.

Discontentment is wanting change or to add to life, to be somewhere or something else. I am wanting to be down the road about four months (anticipating by then I’ll have a class to teach). But I will get there when I get there. On the plus side, I have, as of last night, turned in my last application: seven different courses as an adjunct English instructor split between two colleges. So now I will try to contently wait to hear back.

How do you learn to be content?

Summer projects, the waiting game, and being content

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Well summer has officially started as of today. This calls to my mind what this season might bring for me.

Since vacation in May (see Vacation Highlights part 1 and Vacation Highlights part 2) I have felt pressure to work hard at my job: the job of finding a job. It is hard living in a place where you know no one because with jobs these days it really is all about who you know. And who do I know here? A handful of people by name and even then not well at all.

a card my brother game me after graduating from college

a card my brother game me after graduating from college

So then what do I do?  Gather all the needed materials, send it to any job in my field of experience then hope, pray, and wait. Last week I sent off a job application for several positions teaching at the local community college.  Every time I think about that application  many “what ifs” come to mind. You know the game: what if . . . they didn’t get it, it’s buried in paperwork, they are already done interviewing for the positions I was looking at etc. Then I remember the “what if” game gets me absolutely nowhere but very stressed and frustrated. It is out of my hands, in theirs and I need to choose to hope for the best instead of wondering.

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What do I do while I wait? Good question. This has been the longest I have been without a job, school, or some combination of both ever. My life and calendar=very open. So again-what do I do with my time? Well you are reading part of it. (Just in case you wondered why I post so often). Other than blogging I do some editing work for my mother-in-law’s who is an author , weekly catch up with family and friends from out West. Past that? My life consists of a  pretty mundane routine of  dishes, getting groceries, laundry, cleaning the house, prepping dinner, exercise, reading, and watching netflix shows. For some people this limited level of responsibilities would be bliss. For those busy women out there with several jobs and/or possibly several children I know you must envy my spare time. But for me it is torture.

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I am a very active person who enjoys deeply, fully investing in a cause I know I can make a difference in. I am ambitious, hard working, diligent, detail oriented. (I know I sound like I’m rehearsing for an interview or rattling off one of my more recent intent letters for job applications). But I promise this is just me being transparent with my readers about my personality. I told Luke the other night “How do you think you would do with having 8 months of no work, no school, and not having your own car?” He thought about it and realized “not too well”. I’ve been trying, really, to not be “not doing too well” with what I’ve been given.

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I  try a lot of new recipes, and gratefully appreciate time with Luke.  But mostly I do a lot of thinking about what my purpose is here in NY? What am I supposed to be doing while I am here?

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So now I come to the topic of summer projects. I don’t currently have any. I am a creative person and could apply myself to several new tasks or old hobbies and enjoy them. But I am also very purpose driven, so if I don’t have a practical reason to do these projects then I have a hard time starting them. Luke has mentioned trying to find me an electric piano because I haven’t played since we moved. I could finish a painting I’ve left undone for almost a year, start making or learning to make more jewelry (or sign up for a crafting class) but none of these would be investing in others or serving for a deep or greater purpose then taking up my time.

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I promise this post is not a  group invite to a personal pity party or written to pull your heart strings to elicit sympathetic replies. It is instead a realistic view of where I am at. I am trying to be grateful for the many details I can take for granted and continue to exercise the disciples of being patient and content. Two very difficult and necessary virtues.

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As for what I am enjoying about the summer season? The weather of course for one. This past winter left a pretty deep imprint on my mind. Secondly there is a new activity almost every weekend in the area. It is as if each little town, village, or city has it’s own weekend (or several) for summer festivals. And that is not including the county fairs, state fair, and farmers markets. Of course  there are also so many outdoor activities and places to explore : kayaking, hiking, camping, swimming at the many lakes, waterfalls, and wooded hills and mountains surrounding us. And last of all of course I’m looking forward to my brother’s wedding in August!!

Invite came in the mail this week!!

Invite came in the mail this week!!

I know I will enjoy this summer and that I should be  content with the limited responsibilities and activities I have. But I also know I would embrace the time even more if I knew that it was limited and had an idea of when it will end, knowing I am progressing towards some purposeful activities here in New York.

So answering my earlier question I believe this Summer season will bring me: sunshine, a great time celebrating with family at my brother’s wedding, and hopefully a job come fall.

How about you? What are your summer plans?

“Happily Ever After” is only the Beginning

All the movies make it seem as though that walk or drive off into the sunset with the love of your life is the end no more conflict, no more challenges, no more changes.

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But Happily ever after is only the beginning

You relationship is not complete when you get married. You don’t stop working on it after marriage you are only really beginning. With all the awkward superficial barriers worked through during dating, you begin to hit at deeper bigger issues. These issues can come on with the smallest of topics. But if you take the opportunity to openly and honestly talk about them you will find yourself work through things that are much deeper. When you work out issues in an frank yet loving way you learn a lot about yourself, a lot of about your spouse, a lot about what “you” as a couple looks like.

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The first two months of marriage included a lot of talking. . . and I mean a lot. These talks came up at the most unlikely and most annoying of times too. Every time we didn’t agree or were confused by what each other meant or expected we took the time to work it out. It wasn’t easy but we wanted resolution, we wanted to understand each other. There was a lot of questions for clarification: What did you think I meant? What do you want me to do ? What do you think I expect you to do?  I found that you may finish each others sentence when you’re dating but it doesn’t mean once you’re married you will be able to read each other’s minds.

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Another title for this could also be: new is new is new is new .  . .

This is just the beginning to married life. Any new element is exactly that a new element. So any new topic or area of life not present before marriage is not magically resolved out of your love. Whether it is deciding on when/where it is ok to flirt with each other (or let it lead to more), what to eat for the week, who does what chores around the house, the budget, outings, etc.. If it is a new decision it requires talking it out-it requires work.

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Remember back when you felt unsure how the person you were dating was going to take your opinion on an issue? Or you were unsure how to bring a new difficult topic up? But in time you develop trust and with it comes honesty, patience for each other, and grace to see eye-to-eye on things. Well that doesn’t change. You will still have those awkward and difficult conversations for anything that is a new element to your relationship.

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New elements to your relationship require effort and compromise to make new decisions. It doesn’t happen through osmosis when you put rings on each other’s fingers. It comes through loving each other enough to want to work it through.  Don’t out of fear of being vulnerable keep your mouth shut when things bother you. But don’t go overboard either. You do not have always instigate a debate-the talks and challenges will come up on their own.

It doesn’t happen over night.  Six (almost seven) months married life is a lot easier than one month. The more we invest in each other the more we see growth,stability and we find ourselves deeper in love . Trust me it’s true! Marriage does not grow like weeds. It grows like trees-change sometimes is subtle but time and consistent investment can make it grow stronger. And if you think you’ve been through a lot as a couple before you get married just wait until  you watch the other person step-up to the responsibilities as husband or wife. You will love and respect them even more.

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I do not claim to have this figured out-we are still working through a lot of topics and issues. But I know that going into the first few months being willing to ask the hard questions knowing you are safe to be vulnerable (that the commitment you made to each other is enough) makes all the difference. You have to know that the other person loves you and will show you forgiveness. That they (and you) will be willing to say your sorry, mean it, and move on. There is a lot of adjusting to do and it requires compromise, patience, and grace.

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Patience: giving myself time

We live in an impatient world. We are used to instant gratification or easy access to all commodities we would need (and almost all we would want). We are constantly being told we deserve the best, fastest service in every industry from drive-thru coffee, vending machines for movies, to self-checkouts at grocery store.

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This makes it rather difficult to teach, learn, or live-out any form of patience. Patience is more than a virtue-it is a mostly forgotten way of life. There are many areas I desire to learn to live out patience, but today I am writing about patience with myself.

As you probably know by now, I am working on transcending this issue of self-judgement. (see self-judgement a story definition) I wrongly accuse myself for circumstances out of my control. I expect the world of myself. So you can imagine I do not show myself much patience.

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When I moved this past November to New York, I was like a dog chasing it’s tail. Luke started a job right away. But I had hours upon hours by myself, with no particular agenda or aim. I kept trying to accomplish everything and anything but got nowhere. Slowly I began to discover what roles/responsibilities to take on: to maintain the home and to support Luke as he worked. But I expected to find a job,  set up the home, find a friend network, get involved in church and be established within the first two months. (If any of you have moved  you realize how impractical these expectations were.)

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my pocket watch necklace

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The truth is, I was not ready to take on the world the second that we moved. I needed time. Time to adjust to dramatic change, to let go of the life I had in California. Time to embrace life here in New York, to adjust to married life away from family and friends. Everyone told me to embrace this break, to enjoy it: after a chaotic year I deserved it. But that was hard for me to hear. I love having a schedule, having routine, feeling involved and connected.

Once I began to embrace the time I had,  a flexible routine formed. Now six months into marriage and more than 5 months here in New York, some of my expectations have been fulfilled; (see spring is coming) the home is (mostly) set up,  the name changing paperwork complete (see Becoming Mrs. ____________), and we are getting involved in church.

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Still my patience is being challenge all over again as I work through job searching. It is a challenge to find a job in a state where you have no connections. Job searching feels often like a rush and waiting game. You find a position you are interested in, you turn in the paperwork and forms-then you wait. If the door closes then you start over. If the door opens you set up time for an interview and wait. Then you have then interview and wait. It can be an exhausting process of elimination.

At times I worry about having a more than 6 month long jobless gap on my resume. But I have to believe the right job won’t care. I have to keep moving forward toward what is right in front of me.

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 What I struggle to see is that giving myself time is not wasting time. By not insisting that I accomplish my daunting list of expectations right away, I learn flexibility, to not try to control what is out of my control,to trust, and that time to learn more about myself is a blessing. Being patient with myself is recognizing the time in the waiting room is not wasted. Giving myself the gift of time helps me understand myself better and it is in the waiting that I am prepared for what I am waiting for.

Any of you waiting on something important?

Do you struggle with our instant-gratification society?

In what area of your life do you want to learn patience?

Living with one car; the tire story revisited

As promised, I will share the saga of our recent car drama. If you have been reading my blog for awhile then you know that Luke and I are currently sharing my little red Honda CRV. A few months ago, on a very chilly day in January the front tire went flat. To read the whole story click here:  A lesson in Independence .

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Jump ahead to St. Patrick’s Day

Luke and I decide to take a Sunday drive into the hilly neighborhoods of Corning. As we worked are way up  the hills  we noticed the car fighting to change gears. When we drove home we noticed a burning smell. I decided this was a sign to finally have the transmission looked at.

Wednesday March 13th:

I took the car into a transmission place. While testing they noticed (as Luke and I had) the car struggled initially getting into drive and shifting between 3/4 gear. They asked if the check engine light had come on and I said no. So we set up an appointment for the next week for them to replace the fuel filter and engine mounts. As they were finishing up, one of the mechanics commented on the tires.

He said that the front tires were an inch bigger than the back ones which were almost bare! This is a big problem because my car is all wheel drive. I had been putting strain on the engine and transmission for 6 weeks, dragging around small worn out back tires! I always get upset at myself for such mistakes, but everyone put blame on the un-named tire company. So I showed myself a little grace-I know it may seem a small step but it’s a big deal for me! (see my self-judgement transcend topic).

That night as we pull into the parking lot or our budget class the check engine light turned on!

My car this winter in the snow

My car this winter in the snow

Thursday March 20th:

I call a different tire store and set up an appointment to have the back tires replaced.

Friday March 21rst:

The tire store replaces the tires and tell me surprise, surprise, that the check engine light was a transmission issue. So I call back the transmission place and they tell me the car should be fine ,but no guarantees, until our appointment next Tuesday.

Tuesday March 26th:

After only an hour at the transmission shop one of the mechanics drives me home.  A few hours later I get a call that they are going to need more time to figure out the problem. So Luke calls Enterprise to pick me up from home. I go to their office, sign paper work and drive to the grocery store in a little rented grey KIA.

Wednesday March 27th:

We hear back from the transmission place. They needed to take out the transmission, figure out what the problem is, fix it, and put it back together. They estimated it would take five business days and they would have it fixed by Monday.

Monday: April 1st

I call the transmission place. They tell me they are putting the transmission back together and it will be another day. I call Enterprise and tell them we need the KIA another day.

Tuesday: April 2nd

I call the transmission place, they tell me they are test-running the car and need another day. I call Enterprise.

Wednesday April 3rd

The transmission place calls me, they tell me they discovered it was the solenoids causing problems with the 4th gear burning. They need another day . I call  .  . .  you get the idea.

Thursday April 4th:

Three days later than I thought I finally get the good news call: the car is ready! I go to pick it up, pay them a good chunk of change and leave in my own car!! When Luke gets off work we take the rental KIA back to Enterprise.

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Thus endeth the saga of the car drama ( I hope).

I write all of this not to complain or to make my reader’s feel discouraged. Instead I am honestly sharing because this car saga challenged me to learn patience, independence, to show myself grace, and how to deal with what is out of my control. In the end stayed safe, the car was fixed, and the only set back was financial. But don’t worry we’ll recover. 😉

How has life challenged you recently? What are you learning from it?

Judgement-Free Living: An Introduction

My subtitle for the category: Transcend, is: learning what it’s like to live nut-free, barley-free, and judgment free.

To transcend as my Transcend page states is:

a : to rise above or go beyond the limits of

b : to triumph over the negative or restrictive aspects of overcome

So far I have provided some yummy examples of how I choose to transcend my barley allergy. In the future I will do the same with my tree nut allergy. But I thought it was time that I explain what I meant by learning to transcend judgment, or how I plan to become judgment-free.

This is a very honest and at times vulnerable portion of my blogging, which I hope, may be encouraging to others.

I over the years have learned (for the most part) to not judge others. I humbly recognize that is not my place or role. By doing so I have opened myself up to the freedom to love, forgive, and show patience and grace to others. What I have yet to explore is how to attain the same freedom for myself.

It is true what they say that we are our own worst enemy and our harshest critic. (To be clear I’m not sure who they is. The reason I mention this is because a good friend and ex-roommate of mine always asked that question: who is they?)

Displaying patience or any of those other qualities to other people is one thing; showing them to yourself: well .  . . that is another.

This is just an introduction I will in the future delve deeper into what this portion of the transcend journey looks like. I plan to do this (as you may have guessed) through addressing ways I am learning to find freedom to attain the qualities of love, forgiveness, patience, and grace for myself.

Whether you are a self-critic or have “been there done that” I hope you find my stories, experiences, and journey to be compelling and encouraging.

Any initial thoughts on my launch of this portion of the blog?

Any words of encouragement from those whom have “been there done that”?

Overall, I would encourage you to be honest and vulnerable, like I will be-it will always be appreciated!