This is Home {Return to the Museum}

A hundred and three days.

That’s a long time, my friends.

When I left the Museum to go help my family for a week back in March, I was sad to be leaving for a whole eight days. If you would have told me that it would nearly fifteen weeks before I returned to my favorite place in the world, I’m really not sure how I would have reacted.

Like the rest of the world plans that I’d held so tightly and seemed of supreme importance crumbled before me. Ideals I’d worked towards, goals I’d hunted, and dreams I’d chased all dissipated in the wake of the pandemic.

The last 103 days were good, hard, amazing, tearful, delightful, and oh so confusing at times. During these months I experienced some of my best days and some of the worst  – at least in recent years. I grew a lot. I found out I needed to grow a lot more.

And finally, at long last, I’m back.

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Back in March, no one was really sure what was going to happen. The future stretched before us in a foggy mist, scary and vague. And there are still things that way in my life, and I’m sure that other people continue to have that as their daily reality.

At times I wondered if the Museum would re-open. And if it did, would I get re-hired? And if both those things happened, would everything else be different.

And yes, things are different. But it’s okay, because now everyone is aware of how different it could be. Of how much we do have to be thankful for. There’s a lot of stuff that’s difficult to do at the museum nowadays. So many added steps to run things in a way that hit those just-post-COVID-pandemic-world-guidelines perfectly.

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And yet, we’re here, and I couldn’t be more thankful.

I’ve tried for the last ten minutes to put into words how it feels to be back. To be home. To get to spend each day at the Museum, serving the guests and co-workers. I’ve tried to express the emotion that comes along with having a whole host of people excitedly welcome me back and make sure I knew I was missed. I’ve typed and re-typed what it was like to get to see everyone in person again and jump right into the activities that I am comfortable with, plus learn a whole new protocol which I’m not quite getting the hang of yet…

But I can’t. The words escape me.

I’m still processing. Processing the joy of being back. The thankfulness that the museum is still here. The delight of the work I get to do each day. How right it feels to dive back into my responsibilities. The excitement of getting to see my co-workers each day. The sadness of missing co-workers who won’t be returning.

Each night I return home with my heart full of thankfulness, my legs tired from miles of walking, and my face relieved to be maskless.

I love my job. My co-workers. My teammates. It’s delightful to get to interact with guests. To get to make life a little easier for my bosses. To learn new things and grow. (Like yesterday when I made an announcement over the Museum loudspeakers for the first time.)

There’s a lot of new stuff to learn, but that’s okay because grace is freely given around the museum. So is love and care and laughter.

The Museum is my favorite place, and I’m so thankful to be back.

Relationships or Accomplishments​

The birds are trying to out-do each other outside my open window as I swirl around the last of my coffee, dredging up the sentiment at the bottom of the mug. (Hey, I like a few coffee grounds in my coffee…) Various shades of green cascade from the trees – from the brilliant hues of the maple up close to the backdrop of a dozen trees that form the entrance of the woods further away.

It’s Monday morning, one of my favorite times of the week.

Accomplishing things makes me happy. Being able to see where I’ve made a difference is enough to get me out of bed each morning. I’m goal-oriented, competitive, and most times would rather clean the house then do something ‘fun.’

Each morning when I wake up I let myself stretch and yawn, then set my stop-watch and see how quickly I can complete my getting-ready routine. Throughout the day I find myself constantly trying to find balance as I look at the list of things that I really want to get done, compared to the things that are maybe more important to do. (For instance, relationships are much easier to ignore than a messy kitchen sink. But in reality, which has a greater eternal value?)

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One thing that I often remind myself is that I do have enough time. I do have enough energy. I do have enough.

Maybe not on my own, maybe not in the ways that I dreamed of, maybe not to do what want. But I have enough to do what God is calling me to do, and when there’s a discrepancy and I find myself getting stressed, that’s not because God has given me too much to do. It’s either because I’m not doing the right thing, or doing it the right way, or doing it with the right motive.

Having a sparkling clean house around me might be exactly what’s supposed to happen. But maybe it’s not – maybe God wants me to let go of that ideal for now and focus on other things.

I used to think – and say – things about never having enough time. And then I realized that’s a lie that society praises, not the truth from God’s Word. Subconsciously, I think I’d rather appear busy and productive than resting and at peace. It feels so…important to have a list of things checked off a piece of paper and yet still have people who need your help. Maybe not every personality feels this way, but I want to be needed. To be doing. To swoop in and save the day.

Being busy can be addictive.

And yet we’re commanded to Be still and know that God is. We’re commanded to care for the widows and the orphans. We’re commanded to love our neighbor. We’re commanded to pray. So many of these things require me to let go of my pre-conceived (and society-fed) notions of what I’m supposed to be doing with my time and ask God to lead me in the way He wants me to go.

Recently this has included doing things like leaving the counter messy to sit down and read a book to my little nieces. Or setting the milk bucket down and cuddling the kittens my nephew wants to show me. Letting go of accomplishing and taking ahold of relationships isn’t easy for me, but it’s rewarding.

At the end of the day, I’m thankful to know that God has given me enough time to accomplish what He wants me to do.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Cor. 12:9)

Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. … (Mt. 6:25-34)

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. (Mt. 7:7-8)

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. (2 Cor. 9:8)

And Yet

Yesterday the seven-year-old killed a snake that was longer than her (while holding a stuffed animal). Several days ago while milking with the nine-year-old the goat kicked over her bucket of milk, drenching the child and milk stand. Last week a late frost killed most of the tomato plants, despite our best efforts to cover them sufficiently. This morning the one-year-old got ahold of a folder full of important papers for one of the puppies that is being sold, scattering them all over the floor and scribbling on the folder.

When the parents had a date the other night chaos erupted around the table, complete with a pile of rib bones being pushed towards me (I have a phobia of bones for some strange reason). Squabbles take place, half-done jobs sometimes slip through the cracks and the same bib that I’ve washed four times (and have yet to see anyone wear) ends up in the dirty laundry again. 

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And yet.

Yet my sister shoos me outside to enjoy the hammocks for a few minutes. “Take your mid-morning snack out and blog in the sunshine,” she encourages. As I sit here three of the children come over to join me. One of them places a white fluffy puppy on my arm, another one climbs in the hammock with me, and the five-year-old pulls a chair up to within an inch of me then peels an orange while regaling me with stories of how he and his brothers are going swimming in the creek later. “You can swim, too. And swing out on the rope swing!”

Yesterday the children carefully rearranged who would do what chores and when so that they could take turns swimming during their free time. The work was done eagerly and early and not one but two meals were eaten out on the picnic tables, the warm sunshine and cooling breeze creating the perfect atmosphere.

The hustle and bustle of family life on a small farm slows to a standstill and pauses twice a day as each morning the family gathers for devotions where the children take turns choosing what hymns to sing, and the evenings close with John Bunyan’s classics being read out loud.

Watching my nieces and nephews remind me of my childhood. A childhood filled with siblings, school, chores, and excitement. The children here are building a little pond complete with dikes and dams. When I was a girl my siblings and I sectioned off the creek, then each of us created our own little island. My nieces and nephews display the same joy and delight in finding where the mama cat hid her kittens as my little sisters and I were fifteen years ago.

Nearly daily the nine-year-old asks the same questions about being able to plan and cook a meal all by herself that I did when I was her age. Their mama reads them the same books that my mommy read to me when I was a girl. And the outside world is their kingdom, waiting to be explored, conquered, and claimed.

“Aunt Lydia,” comes a little voice behind me. “Do you want some of my oranges?”

I smile. Because I look back on my gardening, animal-y, books-being-read-to-me, tipi-building, woods-exploring, big-family happiness of my childhood and see it happening in the next generation.

And that is wonderful.

With Open Hands

“Stay as long as you want – we’re so thankful for your help,” my sister and brother-in-law in Virginia assure me.

“When are you coming back home? We miss you,” my sisters back in Ohio tell me.

“If you come into Kentucky you must quarantine for fourteen days,” Governor Beshear’s website declares.

I feel lost and adrift as I drink my lukewarm coffee. It’s like my dreams – the ones that felt so real and good in January – have dissipated. Now they’re like a fine mist floating over my head that I’m chasing – grasping – missing.

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What I really want to do is jump in my car and drive, drive, drive. Maybe to Florida. Then Alaska. And of course, Yellowstone is a must. Or maybe I can go to sleep and wake up on the other side of all this craziness. Or go back to January and make it last – snow and all – for twelve happy months and then magically be in 2021.

What I want to do is escape. To find my happy little nook where I’m in control, things are good, and my plans, dreams, and hopes play out before me like a happily-ever-after book.

Recently in my prayer journal I’ve been doing an exercise where I write How I Feel on one side of the page then fill it will the emotions that are bumbling around inside me. Then I flip my notebook upside down and write The Truth on the other side. I take each of the emotions that I’d rather ignore and work my way through them, figuring out why I feel that way, then remind myself of God’s truth.

Then, as those emotions pop up throughout my day, I’m able to name them, remember the truth, and conquer them. Yesterday was enlighting to say the least.

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My feelings fell in two distinct categories – joy, fulfillment, and thankfulness when I thought about where I was at the moment. The fact that I could help my sister’s family as they deal with some of the same health issues I’ve had over the years made me downright happy.

But then when the future loomed in front of me feelings of restlessness, despair, confusion, and even anger took over.

When I stopped to ponder what the difference was, the answer was glaringly obvious and horrifying at the same time. What is going on now I can control. I’m choosing to be here. I’m choosing to stay and help. I’m choosing to be a good sister/auntie and make a difference. I have faith in myself to make my here and now good.

The future though? That I can’t control. I can’t change the health, the minds, the laws, and the outcomes. I can pray and wait and trust, but I can’t control. Only God knows what will happen. Only He can do what I desperately want to be done. When it comes to the future I can’t trust myself because I have no power – I have to trust God, and only God.

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I’ve always thought of faith as one of my strong suits – I’ve never been overly concerned about my future because I knew God had it all under control. I work hard and prepare and God does the rest, right?

But what happens when I work hard and there’s no guarantee that God will follow through with what I’ve always thought was His part of the bargain? One thing I’ve been learning this year is that the future I thought God and I agreed on might actually be wishful thinking on my part.

So here I sit. And stand. And work. In a place where I’m learning to rest and breathe in deep with open hands. In a place where I’m learning to be still and know that God is. In a place where I’m learning that my view of the world is minuscule and His view is all-encompassing.

I want to know what the future holds. To know what normal will feel like in the coming weeks. To know what to expect and count on and look foward to. But I can’t know. And at the end of the day, that’s okay. Because I do trust. Not in myself, but in the God who holds the future.

Watercolor and Fabric {reaching outside my comfort zone}

Day Twenty-Nine dawns with lukewarm, day-old, decaf coffee, scrounging through the refrigerator for enough protein to count as breakfast, and the hum of the lawnmower under a gray sky.

During the last week, I was able to step outside of my comfort zone and do some things I’ve thought about doing for a while but didn’t really fit into my life. It’s been fun to branch out, surprise myself, and spend quality time with people I love.

And now, I’m off to clean the house, make lunch, and mow the lawn. Have a great day, my friends!

Hello, Day 25

Like probably everyone else I’m ready for this craziness to be over. I’m on day 25 of quarantine and it’s been quite the ride. I can hardly wait to be able to go back to work. To be back in my little home in Kentucky. To see all my co-workers and friends and fall into a rhythm and routine.

This morning while sipping coffee and spending time praying and thinking about the next couple of weeks, a surprising thought entered my mind.

How in the world am I ever going to accomplish everything I want to before this quarantine is over? 

And then I was like yikes, because if I’m piling more on my plate than I can accomplish during a nearly 50-day-stay-at-home-by-law order, well, that’s intense.

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Letting go isn’t something I’m a natural at. There’s a system of boxes and rows in my brain where everything makes sense and the urge to make sure they’re organized, neat, clean can sometimes be overwhelming. But letting go is something I’ve been working on daily.

Everything doesn’t have to make sense.
Everywhere doesn’t need to be orderly and clutter-free.
Everyone doesn’t need to have the same line-up of non-moral values that I have.

When I look back at this unique time in history, I want to make sure that I can do so with a satisfied nod – that I used my time well. This includes quieting the urge to do something so I can sit quietly and seek God’s face. This means throwing out my to-do list to play games with my siblings. This means that if my writing goes on hold for a day so I can spend extra time helping with big cleaning projects, then so be it. This also means accepting that rest is important – and that having so much uncertainty surrounding the future really does mean my adrenals need extra downtime.

In the quest to use my time wisely and make good memories, I have some pretty fun things that I’m looking forward to doing in the coming weeks. I can’t wait to share them with y’all.

Switching on my Brain

This morning the wind is howling across the barn roof that towers above me into a peek. I sit in my little loft nest, sipping my coffee, reading my Bible, praying, and soaking in yet another day of unexpectedness.

It’s been a journey for me.

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I’ve had to deal with attitudes that I didn’t even realize I had. Attitudes that I thought I’d left behind years ago. The last couple of weeks have included crying, throwing internal fits, and working hard to figure out what in the world is going on with me.

The answer is A bunch of stuff. There’s not an easy, cut and dried answer, but thankfully as I’ve pondered and prayed I’ve been able to slowly bring my attitude back to where it should be. Because something that I’ve long been working on learning in my daily life is that my circumstances don’t control my attitude, I do. My attitude is my responsibility no matter if everything’s going well, or my world is falling apart.

I’ve also been reading the book Switch on Your Brain by Dr. Caroline Leaf, and working through her 21-day brain detox where I learn to rewire how I think and react to certain situations. It’s been really eye-opening to sit and ponder what I really think about a situation, compare it with the truth, and then choose the truth as my internal dialog.

On the brighter side, I’ve been having tons of fun working on my short vlogs.

I didn’t plan to post another vlog so soon. But since the idea was waving at me, shouting my name, and begging me to film it, I thought Why Not? and so yesterday was another vloggy day in the life of Lydia.

17 Reasons I Love My Job

Yo. Folks, I began writing this on March 6th, then my computer cord died and I had to wait to finish it until I got a new cord. And we all know March 6th was a lifetime ago. Reading through this again makes me miss my job, life, and co-workers so much. 

There are a lot of things I enjoy in life. In fact, I pretty much find excitement and joy no matter what I’m doing – with a few exceptions, of course. My middle name is Joy and when I was a kid my parents would inform me that meant I was supposed to be joyful. I didn’t always want to hear that as a preteen, but nowadays I’m thrilled that I get the daily task of living up to the name my parents choose for me.

Over the years I’ve been blessed to travel all over the world (North America, South America, Africa, Asia, and Europe), experience many amazing things, and been handed incredible opportunities. I’m so thankful for my life and all I’ve gotten to do.

Wanna guess what my favorite thing to do is, though?

Going to work. At night I go to sleep counting down the hours until I get to head back into my job. In the morning I wake up excited and enthused to dance into work (oftentimes quite literally) and start the day.

Of course, I don’t enjoy every single moment at my job. There are times when I’m tired, have a headache, or don’t feel well and leave as soon as possible. But more often than not, closing happens sooner than I wanted and after I clock out I hang around for a few more minutes, just soaking everything in.

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In addition to the daily, mundane work (which there’s plenty of that), I also have a plethora of exciting, stimulating, and helpful tasks and experiences handed to me. Today I thought I’d compile some of the things/reasons I love my job. I was recently asked to be a part of a short promo video where I got to talk about this very subject, and I only had a few seconds to share my thoughts, so here’s the expanded version.

  1. My teammates – without a doubt, this is my favorite thing about where I work. I love getting to spend time with the other SET members. We have stimulating conversations, encourage each other, and they daily help me become a better person
  2. My managers – this ties with number one. There is so much freedom to learn and grow knowing that although mistakes I make will be addressed, it will be done in a private and kind manner without an ounce of shaming. I’ve worked in three different departments under four different managers, and each one of those experiences has been amazing. I’ve felt truly valued, listened to, and cared about not just as an employee, but also as a human
  3. The environment – the work environment is full of encouraging, kind, and thoughtful people. Mistakes are addressed in quiet, while wins are celebrated in public. While working hard is a must, building relationships and unity throughout the day is also cheered on
  4. Making a difference – I know that what I’m doing each day makes a difference, first of all for my coworkers, and then for the guests who come through our doors
  5. Learning new things – I’ve had to leap out of my comfort zone so many times with the job I have, but when I have a strong team standing around me cheering me on, it’s not quite so scary. For the most part, I’m able to learn at my own pace and although I try and always be ready to say yes, if I really don’t feel ready for something they are okay with letting me have more time to prepare
  6. The variety – my position allows me to move from task to task at a rapid pace and that makes the day fly by
  7. My co-workers – in addition to my teammates (the six people on my actual team) I also love being around my co-workers. We’re taught to celebrate, thank, and encourage each other on a daily basis which is what I thrive on. I’ve made so many delightful friends through work
  8. Learning experiences – my boss is incredible at giving us time to not only do our job but learn how to do it well. If he finds out we aren’t fully trained in a department then he’ll help us get the training we need.IMG_4333
  9. Staff meetings – multiple times a week we come in early to attend staff meetings where we get to learn about what is helping around the ministry, country, and even world. We have truly amazing guest speakers, wonderful musicians, and talented doctors share with us
  10. Feeling truly valued – recently each of the departments spent a day celebrating our team, thanking us for our help. I wasn’t there that week, so one of the departments ever-so-sweetly put together a basket of lovely gifts for me and spent an afternoon showering me with love and appreciation
  11. Being listened to – when I have an issue with something I know I’ll be listened to. I’ve brought concerns to leadership various times and every time they’ve given me time, attention, and then either answers that make sense, or else they take steps to find answers. It’s exceedingly important to me to know that what I say is taken seriously
  12. Perks – working at the museum provides me with many discounts, free resources, and a plethora of perks that I hadn’t even imagined when I applied for the job. For instance, we can get discounted tickets for family and friends who are visiting, free drinks while working, and half-off all the food in the cafe. Also, there’s nearly always food or other goodies in the break room
  13. The guests – we get to meet people from all over the country and the world. Sometimes while walking through the parking lot I’m amazed by how many different places are represented by the license plates. I’ve had delightful conversations, watched peoples face’s light up when they see our exhibits, and had the joy of meeting needs for those who come to our attrations
  14. Flexibility – whenever I’ve needed time off (such as when some of my family was in a car wreck last year, or for my sister’s gender reveal party, or when my family decided to move), my manager has graciously worked with me to make it happen as often as possible. In return, they’ve won my loyalty and I will do pretty much anything I can to work extra when they need it
  15. Resources – not only do we have access to all of Answers in Genesis resources in digital form for free, but we also can attend most conferences for free. Plus, in our daily team meetings (which is different from the aforementioned staff meetings) we get taught so much cool stuff
  16. Feeling Safe – there are a lot of people I come in contact with every day, which means the potential to run into an unsafe situation is always at hand. But I’ve never felt at danger. Not only do we have a great safety department (they’ve even graciously escorted me to my vehicle when I wasn’t parked close to the building and had to work late and had co-workers who were worried about me walking across the parking lots late at night by myself), but we also have a great cleaning crew. That means not only do I feel safe from anyone with bad intentions, but also from germs. Plus, we’re always provided with the correct equipment and training to make sure each job is done with the utmost safety
  17. Unity – and one of my very favorite aspects of where I work is the unity. I love being part of a team. I love knowing that when I go through something difficult I’ll have people praying for me, asking about me, and taking care of me. And, I love that I get to do that for others as well. It’s one of the best examples of being part of the body of Christ that I’ve ever seen, and I’m so thankful for where I work and who I work with

This Place Called Peace

Denying reality is something I’ve been told I’m good (or is it bad?) at doing. I can get into my own little world and steadfastly convince myself that’s all there is.

This is probably a trait I picked up over the years of having thyroid and adrenal problems – when hearing about stressful/sad things could literally send me to bed for days. And while it can be a helpful coping mechanism, it isn’t always. And sometimes things happen that simply splash reality in my face like a bucket of iced tea.

But guess, what? Even during those times, God is good.

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Our reality doesn’t change the goodness and love of God. Isn’t that a beautiful thought to dwell on?

Sometimes it feels like the world is blowing up.
Or slowly spinning to a standstill.
Or going completely crazy.
Or being flippant.

Or throwing so many different emotions and feelings into the mix that it then spits out and covers everything so that it’s hard to know what to think, or even where to go to think, or if thinking is even an option when reacting is right there, begging to be a viable means of coping.

I’m not upset.
I’m not scared.
I’m not worried. 

But I do see the seriousness of what’s going on around me.
I am concerned.
I am saddened.
And I am praying for those who this is deeply affecting.
Lives are being changed for forever, all around the world. There are people who can’t protect themselves. There are countries full of villages that don’t have the means to take the measures that people in developing countries gripe about. There are people whose livelihoods are being threatened, and others whose very lives are going to be snatched.

On Sunday, while visiting my family back in Ohio, I found out that where I work is being closed for the next couple of weeks. While that wasn’t completely unexpected, it did rock my world. Suddenly my well-planned life was shot into unexplored territory and it hit hard.

It took a couple of hours for me to get past my selfish tendencies and focus on the bigger picture.

The picture that includes an abundant amount of God’s love and peace. The picture that reminds me that God is good, no matter what I’m feeling or experiencing. The picture that excites me because God is God and cares about the humans He’s created.

Nearly every morning for the last few weeks I’ve been reading Psalm twenty-seven. It’s beautiful. It’s peace-filled. And it reminds me of what’s really important in life.

One of the verses says When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.” And that’s what I’m doing today. And what I’ll be doing tomorrow. And the next day. Because the denying of reality doesn’t solve anything, but dwelling on the truth of a never-changing God does.

Today I choose to rejoice.
And to pray for those whose lives are falling apart.
And to remember that although things are completely out of my control, nothing is ever out of God’s control.

Today is the day the Lord has made, and I’m thankful to be living it.

Having Everything Under Control (A Day in My Life at Work)

Sometimes I pat myself on the back – pretty thrilled that I have everything so under control. Take yesterday, for instance.

I woke up at 6:00 knowing I had a project to work on before leaving for my job. The morning started off well, I’d checked my work app several times and knew I had to be there at 8:30, which meant I should leave around 8:15. I had a good quiet time, ate my supper leftovers for breakfast, and was powering my way through the project when I heard my neighbor’s car starting.

My neighbor and I work at the same place, so I was like “Oh, I’d better check the time again to make sure I leave early enough.” The phone read 8:10 and that’s when it hit me – my boss had asked if I could come in at 8:00 to help with an extra project. Oh well.

About an hour later while attending a meeting I glanced around, looking for one of my coworkers that was pretty vital to have around in order for me to finish the project I’d been working on. She was a no-show. I sent off a quick text and she replied that she was sick at home. Thus prompted me to scurry around trying to get my work done while also talking to seven people in different locations to see if we could complete the project later in the week. They all agreed so I moved on with the day.

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Later I was working my way through some paperwork for the uniform department at work (which I’m in charge of) when I noticed the spreadsheet I’m supposed to keep updated for our HR office was missing a pretty important piece of information from back in January. I headed to the HR office to apologize and see if they could help me figure out what I’d done wrong.

That prompted a treasure hunt where I scoured six weeks’ worth of electronic and physical paperwork, looked through our uniform inventory, and talked to my manager. After a lot of piecing things together, praying that I’d find the correct information, and a helpful email, we finally figured out what happened, but the answer meant I had to call my contact where we get our uniforms to talk about the issue with him.

My day continued on until I got a notification that a uniform-related meeting was scheduled for the 11th of March. I’d already requested – and received – that time off from my manger. But back when I asked for the time off so I could visit my family back home for a special occasion, I hadn’t thought through everything. See, I work mainly as part of SET (Service Excellence Team), but I also work for another department, which is totally unrelated to being a SET member. Over the winter there’s not a ton of time-sensitive work that needs to be done with the second department, so it never even entered my mind to ask that manager if I could have the time off.

When I finally did think to tell my second manager I’d be gone for several days (she doesn’t control my schedule at all), I assured her that I’d make sure everything got done correctly while I was gone. She was fine with that, but as time progressed I realized there was a lot more to be done while I was gone than I had thought. Thus, when I got the above-mentioned notification I wasn’t sure what to do.

I went to Mandy (who I’d received the notification from) and we brainstormed for a few minutes. She was already doing extra work to cover for me being gone, so I ended up offering to come back to work early so I could cover the meeting since she couldn’t. Mandy assured me that I shouldn’t do that and then hit on the idea ask Mark (who’s the only person besides me and my manager who knows how to do what needed to be done) if he could help out. The big issue is he’s in a completely different department and so we weren’t sure if he’d be able to – or if he was even working that day.

I hurried off to talk with Mark, who was scheduled for the 11th and was more than happy to take my place at the meeting if his manager could spare him. So I went to talk with his manager. After explaining the situation to her she looked at her department’s plans for the 11th and agreed she could free him up so he could take my place. Since everything was all worked out, I went and talked to my manager to make sure she was okay with the changes. She was, which meant I then had to go talk to Mandy and then Mark and let them know everything was a go.

So, as you can see, I’ve become a total pro at having everything under control.

And, while that’s obviously me joking, the truth of the matter is that yesterday wasn’t stressful. There were a few moments when I felt a niggling of stress and really wasn’t sure what to do in order to find an important piece of information, but then I was able to breathe deeply and go through the process logically.

I’ve been blessed to work with incredible people who give me the freedom to learn from my mistakes, and although they hold me accountable, I never feel shamed or put down by them.

This last year I’ve been really working on seeking to still my soul through remembering God’s goodness and praising Him instead of letting circumstances determine how I feel. And, although I still have a long way to go I can see I’ve come a long way and I’m very thankful for that.

Now, I’m off to work again where I can hopefully complete the aforementioned project.

(And I literally just received a text from that vital co-worker letting me know she wasn’t sure if she’ll be in today or not, so I guess we’ll see how the day goes…) 😉