Prone to move: “Go west, young man…”

Let’s get right down to business: I’m moving to Denver.
Lookout
Specifically, I’m moving to the northwest Denver suburb of Arvada to help with a church-plant project called Storyline Fellowship. Though this may seem like a sudden change, it’s been in the works for a while.

Sometime late last year, I heard about a new church planting project that my church in Orlando was preparing to sponsor. It sounded like a nice idea at the time, but I honestly didn’t give it a second though. That all changed when Ben and Lynley brought their family to Orlando early this year.

After a few weeks of having them around and hearing more about Storyline Fellowship and my church’s participation with it, a friend challenged me to give it some serious thought and prayer because she thought it could be a great opportunity, and she felt like God was bringing me to mind when she was praying about it.

What she didn’t know at the time was that I was in the early rounds of interviews for what would have likely been a Dream Job in Orlando. I told her that I would think about Denver once I knew what was happening with the Dream Job.

Nothing happened with the Dream Job, as it turns out, and true to my word, a long process of contemplation and prayer about a move to Denver commenced. Over the next several months, I connected with Ben and Lynley and their family and several other friends who were also in the process of figuring this out. I talked with my parents and with friends near and far, and began to think that this could actually be a reality. My emotions were going in two very different directions: growing excitement at the possibility, and growing hesitation about leaving the familiarity of family and friends and community. (Full disclosure: this is still the case.)

Before they left Orlando, Ben and Lynley and I picked out a weekend in June for a visit. Leading up to it, I tried not to put too much pressure on this one weekend as any sort of confirmation, but by Sunday night during the trip, sitting on the deck looking over the Denver skyline, I knew that a move to Arvada was my next step.

I listed my house for sale the day before I left for Colorado in late June. After 13 days on the market, I had an offer. It’s now under contract, and as of this writing, the plan is to move shortly after closing in mid-September.

There are still plenty of unknowns, namely where I’ll live and what I’ll do for a living. But God has been apparent and faithful in this so far, and I have no reason to think that will change.

I’m excited about the road ahead. I have no doubt there will be plenty of other blog posts leading up to and after the move. But for now, I’ve got a growing list of things to do for a cross-country move and a shrinking amount of time.

Let the adventure begin!

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Prone to swerve: Avoiding the curves

My parents are a few weeks into a seven-week RV trip across the country. Talking with them before they left, it was clear that my dad was more excited about this excursion than my mom. Though there were several reasons for my moms reluctance, with varying levels of legitimacy, one concern she shared before departing was driving (or more accurately, being driven) through mountains in a 33′ recreational vehicle.

This was our brief text exchange after they made it over the continental divide on their way through Wyoming.

This got me thinking: on some level, aren’t we all a little nervous about the curves that life throws us? Sure, it’s much easier to stay on the known, familiar, straight routes that we’ve constructed. But how often does that result in any measurable growth? Adventure? Or even fulfillment? In the case of my parents, the straight, FLAT Florida roads of familiarity certainly don’t lead to beautiful vistas of mountains and lakes they’re getting to enjoy.

Admittedly, not all of life’s curves or changes to plans are enjoyable or sought out. I’m guessing that few people initially see a cancer diagnosis as their next great adventure. Rarely do we relish the curves and detours, and I’m certainly not implying that we should in those moments. But if we have the luxury of looking back, of seeing where the road has taken us, may we always be people who see and learn and grow from those experiences.

On a spiritual level, the curves are where our faith is tested and, hopefully, strengthened, though that process is rarely a bucket-o-fun while you’re navigating it. Jonah was swallowed by a whale when he wouldn’t first go where God told him. Zacchaeus had an unannounced dinner guest. And the disciples were happily enjoying their lives as fishermen before Christ met them. In each of these cases, I have to think that the outcome after the shift in plans was better than what it would have been otherwise. But that path wasn’t always easy.

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As I’m working through my own “curve in the road” ahead, I’m wondering what lies on the other side of it. What adventure awaits? What growth will come of this? I didn’t see this one coming a year ago, but now that I know it’s here, I’m bracing myself for the good–and the bad–that may await.

I may not be one to seek out curves in the course all the time, but I want to be a person willing to take them when they come. What about you? How do you handle them? Are you a thrill seeker willing to make your own curves and plow ahead? Or somewhere on the other extreme, avoiding the curves at all costs?

Stay safe, friends, but take the curves when you can.

Prone to plan: 2014 resolutions and goals

One might assume that a blog post about new year’s goals and resolutions should be written sometime around the new year. Then again, you know what they say about assuming…

In fact, I’ve had this post written a few different times, but I was never quite ready to press “Publish.” Part of the hesitation was “going public” with goals and the accountability that comes with it. But I got over that. Then I wrote about my friend, Elise, and didn’t really feel like writing anything for a little while. But I’ve pushed through that, as well.

Picking out goals for the year was somewhat tricker since I have have a whole list of things I want to accomplish before April 10. But I’ve resigned myself to the fact that my “30 list” won’t be completed in the next 4 months (like the story of the hike), and I’m OK with that.

Before I get to my actual resolutions/goals for 2014, I thought I would share some that I briefly considered but knew I wouldn’t keep. Thus, these didn’t make the cut for obvious reasons:

  • Eat less pasta. Clearly not going to happen.
  • Say something nice about Urban Meyer. I’m fairly certain this one isn’t even possible.
  • Stay current on my ironing–one of the few chores I absolutely loathe. Sadly, I knew this one was bound to fail.
  • Maybe possibly consider eating at Chick-fli-a slightly fewer times each month. With a Christmas stocking sporting a few gift cards, this one was also out of the running. Plus, eating there feels like tithing–they do the Lord’s work.

So here are the resolutions and goal’s I’ve settled on for 2014:

  • Faith: Read the Bible each day, preferably before skimming social media in the morning. Recently, I’ve been convicted about how much time I spend mindlessly reading about my friend’s cousin’s kid’s teacher’s latest class activity and how little time I spend in the Word. So I’m hoping to change that, even with a few minutes of reading a chapter in the morning. Then once that’s done, I don’t have to feel so guilty about finding Pinterest recipies for new desserts.
    • Fitness: Exercise at least three times a week. Getting presents for Christmas is great; getting fat is not. I’ve gotten into a fairly consistent schedule with this over the last few years. It’s normally easier for me to stick with something if I’m training for a race (like this past fall), so without anything on the calendar for the first part of 2014, I’m hoping that making this a resolution will keep me accountable and on track.
    • Focus: Write a blog post twice a week. I honestly hope to keep this one, but I’m not making any promises. It’s a goal, and I’ve declared it here in hopes of my other blogging friends (here, here, and here) keeping me accountable. But this is the one that seems to fall by the wayside when things get “busy.” But if you can’t count on me for two pithy posts a week, I’m not sure that you can count on me for anything.
    • Furnish: Complete one house project per month. I’ve got a house plan a’brewin, but that likely won’t come to fruition until 2015. Between now and then, I want to prioritize some time each month to work on a home project (like this, this, or this): something that will be fun and/or functional. Because let’s be honest, the joys of homeownership aren’t all painting walls and making curtains (though my friend, Mariah, just helped me make some great ones). Someone’s got to fix the sink drain and get the dryer serviced. If I can stay consistent with this (and build up some of my handyman skillz along the way), that will make the future idea that much easier.
    • Finances: Save for goal #1 by June 30; save for goal #2 December 31. I read and learned a while back that when coming up with things like money saving goals, it’s better to break them up into smaller chunks so you can see early wins. I’m fairly good at putting some cash away every month, but this year, I want to be deliberate in prioritizing this in the budget. Like I mentioned above, I’ve got some long term plans that I want to prepare for now, and this is the year to make that happen.
    • Word for the year: Each year, my pastor challenges us to pray about a word that will serve as a “guide” of sorts throughout the year. Last year, I settled on (post). This year, my word is…revealed in a future blog post. Sorry–I’ve got to have something for you to come back for!

2014 Resolutions
At this point, 20 days into the new year, I’d give myself a B- on the goals above. I’ve been doing OK, but not great, and in keeping with the grade school motif, there’s always room for improvement. But I’m excited about the prospects to stick to these plans.

How about you? Have you made any goals or resolutions for the year? If so, how are you doing on them now? If you don’t make any commitments at the beginning of each year, why not?

Prone to quit: The worst kind of busyness

do all the things

If you ever ask me how I’m doing and my reply has anything to do with being “busy,” you have permission to unfriend me. Seriously. No questions asked.

Let’s be honest: we’re all busy. It may look different to you than it does to me. Some of us wear it as a badge of honor, but I’m over that.

I find myself in a very brief season of what I jokingly referred to as “the worst kind of busyness”: spinning your wheels while making no progress. (As opposed to making real progress, like my in-person friend growing her garden and re-doing her office, or my internet friends getting great content out on their blogs. At the moment, y’all are not my favorite people.)

Perhaps you know the feeling. Lots of lists written down and strewn hither and yon. A woefully unrealistic deadline (often self-imposed) to get things done. The promise to yourself that it won’t be like the last time.

And then it becomes like the last time. You resign yourself to the fact that things will be left undone. You substitute a real dinner with a fresh pack of Oreos to mask the disappointment. Just me? OK then, moving on…

In this particular episode, I’m juggling projects at work against a pending international trip in 1.5 weeks that I’m leading and STILL haven’t booked our final hotel with LOADS of unnecessary house chores and cleaning sandwiched in between watching two dogs on two separate weekends with a friend visiting from out of town thrown in for good measure all before welcoming a new roommate this weekend and finalizing my house refinancing. Clearly, I NEED to sweep my garage and organize my Gmail and sort, file, shred, and store YEARS worth of paperwork before I leave the country.

Who knew Oreos could be so soothing?

I should know better by now. You would think my awesome sense of self-awareness would kick in at some point and keep me from such destructive patterns. When I took the StrengthsFinder test a few years ago, it told me one of my strengths was “Achiever” (shocker!) but I’ll “never feel as though [I’ve] reached [my] goal” and I “must learn to live with this whisper of discontent.”

Discontent, thy name is Dustin.

But this is not a pity party. This is not a complaint. For the most part, I rather enjoy the things that keep me busy.

This is a line in the sand. The day I stop talking about being busy and give myself the permission to avoid creating it. And recognize that this is a season.

I’m going to plow ahead and redeem the time that’s left as best as I can. There will be things left undone. But the world will keep spinning and those things will be here when I get back from the other side of it.

Perhaps you’d like to join me. Let’s quit this cult of busyness.

Fun fact: I decided to write this blog post instead of tacking the to-do list, because there aren’t enough Oreos in town to deal with my inbox or the work list I carried home.

Prone to remember: May in review

Inspired by bloggers far more gifted than I am, I thought a little month-in-review post would be fun. This includes links to some previous posts, as well as some life events that didn’t make the blog, and things I’m looking forward to in the coming months. I did my best to stick to the pattern, but as you’ll see, it’s definitely not perfect…

  • Attempting some craft projects
  • Buying more things for the office as incentive to use it as a creative space
    May birthdays
  • Celebrating a slew of birthdays in May
  • Dreaming about future trips
  • Eating at new places
  • Filing all that fun paperwork that comes with being an adult that I’ve pushed out of the way for far too long
  • Getting up early and working on being more of a morning person
  • Hoping to launch a new blog idea next month
    EPCOT
  • Indulging in some food at the Flower & Garden Festival
  • Joining fellow bloggers for an event in September
  • Keeping a restaurant wish list
  • Laughing at the bathhouse story
    Harley
  • Meeting the newest member of the family and celebrating Mom
  • Nabbing tickets to see Paul McCartney!
  • Organizing the office to make it more usable
  • Preparing for an overseas trip next month
  • Quizzing friends on Harry Potter (currently on book 4!)
  • Remembering a life well lived
  • Stalling out on the hundred push-up challenge
    peanut butter pie
  • Trying new things, like chocolate-making and a new peanut butter pie recipe
  • Understanding the complexities of a corporate web project
  • Visiting with friends
  • Working on plans for the 30 before 30 list
  • X (I’ve got nothing, and I don’t care that it’s incomplete; I’m an adult and I do what I want.)
  • Yearning for pie
  • Zooming toward another half marathon in December

What did you make of May?