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i quit my job.

almost two weeks ago, i quit my job.

from a practical sense, the decision made no sense. i am getting married in less than four months, we are in the process of looking for and buying a new home and we want to travel.  why quit my job right now, at this very minute. to be honest, i don’t quite understand my decision except that i felt like it was the right thing to do.

as i’ve finished up my last week in the office, i’ve gathered a few thoughts:

1. i had no idea how much weight i put into my job. and by that, i mean, i put two-hundred percent into what i did. i threw myself behind any and every project thrown my way because i was excited about our organization and the work it produced.

2. i also didn’t realize how much my identity is wrapped into work. i don’t mean just my work, but work in general. as i’ve contemplated this next season of unknowns, i am starting to struggle with my new identity. i’m unemployed and i’m fearful people will peg me as a stay-at-home-housewife, despite the fact that i’m far from that. regardless, my job has been my life for the last two years and i loved it. but somewhere along the way, i lost myself. i couldn’t figure out what i wanted to do with my life and where i wanted to go. i know bits and pieces, but what about the big picture? where do i want to attend grad school and what do i desire to study? these are all questions that are spinning through my mind, but have been clouded by work deadlines.

3. sometimes, i expect myself to be a world-changer. i want to go out and become the first female president or the CEO of a large company. but as i age (okay, i’m only twenty-five), i’ve realized that i need to be more realistic. my personality would make me a terrible president or CEO. so no, maybe i won’t be the world-changer who has an eloquent autobiography that girls and boys will read in grade school in one-hundred years, but i can still make a difference.

4. i also struggle with being a liberal arts major. yep, i admitted it. people like my fiancee who are practically guaranteed jobs upon graduation because of their degrees often make me feel inadequate and worthless. i get frustrated when i can’t even make a wage to support myself. i am constantly confused about what my next move should be and how i can make myself more marketable and it makes me sad that i cannot pursue what my heart desires because it boils down to money.

so this is where i’m at right now. i’m unemployed and quite happy to spend a season self-exploring.

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thank you notes.

i love writing thank you notes. i’m not sure why, because just a few years ago, i thought it was a pain in the ass. as a matter of fact, i’m pretty sure others would echo my sentiments! but why?

sister's thank you notes / target

sister’s thank you notes / target

a few years ago, i figured out a good way to write a thank you note so it wouldn’t become a boring chore (at the time, i was writing many thank you’s to donors for a trip i had taken). let’s admit it: it’s difficult writing a sincere thank you note, especially when you’re writing them in batches. since i’m to be wed in July, i know i will be receiving gifts, so i thought it would be good to recap and remind myself how to write a good thank you note that demonstrates gratitude and warms the reader’s soul.

  1. address the giver. i feel like this is a given, but instead of a casual “hey” or “hello” i find it’s best to use “Dear Jane…” or “Greetings Mr. and Mrs…”, especially if the letter is being written to an individual older than yourself. there have been occasions when i’ve addressed thank you’s in an informal manner, but it still feels weird.
  2. thank them for the gift (duh!) but pay close attention to point three, as this one coincides with thanking them for the gift.
  3. include an anecdote about the gift. maybe it’s a story about the gift and the compliments people have given you about it. or maybe you tell them how you utilize their gift. for example, if i receive a set of dishes at my shower: “thank you for lovely dish set! every time i pull one out of my cupboard, i think of you and your family and all the wonderful meals we have had together and the memories we have made!” this connects you to the giver and in turn, makes them feel appreciated because you not only appreciate the gift, but you value their presence in your life.
  4. to conclude, reiterate their thoughtfulness and sign the letter.

voila!

i’m also a bit of a stationary addict and collector. i will purchase a pack of thank you cards because their cute. sure i may not use them all right away, but dangit! thank you cards can be so cute and artsy so i must get them! in all seriousness, let’s discuss thank you note designs because a fun design can also be motivating.

source: etsy.com / http://etsy.me/1eYukPu

source: etsy 

the paper is important. if it’s flimsy, pass. perhaps this is just a pet-peeve of mine, but i like my writing paper a bit thicker. and if it’s a card, then it better be cardstock!

design is incredibly important. when people open my thank you note, i don’t want it to be identical to the other wedding thank you’s they’ve received. in the past, i have often created my own thank you cards just to ensure it’s unique enough, plus a handmade card is amazing to receive, amiright?! but alas, it can be difficult to make 200 thank you notes for wedding gifts, so i resort to premade cards. either way, try to find something that fits your givers. make sure it has a pop or some pizazz. maybe a funky design or font arrangement. my sister recently purchased the above thank you notes and while they look tasteful, they have some sparkle and fanfare that is fun to open!

so, here’s to writing better thank you notes on prettier paper!

purchasing running shoes. hm.

i’m a runner. as a matter of fact, i met my fiancee while running (well, he runs faster than me, but whatever).

last year, i ran the Detroit Marathon and plan to run a marathon every other year. this year is my “off year”, except i’m not really taking running time off. i’m running two half marathons: one in June and the other in October. unfortunately, running is an expensive sport. take my shoes for instance:

my shoes / brooksrunning.com

my shoes / brooksrunning.com

$110. and with all the mileage i log, i need two pairs every year. this year, i’m contemplating buying two pairs of shoes and alternating between the two, so they’ll (theoretically) last longer. we’ll see how that goes. part of me wonders if this idea is just something i’ve heard from other runners in the store…which will get me to purchase a second pair of shoes right there that i otherwise wouldn’t buy. but i digress.

so here’s to me: i will be purchasing a new pair (or two?) of running shoes in the near future.

getting a home.

i keep clicking through the listings.

nope, that one’s too close to the parents.

eh, that one would require too much work.

hmm, that would be a great house to own someday, but we’re not there just yet.

no, that’s out of our budget.

this has potential! let’s look at this one!

and so the cycle goes, over and over and over. until we hone down the listings until we select a few houses worth our time. and from that list, maybe one or two are worth further consideration.

home office / wayfair.com

home office / wayfair.com

the process of buying a home is quite tedious, something i had been told from the start, but sort of doubted. there is just too much to take into consideration: commutes to work or school, shopping, yard size, school district, resale. the list is endless, but i feel we’re making some headway.

right now, however, i’m slightly obsessed with filling our potential home.

living room / wayfair.com

living room / wayfair.com

i’m looking into wall colors.

furniture options.

how i’ll hang photographs.

what types of wall art i’m buying.

i’m hoping to go more minimalistic. nothing splashy. never thought i’d say this, but i’d consider painting a room white and accenting it with big, bright wall hangings or rugs.

and it’s so exciting! i’m hoping to turn this blog into something of my own art museum – to curate home ideas, my own artwork and to discuss what things i discover that amuse me.

this would render me speechless too.

i like to think i have a way with words. i like to envision myself as an activist — someone with opinions who wants to change the world. and in my own little way, i am. but this young woman is inspiring.  i have never faced the threat of death for simply wanting an education; i was able to freely move about my campus any way i pleased.  even before Malala was threatened by the Taliban, she spoke out.  she stood for what she believed and risked her life.   though i may never make headlines like Malala, i hope the same can be said of me someday.

home.

since getting engaged, one of the hardest things i’ve had to deal with is the idea of home.  and not just leaving my current living space, but moving to another and creating a completely new concept of home.

warm.

comforting.

laughter.

good food.

books.

security.

these are all words that come to mind when i think about home.  but what if home changes physically. if i move thousands of miles away, will these adjectives be true?  what if i only move across town?  this idea of moving from my current home (which happens to be my childhood home) is so fun and exciting.  but it’s scary because i get to determine what will make my next living space a home and not just some other place where i sleep and eat food.  this is something i would like to be intentional about, no matter where i live.

love anything.

i am not a comic fan of any type.

fiancee knows this, but still sends me comics anyways (because he’s a fan).

so this morning, he sent me this.

i clicked.

then sighed and wondered while it loaded, why did he send me another? i don’t get comics!

but this made my week and it was a comic i could handle (because really, who doesn’t love C.S. Lewis quotes).  and it really hit home for me, as i have struggled with being open and vulnerable as i move towards marriage.

i hate being open and vulnerable because it’s scary and difficult and it means working with other people.  and to be honest, there are many days where it would be easier to sit under my pile of blankets and keep to myself.  sure, being vulnerable with my fiancee or friends can be hard at times, but it’s opening up to people who don’t like you.  it’s opening yourself up to people you’re unsure of, people who have treated you poorly in the past and saying, hey, this is what i’m feeling.  because that’s where i find myself these days.  i find myself having to be vulnerable with people i find difficult to love and trust.  do i have to spill everything out of my gut to them? no (because boundaries). but sometimes to move forward in life, you have to let these people know where you are in life.