change of plans.

IMG_6973Prepare for a little ventilation ahead.

I’m thankful I ask questions and stand up for ethical, honest and respectable business practices. It might not make you employee of the month, but it will help you sleep with a clear conscience at night.

Just because someone has a business doesn’t mean they are good at running a business. I don’t care how long the business has been around or how much money it has made, those aren’t proof of doing things right. Business owners can do a lot of things wrong and still exist for many years and make money. Call me crazy, and most New Yorkers might, but I believe customer/employee satisfaction should always take a front seat to sales. Business isn’t all about the money, another statement I’m sure some people might think will take me nowhere fast. But I’m not working for the money, I want to work for the betterment of humanity in some way. I want to add real value and enrich lives. You can’t do that well when all you see and think is dollar signs.

I’ve learned my greatest lessons from the people I’ve worked for that weren’t great at running their business. I’m thankful to now have an even better idea of what I don’t want to do in business and the kind of manager I don’t want to be in the future.

It’s all a learning curve friends, you can tap in or tap out.

If I’m honest, I was wondering a few weeks in to my last job how I could get out of it down the road. Red flag. When the person training you tells you “Well you can just be truthful outside of work.” Red flag. Pay attention to those. Turnover tells major truths for a company, don’t ignore that. When double standards are the usual in the office, take note. Even when you can convince yourself you’ll toughen up and get through it, or the secure paycheck will make it worth it. Life is way too short to survive until you have a way out.

God’s response to my first and seemingly devastating crisis back in my early 20’s still stands true today. “Things may not get easier, but they will get better.”

I quit praying for “easy” years ago, I discovered it’s a dead end road to disappointment with life, self and God.

Easy is not the goal. Settling is not the finish line. Messy doesn’t mean something is wrong. And easy doesn’t mean something is right. I’m learning that the right thing may very well be the messiest and most challenging thing you’ve ever stepped in to.

So here come some new question marks for what is next in life. And that’s alright for now. Question mark seasons, we’ve all had them and will continue to have them. Welcome to life on this side of heaven. I’m getting more comfortable with question marks versus fighting them and always on the defense.

I’m thankful God doesn’t write our stories with question marks even when we do at times. He never wonders and is never surprised.

So change of plans. New things on the horizon y’all.

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let go of the agenda. don’t miss the gifts.

img_6157Without vision people perish. It’s biblical, but it’s also just a down right fact. Without it we can wonder, question and “what if” our lives away. So whether it’s a word or a phrase or a paragraph, I value taking time, especially at the beginning of years, to create some vision.

I prayed out, thought out, then scripted out my 2017 vision statement:

“let go of the agenda. don’t miss the gifts.”

I put it in a place where I’ll see it every day. I’ll see it and know my hand motioned these words on to this page. With each mark of my pen it seemed to mark my mind and heart too. I needed this vision deeply.

It evolved over the last few weeks of 2016 as I had been processing my life with a dear mentor of mine. She lovingly suggested that I might be stuck or seeing a little more unclear these days (these last few years really) due to my own expectations and focus. In one of our conversations she referenced Ann Voskamp who once wrote, “When we have an agenda for God, we can’t see the gifts from God.” Well that hit me like a ton of bricks because it was absolutely true.

My plans, wishes and wants can so quickly crowd out the goodness God gives and brings. My expectations make me unaware of and distracted from God’s gifts at times. I dilute or sometimes all together miss God’s best for my guess. Forfeiting God’s goodness with my tight grip on what I think is best for me. I unknowingly, and sometimes knowingly, present my perfect little agenda to God waiting for Him to make good on it all because He gives us the desires of our heart right? Well the piece of that puzzle I so often miss is that when we desire God’s heart, His desires become our desires. But outside of desiring His heart, we risk and chance disappointment and confusion when our desires are rooted elsewhere.

I’ve belittled and missed quite a few gifts over the last couple of years and I don’t want to live another day that way. This year I resolve to let go of my agenda more often and seek to not miss the gifts God showers and scatters throughout my moments and days. They are abundant. And they might not always be what I expected or fashioned myself, but doesn’t a Father know and provide for his children best, well above and beyond what their own efforts ever could.

name change

img_5875For all 5 of you reading this: Yes, the name of my blog has changed. I was never really fond of the original name, but I resonated with the feeling it defined in me. Scattered: somewhat chaotic and in shambles; and Symphonies: a favorable composition of different elements. I really did and still do believe that the beautiful things are scattered throughout the highs and lows of life; and that outside of the individual moments, it’s all coming together and working to create quite the majestic story and sound.

But moving forward, I’m going for a name that is a little more simple and to the point. Recognizable, easily understandable, and maybe even one day brand-able. Also, NEWS FLASH: I know what I want to do with my life. I want to create. Earth-shattering, right? Well it is for me, seeing as how I’ve never been able to fill in the blank with a pretty little career trajectory or life schedule for the next 5o years. I think “create” will definitely do as a blanket vision statement for me.

And I want people to create with me. Whether that be a recipe, a piece of art, a story, a home space, a joke, a hairdo, a prayer, or a 5K race; I want people to have the chance to do it with me or at least be in on it when I do it. So there you have it. Creating with Katie. Or for this blog, “Create With Katie” because “Creating With Katie” was already taken. But my instagram handle connected to this blog is @creatingwithkatie.

So don’t be afraid to change your mind. To grow. To be different one day from how you were yesterday. Lord knows change, growth and differences are what got me to where I am today. And I’m ok with that for the first time in a long time. Now let’s get creating.

new year, new scones

img_5742Happy 2017 y’all! A week ago I made these scones and I was not one bit sorry about it. I’ve never been a major sweetie, but every now and then I want a little less salt and a little more “hallelujah” in my meals, you feel me? Enter these scones.

As most of you probably don’t know, I’m a month in to my Vegan endeavor and I’m loving it. I did my fair share of research and put a lot of thought into this before just jumping in; it’s been a process, trust me. And just in case you don’t know what that means, and I’m finding a lot of people don’t, Vegans do not use/consume animals or animal bi-products (i.e. Meat and dairy, honey, eggs, butter, etc.). At the least, please just be informed people, geez. Differences aren’t bad, lack of knowledge about differences is where everyone gets all bent out of shape and offended and defensive. To each his own. And I personally have never been a big meat or dairy eater/lover at any point in my life so I wondered how I would feel and operate without them, so far sooo good.

It’s basically a plant-based lifestyle. Grains, legumes, nuts, fruits, veggies, all the good stuff. Which is the gold of the food pyramid anyways, but don’t even get me started on how jacked up that pyramid is. And let me just say, things like Oreos are a certified Vegan food. So there is definitely a healthy way and a non-healthy way to go about being Vegan. As you can guess, I’m taking the more heathy route with minimally processed foods and a lot of scratch cooking. And I love it. I’m committed to the Vegan life for 3 months (at least) since that is how long it takes your body to reset, cleanse and fully adjust to major nutrition changes. Who knows though, maybe I’ll make 2017 my Vegan year or maybe the rest of my life. I’m taking it in strides and going as it goes and stopping if necessary.

It’s definitely challenging in the world we live in when every restaurant menu item has meat or dairy in the ingredients. Our world sets us up more than we know for what industries they (the people in power) want winning and making the big bucks. I’m learning a lot in it and becoming more creative in the kitchen which is always fun, so it’s a win win win. All I’m saying is my energy is more stable, I’m sleeping better, my skin is glowing, I have almost no inflammation or bloating anywhere in my body and I’m contributing 10 times less waste produced per day that meat/dairy eaters. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I hate the taste of meat or dairy now, I’m just more informed of what that taste entails in my body and in the world from start to finish. I’ll talk your ear off about it all if you’d like more information or details, but for now, back to the dreamy scones.

Since cookies are typically too sweet for this gal, a scone is the perfect mix of savory and sweet for me. And that texture, I love foods with texture. Don’t limit these things to breakfast, even though they are the things dreams are made of with a cup of warm coffee (insert praise hands). They could be a dessert after any meal or also a great pre-workout carb/slight sugar hit.

These babies are gluten, refined sugar, dairy and soy free! I want to experiment with the base of this recipe and add different flavors in. Maybe a cranberry orange scone next or a savory rosemary sweet potato scone, who knows! Endless potential.

Prep time: 10 minutes                Cook time: 20-25 minutes               Servings: 8 scones

Ingredients:

Almond flour/meal – 2 cups

Cassava flour – ½ cup (Get a bag, you won’t be sorry, it’s the best gluten-free flour alternative I’ve used! https://www.amazon.com/Ottos-Naturals-Natural-Cassava-Flour/dp/B00S5AZRYG)

Sea salt – ½ tsp

Aluminum-free baking powder – 2 tsp

Coconut oil (melted) – 3 Tbsp

Banana (mashed) – 1 ripe

Pure maple syrup – 1 Tbsp

Vegan Chocolate Chips – 2/3 cup (I use this chocolate sweetened with coconut sugar for baking and break it up into chunks or melt it down into chips, https://eatingevolved.com/products/signature-dark-72-cacao, you can use other chocolate chips as well, you just might get dairy (not vegan) or cane sugar (not refined sugar free) in them. The Enjoy Life and Sunspire brands are better options than something like Nestle.)

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat
  2. In a large bowl, mix all of your dry ingredients except the chocolate chips
  3. In a small sauce pan, melt your coconut oil and maple syrup. Add the mashed banana and whisk together.
  4. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined.
  5. Mix in chocolate chips.
  6. Form the dough into a ball and transfer to the baking sheet. Flatten it out into a disc (1 inch thick) and cut into 8 pieces.
  7. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Let cool and enjoy! Store in a glass tupperware at room temp for 4-6 days if you can keep from eating them all that long 🙂IMG_5819.JPG

started from the bottom, still there

img_4801November 18, 2016 was a low one. And I’m writing about it because I think I’ll want to remember it some day. I found out yesterday evening that I did not get a job I was planning to get. Was it my dream job? No. Would I have enjoyed it and would it have been a good experience? Yes. And two, almost three, months in to unemployment, I’m getting familiar with desperation and disappointment. So I was banking on this.

For the record, I know this post may come across dramatic. I am aware this situation pales in comparison to some devastations and traumas people face in life. But it was real for me today and it felt low, so that’s that.

Also for the record, I have applied for over 50 jobs at this point. I’m not just hoping something falls in my lap. I’m trying. But I also refuse, at this point, to do a job that I think I would find no life and be miserable in. I didn’t risk big in moving to New York City to stop risking big now.

I had three interviews for this position that, in my opinion, I soared through. I was well, if not over, qualified for the position. And I’m awesome (trying to stay positive here), so I saw no chance of a problem being on my end. Well I guess it just wasn’t a match. And I quote “After lengthy discussions about your background and what our team needs, we don’t feel like it is a strong enough fit to move forward.” Lengthy huh? Oh sure, I bet they argued and reasoned for hours about it. Ya right. The people who interviewed me probably gave a simple “yes” or “no” and that was that. But thanks for the dramticism to soften the blow and make me feel worth it.

“Lengthy discussions”, I must be a complete phenomenon of question marks to potential employers. I worked on staff at a church and worked for a local, small business for the last 5 years. Was I a dead beat doing nothing? No. Did I utilize my education and degrees? Yes. And I gained experience. I learned people and I learned the ins and outs of running a business. This entry-level position I was in the interview process for wasn’t rocket science. I’m not sure what was so unmatched between it all. So between wanting to cuss out this company in my head and graciously bow out, I landed somewhere in-between today. They are missing out. *Tries to drop the mic with the sliver of confidence left in me*

I stayed up until 3am filling out job applications online. I then tried to sleep/rest which resulted in 4 hours of me staring at my ceiling wondering where I had gone wrong in life. Dramatic response, I know, but also semi-valid when you are at crossroads. From 7-10am I dozed off and on, tossing and turning constantly with little to no peace. By 10am I decided to sit up in bed. From 10am-1pm I continued filling out job applications online and only moved a few positions in my bed. From sitting up propped between 3 pillows, to laying back and trying to give my neck a break, to laying on my stomach to relieve back pain. Beds should not be used as desks, I learned that today. At 1pm I got up to use the restroom. Then literally straight back to my bed to continue filling out job applications from 1-5pm.

My sweet boyfriend spent multiple hours throughout the course of today on the phone and on Skype with me just sitting there while I worked away. Not much talking, but just another person’s presence in the midst of it all. I tend to stiff-arm and escape when I’m angry, disappointed and hurt. I don’t initially seek out the silver lining and I express how I feel without reserve. I generally don’t want to talk about it, nor do I want to pretend it’s ok when it’s not. Therefore, I typically avoid pulling in or exposing others to my mess, at least at the beginning of it. It ain’t pretty y’all. But he was willing to sit and take it if I gave it, how kind.

At 5pm I knew it would soon be dark in NYC (daylight saving time, ugh) and I still needed to go for a run. Because 227 days ago, I committed to running every day for a year. Geez, the things I get myself in to. But you better believe I wasn’t ending my streak today or letting anyone/anything take it away from me. My legs were more than able, just maybe not as willing today. So I got out of bed, put my contacts in and my running shoes on then hit the streets. Just a mile today, although I could have gone way longer I’m sure. Running is my release and my peace place. And I had all kinds of things, feels and thoughts I could have taken out on the pavement today. But I planned to do a longer run tomorrow, so today I kept it to a mile. Also, I’m still taking it easy post marathon and not doing anything extravagant or back to back. And here is the real thing, movement is my sanctuary. I needed to run past the sanctuary by my apartment today (pictured at the beginning of this post), I needed to see it. I can avoid God when I’m sitting still, but I can’t avoid Him when I run. Telling me to stop running would be telling me to stop meeting with God. They are all kinds of intertwined for me. It’s one of my only consistent ways to feel and hear Him. Even when I don’t want to. So if you wonder why I keep running, I have to. It’s a lifeline for me.

Also, I can get extreme when life throws me a curve ball. As in I didn’t drink or eat anything until 5pm today. I woke up mad and didn’t want to eat or drink. Like that was going to fix something? I don’t know. But I err on the side of not eating versus emotional eating/binging when life gets tough. When I get stressed I typically lose my appetite. And I haven’t had a strong appetite since the marathon anyways because my body isn’t working as hard as it was leading up to that so I don’t think it thinks it needs as much fuel. Not good, trust me I know. As a health freak, I know your nutrition is vital to everyday operation, process and life. But I mostly ignored it today. However, between 5 and 8pm I had three glasses of water, some pomegranate pancakes, zoodles with pesto, a square of dark chocolate and some popcorn. So strange. But whatever, I ate some things and I ate healthy. Because you know those pancakes didn’t come from a box, they were vegan and homemade. Just like those zoodles and pesto were vegan and homemade. You better believe that chocolate was organic and vegan from Whole Foods. And like I would ever pop a microwave bag of popcorn, please. Stove top with coconut oil is the only way. So y’all know if I’m still doing these things I haven’t totally lost all hope.

Overall, it was more than not getting the job. That’s just the surface issue. It evoked the deeper feelings and questions like “What’s wrong with me?”, “What am I doing wrong?”, “Why aren’t I good enough?”, “What am I missing?”, “Why won’t anyone give me a chance?” and “Am I worth it?”. Woof. What a pit of despair to wade through. Shaking those things off isn’t a quick fix. And they wouldn’t be completely fixed by a job offer either. But today I stared them all in the face. Long and hard. As tears streamed down my cheeks and my eyelids got puffier by the hours. Because such is life. And such is a story in the making. I’d prefer the story be complete. I’d prefer there be no test to get to the testimony. But that would take all the highs and lows, joys and pains, feels and thoughts out of the journey. And I think later on, I’ll be glad it was the way it was. And that’s a total prayer/faith statement at this point. Really I’m just ready to sing “started from the bottom, now we here” and mean it.

Also, a recap on my NYC marathon is coming soon! It has been in the works.

#rockedthevote

img_4634The NYC buildings were speaking my language today. Grace for our nation Lord.

They don’t give “I voted” stickers with absentee ballots by mail, but rest assured, I did indeed vote.

I voted for a political party in this election. Of course I know that a candidate represents each party. But in my own heart and ideals, I could not get behind any particular candidate in this election. However, I voted for the overall political party which I agree most with the standards and key issue stances of. I voted for the political party that I want making crucial decisions in the next few years that will effect the next 50 years of our nation. I voted because I want my children to read this one day and know their mother exercised her right, even if it felt wrong, to vote and her voice, even if it was shaking, to be heard. I cried over this election. Multiple times. Because it was hard for me to grasp how God may be working through all of it and how He could have allowed us to come to where we are. But the everlasting truth is that He is sovereign and He is in control.

This election sure made it seem that America may have lost its focus, but I haven’t lost all hope. I couldn’t help but wake up this morning and think “either way we are screwed”. Which is true. And it’s why I’m hoping there will be a greater turning to God and His church over the next 4 years than ever before. People will be desperate. I pray people of this nation channel their desperation to Jesus, the one true King and ruler of all. I hope that prayer becomes a foundational piece of this country again. Because there may seemingly be no where else to turn. I pray the loudest cry’s and shout’s heard over the next 4 years are towards God. So yes, I rocked the vote, and I hope you did too. But don’t let your action end there. Then fall to your knees and pray. I believe that will be our greatest act in the days to come.

chili for the win

img_3954These days I can feel a little restless in the contribution category of life. I don’t currently have a job, so I can’t really find value or satisfaction by creating in a professional/vocational environment.

So I felt the need to create and the need for a little comfort. Enter my go-to chili recipe. It’s gold y’all. I’ve never had anyone not love it. You should try it out, tweek it to your preferences, and eat it everyday for the next few months of fall.

It’s vegan, vegetarian, sugar-free, gluten-free and processed food-free at the core, but you can add cheese or meat if that’s what you love about a good chili. I’ve added ground turkey to this recipe before and it’s nice (I cook/brown the turkey separately on the stove in a pan before adding it to the chili at the end). I also add a little avocado and feta to the top of my bowl because #avocadoandfetaoneverything. It can also be made with or without the addition of a grain. I used to use quinoa in the recipe, but have since developed a sensitivity to quinoa and I can’t eat it anymore without feeling sick. Which is really sad because I love the health benefits of that gluten-free superfood grain! However, I tried out millet this time around for my grain addition to the chili and it turned out very similar to quinoa as far as texture and taste. It is also a gluten-free grain with complete protein properties so I approve. Brown rice could be used as well for a healthy grain option.

* I cooked the millet separately and added it to the chili at the end because I wasn’t sure if it would cook like quinoa did, but it does, so I think it can be added as noted in the instructions.

I tried as best as I could to take pictures along each step in the chili making process, but there were a few steps that happen pretty back to back so I didn’t quite catch every little step of it all. But you’ll see a good amount of the process, enjoy!

The ingredients for this chili cost around $20. That’s one heck of a deal for the amount it yields and the healthiness of this dish! I do prefer organic-specific ingredients as noted below; the taste, nutritional value and harvesting process is worth a few more dollars in my opinion, but I won’t harp on that too much more for now.

img_3944

Prep time: 20 minutes        Cook time: 1 hour (ish)        Servings: 8-10 bowls

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons of organic olive oil (not pictured, sorry, it was in my cabinet)

1 organic yellow onion, chopped

1 organic green bell pepper, chopped

6 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 6oz can of tomato paste

1 tablespoon of cumin

1 tablespoon of chili powder

1 teaspoon of dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon of cayenne

2 cans of organic black beans, drained

2 cans of organic diced tomatoes, with can juice

32oz of organic vegetable stock

1 organic zucchini, cubed

2 organic sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed

Sea Salt

1 cup of dry millet (or grain of your choice: quinoa, brown rice, etc)

If you prefer, avocado, feta, lime, cilantro for topping/garnish I highly suggest it 🙂

Instructions:

1. Heat olive oil in a pot (see my pot of choice below) over medium heat.

img_39462. Add chopped onion and chopped green bell pepper to oil and soften/brown for 10 minutes. Stir regularly.

img_39483. Add tomato paste and all spices. Mix well for 2 minutes.

4. Add drained beans, diced tomatoes (with can juice), vegetable stock, cubed zucchini and peeled/cubed sweet potatoes. Stir, mix and cook for 5 minutes. * Add sea salt to your preference at this point (I add about 2 teaspoons).

img_3949

5. Add dry millet (or grain of choice), cover the pot, and cook for an addition 45 minutes (or until sweet potatoes are tender and grain is puffed/cooked), stir often.

* Here is where I cooked the millet separately in order to test it’s cook time, texture, method, etc. BUT you can add the dry millet straight to the chili pot at this point.

img_3947

Millet all by its lonesome.

img_3950

Millet meets its match.

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I like to top mine with some fresh sliced avocado, a squeeze of fresh lime juice, a sprinkle of feta cheese and a bit of cilantro (see picture at the beginning of this post). Bon appetit y’all!

img_3953

This chili can be stored in the fridge for up to a week. It can also be frozen for up to 2 months. To reheat a serving, I use a small pot on the stove at medium heat for 5-10 minutes. I don’t like microwaves 🙂

miracle leggings

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This past Saturday I had a long marathon training run. 18 miles and 3 hours later I finished feeling pretty good. I ran the last half of the actual marathon course plus some which was a dream. I started training for the NYC marathon again this year in hopes of living in NYC in time to train in NYC. There were a few miles along the way where tears welled up, good tears. I caught myself going back to the race last year and being in those actual spots again made me feel deep again.

Sidenote: I think everyone should run a race, do something crazy, push your limits; we need that experience.

Now, onto the real story. After my run I was feeling all jazzed and decided I wanted to start thinking into and planning my race day outfit. It matters. Good gear makes for a great race. I’ve been training non-stop in Lulu Lemon speed track shorts. They have a longer inseam (modest is hottest) and the ideal little side thigh pockets to hold all my things (larabar, subway card, house key, phone, etc). So I was thinking I wanted some crop calf length Lulu Lemon leggings for race day similar to the shorts version I swear by.

I am also seeking employment at the moment (my round about way of saying I’m unemployed), meaning I don’t have abounding finances right now. But a girl’s gotta run and she’s gotta run in good things. I probably have some running clothes I could have made work for race day, but how many marathons do you run in life, right? Well this is actually my second and its two more than I ever thought I would do. But marathons kind of evoke this everything-has-to-be-special sort of mentality, and I totally give in to it.

So, post long run I cleaned up and headed into the city to stroll through the Lulu Lemon on 5th Ave (which also happens to be their largest retail store in the U.S. *insert heart eyes*).  I walked in knowing I probably couldn’t buy anything that day, but I wanted to see what was out there. After gathering an arm full of things to try on, I headed to the dressing room. A sweet gentleman of a sale associate set me up in a room and said to ask away if I needed any further assistance. After trying on 6 different pairs of leggings, I found the perfect pair that was the right length (small miracle for a short gal) and they had the right pockets that would be ideal for race day. I needed them. So I gathered up the “no” pile, returned it to the awesome fitting room attendant and waltzed out of the dressing room with the dream leggings in hand. After about 10 steps outside the dressing room I thought, “But are these the right size?” I tried on the size I always wear in Lulu leggings, but for some reason I second guessed myself in the moment and thought maybe they were too tight. After all, I don’t want to be uncomfortable on race day. I want snug, but not too snug, definitely not loose. Once I start moving they need to stay put. Also, I can get this weird mentality while training for longer races that my body just turns into a big piece of swollen pasta/bread (whole grain, flourless and organic of course) since I eat a higher amount of carbs for running fuel. But honestly I am the same size I always am, oh those mind games. Also, since I could potentially drop a chunk of change on these leggings (Lulu prices are worth it for the product in my opinion), I thought I better try on the next size up just to make sure. I grabbed the next size up and the size I originally tried on and headed back to the fitting room. The kind sales associate set me up in a dressing room again and I asked his opinion on sizing and fit. He asked what I was getting them for, I mentioned the marathon, and he gave this educated thoughts then sent me in.

A few minutes into my second round of trying on these leggings I heard a little knock on my fitting room door. It was the sales associate who had been helping me. He said he had brought another sales associate who was actually training and running the NYC marathon next month too. I opened the door and had a delightful conversation with this girl. It was her first marathon. I told her I was no expert either, but we swopped training stories and thoughts and gear preferences. It was great. We came to a conclusion on the leggings and I went with the size I had originally tried on. I came out of the dressing room feeling happy and helped. It was nice to connect with strangers and talk similar interests and thoughts.

So now I was really committed. Had to get these leggings. The two sales associates were so patient and helpful. I owed it to their paychecks to spend some money in that store. But then I thought to myself, I guess I could just come back in a few weeks, maybe I can save up some money and come get them. But I know from past shopping fails, they would surely be gone or they wouldn’t have my size anymore and I’d be stuck with a less wonderful option closer to the race. I can easily have a now or never mentality, and so it was in this instance. I was getting these leggings now or never. So I confidently made my way to the checkout.

I noticed another Lulu Lemon employee following me from the fitting room to the checkout. She was keeping her eye on me. I wondered why, but just kept going. I got to the front of the checkout line and the sales associate behind the register with whom I had not interacted with yet said, “So are you the one running the marathon?”, and I somewhat sheepishly replied, “Oh, yes, thats me!”, and he said, “Well that’s amazing.” Right about the time he finished that statement, the employee who followed me from the fitting room to the checkout stepped behind the register and said, “Yes, the marathon runner! We want to give you these leggings. Way to go and good luck from us. You are awesome!” It was like a scene from a movie. And then I wondered if I was getting punk’d. I replied with a blank stare as tears welled up in my eyes and all I could get out of my mouth was, “Really?!” They bagged up the leggings and sent me out as a Lulu Lemon sponsored runner of the 2016 NYC marathon. I floated out of the store, wiping away a few tears. I just wanted to grapevine down 5th Ave proclaiming the kindness of others and the goodness of God.

I’d like to think of these leggings as a little miracle. Not only were the employees in Lulu Lemon some of the kindest, most intentional and thoughtful workers I had ever encountered in a store, I also just think God really sees and knows us. In the mundane and seemingly unspiritual things, He is showing up. He is making Himself known and relating to us. God cares about my race day outfit and my paycheck-less self.

You better believe those leggings will forever be a testimony in my mind. I’m never getting rid of them. If they get too worn out to be used as leggings, heck I’ll make fabric bookmarks for my bible out of them or something. Those leggings to me are a little picture of the goodness of God in the land of the living (Psalm 27:13).

I could have easily gone in to the store, zoned out, found some leggings, bought them and walk right back out without one word to anyone else. Focus is one of my strengths. I typically know what I want and what I am doing. But in that moment, I’m thankful I second guessed and asked others thoughts. Cue “There Can Be Miracles” from the Prince of Egypt soundtrack.

uncomfortable comfort

A month ago I willingly flipped my life upside down. I moved away from familiar and into question marks. Don’t get me wrong, I knew where I was going; to a place I had dreamed about for years. The idea of being in New York and knowing I didn’t have to leave anytime soon released this deep sigh of relief at my core that I’ve never felt for anything else. It’s still not fully explainable, but more tangible now that I’m here. This was right.

I’ve had moments of sheer panic, terror and tears over the last month. Major life change will do that to you. Unless you have your emotions locked down, major change should get to you I think. It shouldn’t control or inhibit you, but it should get to you. It should make you think hard and feel deep and ask questions. But mostly, major change should keep you moving. I just keep telling myself I didn’t come this far to only come this far.

I’ve never blogged or written much down, but seeing as how this will seemingly be one heck of a shaping time in my life, I thought I’d like to record some of it. Mostly for my own keeps, but I don’t mind if others take a look into the process. The last month I have just tried to let myself feel; vulnerably expose and feel all the feels that come with big risk. Now, I’m trying to put a few words to those feels.

I’m not sure how often I’ll write things down here. I’d like to think consistently and frequently enough to keep a good grid on the changes and process. But I’m not committing to some weekly post of a certain length. I don’t currently have the capacity for a blogging schedule. My lower capacity is probably due to some wounds, fears and unknowns, but I’m expecting it to build back up over the coming months. I miss the capacity I had in my early twenties. I credit much of it to naivety and low responsibility. But I also think I had high capacity back then because I had high hope. I’m ready to hope more again.

If I could sum up the last month in one word it would probably be “uncomfortable”. But I’m learning to reconcile with discomfort. Rather than ignore it or run from it, I’m sitting with it, daily. And it’s not across the table, it’s right next to me. Sometimes it feels like I’m giving it a piggy back ride across 3 long blocks (that’s a long way for anyone unaware of NYC long and short block lengths).

My biggest accomplishment these days is the fact that I put into motion a dream I fostered for years. I’m one heck of a brave soul if you ask me. But that’s about all the credit I’ll give myself for now until I have something else to show for my big move. And I really don’t think I’m out to prove anything to anyone else so much as I am out to prove something to myself in the midst of all this. So let it be known, I’m my harshest critic and biggest cheerleader depending on the moment. And currently, I’m a little bit of both. That’s probably contributing to my new friendship with “uncomfortable”. But I’m comfortable with uncomfortable, for now.

Lastly, I’m thankful for a tune from the Avett Brothers I came across recently. It helped me realize I’m not the only one whose been here and felt this.

“One foot in and one foot back. But it don’t pay to live like that. So I cut the ties and I jumped the tracks. For never to return. Brooklyn, Brooklyn take me in. Are you aware the shape I’m in? My hands they shake, my head it spins. Brooklyn, Brooklyn take me in.”

P.S. I live in Brooklyn.