Monday, May 30, 2016

confirmation + open doors


i wanted to keep a list of how God has provided confirmation for us about this next life change, because it is cool to look back on things and see how they all fit together. there are tons of details to make this happen that God just worked out for us very quickly. He continued to open doors, even doors we didn't know existed, and there's no doubt in our minds that this is exactly what we should be doing.

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o1; last summer we started the conversation of selling our house & moving into something a little bigger. we found out a neighborhood was going in next door to us and discussed with the developer about buying our land. obviously, he didn't buy our land since we are now selling our house, but looking back it seems this was preparing our hearts to be ready to sell it. Thomas has lived in this house for almost 11 years, he fixed it up with his grandpa and parents, and it is the first house we lived in as a married couple, so there is obviously emotion attached to it. so the fact that we had already decided to sell before we had to make the decision to sell it and move for grad school made the decision process easier because we had already come to terms with it.

it worked out that the developer did not buy it, because we would have moved to a new house a few months before we made the decision to go to grad school - and that would have been a tight spot to be in. since we are selling now and not moving straight into another house, it is helping us to finance grad school hopefully without having to take out any loans. 

o2; the first weekend in November, Thomas totaled one of our cars. we ended up buying his grandpa's car and used the rest of the money we got from our insurance company to pay down a chunk of my undergrad student loans. that helped us out tremendously on getting out of debt, because we didn't want to start grad school if we still had debt from undergrad. this is one of the biggest reasons we were able to pay off my student loans earlier than our 3 year plan, and it helped us be able to save more before i quit my job to go to grad school full time. 

o3; when we first started talking about grad school in the fall of last year, we saw that there was an open house we could attend to learn more about the program and meet with some of the staff. the only open house for the semester was during the same week i had taken off of work in November, on a friday, so i was able to go since i already had it off work. that week was the last of my vacation as well, so if the open house had been another time i would have had to move one of my vacation days. i had planned to take that week off before we even brought up grad school, so that was another thing that just worked out perfectly. 

o4; when we decided that i was going to apply for grad school, we weren't really sure how things were going to work out with Thomas's job, or when he should even start the conversation with them that we were moving, but he wanted to keep his same job. before he talked to his work, he threw out the idea that if i got in, he would just commute everyday so he could keep his job because he loves the company he works for. the commute would have been an hour and a half both ways so that would have been terrible!

however, at the end of last year Thomas got pulled into a meeting with his managers and something came up about this summer. he ended up having to tell them that we were looking at grad school and may be moving this summer, because that would impact what they were discussing. he had to bring it up earlier than we would have liked, but his managers told him they didn't want to lose him and would work things out. so they offered to let him work from the local office in the city we are moving to.

his department is at the corporate office, so they like for everyone to be centralized, but since they like him a lot and didn't want to lose him, they are allowing him to work from the local office while we are away for the 2 years that i'm in school. the fact that they offered that first thing was just such a huge answer to prayer because i don't think they would have pulled the strings to let that happen for just anyone. they had to get it approved by top management but they went to bat for Thomas. this was probably the biggest loose end that tied itself.

o5; one of my concerns about my job was that i didn't have a back up for about 95% of what i do... so i was the only person who knew how to do it. which means that there would be a LOT of training that i would need to do once i gave my notice at work. however, like everything else, the timeline just worked itself out. between January and April of this year, my department moved a lot of work around, so i was able to train someone else on 80% of my job by the time i put my notice in. so now, in the month that i have left i will only have to train the new employee on 20% of what i was doing, which will be less stressful for me and benefits the company at the same time.

o6; i was projecting that we would be able to pay off my undergrad student loans by the end of June, which is when i am leaving my job. however, we were able to hit it hard and pay them off completely in March. so that gave us 3 months where we were able to save more while i am still working!

o7; in March i got both acceptances (from the college of social work and from the graduate school) within 3 days. Thomas also got confirmation in March that top management approved the request for him to work at the local office. we also met with a realtor at the beginning of March, worked on the house during the month, and were able to get it listed by the end of the month. so everything just came together really fast in March!

o8; our house was on the market only 9 days before we got our first offer. we got a second offer the next day, but ended up going with the first offer because it was better. closing was proposed to be May 31, which is a little longer than the typical time frame (according to our realtor) which actually helped us because we wanted a later closing. come to find out the buyers apparently know people from our church and visited there. they are also moving from the city that we are moving to, so it is like we are swapping places in a sense - wild!

o9; we found an apartment in our price range that is actually more square footage than our house now. so it worked out that we won't have to worry about storing our furniture anywhere. we originally reserved a 2nd floor apartment because there weren't any 1st floors available for July. then, the day after we reserved our apartment, a 1st floor became available for a July move in date, so we were able to move our reservation to the 1st floor apartment and it's in building we like better that is a little more private. we really wanted a 1st floor apartment also because our basset hound has back issues and she would have had a tough time going up and down stairs multiple times a day, so it worked out great for our needs!

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these are the big things that provided confirmation and showed us that God was at work among our decision process. i'm sure there were a lot of little confirmations along the way that i have forgotten, but i wanted to have the biggies documented in one place because i know i will want to re-read this story down the road and remember how God worked things out!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

open letters | a link up


i am so excited to be co-hosting the open letters link-up with Julie this month! Julie created this link-up last month and i am so in love with it! writing random letters is a super fun way to journal & i used to do this all the time when i was younger... so it is bringing back memories of my old journaling days! :) don't forget to link up your open letters post at the bottom!

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dear Olive Garden unlimited zuppa tuscana,

you are a tricky little thing pretending to be light with your kale, but then you are loaded with potatoes. the reality is that my stomach pays when i try to "get my money's worth." don't get me wrong, you are super delicious and it's really hard to regret a thing. but when i get that extra bowl "because it's unlimited" and my stomach feels like it's going to pop when i leave the restaurant, something has got to give. i don't want my tombstone to read "spontaneous soup combustion," but then again, you are just so tempting!


dear group emails at work,

you are sometimes entertaining, but also sometimes just annoying. when an email is sent to the entire company, there is really no need to reply-all with your witty remark. because when you do it, then other people feel the need to do it as well. and i don't need an inbox full of witty remarks back to an email that didn't affect me in the first place. however, when it is a smaller group of people arguing back and forth, it is pretty entertaining to read. i mean, if everyone was on these group emails no one would need to watch soap operas! there is enough drama & over reaction to go around! but it is funny to read as long as i don't get dragged into the conversation, so keep the funny ones coming! 


dear our first home,

i will always remember you. you were the place where i came to see Thomas's roommate and started hanging out with Thomas. you were the place where Thomas cooked for me the first time. you were the place where i first told Thomas that i love him. you were the place where we spent our first 3 years of marriage, to the day. i have seen you go from looking like a guy's dorm, to changing into a married couple's first home. i've watched you transform from a house to a home, and it has been so neat! i'm so glad we have pictures along the way & we can see how far you've come! even though we are excited about our next adventure, we will definitely always miss you! thanks for the memories!

p.s. you know what the cool thing about making a home is? once you build it, it goes with you no matter what house you live in. so in a way, you'll always be with us! :)

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the whole point of this link-up is to form community and meet some new bloggers, so don't drop your link and run! unrelated posts and posts that don’t follow the guidelines will be removed. interested in co-hosting? send an email to ahopefulhood@gmail.com.

rules:
1. add a link to any post in the form of a letter!
2. comment on the post right before yours!
3. link back to your hosts Julie and Robyn!

(you can grab this button as an open invitation for others to join in!)

A Hopeful Hood


link up your own open letters post below!


Monday, May 23, 2016

project 12 | 2016 | part one


i haven't been doing the monthly project 12 posts this year for two reasons. the first is that while i was working on everything for grad school, it couldn't be public knowledge since my job didn't know yet. i decided not to tell my job until everything was official, so the process had to be on the down low. the second reason is that i have just been worn out from year end at work, the house move, and getting everything set for grad school that something had to go by the wayside, and blogging was that something for a while. 

however, i've still been keeping little notes in my calendars because i love having my years captured month by month and plan to keep up with project 12 this year in a few different chunks. this first chunk is January-March, and i will be posting another chunk soon which is April-May. i'm hoping to get back to the monthly posts, but i'm not sure what life is going to look like once grad school starts! ;) but i wanted to go ahead and capture these five months because they tell a lot of the story of how everything came together!


JANUARY


HIGHLIGHTS
during the month i worked on getting all of my materials for my grad school application together. i had to fill out the application, write a 5-page self reflection essay, another 2-page essay, send transcripts from other schools, and provide 3 letters of recommendation. i had actually started working on this during December, so it took a while to get everything together!

while i worked on that we also worked on de-cluttering the house because we knew we would be listing it in a few months. we were SO glad we did this in January, because we had a lot of work to do in March getting it ready to list and staging it. so, it was nice that we had a clutter-free and organized house to start with!

NOTABLE EVENTS
Jan 1-3 - hit our declutter/organize the house project hard
Jan 9 - birthday celebrations with Thomas's family
Jan 18 - hiking in the snow because Thomas had the day off work
Jan 22 - Thomas had a snow day while i worked from home
Jan 24 - i submitted my completed application to grad school!
Jan 26 - i submitted my undergrad transcripts
Jan 29 - lunch buddies with Thomas at the food trucks


FEBRUARY


HIGHLIGHTS
this is the month where i got accepted to grad school! it is actually a two-part acceptance, so the college of social work had to accept me, but then the official acceptance had to come from the graduate school. i was surprised that i got both acceptances within a few days of each other! i thought i would have to wait a while longer in between, but i was happy to find out so soon! once we got acceptance to school, we started interviewing realtors.

NOTABLE EVENTS
Feb 5-6 - Thomas on a men's retreat with church
Feb 6 - my mom taught me to sew/hem pants
Feb 9 - the college of social work notified me that they received my application
Feb 10 - the college of social work notified me that they were still waiting on a few recommendations
Feb 13 - the way we do valentine's is hiking & chocolate covered strawberries ;)
Feb 14 - we basically made it a hiking weekend
Feb 15 - all of my recommendations were received by the college of social work
Feb 18 - Conservative convention with my parents
Feb 23 - i received acceptance from the college of social work!
Feb 26 - i received official acceptance from the graduate school!!
Feb 27 - our nephew's first birthday
Feb 28 - birthday celebration for my mom and sister
Feb 29 - met with the first realtor


MARCH


HIGHLIGHTS
we met with a few realtors at the beginning of the month and ended up deciding which one we wanted to use. then we spent the rest of the month getting things fixed around the house, staging each room, creating a second bedroom, and getting it ready for showings. this was such a busy month! i also officially accepted the MSW offer this month so grad school became official!

NOTABLE EVENTS
Mar 1 - met with another realtor
Mar 3 - decided on a realtor and confirmed
Mar 6 - day trip to Columbia to check out the area
Mar 7-12 - packing up the house and cleaning out the barn
Mar 8 - i officially accepted the grad school position and mailed my intent letter
Mar 13 - day trip to Columbia to check out apartments
Mar 15 - handyman did an assessment of repairs
Mar 18 - i turned in my application for field practice for school
Mar 18-20 - i visited my maid of honor for the weekend
Mar 21 - handyman worked on repairs
Mar 25 - load up uhaul trailer
Mar 26 - took trailer to my grandma's garage to store what we cleaned out of the barn
Mar 27 - Easter with both families
Mar 28 - moved in with the in-laws
Mar 29 - realtor took pictures of our house for the listing
Mar 30 - house measurements taken and listing finalized
Mar 31 - our house is officially on the market & we had 3 showings