Weekend Coffee Share: Life is Looking Up

If we were having coffee, it means I’m emerging from another hermit stage.  In all the changes over the past month, I’ve become a recluse, hardly seeing or reaching out to anyone besides my parents.  I’ve definitely been tossing my blogging schedule out the window, but I just didn’t have the will to sit and write.  Plus, I didn’t want my readers to drown in my negative attitude.  So, although I continued writing in private, my posts have been limited.

Thankfully, things are looking up.  I’m here again in the metaphysical coffee shop with you, ready to talk.

If we were having coffee, you’d know that orchard season is finally over!  Yesterday was our last day.  In many ways, it was a wonderful season.  All our records were smashed–we had the biggest crowds, biggest harvest, biggest sales.  My family is really thankful for all the people who came out this year, but oh boy…  We are exhausted.  It’s been a long haul, working six days a week for the past three months.  I’m really looking forward to having normal weekends and a manageable schedule again.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that my birthday on Tuesday was an absolute blast.  Although I spent the first half working, I took the afternoon off.  My mom and I went shopping at the Mall of America, where we both spent WAY too much money.  It was good, though.  I got new pants, a sweater, and some really pretty scarves.  We had dinner at a fancy restaurant, where they gave me free cake.  At home, I unwrapped gifts, which included a vintage typewriter!  The ribbon is very faint, so I can’t use it at the moment, but what a perfect gift for a blossoming writer.  I’m excited to put it to good use.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you about how my new job as Interim Director of my local Chamber of Commerce is going well and there is an end in sight.  I finally have the day-to-day tasks figured out and the chronic anxiety is ebbing.  We had a Board of Directors meeting last week, where everyone was really kind and encouraging.  Despite feeling under-qualified and constantly stressed, I seem to be doing a good job.

That being said, we’ve been interviewing candidates for the Executive Director position and I think we’ve found the perfect one.  If all goes well in the hiring process, I will pass the torch over to her in December.  Which means there is light at the end of the tunnel on my end!

If we were having coffee, you’d learn a secret: My next big adventure might be just around the corner.  No decisions have been finalized, but I’ve been exploring international possibilities.  If things go well (and people actually return my emails), returning to Europe might be closer than I ever dreamed was possible.  I’ll give more details as plans become solidified.

In the meantime, it feels so good to have a sense of direction again!

Now it’s time to pass things over to you.  What would you share over coffee?

This post is part of a link-up at Part Time Monster

Weekend Coffee Share: New Jobs and College Visits

If we were having coffee, we’d be bundled up in sweaters sitting outside.  The world is a painting of reds, golds, and browns–the leaves are just past the peak of color and are starting to fall.  I’d suggest taking a walk to enjoy the crisp air and crunch of leaves under our feet.  If your hands are cold, bring your cup with you.  It will keep you warm!

If we were having coffee, I’d let you know that I HAVE A NEW JOB!  You are now looking at (or rather, reading the words of) the new Interim Director of my community’s Chamber of Commerce.  Of course, the job isn’t permanent.  It’s only for a couple of months while the Chamber looks for a new Executive Director.  I’m just there to fill in and give the board of directors time to find a good fit for the position.

The frustrating thing, though, is I hope to start tomorrow and still have no idea what the job looks like.  I know I’ll be addressing the emails, phone messages, and mail that have come in over the past few weeks.  I know there are meetings I’ll have to attend–mostly to take notes.  I know that I now have keys to the building and a desk in the old Historical Society building.  But I don’t know what my days will actually look like.

My goal is to meet with the former Executive Director sometime in the next couple of days in order to learn the job.  The problem is, she’s not a very competent communicator and doesn’t really understand what I want from her.  She keeps texting my mom (who is the Vice President of the board) about it.  Mom passed her my contact information so she and I can figure it out… but clearly she’s stressed and confused because she hasn’t actually contacted ME yet.

It will all come together.  Hopefully we will be able to meet.  If not, I’m pretty good at figuring things out.  If all else fails, I’ll go to the office tomorrow (after all, I DO have the key), poke around for a few hours, and hope the info I need is lurking in a desk drawer or computer file.

If we were having coffee, you would know that I visited my college town for the first time as an alumni!  I didn’t think I’d be making the trip to Morris any time soon, but my old Bible study co-leader organized a retreat for the group and asked if I would be able to come as a guest speaker.  My old roommate, Alli, and I founded this Bible study four years ago and it was one of my favorite parts of college.

Selfie with everyone at Pomme de Terre Park, featuring the signature Morris wind turbines that provide energy to campus.

The retreat took place at someone’s house.  I was delighted to find that almost everyone in attendance were original members of the group.  We had art night on Friday–which was a fun exploration of acrylic paint and Canadian rom-coms.  On Saturday, we ate meals together, went on a prayer walk in Pomme de Terre Park, and watched Friends on Netflix.  Alli and I gave our talks, which both went well.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that my trip to Morris has me feeling incredibly blessed.  As an introvert, I find that the best kind of people are the ones I can be with for hours without feeling drained.  Hanging out with these girls was like that.  I’m not close friends with anyone in the group, but that really didn’t matter.  We’ve spent so much time throughout the years laughing, making memories, and discussing faith that friendship comes naturally.  Being together again felt just like old times.  I can’t remember the last time I laughed as hard as I did.

My faith hasn’t been flourishing since leaving Morris in May.  It hasn’t been growing, but it hasn’t been receding.  I know that there are lots of important things going on that I can’t see right now.  This weekend was a wonderful reminder that God has big things ahead and I’m right where I need to be.

Now the time has come to turn things over to you.  How has your week been?  What would you share over coffee?

This post is part of a link-up at Part Time Monster

Weekend Coffee Share: The Last Summer Day

If we were having coffee, we’d probably be lounging on a blanket in my backyard basking in the sunshine.  I’d be favoring something cold–an iced mocha or frappuccino–behind my floral sunglasses.  An occasional leaf flutters from the maple tree above us.

In Minnesota, we usually have one last day of summer before the season shifts.  I think it’s today and am very thankful it fell on my one day off.  I’ve been ready for Fall to arrive for the past month, but can’t deny that today is absolutely perfect.  The air is fresh, no humidity whatsoever.  The trees are just starting to change colors.  I actually spent several hours on the aforementioned blanket alternately reading and napping.  It was absolutely glorious.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you all about the concert I went to last week in Minneapolis with a friend.  Maddie and I met during our semester abroad in London and she recently moved to my area and has been aching to go to a show ever since.  We went to see Ivan & Alyosha and Noah Gundersen.  I wasn’t overly familiar with either band, but it was a wonderful show.  Musically, both bands were a real treat.  Ivan & Alyosha were my favorite act (I’ve been listening to them nonstop ever since).  They’re really peppy with a California vibe.  Noah was much more serious–his whole band wore black and oozed angst.  I like his earlier music, but he mostly played stuff from his most recent album which is really existential.  It was hard not to be depressed after the show as I drove the hour home well-past midnight.  But I cured the overflow angst by listening to peppy pre-pop Taylor Swift songs.

If we were having coffee, you would know that I’m frustrated.  For the most part, things are going very well for me right now.  I have a job, a roof over my head, and get to spend lots of time with family.  But a big portion of my life, my Christian faith, hasn’t been doing well.  I’m not struggling, but I’m not thriving either.  One of the problems is that I feel like I have too much history with the churches in my area.  Most people my age go to the church I grew up in, which I no longer attend for some very painful reasons (which I discuss in this post).  My family usually goes to a mega-church in the cities, which was great for in college for weekend visits and long breaks.  But it’s not the kind of church I actually want to go to long-term.  There’s nothing wrong with it, but it’s just not the right fit for me.  I’ve looked into trying some other churches, but I either know too many people who go there or have been turned off by hearing about people’s bad experiences.

The thing is, Christian culture tends to be extremely conservative.  And I tend to be more liberal.  When I’m around other Christians, even those I love and admire, I generally keep my opinions to myself.  Usually, this is because it’s not the time or place.  But another factor is that most people will strike up an argument.  I really dislike arguing–it does more harm than good.  In arguments, people tend to spend most of the time defending their own perspective without actually caring about what the other person has to say.  I don’t mind if someone thinks differently than I do, but it bothers me when others don’t respect my perspective in return.   So I don’t go there.

I’m in a bit of a rut, you see.  My relationship with God is one of the most important things I have.  I long for Christian community who will accept me without judging me based on the way I think.  I long for supporters who will spur me on in faith.  I known it exists–I’ve had it before in Morris and at camp.  Here, though, I feel very much alone.

If we were having coffee, though, I hope we don’t argue.  Because I’d love nothing more than to spend the afternoon sipping cool drinks on that blanket with you.  How has your week been?  Anything you’d like to share in return?

This post is part of the Weekend Coffee Share link up at Part Time Monster.

Weekend Coffee Share: Goodbye Socially-Awkward Hermit Amelia

If we were having coffee, we would be meeting at a local coffee shop because I need to get out of my house.  You’d enter the shop, order a drink of choice, and then would find me huddled over a table with my head in my arms. It’s been that kind of week.  A mug of English Breakfast tea would sit steaming in front of me, but I wouldn’t touch it until you sat down.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you about work.  At any place of employment, there are all kinds of little behind-the-scenes things that need doing before and after hours. When you live at the place you work, it becomes your task to work extra and get those things done. I put in three ten-hour days in a row. On Friday night, if you drove by our orchard around seven-thirty, you probably would have seen me on a lawn mower cleaning everything up before the weekend crowds hit.

Since I basically work all the time, I keep forgetting to eat… which is something new for me. I’ll go for six hours at a time with only an apple to get me by. Lunches are a hurried dash of grabbing whatever is fastest (usually yogurt, salad, and an apple) and getting back to work. The other day, I went over to a friend’s house for a bonfire (after I finished mowing) and my first words to her were, “Do you have any meat?” She didn’t, so I settled for almonds instead.

Sundays are my only days off and I am determined (after cleaning the house and getting on top of my blog posts for the week) to lie on the couch reading fun books and watching movies. It’s going to be glorious.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I have written more in the last week than I have since college ended. I love it! Writing 101 has been challenging, but not in the ways I expected. The hardest part is finding time in the day to sit down and write. I I’ve been squeezing time in the morning for most of my posts, although occasionally they have to wait until later in the evening. All the assignments have been fantastic so far. Each one is simple, to the point, and offers a source of inspiration. Every day brings something different.

Since starting this course, the posts I’ve written have gotten at the heart of what I’ve always wanted Keep Your Feet to be about. It’s just taken a year and a half on this site, but I’m starting to find my voice here. Each post offers different pieces of myself as I transition into adulthood—working through why I write, making a list of things I love about living at my parent’s house, discussing the insecurities and perks of my nonexistent love life, random musings about Thoreau, and what it means to learn. I’m very proud of the work I’ve accomplished this week and, if you’ve take time to read it, I’m extremely thankful.  I’m eager to get started on this week’s assignments!

As part of Writing 101, I’ve also been working on engaging with other bloggers.  I’ve loved reading everyone’s assignments and finding new sites to follow!

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you about all the plans I’ve been making. Socially awkward hermit Amelia is a thing of the past (for now, at least). In the past week, I’ve had movie nights at two people’s houses and attended a bonfire. Tomorrow night, I’m meeting a friend for dinner. Next weekend, I’m going to the Minnesota Renaissance Festival with a friend one day and attending a concert at a club in Minneapolis the next. I’ve also stolen the Fall Arts Preview of the newspaper and hope to make a list of all the things I want to see and o in the upcoming months. I know all of this probably doesn’t mean much to you, but I’m really looking forward to spending quality time with friends and doing things that fill me up. Plays, concerts, art galleries… I want to soak in as much as I can.

During this time of business, I’m going to have to be extra careful about fitting in introvert time so I don’t become a raging monster and get crabby with everyone.

With all the things on my schedule these days, our coffee conversations are about to get more interesting.

I’ve done enough talking… it’s your turn!  What do you have to share over coffee?

This post is part of the Weekend Coffee Share link-up at Part Time Monster

Weekend Coffee Share: Fall, Family, and KITTENS!

If we were having coffee, we’d be lounging on my couch watching rain dribble down the large windows of my living room.  My hands would be cupped around my favorite mug covered in Shakespearean insult typography and yours would hold a mug shaped like a large, round penguin.  (I hope you like penguins.)  Our chat would be a quick one–I have to head to work soon.

After exchanging pleasantries, I would probably spend a great deal of time complaining about the heat.  If you live  the tropics or desert, you’d scoff and roll your eyes.  It’s perfectly justified–eighty-five degrees and humidity, no big deal.  But, you see, it’s September.  September means sweatshirt-and-shorts weather–the best kind.  I don’t think it follows the rules of fashion, but there are few things more satisfying than wearing a sweatshirt and shorts.  Is this a Minnesota thing?  Or do people where you live do this too?  Anyways, as much as I love summer, I am ready for the weather to cooperate with the season.  The time for heat is past.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that my younger brother, Sam, went back to college.  In typical little brother fashion, he’s really annoying and drives me crazy most of the time.  I would tell you about the weird/creepy things he does, but am reluctant to post such things on the internet for the sake of privacy.  So, if we ever meet in person, you’ll just have to ask.  I’m going to miss having Sam around.  This summer has been the most time I’ve spent with him in four years, since I started college.  We worked together every day and now I’m the only child in the house.  Who am I going to fight with now?

If we were having coffee, you would hear all about the kittens we found this week.  When you live on a farm you usually have barn cats.  Our resident mama cat, BooBoo, is pushing fourteen years and has stopped having babies, which means childbearing duties have fallen to our other female cat.  She’s had multiple names over the years, but we’ve finally settled on Gollum Kitty due to a cough that persisted most of the summer.

Aren't they the cutest?
Aren’t they the cutest?

To say it nicely, Gollum Kitty isn’t the most intelligent feline out there.  She’s also quite small, despite being two years old.  When I heard little mews coming from the bushes by my house, I was shocked to find not a kitten or two (which is usual for Gollum Kitty), but SEVEN.  They’re only a couple of weeks old, but their eyes are open and are just starting to explore.  Five of them are white with different colored spots, one is sandy with white feet, and one is all black.

When I visit the kittens, I feel like a little kid again.  All I want to do is pet them.  Last night, during the groggy moments between sleeping and waking, the kittens were always on my mind.  I woke up this morning to a thunderstorm and my first thoughts were devoted to their safety.  (It turns out, my dad got up early and moved them from the bushes to one of our cat houses.  So they’re safe.)  It’s only been a day and my parents are sick of hearing me gush about how much I love the little fur balls.  They’ve charged me with taming them–a task I’m a little too excited about.

I just glanced at the clock and it’s time to head to work.  But before I go–what would you share if we were having coffee?

This post is part of the Weekend Coffee Share link-up at Part Time Monster

#WeekendCoffeeShare: Last Hurrah of Summer

If we were having coffee, we would be sitting on a patch of flattened grass munching on deep fried cheese curds watching hoards of people pass by.  That’s right, I spent my day at the Minnesota State Fair.  It’s been four years since I last attended what we affectionately call the Great Minnesota Get-Together.  Nothing has changed much.  The cow barns still smell.  The DNR still has the fish pond.  My dad still spends way too much time ogling antique tractors.  And, despite the fact that you spend the entire day in crowds of thousands of people, you still manage to run into at least five people you know!  It’s still a delight, though.  There’s so much to look at and take in!

One of the biggest draws of the fair is the food.  These days, everything is deep fried and/or on a stick.  Throughout the day, I had a raspberry wine smoothie, an ice cream cone from the Dairy Barn, french fries, and deep fried cheese curds.  I’ve been home for several hours and the thought of eating anything makes me feel sick.  It’s a good thing the State Fair only happens once a year, ’cause I don’t think my stomach would be able to keep up.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am absolutely exhausted.  I can’t remember the last time I was this tired.  I’ve made the hour long trek to the cities and back three days in a row.  On Friday, I had a bachelorette party from 9-11 and didn’t get to bed till 1 AM.  On Saturday, I had a wedding to attend.  Today, as you already know, I went to the fair.  Overall, I had to pass through stop-and-go traffic and massive road construction on the interstate SIX TIMES.  UGH.  Excuse me while I lock myself in my room and don’t emerge for days.

IMG_5660If we were having coffee, I’d show off the fall outfit I spent WAY too much money on yesterday.  I’m kind of obsessed with it.  (See photo on left.)

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that one of my dear friends got married!  Katie and I have been friends for years–starting in early high school.  We’ve had a running joke for years in which we share a brain.  You see, I didn’t have a brain back then, so she split hers in half and gave a portion to me.  When I got the call announcing her engagement several months ago, one of my first questions was,Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset “Katie, what will happen to our brain now?”  That aside, it was a beautiful wedding.  The thing about Katie is that she is extremely quirky, goofy, touchy, and jumpy in the most adorable way.  As she stood at the altar, I couldn’t help but smile at her subtle excited twitching.  During the dance after the reception, I caught her out of the corner of my eye standing alone spinning in circles just to make her dress swish around her.  She’s a beautiful soul and it was so much fun to be there for her special day.

Enough about me.  What would you share if we were having coffee?

This post is part of the Weekend Coffee Share link up at Part Time Monster

Go Bold

There are friends.  And then there are friends like Jenny.

We met during my freshman year of college.  Although we became acquaintances in the first month, I didn’t get to know her until spring semester.  I was close (and still am) with her roommate, Julie.  Because the shallow friendships with my floormates began to run their course, I took up the habit of visiting Julie’s dorm in Gay Hall.  It’s then that I got to know Jenny.  After a couple of weeks, it became evident that I was no longer crashing Gay to see Julie.  I was all about hanging out with Jenny.  We’ve been close ever since.

How do I even begin to describe Jenny?

She’s the kind of person you want by your side.  She’s a wonderful listener and is always ready and able to give you encouragement.  She’s smart, insightful, and notices details that often get glossed over.  She’s incredibly funny and can drop puns like nobody’s business.  She’s gifted in hospitality and an expert in how to make an excellent cup of coffee.

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I’d post a nice photo of the two of us, but they kind of don’t exist. They’re all similar to this one. (Yes, I am in the midst of eating cheese. Cheese is glorious.)

 

Most of all, though, she has an incredible heart for God.  It’s been amazing watching Him turn her life around.  When we met, she had her heart set on majoring in biology, running a nursing home, marrying a lumberjack and settling down with kids.  Now, she’s a Morris grad (with an English degree) on the brink of moving to Japan to spend the next two years as a missionary.

Throughout college, I got to see Jenny’s faith grow and evolve.  She had her own plans and dreams, but one day, God spoke to her.  He said: “If I asked you to go, would you?”  She said yes.  The process of being called to a lifetime of missions wasn’t an easy one.  Jenny had to let go of a lot.  She had to face her struggles, her insecurities, her fears.  She says it this way:

While I can hardly believe I felt this way initially anymore, at first I felt utterly dejected. Like I said, I had other plans for myself, filled with good things that I wanted to do in this world. I knew I was going to have to let those go. So I asked God, that if this was really what He wanted for me, to change my heart, to make every other possible career choice and plan for my life be completely unsatisfying and empty. Over the course of that year He did exactly that.  Now there is hardly a thing that excites me more than active ministry and loving people. (Taken from one of her blog posts)

Although she graduated a year early, Jenny has been one of my solid rocks this school year.  She’s been living at home, floating from job to job, and has always been available to talk.  When I’m frustrated, I call Jenny.  When I’m ecstatic, I call Jenny.  When I just need someone to talk to, I call Jenny.  With her, conversation flows from one subject to the next and, before I know it, hours have passed.

Yesterday, I saw Jenny in person for the last time.  We went out for tea and, in true fashion, talked for hours.  I intended on being home for dinner, but it wasn’t long before I realized that wasn’t going to happen.  Why go home when I can be with Jenny one last time?  In a couple of weeks, she’s off for at least two years teaching English in Japan.

It’s hard saying goodbye to someone who has had such a big impact on your life.  But, with Jenny, it’s not as if this goodbye is forever.  Even though we’ll be on the other sides of the planet, it’s not like we won’t talk.  That’s the beauty of the internet.  Yes, staying in touch is challenging and definitely takes work.  But, with Jenny, it’ll happen.

If you’re interested in getting to know Jenny, following her adventures in Japan, and seeing what God does in her life, you can follow her blog, Go Bold.  If you ask me, she’s worth paying attention to.