Monthly Archives: February 2015

Thoughts before I go

It is that time of year again, the time not so far removed from the start of the year that we haven’t forgotten our New Year’s resolutions, but also a time to make new ones. Wednesday marks the start of Lent, a season in the church year that lasts for about a month and a half, from Ash Wednesday until Easter. You probably know people who commemorate Lent by giving something up, or you give something up yourself. I’ve been doing this since high school to various extents. Some years I’ve been excessive with it, giving up all forms of social media and a lot of foods. I don’t think that’s necessary, though. It’s better to give up one thing that’s especially giving you trouble, or that you’re addicted to. Last year, in my case, that was Snapchat. This year, however, it is a little different. I’m giving up Facebook, which I’ve done before, but not because I’m addicted, but because I’ve come to realize since I graduated college that the network causes me quite a bit of anxiety. I feel that I have to keep up a certain appearance on Facebook to stay afloat, and often I have mistakenly presumed it to be the judge of my relationships. I take “likes” on my posts to be signs of love and worry that if no one likes my posts, that I am unlovable and annoying. Consciously, I know this isn’t true, but living on my own, I receive less in-person affection from others. And, as an introvert, I feel less motivated to put in the work to seek it out. So, I’m taking a break from Facebook, as in, I’m deactivating it entirely rather than just not going on. My prayer is that by removing it from my life, I’ll find ways to connect with others that build me and them up, rather than causing anxiety.

This all connects to my philosophy that if you are going to cut something out of your life, you have to stay positive and replace it with something else that’s healthier. This partly comes from Pete Carroll’s #WinForever mantra (which I elaborate on in my last post… let’s not talk about the Seahawks though), and partly from a talk the wife of my church’s senior pastor gave a few weeks ago regarding anxiety, which I also briefly mentioned in my last post. It turns out that this is a great Lenten mode of thinking, because the point of giving things up is to refill your life with something better, that brings you closer to God. Be intentional about what you choose to take out, and know the point of it. I know now that this anxiety is detracting from my relationship with God, so I’m letting it go. As our pastor said in his children’s message on Sunday, you can’t drink a mug of hot chocolate if the mug has something less delicious sitting in it. You have to pour it out and make the hot chocolate. In the zero degree temperatures of Minnesota, that sounds pretty nice. 🙂

In other news, I’m about to go abroad once again! A month from today, I will board a flight to Heathrow Airport and work in England for a week, including at a large bead show our company puts on. The flights have been finalized. And I will be taking a side trip to Berlin afterwards, just for a couple nights, before I return. I will be posting photos on my Instagram account ( whenever I get a chance. I’ll try and write on here too, in lieu of Facebook. I’m very excited and nervous. I’ll be bringing my German dictionary and reviewing all I learned in 3 semesters, so I can at least get by. We’ll see how that goes.

Here in Rochester, not much is new from my last post. I had an EXCELLENT birthday weekend, visiting Melissa, which involved playing with three cats, eating angel food cake and Pulla French toast, buying wine, and proofreading websites. And hearing Nordic Choir and LCSO on my actual birthday… still blown away. I’m active in my church’s music ministries and will be joining the Rochester Pops Orchestra next weekend. Work is still busy with all of our magazines. And somehow, I stay connected with my friends and family, wherever they are.

Here’s to a Lent of growth and reflection. See you on avenues other than Facebook. 🙂



Super Bowl Eve

Scrolling through my previous entries, it looks like I wrote a blog post on January 31, 2014. So why not do the same thing exactly a year later? I’m excited about the same thing as I was then: the Seahawks’ trip to the Super Bowl tomorrow! I actually got to follow their season from Seattle this year, surrounded by crazy 12s all the time, but once again, I’ll be watching the game from the Midwest. I’m pretty easy to spot here in Rochester because my car still has Washington plates and a 12th Man bumper sticker on the back. No one has to question whom I’m rooting for.

In all honesty, the Hawks have had a big impact on the Pacific Northwest as a whole. They bring us together and get us riled up about life. And I’m a huge fan of the team’s philosophy of staying positive and taking it one goal at a time. We all need to plan for the future, but forever is made up of little moments. If something isn’t going right, you can stop and fix it. You have time. Instead of saying “no,” find something to say “yes” to that will replace the thing you don’t want to be doing, and keep going. This was the topic of discussion at a forum at my church I went to last week, too, regarding anxiety. If we tell our minds not to do something, that doesn’t quell the desire to do it. But if we give it a positive command to do something else instead of the bad thing, we respond to that better. It sounds to me like a helpful method for dealing with addiction, but I’m no expert in that field. All I know is that it’s making a difference for me right now, as I work on becoming healthier and finding my way on my own in a new city.

I’ve been here a full month now, and every day has been an adventure. Work is going well – last week was rough with all of our deadlines and new things coming out, but we made it and are working towards the future. We’re working, too, on staying affirmative. I’m happy to be there every day and believe I made the right choice to work in the creative industry. Plus, I get to go on my first business trip to England in a month and a half! Ashdown holds a bead show in March or April each year, and I get to attend this one and learn more about the bead industry. And, I’ll visit another place in Europe for a couple days afterward. Right now I’m thinking that will be Berlin. 🙂

As I said, I’ve found a church out here as well. Thank goodness for that. I’m attending Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, just a few blocks from my house, singing with the choir and playing cello with a worship band. I’m not officially a member yet, but I’ll get there soon enough. The choir director is a Luther alum, so we tend to nerd out together. There are several other Luther alumni around as well. We’ll be out in full force a week from tomorrow, when the Nordic Choir comes to sing at our morning worship services! This was a lucky date choice – February 8 happens to be my birthday, and also the birthday of one of our pastors! Not to mention that night is the LC Symphony Orchestra’s Vienna Homecoming Concert on campus. Naturally I’ll be there. It’s hard to believe my luck sometimes.

Music-wise, besides church, I’ve found an orchestra out here, the Rochester Pops Orchestra. It’s a brand-new group that plays show tunes and things like that. It’s a new style to me but I’m excited. There are several Luther alumni in that group as well. I may also do some playing with the Austin Symphony, but I haven’t decided on that. I have a couple friends from Luther who are in the group. I had coffee with one of them today, actually. I drove down to Austin and chatted with her for a couple hours, reminiscing about LCSO, Vienna, and all that good stuff. I have a lot more in common with her than I realized, and I’m glad to have her as a resource. I had coffee with another friend last week, too, who drove down from the Twin Cities. I knew him from my English major activities, and he’s also a great friend and resource up that direction. I’ve enjoyed all of this. 🙂

The month has not been perfect, but I’ve already learned so much. I’m not doubting myself and am ready to keep experiencing Rochester. My heart is finally accepting that I’m not in college anymore and that it’s a good thing. The memories are good enough to be in the past now. I feel better than I have in a long time, being independent and trusting myself and knowing I’m loved. And that makes it easier to stay positive. Not to mention it prevents anxiety.

This week will be another good one at work, then on Saturday the 7th I’ll head up to the Twin Cities and visit my old roommate and good friend Melissa. I don’t know yet what we’re going to do but we shall see. I’m not terribly concerned – I will enjoy myself no matter what. 🙂

Until next time, which will be sooner rather than later… GO HAWKS!