Monthly Archives: May 2012

Seattle: Come Rain or Come Shine–Sunday

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Sunday

What to do with your first Sunday in a new place?

In a past incarnation of myself I would have done a ton of research, made some calls, and done a bunch of leg work to find a church to try out.

But this version of me…the one who is in a deep, peaceful, and evolving love relationship with God…hopped in the car and went on the lookout for some water to put my toes in and a quiet place to think. I found both.

I also spent some of that time finishing The Four Agreements and thinking about each of the agreements in relation to my faith, my current place in life, and my seeker’s heart. For those who haven’t read this small guide by

Be Impeccable With Your Words
Don’t Take Anything Personally
Don’t Make Assumptions
Always Do Your Best

(There is so much I could say about these that I’ll save for another time. I want to re-read the book another time and digest it some more.)

From there I joined some new friends for an organic home church experiment that they are trying on Sunday afternoons. It warmed my heart to see these sincere, intelligent, warm people as they work through what they feel they are being called from and called to. I was touched by their deep desire to ask the important questions and to move clearly in the direction of following Jesus…and putting aside the doctrine that has hampered their pursuit freedom in the past.

Then it was dinner with a couple girlfriends. Yummy Vegan food, laughter, and good conversation. Never a bad combo.

The questions on my mind after such a day include:

  • What does my faith need in this new place to continue to grow while not giving up the glorious freedom from structure, patriarchy, and the business of church that I’ve fought so hard for these past 2 years?
  • What would life look like if I could stop making assumptions and asked better questions to gain understanding of what people thing? Would this be the trick to not taking things personally for me?
  • How do I stop telling myself old stories and write new ones?
  • Why do I have such a strong distrust and fear of commitment with anything related to church? (Uh…I can answer that one but I want deeper answers than the totally obvious ones that all of us know!)
  • What’s next?

I’m the only person who can answer these questions in my life. You are the only person who can ask yourself these (or similar) questions. Just going to keep thinking, asking, and answering!

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Seattle: Come Rain or Come Shine–First Days

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It’s Thursday and I’m taking a break from the reading of documentation to post a little something here to catch folks up on my first few days at Amazon.

Day 1–
Apparently every day is Day 1 at Amazon.
The premise is that each day is a fresh start. There are even two buildings called Day 1. Day 1 North and Day 1 South. Good thing they added the directions or else no one would know what Day it is!

On my first day I spent half the day in orientation. Remember…I’m a start-up girl. Orientation at a start up usually entails signing some paperwork and being shown to your desk. Even at Gap, new employee orientation was me and 4 other people..and it was a month after I’d started. This was like being a college freshman again. There were at least 100 people in the room. All different job levels, ages, ethnicities, etc. The number of men was significantly higher than women…but heck…I was just glad to not be the ONLY woman in the room.

I made two friends at Orientation. I met Adrienne on the elevator trying to find our way to the right place. We bonded over being new in Seattle with curly hair. Tim was at my table and caught my snarky mumbled comment about something and smiled. Then later he said something snarky himself and directed at me to see if I’d respond. Of course no snark ever goes unappreciated in my presence so we were instant friends. I then introduced my two friends to each other and now the three of us are having drinks soon. We are all in entirely different areas of the company and each of us is moving from a different part of the country (Denver/Chicago/NYC) so that helps. They don’t have friends so how can they turn me down. 🙂 haha!

The other main thing of note on Day 1 would be the guy who shuffled a deck of cards throughout orientation. He just shuffled the deck. Over and over. While the instructor taught the orientation. Oddly enough he looked at me like I was the crazy person when he caught me staring at him. Terrific. Even the freaky people think I’m freaky!

Day 2–
The day I lovingly refer to as “What the hell have I done?” day!

On day 2 the self doubt set in and I started to wonder what I’d done. I mean here I was. Sitting in a corner cubicle with no one to talk to, no foot traffic to even make sure I was alive, and nothing to do but read documentation. Oh…and it is freaking COLD in here. Sometime that day I exchanged emails with my sweet friend Mark from IPC followed by fighting back tears (I didn’t cry!…Yet) because I was concerned I’d made a mistake leaving my friends. I mean really…I KNOW I didn’t make a mistake…but I do miss my friends. And let’s face it…to go from being a bit of a princess in the office to being the new girl was a rude awakening. Like I said in my Facebook status…the only way I know how to describe this feeling is that empty feeling you got as a kid at camp or a sleepover where you wanted desperately to go home, knew you couldn’t, and mostly knew that you’d have fun soon. That is the feeling from Day 2.

I was tired, lonely, and a tad bit bored. All things that happen when you start a new job. I didn’t have enough to do or really anyone to talk to for WEEKS at IPC…but it’s funny how I blocked that part out.

Day 3–
Leah get’s her groove back…if only Taye Diggs was part of this summary!

At the very end of Day 2 my boss asked me to help him on something. I was so eager to do SOMETHING…ANYTHING…that I of course went all out on providing him feedback on something he probably considered fairly minor. Deep information, perfect email formatting, and opinion sent early on Day 3. Then…crickets….

Later another person…the only other person I’ve officially met this week…came by and we had a long chat about how the industry handles this certain element.

When my boss (who seriously needs a nickname) came by later he said “You already have a fan club just based on your email response and two conversations!” I just laughed and he said “Seriously. You are going to fit in here very nicely. The fact that you didn’t hesitate to wade in and give this team guidance is EXACTLY what we need you for.”

Take a hike Self-Doubt…there is no room for you and me both in this office!

Day 4–
And now we are current…

Nothing exciting has happened today. More reading. More guidance where I can offer it. The fact that I could have worn the same damn outfit every day this week and NO ONE would have known tells you just how much social interaction I’ve had. Just saying!

But…I’ve heard some rumblings from Denver that are confirming and validating that I have made the right move at the right time. Again…I already know that in my heart but it never hurts to be reminded!

One more thing…there are some real social oddballs here. One girl stands too close to me in the kitchen. One group of devs just stop talking when anyone enters the room…even though they are not speaking English and nobody cares what they are talking about (and by nobody I mean me). The girl in the bathroom who stepped in FRONT of me to look at herself in the mirror was interesting. As is the freaky doll in the Kindle building that is just staring at me all day. Not to be outdone, the guy who sits behind me who has yet to acknowledge my existence or his friend the loud-talker who has a dog with bows in her hair are also interesting. (The dog has acknowledged me…but it could be the petting or the snacks that forced her hand.)

Have I mentioned how much I LOVE social odd balls?!? Give me a close-talker and a card-shuffler any day over a regular old sales guy!

More to come…

 

Seattle: Come Rain or Come Shine–The Adventure Begins…

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It’s raining in Seattle. I hear it does that from time to time.

I’ve been in my new hometown for 3 days now. My dear friend Linda, the kits, and I arrived Thursday afternoon and have been enjoying the city ever since. The last week has felt a bit like a holiday. We took our time getting to Seattle from Denver. We enjoyed good meals, decent hotels, and had a visit from Linda’s delightful sister Dalene from Vancouver over the weekend. Having Linda here made the transition so much easier and far more fun than had I done the trip alone. I still find it so amazing to have been blessed yet again in life with such a dear sweet best friend. I have been granted a few “best” friends and continue to be so grateful for the gift of their friendship.

Corporate Housing is nice. It has everything we need though the kits and I are equally eager to be surrounded by our own things. Being near the water is lovely. I am after all, a water-baby at heart. I love being near the water in any form but knowing the ocean is nearby has a wonderfully calming effect. (I’m already planning trips in my head to sit somewhere cozy near the water and get some actual writing done.) It is so lovely to sit on the sofa and see a cruise ship, a ferry, or a sail boat go slowly by the window.

For those of you who are concerned, the kits are doing very well. My darling little travelers are comfortable in the corporate housing. As I said they know they are not home because none of our things are here. Noises make them nervous and Mal is hell-bent on scratching up a chair. But they are eating, sleeping, and safe. It is MUCH better for all of us than the 4 weeks we were without each other during my move to Denver. What a miserable time that was for the 3 of us. This, though stressful for them on some level, is nothing like being without each other for that long. As I type they are in the hallway wrestling…which will soon turn into a mad run all over the apartment. 🙂

I feel such relief to have found an amazing place to live within days of being here. I get keys Friday and this week will plan when I can actually do the move in. I’m so excited to get settled so quickly and be able to focus on the job.

As for the job…

I start tomorrow. I have the feeling of a kid on the night before their first day of kindergarten. I’m nervous and excited, eager and slightly afraid. All emotions which I think are appropriate and beneficial for what I’m about to walk in to. I imagine the first week will go quickly and I’ll do a lot of following and listening. I am grateful for the 3 day weekend coming up to try to get some things done and wander the city a bit more. There are many more vegan/vegetarian restaurants that need exploring! 🙂

More this week…xoxo to each of my readers.

Seattle:Come Rain or Come Shine–Road Trip Day 3

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We started Day 3 in the lovely town of Missoula, Montana. Home of beauty, nice shops, and my ex Jerod.

After a rocky night of sleep for me…I was wired going to bed from the night before…we got up to start our day. I texted Jerod about grabbing some coffee together as I suggested the night before. After waiting over an hour I finally gave up on his responding and Linda and I headed to breakfast. Imagine my surprise when I got a text that said “Are you having trouble finding the place?” Uh….what place? Apparently he had texted me back but I hadn’t received it and now he was waiting for me in a coffee shop a couple blocks away and had been for about 35 minutes. Because Linda is a WONDERFUL friend she let me ditch her on the spot and run to the coffee shop to meet him. 🙂

After a really great catch up talk we parted ways…again.

Linda and I then drugged up the kits and hit the road for Day 3 of our driving adventure. Again it was a day of discussing deep things of our hearts that needed to be spoken. It was philosophy at its finest as each of us tried to verbalize where we are in our walk with God and our desire to just live out the love of Christ to others instead of being bringers of doctrine and judgement. Of course we also talked more about men and sex. Did I mention we didn’t leave Missoula without doing some more shopping (I came away with 2 new scarves and a handbag…neither of which was necessary but all of which were strongly desired). I then answered email while Linda wandered a thrift store. We both wished the darling Mrs. Koski was with us on this trip at various intervals during the day. Perhaps the most beautiful part of the day was our stop at the scenic vista to look at the Columbia River Gorge and all the beauty and power therein.

Several people have commented that we could have done this trip in less time and I know that full well. But why?? Why push ourselves or the cats any harder than 7 hours a day? The hotels are paid for. I can’t get into Corporate housing until 3PM Thursday. And there was no point in making each day exhausting when we could just do this leisurely and treat it like a holiday. 

We finished the night in Ellensberg, Washington which is only slightly over 100 miles from Seattle. Again I realize we could have easily finished the swing and stayed in Seattle last night but I can’t get into Corporate Housing until 3PM. I also relished the idea of a slow morning before the excitement starts and love the thought of a final short drive taking me into my new hometown.

The cats have become quite content to be on this trip. They sleep in their palatial doggy crate during the day, talking to us occasionally, looking out the window any time we stop and give them fresh air. And each evening the prowl the hotel room, smelling everything, and ultimately find a window seat and sit in it. Each night they pick a bed…usually Linda’s in protest of sleeping with me since this trip is MY FAULT…and we all crash for the night. Last night they wrestled for the first time all week so I know they are OKAY!

Oh..I almost forgot to mention that we dined at The Yellow Church Cafe which is an old Lutheran Church renovated into a restaurant in Ellsenberg. The pasta was delicious, the wine was delightful, but the atmosphere was priceless!!

Yesterday was the first time that the true reality of what I am doing set in. I mean..I’ve known all along I was moving myself to Seattle. But yesterday it just hit me like a ton of bricks that I don’t know anything about Seattle and that this is a true adventure in the grandest style. And all I could do was smile.

And yet on the adventure I feel surrounded by love and lovelies. Zach and Sara, Tim and Cheryl are less than 3 hours away in Portland. Cara and Stephen are a ferry ride away on their BC Blueberry Farm (and such…). Jerod is a days drive to the east in the friendly mountain town that I’ve somehow fallen for. Vancouver, a city I have always adored, is to the north.

How could this be anything but right?

 

Seattle: Come Rain or Come Shine–Road Trip Day 2

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We left this morning from Sheridan, Wyoming with our longest driving day ahead of us. A mere 475 miles to Missoula, Montana. As avid road trippers we could push harder and do 10 or even 12 hour stretches but why? This feels much more like a holiday and since the trip is on the company and the minimum mileage is 350 miles a day…why not enjoy a few days of wandering.

Montana is gorgeous. I’ve always heard that but sheesh….so many different parts of the drive just took my breath away.

This morning we enjoyed an hour or so of “Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk” by David Sedaris followed by some nice Christian music and some blues. Mostly Linda and I just talked. We talked about our lives, our spiritual gifts, and we talked boys and sex. Well…I did…and she enjoyed my stories I think. 🙂 It is so good to travel with a friend that I can be silly with one minute and then have a deep meaningful discussion with next. Particularly after 10 months without a single soul that I really felt I could just talk girl talk with.

We arrived in Missoula in early afternoon. Our room overlooks a river and we strolled along enjoying the scenery. We then wandered a couple of streets in downtown Missoula including a paper store (HEAVEN for a couple of writers!) and a shop where the earrings were $5 each and we nearly DIED from the variety. 

In case anyone is wondering…the kits did wonderfully. They seemed to have resigned themselves to my crazy wanderings. They slept a great deal of the day on only a mild sedative. Compared to yesterday’s crazy crying, they were very calm and quiet. In the room tonight they were very calm and hardly hid at all. They are such amazing travelers and are a delight to talk to on the trip because they are so responsive and calm.

The topper of the night was dinner at Caffe Dolce. The wine was amazing. The rosemary bread was to die for. And the Wine Director was more handsome at 33 than he was at 26 when I last was in love with him. Someone please explain to me why men get more gorgeous the older they get? My emotions went all over the place seeing him after all these years. To be clear…this wasn’t just *some* ex boyfriend. I loved deeply and was loved well by this darling man. It was good to see him in his element. Happy. Healthy. And did I mention GORGEOUS! 🙂 He was so attentive and sweet with us…selecting out wine for us and bringing us two amazing, rare samples that were not on the menu but he just really wanted us to try.

He and I are having coffee tomorrow alone to catch up.

Tomorrow it’s 418 miles to Ellensburg, WA. We will not be in a hurry. I will have coffee with an old flame. Linda may need to shop a bit in a store that was closed. Arrival in Ellensburg not any sort of rush situation. Again…I love Linda for just going with the craziness of my “holiday road trip”.

On the job front…I miss my IPC coworkers dearly. I’ve thought about them and what they are doing repeatedly these last 2 days. I’ve been told by a couple that I too am missed. Which, for better or worse, does my heart good. 🙂

Amazon is on the horizon. By this time next week I will have 2 days under my belt. I’m not nervous…though I imagine that may still set in later. We shall see.

More tomorrow!!
Love from MANtana…were I have yet to see an ugly man! 🙂

Seattle:Come Rain or Come Shine–Road Trip Day 1

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Denver is in my rear view mirror. It was a very long 10+ months and I am glad to be onto a new adventure.

With that said I know that it hasn’t hit me how much I’m going to miss my Denver friends. I got an email today from Mr. Zen that reminded me that I am missed and that in return I miss he and others. I don’t give up my friends easily and that is why I have them all over the US and some parts of the world. I find it impossible to give up my interest in those dear to me. And while Denver has not been dear to me, some of her people have been.

And still…Denver is in my rear view mirror. 

My sweet friend Linda flew in from Albuquerque to be my road trip buddy on this journey. She is a well-traveled South African who came to the states by way of London. (For those of you who have heard me speak of it, her’s is the wedding I performed last October.) She and I are up front while Malcolm and Rose are “happily” situated in the back seat in their palatial dog crate together. Rose did the most talking…sometimes complaining…but mostly just joining in the conversation here and there. Mal was his usual loveable lug of a kitty and mostly just lounged while enjoying his sedative high. I continue to believe that Mal was a stoner in a past life as it so fits his profile. Rose on the other hand was probably a high-strung, slightly OCD, evangelical preacher’s daughter in a past life. 

Or wait…maybe that was me??

Anyhow…tonight we are at a clean and comfortable hotel in Sheridan, Wyoming. My plan is to do about 7 to 8 hours a day for 3 days and then on Thursday we’ll take our time on the last couple hour stretch to Seattle since I can’t get into the Corporate Housing until 3 PM. Tomorrow night is a stop in Missoula, MT. The thrill of tomorrow’s stop will be eating dinner at an ex-boyfriends restaurant. Not just ANY ex-boyfriend. THE ex-boyfriend.

Today we didn’t take any pictures…although we probably should have. It was more about just getting on the road, finding a groove, chatting, and keeping an eye on the kits.

More tomorrow…

PS–No, I am not nervous. No, I am not anxious. Yes, I am excited. Yes, I am looking forward to getting to Seattle. And YES…I know it rains a lot there. 😉

Finishing Well

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I’m not a quitter.

I believe in finishing things well. I also believe in leaving things in better condition than how you found them.

I have been the boss who is left hanging by bad employees. I have been the lover who is left with things unexplained. I have been the friend who doesn’t know what happened in the relationship when the friend stops calling or coming around.

Over the last 2+ years I have (am?) learned the hard way that just because I do all you can to finish well, I cannot control what others do. Today this lesson has hit me hard and deep…

• I cannot control what other people say about me

• I cannot control if others, even those I respect, have a very cold reaction to my decisions

• There is nothing I can do to change the fact that human nature is to blame the person who isn’t around…even if she had no say in the decision or even tried to get a different decision made

• I cannot doubt myself simply because others do. Their beliefs about my intentions are not and should not be as important as my own

• I will not regret my choices simply because there are those who can’t grasp or fathom them. They are after all, not in my head and not responsible for my next steps

• Those who do not have my work ethic or my integrity will not be allowed to cast aspersions on my character in my presence. I will defend my own honor and in so doing point out that while they may be ungrateful sloths…I am not

What I can do is give my best effort to everything before me and let my integrity speak for itself. I can smile with kindness at those who don’t understand or who are hurt by my choices. I will offer peace and grace with my words and actions. And in the end I will walk with my head held high into the next season of my life…carrying with me all the good, taking with me important lessons learned, & leaving all the rest behind in silent submission to the inevitable…change.