That one time I worked in marketing.

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Last year I packed up my bags and headed West to the Lone Star State (read more about that here, here, and here). And what an adventure it was. I moved with a pocketful of dreams, but no real game plan (great idea in theory; terrifying in execution).

Graciously, my former boss in Nashville allowed me to continue my job remotely as a contract worker, so I had fairly consistent work my first two months in Dallas. In fact, my day-to-day work routine did not change at all with the exception of locale. But by giving up my full-time job and going contract, I also gave up some significant benefits (read: health insurance). Lucky for me, I was 25 at the time and could go back on my parent’s insurance until I turned 26 (thanks Mom and Dad!).

Those first few months in Dallas were equal parts hard and wonderful, as many of the best things in life are. But, with my birthday quickly approaching (reminder: 26 = no more insurance), I decided it was time to do some serious job searching. It felt like I applied for thousands of jobs, and yet, no one was super jazzed about hiring a 25-year-old Bible study editor. Shocker.

I finally got an interview with a company based in Ft. Worth, which was a whopping 45 minutes away with no traffic. I decided to go to the interview “for practice” only.

Fast forward a week. I was running at White Rock Lake and having a very honest conversation with God that basically looked like me questioning if He was really taking care of me. Real talk: I was apartment-less, soon to be job + insurance-less, and had also broken up with a guy the day before. Life felt tough that day. But as I ran, I was reminded of how God had taken care of me thus far. He had completely orchestrated my move to Dallas in beautiful and brilliant ways. He had never let me down. The amount of instant peace that comes with realizing God’s sovereignty is humbling, is it not?

As I walked to my car after my run, I mindlessly checked my email and up popped an offer letter from the company in Ft. Worth. And the projected start date for this position? Oh, that would be the same day my publishing work/insurance was over. God gave me exactly what I needed when I needed it.

That being said, I wasn’t very excited to work in a) marketing; and b) Ft. Worth, but God had given me a job when I needed one…so, I took the position. And you know what’s even better, God knew the job at the church—a dream job of mine—would become available a few months later. This job in marketing was the perfect in-between gig that I needed for that season.

Looking back on my short 6 month career in marketing, I can honestly say it was such a gift. I met some amazing people, learned a thing or two about patience, and also grew professionally. In fact, it was very bittersweet when I realized that my time at that company was coming to a close. I knew God was leading me to take the position at the church, but there were so many good things that had come out of my brief stint in Ft. Worth. In hindsight, I’m just deeply grateful for that short time.

Oh, and just for humor’s sake, I found some notes the other day from my first few weeks on the job. My total ignorance made me laugh, so hopefully it will have the same impact on you…

Day 2: “I have no idea what my job is. I also have no idea what this company that just employed me does.”

Day 4: “I am deathly scared of sales guy Stephen. He’ll probably make an appearance in a bad dream of mine at some point.”

Day 7: “I still have no clue what I’m doing.”

Day 8: “My boss is a tiny, brilliant homeschooler who is way younger than me. I liken her to a Disney animated animal. One of the virtuous ones.”

Day 11: “Joe is the most ‘Joe’ Joe I’ver ever met. His name completely suits him. (P.S. I think Joe is cool.)

Day 11: “The guy in the office who looks like Clark Kent from afar looks even more like Clark Kent up close. Also, there’s a girl here who looks like Luna Lovegood and a guy who looks like Moses in the Prince of Egypt.”

Day 16: “Someone please tell me it’s possible to bounce back after accidentally winking at a male co-worker.”

(That last one still makes me cringe.)

KAT
Currently listening to “O Love That Will Not Let Me Go” by Indelible Grace

A Perspective on Makeup.

Whether you’re rolling your eyes at the title of this blog post or thinking Yay! Makeup talk!, chances are you have an opinion on the oh-so-popular beauty enhancer.

We use makeup to play up favorite features, to hide those pesky blemishes, to make us feel older or younger or just all-around better.

I have a history with makeup, and I’ll bet you do too.

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(Not my makeup. Or my picture.)

I always saw my mother as a natural beauty when I was a child. She wore little makeup, perhaps throwing on a little blush for rosiness or mascara for effect. Makeup wasn’t a big part of her routine, so I assumed it wouldn’t carry much weight in my life either.

Well, around the ripe ol’ age of 13, acne made an appearance on my forehead and suddenly makeup seemed like a good option. From late middle school through high school, I used concealer to cover bumps and foundation to even out redness caused by harsh topical skin treatments. I felt confident—so long as I wore makeup.

Through my college years and beyond, makeup was simply part of the routine. Though acne became less of a struggle, I was not used to having a bare face. In fact, I often felt uncomfortable to be seen without makeup.

Isn’t that silly? Makeup is such a simple thing, yet I gave it a lot of power in my life.

Fast forward to 2016, and my new years resolution was to try something new every month. I attempted tennis, poaching eggs (to make my beloved eggs benny), and starting a book club, among other things. But when June rolled around, I had just begun a new job and relationship, so I figured my quota for “new” had already been met for the month. But then an unexpected moment of being seen makeup-free changed my mind. In this encounter, I remember being truly embarrassed for being caught au naturel—not my proudest moment. So I decided right then and there that June would be my month of going makeup-free.

I picked one day of the week to wear makeup (Sunday), and then decided that there would be no more than sunscreen and moisturizer on this mug of mine for the rest of the week.

In my makeup-free month, I realized two things:

  1. I like going makeup-free sometimes and have learned to feel just as confident without it as I do with it. (Though I want to emphasize that this is a learned trait; it’s not inherent. To be confident is often no more than a choice that is made.)
  2. I like makeup. I realized that I enjoy playing up certain features, like high cheek bones or long lashes. Though I certainly wear less makeup than I used to, it’s still a small part of my daily routine, and I’m ok with that.

During the month of June, only two people commented on my bare-faced self…and both were boys. Interestingly enough, both preferred me with no makeup. My favorite comment from one of those friends was, “you just look more real.”

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Makeup-free, the way to be. #POET

Again, there is nothing wrong with makeup. I wear it most days and enjoy it. But I never want to get to the point where my worth depends on it again.

I’d love to hear from you. What has been your history with makeup? What’s your current philosophy on it?

KAT
Currently listening to “When the Stars Go Blue” by Ryan Adams

D is for Dallas

Well, the move happened, and Dallas brought the HEAT. Don’t believe me?

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Thanks, old friend, for the warm welcome (PUN).

Man, it feels good to be back. But it also feels strange to be as un-busy as I currently am. Moving like I did (without a job, home, plan) is just about as freeing as it is terrifying. I have a whole lot of time to do stuff, but so very little to do. So, I’ve explored.

The CRV is doing serious work taking me to all sorts of new Dallas sites, like Oak Cliff, where I indulged in some JOY (also known as delicious macaroons):

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Also part of the exploration was Deep Ellum, the trendy neighborhood where I felt entirely uncool:

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I went to White Rock Lake yesterday at…ehh, let’s just call it dusk, and I kept thinking, how am I so blessed to live here? I tell you, that White Rock Lake is one spectacular landmark. But it’s not just the lake—I’ve had that overwhelming feeling of gratitude a lot this week…when I drive past a Taco Cabana, when I shop at a Central Market, when I take a detour down Axton Lane (a pretty gray house on that street was my very first home). Dallas feels like a part of me, and I haven’t felt this “at home” in a while. Now, I know that no place on earth is my real home, but if I have to live in a temporary one for now, I’m sure glad it’s the big D.

Also cool has been how God has provided since being here. I have a place to live for a bit while I get my footing here, and it’s with my aunt who’s a really neat lady! I have contract work with my old publishing house that should get me through financially until October! A few dear friends have passed through Dallas and I’ve gotten to grab dinner with them—sometimes there’s nothing better than sharing a meal with a friend who knows you well! I went to a church and liked it!

How ’bout all those exclamations in that last paragraph? I’m grateful.

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KAT

Currently listening to “Dime Store Cowgirl” by Kacey Musgraves

Adios, Nashville (Year 1)

Ah, moving. Brings out the sentimentalist in a gal—and the realization that I have some serious hoarder tendencies. (I told a co-worker just last week that moving wouldn’t be too difficult because “I’m a minimalist.” Kids, take that as a lesson that when you try to be all breezy and superior, you usually end up just being wrong and dumb.)

One of the pack-rat items that I should get rid of are old journals. Man, oh man, to be reminded of thoughts from when I was 16 is cool and terrifying all at the same time. After a little internal debate, I decided that I just can’t get rid of those memories. So fasten your seatbelts, journals, you’re moving to Dallas too.

Each of the three years I’ve lived in Nashville have been so different and growing. And thanks to these new-found journals (it really is a wonder the things to be found under one’s bed), I’ve been able to relive some of the highs and lows during my time in this city. So, I decided to share one journal entry from each year. Some may be funny. Some may be sad. Some may be prayers. But I think it’s a beautiful thing to remember and take joy in the journey. Enjoy…

YEAR 1: FIRST YEAR OUT OF COLLEGE: MOVED TO NASHVILLE WITH NO JOB/HOME/FRIENDS: AGE 22-23: 2012-2013

July 6th 2013
Here’s what you’ve missed (so freakin’ much): 
1) That “no-makeup in June” thing lasted a weekend. Not exaggerating. I’m sure my complete failure says a million bad things about my character/self-esteem, but frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.
2) Ericka’s wedding in Nebraska was the highlight of my summer. It was so fun and so great to be back with people who really know me. Missed my pals. Missed those wide-open spaces. It felt like home.
3) On Monday I started having really intense menstrual cramps and passed out at work. Sweet Miriam, whose office I passed out in, called 911, and some friendly EMT dudes wheeled me out on a stretcher to Baptist Hospital. If you were to categorize this story, it would be in the folder labeled “Worst Young Adult Ever.” 
4) It’s been a bad week. And a hard year.
5) I thought I was moving in with roommates this year, but it’s not so certain now. I’m ready to have community and accountability, but God is in control.
6) I haven’t been treating God like God lately. He’s been a back-burner thought. I’ve been so stupid. I need the Lord so, so badly. I don’t want to even imagine a life without Him, yet I’ve been ignoring Him for a while. I’m prideful. I’m selfish. I’m oh, so human. I’m sorry, Father. I need You for everything. 

Well, there you have it. Year one. It was a doozy and a character-builder. If I’m being honest, it wasn’t filled with super fun stories or exciting new experiences. If anything, I remember being really scared that first year—like all the time. And super broke. And deeply lonely. But there were also amazing blessings, like my first apartment. Oh, how I loved that place. Best case scenario for a Craigslist find. Another positive was realizing I was tougher than I thought (a valuable lesson that is absolutely terrible to learn). So cheers to you, Year One. Here are some pictures, because nostalgia is nothing without pictures. (And in case you’re wondering, yes, I really did pass out at my job due to menstrual cramps.) SAM_0019 IMG_0674 photo-3 IMG_0951 IMG_0971 IMG_1088IMG_1259 IMG_1862 IMG_1864 IMG_2082 IMG_2087That last picture has a story. Went for a lunchtime walk; started pouring outside; turns out yellow cotton is see-through when wet. Although my dress didn’t photograph sheer, IT WAS. So, I sucked up my pride (and sucked in my stomach, because sheer dress!!!) and ran as fast as I could to my 4th floor office, only encountering a few unfortunate souls along the way.

Kat

Currently listening to “New Slang” by The Shins

Quittin’ Time

I quit my job this past week.

This job, my first out of college, was good to me. I learned a lot about maturity, integrity, and confidence. It was an environment that was gracious to me when I failed (and fail I did—especially that first year) and it allowed me opportunities other publishing houses wouldn’t give a green recent grad.

But the time has come. The ol’ Lone Star state is calling my name, and you just don’t say no to Texas. Thus, I quit my first job and am moving to Dallas in four short weeks.

Though “moving on” is a normal and often healthy part of life, I still struggled with the idea of quitting. My job is unique in that I’m not just an Editor; I’m an Editor of Sunday School curriculum. I am in ministry, of sorts.

Let me tell you, I’ve wrestled with quitting this ministry/job for a while. I desperately want to do what God wants me to do, but sometimes that path is “clear as mud,” as these Tennesseans would say. Ultimately, I realize that the gospel being shared isn’t riding on the fact that I am an Editor of Sunday School curriculum, and the Lord placed a neat opportunity in my lap to move near family. I prayed about it, and though still unclear, God didn’t ever tell me no. If anything, things just worked out. I know He is sovereign and will be with me regardless of where I land. And so, I quit.

Because very few people knew I was quitting, I didn’t have a lot of friends to confide in before the official announcement to my bosses. I have the people-pleasing tendencies of a golden retriever, so naturally, I was a nervous wreck. So what did I do? Well, I closed my office door and apparently channeled my inner Kim Kardash. I think the official selfie equation goes something like this:

Ball of Nerves + No one to talk it out with =

Documenting the moment with selfies

In theory, I am against the selfie trend. But I just had to show someone my anxiety, and I’m sorry to say: that someone is you.

Oh, and I might have listened to “Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys to boost my lacking confidence. You remember how I said I learned maturity through my time in the workforce the past few years…just scratch that.

Selfie #1. Sadly, the most respectable of the bunch. I think it says something along the lines of “I’m pretending to be excited, but I’m really just scared and have crazy eyes.”

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Selfie #2. Probably the most accurate photo to what I was actually feeling in that moment, which was that I had to go to the bathroom and wanted to cry.

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Selfie #3. And the “holy cow, I’m about to quit my job” mirror selfie. New low.

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So here’s to ends. and beginnings. and in betweens. So grateful for the journey thus far.

KAT

Currently listening to “My Girls” by Animal Collective