Introducing Murphy

When I decided to quit my job in Kansas City and accept my current job in Baton Rouge, I would often answer the inevitable question of why I was quitting and moving across the country with a half truth – because I wanted a dog. It was only a half truth because I was truly miserable at my old job and was looking for any escape route but also because I wanted to be home enough to have relationships, including one with a dog.

I love block-headed dogs. Our family Labrador was block-headed and gorgeous. I also like unusual coloring like orange or blue or brindle. I was exposed to a wonderful lady who fosters dogs in Kansas City. You can read her blog at Our Waldo Bungie. She had an amazing pit bull named Moby who I adored. The timing wasn’t right for me and he ended up with his forever Mom – read their blog here. But I was hooked. I wanted a pit bull.

Insert new life in Baton Rouge – house, steady hours at the new job, and the pit stop rescue group. I’ve been looking at their adoptable dogs for several months now and decided to fill out the application last Friday. I was thinking this process would take a little while (read: a month or more) but it came back approved the same day! It was also good timing because they were having an adoption event on Sunday so my friend and I decided to go.

The original dog I was thinking of adopting wasn’t able to make the event which turned out to be quite alright. He is a little more high energy that what I really wanted. When we walked up, Murph was laying very still in a kennel and taking in the whole scene. He alternated raising his eyebrows are me when I would make eye contact – our old Lab used to do this and we called it the railroad crossing eyebrows because they look like the alternating blinking lights of a train crossing. We looked and played with several other dogs but I came back to Murphy.

I don’t know a lot about his past and maybe I never will but he is shy. In fact he is named after Audie Murphy, a famous WW2 army soldier because he army crawls to get around. I think I’m going to call him Murph – also after a heroic solider – this time Navy SEAL Michael Murphy. He must have had some terrible experiences on a leash in the past to be like this. He’s submissive, not aggressive and actually gets along with toddlers and other dogs quite well (both were at this event and he was giving kisses).

I was hooked.

murphy 2

We had the home visit yesterday afternoon and he is now on his 7 day sleepover with me! If all goes well (and I think it will), I will sign official adoption papers next week ๐Ÿ™‚

murphy 3murphy

Advertisements

2 years

Today is my two year anniversary at my current job. There were no celebrations, no congratulations, no real acknowledgement which, if you know me, I’m thankful for. I struggle with how to respond appropriately when people focus all the attention on me. Don’t get me wrong, I love working for that power and acceptance. I love sinning and manipulating and desiring that all the attention and focusing the world on me but I don’t know what to do with it when it happens.

Two years ago today I was a vastly different person. I think this is true of anyone who has ambition or seeks to live their life. No one wants to be stagnant for two years. Two years ago I thought I was solving all of my problems by switching companies. I was stuck in a job with people that I didn’t respect, who didn’t respect me, staring at the wall without work to be doing and without friends. I had been living in Kansas City for six months and didn’t know anyone. I went to bars and got drunk with some co-workers but we didn’t have conversations, we made fun of people in the room with us. Leading a double life meant I had built up walls that didn’t allow people to get to know me. My life was pretty empty.

I thought that changing the company on my paycheck would solve these issues. I thought the grass was greener on the other side. I thought working for a smaller company in the same line of work (and less pay) would give me more responsibility, authority, and respect. I thought another job would solve my emptiness problem. I thought another job would give me friends.

In God’s graciousness, it did, but not in the way that I was thinking. I do have a little more responsibility at the office. I am working in the field my college degree is in. I make enough money to live on and get to participate in some “extras” in life. I do have friends. My new job introduced me to people God strategically placed in my path at a time when I was so vulnerable. He knew (and continues to know) what I need most. He knew that I needed to start understanding His Grace and Love. and He knew that I wasn’t going to listen if things were going well in my life.

Two years ago tomorrow, I walked into a fall protection training class on my second day of work. I tried to sweet talk my way out of taking the class since I was pretty convinced I should be the one teaching it – I had been working at elevation in a harness for the last 10 months after all (can you say prideful?). We went around the room making introductions and the girl next to me got all excited when I said I went to Texas A&M. So had she. Little did I know then that she would become my friend, confidant, roommate, and introducer back to faith and the church.

For several months she asked me to join her at church. I refused. I had started showing up late and leaving early at various Presbyterian churches in KC but didn’t want to make the commitment. I finally agreed to go one Sunday with her so she would stop asking me. I’ve been at Redeemer Fellowship every Sunday I’ve been in KC since!

Two years ago today I was chasing idols with my career. I was dying, literally, for the job. I was a slave to it. Jesus died on the cross to drain the cup of wrath of all my idol chasing and other sins. God placed people and situations in my life for my good. He chased me from my old company to my new one to provide me with opportunities to get to know Him better. There are still plenty of times (each day) where work still has idol powers for me. I still get frustrated, respond out of hate, boast, gossip, slack off, and don’t focus on God but He is redeeming me to learn how to work like He works, to love how He loves.

My goal two years ago was to create a well known and respected reputation while making lots of money. My goals for the next two years are to show people the love of Christ while working in the oil and gas business. I would like to make a decent living that allows me to love people in Haiti and my local community well and provides opportunities to seek the Kingdom of God. I am blown away by the power and plan God has for me (and everyone). I am so thankful He guided me into making a company switch two years ago. I am looking forward to the next two years!

Antelope

20140312-105722.jpg

You don’t get trophies like this at a Daddy-Daughter Dance

This is Toad. He’s the antelope that I killed while hunting with my Dad last August. And he’s gorgeous!

Our family friend, whom we went antelope hunting with, and my Dad gifted him to me for Christmas in 2012. The whole experience was incredible! I never imagined I would get to go hunting with my Dad, much less get to shoot something, much less actually hit it, much less have it processed and stuffed to hang on the wall.

Antelope hunting was my Dad’s bucket list moment and I had the distinct honor of witnessing it first hand. When he put it on his bucket list at age 8, he never imagined he would experience it with his daughter either. I wouldn’t trade those three days in the middle of no where New Mexico with him for anything. These moments will be the moments I cling to when something happens to him.

My Dad and I never went to a Daddy-Daughter dance when I was growing up. I don’t really remember there being an option for us to do that and he worked really hard when I was little. Constant travel and papers to grade (he’s a college professor) meant I remember lots of time of him working at our dining room table in the evenings and running in at the last minute to my performances. We went to some concerts together (driving to Waco from Austin to see Pat Green and Keith Urban being one of the most memorable), watched UT women’s basketball games, and went to Bible Study together growing up.

We have a good relationship. He’s my sounding board, mentor for work, and protector. We just never really went dancing. Apparently daddy-daughter dances are big in the midwest/Kansas City because I’ve seen lots of them advertised around and lots of pictures of dad’s with their kids. It’s cute. Just not something I got to participate in as a child. Apparently they also give out trophies for be costume and dancing ability. I’d rather have this trophy!

Last week, I received a physical reminder of how lucky I am to have such an amazing father figure in my life. I managed to hang Toad all by myself in my bedroom (with a stud finder and drill) so I can wake up each day with this reminder on the wall. It’s also in my bedroom because my roomie may not have been as thrilled with our newest addition to the house as I am and she may or may not have thought he was giving her the eye in the living room. Either way, I’m happy that Toad found his place on my wall since the hunt already has a place in my heart ๐Ÿ™‚

Thanks Dad! I love you!

Re-entry into society

I’m struggling today (10/22)ย with re-entering into the American society that I was raised in and only left a week ago.

It’s interesting what will set you off. For me, it was the new toilet paper holders in the bathroom at work.

They are all shiny and chrome and exactly the same as the grey plastic ones they replace (except for the material of construction). It’s probably the shiny-ness that made me realize they are different.

The world is not shiny in Haiti. It is colorful. It is beautiful. It is painted. but mostly it’s grey and well loved. How can my company justify replacing the toilet paper holder when the others are perfectally useable when there are people, children, that are not receiving an opportunity to have an education or worse, are starving to death? How do I sit in my desk at my office, cold from the air conditioning, when there are people in Haiti that need help? When my heart is pulling me back to the monetarially poorest country in the world?

God puts people exactly where He wants them. He has placed me in Kansas City. He has blessed me with a comfy chair and a cubical all to myself. Lord, I am thankful. I am thankful for my job. I am thankful for the heartarche. I am thankful for Haiti.

It helps that the people I went on the trip with have started posting in social media. I get the notifications on my phone. My thoughts turn to when they will be done posting and my life with be completely consumed by my to-do list and work obligations. When they have drifted back into their American-paced existence.

I pray that Haiti would be on my mind everyday for the rest of my life. I pray that I cannot do anything with my life that doesn’t consider God and Haiti. I know that I do not have the ability to remember them as much as I want to. I need God’s help. I am a sinner. because of that fact, yes fact, I will fall short of my desire to focus on the Lord and His will. Lord please help me.

Update 10/25:

I’ve blogged a tremendous amount since I’ve been in Haiti and will hopefully share some more of those posts in the coming days with you. I am back into the office pace now. I am thankful that it is Friday. and I am thankful for having a hard time adjusting. That sounds silly but as I apologize for being tired, itchy, or slightly-out-of-it to my co-workers, bosses, and vendors, I get to talk about Haiti.

Last time I went, my grandmother passed away while I was in Haiti so homecoming brough black dresses, funeral arrangements, and a 5-day marathon weekend in Georgia that culminated in surgery for my brother. My life swept Haiti under the rug. God has brought it out and hung it above the mantel this time. I don’t have anywhere to hide. and I like it.

 

“I was wrecked. Since returning home, my whole center of gravity is off – God is recreating who I am. It is clear there’s no going back on this deal. God just keeps pulling you forward and pulling you in.” – “Ruined for the Average” a book by the Global Orphan Project

Unreal.

My life is so unreal. It’s so hard for me to believe that “average” 26 year olds have life as good as I do. Yes, I’ve been through heartbreak. Yes, I’ve been through death and burial. Yes, I have medical problems. Yes, I work. And. Yes, I am single.

But.

I have so much. and I’m a brat. Let me give you a life lesson from my week this week.

I went to Haiti (again) to hug babies (please read my last blog post on hugging babies here). Our team got home at 1am Tuesday morning, I put in a 13 hour workday followed by dinner with my gospel community Tuesday night, 9 hours of working Wednesday, and 10 hours of sleep last night before flying to Houston for the day for a 1:30pm meeting with my vendor. (That makes me tired just typing it all out but it’s all the truth).

I’m currently at 40,000ft (actually the pilot said top cruising altitude will be 32,000 but I like the expression so we’re sticking with it). It’s 4:42pm and I’m supposed to still be in Houston Texas. I’m supposed to be in Houston Texas until 6:30pm but my life is unreal.

My meeting (singular, I don’t understand how I became important enough to have to fly somewhere for a single meeting but I’m here) was over at 3:15pm. I drove to the airport while checking to see if there was an earlier flight I could be on. There were three choices but only one would get me to KC earlier than my direct flight at 6:30.

Security line was 300+ people long but I have the fly-by lane with Southwest so that was a 7 minute process.

3:51pm. At the gate for the flight that leaves at 4:10pm, stops in Dallas, no plane change, land in KC at 7:05pm. Standby line is 30 people long according to the gate agent. I ask her to go ahead and put me on the line. She says she will but that she only have 6 opens seat, the odds are not good, but standby the desk to see.

About thirty five seconds later she calls my name, hands me a boarding pass, and tells me to have a nice flight. I thank her for making my day. She thanked me for flying Southwest over a 100 flight segments this year.

Now, I’m squished about five rows from the back of the plane, at a window seat (yay!!), on my way to Dallas with wifi. I’m happy. and then I start thanking God. It’s His world. Having crazy flight status with Southwest Airlines should not define me. It should not define my relationships. or my world view. (well maybe it does define my view of the world but not my world view (if that makes sense)).

I have an amazing life.

You have an amazing life.

I promise you that you do. But it’s not me that makes that promise. It’s God. He is in control.

I’m in a position that has (some) power and a lot of responsibility. I have flight status. I have freedom. This all comes from an education, a family, positive upbringing, and ultimately all of those things come from God. How crazy is it that He has chosen to bless me (and you!).

He does all things for His Glory and I pray that He would also bless me with the ability and perspective to see His Glory myself. I should not boast of my flight status. It shouldn’t matter. I should boast of The Lord God Almighty who has sent His Son to save me from my sins and sends The Holy Spirit to direct my life and fill it with blessings.

So thank you God. Thank you for being in the mundane moments of my life. Thank you for a good meeting. Thank you for patience. Thank you for my job. Thank you for the view out my window. and Thank you for this amazing, ridiculous, incredible life you give me everyday.