Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Day 1 - Columbus

It feels like I'm entering a period of intense blogging, so brace yourself!  Today was Day One of my cross-country trip from Pittsburgh to Tacoma.  My first leg was a short trip from Beaver County to Columbus to visit Mike, Lindsay, and June Prats.  

Although Mike and Lindsay had to get to bed early, it was nice to spend some time with these close friends and relax before a longer day of driving tomorrow en route to Milwaukee.  Lindsay cooked us a delicious dinner of chicken, brussel sprouts, and corn on the cob, which was a forgotten bonus about staying with friends along the way!

It was hard to leave everyone today and I get emotional when I see pictures taken at my parents' house because I get nostalgic.  Life is progressing, though, and I wasn't going to stay in Pittsburgh forever.  I'm thankful that I have felt 100% peace about my choice to take this job at UW Tacoma and start a new chapter.

I think this week will be an enjoyable adventure at times, but my lengthy periods of time on my own will produce a lot of idle thinking time.  I need to take advantage of these times and pray, pray, pray.  Savoring this trip is important because life will restart upon arrival in Washington.

The Avett Brothers kept me company on the road today.  It seemed appropriate for my visit with the Pratses, who are both big fans.

Check out my blog from earlier today, prior to the road to Ohio: Heading West

Heading West

This afternoon I begin my trek west.  I'm sitting on the porch at Beaver Falls Coffee and Tea with some of my closest friends from Beaver County.  It's a surreal experience.  So surreal that it really doesn't feel like I'm leaving.  Today, it feels like I'm just about to take a little drive to Columbus to visit friends.  Tomorrow will just feel like a trip to Milwaukee.  I don't think the reality will set in for at least a week that I'm really going to live in Tacoma, WA, and not Pennsylvania.

That's something interesting I've discovered about life while approaching this day.  When I talk about being nervous about leaving or being sad about not getting to stay, friends would encourage me that I'll be back to visit and I can return for a new job in a few years.  I used to think that that fact was still a big deal and that three years was a significant amount of time.  It still is significant, but I think I'm beginning to realize that life will go on, I'll keep in touch with friends and visit for vacations.  When I come home, life will resume.  If I move back to Pittsburgh in 3, 5, or 10 years, I'll return to a different set of people, but a life as similar as I choose to make it.

The big difference will be that I'll have an amazing experience under my belt.  This move will be the hardest thing I've done to this point.  I've lived in the Pittsburgh area for 26 years and now I'm venturing out to a new place with very little familiar places.  This will be a growing experience that is completely necessary for me to become the man God's created me to be.

I recognized recently that I need to leave Pittsburgh at some point and try something new.  It is clear that this chapter in Pittsburgh is coming to an appropriate end.  People are transitioning into new lives and settling into new situations, so it's time for me to do the same.  I'm ready to potentially be a pioneer for friends who want to join me in the Pacific Northwest.  Or maybe I'm ready to start a new life on my own.  Or maybe I need to just get away from PA for a while to recapture its mystery in my heart.

No matter what the case, God is sending me to Tacoma for a reason.  I'm excited to see what that reason is.  I've got a few ideas.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Simple blessings

God has been blessing me in the simplest ways lately.  He's taken potentially complicated tasks, like finding a job and housing, and has made them extremely simple and logical.  We don't pay attention to or thank God for these simple blessings often enough, so take time to do that today.

It's interesting how God's plan seems to make so little sense until we get to a resolution and realize that things worked out exactly as they should.  With my job search, not only did I find a great job in a location that I'm excited about, but God also blessed me with little things along the way.  He blessed me with a job before the school year begins and higher education jobs become sparse.  He blessed me with the entire summer to enjoy in Pittsburgh before I start my next chapter.  He's blessed me with a calm assurance that it is the right time to make this move.  He's blessed me with more patience than I was aware I could muster throughout the whole job search process.

In addition to these things, God has also blessed me with a great housing situation in Tacoma a month before I even move out.  He's taken these big situations and made them manageable.

Today, look at the small complications in your life and how God makes them simple.  For example, yesterday I wanted to go to the South Hills to replace the old speakers and stereo in my car, but I didn't want to sit around the shop for 3 hours waiting for them to finish.  My friend, Ed, lives in the South Hills, so I called him hoping he would be off because youth pastors are usually off on Monday.  Ed was off, free, and lived 10 minutes from the shop, so we hung out all afternoon.  This was just one of those simple, everyday occurrences of seeing God's hand in my life.

Take time to thank God for making things simple that we don't notice.  He's making your life easy without the fireworks and fanfare.  These are the everyday miracles that we should be praising God for!

Monday, August 8, 2011

What will you miss?

I've been asked a pair of questions recently that make a lot of sense for someone in my position.  My friend, Josh, asked if I have a Pittsburgh bucket list of things I'd like to do or places I'd like to go before I move to Tacoma.  My other friend, Lisa, asked what I will miss most about Pittsburgh.  I don't have a bucket list nor will I miss any one thing in particular.  While the answers to these questions naturally differ, they are fundamentally driven by the same idea: the thing I love about Pittsburgh is my friends and family.

Sure, there are places and things about Pittsburgh that I will miss.  Primanti Bros, the incline, all of our sports teams, Hough's, and of course Suncrest Camp.  But in the end, my memories are of people.  I don't do many things by myself because I like to enjoy experiences with others.  The coffeeshops, the dive bars, the restaurants; these things exist everywhere, but it's the people I'll miss.

I won't miss Ambridge, PA, but I'll definitely miss Sunday morning breakfast with my family.

I won't miss Silky's and their too-expensive-to-go-on-weekends prices, but I'll miss shuffleboard, darts, and late nights out front with good friends.

I won't miss Schenley Park disc golf, but I'll miss those intentional conversations with Jordan, Dustin, or Greg.

I may not miss my room, but I'll miss living with great friends and the potential for jam sessions with anyone who's lived here.

I may not miss Tazza D'oro or Commonplace, but I'll miss the mornings spent there with Robby.

I may not miss Suncrest Camp itself, the 50 year old mattresses, the constantly uncomfortable weather, or the most forgiving rims in basketball history, but I will miss every camper, counselor, musician, and director I've spent time with over the past 10 years.

For me, life has always been about experiences and who you spend them with.  When I shed tears on my journey, it will not be a result of places or things I've left behind, but for people I hope to encounter again.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Two years ago I visited my friends Jenn and Ron in Seattle for a week before I started graduate school.  I fell in love with the city and the Pacific Northwest.  Upon starting school I decided that I would move to Seattle when I finished school.

Two years later, I will be moving to Tacoma, WA.

I accepted a job at the University of Washington Tacoma yesterday and will start in early September.  My job search process has been a test of patience and faith from day one.  I have grown and understood God's plan in a more serious way that I ever expected!  Throughout the process I had plenty of exciting job opportunities come and go.  I even turned down two very good opportunities that simply were shown to me as positions that were not good fits for me.  It was difficult to watch my cohort of graduates move on to their new positions and to hear many professionals question my decision to turn down jobs, but in the end my faith in God's plan has resulted in the opportunity that excited me more than any other!  I've debated several different locations, only to land in my number one choice in the end.  While it's not exactly Seattle, it's very close, a more manageable size, and a more affordable location that will be a much better fit for my first city after Pittsburgh.

Without getting into much detail, I am very excited for the entire opportunity.  The position, Student Services Specialist with a focus on Career Development and Education, is an exciting and versatile position that will give me plenty of opportunity to develop career services at UWT as well as develop me as a young professional.  My colleagues are a young and exciting group that I feel like I'll look forward to working with every day!

Much more will come as I blog about my last month in Pittsburgh, my week-or-so-long roadtrip across the country, and the next chapter in Tacoma, so I look forward to sharing this journey with you!  Thanks for your prayers and support.