Friday, October 17, 2014

Lots of Changes: Settling In and Recovering

Settling into Work

A fellow blogger recently asked me if I ever found a new job -- and I realized that after sharing some about my job search journey over the past year, I never shared the good news (so sorry!)  This summer, I got a promotion at the Government Affairs/Public Relations firm where I worked last fall and spring...moving from a temporary position to a permanent one! Thanks for all the good concern and prayers as I looked last spring!

This June, I was in the process of interviewing other places when the head of PR approached me about working in his department.  An associate was leaving later in the summer and he wanted me to interview for the position.  I was able to start working in PR at the end of June, but it took a couple months to get all the details worked out and make me official.  (August Recess where most of DC shuts down slowed down the process tremendously!)  I did not share this wonderful news earlier out of superstition and fear that things would not work out. I had many set backs over 9 months of job searching-- government shutdowns, job opportunities falling apart last minute, etc. so as silly as it sounds, I did not want to jinx things by announcing it to the world.

Then, when things became official, I forgot to share with y'all because I had been in the position for a couple months so it wasn't really "NEW" news for me!

I am having to learn a new field and how to use my skill set in the PR world. There was definitely a learning curve at first. I tend to like the policy/government affairs side of things better BUT working at this particular firm was always a goal of mine (since law school) and it's exciting to be here full time, even if it meant switching departments.  It's also nice to have an office with a door I can close again -- and have a little corner of the work world that is completely mine! Once we finish settling into the new apartment, I plan to decorate --- aka, add some pictures and artwork to my office! I have the perfect set of Jackson, MS prints by Thimblepress that I want to hang to remind me of my Mississippi home while here in DC!

**Note: Although my job search was difficult, I was so blessed to have a temporary (although it turned out to be not so temporary) entry level position.  I know so many people are not even that fortunate and I never want to portray that my short bout of semi-employment is nearly as difficult.  I had never spent much time thinking about how unemployment can affect you not only financially, but emotionally and physically as well (Seriously, I had so many headaches and knots in my back -- I think Dave is relieved that I am fully employed because I don't ask for backrubs as much!) We often don't think of others' battles until we have a short glimpse of that trial ourselves, but now, I feel my heart, prayers and hopefully my actions will reflect more concern for those that are out of work.

Settling into our Apartment

I loved our location last year, so it's no secret that I moved to the new more spacious but more suburban apartment kicking and screaming. Honestly, had I been single still, I would have chosen location over space, but I know that what is best for us and our family is having more space and more storage -- so that we can have a guestroom/study, maybe one day a nursery-- plus we can actually have all of our clothes fit in closets AND more comfortably host guests, etc.

My two criteria for moving was (1)the apartment must have a patio or balcony and (2) we must decorate the new place  and make it our own. Our last place was never fully decorated -- partly because of lack of money and partly because of lack of space to do projects (Seriously, where in a 625 square feet and no outdoor space do you paint a piece of furniture??) Now we have more of both money and space and are tackling projects and decorating our space a little each weekend. Dave does not always love this "project mentality" but he mostly humors me since it was our agreement.....and since we will likely live in this apartment until we can afford to buy a place, I think we both really want to feel like this place is our home -- even if we put it together piece by piece!

We already had a couple friends in the neighborhood and have made a few more, so slowly but surely, we are settling into suburban living. I promise to show more pictures when we finish, but until then, here are a few snapshots of the projects we have been busy with around the house!

We've added a little fall decor to the apartment, particularly at the dining table.....

I've painted several pieces of furniture including this bookcase for our bedroom...

We started putting together a gallery wall because I am currently obsessed with gallery walls... BUT the wall already looks different as we have added piece and sadly we had a frame break when it fell!

Our guest room was probably the simplest room to decorate and is therefore, the most complete! I still have a couple small projects for the room, but it's the most presentable room we have -- which is good because we have TONS of fall guests, yay!

A little living room decor with a fall theme.....


Now that life has some normalcy (but is it ever really normal?), I have felt an extreme need to just recover. Recover from job searching and rejections and leads that did not follow through. Recover from a first year in DC that did not exactly go as hoped or planned. Recovering from things that can't be helped like shutdowns and bad economies and hiring freezes.  Recovering from hurt feelings and disappointments. In the process of job searching, you receive help from many people (including some that you don't even know well) but you also have some people who you thought would be more willing to help but don't volunteer to help you out. You have a lot of dashed hopes when jobs seem that they will work out but then fall apart! Also, when moving to a new city, you have some groups of people that include you immediately and some that don't. My only tip to these situations is to focus on the many many kind people, show a little grace to others and to remember how this stage felt so that you will be a good friend to others facing similar circumstances!! (Seriously, I want to be that annoying person who sends out other people's resumes to everyone in my email list, ha!)

For me, recovering has also meant working to let go of frustration that DC did not immediately turn out how I thought it would  -- or how it had been in the past. Remember, I spent 3 summers living and working here and had previous experiences in this city in which to compare our life.  Where we live, where we go to church, friendships, neighborhoods may look different than I originally wanted or imagined it would, but different does not mean bad. Ups and Downs, we are making our own little life here.

When things finally worked out with my job, I took a sigh of relief and realized just how stressed and worried I had been for several months. It has almost been a comfort that we have lots of little projects around the house right now. It has been nice to throw myself into something and spend more time around the apartment and spend a lot of time with Dave, rather than busying myself away from home.  Also, it was also very fitting that as the job situation worked itself out and we moved to the new apartment, we were able to go on vacation to Toronto and enjoy time together, celebrating this happy (yet challenging) first year of marriage and DC!

I love living in DC and am glad to fill a bit more settled here... until the next challenge right? I feel God doesn't ever let us get too settled, because change, frustration and waiting must grow and improve us in ways that can't be achieved without their presence in our lives. But, for now, I take a deep breath and thank God for the breathing period - to settle, recover and enjoy my many blessings....and to pray for those that still feel unsettled in areas of life - career, relationships, family, location.  Hopefully, as this time of moving, settling in and recovering comes to an end, I will be a bit more frequent poster on this blog!


  1. Hope you & Dave enjoy this new breathing period! I certainly know what you mean to feel unsettled. Always enjoy your updates & insights!

  2. Your furniture looks great!!! Did you find the chalk paint to be easy? You're a natural! :)