A time for growth

It’s officially been one week since I packed up my belongings in my trusty little Jetta, strapped my bike to the back of my parents car, and drove from a place of comfortability into the complete unknown. I wouldn’t call myself brave. It’s all Jesus. This kind of trust in the future comes solely from the hands of the Lord.  

I loved my life in small town Monrovia. I loved going on runs in the tree-lined neighborhood, stopping in for ice cream in the downtown that so perfectly resembled Stars Hollow (thanks for tainting my dreams, Gilmore Girls), and holding babies in the nursery every Sunday morning

I so so so dearly loved babysitting my sweet little family- with 3 kids that I adore and have missed everyday since my departure. I loved preschool drop-off on Thursday mornings, dancing and making snapchat videos with sweet Truly Star. Taking August to various therapies and target runs, and feeding him endless popcorn and yogurt. Watching him learn to walk, say words, and then snuggling him before nap time. Jumping on the trampoline with Macy girl, causally throwing the best dance parties in the living room, watching her learn her sight words and eventually, earn student of the month. These memories are irreplaceable and will forever hold a huge section of my heart. (Currently tearing up because I miss them so). Through this family, I learned so much about loving selflessly, pursuing hard and holy things, what teamwork looks like in marriage, all things Down syndrome & adoption (which now I totally want for my own future life), and following the Lord’s call in your life. Their hospitality and generosity mean so much to me.

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Which brings me to San Diego. But first, let me talk to you a little about my experience with graduating…

Graduating college is a weird thing. Sure, the actual day of graduation is fun because it’s the first time you realize you don’t have any more homework to do, ever. (This is a lie, past Abby. Future Abby is doing lots of studying now). I was surrounded by my family and friends, and the affirmations of my success were pleasant to hear. And then a couple days or weeks later, it hits you. Adulthood is hard. 

I loved school. I loved learning from professors, going to chapel, living with my best friends, and running around Pasadena completely care-free. But loneliness isn’t something they talk to you about before you graduate. The best friends you’ve spent the last 3-4 years with leave. They get married or move on in various directions. After I graduated, I quickly found jobs to replace school, had a wonderful church community, was strengthening my relationship with the Lord, but was trying so desperately to fight this loneliness. 4 months later, I was still battling this and decided enough was enough. I had great friends, great jobs, a great church, great mentors… But I knew life could be more. I trusted God had better things planned for me and I had faith that although life in Monrovia was awesome, there was more out there. I didn’t want to settle. I wanted to jump into the unknown with an open heart and an open mind.  

God had better and bigger things planned, and I was finally ready to take that leap of faith. 

One week in San Diego, and I’m completely in awe of the Lord’s goodness. Just two months ago, I was so angry with the Lord for taking something so good away and questioning if he wanted me to be happy… And then I came here. His ultimate goal for my life isn’t that I’m happy. But that I can find happiness, fulfillment, joyfulness, and purpose in him. And I have found it. I have learned more and more each day about the Lord and his purpose for my life. These are little snippets or “God winks” of what I have experienced in the last week: I’m 20 minutes from the beach and can watch the sun set over the water any time I want. I found a gym that I can bike to, one that also has an outdoor lap pool (I broke out my old swim team suit this week!). My roommate is heaven sent and our apartment is just the cutest. I’ve enjoyed making all my meals in my own kitchen and even made my dad’s famous cookie recipe the other night! (These cookies are now all gone. Thankfully they were very healthy 🙌). I accepted a job offer to become an ABA tutor for kids with Autism and other developmental disabilities, and have already started my training to become a Registered Behavioral Technician. I attended a service at Mosaic SD this morning and am in prayer over where God wants me to meet his church and family.  

The Lord is good, he is faithful. Life is good, and I cannot wait to see what tomorrow holds.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,

for his steadfast love endures forever…

to him alone does great wonders,

for his steadfast love endures forever.

Blessings,

Abby

My Kiddos

IMG_8303I was telling my boyfriend recently that my life currently revolves around 20 children throughout the week and I would not change that for the world.

In January, I started working at my church part-time in the nursery on Sunday’s. I attend the first service and work two services, and it is an absolute blast! These babies are incredibly adorable and most of the time, the nasty diapers and insanely loud screams do not even phase me. We average around 13 children per service- which is crazy, chaotic, and adorable all at the same time. In the last four months, I have learned so much about children, about parenting, and how to dress toddlers well for Easter. Give me all of the bows, please. The babies may test my patience, but I have truly learned more about myself through their cries and temper tantrums. I have learned that kind words and eye contact are essential, and a hug cures just about anything.

Last Tuesday, I began my first summer of being a part-time nanny. I watch a three year old girl, whom I absolutely adore, three days a week. Her mom is pregnant (due date is May 23rd!!) and she needed some help taking care of Little A, prepping for the new baby, and nesting around the house. We spend almost all of our time together at the park, at the library, and reading books about princesses. This little girl is brilliant, bright, and absolutely charming. She is sensitive- we talk about how we are feeling, what makes us feel that way, and the differences between positive and negative feelings (or “good” and “bad” for Little A). She is empathetic- another girl at the park started crying so Little A went over to her, put her hand on her shoulder, and tears started to well up in her eyes too. She teaches me daily that feelings are made to be felt. She also teaches me how to be joyful about the little things- all it takes for Little A’s day to turn around is to play the song Happy by Pharrell. Man, that little girl can sing and dance. And scream with excitement.

As of this Friday night, I have completed my first full week of my summer internship. For my psychology major, I am required to take a practicum course which is essentially an internship in my desired career path. I sent tons of emails and interviewed at a couple places and somehow, by the good grace of God, landed an incredible opportunity at a non-profit called Door of Hope. Door of Hope is a Christian organization that equips homeless families to rebuild their lives. They provide transitional housing and restoration programs for the families and their children. I work with the children’s assistant’s during the afternoon school program, four days a week. So far, I absolutely love it and I am learning so much. We start the program with snack (Thursday’s, we get to bake our treats!), do homework together for about an hour, have a bible lesson, and then finish the afternoon with board games or more homework. This week, I have learned about the “prehistory mystery” that is dinosaurs, how to successfully lose to a 5 year old at Candyland, and that I should always guess that the Pictionary drawing is always, always, always Pokemon. This week, I learned that behavioral difficulties at age 9 are real and much different than temper tantrums when you’re three and in a church nursery. I repeat this phrase over and over- “kind words, warm eyes, kind words, warm eyes.” These kiddos need and deserve the greatest of love, and I try to shine even the smallest of light in their days because that is what Jesus would do.

julia child quote

I am passionate about children. I love seeing them grow and develop. I love seeing the spark of imagination, the building of self-esteem, the steps toward confidence and independence, and the discovering of new and exciting things. I love seeing the difference in a child’s behavior when they are encouraged and loved. I love that as I work with children, I am helping their families as well. I love nurturing and caring for others, and I see that as a gift of mine. My days are full of laughter, insight, learning, and various body fluids. It’s kind of the best thing ever.

This quote above is one of my favorites, and so perfectly describes how I feel about the career path I have chosen right now. I don’t know what the workforce looks like after I graduate, but I feel like I am heading in the right direction. This may look like working in a preschool or early education, special needs care, social work care, and going back to school. Good thing God knows! “Find something you are passionate about and stay tremendously interested in it.” Being around children brightens my day. They make me feel happy, fulfilled, and helpful. I hope to be a bright light in these kids lives. And I have learned…this is most often turned upside down because they make my life better, happier, brighter.

I don’t have time for negative thoughts. I don’t have time to worry about things I can’t control. I don’t have time for letting the opinions of others affect how I live my life.

Because people matter more. There are children in my life that look at me and my world is instantly changed by their smile. These babies have been a huge factor in teaching me what unconditional love looks like.  These children have been tiny, yet daily and consistent blessings in my life. As I have tried to help these kiddos be the best version of themselves, they have turned the mirror towards me so I can learn what that looks like for myself.

Blessings,

Abby