Married life. Minneapolis. Working remotely. These have all been new territories for me.
Married life is good. Hard at times, but great. Joel is wonderful. He is a servant. He's ornery and gives me crap (which I totally need), but also loves me so well. These first 5 months have been a challenge as we learn to navigate the waters of the forever "us" -- with budgets, friendships, everyday life, disagreements, family time etc. When two become one, God miraculously joins them together -- but a lot of human JUNK remains (opinions, pride, independence). These things in and of themselves aren't bad or wrong, but they are learning opportunities and struggles in a new marriage. Joel and I are both in our upper 20s -- that means we had a lot of time to learn independence / living alone / managing our own time. Walking and talking through how our individual ideas of a great plan become OUR idea of a great plan is still a work in progress. We are learning new things about one another regularly -- about family history, about personal quirks. It's fun.
One of the things I"m most thankful for in marrying Joel is the way he loves family. The day we got married, I became his family. Joel is protective of me physically and spiritually, exceedingly kind to me in the midst of my emotional highs and lows, and shows patience and encouragement towards me as I navigate the newness of being a wife. Joel learned much of this from his family. They are now my family too -- I'm so grateful to be joined into a family who loves Jesus first. This family also loves through food (I feel at home). This family treasures building up children through encouragement. This family ENJOYS being together. I'm glad that I'm a part of it all.
Minneapolis is a fun city to live in. Once the snow finally melted and the polar vortex dissipated, spring made way to a beautiful city. We are enjoying new restaurants, the huge farmer's market downtown, and seeing the city transition from hibernation to life. One of my favorite things in the city (big surprise) are all the bike trails! Joel and I have been on a few bike adventures. The trail network is extensive with lots of options for afternoon or evening explorations. Just last weekend we biked to the summit brewery to meet up with friends of ours from church then came back for a bbq. As biking has come into season again, I've realized how much I miss McKenzie Sauser. She was always my biking pal in Des Moines, and the afternoon rides and conversation are missed even more as the physical distance between us grows. Mack and I have transitioned to late night phone calls for encouragement and accountability. I love how deep friendships don't end with distance - they change and sometimes 'grow up' -- but in a really neat way.
There is a certain loneliness in starting over with community. I've gotten pretty good at starting over in new places over the years. In the past, my singleness has created an urgency for community. I've lived alone and not really known ANYONE, meaning that it was on me to dig in and start relationships or suffer the consequences of not doing so. Being married, specifically a newlywed, changes the urgency. Since Joel and I were long distance for so long, I craved time with him. So the balance of learning to lean into other people is hard. I need friends, I need women to walk alongside me, WE need other married couple friends -- but sometimes it's hard to get outside of just us. God is providing us with community through our church. I'm finally starting to feel rooted to the point of friendships going beyond the surface. SUCH an answered prayer. I'm hoping that this summer will be a season for those friendships to deepen as we explore the city together.
As the days turn into months of working remotely, I see what a blessing my job is. I was and am so fortunate to be in the position of keeping my job despite moving a state away. Having my job be a constant in the midst of so much change has been life giving. Although the transition to being a one woman office is a challenge, the camaraderie with my teammates continues over email / chat / phone calls. I miss seeing those friends a lot. It makes me a treasure my trips to Des Moines even more and VERY thankful when I get paired with a co-worker on big programs.
Life is still good. I'm looking forward to seeing more Des Moines friends this summer at weddings, to my big work trip next week where I get to see more friends, and for endless long weekends at the lake this summer. This post is a lot of words and no pictures, but it will have to do.