Monday, January 6, 2014

A Leap of Faith

Particularly for my Facebook friends who knew “something” was going on, but didn’t know “what”, and were kindly praying for me, here is a little bit of information about what’s “new” in my life. It doesn’t make a lot of sense for me to discuss detail of what/why/how in this format, but I do plan to continue to share some of my reflections in the future. So, while my blog might not have the detail some people want, at least you’ll know what’s new. :)

The Summary:
I finished my job at Saint Ambrose on December 30. I am now unemployed, which was never my plan. I am, however, confident now that this is part of God’s plan for me. I will be starting at St. Kate’s in February, working toward a second Bachelor’s degree. I’ll be attending the Evening/Weekend/Online program and studying Accounting. I’m actively pursuing employment, and I am blessed that there are real opportunities before me. No guarantees, but there is much hope. Oh, and I’m also doing some freelance writing. I can’t talk about it yet, but when it becomes “public knowledge”, I’ll definitely let you know!!!

The Detailed Version:
After much prayer and discernment, as well as discussion with those who know me best, I had decided that it was time for me to make a career move. After doing some soul-searching and career-researching, I decided that Accounting is the right field. (No surprise – I took several Business & Accounting classes in high school, all of which I thoroughly enjoyed.) I needed to return to school, and it was best to begin pursuing new jobs with daytime schedules in a business setting.

Initially, my plan was to begin school next fall. I would take the time to research schools and choose the right one. After the first of the year (so, this week), I would begin job hunting. I figured that it typically takes several months, so a new position might work out toward end of the school year, ideal timing for my position at Saint Ambrose.

However, shortly after I began to research schools and programs, my excitement to return to school increased. (After grad school, I swore that was my last time. Obviously, the academic in me won out!) It also just seemed practical not to delay another semester, since there was nothing standing in my way, and tuition is likely to increase each year. So, I began to make plans to return for the 2014 Spring Semester. After researching programs and visiting colleges, I decided that Saint Kate’s Evening/Weekend/Online program was the right fit.

I also figured that I could make a part-time program fit around the craziness of my work schedule for a little while, but it wouldn’t last forever. So, I began to put some intentional time and effort in to finding a new job. I did not begin initially with a full-scale effort, but it was no longer a passive hope.

Additionally, I was offered a free-lance writing project during this time. Thoroughly excited, I said yes. However, this additional piece of the puzzle meant my social life had to take a backseat. As challenging as this has been, it’s been a really important choice for me. Time has become an even more precious commodity. The relationships in which I invested and the gatherings where I’ve spent my time had to be limited, forcing me invest in my family and in close, deeper friendships, while learning to let go of people and relationships that had no meaning or were even destructive. This is a thought for another day – maybe even a “private” bit of writing – but I’ve been overwhelmed by the blessings of true friendship and continue to grow in this area.

All of this “action” happened over the first few months of the fall, but I’ve spent almost two years praying and discerning about my career path. At Saint Ambrose, as in any parish Faith Formation & Sacramental Preparation program, the fall is very, very busy. This particular fall, that intensity provided much clarity for me. Two distinct experiences at work during recent months were key decision points for me. As a result, I moved from making the plans to find a job to putting those plans into action, and doing so several months earlier than intended.

The job searching paid off pretty quickly, or so it initially seemed. Through a temp agency, I was offered a position at a great company. Entry-level, but exactly what I was looking for to get my foot in the door. Without getting into the details, I had to quickly put things in motion to start with the new company as soon as possible. Unfortunately, there was an issue at the company, and the job didn’t work out. Despite the looming probability of unemployment, I truly believe it made the most sense for me, for returning to school, and for my continuing job search to stand firm with my decision to leave Saint Ambrose. I extended my time a little bit to leave things as organized as possible, but I stayed the course with the decision to move on.

Of course, I'm very scared. But, I know that God will provide. I will simply need to strive to be Ignatian: "Pray like everything depends on God, work like everything depends on you."

Anyway, I pitched slow-pitch softball for years, and the Twins could really use one more starter. Maybe I'll give Terry Ryan a call.

Advent is a season of hope, and this Advent was a supremely deep experience for me. The week before I announced I was leaving, but when my decision had already been set in motion, one of my Jr. High kids asked why Jesus' birthday is on December 25. I explained that there are several reasons, and one beautiful symbolism we see this time of year is related to the winter solstice. Humanity has always felt fear of the dark. It is an act of courage and an act of faith that we celebrate the Incarnation - God becoming man and entering into history - literally on the darkest day of the year (well, give or take four days...). Advent finally ushers in Christmas. At the time when we are most tempted to despair because everything is so dark, we celebrate the Light of the World.

I know the Feast of the Epiphany (Three Kings/Magi) was yesterday, but it seems appropriate to hold on to the Christmas season a little longer this year.

Thank you for those who have been praying for me – it means so much! As anxious as I am, I am striving to be hopeful and to trust that God has a plan for me. He’s never let me down before!

So, stay tuned…


  1. Wow I am so proud of your courage but sad to see you leave Church work. I know you will be back in another way. God bless and many blessings on your new endeavors.

    1. Thanks Dennis! It was a tough decision. I'll have tell you about it sometime. If I wasn't wrapping things up last month, I was hoping that you, Cari & I could have had lunch when she was in town. Maybe we can meet up in the next few weeks, assuming I'm still unemployed.

  2. I will continue to pray for your highest good! If you would ever like to meet for coffee or lunch or whatever, it would be great to reconnect. I am loving St. Kate's and I hope you have a good experience there as well. My studies of holistic health allow me to embrace the whole person as there is a "spiritual track" that I've embraced. I continue to hope for a way to affect public education in a way that addresses the whole person, whether it's staff or student. Gods blessings on your days as well!

    1. I didn't realize you were a student at St. Kate's - that's great! It sounds like what you are studying is a great fit for you. Are you a day or evening student? Maybe we could grab a coffee sometime. I will make a note to send you a message late in February. I'll know my routine with school a little more at that time, and maybe we'll be on campus the same days and can meet up. :)

  3. Congratulations, Paula! Big changes are exciting (and sometimes scary)!

  4. Paula, I will continue to keep you in prayer and hoping that your new ventures will be life giving for you! I trust that God will continue to use your many gifts to bless the people you come in contact with. Thanks for the update!