Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

(Looooooove her...think she kinda looks like me sans the turkey since I won't be cooking this year)

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday. Waking up in the morning to the smell of turkey and stuffing, cozying up on the couch to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, taking trips down memory lane with family and friends, all that good eatin', nodding off to the sounds of has always been a comforting holiday for me.

I wish all of you, and your families, a very Happy (and yummy) Thanksgiving! Whether you go around the table aloud or you silently reflect, I hope that you will consider all of the many things you have to be thankful for...and don't forget about the simple things! I know there are many of us with really big hopes and dreams that have not yet come to fruition, but I encourage you to still give thanks for what you DO have. A roof over your head, food on your table, clothing on your back, supportive family, good friends, your J-O-B (that will be number one on my list this year)...these are things that so many people don't have, and that so many of us take for granted.

Be thankful and enjoy!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Move Over Melanie Griffith...

I'm the new Working Girl!!!!!!

I got the job!

My second interview on Friday ended up being a review of my personality/professional profile and a formal offering of the position as Conference & Events Associate! After we worked out the particulars with the staffing agency it was a done deal. The money isn't exactly what I would have wanted, but the benefits are great and I get to travel again - so that makes up for it. I also prepared for a pay cut since I'm making a career transition, so that lessened the blow a bit. And the reality is that what I'm being offered is A LOT more than what I have been making the past 13+ months with my part time retail gig.

Bottom line: God is Good!!! I have received the answer to my prayer and I feel extremely blessed by what I have been offered!!!

My manager is on vacation this entire week, so I start on Monday. It was nice to have a week to reflect and give thanks (perfect timing, huh?) Initially I was going to post my good news immediately, but I thought I would allow myself time with my own thoughts. I'll be on the search for my own place in DC!!! It'll probably have to be a studio or a very affordable one bedroom to start. I've looked online to get a feel for what my options might be once I save up enough. I have found a couple places I'll want to check out...but I'm also taking recommendations if anyone knows of any good spots.

I would be remiss if I didn't, again, thank all of you for your support, advice and prayers. It made all of the difference in the world...gave me different perspectives to consider, picked me up on days when I was down and offered reassurance when I wasn't totally sure. This has been one of the toughest legs of my Journey and I'm glad that I had you all by my side!

There has also been a Smokie Norful song that I have been playing throughout this recent interviewing process...I'll share a bit of it with you as you never know who might be in need of a bit of inspiration:

I've had sins
And I've had pain
My heart has been broken
And my life has been strained
But in spite of everything I've been through
I still gotta say thank you

I've been up
And I've been down
Had my life turn, turn, turn
Completely around
But in spite of everything I've been through
I still... I gotta say thank you

Thank you... Thank you

For your many blessings (For your blessings)
In spite of my mess (In spite of my mess)
Lord, you looked down and you blessed me (For Your blessings)
Even in the midst of my test (In the midst of my test)
In spite of everything I've been through
I still gotta say thank you

Still Say, Thank You - Smokie Norful


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Speak To My Heart

Decisions, decisions...

Those of you who read my last post were made aware of the job that I interviewed for last week. With my renewed spirit and focus, I have been praying and believing like I never have before. And I want to thank all of you, from the bottom of my heart, who have added me to your prayer lists. What I have been reminded of when it comes to prayer, however, is that you have to be still and listen closely for the answer...especially since it may not come in the form of what you want, but rather what you need.

I have been of the belief that the position for which I have been praying, is - for now - my "dream situation." Beautiful offices, prime DC location that is metro accessible, lots of young employees that look like me, the type of role/responsiblity/experience that I have been looking for and the possiblity of exciting and eventful perks.

This belief remained as such until yesterday.

Earlier this year I hooked up with a local staffing agency that proved to be subpar, at best. I would receive calls about opportunities, request that my resume be sent and then...nothing. No follow up, no feedback, no interviews...nada! Well, a change came last week when I was finally emailed an opportunity which produced an interview that took place yesterday afternoon. The position is Conference & Events Associate for a fairly large trade association, and one with which I am familiar.

I was under the impression, based on the information provided to me by the staffing agency, that this was a temp-to-hire position. However, during my interview (that went extremely well) I learned that it is a permanent position that they are eagerly looking to fill. When our meeting concluded, they (the VP of Operations and the Director of Meetings) told me they would email me a link to the McQuaig Word Survey (personality/professional profile survey) that would need to be completed as a part of the interview process. I completed said survey this morning. Thirty minutes later I received a call from the employer requesting a second interview tomorrow morning.

All good, right? Weeelllll...kinda.

From the time I left the interview yesterday afternoon until ending a conversation with one of my sister-girlfriends two hours ago, I had been wrestling with the idea of having to make a choice, more specfically, potentially making the wrong choice. On one hand, I have my first choice - the "assumed dream job" that I described above. On the other, a position that is of great interest to me and that could very well have been my "first choice" if there was no interview last week.

After the "oh Lawd why me's" and the "why can't things just be easy's" - I realized that it was a blessing to even be in this situation. Not to mention the fact that I haven't been offered either position why create a problem where no problem exists...yet. Right? Right.....IF I wasn't such a worry wort! preparing to make a decision, I had to weigh my potential options and ask that the Spirit speak to my heart.

In an attempt to make a more informed decision, I decided to send an email to the HR Director of the first job letting her know that I was interviewing with another company and thought I might be offered a position...try to find out if they were still expecting a 6 week selection process and if she thought I had a chance of being called back for a second interview. While I waited for her response it dawned on me...I'm losing focus. I'm beginning to "sweat the small stuff" to the point that I'm missing the big picture. I could totally be blocking a blessing!

Let's consider the attributes of the first job that I metioned at the beginning of my post and take what is really important into consideration, shall we:

* Beautiful offices: all that glitters ain't gold and it would be foolish to let exposed brick walls, hard wood floors and funky paint determine my professional future.

* Location: can you really go wrong with any location in downtown DC? Both are metro accessible (one block from the station) AND the second job's location doesn't require me to transfer trains.

* Staff: although it would be nice to work with people that are my age and that look like me, the truth is I have a gang of friends in the area - so it's not like I need to make friends. I want to learn and grow professionally...and the transfer of knowledge knows not of age, race, gender, religion, get the point.

* Roles/Responsiblities/Experience: since I'm transisitioning my career, both positions are on even playing grounds. One has the potential of helping me, primarily, hone in on my writing skills - while the other, my coordinating/event marketing skills. Either way, I'm building upon my resume.

* Perks: job option one, the perks are assumed. Job option two, a couple are known: 1) getting the week between Christmas and New Year off and 2) the biggest conference of the year is held in February and this year? It's in VEGAS! (Ironically, one of my previous employers sent me to one of their conferences and it was at it seems like the conference locations are pretty darn decent).

But more important than ALLLLLLLof that, let's consider my PRAYER! My prayer was to work be able to explore a new career be placed back on the road of financial be offered a job that I would like...and one that would allow me to stay in the city that I love. That THY will be done...not MY will be done. What I failed to realize is that the first opportunity could very well be MY will...and the flesh is full of error and imperfection, but the Spirit is perfect!

I believe there is a reason why an interview where a decision might not be made until 2007 was, within just a few days, followed up by an opportunity that is an immediate answer to my prayer!

I can't say for sure how this will all play out in the end. It could end up being a test of my obedience...or it could simply be preparing me for a totally different opportunity. I won't know until I know. But what has been made perfectly clear is that I made a request that my heart be spoken to...and I have received answers that I desired.

I pray, now, that my steps be ordered...

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Autumnal Utterings

After a pretty lengthy hiatus (Blogland speaking), my intention was to come back with a vengeance. It's been two weeks since my last post, so that whole "with a vengeance" yeah...kinda didn't work out so well for me.

"But still, like dust, I'll rise."

Autumn. My absolute favorite time of year. A season of beauty...of reflection on the season past. A season of change and transformation...of a colorful death of what once was, in order to make way for what is to come. A season of cool, crisp air...the kind that, when breathed in deep, clears the mind and senses - reminds you of just how alive you are.

A lot has gone on in my life and in my mind since last I posted, some significant...others not so much. In no particular autumnal utterings:

~ I purchased a CD from Whole Foods Market called "Putumayo Presents Acoustic Africa." I had no intention of purchasing this CD when I walked in the store, but was drawn in when I heard the first track. The title of the track is "Sore" - it's by Diogal, a Senegalese artist that I had not heard of until now. Although I don't understand the language, the emotion behind the music speaks a universal language. This morning it dawned on me to read the CD cover. Part of the description of this track reads: "On 'Sore' (The Immigrant), Diogal reveals his talent for creating lilting and memorable melodies. He sings of an immigrant who thinks nostalgically about his roots and the ancestral values of his people." In a way that is too deep for words, it is no wonder that I was taken by this song! The spirit world is so very strong.

~ Speaking of Whole Foods Market...every time I walk the aisles of that store I long for the day when I can do the bulk, if not all, of my shopping there. I never thought grocery shopping could be a peaceful experience until Whole Foods. It truly is tragic that it costs so much to eat and live well. Really makes you wonder...

~ I have been dealt yet another blow...lost yet another bit of independence. I think it was the day after my last post that I returned my car to its "rightful" owner - the soon-to-be-ex. What an ugly situation! To make a very long story short, when in LA we both owned our own cars (in our own names). Foolishly, with only a few more car payments on my car, I agreed to get a brand new car. We used my old car as a down payment and put the new car in my husband's name (he was offered a $25/month lower car payment than me). Given my current situation, I couldn't afford to make the full payments. He was gracious enough (I guess) to make the payments for as long as he could, but recently pulled the plug. So now I'm kicking myself because I could have kept my old car and been free of a car payment. Now...I have nothing and have no idea when I will be able to have something. In an effort to think positively...even if the situation was different, I didn't need as much car (space) as I had - nor did I need one with such a high note - considering that I'll be working with one income from now on. (This could be an ENTIRE post of its own...but I'll save you the agony and stop while I'm ahead!)

~ On the "upside of anger" so to speak, I had an interview on Thursday! It was for a Communications Specialist positon with a (seemingly) really cool organization in DC. I'm not going to jinx this opportunity like I feel I did the last, but I will say that I am praying REALLY hard for this job (I'm even considering fasting for it). The only annoying part is that is may take 4-6 weeks for a final decision to be made. For all of you prayin' folks - please get on your knees, in your prayer closets, go to your prayer meeting - with me on your list. I also received a call from a staffing agency that I hooked up with and a company with a temp-to-hire position is interested in speaking with me on Monday....I didn't get the message until late Friday night, so that might not happen until Tuesday. Either way...the search still continues!

~ For those of you who are unaware, there is a very large Ethiopian population in the Washington, DC Metro area. I say that to say this - EVERYWHERE I go, I am mistaken (or atleast I think it's a mistake) for being Ethiopian. This has been happening to me since I was attending Howard U. many, many moons ago. And it's not Americans that make this's Ethiopians! If I'm not asked, it's assumed and I'm greeted with "indemin nesh" which is followed by a look of confusion and shock when they learn that I am American. I've even had a couple individuals insist that I am Ethiopian..."you may not know it, but you ARE Ethiopian." When this first started happening years ago, I decided that I wanted to go to Ethiopia. I had a friend who was from Ethiopia and was planning to go back for a visit. I thought she would be the perfect tour guide and I began teaching myself Amharic. Unfortunately, I never made it to Ethiopia and my Amharic studies didn't get past basic greetings. This "mistaken identity" is very bittersweet for me. Sweet because I am honored by it as I believe that Ethiopians are some of the most beautiful people in the world...both physically and culturally. Bitter because I want so badly to be able to say, with certainty, that "yes" I am have a definitive cultural identity, because so often I feel that I do not. According to friends that have traveled to different regions in Africa, there are some native Africans that can tell from which region of the continent you hail simply by facial features. If this is true, there seems to be no confusion as to which region I should be claiming...Viva Ethiopia!

~ I love, love, love Grey's Anatomy! This week's epsiode was yet another hour of brilliant writing and thought provocation. I know what happened between Isaiah Washington and T. R. Knight was sheer ignorance, but I am still in love with Dr. Burke! Wish I had one of my very Kudos Ms. Rhimes!!! I don't think that can be said enough...she is truly a force to be reckoned with!

~ I want to change the look of my blog, but I have no idea where to start. I'm bored with my current template/features and as this is a season of change, my desire is to give my site a much needed facelift. I'm just not savvy enough to do it on my own. I guess the easiest way for me to do it would be to change hosts - and I actually do have an account with Vox - but that alone just isn't doing it for me. Hence, I have not made the switch. Ah well, there are certainly much bigger fish to fry...

~ And last but not least, we lost two very special people this week: Ed Bradley and Gerald Levert. Two great talents gone way too soon. The belief is that death comes in threes...I hate the morbid anticipation that comes with this notion. Rest In Peace Mr. Bradley and Mr. will be missed!

"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower."