Monday, March 11, 2013

Day 18 {31 Days of Grace}: One step at a time...

I have never been happier to go back to school than in the fall of 1997.

The long summer had come to an end and I was so ready to get back to a routine (not to mention, seeing E again EVERYDAY instead of one weekend a month). It was my senior year of college!

Over the summer, I'd moved to another apartment in the same complex but with two new roommates.
This time I was sharing a room.

E knew he and his roommates had an apartment in the same complex but wouldn't get the actual address until move-in week.

Guess what? Our new apartments - were right across the "hall" from each other! Super convenient, but looking back on it, probably not the best for our relationship.

While we did grow closer that year, I remember a lot of tears too.  
And remember E's roommate that I referred to as Mr. Crush? He lived there part of that year and again the next.  He heard me crying a few times and knew that E and I were arguing.  It was ammunition for his own arguments with E...but I'll get to that later.

For the most part, things were rolling along pretty smoothly: I was secure in my new major and concentrating on graduation requirements.  I was pretty confident I could graduate with just one extra semester.

I was happy in my relationship, for the most part.  I know E and I had some trials that year, but in the huge scheme of things, they were minor (since I can't remember many points of contention).
I do remember this was the year he told me he couldn't imagine his life without me.  This was my first real clue that he may be thinking the same way I was - that this could be THE ONE!

My relationship with my roomies was rather easy...I wasn't great friends with either of the two girls I lived with and I actually think that was easier on me than living with close girlfriends.

And I sailed along through another year of college that couldn't end quickly enough for my taste.  I celebrated my first year as E's girlfriend, I got spoiled by his family for our first Christmas together, advanced in my retail job to the point I knew they'd offer me a permanent position when I got out of school, and, among other things, began to prepare for a very important part of obtaining my Natural Resources: Marine and Coastal degree...
a summer at the beach!

Ok, hold on a minute!  It actually wasn't a summer at the beach, so much as a "Field Study course on eastern US Coastal environments." 

And let me tell you, lest you think I had the easiest summer school class ever, IT. WAS. HARD. WORK! And maybe even a harder summer than the previous two had been.

The course was actually only 6 weeks long, but super intense.
For those of us unable to find our own place or pay for something nicer, we lived in a bunkhouse in Morehead City, NC for the entire 6 weeks (although allowed to leave one or two weekends, most were working weekends).  The girl's side of the "house" (and I use that term loosely) had at least 8 girls in it and only 2 toilets, 2 sinks, and 2 showers. There was a refrigerator but no kitchen and no way to prepare food other than an outdoor grill.

That summer, not only did I learn that I don't like sharing with other girls, I learned how to survey land (surveying coastal lands means standing neck deep in the ocean and/or the sound, by the way --this girl? Afraid of drowning, yes I am); I learned about and rode on research vessels - up and down the coasts of NC, VA, and GA; I learned how to take soil and sediment samples and what a beach looks like when it's natural berm is ruined by humans.

I learned about sand dunes and beach vegetation; I had to DRAW cross-section sketches of things like NC Barrier islands. I learned about erosion patterns and dredging and beach replenishment.

I really did learn a lot; I'm sure there's much I am forgetting, too.

At the time, it seemed like torture, but looking back I would gladly do it again.
There is probably no other 6 weeks in my life, when I practically lived outdoors 24/7.

I think by the end of this 6 week course, E had become my constant.
I looked forward to the one or two weekends I got to see him.  We talked by phone (pay-phone) as often as possible at night, and he just made me feel safe whether I was wrapped up in his arms or hearing his "I love you" over the phone line.

Looking back, I know it was his support and knowing he would be there when I got home, that got me through.  In addition, I think that summer in particular taught me to take things - everything- one step at a time.  
That really is the only way we can do anything with success.
Whether I'm talking about my relationships with others, my mission to become the best ME I can be, my relationship with God, crossing off items on my to-do list, making a new fitness and exercise habit...

it's when we try to get ahead of ourselves that things don't go so well.

Right here, in the present, I'm staring down the barrel of what could be a nightmare of a week.  Literally packed to the brim with things that MUST be done, I am already wondering how one week will fit all this stuff in.  I know what tends to happen when I get stressed and feel tired - I lose it! Sometimes more than once a day, I lose it!

Today as I read, I found this quote:
When faced with a situation out of our control, we need to ask, "Whose side am I on?" Will our response reflect that we are on God's side or not? If we determine that, no matter what, we're on God's side, it settles the trust issue in our hearts.  And if we ground ourselves in the reality that we trust God, we can face circumstances that are out of our control without acting out of control.  We can't always fix our circumstances, but we can fix our minds on God.  We can do that. ~Lysa Terkeurst, Unglued
So, my plan for this week is to focus on God and just take it one step at a time.

How about you?

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