As we're wrapping up November and this season of Thanksgiving, I thought a blog post regarding things I personally am thankful for would be appropriate. The past year of my life has been filled with so many exciting changes. A year ago, I never would have guess this is what my life would be like, but I am so glad God's plans are better than mine!
1. Our House
Back in June, Christopher and I were able to close on our first home! This time last year, I had NO idea that would be in store for our 2017. We were renting an apartment and had some unforeseen circumstances come about. After much thought and prayer, we knew purchasing our first home would be for the best. It's crazy how it worked out though! As you may know, purchasing a home (especially a starter home) is quite an adventure right now. There's more buyers then there are homes which definitely shook our home search up quite a bit. We would look at homes on Friday or Saturday and they'd be sold to someone else by Sunday. We didn't have much time to think it through which was hard for Christopher and I (we're both very thorough when it comes to major decisions!). We found one home we loved, and put an offer on it. We wrote the owners a lovely letter about why we should be the ones to get the house. I was certain, it would be ours. Sunday afternoon came, and we heard from our realtor....we didn't get the house. A few weeks passed as our search continued. Nothing we liked was available. Then, one Monday, my husband text me a picture of the most charming craftsman style home. It was in the perfect location! It had all our needs AND wants too! We had to go see it! We text our realtor. She was informed that the seller was going to accept an offer that afternoon so they really weren't interested in us seeing it. But thanks to the persuasion of our realtor, they agreed! We walked in, and knew it was for us! Once we looked at the house, Christopher and I went and grabbed dinner at a nearby Zaxby's. We called our realtor and put in our offer. We knew it was a long shot, since they were about to accept another offer. During dinner, our realtor called us back....the other buyers counter-offered. We had already offered our best---it was cut and dry and a really solid offer. We had no interest in getting into a "bidding war" so we left our offer as is, and trusted God. We made the drive back to our apartment, one of my friends, Meagan, came over to hang out for a little bit. Our realtor called. I had this sinking feeling in my stomach. This was only the second home we had put an offer on. We had only been looking for a home for a month. The other buys probably offered more then us. I just knew there was no way we would get this house. But then, I heard Christopher say, "What?!?" with the biggest look of surprise on his face. WE GOT THE HOUSE!!! I couldn't believe it!!
2. Being Able to Pursue a Career I Love
With the new house, came a commute that was much further from me. See Christopher works in downtown Raleigh, and I was working in downtown Durham. Finding a home in our price range with a commute that worked well for both us of, proved to be an impossible feat. So we did the best we could. I took the longer commute to get the house we loved. I thought I could handle it fine, but slowly it began to wear me down. I was working 40 hours a week, commuting between an hour and a half to two hours Monday-Friday, coming home and being a wife, all while trying to build my photography business to a full time gig. I was wearing myself down very quickly. I had tried applying for jobs closer to my home, that didn't work so I quit looking for awhile. I just figured I was going to have to make it work. But late August-early September, Christopher and I realized, there was no way we could keep this up. It was exhausting, and it was wearing us both down. Mid-summer, my photography business was gaining ALOT of momentum. Business had really began to pick up. So early September of this year, we began approaching the issue of my job situation a bit differently, why wait to go full time with my business? We prayed...earnestly...we prayed. We figured I would go full time with my business once we had children, not now. This wasn't a part of our plan, so why did we feel led to do this? After praying ALOT, we knew this would be the right choice for us. So on September 18, I gave my notice at previous job. It was scary. It was a leap of faith, but it was right. On October 6, I left my job for the last time, and here we are.
3. My New Side Hustle
About a month ago, I started working part time with a company called VIP Kid. I teach English as a second language to children in China. I wake up early in the morning and teach for about three hours a day (usually between 5 am-8am). You may not know this, but I used to be a teacher. I taught for 3 years. I have missed it very much, but have not felt the need to go back to the classroom setting. See, Christopher and I have some big goals for 2018 (which I'll be sharing in an upcoming blog post) so we knew working a teaching job I love would be a great way to meet some of our financial goals for the year. I have loved having this opportunity, and I love my little kiddos!!
4. My Husband
I couldn't pursue my dream of being a professional photographer without his support. From the get go, he always encouraged me to chase my dream. Even when I didn't think I wanted to anymore. He was right there cheering me on. Not to mention, when we were going through that time of craziness where I was working myself to death, he completely picked up my slack. I swear we wouldn't have had clean clothes if it weren't for him. He's truly the best!
5. Coffee, Coffee, Coffee.
You didn't seriously think I could write a post about things I'm thankful for and not include coffee, right? Like I said, I teach most mornings at 5 am, which means my alarm goes off at 4 am. Therefore, I consume lots and lots of coffee. I should probably add I'm also thankful for naps :)