Sunday, November 8, 2015

Rainy Sunday in November . . .

These are actually some of my absolute favorite days. Yes, it's rainy and freezing and just . . . November, which already has a reputation for being dull and dreary. But I got to sleep in this morning, already put in some laundry and loaded the dishwasher and picked up the apartment, and am now sitting at Starbucks having some coffee cake, journaling, listening to my "Faithful and Fearless" Spotify playlist, and writing this post before I head out to do the week's grocery shopping and work out and go to the 5:00 church service.

This has been a very intense year, and I've been feeling very reflective this morning even as I contemplate how we're less than 8 weeks away from 2016, and how TWO WEEKS FROM TODAY I'll be on a plane touching down in Paris (!!!!!), and how two days from today marks my one-year anniversary of becoming an official member of the State Bar of Georgia. It's been an intense year of learning and growth and adjustments to a new lifestyle--being in a new city, my first professional job, being a lawyer--that have been much harder than I imagined they would be. Yesterday I was reminiscing about just how scared I was that day in August last year when I loaded up everything I owned in a moving truck and took off for a city where I knew virtually no one. It has been quite the ride, and it hasn't been easy. There's been a lot of struggle in the 15 months since I moved here--struggles to make friends, struggles to adjust to a new career where I'm pushed to perform at a higher level than I often feel capable of, and struggles to figure out what matters most to me as a twenty-something in a demanding profession in a big city, even as I KNOW that God wants me to be here now. I am totally confident about that, and even though my emotions sometimes scream at me that this isn't working out exactly the way I thought and maybe I should re-think things and go somewhere else, I have felt, and still feel, a deep and abiding peace about being where I am. I'm supposed to be here, I'm supposed to be practicing family law and am called to do that, and I'm supposed to be leaning in to what God has for me here.

And y'all, I just keep learning that God is faithful. God is faithful when I don't know if I can push any harder than I'm already pushing it, but somehow I have to. God is faithful in the times when I feel stuck in a rut or when I wonder if this place will ever consistently feel like home. God is faithful to always be the firm foundation of my life, absolutely no matter what. And that is worth celebrating, and writing about, even in a year when just trying to get on my feet has made me neglect this blog SO much. The other day I sent my best friend some really old blog posts I had written--like, from 2012--and she told me they had really blessed her, so I decided I need to start writing again. Officially. As much as I can. This is not going to be a formal "devotional" post, but I do want to share this with you. I've been reading in Hosea lately (absolutely amazing book, by the way), and have been given so much hope and encouragement by this verse lately: "I [the Lord] will make the valley of trouble a door of hope." (Hosea 2:15). YES. The Lord is the only one who can make the valley of trouble a door of hope, and reading this passage has meant the world to me in a season of my life where I've been spending a lot of time in the valley, a lot of time trying to figure things out and make sense of where I need to be and how I can serve the Lord in a life that's just so very different from anything that has come before this for me. But He is still here, and I've had conversations with a lot of people who love me and care about me lately that have helped me see that door of hope beginning to crack open, even in a season in the valley. And again, I could say this 100 times and I probably HAVE said this 100 times on this blog, but it's still just as true as ever. Jesus is enough. He is always, always enough. Not Jesus PLUS the perfect job, the perfect relationship, plenty of money, plenty of friends, and everything that Instagram makes me believe I need to have to have a perfect life. Just Jesus. He is enough. He's just enough.

That said . . . here are some other things that have been going on in my life lately:

  • Yesterday I chopped off a ton of my hair and dyed it red and I LOVE it.
  • I've been hiking: 
  • And taking painting classes: 
  • And I'm taking a French class in an adult continuing education program at a local university. And I DON'T GET IT AT ALL. This is why I only took Spanish in high school! But I'm going to keep working at it. 
  • I'm handling a lot more at the office than I was a year ago--giving clients lots of legal advice on my own, handling a couple of simpler cases with only very minimal supervision, writing much more substantial briefs and motions for partial summary judgment and similar items, jumping right into the fray with discovery disputes with opposing counsel, and you get the idea. 
  • I've been reading a LOT this fall, especially after coming to the alarming realization that if I read a book a week for as long as I can expect to live, I only have time left to read about 2,800 books in my lifetime (I somehow thought it'd be 10,000 or so. Not so much). I've read this book about young investment bankers on Wall Street and this amazing book about poverty in America and of course a Jodi Picoult book. Now I'm reading this book about neuroscience (I never said I wasn't a nerd) and this other book about poverty in America and of course this classic about life in Italy. And this book that my pastor wrote. And this Lisa Scottoline book (love her work). So much to read, so little time!
  • I am LOVING the career advice in this article. Despite the title, this is great stuff for professionals of any age. Especially great parts: "Carve out time in your week to prioritize your own learning." "Lean in to your weaknesses." "The best form of networking is absolutely crushing results in your job." And I could go on, but just read it yourself! Along the lines of this article, I've set myself the goal of reading 5 professional articles each week at my job (on any topic that's relevant to my career), of going to more seminars, of seeking out more feedback and actually using it, etc.
And now I am totally fired up and it's time to start drafting some goals for 2016! Enjoy your Sunday!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

A Day in the Life . . .

Hey y'all, so after discussion with my sister about just how incredibly interesting "day in the life" blog posts always are, and given that I need to catch you up on my life anyway because I haven't blogged in months, I decided to do a post on a "day in the life of a lawyer." This sample day in my life reflects some things that went on both on Wednesday and Thursday last week, so it's not really one specific day, but all of these events happened on one or the other of those two days and this will give you a good idea of what my typical day is like:

5:11 am: Wake up because Max (my cat) is meowing like the world's about to end (as he so often does at the crack of dawn). I manage to tune him out and fall back to sleep until about 6.

6 am: Wake up and pay all my bills on my iPhone, and check emails and my calendar, while lying in bed.

6:30: Shower.

6:45-7:15: Go "back to bed" for 30 minutes. I do this every day after I take a shower. It helps me start the day on a relaxed note. I use the time to read articles I want to read, get on Facebook, update my to-do list, even journal if I feel like it.

7:15: Get ready for work. Drink an Arden's Garden smoothie for "breakfast." If you've never had one of these, you should because they are delicious and really healthy.

8:15: Arrive at the office. Check work emails. Get coffee (which I will probably not actually drink more than 3 sips of, as those who know me well can attest).

8:30: Phone call with client. Work on drafting requests for production of evidence for several subpoenas for a case.

10:00: Case list meeting. My whole practice group gets together every few weeks to get a game plan on cases, figure out who's working on what, and discuss strategy.

11:00: Draft motion for contempt for another case.

11:45: Meeting with my boss about a client's settlement agreement.

12:20: Go get a salad at the cafe next door.

1:00: Conference call with one of the expert witnesses for a case.

1:30: Meeting with client.

3:00: Phone call with client about a settlement agreement.

3:45: Legal research.

4:30: Draft a motion in limine, which is a request for the court to exclude certain evidence from trial, typically because it is legally irrelevant or prejudicial.

5:30: Wrap up my work on the subpoenas from this morning.

6:00: Leave the office for the day. Go run my errands (pick up dry cleaning, buy food for Max, and get gas).

6:45: Get home, make dinner, watch TV, phone call with my parents, and phone call with my sister.

8:15: Go to my gym and go swimming.

9:30: Return home and read my book (Jodi Picoult's The Storyteller) and get ready for bed.

11:00: Go to bed!

I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse into my typical day! Maybe I can even start including "write a blog post" in more of my typical days . . .

Monday, July 20, 2015

Travel Updates!

Readers, I have recently finished my whirlwind few weeks of travel! Since late June, I have been to Chicago, New York City, and Sarasota, Florida for a family reunion. I've seen Matilda on Broadway, been to Times Square, toured Chelsea Market in NYC, seen snow leopards and penguins at the Central Park Zoo, had drinks in the bar on the 96th floor of the John Hancock Tower in Chicago (and gotten stuck in the elevator on the 95th floor of said tower, but that's another story entirely), spent four days at an INTENSE but incredibly helpful family law conference, met family law associates from all over the country, seen the sun set over Siesta Key Beach, seen the Statue of Liberty, and so much more. Here are some of my pictures!

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New York skyline from the top of the Empire State Building. 

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Times Square. 

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If you're thinking, "That looks like the apartment building from Friends," you're right!

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Beautiful sunsets in Sarasota: on the beach and in the air. 

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Doughnuts from the Doughnut Plant in NYC!

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The Chicago skyline

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The Bean in Chicago

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Chicago at night. 

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And this weekend I bought a plane ticket to Paris and one to Reykjavik, which is in Iceland. I am so excited! Meagan and I are going together in November, because life's too short not to stroll the cobblestone streets in Rome, sip coffee and eat croissants in a Parisian bakery, see the Eiffel Tower, see the Northern Lights, see the Colosseum at night, and so much more!

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I can't believe that we are actually going to make the Europe trip happen . . . my sister and I have been looking forward to this for a long time, and we're so thrilled that we are going to get to satisfy a little bit of our wanderlust!

In the meantime, well, it's back to that associate attorney life! I'm in the process of drafting up a list of "core competencies" that I would like to have gained by the time I reach the end of this year . . . does anyone else do this? Probably just me, because I am a nerd. But my list includes things like knowing all the basics of divorce taxation issues; having the ability to speak articulately and knowledgeably about complex family law matters; and competency with all major types of drafting, including settlement agreements, modifications, contempts, discovery, requests for admission, motions for reconsideration, motions to compel, emergency motions, etc. By the end of this year, I want to feel confident and comfortable with most of these very basic lawyering skills so that I don't feel like I'm having to start from scratch with each new project and assignment. It is satisfying to already be at the point where, for many tasks, I have already seen it or something like it before and therefore have some idea of what to do. My absolute favorite cases are ones that involve either complex civil procedure questions, complex custody issues, or both. Well, I need to finish writing a memo so that's all for tonight!