Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Girl Named Elated

That's not a word I throw around lightly - I am absolutely beside myself with happiness right now! My new job is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! Today was my 2nd day of training in Memphis. I wanted to blog the first night I got here, but we didn't get in until about 11:30, and went right to bed. Unfortunately, we were rudely awoken about 1:00 am by a piercing fire alarm. We thought it was just ours, then realized it was the whole hotel. We slowly evacuated our room and went outside and found 3 fire trucks. After waiting about 10 minutes, they called the all clear and said it was someone on the 3rd floor that burned popcorn. We seriously considered finding that person and doing them harm. We then went back to bed and got up promptly at 6:15am. 

Monday we went to the ad office here that does the advertising for 21 Ashley Furniture Stores total, all in the Covington family. I met everyone, and they are absolutely the nicest people in the world. I love them all. I knew they were my people when at 9:30 in the morning they began discussing what we were eating for lunch, and at 11:00 they decided we needed to leave soon to eat (just like home, Heather and Kelly!) because everyone was starving. I knew I would fit right in. We went to Patrick's, a local hole-in-the-wall-amazing-cheeseburger-and-mac cheese place (so much for my diet). I got to work on schedules, I got to sit in on an ACTUAL script revision and writing for ACTUAL tv commercials (I know, I'm easily excited, but this was easily the highlight of my day!). I learned how to make a quarterly advertising calendar, and made my own budget for 2nd quarter ads. We then went to Benton Grill, another local hole-in-the-wall place, where they serve an amazing "basket of fried heaven" meal, that one in our group was WAY too excited to get! Then Heather (my new friend and co-worker, the Director of Merchandising for our 4 Ashley stores) and I came back to our room and discovered the Bachelor was on, so of course we had to watch it. We laughed so hard at those girls and had so much fun, then discovered neither of us had watched the first two episodes, so we grabbed the iPad, propped it on a chair, and proceeded to watch approximately 5 hours of the Bachelor (until midnight, I might add) and finally went to bed.

Today I went back to the office and worked with an awesome girl named Mandy who taught me SO much about advertising, media buying, production, placement, promotion...I could go on and on, she is amazing. When Andrew dropped me off at 8:30 he of course had to let everyone know we were all meeting at noon at his favorite restaurant here, called Leonard's (he also organizes his day around lunch, and I love that). All 15 of us went to Leonard's, which is - you guessed it - a local hole-in-the-wall restaurant (that's been on the Food Network!) that is famous for it's ribs and catfish. I went in a little skeptical when I saw it, but let me tell you - it was the best food I've EVER had in my life! Ribs, catfish, potato salad, baked beans, fried okra, chocolate cake...(there goes my diet again) and I wanted to move in and live there. Tonight I wasn't really hungry, so I just got something at Wendy's (that, and my friend Heather went back to Springfield tonight, so I'm alone now!)

I know this was lengthy, but I wanted to write it so I will always have the names of the restaurants, and always be able to relive my first days at this job. Andrew, his wife Tammy and son Cash, David, Jarrett (sp?), Heather, Kim, Mandy, Katie, Lauren, Chad and of course Arnie - are some of the most amazing, hospitable, welcoming, helpful, caring people I've ever met. It is such a change to be treated this way by my superiors, I truly am so thankful that God has very much blessed me with this opportunity. I can't imagine anything better. I will write again before I leave Friday!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Girl Named Nervous Nellie

Well, tomorrow is my last day at Children's Miracle Network. After 8 years, I've taken a new position as the Marketing Director for Ashley Furniture. I am so excited to start my new job doing something I love, but I am really sad to leave CMN. The circumstances surrounding my departure are less than favorable. They result from a decision made by one person, that has affected a lot of people's lives. I hope it gets better at CMN, but I can't stay to find out. I am SO nervous to start my new job though! I leave Sunday night for Memphis, and I'm staying for 3 weeks to train (I will come home on the weekends). It's much farther than I've ever traveled alone, and is way out of my comfort zone. I guess that's part of growing in life and becoming successful. I hope I'm good at the job and I hope I enjoy it, it's going to be a lot different. Not to mention Pete has to be Mr. Mom while I'm gone, and has a lot of responsibility to take on. For that, I will be forever in his debt and I love him more than he knows for being so supportive and so willing to help. I hope the next 3 weeks go smoothly and quickly for both of us, and we can return to normalcy soon!

I'm really going to miss my job at CMN, the families we work with, the sponsors I work with, and all the relationships I've built over the years. It's the end of an era, but I'm the last one to go. Everyone else has moved on and I have to as well. I have very fond memories that I will never forget. A lot of major life milestones happened while I worked there - got engaged, got married, had Kylie, had Claire. The people I worked with are some of my best friends, and I know we will continue to be friends. Actually saying goodbye to my office tomorrow is going to be hard.

I stayed home today because Claire had a fever and diarrhea, and I am going to go in in the morning to get the rest of my things but then come home because Claire is throwing up, so we can't take her to the sitters house. It's not how I wanted to leave, I feel like I need proper time to close things out, but now I don't have a choice - I have limited time left. I wish that Claire wasn't sick at this moment, but I can't change that. I also feel bad leaving Kristen there in the situation, but I think she'll be fine. 

I am just very stressed and nervous and emotional right now, but I know that once I get started at the new job I will never look back. I will always support CMN and it's mission, and believe in the good that is done in the community. I just can't support current leadership and the decisions they are making. My new boss is wonderful, and I know we are going to get along very well, and I will be appreciated. I can't wait to fast forward 6 months when I've learned the job and am settled in and my life can finally calm down a little bit.

Thank you to all my wonderful friends (you know who you are!) for supporting me through everything the past few months, and I will pay you back one day! Ultimately, I am very blessed to have had the job I've had for 8 years, and have found another good job to go to. I'm blessed to have my friends and family, and our health. I couldn't be happier or more excited about our future!  

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Girl Named Optimistic

Well, it's the first day of 2012! 2011 was a pretty good year overall, but not my best. Didn't get the promotion at work and things have been rough since. 2012 is already promising to be better, I can't announce anything until Tuesday, but new opportunities have been presented and I'm very excited!

Pete passed the first two parts of his CPA exam in 2011, and will pass the rest in 2012! This will allow him to really grow Priority Tax Solutions in the coming years. I'm so proud of him for all the hard work he's put into his business and getting his CPA.  

I started running in 2011, completed 4 5K's and lost 20 pounds. I can't wait to see what PR's 2012 will bring me, and what fun races and fitness levels I will reach - hopefully more weight loss!

Our basement is SO close to being finished, after 2.5 years of hard work and a lot of money. It will be so exciting to have double the space to use as living space - another bathroom, two more bedrooms, an office, a storage area, a bar, a living room... I just can't imagine! 

Now that we are finished having kids, we can really enjoy Kylie and Claire and take them to do fun things, and watch them grow up. I can't believe that Kylie will be starting school in a year and a half! We are planning on putting her in preschool a couple days a week next fall to get her ready, although she's already breezing through her Kindergarten workbooks!

I have thoroughly enjoyed my week off from work (technically 10 days) and enjoyed spending time with friends and family. One more day left until back to work! I am just so optimistic about 2012, we called 2011 "The year of the Edwards" and we're calling 2012 "The year of the positive changes" and I know it will live up to it's name. 

I have learned so much this year  - humility, patience, grace under fire, class, compassion, sympathy, how to handle stress, multi-tasking, and a lot of new emotions!  I've learned who my true friends are, and who I can count on to be there and who doesn't care about me as much as I thought, and to be honest, I was surprised by a lot of people! I've also learned that a lot of people who I thought were acquaintances turned out to care for me a lot and think very highly of me, and have really come through for me when I needed them. I've learned a lot about myself and how I handle situations I'm presented with, and I can say I'm proud of how I've conducted myself, and I don't regret anything. I have learned that you are ultimately only responsible for yourself and how you treat people, and you can't be in charge of how others treat you, only how you react to how they treat you. Most of all I've grown closer to God this year, and I hope to continue that relationship in 2012. I appreciate 2011 teaching me these lessons that I can take with me into the next years and grow in my personal life, professional life, and social life. I can't wait to see what 2012 is going to teach me, I know it won't all be good, but it will all be something I can learn from and I never want to stop learning. Bring it on 2012!