pieces of life {this momentous occasion}



Every once in awhile an occasion comes along that calls for a special sort of celebration. Life, as we know it, is about to change, and this change calls for a something really memorable. Last Sunday, he wore a suit, and I wore a black dress and we headed downtown for a special dinner at Manny’s Steakhouse. I could write about that dinner, because it really was something, but what I want to share with you is the reason we were there.

In order for you to understand the gravity of this celebration, however, I need to back up a bit, to August 2008. We had just purchased the cottage, and were in the process of unpacking and organizing and settling in. I had started a new job just a few miles away as a graphic designer and marketing consultant for a small firm, and my husband was working in the financial industry for a well-known company. It was a warm August evening, and I remember him walking into the bedroom after work, in a suit and tie, sitting down on the bed and putting his head in his hands. That night we had a conversation that changed the course of our lives.

It had come to light that he didn’t love what he was doing. It wasn’t a good fit for his personality, and he was struggling to stay focused and motivated in a job that, while it had the potential of being very lucrative, lacked any personal fulfillment or gratification for him. I’ve always been a believer in chasing dreams and doing what you love. That is why, that night, we made the decision to take a 180 in the direction of our lives. We were young, and it seemed that making a career change at this age would be easier than waiting, even a year or two. Two months later, he quit his job, and went back to school. For two months, he attended classes locally, and then, in January of 2009, went to an accelerated program at a school about 2.5 hours away. This meant he was gone from home for 5 days a week, for almost eight months. I lived at the cottage alone, and got used to frequent goodbyes, and a long distance marriage. I know that many people live this lifestyle all the time, but let me say, it isn’t easy.

Last July, he graduated at the top of his class, and moved back home. We both knew we had a long road ahead in the search for a job in this new field. It’s a difficult world to enter, to say the least. He found part time work in his area of study, and worked a side job, all while sending off applications for the limited number of available jobs in this field. The months went by, and he advanced in some of the application processes, but at some point, as one of over 300 applicants per job, he was eliminated from each hiring process in favor of those with more experience. We would move on, and he would keep applying. In April, however, he got a call. Along with the call came a conditional offer of employment. We were thrilled; beyond thrilled, really. Then began the endless process of fulfilling the pre-employment requirements. Paperwork, interviews, tests and more tests, while weeks and months ticked by, until finally, just a few weeks ago, the last of the requirements were fulfilled. He started his new job yesterday. I am so, so proud. Two years after making the decision to change careers, he is doing it. Really, really doing it. And this one fits him like a glove.

While he was still in school, I told him that we would go to Manny’s for a $50 steak when he was hired. And so we did. It was perfect. The meal was delicious, the details exquisite and the service top-notch.

But here’s the best part. We were celebrating a few other things that evening.

Namely, our 4th anniversary, as well as our recent accomplishment of becoming 100% debt free (besides a mortgage). Oh, and one other little thing.

See, when he got hired, this opened up a door for me too. Ever since I decided that I wanted to be a graphic designer, I knew, just knew that what I really wanted to be was a freelance designer. I wanted to work from home, at my own pace, where I could take advantage of the flexibility of being my own boss, setting my own goals and reaching for my own dreams. I suppose this was a byproduct of growing up under very entrepreneurial parents. At any rate, on my first day of design school, we had to write an essay about what we wanted to do with our design careers. I wrote about my freelance dreams. After graduation, I worked for a mid-sized firm designing books, and then I made the switch to a smaller firm which worked mostly with small businesses. Both were good jobs, but my heart was still longing after a different direction. I knew I couldn’t take the plunge while my husband was in the midst of his own career change. So I waited. Sometimes patiently, and sometimes not so much. I started Emmy Lu, and basically worked a second job in the evenings, coming home to emails, projects, blogging and business administration.

Then, he got hired. And he told me, that now was the time. So, last Monday, the 12th, I put in my notice. Tomorrow is my last day as an employee. I am on the very brink of diving headfirst into a dream that I’ve had for longer than I can recall. I have many, many plans and goals and ideas, and I just can’t wait to get started! The wheels are turning, and I am so ready to finally be able to dedicate my time to working on my business. I promise I’ll share more in the weeks to come.

Now, if you’d excuse me, I must go pinch myself. Or, probably more appropriately, take this moment to utter my thanks to the God who has had us in the palm of his during this crazy journey. I’ll be back next week my dears!

  1. I’ve only recently found your blog, but this is a really beautiful post! Good luck chasing down your dreams on this crazy journey called life!

  2. Hope says:

    Way to go!! We have been on vacation and boy, did I miss your blog! Hope you know how much it means to your readers!!

  3. Melissa says:

    Congratulations and good luck with your freelance career!

  4. Becky says:

    Amazing news, Bethany! Congrats to you both!

  5. Wendy says:

    Your last two posts made me tear up. That’s what a relationship/marriage, especially for 10 years at a somewhat younger age, is all about. I’ve also been with my husband for 10 years and we’ve gone through many sacrifices for each other, but I’ve never heard someone describe it so well!

    I’m so happy for you, that you have each other, and that you can count your blessings in such a wonderful way full of awareness and awe.

    May you and your husband continue to grow together!

  6. Yay beth! What a great post. I’m so happy for you!! :) :) Can’t wait to hang out with you during the day now (once in a while :)

  7. Kimberly says:

    Congrats Bethany! That is SO exciting!!! You’re living the dream now. Take it all in, you so deserve every minute of this happiness.

  8. Rachel says:

    Congratulations! I freelance some too as a designer and have found it so nice to be able to do from home now that we have three kids. Can’t wait to see glimpses of some of the fun stuff you’ll be producing!

  9. Ashlee says:

    Yay! What an exciting time! I feel the exact same, about going freelance and working from home. I am a graphic designer for a corporate company and so many days I wish I could take the leap and go at it on my own. I know it is not the right time for me yet, but I so look forward to it a little further down the road. Your story is inspiring! :) Best of luck!

  10. OHHHH BETH!!! This news….so fabulous! The freedom and joy that comes from following your dreams is so fulfilling and perfect. To do what your heart calls you to do and live the life that God designed you for….well, that is priceless and I can’t wait to hear more about your journey! :)

    Virtual high-fives for you tonight my dear Beth! :) Enjoy your car ride home after work tomorrow as you drive into your new adventure!!!!!!!

  11. Macey says:

    Congrats Bethany! So amazing to hear or rather read what God has done and is continuing to do in your life. Blessings on this wonderful change!

  12. Joyce says:

    I have to add my congrats…I am so proud of the woman
    God has molded you into…so happy to be along with you
    on the journey. “Get growing!!!”
    Love you -

  13. Absolutely fabulous! Im so excited for you – all the best.

  14. Carolyn says:

    Wow – I must say Congratulations to you both! I’ve been dying for so long now to “follow my dreams” just like you two are, & I guess the real thing that’s holding me back (other than the scariness of it) is not knowing precisely what that dream is yet. I’m very focused on it now & hope to get there very soon, but it’s so motivating to hear that it really can work for people who try. I know I don’t know you, but I have to say I’m so proud! I love your blog! And you’re one of the people whose writing has gotten me to think about life as opposed to letting it pass me by. :) So I also want to say thank you.

  15. Em says:

    YAY! When I first found your blog I thought you were a freelance designer (until your post that cleared that up) but I lived through you for a while and now it’s coming true! Your post was so inspirational. I want to share it with my husband and see what dreams of ours can come true!

  16. amelia says:

    Congratulations to you and your husband!
    It must feel so good to know all your hard-work and patience paid off. This seems to be your time. Enjoy it! Wishing you both all the best :-)

  17. Jamie says:

    Beth – what EXCITING news! I am so thrilled for you guys… seeing the ‘next chapter’ of life unfold as you being completely self-employed, Zack happily working within his new career! I am so proud and excited to see you both following Lord’s direction and the desires he has put in your hearts!

  18. LisaVdesign says:

    Yay! Finally. :)
    Can’t wait til we can celebrate our freedom together . . . we need to get a date on the calendar.

  19. Kelly says:

    First of all, let me point out that I don’t know you at all. And I don’t know your husband. But I read your blog and I’m also a native (and very proud) Minnesotan and I appreciate what you’re putting out there, into the ether. As I read this post… and still… I just felt overwhelmed. It was inspiring and motivating and so relatable. Congratulations. Your stories are impacting others in a very positive way.

  20. Tricia says:

    What wonderful news! Congrats to you and your husband for going after your dreams! Best of luck in the future!

  21. Jordan says:

    How exciting! Praise the LORD who gives dreams and fulfills them.

  22. Melissa says:

    Just found your blog. LOVE. So awesome how He works in His timing, not ours :)

  23. Holly says:

    I thought FOR SURE that there was some baby news hidden somewhere in that post, but alas there was not :)

    Congrats & Happy (late) Anniversary!

  24. Lindsey says:

    I just recently started reading your blog and this is such an encouraging post! It is awesome both you and your husband didn’t accept the norm and instead are both following your dreams. Praise be to God! Awesome!

  25. Annie says:

    Bethany! So, so excited for you! I cannot wait to see all the creative wonders that flow out of this season! Eat it up, girl!

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