Faith, Hope, & Iowa | On Leaving Florida

The past 7 days have been an absolute whirlwind.

In addition to traveling back up to Joliet for the weekend to celebrate my dad’s 50th birthday, I’ve spent much of the past few days mentally preparing for an undoubtedly hectic week to come, because the week to come was (and now, is) my last week in Florida.

Last Tuesday, I accepted a job offer on a political campaign in Iowa. I put in my two weeks, broke the news to my coworkers, and am now in the midst of the stressful and frustrating process that is finding housing, arranging transportation, packing up my apartment, etc., etc.

This weekend, I’m driving all of my stuff back up to the Midwest and next weekend, I’m expected in Des Moines for my first day of work on this new campaign.

And as bad timing would have it, Howie had an accident that landed him in an emergency animal clinic on Sunday night. (Basically, what you need to know here is: emergency + Sunday + after-hours = A LOT of Starbucks lattes.)

If the first two months of this summer weren’t a lesson in faith, the coming weeks are about to be.

A friend asked me yesterday if I’m excited for my move back to Iowa City. After thinking about it for a moment, I told him that “excited” isn’t really the right word to describe how I’m feeling.

I was presented with a choice last week that prompted a decision. Now, the decision is made. A week later, I’m still unsure if my choice was the right one—but the choice is made regardless and I’m headed back to Iowa.

“Anxious” feels like a better word for where I’m at right now.

His response pretty well summed it up: “I know how you feel. I’ve never had more options available to me in my life and I’ve never had a more vague idea of what I’m supposed to do.”
Bingo. He hit the nail on the head.

12 months ago, I knew exactly what was expected of me. I was finishing an internship in Washington, D.C. and getting ready to start my last year of college at the University of Iowa. I knew exactly what credits I needed to complete, how many hours I needed to take, what forms I needed to fill out to apply for graduation, and so on. All I had to do was follow the steps.

And now, I’m here. I’ve got my degree, I’m leaving my first job to take a second and all only two months out from graduation.

Every question is open-ended. My steps are unprecedented.

I don’t mean to complain—it’s a blessing to have options. But how can I know what’s right when the choice isn’t black and white and is instead gray, ie: stay in Florida or move to Iowa?

It gives me heart palpitations to think about it.

But God is bigger than Florida and Iowa and campaigns and party politics. He is bigger than a college degree or a new job or an apartment lease. God is even bigger than the bill for Howie’s trip to the emergency clinic (and trust me, that’s big).

“Let nothing trouble you, let nothing scare you, all is fleeting, God alone is unchanging. Patience everything obtains. Who possesses God, nothing wants. God alone suffices.” – St. Teresa of Avila

It is inevitable that my flawed nature and my selfish tendencies will get in the way of my ability to follow God’s direction and fulfill His will for my life. Wrong choices will happen. This is simply the human condition.

But God is bigger than the human condition.

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will all the more gladly boast about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9

My biggest fear in the present moment is that I’m leaving Florida prematurely. I am however deeply, deeply inclined to get home as quickly as I can.

So despite everything, I will keep moving forward. I will be grateful for my blessings—a job, a roof over my head, food in my stomach— and seek God in my anxiety.

I will trust.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:5-6

Tom Turns 50 | A Tribute

Dreams are a hot topic in my family.

And I don’t mean dreams like the weird ones my dad had when he first quit smoking (which he did have WEIRD dreams when he quit smoking) – I mean dreams like the ones I have for my life, and the ones that Emily has for hers, and Caroline for hers, etc.

And I’m not sure at what point we started talking about dreams, but I’ve always known, for whatever reason, that this conversation started with my dad. For my entire life, if there’s anything Emily and Caroline and I have ever understood about our dad, it’s that he is, and has always been, a big dreamer.

When I was young, he was an immovable force of a man in my mind; there was no obstacle too large, no problem too great, and no threat too dangerous for him to overcome. He was a pillar of strength for me and my sisters and our protector from the outside world. Nothing could touch us inside his castle.

But as time often does, it revealed a lot about him.

Age has exposed me to his flaws. I have seen him in moments of weakness. I’ve seen him in pain, I’ve seen him sad. I have seen him cry and I have seen him fail.

At 21 years old, growing up has revealed my dad to me – but as I’ve gotten to know him better and come to understand him more, my admiration and appreciation for the man he is today has multiplied exponentially. And all the while, it continues to grow – for as a little girl, I reduced him to my mere protector. However today, as a woman, I see his depth.

My dad is a man unmoved by adversity. Although his stresses sometimes wear on him and his anxieties are often heavy, his convictions and his dreams always remain the same.

My dad is a courageous man; as he stands before opportunity, he does not waver. His perseverance is untouchable and his hope for a great life has him constantly driving forward.

My dad is a generous man. The shirt off his back (and his shoes, pants, and socks, if necessary) would be a small price to pay to help another person. He is loving and he is kind – my dad is a selfless man.

My dad is a wise man. He always has advice to offer and more importantly, his willingness to learn and to grow himself never ceases. He is constantly engaging and exploring the world. He recognizes that he will never know enough and there is always more to learn.

My dad is a successful man. He was the first person in his family to graduate from college. He’s had a prosperous career in law enforcement and has built a profitable business to boot. He has raised a gifted family and been a blessing to our household. He has clothed us, fed us, educated us, and taught us right from wrong. He has built a livelihood that allows him the luxury of caring for his own parents.

My father – the big dreamer – has achieved his dreams, plus more. Any man would be blessed to conquer half of what he has and I am infinitely thankful to call him ‘dad.’
Tom Knorr is a good man – and what’s more, he’s an even better father, husband and friend.

And tomorrow, he turns 50.

I think that his mentally 26-year-old self cringes at the thought of being 50, but to be honest, I thank God that he’s so young – I can’t imagine the next 50 years without him.

Dad, you are the standard for every man that will ever enter my life – thank you for setting the bar so high. I love you. Happy birthday!

Frustration & Perseverance | A Brief Thought On Endurance

“Frustrated” is a word I’ve used to describe my mood a lot, recently.

And just acknowledging that one fact alone is frustrating to me because I’ve always resented the thought of becoming the person who’s discouraged, pessimistic, discontented, fill-in-the-blank, etc. etc., frustrated.

But even still, sometimes we are what we are. And I am frustrated.

It has been 7 weeks of exhausting, back-breaking, humbling work, and as if the stress of my present day-to-day duties isn’t enough, I’m constantly reminded that election season hasn’t even really started yet.

I miss my family and my friends. I miss the freedom that allowed me nights out in downtown Iowa City and weekend escapes to home cooked meals and clean laundry at my parents’ house in Joliet.

But week in and week out, I try as best I can to work diligently and efficiently, using my time as productively as possible and exerting every last ounce of energy I can muster day-to-day.
I allow myself the relief—however brief—of daily mass, where I am reminded that my journey is not without purpose and my direction, not unguided.

“He knows what He is about. He may take away my friends, He may throw me among strangers, He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide my future from me – still, He knows what He is about. Therefore, I will trust Him.” – Blessed John Henry Newman

And in the moments I’m tempted to throw in the towel and call it quits despite the million things I could do with my last few hours of daylight, I find strength in my faith in God’s providence and His plan.

“Work as if everything depended on you. Pray as if everything depended on God.” – St. Augustine

I cannot see what the future holds, nor can I even begin to fathom its weight. I do know, though, that my head and heart are growing. My life is changing and my views of myself, my relationships, my career—my whole world—are evolving.

Romans 12:12 says, “Be rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer.”
So I try.

I am joyful at this opportunity to be in Florida and all that it could mean for my future and my career. I refuse to be kept down by setbacks, disappointments, or failures—
“Nothing great is ever achieved without much enduring.” – St. Catherine of Siena

And above all else, I pray. I pray unceasingly for guidance, discipline, courage, strength, and truth.

And I pray constantly that my stubborn human heart succumbs to the molding hands of God.

“Grant me, O Lord my God, a mind to know You, a heart to seek You, wisdom to find You, conduct pleasing to You, faithful perseverance in waiting for You, and a hope of finally embracing You.” – St. John of the Cross

Hello Howie!

In the midst of my fast from social media, I’ve been chomping at the bit to share some exciting news with my friends and family—

I’ve adopted a puppy!

Howie is a Labrador/Weimaraner/Husky mix. He is 8 weeks old and mellow as can be chews literally everything within his reach.

For those of you who’re currently thinking I’ve left my sanity somewhere up in eastern Iowa, I promise I haven’t. I mean, really—you’d have to be insane to NOT adopt him after seeing this adorable face!

As you can probably imagine, I’ve had my hands full this past week, but I’ve got another blog post (or two) in the works and I’m hoping to post again soon!

Happy fourth of July, y’all!