The hardest goodbye.

About six months after I graduated from JMU, I got an email from a man named David. He explained he had started a company called Rethink Creative Group and they had a blog. He mentioned that they had blogged asking for feedback going into the new year, and that a friend of mine had passed my name along to them. I knew of the group because of a friend I had gone to JMU with who always was part of the team, and I was so hugely flattered and excited that somebody was reaching out to me about actually blogging.

At that point, what was a very casual (and superficial) blog in high school had only recently turned into a more solid portfolio site of sorts where I blogged slightly more consistently. I was not a real blogger by any means, and I was so tickled that somebody wanted me to actually blog on a site that seemed so real and official to me.

That was where it all began. Because one of my best friends in the world happened to stumble upon a blog post, feel the need to email back with some feedback, and share my name and website, I joined the Rethink team.

Being part of Rethink has been life-changing. It has been incredible. I can't actually find words that are big enough and good enough and rich enough to describe to you how amazing it has been. 

I also can't find the words to tell you how heartbreaking and hard it is to be leaving the team.

That's what I'm saying in this post-- I'm officially stepping away from Rethink to step into a new role at Salem Web Network here in Richmond. It's a fantastic opportunity (and one that came out of nowhere in a way that only God could have orchestrated) and I'm excited, but it's been the absolute hardest few weeks of my life making the transition.

Our Rethink team is small, but we have accomplished big things. We are far apart, but we are so close. David, Mark, and Blair have been not only my coworkers, but they've become my best friends and my big brothers. 

I cannot rave about these three men enough. They love me so well. They push me to be the best I can be-- as a human, as a woman, as a believer, as a writer, as a designer, everything. They never let me hide and never let me settle, but constantly hold me accountable and encourage me with so much grace. They make me laugh, they give me crap, they call me out, they listen to my ideas, and they see me for the realest, truest me.

They have changed my life and my heart forever. I've learned more from them in the last two years than I ever knew I could. I've learned about marketing and creative work and graphic design, I've learned how to make my writing better and how to be a better leader and how to create websites, I've learned how to build a social media strategy and how to write code for e-newsletters...but mostly, I've learned how beautiful it is to chase a dream and work hard with good, talented, brilliant people.

Rethink has always been more than just a company-- it's a family. These men have always been more than just coworkers. Our clients have always been more than just business-- they've become friends and key parts of our lives. This work has always been more than just work.

And I'm so grateful for all of that.

I'm grateful that a man I had never met took a chance me just based on the recommendation of a stranger in an email. (Vianne-- thank you endlessly for that email.) I'm grateful that a budding group of creatives saw potential in me and gave me a space to belong and stretch my wings and learn to fly.

I'm grateful for the week we all spent together in Texas, full of delicious coffee and eggs around the breakfast table while we checked in on all of our accounts and tried not to get sucked into emails. I'm grateful for the night we spent on the living room floor until 2 a.m., sharing the most transparent stories of our lives-- that night was holy and sacred and one I'll never forget. I'm grateful to be called Aunt Rachel by the sweetest little toddler and for the incredibly beautiful conversation I had with David's wife Rachel in the car while Haddie watched Frozen in the back seat. I'm grateful for all the conversations on our long car rides all over Texas that week, dreaming big about the future of our business and problem solving together and just talking about our passions. 

These men have changed me. This team has changed me. This work has changed me.

I could write a million words about them and cry a million more tears about leaving, but I'll just say this: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I love each one of you, David, Mark, and Blair, and I love Rethink. I'm honored to still run The Rising and to still have a role to play in this whole thing. I'm so deeply thankful for your friendships and so glad they won't end just because I'm not on Glip with you three all day long.

I'll forever be the biggest Rethink cheerleader. If anyone reading this needs creative work or social help or ANYTHING, you know where to go. You will love them as much as I do.

All my deepest love and gratitude to you, Rethink team. Go kill it.