Jump and build your wings on the way down

21 May 2014


Sitting at the kitchen table.  Just came rolling through the door after a productive day at work.  Stopped on the way home to wash my car using one of those self-washes for the first time.  Turns out that is the funnest best-kept secret of adulthood.  Now I know why $1.75 power wash hoses are not available to children.

Wanting to keep the productive momentum ball rolling, I pick up the examination book on my coffee table that's been floating around my car and house for weeks now.  Finally time to give it a little nudge.  So I sit down with the intention to just spend a couple minutes on it, before moving onto a greater summer adventure.  A little advancement at a time is better than none at all, right?  But I ended up sitting in that chair for hours and hours, quietly studying and working. 

Cici walks in, “Watcha working on?”   
My last little licensure exam to complete my CPA.  
 “Like, last last? Because you’ve been working on your CPA for as long as I’ve known you.”  
 Yep, this is it.  The last bit.   
“How many questions do you have left?”   

And then we both stop what we’re doing and look at each other.  “Only FOUR!?”  eeeeee!!

And then my heart started to pound with the force of 8 million beating suns. 

I remember when I started the path for my career.  It was the first major decision I ever made with the complete confirmation of the Spirit.  I chose to major in accounting when I was 19, after deciding my passion for business was not "only for men" as people had told me, and accounting would give me a greater specialization than just a business degree.  So, I told my phlebotomist at the plasma center, right after wincing from the ginoserous needle she shoved in my arm - somehow college kids gotta pay for groceries.  

She told me that the biggest life choices will always come with a bright light of assurance, and then they will follow with doubt and uncertainty as Satan tries to sway us off the path.  She said that happened when she chose to marry her husband, and when the doubt came, she’d go back to the place in her journal where she wrote about her confirmation.  That’s what carried her through the hard times.  So I walked home, with my bandaged arm, and I wrote down my desire.  “I will do this.  And I won’t ever give up the fight.”

And then I shared the news with my friends, revealing mostly apprehension.  But that’s “SO HARD.”  The books cost “SO MUCH.”  The number of people who get in is “SO FEW.”  But I just shrugged.  I knew my goal, and I was ready to pay the price.  I will do this.  And I won't ever give up.

So I laid down my blood, sweat, and tears to get into the program.  And I remember when the email came declaring my acceptance.  I was a pension plan accountant intern in Vancouver, Washington, and I fell off my chair.  YEAH!!  I-WILL-DO-THIS, AND I -WON'T-EVER-GIVE-UP!

And then it all started.  I walked into my very first class in the program wearing a power rangers T-Shirt, black jacket, and ripped jeans.  And I remember because it was documented on my college ID for the rest of my academic career.

I slaved away through what is known as the “Junior Core,” ranked as the number one Bachelor’s of Accountancy program in the entire nation.  Exhausting, terrifying, endless.  I’m not sure how to accurately describe it without making this R-rated.  A little over halfway through the year, I remember sitting in the bathroom of my tiny apartment with my knees pulled up to my chest, tears streaming down my face, feeling absolutely discouraged.  This is the hardest-gosh-dang-cursecurse-thing-I HAVE EVER DONE!   I first begged for God's sustenance to just get me out of this first year alive.  And then I pleaded for Him to let me make it all the way to the end.  Please, please, please!  I want this so bad, but this is far harder than I ever thought something could be.  And then I told him through my tears, I will never ever ever give up if you don't either.

Well, alive I made it.  AND I earned a highly-sought-after spot in the second ranked Master’s of Accountancy program in the entire nation.  Yeah, let's do this!  Until I came up to the same rounds of exhaustion and defeat.  I remember sitting at the top of the room in my Advanced Corporate Finance class, and my brain hurt so bad from all the studies, and I still couldn’t understand what was happening, and I was just so tired and overwhelmed that tears started streaming down my cheeks again.  My cohort put his hand on my back and whispered, “I understand completely.  We’re going to make it.”  I wiped off my face.  I will do this.  Ain't no giving up happening today.

My second year of graduate school, I wanted more business influence in my hefty accounting load, so I got special permission from the department to minor in entrepreneurship.  I was the only accountant in all of my courses, as well as the only woman.  I started up my own business and jumped on board with several other start-ups as their finance resource.  Life was grand.  Until the exhaustion hit again.  Advanced Taxation.  Who in the freaking world thought this was a good idea?  Again with the prayers.  God, I'm at the end.  I'm just straight up not going to try.  Just let me pass anyway.  He said no to that proposal.  So I exhaled and gave my last final push of effort to close the year.  ....soooo tired.  Dooooo this.  No point giving up now.

On my 23rd birthday, I was done.  Finally, after three years in those programs, I walked across the graduation platform with a black robe and a Hunger Games book tucked under my arm.  My time in pursuit of those degrees became the number one experience of my entire life.  I was filled with inspiration, confidence, and intelligence that couldn’t have been matched without all that sacrifice, late nights, and commitment.  And oh, the tears.

I took a year for travels and we’ll say, regeneration, and then I decided to pursue my Certified Professional Accountant license.  It’s known to be one of the hardest licensing processes in existence, harder than the bar. The rate for passing all exams on the first try is only 11%.  So I got the study materials, cleared off an entire row of my bookshelf for their placement, and I began reading one book on the drive out to the Oregon Coast with my family.  I remember feeling like everything was jibberish.  How could I get two degrees in this subject and still feel like I was trying to read a barcode?   But I will do this.  I want this.  And I will not give up for as long as it takes.

So I chipped away at the five books one day at a time, sleeplessly taking the exams, one-by-one.  And with each new exam, another new round of doubt. Even having to take a couple tests more than once.  One of the 500-page books I had to read FOUR times.  I’d begin my studies, sometimes with those same doubtful tears, and a prayer to Heavenly Father, asking Him to open my mind and help me understand.  

Then the last moment came for me to complete my license before the clock timed out.  The hardest exam left.  One chance.  Full weight of pressure.   For an entire month, I laid on my full focus and determination, and then I silently went and took the exam, crying and shaking the entire way there.  (See here).  I walked out knowing I had it in the bag.  No doubt.  I got my score one morning in May.  There it is champ.  

But the race wasn't over yet.  After almost two years of a fully self-guided study with this license, I still had two tests left, but not feeling any urgency for either because they weren't near as daunting as the four main exams.  So I took one on a whim last week and passed.  And then I finally decided to piece away at this last one.

Now here I sit 4 questions left.

I finish inputting my answers online, and with a racing heart, I click submit.  

The screen goes blank.  The cursor churns.  

And my score pops up. 


IT’S DONE!  I’m DONE!!  Not knowing what to do with the thrill, I pick up my book and throw it.
Julie and Cici jump up and down, cheering and hollering. Then I stand up on my chair and scream.

And that’s how it ended. 

A 26 year-old CPA.

Now the credits are rolling.  

But wait. 
I still have to submit this TWENTY-TWO page application to the government.  What is wrong with those people?  Can't I just submit a typed sentence that says, "Done. Send me a trophy."

Small steps sure get you to grand places.  Years and years of small steps.  Just a little bit a day.

So stay tuned.  This girl’s life movie is to be continued.  On to the next leg of my relay!


“Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.”  
—Franz Kafka


  1. OH MY GOSH LADY!!! I'm totally reading this at work and have tears in my eyes! I'm so proud of you and your dedication and hard work!!! I admire and am inspired by your faith and trust in God to help you. Congrats! And you totally do deserve a huge trophy!!! :)

  2. I just wept. That is literally my life right now. Thanks for reminding me of how we can do hard things with the Lord's help. Oh, and I think that a huge congratulations are in order. Way to rock it.

  3. WAHOO!! DONE DONE DONE!!! That's a reason to celebrate!!

  4. Cried reading this. You are AMAZING! Giant hugs for you!!!!