October 23, 2010

Today and Everyday

It is 7:56 a.m. and I am up -- on a Saturday, on my day off, and on a day when I really would have rather slept in. Oh well...my boys came in around 5:00 and did their usual "wake up, Mom" routine. I didn't feed them can food (I was out and I forgot to go to the store last night after chamber group). They were eager to get me up, so at 7, I made up my mind to go out to the store and get can good, some donuts, and toilet paper (Yep, in that order).

I am back now, having eaten a very delicious Bavarian Cream donut. I am having my cup of coffee (very good 8'O Clock brand, which I like), and sitting here at the computer thinking about today. A lot has happened this week. A lot of potential changes and a lot of new decisions have come to pass. I am tentatively excited for the opportunity at Phoenix College (trying not to get too excited about my interview on Wednesday). I am also excited about my life, in general.

I have blogged a lot about my life, and I will be very happy when I am done. However, since there is little much happening in it, that would mean I would have to stop blogging completely. My life is pretty BORING and without the present turmoil to think about -- well -- I am not sure there would be anything to write on this blog! LOL!

In the meantime, I will continue to write about my life, my relationship with God, and my plans for a future that I believe He has purposed and orchestrated. Until He tells me to stop, I will write and give Him all the Praise. He deserves it because He is the One who has done everything for me -- from beginning to end -- He is the Alpha and Omega. Amen, so be it, thy will be done.

The following plans are in the works for me right now. I am leaning towards Plan A because that one seems the most viable at this time. We will have to wait and see which Plan actually works itself out, but as plans are designed to be -- they are flexible and variable. Plans are never set in stone, they are just laid out and worked on until the task or job is completed. I have never had a set of plans come to pass exactly as I designed them. I have always made adjustments along the way. I don't know why I struggle with God's Plans then -- they are similar, except designed by Him. I guess I think that because He is God, His Plans should always work exactly as written. It makes sense, and it should be this way. Then I remember that while God's plans are always perfectly created, they are implemented in an imperfect world and are designed for imperfect people. Therefore, they require adjustment on this side of heaven. So -- they may in theory be perfect, but in practice they are always flexible. I still struggle to think of God as flexible, but in reality, He is the King of Flex. Really, He is the One who can bend and change and make something out of nothing -- Flex is God -- He can do anything He needs done, and He can change and manipulate and alter (just as we sing about the Potter and the clay), this is the way He is. He can do anything that He needs to do, and He always is able to do it perfectly.

My plans, therefore, are FLEX too. I would like them to be set in stone, but that will not be. I am learning how to be like my Father, the Potter. I am learning to create plans and then change them, move them, alter them to suit our purpose. I am learning not to be so rigid and how to be more willing and maleable in His Mighty Hands. It is a good thing, really it is.

Plan A

  • Finishing my Master's program and then teaching at a Community College while working towards my PhD in Communication from Regent University (online and 2-week summer seminars).
  • Completing my PhD and then teaching at a University
  • Living near Chicago, IL

Plan B

  • Finishing my Master's program and then enrolling at the University of Texas, Austin to complete my PhD in Rhetoric
  • Teaching at the University (Assistant Instructor -- required in this program) while in school, and then teaching at another University upon graduation
  • Moving to Knoxville, TN

Plan C

  • Finishing my Master's program and then teaching at Phoenix College
  • Enrolling in PhD in English Literature at ASU
  • Working at the community college, teaching and continuing to pursue education
  • Living in Phoenix, AZ

Now, of all these plans, some aspects are set. First off, if I continue to work on my MA program, I will graduate in May of 2012. It is a pretty set fact that I will graduate and that I will earn decent grades. I have to do the work, write the papers, participate in class, etc. I will get my MA by putting one foot in front of the other -- and doing the work Mercy assigns.

Secondly, getting my PhD is a done deal for me. It has been my dream for nearly 18 years, and I believe it is imperative that I get it for the Lord's work. The issue has been the subject matter. I am getting my MA in English Literature. My PhD can be in Literature and Languages or in Rhetoric. It can also be in Communication (New Media and Media Studies). I am able to study either subject with the same amount of effort. The Communication degree is probably a little easier, simply because it is a technical type degree which focuses on technology, internet, and media communication (my field for the last ten or so years).

The primary issue with an English PhD is simply time involved and the amount of work required. Every PhD program is unique, and the three schools I have looked at require various amounts of study. For example, UT's Rhetoric program is the shortest with only 24 extra courses needed to complete the degree. ASU, by comparison, is the longest, with almost 54 credits beyond the Master's degree. Regent is also 44 credits beyond the Master's degree.

Then there is the focus of the study itself. ASU's program is intensive and the majority of courses are simply not of interest to me. As a graduate student, your choices of study are limited based on the depth and breadth of the instructors in the program. ASU tends to lean heavily towards research, so their courses are intensive research based (linguistic type). I am neither interested nor prepared for this program. Therefore, I have crossed out ASU as a Plan. They do not have an alternative degree (in Education). I could continue to live in Phoenix, but I would have to take the Communication degree at Regent instead.

UT at Austin was a high priority, but then my son decided against studying Recording Technology for his degree. UTA is an excellent school, but they are mostly science based, and their standards are high for incoming students. He is not sure he wants to study music composition or another type of standard music degree. UT has a very good Russian program, and this is of high interest to my son. He is not certain he is ready for this degree program, so for now, we are in a "wait and see" mode.

He has told me that he wants to go to Southwestern College, which is our local Baptist college. It is very small, now about 750-1000 students. It offers a Music Ministry or Music in Worship degree. This degree is a bible based degree so he would have to start what he finished or lose credits on transfer to another school.

Other schools he has expressed an interest in attending (and still attending) include Columbia College in Chicago (for Music/Film studies) or Northpark University, also near Chicago. Northpark is our denominational university and it is highly regarded. They have a very good music program there, but again, he is wavering on whether that is exactly what he wants to do right now.

He is very interested in film and video work. He spends as much time as possible with Adobe After Effects, and he is recording both video and audio and then creating art with it. He also is writing a screen play (always writing screen plays).

Now you can see why my plans are as they are, and not 100% firmed and set. Where I go will determine my son's college plans too. Though he can certainly go anywhere on his own, he is not the type of boy who wants to do that right now. He is shy and really doesn't want to be on his own. He likes the "idea" of living in the dorms, but not the reality of it (day in and day out). My preference (and the Lord's) is for him to live close enough to commute to school. That simply means for me, that I have to go where there is work for me, and a degree program to fit my son.

I see what the Lord is doing, I get His Plan. He is taking care of us both, making sure that my overall plan includes the following:

  • the ability to work FT in a career position so I can build retirement and live comfortably
  • the ability for me to prepare for ministry work
  • the ability for me to support my son while he is in school and then help him get settled into the life the Lord has in mind for him

To do all this requires a great deal of coordination. I have not been very cooperative at times. I can see that now. God is trying to offer me suggestions that will work for me, and I say "No, I don't really like this one." I am not thinking about everything involved in the matter, so I simply cast it off as if it was a casual suggestion. I have done this far too many times, and I need to stop it now. Ok, I have determined to stop it now. No more -- whatever suggestion the Lord makes, I will take it on good AUTHORITY -- it has been carefully considered and carefully suggested and therefore it is GOOD to go.

Dear Lord,

This is a really long blog post, but it has been good for me to see the process this way. I realize now that the suggestions you have made to me included not only my requirements but those for my son as well. They were "complete" and lacking nothing, as you always tell me. I didn't see their complexity, and I treated them casually. I am sorry for doing this, please forgive me. I will not do this again. I will accept your suggestion as being GOOD AND PERFECT AND COMPLETE. Thank you, Lord, for caring so much for me and for my son, and for making these plans available to us. I offer this prayer in Jesus' Name, Amen.

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