July 31, 2010

I Survived CBT Training!

I am home from Macy's. I had my computer training today, and I have to tell you that I am bushed. It was such a long day, and the training was tough. The majority of it was watching employee training videos, and then using the actual register for training practice. I had several tests, and passed the POS test, with which was the one I was most concerned. I did it though, and I am so glad to be home.

I also found out that the standard dress code is black. This means I need to go shopping for tops. I have black pants already, so I just need some black tops. I stopped by Walmart to get some bread, dish soap, and drinks; then hit Subway for sandwiches. I found a cute White Stag top for $5 that will work in a pinch. Tomorrow I will need to go to Sears (for more pants) and then to TJ Maxx for some tops. I can pretty much wear any kind of top, so long as it is business appropriate. I have sandals and shoes, so I am good to go.

The good news is that I found out that there might be some other work available to me once the seasonal hiring begins. This means extra hours or perhaps even a department change. Oh, how sweet. I am all set to begin working in Petites, and actually would like to do some POS work. It would be good to have actual "field experience." I am open to any opportunity the Lord brings to me, and I am praying that His will is done. However He chooses to use Macy's in my life -- well -- I am agreeable to it. Let it be, let it be, let it be.

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for the opportunity to work at Macy's. I am excited to be working and getting paid for it! Hallelujah! My prayer is for you to be Glorified through all work opportunities -- so how you choose to use me in the position is totally for your Name and Praise. Thank you, Jesus!

Another Restless Night

We had storms overnight, and I woke up about 1:00 a.m. to the sound of something clanging the side of the house. I got David to go check it out, but he said it was nothing. Lightning was coming up from the Southwest, but no thunder. Finally, I heard the rain come down. It must have rained fairly steadily -- a nice soft rain -- because it seemed like it was raining all night long.

I left the boys in the bedroom for a time, until Poohster refused to stop getting at the window. I think he was swatting at the rain drops, but at 4-4:30, I just didn't really care that much. Out he went, with little Ike following. He cried at the door for a short while, and then I fell back asleep until 7:30.

Now that I am awake, having my second cup of coffee, and having reflected on my long dream; I think I have a better understanding of the dream from two nights ago and the one last night. As I mentioned before, I am a dreamer. I laugh because at our church, we are teaching a series on Joseph (OT) and one of the things his brothers accused him of is being a "dreamer." I guess I am in good company, eh? As a person who dreams vividly, some of my dreams are simply bits and pieces of imaginary fluff, you know, thoughts and images from the day or conversations passed between friends. Just junk, as I like to call it, too much junk in the ol' buffer. Random stuff, stuff that makes no sense, and just seems to collect together in a odd sort of puzzle. It is like your mind has these left over items, and it is trying to organize and store them. They just are random, so your mind attempts to fit them together, to make a logical looking scene or picture. But, they don't go together at all. They are just left-over junk. The buffer of your mind is overloaded with images and senses and it needs a good cache clearing.

Then sometimes I have dreams that are very linear, in story-like fashion. They rarely start, and mostly (like the movie "Inception") I find myself somewhere in the middle. They follow a path or progression and then end abruptly when I wake up (in the movie, they call it the "kick" where you are jolted out of sleep and back into reality). Yes, I dream like this often.

In my dream last night, I saw myself helping people. I saw children, adults, and families who were having personal, physical, and spiritual difficulties. I was helping them through my presence (relationship with them) as well as my words of encouragment. Clearly my dream was about ministry and my desire to help others who are lost or seeking God. I also saw my son, who often is part of my dreams. I am sure this is because of our relationship with one another, but it also makes me wonder if at some point he will be with me in ministry. He desires ministry as well, so it seems logical that this might be the case. I also saw myself being accused of things that were not rightly true, and I took this simply as the truth of the Word -- we will suffer persecution in our work. Just as Jesus was hated, so shall we be hated. It is written in the Word, and it bears itself true every single day on this planet.

In short, I think the two sets of dreams (last night I had one only; the previous night, two) were helping me deal with the reality of my life, the truth that the path I am on (serving the Lord) will be difficult and at times I will be persecuted. Yet, I will prevail, and I will do His work (ministry) to help people find salvation through Jesus Christ. I am not concerned about the persecution, even though what I have suffered so far has been minimal. I am deeply devoted to the knowledge and understanding and comfort of Christ's word to Paul: "My grace is sufficient for thee; my strength is made perfect in weakness." (2 Cor. 12:9 KJV) I have experienced God's Grace and know that it is indeed sufficient to cover me, to carry me, and to support me through any trial or tribulation I may endure.

I guess in all of this, I come away with one thought: I am all the more convinced that the path that I am on is THE RIGHT PATH. I have questioned this path many times before, always asking the Lord, "Are you sure? Am I doing the right thing?" I now know that I am doing the RIGHT thing, and that I have received His call for ministry. I have received it, I acknowledged it, and I have accepted it -- all of it, the good, the bad, and the difficult. I know what I must do, where I must go, and how I must prepare for it. I have time, and between now and then, I know what I must do today (and tomorrow -- until He provides a way for me to go where He is sending me). Until then, I do what I must, live where I must, and work as I must -- all unto Him and all for His Glory.

Thank you, Lord, for helping me to see that my gifting (spiritually speaking) is to be used for the ministry of your people and to reach those that are lost. Thank you for letting me see that my gifts and my natural abilities are working together to touch people's lives and that I can make a difference. I can help people, encourage them, and support them -- pointing them toward You and a life of blessing and peace. May your Word continue to enrich my life, and may it go forth from my mouth as an encouragement to those who so desparately need to hear it. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen. So be it. Thy will be done.

July 30, 2010

Feeling Persecuted

Persecute: v. to pursue with harassing or oppressive treatment, esp. because of religion, race, or beliefs; harass persistently.

I woke up today feeling a bit off the mark, thinking that something just wasn't quite right with me. I fell asleep last night hard, you know, like when you hit the pillow and your mind and body just sink into it with a thud. That is exactly what happened to me. I laid down on the bed, and then in what seemed like an instant, I was fast asleep. I dreamt most of the night, weird, funny (not as in ha ha, but as in odd) dreams. This has been two nights now that I have had a similar dream. They were different, but some of the elements were the same. In both dreams, I was walking down a long hallway. I also was dealing with people who were hindering my way, either directly or indirectly, but my way was not smooth.

It was not that I was blocked and couldn't move, but it was more like I was purposely tempted to go a different way. In one dream, I was in a car, a taxi, and the driver wasn't taking me where I said to go. He was driving me in another direction. I was upset, and kept yelling at the man, telling him to turn around, and take me where I needed to go. In another dream, I was wondering through the hallway looking for something, but I couldn't find it. People were in my way, not really stopping me, but not helping me either. It was weird, that is about the gist of it.

In the dream world, typically dreaming you are walking down a hallway symbolizes the path you are on. It might be a spiritual path or a physical one, but generally it means the road you are taking in the present. In my dream, I was walking down a corporate type hallway, like in an office building. The second dream, the hallway was more like in a hotel or maybe a apartment complex -- it was more of a place to live, than work. In both, the feeling that I was not getting to my destination was strong. In both, I also encountered people who tried to confuse me and keep me from getting to my destination. In one specific dream, there was a presence that asked me a question: "why do you keep trying to do this" or something of that sort (I don't remember the words). I knew what it was right away, and I confessed Jesus' name, and then returned to the dream of walking down this hallway.

I cannot really explain it, but I have always been a dreamer. I have had vivid dreams since I was a child, most off they were nightmarish. However, I have had these kinds of dreams, dreams that help me explore my emotions or my understanding of events or things in my life. Often, it is only after a time passes, and I reflect back on the dream, that I am able to piece together some nugget of truth. Most of the time, I don't ever really feel like I understand my dreams, other than to say I was frustrated, I was scared or I was lost. You know, just general feelings, that is all.

I think these two dreams are important to me, but I am not sure how they fit into my life right now. I only know that in both cases I was determined to follow a specific path or set of directives and I was being prohibited from accomplishing my task. This thought leads me to one conclusion only, and that is that I am being harrassed spiritually in an attempt to keep me from living the life God has called me to live. In short, I am facing persecution of the spiritual type, spiritual harrassment that is trying to dissuade me from following after the Lord, doing what I believe I am called to do, and living out my days in a way that ultimately brings Him Glory. It makes sense -- in fact -- it is really the only thing that does make sense to me.

As frustrating as this is, I actually am comforted in the knowledge that if my dreams are reflecting my struggle to follow the Lord THEN I must be doing something right! Hallelujah, God is GOOD. I mean, why else would Satan want to try and keep me from my appointed task? If I was on the wrong path, going the wrong way, would that not make him pleased? I think so. I think the truth is that I am on the path the Lord wants me on, doing exactly what He wants me to do, and Satan and his minions don't like it one bit. I am giving the Praise to God the Father, to my Glorious Savior -- His Son, and to the precious and amazing Holy Spirit -- the three in One -- God, Glorious and Majestic God alone. May His Name be praised forever more. Amen, so be it, it is done. Selah!

New Look

Blogger recently changed the way their templates work, so I had to pick a new "look" for my blog. I chose one of their standards simply because it seemed like that was all that there was to do. Later on yesterday, I was poking my nose around the settings and found that I could customize the look a bit. I picked this background, though I am not sure I like it. I will leave it for a couple days and see if it grows on me. LOL!

Today is a sticky Friday. The humidity is way up, thanks to some rain we received yesterday. It is hot AND humid and pretty awful. My son, my Dad, and I are going to go to the movies at 12:30 to see "Inception." I have heard a lot of negative reviews of this movie, stories about people walking out of the theater, etc. Some friends saw and they liked it a lot. I think it is one of those personal things -- do you like mind-bending stories and such (like the Matrix?) I like sci-fi fantasy and can actually follow a complex story line. We will see how we actually like it and then I will give my own review here on this blog (as if anyone really will care, LOL!)

Other than the movies, my day is really quiet. I was going to paint, but now think that I should wait until next week. My brother and family are coming in to town on Wednesday-Saturday, so I will have family committment time. My work doesn't start until the following week, but I do have computer training tomorrow and orientation on Tuesday.

I am pretty zonked out, not sure why, but I slept in until 9 a.m. this morning. My boys got me up at 5:00 and I fed them, then returned to the bedroom and closed the door. Whenever I close the door, I tend to sleep soundly. I guess it is a sign that closing my door at night is a good thing? Perhaps I should just make them stay out of the room every night. I know they would get used to it, and it is not like they don't have room to roam, and plenty of comfy places to sleep. In fact, I think they spend the majority of the night in the living room anyway. They start and end with me, but in the middle of the night, they are eating, sleeping, playing, pooping -- you know -- doing cat stuff in the darkened and quiet house. I don't think they would be too put out about it, and it would make my night go better. Hmmm....perhaps after nearly 40 years of living in a cattery, I should consider sleeping without a fur ball on my head, my neck, or at my feet. Hmmm....I will consider it, that is for certain.

Therefore, there is nothing else on the deck today or until the following week when I begin work. Until then, I am my own person. I am free to go and to come and to enjoy all that God has brought into my life. He is so very Good to me, and I blog this nearly every single day. God is so GOOD, and His GOODNESS is seen throughout nature, throughout our lives, and in the minutia of the details. Often we overlook His Goodness because we only want to be set free from whatever burden or trouble or trial or circumstance we are in at the moment. And often, the trial, the circumstance or the burden is of our own making, of our hand. It is a choice we made, a change made in haste or a life altering decision that didn't pan out, didn't deliver promised results, and now we are stuck and we are miserable. Yet, God's Goodness is there, it is right there for all to see. Seeing His Goodness takes a great deal of humility, and a great deal of patience. We have to remove the blinders from our own eyes, and stop looking for rescue, for that white knight to come in and save us from our miserable, and stinky lives. Once we realize that God is Good and that all He has made is Good, then we can begin to see that our lives are Good too. Even in the midst of crisis, they are Good. Even when life really sours you, when it hurts so badly, and when you cannot stand another minute of it -- He is Good to you.

I have turned my pain and sorrow into praise, and in doing so, He has shown me His Goodness. Does that mean that the pain and sorrow go away, that I never feel sad or depressed or angry? No, it doesn't. There are days when I feel sad, and there are days when I feel lonely and depressed. Yet, through it all, I am genuiunely contented with my situation, with my life as it is today. This is simply because of His Goodness, and the fact that I am loved by Him far more than any human being can love me. He loves me, He cares for me, and He showers His blessings upon me.

Dear Sister or Brother,

If you are burdened today and feeling depressed or sorrow, cast all your cares on Him, for as the Word says: "He careth for you." Do not let the circumstances of life, whether they have come of your hand or another, wear you down. Your Father in Heaven is able to lift your life up and set your feet solidly on His ground, and He can lead you into a life that is pleasing to Him. In doing so, He will give you rest, and peace, and joy, and you will find your satisfaction in Him. He is SO GOOD. Let us rejoice today and give Him Praise for His Goodness. God is GOOD.

Update: Later Today

Ok, just got home from seeing "Inception." I first will admit that both my son and I think Christopher Nolan is an excellent director. We have loved his two "Batman" films, so we had high hopes for this one. I loved it, just loved it, and thought it was excellent. I won't say much else because I don't have the words for it. Definitely going to get this one on DVD.

July 29, 2010

Good Thursday Morning

It is Thursday morning already! WOW! This week has really flown by, and the weekend is almost here. I am excited about my new job. It is just part-time work, but the hours are great, and I think it will be a good start for me. I have decided to put looking for full-time work on hold -- well -- at the least, not submit any more applications unless the Lord guides me to do so. I still have quite a few sitting out there, no notice back yet; and perhaps, one of these will pan out. Until then, I am contented to work at Macy's. My plan is to stay through the end of the year, that is, if a full-time position comes through to me. If not, then I will stay on as long as I need to or until one does come to pass. I am not in any hurry to move on; no, not by any shape or thought. I am just keeping the door open to full-time work as the Lord provides.

Other good news: each day that I look at my carpets, they SEEM cleaner. I don't recall if I blogged here or not (perhaps it was over at Face Book), but I cleaned my carpets on Monday. They were filthy, and that is really an understatement. I had attempted to clean them once before, and had just so-so results. I borrowed back my Mom's Dirt Devil carpet cleaner three weeks ago, but hadn't felt the interest to use it. Finally, this week, I said to myself, "Carol, the carpets aren't going to clean themselves," and I did them. WOWwee! The dirt really came up, and they look good. I have some throw-up spots (from the cats) where the orange stain just won't come out, but the stain is much lighter and less noticeable. I also have some worn spots, and some permanently dark oil stains, but other than that, the carpet is back to being a nice modest beige color.

My next task is to paint, and I am going to go and get a couple gallons tomorrow. My day is pretty socked, so tomorrow and Sunday (and some of next week) will be paint days. I have figured out a style for my home, finally! I am very eclectic and have been country for a long time. I thought about going sleek and modern, which I like; but in the end decided that it is just not me. I gravitate back toward painted and pine furniture, rustic and authentic -- aka, old-fashioned style. I am going cottage, but sort of a Pottery Barn look on the cheap. I found a couple inspiration sites, and plan on doing similar things to my home. I won't have much money to invest so I will do what I can to make my home more homey.

This is the funny thing, but I was just saying this to my son the other day: "If God' gives you lemons, you need to make lemonade with them." That's not really the saying, but the meaning is close to what I am thinking. I have been praying for a job, and God brought me one. It wasn't the one I thought I would get nor was it the one that I needed for total self-reliance and sufficiency. It is a job, a good job, and in this economy; I am praising Him for it. I have also been asking about a house, a home for me and my son to live in. This, given my situation with my DH and all. Well, my DH is planning to move out shortly, so that leaves us right where we are, in our present home. It needs a lot of repair and renovation (from years of neglect), and I have been figuring out the cost. I was hoping for a job to cover these repairs, you know -- to hire workmen and such. Then I visited this website where I saw the kitchen I want to duplicate, and read about how they did all the work themselves (thanks to Ikea), and I thought, "I am handy. I can do this myself too." Click, bing -- the light goes off. I realize that God has given me a home, a home I already own, that is just waiting to be made nicer, repaired and renovated. I decided to make lemonade out of the lemons I have and that means being contented with my new job, and doing whatever is necessary to make my home into my home.

You see, for the last 26 years, I have lived with my husband and he has not allowed me to decorate my home the way I wanted to do it. He complained about every choice I made, from home-made curtains, to slip covers for the worn out chairs, to repurposed and repainted furniture. We didn't have money for nice things, so we got lots of hand me downs from friends and family. I tried to make them stylish, into what I wanted, but he just said no or complained about my choices. After a long while, I stopped trying -- I mean -- why do it when you are going to be criticised for it?

I gave up on my home because my DH made it nearly impossible to live in it the way I needed to live in it. I am a frugal person by nature, and am very handy. I can do most home improvement tasks, but my DH never allowed any money to go to these expenses, and made us wait for repairs until the situation was dire (like my bedroom window which has been broken for over a year.) The solution was never expensive, and could have been easily done. The issue was priorty and how the money was being spent, and when it came down to it, it was always in how he SAW the priority. If he didn't think it was a high enough priority, then we simply didn't do it.

I am determined not to live this way anymore. It is called being a good steward of the manifold blessings of God. God provides us with food and shelter. He clothes us, and sends us practical work. Our job is to accept His provision and make good use of it. This means taking care of our families and our homes (the physical buildings he provides). It is not about Better Homes and Gardens or HGTV, though I really don't think the Lord takes issue with decorating our home at all. No, rather He knows that for many women, home keeping brings them great joy and He finds it well-pleasing when they use their gifts and talents to make their homes special and warm and welcoming. We are to be gracious to strangers, and this means hospitality. It is a God-honoring thing for women and men (some are incredibly handy) to use their gifts to make the home the Lord provided beautiful. We just aren't to go overboard or use it to elevate our status or make us appear to be better than we really are. The Glory must always go to Him and Him alone.

Consequently, here I am, sitting in a perfectly good home, a home that is a bit run-down, worn out, and shabby. It needs some TLC, and I am the woman to do it. I am excited about it, and cannot wait to begin. I have great plans for my home, small changes and fixes, that will make it homey and inviting again. I want people to come into my home, to be welcomed here, and no longer live as a "stranger in a strange land." One of the first things to go will be my mini-blinds. I am a light-filled person, and not just in a spiritual sense; but, in an everyday way. I love sunshine and bright light. I don't like to live in a cave. My DH made me cover our windows and keep the blinds closed all the time, mostly to keep out solicitors and other collectors. I have lived in hiding for over 26 years and I am done with it. No more hiding for me. I may not like the solicitors to come up to my door, but I will not cower in a corner out of fear of reprisal. No, I will stand solidly on the Word of God, and walk by my integrity, and be faithful in whatever the Lord gives to me. So off with the blinds, and in with curtains that allow in much light and brightness.

It is an interesting turn of events, yet when you consider my life and where it is right now; it makes perfect sense. I have come out of a very long dark tunnel, and I am moving further and futher into the light of His Glory. My past was shrouded in darkness, dark deeds, and deception; my future is bathe in the truth of His Word, and in living righteously. Not of my hand, of course; no, not at all. I am living under His fountain of Grace, and doing all things, doing everything through His Grace. It is all for Him, all for Him, and I am loving Him all the more each day as I make new discoveries, learn new ways, and understand the whys and wherefores of my life. He is so very Good to me, and His plans for my life are so very good.

In short, God has given back to me a life, a new life and a life of His own choosing. I am working in the job He has provided to me, I am living with the resources He has provided, I have a roof over me that He purchased, and I am pursuing plans that He devised. Every aspect in my life has His fingerprints clearly upon it, and His hand has left a mighty impression on me. I am changed, I am new, I am reborn, and I am loving it -- every single change, every single nuance, and every single moment that I breathe. He is SO VERY GOOD TO ME.

July 28, 2010

I got a job!

I did it! I got hired at Macy's today. I am praising the Lord for His Goodness toward me. Not only did I get the job, but I got hired on days, and afternoons. I could not have asked for a more perfect schedule -- and it is permanent. This means that I can work every day (M-F) from 11-4. No questions, no variety, just the same shift every single day. Plus there is the opportunity to pick up extra hours by being on call. I am so happy and well-pleased.

July 27, 2010

Redecorating Plans

I thought it was high time to move on to another topic of interest: home decorating. It seems like my blog has been one long rag session for over a year now. I am so excited about the changes the Lord has brought into my life, and the plans He has in mind for me, that I cannot say enough good about Him: HE IS SO GOOD TO ME! PTL!!

As I wait out the job situation, I have decided to put myself to good use. I finally feel good enough to do this, so today, I cleaned my carpets. I am so excited -- they actually look good! Now mind you, my carpets are old and very dingy gray colored. When we moved into our home in 1999, the previous owner had put in beige carpet. It was probably the cheapest carpet he could get installed (he did alot of things on the cheap), and it has never worn well. I have been waiting to replace it for years, and now it looks really, really bad. Add in a child growing up; five cats (now three) who all peed, pooped, and barfed on it; and the oodles of spilled Pepsi and dropped food, and you can imagine how that beige turned into dirty brown in a hurry. Plus the fact that we live in the desert, and our backyard is still mostly dirt. Dirt is everywhere, dust is impossible to remove, and my home is never clean. AGH!

Well, I have had the carpet scrubber for about three weeks, but just haven't been into cleaning the carpets. Today, I felt like doing them, and voila! They are done. Some of the dirtiest spots turned lighter dirt colored, and overall the result is well-pleasing. I am glad it is done as today was already hot and humid, and the wet carpets made the house humid too.

My next task is to paint. I think I will paint the entire inside a nice neutral tan with white trim. Boring, I know, but it will look so much better than our dirty white walls. I have a mish-mash of furnishings, mostly hand me downs, but nothing I absolutely love. I went to the library today to check out some decorating books, and didn't really see anything that thrilled me. I guess my style is eclectic/country/old-fashioned comfort, if that makes sense. I tend to go country because it is comfortable, but I am probably more farm house country than traditional or primitive country. I just like old things, antiques, and pillows and flowers. My house now is clapboard sided on the outside, but in the desert, it looks kind of funny. I have some plans for redoing the outside as well, but those will have to wait until winter/spring.


Right now, I am thinking of tan walls with white trim. I will probably replace my carpet with satillo tile (something earthly colored). I love wood, but think the upkeep is a lot more work than tile. My living/dining room are combined and opened to my kitchen. It is a galley style, and very tiny. I have cream colored cupboards with blue laminate counters. Pretty icky looking. I am think of repainting the upper cupboards white, and then painting the bottoms a dark brown colored (espresso perhaps). I saw this in a magazine and it was really pretty. I would then replace my counters with new laminate (in a dark granite looking type), and get a new sink (stainless). I will add new hardware, which will change the look completely. Eventually, I need a new refrigerator, so that and the stove will go stainless look at some point. I don't have a dishwasher, and my microwave sits on the counter now. It has about had it, so it will be the first thing to go. If I can take a class at Home Depot, I will put tile behind my sink. I can do this, I know it, and it would look so nice.

My windows need replacing and I think I will do these one at a time. For now, I will just take down the mini blinds which are in deplorable shape due to too many faces in the window (aka, cats). I will put up nice drapes, which I can make myself. My sofa and chair are in good shape, so they are OK for now. My TV stand is old and out of date, so I will get a new stand (and a new TV) at some point. My dining table is really just a kitchen table with six chairs. It was natural finish, and then about 10 years ago I painted it green. I think I will paint it white, but paint the chairs the dark espresso color to match my lower cabinets. Maybe, not sure on that one. I might just paint it white and leave it at that.
The rest of my house is OK, but could stand some fresh color and small changes. My bedroom is pretty shabby looking, but I recently got a nice hand me down quilt that is blue and I love it. I think I will paint my furniture white and find a used headboard somewhere. I already made a valance for the window (and bought tiers at Walmart). Just minor touches -- paint mostly -- and a few accessories and this room will look nice again.

The last time I decorated was back when my son was born. He was just a baby, and I painted and stenciled my entire house. I made curtains, sofa covers, and repurposed junk into nice things for my living room. Then we left San Jose, and moved to the desert, and my life just fell apart. My shabby chic things didn't go well with the desert landscaping, and I missed my flowers and garden. I tried to make these things work here, but they seemed to just look shabby, and not so very chic anymore.

I think after that point, I just lost interest, and spent the rest of the past 13 years living with this conglomeration of mismatched things, no particular style, etc. I have tried to define my style, and I love to watch HGTV at night. I always like the "in" furniture, and love how it looks so neat and clean. Then I look at my stuff and think, "Yuck." My style is not current, never will be, and I think it is the last real truth I need to accept. I am a farm girl who likes antiques, lace and linens, and old things. I love everything old. I like new too, and I appreciate fine design, but I am not fancy or frilly. I am plain Jane, and I am quite comfortable with myself. I am quilts and calicos and florals and stripes and checks. I like painted furniture, hand rubbed surfaces of pine, and natural colors (sky, sea, sand, and garden). I love cats and dogs, and lots of fresh fragrances. I am not stuffy, and I like to stick my feet on the furniture. I prefer to plop down with a good book, watch an old movie, or listen to my IPod. I am not all about pretense or making things look good. I am old-fashioned, and like my Grandma's things. Sweet smelling things, cookies and breads baking, and lots of fresh color. That's my style, and there is no sense in trying to change it after some 47 years on this old sod. I am what I am (so says Pop-Eye).

Good Words

When you are saved, you should know it. Otherwise, how can you be a witness for Christ? The Bible speaks clearly and positively; it does not stammer. When you read it, you become certain. The Holy Spirit writes no doubts. The promises of God are Yes and Amen (2 Corinthians 1:20) and not No or Maybe. The Gospel trumpet sounds no faltering note.

Some people argue that it is presumptuous to declare you are saved, but that is false modesty in the light of so much Scriptural evidence. When Christ confronts you with the question of your need, you should not respond, "I want to have my questions answered and to give my view of salvation." Instead, you must repent and believe!

Being saved is not a casual experience, something you would hardly notice. When you repent and believe and come to the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, He receives you, and you are cleansed in His precious blood! Take these two statements made by Christ Jesus Himself: All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out (John 6:37) and for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost Luke 19:10. Good Morning from Florida. ~REINHARD BONNKE


I read this on Facebook today, and reposted it here (hope that is ok). I like Reinhard's view of things: plain and direct. Amen, so be it, thy will be done.

I Love Cats


The Lord knows how much I love felines. He just knows me so well. About six weeks ago, He brought me a baby kitten that needed some TLC. We found him under our front bushes, dehydrated, and starving. We took him in, fed him, watered him, and proceeded to lavish love and affection on him. In return, he has given to all of us the sweetest purrs and loving rubs of any kitten I have ever had. This little guy is special, he is unique, and he is so loving. I cannot thank the Lord enough for bringing me sweetness and love into my home, especially during such a trying and difficult period on my life.

I just walked into the kitchen to get my second cup of coffee, and Baby Ike, was sleeping on the desk in the dining room. As I passed by, I couldn't help but give thanks to the Lord for this precious life. He is ornry, he is a biter and a jumper, and he is so active at 5:00 in the morning; but, he is the best kitten ever. I am thanking God for thinking so much of me, and providing something for me to love at the very moment I needed it most. He is SO GOOD TO ME.

On another front, I have updated my resume for the umpteenth time. I am getting really good at writing resumes, and think I have finally found the right combination of background and experience. Resume writing is an art form, that is for certain. It used to be standard fare for students to learn how to format a resume. It was generic, followed a prescribed setup, and it was perfunctory. You just listed your experience, your education, etc., and left it at that. Now with the economy in such a funk, employers see thousands of resumes and they all resemble one another. You have to stand out, be different, and communicate your message of why you should be hired clearly and effectively. This is not as easy as it looks, and it has taken me a while to figure out how best to present myself to perspective employers.

One of the things I have done is to forgo the standard cover letter. I have written oodles of these the past eight months, and honestly think they just don't work. They are impersonal, with the fact that rarely do you know who you are addressing, and they seem so blah. I have decided to go with a generic personal introduction, with a "let me introduce myself" approach, that I think is far more personal, and that will allow me to convey my strengths better than a formatted letter.

We will see if it works. It is easier than rewriting my resume all the time. Now, I just upload three documents: my resume, my personal introduction, and my references. It works and I can fill out applications with more speed, less worry about missed dates or wrong information.

You can check these out (if you are so inclined here:)

I am hopeful that these new formats will work, and that I will land that perfect (well, not perfect -- let's just say "available") full-time position very soon.

Lastly, as I look forward to this week, I am thinking about all that the Lord has done for me, and how He has brought me through the most darkest days and into the brightest sunshine. My life is not perfect by any means, and it still isn't settled and on an even keel (there is much to be settled); but, it is GOOD and I am happy and contented. I see great opportunity for the future, I am at peace with my God and those around me, and I am moving (finally! Hooray!!) forward into each day with firm footing and a hopeful outlook. This is not of my hand nor is it of my doing; no, it is all of Him, and I give Him all the Glory for it.

Thank you, Jesus, for your great work in my life. Thank you for bringing such sweet and wonderful (fragrant) blessings to me. Your hand is steady and you are moving me straight forward. I am excited at the prospect of what today and tomorrow will bring. I give you all the Praise and all the Glory, for only you are worthy to receive it. Amen, so be it, thy will be done. Selah!

July 26, 2010

The Plans - Done, I Think

It's July 26th, and I think I am finally set on our plans for this coming year. My son will turn 17 in September, and he would normally be in 12th grade (11th actually, but he was skipped a year back in 4-5th grade). Last year, we completed House of Education's Y11 curriculum (Modern World History). The only year we have not completed was Y10, which we skipped because we had already covered some of it before, and then my son wanted to focus on WWI-II more than the Civil War.

I made the decision to graduate him early this past Spring. With our lives being so wonky, and the future uncertain, it seemed like the logical thing to do. For all intents and purposes, he has finished the required credits for graduation in Arizona. Moreover, he has finished the curriculum we set out to complete, so really what was left for him to do? Part of my plan was for him to enroll in the Junior College this fall. Those plans came to a crashing halt when we weren't able to get him an official picture id card in time for registration. Everything seemed to just fall apart at that point, and then for the past couple months, we have wavered back and forth over what to do.

Recently, though, we found out we could get him an ID card if he had a bank card. This required setting aside a little money, but we have done that now. It is possible now for him to register for classes, though I think we will wait and start in the Spring instead of Fall. Additionally, DS has decided to pursue an AAS Degree in Audio Technologies which will prepare him for a career job as well as allow him to continue to study music for his BA program.

So today, we finalized these plans. This fall he will study for the ACT/SAT test, and will complete an Advanced Communications course to help prepare him for college classes. He will study Math to boost his score, but generally he will continue to look for part-time work, study music, and prepare for classes in the Spring.

The AAS degree will take him 5 semesters to complete, and will put him on track to enter a University or College for his Bachelor's in Music in 2013. This works well for me, as I will be finished with my MA and starting my PhD at the same time.

I am pleased to finally have a plan of attack. I was worried about my son's future, and wanted to make sure he had every single opportunity to go on to college. Our JC is very inexpensive, and this program is a featured one. He should be able to go there either with my help or with some financial aid. This will leave the final two years of college open to scholarship or school loans. Very doable, IMHO.

Art Expo

My 16, almost 17 year old made this picture at Sunday School. Yes, I know, you are thinking "is that what they do in High School Sunday School?" LOL! Nope. He was working with the 4-5 year olds yesterday, and this was "coloring time." I asked him if I could put it on our refrigerator, and he said yes. A Mom has'ta enjoy what she can once her baby is almost grown up! Sigh!

Plans for the Week

Well, it is Monday! The skies are cloudy today, and perhaps we will get a shower or two later on? I do hope so. It is awfully humid outside, and with the temps still in the high 107-08 range, it makes for a pretty horrendous day.

I just blogged about my cello practice for the past week, and am really sitting pretty well. I am pleased with my progress, and think I am actually getting 'there' on this beautiful instrument. My goal is to be proficient, to play well enough to play at church (competently) and to play in solo or group settings. I can now see this as a very real possibility. I think (perhaps) in a year's time or within the year? Yes, this is very realistic. I can pretty much play in group now, so long as it is the cello/bass part. I can hold my own as lead, though it is tough at times. All in all, I am doing well, and I thank God for the gifting of this beautiful music and instrument to me. Selah!

On another note (ha ha), I got some returns back on applications. I am in a better frame of mind today, then say last week, when my turndown from Target smacked so hard. Today, I got the no-go from Kohl's and it was like, "Ok, thanks!" At the least they are sending me emails now to say they are not interested in me. That is better then never knowing anything at all. I am contented to take my interview with Macy's on Wednesday, and then have placed all my trust on the Lord for His provision of another full-time job. The Lord knows the timing of everything so it really makes no help for me to get all uppity over jobs not coming through when I think they should. He knows which jobs will work, which are not good, and so on. I have followed His Spirit as He has lead me to various job postings. I have submitted them with His Word in my head: "Just do it." The rest as they say, "is all up to Him." I trust it into His Hands, and then I let my worry and anxiety go. I can do no more than comply with the companies guidelines, and submit my application (resume and cover letter) online. It is done, it is done, it is done. Selah!

I did get some good news over the weekend. I was getting a little stressed about how I would do my graduate classes and work two jobs. My professor replied to me (he was on vacation) and said that I don't have to meet at a particular time, just log in during the week to participate with online discussion. Perfect! Perfect! It was just as the Lord said to me, and here I was worrying over it. I know now that I don't have to be sitting at home to attend class. I can work, and then on my days off, will do my participation and study (reading every day of course). It really is POSSIBLE, and I am giving Him thanks because He is the God of all Possibility (Luke 1:37).

So where does that leave me today? Well, I am game now to get some work done around the house. I want to paint inside (walls and trim) and clean my carpets. I have said I was going to do this for a couple weeks, but I didn't actually do anything even remotely close to it! I am going to get some paint today and begin to do my home. A fresh coat of paint will make all the difference, and clean carpets should remove pet odors. I am jazzed and excited.

My recap: interview on Wednesday (pray for me if you remember); graduate school schedule is set; painting and cleaning the house this week; continue to work on cello performance. God is so GOOD TO ME. He is SO GOOD. Praising Him now, and giving Him all the Glory for He alone is worthy to receive it. Selah! Amen, so be it. Have your way in me Lord -- Have your way!

July 25, 2010

Getting Connected

Today our Pastor shared three points on how to live an authentic Christian life (well, that is what I call it). They are:
  • Tell the Truth
  • Get Connected
  • Serve Others

I totally agree! I am all into the truth, and made my peace with it awhile ago. When you are faced with difficult truth, and you take it head on, you tend to find the process refreshing. Now, don't get me wrong -- the process is difficult and often fraught with great sorrow. The overarching process, the acceptance of the truth, and then the liberation that comes from that act, is what brings in freedom and ultimate liberation. Once you start down the 'truth road,' as I call it, you find that it is just easier to stay on it. I mean, why get off, once you find such peace and happiness from telling the truth.

The second point, getting connected, has been a particularly sticky issue for me. I have always been "involved," but this connected bit is all about relationships and not just busy activity. I have decided to get myself connected this coming Fall. I won't have much time, given my school and work schedule (hopeful schedule), so I think I am going to try to go to our Church's "Theology 101" class. This is a weekly adult Bible Study, one that tends to explore the deeper meaning of Scripture, and it suits my style and level of enjoyment. It is a start for me -- I haven't done a class like Bible study in a long time. I like the idea, and hopefully it will fit into my schedule this Fall.

As far as serving others, I am pretty good here as I tend to do whatever is asked of me or jump in whenever I see a need (or the Lord shows me one). I will continue to be involved in local ministry, probably though doing more like stocking the food pantry or giving to Palomino School or the Women's shelter or Crisis Pregnancy Center. I have always done Children's ministry, but I don't have time for that now. I will just give of my time as I can for the next while -- or until I finish Graduate school.

Message Received Loud and Clear

Today's message at church was awesome. I sat there, just enthralled with the story of Joseph, and how God planned out the events of his life and used him to save not only the Israelites, but also the entire known world (at that time, Egypt was the major power in the world). I still marvel at God's use of a young Hebrew boy, and how He manuevered him from position of slave to overseerer of the entire Kingdom. If God can rescue Joseph and establish him solidly in a foreign country, and then grow him to manhood, and give him a position of great importance -- can He not do the same thing for me, regarding my entire life and the current events taking place in it. I think so; no, I know so.

I came home with one of those "I gotta talk with you, Lord" feelings, and headed straight off to my quiet place. I talked with Him, confessed my attitude, which has been rather filled with more complaints and groans, than sweet songs and hymns. I have to say that I am better prepared, more understanding, and totally more in agreement with Him now than I was this morning. You see, all last week, I was depressed and sad. I was upset over finding my DH's apartment rental agreement, and the thought that I might have to take on all the bills before I am employed full-time. I was also upset with God, for not providing a job right away, and feeling rather put upon that nothing was seeming to happen at all. I also was disagreeable about the plans He had for me (and has -- future), thinking that somehow things were not working out the way I expected them to work out. I was generally feeling off, just not myself, and was praying and crying and confessing -- but nothing was really making me feel better. Even last night, as I fell asleep hard, I went off thinking "I don't understand what I have done, and why you are so distant from me."

It took our morning church service, and the prompting and teaching of the Holy Spirit to help me see the truth. In fact, that was what our Pastor really spoke on: living in the truth. I have confessed John 8:32 for months now ("And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." KJV) believing that my acceptance of the truth (the truth of my husband's behavior, my own feelings of inadequacy, and my unwillingness to bear the truth over the past 26 years) has been the reason for my complete healing and overhauling of my personality and self worth. The truth in my life has indeed set me free. I cannot say it enough, so today, I was nodding my head in agreement with my Pastor, thinking "Yes, I am free. I am free." Then I was thinking about this past week, and how I have acted and behaved, and feeling so inadequate about my future and God's plans for me. It all clicked together when I realized what I have been doing has been the result of one single event in my life, one event that took place nearly twenty years ago.

I was on my way to Pet's Mart, and thinking about my feelings of unworthiness, and how I am out to get a job with a good title (I will explain). That's when it just hit me, the whole reason why I have been struggling with God's plan for my life, the present events, and how everything just works together for my good. You see, about 20 years ago, I worked for a large database manufacturing company. I had a good job, a very good job, and I made good money. I didn't have my BA degree then, so I was stuck under the glass ceiling they had to administrative support people. I worked hard, earned great reward, and even was awarded the Employee of the Year award once. Nothing, though, that I did seemed to make any difference. I couldn't move up in my position because I didn't have a BA degree.

There was this certain person, a guy I had infrequent dealings with, but who just rubbed me the wrong way. He worked in Software development, and fancied himself this very smooth operator. He and I had run-ins whenever we met, and not of my doing. I always seemed to get his short end of the stick, and his stick was his mouth. He would put me down every single time he met me. It didn't matter what I did, he would make fun of me, say I was stupid or something like that, and simply point out every single flaw I had. I took it personally, even when I tried to defend myself. He was verbally abusive to me, and nothing I did seemed to make him stop doing it. My co-workers said "He's a jerk, Carol. Ignore him." But his words cut me to the quick, and I hated him for it.

In fact, I returned to college partly to prove this jerk wrong. I went to college, got my BA and earned top honors in English, no less (his degree, and the one point he always accused me of being ignorant in). I put it to him, but he had already moved on to another company by then. I, though, still was sticking it to him, even years later. I was driven to prove to this jerk that I was accepted, that I was approved, and that I was intelligent and worthy of respect. I never realized that even today, I still want to kick this guy where it hurts and tell him "see, you were wrong! I am smart."

I confessed my feelings toward this man years ago, but I had not let go his judgment on me. He said I was inadequate and insignificant and I believed him. His words stuck with me, and were a leading cause in my pursuit of achievement and excellence in school. Now that I am almost 48, and virtually unemployed; I have had to take a good long look at this kernel of truth. I have to root it up, get it out of my life because my valuation is not of man. My worth is totally 100% summed up in Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. My problem was that I still wanted to prove my worth through status and position, and now that I have uncovered the truth in my life (of misuse of money, mishandling of affairs, etc.) I am all the more determined to prove I can be right.

The Lord graciously showed this to me, and I realized that it was a sticking point for me in my search for work. I have humbled myself in the search, and agreed to do anything that opens up. However, in my heart, I wanted a certain kind of job and a certain level of pay. The Lord wanted me to let go of that and to accept His provision which might seem to not make sense, but would provide for me. I said yes, and finally agreed that the two most important aspects of my life right now are:
  1. Allowing the Lord to define my character through the tests, the trials and the circumstances of my life
  2. Define and develop my skills for His use in ministry today and in the future

The job I do, the title I wear, the money I bring home are not part of this process at all. A job simply provides the means to the end of life -- income to feed your family. It is not who I am nor is it the person God is making me into; but rather, it is practical work to do what needs done. Nothing more, nothing less. I am seeking to bring Him Glory, and in that, well, I have no real part except to reflect His Glory back to Him, which is what I am all about these days.

Therefore, the truth I accepted today was that I am no longer pursuing work for any other reason than to provide practical help to my family. My life and my real work are bound up in His Name, and that is not of my hand or my doing. It is all of Him so that the glory goes up and not right around to me.

May God be praised forever more. He is SO GOOD TO ME.

July 24, 2010

Thinking More About Tomorrow

I got up late today, thankfully having slept in again (What is that? Two times in the past umpteen years?) I did get up to feed the boys. My little boy, Ike, likes to crawl up the covers (from the foot of the bed). He climbs up the side, under the quilt and sheet, and then attacks my feet. He attacks them on top of the covers too, but the new quilt is thicker so he can't really get a good bite-hold on me (ta-dum - I did that on purpose--of course!) So there I was, sleeping peacefully at 5 a.m., and getting my toes bitten on under the covers! Needless to say, I was up and out in the kitchen, sans eyeglasses, trying to spoon wet food into their bowls. I retreated back the bedroom, closed the door, and fell blissfully back to sleep.

I had some weird dreams, and weird thoughts too. Last night, we watched Russell Crowe in "A Beautiful Mind." I had not seen it prior, and picked it up at Target for $5. I am trying to collect all the Academy Award winning DVDs for our collection, and spotted this one at the checkout stand. It was superb, deserved winning the award for Best Picture, that is for certain. However, it gave me dreams about Schizophrenia, and well, who needs those kind of dreams.

Have you ever thought you were mentally insane? I have. Not that I have any reason to think so, but since I was a child and watched "Sybil" (Why ever?), I have worried that I was mentally insane (split personality, etc.) Of course, I am not, and I know so, but those movies impressed such thoughts on your mind, and sometimes you just wonder about yourself. I mean, I talk to myself, always have, and find myself doing it out loud. I talk to myself all day long. Now, I talk to the Lord, and will find myself saying things like, "Do you think I should buy this now?" I am sure people in the stores next to me think, "Ok, crazy alert. That lady is wacko." People laugh and say, "Yes, Carol, but does God answer you?" Like that is the test, you know, if you hear voices and such. I want to say "Yes" and then remind them that Samuel heard the Lord's voice, as did many of the prophets of the Old Testament. I mean, Moses spoke with God; David spoke with God. I don't mean "spoke at God or to Him;" no, I mean held a conversation with Him.

Yes, I am wacky because I do believe God hears me and I do believe He speaks with me. My spirit understands, and somehow I do as well. I cannot really explain it, but it is what it is, and I have learned to be content with it. I still think I may be crazy, but I don't think I am mentally insane.

This brings me round to the topic of today (long digression, and probably enough to send all my followers packing! Sorry about that one!!) I am thinking more about tomorrow (the tomorrow of the future, and not literally TOMORROW) and waiting patiently for the Lord to deliver His plan to me. I have done everything I can do, and I am now waiting on His timing. I have applied for work, and just today, spoke with Him about it (again, for the zillionth time). I reminded Him and me (he he he, as if He needs me to remind Him of anything) that He can provide for me without a job. I mean, He is able to do this -- He can provide income for me without me getting a job. It is more probable that He will bring me work because that pleases Him (the Apostle Paul cautions the early believers and reminds them not to rest on the charity of the church -- if they can work, they must. If they want to eat, they must work. It is a good thing.) I know that He will open up one of these avenues of employment very soon, and right now I just have to wait them out. This is really the issue at point, because frankly, I am getting tired of waiting Him out. I am also getting concerned because I may have to take on the whole kit-and-kaboodle of my life at the end of this month (that is in seven days). I have no way to make my house payment on the first of August -- I don't have enough money to cover that one. Plus I now am aware of the utilities that need paid on the 1st or 2nd of the month. I don't have enough to cover those either.

The Lord knows this, He knows what is what, so I just reminded Him that He is able to do these things for me. He smiles when I do that (I think He does) because whenever we take the time to remember His Power and Ability, we are giving testimony to Him as God. So if we recount the blessings of God, the Power in our life, and the Grace shown to us -- we are giving Him Glory for these things. This is why the Old Testament is constantly repeating the liberation from Egypt story. You probably thought it was because they didn't have paper and pen, so they needed to repeat it for everyone to remember it. This partly true -- that is how oral tradition works. But, it is also true that they repeated the story to remind the people of God's Faithfulness to them. It was a way to encourage them to stay the course, to keep on focused, to not lose heart.

This is why we are told to "give thanks" and to remember to do so in everything. When we give the Lord thanks for what He has done, we remind ourselves that He is Faithful. If He was Faithful in 2000, He will be Faithful in 2010. God never changes, and by remembering His works, even the works of old, we take courage and know that He is Able to do all things according to His Will and Purpose for our lives. Yes, He is Faithful, and He can do all things.

"For with God nothing shall be impossible." Luke 1:37 (KJV)

July 23, 2010

Changing Tactics

Alright, I am a bit disgruntled this morning. I mean, Target rejected me. This really bugs me. I was happily contented to work there, knowing that I would do a good job for them, be a model employee, and all, and they said, "No, sorry. Not interested at this time." UGH!

I am getting really down about this job search, but know that something is going to come through to me very soon. It is so hard to be unemployed. I know what other people are going through and I have great sympathy for them. I am getting the notices when my bills are due, and guess what? I can't pay them. I missed one payment earlier this year on my credit card, and my credit score dropped 100 points! Now, my credit, which was fair, is considered poor, and I cannot get any loans or financing help what so ever. It is dire for me.

Add to that little bit of information, the realization that by next month, I will be solely responsible for my mortgage and all the bills PLUS food for me and my son. Yes, my DH is proceeding to move out, and leave us without any financial support. I am really in a dire situation right now.

I have applied at Go Daddy (for the fourth time, I think) believing that they might be remotely interested in me since I am a technical person. I just applied as inbound sales/technical support (aka, one of the people you speak to when you call their 800 number). The pay is not great, but it will work. They offer good benefits, and they do promise increased salary as well a bonuses for high performers. That means "sales quotas" and such, and I have never been under that kind of pressure. However, at this point, I will do it. I will do it for sure.

I went over to Best Buy yesterday to look at the new IMacs. My computer is so slow that I can barely do anything on it anymore (and it is not that old). My son and I would like to go back to Macs. He needs one for video/audio work (his chosen field), and I simply am tired of all the PC stuff associated with Windows systems. They are so much more expensive, but they seem to last longer than PCs. I tried to apply for their 18 months/no interest financing and was denied. My credit is not good, of course. I didn't think they would approve me, but I thought "perhaps" they might. Oh, I hate to be right about these things.

So I have had rejection a lot this week. It is getting pretty tough to handle it, but I must perservere. This is what the Word tells us in James 1:2-5 (NIV):

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him."

Dear Lord,

May I consider this trial joyfully! May I think upon my circumstances as fleeting, and remember that the testing of our faith is just for a short time only. It works it's way into our lives and produces good results. May you be pleased with the way I am handling this rejection and this frustration over getting hired. I am trusting you, relying on your judgment and not my own (Proverbs 3:5-6). I know you have this all figured out, and it is all within your Gracious hand. May you be pleased this day, and may your Name be Praised forever more. God is so Good to me.

Rejection

I have been rejected by Target. Ugh! I am sorry for having such a pitiful attitude, but this is really getting me down. I am struggling to keep things all afloat, trusting the Lord for a job, and applying like crazy to any job that remotely would work for me. I have hit most of the big box stores in my area, and here is the kicker: they are hiring, but they aren't interested in me. My skills are very good, my education is fine, and I have oodles of work experience. I am just not the right kind of person they want right now. I know, they can be picky, especially in a employers market. There are so many good people out of work these days that the trees are ripe with experienced and well-suited employees. My deal is that I really need to work (as if the other's don't), and I am running out of time to get things situated. What in the world is going on with my life?

This rejection thing is tough. I mean, I have been personally rejected before, many times before. And, I have been rejected in business too (client's not interested in your services, going with another firm, etc.) Those rejections sting too, but this is different. I am being rejected by a computer and a HR person who has never even seen me, never met me, never even spoken to me. They rejected me on paper and through a computer profile. Ouch!

How do you handle rejection? I try to just let it go, and tell myself it was for the best. It is getting pretty hard to do that these days, because my best seems to be "get a job." I can't do anything about it, so there is no point in lamenting it or beating myself up about it; but, at some point, you do have to take stock and ask yourself why this is happening. Is it all the economy? Or is it that I am not coming off well enough on paper? Perhaps it is a bit of both.

Oh well, I guess Target and me, we will never know each other more intimately than on a shopper to store basis.

July 22, 2010

Moving and Other Things

I am hoping that today will be a better day than the previous two. I woke up at 5:30 (my usual time) after being attacked ruthlessly by my kitten, Ike. My big boys, Gus and Winston, took turns jumping from the bed to dresser and back about three times before I lurched out of the bed. The little guy is annoying; the big boys dangerous. They pound when they land, and typically some part of my anatomy is under their feet. They have figured out how to get me out of bed. I think they secretly laugh at Ike as he chases my feet and hands, bites my toes, and tries really hard to wake me up. After about 20 minutes they both look at each other and say "Ready, set, go! Let' show him how you really get Mom out of bed!" Jump, pound, me screaming, and then finally up. They win every single morning. Of course, I can close the door to the bedroom -- but what fun would that be?

So my day is off to a start and I have already tweeted (if you are new to this social networking stuff, that just means I am using Twitter.com now). It is something you can do from your mobile phone and it will post to your blog and such. I am also LinkedIN, hoping someone might see my profile and hire me for a full-time job. I am doing more Face Booking now, also trying to get noticed. I am not a big networking person, preferring to be quite and left alone -- but this is the 10's and everyone is into it. I figured I had better too. LOL!

My day looks full at the start, but I don't know what will be later on. I am not sure if I am having coffee with my friend, Karen, or not. I can never remember her schedule (she is a nurse), but I think we said Thursday of this week. I will be ready -- who can turn down fresh bagels and coffee? Not me.

On the home front, somethings have changed. My DH is seriously looking and applying for a place to live. This news is not really news, after all, I did ask him to leave last December when I found certain items of clothing not belonging to him or me in the house. I then repeated my request in March when I found coorespondence with another female person, again not me or anyone I know in the family (and also not the type you'd want to find your husband sending). It has been a very long time since then, and he has looked at apartments and such on and off since. However, he has not made any move to move, kwim? I have not pushed it because I was not able to work yet. Now that I am closer to a job, I think he is thinking it is time.

This was the root cause of my sadness the other day, and also why I was depressed yesterday. I have been wanting this day to come, but when it finally came (or the realization that it was now coming to pass), it caused great sadness in my heart and soul. I say it this way because truthfully, I don't want to remain married to my husband anymore. I know that sounds awful and so un-Christian like but it is the truth. I gave up on our marriage back in August when I found out he had made a soul-tie with his former girlfriend, and professed his unending love for her. Moreover, when he refused to forsake her for me, for our son, and for our life together, I knew then that we were going to have to push a boulder up a mountain to try and resolve our marriage crisis. As the weeks wore on and I went through grief/crisis counseling, the truth became more evident and I witness his unwillingness to stop relationships with other women. And, over the course of almost one full year, he has done nothing to stop seeking female friendship. So we live together, but he is actively seeking other women -- from just looking at them in person (staring them down) to the internet, to online dating, to Face Book and other internet avenues, to actually engaging in sex chat, etc.

He has no desire to return to me, and made that clear back when this all came out in the open. He blames me for not giving him a chance, and I blame him for not even showing me he cares. My POV is this: if you want to remain married, stop doing what you are doing and get help. His POV is: you said you would never love me again, take me back, so why should I even try to do anything different. It is illogical, I know, and that is what makes this whole situation so difficult for me. I drew a hard consequence line in the sand -- I issued the ultimatum: "get help, stop seeing other women, and we could work things out." He did go for help, but said it didn't have any impact on him; he didn't stop seeing women. In my view, he met neither condition because if you go to one doctor and he doesn't help you -- you don't just stop. You seek another until you find the help you need. No, he did it to show his folks he was doing something. In his heart, he wasn't interested in changing his behavior because he never did the one thing that mattered most: put me and his family first in his life (after God, of course).

The sadness in my heart is there because I see this not so much as him moving out on us, but rather as him choosing to turn fully away from God. He still comes to church with us, but once he leaves -- will he go? I don't think so. He sits, he listens to the message, he takes communion -- but is God's Word working on his heart? I am sure it is, and perhaps that is what is going on here. It is conviction of the Holy Spirit, and the only answer is to turn or run away. I think he has chosen to run away from his life choices, and that makes me very, very sad.

Dear Lord,

I see the truth all around me, and it makes me sad. I wish to say that I wanted my marriage restored, but I can honestly say that I would rather go it alone from now on. However, I don't want to see my husband lost for eternity. I don't want to see him choose this path, and that is clearly what he is doing now. I pray for him, and ask for your will to be done in his life. You are God, and you are able to do all things -- I trust you with him and with his heart and his mind. May your will be done, so be it, Amen.

July 21, 2010

Busted

My son and I love "Mythbusters" on the Discovery Channel. We try and watch the new episodes whenever they air, but occassionally will stick with the old reruns, just for the fun of it. I guess we both are "into" blowing things up, and that is one of the reasons we enjoy this show so much. My son has a fascination with it, moreso than I do, and as a child, I had to totally control his comments in public. I mean, what if at school he blurted out, "someday I am going to blow up X." Yeah, not a good thing. He has asked me for C4 for Christmas -- I said no. He recently asked for duct tape (he got a roll for Christmas), and has since created some duct tape items (a wallet for one). The other day, he made a duct tape swing, and tested it out to see if it really would hold his weight. Mythbusters already proved the strength of duct tape, so this was a natural extension of their idea. He took some video (I have to find out if he uploaded it) of him testing it out -- it actually worked. He is crazy like that, and I love him for his unusual style (so I am his Mom, what'dya expect?)

Tonight we watched "Mythbusters" blow up a piano (two actually), and both of us nearly cried. I mean, a piano -- really? We would love to have a piano in our home, a real piano. We have a digital grand piano, and my son uses it every day for his lessons and general music practice/experimentation. He has begged us for a grand piano (a Steinway), but we cannot afford to purchase one. I hope to get him a real piano soon (Lord, willing.)

That's really the news from the front today. I am tired right now, having spent the late afternoon in the pool at my folks. Being out in the heat and sun wears you out, so I think I am going to turn in now.

Perhaps I will hear back on another job interview tomorrow. That would be super sweet.

Getting Hooked, er Networked!

As I have blogged endlessly, I am in the hunt for a new job. I have spent the past ten years working from home as a web developer (I used to say Web Designer -- but this is the buzz word nowadays). I am looking for full-time work, from home or a real office, so that I can support myself and my son on my own. In doing so, I have applied at over 30 places -- all online -- and with very little success so far. I have one interview scheduled next week, at Macy's, but it is only for part-time work. I am in need of benefits and 40-hours per week, so the hunt continues.

Everyone tells me that I have to "network." I hate that term, it is a personal thing for me, but they are correct. Networking is the only way I am going to get a good job. In my efforts to network, I am now regularly seen on Face Book, Twitter, and Yelp. I am also LinkedIN so that prospective businesses can see my profile and resume.

Here's to social networking!

New Look, New Perspective

I recently updated my profile picture, and now have changed the look of my blog. Thanks to Blogger for some nice new template designs, I have have a fresh look for this new season in my life.

There is something about changing your appearance, something wonderful that seems to happen whenever you do it. For me, changing anything seems to give me a boost of confidence, a sense of accomplishment, and that "can do" attitude that often I need to help me stay on task and finish up a difficult assignment.

I like to rearrange my furniture or paint my room a different color. Even small changes such as a new comforter for my bed or throw pillows on the sofa -- will perk me up, and say to me: "Now, doesn't that look so much better?" The same thing happens with a new haircut or outfit -- you just feel alive, feel fresh, feel as though everything is going your way.

In my life right now, a good pickme-up is a necessity. Whether it is a strong Passion Fruit/Ice Tea/Lemonade from Starbucks (have you had one of these yet? They are sooooo good!) or a good jolt of coffee (Einsteins is best, IMHO), I just need the extra oomph to push me through the long days and weeks of change. My life has gone upside down and wonky on me, and after nearly of year of struggle, I finally do see the end in sight. It is becoming more clear to me, more in focus, and I know that one of these next few days, I will arrive at the end of the journey and know "it is done."

At first, the thought of "being done" scared me. I had not been on my own for years, and even then lived with my parents. I was a sheltered little plant, carefully tended in my parents garden. I didn't have too many outrageous experiences, and by all accounts, I was NAIVE. I was, it is true...I was NAIVE about everything. This was how girls were raised back in the 1960's. I wasn't old enough to experience feminine liberation, and I had no older sisters who would have lived in the loose and free Age of Aquarius. Nope, I had brothers, and I was born in the early 60's so my growing up years were really in the late to early 1970s. It was different then -- very Brady Bunch and all. Not so much Leave it to Beaver, but very Mrs. Brady. That was how I saw my life, my school, my neighborhood. I really lived the Brady Bunch life, even though my parents were not a blended family (well, actually they were -- but before I was born).

As I grew up though, I simply progressed from little Cindy to Marcia. I grew up in a time when life was very good for most American middle class families. My schooling wasn't exceptional, but I had every opportunity to go on to college, and pursue whatever dreams I may have had back then. I did the very thing, went to college, and after some starts and stops, graduated with my B.A. in Humanities (classics). I am now enrolled in a M.A. program for English Literature, and hope to get my PhD in Communications (in 2-5 years). My life has followed a pretty steady and predictable course: go to college, work, get married, have a child, live a happy life. My unexpected turn was when I found out that my husband didn't want to remain in a relationship with me, and I had to come to terms with being separated and then divorced.

The past year has brought in new revelation, and a lot of understanding in the area of relationships. I am far better able to handle relationships, the good and the bad, now that I have been through the trenches a bit. I understand what it takes to make a relationship good, and what can happen when you are in a bad one or trying to form one with someone who has some issues with attachment or bonding. I have read several good books on the subject, been through intensive counseling, and spent a great deal of time in prayer. Through it all, I have discovered a lot about me, a lot about what I like and don't like, what I need and don't need, and what I am willing compromise to get, and what I will not do at any cost.

When it all came down the end, to the finish line, this was my "do not cross" mark:
  • Trust - all relationships are built on two critical needs: trust and respect. You cannot be in a healthy whole relationship if either is lacking. Therefore, I must trust the person I am relationship with, and through that trust, I will give respect.
  • Respect - the other side of the coin above. Respect is always earned, and it is best earned by people who do what they say they will do. Hypocrites need not apply when it comes to close bonding because flipping only engenders disrespect (from both sides - I don't respect you for changing positions; and you don't respect yourself for being incapable of staying true).

Trusting another person with your emotions is difficult, especially after you have experienced betrayal. It is very hard to forgive and forget or trust again. Often, we can forgive the person, but we simply cannot forget what they have done. We beat ourselves up on this point, but really it is not about forgetting what they have done (Who actually can do this? Only God -- and then He chooses to put it out of His mind); but rather, it is about allowing trust to enter into the relationship after it has been broken. You see, choosing to trust a person after a serious offense is really the BIG ELEPHANT in the room. If you cannot trust them to be honorable the next time, then you will not give them the respect they need to be an equal in the relationship.

How and if you decide to trust a person after such an event is the mark of two things: your willingness to do it (can you do it?) and the other person's willingness to demonstrate that they are trustworthy. Again, if you are in a healthy relationship, then this is rarely an issue; but in an unhealthy one, it most always follows this pattern:

  • Person A trusts Person B
  • Person B betrays Person A's trust
  • Person A forgives Person B after Person B apologises and promises not to do "said" thing again (whatever said thing is or was)
  • Person B goes on their merry way and doesn't actually do anything different about their behavior
  • Person B burns Person A again (and again and again)
  • Person A continues to forgive and restore Person B to a trust relationship

The pattern just continues with Person A always forgiving, but never getting anything back out of the relationship. This is the classic co-dependent relationship, whereby one person does all the giving and the other person does all the taking. In this type of relationship, which by all accounts is not a relationship at all, there is no trust nor respect between parties. Person A doesn't trust or respect Person B, and Person B has no trust or respect for Person A. It is a cycle that is actually abusive and detrimental to both parties. Person A is taken advantage and learns that people are: not trustworthy and are disrespectful to them. Person B believes that they deserve trust and respect and that these two things are not conditional on their attitudes or behaviors.

After experiencing both a lack of trust and disrespect, I decided to say "no more." I decided that at this stage of my life, I deserve both. In fact, in most healthy relationships, trust and respect flow naturally. Rarely do you have these issues come up -- they are simply part and parcel to any good friendship or loving relationship. It is only in those that go sideways, and for some people, the only kind of relationships they seem to find are the sideways kind.

Now as I look into my future, one thing is for certain: I clearly see my role in any relationship. If I want to be trusted and respected, then I have to act the part. I have to do what I say I will do. If this means being a good worker, then I am a good worker. If it means keeping a committment I make, then it means keeping a committment. It really is the old adage, "Your word is your bond," which simply means that if you say you are going to do something, then you better do it.

Dear Lord,

I have come to the end of my journey, and I realize my part in all the mistakes within my primary relationship with my husband. I take full blame where blame is due, and I take full credit where credit is due. It is a two-way road, and I didn't walk it alone. Now that I am ready to step back outside as a single person, I have made the committment to you that I will live honorably and walk in integrity. My word is my bond, so to speak, and by that I simply mean that if your Word tells me to do something, then I am bound to do it. I will keep your commands by your Grace, and I will do my best with your Grace, to live a life that is pleasing to you. I am trusting you for everything else. My role is to be your servant, and your role is to be my Master. May God be praised forever more, and may your Name be exalted on high. Only you are God, and only you can do what needs to be done now in my life. I ask in Jesus' Name that you do what must be done next, and that I would receive the Grace to handle it, and stay steady and follow after you. Amen, so be it, thy will be done. Selah!

July 20, 2010

Feeling Down Today

Today has been a really difficult day for me. It started out blah, and has proceeded to continue into blah-blah. Have you ever had one of those days? I don't usually have them, well at the least, not for a very long time now. Most every day has turned out to be a pretty good one, even since my life took a quick turn into "crash and burn" land. I mean it, I really mean it. Even when my life was at it's bleakest moment, and I felt very alone and sad -- I still was pretty content and happy. I am not discontented by any means, I am just sort of sad today, sort of blue.

I think it is that time of the month for me, and it is pretty natural for me to feel a bit off, but I feel really blue, really sad, really depressed. I am trying to figure out why or sense what may have changed, but I am clueless. I don't know if I have done something or if it is just regret sinking in or if I am fully accepting of the truth in my life. I think it is the latter; I really THINK it has to do with reality settling in hard, and even though I have been dealing with it for the last year or so, this time it is just different. This is the "hard reality," the it is not going to ever change kind of reality; and, while I knew it was coming, I just didn't think it would come today.

Really, is there a better day for reality to show up? No, I don't think so. It comes when it comes, and that is just the long-and-the-short of it. I may not like it, and I may not want to deal with it; but it is here to stay and that is just it.

My day started out pretty icky simply because our Internet and TV were shut off. This happened last evening, and there was nothing to be done about it. I knew it was coming, and didn't really think too much of it. When it went "click" last night, it was business as usual. I mean, this is not the first time our service was disconnected. However, this time, it was different. This time the problem fell on me, and not my DH. You see, in years past, he has paid all the bills for our family. He always paid them late, rarely on time at any point in the past 26 years of marriage. I accepted this as "being what it was" and just lived with it. This month, and last really (to backtrack), he has just said to me "the cable is going to be turned off," as if to let me know he had no plans of doing anything more about it. This time, though, he said: "The cable is going to be turned off. The water and electricity are also over due." Ok, so what did he expect me to do about these bills -- afterall, I am not working.

I had already factored in that I would probably have to pay the water bill, and that was doable with my little income/gift from my Uncle. There was no way I could swing everything, and he knows it. He just let it land in my lap, and walked off. So I prayed over it, and got up this morning and paid the bill. I have my car insurance to pay as well (by Saturday) so I really didn't want to have to pay this bill too. But I am in the middle of doing an Internet job for a former client, and should be paid this week. I need Internet to complete the work. The Lord steadied me and gave me the heads up to pay the bill. I did it, the Internet came back on, and I worked all day on my client's job.

My DH left this morning and has not returned. As far as he knows, there is no Internet here at the house. Moreover, last night, he pretty much bullied me by telling me to do some things. I guess I always just took it, never arguing back or anything; but last night, I sat there in silence and just looked at him. I didn't say anything, but I was thinking it. I was thinking to myself: "What in the world is wrong with this picture?" First, he walks into the room and turns the TV all the way away from my chair, and when I sit there and stare at him, he says, "Oh, were you going to watch something at 7?" I am thinking, "well, hellow there -- I WAS WATCHING SOMETHING NOW." I didn't say anything, I let it drop, but I was absolutely stunned by his total lack of respect for me. There were other things later in the evening, and when I went to bed, I really thought to myself "How has all this happened?"

The good news is that I have Internet now. The better news is that I took all our bills and loaded them into eBills (online bills) and BillPay through my bank. I am trusting the Lord to provide me with a job beginning the first of August and then I will pay the bills. I will see that they are paid on time. What my DH will do is not up to me, that is of the Lord's doing. I just know this: "This situation has become intolerable for me and my son, and we need the Lord to move him out now."

I am also concerned that my DH is either gambling his money away or he is squandering it on women. I just know that what he has made in the months prior should have been enough to cover our home and bills. He hasn't been paying the bills for several months now because the amount owed is 2-3 months worth. This makes it tough for me to cover them, but I know that the Lord is faithful, and He will provide for me.

Dear Lord,

You know that I am trusting you, leaning on you, and waiting on you to bring me a job. I ask in Jesus' Name for a job to come today, some notice of full-time work so that I can take over all the month's needs and not have to rely on my husband at all. I also ask that you find a place for him to move into so that we can begin to live our lives separately. I am ready to file the necessary papers, and I am committed to doing what I must. I ask for the Grace to do this now, and Praise you for your abundant provision. In Your Name I ask these things. Amen.

I Got an Interview!

I am dancing and praising the Lord for His Goodness toward me today! I finally got my confirmation on an interview at Macy's. It is just for PT work, but it is a start. After 30-some applications, I finally got someone to say to me: "We are interested in seeing you." Praise the Lord for He is So GOOD to me.

Technology

As a former IT professional, I hate to admit this, but...I just learned how to email photos from my phone! LOL! My son showed me yesterday, and then today, I figured out how to send my photos directly to my facebook page. Whoowee! Am I good or what? LOL! Not really, probably the average 6 year old can do it -- but for this old Mom -- I am proud of my accomplishments just the same.

I took a new profie picture of myself. The old one was from a Thanksgiving photo and I looked really sad in it (in fact, it was a sad day that very day). This new photo is more representative of the "New Me," the ME God has helped develop. This is the "me" that has been transformed and brought out into His Beautiful Light and Grace (Acts 17:28 "For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.")

I am living as a new creature in Christ Jesus, and my inside is now being reflected on the outside. This new change has transformed me in such a dynamic way that I no longer think of myself as before. Now, I see myself as He sees me, and I am able to say "Yes, I like me - I am happy within myself." This is a true miracle of God because formerly I was self-loathing, and someone who almost always cursed herself (said things about myself or my appearance that were not in anyway true.) The Bible tells us to be careful with our words, and this is especially true when we say things that are contrary to what God's Word says about us. This was a very nasty habit of mine, and something that I didn't understand how deeply could wound me. I was always thinking about what other people said about me, when in reality, my words caused far more damage that anything anyone else might think silently or say directly to my face.

Now, I see myself in a new way, and I think about my life and my future with hopefulness. He is the source of that hope (1 Peter 3:15 "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:...") and the reason I can give thanks to Him each day -- even when my circumstances don't always seem to be a reason for thankfulness.

No, God has been nothing short of fabulously Good to me. He has provided for every single need, and given His Grace to cover over my worries and fears and doubts. I can stand tall, and remain solidly committed to Him because of His Grace. I am in His arms, and He has a very tight hold on me. Nothing can separate me from His Love.

"For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39 KJV

July 19, 2010

I'm Beat!

It must be the heat here in Phoenix because I am literally beat! I woke up this morning at 9:30 a.m. I don't even RECALL when it was that I was able to sleep into until 9:30?? Perhaps before my son was born (almost 17 years ago!!) Probably that was when it was -- and every day since then has been a routine of getting up between 5-7 a.m. I cannot understand why NOW, all of a sudden like, I am sleeping in later. I am blaming the heat (and loving the chance to actually do it). It may just be the calm before the storm, KWIM? I am so hoping to begin a full-time job OUTSIDE the home in the next couple weeks and then for sure my schedule will require early am hours again. Until then, I am going to just enjoy sleeping in and lounging in bed. LOL!

It is very hot here, and humid too. We have had no rain in our part of the valley (Northeast Phoenix). They got some to the southeast of us (Mesa), but not up near where we live. We must have gotten some rain because my car is dirty and needs a good washing. It was probably scattered light rain that popped up overhead during the night. We haven't gotten any good "gully washers" though and that is what we assume when they tell us the Monsoon has arrived. Perhaps today or tomorrow? Perhaps soon?

On another front, my job hunt has produced only one possible interview. Not bad after almost nine months of applying and hearing nothing in return (I received two notices that I was not a good fit -- out of 30 applications!) I am still waiting to schedule an interview with Macy's HR department, and even sent an email asking why I cannot do that per the instructions on their email (there is a link, but then no way to actually pick times). I am not sure if this is because I applied for a management position along with hourly. Perhaps they use two different systems to interview and they are still considering me for other jobs? I will be patient, I will be patient.

The other jobs have been closed (some say so on the website), and I know those are not going to happen. Some have been marked on my account (no longer under consideration), which I guess means (not qualified or they have someone else). Then there are some I will never really know about like Walmart and Sams Club (no way to check up or verify). It is really just a waiting game, and while I have gotten much better at waiting, it is so hard to be patient when you know that you are at the point of desparation.

There is nothing I can do, just like before, but trust in the Lord and know that He has this all figured out for me. I cannot cause a company to look me over nor can I jangle their change to say "Hey, don't forget about me." These companies have HR teams and procedures, and in the hard economy, are screening more applicants who are qualified for work. It must be very difficult to be in HR these days, so I am trying to remain compassionate about the work they have to do. God knows what is best, and God has a job in mind for me. He will bring it to pass when it is time, and until then I must be still and remember He is God (and I am not-- oh, and I am not -- repeat 100xs).

I do love the Lord greatly, and I fear His Name (worship and hold Him in awe). He is Lord of the Universe and He knows me, yes--He knows me. He will not let me go, and He will not let me down. He will hold onto me and steady me, and when the perfect job is ready, like a good Daddy, He will let me go! Until then, He holds onto me and says, "Carol, we have to wait in line some more. Just be patient." He knows I am saying, "When Daddy? When?" and He knows that it will be very soon indeed.

It is funny how we do these things to our Heavenly Father just like our little ones do to us. We hold onto their tiny little hands and tell them to wait. They bounce and whine and cry, and want to go NOW! But, we just smile at them (when we can control ourselves -- been there and done that one too many times) and say "soon, honey -- real soon now." It is hard to wait. It is very hard to be still, but we must do it. We know that we cannot rush the process. You can yell and scream for the person at the counter to go faster, but all you will get is a surly counter person when your time arrives. If we just chill and wait, then when our turn comes we will be served (and we can have a chance to make them smile -- with our kindness and mercy!) Oh, God is so Good in that way. He knows that He wants us to be concerned about ourselves and our families, for this is natural; but, He also wants us to have enough concern left over to care about others. We cannot go around all hyped up over ourselves and expect to then be compassionate with someone else. No, it just doesn't work that way.

Dear Lord,

I know you have my life in the palm of your hand. You know me so well, and you know that it is so hard for me to be still and wait for the process to finish. I am ready, I am ready, and I am ready NOW. Your will is set and done -- but we are waiting on human beings to do what they must do and not all of them are your children. Not all of them are letting your Holy Spirit guide them. I don't want to get so self-absorbed that I can no longer be compassionate toward others I meet. Therefore, I ask you to take this responsibility away from me. Let me rest in the assurance of your Grace (it is always sufficient), and let me no longer focus on my needs, but on the needs of other people (in my family, in my church, and in my local community). My Praise goes to You alone today, and I thank you for your Grace to me. In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen.