December 31, 2011

Happy New Year 2012!

Well, it is finally here -- the end of 2011. This has been an amazing year for me. I have gone from being unemployed to having a great job at the University of Phoenix. I have left my home of the past twelve years to move into a rental townhome that suits me and my son perfectly. I am in the process of selling my old home, and praise God, we have an offer and the opportunity to close by January 31st! Of course, there are snaggles -- but when has that ever been not the case, eh? My entire life is one huge snaggle-fest, so this is going to be no different. I am trusting the Lord to provide for me, to show the way, and to close this deal. I know this will be, I know it, so now I am content to rest and let Him do whatever He needs to do.

As I look forward into 2012, I see some very happy days ahead. First of all, I will start my last semester at Mercy College on January 25th. I am enrolled in Humanism in Renaissance Texts and Thesis Seminar. I wasn't too sure I wanted to study Humanism, but I do like the Renaissance period, so the texts might actually be ones I am familar with -- perhaps some Locke or other Philosophy. My two and one-half years at Mercy will come to a close with my graduation, May 19th. I am not planning on attending it, but I will order my cap/gown so I can have a picture taken here in Phoenix. I will be a Masters graduate! Hooray!!

In July, my nephew is getting married to his High School sweetheart. They make an adorable couple, and clearly are in love with one another. I am very happy for them. They have good plans -- both work for Apple (Retail), and have good jobs. My neice-in-law, is still in school, and has a very good future ahead of her regardless of what she chooses to do after graduation. My nephew is super-talented and has opportunities for great expression in the movie/music industry. They are well set and I know that the Lord will bless their union, and give them a good future together.

I had planned on starting advanced studies at UOPX in August, but now have had some second thoughts about whether or not this is the best program for me. I like it, but the Lord has pressed a new school into my subconcious, and it seems to be pulling me away from Phoenix, and over to the Midwest.

Earlier in the year, the Lord and I discussed options for school. At that time, I was considering two schools:  Regent University and UOPX. I have since found out that I cannot start Regent this summer, due to a conflict in scheduling. Therefore, I set that aside and concentrated on UOPX. In the interim, the Lord directed me towards a program at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI. It is an ED.D in Reading, Language and Literature. At first, I was put off by how hard the program would be, how much work was involved, and the very fact, that it was going to be SO EXPENSIVE to attend there. I discounted the program, thinking it was not going to be a good fit for me.

Now, however, I have been asked to reconsider it and this time, it seems far more doable. It is 100 semester hours, and the specialty in Language offers me the opportunity study what interests me most -- educational psychology and language acquisition theory. This is something I am passionate about, and something that seems to come round to me every time I write a paper at Mercy. I am always thinking about how we process language, and how we communicate our thoughts on paper. Language and literacy are the two interests for me, and this doctorate program would allow me to study both.

I cannot enroll at this school until Fall 2013, so right now, I am strongly considering going there after a year off break. The break will allow me to settle into my job at UOPX, and will give me downtime to rest and recover. I am worn out, tired of school right now, and struggling to keep up with life. I am looking forward to the long break, and to starting the next level of school when I am fresh and ready to do so.

I am not sure how UOPX will factor into the mix. I do get tuition assistance, but if I am taking a program similar to what they offer -- they may not pay for it. However, they do not offer the RLL concentration, and that is what I want, so perhaps it will work out and I will get some assistance in paying for this school.

As I contemplate the future, I am secure in the knowledge that my career is fixed in higher education administration. I see myself working at UOPX or another college until I am able to retire. I want to stay in education, and I want to continue my advanced studies in education. I feel confident that this is my future, and that I am on the right track now. I don't know if I will remain in Phoenix long-term, but for now, it seems that everything is working out as it is supposed to do so. I am happy in my new home, in my new job, and in my college choice. I am waiting now, waiting for the provision to come through, and waiting for rest -- the time I need to recharge and get ready to tackle a doctorate in Education.

May God be Praised on this last day of 2011. He has been faithful to me, and has seen me through some very difficult times. I am so ready to be used, to go where He sends me, and to do the work He has prepared for me to do. I am ready now to start my new future in 2012. I know it will be blessed, and I give all the testimony and praise to God!

December 12, 2011

I am so excited

I am so excited! My Christmas present arrived today, and I am jumping for joy!! I have wanted to purchase a buffet/hutch for nearly 30 years, and yesterday, I did it! I bought a used oak buffet with leaded glass hutch at our local Turn Style store. I had been in the store about two weeks ago, when I purchased a small side table for my living room. I found the buffet/hutch and when I saw the price tag, I knew I wanted it. The problem was the size and the lack of ability to move the piece. I stewed over it for two weeks, thinking "Lord, there has to be a way to get this piece home?" Finally, I gave in to the idea that the hutch and me were not meant to be. I mean, with my bad back, and my Dad's inability to lift anything -- how could I get such a heavy piece of furniture home?

Well, yesterday, my Mom stopped in the store and noticed that the piece was still for sale. She asked the co-owner who said that she would give us 20% off the price if we bought it that day. Mom called me, and told me the good news -- it was cheaper now, and the store had a moving person who would delivery it to my home for a small fee.  I was in heaven!

Here is a photo of my new buffet. It is empty, but as soon as I can get my special dishes over from the old house, it will be filled and decorated for the holidays! I am so excited!!

December 11, 2011

Weary, but Slowly Getting Things Done

This is my umpteenth weekend where I have had to work at home (not business-work, but house work). I am in need of a good long rest, but the weekends seem to come and go so quickly. Partly, this is due to moving into a new home, and all the little details that come along with changing residences. I have bought new items such as pictures, accessories, TV, etc. do add some freshness to my old things. And, while I have enjoyed the process, I am really tired of always running to Target or Walmart each day. I am ready for a rest, and I am ready to be settled.

This weekend, I had to clean out the old house and help my husband with a garage sale. I hate garage sales. I think they are the biggest waste of time, and especially now adays, net you very little profit. I would much prefer to just give away things, or let someone come (a charity) pick them up. It would be easier on me, and I would know that the items were being used by someone in need or if not, then disposed of properly. My DH likes to sell things, so he did the garage sale yesterday. I am not sure what he actually made, but my guess is about $25 dollars. Not worth the effort, IMHO.

The old house is slowly being emptied out. We signed a contract with a realtor to sell the house, but I have grave doubts about this happening. The house looks so sad without me and my son living there. I mean, it really looks shabby and worn down. It needed some big repairs, and I was planning on making them -- but when the foreclosure happened, there was not much I could do to stop it, and it seemed irresponsible to invest more money into the property -- just to lose it in the end. The house, therefore, is not in good shape to sell, and with the down market here in Phoenix, I doubt we will sell it for what we owe. Furthermore, since we do not owe to a bank, we cannot do a short sale. We either sell it for what is owed, or we allow the foreclosure to take place.

I anticipate that it will take the three of us a full month to clear the house out. We have about a month and a half until the sale, so hopefully, we can get everything out before then. I would like to have the house emptied out by the end of the month. Possible, but not probable. I am tired, so very tired all the time. I worry about my CFS, which has flared up (it seems to do so every year about now), and it is struggle just to get through the days. Working full-time has taken it's toll as well. I know that while I enjoy my job, and sit for most of the day, it is more a matter of the stress involved in working that is wearing me down. School ending doesn't help either, so I am plodding on through, knowing that once I finish this semester, I will have some down-time (about 3 weeks) before my last semester at Mercy begins the end of January.

I am very excited about graduating from Mercy, and I am looking forward to starting my PhD program at the University of Phoenix. I worry a bit about how I will do it, but I consider the One who is behind all of this, and I rest in the knowledge that He is God, and that as such, He is more than able to help me to accomplish this goal.

Well, I am finally getting sleepy, so I am off to bed. I woke up at 2:30 a.m., lounged in bed until 3:30, and then finally got up since I was wide awake. I made some coffee, and had a bowl of cereal. It is 4:40, and I am feeling that sleepy feeling. I think I will sleep in tomorrow, and take the day off from church. I have to write a paper, and get prepared for this week -- and a real day off sounds so blessedly wonderful. God be Praised for He is so Good to me. I know it, and I am trusting in His Goodness towards me. He is Good all the time.

December 4, 2011

Thinking About Next Year

Happy Sunday Morning! I am sitting here in my beautiful bedroom, eating some cereal, and enjoying the view out of my window. My computer faces out, and I have the blessing of sitting above/in the trees. It is a lovely picture to have each day, and I love the fact that I can sit here alone and be in the quiet moment.

Some changes have occurred in my life recently. First all, besides moving into my lovely new townhome; I have had to deal with packing up and leaving my old home. I had worked so hard to keep my old home -- trying to do everything to stall foreclosure. I am now reconciled that I will have to go through foreclosure unless the Lord provides a buyer to us. I was over at the house this week, doing more packing and moving, when the old washer we had, broke, and flooded the entire dining/office area. It caused major damage, and thankfully the Lord provided someone who came and was willing to work out a deal with us to clean up the mess for a trade (services).

Yesterday, while the blowers and fans were still doing their work, I thought about how fortunate I am to have such a beautiful place to live in now. I have been blessed by the Lord and His provision of such a nice home. I love my new home, and I love the fact that everything seems to be working out as He had planned it. I don't understand it, and I don't really know how it will end -- but I do know that my God is firmly in control of my life now. I am so blessed, and God is so very Good to me.

As I think about next year, I am faced with the realization that this is my life now. I am settled here in Phoenix, and I now have the ability to pay all my bills, to take care of the needs as well as the wants, and that I no longer am faced with uncertainty. Praise be to God for His Goodness towards me. I look into the future, and while I don't know exactly what will be, I do know that my God is leading me through my days, bringing me into the place where He determines, and where He has need of my services to Him. I am excited to know that I can rest now, that I can go through my days and let things be as they are. I may not always like what I see, or not always feel that I understand what is happening; but I know that God is moving in my life, and that He is orchestrating the details to bring Himself Glory. God is so AMAZINGLY GOOD ALL THE TIME.

Now, my life is complete. I am happily contented to live within His Will, and to do all that He has in mind for me. I want nothing more than to be about Yah's Way. I have come to learn that His Way is perfect, and that in this way, the one who follows it, will find perfect peace -- in this life as well as in the next. This perfect peace comes from the restoration of relationship between God and man,  and authored by none other than Jesus the Christ, who came at this Holy time, and lived on Earth to bring the GOOD NEWS of God's Great Love to all of mankind. In Jesus, we have the Divine representation of God Almighty -- the God who dwells with us (Immanual -- God with us) -- in personal form. Through Jesus' life and death, we are reconciled to God, and are able to resume relationship with Him.  In Yah, we are able to experience the blessing, the peace, the protection, and the providence of God. We are able to be with Him through the power and presence of His Holy Spirit, who indwells the believer and who dispenses the Grace of God into and through our lives. This PEACE has come, and it is this PEACE that we celebrate during the winter season we call Christmas. I have found that to be kept within His PEACE, there is rest. This is the blessed faith-rest that brings comfort, and confidence to know that no matter whatever takes place -- personally, corporately or universally -- all will be as Yah Way (YHWH) decrees and determines.

I am not really able to explain it other than to say that this PEACE has taken hold of my life, and has given me the ability to live fully and completely devoted to God. I am blessed, I am content, and I am at rest. God is SO VERY GOOD TO ME.

November 27, 2011

Celebrating Christ

Celebrating Christ's arrival to our world has become my focus this season. In year's past, I *hated* the holiday season. I mean I really *hated* it -- not because of the reason for the season, but because of what I suffered as a result of family *requirements*. As a child, I loved Christmas. I loved the whole fall-winter experience, celebrating Columbus Day, Thanksgiving, and then Christmas. It was the best part of the year for me (well, perhaps summer vacation was the BEST!) I always loved everything about the season, and I have some wonderfully fond memories of doing things such as shopping with my Mom, my friends, and then gift-wrapping packages for my entire family. It was sweet and always wonderfully warm and special.

After I married, though, I found that my life became incredibly complicated. Instead of my normal holiday experience, I found myself stretched between two families who wanted "me" to be a part of their celebrations. I never had the opportunity to create my own traditions because I was caught between two dominant traditions that seemed unable to bend to allow a new family to create their own way. It was frustrating for me, and over the years, the constant battle turned into a passionate dislike of all things "Christmas."

Now that I am on my own, I am looking forward to enjoying the holiday and making it once again the special experience I recall from my childhood. Although I am an adult now, I am able more fully to enjoy the blessedness of my Savior's coming, knowing that the reason I celebrate Christmas is because of Him alone. God has richly blessed my life, and I have so much to be thankful for today. I am whole, I am happy, and I am free to live the life God has called me to live. I do so now out of response to His great LOVE for me, and for His Will, which gives me a place to call home (eternal and physical). I am so deeply in love with my Savior, and I am so in cooperation with His Holy Spirit, that I say with Paul:

"For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Phil. 1:21 KJV

November 25, 2011

Knowing God, Knowing Your Way

"...asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called--his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance." Ephesians 1:17-18 NLT

It was four years ago, summer (July 2007), when I came to know the Lord in a new way. I had been a Christian at that time for almost 37 years, and while I thought I loved God, I really didn't know what it meant to "love God." I mean, not the way we are called to do so in Scripture. I loved God in a big general way -- you know -- as God of the Universe, God who lives "out there" and as Jesus, the Savior (baby and suffering servant). I loved what I knew about God, but I didn't really love Him personally. I didn't know how to do that, I didn't know how to love something/someone who wasn't really "there" (in a physical sense). Yet, I experienced His Spirit, so I did know He was inside of me, but I didn't know what to do to experience that love other than to acknowledge His presence and be a "good" servant (study, work, ministry, etc.)

Then one day, I prayed to really know how to love God, and something wonderful happened. Instead of filling me up with the ability to love Him, He spent time telling me how much He loved me. I was filled with His love, and through that change, I came to recognize Him. Furthermore, the more time I spent learning about His love for me, the more my heart became tender towards Him, and I found myself saying "I love you, Lord" all the time. It would be at the store, in the car, walking down the street...just where ever I was...the words came out of my mouth, "Oh, how I love you, Lord!"

Little by little, I came to experience the love of God inside my heart, and throughout that year and into the next, I became more aware of His Goodness towards me. As I pondered His Goodness, I came to know His character, and I came to know that God is Good all the time. God's Goodness is the center of His being -- it motivates everything He does, and it is His greatest expression. I know people will say "no, it is His Love," and while I do agree, I believe that because of His Goodness -- He was moved to love us, even though we were unlovable due to our sin. God's Goodness is what shapes His work in us, and it is what we see most readily in our daily lives. God's Goodness gives us life, liberty, and His great love so that we can in turn love others, share our lives, and bring liberty (freedom) to those living in bondage.

I have spent the past four years basking in the Goodness of God, and I have cherished the blessings of that knowledge. I see His Good now in everything, and I give Him thanks because He is so Good to me.

"You are good and do only good; teach me your decrees." ~Psalm119:68 NLT

Have you experienced the Goodness of God today? Are you longing to really know God, to love Him, and experience His Presence? Consider meeting Him in a new and personal way. Let go of the religion, the rules, and the law, and simply come to Him -- ask Him to show you His love. He will do it, and you will understand what it means to know the Lord, and to be loved by Him. May God be praised today and forevermore. God is Always Good -- All the time!

November 24, 2011

There is nothing greater than our Savior's Love

As I sit here tonight and think back on all the days of my life (17555 and counting -- not adding in my days in my mother's womb!), I am reminded of just how awesome my life is, and how precious this gift of life is to me. I spent the day with my parents, and then came home to my new house to relax and enjoy the evening. I decided to sit down at the computer and spend a little time on Facebook. I happened to stop by my nephew's page, and as I flipped through his photos, I thought just how wonderful God is to my family. My older brother (7 years older than me), has done a fabulous job raising four Godly children, who are all doing well, and living lives honoring their parents. I am touched by how close they all are, and how much love there is between their children and my brother and sister-in-law. They do not have the issues facing many families -- no arguments, no feuds -- just tender loving care for one another. It is so touching to me to see them happy, silly, and enjoying their lives together -- as a family.

My heart is tender because I sit here tonight all alone in my room -- me and my computer -- and I long to have that kind of loving family. Don't get me wrong -- I have a blessed family. I have best parents in the world, and I cherish my son who I love beyond words. I just never had that kind of loving family relationship in my own marriage. I had it as a child -- my family and childhood memories are filled with lots of laughter and moments of tender love and joy. I just never was able to have that same kind love and affection in my own home.

I know, maybe it is just my heart breaking a little more. I have been so well-covered by God's graciousness, and He has kept me from experiencing the heartache as I learned to deal with the changes in my life, and the fact that I am to live my life as a single person. I guess maybe it is just that today was so different for me. I mean, it was nice to have dinner with my parents -- a normal holiday thing -- and to come home to what I am doing now (I am on my computer, my son is on his). This is so NORMAL -- but it is just not what I want, not what I really desire deep down in my heart.

The Lord has led me through these past two years, comforting me, and giving me grace and peace to be able to do things I never thought possible. I never thought I would ever go back to college. I never considered being able to go to graduate school, and the idea of getting my PhD was out of bounds. But, here I am now almost graduated with my Masters degree, and getting ready to take the next step to get my doctorate. I never imagined I would be living alone, living on my own, paying my own bills, keeping my own life, and being so "in control" of everything. Yet, here I am now, doing that very thing, and being so confident and comfortable in it all. I never saw myself as an unmarried woman, even though I knew that God was calling me to this kind of life. I never wanted to be a 50 year old woman -- who finally learns the truth of her life -- and who finally accepts God's call with abandon, with passion, and without fear. Yet -- here I am now -- living the life God has called me, loving every minute of it, and walking each new day with excitement, with enjoyment, and with the blessed assurance that I am exactly where God wants me to be.

And though my heart breaks at the tender thoughts and sweetness of family -- I know that I am uniquely called to a different kind of life, a life that will be devoted to one thing, and one thing only -- that is to live out the WILL OF GOD, and to serve Him all the days of my life. I know my calling, it is for certain, and it is what guides and directs my life. I know where I am going, and I know how I am to get there. God has done all this for me, and I stand in awe of Him tonight.

Praise be to God, the Father; God the Son; and God, the Holy Spirit. He lives and reigns forever more. Amen, so be it, thy will be done.

Updating my Plans

Now that I am settled in my new home, and moving forward in my career, I am ready to start planning my advanced studies. Over the last couple years, I have considered several Universities and even took the step to apply to Regent University for their PhD in Communication. As time has passed, and I have become employed at the University of Phoenix, I realize that while I desire to study the courses at Regent, I see a much more practical path to PhD right at my place of employment. I do not forsee me changing careers at anytime soon. I like working in a University, and I want to continue to work in Higher Education Administration. I really feel that it suits me and fits my skills well. I am not sure what exactly I want to do down the road, but I feel that I am where I am supposed to be, job-wise, and that I am perfectly content to remain here until I retire (Lord willing!)

I have already started the process of applying to the University of Phoenix. I cannot officially apply until I have my conferred Masters degree. This will be in May of 2012, which is right around the corner, so to speak. I am eager to get it completed, and I am so thankful for my courses and study at Mercy College. It has been a great experience, and I am really blessed for the content and professors who have taught graduate English Literature. I have learned a lot about myself through these courses, and I have come to have a different mindset about the world, and our cultural differences. I really have a new way of thinking, and even though I studied English, I feel that my program has enabled me to see the world through more open eyes. I am far more accepting of the differences we have now; less judgmental, and less intolerant of people and their preferences for lifestyle. God has given me this precious opportunity to grow and develop as a mature woman, and to come to recognize that all people are loved by Him.

My new plan is to apply to the University of Phoenix in June of 2012, for an anticipated start date of August 7, 2012. My proposed program will be Ph.D in Higher Education Administration. This is a long program, 65 credits or 21 classes (probably less because some will be 4 credits and not 3). Still, the program is intensive, but since I will be taking one class every eight weeks, I am confident that I can do it. My anticipated graduation, barring no time off, will be 3 years or some time in 2015. This might be too soon, depending on my dissertation, but for now, that is my timeline.

God has given me such great peace about taking this path through higher education. I know it is the right way to go, and even though I felt so strongly about Regent and their program, I didn't have this kind of peace. This is the type of peace that says "Go this way, and find good success." I know my way here will be blessed, just like it has been through my time at Mercy College. I have had great success in graduate school, and I have no doubts that my success will continue through the University of Phoenix's program.

Praise and Thanksgiving

Today, I lift my voice to give praise to my God, my Savior and my King. I give Him all the thanks for His Goodness towards me. He has demonstrated His Faithfulness, His Trustworthiness, and His Goodness in ever increasing ways and means. I am blessed, richly blessed, and I give all the testimony to the LORD.

November 22, 2011

Thanking the Lord for His Merciful Provision

It has been a long while since I posted regularly. These past couple months have been incredibly difficult for me. It was a difficult transition from working part-time to full-time, and then I had my graduate school courses along with the upset of losing my home/saving my home, and then finally leaving my home. I am now settled in my new job, and have moved into a lovely new townhome. I am not 100% moved yet, but I am in and enjoying the peace and quiet of my new place.

My son has gotten settled as well. Our new home is about 1.5 miles from the Community College. He can walk, ride his bike, or take the bus -- either way -- he is able to get to school now without assistance from my parents (which has been a blessing!) He is also more settled with his schooling, and seems to be happy in his new room (bigger, and more grown up).

My life seems to be settling down as well. I am still dealing with some trust issues, which bugs me a lot; but generally speaking, I am good. The Lord has established me:

"If you obey the commands of the LORD your God and walk in his ways, the LORD will establish you as his holy people as he swore he would do." Deut. 29:8 NLT

and He has given me His Grace so that I am able to live the life He is calling me to live. I cannot really explain it, but the Lord has provided everything I need to live on my own. Not only do I have money, but I have a home, a good car, a good job, good schooling options (now and when I finish in May, advanced studies), and He has covered me with His Peace so that I can REST.

"The LORD replied, "I will personally go with you, Moses, and I will give you rest--everything will be fine for you." Exodus 33:14 NLT

His REST has enabled me to relax and let go of things, to not worry and fret over what is happening or will happen in my life. I am learning -- note that I am in the "learning mode" on letting go of my need to control everything -- to TRUST in the Lord daily. He is my Provider and my Protector, and through His care and GRACE, I am learning how to let Him live through me. My will is now His will, and my ways are His ways. It is an exciting thing to be in His Way, and to know that whatever I do today will be blessed. I am able now to walk freely, to go where ever He sends me because I know that He will do whatever is necessary to see to my provision.

"Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me." Psalm 54:4 NIV

I am blessed, so richly blessed -- by His Presence, by His Persistence, and by His Pleasure. There is nothing I desire more than to be in His Way and to live my life for His Glory. Psalm 37:4-5 KJV says:

"Delight yourself also in the LORD; and he shall give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass."

This is my life verse. This is the verse I chose to remind me of my commitment to the Lord and of His promise to me to sustain me, and to bring His Word to pass in my life. It is life in action, God's way, and it is TRUTH. I have seen the Lord give me the desires of my heart, and bring them to pass. My part in this event has been to make Him my soul's delight, and to commit myself to Him. In doing so, He has done all this for me.

God is so very Good to me. Praise the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen. So be it, thy will be done!

October 30, 2011

So Much Has Changed

It has been over a month since my last blog post. It is interesting how things have changed for me, since last October 2010. Over the course of one year, I have gone from being unemployed (full-time) to working full time. I have almost completed my Masters degree, and I am getting ready to move to a new home. A lot has changed, and so much of it, took me by surprize. For almost 18 months, I consistently wrote about my personal live, my lack of finding good practical work, and my relationship with the Lord as it sustained me through some very dark and difficult times. I am now on the other side of that valley, and while things are so much brighter, and my life feels better -- there are hills and valleys up ahead that cause me to shirk back. I know I must press on for the word says to us,

"I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us." Phillipians 3:14 NLT

I know that I must press on, I must continue to walk towards my heavenly calling, and to move through this mortal life with my focus intent upon the prize that awaits me at the Judgment Seat of Christ. My prize is waiting for me, a prize received for living a life of faithful obedience to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I am to press on, to keep on going, to walk forward, and to not give in -- not until I reach my destination. I am tired, and I am weary. I want to rest, to sit down and take some time to let everything settle, but so much is happening right now, so much that I cannot stop yet. I have to keep on moving forward until the Lord gives me eternal rest.

I have been working at the University of Phoenix for almost four months now. I like my job, and I like my manager and team mates. I like the company, and their policies. I feel that I am in a really good spot here, and that this company will be good to me. I am hopeful that in time I will be able to move up in the company, to move into a different kind of role, but for now, I am content to do the work assigned, and to be faithful to live my life openly and honestly, doing my best, trying my best, and trusting the Lord for His will in every are of my life. God is so good to me.

My home is about to be sold. I have done my best to try and refinance my home -- but that has not proven successful. I completed a loan application, but nothing has come to pass -- not one word on whether or not it has been approved, and it has been over 6 weeks. I know that this is because I am in default of the balloon payment on the house, and according to a good friend (former broker), no bank will give me a loan when you are in default.

The default was through no fault of my own. I was left to care for the home, and I didn't have full-time work. I did my best to pay the mortgage, and to keep the utilities on, but there wasn't enough money to do that, and my DH was not helping me (hasn't been for a very long while). Therefore, I tried to do what I could, with what I had, and it wasn't enough. The note holder chose to follow the course of the law, and call our note as well as proceed to a Trustee Sale.

I didn't want this to be the outcome, not after slaving in this home for nearly 14 years, but with no job, no regular income, and no way to overcome this hurdle, the only solution was to wait and see if the Lord willed me to remain in this home.  I have known that this home was not the Lord's will for my life. This home has been a money-pit, and has been a source of anguish for a very long time. There is something unwell here, and I have lived with it for a very long time. I have wanted to move, my son has wanted to move, but we remained for a myriad of reasons. The Lord chose not to allow us to be rescued from this home. He could have rescued us, provided some compassion from our note holder, and allowed us the time to get out of default -- it was not impossible, it was not a done-deal. The note holder was not willing to do so, and the home is to be sold.

Yesterday, I started to look for apartments. I have not wanted to look at apartments because I couldn't imagine moving from a 3BR/2BA home into a 2BR apartment. We have a lot of stuff to sort, a lot of stuff to keep -- and I really ddin't think we could make it fit. Furthermore, due to the large number of foreclosures in our area, the rents for homes and apartments has skyrocketed. Landlords are taking advantage of folks who cannot make their mortgages, and then charging them high rent for a home. It is a shame, but it is the way that it is right now.

I found a lovely townhome to rent. I went yesterday and toured through it. It would work nicely for me and my son, but I am the 3rd person to apply for the home. The application scared me because it mentions specifically about not making payments in rent. The owner seemed to like me, and he seemed to be compassionate towards me. I just don't know how good I look on paper, and if I will be chosen for the place or not.

The thought of having to move to a new home pleases me, but it also scares me. I hate packing, and I hate moving. I hate the whole process, yet I am so ready to leave this home, and close this part of my life.

My DH has no plans or at the least, has no plans he has shared with me. He has no job, and doesn't seem to be motivated towards getting one -- not even part-time. He is continuing to work at his consulting business, but it doesn't pay enough for him to rent a room. He was upset that I was giving up on the mortgage refinance, and he was not pleased when I said I was looking at apartments. He wants to attempt to sell this house before the Trustee Sale. I said I was agreeable to doing that, but that I couldn't do it -- meaning -- being responsible for it. With my work and schooling, my son's school and church activites, and now having to care more for my parents -- I cannot do anything more with this house. My DH works 10 hours a week, perhaps 15 on a good week. He wants me to pay all the bills, and manage the house. I am tired of being his housekeeper and home manager. He needs to get off his duff and find a job.

Yesterday, he left and didn't come back until after 11. He normally goes out on the weekends and is out until 11-12. He just says that he is going out, but he doesn't say where. I don't ask anymore. I don't care where he goes, I just know that he is not looking for work.

I am praying that this townhome comes to pass for me and my son. We are ready to move on with our lives, to walk away from this house, this life, and all that remains of our family. I wish I could say that there was a happier ending in sight, but it has been two very long years since everything went sideways on me. These past two years are simply the capstone of 27 very long and exhausting years of frustration, of sorrow, and of unwillingness to take responsibility. I am responsible now. I am in control of what the Lord has given to me, and I am being faithful to keep it well in hand. The Lord is my refuge, my strong tower, my hope. I look to Him alone for support, for strength, and for His sufficiency. The Lord is my all and all, and He has not disappointed me yet.

August 31, 2011

It's Been a Long Dry Summer

I have been really busy this end of summer. I have barely had time to keep my blog updated -- and this from a person who almost always blogs daily. My work has taken all my time, and I have been so tired that I really don't get to do much after I get home at night. I am blessed beyond measure, and I give a BIG SHOUT OUT TO THE LORD for His Gracious Mercy. He has been so kind and good to me, and I am blessed, blessed, blessed by His Love for me. I am treasuring my days, and praising Him for my nights. God has worked miracles in my life, and I stand in awe of Him.

Some praises:
  • It will be six weeks this Friday since I started my new job at the University of Phoenix. My job is as an Online Enrollment Advisor for the Northestern Region. I enroll students in Healthcare and Nursing, and for the most part, I really do enjoy it. The work is hard, and my mind is tired at the end of the day, but I am getting used to this kind of work. I am also getting used to my schedule of working 6-3 each day. I may switch to 7-4 (tomorrow I am testing it out), just to sync my sleep/wake habits better.
  • My home is still my home -- as of today. Our note holder is still waiting for money, but for now, we are staying put and trying to see if we can refinance our mortgage. If we cannot, then we will sell our home, and move. Right now, God has brought my gardener back to me, and he has trimmed my shrubs and whacked all the weeds. The house looks really good from the street. I am thanking God for this blessed provision of a hard worker!
  • I am getting back into cello after about a month off. This is the longest break I have taken from practicing, and I am really rusty. My thumb was injured at Macy's, and it was so painful to bow. Now, it feels good again, and I am confident that I will get back up to speed quickly.
  • I am waiting to get my grades for my summer courses. Unfortunately, I had to borrow some money to cover the cost, and my fees are not paid yet. My grades are on hold -- but hopefully they will be released in the next couple days. I am all set to attend Regent University next summer, and I am working on getting all my papers in on time. God is providing such blessing as far as my school goes, and I know He has everything under control for me. This is His will, and His doing -- I am simply going along for the ride! PTL for He is so very Good to me!!
  • My son is doing well in school (again), and is now considering a degree at UOPX. This would be a huge savings for me, so Praise God for this turn of events!
  • There is so much more, but my fingers are tired now, so I am off to bed.
God is good all the time, and all the time God is Good. I am thanking Him and giving Him all the Praise for what He has done in my life. You are God, and God alone -- and I worship and praise your mighty and precious Name!

August 20, 2011

Changes and Options

It is hard to believe that it is August 20th today. It has been a very long couple weeks, and I am tired, but very happy with my new job. The job itself is not a perfect fit for me, but I like my group/team, and I like the paycheck and company benefits. I realize that I will not be an Enrollment Advisor for ever, just because you really have to like calling students on the phone (which I do not). I am so much more of an academic person, and I love talking with students, mentoring them, helping them, etc. but not really into the 'soft sell' aspect of education.

God has provided me with probably the best group, manager, and team available (at the least, that is what everyone tells me), and I am beginning to agree! I am so amazingly blessed, and I know that this is ALL of His Marvelous Hand. God is so very good to me.

Some new things are on the horizon, which is kind of exciting and scary -- at the same time. I found out yesterday that our trust deed is a standard document, and that our note holders cannot forcibly evict us like if we were renters. They have to foreclose on us, go through the court system, and follow the rule of law. This means that while we are 'supposed' to pay off our note in two weeks, we do not have to continue to make payments to them beyond that date. They can foreclose, but that would give us 3-6 months before we would legally have to be out of our home. There is nothing they can do to us, and if they threaten us, or continue to show up at our house to harrass us, then we can slap an injunction on them.

I am relieved to know that there are some options available to us. We can negotiate to give this house back to them or let them foreclose on us. I didn't want to do the latter because of my credit rating, but now I am considering it simply to give me time to find another place. God will do what God will do, and I am resting in His Sovereignty.

I am also working with a realtor to find another place to live. I would like to find a home close to my current location, and I am trying my best to find something quickly. I am confident that the Lord will provide a good home to me soon.

My son has expressed an interest in changing his college goal from music/ministry to computer programming. I am happy for his change of mind because he is really, really good at programming. I think he could be financially well-set, so I am very pleased. Also, this is a degree that he could complete through the UOPX, and since we get family discounts, this would mean he could go there for little out of pocket expense (PTL!) He has to make up his mind, though, and I know he will in time. Right now, he needs to get his head in gear and start thinking about school beginning on Monday. He needs to get in the game, and keep his grades up to be able to do this kind of work. I know he can do it, but he is being pulled in other directions right now. I am praying for the Grace of God to settle him in this decision, and for God's will to be done.

Lastly, I have decided that among everything else on my plate right now, I will need to buy another car by the year's end. I have to get an automatic car with better highway comfort. My little car is great on gas, but it blows all over the freeway, and I need something a little bit heavier to keep me grounded. Plus my son needs a car, and my little KIA would be perfect for his needs. God knows what is best, so I am trusting Him to provide everything we need today. Amen, so be it, thy will be done!

August 12, 2011

Wrap Up

Well, I am finished officially with my training and assessments at the University of Phoenix. It has been three very long and hard weeks of study, and I am happy to report that I passed all my certification exams! I also got to meet my new manager, and I found out a bit more about my new job (location, team members, etc.). I am very excited to start working with students, and to finally get to setup my desk. I may need to do some shopping before Monday, just to pick up some fun things for my cubby. I can add a plant, and decorate the inside of my space the way I like it. I am blessed, so very blessed. God is so very good to me.

On other fronts (can there be more than one front -- I guess so -- I remember my WWII history!!), I am waiting to find out what the Lord has in mind for my home. As of today, I know the following:
  • I am gainfully employed, having received my very first real FT paycheck (it's been 20 years) today
  • I have the schedule of His choosing, M-F from 6-3
  • I am in the region and product of His choosing as well -- Northeast and Healthcare/Nursing
  • I am ready to embark on my new career, and I am excited to be on my way finally to new places, new opportunities, and new ways of learning
  • I am content to wait for the Lord to bring me everything I need to move forward
  • I know that His will is done, and that my life is following His plan as He has perfected it
  • I am so good, and I love that He is Good -- together everything is GOOD!
There are still some pretty big unknowns right now, but generally, they are items that I cannot control anyway. I am content to let things be, to let God do what God wants to do, and to rest in His provision and care. I know EVERYTHING WILL WORK OUT FOR MY GOOD, AND HIS WILL, AND HIS GOOD PLEASURE. I am happy, I am blessed, and I am so very, very, very content.

Dear Lord,

I am resting in your care, and trusting in your Name. I know you will lead me through the coming weeks, and you will change my life to suit your plans and your will. I am content for this to be, so I let it go right now. I let go of everything, and I lay back in your arms of strength, and I rejoice in the knowledge that You are God alone. May your Name be praised forever more! Amen, so be it, thy will be done! God is so very Good to me! Praise be to God.

August 6, 2011

Praying for Rain

I finished Week Two of my training at the University of Phoenix. I passed my examination (97% whoohoo!), and I am now set to begin my Week Three training in Products (Programs). These past two weeks have been incredibly difficult on me. Firstly, there is just so much new information to learn, and secondly, I am in the process of wrapping up my summer school through Mercy College. My brain is over-stuffed with compliance, policy, ADA, FERPA, and all those wonderful acronyms used in college and universities! The good news is that I am more confident that I can do my job well. I don't know everything, but I am far more comfortable with the procedures and the overall flow -- process through the computer systems and such.

Last night, as I was driving home, I was so glad to be done with my training for the week. I knew that I had to get home quickly, eat dinner, and then work on finishing up my major paper for my Medieval Literature course. My paper was due yesterday evening. I have not submitted it -- I am in the process of doing that today. My Professor is pretty good about accepting a late paper, so my hope is that he will be kind to me this time around. I have had so much on my plate this summer -- finishing my work at Macy's, starting a new job at University of Phoenix, school, life, etc. I am so close to finishing and then enjoying my three weeks off from school -- the very last thing I need now is another wrench in the gears!

Well, that wrench has been thrown into the gears of my life. I arrived home last night, bushed and beaten -- oh so weary -- and I discovered an email from our note holder (on our home). We have already received our loan documents, and we already knew we had until the 31st to come up with some plan of action (refinance, sell or pay off personally). Our note holder wants us out, and we were discussing options. The email, however, was a threat -- which is how our note holder (a private couple) like to do business. I read the email and at first was immediately inflamed over it. I mean, it is business as usual, so really I shouldn't be upset. I was angry, partly because I was tired from work, and partly because I had so much home work to finish. The email asked if we had "vacated the premises" yet. Ok, so really -- we have until the 31st to submit our papers back to them, and they want us out now! It is their way of getting what they want, and I am fed up with it.

My DH was very upset as well, but he is probably more upset at me for refusing to refinance this house. The problem which he cannot see is that I cannot qualify for refinancing now. He says he has someone with whom I could work to get a loan -- I know this will not happen. My credit score is fair, and I have no proof of income yet. My first paycheck will not be until the 12th and the second, until the 24th. I have little extra cash, and he has none. Refinancing is not the option, at the least, considering the amount of work needed on this home. No one -- no lender, government or other, will refinance us.

I spent the evening working on my paper, and I tried very hard not to think about that email. I personally do not like the people who hold our note. I have never liked them, and I have never trusted them. I feel they are the kind of people who only think about themselves, and who will resort to threats to get what they want. I have lived in fear of these people -- calling my home, showing up at my door -- for 12 years. I have had enough, and I want out.

So, I get up this morning, content to work on my paper and get it submitted early. I get a phone call from my Mom (always), and I have to rehash the whole email with her. My father is furious because he is worried we are getting shafted (well, we are, but there you go). He wants a lawyer to review the papers before we do anything at all. I did have the loan papers reviewed -- and they were straightforward. The note holder wants to transfer the deed back to them, so in effect, they want us to walk away from the home without foreclosing. I see this as a positive thing, but my DH sees it negatively. I guess it is a glass half-empty scenario. It all depends on how you look at things.

I sit here today thinking to myself -- what in the world is happening to me? I mean, I finally have a really good job. I finally have the beginnings of a new life. My DH is stuck, for certain, because he is not making enough money to live on his own, pay his car payment or do anything else. He is wholly dependent on me. I am the only one with credit, and I am the one with a good paying job. I guess this means that I can call the shots. However, I am not really calling the shots at all. I am trusting the Lord, believing in faith that He will provide another home for us to live in. I know God is sufficient, and He can meet all my needs.

Last evening, after I calmed down some, the Lord showed me a very nice home for rent. It is close to PVCC (church) and PVCC (college), and my parents. It is also close to the 51 (highway) so my commute to work is only 5-minutes longer. The rent is high, but the deposit is less than in some other homes. They will also accept cats, and I have two, so that is a very big deal. The house is large enough to accomodate us all, and it is in very nice condition (as if that really matters right now -- well, it does -- but in the light of eternity, a house is just a house). I am ready to go, so ready to leave my old life, and I am tired, so very tired of all the hassles, the upsets, and the tension. I crave peace, and I need peace now.

My DH is not happy with me, as I said before. I cannot continue to do things his way, and he knows it. I am walking my own way, and I am going in my own direction. That direction is away from him, and is soley focused on the Lord. I trust God, and right now, He is my LIFELINE. There is no one else who will help me, no one else who has my "back," and no one else standing in the gap for me. I am alone, yet I am fully ensconced in His presence, and I am safe. I know this, and I am assured that He will never leave me nor will He forsake me. I am safe, and while the waters are testy and turbulent now, I see calm seas ahead of me. I have to ride this storm out and then everything will be good. I can see it over there, on the horizon, and I know everything will be OK.

Dear Lord,

I am praying for rain just like Elijah did in the OT. Elijah prayed that it wouldn't rain and it didn't. He prayed for rain, and the heavens opened, and it rained and rained and rained. My life is ready to be well-watered, and I need your precious rain to flood over my soul. Help me now, Lord. Help me navigate these dicey and choppy waters. Give me clear sailing so I can find calm seas. I know you are my Guide and my Help, so I pray now that you will lead me safely through this turmoil and into the blessing and peace of your very Presence. I ask this now in Jesus Name! Amen, so be it, thy will be done! Selah!!

August 4, 2011

Week 2 is Done

I made it through week two of my training program at the University of Phoenix. Tomorrow, I will take my assessment exam (hoping to pass with 80%), and then will begin Product Training next week. I am a bit undone about the whole process, as I have found it a struggle to learn using their Adult Learning Module. I am a non-traditional student, but I have only experience in traditional school environments. I find it very hard to learn collaboratively, and I prefer to learn independently and soley through my own processes. I simply do not learn well within a group environment. I realize that group learning is the model for the 21st century, but I believe that people learn differently, and as such, not everyone learns best this way. Oh well...not much I can do about it other than let this be and trust the Lord that this will not hinder me at all.

One thing that has become clear to me is that I prefer a certain type of learning environment, and this makes it pretty clear to me that I prefer traditional formats. Therefore, although I would get a great discount on education at UOPX, I believe that I would do better at Regent University. I know that Regent's PhD program is the one the Lord has had in mind for me since the beginning of this whole process, so I am now more committed to completing this program once I graduate from Mercy next Spring.

I am letting this all be now, and I am trusting the Lord to guide me through the last week of training and on into my new job. I know that this is the Lord's will, and that His will is perfect. I am leaning on Him and I am relying on Him for His Provision and Grace. God is so very Good to me!

July 30, 2011

Week One of Training

I finished up my first week of training as an Online Enrollment Advisor for the University of Phoenix. It was a very long week -- five (8) eight hour days of non-stop information downloads. There were frequent breaks and a lot of laughs, but still, it was hard to sit and concentrate for that long of a day. My brain hurts! LOL!

Overall, the week has been good. I have learned a lot about UOPX and I have come to see their innovation and unique delivery of course content in a good light. As an online graduate student at another college, I really see the value in their model and learning technology. My system at Mercy College is OLD and not user-friendly. I also am not impressed with the style of learning, though it is tough, it is not as stable from one course to the next. Each Professor can do what they want and structure the course as they see fit. At UOPX, the faculty follow more strict guidelines to course content and all must maintain a minimum standard for participation.

I have also learned that as of last September, there is no longer any incentive tied to enrollment. This means that EA's (my position) are no longer required to enroll students to receive compensation. The emphasis throughout the University has changed, top down, so that students now are priority, and their satisfaction on whether to attend is solely up to them. I like this change, and I know that it makes good sense. I wouldn't want to be pressured into attending a college, and I think the decision should be left up to me.

I found out that at many colleges, especially those with online programs, the advisors often are in a sales-position where they have to make quotas to receive salary and bonuses, etc. Apparently, this was fairly consistent industry wide. I am glad that UOPX, which is the nation's largest private University, decided to change the way it treats incoming students.

As I move through my training course, I know that I will be well-prepared for my job. I do think they provide excellent training, and that I will be ready to begin working with students. I am excited for this opportunity, and also for the priviledge to work for this University.

July 24, 2011

I'm Gonna Be Alright

Today is the first day of my new work life! I am no longer an employee of Macy's (PTL!) and while I don't mean to sound harsh over that fact (as if Macy's were the devil, kwim?), it is just that I am so very pleased to be moving on right now. Macy's was my transition phase, it was the in-between job to help me stay focused and relaxed until the Lord provided the job of His choosing. I didn't expect to be there a year, but so be it, it was what it was. I am now free to move on to the next job, and I am excited to get started down that path.

Tomorrow is my BIG DAY, and I am really anxious about the commute. I made it there for the interview in 20 minutes, and my heart/gut says that will be normal for me. Of course, that was at noon, and not during the morning rush. However, I am going there early tomorrow so I won't be late for my first day. On my regular schedule, I will work from 6-3 each day, so really the commute shouldn't be any issue for me.

As I sit here today, I am thanking God for His Marvelous Provision of this job. It is good practical work -- something I have been asking Him to provide to me for nearly two years. Yes, Macy's was good practical work too, but this is full-time, and it comes with salary and benefits, so I am really blessed. I am happy to know that very soon, within the month, I will have steady income that is enough to cover all my expenses. I will pay my mortgage on time, and I will pay the utility bills in full (and not in partial payments). I will have some money left over each month, and I can manage it well. I am so blessed, and God is so very GOOD to me.

Sometimes I worry though, and sometimes I wonder how it will all work together for my good. God's Word tells us that He is working through us to bring about His Good in our lives, and as such, we are to rest in His Work, to know that He is able to perform whatever is necessary for His Good. I believe this, I know this is true, and I have experienced testimony that reminds me that God was faithful yesterday, today, and He will be faithful tomorrow. I believe in God, and I know His Word to me is true.

So as I move forward today, and into tomorrow, I am thanking Him for His Goodness to me. I am praising His Name because it is Good to do so. I know that my life is in order, and that the plans God has for me are coming to pass. I am good because God is Good, and He is Good to me.

July 23, 2011

God's Will is Done

Macy's is done. I finished my last shift today, and I left with my head held high, and my heart in tact. I had a good day, albeit a very long day, but it was good. I made my goal for the last time, and I opened one credit application. I ended my year long employment on a very high note.

As I was leaving, I received all sorts of well wishes from my co-workers. Even the store manager said good bye, which was very nice of her to do so. I was pleased with the way things ended, with my day, and with everything I accomplished there.

At Macy's, I learned about retail customer service. It is a different kind of customer service, the sort of grist mill type, whereby the customer is served as quickly and effeciently as possible. It is not the kind of service I am used to giving -- the long term relationship kind. It is more of a "here you go, thanks for coming, and I hope you have a great day" kind. The customer pretty much runs the show when it comes to retail. The customer can be happy or sad, helpful or not, or agreeable/disagreeable. The sales associate gets whatever flavor of customer there is on a given day, and may or may not have any chance of improving their attitude or temperament. The customer calls the shots, and can demand what they want from the store. The associate has little authority, and relies on managers to intervene. Generally, most customers are congenial, and most associates helpful and friendly. The support is mutual, and it is short-lived. I may not see the same customers I saw today ever again. I get one shot to please them, and one hope of getting that sale. It is a hard kind of work, hard to make goals, hard to do the tasks, and hard to find any sense of real accomplishment. It is tough, really tough, and I am glad I got to experience it in between my own business and my next job at the University of Phoenix.

My view is sharply in focus, and I am keenly aware of what it means to give good service. I have had to do the hard work, the dirty work, and the "no thanks" work for almost one year. I am ready to step it up a notch, and get back into delivering the kind of service I think really merits the name, CUSTOMER SERVICE. My hope is that my new job will enable me to polish my skills, and develop the type of outlook that helps me to give this kind of support to the students I am assigned to advise. I hope it works out as I think, but I am open to examining new ways, and experience new avenues of support and service.

It was a weird feeling today, to work in the Petites department for the very last time. I have worked 95% of my shifts in this department. I enjoy my co-workers here, and I know the department and the regular customers well. I am blessed, and it was eery for me to look out and realize that I will never work here again. My supervisor, manager, and the store manager, invited me to come back at Christmas and work the holidays. It was kind of them, but I cannot think that I will do it. I will shop there, of course, but I don't think I want to work retail ever again (Lord willing).

I am so ready to move on, to move on with my life, and to begin this process of becoming what God has in mind for me. I am almost done with my graduate study at Mercy, and I am starting the process of applying to Regent University. I will be working for another University beginning on Monday, so it looks like my career path is clearly fixed in academia. I am pleased with this path, and I know it will provide a good work/career for me. I like being able to say that I work for the University of Phoenix. I like that I can say soon that I am a post-graduate student at Regent University. I am so pleased with this progress, and I want so much to get on with these things, to begin them, and to experience them fully.

My day has come to a close and I am tired. This is the last day that I will be tired -- tired in the sense of weary tired from a long day at Macy's. Sure, I will be tired again, but it will never be like this way. It will never be with swollen feet, and aching back. It will be a different kind of tired, a different kind of weary. God is Good to me, and I know that the plans He has for my life are Good too. I am resting in His plans, and in the security of His provision. I can say that I am content. I am at peace, and I am so very, very happy today.

July 22, 2011

Hard Light of Reality

The other day, I received some words of wisdom from my son. DJ will turn 18 in September, and he is one of those really quiet guys who never say much -- until -- until something happens or its the right moment in time, kwim? He is alot like me, introverted and shy. He also tends to prefer quiet activities like spending time reading or doing things on the computer. He does socialize a lot, but his friends are few. He gets overwhelmed by too much stimulus, so he goes out, and then comes back in ready for peace and quiet. He is my boy, and he is my gift from the Lord.

I am struggling this year to let him go. I have prayed over this point, asked for Grace from God, and I have trusted the Lord over and over for his well-being and welfare. But lately, whenever I see a little boy (like at Macy's the other day -- a sweet 6 year old -- my eyes fill up with tears and I barely can hold them back). I was at my music teacher's home on Wednesday, and two of her students, twin boys where there for their lessons. They are 14 or so, and they remind me so much of my son. They play the piano lovely, and they are so gifted and talented. The one boy wrote a piece of music for chamber, and he played it for me. My eyes welled up with tears again -- just thinking about my boy -- about how he used to play music like that, and write complicated pieces for chamber group. He still plays -- and now he is potentially a professional musician, with a chance to be signed by a recording label. Yes, my little boy is all grown up, and I look at him, and my heart longs for the sweet little one I carried, I loved and cuddled, and I taught at home for all those years.

I am so proud of him, and he has turned into a fine young man -- just what I prayed he would become -- and just what I covenanted with God to produce (I gave this boy over to the Lord when he was a baby, and I promised that he would be devoted to the Lord from that point onward). God keeps His promises, and He expects us to keep our vows to Him. My son is a wonderful young man, not perfect, but he is moving with God's Grace and turning into a man of God's own choosing.

So the other day, we were coming home from church, and my boy says something simple, yet profound. I have been honest with him regarding the situation between me and his Dad. He knows what is going on, and while I have tried very hard to NOT make him my confidant, I have wanted to be serious and honest so that he would known and understand the truth. I have also tried very hard not to put his Dad down or tell sordid stories about him. I have been as fair to his Dad as I can, and I have tried to be as kind and compassionate as possible, all the while struggling to keep all three of us under one roof.

My son is a reader, and he is quiet. So when he told me he had begun to read the "Boundaries" book again (Cloud and Townsend), I was surprized by it. He had read it last year, and we discussed it together. I wanted him to read this book to get a better understanding of proper relationships, considering that he is a college student now, and that at some point in the near future, he may choose to enter into a relationship with a young lady. I wanted him to know what is good and bad -- how to watch for unhealthly signs, etc. He read it then, said he learned a lot, but that was it. Since that time, he has completed Pschology 101 at the Community College, and he totally enjoyed that course (getting a very high A to boot). He is very keen on personality, behavior, and the psychological reasons for why people do and behave certain ways.

It should have been no surprize then that he had taken up "Boundaries" again. However, I just wasn't prepared for the way in which he delivered his advice to me. It was too mature, too thoughtful, and too grownup for my weary, and oh so very tired old brain to handle. I wanted to cry again -- just thinking that the person who is giving me such good advice is my little baby boy, my cherished child!

As we drove home from church, he quipped rather abruptly, "Mom, do you want to know what I think about this situation?" He was short with me, and I am sure it is because he is tired of the whole scenario, and he is tired of seeing the two of us, me and his Dad, go round and round all the time. He began with this statement: "Mom, Dad is a boundaryless person, and as such he has no respect for other people's boundaries. He has never had to suffer any consequences, and he is still getting away with behavior that has no consequence to it." I confessed to him that he was indeed correct, his Dad has never had to suffer any consequences because of two people in his life: his mother and me. His mother always rescued him, and throughout the course of our 27 years of marriage, at least 23 of those were helped along through financial contributions by his parents. Moreover, in the last 10-12 years, I have been the bread winner, I have supported him under the guise and thinking that he was self-employed and "working." Now in truth, he was working and he did bring in some money -- how much, I never knew because he never allowed me access to the bank accounts. He took my  money that came in, and paid the bills with it. I was never given any money to live on, other than a handout every week or other week to buy groceries. He spent his money and my money as he liked, and then when the bills came due and we couldn't pay them, he went to his mother for a loan. He promised to pay her back, but he never did. He promised me the same, and he never returned anything. He has promised his son -- and he has never kept that promise either.

My son continued and said to me, "Mom, I know this sounds mean, but it really isn't mean at all. This is for Dad's good. He cannot be allowed to continue to live without consequences. He has to take responsibility for his life. If he cannot pay for his car, then he will lose his car. If his bank account is overdrawn, then he will have to earn more money to fix that problem himself. If he cannot pay for a home, then he will be homeless." Yes, Dear Son -- you are wise beyond your years.

I sat there and all I could say is "Yes, you are right." I got out of the car and walked into the house, thinking all the way, "oh, how I have enabled David (my DH) all these years." I have made excuses for him, and I have stood by him. I am still making excuses, though I am less inclined to do that now. I pray, "Lord, I don't want to be the one to walk away, to tell him I am leaving." I don't want to see him homeless, living in his car, etc. Yes, I don't want to be mean, but as my son rightly stated, "It is for Dad's good."

My husband is 53, and he has lived his life off the good graces of other people. His business earns zero income, but he says it has potential to earn plenty. He has no money for gas, for food or to pay expenses, but there is hope that "next week" he will have money. The problem with this kind of behavior is that it is so far removed from reality, so far removed from the hard line and light of every day living. You cannot eat promises, and you cannot put "next weeks potential earnings" into your gas tank. To live this way, you must rely on someone else for your welfare. Some one else must foot the bill, pay the expenses, so that you can have the luxury of waiting. My husband has been waiting for 24 years for his business to be successful. At best he made a meager living, not consistently, and without my help, my parent's help, and his parent's help -- he cannot make it each week or month.

This was not always the case. When I married him, he had a good job working in Sales for a major magazine. He made $40-48K per year. He then left that job to work for the SJ Business Journal, and in time was promoted to the Sales Director. He made close to $60k back then. That was in the early 1980's, but the potential for earning was well in hand. I worked for a pittance back then -- but I still worked. I calculated once that in 1985, we earned about $60k per year. By 1988, we were making closer to $100k.

The problem was that even back then, I never saw any of my own money. To make matters worse, we never had any money saved, and we had collectors calling us for unpaid debts. I didn't have any debt when we married, and my husband only had a school loan. Yet, within three years of our marriage, we were in debt, with collectors calling my workplace to demand payment. I was shocked and horrified that this was taking place, and I cried every night, and I begged my husband to take care of it. He did nothing, so for years, I lived in fear of being arrested for unpaid debts.

I think I understand it now, and I think I finally get what happened. Sometime in 1988, my husband was fired from his job. I don't know the reasons for it, I was just told there was a changeover in management, and everyone was being let go. It may have been true because there were a number of people who were let go at the same time as my husband. After this blow, he struggled to find work. He eventually started to sell promotional products, and then he started his own business. I continued to work long hours, and we lived on my salary. At this time, my husband began to hide regularly, and by that I mean, he started to take a very conservative approach to politics, saying that the government had no right to our money or to assess taxes. He stopped paying taxes then, and I think subconciously began to strategize how he could live on the least amount of money so that he could remain under the government's radar.

The debt collectors never went away, but he seemed to never have any money. The money came in -- I know it did -- but when I asked him, he would say, "I paid some bills with it." Our bills, so to speak, were paid sporadically, sometimes in full, sometimes in partial, and sometimes not at all. Our phone, our gas, our electricity -- all -- were shut off time and time again. I worked so hard back then, and I never understood how we got into so much debt. When I would ask, he would say we weren't in debt at all. We had no debt. I never understood that, and when I said "what about so and so," he would just wave to me and say it was a mistake or something like that.

Back to my son, and his words of wisdom. Yes, I admit that my innocence and the fact that I had little financial experience led me to take on the role of "Mother" to my husband. I thought it was what a good Christian wife should do. I was his help-meet, and by that, it meant that I was to support his vision and dream for financial success. My husband latched onto every single "get rich scheme" that was advertised on TV. Nothing ever worked -- it was just money wasted. He could have been seeking sales work, and righting the damaged horse, so to speak, but instead he wanted to be a millionaire. I complained, I cried, and eventually, I gave in and took the submissive role of wife, of mother, and of financial supporter.

In my years of marriage, I literally supported us on whatever I could earn. I raised my child, home educated him on a shoe string, and I supported a husband who still controlled every penny I earned. He never made good decisions with our money. And even today, I see that whatever he does earn, he spends on food -- lunches out or breakfast with a "supposed client." He spends $40-60 a week on client meals, and none of these clients pay him anything at all. He has NO CLIENTS.

He told me today that we would be back at 10 for a "webinar." This is his way of seeking work. He will watch some seminar on the computer, take notes on how to make it big or how to be a better sales person, etc. Yet, he will not go out to work. He told his son that a JOB really meant "JUST OVER BROKE." What is that all about? My JOB will pay me enough income to keep my head afloat, plus provide a very nice home for us to live in. Additionally, it will cover health insurance, and it will allow me to save money for emergencies. I will not be JUST OVER BROKE. My husband is BROKEN. His mentality and his belief system is broken. He is not seeking God's will for his life nor is he following after any wisdom associated with the Lord. He is still following the world's system, and world beliefs that are telling him it is better to try and fail, than to do any kind of work where he could succeed.

Is my husband a boundaryless person? Absolutely. Am I an enabler -- Yes, I am. I am still in the role of mother, and I am still providing for his care. I buy his medicine, I buy him food. I go to Walmart to buy what he needs. He contributes sporadically, telling me that he "hopes to have some money next week." The money doesn't come, of course, and I foot the bill. I have footed the bill for too long, and now I am at the point where I don't want to do it anymore. I want to be free, to be free from all the fantasy, the lies, and the make-believe "what ifs" that surround my husband. And while he needs to see the hard light of reality, the truth is that I need to see it too. I need to accept the truth of this life, and that truth is that for the past 24 years, I have served only to continue to shelter and absolve my husband of every mistake, every error, and every bad action. I have suffered, I have taken his punishment, and I have lived as a victim of another person's bad choices. I chose it, I remained in it, and I am still doing it to some extent. I see it now, and I understand that I will have to do the dirty, the hard, the mean, and the devastatingly simple thing -- I will have to say NO to my husband, mean it, and then walk away.

Dear Lord,

You have given DJ great wisdom and the kind of attitude that is so common in children. He is upset at me for being kind to his Dad, for showing him Grace. I understand this now, and I know that I have enabled David to continue to live this way, and therefore, the problems, the failure is really mine. Yes, he has made bad choices, but had I not stepped in to save him, my life would have been better in the long run. He perhaps would have changed as a result of those negative consequences. I stopped the pain, and I am still stopping the pain. I can no longer be the one to save him, to take on his burdens, and to pay for all his errors. I have learned how to listen to you, and I have committed my way to following after you. I cannot carry him any longer. He is a grown man, able to do good work -- so let him work, let him find his own life, and let him take responsibility for himself. I walk on, I walk alone, and I follow after you. I cannot go where you are sending me and carry a grown up baby with me. It is time to remove him from the breast, so to speak, and let him seek solid food. My prayer is that he will turn, return to you, and seek you once again. I pray that he will get help, and that he will learn how to live on his own terms, no longer using people, and relying on them for his care and welfare. Thank you, Jesus, for this lesson in reality. I ask now for the Grace to walk away, and for the strength (in Jesus) to do the good, the right, and the best thing. May your Name be praised now and forever more. Amen, so be it, thy will be done. Selah!

July 21, 2011

Living in Peace

This morning I woke up with such an aching back. I know the cause, and I know what I did to irritate it, but still, the pain was pretty awful. It is getting better the more I move around, and I know that once I get into the shower, it will feel much better (that and some Advil will help most). My aches and pains are always with me, and they are the "normal" in my life. I guess it is part and parcel with getting older, and I am used to them. I wish they were not here, and I wish I felt better all the time, but I know that my weak body, and some of the issues with it, are here for the duration of my life. Still, the thought of great health at my age is pleasant. I would like to know I could hike a mountain or take a very long swim. I wish I could ski or boat or do any number of things I used to do when I was younger. Now, I am settled, and my bones and muscles disagree on what they are willing to do each day. Just getting up, and just living is enough for me. Praise be to God who sustains me -- He is always so Good to me!

After my coffee and checking of email, I went out into the kitchen/dining area and found a load of laundry setting on a chair. It had been removed from the dryer, and was in need of folding. The one who had removed it, left it there, apparently intending on returning to it at a later time (for the folding part). I normally do the laundry, and I almost always do the folding. I don't mind, really. I have been doing laundry and folding since I was a little girl. My mother put me to doing the laundry when I was about 8 years of age. I sometimes got to do the entire process, but mostly, I was ask to fold the clothes for her. I actually enjoy folding clothing. It is like washing dishes -- a time of quiet solitude when your mind can relax and just be. I like that peace that comes to you when you are doing repetive tasks. I thank God that He has given me good work to do, and that in that work, I can enjoy the quiet and peace of contemplation. He is Good!

As I folded the laundry, the person who was going to do the folding came by and told me that "they were going to do it." I didn't mind doing it, but in my head, this little voice said, "Yeah right -- going to and doing it are two different things!" Argh! Here I was thinking about God, folding laundry and minding my own business when this prick of pride rose up within me. It didn't matter who folded the clothes, just so long as they were folded. Yet, inside of me, I felt put upon, taken advantage of, and that my goodness and charity were being used by someone else (as in "If I leave this here, Carol will fold the clothes -- she always folds the clothes!")

Then just as quickly as the words came to my head, I thought to myself, "Oh, Lord, I don't want to think that at all. I don't need to be right anymore." The more I thought about those words, the more I realized that being right was synonomous with being RIGHTEOUS. When you need to be right, you are living under the sin of pride. Pride says, "I am best, I know best, my way is right." I started to think about those words, and the more I did, the more I realized that I don't need to be right anymore. I have no righteousness of my own, and my only claim is that I live through the RIGHTEOUSNESS OF CHRIST. I live because Christ lives in me. His work, His blood, His atonement is what makes me RIGHT in God's eyes. It is not about me, it is all about Him.

These past months have been a humbling experience for me. I have learned how to serve, and how to work in places and jobs that were pretty thankless. The work was hard, and the suffering great, but the job was necessary, and I did it. Now I recognize what a blessing it is to be able to work for oneself (whether at home or for someone else). The ability to work, the ability to do things, anything is a God-given blessing. I am able to work, and I enjoy working. I like making money, most certainly, but I also enjoy the process of working. God designed us to move, and to work, and when we do both, we are using our bodies in the most natural way. However, some people choose not to work, and believe that they are entitled to receive help and care from other people. God's Word tells us that the person who doesn't work, shouldn't eat. It is clear that we are to work as long as we are able, and in doing so, God will use our work to honor Him, and to bring us provision.

The need to be right in everything, whether it is in relationship, work or even in spiritual thinking suggests that our way is more important than His way. God's way always trumps ours, and if we submit to it, then we will receive blessing upon blessing. I have come to learn that His way is Good, and for the most part, it is easy. Though the plow requires much effort, the result is a well-furrowed field. God doesn't promise us easy work, just that the burden of that work will be easy on us. This is what Christ meant when He said that His Yoke was easy and His burden light. The work, the physical nature of the work may be difficult, and even at times, overwhelming to us -- but the yoke of bondage (as in being a bondservant of Jesus Christ) will enable us to do the job, to complete the task. The burden placed on us is light -- it is not heavy or so hard to carry that we cannot do what God asks us to do.

I have found this to be true. The burden I carry now is very light. Even though I am faced with the responsibility of living and caring for myself and my almost grown son, I find the burden easier to bear -- than when I was married, and trusting in my husband to provide for us. It was not that looking to a husband was wrong or a bad thing; no, not at all. Rather it was that when I was looking to a person for provision, I often struggled and stressed over the provision itself. Plus, there was no blessing coming to us and the work was grueling and provided little support for our family. Now that I am under the blessing of God, the provision comes easily, and the stress and strain are gone. I am no longer worried about the money or the bills. I admit that I still am concerned and that at times I have to remind myself that God is my provider -- but generally, I am able to let things go, to rest and relax, and to trust God to do what He does best.

This peace that comes to us is a gift of Jesus Christ. I have peace within myself, with my God, and with the world (as much as it is possible). I still struggle, and I still suffer pain due to work (the physical aspects of it), but I am no longer straining to go my way, pulling against the yoke to have it all. Instead, I walk alongside the Master, and the yoke fits me well. The burden I pull is being shared, and it is light.

Therefore, with the laundry neatly folded, I made the decision to let go of my pride, and to stop (READ STOP) the need to be right all the time. I have decided that the only person who is right is God, and that He has a right to be RIGHT, if you know what I mean. Who can stand up against God? I mean, really? Are you better than God, do you know more than God, is your way superior to His way? Nope, not at all. I realized that even wanting to be right with people is pridefulness. You see, God is RIGHT all the time. He has made me RIGHT (in Christ's redemptive work), and as a result everything in my life is now RIGHT as He determines. So what do I need to be right about any more? Is there some person I must prove wrong? Must I demonstrate my smartness, my craftiness, my cunning to be approved? Certainly not! There is no one in the world who will approve me as much as My Father who has already APPROVED me. If God has said, "You are good," then are we not GOOD indeed? Truthfully, what more can be said of us, if the very Lord Himself has said, "You are Good." You see, it is our pride that thinks we need the approval of men, when in reality the only approval we need is God's approval. I am approved today, not on my own merit, but on the merit of Jesus Christ. Therefore, it is done -- there is nothing more to be added to Christ's death, burial and ressurection. It is complete -- it is finished. I am APPROVED.

Now that I understand the depth of this sentence, I see clearly how pride attempts to pull me away from the approval of God. Pride still lingers in my flesh, and as such, it doesn't like being told NO. It wants YES all the time, and it wars with my Spirit and the FACT THAT I HAVE EVERYTHING I NEED IN CHRIST JESUS. It wants to assert itself again, to attempt to take back that yoke, but God says, "No, you cannot have it back." I don't want to go back under that yoke of bondage to pride. I want to rest in the security and blessing of His Peace.

As I close this blog post, I thank the Lord for His Mercy in showing me the death of my pride. I know that as long as my flesh lives, there will be a remnant of pride within me. However, that remnant has been made void and inert -- it cannot function unless I empower it to do so. If I live fully surrendered to Christ, that leftover pridefulness will lay idle within me until the day when I stand before the Lord and I am transformed by His Glory. My role now is to remain fully surrendered, and to let all those fleshly desires lay dormant until the day of Christ. I can do this, not of my own will, but of the Holy Spirit's power and the effectiveness of the Blood.

Thank you Jesus for your Marvelous Blood, and for the cleansing power it affords. Have your way today, and allow me the blessing of living in your Peace from this day forward. Amen, so be it, thy will be done. Selah!

July 20, 2011

Tomorrow and then the Day After

It is going to be another hot and sticky day in Phoenix. Yesterday, it felt like an oven outside. We got no rain, and not even any dust. The day before, we had a good dust storm, but no rain. This is typical monsoon season for us. It is feast or famine when it comes to the rain. Some places will get rain, some just get dust. Ugh!

I woke up today, and realized that I was out of coffee. I thought it would be Ok, but after I got up and moving, I KNEW, just KNEW I needed coffee. So I threw on some clothes and drove over to Fry's. I ended up getting gas (at their pumps), putting air in my back tired (reminder -- take the car to the shop BEFORE you drive to Tempe next week!), and donuts. They usually have really good creme filled ones, but I must have picked one that was missing the creme! Bummer -- I mean, if you are going to eat a creme-filled donut, it better have CREME in it! Oh well, the chocolate on top was very messy and gooey, and the coffee was nice and strong. It all worked out in the end, and now I am totally satisfied for the morning.

I had some strange dreams last night, really weird ones (with bugs), and I ended as the fair damsel in a eerily similar Robert Louis Stevenson novel (LOL! - thinking "Robinson Crusoe"). I woke up thinking, "what in the world is going on here?" I mean, I am almost 49 years of age, and here I am dreaming about being a 20-something girl cast away at sea, and landing/living on a deserted island. That is just too weird for me (though I do love the beach, and I do have a "thing" for the whole island/castaway dreamscape). It was fun, and it was odd -- so there you go! I came back to the real world and found myself without coffee, and then made the decision to go and get some (read above).

Now, I am sitting at my computer, blogging, and planning my day. I have school work to do, reading to start/finish, and some writing to do. I also work at Macy's this evening (#2 of #3 times left). I am not looking forward to going there, but I have to say that everyone has been overly nice to me. My managers have been very kind and genuinely friendly to me. Perhaps it is because they see me as more than an Associate now. Perhaps I am a loyal Macy's customer or just perhaps I am a real person to them. I would hope it is all of the above because I have worked my little tail off at that place. I am tired, and I don't want to pick up bathing suits anymore (last night, one young girl left two-three dozen suits laying inside-out on the floor). I am tired of picking up messes, and dusting, and cleaning, and doing everything to keep the department clean. I am ready for my new job to begin, and for more mental challenge. My prayer is that I am able to learn the system, the policies, and the procedures, and get working right away. I know I can do this, and I know this job is of His hand. I am well-set now. I am so well-set.

Lastly, as I ponder today, I am so thankful for yesterday. I really wasn't too thrilled about yesterday at all, and I had a bad attitude all day. My son was part of the issue, and I was bent on seeing to it that he made his way straight. I actually ended up confessing my sin to the Lord, and asking for forgiveness because I was trying to control something no longer under my control. It worked out OK, and everything came off as it should have (sans the attitude). God is Good that way, and I am thankful for His steady hand. My son and I were able to accomplish several things -- getting his school money in order (PTL!), switching his banking from teen to College (which means he is a 'real' consumer now), getting his laundry done (he did it!), and vacuuming the hair off his floor (his hair, too long -- and he vacuumed). I was pleased, and God was Good to help me keep my cool through it all. God -- always COOL; me, sometimes -- but mostly NOT! Oh, I am so glad God loves me as I am!! PTL!!

So there is my life in a nutshell. I hope to get my school work caught up, and then pass cello (no practice this week -- too many things, still with a strained thumb), and then off to Macy's for the second to last time *ever*, Lord willing. God is receiving the praise today for He is worthy, and He is so GOOD!

July 18, 2011

I Am Almost Home

I survived Macy's One Day Sale, and the day after (Sunday)! I am so sore and tired, but I made it. I am now on the count down to my last day (this Saturday). I am praising God for His Marvelous Wisdom and His Goodness towards me. God is Good all the time -- All the time, God is Good!

As I rest today, I am thinking about how far I have come over the past months. I am now a full-time working woman! PTL! I am also financially solvent, though my accounts are pretty low, I am in the black, and I have money in savings (another shout out to the Lord for His Financial help!!) My car is paid for, and my schooling is set through the end of Spring 2012 (thanks to Financial Aid -- I am assured that I will graduate!) My son's schooling is also set, and with a academic scholarship, this means he can get his AA for free! God is SO GOOD!

While my body is sore, and I still worry and fret over the small details, generally speaking, I am trusting the Lord more and more each new day. I know He is God, and as God, He is able to do whatever needs doing in my life. He is able to make this come to pass, and bring me through to the end per His will and desires. I am blessed, so very blessed.

One of the things I haven't quite figured out is how He will do it. I know with my new job, finances are in order, and I will have enough to pay my bills and live modestly each month. I also have my credit in check, and I am slowly building my credit back to where it needs to be. I still don't know how I will leave this home (sell it) or when I will apply for the next one. I am hoping that I can move by next month. It all depends on my being able to do it, and I have to trust the Lord for His Provision of the money to move out of this home. I know this is His will, so I am letting it be, letting go of the worry. If it is what He wants, so be it.

May God be Praised today and forever more! Amen, so be it, thy will be done! Selah!