June 30, 2011

Strange and Wonderful

I am sitting here trying to blog and waiting on my Internet connection to go through properly. I cannot connect, I get disconnected, and I get constant page not loading errors. I know that my router and modem are old, but this seems just too strange for me. I cannot even begin to contemplate how I will work from home with this slow of an Internet connection.

I have ordered the phone line via Qwest, but I still have no assurance that I will even get hired by Kelly IT Services. The longer it takes, the more I am questioning the entire process. Supposedly they are doing a background check on me, but it has been more than a week, and frankly, there is not much to check (no criminal activity, good credit, work reference, etc.) I find the whole situation disconcerting.

I am trying to be hopeful, to be encouraged, but I am feeling strange about the whole matter. I was enamored with the idea of working for Apple. Even though the money was a little more than Macy's, I liked the work or the kind of work. Now, I am second-guessing myself and thinking that no matter how you slice and dice it, I am going to be without enough money to live on.

I have the mortgage due on Tuesday (actually Sunday, but with the holiday -- it is Tuesday). I don't have the money, and my DH doesn't have it. This time we are flat out of luck on that front. We will be late again, and we will have to pay another $100 fee for it. There is nothing I can do about it right now, there just isn't enough money to go round to make the bills. I am working as hard as I can for Macy's, yet it is not enough. I need a full-time salaried position, and while I am trying to be hopeful on any kind of work, the truth is that I need a good job NOW.

Our note-holder has suggested that they will not continue to hold the loan through the end of August. This means that I will need to find another place soon. I don't have a first/last to lease a place, and I don't have enough income to pay rent of $1k per month (the going rate in our area for a 2bd/2ba apartment). My DH has no plans at all, and he is living here and has no real place to go.

I am ready to go to Texas, should the Lord open that door. I am ready to work here as well. I just need confirmation on a real FT job today. So far, I have not gotten any information at all, neither Kelly nor Robert Half has called me to interview or offer me a job.

Oh Lord, please provide a job to me today!

Austin, Texas

I have the day off today, and so far, I have paid a bill (APS), and visited both Walmart and Target. I also had lunch with my parents (Honey Ham), and I am now at home resting a bit. I have been in conversation with the Lord since early am. I am struggling with the job situation (recent interviews, applications, and of course, waiting and more waiting). I am also trying to put together a plan for the near term in my life. So much of my plan is already set. My schooling, and the path I am on, is well-set. It won't change now, and I am steadily making good progress towards completing my advanced degrees. I am happy too, and I am back to enjoying my courses. My cello playing is taking a slight break, due to strain of my thumb, but I hope to be moving steadily on in that direction soon too. All in all, these things, the things I believe are the GOD-THINGS in my life are progressing well, and seem to be moving forward at a very relaxed, yet steady pace.

Then there are the MAN THINGS, the things of this world, the job and career and living space, etc., that are stuck in wait and see mode. I am not making forward progress, just one step up, and then a side step or a back step. It seems at times like I am walking in place, and that I am not really getting anywhere at all.

I am in this weird spot where I know what the Lord wants me to do with my life, but I cannot make any decisions regarding how to do it. I know that everything that is part of HIS WILL, all of these things are provided for, and they are coming to pass. It is all the rest, all the worldly things that are out of control, and out of sync with the GOD THINGS.

I want everything to be in sync, for everything to be coordinated and working together. After all, Paul says:

"And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them." Romans 8:28 NLT

This is so true. I see this happening in my daily life. God is causing everything that is HIS WILL for me to come together, to work together. The things that are outside His will seem to be dying off, or at the least, not growing. I need to get off the path I am on (world) and on the path (GOD) so that everything in my life will work together -- towards fulfilling the purpose God has for my life. The BIG QUESTION is how does one do this?

I am a Christ-follower, I am a servant of the Most High, and I am a friend of God's -- I am all these things, and yet, here I sit feeling as though my life is partly in order, partly ready, partly complete. Something is missing, something is off, out of whack and kilter. I don't know what it is, and I don't know how to get setup right again. I want to be 100% moving in the Lord's way, and I am willing and agreeable to doing it. Just how does one do that, outside of what I have already done? I am submitted, I am yielded, and I am ready.

Dear Lord,

You know my heart, and you know my head. You know that I am getting to the point of trusting you 100%. I want to trust you completely, and I want to follow you where ever you lead. I know your way, I love your way, and I want to be completely focused on your work now. I have been too focused on the world, too into how things look, how they could be, and I am ready to give all that up. I know you, and I know that where ever you take me, I will have a home, a car, and the things I like or want to make a home comfortable to strangers and friends. I will have all these things, and I don't need to worry about them anymore. Moreover, I know that my schooling is set and fixed, and I know now that DJ's schooling is also set and fixed. You will provide educational opportunities for him in any place we land -- where ever we go. I don't have to worry about this either. Lastly, I know that you will take care of my parents, and that I will help care for them -- regardless of where I live, either close or far away. You will do all these things because you are GOOD and it is your promise to me that your GOODNESS will always be a part of my life (because you are a part of my life). Therefore, Lord, I surrender all (just like in the song), and I let all these things go. I am choosing to follow you, to go where you go, and to allow you to do whatever you need to do to work all things in my favor. My goal is your goal, and my life is to be your friend from now until my last day here on this Earth. I trust you to do these things, and I let everything, every worry, every fear, and every unknown go. I ask and pray this in the Name of Jesus, Amen. So be it, thy will be done. Selah!

June 28, 2011

What is Going On, Lord?

Ok, now I am getting worried. I know I shouldn't be worried, because after all, God is in control (yes, I do believe it!) Yet, I still feel that things are out of control, at the least, my control. Of course -- they are, aren't they? Yes, they are -- I have relinquished my control, I have chosen to surrender my will, and I have place my trust in His capable hands.

My concern is simply this -- what if, when I want to try Technical Recruiting, the place that could give me that job, simply won't consider me because I lack experience. I am having to trust the Lord on this point, I am having to rest in His security. I know He has a plan in all this, and right now, He is moving in and through my life. I am relying on Him, learning to trust and know that He is God. I am reminded of Psalm 46:10 where it says,

"Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world." (NLT)

Yes, Lord, may I be still today, and trust and KNOW that you are God.

Update: Technical Recruiter - July 5, 2011

I submitted my resume for several positions, and only one agency bothered to email me back with a polite thank you note. I haven't heard from Robert Half Technology, which surprized me the most, because the Dvision Director sent the email saying he was looking to direct hire 3 recruiters. I applied on their website, and the email said they would contact me directly. Nope, not a word. So far, I have found that companies are irresponsible and unprofessional in their attitude towards potential candidates. I don't care that there are many of us looking for jobs -- the point is simply that a business should conduct itself professionally, and that means demonstrating courtesy to the applicants who apply for jobs. Most big companies get around this courtesy issue by sending a reply email with a note of thanks BEFORE the screening process. I don't mind this at all, because at the least, I know where I stand. If they are interested, they will call me. It is the other companies that SAY THEY WILL CALL, and then don't.

Kelly IT and Robert Half are exactly alike in that regard. I have interviewed with Kelly and even submitted I-9 paperwork to them. I have no confirmation on a job that is set to begin next Monday. Right now, I cannot see how it would even happen, yet I was told to expect a confirmation once my background check cleared. I know that these checks take no more than 2-3 days, and yet it has been almost two weeks. In Robert Half's case, I interviewed twice with recruiters (in person), and then was dropped off their lists. No calls, no jobs, not even contract positions. I have applied to a number of jobs that I am qualified for, and there has been no interest or movement.

All in all, I am thinking that these agencies scam you. They interview you, and the recruiter gets the points to show they are doing their job. But they don't hire you or place you in positions, they just take credit for getting you signed up.

I have had little success working with companies for direct hire positions too, so now I am at a complete loss to explain what is what. Today, July 5th, I will go to the University of Phoenix for another new interview. I will start the process again, and my feeling is that if I don't get hired to this entry level position, then I am surely not supposed to find good practical work at all -- at the least -- not here in Phoenix.

It's a Good Day

Oh my, talk about aching body -- did I have a major body ache this morning. Last night, I worked from 6-9 p.m. at Macy's, and normally, it would be a pretty easy shift. Monday evenings are not usually busy, and the girls who are there in the morning-evening, do a good job of recovering the department. But, Macy's has hired a number of new sales associates, and they are not reliable for keeping things running well. It is not their fault, just a fact -- new hires don't know how to do the work properly, and often are left on their own to handle things. They sink or swim, that is the Macy's way, and if they survive, they usually end up being a good hire. I worked twice as hard as I normally do, and in 3 hours, I had recovered the entire department. My legs were aching when I left the store, and they throbbed in pain all night long. Today, I feel like I have run a marathon race. I am not looking forward to working on Wednesday p.m., and wish I had a couple days off to recuperate. Oh well!

On the job front, I am waiting to hear back from Kelly IT Services. I scheduled a phone install through Qwest, but I haven't gotten a formal offer yet. This process is bothering me, but I remain hopeful that it will work out in the end. I am a little bit stressed today over this job, and with trying to figure out my money-situation. Plus, my weed eater will not come out of the box (from Walmart), and I got mad at it, and decided NOT to try and cut my weeds down today. I am behind on School, though I did send in my paper late today (it was due last night at 12 midnight). I won't get marked down or anything, but I hate to be late!

While I was feeling lousy (have a headache today), I got a phone call from a recruiter with Software Management Consultant's Inc. I had applied to a job for a part-time website designer person, and they finally called me to schedule an interview. I am not sure this is the right job for me, but it may end up working out OK too. I am going to an interview on Thursday, so we will see what is up with it then.

I also got an email from Robert Half Technology. RHI is the company I first signed up with back in March. I have not done any work for them yet, but I have used their training courses to learn some HR practices. I was thinking of looking for work as a Technical Recruiter, and took the HR Hiring course. The email said they were looking to hire a local Technical Recruiter, so I sent an email over to ask if I would qualify. I don't have any experience, but I do have 20 plus years in IT. Perhaps this will work for me -- it would be a direct hire positon for Robert Half, and I would get benefits (I am certain of that). Plus I think the salary would be good, and the bonus/commission doable.

Update - As I sit here on Tuesday

Right now, I have the following options open to me (in place):
  • AppleCare Tier 1 Advisor through Kelly IT Services (25 hours per week)
  • PT IT Support Person at Allied College (interviewed last week)
  • Interview with SCMI for a PT Web/Graphics person (Thursday)
  • Email asking for interview for Robert Half Technology as a Technical Recuiter
  • Plus about a dozen applications and resumes for various other positions (some closed)
More than likely, I will get offered the job with Kelly IT. This position would train me to do Tech Support for Apple, but the pay is so low and the requirements tedious that I really am not sure I want to do it. I actually do want to do it, I just cannot live on the pay. I had thought I could continue to work at Macy's, but I cannot live on both hourly wages -- so really I need a better FT job.

I am in limbo again while I wait for the Lord to do something on my behalf. I am trusting Him for a job. I have made some decisions already, and of those, the main one is to look for a townhome to rent (rather than a house). I need to move to a place where I have no maintenance issues. I want to decorate the inside of my home, and not have to do yard work. I also want a place that is nicely updated, so I have decided not to look to buy a home. Instead, I will just look to rent a really nice place until I am ready to be moved permanently to wherever the Lord chooses.

That is my story today -- now off to get some Advil for my headache! God is so Good to me.

June 27, 2011

It's Here

Oh, my aching back and feet! I spent the last two days working Macy's big Super Saturday/Sunday sale, and my entire body aches! I am so bushed this morning, and I have to gear up to work this evening as well. I am behind on school work, and my Dad has been in the hospital since yesterday. Hopefully, he will be sent home today, and then whatever action is required can be followed up by his primary care physician. My Mom is a bit undone -- she gets worried when Dad is not well. I think he will be OK, but at his age, and with some other health issues (which are a normal part of life) do pose a greater concern for her (and me).

My son comes home from camp today, and then leaves on Wednesday to go to California for a missions trip. He will be home one day in between, and then gone again. He will get back on Sunday (July 3), and then five days later, fly to Dallas for a concert date. His life is busy, and very full. I am praying for God's blessing on him as he pursues God's will and plan for his life.

I sit here this morming, drinking my coffee, and I am barely able to focus on the screen as I type this blog post. I am bleary-eyed, and my body doesn't want to cooperate. Even with my high-octane coffee, I feel terrible. I know that my day will get going, and I will get caught up on school work, and I will make it to Macy's tonight. I always am able to do these things, even when I don't feel like doing them. It has something to do with this verse:

"For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength." Phil. 4:13 NLT

I have been claiming this verse now for several weeks, and so far, I have been able to do some pretty impossible things. Not superhuman impossible, mind you, but just impossible for me, given my back and chronic fatigue. Normally, I couldn't push through this phase, and I would need time off to rest, really rest. Instead, I am pushing through it, feeling as though I cannot do it, but finding myself doing it just the same. It is not my strength, but my Lord's, and without His STRENGTH, I know I couldn't do these things.

Today, I think on this possibility, and I realize that everything I need, I have in Christ Jesus. I have always known this, and as a long-time Christian, was quick to say it whenever I felt overwhelmed or in need. But it has been only in these past years, really these past months, that I have come to BELIEVE it. There is a difference between knowing something and really believing something. I believe GOD is ONE. I believe in Jesus and His finished work on the cross. I believe in Him as my Savior, and I believe that He is coming again. I believe in every part of my being, and I believe that what I know in my head, and feel in my heart -- is TRUE.

I also believe that God is able, somehow, to intervene in my daily life. He is able to breakthrough the dullness, and the difficultly, and make Himself known to me. In doing so, I believe that He is able to direct my steps, not just from some far away place, but from right here, next to me. He is able to point me in the direction I should go, and in doing so, if I follow His direction, He will lead me to where He wants me to be. I believe that when He directs me, if I follow Him, I will be blessed -- blessed in both the going and getting there, but also blessed in the actual doing part, the obedience of following Him. I am blessed for listening to Him, and for heeding Him, and for doing or going in response to His direction. The blessing comes around me, and surrounds me, and upholds me, and in some way, it enables me to do things I simply couldn't imagine myself doing. I do them, I actually do them, but my strength, my heart, my head at times are empty, out of gas, and unable to move forward one inch. God comes and lifts me up, and gives me another gallon of gas, and we go on a mile. It is a miracle, really, a miracle of God, and I stand in AWE of Him today.

I think about this week, and all I have to do, and I cry out to Him and say, "I cannot do it, Lord." He reminds me that He is my STRENGTH, my PORTION and my CUP. I am filled, I have enough, I can do it. My attitude, my willingness to do it is what counts, and not my actual ability. I am willing to allow Him to do it through me, and in this way, He is able to move and go and do whatever He wants or needs to do. My attitude, therefore, is critical. I must be willing, I must allow Him the opportunity to do these things. I have to be willing to allow Him, and in allowing Him, I must first TRUST in His Ability and in His Nature. If He is God, and as God, He is able to do all things -- then I must BELIEVE this, and then TRUST that He will do whatever it is in the best way, the right way, His way.

Trust and obey, for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Trusting Jesus requires knowing Him, and believing that He is God, and that as God, He is able to do all things according to the Father's will. I believe this, and I trust Him to do His work in my life today.

June 24, 2011

When It Rains

Today has turned into a pretty good day for me. After sending my son off to camp (as counselor and band member), I had a nice morning visiting with my good friend, Karen McCall, over some coffee and bagels at a local coffee shop. Then I went to Walmart, and I invested in a weed eater, and another can of paint. I then came home and repainted my hall bathroom. Afterwards, I headed over to my parents for a swim, and dinner out (reverse order). I came home and found an email from a different recruiter regarding a graphics position at a local company near me. I replied, sent a resume, and asked for an interview. All in all, a pretty productive day.

I found out that the background check process with Kelly IT Services can take two weeks, so there is no point in worrying about that job for another week. I am sure I will get hired, and I think it is just a matter of passing the screening. I have no glaring issues on my report, and I am a good driver, clean record, and have no criminal background at all. I cannot think they would stop the process now, especially after I have passed all the appropriate assessments.

This new job opportunity is for part-time graphics/web work, and I think it might be a good fit for me. It could be work-from-home, so coupled with the AppleCare position, I could work FT (two PT jobs) from home. Sweet! I also expect that this position might pay me better than Macy's, so it would mean quitting there, and just working in web design/tech services from this point on. I am feeling good -- I am feeling really, really good.

All of this is to counteract the sort of down evening I had at my folk's house. I love my parents, but they worry about me, and they worry about my DH and tend to get afraid about the "what if's" in life. I try and hold my own, but I usually get really upset, and then feel like I am having to defend myself all the time. I know they mean well, but it wears on me. Right now, I want to get a good job (two good jobs), so I can follow after the Lord, and not let family and friends pressure me. I know they don't mean to do it, and that they only want to help, but sometimes the best way to help is to just be positive and hopeful, and not always critical or so willing to advise.

My goal is to move out of my home, and to do that I need a good job with good income. My prayer now is for the Lord to release to me both of these positions, and to make it possible for me to begin work in one of them very soon. The sooner the better.

Dear Lord,

I am ready for you to do your work, to make this happen, and I am willing to do this work. I know you have a plan, and I know that you will make everything work together for my good. May God be praised today as I trust and rely on Him for this provision. Lord -- have your way in me now. I pray this in Jesus' Name, Amen.

Let's Get Going!

I got an email from Kelly Services this morning. I am signed up for online training, which is a free resource (like from Robert Half) because I am now contracted with them for work. I haven't gotten my offer to do the AppleCare position, but I am sure that is in the works. I cannot see why they would not place me now, I mean, I have passed all the levels of review and I am pretty solid technically speaking. I think it is just a matter of logistics.

Yesterday, I sent my resume through to the Apothecary Shops again. My cousin, Rich, works there and told me they are looking for a part-time IT person. He keeps telling me to submit my resume, but I think my email is going to their corporate office and not directly to the person who needs to see it. It is OK because I am not sure they are willing to work with me, now that I would only be available in the afternoon. I think this job would make a good second, and then I could let go of Macy's. I thought the "flexible schedule" meant that I had to have a flex schedule, but now in thinking about it, I think they were saying that the job offered some flex. They are looking for a college student, and they would have to factor in a college student's availability. So with this in mind, I think the position might just work. I need the correct person to get my resume, and then perhaps I might be able to do two IT/Tech services jobs instead of working retail (sweet!).

As I ponder over everything that has happened recently, I stand in AWE of my GOD, who has done all of this for me. He has set things in motion, and He is moving out ahead of me to prepare my way. I am reminded of how He led the children of Israel through the wilderness with a cloud by day, a pillar of fire by night.

"By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people." Exodus 13:21-22 NIV

The LORD is leading me through this wilderness to where He wants me to camp, to where I am to sojourn for a time. I have been waiting and waiting and waiting for some signs of movement, and now He is moving. It is an exciting time to be following the LORD, and I am so happy that He is taking me where He wants me to go. I know that whatever comes my way, this day, I am completely and comfortably situated right where God has me in mind, right where I am to be, and right where I need to be. He knows me best, and He loves me most, and I am safe in His care and loving embrace.

Will I end up with two new jobs? I think so. It may take some time, and that is probably best since I have to complete my summer school, and that includes writing one 20-page paper. It might be best to continue to work at Macy's until after I complete my training and finish my classes -- then I could devote three weeks (no school) to settling in and getting the hang of things before the fall semester begins. God knows the timing best, so I am leaving it up to Him as to when I might leave Macy's and start a new second job. For now, I am content. I know my needs are covered, and that my GOD is firmly in control of the details of my life. He is so GOOD to me, and I love Him with my entire heart. I love you, Lord!

June 23, 2011

Memories Flooding Through

After this morning's outing, I got up the gusto to go back out into the 110 degree heat to run some last minute errands before my son leaves for camp tomorrow. He is working as a counselor/band performer (along with the Adriane Blanco Band). I stopped in to Kirkland's to see what was on sale (everything!), and came away with some wonderful decorating ideas. I have wanted to decorate for many, many years, but I have never had the opportunity to do so. I remember wanting to create a certain look for my home back when I was first married, but my husband didn't put much emphasis into "keeping a home." He was into the college-dorm/out of college bachelor guy look, and didn't see any reason to be any other way. My girl friends who had gotten married before me all kept cute apartments. They devoted themselves to making their new married home sweet and warm and wonderfully welcoming. My home looked like a frat house, with left-overs and mismatched pieces of furniture. Over the course of years, I relied on hand-me downs from family and friends, cast offs really, and I tried my best to make my home look as nice as possible. I wanted a certain style, but with no money, and no support on doing it -- I was always being questioned about what I was doing, what I was thinking, and how I planned on paying for the makeover.It was frustrating for me then, and to this day, I live in a home that has a mis-matched style, with cast offs and hand me downs.

One of the things I want to do, when I can, is style my home according to my preference. As I have gotten older, I am now more interested in how things look, in how they feel, and in the overall way my home greets visitors. I used to be farm/country, and while I still love the cottage look, and shabby chic furnishings, I realize that this is more a habit of mine (being overly frugal), and not necessarily my "style." I am not loaded with resources, so I have to be careful with the little money I do have now. My goal is to create a very warm and welcoming style that suits my needs, and my way of living.

For now, I will have to repurpose some furniture to save money. The first thing up is my living room sofa set. It is a hand-me down from my parents, and while it is a bit slumpy, I think with new slip covers, it can do for a while. I found very nice chocolate slipcovers at Walmart, and I think I will get these as soon as I can. Then I will paint my walls a lovely shade of blue -- sort of a green/blue color. Next, I plan to repurpose my dining room table and chairs. They are currently country green, so I am painting them black. This will cover old paint stains, and will make them look a little nicer. I plan on getting chocolate drapes -- in a lovely fabric to hang at my windows and patio door. I will then accessories with colors in blue, green, some orange/red and brown. I think it will be lovely.
I plan on painting all the walls in my house this same color, and sticking with a simple palatte that matches so there is consistency in my house. My style is modern with some casual elegance tossed in. I love this canvas painting (from Kirklands), and these are the colors I want to use in my home. I also love this clock, and want to have a place to put it in my living room.

I will probably be a little eccletic for a while, because I still love certain aspects of tradition style.


Well, once I get my ideas working, I will post some real photos of my house. For now, it is just nice to dream and make some plans.

I think I Am Hired!

I just got back from filling out my paperwork for the KellyConnect/AppleCare position. I still haven't received a formal letter, but the paperwork SEEMED to be preemptory, if you know what I mean. I had to sign an agreement on the work-at-home policies regarding this position, and I had to agree to the confidentiality and proprietary nature of the work. It was pretty straightforward, so barring my background screening, I should get hired in the next couple days (I hope). The job won't officially start until July 11, 2011, and then I won't begin taking actual customer calls until I pass the training course and exams. I cannot imagine not passing them, as I am already familiar with Apple products. So keeping my fingers-crossed (not for luck, but just to show my dependance upon God), I am very hopeful that this job is going to work out.

I still don't know what to do about Macy's, but I have had some other ideas, should Macy's decide not to let me move off of PT status. I cannot imagine them doing this, because generally they allow anyone to go PT to Flex. I won't be able to go back to PT, but that is OK. I think Flex will work best, and allow me more control over the hours I do work.

My hope now is to get hired by Kelly IT Services, and then do the training for this program. I think in the long run, this program will enable me to get a good FT position. At the least, I can see other options down the road too. I could get hired directly by Apple (longshot since I don't live near a facility); I could work for one of the Apple Stores; I could springboard this work into another FT position in IT/Technical Services; and I could also remain working from home through KellyConnect in some other position or capacity. I see it as a win-win scenario, regardless of the outcome. I know I can do a good job, and I know I can succeed in this work. I also like the flexible schedule, and the fact that I am using Apple products (which I already use for personal/home use). It just seems like the right job has come to me -- and at the right time. God is so GOOD this way.

What is so amazing for me is that all of a sudden, THINGS are moving in my life. It has been a long, long, long dry spell, where I was totally stuck, and feeling as though I would never find a way out. Then WHAM! I am seeing new jobs posts, and interviewing again. My prayer is that these jobs work out, whereas last time, I started strong, but was rejected after the interview process. I don't see that happening now because I am seeking work through temporary/placement agencies rather than direct hires with companies. I seem to do better in a placement agency than with corporate hires. Perhaps it is just because I interview well in a traditional setting. I did OK with the behavioral interviews, but I prefer this method and approach. It is straightforward, and I like that I can just answer the questions, be friendly and cheerful. I like not being on the spot, so a traditional interview suits me.

My hope now is for confirmation on hiring, and then I can begin the work of getting my office in order. I have a spare room, but I need to have Cox come out and fix my wiring, and I have to have Qwest install a landline with no special services (just phone). This will take a little time, but could easily be done in the next week. Then I have to purchase a new modem and router (mine is so old), and with that, I think my high-speed connection woes will disappear. The spare room needs paint (next week's job), and I will need a desk in there for the Kelly provided computer. I also need to get a boat-load of junk out of the room, pack up extra books, remove the old TV no one watches anymore, and reorganize the closet to accept my son's digital piano and my cello (for use and storage purposes). Then I think the room will look like a professional office space (which is a requirement). Other than this work and a new blind (the one in there is GROSS), I will get some accessories, a new lamp for my desk, and probably a new chair. Overall, I think it will look great, and be a nice quiet space for me to work from home and study for school.

I will need to upgrade my computer. I am using my old PC (10 years old) as my newer HP died on me a couple weeks ago. I would like to purchase an IMAC 27" for my own personal use, but that will have to wait a little while. I am planning on getting an iPhone 3GS as soon as possible, and my son wants the iPhone 4. I have planned this for over a year, but never did it because I thought it was impossible. When my Verizon phone failed two months ago, I should have done it, but I didn't want to rock the boat and dump our service. Plus I thought I might get the iPhone from Verizon. The issue has been cost, and Verizon doesn't seem to be too interested in making their services affordable. Oh well...

My new goal for the summer is to get on board with this job, to get settled and then to move. I have decided that as soon as the Lord provides another home for me, I will go. I need to be out of this home for a number of reasons, the primary one being that our lienholder acts more like a landlord than a financial instituion. Even though we own this home, the paper holder constantly interferes in our business, calling our insurance agent, etc. He is out of line, but we never stood up to him because we thought he might call our loan. He has had this power over us for 12 years, and I am fed up. I want out of this house, and know that I can buy another similar home in my neighborhood, and slash a good $400 off my mortgage each month.

I believe that this is the Lord's will too, so I am trusting Him to provide this to me. I will wait for His choice on a home, and then I will move. I think it will be soon, so I need to get ready. I have already started painting, and each week, I have tackled one room. The first week, I painted my bathroom. The second, my bedroom. This week, the hall bathroom (after repairing the wall last week). Next week, it is my son's bedroom and the spare room (plus hall, if I can do it). The last week will be for the Living/Dining/Kitchen and Laundry area. All of this will freshen my home, and then with some major decluttering, I am hoping to be able to sell my home for what I owe on it. I am not even worried about making money. I need to sell it for the paper and closing costs. Then I can move out and be done with my life in this house.

For a long while, I felt bad about leaving this home. There are many memories here, but really, the memories are bittersweet. I have not had good memories, in general, since moving to AZ. There have been some happy times, of course, but generally the majority of my life has been filled with struggle, financial worry, and a constant fear of reprisal from the law/government. I am free now, free inside, and soon to be free outside. I am ready to walk away, and to live a life that is wholly responsible to my Lord, my son, and my parents (since I care for them). I am ready to take on this responsiblity, and I have been doing so regularly for nearly a full year. I can do it now, and I am no longer afraid of what might or might not be. I cannot explain it other than to say that God has enabled me to see His Hand, and to Trust Him so much that I can stand up and not be afraid, even when I don't know what tomorrow will bring my way. He has done this for me, and I am able to stand up, to say "it will be OK" and really, really mean it. I am OK!

To God be the Glory forever and ever, AMEN!

June 22, 2011

I Am All Right

This afternoon, my son and I went over to my parent's house for a swim. It was really hot today, at least 110 degrees, and the pool was wonderfully cool and refreshing. We normally have dinner with them, but since we had already met them for lunch (at Chick-fi-la), none of us were very hungry. Instead we had snack foods (chip and dip) and some watermelon. It was a nice afternoon treat.

While we were with them, we had a discussion about my current situation, specifically my living arrangements. My folks are not pleased with the status of things. While they were so saddened at the turn of events regarding my relationship with my husband, they have since come to terms with our separation and eventual divorce. My parents would like me to get moving, to get on with things, but they understand that so far I have not been able to do that, and they accept it. It is one of those "we may not like it, but we understand there is nothing that can be done about it."

If anything, my folks have staunchly supported me and my son. They have always supported us -- financially, and in other ways -- and they are still there standing by  us. They have never tried to separate us, or get in the middle of our personal life. And, throughout the course of the past twenty-thirty years, they have seen a lot of things that they haven't liked or agreed with, but they kept their mouths shut (so to speak). They have been there for me, and they have stepped in when I needed their help. I am so grateful to them for their provision all these years, and for the fact that while they have not always been happy about the choices and the outcomes, they have always tried to be open and honest, and genuine in their care and concern for me and for my son.

As we were talking, I couldn't help but tell my parents about my thoughts on moving. They are more open to the subject now, and even have considered down-sizing themselves. The issue of course is that until I can fully support myself, I am unable to move away. God is preparing me for a move, this is for certain, and I know that it is something that will take place very soon. Even now as I write this post, I think to myself, "I cannot really support myself (as in not having enough money), yet each month, I am the one doing all the supporting." I have had to pay the mortgage again, and I will pay most of the bills -- even without my extra financial aid, the Lord has provided ENOUGH money to cover these bills. I don't know how it is possible because literally there is not ENOUGH to stretch to fit. But, it fits, the bills get covered, and everything moves on.

I realized today that the truth of the matter is that for the past year, I have been supporting myself and my son on the money the Lord's hand has provided to me. I believed erroneously that I couldn't move out or away because I didn't have the "magic number," the amount I thought I needed before I could move. The Lord has shown me that I do not need ENOUGH or any particular amount because I have HIM, and with HIM I always have more than ENOUGH. He makes ends meet, He causes it all to work out, and He makes everything possible.

As I ponder this very thought, I can begin to understand that my fear about not having ENOUGH was consuming me. And when I think about my family, and my brothers who have all, at one time or another, worked two-three jobs to support their families, I find comfort. Sometimes they drove very long distances, and sometimes they worked until they were so beat that we worried about their physical wellness. They did exactly what I have been doing, working as hard as I can, and putting all the effort into making a good life. God provided for them, and He is providing for me. I know that what I am doing is right, and that I am approaching my life situation realistically and with optimism (my hope is in the Lord). I am OK, and it is all because of God's Grace and Mercy. He has done this for me, and I give Him all the Praise and Adoration.

I admit that I have been consumed by fear about my financial well-being, but the truth is that I am so well-set that I need nothing right now. Everything I need has already been provided to me. I may not have it in my hand, but the Lord has it, and He will give it to me right when I need it most.

I told my parents that I would like to purchase a small home in my neighborhood. I saw it listed today, and it is for sale for $68K. It is a Fannie Mae foreclosure, and the downpayment required is only 3%. I would need a total of $5k to move into this home. In this home, my monthly mortgage payment, with insurance and taxes, would be about $400. That is a whopping $400 less than my current home financing through a private individual. I could live comfortably in this little home. It is on a nice street, and except for needing some paint, the house is move-in ready. It is empty, so there would be no issue with people having to move out of it. Of course, my parents wonder how in the world I could even consider such a thing, but when I told them that I checked rent in my neighborhood and that this same size house rents for $1000-1200 per month, I think they understood my plan.

I would like to move into this home. It is close to my current home, and is still very close to everything we need to access. It would be a good place for me to live for the next few years, and with two PT or one FT job, I could make the payments easily. I see it as a totally realistic option for me. Now, I have to consider the Lord's hand and His provision. If He chooses to provide this home to me, then I would be happy to receive it as a gift. The Lord has demonstrated His ability to provide to me, and there is absolutely no reason for me to continue to believe that I cannot move out now. I can, and I am ready to do so.

Lord, if this is your will for me, then I ask that you provide two jobs to me so that I can qualify for a mortgage through the government. I also ask that this home is still available, and that you would enable me to find favor with the government agent so I could purchase it. I am trusting you to provide a home, any home of your choosing, and I ask now for your blessing upon me. In Jesus' Name I ask this and pray, Amen.

Another New Day

It is a good day here in Phoenix. It will be hot, very hot -- up to 113, the weather guys predict. I really don't like it when it is this hot, but oh well, such is the life of a desert rat. I would prefer a more moderate temperature, but then I would contend with humidity, and that brings all sorts of issues along with it. For now, I am content to stay here in Phoenix, and continue to wait upon the Lord.

I finished my onboarding paperwork with Kelly IT Services, and tomorrow, I go down to submit my I9 paperwork. I still don't have a job offer, and I still don't know if I will get this job with AppleCare or not. Oh well, again, what can I do but wait upon my precious Lord and trust Him to work out all the sticky details.

I have made some provision, some plans, some thoughts about things -- those these are all dependant on this one job (or a job). I am not sure how Macy's will take to me working this hours, and I don't know how I will pick up hours, but this is all in God's hands, and I have to let it be.

I do have some GREAT News. The other day I applied for a bank card with my bank. I really didn't want to do it, but the teller said I was already approved, so I said OK. I thought for sure I would get turned down, just like all the times in the past, but I got a call from my bank yesterday saying that I had been approved. My credit limit is low, a little less than my Capital One card, but it is a good start. Now I am squarely on the road to recovery. My credit score is getting better each month, and as long as I continue to pay my bills on time, then I will be able to get a mortgage or a car loan or whatever I may need in the future.

I am not a credit-hound, as some people are, and since my credit was nearly destroyed due to bad business and financial practices, I am more concerned about being financially set, then being in debt. I don't want debt at all, but to be able to buy a home or major purchase, you need good credit. Also, prospective employers often look at your credit score to determine your stability. I want to show that I am a good employee and not offer any reasons for being turned down.

My goal now is to be steady, a steady employee, a steady financial planner, and a steady servant of the Most High. My role is to do His will, and that means to be able to do it. God is not about credit cards, and building wealth, though He does use the world's markets and money system to accomplish His purposes at times. The Lord uses what is at His disposal (which is everything), but He doesn't misuse (He cannot). Therefore, as long as I am being a good steward of His Provision to me, He will continue to provide and use those resources to produce His work in me and through me. He will not only provide a home, a job, a car, etc., but also He will provide me with the tools and resources I need to be able to go where ever He needs me to go (perhaps a short term missions trip?) These things, all these things require money, credit, health benefits, etc. You cannot go to a foreign country with no money, no health protection, and so on. God needs to cover us with His Blessing so that we can go to some of these places. Granted there are places right at home needing our time and money too. If we have no money to give, then we can give of our time. Sometimes, though, money is what is needed. You cannot feed the poor or clothe the homeless on nothing -- it is just as the Word tells us -- we cannot send a person in need away with well-wishes. We are to provide out of our bounty, and thus we share God's love in a tangible way.

I am all about this now. I give because God has given to me. My money is not mine, it is His, and He has provided it to me for His Name and His Work. I share it with whom He says to share it with, and then God replenishes my stock. He keeps me feed, sheltered, and warm/cool based on His love and protection. I share my gifts, He praises me for my willingness to let them go, and I get rewarded by His Sweet Pleasure. It is a good deal, and I love doing it for Him and for others.

I am about ready to head out to my cello lesson. I am thanking the Lord for my cello, and for my teacher who loves to teach me and her other students. It is always a very happy time for us both. I will wait on the Lord regarding the other matter (Kelly), and I will trust Him to work it all out for my good and His Good Pleasure.

Praising the Lord today, Thanking Him for His Mercy and Grace, and Trusting Him for His Continual Provision and Hope.

June 20, 2011

Thinking How This Might Work

OK, so I am pretty happy about this job opportunity, but my family seems to feel it is "not good enough." I don't get it, really I don't. I know it is not enough money, but there is a part of me that is so tired of trying, so tired of looking for work, interviewing for work, and coming up short with no work at all. I want this to be over, and I do want a full-time position so I can live on my own, and start moving forward. The problem is that I simply cannot find FT work, at the least, not here in Phoenix. I seem to do OK with PT work, and that seems to be what the Lord has in mind for me.

What do I do? I have been praying about this job opportunity all day. My family keeps offering other options, other jobs (which I have applied, but heard nothing on), and they seem to want me to wait. The problem, again, is waiting. I am so tired of waiting, so tired of just hanging on. I know that there are good times to wait, and I know that waiting is often God's answer -- waiting for His Best. The problem, is that sometimes you can wait too long, sometimes you can miss opportunities because you are waiting for something that simply will not come to pass.

I have waited so long, been so patient, and here I am still waiting for God to bring a job to me. I happen to have a job, which my Uncle reminded me of today. He said, "Carol, it was really a miracle the way God provided a job for you to do so you could get through this well." Yes, Uncle, you are right! I may not like Macy's and at times, I really don't like the policy they make -- but God did indeed provide a job for me that has enabled me to live comfortably. My financial aid helped get me through the year, and right now, while money is tight, I know that Macy's is still there providing some money to me each month. I am blessed, truly blessed by God's provision of good work.

What I would like is a job that makes oodles of money so I can no longer worry about how to pay bills and such. But, for now, I have some issues to deal with, and these issues will not go away for another year. The first issue is that I am a full-time graduate student, and as such, my schooling has to come first. I cannot do anything, any job that will interfere with my schooling. Secondly, my son is a college student, but he doesn't drive yet. He plans on getting his license this summer, so that will open up a way for him to get to school. The caveat is that he must have a car. If I work from home, he can drive my car to school. If I work someplace else, he is dependent on others to get him to and from school. Minor issues include my cello lesson and chamber group. Certainly I could give these up, but these are things the Lord has provided to me, and they are my gift back to Him. I play for Him, and He provides lessons and a group to perform music.

Right now, my life is complicated. I am in need of a certain amount of money to live on, but I also need some flexibility to my schedule. Macy's has done that for me, and this job would do it as well. I wish the pay were better, of course I do, but it is what it is. I am content to do this work, to do it for one year (that was the committment). After a year, I will have my MA and perhaps I can then look for teaching work (online, part-time) and then the combination would make me enough money. Perhaps God has another answer -- so be it -- so right now, I think I will trust the Lord and see what comes from this interview.

The way I see it right now is this way:
  • Work 25 hours per week as an AppleCare Advisor
  • Work 15 hours per week as a Sales Associate at Macy's
  • Finish my MA degree in May 2012
  • Begin looking for adjunct teaching positions in June 2012
This means one more year of working at Macy's, but 15 hours might be better for me. It would be two nights and either Saturday or Sunday (opposite of my schedule with the other job). As far as income, I think both jobs will net me about ($125.70 from Macy's; $228.75 from Kelly IT = $354.45 per week/$1417.80 per month). I am short about $582.20, but with my financial aid, I am OK. If I can figure out how to pay my summer school without using my financial aid package, then when it comes due, I will have quite a significant influx to take me through the winter and spring.

It is only one more year, and I can do it -- with His Grace. I am trusting the Lord so completely, and I know that He will make a way.

Dear Lord,

I love you and I trust you. I am looking to you for your provision and I understand that I will have to work two jobs to see this through to the end. I know that once I finish my schooling, I will get a good job. You have always promised me a good job at this point. I ask now that you would provide a good job for me -- whichever job you want, I will do it. I am looking to you, and I believe you will do this for me. I ask this in Jesus Name, Amen.

Interview Success!

I just finished my second interview (over the phone), and it went very well. This position is with Kelly IT Services, and is a long-term contract. The actual work is as Technical Advisor for Apple. The job itself is work-from-home, and the pay is more than Macy's, but less than I really need. The job looks very doable, but it would be very hard for me to keep on working at Macy's, unless I moved to on-call or flex-team. I am not adverse to doing this, and will have to find out about it tomorrow night.

I like the idea of working for Apple. It is not the kind of job I am hoping for, but I think short-term (for a year or two), it will work ok. First of all, it is from home, which benefits me as far as my studies and cello. Secondly, it is with Apple, and I would receive actual training which would make it a good resume builder. Also, it would enable me to look for other work in Technical Support, and perhaps even get a management position. I am thinking about taking the position because the work hours are better for me. I am also looking for a second job, but now think I might have to stick with Macy's for a while longer.

There are some logistics issues -- first, I need a special place for my office; second, I need to get a phone line. Other than that, I think I could manage this job for a year or so.

So, I am pretty excited. I like the idea of the job, and I like the work. It will be pretty easy, low key, and since it is from home, my body will be in better shape. I am pleased, and I am thanking the Lord for His Mercy and Grace.

Feeling So Out of It Today

WOW! It has been a real killer of a day so far. First, I didn't sleep well at all, and when I finally got up, I found my entire kitchen floor and counters covered with ants! These guys are getting the best of me, and I am up to HERE with them! I am so ready to throw in the towel and just move -- anywhere -- that I can barely stand it. I have never had such attacks before, not like this, not with such vengeance. At the least I didn't get bitten. The last army were biters, and those are by far the worse kind. These ones were the more "en masse" type, just an overload of ants getting into every thing they could find. I even had them in my drawers, and I had to take everything outside and leave it laying in the sun.

I was dressed for my interview, ready to go out the door, and worried about all the RAID spray, and bleach -- oh my -- what if? Well good news, I survived the ants, and I made it to my interview on time. The position sounds interesting, though I think I am over qualified (again!) They may want someone younger too -- I am too old to be doing this kind of work. I could be an IT Manager really easily, but this is just a part-time support role. Oh well, not much I can do about it. If they like me, then perhaps I will end up hired. If not, then I hope they can find someone really good. I liked the people, I liked the school, and I think I would like to work there. I am pretty open these days. I am ready to do anything besides Macy's, and if this works out, hurrah! If not, then I know I am on the right track and the right job will come to pass.

I am sitting here now, blogging and finishing up my lunch. I have another interview with an IT Recruiter at 2 p.m. I am wondering now about this position too. My hope is that I can get hired doing anything -- just anything at all. I really am so tired. Macy's One-Day Sale did me in, and I have a lot of reading to finish today. I really, really, really need a break from all of this, from my entire life.

Dear Lord,

I am so tired, and I feel overwhelmed right now. I need your help to provide good work for me. Help me to know what to do, what job to pursue, and open the RIGHT door for me. I am willing, so very willing to do this work. I just ask now that you would provide a GOOD job to me, a job that MEETS your criteria. I am tired of trying to figure this out on my own. I am tired of trying to find a job. I ask now that you would provide a job that works for YOU, a job that would please YOU, and a job that accomplishes your WILL for my life. I am ready to let it all go, the job and all. I am ready to do your will FULLY, COMPLETELY, and without reservation for YOUR NAME and YOUR GLORY. Amen, amen, amen.

June 16, 2011

Status Update

It has been about ten days since I last posted to my blog. Not much as changed, really, but I have had some new opportunities open up. I am still working at Macy's, and will be heading out to another shift tonight. However, I am hopeful that I will have some other work options very soon.

Since my last blog post, I have made a conscious decision to look for work in a more general IT position. I have also taken some time to complete IT coursework that will polish my skills. So far so good.

On Monday, I have an interview for a part-time position at a local private college. The position is for an Information Technology Specialist, and the hours would be convenient for me. The hourly fee is more than what I am making at Macy's -- but I still will have to keep on working at Macy's just to make ends meet.

I also took an assessment profile and online test for Kelly IT Services. This position is for Technical Sales/Support and is also a part-time, work from home position. The hourly fee is a little more than Macy's, and the hours would be OK since they would be at home. However, it is on-call, and that would mean that I would be in my home office from 6-1 every day (with no real breaks). I am not sure I want to do this work, but I am open to it, should the Lord open up that door for me.

I have several other resumes out, though none have generated interest yet.

My goal right now is to find a job that will pay me $12.50 per hour, for 40 hours per week. I would like more per hour than this, but I can live comfortably at this rate. If I work 20 hours at Macy's for $8 per hour, then I could easily work at another job that pays $10 per hour for 20 hours. I am still coming up short, and with taxes, etc., I am not really able to make enough to cover everything. I am willing to work one or two jobs so long as either or neither conflict with my schooling.

Oh, how I wish I could just find one job that would pay me a decent wage and include benefits?

Well, that is my story. It seems like things are opening up and I am happy for that change. I am uncertain as to how I will make it, but God is my Provider, and He seems to be doing something in the background.

June 6, 2011

More On Doing His Will

I am so sick today! Yesterday at work, I about coughed myself silly. I am sure my customers were not happy about me hacking all over their purchases (I did cough into my elbow - like you are supposed to do). Still, the air conditioning caused all sorts of dust to fly around the Petites register, and I simply was overwhelmed by it all. Now, I think I have a summer head cold (stuffy, and feeling full). My ears hurt earlier today, but now are a little bit clearer. Anyhoo, I wish I didn't have to work this evening, but oh well...

I applied for some more positions today, this time, just following the Lord's leading on them. I am not certain about any of these jobs, and I am trusting Him to bring me something soon. I have been patiently waiting for another work opportunity, and so far, I have only had interviews, but no offers. I am positiive that there is something out there for me, and that it will come into view very, very soon.

I am settled on working and focusing on God's will. Every time I get focused on the job, I lose my way, and become obsessed with the job as well as wracked with fear. I cannot live that way, I choose NOT to live that way. I am asking the Lord now to release me for His work, to open a door to practical work for me (a weekly/daily job), and to provide whatever He has in mind for me. I am ready to move away as well, so I am open to anything, and everything. My will Lord is surrendered to Yours now -- may Your Will be done!

I am also content to stick with the plans the Lord has for my life and that includes finishing my MA program at Mercy, and then going to Regent University. I read through some older posts where I felt adamant that the Lord wanted me at Old Dominion or ASU. But in hindsight, I know that while both schools were His will, only Regent is the one that fits His plans perfectly. I am content now to go to Regent, to study online and to complete that program in Biblical Communications. I am reminded by Him that my schooling is for His work, and not for a career. Regent is all about Him, and that is where I first wanted to go, and where the Lord first sent me to check out graduate school. I know this is His way, so I am OK with it. No more wavering, no more waffling -- just straight on until morning (you know -- flying along like Peter Pan!)

Furthermore, some things are changing for my son, and I am greatly encouraged. I took him out to lunch today, and he confided in me that he is indeed planning to get his AA in Audio Engineering, and a BA in Music. I mentioned the "unmentionable" again, but now I know that I have to let this go. He knows he has to study piano again, and that he has to go and see the counselor at school to be approved for this program. It is up to Him now -- the Lord -- and for my son to be obedient to the Lord's call on his life. I know this is God's plan, it always has been, but the details got all wonky and fuzzy, and I worried over them. God told me to relax and let this be, and I should have listened. God is GOOD that way, and He always works every detail out to be a perfect fit to His will.

So for me, that simply means that my plan is set and fixed. It will not change. I am to go to Mercy and then Regent. I will graduate with honors (doing my best, trusting the Lord for the rest), and I will do His work. For a job, I will work in some corporate endeavor, doing something technical, I am sure. It is what I can do, and the Lord will maneuver me into the position of His choosing. I am not to focus on the job or the salary or even the location -- just the work at hand -- which is my schooling, my language study, and my music study. The rest is in His hand, and the rest is up to Him.

I let it all go, I really did. I confessed my trust in His Name, and I let the details go. I cannot hold onto them anymore, and I have no control whatsoever. I am dependent on Him, and I am waiting for His provision. Until it comes, I just keep on doing what He has told me to do. I wait, He provides. It works for me. I am happy, and I am content to be doing God's will. God is so very GOOD to me.

Update: Job

Since I posted this in June, a lot has happened. I stopped looking for work as a career, and accepted the Lord's provision of a JOB. The JOB has turned out to be with the University of Phoenix (Lord willing, and barring no issues with my background check). It is a full-time, salaried and benefitted position, and I am so thankful to the Lord for this JOB. I hope to receive an offer soon, and this will mean I can quit Macy's (PTL!) and start moving forward in my schooling, cello, language study, etc. All the other areas now can be accelerated because my focus will no longer be on getting a JOB. Of course, there is always the chance I won't get hired, and if that happens to be the case, so be it. God knows my needs, and His will be done. Amen, so be it, thy will be done.

June 4, 2011

Heading out to Macy's

I have about twenty-thirty minutes before I have to head out to work at Macy's today. I have applied for a couple more jobs, adding them to my Excel spreadsheet. I am looking more proactively, and considering any job that will pay me a fair wage and not conflict with my schooling. I am struggling today with allergies, and with this awful taste whenever I cough. It is from the post-nasal drip that has gone down my throat. Yuck!

As I get ready to head out to work, I am thankful for the opportunity to work today. I will be earning money that will enable me to buy food and gas and pay for my school books. It is not enough to live on comfortably, but it is Ok for now. The Lord is providing the balance to me, and I am confident that I will get a job very soon. I have plenty of feelers out, and I am applying to staffing companies now (temp agencies, recruiters, etc.) Hopefully, this approach will generate some new leads and more definite help.

I am happy and content today, even though I feel under the weather. I don't want to work, but I am scheduled, and so be it. I would rather be at home, because besides this crappy cough, my head really hurts too. I hope I am not getting a sinus infection or a post-secondary lung infection. Neither would be good for me, and the Lord knows that I cannot miss school.

Oh well, I will plod on today, and try and think of better things. God knows my needs today, and He understands how badly I feel right now. I cannot call out, so I have to go to work. It will be OK, God is on my side, and He is right here to help me make it through. Praise be to God, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit! God is so GOOD to me today.

Learning

I logged into my blog today to find a comment posted from a nice person who had stopped by recently. The links they supplied were supportive and encouraging (so thank you!). I visited each site, read with interest, and was pleased that someone wanted to offer me help and support. I am at a point in my life where I have done everything I can do regarding my relationship with my hushand. I have been in counseling, and I have turned to the One who is able to heal and restore my marriage.

At this point, six years into this particular trial, it looks very much like I will not have the pleasure of being restored in such a way. I have patiently waited, and I have devoted myself to Bible study, prayer, fasting, marriage counseling, and even grief counseling. I have made the decision to wait for the Lord, to rely upon Him, and to live my life in such a way that brings honor to His Name. I am still here, living in the same home, and with the same man that I married almost 27 years ago (in September). We share a child, and we share a roof. We are cordial to one another, but my life is directed towards the Lord, and his life is following after his own pursuits. He still attends church with us, and he acts as though he enjoys it (sings, prays, listens to the message), but there is no change, no inward or outward sign of change. He has gone through counseling as well, and like the many times in the past, he believes it is up to me to accept him as he is, to let by-gones be by-gones, and to live with the choices he makes.

This is how it has always been. The sin is confronted, the pain ensued, and then silence. Nothing changes, nothing ever changes. The behavior goes underground, lays dormant for a time, and then will re-occur. The problem is that for me, I am no longer willing to live this way, to pretend that everything is OK, when it is not. I believe strongly what the Word of God says about sin, and I believe that as believers we are not to silently allow those within our midst to continue to live in sin.

2 Timothy 2:22 NLT says,

Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.

Young men often are foolish, and often do things that they shouldn't. Older men are cautioned, warned, to flee youthful lusts, and to pursue right living. In doing so, they are better able to control their minds and bodies, and live a life that brings honor to the Lord. The problem is that for many young men, addictions occur, and rather than overcoming them through the victory of the blood in Christ, they simply hide them, and hope that they will go away.

This past Sunday, our Pastor preached on the devil. He made a funny remark about how some people choose to ignore Satan. He equated this behavior with bullies on the playground. You know that most teachers and school psychologists tell kids to ignore the bully and to avoid contact with him or her, and that the bully will go away. Studies have shown that avoidance and ignorance do nothing to make the bully go away, and that these actions only deepen the interest of the bully. Often this behavior leads to a more aggressive attack by the bully.

In the same way, Christians who believe that Satan will leave them alone if they ignore him are also setting themselves up for a great attack. The Word tells us to stand fast, to take hold, to put on the whole armor of God. We are not to engage the enemy, but we are to stand fast, to stand up, and to be ready because we WILL be attacked.

The problem with avoidance and ignorance is that by employing these tactics, the issue rarely ever is addressed or goes away. It goes unnoticed for a time, but generally speaking, it always resurfaces again. Just like our real battle with Satan...if we choose to ignore him, he will not go away. If we try and avoid him, he will just follow us around.

When dealing with matters of intimacy, and unfaithfulness, the issue is complex. It is not easy to simply suggest turning to God in prayer, and to study your Bible. Yes, these two things are paramount to any healing process. The issue is complex because it deals with two individuals, two people who may or may not want the same things.

My church, Paradise Valley Community Church, seeks restoration for marriages, but also accepts that some marriages will end in divorce. My old church, didn't hold this view. They were restoration only. In fact, this is where we attended and went through counseling. I was very distraught initially, and while I received wonderful help in nurturing my wounded heart, I received no counseling regarding my marriage. In fact, my husband received counseling as well, but when he chose to end those sessions, no one bothered to even follow up. No one wanted to touch the subject of divorce or to even suggest other alternatives. My former church was a large Bible mega-church, with a well-known counseling center. I don't fault them or their practices at all, I simply found that they were out of touch with the reality of my situation.

In my despair, I turned to my parent's church, which not only supported me, but enfolded me, and has over the past two years, been there for me. I have received more practical care in this loving community than in my previous 13 years at the other church. Moreover, I have been given my options. I have been counseled Biblically on my options, and I know my choices now. It is not just pray about it, Carol or try another Bible study on the matter; no, it is more real and more frank. I am choosing to remain married for this season in my life. I will not end my marriage until the Lord says, "enough." Until then, I am moving forward as best I can, living my life as best I can, and raising my teen-age son as best I can.

Am I hopeful? Sometimes I think I see a glimmer of hope. Usually, it lasts just an instant, it is like the last embers of the fire, slowly going out. I will find something or see something or hear something, and then I am reminded that there is no hope. After so long a time, the only one who can restore that hope is the Lord. If He chooses to do so, then it will be. However, if He chooses to separate us, then it will be as well. I go and I do what the Lord asks of me, and I trust Him for His provision.

I am sorry that I am so hard-nosed about this situation, and that I am no longer accepting of restoration solutions. I would love to be married, and I would love to have the intimacy that can exist in a God-centered, God-honoring marriage. I don't have that, and I have never had it. My hope and my prayer is for restoration of the soul, restoration of peace, and restoration of mind. I am no longer hopeful for restoration of a marriage. I am content to live my life in an unmarried state. I am content to live my life as a married person. God is the One who determines my status, and right now, I am married but separated (emotionally, mentally and spiritually). The Lord will determine whether I am to be separated physically, and up until now, this has not taken place.

Lastly, I love the Lord with all my heart, with all my mind, with all my soul, and with every ounce of strength that I have in my body. He is my all, and my complete satisfaction and sufficiency. I love Him, I trust Him, and I believe that He is God alone. Whatever happens to me, whatever becomes of me, God will be glorified because this is my deepest heart's desire.

I asked the Lord once why it is that I am suffering so, and He voice returned to me, "You have chosen to glorify Me." It is a funny thing, but the Lord is correct. In all my praise and adoration, I consistently speak these words, "Lord, I glorify your Name." I cannot help it, but this is the word that my heart utters most frequently. Some people choose to praise the Lord, others choose to worship the Lord. I only want to glorify Him, and that means to suffer for Him. The only way the Lord is glorified is by Himself (as in Jesus' death on the cross) or when believers suffer in Christ-like ways. Righteous suffering brings Him glory; not personal or fleshly suffering. It is only when we suffer unjustly, unfairly, and without merit, that the Lord  receives our frail little offering of glory.

My heart and mind are conformed to bring Him glory, and I guess for this season in my life, that equates to my suffering unfairly and unjustly and for righteousness-sake. I am not bothered by this fact, and I don't think about it too often. Every now and then, when it gets really hard and downright nasty, then I wonder if my suffering is bringing Him glory. Mostly, I just plod on, and mostly I ask Him "why, Lord?" I know the answer, but my mind doesn't always remember the reason why. Then He gently reminds me, and I accept it, and I surrender to it. It works out OK and I know that someday I will be glorified too. I will be with Him, and I will receive my crown of Righteousness. I am happy to think about that day, and I look to it, knowing that I am running this race of faith, and at times, I don't understand it at all. I don't get it, and I don't always like what happens to me. But, I press on and I keep on running -- looking to my loving Savior, and His open and waiting arms.

I press on, I press on, I press on. Amen, so be it, thy will be done.

June 3, 2011

On the Move

Well, some new changes have taken place today, and it is about time for me to turn in for the night, so I thought I would write a quick blog post. First off, I have taken a new approach to the job hunt. Instead of focusing on high paying, competitive jobs, I am now seeking jobs that would work for me in the short term. Instead of saying I wanted a career position, I am simply now looking for part-time or full-time work that pays better than Macy's. I also need work that will not kill me as much, and where I can sit down from time to time. I know that there are jobs out there like this, and so my search has narrowed in on these kinds of jobs.

Secondly, I have opened the door to becoming a recruiter. I have had several offers and suggestions in this direction, and I hesitated initially because I thought the pay would be too low and the work too hard. I have since found out that the pay would work for me, and most positions are 40 hours per week.

Thirdly, I realize that I need to change my resume, and work someplace where I can list a supervisor. I cannot get hired being unemployed, and my previous employment was for my husband. I need steady work, and now that I have been at Macy's for almost a year, I am in a good place to move on to another kind of job.

Lastly, I am open to relocating now -- to go where the Lord leads. I had a conversation with my Mom tonight, and she said that they want to move where ever I go and where ever my son attends college. I can see this happening now, but I need a good solid job so that I can help care for them. My goal then is to find a new career that would develop next year or the year after, whenever my son is ready to go on for his BA degree (2012 or 2013). I am open to whatever career that might be, and I am willing to do prep work now to make that happen.

Dear Lord,

I have applied for ten more jobs, and I ask now that you would begin to open up these doors so that I could leave Macy's (thank you for this job), and begin something that will not be so physically grueling for me. I need more hourly pay, and I know now that I can work for $12-15 and be able to make all the bills. It would be better to earn about $20, but I realize that I need to restart my work career, and that I have to begin at the bottom again. I am OK with this, so I ask that you bring me whichever job you think will work out best for us, and for my schooling. I ask this now in Jesus' Name, Amen.

June 2, 2011

Stepping Out in Faith

Well I could describe my day as being fairly crappy. First, I woke up to more ants in my kitchen, laundry and bathroom. Secondly, I continued feeling so depressed about some recent developments here at home, and generally, I didn't want to get out of bed (except that I was getting pounced on by my cats, so what could I do?) Lastly, I was feeling stubborn, and I didn't want to play nice -- so you get it, just a really awful and crappy day!

After getting up and moving, and tackling some of the ant issues, I finally got dressed. I headed out to Walmart later in the afternoon, stopped in at Petco for cat food, and then came home. In between, I took a short hours nap, and spent the rest of the day (before and after) applying to more positions on Careerbuilder.com.

It took a while for me to get over my depression and bad mood, but finally I was able to formulate a perception change. You see, the Lord and I had discussed my options, and while I wasn't thrilled with the outcome, I had to accept the fact that for the present time, I am stuck here in Phoenix. I may not want to be here, and I accept that this was my choice, even after several offers from the Lord to move elsewhere. Now I am dissatisfied with that outcome, but there is nothing I can do, nothing at all.

I started to apply to some jobs, and I asked the Lord why He was having me do this now. I mean, I am fed up, depressed, and I really don't care anymore. I know that I cannot work at Macy's much longer, and that I need to make more money, just to live comfortably. I have looked, and looked, and looked, and no jobs have come to pass yet. Plus, I have looked and applied to a wide range of good jobs, but I have found that I am not being considered for them. I feel stuck, really stuck -- yet I know I have to keep on trying, at the least, I cannot throw up my arms and choose to do nothing about my situation. The Lord has told me that I need a job, and I agree (yes, Lord!) The issue has been on what kind of job I can do, and I think I finally understand what He has been saying to me.

The Lord has consistently told me that there are NO JOBS in Phoenix. I certainly have found this out, and after applying hundreds of times, I thought I understood His meaning. However, what I finally grasped was that He was telling me that there would be NO JOB that would provide a career for me here in Phoenix. There are plenty of JOBS, just no career positions. I also know that my decision to remain in Phoenix meant that I would have to stay here until I finished my schooling at Mercy College (2012). This means I have one more year here in Phoenix, and that I will not find a career type JOB until I have my MA degree completed.

I know my schooling comes first and that means that after I finish at Mercy, I will begin straight away at Regent University (Lord willing). I will have another 3-5 years of schooling until I am done with my practical training. Then I will have a short break before I begin my Bible training, and that will happen later in my life, near age 62 or there abouts. For me, and for career purposes, once I have my MA, I will begin a JOB that I will do until I retire at 62-65. I have practically speaking about 13-15 years of work ahead of me, and I have been focusing on finding JOBS that fit that timeline. Moreover, I also know that I need to have a JOB that will enable me to gain management experience (people, programs or resources), and that has also been my focus. I have not found JOBS that fit these specifics, and after so many tries, I am bone-weary and worn out.

So today, amidst all my grumbling and disagreeing, I finally got it sorted (I think). I have been looking for career JOBS in Phoenix when all I needed was a paying JOB for short term purposes. Macy's has fit the bill, but it is taking it's toll on me. Furthermore, I thought I needed to make between 4-6K to really make ends meet, even though I know 2K would do. I have been looking for higher paying jobs when I should have been looking for practical work that pays $12-16 per hour. I really can get by on as little as $12 per hour (or $2k per month). I would prefer to earn closer to $20, but that is ideal and not as critical. I wrote out a payscale equivalent chart to follow when I am applying so that I can see that even a lower paying position could work for me.

I returned to Careerbuilder.com and started to apply for positions in Education. I submitted a couple resumes, and then switched to customer service and information technology. I ended up applying for two positions through Manpower (years ago I worked contract through Manpower, and I had pretty good success). One position was as a Technical Recruiter, and from the job description, it would be a great fit for me (remote office). Will they consider me? I don't know, but at the least, I feel positive about that position. Now that I know that I can make salary and bonus -- commission and still be OK, I am more open to doing this kind of work. Plus, I am considering this as short term, practical experience. I need a position that will change my outlook and focus, and update my resume (get me out of IT). I like that I can do both, HR and IT, and I think it might be Ok for me. Perhaps yes, perhaps no...right now, I really don't care.

I also applied for a couple clerical positions, posted at $15-16 per hour. Again, I don't really mind. I am willing to work 40 hours a week, and at this rate, I would earn about $650 per week. This would work fine for me, and help me make the changes I need to my home as well as prepare me for moving once I get my MA finished. It would also help me transition into whatever career the Lord has in mind for me once I get settled.

I guess what I am doing now is simply choosing to accept where I am right now, and I am choosing to trust the Lord for all the rest. I need a JOB, and the Lord can provide one to me. My attitude has been wrong, and I have looked only to the money. I know that I need the money, but it matters more to me that I am doing the Lord's work. My mind is set and focused now, and I am seeking a temporary position whereby I can make more than I make at Macy's, and not have to stand all day long. I think this is doable, and I am open to whatever job comes my way. The Lord has consistently told me to take the JOB that is offered to me, but there have been no offers yet (several good tries). Perhaps now I will get an offer, and when I do, I will take it. I am trusting Him and stepping out in faith, believing that the Lord will bring me a JOB today.

Forward

I was up early today to check the status of the ants. They are still in the house, but are now just concerned with the ant traps I set down. I hate that they are swarming, but the whole purpose of ant bait is to get them to take the poison back to their nest and for it to kill the entire colony. It seems to be working, even though I cannot stand the fact that there are hundreds of little critters in my bathroom and laundry room!  UGH!

I have today off (and tomorrow -- whoo hoo!) and right now, my plan is to do some work on my home. The ant invasion reminded me that I need to recaulk and repair some openings in my walls (at the baseboard) and that when I did this ten years ago, it virtually stopped the buggers from getting in. It has been that long (or longer) and the caulk is cracked and dry. No wonder they found their way in this year -- it was like an open door to them. I also want to get some paint, and begin painting my home. I will start in the bathroom, once I finish repairing the crack in the wall, and then letting that dry. This will not only make the bathroom look better, but it will simply help with my overall feeling of despair in regard to my home's actual condition.

My home has needed repair for many years, but it was never an important priority. In fact, it wasn't even on the list. The house, like our cars, were left to fall into poor condition due to neglect. It is unfortunate because I don't like to live this way, yet I allowed it to happen. I allowed it due to financial strain and an utterly sense of hopelessness. If you feel that your life and situation are hopeless, you tend not to worry about such things. You justify this as "why should I? It won't matter anyway, so why should I worry when I cannot change any thing at all?" This is how I have lived for nearly 30 years. I learned early on that wanting something, and getting it were two different things. I wanted a lot back when I first got married. I wanted a home, a place where I could be happy and share my life with another person. I wanted children, and a good life. I was not all that interested in houses or cars or money. I wanted a home, a warm place where I could feel safe and secure.

I ended up without a home, though I always lived in houses or apartments. I was never able to make my home feel warm and comfortable, nor did I feel safe and secure. I always lived in fear, fear of being evicted, fear of being forced out, and generally a fear of being found out as a person who didn't pay her bills or keep herself well. I put up a good front, I slapped on a good paint job, but inside, my condition was deteriorating.

I think in part this was due to several factors. The biggest factor was that I had turned away from my inner calling to fulfill a certain plan the Lord had for me. The second factor was that I chose a path of life that was not under God's blessing. It was outside His blessing for me, and I went ahead with it -- against His will. The third reason was that I chose to live in denial about the first two things, and that denial simply ate away at me. Instead of being healed and feeling free (freedom from bondage through Christ), I submitted my will to another who attempted to control me and change me into someone I was not meant to be.

I have lived for so long as a person who wears a mask, not to hide from the world, but to pretend to be something or someone I am not. I hid out of fear and shame, shame for making such a huge mistake, and shame for hurting my family, my friends, and my faith community. I made the biggest mistake of my life, and I was stuck, royally stuck in my own choice.

I made the best of things, of course, and I gave it my all (everything). In the end, I survived bloodied and wounded, and unable to stand up. I am miserable now, and I am virtually used up. I don't want to go on this way, and I don't want to keep on pretending to be that person, that person that everyone knows and THINKS is happy and content. In truth, I have learned to be happy and content, but only in the Lord. I am satisfied, and I am at peace with Him -- but in my outer life, my person, I am disatisfied and discontented.

I want my life to change, I want to live it differently. I don't want to be this way anymore. I have asked the Lord for His Grace to accept my life as is, to work with it, to make due, and He has given that Grace to me. I am here today because of His Marvelous Grace. Yet, I want everything to be set right. I want my life to be as it was meant to be, for me to be living the life He called me to live. I don't want to wait anymore, because I feel like I have been waiting forever, for a lifetime already.

I know I must wait, and I know why now. I know that this is of my hand, and of my doing, and of my choosing, and like before, it turned sour on me. It wasn't a good choice, a good option, or the right thing to do. It sure felt right at the time, and it sure seemed OK, but now all I can see and all I can feel is that it is wrong, wrong, wrong.

How do I get myself out of this place? Can I dig myself out of this hole in the ground? No, I cannot. I am helpless, and I feel like I did all those years ago when I realized that all my efforts were worthless. I am stuck, and there is nothing I can do about it. I cannot help myself anymore, and even with a nice paint job, a good looking mask, the unhappiness cannot be covered up. I am unhappy, and I am sad and I am depressed. I know that I have to trust in the Lord, and I know that I have to wait for His Promised Deliverance, yet I find no joy in that thought, no feeling of pleasure. I want my Father to fix this for me, to make it better, and I am crying on the inside right now.

Throughout all the trials of the past couple years, I have never felt this way before. Yes, I felt angry, and yes, I even lost my temper many times. I yelled, I screamed, and I cried so many tears. I had to stand up and defend myself against critics who tried to tell me I was wrong, making things up or had lost my mind. I tried so hard to be calm, to just make it through the hard days, and hard nights. Now, I am done with all of that -- there are no more tears, just regrets for past mistakes that were made without consideration of the Lord. I want so much to go back to when I was a teen and start over, to do it all again. I want to choose God's way, and I want to experience the life He had for me.

The hard light is that I cannot do that. I cannot go back, and I cannot undo the past. I have accepted the past, and I have accepted the mistakes I made. The rub is that now, after all these years and so many long hard months, I am feeling the deep sorrow of regret. I remember saying that I wouldn't regret my choices, that I would live with them, for good or bad. I said that, really I did. Well, I can tell you that I have lived with my choices, and I did my very best with them. I failed miserably, and I never achieved anything but a false sense of well-being. I have been sick for nearly 30 years, with all sorts of maladies, and my body is bent over unable to stand straight now. I live each day in pain, suffering with Fibromyalgia and other arthristis pain. Working retail has not helped, but only has intensified the pain. I am in so much pain, and my body is worn down. I want to quit now, quit everything and run away. I want to go some place where I can rest, a really long rest, but there is no rest in sight.

Today when I logged into my courses at Mercy, I really thought "what a mistake I have made. I need this summer off -- no school work, no nothing." Yet, I am committed to these courses and this plan will enable my graduation in 2012. I cannot give up now, even though I really want to give in and rest.

The Lord knows my sorrows, the Word tells us this is so:

Isaiah 53 NIV

1Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?

2He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

3He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Like one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

4Surely he took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted.

5But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.

6We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

7He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before her shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.

8By oppressiona and judgment he was taken away.
And who can speak of his descendants?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was stricken.b

9He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth.

10Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the Lord makesc his life a guilt offering,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.

11After the suffering of his soul,
he will see the light [of life] and be satisfiede;
by his knowledgef my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.

12Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,h
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.

13For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.

I have grieved my Lord, and I have suffered the consequences of that behavior. I know that sometimes the Lord removes the offense from us, he clears our conscience and doesn't allow us to suffer the consequence of our action or choice. Sometimes, though, the Lord chooses to allow the consequence to stand, to confront us, to face it day in and day out, as a solid reminder of our willfulness and stubborn refusal to do His Will. This is the mark of my life, this is what I have had to endure. It was not anyone else's fault at all, it was all mine. I chose this path, and I chose to remain on this path, even after several opportunities to exit out of it. The Lord offered a way out to me, and I refused. I didn't want to suffer the shame of admitting my mistake, so I pressed on. Later, I didn't want to hurt the one I loved so much (my child), so I remained. And, finally, I didn't want to take on the pressure of leaving my family behind, and have to listen to their cries of help -- so I endured. Three times the Lord has offered an "out" to me, and three times I have chosen to press on, to remain, and to endure. Now, I am at such a point where I want that "out," but there are no outs remaining. There is only one way out for me now, and that is to endure until the end. I cannot do anything or change anything, so I must continue on until such a time as when the Lord chooses to release me and allow me to walk through a different door.

I am praying that this door will be open to me very soon, and that I can be released and I can breathe freely again. I don't remember what that freedom felt like, but I long so for it. I want so much to do His will now, and to be firmly grounded in the plans He has for me. I am tired and I am weary, and I want to go home.

Dear Lord,

I ask for the strength today to endure and to wait for your open door. I ask to be released from this path, this life, and this choice, and to embrace the path and way that you laid out for me. I ask now that you will do whatever is necessary in my life to make your will come to pass, and that you will lift me out of this dark and lonely place, and bring me back into the sunshine and the brillant light of your Glory. In Jesus' the Christ's Name, I ask this now, Amen.