July 31, 2012

Lessons I Have Learned

It is Tuesday, I am here at home waiting to go into work until the very last minute. I woke up early, around 5 a.m., but didn't get moving until it was almost 6. The boys were rambunctious as usual, but even with their jumping and yaowing, something just seemed off for me today.

I cannot really put my finger on it, but something is not right (good, well). I feel OK, tired and a bit undone about the past couple days, but other than the normal woes of life, there seems to be something else that is odd today. It all started yesterday, this feeling of "can I continue on, can I take another boring day at work?" I remember sitting in my cube, looking at the clock and thinking -- "I cannot make another dial, I cannot do this work any longer." I am beat. The job, the tasks, the attitude -- I have been overcome by the powers that be and I cannot stand working in this job any longer.

I remember when I was at Macy's, and how tired I felt each day. I cringed to have to go into work, but I trudge on in there every shift I was assigned. The pain was horrible, and the work was grueling. This time, it is different. At Macy's the work was physically demanding. I walked all day long, stood long hours, and lug/lifted hundreds of pounds of clothes in/out of the dressing room. I worked my little fanny off, and I struggled with the pain of arthritis in my hips. It was awful, day in and day out, but the work was work, and I did my best at it.

I laughed when I was "coached" on how to open sales accounts. I laughed when I was "observed." I didn't care about opening charge accounts, I didn't care about helping customers rack up debt. If they wanted an account, I trusted their adult judgement and opened one. If they didn't qualify, it wasn't up to me to help plunge them into debt. I just did what they asked, and I let the chips fall as they may -- approved/disproved. I had no say in the matter.

At my current work, I am struggling to do the job. I look at the cost of higher education, and I am ashamed that I am helping students get into such severe debt. Yes, they choose to go into debt, and they do receive a good education. It is the cost ratio difference that bothers me most. I am part of the problem, and I am facilitating their debt.

The debt issue is not the real problem, it is more just the way the business of higher education is conducted. The longer I am there, the more I see the "Macy's way" of selling education. We sell it, students buy it. It is a consumer mentality, when it should be something different.

My job is killing me mentally. I go to work, and I sit in a cube all day long to wait for phone calls. I sit all day long, and I cannot leave my desk. I can go to the bathroom, get a drink, etc. I just don't do anything that requires me to be up and moving all day long. I have gained 10-15 lbs since I started this job. I am miserable over that fact, and I hate having to get dressed each day. It is a constant reminder that I am fat and feeling so awful about my appearance.

I want to do something different. I want to do a different kind of work. I just don't know what kind of work I can do anymore. In years past, I was content to do helper work, to be a support assistant, to be an Administrative person. I liked the work, the nature of it, and the fact that I was always busy. I hated sitting all day long, finding work to do, but generally, when I was busy, I was content.

I have grown over the past couple years, and after working on my own, and then in church's in ministry positions, I feel that I am over-qualified to do anything anymore. I don't want to do a job, I want a passionate career. I am almost 50 and the mark of my life will be the "Odd Job" girl. I will not have had a career, I will not have had one focus for my life. I am a loser, and someone who can no longer tolerate boring, mundane work.

I know -- I should be content to WORK. God is so very good to me, and I am thankful that I can work. I am thankful for a paycheck, and for the opportunity to work. Why am I so bitter? Why am I so depressed over the job and the work available to me?

I guess it is because I had hoped that once I had my Masters degree, things would be different. I would be seen differently, and I would have other job opportunities. I thought, "Now, I can teach college classes!" I had hoped I could begin the career I was supposed to have started back when my son was born. I thought, "Now, my life is complete." Instead, I have not been able to be hired and my Masters is simply a piece of $50K paper.

I am disgusted with the way I feel, and with the attitude I possess. I know better. I know I should be grateful. After all, the Word of God says that we are to be cheerful, to have an attitude of gratitude, and a thankful heart. Yes, yes, yes, I know.

My heart is murmuring to me, it is saying "You are better than this job. You are better than these people." I don't want to think this way, and interview after interview, I get slapped in the face with the truth, "You are nothing. You have no marketable skills. You are not hirable."

I spent 18 months looking for full-time work, in which I ended up where I am now, at UOPX. In the interim, my marriage crumbled and fell apart, I lost my home of twelve years, and for the first time in my entire life, found myself on my own -- living apart from my parents and my husband. I worked at Macy's, and I went to school. I studied cello, and started to learn French. I did everything I could do to make my life better, to keep me focused on the future -- all the while -- my present was crashing to the ground.

My estranged husband may be moving to Los Angeles for work. I don't mind really, but there is a part of me that sees that departure as a bad thing, a very bad thing. I don't want to be married again, but I don't want to be single either. I am not out partying, looking for men. I stay at home, I do my work, I go to bed. I live a very boring life. I don't miss the pain and the sorrow of that old life, but I do miss my husband. I miss the person he was, and the plans we made together. I miss the life we had -- the life that said "I am a married woman, and I am content. I am safe."

I feel unsafe today. I feel as though something is about to happen that will shake my little world apart. My son is about to start his next semester in college. I know that he is content to be where he is, but I also know that he is bored to death. He needs to work, but there are no jobs for him to do either. He wants to work, but he cannot find a job. He hasn't really applied -- he knows his schedule is such that no employer will hire him. He is at school most days from 10-5 p.m. and he has no transportation for evening work.

I struggle to find meaning today, to understand what I think the Lord is asking me to do. He tells me to "go" and He tells me to "start" yet I am lost. I don't know what to do, where to go, or how to get where I need to be. I am lost. I ask the Lord for help, but the word returns to me "Listen. Trust Me." I am listening and I am trusting you, Lord. Why can I not hear what I am to do, and then just do it. I don't want to go to work today. I want to crawl back into bed and go to sleep. I want to sleep for days and not wake up until I am really refreshed, really recuperated. I don't want to get dressed, drive into work, and sit in a cube attached to a phone today. I don't want to help students go into debt. I want to stay at home. I want to wait on the Lord, and hear His voice. I want Him to deliver me from this nightmare of a life, and return to me the life I once had. I want the safe life. The secure life. I want the life where I was married and content. I don't want to live alone anymore. I want to go home.

July 29, 2012

Failure 101

I can't help but feel this way today. I know what I was supposed to achieve, but I cannot do it. I have tried, don't get me wrong, and I have studied and applied myself -- but I cannot figure out how to do what I need to do.

I know that part of me struggles with trying to understand new concepts. I used to be really savvy, and able to pick up on new things quickly. Lately, my mind has been mushed up, and learning new things hasn't come easily to me. The only exception has been with my schooling, and with cello. For some reason I am able to study very complex theories, and learn new cello pieces fairly easily. I know this is a "God thing," but why for the love of Pete, I cannot remember how to design websites is beyond me.

Let me explain. A month ago, I prayed over the idea of going back into business for myself. I thought that becoming a website designer again would solve all my problems. I could work from home, earn far more than what I currently earn through my 7-4 p.m. job, and have the freedom to come and go as I please. I asked the Lord if this was OK, and I believed I was hearing "yes." I took a giant step of faith, and started to re-train my brain to be a web designer. The problem was that every time I tried to learn how to use the software again, I would fog up, and not be able to do it. I tried using other programs, downloading free trials, and scanning hundreds of templates to get inspired again. I made it through one CSS template, and that is what I happen to have online. However, every other time, I could do nothing. Nothing at all.

My free trial for Photoshop and Dreamweaver has expired. I cannot design using any other program. I have tried to work with CSS today, but after giving it a good five-six hours, I simply have given up.

What is wrong with me?

I prayed today and asked the Lord what I need to be doing. I have written down what I believed I was to accomplish, and while I have tried to do these things -- I have ended up with nothing to show for my time. I cannot do this work anymore. It is as if all the ability is gone from me. I can only do certain things, and the rest, well -- all the other stuff I used to do (technical, graphic and other) is lost.

I don't usually give up that easily. I am very willful and stubborn about most things. I feel like I am pushing a gigantic rock up a hill all by myself. I believed that I was doing what God wanted me to do. I mean -- I know I cannot remain at UOPX for much longer. I am beat, literally beat from the daily grind there. I don't want to stay, and I have tried to find a different job within the company. I have had no luck, and I have had no luck with recruiters either.

There is no job on the horizon, and this path seems totally blocked to me. It is not that I cannot go down it, it is just that I am going down it without any ability. I have asked the Lord to do this through me, but that doesn't seem to be what He wants to do. I know He can do it, and I know I can do it. What seems to be missing is the connection to DO IT.

Dear Lord,

Ok, I let go and I give up. I cannot do this work anymore. I have tried now for the past three weeks. I have worked so hard to try and understand, and it seems like a foreign language to me. I want to do your work, but truthfully, I don't think this is it. Unless you come along and make this happen, I don't see anyway for this path to produce the results you have promised. What am I missing? Help me to understand so that I can move forward with you, go where you are calling me to go, and do the work you have in mind for me to do. I ask now that you forgive my arrogance, and I ask that you help me understand what I am doing wrong. Thank you, Jesus -- I ask for help in your GREAT NAME, Amen.

Setting Up Stones

It was a really good message today. The lovely Gina Pollard, our Seminary intern, preached an awesome message reminding us just how much God loves and protects us. In her message, taken from the story of the life of Jacob, she talked about fear and how often we allow it to consume our lives. We are all afraid of something or someone, and often that fear keeps us from moving forward. We like what we know, even if it is not the best thing for us, and we choose to remain still instead of walking on as God is calling us to do.

Her message today hit home for me because I am in the midst of this very same predicament. I am standing still when God has clearly told me to get going. I am afraid of leaving the comfort of a paying job for the unknown of being self-employed. My previous experience in self-employment was not a positive one, and I do not want to repeat that same experience again. I know that this will not be because I am different, I am on a different path -- still those nagging fears are consuming my energy, and they are keeping me from trusting God.

In honor of her message today, I am setting up a pillar of stones (figuratively on this blog) to give testimony to the faithfulness of my God. My blog is a testimony in and of itself, for it chronicles the past seven years of my life. Though there are high points and low points journalled, generally speaking, the darkness of the valley is most significantly documented during 2009-2011. This was when my life as I knew it crashed down on me, and when I began to rely upon God for the provision and protection of my life. God carried me through some pretty bleak times, and He gave me hope to continue on, to trust Him, and to learn how to rely upon Him. I am now on the backside of that dark period, walking in the light of hope, and I know that I am moving in the direction of His choosing. Life is good for me now, and I am at peace and contented with where I am and where I am going.

I know that I am not at my destination yet. No, in no way for certain, have I reached the end. I am a traveller on this path, and I know that there is a lot of my life laying up ahead of me. I walk on, I strain forward, and I keep on moving to where I believe God is calling me to go. I make mistakes, of course I do, and sometimes I misread the signs. I press on, however, and I keep on moving forward, nonetheless.

This marker (see stones above) is set to remind me that God has always been with me. In the dark times, in the happier days before the darkness settled in -- God has always cared for me. His word to me has been true, and I have been blessed. Therefore, there is no reason to even suspect that NOW God would ask me to go this road alone. He has never left me, and His word promises me that He will never leave me -- even until the end of the age.

I have allowed my fear of the unknown, of uncertainty with provision, and the unwillingness of me wanting to do certain work curtail my forward movement. God is prepared to prosper me financially -- I know this is true. He is prepared to create success for me, to establish me in my own right, and to grow me in a way that suits His needs. He has promised all this to me, yet I stand here afraid to go any further. Do I trust you, Lord? Do I believe in your Word to me?

Yes, I do. I do trust you, and I do believe in your word. I am ready, Lord. I am ready to step out and to get moving. May God be pleased today, and may His GREAT NAME be praised forever more. Amen!


Settling In and Setting Up Shop

I made the decision to set up shop, and so far I am pleased with the result. I had to rethink my plans for setting my desk in the front window of my room. I liked it there, but it became the prime perching spot for my two boys, and after about two weeks trial run, decided that I need to move it back to the side wall (safer, and less worries). I did this yesterday, and I finally hung up all my photos and pictures. I have been wanting to do this since I moved to this place back in November. Now I have almost everything the way I want it to be. Yes, the desk is a little crowded, but it should be doable for the work I am called to do. I can do this, I know I can.

I moved my filing cabinet into my closet, and I think it is going to work nicely there. It is out of the way, but I can still access my client files (potential clients) as well as all my personal papers (whoo hoo! I have needed to get organized for over two years!!) The printer, a Samsung Laserprinter, sits on my desktop, and it does take up a lot of room. I was going to invest in a printer/scanner but now think I will just get by with what I already have on hand. A scanner would be nice, but I have no place to put one, so for now, I will make do with this very good, and very sturdy little printer (thanks to Pastor Brent Peak and Miss Lora Lee White for donating it to my family last year!)

Plans for Opening Business

I already purchased my business cards. They are black with a lime green border, and somewhat plain. I would have liked to have a logo, but these cards will do the trick for now. In time, I may actually incorporate and then pick a company name. For the time being, however, I will just work under my own name and personal domain name (carolhepburn.com).

I am still short software, but the plans for now are to use the following:

  • Freeway Pro for Mac (to design graphic websites)
  • Dreamweaver CS6 (to design for mobile and tablets)
  • Text Wrangler (HTML and CSS3 by hand)
  • Photoshop CS6 
  • Miscellaneous Adobe products (Fireworks, Flash, Illustrator) as needed
I have my own server space to begin offering hosting again. The only other thing I need to do is to get up to speed using Google's host of products (Analytics, Ad Sense, Docs, etc.) It has been a while since I used any of these services, so I need to brush up on their features so I can incorporate them into my designs.

I also have a separate phone number (thanks to Google Voice) which will allow me to give it out for business, and not have to advertise my personal numbers. The only thing I don't have is a street address. I don't like to have my personal home address on my business cards or website, so I am thinking that I will register a PO Box next month. This means I will need to re-order business cards, but at $10 a box (250 cards through Vistaprint.com), I can handle it.

Grand Opening

My plan was to open shop on Tuesday, August 1, 2012. Not sure why I picked that day other than the fact that it is the beginning of the month. I had hoped to be resigned from my job at University of Phoenix, but I think I will probably have to work there a while until I can be on my own. My goal is to be self-employed, self-supporting within the month. How will I do that? I have no idea personally, but I know my God is able to do all things, so that is where I am placing my trust.

In Progress

My tasks for today include redoing my website using Freeway Pro, and creating some marketing flyers to send to potential customers. It is a lot for me to do, but I am confident that I can do it. I know that I am not able to do anything really. This is all of the Lord, and it is His will for my life. I am trusting in Him to provide the Grace, and the Ability to do these last tasks. I have been faithful to do what was asked of me, and now I wait for Him to move forward and create this new way for my life.

Thank you, Lord, for your great provision and for your constant protection. I ask now that I be able to do all the work desired, and that I be given the ability to do this work well. In your GREAT NAME, I pray, Amen.

July 28, 2012

A Little Lost, but Feeling Certain I Am Heading in the Right Direction

Good Saturday Morning! It is a cloudy day here in Phoenix, Arizona. What a nice change from our normal "hot and sunny!" I woke up early, even though I told myself I would sleep in. My boys were not being nice this morning, well, in fact -- they have been terrible over the past couple weeks. They have been running and jumping, landing on me and on my desk since I change my home office around two weeks ago. I thought the new arrangement would make things better -- give me a better view, more space, etc. Apparently, the boys were not happy about losing their spots in front of the window, and I worried every night about them bounding into the plate glass window (been there done that one before). I got up early today, moved my desk back to the safety of the side wall, and reset things as they once were in the room. The result -- happy boys. I have one of my desk now, and one taking a "tub" on the bed. They seem content. Finally!

On other fronts, I am in the process of downloading Mountain Lion. I heard great things about the OS X update, and I forked over the $20 to upgrade my Mac Mini. I hope it proves to be worth the extra investment. I am for all intents and purposes satisfied with my Mac. I did download Photoshop and Dreamweaver, but my free trial has ended, and now I have to pay to register them. I don't have the $400 to do this (though thanks to my academic discount via UOPX, $400 is a heck of a lot better than the standard price of $1100) right now, so I am not sure what I am going to do until I can pay for them. I also need to come up with about $400 to pay for my son's extra tuition at the CC. Not sure where that money is going to come from either.

Earlier in the month, my parents and son accompanied me to So. California for my nephews wedding. It was an expensive weekend for me -- almost $600 spent just to be there for a four-day weekend. It was nice to visit with my family, but I personally feel that I am strapped right now, and I don't like that feeling. I have some big credit card debt to pay off (about $1100) and I hate having that feeling that I am squashed against the credit wall. I need to make more money, and right now, there is no way to do that at UOPX.

As far as promotions/salary increase opportunities, I think I am SOL right now. I have completed my tutorials and will be doing my best to complete my skill demonstrations. If I remain at UOPX, I can see anywhere from a 3-7% raise. However, I am not certain that this is possible, and there is talk of layoffs, so part of me says "why try?" I don't know what to do right now. I got word back on a job at Apollo Group -- no go -- and some part of me thinks that they already had someone hired (just going through the motions). I also interviewed with two recruiters from Robert Half Technology, and those went well, but I don't see myself being hired by them any time soon.

I am in this very weird place right now. I am trying to let go of everything and to just rest, knowing that God has me covered, but I am worried about tomorrow and these looming needs. Really, the only need I have is to make sure my son can take his classes at school. I can make payments if I have to do so, but I would rather just pay the bill and be done with it.

I guess I am confused about where I should go next. I feel like I am to continue seeking self-employment, but there is something missing from the mix right now. I spent about two weekends relearning how to use Dreamweaver, and Photoshop. I stepped out in faith and bought some business cards for myself (thanks to Vistaprint.com and their $10 special coupon). I need to register Photoshop CS6 and it would be good to have Dreamweaver CS6 too. I spent last weekend learning CSS again, and even created my site at CarolHepburn.com using CSS.

I think my issue is that I don't want to do this work anymore. I have tried to go back into it, but there is a part of me that simply doesn't want to do it. I know I can, I know I can be good at it. I just don't want to do it. Yes, I like the idea of being self-employed. I like working from home, and I am desperate for a break from the monotony of making 100 dials, and being at my cube/phone for 6 out of 8 hours a day.

I have tried to find another job, but I cannot get hired. I feel just like I did when I was at Macy's last year. I had worked at Macy's for one year. I liked working there, but there were parts of that job that didn't work for me. First off, the work was a killer on me personally. My arthritis in my hip flared up, and I lived in excruciating pain. I made next to nothing as far as income, but I had flexible scheduling, and for the most part, I was able to do school, learn cello, and generally survive well enough until something else came along.

I was miserable while I was there, especially at the end of the job. I was bored, my hours often were in the evenings and there were few customers. I was well-liked, and told often how much I was appreciated (very similar to UOPX). I liked most of the people I worked with, and I even liked the managers (some, not all). Generally, Macy's was an OK experience.

I prayed to be released from Macy's, to find a full-time job, and it seemed like my path was blocked. I interviewed, I applied, and I waited patiently for that full-time opportunity to come to me. Eventually, I got hired at UOPX, and started working there last July.

It has been one year for me, one complete cycle. I worked at Macy's for one year, and now UOPX for one year. I am in the same predicament. This job is draining to me mentally. I spend my day in a cube, tied to the phone, and while I do get to talk with students, and help them with decisions about school -- most of my day is sitting around waiting and TRYING to look busy (exactly what I did at Macy's -- resorting, cleaning and other general busy work so that the store manager saw you were "actively" doing your job). I am bored to tears, frustrated, and every night I come home and collapse with exhaustion.

Macy's was exactly the same for me. I came home at night, and plopped into the chair, unable to move. My body ached, my legs throbbed, and the pain was searing. I took Advil, put heating patches on my muscles, and limped to bed at night. The only saving aspect was that I often had the day off (working nights and weekends). I could recover somewhat before the next shift.

At UOPX, I get up every morning at 5-6 a.m. and I drive the 25-30 minute drive into work. I plug myself into my phone and login to the ACC (contact center). I wait for transfer calls, but while I wait, I do busy work. I call people who don't want to be called. I make anywhere from 60-100 calls a day. I also progress students who do want to go to school. I call and leave a lot of voice mail, and I then follow up on their application.

I come home from work exhausted, and I usually have to go to the grocery store after work or hit Walmart before I can go home. I make dinner, and then I plop into the chair and fall asleep. I am in bed by 8:30-9:00. My day starts over, and until the weekend comes, I drag myself through and try to keep a good attitude.

I like my co-workers a lot. We laugh and we have fun. I don't make boatloads of money here, and without much hope for promotion, I don't see a solid future. I see more of the same. I hear stories of people who are in my same job, posted for every job opportunity through HR, and getting no where. It is difficult to move up, to move out. I was lied to about that, and I try not to dwell on it much. I was told that I could move into another position in 6 months, that there would be a lot of opportunities for me once I got into the job. This is not true. There are jobs, but it is all about who you know, and often the jobs are competitively shopped.

I don't like my job. I don't like the work, and I don't like that I feel stuck here. I want to do something different, but I don't see any way out.

I wanted to teach college or so I thought. I tried to get hired as a teacher, but no one wants me -- I don't have teaching experience. I tried to get hired in web design/technical support, but again, no one wants me because I don't have verifiable proof of work. I have an old and outdated portfolio. I have rusty skills. Sure I can update them, but there is part of me that says "this was the old me, the past me." I don't want to go backwards in time. I want to move forward, to move up, to do more exciting things. I want to use my Masters degree, and I want to have opportunities to try new things. I don't want to sit infront of the computer and design websites for people. I don't want to do this work.

This is the crux of my problem. I don't want to do this work because I have spent fourteen years doing it. There are still lingering memories that haunt me, and it reminds me of my old life. I am single now. I am supporting myself and my son, and this life, this old way was all tied into my marriage and my life with my husband. I don't want to go backwards, I want to go forwards. I want to do something different.

I have prayed and asked the Lord for His Will, and I know that web design is part of His Will for my life. I have permission to do it, and I know (well, He has promised me) that I will be blessed in it. I am hesitant, not that I don't believe His word to me, but rather at the thought of being totally reliant on Him to provide -- outside of an employer.

I am struggling to do what He has asked. I have completed my task list, and yet, I am stuck. I say I am ready, that I have let go of UOPX, and that I am willing to do this work. In truth, I am not. I don't want to do it. I have no other choice. I see no other road open to me. I can stay where I am and continue to suffer in the pain and mental stress or I can let it go and get on with the work. I can say "Ok, Lord -- I will do this work, even if it is not pleasing to me or I feel unqualified to do it." Yes, I have to choose to obey to Lord even though I don't want to do what He is asking me to do.

Dear Lord,
I recognize that I am stuck in a job I hate. I know that there is no way out for me at this point in time. I have applied, I have interviewed, and I am getting the same old run-around. I can either wait another year and try again, or I can be open to letting you show me the way out of this situation. I let go, Lord. I let it all go. I am tired, and I am fed up with my life as it is. I want what is best for me and for my son. I know that only you can provide me with the best. Therefore, Lord, I rest and trust that you will provide for me this day. I confess this now, and I ask in the power of your Name for this to come to pass. Make a way for me today. Amen, so be it, thy will be done. Selah (pause and calmly think about that!)

July 14, 2012

Forging Ahead with the Plans

I haven't blogged in awhile, but we made it home safely from our trip to Simi Valley, CA last weekend. My nephew got married, and we had a very nice time visiting with brothers and cousins and others. The entire weekend was restful, and enjoyable. DJ and I got to visit the Reagan Presidential Library as well as make it over the mountains to Zuma Beach. The weather was lovely, and I relaxed and found the trip restful and a good reminder of all the beautiful things I have in my life.

I came back home, and of course, had to return to work. The week went well, even if there were some issues with getting settled into the new group (new manager and team). The expectations are the same, but the emphasis is a bit more pressured. I am not happy about the change, but until I can leave and move onto another venue, I am determined to give it my best.

I had already considered returning to Web Design work. I wasn't sure how to go about doing it, but I had started to work towards getting back into designing websites. I was thinking I could work temporary or contract for a while, and then later on start my own business again. I started with some tutorials just to see how out of date my skills are, and realized that while I might be a little rusty, I am really not that bad off.

I did download a free trial of Photoshop, and I will purchase the student version before the month's end. I got frustrated with Dreamweaver, and about gave up on the whole idea. I am almost 100% visual, and DW is created to code sites more so than to design them visually. I dropped the entire idea after a couple hours attempting to create a very basic website.

Then on Thursday, I received a word at work that gave me a good kick on the backside. I was reminded of my promise to the Lord -- to complete the tutorials and prepare to move back into Web Design. I was frustrated, and overwhelmed -- but I decided that the only job for me would be to work on my own again. I prayed about it, and convinced that I was to take this path, I picked myself up, and I started walking down the road where I believed the Lord was leading me to go.

Miracle of miracle (to quote "Fiddler on the Roof") I realized that I did the RIGHT thing! Everything has become so clear to me, and I know that I am to do this work again. It is not that I feel "right" or anything, I just sense the Lord moving ahead of me, making a way for me to go. It is different than before, and I sense that I am doing exactly what He wants me to do.

Today, I woke up and took some more big steps of faith. First off, I ordered my graduation announcements -- now I can send these to friends and family -- letting them know I am officially graduated from Mercy College (PTL!) Secondly, I purchased some very cool, yet inexpensive business cards from Vistaprint.com. I also spent some time online looking over good software options for me. I found a program called Freeway Pro which is a WYSIWYG editor, and looks like it will be much easier for me to use to create website templates. I can code HTML and CSS, but it has been such a long time, and I like to design from pictures, not words.

I see that God has provided to me software programs that will allow me to be creative and still use my skills the way I am most comfortable. I don't have to learn how to use a complex program just to do this kind of work. More than likely, I will learn DW at some point, but for now, I need something I can design in and have control over layout and have it work with my visual skill (not against it).

Moreover, I talked with my son the other night about doing this business. He knows that I have wanted to go back to Web Design, but has watched me not do anything about it. I know he wants me to do it, but I have hesitated, thinking that it would be up to me to do this entire work, and that I am too old and too tired to do it. However, during our conversation, I realized something wonderful. God has given me this amazing young man, and he shares my life and my interests. We get along well, and we are so alike in personality and temperament. My son is a gifted and talented programmer, and I realized that I don't have to be like him -- in fact -- it was something he said to me that set my heart at rest. He said "Mom, I am the better programmer, but you are the better designer." He was right of course. I felt that programming was going to be too much for me, and even though the Lord told me that all I had to concentrate on was graphic design, I still thought I would have to become a developer/programmer.

The Lord had planned all along to use my son as my development partner. He (my son) has wanted to find a part-time job while he was in school, but didn't see how he could actually do it with music study/practice, theater, etc. I said to him that he needed to be looking for contract work online -- to do programming. He was open to it, but didn't know how to get started. He is not the most organized and project management is not his strong suit. It is MINE, and that was when the light bulb went off for me. I can manage projects, meet with clients, and I can design. My son can do all the high end programming work that he loves to do. It is fate (well, God's way) for certain.

So here I sit, committed to leaving my job at University of Phoenix by the month's end. Hoping and with firm resolution that the Lord will provide good work to me. I need to complete some tasks before then, but I see this as the best possible solution to all my working and all my struggles. I am so pleased to know that God has provided a way out for me, and not just any way out -- but the very best way out.

Gracious Lord and Father, 

I praise you today, and I lift up your NAME, for you are worthy to be praised. Thank you for your provision of work, of plans, and of materials so that I could contemplate working from home again. I know you will take care of us, and provide for us. I am resting in your NAME and the Power of your NAME knowing that whatever I ask in your will, will be given to me. May God be praised today and forever more. Amen, so be it, thy will be done. Selah! Pause and Calmly think about that!!

July 3, 2012

More Changes

God must be up to something because there have been more changes taking place in my work life since my last post. The biggest change, well hoped for change, is that I received notice that I am being considered (initially) for a position at UOPX. This was surprising news to me, but good news at that. I am excited to be considered, and whether or not the position comes to pass is immaterial. I am just happy that my resume seems to be attracting interest, and that "things" seem to be looking up for me.

On the second front, I received news today of my new manager. I am going to be working for the young man who actually hired me last year. I am happy for this news, but sad to see some of my teammates get shuffled off to other parts of the building. It looks like they are downsizing healthcare, and that means that some advisors are being relocated to other groups. At least they are not being let go, just moved around, so that is a very good thing. Still it won't be the same because I will miss seeing these people every day. We have lots of laughs and we enjoy each other's company. I know that it is for the best, and that it means that we all get to keep our jobs -- so good for that news.

I am not sure when I will move to my new team. I may end up staying put, but more than likely, they will shift us around so that we can be grouped together. We sit in cubes and there is little room to move anyone, so I am thinking we many end up staying in our spot. Who knows! I have learned to let things be at UOPX. Today it is one way, tomorrow it will change!!

Lastly, I am considering options for jobs in other states. The Lord has suggested a possible move, but so far, nothing has materialized. I am confident that if I am to move, it will be for His will, and His provision will go along with it. I am considering North Carolina because my brother lives there and the cost of living is low. I would like to move some place, just to get out of the heat, but for now, I am content to remain where I am and see how the Lord intends to provide for me.

I am praying for some additional change in my life:
  • I need a new car and I would like a Nissan Xterra. My little Kia is fantastic but with almost 100K in miles, it is starting to make grumbling noises. If I am to remain at UOPX, I will need to commute, and I really need an automatic transmission (my poor knees). I am asking the Lord to provide this car to me as soon as possible.
  • I need to pass the GRE exam. I need to study for the GRE, so as soon as I can study up on Math, I will register for this test. I need a good result to be offered a scholarship at Regent University, so I am asking the Lord to provide a scholarship to me as well as to cover me with success on this important test.
  • I need extra income to help offset school costs for my son. He needs to take foreign language courses this fall/spring, and I need to pay for them. I am asking for the provision of lessons and language software/courses so he can take these classes and then study Linguistics next Fall.
Other than these items, I am good. I have everything I need, and the Lord has provided amply to supply all my needs and wants. I am content. I am at peace, and I know my God has everything for my well-being and well-fare in hand. He is good to me, and I lift up all the praise to worship His Holy Name. God is so very good to me. All the time, God is GOOD!