November 17, 2015

Feeling Good Today

Happy Tuesday! It is a good day to be at home, working and organizing my studies and my life. Yes, I am organizing everything -- including and not limited to -- everything in the house! My desire to get organized was spurned on today by a problem with my son's bedroom window. The window frame was stuck, probably due to our recent rains, and he wanted met to know that he was afraid to force it for fear of breaking it. Our house has an alarm so there would be no way to set the alarm with his window stuck open. It had to be fixed, and I knew that there wasn't any way to get to the window because of my son's "organizational system" (aka, his floor), so I was going to have to make a way in to check it out. My Dad would want to check it out as well, so I thought if I could fix it today, then that would save him the bother (and frankly, the hassle -- too many words to describe what I mean -- so suffice to say, it was best left up to me). The good news is that I did fix it, and in the interim, my son got his room semi-organized and cleaned.

Yep, I know what you are saying, that he should do this himself. You are right, you know. It is one of my failures as a parent -- I didn't train him to be neat. In truth, I did try. I tried very, very hard. My son's earlier issues with attachment and with his need to control his environment made it difficult to get him to be neat. He would melt down at the thought of me touching anything in his room. I can't really explain it, but it was something I had to learn how to navigate around. For most of his early years into his teen years, we would clean up his room together. I had to show him what to do, then I had to sit there and let him work. It was trying for me because I would have sooner done it myself, but he needed to help, and that took days most of the time. Still, we managed to keep his room in semi-clean shape. When he turned 18, I pretty much stopped helping him, thinking he could handle it himself. I have been 50/50 on that one -- sometimes he can do it, and other times, he still becomes overwhelmed at the thought of it. I pray his future wife is with OK with the mess or is neat and tidy. Until then, I will do my best to remain neutral (except for emergencies like today).

My time spent organizing was well-worth it. I gave up some other things that needed attention, but I am not that far off my timeline for the day. God is good, so very good to me.

It is another cool day here in Phoenix. It is not as chilly as yesterday was, and we have sunny skies versus the cloudy ones we had all day long. It is nice, though, to have a change of scenery, to enjoy the cool fall-like temperatures. As I think about the changing seasons, I am also thinking about the changes that are happening in my home and in my life. The most notable change is with my Mom. Her memory loss seems progressive. Some days she is doing well, and other days, she struggles. For example, yesterday she decided to clean the house. My Mom has always been uber-clean. I mean, like up at 5 and vacuuming clean. She had the dust mop and vacuum out yesterday, and I heard her busily attending to those tasks. This morning, after I came back from ACU, I saw the vacuum and dust mop out again. I asked her about it and she said the carpet needed vacuuming and the floor, dusting. I said, "Didn't you do this yesterday?" and her reply was, "I don't remember. The rug looks dirty so I am going to vacuum it again." Well, I know she did do it yesterday while I was home, and while this is fairly innocent, and most people would say, "So what is the big deal?" Well, the big deal is that repetitive behavior like this is a further symptom of Alzheimers disease, and it simply gives attribution to the fact that my Mom's condition is worsening. Granted, she can take care of herself somewhat, and she is not in full-on dementia yet; but, she is progressing that way, and that thought and the eventual reality bothers me, saddens me.

I am at the point in my life where I am seeing this decline every day. I struggle to come to terms with it, even though I am realistic about her prognosis. There is nothing that can be done. She takes the recommended medicine that is supposed to slow the progression, but I don't really see any difference. She is getting worse. My Dad sees it and I see it, and we both know what is coming down the road.

I was thinking to myself today: "If only my parents had the resources to deal with this illness..." Of course, my thoughts were that then they would be less stressed, more able to enjoy their days now because the difficult end would be "not so difficult" (if you know what I mean). But because of their tight financial situation, the truth is that they cannot do anything about it. They simply do not possess the means to handle this type of illness. The cost of care for Alzheimer's patients is out of reach for most Americans. The best we can hope for is that she will be able to remain at home for a long while, and that in God's grace and mercy, He will choose to take her home before the worst part of this disease sets in. I honestly do not know what to do or think when it comes to her care. I know that this is not my priority, yet. It is a shared responsibility that falls mostly to my Dad first, and then to my brothers and me. How will we handle it? What will we do? Only the Lord knows, only He knows what tomorrow will bring.

Thinking About Where I Am Today

So, I am thinking about where I am today, and where I would like to be tomorrow. I am planning on teaching the rest of my life so I need to find a full-time job somewhere. Since I started on this path in 2010, I have targeted several areas of the country for possible relocation. I have also had a tentative move date of 2017. This coincided with my graduation from Regent University. The earliest I could possible move would be next summer, sometime right before fall classes begin. I was thinking about this today, about what if I don't find a job next fall, and I have to stay at GCU and ACU. I was trying to see what I would have to do to maintain my life here in Phoenix. In truth, I could stay put for one more year. I could remain here so that my son had the opportunity to graduate and then I could move elsewhere. I thought about what that would mean, how moving in 2017 would give me four years of teaching experience, and I would have my Ph.D. in hand. Yet, this picture is problematic for me. I know I can teach three classes at GCU as I typically do. I could add in three more at ACU, but that is a lot of extra work, and frankly, I do not enjoy teaching at ACU that much. I like it, don't get me wrong, it is just the different environment and student body, etc. I enjoy GCU more, and I wish I could teach 4-5 classes there without being forced under the "adjunct cap." There are no full-time teaching positions at GCU. Furthermore, the only other available positions right now are at ASU and U of A in Tucson. Neither are my preference, and I don't believe that teaching at these large public schools is the Lord's will for my life.

I logged into United Healthcare's website again today -- just to see -- if those two remaining jobs have closed. Both are open, both say they are "still accepting applications," and there has been no move one way or another in regard to my candidacy. I am thinking that they are looking for someone who lives close to MN and even though the job description says "US Telecommuting," I really think they want someone near by. I am OK with that, it makes sense to me. I just wish they would email me that reject letter so I can move on with my life. Oh well...

I still have two job applications in process at Auburn University, one in Auburn and one in Montgomery, but that doesn't mean anything. I have never received any confirmation from them or even an email saying they are reviewing my application. I get the system email that says thanks for your submission, but nothing from HR that tells me they are even considering me. I know this is because of the volume of applicants they receive, and also because of my limited credentials. Both positions said you needed a terminal degree, which in my business is the Ph.D. I don't have mine yet, and my experience is limited, so I am not the best candidate for the job.

What does this mean for me today?

I am not sure, really. I think I am to stay put for a time, but there is part of me that knows that fall is when most schools actively search to fill their  open positions. Still, whenever I look at these positions, I either do not see anything suitable or I just feel that what is listed isn't anything I want to do. Sigh!

My life is still in transition, it is in flux, and until the Lord chooses to settle me, I am stuck where I am. It is okay, really, as I see the hard road ahead of me, and I know that I must walk this way. I cannot avoid it, so I have to pass by all that lays there for me to see, to do, and to process. Until He does whatever He intends on doing, I must remain fixed on my way, seeking to complete what is on my plate each day, and trusting the future to the One who holds all things in His merciful and providential hand.

Today, then, is a day when I can plan, purpose, and project my thoughts and  ideas out, but a day when I must firmly remain in control of the things right in front of me. I must focus on the tasks He has assigned to me, and to the ministry opportunities He has provided for me to do. I must remain as I am, stalwart, steady, and still -- looking up and looking forward -- to all that He has in mind for my life.

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