February 19, 2016

Giving Praise

It is such a good day here in cloudy and cool Phoenix. Yes, we have variable weather this week, and well, that is reason for praise! Our normal temperatures at the end of February and beginning of March are right around 80 degrees. When we hit record highs this early (as has been the past couple days), that signals a long and very hot summer (ouch!) Thankfully, the weather forecast is for cooler temps through next week (yay!)

Still, I have to admit that I am looking forward to moving from Phoenix some day soon. Don't get me wrong, I am thankful for my life here in Phoenix.  Lately, though, I have been grumbling a lot about my life and the lack of resources I have, so I have decided to stop doing that and to start giving God praise for the way my life has turned out.

In truth, while I may not like everything that has come to pass since I moved here back in 1996, I cannot say with 100% honesty that my life in Phoenix has been "all" bad. I have enjoyed living near my parents who retired here in 2000. I loved home schooling my son from 5th-12th grade. I survived divorce (not so fun), but the Lord carried me through that difficult time, and He gave me a new life in return. Plus, I returned to graduate school twice. Furthermore, I have made some nice friends here, and I do love my church (even though I struggle at times with my ex and his girlfriend attending the same service). In all, I have a very good life now. So to say I wish to leave Phoenix because of the painful memories, the hardships and trials, and the general unpleasantness -- well -- that would be inaccurate and untrue for sure. No, I am thankful that the Lord sowed seeds in this place. It wasn't the happiest of places by far, but it was a place of growth and where I learned complete dependency upon Him. I guess you could say that Phoenix was my wilderness experience, and now, I am ready to leave it and to head out to the promised land.


Moving On Up

I spent the better part of yesterday working to rehouse my goldfish. Yes, it is hard to imagine that one little fish could require so much care, but he has been a source of constant trouble since I adopted him two years ago. Lenny, as he is called, actually belongs to my nephew and his girlfriend. I adopted him back in 2014 when my nephew couldn't take him home to LA. He was supposed to stay with us over the summer, and then when my nephew returned to school, the fish would be returned to his dorm. However, that never worked out, so I kept him through to the next summer. In the interim, Lenny has had two tank upgrades. The first took him from a small Tetra tank (2.5 gallon) to a 5-gallon tank. This lasted about a year, and for the most part, he did fine in this confined space. Lately, though, he has acted strangely and with some investigation, I realized he was stressed due to a lack of air and space. Hence, his new tank, a 10-gallon Glo Tank (with blue lights) that should provide ample room to grow over the next year. He seems pretty content in his new place, and hopefully, the Ick and other issues will abate now that he has more room to swim and better oxygenated water to breathe.

Getting Ready for my Defense

So yesterday was spent reviewing my answers (in addition to upgrading Lenny's tank). I have not wanted to read my answers because I feared the worst -- that they would be awful -- and that I would have a lot of work to do to prepare for my defense. Instead, I found that of the five I read, only one had minor issues (Theory), and at that, mostly they were errors made in haste and not in content. I was so relieved, like GIGANTICALLY relieved. This means that of my four core answers, I think all of them are solid contenders for passing the exam. I will still want to add, expand, and perhaps, clarify some, but I don't think I have to do any major work on defending my responses. I am pleased, so very pleased. Tomorrow, I will review the remaining three answers, which are probably my best since they were all applied questions. My hope is that these three will be similar -- just a few clarifications on content, perhaps better citation or the addition of some sources. I am praying my professors do not ask me to clarify or expound on another writer because that would open a door of opportunity for me to sink or swim. Of course, I am praying that I will swim, really swim, but none the less, I know the Lord has me so well covered. He has me so well covered.

Today, therefore, is a good day, a really good day. I will be heading over to campus around 11:30, and then once I am finished (at 4:30) will have a pretty nice weekend to play, to rest, and to relax before my big day next week. Two of my colleagues are defending today, so my prayers are with them now. My hope is that everyone from my cohort passes their defense. I sure do not want to see anyone not make it through this difficult and trying part of the program.

Lastly, as I think about my next steps, I realize just how close I am to finishing my degree. Oh my goodness! I mean, I have wanted this degree for now on 24 years. I cannot believe that my dream is coming to pass, but it is. This has been a long, long road, and praise be to God, I am almost finished and ready for His next "best" in my life. I have very few plans of my own, except for getting a job, paying off my school loans, and then building retirement. I know that these are His plans too, so before I get to far ahead of myself, I need to remember to finish strong, to complete all tasks, and to wrap up all loose ends. The only way I can feel free to move on is to know that everything that needed "doing" has been completed. I want to hear Him say "it is done!" May it be so, always, so. Amen! Selah!

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