August 23, 2016

Moving On

It is a blessed wet and rainy Tuesday here in Phoenix, Arizona. Yes, it is wet outside (hooray!) The monsoon arrived early this morning with thunder, lightening and a lot of heavy rain. The good news is that our temperatures, while a bit sticky, are actually pleasant right now. It is 78 degrees outside, and our high today, is forecast to be a shy under 100! I'll take it, of course. Anytime we can stay under 100 degrees in August is such a blessing. There is a slight chance for more storms today, so I am keeping my fingers crossed and hoping to see some more showers later this afternoon. In all, it is a good day, a very good day.

Some other good news for this day is the fact that my class at OCU is officially finished. I need to grade final essays and assignments, but generally speaking, I am done. This class was a good introduction to online learning, and I did enjoy the content to some extent. I would say that overall the class was satisfactory, but not thoroughly enjoyable. I think the reason for the latter was a combination of issues with the online learning system (e360 Advance) and the curriculum format (5 weeks versus 8 weeks). In truth, five weeks is just too short to do anything at all. Personally, it is difficult for students to complete all their work in such a short amount of time. Many students struggle with this format, and the pace is so extreme that it grinds up and spits out about 50% of them. I noticed this fact when I worked at UOPX. They also use a 5-week format, and most of the students drop out by week 2. I don't understand why colleges insist on forcing their online students to attempt to complete a 3-credit course in this short time frame. To me, it is impossible. I mean, my on-campus students have 16 weeks to complete their work. We take our time, do revisions, spend quality time in the classroom, etc. In all, I think 8-weeks is the minimum necessary to attempt a 3-credit college class. Just my .02 cents...

All of this is to say, I mean, that while I appreciate the opportunity to teach at OCU, I don't think I am going to continue to work there long-term. Most of the faculty I met online seem to work in full-time jobs where they are not faculty. This means that they have their evenings and weekends free to teach one class every now and again. In my case, I am slammed except for summer, so to add in the push of a 5-week class during fall or spring semesters, well, it is going to be too much for me. I don't want to let down the students assigned to my classes, so I think this format is not the best setup for someone like me. We will see, of course. I am trusting the Lord for provision of courses and such, but I think I am interpreting, sensing, this fact today. Yes, I think I have enough on my plate with my other schools at the moment. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for your amazing and awesome provision! Selah!


Planning for Fall

Well, my semester is in full-swing (almost). I started my British Literature course yesterday, and so far, it seems to be off and running well. My second week at ACU is moving on, and it seems to be solid (I sure hope so). My big classes begin next week when I tackle three sections of composition at GCU. Yes, I tackle three sections once again in a back-to-back format. It is going to be busy come MWF. Mondays and Wednesdays will be my hard days due to the fact that I have an early am class at ACU, then a short break before I head to GCU for a full afternoon. Still, I know it will be okay. I have done this format before (in 2014). I did two and two back to back at both schools. It worked out well, and in the end, I wasn't overly stressed. I am confident that I can handle the courses assigned to me.

My dissertation is on hold still, but after this afternoon, I hope to have some new work to do to get me moving again. I am waiting on chapter 2-3 revisions from my professor, and once I make those changes, I hope to get myself in gear and really move on down the road (you know!) I know the Lord has me well-covered, so while I am a bit anxious about it, in truth, I know we are in a good place right now. I am trusting Him, and I am resting in faith. He knows what He is doing, so I am letting Him lead, guide, and provide for me.

I am also trusting the Lord for care needs here at home. I am not sure how we are going to handle meals yet, but my Mom is insistent that she can handle it. I don't want to disappoint her, but frankly, I know what will happen. I will get home at 5:30, and she will say "so what do you want to have for dinner?" I need to plan, prepare, and provide for our meals so that we always have food on hand. My Dad doesn't seem to be too worried about it, but I have to care for my son too. It is a lot to have on my plate, so right now, I am resting in His sufficiency. I know He knows our needs well.

More so, as I think about the fall, some things come to mind for me. I have my schedule set, and for that, I am grateful. I also have my needs covered for finances (thank you, Jesus!) so that means that I don't have to worry about paying my bills. I am still near the red-line with my credit cards, but the Lord seems to be telling me not to worry about them now. So, I am not worrying (or trying not to worry about them). My prayer is to get my cards paid down to less than 30% of their balance. If I could do this soon, my financial worries would drastically lessen. My hope is to be able to get my FICO score higher. I need to be able to qualify for a home loan at some point, and that means I need to have money in my savings account as well as have my credit score and FICO score a wee bit higher than it is at present.

Furthermore, my son still needs a car. We are getting by with sharing my car, and on days when I need to be gone all day, we have arranged other transportation. This is going to get old fairly quickly, so I am praying for a used SUV to come to us (some way, some how) so that we could purchase it. My son needs an SUV, simply because his gear is heavy and hard to move in/out of a trunk. He hopes to have three jobs (praise God!) very soon. He thinks he can work at school, church, and do sound work on Sunday's at his friend's church. In all, he should be able to make enough to cover a small car payment and insurance. Yes, praise God, yes!

Moreover, as the semester wears on and we move closer to Christmas, I am starting to think about my next steps. I am starting to imagine where I want to be in a year's time. Then with moving -- relocating -- I need to start planning how I am going to support myself and a new life some place else. All of this is on my mind, in the back of my mind, right now. I know the Lord's plan is perfect and good. I am trusting Him to reveal His will for my life, to make a way for me to go, and then to provide resources so I can go. I really want to obey Him in this "going" and in this settlement for my life. I am so ready to be settled. I am so ready to be transplanted. Lead me, Lord, where you intend to plant me. Guide me through the steps so I can be ready to go, and then provide for me everything I need so that I can let go of this life, and embrace the new life you have for me. Selah!

In Closing

My Fall semester has started off with a bang! I am choosing to obey the Lord, to listen and to heed His call and His direction. Deuteronomy 28:1-6 (NASB) says,

"Now it shall be, if you diligently obey the Lord your God, being careful to do all His commandments which I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you obey the Lord your God: Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country. Blessed shall be the offspring of your body and the produce of your ground and the offspring of your beasts, the increase of your herd and the young of your flock. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out."

The LORD has promised blessing for obedience to His commands. And, although we do not have the law to keep anymore (Christ is the fulfillment of the law), we are commanded to obey God and to keep the summation of the law, which says to love God and to love others. Therefore, as I strive to obey the Lord, I am assured that there is blessing waiting for me. My life is to be blessed. My life is promised success, provision, and prosperity. You see, while I don't believe in a prosperity gospel, per se, I do believe the whole counsel of God's word is truth. Thus, God's promises to His children in the Old Testament are just as valid today as they were when the word was spoken thousands of years ago. As a Christian, my life has been grafted in by my faith in Jesus Christ. Thus, I can believe that His word to me is true, that is promises are "yea and amen," and that obedience still matters to God, our Heavenly Father, and to His Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 

My prayer today is to walk in faith, in obedience, and in total reliance and trust. I look to His hand of blessing, not because I deserve it -- no! Rather, I look for His blessing simply because He has promised it. I believe His promise to me. I believe His promise in His word, and I believe that as His child, I am able to claim this promise on the basis of my faith in Jesus today!

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