February 7, 2017

News and Notes

It is a good Tuesday. I woke up feeling well, rather spunky, and ready to take on everything I had listed to-do on my day off. Unfortunately, the day zoomed by, almost out of control, and now I am sitting at my computer, thinking about the fact that I have so much to do, and well, not so much time left to do it. Still, I did accomplish a lot today, and right now, I am thanking the Lord for His gracious goodness and provision in my life.

First off, I located my missing paychecks from ASU. Whew! I found them sitting in reception at the department, and thankfully, the staff there said they would pop them into the mail for me today. I should receive them this week. Then, I was finally able to setup direct deposit, which means that I will have my next three checks automatically deposited into my checking account. In all, I feel blessed. I am resting from the worry of having my pay go into “cyber space” somewhere.

Second, I had a good conversation with my professor today. My dissertation is in process, and he said that my chapter four needs work, but it is not too bad. Yay! This means I will have revision to do, but no major rewrites, just lots of clarification and some spots for addition. I am pleased with this report. He should have my chapter five notes back to me by next week. I think I am on track to finish, praise be to God, and with some hard work this week and next, I should be able to graduate on time. Whew!

Third, I received notice that I have been given two teaching contracts at Regent for the second half of the semester. I am toasting the Lord on this one because it means that I will have taught four classes in the semester, which in my view, is so close to full-time. The money is so wonderfully welcome, and the classes are pretty easy for me to teach. I am so blessed, so blessed with this news.

Fourth, I signed up to teach two classes this summer at OCU. I normally teach English 101 for them, and so I requested two back to back classes beginning in May-July. This will provide some much needed income over the summer. I need to wait to hear if I have been contracted, but I am blessed to have actually been able to ask for, and hopefully, teach these classes.

Fifth, though I am praying that I receive another contract for the second half of the semester from ASU, I am not sure if this will be the case or not, but it sure would be nice. One more contract would give me just the amount of money I need to cover me during the summer months when my normal contracts are ended. My hope is they will ask me to teach one or more classes in the second sub-semester. I am feeling confident that I could do it, I just need them to think I am doing a good enough job right now.

In all, I am more and more convinced that the Lord seems to be blessing me right here in Phoenix, right where I am planted. I cannot help but think that this must be His will for my life. I mean, He seems to be making a way for me, and that way seems to be saying, “here,” as in STAY HERE in Phoenix. I still don’t know if this is true or not, but it appears to be so. I mean, why else would I be receiving blessing, financial blessing without the benefit of a full-time job? It doesn’t track, if you get my drift. It just doesn’t seem to be like He is working toward moving me out of state right now, instead, it appears as if He is having me stick around awhile longer. Sigh! Thus, as I think about what the Lord seems to be doing in my life right now, I realize that He is opening doors for me where I am already employed. He seems to be watering the ground where I have already been planted as opposed to transplanting me into new soil, if that makes sense.

In fact, I have not seen any movement toward the applications I have in process other than closure. No openings, no movement forward, no calls for interview, etc. For example, the job I applied to at GCU (for full-time faculty) closed on me today. I received YET another email from them saying, “Sorry, we’ve moved forward with other people” — which is just to say — they aren’t interested in hiring me. Yes, that door slammed shut, and, while I didn’t really want that job, it was just another testimony to me that the Lord doesn’t intend to plant me at GCU as full-time faculty anytime soon.

More so, I also received an email from UW at Superior yesterday saying that they hadn’t received my letters of recommendation, and asking if they wanted me to withdraw from the position. I prayed over it, and finally yesterday, I replied to them. I took the leap and withdrew myself since I didn’t feel comfortable asking my colleagues to write more letters for me. Thus, the only job I still have in process is the one at Regent University, which I don’t think will come to pass. Right now, I feel like — in the short term — I am where I am and the Lord seems to be happy and content to keep me here.

So while I am not overjoyed at staying in Phoenix, I realized that for now, for this short season, I am here for a reason. Today, I took time to calculate my salary, and though I only work part-time, with all my schools, I am earning significantly more now than if I worked in one job alone.  I know that sounds crazy, but it is true. I am earning a significant amount of income working as adjunct faculty. And, while I am really slammed as in crazy busy most days, I am actually earning a lot of income, for a manageable amount of work. Furthermore, while I only earn for 9 months of the year, I have enough income projected right now to cover me for the remaining spring and the 3 months where I have no work during the summer.  Consequently, while I am still praying for one full-time job, for now, I am okay with the work I have at multiple schools until that full-time job appears. I am good, and my life is good. For now, I think I am well-covered. For now, I can do this work, this amount of work, and with His help, I can be successful at it.
Looking Forward

As I begin to plan for my future, I am stumped as to where the Lord intends to move me. For a long time, I really felt like He wanted me to go elsewhere, to leave Phoenix, and to move to a new place where I would work full-time as a professor. Then, when things didn’t happen as I had hoped, I started to feel that perhaps He intended to keep me here. But, I didn’t feel peace about that idea, so I have kept in the back of my head the idea that He would move me soon.

The past couple days, however, I have had this feeling that I was meant to stay put, I mean, like I was to stay put permanently. There is such uncertainty with staying put. I mean, the housing market in Phoenix is hot, and rents are sky high. I honestly cannot stay here and live comfortably. Yet, the Lord isn’t opening doors for me any where else so I have to believe that He wants me to be content to remain in Phoenix.

I looked at some houses yesterday, just online I mean, and frankly, I am not impressed with them. I guess I am just tired of the “Phoenix” look, you know what I mean. Rocks, no grass, no trees, and blazing hot sun. Yeah, not my cup of tea. But, then I started to list out the positives of staying put, and I realized that there is no really perfect place. I mean, the worst part about Phoenix is the heat. I have been here for 20 years, and the heat is oppressive. Yet, it is hot from May through to November, but from December to April, it is nice. You could say the same thing about Minnesota. It is frigid from November to April, and then moderate from May-October. It is the same. I guess it is good that I don’t have to shovel snow or deal with ice or frozen pipes. Lord help us if the AC goes out, but over all, it is better to be too hot than too cold, in my view.

Moreover, I realized that we have low property taxes here, so while the homes are high ($250K and up), the tax burden is low. What is more, this is a RED state so generally we are conservative here. We also have really good medical care, and we have a nice quality of life.

The job market is really good here, and there are a lot of jobs for people who need work. Professors, not so much, but other types of jobs are plentiful. It is simply that I am a professor in need of a faculty position, but instead of a full-time one, I have multiple part-time ones.

I also will need a place to live. My Dad said that it is costing us $2200 a month (without food and other expenses) to live in this house. The rent is high, almost $1500, and we are living comfortably, but at this high of rent, I could afford my own house with a mortgage around $1000. I could live on $2200 a month very nicely, and I could pay for my own home.

Furthermore, my son seems happy to stay now. It has been a long time in coming, but he sees a future here for himself, and that makes me very happy. He said he is thinking about graduate school again, and that he has a line on a possible job. In all, he seems ready to settle down, and I find that thought so comforting.

I am not sure what to make of the change of events, other than to say that I am in this very good place right now. I have plentiful job ops, and I have a good push to finish my degree. I am ready to settle down too, to have my own place, to put down roots. I just would like to know if Phoenix is where I will remain or if I will go some place else still. Sigh!

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