Thursday, August 26, 2010

I guess this about sums it up.

From a post on my Facebook wall tonight:

Question from a friend of mine: do u like ur new job???

My answer: Is that a trick question? ha ha!

Seriously, I am enjoying it. It's making all my little OCD dreams come true. I am totally a detail person so organizing files & keeping up with numbers & stuff makes me purr. The day flies by because I stay really busy, so that's good. But I'm still adjusting....I miss my little ones like crazy. Everything else I ever do (job-wise) will always come in 2nd place to teaching preschool. If I could find a way to get a year-round paycheck doing it, I'd do that in a heartbeat. It's my heart & soul and always will be. But in the meantime, I'm doing something that I can make a decent paycheck at & still have great hours.

So...does that answer your question? :)

Monday, August 23, 2010

First Day of School

Today, Savannah started high school. She was still a little nervous when she got out of the car & headed inside. Her schedule wasn't quite right so we knew that she'd have to tackle that right off the bat. She's just like her mama. She wants everything to be in order & worked out before she can feel 'safe'. I'm praying that she can quickly get that fixed this morning & everything will be fine.

Samuel started 5th grade today. As the final year of elementary school, I'm praying that he is able to get himself in order & have a good year. He struggles with all the same stuff most boys struggle with...keeping up with his things, remembering to bring home & DO his homework. He's a good kid but he's way more worried about how long I'll let him play outside in the afternoons than whether or not he gets all his homework done. Middle school is going to be tough next year if he can't get himself together THIS YEAR.

Also today, Sarah started 4th grade. Last year, the first day of school was pretty hard on her because she was so nervous & didn't know anyone in her class. This year, there were no tears. It doesn't hurt that her best friend is in her class & they're sitting next to each other! Hooray!

The kids aren't the only ones starting something new today. It's also my first day of my new job with students. Last week was all inservice training stuff with the staff only. Now I have to actually hang out with teenagers all day. yikes! To say that I'm nervous about that would be an understatement. But here goes nothin'!!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Happy Anniversary Larry!

On August 20, 1994 I married my sweetheart. I was almost 19 & he was almost 21. I realize now how very young we were, but looking back, I wouldn't change a thing. It worked for us. I know we're lucky. Getting married so young certainly doesn't work for everyone.

But here we are, 16 years later, still happily married. I can't imagine having spent the past 16 years with anyone else!

Larry is still my knight in shining armor, the love of my life. I'm so honored to call him mine.

Happy Anniversary Larry! I love you with all my heart!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The dam broke.

Today was my first day at the new job. I went to the administrative building this morning & filled out loads of paperwork and then took the picture for my new ID badge. Kind of like taking a driver's license photo that you have to wear around on your shirt all day every day. Oh yeah, gotta love that. ha ha!

After that, I drove over to the high school where all the grades 6-12 teachers & staff were already in the middle of a morning training session. Thankfully they were on a break when I got there, so I was able to slip into the building unnoticed rather than having to walk in during the middle of a session. I sat through the last 90 minutes of that session & then we went to lunch.

Lunchtime reminded me a lot of the junior high cafeteria. You know what I'm talking about right? The cool kids all sit together & you just go looking for a spot to sit where you can hide & eat your lunch in peace? I sat down & quickly realized that all the other people who work there were filtering into the room & sitting the other table. Weird. While I did end up having two coworkers at my table, and I'm grateful that one of them was really chatty so she filled all the dead time that I wasn't sure what to talk about, it still felt really awkward to sit with strangers & attempt a conversation.

When we got back from lunch, we all went to another session on another campus about bullying prevention. I really wasn't sure what to expect from that class, but the speaker was pretty funny so it made the whole thing tolerable.

When that class was over, we went back to the campus where I will be working & had a staff meeting. Most of what was discussed didn't involve me so I sat & nodded & smiled a lot. When I left this afternoon I didn't feel any more prepared or knowledgeable about my job than I did at the start of the day. Sigh. I couldn't help but think through both of the sessions that I should be in classes about hands on science experiments and classroom techniques to use with 3 & 4 year olds.

When I got into the car, I felt one tear roll down my cheek. I wiped it away, determined not to give into the sadness & frustration & emotion I had been stuffing down for the past couple weeks. I listened to my voicemail on my phone & called Savannah back. I talked to her on my drive to the errand I needed to do & found myself choking back tears because I didn't want her to hear me cry. All three of my kids really struggle when they see me cry. It bothers them because their mom is usually the super positive one. When I hung up, I let it loose. And then I called Larry. He listened to me cry & assured me that things would get better. He offered to come home early & take me out for icecream, but I told him that I just wanted to go sit at home & cry into my pillow without anybody looking at me. By the time I picked up the kids & got home, he was driving up into the driveway. God bless that precious man. He came in & layed on our bed & held me while I sobbed. I cried pretty much all afternoon from 4:00 til about 6:30. I gave myself the worst headache & my eyes are so puffy now!

Making the decision to take this job was very emotional & stressful to me. Don't get me wrong. The place I'm working seems perfectly nice & the people seem kind. I told someone today on Facebook that making this switch is a lot like someone who suddenly picks up & moves across the country. While all the people in their new home may be perfectly nice and the community may be beautiful, their heart is still back in their old hometown and it takes a long time for them to warm up to being in a new place, no matter how nice it is. That's sort of how I feel. I feel bad to gripe about changing jobs. I am grateful that I have a job at all! I know the job itself will be simple once I get started. I know that the people will grow on me. I'm not at all worried about that end of things....I'm just sad about leaving my preschoolers. Anyway, being so out of my element with new people today was just overwhelming, so the moment I let one tear go, it was like the dam broke & I couldn't stop.

By about 8:00 tonight the Ibuprofen had killed the headache & my make up was all gone. I drove to go pick up Savannah from band practice & went for a Sonic Dr. Pepper. There's not much that Sonic Dr. Pepper (& small order of Chedd'r Peppers) won't fix. That and the hugs of my three babies...and the sweet email from my new coworker who saw my status on Facebook tonight about all the tears & sadness....and more hugs from my babies & my sweet husband...and a few old episodes of Friends.

I would still appreciate prayers as I make this transition. Adjusting to something new is never easy for me.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

What do adults talk about?

Tomorrow morning I start my new job. You know...the one where I'll be hanging around grown ups all day long. I'm a little nervous. What do big people talk about all day?

Have I mentioned that I don't like change?

I'm nervous.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Still trying to catch my breath!

Today was a pretty huge day for me. Well, it didn't start out to be a big thing. Actually early this morning I was propped up on the exam table at my gynecologist's office. Oh yeah. You know I was so very thrilled about that. ha ha!

No, the "huge" part started at 1:30 this afternoon. I had my interview for the new job I was considering. All of the other interviews I've done with the school district have lasted 20-30 minutes tops. So when I left, I told my mom (who was staying with the kids) to expect me back home by 2:00 or shortly after. That didn't happen. In fact, I wasn't home by 3:00. Or 4:00. (God bless my sweet mom for being flexible & willing to help!!)

When I drove up to the building before the interview I was still freaking out a little bit. I pulled out my phone & texted Larry & a girlfriend who had texted me earlier to tell me that she was praying for me. And then I went in, praying that I was doing the right thing. I've been so torn about this whole job hunt thing for the last few weeks so I was still a little unsure of how I felt. The truth is, I didn't start this summer with plans of looking for a job. So when this happened, it was a little bit of a shocker. We've always hoped that I'd one day get my foot in the door with the school district, but I guess I really thought it would never happen, so I wasn't expecting it. I've spent the past several days praying about it & reading my Bible for Scriptural back up....looking for verses to give me a feeling one way or the other about the job and in the end, I was still just really up in the air & undecided how I felt, even down to the last minute when I walked into the building.

I sat down at the table with the principal & the teacher I'll mostly be working with and proceeded to get information overload. For the better part of 90 minutes, they told me about the program, what my job would entail, how everything works, etc. I sat there nodding & saying "uh huh, yes, ok...." a lot but never really told them about myself. I kept thinking that they were going to have questions for me, but along the way when I'd comment on things they just smiled & laughed & said how well I would fit in & how cool it would be for me to do this job. I don't think they really intended to interview me as much as they wanted to beg me to take the job. ha ha! In the end, the principal pulled out some hiring paperwork & with her pen hovering over the dotted line she asked if I was still interested & whether or not she could start the paperwork. It was at that point I said "uhhhh....I think you should know that I have zero experience with teenagers....and to be honest they kind of scare me a little." They both just smiled & said that was fine. ha ha! Hmm...I guess they like me. The principal & I went down to the administrative building to sign some papers & get an estimate of my salary & poof...just like that I was an employee of the local school district.

I'm still kind of digesting the whole thing. It all happened so fast. I'm a little stunned that they offered me the job on the spot. I knew they'd have to make a quick decision, but that was really quick!

When I got home I had to make the sad phone calls to my current boss & the sub who will take over my class next week for the final week of summer school while I go and begin work at the new job. My boss was sad, but she understood. No surprises! Even after making those phone calls, it just doesn't seem real. I know this is a new season of life for me and one I will fall in love with quickly....but I'm still trying to catch my breath for now.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Waiting to see what He has planned!

For the past couple of weeks I've really stressed & worried. I've spent so much time completely consumed with new job possibilities & what all that might mean for my family, my kids, my life. And it's made me LOONEY! And like I mentioned in my last post, that is so unlike me. Larry will tell you, I don't stress over things. I don't flip out & worry and spend hours consumed by my thoughts. Usually I'm perfectly fine to trust the hand of God and just let things be. But for some reason, this whole process has thrown me for a loop. And I'm embarassed to admit that. I'm ashamed that I've spent so much time curled up in a ball like a 3 year old telling God "I don't wanna change!"

The thing is, I wasn't really looking for a job. I've been totally fine right where I am, doing the same thing (teaching preschool) for the past five years. I love my job. I LOVE being involved with my students' lives for the year I have them. I love becoming friends with their parents & sharing their struggles & joys. I love immersing the kids in learning in a fun way throughout the year. I love every single detail of my job. I really, really do. But it doesn't pay so great. I've always been OK with that though, because I am abundantly aware that money is not everything. Money doesn't buy happiness. And if you LOVE what you do, whether that's flipping burgers or wiping noses or engineering, you should do what you love.

However, I've always kept my eyes on the local school's website for openings. When it comes right down to it, money doesn't buy happiness, but it does pay the bills. If I could find a job I could love with the school system, I'd still be on the same schedule with the kids, and I'd be able to bring home a year-round paycheck. So every summer, I take a peek & see if anything would be a good fit. I always apply for something or other & I never get a job with them, so I guess I had convinced myself that this summer would be no different. I mean, why wouldn't it? For 3 years now, it's been the same story every summer. So when I actually got emails & phone calls about interviews, I was a little stunned. I suppose, somewhere in the back of my mind, I had convinced myself that I wouldn't actually get a new job, but putting out my resume & application made me look like I was at least willing to try to help with the family's finances. You know...I'd look good to my husband, but I wouldn't actually have to change jobs. After all, I know he'd really like to see me bring home a more steady income but if I could point to all the applications I've sent in & say "See, I just didn't work out." then I could vindicate myself from feeling guilty about it.

After the first 2 (of 3) possible jobs didn't work out, I was feeling pretty good about getting to stay in my preschool classroom. After all, I tried, right?

But when I realized that I could actually be hired for the 3rd job, I panicked. I dug in my heels & told God that I really didn't want to change jobs. I really LIKE where I am. I really LOVE hanging out with my little ones every day. I really WANT TO stick with the status quo. In asking for prayers from my friends, one of them sweetly told me how she'd been through lots of changes over the years & while she never liked them in the beginning, she always ended up being glad they happened in the end. She was praying that God's will would be done & I could find peace with whatever that is.

That's when it hit me.

How many times in the past 15 years have I had to be drug, kicking & screaming, by God to a new destination? How many times have I begged for Him to stop, cried for Him to let me stay where I was (physically, emotionally, spiritually) only to realize in the end that I was SO glad He didn't leave me alone. How many times have I mentioned on this very blog that I will one day write a book called "That Was Not Part of the Plan", based on all the things that we've been through? How many times have I looked back on something that felt like a crisis at the time only to realize how much of a blessing it was in the end?


I wish I could fast forward my life to about 1 week from now and see if that's the case here. Will this be one of those times when He has a far greater plan for me that I end up finding to be SUCH a blessing? Will this be one of those situations where hindsight is 20/20? Will this be the new season in my life that I fall in love with and enjoy? Or will this whole thing have been a test? Is this one of those Abraham & Isaac moments where He's asking me to trust Him right up til the last minute when He relents & gives me the desire of my heart for obeying Him and trusting Him? I really don't know. A crystal ball or an email from God about now would be nice, but if I knew how it would all end, I wouldn't be able to enjoy trusting Him right now.

I reached a point today where my toddler tantrum stopped. I relaxed for the first time in a couple weeks & thanked all my prayer warriors for continually lifting me up. I realized that I'm OK with the possibility of a job change. Sure, I'd love to stay in the preschool classroom, but if this is where God is leading me, I am willing to go. He knows the desire of my heart, but He also knows if this is going to be a job that will help our family, so I know that I can trust Him to find some sort of balance between the two. When we trust Him & obey what He's asking us to do, there is a blessing involved. Whether that means that things turn out like I want them to or He shows me a beautiful new blessing in taking a different path, I'll be blessed for trusting & obeying Him.

This morning in church we sang a song that said "In you I put my trust. In you I put my life." As I sang it, I was reminded that "In you I put my future, my job plans, my family's finances." I hope you enjoy the song below.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Whew....glad that's done!

In general, I don't stress over things. I am typically perfectly content with letting go & allowing God to do His business & handle all the scary things in life. Larry jokes that worrying & freaking out is his job because I tend to pat his shoulder & say "everything will be OK" more often than he does that for me. (He typically growls & says something like "Go away, holy one!" when I do that. ha ha)

In the past several days, I have not felt that way. You see, when the possibility of this job came up, I jumped on it without thinking! I was excited about the idea of a bigger paycheck...and a year-round paycheck! But the longer time went on, I began doubting that it was a good idea for me to consider this job. Things came up that had me really concerned and worried that I was NOT the right person for this job. But I had already committed to the interview and I felt like it was important for me to go through with it & at least give it a shot.

BUT, in the past week, I've spent more time with massive stomach acid churning, feeling nauseous, dealing with an upset tummy....basically feeling really BIG conflict brewing in my heart & mind. And it bothered me to be so freaked out & worried. I don't "do" conflict. Larry even hugged me & prayed over me this morning & commented about how I was making myself sick over this job business. I think I was even worrying him a little because I was so stressed out.

By the time this morning came around, I was concerned that I might convince them to want to hire me. I did NOT want to intentionally sabotage my interview, but I did feel like it was important to lay my concerns out & just be honest & up front. I prayed & prayed that God would give me VERY CLEAR direction about what to do & I had soooo many others praying for me. And ya know what? When I went in, the VERY FIRST question I was asked was about the BIG THING that was worrying me, so I was able to say up front what my concerns were. Once I got that out of my mouth, I felt a little calmer. The teacher involved in his job really didn't lay my concerns to rest, but I felt good that I was able to express how I felt about it. They explained another issue that I would not be comfortable with later in the interview and around that point I started thinking "ok, this really isn't the spot for me." I completed the interview and left with a smile but by the time I got to the parking lot I felt the urge to RUN AWAY as fast as I could. I was still very worried & concerned about a few things, but I tried to stuff that down while I made the phone calls I had promised people to tell them how it went.

Throughout the day at work, I prayed and kept asking God to show me what to do. I felt the weight of the world on my heart as those issues kept popping up in my mind over & over. By the end of the day, I realized that I'd asked God to show me what direction to take, to give me clarity of mind & peace about what I should do if I were offered this job and I was getting it. The Holy Spirit was beating me over the head repeatedly and I just couldn't get to a point of peace about this job. I had no idea if I would be offered the job or not, but I finally came to a point of realizing I needed to just say 'no thanks' & walk away. THAT was the direction God kept pointing me. Perhaps I should've cancelled the interview before it ever happened...did I waste their time since I went in not feeling right about the whole thing? I don't know. But I do know that once I came home & typed up an email explaining why I didn't think it was the right spot for me, I was overcome with peace for the first time in days! I was finally able to RELAX and I even dozed off on the couch. When I woke up it hit me that I hadn't done that since before this whole job fiasco began! I've been too tense to rest!

Anyway, the stress & panic & worry over job #1 is done. It's over & finished and now I can move on.

I have another interview next Friday for another job, one I would ADORE. But ya know what? If it doesn't work out, I'm perfectly fine! I have a great job now and I'll have no problem with going back there for the Fall!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

still thinking.......

My interview is at 8:00 (CST) in the morning. If you see this post between now and then, please say a prayer for me during that time.

I have some very big reservations about one of the 2 jobs I'm considering and my heart is already pulling me in the direction of the other job. But I want to give both jobs a look and make a choice based on a full picture, not just my gut instinct. (although I know everyone has always told me that you should trust your instincts)

Anyway, please say a prayer for peace & clarity, for a very clear direction about which way to go. Again, I may be overthinking all of this. I may not be offered either one!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Clarity, please!

Today I got an email about a job I inquired about earlier this summer. I had forgotten all about it because I really felt like they'd filled the position by now. It's an aide position at the local 'alternative school' campus. The hours are awesome, but because it's a part time job, the pay is not so awesome. The job description the principal of the campus gave me sounds fabulous! I would LOVE doing the job. If the pay is what I suspect it is, then I would either take a tiny CUT in pay or it would be about the same as I'm making right now. The personnel director said we'd just need to wait until it actually happened, then figure numbers & see if I wanted the job with that number in mind.

So now I'm torn.

The Headstart aide job makes the most sense, it's the logical choice since I have been teaching preschool the past 5 years. But the alternative school's aide position would be awesome too! The Headstart job would give me a sizable raise & extra money is always something we'd like to see in our checkbook. But the alternative campus's pay would still be year-round and I'd be able to do something that is practically a ministry! The Headstart job would entail some changes in my kids' schedules & routines (but they'd get used to it!) and the alternative campus job would mean NO changes for the kids.

Oh the decisions. I love the idea of both jobs, but for different reasons.

Please join me in praying for clarity & direction.

Neither interview has happened yet, so I am probably overthinking all of this. But that's just me. Call me Mrs. Analytical! But until you get in touch to call me names, say a prayer for clear direction, ok?

Monday, August 2, 2010

I've got an interview!

I recently mentioned the possibility of a job change. I haven't thought much about it since then because I was waiting for the time when the principals would be back on campus to receive my emails.

On Thursday evening, a girlfriend of mine emailed me. She is an aide in the Headstart class on one of the elementary campuses in town. She wanted to let me know in advance that she was going to be resigning her position this morning & that she planned to recommend me to replace her. While I'd still have to go through the interview process, she felt fairly confident that I would be a "shoe in". I told her that I'd love to be considered and spent most of the weekend anxiously thinking about the possibility of this job working out. If it does, it would be a little bit of a monthly raise, I'd have access to benefits that (might be?) cheaper than what we currently pay through Larry's work {will have to find out about that} and the biggie: a year-round paycheck.

This morning, she called me after she left the school when she resigned so that I'd know it was "all clear" to contact the principal & let her know I was interested. I sent her an email expressing my interest & then sort of sat around & waited for a phone call or reply to the email most of the day. At about 4:00, I figured that I wouldn't be hearing from her today because it was getting late. However, about the time I reached that decision, I got a phone call. Yahoo!

I've got an interview later this week! I'm excited & cautiously optimistic. I want to feel pretty confident about this but I know that there are others who will also be interviewing. I'm going to do my best to put this out of my mind & not obsess about it too much between now & then....but I figure there's about a 95% chance that THAT will never happen! I will totally be thinking about this from now til the interview's over! ha ha!

On the one hand, if I get this job, it'll be a very smart move for our family. But if I don't get it, I'm so lucky to know that I've got a job I LOVE at a place where I LOVE to work. I'm so grateful. So many people don't have either of these!

Keep me in your prayers!