Monday, March 17, 2014

If he were still alive

five years

FIVE years

Five YEARS

I remember a dear friend of mine telling me a few years ago how she hated the anniversaries of her mom’s death. She didn't want it to be a whole year that had passed.  She didn’t want it to be 2 years later. She didn’t want it to be FIVE years since her mom had left this earth to be in heaven. She didn’t want it to be that long.

It’s strange. It’s hard to describe. It’s hard to understand.  Each passing year accentuates the fact that life on this earth is so unsubstantial. So, temporary. So fleeting. It accentuates that death is imminent for each and every one of us, but that with our own death, it will simply not impact the rest of the world from moving on.

When Brian first passed, it seemed incomprehensible that life could go on without him. It seemed only fitting that each event would be scattered with “if Brian were here” sentiments. It seemed impossible to imagine ever going on a vacation without him, to celebrate without him, to entertain without him, to just GO ON without him. It seemed as if we were SUPPOSED to sprinkle a memorial tribute to Brian into everything we did. Earlier on it was as if everything the boyz and I did was because “Brian would want us to.” The idea of doing things because “we want to” felt like nearly an insult to his memory.

I’m not really sure when it changed. It wasn’t an event or moment. It was a process of accepting our new life without Brian. It was an evolution into our family structure from living "for what it was" to living "in what it is." I don’t remember when the feelings of guilt began to subside.  Not that they ever totally go away, but they do fade. I suspect there will never be a day that some guilt for moving on doesn’t creep in.

As life without Brian has become “normal” in the last few years, this 5 year anniversary mark has caused me to pause at what life would be like if he were still here. There are the OBVIOUS things that would be so different if he were alive, like we would still be married, and he would be at family events and such. However, what I have really reflected upon, is how different certain things would be if he still had every day involvement.

  1.  With respect to the boyz, I know Brian would have handled all the minor and major discipline issues I have dealt with over the last few years with great patience, a firm hand, healthy boundaries and realistic but challenging expectations. I know he wouldn’t have lost his temper as often as I had. I know he would have remained logical and fair when I fly off the handle and find myself having a heated argument with my disrespectful tweenagers. In short, he would have kept his cool and modeled an example of discipline that mirrors the kind that God gives to His people. That’s just the way Brian did things.
  2.  I know my boyz would have more confidence and would be more comfortable with who they are and who they can be. Brian was uncharacteristically confident in a humble way in himself. He was incredibly comfortable in his own skin and it was apparent to all around him. The boyz would have emulated that same confidence. Instead, they are often awkward, or showing off or simply oddly quiet at times.  I look at them so often and lament the young men that the WOULD be if Brian were here to make his mark on them. As it is, there are often times when I JUST DON’T GET THEM.
  3.  I know my boyz would be better athletes. They would spend more time outside and playing at a level appropriate to their abilities. They are both better athletes than me and I can provide them opportunities, but I cannot coach or assist them. Plus they do not take instruction from me very well. Brian would have easily been able to guide them and challenge them and have fun with them.
  4.  I know Brian would have LOVED and enjoyed the fact that each boy shares a little bit in each of the hobbies that he loved and enjoyed. From sports, to nature to a funny flick, the boyz , as they grow up are developing their passions. Brian would have been wonderful at honing in with Grant on target shooting, hunting and he would have thoroughly enjoyed the trail aspects of his program – orienteering, the safety and logic portions. He would have been passionate about learning to shoot a bow right along next to his son.  He would have loved watching a movie with Gavin laughing at the same ridiculously stupid parts out loud. It would have been beautiful to witness.
  5.  I know my boyz would be better students. Brian was the teacher between us. He was more patient and had a better ability to explain things in practical ways. He was approachable and helpful. He would have been eager to sit along next to them where they struggle and be involved in their studies.
  6. I know the boyz would get along better. Brian had a fantablulous relationship with his two brothers. They shared a camaraderie and the same dry sense of humor and very similar interests - fishing, shooting, music, tie dye. But more importantly, they each had and still have a strong sense of loyalty and respect for each other. They get along and when push comes to shove (and even when it doesn't), they have GOT EACH OTHER's BACKS. I cannot say the same for my boyz. The bicker and torment and pester like normal siblings, but some days they are downright MEAN to each other and are more jealous than happy for each other. Brian would never have tolerated that and he would have shaped their relationship into a more mutually respectful and caring relationship that celebrated the others accomplishments and differences. 
  7.  I know they would have a better appreciation for music. Their musical interests would be 80% old and obscure music and 20% pop/top 40 instead of the flip flopped ratio that is today. He probably would have taken up guitar right along with them. He would have LOVED that his boyz were learning an instrument because, while he had almost none, never playing an instrument was a regret of Brian’s.
  8.  I know that Brian would never have made the same mistakes I have. I know that 5 years after my death, Brian would be comfortably involved and established with a good woman that shared his values, faith and sense of humor and one that balanced him well. He would not have wasted 6 months of his life with love interests that deep down he knew were wrong twice like I did. He NEVER would have married someone that he had a slight reservation about. He was simply too smart and too practical and too intuitive for that.  He knew what he wanted and he didn’t compromise. He wouldn’t have been judgmental and would have tried things out, but he wouldn’t have wasted more than 2 months of his time with someone that wasn’t right.  I am confident of that.
Regardless how I feel about how things would be different, the fact is that, currently, they aren't. I can't make sense of why God would choose to take Brian from this world and from his boyz. Thing is, though, I stopped trying to make sense of it. Who am I to question God's sovereignty, and judgement? NO ONE, that's who! So, I continue to trust. As I wax nostalgic of what life would be like if Brian were still alive, one thing that can happen is that I can make positive changes in my life and in my boyz' lives to emulate what we would be like if Brian were still involved.

 INot because Brian would have wanted it that way.

But because that's they way I want it and that's the way it should be.

KEEP BELIEVING


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christmas Spirit?

This  Sunday evening, our church, Harvester Christian in St. Charles, MO, was hosting a concert all about worship this Holiday Season. As the messages have focused on Christmas, - preparing for the arrival, giving gifts, and today, WORSHIP, the church offered a Christmas worship and praise session with the hope of just glorifying God and offering praise this Holiday Season to get us in the TRUE Christmas Spirit.

I informed the boyz we were going. They weren't exactly thrilled, but they weren't exactly resistant either.

On our way there, as they were commenting about being at church for the second time that weekend and the 4th time in 8 days, I said, the reason we are going is because we tend to get so caught up at Christmas with getting gifts and giving gifts and shopping and everything else that we forget about why we have Christmas at all.

We passed a house just up the street that has my all time favorite yard decoration. It is cut out of Santa with his hat off kneeling in front of a baby in a manger. I said, THAT is why we are going to church tonight. THAT is the Christmas spirit we need to have.

I explained that how humbling Easter is - when we remember how Christ was brutally killed to pay the penalty for our sins - yet Christmas is a time when we should be so much more humble. That God came to Earth as Jesus as a baby. That he was GOD and was capable of doing ANYTHING HE WANTED and ANYTHING HE COULD, but he came as a baby to understand us and to help us understand Him. THat he messed his diaper and cried and was a toddler but was going to some day save the world! I said how I wished the Bible talked more about how Jesus was as a child. That one day he was the same age as them and had the same issues they have with friends and stuff but was GOD and in the middle of that could have done ANYTHING, but he loved us so SOOOO much he became one of us anyway. That he let himself fall down and skin his knees and stub his toes and do all the things babies and then kids do. WOW. Isn't that amazing? Let's go to church tonight and worship Him because of this amazing gift.

Grant said, "I know one thing. If you died and Jesus was our parent, he would probably let us open one of those presents under the tree early or allow us to go to Dairy Queen (next door to church) after we worshipped Him tonight."

Feeling rather defeated from trying to get a point across, but also admiring his wit and determination, I asked which he would choose if Jesus was his parent. He said, "Well, since I don't really want to waste your money on ice cream we could get at home and since this is a privlege to do early. I think He would allow me and Gavin to open one of the presents to both of us. I would choose that. Wouldn't you, Gavin?" Gavin agreed.

They praised Jesus in their own beautiful ways at church. Gavin - through the awkward, puberty-inflicted "Im-not-sure-who-I-want-you-to-see-who-I-am" phase - tight lipped, occassional head on my shoulder, barely audible singing. Grant - through the - "mom-needs-to-hear-me-and-believe-I-am-sincere-because-I-really-want-to-open-that-gift", yet, "I-am-still-a-kid-and-I-am-not-ashamed-to-sing-as-loud-as-I-can" worship voice explaining to me all the songs they had recently sung in kids church and all the kids in the audience tonight that he recognized. I loved every minute of it. I know Jesus is pleased by worship and that He knows the motives of a heart and who is worshipping Him with a pure heart. I know Gavin and Grant's motives were pure beneath it all.

As we left, Grant inquired- "How did I do? I sang every song. And you know what? That was actually kind of fun. I enjoyed it."

They are now home playing NHL12 (won't buy NHL13 due to strike season) for the XBox - a new addition to their collection after opening it from under the tree tonight.

Judge me. I don't care. It was a great night.

KEEP BELIEVING

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Loving me

 Dear Brian,

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Today, I was at our old house. The house that is now rented out to a wonderfully gracious family from Japan that has absolutely no clue whatsoever about taking care of a yard. I pulled weeds. And then I pulled some more weeds. After that, I pulled some more weeds. Then I began to hack at some weeds. Then I tugged at some deeply rooted thorny weeds. Later, I told my father in law to whack those puppies with the trimmer and douse em with chemicals!

While I was in the midst of weed pulling bliss, my old neighbor came out. Connie and I began to share in some pleasantries and then get to the meat of what is going on in my life. The injustice of divorcing a man that is incapable of compromise, yet totally capable of manipulation and outright lies. The horrific process of moving my children for the third time in a year due to my own inability to see him for who he really was. The bitterness my children are feeling towards me and towards Bill for having to move from their friends and their neighborhood since he refused despite the fact that we had lived there for their whole lives and Bill had lived for less than a year. The sadness Connie feels as a neighbor who simply misses me and my boys' smiling faces. The regret she feels for us as all anyone wanted for us who had been through such hell in the last several years was to have us HAPPY. And how we were... for a while.

Then she shared a story with me -

A few years ago at a school function of the children - you were sitting in the front row on the bleachers where you were capable of sitting when you could no longer maneuver stairs. I was on the floor taking pictures or videoing or something along those lines. She said, she looked at you and you were smiling and just gazing at me as I unknowingly went about my business. She saw what you were looking at and said, "She's quite a gal there, isn't she?"

You didn't stop your gaze and said, "Yup, she sure is."

Connie tapped your leg and said, "She's gonna be just fine, Brian. She's a strong woman."

You looked at her and said, "Yes, she is. I know she is."

And I remembered. YOU LOVED ME. You loved me for ME. I didn't have to be someone I am not. I didn't walk on eggshells. You didn't try to control me. You loved me for all I am. You accepted me as I am.

So as I want to thank you for loving me for the way you loved me. I want to thank you for showing me what true love is. I want to thank you for accepting me as I am. I want to thank you for making me a better person because of your love for me. Thank you.

I needed today, more than ever to know that I am lovable. To know that unconditional love exists.

Because if what I experienced over the last year is all I knew of love. And all my children and I are experiencing now at the hands of someone who claimed to love us was all I knew of marriage.

I would give up.

Thank you, Connie, for the reminder that there is real love. That there is truthful love. That i am worthy of it.

Thank you, Brian, for personifying it.

And I am gonna be just fine. We all will be.

Love,
Angie

Monday, February 21, 2011

college

Today, Gavin excitedly entered the kitchen as I was preparing breakfast on this President's holiday ready to tell me something. He announced, "Mom, I am not going to go to college." He has told me this before, and I believe in promoting higher education without forcing it upon my kids. A skilled trade or some sort of technical training would also allow them a very respectable living some day and not everyone in our world has or needs a college education. So I inquired why. He explained, "I am going to stay home and go to college instead. I know how. You do it online in your pajamas."



I think it may be time to limit TV viewing again.

KEEP BELIEVING

Thursday, November 11, 2010

a rough night

November 3, 2010
Dear Brian,

I pray that heaven is as I describe it to the boyz. I do not understand it, but I have heard it described as a place void of and incapable of having any sadness, longing, jealousy, anger, or any negative emotions. And if it isn't, I pray you do not have the omniscience I inquired about last post.

Tonight, as I was putting away some of Grant's laundry, I noticed his looking at the photo collage of you and him on his wall. I peeked up at him sitting on his bed looking off into the distance and asked what he was looking at, knowing full well what he was doing. He said, "My daddy pictures". I noticed his voice cracked and he immediately looked down. I asked if he was okay, which of course he answered that he was. So, I asked if he wanted me to lay with him for a while and cry.


For the next hour and a half, he cried inconsolably. The only other time I have heard him or any child cry like that for a JUST CAUSE was March 17, 2009 when I had to tell our boyz who had been away for a couple days that Daddy had died that morning. That task is another one of those events that brings about certain tears when I relive it. To even write the words is horrific: I had to tell my 6 and 7 year old boyz that their daddy died while they were away. While seemingly handling the news okay, within an hour, Grant came running to me in a panic and cried inconsolably for a sold hour that day. It was the worst cry I have ever witnessed because it was so pure, so genuine and so justified. There were no words. No answers. All I could do was hold him and tell him, "I know" over and over again. In my mind I prayed I never heard such a cry again.

Tonight, I heard the cry again. I pray that either you can't hear it or you can't feel the emotions it stirs to those of us on earth. To hear your child moan in anguish over something you can never give them or fix for them is beyond heart breaking. I heard it for a solid hour and a half realizing there are no words that can ease the pain.

I heard him moan:
Daddy, I miss you just so so so much.
Daddy, I love you.
This isn't fair to me.
I wish life didn't have to be this way. I miss my Daddy.
I'm gonna go to your grave tomorrow and spend hours and hours there just praying.
I might keep crying all night. I have so many tears to get out and i think I have a million more. I may never be able to stop crying.
I can't get him out of my head. I keep thinking about everything with him.
That cup makes me think of him.
That song you are singing makes me think of him.

He apologized to me for making me cry and for getting me wet with his tears until he finally passed out from exhaustion on the floor next to my bed.

November 4, 2010
Dear Brian,

As promised, I picked up Grant and Gavin from school today to let Grant go to your grave. My co-worker wouldn't let me pay for my lunch today and insisted I use the money to buy the boyz an ice cream tonight instead. We stopped and got milkshakes.

Grant wrote you notes at school today. I snapped some shots of what he wrote. They reiterate what he lamented last night.

One thought that came to my mind last night as he was crying was over the new man in my life. He is amazing and he loves me deeply and it is obvious to me and must be to the boyz. I believe my reciprocated feelings for him are also obvious. He spends more and more time with us as a family and is becoming an important part of all of our lives. Grant is quite taken by him and is very "all-in" as I had stated in my last post with his emotions. It is quite obvious to anyone that watches them interact that Grant loves him. (BTW, to my guy, sorry for referring to you as a pronoun. Don't wanna reveal your name on the blog unless we have talked about it first.) I had thought perhaps Grant's feelings for him were making him feel guilty or confused as he mourned you, and perhaps that was causing some of his outbreak. So, I spoke to him briefly about it being okay to love someone else and still be sad for you. That I feel the same way, but that you wanted all of us to find someone in our lives that could make us happy and vice versa. He assured me it was not the case for his tears, but then I saw this letter he wrote to you:

We went to the cemetery. Grant began his uncontrollable sobs again. He sat on my lap on the ground crying over you and how much he misses you. It was cold outside. Cold and windy. I sat with him a while. Gavin watched us both and stated. "I wonder why I'm not crying." I told him it was okay to be sad and okay not to be sad, that we all feel things at different times. Gavin went to the car to warm up. Grant cried for about 30 minutes as hard as he did the night before. He said to me, as he traced the letters of your name with his finger on your tombstone, "I wish so bad we could just pull this up." I asked him, "Why?" He said, "So I could see daddy again." OH HOW I REMEMBER THAT FEELING. It was months before I could go to the cemetery because I could not handle the thought of your body in the earth. It was all I had to resist the urge to dig. Yes, it is strange, but I wanted to see you or save your body or somehow realize it was all a mistake or something. I assured him it was just your body and not you there anymore. He yelled at me, "I JUST WANNA SEE HIM ONE MORE TIME SO BAD, MOM!" So, I hugged him tighter and cried with him knowing and understanding.

Eventually, the cold got to me. I gave him my gloves, I did not have a hat. I saw Gavin getting antsy. Gavin asked me if he could kick around his soccer ball. My instinct was to say no thinking it was disrespectful at a cemetery. We were the only ones there. I had just told him it was okay for him not to be sad. It is a grassy area. So, I said, "sure." It was very interesting to watch their contrasting emotions and coping mechanisms. Gavin smiling and kicking a soccer ball and Grant on his knees sobbing and occasionally burying his face in the grass.

I felt odd doing it, but I snapped some shots thinking that some day they may want to remember how they felt those days when they are happy and wonder if they were ever sad over your death or when they are sad and wonder if they were ever happy despite your death.







KEEP BELIEVING

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

it's in the air

Dear Brian,

Today you would have been 38. You didn't see 37 on this earth. Are there birthdays in heaven? Since you are no longer in your body, I have assumed there are not. I have often wondered what age you are in heaven. How will I recognize you? Will I be old and gray and you will be forever 36? Do you even see other heavenly souls as they appeared on earth at all or is there an entirely different realm of recognition that we on earth cannot comprehend because we are limited to the senses we use in this earthly body? Do you gain an omniscience in heaven? Can you see us on earth?

If so, then you would know the struggles I have been having lately.

I do not love this time of year. It isn't fair to the boyz for me to have this demeanor right now. This is a fun time for them. They love Halloween and I squelch their excitement becoming Scrooge-like regarding all the stimulation, candy and costumes. Some of my apathy may be warranted - additional candy in the boyz' sugar-filled world and the agonizing costume decision-making process, yet I remember my own enthusiasm as a child for particular events and occasions. Pure unadulterated excitement. The boyz have that excitement but I get so involved in my own struggles regarding this time of year I am not only missing it, I am discouraging it.

This time of year reminds me so much of you and I get very wrapped up in thoughts of you - thoughts that cause me much confusion. Fall was YOUR time. You loved the cooler weather. You loved the crisp air and the preparations for the winter nesting season ahead. You cleaned and organized the garage. You prepared the cars with a good coat of wax for the winter. This is football season and you would sometimes veg out on that couch for hours watching your favorite teams. This is hockey season and you personified hockey for me. You loved Halloween - dressing up, taking the boyz trick or treating, carving pumpkins and eating pumpkin seeds. We did carve pumpkins this year again. The boyz love it, too. This year they even helped with removing the insides of the pumpkin. However, I did not save a single pumpkin seed. As each one was tossed, I thought of you and how you would squeeze through all the pumpkin guts to extract the seeds. I was ever so thankful to have less mess as none of us desired to ingest a nicely roasted pumpkin seed later. I know you would have sighed and shook your head at that, but I am REALLY okay with that.

Additionally, this time of year reminds me of all the struggles of 2 years ago when life took the more certain steps towards your death. When I took the first steps to call hospice as you took a sudden turn for the worse. When you ended up in the hospital again with another surgery. When Gavin ended up in the hospital just a few hours after you were released. I get overwhelmed sometimes at the thoughts of what my life was like, of what our boyz witnessed, of the constant turmoil we lived in the midst of and I simply break down. I don't understand it because I am going about life just fine now and in the midst of that turmoil, we had peace and joy and we loved life. However, remembering it all, it is almost as if I actually FEEL the chaos and trauma that we SHOULD have felt at the time. I guess at the time, God's spirit took control to help us not only survive, but ENJOY the time. Today, God's spirit is with me in THIS present time but I am overcome with emotion at what we lived through.

Also, today is your birthday.


I get sad.
I get angry.
I get bitter.
Mostly, though, I get confused.

Confused because I have all these thoughts and emotions regarding you right now. I know the boyz do to. Confused because life is going really well for all of us. Confused because you are flooding my mind with the past despite that someone else is filling my present. I think it is fair to say that confused can best describe what anyone would feel mourning a past that will never be while they are falling in love with someone else wondering what the future holds for them.

Confused because I can't seem to let myself just let go and enjoy life and the good things that are in it. I find something wrong with every situation. If I can't find something wrong with the situation or with someone else, I find something wrong with myself. I'm not spending enough time with the boyz. I'm helping them too much with their homework. I'm not helping them enough with their school work. I have them in too many activities. I don't have them in enough activities. I have too much to do around the house that I never get to. I need to do more projects around the house. That takes time away from the boyz. I need to work out more. I need to work out less because it takes too much time. Things with my guy are going swimmingly. Things with my guy are going TOO swimmingly for how long we have known each other so something must be wrong. You get the idea.

I continue to sabotage my own happiness. It is as if I have become so guarded in my life and what I have endured that I cannot just allow good things to enter my life for fear of losing that good thing. If I stay guarded and wait for the shoe to drop, when it does, I will be ready. I will stay strong and I will overcome.

Because that is what has defined me for so long - I cope, I overcome, I keep my faith, I move on. It is difficult to change my thought pattern to accepting blessings as things that may STAY. Changing to such a way of thinking opens me up to vulnerability. Living like that means I am no longer afraid of losing.

I see it in every one of us - me, Gavin and Grant.

I see that Grant has changed. He is living for the blessing of today assuming it will still be here tomorrow. And he is happy. Happier than I have seen him in years. It is a beautiful thing to witness.

Gavin is guarded. He is cautious. He finds wrongs in every right. Maybe it is his age and that he is also afraid of accepting the blessings of today for fear they will be gone tomorrow. Gavin is me.

I know what you wanted for me and for the boyz. We talked about it several times. My prayer right now is that we can all move forward with receiving the good times, the good people, the good blessings that are bestowed upon us with the same assumption that they will continue to be here tomorrow that the rest of the world lives by.

I pray this "difficult" time of year and your birthday can transform into the milestone marking the time that Angie and the boyz began living assuming the present can evolve into a beautiful and blessed future.

KEEP BELIEIVNG

Sunday, October 3, 2010

mowing the lawn

I was mowing the lawn the other day. In doing so, I stopped the mower no less than a dozen times to pluck out of the yard, 3 practice golf balls, a tennis racket, Nerf darts, a batman cape, 1-1/2 pairs of socks, a shovel, a football, 2 plastic cups, and a dismembered Power Ranger. And I was growing increasingly frustrated each time I had to stop the lawn mower to pick up the next item in my way. Until I realized that in just a few years, when I mow the lawn, there will no longer be 3 practice golf balls, a tennis racket, Nerf darts, a batman cape, 1-1/2 pairs of socks, a shovel, a football, 2 plastic cups, and a dismembered Power Ranger in my yard to pick up.

KEEP BELIEVING

Sunday, August 1, 2010

how far we've come... & the job

I was perusing through some of my old blog posts today as I was feeling rather nostalgic for some reason. Today, I was sitting at church and I realized that I was sitting alone, clapping singing and praising along and feeling completely and totally comfortable. A year ago, it PAINED me to sit at church alone. I remember the first time I did it and how I continually wiped the involuntary tears that kept dripping from my eyes. It was a constant reminder of my new found and unwanted relationship status (aka. the box you check on forms like single, divorced, widowed, separated).

 I cannot even believe how far I have come in less than a year and a half from the fear, anxiety and overwhelming heavy sadness that plagued me at the thought of school and routine last year. It breaks my heart to read about the pain we were all enduring this time last year...


But, also makes me feel triumphant at the progress we all have made.

Also, I  noticed I lost weight and toned myself considerably compared to last year's summer photos. So, that is just an added bonus.
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Irrelevant photo to ease transition to next topic:

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Anyway, I wanted to share a little about my job I briefly mentioned in the last blog post.

I have been praying, seeking God's guidance, in the area of my life related to how I spend my time. I was in a pretty selfish comfort zone right now during school time spending a couple hours at the gym working out and socializing with my friends several times a week.  I was also volunteering some at church a couple times a month and once a week in the school library. Still, my afternoons were spent shopping and wasting countless hours on the Internet or whatever else was relatively unproductive. I knew this is not honoring to God. I knew that I needed to do something to become a more contributing member of society whether it be volunteering more or becoming gainfully employed.

In God's perfect timing, a job literally fell into my lap. I was speaking to a friend about a position she just received at a local grade school as an admin assistant working only hours the kids are in school and part time. I said the next time she found out about a job like that to send it my way. She sent me an email that night showing me reqs for all the schools in my district. So, I inquired and received a request for an interview the same day. After the interview, I was offered the job a couple hours later if I wanted it. They were going to cancel the interviews they had the next week if I was interested. So, I prayed about it and called my mom to ask her opinion. The job should be low stress and perfect hours for my situation. However, it is very VERY low pay and will do little to supplement our financial situation. It may extend my 5 year plan to keep going status quo to a 6 year plan (I am 1 year into the plan now). My mom told me that if I didn't NEED the money right now, she thought I would be crazy to pass it up for the hours and for the possibility of what else could come from it in the future within the school district or within the community through connections I may make. I hadn't really thought of it that way. I just looked at it as something that wasn't worth disrupting my very comfortable status quo for very little money. I thought my mom would tell me I was crazy for taking a job like that when my degree and experience qualified me for something much more challenging with much better pay. I liked her perspective and felt it was a very God-honoring one, so I took the job.

I have a couple training and introductory sessions that I will attend the next couple weeks until I start more officially on the first day of school - August 18th. I am becoming more excited about it. At first I resented it as another inevitable step towards being a single parent who also has to work (realizing, of course, that I am BEYOND BLESSED I have not had to and don't HAVE to for a while). But, as Brian always did, I realize my response to this is a choice. I CHOOSE to enter this job excited about the possibility of the lives God will have me impact and of the lives that can impact mine. I CHOOSE to honor God and do the best I can possibly do as if I am serving HIM. Honoring and serving my employer with the same joy and dedication that I would serve Him is His command for us.

Colossions 3:23: Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men...

3/23 is my birthday, so I consider this MY verse. I just didn't know how relevant it would be until this past month. I love how God works like that.

KEEP BELIEVING