Monday, November 18, 2013

Catching Up With Big Changes

I suppose I'd better back up a bit and explain some things. In late spring I got laid off from my job. The ministry where I worked in our mountain community was struggling financially. The only recourse was to cut payroll and cut it rather drastically. Five of us in the small ministry were laid off and operations were creatively reorganized. God has blessed and they are doing really well. It was a good move. While this news was pretty difficult to face, we knew that God must have something else in mind. Though it was scary, I clung to Isaiah 43:19 that says, "Behold I will do something new. Now it will spring forth. Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness and rivers in the desert."

With two days before my last day on the job, another branch of our ministry asked me to work for them. Whew! Finances were still tight but at least I had something coming in.

We had been hoping for a writing job to come through but we just weren't hearing anything. We decided we both needed to go to Alaska again this summer. I called my boss from last year, whom I'd been leaving hanging, and said, "I'm coming!" Great excitement ensued. I was thrilled to be going back to Alaska. I was kicking it into high gear with plans for expanding the Alaska business, creating postcards, brochures, and t-shirts. I even said to The Fisherman, "You know, let's just figure out a way to stay in Alaska through the winter. Let's make this the year we try it."

Two weeks later, I got a call from the ministry saying they wanted to hire me as a writer.Though I had been excited about Alaska, shifting gears took me only about one day. This was my dream job. To write for a living? Sweet!

It took a couple weeks of phone meetings and eventually I ran out of work since I'd given my notice with intentions of going to Alaska. It was getting tight and I was getting scared. Things were taking longer than initially indicated and at one point I wondered if they were rethinking their words, "We want to hire you."

It was worth the wait. I got the job! But this meant a lot of changes. First, The Fisherman and I would be separated again for the summer, right when we thought we were going to spend it together in Alaska. Next, it meant I had to move a couple hundred miles away from home, from the woods, and the cool, and the quiet of our five acres. It meant I had to move TO the big, hot, huge, hot, and very hot desert mega-city we'd escaped from about 15 years ago. But, I have family and friends and a long history here. So, it was also like coming home. My brother and his family graciously welcomed me to stay with them until The Fisherman got back in the fall and we could settle somewhere.

The Fisherman took off for Alaska and I packed up enough stuff to make me feel like myself living in my brother's house. As the assaulting summer heat of Phoenix was beginning to really amp up, I moved down into it. My car was stuffed and brimming at all the doors and trunk.

I said good-bye to our summer-sealed cabin in the woods and crunched down the gravel road aiming for the big city. On my way out, clusters of wild iris lined the road and waved me farewell.

Good-bye wild ones. I will miss you.

So, here I am. I've been working my new job for six months and loving it! I write stories about the missions trips for the newsletter and I also write copy for emails, the website, the blog, "and other duties as assigned." That's our favorite (or non-favorite?) job description phrase lately as all of us on our team have been stretching our responsibilities and pulling off some big projects lately.

I am so thankful for my job. I love it. I love the people I work with and I love working for something I find so valuable. We have a great team; we have fun, laugh, tease each other, we work really well together and we work really hard. I guess you could even say the gift of this job is like a river in the desert!

It has been six months and The Fisherman and I are still not settled into a place of our own. As soon as The Fisherman got back from Alaska in late September, he was off again on some mission trips to Ethiopia and Zimbabwe. The trips were so close together that we decided it was wiser to just stay there in between. He was gone a month and just got back last week. He will most likely be back and forth between here and home. It's still home, up there in the woods. We're not going to sell it. It's a great haven. So we're going from five acres in the woods to, probably, an apartment in the big city. Who would have thought!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

25 Thanks About My Day

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

1. Sparky

aka: Dude, Spark, Sparkler, Duderonomous, Spark-You're-A-Dude, One Dog

Sparky's getting to be an old Dude but he still bounces around when it's time for Food for Dogs.

2. Sarah

aka: SarahBelle, Dumber, Say-rah, Pretty Girl, Fluffy Dog, Two Dog

Sarah is obsessed with playing. She dodges pets and goes and gets her ball for you to throw. She's also obsessed with reflections and flashes of light. We play flashlight almost every night. When I took this picture it was about 6:30 a.m. and still rather dim inside the house. My camera has a pre-flash to enable focusing. Here she was looking for the mysterious flash reflecting against the fireplace that had just vanished.

3. Kahlua

aka: Lulu, Luey, Lu, Big Dog, Kahlu, Sweet Girl, Three Dog

Kahlua is the new family dog. She's my nephew's dog really but we all love her. She's a sweet Rottweiler mix whose growth was stunted by Parvo or something as a pup. She was a hand-me-down dog who passed among my nephew's friends whose landlords all said she was too big and had to go. She came to my brother's family and half-hearted attempts to find her a home resulted in the gradual falling in love with her that led the family to make it official and claim her as their own.

Dog Thanks...I love dogs. Love. Love. Love. And these guys all love getting loved. Well, except Sarah. She loves it but you have to chase her down and not let her go. She still tries to gently get away but she can't fool me. Her constantly wagging tail gives her away.

Kahlua always comes and steals loves from whoever is getting them. This morning I was bent over petting Sarah in front of me and suddenly Kahlua's head came from behind and between my knees, brazenly trying to steal Sarah's loves.

More Thanks About My Day

4. A short commute to work. First time in my life.

5. That my brother and his family are letting me (and randomly, us) stay with them during my new job transition in the big city.

6. My job writing at a ministry organization.

7. The chance to help someone understand who Jesus is

8. Being done with a huge project at work and getting reacquainted with my regular assignments

9. Gorgeous weather!

10.  Working in a place where I can take a few minutes out to go to a prayer room and refocus.

11. Positive, Encouraging KLOVE radio not just on the internet but in my car, too!

12. New shoes:

On sale. 15% off the sale price. Plus an additional 20% off that!

13. A difficult conversation turning very good.

14. Really good progress on a huge personal ministry project

15. Fun watching The Voice with my sister-in-law

16. Receiving Facebook greetings from two friends in different parts of Ethiopia

17. That (-crazy-) I have friends in Ethiopia!

18. That I had three meals today, when most people in the world probably didn't

19. Reading the same book as my brother

20. My husband's love and commitment to me

21. Being greeted after work by five dogs: One, Two, Three, plus two visitors, all of them clamoring around me to get and give loves

22. Kitty coming out of hiding from Big Dog (she's still getting used to the new canine addition) and sitting on the back of the couch at my shoulder, purring

23. Appreciating my still new laptop

24. LifeStraws - an amazing personal water purification product for impoverished communities around the world, hikers and campers, and doomsday preppers...which we mildy are. A little.  On a small scale.

25. Having a comfortable warm bed to sleep in at night

Thank you, Father God.

Hey, I'm Back!

OK, I'll get the guilt out of the way right off the bat:

It's been over a year since I've posted!
("You are one pathetic loser!")

Well, actually my last post? I back-dated it so it wouldn't look so bad.
("You can't handle the truth!"  Make that, I can't handle the truth.)

I never even finished blogging about my summer in Alaska.

Because...I got stuck without a photo I needed. The Fisherman took it on his camera and I kept forgetting to ask him for it.
("So what are we going to do? Lie down and die, Bob?")

And I just couldn't carry on out of sequence.
("What are you? OCD?")

OK, I'm out of movie quotes. And that last one wasn't one. It was all I could think of. with that out of the way, I'll move on.

I have an idea for some blog entries. They are along the line of Ann Voskamp's 1000 Gifts. Many years ago, maybe ten...I'm not sure...before 1000 Gifts anyway...I started looking for gifts from God. I didn't count them like Ann but I did write them down. And last year I took her 1000 Gifts in the Year challenge to keep a journal of three thanks a day  and followed her daily prompts.

I agree wholeheartedly with her powerful message. Giving thanks opens our eyes to God's gifts all around us. Giving thanks changes our perspective. Giving thanks produces trust and drives out fear. Giving thanks makes us aware of God's presence. And where God's presence is, there is joy. And since He is always present, joy is always possible. We just have to have eyes of thankfulness to see.

So... in trying to find some kind of "system" with which to both blog again and revisit an effort at building gratitude and seeing God in my life, my days, and my yesterdays, I came up with something. It's kind of random but kind of not. I'm grabbing the 25 from my 25 Acres blog name and going to occasionally write a "25 Thanks About..." post. (Get it? Instead of 25 Things, it's 25 Thanks? I'm so clever.)

First post coming up.
Oh, and if you're curious about the movie quotes:

"One pathetic loser" is from Dumb and Dumber. One roommate comes home and tells the other he got fired that day. They talk, then the second guy says, "Yeh, I got fired today, too." The first guy says to him, "Ohhhhh, man! You are one pathetic loser!" Yeh, one's dumb and the other one's dumber. (Loved that movie!)

"You can't handle the truth!" is from...everybody?...A Few Good Men. Famous enough to say no more.

"Squirrel!" Oh, I love this one! The talking A.D.D. dog in the cartoon movie Up would be rattling on about something and then mid-sentence suddenly swing his head to the side and shout "Squirrel!" and take off running after the squirrel. Distracted much?

"So what are we going to do? Lie down and die, Bob?" is from the exciting Alaska-set movie, The Edge. A plane goes down and Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin (Bob) are out trying to survive the Alaska wilderness with a grizzly bear stalking them. Something goes wrong and Bob gets discouraged. Anthony Hopkins shouts this line at him. Yeh, I kind laid down and quit. For a year.