Category Archives: Career

This Unusual Place

We find ourselves in an unusual place.

It’s a bit of a long story, but basically we sold our house with the long term hope of buying land in the country.  That’s something we’ve always wanted to do, and now especially with boys, we see the benefit of getting them somewhere they can shoot their BB guns without taking out a neighbor’s window!

Divinely timed, selling our house allowed us to spend the next year and a half helping our daughter and son-in-law who are in the Army and stationed in another state.  They needed someone to rent their house while serving our country, and rather than take a chance on a stranger destroying it, we decided to fill that role.  Now, we sit at their house and as time nears for their return, we wonder where we should go next.

Our first intuition is land!  We pour over Realtor.com like it’s a new book everyday.  We’ve already spent countless hours and days driving to listings that proved only to present their one good side for the internet picture.  We’ve emailed realtors and let friends know we are looking and hope that our “forever place” will present itself soon.

We’ve also considered staying where we are.  The neighborhood here is very nice and we would be near both of our grandbabies.  That in itself is sooooooo inviting!  I sure do love my grandbabies!

There is a practical draw to live near my husband’s office.  Gas is so expensive!   We are spending at least $500-600 per month for gas right now.  Commuting long term just doesn’t seem like a realistic financial possibility.

New and old friends make the choice hard as well!  Why can’t all of our friends just move next door to us wherever we end up?!

All these possibilities and thoughts also bring up more ideas:

  1. We could serve a year at a Christian camp.  A recent visit to a nearby camp made this an idea that would be both ministerial and serving.  I can think of lots of reasons why this would be a good idea, and might teach our whole family the importance of serving others.
  2. Instead of buying a house, we could buy an RV and travel.  Since we already homeschool, this would not change the boys’ education.  It might, in fact, actually enhance their studies!  There’s no better way to learn than “hands on”.  We did a smaller version of this in the past couple of years where we studied Daniel Boone and Pioneer explorations and then spent our vacation walking where he walked in the Cumberland Mountains.  There are a few situations that would need to be addressed for this option, mainly the need for my husband to stay employed!  I dream of the possibilities that his employer would allow him to work from the road, via internet capabilites and we could do this for a year?!  Hmmm…..
  3. We could go abroad……naaaah!  I’m not much on world travel, although I’m sure there are many beautiful places to see.  Still, with so much violence and problems going on worldwide and having to be responsible for the safety of my children, this does not seem like a good choice.  Besides…….it would definately be too far from my grandbabies!
  4. We could try and buy the smallest, cleanest house we could find and then finally, maybe, have extra each month to use for short travel excursions and fun times.  Our kids grow up so fast.  We’ve already seen the missed opportunities we had with our now grown daughters all because of debt and our insistence to chase the “American dream”.  Two incomes, loads of credit card debt, a nice big new house, but no time to spend as a family contributed to the realization that this is not how life is supposed to be!  Over the years, we have paid our debts (almost all of them), and have begun to learn how to live on little.  This has enabled me to stay home with the two boys and be available to spend time with and help our daughters and grandchildren.  We have learned it is much more fun to love on our families than just giving them “stuff”.  I’ve even thought of doing the tiny house thing, but then I remember how much I love to cook and all the appliances, dishes, and pans I’ll need 😉

So….here we sit, months away from a move to “Somewhere, USA” doing “something” that would make the rest of our days fulfilled.  Are there any other ideas for us out there in Blogdom?

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Filed under Career, Children, Family, Friends, God, Grandchildren, Home School, Homeschool, homeschooling, Life, Missions, money, Parenting, Preparation, Priorities, Time

In a Slump of a Whirlwind.

Yes, I am still around on the planet earth!  lol — I have been in some what of a blogging slump — but it’s mainly due to the whirlwind of activity around here.  My husband knows it’s busy when I don’t find time at the computer! 😉

Since my last post, which was so full of excitement about the Lord’s work, I have been purposefully waiting to write.  –Waiting for the time to sit down and adequately describe all the Lord is doing in our life.  However, it is becoming evident that my computer time is short, and will be for a while yet.  So….with much abbreviation, however a long post, here’s the list:

  • I am now a pastor’s wife!  God has been calling our family into ministry for about ten years, and now the time finally came for it to become a reality.  Our little country church, Purtis Creek Baptist, is home to several dedicated and loving families who have committed to allowing the Lord’s direction through my husband.  We are all emotions at once — excited, blessed, nervous, anxious, scared, etc.  Our “To-Do” List is growing by leaps and bounds, and we are just having to take a step back ever so often to figure out where to start!  Please pray for my husband’s endurance — he is bivocational, well — actually tri-vocational if you take into consideration a part-time job he is also working.  He says that he’s fine…..the “wife” in me says I should be concerned!  Also, the first big outreach for the church will be during vacation bible school, for which we are attempting to quickly prepare.  Our deepest thanks goes to our home church for sending us their bible school “leftovers”!  Mounds of decorations, materials, craft supplies, etc. have been sent our way through the love of our former church members.  Since our new church has been without a pastor for almost a year, and has not had a bible school in several years, we are most grateful to receive the support and supplies.
  • Galoneda Outreach  – Through some friends, we have been blessed to be involved in an outreach effort unlike none other in our area.  God has targeted a particular neighborhood in our area for salvation and provision.  He has led a team of 20?, 30? people from several different denominational backgrounds and several different churches to participate in a mass visitation and outreach effort to this neighborhood.  Door-to-door visits are leading to salvation decisions, discipleship, fellowship, children’s bible clubs, food provision, etc.  It is really exciting to see real work being done for the Lord.  Each Saturday during the summer, the children have been coming to the neighborhood’s park for games, songs, bible stories, hot dogs/refreshment, and playtime.  Looking at the faces of those participating (and those driving by), you can just see the need for God written everywhere.  Just this past week, I also heard of another church in the area who has heard of the effort and apparently may be interested in setting up some sort of after school care support for children in the neighborhood.  God is growing and growing the revival in this community, and we are just blessed to be near Him.  I guarantee you…..if you want to feel close to God, just come to Cherokee Shores on a Saturday morning this summer!  It’s truly indescribable with mere words!
  • Oak Street Outreach – Another outreach to which we have been recently introduced.  The man who oversees this work has given all to this ministry.  He and his wife and children live in a building being used to house the homeless.  There are several men and women living there who so desperately needed someone to just care about them. — unemployment, medical conditions, pregnancy, instability, deep emotional scars brought about by the traumatic conditions they have endured so many times over the years, physical abuse, etc — these people are being ministered to in a way that is so needed.  Please pray for them all, particularly the continuance of the ministry and financial needs.  I can tell you that just the short time I spent talking with some of the ladies and children, has really touched my heart.  I am looking forward to supporting their ministry in whatever ways I can be involved.  I pray that God will use me to counsel to, worship with, disciple, and provide for the director’s family (whose children are so precious, by the way) as well as the men and women who are living there. 
  • Our family is also participating in a weekly prayer group on Tuesday nights.  We bring the whole family for a potluck supper at someone’s house, and then intense, focused worship and prayer afterwards.   The kids play (at last count, there were 18+ children), the moms excuse ourselves ever so often to deal with/check on the kids, and the rest of the adults continue in prayer/worship sometimes into 10:30-11:00 p.m.  It makes for a long day/night, however, God is listening.  Like a refreshing rain, the “oneness” of our petitions stir our souls and encourage us to continue in His work.  It’s just AWESOME!   

   

  • College  – Oh my goodness!!!  College preparations are soooooo exhausting and cumbersome!  The last several days have been spent with my daughter visiting and registering at college — 7+ hours away!  We drove there on Thursday, staying in luxurious accomodations dorm rooms during our visit.  Let me just make a note here to describe for you the campus bell tower………ding-dong, ding-dong……dong-ding, dong-ding…..ding-dong, ding-dong….dong-ding, dong-ding…….DONG!……DONG!……DONG!…….(you get the picture, right?!)  Well, picture this beautiful sound going off EVERY FIFTEEN MINUTES —– ROUND THE CLOCK — 24 HOURS !!!!!  With the fine insulated and sound proof single-pane, aluminum windows, this made for a great night’s sleep during our visit. 

 We did, however, have a wonderful trip.  It was made even greater when she was approached by the track coach there who ended up offering her more scholarship monies to run track in the spring!  She will now be there on a dual scholarship — soccer and track! (cha-ching! — yes!)

Now, we just need to work on gathering everything she needs, getting her car maintenanced, immunizations up to date, teaching her how to drive long distance on busy freeways and interstates, finding a cheap (ha!) laptop, and figuring out a way to make her two young brothers understand that she will be leaving us until probably Christmas.  (sniff, sniff)

Oh! — the BEST part of the trip was when I was mistaken for my daughter’s sister one, two, THREE times!!! (Yes!)  One of the professors even made attempts to give me a degree plan, along with the other incoming freshman!

See…..wonderful challenges, but it has been a whirlwind!  Hopefully, sometime in the near future, I will find time to write an awe-inspiring blog again (ha ha), but until then, hopefully you will pray for us as we dig ourselves out of our day planners!

May God continue to bless each of you, my blogger sisters and brothers!   

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Filed under Blessings, Blogging, Career, Children, Church, Commitment, Family, Friends, Gifts, God, Grace, Humor, Joy, Life, Love, Prayer, Preparation, Priorities, Stress, Witness, Worship

Boss.

My previous post included references of prior experience in the corporate world.  I know someone who believes that it is hard for a Christian in the business world to succeed without giving into dishonest, power hungry, and political practices.  His viewpoint is that there is difficulty in separating Christian ethics from the way the world does business.  

It is true that in today’s world we see a good many businesses being run by people who would sell their mother’s clothing to make a profit, but I would like to cling to the hope that business success CAN be achieved in conjunction with moral behavior.  While I have certainly seen a fair share of office politics and sales pitches, I choose to still believe that there are some business men and women who hold true to the values of honesty and integrity.

There’s no doubt that a decline in the moral backbone is among us.  News reports are issued everyday telling of  executives and company officials being prosecuted for the bad decisions they have made to rob their shareholders, represent their company with deceptive trading practices, and the embezzlement of company funds.  Unfortunately, you can’t even buy a car (or a couch for that matter) without feeling like you have been through the “ringer” by the time you leave the office.  This is because the salesmen and women are trained to anticipate our reactions to their various “proposals”, working steadily to string us into the final sale.

However….I choose to believe that IF a business professional were to truly follow God and the commandments He has given us, they CAN be a successful contribution to the business world…prospering enough to rise to the top of the corporate ladder, and leading companies to a solid “bottom line”.

One such example for this is Joseph.  Joseph was one of 12 brothers in the Old Testament.  He was sold into slavery by his brothers due to the jealousy for their father’s attention.  Joseph could have spent his life, weary of his circumstances and slipping into the very selfish attitudes that got him into slavery in the first place, but instead he chose to follow God.  Genesis chapter 39 tells of Joseph’s service to Potiphar, an Egyptian officer of Pharaoh during his captivity.  Joseph served well enough to gain the respect of Potiphar so much so that he was made the overseer of the house and all of Potiphar’s possessions.  Verse 2 says, “The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a successful man.”

When Potiphar’s wife was scorned by Joseph, she arranged a scenario that put him in prison, and still there he served honestly and productively enough to put him over all the prisoners in the prison. 

Both times, he was left in complete charge of the task at hand, without the need of his “bosses” looking over his shoulder, and both times, he succeeded because “the Lord was with him; and whatever he did, the Lord made it prosper.” 

Joseph was quick to give God the glory for his works.  “It is not in me; God will…” (Genesis 41:16) Consequently, God eventually brings Joseph out of his bondage, making him the governor of Pharoah’s kingdom.  During this time, Joseph devises and oversees a complicated business strategy to reap a great harvest during the first seven years, stock piling excess food, enough to save the people of the kingdom and sell to other lands who later experienced a famine.

In the end, Joseph proved to prosperously run the kingdom “business”, all the while staying under the grace and blessing of God who was pleased. 

Joseph learned to “Bloom where he was planted” as an old friend of mine would say, and enjoyed a respect from others wherever he was.  Everywhere he went, his abilities were recognized, and he was rewarded with prestigious positions of authority and prosperous results.

I believe that business men and women can live their life for the Lord and still reap rewards.  It is God who will be “with” you just as He was with Joseph.  If you will stand up and exercise your Christian faith in your daily life, God will bless you for it. 

When you hesitate to treat the customer with the smallest account just as well as the customer with the largest account, stop to remember that God loves all people the same. 

When you know that only by stretching the truth will win you the sale, remember that God doesn’t like lying. 

When you ponder the use of your position and authority to obtain personal favor, remember that God often uses the smallest and weakest to accomplish His greatest work.

“He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.”  Matthew 12:30 

The best business plan I can think of is this:  “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.  Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.  Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.  And being found in the appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death…” Philippians 2:3-8

If all business men and women would follow this strategy, do you agree that God would bless them with success just as he did Joseph? 

After all…..it’s GOD who IS the “BOSS”.

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Filed under Bible, Business, Career, Ethics, God, Morals, Priorities, Success

Success.

Growing up, I was engaged in a culture that taught to be successful, you have to do everything within yourself to have a huge career, so that you can make big money, so that you can put it away for retirement, so that you can have all the best things, etc., etc., etc.  Now, that may sound really superficial, but if you really stop to think about it, that’s what society teaches everyday. 

It’s kind of like this inbred philosophy you learn as you grow when you see things happen around you.  You see families where the Dad is never home to play with his children, because he is always at work.  You see the Mom who is constantly pulled between working to meet the budget, or making the children’s school awards assembly. You see more emphasis put on our IRA’s and 401K’s than our SRP’s (Spiritual Retirement Plans).  Simply put…you see a world that puts more emphasis on money than any other “valuable” thing.

I began working while I was in high school.  From there, I fought hard and worked fast in order to prove myself, and eventually moved up and up the corporate ladder where I had what most would call a very good career.  With continuing opportunity for advancement, I was making good money, eligible for good bonuses, had an officer title in the company, received countless pats on the back, and was really feeling successful at the age of 23.  However, God began working on me and telling me that my view of success was all distorted.

He began to show me that it was not right that I was getting home from work after my daughters were already tucked in bed.  He began showing me that it was not all about the “almighty dollar”, that I didn’t have to work in vain toward securing my own future (retirement), when He was in control.  My “valid” reasons and justification for the overtime, company meetings, regional parties, networking among my peers, and office politics were not the reason for my life.

When the world continues to tell you that it is all about “You”, and that your future and success depends solely upon “You”, I hope you will stop to listen to what God says about it.  It has made a profound effect upon my life:

“…wisdom brings success.”  Ecclesiastes 10:10

“Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom.”  Proverbs 4:7

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”  James 1:5

“…and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the father and of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Colossians 2:2-3

“But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; … But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God – and righteousness and sanctification and redemption – that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.” ” 1 Corinthians 1:27, 30-31

The reason why we are here is to bring glory to God, and to work toward saving others through Jesus Christ!  God does not intend for us to be consumed by making all the money we can for ourselves.   “…but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.”  Ephesians 4:28

The world (including some in my extended family) thinks I am crazy for leaving my job to care for my children.  The world (including some in my church) thinks that we are poor, living in a self-made poverty among the “land of opportunity”.  The world (including some in my town) believes that fame and fortune supersede the benefits of sacrifice.

Now that I am a “homemaker” and not next in line for “Branch Manager”, I am constantly amazed at how God really does provide.  We have not suffered.  We have eaten every meal (and then some!).  My children are happy.  My husband and I are agreed upon our future.  My bank account has never been overdrawn.  My bills are being payed.  My future is secure.  And, for the first time in my life, I feel myself really depending on God to meet our needs, and it feels great! 

His promises of provision are true.  Words like love, and grace, and honesty, and integrity, and purpose are “valued” much more than words like dollar, and prestige, and power, and control. 

Now, I know there is the “flip” side to my situation.  I am not saying that we should not work toward bettering our financial and provisional circumstances. There are many families who are unable to do what we are doing.  It is a tough, hard world where it takes alot to make ends meet.  Many mothers are not able to be at home.  Many fathers have to work long, hard hours.  Some have to be the “executive”, and things like networking, communication, productivity and extraordinary commitment to a job is a necessary and commendable attribute. The point I am trying to make is this:  our emphasis and priorities should be on the things of God, rather than our self-reliance to “succeed”.

When we “die to self”, and allow God to control all aspects of our lives, He then can show us that He means “business”!  Unfortunately, it is usually in the area of money that we fail to let go and let God lead.

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Filed under Career, Children, God, Priorities, Success, Uncategorized, Wisdom