Sunday, August 29, 2010


"Wisdom doesn't automatically come with old age.  Nothing does - except wrinkles.  It's true, some wines improve with age.  But only if the grapes were good in the first place." ~Abigail Van Buren

While going through my old papers from school, I came across a New Year's resolution list I had made in 1984.  Yeah, I was two (right...) but I apparently already was a very wise person.  

1.  Be kind to everyone.
2.  Lose weight and not eat so much.
3.  Accept things as they are and try not to change them.
4.  Pay more attention to school subjects.
5.  Try not to fight with my parents and brothers.
6.  Use my talents to the fullest.
7.  Help out more at home.
8.  Be myself.
9.  Help people who can't help themselves.
10.  Don't complain when things don't go the way I want them to and don't expect them to.
11.  Be friends to people who need a friend.
12.  Don't be jealous of people who I think have more.
13.  Don't make a fool of myself just for attention and to get into the in crowd. 
14.  Don't give up good friends for false ones.
15.  Keep my new year's resolutions.

I think all of these are still great goals to shoot for even now - 26 (ugh!) years later.   Luckily I think the person I have become embraces most of these on a regular basis.  There's still one or two that I need to work on, but I'm getting there.

So, apparently I was a good grape.  Somewhere down the line some really great bricks went into my foundation.  Thank you if you were one of those bricks!


"We cannot change yesterday, and we cannot predict tomorrow, but we can live today.  So be alive.  Never let one day pass by without a smile." ~Unknown

I can't tell you what an amazing feeling it is to be alive.   Not just breathing and walking around, but really alive.  You might have known this feeling for a long time, but I haven't.  Everything is so much more.  Exciting.  Uplifting.  Brighter.  Bolder.  Exhilarating.

We are rounding the corner into week 3.  Every day has presented itself with some pretty great memories.  Not everything has turned out exactly as expected.  But good in the end.  School was awesome.  All three kids loved it.  Thank God!  Work, well, was a bit overwhelming at first but I got some great advice from a great friend and that too worked itself out.  Life is settling into a little pattern now.  Well, not really.  But maybe it has a sense of normalcy to it.

Well, about the being alive part.  I keep finding myself just breathing in and realizing how good it feels.  Staring up at the sky thanking Him for getting my life back.  And the one who woke me up.  But it feels good to breathe.  And to feel.  And to truly be happy.  Besides my kids, I guess I never knew how good it felt to be happy.  And content.  And really, really comfortable in my skin.  That feels REALLY good!

So, I am going to continue living.  Really living.  And you know if you see me there will be a smile on my face :)

Friday, August 27, 2010

You Can Go Home

“We are all longing to go home to some place we have never been — a place half-remembered and half-envisioned we can only catch glimpses of from time to time. Somewhere, there are people to whom we can speak with passion without having the words catch in our throats. Somewhere a circle of hands will open to receive us, eyes will light up as we enter, voices will celebrate with us whenever we come into our own power.  A circle of friends. Someplace where we can be free." ~Starhawk 

I was going to use the "You can't go home" quote.  But it doesn't apply.  I've found that you can go home.  No, it's not exactly the same.  But it's close.  Really close to the way I remember.  Close enough to be comfortable.  To just feel right.

We had a get-together with a bunch of friends from grade school.  Yeah, I said grade school.  Haven't seen some of these people in 26 years.  Ugh!  That makes me feel really old.  It was amazing!  The things we remember about those times.  I can't remember what I had for breakfast yesterday but I remember so much about back then.  Yeah, we all look different.  But time has changed us for the better.  We've all had our ups and downs but I think that we are all on the upswing now.  Ready for the future.  No longer bitter about the past.  Chalk it up to learning experiences and moving on.  I want to thank you guys (can't say y'all any more) for a super evening.  Can't wait for the next one!

So I feel a bit like Norm walking into Cheers and everyone yelling my name.  I am in the familiar.  Everyone does know me (at least those who count).  They are welcoming me back and have saved my seat for me even after all of these years.  I have been gone but not at all forgotten.  I am home.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


"The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself." ~Anna Quindlen

Monday was a good day.  More than a good day.  Tackled a small mountain of boxes, most of which got put up and didn't end up on the floor.  Finally got the school shopping done.  Well, almost.  We're still missing one folder.  So off to Walmart in the morning so my daughter doesn't have a heart attack on the first day of school.  

And I got to go shopping.  Which usually ends up frustrating me more than making me happy.  But this trip was a great one.  Have money which is always a plus.  So I go to try on the next size down which is about where I should be.  Nope.  Too big.  Really?  I have to go back out and get the size below that one.  It fits.  Well.  Looks really good.  One of my daughters asked when I got so skinny.  I have to chalk it up to the kickboxing and zumba.  And a few thousand trips up and down the stairs in the last two weeks.   That felt really incredible!

I've long since given up on being perfect.  I just want to be good.  Really good.  And I'm getting there.  I'm happy.  Happier than I think I've ever been in my life.  No, I didn't win the lottery or catch Mr. Right.  Just because of the little things.  Holding my head up and taking the time to look around.  Knowing the side streets better because of the detours.  Loving the detours because they are taking me places I wouldn't otherwise know about.   And not just the road signs.  I'm taking the curve balls life is throwing at me.  About to throw back and then some.

So I'm becoming me.  Who that is I don't know yet.  Let me know if you see her though and what you think about the woman she's becoming!

Stopping To Smell The Roses

"Take time to smell the roses
 Before it is too late.
 Today is full of promise
 Tomorrow will not wait"
 ~Marilyn Ferguson

I'm driving home from my brother's house yesterday.  We're at an intersection and we see a parade that was just starting.  So we stopped.   It turned out to be a great day.  Got to go on a trolley ride (the kids loved it) and heard a great Dixieland jazz band.  Learned a bunch about downtown Willoughby I never knew.  Saw some incredible old homes.   I could have just kept driving.  Probably would have in my old life because there's always something more important to do.

Not this time.  It's not just about me any more.  I see that every step I take is affecting the kids.  In a good way.  They seem happier and more relaxed.  So do I.  Of course we've kind of been on vacation for the last month (except for all the packing, moving, and unpacking).  Still sort of feels like we're living in a hotel minus the cleaning lady and room service.  But we've had some pretty great experiences so far.  There's a lot more to do here.  And there's family and a lot of "friends that were waiting for us to come back."  I've been informed that I can't call them old friends, so I guess that's what I'll refer to them until I get a better name.  So what if we got to the shoe store 15 minutes before closing and had to cram in all school supply shopping today?  The notebooks and markers weren't going anywhere.

But time is.  It flies by so fast. Every day I let pass by me is an opportunity lost.  I'll never get that time back again.  And I've already let so much pass me by.  It might seem that I am trying to cram way too much into an already hectic schedule.  Not really.  I mean, what else are we going to do - sit around the house and watch TV?  Probably.  Instead, I want to fill it with moments.  Memories that will last a lifetime.  Experiences that add to our character.

So we stopped to smell the roses.  And taste the peanuts.  And listen to the band.  It was awesome!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

One Week Down

"Life isn't a matter of milestones but of moments." ~Rose F. Kennedy

One week down.  Well, give or take a few days.  Life's been a little busy, so my post is a little late.  For those of you who know me, that's not much of a surprise.  I'm usually late.  For just about everything.  I could make excuses for it, but I won't.  I chalk it up to heredity.

One full week into my new life.  Actually almost two, but one week with the kids and all my junk moved into our new apartment.  I don't count the three days of hell trying to get back from Tennessee.  Well, what have I accomplished in my first week?
  • We're moved in.  Me and 3 highly active children.  Big accomplishment!
  • Electric, gas, high-speed internet (whoohoo!), phone (another woot for that; no more bad connections on my cell) and tv turned on.  
  • Daily trips to Walmart for all those little things (and some big ones) that I seem to forget on my shopping list.  
  • Two bunkbeds bought and set up.  
  • Attended a back-to-school picnic and new student orientation at the kids' new school.  
  • New friends made for both the kids and myself. 
  • Attended the Phantom of the Opera for the first time.
  • Met up with old friends three times.
  • One Lake County Captains game (we won!) and a Cleveland Browns game (we lost that one).
  • Two sleepovers for the kids and a trip to the park with the cousins.
  • Registered the kids for school (finally).
Oh, and I got a job.  Ended up accepting the one I wasn't sure about.  They loved me so much, they want to give me a better position with more money.  Hmmm.  How often does that happen?  

Next week starts the hectic, back-to-reality lifestyle of Supermom.  New school, new teachers and all the activities that come with the school year.  The week after that I get back into life as a working mom instead of an unemployed bum.  I think I deserved my 5 weeks off though.  I've been working full-time since I was 16.

My deadline was August 24th.  Well, more of a milestone than a deadline.  That's the day that the kids start school.  In exactly five months I went from a married, barely existing shadow of a person in Tennessee to a single, taking everything she can out of life woman in Cleveland.  All but one of my goals on my checklist crossed off.  Can't tell you what that is because it's tied to my shooting star wish.  But that's OK.  I need to have something to look forward to.

So, a lot happened in one week.  Almost all for the good.  Don't know where I'm going from here.  But I know no matter what, it's going to be an adventure.  Here's to the moments...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Letting Go

We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. ~ E.M. Forster

The unknown is such a scary place.  It is so frightening sometimes that we stay frozen where we are even if it makes us miserable.  We keep a job that we hate.  Stay in a bad relationship.  Never take that lesson we wanted to because someone called it silly.  Because we are comfortable and as a people we gravitate towards that. 

And since the known is so comfortable, we build our plans around it.  We set long term goals.  You can't really call them dreams if you aren't reaching beyond the bounderies.  They are just whispers of what might have been.  Our potential is quelched by our unwillingness to forge ahead.

Some of us hold so tightly to these plans that it is impossible to see beyond them.  They are our security blanket.   They make us feel so safe that we don't even see the possibilities right in front of us.  We preach about how our lives are so good and even defend them when someone suggests something to the contrary.  We do this so often that we convince ourselves that it is true.

Alas, even I with all the big talk of spreading my wings and leaping have built my hopes on certain plans.  Knowing full well I can't plan for these hopes and dreams.  I have to just let them happen.  It is just so hard to let go.  But I know until I do, the life I deserve will never come to pass.

So I will fight it a little longer.  I guess I'm too much of a control freak not to.  But soon, perhaps sooner than I thought, I am going to have to let go in order for my future to happen...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Calm (for now)

"We rest here while we can, 
but we hear the ocean calling in our dreams
And we know by the morning, 
the wind will fill our sails to test the seams
The calm is on the water 
and part of us would linger by the shore
For ships are safe in harbor, 
but that's not what ships are for."
~Michael Lille

Since I've been here, I have this amazing sense of calm that's come over me.  Calm with a touch of patience.  And I am soooo not a patient person.  But life is good right now.  Yeah, there is so much unknown right now.  But the pieces are falling into place.  Slowly.  And that is fine with me.  I'm not in a hurry.  For anything.  Life has been so crazy for so long that I'm OK with slow.

But I know that this calm will not last forever.  I've been lingering on the shore for a little while now.  I don't know how long I'll be able to stay at the dock.  The wind is gently tugging at my sails, letting me know that it's there waiting for me.  I was never made for calm.  There's too much fiery Irish temper for me to be still for long.  When the wind hits it will be fierce.  And I wouldn't have it any other way.

So if you happen to see me calm and collected, know that the storm is waiting just around the bend.  I will be testing the seams of my sails very soon and trying to find out just what the boundaries of my new life are going to be.  Until then I will revel in the calm, existing at the very edge of the shore but ready to sail this ship further into the unknown.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Bumps in the road...

"The bumps in the road just make the ride more fun." ~Jorj Wagner
"Setbacks are just bumps in the road, they are not the end of the road."
~Bob Greene

Well, some of you know how last week went.  The trip to Cleveland was virtually perfect.  My family (the part that showed up) were incredible!  They helped unload the entire truck in an hour and a half.  And it was hot!  My four-hour interview Monday went great (don't know anything yet).  Flight home safe and uneventful.  But my last 2 days in Tennessee were hell.  Apparently you can't rent a U-haul trailer with an Explorer.  Yeah, only Explorers.  No other Fords.  So my friend tried to help me get it with hers but no electrical hook-ups.  Same thing with everyone else we tried.  Either no hitch or no electrical.  

So I ended up taking my ex's flatbed trailer.  Seemed like a good idea at the time.  Loaded everything I could on it, tied it down and finally hit the road almost a day later than planned.  Well, this worked until we hit Elizabethtown, Kentucky.  Then I felt a little bump and a bit of shaking for a minute.  Thought I had lost a box.  Stopped at the next rest area and low and behold, I was missing a tire.  Completely.  The boxes didn't budge though.  The kids started panicking, but I told them we were on a great adventure.  Got some activity books and candy, watched cars and trucks pass, and then the repair guy fix the tires.  Two hours and $275 later, I had two new tires and was back on the road.  I was going to tip the guy for helping me that late at night but changed my mind when he charged me $75 for towing and never actually towed me. 

Well, I finally made it here about nine in the morning on Friday.  Unloaded the trailer and truck with minimal help from my kids.  I am really hating the stairs now.  But it's done.  We are here, boxes and all.  Mostly unopened, but here just the same.  Mom watched the kids Friday night while I took my drug test for the job I don't quite have yet.  I actually got to sleep in Saturday.  Was up from 5 a.m. Thursday until about 10:30 Friday night.   I'm still down about 4 hours of sleep, but I'll catch up sometime this week.  

So,  God really wanted to delay me for some reason.  Still don't know what it was.  But I am here.  For good.  And I may never move again.  From the Cleveland area, my apartment, and just maybe this spot.  :)

Thursday, August 12, 2010


"Truly great friends are hard to find, difficult to leave, and impossible to forget." - G. Randolf

As you know, I am leaving home to go home.  A bit confusing you say.  Well, I'm leaving my home of the last seventeen years to go back home.  When I do this, I am leaving some truly incredible friends behind.  Some of them have been there through the beginning and now the end of my marriage, my boys from another mother growing up, the birth of my three rug rats, and now my eventual move back to Cleveland.  Some of them are newer acquisitions.  But all of them completely loyal and wonderful.

I've also been lucky to become reacquainted with some friends from my past.  I've just had an incredible outpouring of love and support.  I can't tell you what it means to me.  

I want to say "thank you" to those of you who have been there for me.  The ones who will drop what they are doing to listen to me ramble on about my life, my doubts, and my hopes and dreams.  The ones living these new experiences with me.  The ones who share their lives with me, opening up and trusting me.  I am honored to be that person.  

I would especially like to thank three very special people.  This is in no way to meant to leave anyone out.  But these three have been closest to my heart and I believe I have been the same for them. I love you with all of my heart and I always will!

I was told recently that I didn't realize who my friends were.  I told them that Michelle and Kristina would give me the shirts off their back.  And Kimmie would kill for me.  He didn't know me and Kimmie were so close.  We are.  But besides our friendship, Kimmie would really kill for me.  Just for the fun of it.  That's my Kim.  She probably really wouldn't kill.  Maybe.  I wouldn't test her on this though.   She's my party girl.  She brings out that part of me I keep really hidden.  I've never really been a wild child.  But she helps me be comfortable with my adventurous side and I love her for it.  She is, as they all are, fiercely loyal.  

Kristina is a bit more reserved.  She's my beautiful hapa-houle.  My buddy from Hawaii.  She doesn't exactly fit in here any more than this Damn Yankee does.  Although she's younger, she has taught me so much.  How to be patient.  How to stay friends with your ex and always do the best for your kids no matter what.   And she's truly believed in me.  Supported me up in decisions even though it goes against everything she wants.  Been there through the extreme happiness and gut-wrenching tears.  And holds my head and gently consoles me telling me everything will work out but knowing full well I will continue to make the same mistakes again because I just can't help myself. If I could pack her and her wonderful boys in my suitcase and take them with me, I would. 

And then there's Michelle.  No paragraph could ever sum up what a friend she's been to me.  She's been closer than a sister.  More than a best friend.  She has been my family down here.  We've lived a lifetime together.  Without her I seriously doubt I would have my girls. I would definitely not have as much sanity as I have left.  She's opened my world to so many new experiences.  She challenges me to be a better supermom and has truly shown me what being a friend means.  This amazing woman shows up at my house at midnight the night before my girls' Christening because my sewing machine stopped working.  Brought her own machine and stayed there until the dresses were finished.  I don't even remember what time that ended up being.  She's always looking out for me.  She has twins a few years older and we've been able to learn from them as they grow up together.  She has given more than I could ever repay and would never expect it.  So I try to take what she has taught me and pay it forward.  

I know that I have some amazing friends both old and new waiting for me in Ohio.  But I am leaving behind a huge part of me here with these girls.  I would never be able to leave if I didn't already know we will always be friends and will keep it touch forever.

So here's to friends both old and new.  To lasting memories and new experiences.  Thank you all for taking this tarnished, not-so-perfect girl on as a friend.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Defying Gravity

"So if you care to find me
Look to the western sky!
As someone told me lately:
"Ev'ryone deserves the chance to fly!"
And if I'm flying solo
At least I'm flying free
To those who'd ground me
Take a message back from me
Tell them how I am defying gravity" 
~Elphaba in Wicked
Well, here I am on my last day of my previous life.  I now have less than a day left in Tennessee.  I thought it would be more bittersweet.  Don't get me wrong - I am soooo going to miss my friends.  But I guess it's the excitement of my new life that's calling to me that overshadows the rest.  No, excitement isn't the right word.  It's more of a knowing calm.  The feeling that I am in the exact place that I'm supposed to be at the right moment.  Which is really funny since I really have no idea what I'm going to do yet.
Going off to a new life with no actual direction seems kind of crazy, huh?  In this job market, it might be.  I am confident in my abilities and I know I will get a job.  Getting the right one might take a little more work.  
But there is something else waiting there for me.  I can feel it.  For the first time in 20 years, I was completely comfortable going home.  It just feels so right.  I guess everything has it's own timing.  And this is mine.  It probably wouldn't have worked 5 or 10 years ago.  Driving into town, standing there in the city so different from the country I've called home for so long, I felt good.  Calm.  Peaceful.  Strange that the city could be peaceful.  But there's something else.  It's there and I can almost put my hand on it.  Almost, but not quite.  It's playing hide-and-seek with me.  That's ok.  I'm patient and up to the challenge.  No, I'm not normally patient, but in this I am because I know it is so going to be worth it.  
I've let go of the control I feel I need to have over everything.  I no longer know what tomorrow is going to bring.  Or even where I'll be in 6 months.  I guess I have been so unhappy for so long, anything is going to be better.  I am no longer letting someone else have power over my happiness.  I understand now that I don't need security to be able to make it.  God will provide.  And I am tired of just surviving.  I want more.  Crave it.  I'm done getting up every morning and letting life pass me by.  I have let that happen for way too long and now that I'm awake I realize that all these years have passed me by.  I can't get them back but I won't let it happen again.  Somehow, no matter what, it will be different now.  
So, if you care to find me, you'll have to look to the Northern sky.   I'm closing my eyes and leaping.  And maybe, just maybe, I might be flying...

Friday, August 6, 2010

Starting Over

Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending. ~Marcus Aurelius

Not many people in life have a chance to start over.  Well, actually it's probably more accurate to say that most never take that chance.  They're not willing to take that first small step over the mountain that at the time seems insurmountable.  Who knows exactly what holds people back: fear, unbelief in themselves, the unknown.  Yeah, I know, some people are actually satisfied with their lives and that's great.  I'm talking about you guys that had that look in your eyes begging me to take you with me on my new journey because you don't have the courage to do it on your own.  I'm still not sure I have it either, but I am walking anyways.

I myself am starting over for the second time in my life.  This isn't the first time I've quit a job, moved to another state, and basically started over.  New friends, new doctors, the works.  Apparently I like stress.  More than that, I believe I thrive on it.  This is the second, possibly third time if you count my 5 years at college.  But this is a major one.  I'm not just a snot-nosed kid out of school that has no responsibility and only has herself to worry about.  I now have 3 amazingly angelic (hah!) kids that I have to consider with ever decision I make.

My grandfather is a great example of someone who started over.  After retiring from the Marines after 20 years, he went back to school and got a doctorate in Language and Speech Therapy.  He started his own practice, wrote several books, taught college classes and wrote a computer program to help stroke patients learn to talk again.  Oh, and he did all of this after he was 40 so maybe even I have a chance.

One thing that goes along with starting over is the ability to re-invent yourself.  It's a great time to establish who you want to be and hide the fact that you've been a boring, don't-take-chances soccer mom/engineer or whatever that title is for you.  I am, of course, talking literally, not figuratively.  That wasn't me.  I was this incredible over-achiever that is just carrying her awesomeness back to Cleveland with her (yeah, I know you're laughing again.)

But seriously, you get a chance to put behind you the stuff you're not happy with.  You can decide on a new career path like my grandfather did.  You can get a new hairstyle (been there, done that) and some new clothes.  Get a great new apartment with groovy new furniture.  Get a hot boyfriend (note dating blog post) with a great job.  Change your attitude which in turn changes others attitude towards you.  Because the new friends don't know who the old you was.  They haven't had to put up with your Irish temper and hormonal changes over the last 20 years.  Again, I'm talking figuratively :)

Does re-inventing yourself actually change who you are?  I suppose it has to do with just how much you are willing to change.  I'm going back home, so too many people know who the real me is to change too much.  Which is OK with me because I'm OK with me.  But say I was moving to a completely new city, starting a new career path making more money.  I could, in theory, make a complete change with no one being the wiser.  Of course, inevitably someone from your past always shows up in the new town to unmask your identity. 

So, seeing as I haven't yet quite figured out who I want to be, I'll be winging it a lot.  I'm not very good on the fly.  When you ask me who I am, I may blurt out princess or kickboxing champion. Hot Latin Zumba dancer.  Single, hot woman living out her life the way she wants this time.  Supermom/Soccermom, balancing work and activity schedules with the greatest of ease and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound (oh yeah, wrong superhero.)  Highly capable engineer with an awesome well-paying job with lots of flexibility.  If you take the time to get to know me, maybe you'll get to know the real me.  Or maybe meet one of my alter-egos.  

What would you change if you were able to re-invent yourself?

Monday, August 2, 2010


"What we really want to do is what we are really meant to do.  When we do what we are meant to do, money comes to us, doors open for us, we feel useful, and the work we do feels like play to us." ~Julia Cameron

Here I am still with no job.  I should find out about the other one I interviewed with sometime this week. You know I didn't get my dream job. This new one is basically the opposite of that one.  I would be performing as a Manufacturing Engineer.  Ordering equipment, setting up lines, establishing processes.  Stuff like that.  Not completely outside of my realm of experience or education, but definitely not where the majority of my experience has been.  Yet I have a pretty strong feeling that I will get a job offer from them.

Well, here's my dilemma. I'm not sure I want the job.  I think the people there are great.  It pays pretty good.  But it's in a bad part of town.  It's in another plant, so it's loud, noisy and dirty.  I'm not a girly girl, so that's not the issue.  But I would definitely be coming home a lot dirtier than I left everyday. It would not be an overly fulfilling job.  Not in the sense of what I've been searching for.  I need to feel like I am contributing something to society.  It's bothered me for a long time.  Granted, I did my best to help wherever I could at my old job, but at the end of the day I was not doing the work I was meant to do.

I'm not sure exactly what that work is yet. I know I can still be a valuable member of society no matter what job I do.  There are plenty of opportunities outside of a job to be useful.  But I hate to get into another job where I wonder what exactly my purpose is eight hours a day.

My other thought is to take some time off of work and go back to school.  Maybe get my MBA or Masters in Engineering.  Perhaps take a few photography classes while I'm at it.  It would allow me to be a better fit for a lot more jobs including American Greetings if that ever happens again.  I might even be able to find an online program.  I would be in a higher wage bracket.  Most importantly I would be able to drop the kids off and pick them up every day and not have to worry about paying for before and after school care.  I could be there for all school activities and I'm not sure I will be able to do that just starting a new job anywhere.  This year is going to be critical for the kids since they are starting at a new school with all new friends.  

Of course I could do the online MBA and still take the job.  That would take more time away from the kids and add to an already hectic schedule.  Wouldn't be the first time I ever did anything that crazy (work full time, school full time, raise kids) but I am not as young as I used to be.  Or I could hold out for another job.

So am I crazy even considering not taking this job in a market like we are in right now?  I don't know when another offer will happen.  This might be a great opportunity I am passing up.  And even with the degree I am not guaranteed my dream job. I really need to be doing what I was meant to do.  If only I knew just what that was...

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Burning Bridges

"We cross our bridges when we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and a presumption that once our eyes watered." ~Tom Stoppard

As some of you already know, I did not get the job at American Greetings.  You know, my dream job.  The one I was made for.  That amazing place with pictures on the wall and a Starbucks inside. I was the perfect candidate. Or so I thought.  It came down to two and they picked the other person.  

It's pretty much my fault.  Well fault is a harsh word. I left it all to God.  I asked him to give it to me if it was the right job for me and for my kids.  And at the last interview the manager started talking about late nights and 12-hour work days.  I knew right then I wouldn't get it. The manager knew I had 3 kids and I knew that the schedule would never work for Soccermom.  And the director that really liked my credentials quit the week before.  So it came as no surprise that I got the call a few days later telling me they chose the other person.

What did come as a surprise is what happened next.  I sent the e-mails and texts out to my closest friends (and all 385 of them on FB) giving a status update to the job search.  My mom calls me of course.  I get the typical "everything happens for a reason" and "when one door closes" speech.  Mom is my biggest cheerleader and I love her for it.  Then she tells me she sent an e-mail to American Greetings telling them what a mistake they made in not hiring her amazingly wonderful daughter.  "That's sweet,"  I say.  And then my brain catches up.  What???  OMG!  Did I really just hear what I think I heard?  She E-MAILED the company.  To try and convince them to hire her daughter anyways.  Not good.  Rewind.  Take a step back.  

I ask her 20 questions trying to find out what exactly she said and who she sent the e-mail to.  Apparently it was a really nice note and she even thanked them for letting her vent (scary).  It was sent to a general e-mail, so there is a really small chance that no one read it.  Minuscule.  Because what probably happened is that it went to the IT department.  Some really bored 3rd shift guy came across it and laughed his butt off.  Feeling like a good Samaritan, he decides to forward it to the appropriate people, namely the Human Resources Department.  My guess is they also read it, crying on the floor, before forwarding it on to the hiring manager and probably everyone else at American Greetings.  It may have even made it to their intra-company newsletter in the weekly motivational section.  You know, the "you think you've got it bad..." page.

She really did mean well.  But what kind of worked in grade school (poor Mrs Oliver, the secretary at St. Jerome's) does not work so well at 39.  I'm assuming that I probably won't get called back for another interview.  Ever.  Unless they ant a good laugh or to see what my mom will do next.  I really did intend to try for another position there.  

One of my friends suggested she write a book How To Burn Bridges And Piss People Off.  I told mom about this too.  Of course she thinks it's a great idea.  Seriously.  So she has already started writing it.  No really.  She already has the premise and needs people to send her ways they've burned bridges in the past.  If you have one, you can post a comment here.  Or if you really feel like being entertained, go ahead and friend her on Facebook.  She's listed as Nora Hardy (Nora Pitts Lunar).  Yes, we love the strange last names in our family.  She's heard all of them too before you even try.  She loves Farmville and needs more neighbors.  Just be prepared to participate in the co-ops. 

If you are planning on leaving a job, never working again and have no need for referrals, here's a great letter to use.  It's actually very well written and says what most of us only dream of saying to those who lead us.  If you do continue to plan on looking for more jobs, do not, I repeat, do not do as mom or Sam Toperoff did.  Instead, send a nice thank you card (on American Greetings stationary, not Hallmark as mom also suggested).  

So, for the moment I am still jobless.  I don't know exactly what I want to do yet.  I know there's something out there for me.  Hopefully another dream job will come along.  In the meantime, I am not telling my mom where I'm interviewing.  (No offense mom.  I love ya, but I do need a job.)  I may not even tell her where my job is for a while until I'm sure they're going to keep me.  And if you know of any wonderful jobs let me know.  Until then, I will continue packing and writing whatever comes to my mind (uh, I meant posting more blogs.)


(This is the speech I gave in church this morning.  I will definitely miss my Trinity friends and never forget you.  We will be back to visit!)

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope ~ Jeremiah 29:11

As you know, it has been a very interesting year for me.  4 months ago I would have laughed if you told me I was going to quit my job and move back home.  It wasn’t in my plan.  I was going to stay married forever.  I took my vows very seriously.  But as some of you know, that relationship was not a healthy one.  It got increasingly more painful to pray for a marriage that was trying to pull me away from my faith, not help me to grow in it.  I realized that I was becoming less Christ-like the more I tried to fight it.  It was a difficult decision and not one that I asked for. 

I want to thank you for the outpouring of prayers and support that we’ve received over the years, but especially during this one.  I’ve had people come up to me out of the blue and tell me “something told me to pray for you this week.”  I don’t know how you knew what I was going through or if it even mattered  if you did.  You knew I was hurting and God directed you to reach out to me.  That’s pretty incredible.  Some of you even shared your own personal journeys with me.  Those have helped me come to terms with my situation and come closer to seeing His plan for me. 

Trinity is blessed with examples of what a Christian family should be like.  I want to thank you for giving us models to look up to.  You’ve shown me and my children what it means to be a Christian family.  What a father looks like when he is walking with Christ and leading his family in a Christian way whether it’s serving the church as an usher, leading a water balloon fight during VBS, or even dressing up as Superman.  How a mother should act.  Sometimes with a steel-clad planner, some just winging it like me, but all with complete acceptance and always ready to volunteer their time or bake some delicious Southern cooking at the drop of a hat.  These families just don’t attend church on Sunday.  They participate as a family, walking their walk together and supporting each other in that walk.

I can’t tell you what that has meant to me never having known that as a child.  I was brought up as a Christian, but it was more ritualistic than anything else.  I didn’t know what it meant to be saved or ever have anyone come up to me and ask me if I wanted a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  It was actually my grandmother’s never-ending faith that led me to be saved.  And I didn’t really understand what an incredible gift I had received until much later. 

Since coming to Trinity, I have had so many opportunities to strengthen and fortify my faith and belief.  I’m not a natural leader.  Hard to believe but it’s true.  I’m more of a reluctant “OK, since no one else will do it and you really need someone” kind of person.  So it was that I became an Awana leader and later the preschool choir teacher and VBS teacher.  I have to admit that I learned more from the children than I ever could have taught them.  Their innocence and complete trust and faith in God is something that you could never teach an adult.   Thank you for allowing me to be a part of their lives if only for a brief time and also for those who have taken my children under their wings. 

Some of you are quite worried for me as I set out on this new adventure, but don’t be.   God has a plan for me.   As Robin helped us to learn at church camp "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him" 1 Corinthians 2:9.  Well, I certainly don’t know what his plan is.  I’m taking a huge leap of faith knowing that God will catch me and even walk with me on the journey.  I don’t know where I’ll be working or when I’ll get a job.  I do know where I’ll be living temporarily so we won’t be out on the streets.  And I have enough money to carry us for a while, so we won’t be starving.  

But I’ve left the security of a home and career that I’ve worked all my life to achieve.  And I can’t explain how I know this, but I know that God has something so much bigger and more powerful waiting for me.  It was suggested to me recently that maybe I’m meant to go home so I could share my faith and lead someone further in their walk.  At first I laughed at such a concept.  I mean, me going and teaching them what it means to know Jesus?  But church camp also taught me that Jesus can use ANYONE to lead someone to him, so maybe there’s some logic to it.

He also has a timetable in which all of these plans will manifest in my life.  I need to learn patience and this is not a virtue I was endowed with much of.  Another verse that has been given to me so many times this year is “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5).  He has directed me on this new path and I am placing my trust in him completely.   Hard to do when you have very little other than a needle on a compass showing the direction.  But Paul said “we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7).   

So even though I can’t see the signs he’s given yet, I must go forward.  And so I take the first step of my journey.  Know that I take with me so much more than I ever could give you.  The countless memories we’ve been so blessed to make over the past five years here; friendships that will last a lifetime, even across the miles.  A faith that will carry us on our new journey and beyond.  All I ask is for your prayers that my eyes stay open to his direction and my faith gives me the courage to stay on the path he has meant for me.   

Wish Upon A Star

"For my part I know nothing with any certainty but the sight of the stars makes me dream." ~Van Gogh

I saw a shooting star tonight.  An honest-to-God streak across the sky shooting star.  A million thoughts crossed my mind: "Do I wish for a job, winning the lottery, true love?  Are you supposed to say something before you say your wish? Star light, star bright... no, that's the wrong one.  Argh!  I need to wish for something good.  Is there a time limit on how long you can take to make your wish? Is it too late?"  Did I ever tell you my mind is usually on hyperdrive?  Kinda scary getting a glimpse in there, huh?

What do you use a perfectly good shooting star wish on? I mean, it's a once-in-a lifetime opportunity, right?  Just how often do you get to see a shooting star?  It's actually like 84% chance of seeing one in an hour.  Yeah, I googled it.  Who comes up with that kind of figure?  That would mean I should see one every night.  (I live out in the country; cell phone service sucks; I have to talk outside to get anyone to hear me.  So yes, I'm outside almost every night for about an hour.)  And yet, this was the first star I've seen this year and it was a big one.  My luck a satellite just burned up in the atmosphere.  Or maybe it was space junk.

I'm still avoiding the question: what to wish for?  I'm in pretty good health.  I have three beautiful children.  Oh yeah - no job.  So I might have wished for that.  But I'm not quite sure I want the job I'm going for now and my dream job was given to someone else.  I'll have to tell you about the burnt bridges in another blog.  True love?  But that's so complicated too.  Well, with the lottery I don't need the first one and the second would be sooo much easier to come by. Fame?  Ah, who needs that - I have Facebook and this awesome blog.  Maybe that sexy little Dodge Charger I raced through Kentucky last week...

So I think my time limit has expired on the wishing thing.  It seems I have everything I need anyways.   As my friend Cooper would say "Do you need it or do you want it?"  So I used the wish for a want.  But I can't tell you what it was for yet.  Google said so :)