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Looking Back ... Looking Forward

When I began this blog a few years ago, it was at the suggestion of my (at the time) literary agent. Yes, I had an agent, and no, that children's book I wrote has still not been published (yet). I no longer have that agent, and I no longer spend hours looking at publishing companies. At first glance, you might think, well, that was all for nothing. But, when I look back, I see how being chosen by that agency led to other (paid) writing endeavors and a tremendous boost in (believe it or not) self-confidence. It definitely had a purpose.

For the past few days I've been reflecting on jobs I've had over the years. One of my first jobs was typing classified ads for a local newspaper. It was incredibly boring. But, I was able to prove myself (as much as you can while trying to help people sell their tractors, trucks, and other random junk) and even write a few articles for them. It was all good until I came in one day and there was a bullet lying on the counter. Apparently someone was not happy this newspaper was trying to outdo the other local newspaper, so they decided to use scare tactics. My time with classifieds ended abruptly after that.

I once held a job as a restaurant hostess. It lasted one day. It was at the buffet at Kentucky Dam Village. I should have known things would go wrong when I went to pick up my uniform and they handed me a pair of pants and shirt and simply said, "This is what the last girl wore." I worked for one whole day (a double shift, mind you) in pants that wouldn't remotely button. My manager's name was Pearl. She's a legend there, and not necessarily for the best reasons. I quit after the first day. (And forevermore, that will be known as my "dam day of employment.")

In college I cleaned test tubes and handed out ping pong paddles. I spent my summers at a medical office scanning records. Pages and pages of records. Hours and hours of sitting in front of a computer screen making sure two pages didn't go through at once. It wasn't glamorous, but, it was good money, and I got to wear scrubs. Not a bad combination. I also got to help out with a few minor surgeries ... fascinating.

In seminary I started out selling futons. Yes, you read that correctly. Futons. It was awful. But, the hours were good, and the lack of customers afforded me incredible amounts of time to study for my classes. Win, win.

I then moved on to selling athletic shoes at New Balance. This job was fun. I got to wear athletic clothes to work. I saw some of the worst feet you can imagine. It was humbling. But, I loved it. The people, the customers, the discounts. It's always good when you enjoy going to work.

The majority of my jobs since then have revolved around Christian camping and event planning. I can't say enough about the great experiences I have had through these. Living the camp life can be extremely challenging and exhausting, but the rewards far outweigh the late nights, early mornings, staff drama, disgruntled camper parents, and more. Camp taught me how to be a leader. Hard? Yes. Worth it? Absolutely.

I've always been amazed at how God has provided just the right job at just the right time (even the dam job led to the medical office job which turned out to be a great place to work). From curriculum writing assignments to writing blogs for others, from filing insurance papers to teaching preschool, God has always been faithful.

Last year while at Ande's parent teacher conference, I asked her teacher to clarify who her assistant was (I had to make sure I had teacher gifts ready to go), and she said, "We don't have one. Do you want a job?" We all laughed and moved on. A week later, I began as a 2nd grade assistant at our local elementary school. The hours were perfect -- drop Graham off at preschool, work a few hours, pick Graham up from preschool, and then afternoons as usual.

While I sat in those classrooms (I worked with 3) and listened to the teachers ... as I worked one-on-one with students and led whole class activities ... as I made copies and prepared homework ... God began to whisper, "You can do this, but you can also do more." You see, teaching has always been a part of me. Whether in church, camp, small groups, preschool, curriculum writing ... it's always been floating in the background. I've said countless times, "If I had to do it all over again, I'd get an elementary education degree in a heartbeat." Teaching is not for the faint of heart, but the impact they have on future generations is monumental. (I can still name all of my elementary teachers. Can you?) And not to mention, kids are absolutely the best.

I'm not one to take chances. After all ... I'm turning 40 this year, I already have undergrad/masters degrees, my days are super flexible, and it would be a lot easier for me to just stay put. Most educators my age are now seasoned veterans, not first year elementary teachers. To become a teacher means I have to go back to school, I have to pass a few tests (the last standardized test I took was the ACT in 1998), I have to invest my time and monetary resources in building up a classroom, our family dynamics (think schedules and such) will change drastically, and I have to take at least a year off of curriculum writing.

Hard? Yes. Challenging? Completely. A bit scary? Absolutely. Worth it? I think it will be.

I'm taking a leap of faith. I'm jumping in where I feel God is leading me. You might have heard that Ridgecrest Conference Center (where Robert is employed) is up for sale. It's a great feeling to accept a job you feel completely led to and a few hours later find out your husband's job will soon be up in the air. (Sarcasm noted.)

All of this to say, this will most likely be my last post on this website. Not because I don't love writing. My life is just taking a different direction for the moment. There literally are not enough hours in the day to get it all done, so there are things I am choosing to hit pause on.

So, I want to leave you with this:

I don't know what tomorrow will hold. I don't even know what the next hour will hold. There are many, many things that are out of my control. But, I know who is in control. His name is Jesus. And, I choose to trust Him. To trust His timing. To trust His direction. To trust His plans that I know are for His glory and my good. And, I'm jumping in with both feet.

There are so many more things I could share of God at work (like how teaching assistants here have been able to take online classes since working virtually due to COVID-19 that have served as great preparation resources for me or like how friends doing some COVID-19 decluttering have helped me begin to build a class library with books they no longer need). For the sake of time, however, I will pause.

I'll close by asking you to pray for me this summer as I prepare for this next chapter. Feel free to send teaching tips, ideas, and resources my way. I'm learning as I go ... and if you know me at all, you know I find it hard to give anything less than 100% to everything I do.

Thanks for reading my thoughts over the past few years. It's my prayer that I have said at least one thing that resonated with you, challenged you, or simply just made you smile.

And now, let the laminating begin!