Thursday, March 11, 2010

What next?

As aforementioned, I am on the job hunt.

I remember the first time I ever looked for a real job.

March 2006:
I was a senior at George Fox with "what next?" ringing in my ears. The day before I flew down to San Francisco to interview for a ministry-related job, I was offered the job as the On-Site Director at Tilikum. Within 2 days, I had 2 incredible job offers, and one was for a job I didn't even apply for.

Fast forward to June 2007:
Fresh from Boliva, the all-too-familiar "what next" rang in my ears again. This time, with just enough in my bank account to cover a few month's rent while I looked for a job. I spent hours searching Craig's list and applying for non-profits in the Portland area. (My thoughts from August '07 are not too far off from what I'm thinking now.) Not expecting to get my dream job until the following year when the Higher-Ed application cycle would begin again, I heard about an opening at NCU. I got turned down for a job I thought I was perfect for just in time to interview for the Area Residence Coordinator position. Call me crazy, but 2 weeks later, I moved back into a college dorm and took the job.

July 1, 2009:
I left my stable, good-paying job and rent-free apartment to begin life in Longview, or "El-Town." While not living my dream job because I simply don't have a job, I am living the dream because I'm married to Paul.
Yet, I'm unemployed, and have been for almost 8 1/2 months. I am constantly checking websites for jobs with the city, county, school, community college, etc. I've scoured the newspaper classifieds and craigslist.

And nothing toots my horn. Nothing, that is, except for the current job postings at both Northwest Christian & George Fox... Area Coordinator (GFU) & Area Residence Coordinator (NCU).

I've read the job descriptions over and over again, even tearing up.
My dream job and the job I left.
Everything I would love to do and get paid to do it.

I've been a barista and a waitress, and then I graduated from college and entered the professional world and I don't want to go back behind the counter.
I know what I love to do and have a good idea of what I'm good at.
I'm picky and don't want to settle for just any job, even though I'm nearing desperation.
I want to do something I'm passionate about. I want to use my gifts and talents. I want something flexible so I can maintain my involvement with the youth ministry.

The major problem with all of this, though, is that there just aren't any job openings in Longview that make my heart sing. Employment opportunities in general are limited.

I feel so stuck.

So when do I let go of my dream job? When do I settle, just for the sake of working?
Do I take a job just to get paid, and do my best to do what I love on the side in the form of volunteering?

It's obvious God has provided for me in the past.
I know I know I know God's timing is perfect.

My ears continue to ring with
"What next?"

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

In a nutshell:

I've been on 5 retreats in 5 months. (3 youth group retreats, 1 couples retreat, 1 women's retreat) We've started a tradition of making crepes for breakfast every Monday following a retreat weekend.

Needless to say, I treasure my weekends at home with Paul.

I now know what it means to live "paycheck to paycheck."

I'm job-hunting.

There are only 9 episodes left of LOST... ever! We spent the first 4 months of our marriage watching seasons 1-5 since I had never seen it before. That's a lot of LOST!

On Sundays, I'm on the worship team and co-teach middle school Sunday school, with the occasional mission trip meeting.
On Mondays, I make snacks for Paul's high school guys Bible study that meets at our house.
On Tuesdays, I make snacks and lead a Bible Study for high school girls, also at our house.
Wednesday is youth group and I'm a 10th grade girls small group leader.
Thursday is worship practice (if I'm singing Sunday morning)
Fridays and Saturdays are our weekends because Paul has those days off!

Dinner + (Dishes x 2) - Dishwasher = tired feet and an amazing husband who cleans up after me!

I'm enjoying weekly dinner dates with my in-laws and weekly coffee dates with my mother-in-law, which I consider an absolute JOY!

Morgan has gone from a large dog to a VERY large dog. She gained 10 pounds in 2 months and now weighs 104.

Slowly, but surely, I'm making my way through the book of Acts & "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan.

I'm addicted to the Better After blog which features do-it-yourself projects from kitchens to tables to desks and I'm inspired to visit Goodwill/Craigslist and buy some paint!

I have never before cooked with so much cilantro, and we're loving it!

I'm feeling the urge to get out my sewing machine and create something, which I haven't done in 3 years.

I am also feeling the urge to learn how to play the guitar.

Paul and I are talking about planting a garden in our backyard. We want tomatoes, carrots, green beans, lettuce, potatoes and lots of flowers like dahlias.

Our youth group is visiting the Real.Life.Exhibit. at Medical Teams International this weekend!

Our homeowner's wish list keeps growing: hardwood floors, dishwasher, increased kitchen counter space, window trim, landscaping, etc.

I am still writing thank you notes from our wedding.

Paul and I are hoping to spend an extra week in Thailand in August after our 2-week mission trip ends to celebrate our 1-year Anniversary!

TurboTax and Quicken are simplifying our finances and therefore, our life. They are fantastic.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

It's been a while

It has been months since I've blogged aside from posting articles that intrigue me. Although I haven't written much myself, I still spend a fair amount of time catching up on posts from those I follow.

For a long time, my blog was the only space I could spill, especially without my mom or sister close by. I didn't have anyone to come home to, and talking on the phone just wasn't the same, so I wrote.

I've noticed that I've blogged less and less since Paul and I got married. Now I have someone to come home to, to vent to, to blab to, to spill to. And once I do, I'm good. I don't feel the same need to journal anymore because I'm not coming home to an empty apartment. I'm not alone. Paul is my confidant, my listening ear, my patient and compassionate husband, my best friend.

While I am loving my new avenue of processing, I miss opportunities to share about everyday life with people I don't get to see on a daily basis. So, this is an attempt to start writing again.

I have the most to say on Wednesday nights. Sometimes, after all the straggling kids have finally left the church building, after all the rubber communion cup holders have been put back in the pews (apparently they are fun to play with), after the attendance sheets have been returned to the church office, and after my mouth is dry from so much talking, I have more to say and Paul graciously listens. We'll sit together in his office and decompress.

Paul is running the middle school program right now so I'm eager to fill him in on what's happening with the high school group. I give him the low down on the worship experience, what I observed about kids who were in attendance, whose cell phone I had to confiscate, how my small group went, and who wanted to talk to me afterward. And then we drive home together, and we talk the whole way home.

It never ceases to amaze me how much happens in a 2 hour time period and how much I know about the girls in my small group after being with them for only 6 months. I am reminded how 'in your face' brokenness is. These 15-16 year old girls are dealing with eating disorders, health complications, deaths, divorce, sex, manipulative friends, etc..

God is using the painful parts of my past to speak Truth and Wisdom to these girls. I still can't fathom thanking the Lord for some of the hardships I experienced at NCU, and yet I am seeing glimmers of purpose as I relate to teenagers.

I shake my head in disbelief, never thinking any good could possibly come,
and yet
here I am.