25 November 2015

Do Dump Trucks Come in New???

I know a lot of things about dump trucks. You never want to be behind one, as they are ever so slow to get up to speed. They have like 60 gears and a switch for even more shifting action.  They haul a whole lot of stuff.  They're often found hanging around construction sites.  They're always very dirty and usually pretty dinged up.

Something that I've realized is that...I don't think I've ever seen a brand spanking new dump truck!  Do they even exist? Or maybe when you go to pick one out, you sign the paperwork and receive your key...BAM! it ages about 15 years as you pull out of the lot?!  I'm sure there is a "brand spanking new" dump truck salesman reading this and contemplating ways to hush me up, now that I think I may have figured out the secret.

Life is a lot like this, though.  How often do I sit back and realize that I missed something along the way and I can't figure out how I got here.  What happened?  Should I have seen this coming?  I've been doing a lot of contemplating lately.  We're in a tough spot right now.  I would love to have a dump truck right now that could just haul away the junk in our lives (and by "junk" I mean all the things that are making me sad right now) to a far, far away place.  Someplace where it will be blown up or buried (maybe blown up then buried?), never to be seen again.  Replaced with something new and useful. Something that I can feel better about.

I know that my heart is an idol factory, just like everyone else's (ya feel me, or nah? Actually, we could discuss that one later....).  I want to be able to rest in something tangible.  I like knowing that bills will be paid because we have enough money to pay them.  I don't like not knowing if rent next month will even get paid.  I like knowing that our jobs are secure and we can count on them.  I don't like wondering "how long will this last?".

I know what I should be doing...and I feel like it should be easy.  How can I put my trust in God, when I could be homeless, jobless, foodless, clothless, etc-less?  What does it mean to "be still"?

God brings each of us to this point (of course "this point" is different for each of us) in order to bring us closer to Him.  When we are at the point where we can no longer do for ourselves, we should be looking to Him.  Of course, that doesn't always happen (not for everyone and not usually right away)...we start working harder, take on 15 more jobs, go to other people or things for comfort and reassurance, but ultimately when you're broken, that's when you're supposed to remember that God is the one who has everything under control.  Not you.  Not ever you.

Proverbs 19:21 - [There are] many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.

Jeremiah 29:11 - For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Joshua 1:9 - Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God [is] with thee whithersoever thou goest.

I don't know if I could be righteous like Job was in his sufferings (and I think he suffered way more in his life than I probably will), but I'm so thankful to be reminded that I don't have to be down in the dumps (ba dump cha!) because my God is God and He's all-powerful.  My mountains are just dinky little situations to Him. They are but a few grains of sand in His universe-sized dump truck (did I take the analogy too far?).

I must though, I can't wait to see where all this is going!  Whoo-wee!  I'm looking forward to eternity.

Romans 8:28 - And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose.
Matthew 19:26 - But Jesus beheld [them], and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

24 October 2015

A New Beginning

I don't know if you've noticed, but I'm not always that great with coming up with titles for these blog posts.  Sometimes, I have such a brilliant idea, that I can't wait to crank out that corresponding chunk of my present life.  Usually, I struggle to find a meaningful short description.  This one is one of the usuals...

After two months of being abandoned  lovingly left behind by my new husband as he journeyed to the state from whence we came, my knight is returning.  After the week in the hospital (back in early August) and being unable to work for that time, my Lu decided that he should return to Maryland for a few months to earn money so that we could get caught up and perhaps ahead on our bills.  The decision was not easy, nor was it hastily made.

It was thrown out there by his previous boss that Lu could always go back to work up there.  He would make much more money for less hours than in this Sunshine State.  So, Sunday, August 16, he begrudgingly made his way back up north. After a few weeks, we caught up and eventually, I got my first paycheck from my new job.  Expecting his DOT card to expire at the end of this month, he figured he would be able to come back the first week of November.  Well...that dang ol' thing expired much sooner than he thought, so he's been sentenced to light service for the past couple of weeks instead of the glamorous duties of a tow truck driver.  We had gotten caught up...now we are again barely making it (as I don't make enough...and won't make enough...to cover everything).

Add to that me having to pay child support to my ex-husband...we need to have a couple of miniature meltdowns these days.  The good news is that while this is going to get rather uncomfortable real soon, we know this isn't the end.  This isn't going to be our life forever.  This is just a rough patch.

As I type, Lu is on the road returning back to me.  Once he gets here, I'm going to give him lots of kisses...then let him sleep.  He will get back to applying for jobs and maybe start working with a temp agency until he gets going in a full-time job.  I hope that he can work with the school buses like me, but we will have to see what our Mighty God has in store for Lu's career.

I feel like we are starting over.  Like this is a new beginning.  A fresh, new life.  There is so much that I hope for as I anticipate my partner in crime's return.  The kiddos will be so excited to see him again.  Now someone else can wash those dishes for a change...I mean...now we can go back to being a family. ^_^

08 August 2015

The Struggle is REAL But so is Perseverance

Times is crazy!  We've had rainfall every day for a month.  This week was so bad we had flooding in our parking lot on Monday.  The row of houses nearest to the lake actually got water inside their homes.  When I left home for work that morning, water was high enough to almost reach the bottom of our cars.  I was allowed to go home early to check the status of my home.  I figured if the rain would keep up as it was for a couple of hours, I would have flooding inside.  Several roads on the way home were closed and could not be safely driven.

I intended to stop at a Dollar Tree to pick up some cheap supplies, but that parking lot was flooded.  Stopped in a Dollar General instead.  A couple jugs of water, some canned foods, and a cute lantern later I was heading home.  By God's grace the water didn't get inside the house, but the electric company called to inform us that they would be shutting off our power.  Boo!

Many neighbors decided to take shelter at a local church.  I didn't want to go.  I wanted to be home, with power.  I was able to take a hot shower (apparently our hot water heaters can keep the water hot for up to three days). And using the lantern I had light.  I used the laptops to keep my phone charged.  Lu was out that night working.  He was pretty busy, as you can imagine.  No rest for the weary. I got up to go to work Tuesday and Lu got home sometime after.  He got a hotel room and slept there during the day.  We stayed the night and our power was turned back on around 9:30 pm.

Lu needs another job.  He's been working such long hours with this tow company, so he doesn't get much rest.  Wednesday, he could not go back to work due to dizziness.  Obviously, you can't drive if you're dizzy, so towing cars is out of the question.  We went to the hospital Wednesday afternoon only to have him stay and get admitted for having a stroke. He's still there now, was told that he could be discharged yesterday, but because of some kind of complications with the insurance, he can't go.  The kiddos and I will go visit him again today.

Lu and I have been in Florida together now for over a month.  Job situation is still the same, but there is some hope on my part.  I am working regularly at a shipping warehouse through Labor Ready and will get to remain there until I'm ready to start school bus training.  In the meantime, I need to study to pass the CDL tests to get my permit so I can attend the class.  Unfortunately, Lu's job doesn't seem to be sympathetic or understanding of his situation.  We have so many things to work out.  Jobs. Insurance.  Paying our bills.  The list goes on.  We have been seriously feeling like returning to Maryland, where we have support and would be able to return to the jobs we had before and actually survive.  The reason we are in Florida are to be with the children.  Perhaps because of this reason, we will be facing an uphill battle.  We definitely know that this is not as good as it gets.

18 July 2015

Hard Day's Work = Good Night's Sleep

Well, I'm employed....sort of!

Tuesday, I decided to apply to Labor Ready. Wednesday, I had an interview.  Thursday, I started working!

Labor Ready is a temp agency for day labor.  Basically, You show up in the morning and see if they have a job for you, based on your skills.  Labor Ready mainly deals with construction job contracts, so they want people with construction-type skills.  They do the best they can to match you up with jobs that can use your skill set.  They only pay minimum wage, but it's a paycheck if you're desperate for work and don't mind working hard to earn it.

That being said, I have no skills in construction.  I watched my dad repair/replace things around the house.  He's done roofing, drywall, etc, but I have not.  I have been applying to lots of jobs since before I've moved to Florida and no one wants to hire me.  One of the reasons is for fear that I will decide to move back to Maryland (which apparently is something that happens often down here).  Right now, is considered the slow season, so places aren't as busy with customers or clients.  Places aren't hiring too much right now.  On top of that, they don't pay as well as what I'm used to seeing in Maryland.

Why would I sign up for day labor?  Well, I applied on Tuesday and started working on Thursday.  I got paid at the end of the day.  That's money that I can immediately put into savings or my gas tank or toward a bill.  I've been trying for over two months to make an income...'nuff said?!  I don't see this as something that I would do or recommend full-time and long-term.  You don't know what kind of job you will end up doing and it will be seriously hard work.

My first day, I showed up to the office around 5:45am (they open at 5:30) and signed in.  There are a lot of people also standing/sitting around waiting for work.  One of the receptionists called me over and asked me if I had any skills or experience with construction.  I told her no.  All my skills are in office work. She asked if I had any experience in a warehouse.  I said in the office part of the warehouse.  She asked if I understood that they mainly deal with construction companies.  I said yes, I knew.  After almost two hours, I was feeling discouraged, thinking that there would be no work for me that day, but I was called to go to a warehouse with two other people.  Yes!  I was sent to work with a company that makes kitchenware.  My job was to help with building boxes and stuffing them.  They needed help at their other warehouse to sweep the concrete dust from newly drilled holes for their shelving.  I was sent that way.  I swept all day for two days straight!  The level of pain from sweeping was unimaginable!  I think I would be in better shape if I had gotten to stay with the boxes!

Needless to say, at the end of the day, it was good to receive pay.  I felt accomplished, useful, and that I was doing something to take care of my family. Except, I have not cooked for the last couple of days!  Hubby Boo and I have have been walking funny around the house together and massaging each others legs.  Oh boy!  He said to me last night, "I don't like you doing manual labor."  Love him so much! I don't like it either, but at the end of the day money was made and a bill was paid.

This weekend, I get to rest up (have a Mary Kay party to go to this afternoon) and see about what they'll find for me next week (if I can last that long!).  I want to stick this out until I start driving school buses (if they'll have me) and perhaps I will find something that I can do on the side from home (like Arbonne and/or making and selling my own crafts).

14 July 2015

Come What May, or June, or July...

In the fantastical world of Mo, we experience a myriad of situations and emotions.  These situations range from low-stress to "please, get me out of here!"  Thankfully, I haven't reached the point of wanting to get away.  These last couple of months have been busy. I spent a good portion of May unpacking and getting the house set up.

During the end of May and beginning of June I experienced a series of "noes" as I searched for employment.  I was so certain that I would be able to find a job (even working in retail or fast food).  Well, Florida goes by a different book.  Office administration jobs in Maryland are more difficult to secure in Florida.  There are more people competing for these jobs and the wages are not at all comparable. What one would make in an office setting down here, one would make in fast food up there.  One retail job I came across that paid more than what I was making in Maryland was Hobby Lobby.  According to their website, their full-time hourly positions start around $15 (I believe that is nationwide).

I gave up looking for employment (for a little while) and drove up to Maryland with the kiddos for the wedding (which happened on my birthday) in the middle of June.  We had a lovely wedding.  Was a great display of love.  The church had every detail sorted out.  Everyone was so eager to contribute.  I had no expectations (other than get married, hear the Word, eat food). I also didn't realize exactly how many details needed attention for planning a wedding. I don't think I could ever thank everyone enough (let alone repay) for what they have done for me over the years and for our wedding celebration.  I'm so glad we had a ceremony.  It was well worth it.  I'll blog about that one another time, though...

Fast forward to now.  We are in the middle of July.  When Lu came down after the wedding, he already had a job waiting for him.  He got to start working a week and a half after the wedding.  Now, I just need a job! I applied to many more places.  I finally got some positive responses!  Tomorrow is an interview for a temp agency of day laborers, and on August 5 I have a meeting for a school bus driving position.  Yay!

I have to say, I've been pretty stressed out about our financial situation.  I know...I should know better than to stress over that kind of thing.  God has always provided and I have never been without physical and spiritual needs.  I still get nervous when bills are past due and there is not enough income.  But on the bright side, I have been able to enjoy being at home (one place I don't ever really want to leave).  For the most part, I've kept it clean.  I've also gotten a chance to finish up some anime and Korean dramas...Soon, I'll be able to fill up my gas tank and fridge in confidence (I hope)!

13 May 2015

Moving On

I made it to Florida last week!  My good friend Heidi and her awesome son Andrew drove all the way down here to help me move in to my new house.  Also my friend Patrick came up to help move everything inside the house.

I have quite a bit cut out for me.  As of today, I'm mostly unpacked.  The last little bit of things are kinda hanging around.  I just want to be finished unpacking!  But it has been a little over a week, so I'm trying to cut myself some slack (I'm mostly moved in).  All that's left is for me to get a job and get my license and registration changed to Florida.

The job thing hasn't been too much of a stress on me until today.  I've been applying like crazy online to numerous jobs.  There are a lot of administrative jobs in the area (where I know I will do well).  Today, I took the second part of my test for the Postal Service and I had a phone interview with another company.

I don't know about you, but I hate having to show how amazing I am.  Not that I don't think I'm a great person, it's just that I know that I'm not the best.  I'm okay with that.  I don't like the dog and pony show that must go on in order to find a job.  Many people enjoy the chase and the opportunity to shine, but not me.  It absolutely terrifies me. Check my employment history, ask me about it, call my old bosses.  You know as well as I do that I want to work for you because you'll be giving me a PAYCHECK so I can pay my bills.  I can only hope to like your company, as one can never really know until they start doing the job, right?

Well, I do understand that it takes quite a bit for employers to be as sure as they can before hiring someone. I'm not fantastic, but I will work.  And I will work diligently and thoroughly.  I don't have a whole lot of education after high school, but I'm a quick learner; something I don't know will not be that way for too long.

Okay...I know that whatever my new job will be will happen as God intends.  Look at everything else in my life up until now.  Moving to Florida has been completely unfathomable until now.  I'm here.  I'm not as close to the kiddos as I want to be, but I'm here.  I'm running out of money, but I'm here!  The next thing that comes will be right on time, just the way I need it to be. Just the way we all need it to be.

Time to move on to the next adventure ('cause really, you don't know what's coming up next until you get there and you have to take a journey to get there)!

27 February 2015

Eye of the Beholder

I just realized how much I like beautiful handwriting.  There are few things that I like to just sit back and admire.  Handwriting is one of them.  I can't explain it.  I don't know where it comes from, but I remember learning to write.  I remember practicing to keep my writing neat and legible.  I remember some years later trying different types of handwritings.  I worked diligently to come up with beautiful characters to call my own.  I've changed my signature a couple times in my life.  I've actually helped people to create their autographs.  I invented my own alphabet.

Over time, I have learned that writing is becoming a lost art.  It does sadden me that hand writing is becoming obsolete.  Even still, there is a level of creative beauty that comes with the digital type. So many different font sets that mimic handwriting and calligraphy. It's about how you look at it, right?

What about life, in general?  How do we see it?  Some of us see it as precious.  Others see it as a kind of purgatory.  And still, there are other views on the purpose and meaning of life.

It boils down to the beholder.  You can choose to see the beauty in even ordinary things.  Or you can choose to overlook it and only see the sorrow.

What kind of eye do you have?  Or...what kind of eye would you like to have?  Would you be willing to work hard to change your perspective?

02 February 2015

Take It Bit By Bit And Rejoice

Here we are in February of 2015.  I bet gym attendance is beginning to fizzle out around now.  We set some lofty goals for ourselves, sometimes, without considering our actual commitment or ability.  I usually don't set a resolution for the new year.  I don't get all bent out of shape about it, but I just don't worry too much about creating some high expectations without considering the work I will have to put in to carry them out.

I'm prone to clutter.  I'm likely to become overwhelmed.  So I try to just take things as slow as I can.  One step at a time.  I do get impatient and sometimes excited to start something new.  Then I realize that I didn't properly analyze fitting new plans into my life. This of course is after I've committed myself to a boat load of tasks.

I totally didn't get through the Gratitude Challenge...or the Before You Say Amen Prayer Challenge.  I've had so much going on already...I hadn't made time for anything else.  I'm in the process of trying to buy a house.  I'm now obligated to pay child support to my ex-husband. And I'm feeling fat...not getting enough to eat....am hungry all the time...and still have tons of weight I need to lose (you can't lose weight being hungry all the time...not good for you!).  And of course there is more...

The hardest thing for me to do right now, is find a balance.  Well, that's actually usually the hardest thing to do at any time!  Now having to pay child support, my ability to pay for housing is cut down to $200 a month!  Which means, unless someone helps me, I won't be able to pay for my mortgage or afford rent anywhere.  Well, I couldn't afford rent in this area to begin with, which is why I'm looking to purchase a very low costing home.

God is still very good.  All the time.  Regardless of my ex-husband's financial ability (which always seems better than mine for some reason), I have to pay. When two parents remain together, regardless of whether one or both are working, they are both providing support for their children.  It's not always monetary in that support, but what else is a "non-custodial" parent to do to provide regular support to the children they rarely see?  The easiest solution is to send money.  There are horror stories of parents getting taken advantage of by the other "custodial" parent.  People use their children to make the other parent pay exorbitant amounts of money...only to keep going to court to take more and sometimes the children actually don't directly benefit from that extra income.

I can't tell you that I was overjoyed with this decision by the court, but what can I really do?  I don't get to make any decisions regarding my children (not the court's decision, but my ex and his wife).  I don't get to see them in their daily lives with school and their interactions with their extended family (again, not directly the court's decision).  The most I can do is pray for them and make the most of the time we do get to spend together or over Skype.  Really, that's not being a parent.  However, being a parent is doing the best you can for your children with what you've got.

As far as my health goes...I don't know what to do.  I am really hungry all the time, no matter how much I eat.  For this reason, I thought about doing one of those meal replacement diets.  They are very good about making sure you are filling up and getting the vitamins you need.  Also, I would be more mindful of the types of snacks I am consuming.  And it can be done for a short time.  I think that would give me time to reevaluate my eating habits, do a little more research in order to plan/prepare accordingly, and have a regular exercise routine established.

It took me more than 4 years to gain 40 lbs.  I think once I get some good habits established, I'll be alright.  I've become less and less active over these years. So, I need to get moving again!  Also, my cardiologist told me that my heart is working too hard.  I need to get in shape to get my ticker back in order.  I'm going to start P90x today.  I tried it for 2 weeks before and noticed changes then....but I fizzled out.  I'll try it again! It's only for 3 months.  I hope to be moved into my new house by then and in better shape to explore my new neighborhood on foot.

As far as the house goes...I'm watching amazing things happen.  In spite of financial turmoil (just kidding.  It's bad, but not the end of the world).  I have options.  I don't have to just become a homeless lady (which would be my last resort).  If I can't buy a single family home (I've already been pre-qualified, but I will need down payment help), then I'm going for a mobile home.  Mobile homes don't take as long to move into, once you have been approved by the park.  I saw one for $10,000 at the end of last year (what a mortgage that would be!).  Factor in ground rent and the cost of a mobile home would be manageable for me.  I really want to avoid ground rent, if I can help it though.

In spite of all that I have going on, God has been faithful.  I am being reminded constantly that just because things haven't turned out the way I think they should, doesn't mean that it isn't to my benefit.  I also have to remember that I can't just take the good from God (which I don't deserve) and reject the bad (Job 2:10).

Some amazingly good things are happening (along with some amazingly bad things, but that's life, right?).  I'm working on getting a home. I'll be trying to stay on top of exercising regularly.  I'm learning so much (thank God).  Who's also to say that I won't be married by the end of this year....?  I'll save that for another post, though. ;)