Friday, July 30, 2010

Meal Plan for 8/1-8/7

I am actually going shopping today for next week, so I decided to go ahead and make next weeks' menu.  We have not been real great about following it this week for many reasons... things kept coming up.  So, we'll see how next week goes :).  All I can do is make the menu and hope to follow it!
I'm going to make a few changes to how I do things this week and hopefully I will be better about following it :).
Sunday, I am going to do most of my preparation for the week.  I didn't end up making things homemade after Sunday this past week because things just get busy.
I'm just going to list some options for breakfasts and lunches, but I will specifically plan dinners.

Peanut butter baked oatmeal (I never ended up making it this week!)
Breakfast Cookies
English muffins
Eggs and biscuits

"Tasting platter"- fresh fruit, veggies, cheese, boiled eggs, pita chips and hummus
Tuna/egg salad

Sunday, August 1st
Southwestern Chicken- crockpot

Monday, August 2nd
Salad with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, feta cheese

Tuesday, August 3rd
Breakfast for dinner- bacon, eggs, pancakes

Wednesday, August 4th
Roasted Chicken
Roasted Veggies
Homemade bread

Thursday, August 5th
Southwest chicken salad

Friday, August 6th
Chicken bacon artichoke pizza (movie night!)

Saturday, August 7th

Laying Down MY Plans

The word of my life this year has been change, so I'm not surprised that MY plans have changed, yet again. 
As I have written in the past, God has been teaching me a lot about submitting to my husband.  As much as I try to fight what Robert wants, God reminds me constantly that He has given him the role of leader of the household for a reason... Robert typically knows what's best and knows me better than I know myself. 

When I received the email from Wylie with the job offer, I was excited because what I had planned seemed to be coming through.  But, there was a little part of me that wasn't settled with this.  I couldn't sleep that night.  I woke up the next morning just expecting to receive a call that day from her with more information (I still didn't know my salary, etc) thinking that maybe I would feel more settled, but when I didn't receive a call/email by about 5:00, I was getting a bit discouraged (she said she would call/email after 12:00).

Robert didn't seem to be all that excited about my job offer, but he was trying to be supportive of me because it appeared as though I was really excited about it.  You see, I thought this was God's way of providing... but did I really talk to God about this?  No.  I just made assumptions that because I had the offer, that it must be the right job for me.  I mean, it was exactly the position that I wanted (or at least thought I wanted).

I received a call that evening that through me for a loop.  I've already discussed the details of this position, but it was this call that began to change things in my mind and heart.  It was this call that allowed me to do a lot of discussing with Robert about what he thinks, and allowed me to process through a lot of my fears. 

I ended up receiving an email with my salary later, after the call from the charter school.  I began to do the math from that email, and even though we wouldn't have to pay for childcare, after gas, I still wouldn't really bring anything home.

Last night Robert and I sat and discussed everything.  We discussed what my passion in teaching truly is, and what our reason for moving here was.  Through that discussion, we made some decisions.
1) If our reason to move here was for Robert to go back to school, then I am going to have to work full time to be able to pay for school, books, etc.  As long as we're living with my in-laws it's fine, but if we ever want to move out on our own, then I'm going to have to work full time. 
2) If I'm working at Wylie, I will be bringing very little home... it would be quite a bit of stress and it wouldn't really benefit our family financially.  So, even if I don't end up with a job at all at this point, that would be better than working (quite a bit) for almost nothing :).  I would be working 9:50-3:50 MWF, plus all of the planning and preparation that happens at home...
3) I'm going to continue on with the pursuit of a full time job.  The charter school is still in the process that has to happen before an interview is scheduled... so I should hear something pretty soon about that.  If that doesn't work out, then I'll continue applying for other positions. If I don't get a job, oh well.  I'm putting it in God's hands, knowing that I am following my husband's lead, and God will provide when He feels it's time. 
4) I feel more passion for working with kids that don't have resources than I do for working with kids at a UMS.  As much as I like the part time aspect of the UMS, I don't feel like I have much to offer them.  God has given me a heart for poor children for a reason... and I want to use the gifts that He has given me to make a difference in the lives of children.  If it weren't for the call that I received from the charter school, I wouldn't have processed these things.  So, even if nothing comes from that call, a lot came from the call in my heart. 

As I was typing this blog, I got a call to schedule an interview.  It will be Monday morning.  I will update as I know more!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Letting Go... Learning to Wait Patiently

Spending time with Jesus has been somewhat of a challenge these days because Ethan has been getting up really early.  With the space being small, and with Robert getting up early to leave for work, I guess it wakes Ethan up.  So, by 6:15-6:30, he's up and ready to go for the day.  That means getting his milk and his breakfast immediately.  And, he is very high maintenance and wants attention on him constantly...
Because of not spending as much quiet time with Jesus (I do speak with Him through the day, but it's not the same), I have been trying to take control again.  This morning I spent a little bit of time with him, and Jesus made it clear that my stress comes from trying to take control of a situation that I have no control over.  I listened to a song this morning, three times, that really speaks to me.  It's called "Letting Go," by Matt Maher.  Here are a few of the lyrics:

"I stand in awe of You
And everything You've done for me
You speak Your words into my life
And where You are is where I wanna be

I stand before You, Lord
Humbled by the love You give away
A widow's mite, my will and pride
It's all I have to offer anyway

I'm holding onto Your love
I'm letting go of myself
I'll say so long to everything else"

The biggest issue is that my focus is off.  My focus should not be on which job I want, but on Jesus, period.  He will make His will known in His time... and I just need to be patient and know that He has it all worked out already.

I haven't found out when my interview to the charter school is yet (I am one step closer... it's just a little more difficult than I expected).  And my typical reaction is to just make a decision to not even interview... to go ahead and accept the position at Wylie.
It's tough because I thought that the position offered at Wylie was perfect... so why would I even consider this charter school position?  Well, I've learned in the past that what I think is perfect isn't necessarily perfect... so I'm trying to take my husband's advice and wait til I interview at the charter school.  You see, my husband is usually right about these things.  So, against my own will, I am waiting until I hear about the charter school... and it is very difficult.  I have so many thoughts continually running through my mind...

Does teaching full time make me a bad mom?  This is a lie, but it's something that I can't get out of my mind... I don't think this about other moms that work full time, so why do I believe this lie about myself?
Can I handle teaching full time?  If God opens the door, I know that He'll be with me.
On one hand, I get to teach 8th grade English at Wylie, on the other hand, I get to teach reading and language arts to kids who don't have many resources.  I would be making a difference in the lives of children and their families.
On one hand I get to teach part time, on the other hand, I get to have a long term career.

Those are just a few of the thoughts... I am trying to let go and just be patient, but it's tough.  I know, from things that have happened in the past, that if I let go, God works everything out perfectly.  So, I'm attempting to let go :).

The hardest part of this is that Wylie needs to know something soon.  So, I don't have a lot of time.  But, God knows that.  God knows more than I do :).  He knows who is going to teach at each school... and it will be the right fit.

The cool thing is, childcare is worked out either way.
The person that will be watching them on MWF works at a mother's day out on T/Th and said that she would be glad to take the kids with her :).  I emailed that mother's day out and she has openings and it's not ridiculously expensive, and it's a great program...

So, I just have to wait...

Hopefully I'll interview this afternoon :).  We'll see!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Lots to Pray About...

I received an email from Wylie Prep late last night with a job offer, and she told me that she would call me this afternoon to discuss details.  She has been out of town, and she has been busy since she got back.  So, when I didn't receive a call or email this afternoon, I figured she would just get with me whenever she had a chance.

Then, I received a call from a school called The School of Liberal Arts and Science.  It's a charter school that's not too far from where we live.  The person that I spoke with asked me if I was interested in a 3rd grade English/Language Arts position (which, 3rd grade is at the bottom of my range, but it is within my range, and I LOVE that it's a Language Arts position).  I told her that I had a job offer with another school, but I would be glad to discuss the possibility with her because I hadn't accepted the position at the other school yet.  She proceeded to discuss everything with me... the good and the bad... It is a charter school, therefore, they don't really have a building.  The school is held in churches... which isn't anything new for me :).  Another thing is that it is still publicly funded, therefore, the kids have to take the TAKS test.  And, the kids at that school struggle with the TAKS test, so as a Language Arts teacher, I would have that pressure.  Of course, that's normal for public school, so that doesn't really scare me (I used to do intervention for kids who didn't do well on the TAKS test).  She told me that it is a great opportunity to really make a difference in kids' lives.  It is mostly low socio-economic kids.  That is actually something that attracts me... I have a heart for kids who don't have a lot of resources.  In my heart, I knew that one day I would be working with poor kids because that's what I desire to do in the long run.

I would also get paid the salary of a public school teacher... which would be SO beneficial for our family.  We would be able to move into our own place very soon, we would be able to afford to pay out of pocket for Robert's school (which is why we moved here to begin with...), etc.

I realize that I don't have an offer on the table from this school, and I need to interview and go from there, but there's so much to consider!  Even though I was prepared to work full time when we came here, I wasn't sure that it would happen.
Because it's a charter school, I'm not sure that I have a lot of competition.... We'll see :).

Robert really wants me to interview.  He feels that long term, this is the best option.  He told me that if I feel this is something that I could do long term, then pursue it.  If not, then don't... and it really is something I could see myself doing long term.  So, I'm going to interview, and just see how it goes.  I trust God to either give me a complete peace and open the door, or close the door and give me complete peace about Wylie.  So, we'll see what happens!

The hardest part of all of this is that I did NOT expect to get a phone call like this.  I really thought that I wouldn't ever hear from anyone with a full time position.  So, this is why I'm so torn!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Meal Plan for 7/26-7/31

Sunday, July 25th
Breakfast- Breakfast tacos
Lunch- Onion steak (crockpot)
Dinner- Leftovers

Preparation for tomorrow- bake bread, make fruit salad; pull chicken, broth, veggies (for Levi), and stew meat out of freezer; make baby food for Levi.

Monday, July 26th
Breakfast- Breakfast tacos
Lunch- Leftovers (Turkey Pot Pie)
Dinner- With friends

Preparation for tomorrow- None

Tuesday, July 27th
Breakfast- English muffins with peanut butter and raw honey, smoothie
Lunch- Baked potato, veggies, fruit
Dinner- Breakfast for dinner

Preparation for tomorrow- Peanut butter baked oatmeal, biscuits

Wednesday, July 28th
Breakfast- Peanut butter baked oatmeal, fruit
Lunch- Tuna sandwiches, fruit and veggies
Dinner- Crockpot chicken, salad, quinoa

Preparation for tomorrow- fruit salad

Thursday, July 29th
Breakfast- Peanut butter baked oatmeal (leftover), fruit
Lunch- Leftovers
Dinner- Venison stew

Preparation for tomorrow- pull dough and sauce out of freezer

Friday, July 30th
Breakfast- Biscuits, fruit
Lunch- Peanut butter and raw honey sandwiches, fruit, yogurt
Dinner- Homemade pizza

Preparation for tomorrow- make granola bars

Saturday, July 31st
Breakfast- Homemade granola bars
Lunch- Out (retreat)
Dinner- Leftovers

Levi's Menu
(this is the last week for first foods; will be trying new foods next week- some of this is homemade, some store bought)

Sunday, July 25th
Breakfast- Oatmeal and apple sauce
Lunch- Squash and Sweet Potato
Dinner- Sweet potato and brown rice cereal

Monday, July 26th
Breakfast- Oatmeal and apple sauce
Lunch- Green beans, peaches
Dinner- Squash, brown rice cereal

Tuesday, July 27th
Breakfast- Oatmeal and peaches
Lunch- Squash, apples
Dinner- Green beans, brown rice cereal

Wednesday, July 28th
Breakfast- Oatmeal and prunes
Lunch- Butternut squash, apples
Dinner- Peas, brown rice cereal

Thursday, July 29th
Breakfast- Oatmeal and prunes
Lunch- Butternut squash, peaches
Dinner- Carrots, brown rice cereal

Friday, July 30th
Breakfast- Oatmeal and peaches
Lunch- Carrots, apples
Dinner- Green beans and brown rice cereal

Friday, July 23, 2010

Pictures of Our Home

I took some pics of our home this morning... I have finally finished organizing... I did some rearranging, and it feels good to have everything done.  We have been getting into a routine, and everyone is adjusting well!

Beginning to Find My Place

I'm finally beginning to find my place here... I realize it's only been about 3 weeks since we moved here, but it's tough to have a life when you're not completely unpacked and organized... and when you have no idea where anything is to start with :).

I am SO thankful to my in-laws for offering us the entire upstairs of their house to be here to have all the opportunities that we have.  It has been amazing so far, and I know that there are so many things in store for our family!  Thank you both!!

Figuring Out Who I Am
A few months ago I began a journey of finding out who it is that I am, not who I feel everyone else has wanted me to be.  And I am happy to say that I am beginning to figure out who that is. 

I enjoy eating and cooking whole foods... but it is no longer my focus.  I am okay with doing things out of convenience sometimes.  I have the gifting and passion for teaching, and it's okay that I desire to pursue this.  I love being with my family, but enjoy some quiet time alone as well :). I enjoy a new local coffee shop that I found.  I love that I have more time to spend with my husband.  I enjoy music, a lot.  God has been speaking to me through ways that I never would have expected.  He is my ultimate provider and healer.  He delights in me and me in Him.  My goal and desire in life is to know Him and make Him known.  I have a temper at times.  I get stressed and frustrated when things aren't organized and when chaos exists.  I enjoy reading and hope to find more time to do so.  I enjoy writing.  I enjoy hanging out with friends.  I am excited about Stonebriar Community Church.  It is taking me out of my comfort zone and showing me that the Spirit is not present in a style of worship.  I've realized lately that my focus has been way off the past few years.  I desire to see through God's eyes and to be more broken for people's souls and their situations.  I desire to see past myself and my situation and love and serve others.  I'm not perfect, though, and much of the time I struggle with being able to look past my struggles.  God loves me anyway, and doesn't need me to do His work, and I'm thankful.  We are all broken people and need Him.

Healthy Eating
As I wrote a couple weeks ago, I found a website called Spark People, and it has been a good way to kick back into the habit of eating healthy, though, I don't necessarily agree with their views of healthy eating completely.  I have done too much research on whole foods nutrition to go back into the typical view of "healthy eating."  So, I am using Spark People as a resource for good ideas for meals, but I am not going to follow it 100%.  I didn't do a good job this week due to the fact that we were out of town last weekend and I didn't plan this week, but we've at least still been eating at home.  I will definitely get back to planning a menu next week.  Tomorrow, we're going to check out a local Farmer's Market that my in-laws told me about.  It's called White Rock Local Market.  It is held in the parking lot of a place called The Green Spot.  I'm excited about checking out the farmer's market because according to their website, I should be able to find meat, butter, eggs, milk (unhomogenized), produce, etc there... which is the majority of what I need to buy!  They are only there two Saturdays a month, though.  One great thing about it is that it's maybe 10-15 minutes away.  That's so different from what I'm used to!  I used to have to drive about 45 minutes to the nearest farmer's market.  I have also found a place in Plano that sells raw milk, from grass fed cows.  I'm super excited about this because Plano is only about 10-15 minutes away as well!  I will probably start buying raw milk in the coming weeks.  I need to find out more information first.

I have decided that I will not focus in on my weight, how I look, the amount of calories I consume, etc, but I will focus on what I am putting in my mouth... making sure I am eating whole foods, and that they are mostly homemade.  I still have some bad habits to get rid of (an occasional soda, occasional processed foods... these things are okay in moderation, but I can't just eat them anytime they are available).  But I have an advantage here that I haven't had in a long time... no dining hall food to compete with!  So, I should be able to rid myself of "bad things" with no trouble.  My plan is to begin having a baking day again so that I can make things like bread, breakfast foods, etc again.  I miss my homemade foods!  And the kids have so much fun helping me bake/cook. 

I do have to say that it really helps that Robert is able to help me plan and cook now.  And he is pretty passionate about it as well (mainly because it saves money!), so it gives me the motivation that I need!

Okay... moving on... :)

Job Update
All I can say is "thank you" and "wow" to this area of my life.  I am humbled.  Not all of the details are nailed down completely, but almost.  A few days ago, I was ready to just decide to stay home.  I was ready to give up the "perfect position" because it didn't make sense financially.  I would be paying out my whole check in childcare and gas... so there would be no reason for it.  Even though I wanted to teach some, I was content with just staying home and maybe waiting til next year.  I finally gave up "control."  It was at that moment that God reminded me, He has been in control the whole time... and all I had to do was let go and truly trust Him.  Late Wednesday afternoon, I got an email from a friend that changed everything.  She said that she read my blog that day, and wanted to offer me free childcare so that I can work.  What?!  Did I read that correctly??!!  Free childcare?? From someone that I trust??  And know??  And goes to my church??  No way!  So, I read it again.  And re-read it.  And ended up texting and then talking to her on the phone.  Sure enough.  I read it correctly.  Turns out, she has never had to pay for childcare and wanted to return that favor to someone else.  She wants to serve someone else in the way that she has been served.  All I can say is, what a servant of the Lord.  To give up her freedoms to watch my kids so that she can help me out... just amazes me.  I just can't even begin to express how much of an answer to prayer this is.

After I received this email, I decided to call the person that I interviewed with at Wylie.  One of their concerns was being able to pay me enough to pay childcare and gas... because they can't really change what they pay me.  So I told him about the amazing provision that God has given, and he was amazed and excited for me.  He told me that he can't officially offer me a job yet because he hasn't talked to the principal (she's out of state!), but he and the other person that I interviewed with feel very confident in me teaching there and are excited that I am already "seasoned" in the University Model.  He said he'll get back with me as soon as he can to give me more details on pay, etc.  So, most likely everything is going to work out perfectly!!  WOW.  I am truly amazed.  I would never expect for things to work out as they have, but God is giving me the desires of my heart... and I am so thankful... and totally giving Him the glory!  Only He could work things out the way they have worked out.  What a blessing.
So not only do I get to teach, it is still only part time (I will be off Tuesdays and Thursdays), it's 8th grade English (and middle school art and strategy games), and it's at a University Model School.
We'll actually have some routine.  Being at camp, routine wasn't even in our vocabulary (except the lack of).  This is just such a great time for our family.

Robert will be enrolling in probably one class at a community college this semester, and the goal is to take an online course if at all possible.  We'll see how that goes :).  We wanted to get up here and get settled in, then focus in on school for him :).  It'll be a few years before he can truly focus on it, but we at least wanted him to get started.  

The Kids
I'm amazed at how well the kids have been doing here.  They struggle with some things at times (like not having a yard, not seeing their Granny and Pawpaw as much, and not being at the camp), but ultimately, they have been flourishing.  The thing is, we have so many more opportunities here than we had being at camp.  The library is very close.  The park is down the street.  So, pretty much every day, we go do something outside of the house... and it's not costing me a fortune to do so :).  We don't have to spend money to get out like we used to.  We take a picnic lunch to the park and we eat, then play.  We go to storytime at the library.  We go to church every Sunday and they get to play with other kids exactly their age and learn a Bible lesson.  We hang out with my friend Tammy and her 3 year old son (that has become their second home lately!).  And soon, they will get to play with our friends' four kids, often :).  It's a great situation for them!

What a great birthday today!  I have SO much to be thankful for!!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Decisions, Decisions

So many thoughts on my mind... decisions to make... not sure which way to go... will have to keep praying for direction.

When we decided to move here, our initial thought was that I would look for a full time teaching position so that we could find a place of our own to live after maybe 6 months, and so that I could help support Robert as he went to school...
Then I decided that moving to a new place and getting a full time job would be difficult for the kids and for me.  So, we decided that maybe staying home or looking for a part time job would be a better idea.  If I find a part time teaching position, we could bring in a little more money to save for moving out, and it would allow me to teach some and get the kids in preschool part time.

As I've written about in the past, I had an interview for a learning center coordinator position at a UMS, and it didn't work out.  I'm glad that didn't work out because I know now that it wasn't a God thing.  I wasn't completely happy with my childcare options, and the job would be a lot of work for not much money.  I had an interview on Monday at Wylie Prep, and it went well, but I'm not sure if it makes sense financially.  I haven't been offered the job officially, so I may not have a decision to make, but I'm pretty sure it will happen after the interview that I had.  The problem is, I don't know if after childcare and gas that I will be able to bring anything home.  And even though it is my dream position (8th grade English!), I'm not sure if it will be worth it.  I mean, I would almost be working for nothing.  Because I have three children, preschool is expensive for them... even when it is highly discounted through the school.  But, it would give them the opportunity to be in preschool and give me a foot in the door, more experience, and the ability to do something that I have a passion for... So, if I am offered the job, I have a decision to make.

I know that God brought us here for a reason.  I know that He will guide us where we are supposed to be.  I know that He will open the doors that He feels are right for our family and close all other doors.

The biggest thing that I struggle with is not having our own place.  It is comfortable here, it isn't strange living at my in-laws, and I love the area, but it's just not our own place.  And having three kids, it's tough not having a yard.
At this point, though, I'm thinking that the benefits outweigh the negatives.  I can easily take the kids to the playground, be involved in church activities, etc.

So, we'll see what happens.  Ultimately, as I've said, I know that God will guide us in the right direction.  If I don't end up working this year, then I can always try again next year :).  And next year Karis will be in school, so it won't be as difficult.

It's funny because everyone has an opinion.  Some friends/family think I should stay home. Some think I should teach part time.  Some think I should teach full time... So, I'm learning that it just doesn't matter what others think... but that God will give us the answer that is right for our family.

Friday, July 16, 2010

God Always Knows Best

Well, after many doors have been closed (or never even cracked), I'm learning that God really knows best.

The thing that I was really most excited about with doing the Learning Center position is that I would be teaching an English class...
The one thing about the Wylie Prep positions (the 4th grade ones) is that they weren't English...

So, when I got the email about 8th grade English and middle school electives, I was so excited because that's perfect... the only issue is that instead of 4 sections of classes (like before), it would only be three... which would be less money...

The principal called me last night, and I'm so excited.  We discussed a few of my concerns, and it sounds like those concerns will work out just fine :).
The first concern was... do I leave the kids in childcare during my break, or do I take them out and put them back in?  She said it's best for the kids to leave them in... which I wholeheartedly agree... so concern number one taken care of.
My second concern was the financial aspect... since I'll be teaching one less section, it will be less money, and I'm not even sure if it'll be enough to make it worth it.  So, she said that they can use that break to give me other little jobs... relieve the childcare teachers for lunch... do lunch duty while the kids are eating... etc.  So, she thinks she'll be able to make that work.
And concern number three... I've never taught an art class before, though I did take one in college and loved it... I just wouldn't know where to begin.  She said that she had asked the department head to help come up with the lessons since this will be the first year for whoever she hires... so concern number three... solved.

She's going to be out of town next week, so she wouldn't be able to interview me until the week after (which is still a possibility).  But, she said that she's going to ask several others if they may be able to meet with me next week.  She wants me to make the drive there and for someone to just talk to me about everything in person before they make a final decision.
But, it's looking good :).

Of course, I'm not going to get my hopes up until I'm officially offered the job... because as I've seen a few times... just because it seems like it will work out doesn't mean that it will :).  Of course, this is the most promising situation so far, so I'm hopeful!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Closing doors... opening new doors?

I received two emails last night that definitely made me wonder and think... I am wondering if even though I want to work right now and I feel that God has given me the passion for education for a reason, maybe my timing is off.  Maybe He wants me to stay home for a season, OR maybe I need to change my perspective of things.  I'm not sure.  Lots of praying to do...

The first email I received was from a principal at a public school.  I emailed her my resume and cover letter, and she emailed me back (which is uncommon, so I appreciate that).  She told me of the intensive process that is gone through before I would ever even receive a call... and this is a small district with only 5 schools total.  It makes me wonder if I'll ever even receive a call from a school district.  You see, the problem is, most public schools don't count private school experience as experience... and they do searches in the application databases to find what they are looking for... and typically that includes a few years of experience... and if they don't count private school as experience (or "other" types of positions in the education field), then to them, I have no experience.  So, I might not get a call.  I imagine the only way I will get a job at a public school in this area is if I know someone, or if I sub in the schools... which is difficult to do at the rate of pay that subs receive since I have 3 kids.  Of course, if it's God's will, then it will happen... so I might just need to be patient.
The thing that I've realized about public schools in this area is that you are just a number... and public schools focus a lot on numbers in general... TAKS scores... funding... etc.  So, I'm not sure if this is the right direction for me right now.

The other email that I received was from Wylie Prep.  Apparently while she was gone, they filled the 4th grade positions.  And I didn't even get a chance to interview.  How frustrating.  She has other openings that actually fit me better... and I'm thinking and praying about these... but they would bring in less money.  Much less.  So, I'm not sure.  I'm wondering if either I need to change my perspective of things, or maybe I need to just stop trying for a while.
The positions at Wylie Prep fit me well... 8th grade English (which is what I taught at Faith Academy and loved it), and two middle school electives (art and one called strategy games... not sure what that is).  I actually feel that I would really enjoy art.  I took an art education class in college that sparked my interest.  I was one of two people in the whole class that made an A in the class :).  It was actually very intense :).  The problem with these is that they are only one section, and they are all spread out through the day.  So, I'm going to request more info about them, and I'm going to just pray for God's direction.  Maybe he's giving me just what I need right now with those positions... I'm not sure!  This school does have childcare on site and is affordable, so this is an option still.

The other opportunity that I have is one that I am completely torn about.
It's at another University Model School... in fact, I'm pretty sure it's the biggest one in the area.  It's called Lucas Christian Academy.  The administrator told me that it is run very similarly to Faith Academy, and in fact, the two schools both started at the same time and they worked together at the beginning as they started.  I got a call two days ago from the administrator, and she is very interested in me... but they don't have any teaching positions.  The position that they do have is sub coordinator... which includes other small jobs as well including the person that enters the lunch orders, lunch monitor, study hall teacher, and I would possibly lead some small groups at chapel.  As sub coordinator, I would get first dibs on sub jobs each day.  She said that if I decide to do this, I could have a teaching position next year if one opens up.  They have childcare on site as well, and it's very inexpensive.
The pros: 1) a non-stressful job... I would be able to leave it there when I come home, 2) childcare on site, 3) lots of potential to move up at that school because of the size.  The cons: 1) not a lot of regular income... most income would come from subbing, 2) not a "teaching" position, 3) might be a full time position (with not a lot of regular income, though I have the potential to make more than at the other UMS's with subbing).  I'm not looking to get rich by any means, but if I'm going to work, I want it to lead to us potentially being able to move into our own place by the Spring.

Being here in Dallas, I feel like there is potential for more opportunity than before, but not at the same time.  So, I'm kind of trying to find where I fit :).  I really have no idea where to go with all of this, so I'm going to just seek out all of the options and pray pray pray.  I know that just the right opportunity will open up at the right time.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Working vs. Staying at home

Most of my life I have worked.  Since I was 15 in fact.  I stayed home (for the first time since I was 15) for a few months when Karis was born, but then I student taught and then worked (doing a special ed position which was stressful at the time, but I look back now and see the wonderful opportunities that I had).  Then I stayed home for the summer and realized that staying home wasn't for me.  So I looked for jobs.  I ended up getting a temporary position at the school that I student taught at.  Then God called us back to camp and I stayed home.  Very quickly I realized that I wanted to be working... even if it was just part time (and we needed the money... we had a lot of debt).  So I got a job working very part time at my church.  That was great for a while, but I wasn't teaching.  Through several different people, I found out about Faith Academy.  It was perfect.  I taught 8th grade English, part time.  It was stressful at first, but once I got into the groove of things, it was just right... I was doing what I loved, but I was with my kids the majority of the time. Then, I decided to move to the new K-2 program the next year (because I thought that because I was trained in elementary that it would be a better fit).  So, I taught 1st grade last year.  I struggled with it.  I realized that first grade wasn't for me.  And, because I was pregnant with my third child and was stressed out, I decided to stay home after I had him.  I also thought that was what was expected of me.  You see, at the time, I was obsessively reading blogs.  I was reading about what all these other moms did... they stayed home with their kids and that made them better moms, right?  I was a bad mom for working, right?  So, I convinced Robert, against what he really thought was best, that staying home would work out okay.  And, you know, I'm glad that I ended up staying home the Spring semester of last year because I went through a LOT emotionally.  My brother died on November 30th, and it didn't really hit me until about January.  Then, I had Levi and went through postpartum depression.  There would have been NO WAY for me to be teaching.

While I was going through postpartum depression, I had a lot of "ah ha" moments... I began to realize that for the past several years (well, my whole life really), I have always tried to do what others wanted me to do (or what I thought they wanted me to do).  I always did what I thought was expected of me.  I kept trying to stay home because I thought that's what others thought I should do... You know what I learned through this process?  I'M NOT LIKE EVERYONE ELSE.  I am ME.  God made me with different giftings, passions, desires, struggles, etc than everyone else.  For some, staying home is exactly what God called them to do.
I also realized that every family does things differently.  For some, living in the middle of the country... away from everything... homeschooling... growing everything... having milk and meat animals... etc... is right for them.  For some families, living in the city... having everything right around them... going to public/private school... having working parents... etc... is right for them.  GOD MADE US ALL DIFFERENT FOR HIS PURPOSE.  God places us in different places for different reasons.

One other thing that I have been learning through these past several months (and something that I've recently talked about on here), is that my husband is pretty wise, and I really need to be listening to him more :).  He usually knows what's best for me before I do... and you know what?  I try to ignore him :).  After I learn the hard way, I realize that he was right all along.  He has been telling me to pursue teaching for a long time, and I do pursue it, then I end up just giving up when something doesn't come around immediately... then I decide to stay home because I'm impatient... then after I've decided to stay home, opportunities open up... then I turn them down because I was impatient and decided to stay home... I really have this bad habit :).

So... all this to say... I realize most people that tell me to stay home are just trying to be supportive.  And, I realize that some people think that staying home is what every mom should do.  But I'm here to tell you that I feel that God has given me a passion and desire to teach for a reason... and I feel that it is time to pursue it.  So, I am.  And my husband (who I should be following before others) is very supportive of this decision.  In fact, he encourages it.

I personally know myself well enough now to know that I am a better mom when I teach (even if it's just part time) because I personally need to be doing something outside of the home.  When I am home, I get in a rut... I begin getting depressed, anxious, lazy, frustrated, angry, etc.  When I have a chance to get out of the home some, I may be stressed at times, but I am much less anxious.  When I come home from being away from my kids for a little while, I am so excited to spend time with them... play with them... teach them... read to them...  When I'm home all day, I'm just annoyed and frustrated.
Theoretically I could take them to places during the day... the library... the park... etc... but realistically, that would be too hard on a regular basis.  It takes a lot of energy to get them in and out of the car, deal with them running off, deal with tantrums, fighting, etc, in public.
When the kids are able to be with other kids, they flourish.  I feel that being in a "school" would be so beneficial for them.

Again, I realize that not everyone feels this way about their family and/or their kids... and that's okay!  We are all created different!  And, I'm so thankful that we are.  God has a bigger purpose and plan than we could ever understand!

Another reason for me to work is that if we ever want to leave my in-laws, I will have to work :).  And, I personally want to eventually have my own place again :).  And, if Robert ever wants to finish school, I will have to work.  And, I know that God called us here to this area, so... yeah...

I don't really need to explain any of this because it doesn't really matter to anyone else... but it feels good to get all of this off of my chest :).  

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Update on Job Opportunity, Housing, Church...

Well, God closed the door on the Learning Center Coordinator position (at the school in McKinney).  I'm sad, but I had a feeling this was going to happen.  She told me again this morning that she feels like I'm the perfect person for the position, but that she just doesn't feel peace about hiring me for it.  She's frustrated by that and doesn't understand :).  She feels like it will be too intensive of a position for me with three little ones.  She doesn't understand because she feels like God led me there and that He has a plan for our meeting, but it's just not the right timing.  She wants me to keep in contact and maybe sub or something.
I really, really like her, the school, their philosophies of education, etc, so I'm thinking that I may still be a part of the school somehow.  She said that she will probably have a kindergarten position available, but I personally don't feel kinder is my gifting :).  I like the older ones more... upper elementary through junior high specifically.  I'm also wondering if maybe God was using this opportunity to show me that I need to be pursuing special ed.  I'm going to continue praying about this as I know how intensive and emotionally draining it is... but maybe it's something that I can pursue for the future.  I have had many opportunities in the special ed/intervention field, but I have never thought that I was gifted for it... maybe I am.

Maybe Robert and I will both be in school at the same time :).  If so, we'll be living with my in-laws for a long time :).  Oh well... I really like it here and feel comfortable.

On that subject, I realized the other day that my biggest issue with living here isn't anything but pride.  It's tough to tell people that we live with my in-laws, but honestly, I really love this area and the freedom that we have right now.  With having our own living space, and the fact that my in-laws are NEVER home, it really feels like our own house :).  And I love that we're in an area that we could never afford on our own... everything is just right here.  The park, library, stores, the Y, etc... everything with-in a 5-10 minute drive.

We went to church for the first time this past Sunday, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.  A few things that I was nervous about were the style of worship and the size of the church.  The size really wasn't an issue... it was about what I was expecting, but it didn't feel crowded or anything.  And the style of worship was sort of what I was expecting... What I mean is that it was traditional (hymns with piano and organ), but it was more spirit filled than I was expecting.  I know, I know... I've learned my lesson.  The style of worship doesn't matter at all... it's the heart of the church.  Chuck Swindoll is an amazing, gifted preacher.  He tells it like it is.  I like that about a preacher :).  He speaks truth.  He goes through one book of the Bible at a time.  Such good teaching.  I know, I know... what did I expect?  He's very well known and has been doing this a long time... But I really had no idea how great he would be.
Karis, Ethan, and Levi did well and really enjoyed Children's Church/Nursery.  Levi didn't cry at all... despite the fact that there were a lot of babies crying :).  Ethan walked in and gave the teacher a hug.  Karis was a little reluctant at first, but when she saw all the kids her age playing, she went right in.  She loved that they sang songs, did a Bible story, did a craft, etc.  The babies and kids are broken up by 2 month intervals, so they really are with babies/kids exactly their age.  Yes, the church is that big :).  The benefits of a church that big is that amount of resources that they have.  It's awesome.  They have just about everything that one could look for in a church... And the ability to really serve and minister to people outside the church.  I think it's going to be good.

Until I hear from the principal at Wylie Prep, I'm just going to continue on with life as if I'm staying home... and I'm not sure what direction I will go with that school.  If the only position available is the 4th grade math and social studies, I'm not sure if I would take it even if it's offered.  We'll see.  I need to keep praying and seeking the Lord's will.  If He wants me to stay home, He will close all doors.  I'm finally getting to a point in which I'm okay with staying home for now.  With Robert being home more and there being so many opportunities and resources in the area, I feel like I can handle being home more than I could before.  I'm not having to do everything by myself.  I'm not alone with the kids 60-90 hours a week.  We get to be involved in church.  It's just much different.
So... I'm just waiting patiently as God makes His will known in His time :).  Not easy, but I'm definitely getting better at the waiting part.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Interesting Few Days

Wow... what a week.

I'm exhausted.

I haven't been sleeping much... I've had a lot on my mind.  Everything seems to be catching up to me :).  I still haven't finished unpacking and I really don't care to right now.  I'm tired of it :).  So, I'm just kind of leaving it for now and just trying to live life.

I went to an interview yesterday (the one in McKinney)... kind of last minute, but it worked out okay (other than the fact that I had 3 hours of sleep the night before!).  I talked to the principal for an hour and a half.  I left feeling like it was perfect.  She told me that she felt like I was a perfect fit.  It didn't make sense really because she had talked to a few others who had special ed background and credentials, but she felt like I was a better fit than they were.  She said that my personality is just right for working with the teachers and parents... meek... meaning I'm gentle but I'll get the job done.

As I said before, I would be teaching a bridge English class... three tenth graders... and she told me that I can kind of do what I want with it :).  I can choose the novels that we read... I will be writing my own lessons... etc.  I really love the curriculum that they use.  It is very easy to follow.  The other part of my job will be to work with the teachers to help them differentiate in their lesson plans... Help them learn how to teach to the individuals in their class.  Help them learn how to teach so that the kids with special needs will be successful, as well as the kids that just learn differently.
I will have to also do a lot of research to learn about the ten kids that I will be working with.  There are several with dyslexia, one with severe OCD (which is what my brother struggled with), one with muscular dystrophy, one with auditory processing disorder, etc.  It will be challenging, but I would enjoy the work that I would be doing.
She told me that I would be considered more than a teacher... I will be more like administration.

Her only concern was the financial aspect for me and the amount of work that I would be putting in (with my three kids).  They can't afford to pay much because this is a new position that they pay for through the stipends that parents pay (on top of tuition) to use the learning center.  Two good things are that I will get paid year round and I would get 50% off of tuition... the bad thing is that it's not much a month.  So Robert and I decided last night that it just won't work if we ever want to move out.  Robert was concerned that I was going to be working too much for the pay that I would be receiving.  I sent her an email telling her that it won't work... I just didn't see how it could work.

I went to bed not feeling peace about that decision... I woke up not feeling peace about that decision...

So I called her this morning and told her that I really feel like I want to pray about it a while longer and look at our finances some more.  I asked her if there will ever be potential to get paid more... I asked her if maybe next year I can teach an additional class (since I'll be there the whole time the school is open anyway... 8:00-3:15)...

She said that she's meeting with the headmaster tonight and she will see what they can come up with.  She told me to keep praying and that she will get back with me Monday.

Something that Robert and I have decided is that we are just going to stay here at his parents as long as we can stand it.  They are rarely home and we have our own living space... so it's very comfortable.  I'm getting used to having to go downstairs to use the kitchen; and since his parents aren't home often, I pretty much have the kitchen to myself the majority of the time :).  So, as long as we're here, the financial part isn't a problem.  I'm not going to be upside down on the deal... I will bring something home... which means that we can put that money away in savings until we decide to move out.

Tomorrow I meet with our potential childcare.  I have talked to her on the phone several times and have looked her up on the state's website (she's registered and "clean"), and I feel very comfortable with her.  She told me to tell her how much I can afford to pay!  She loves having families come instead of just one here one there, so she's willing to work with me.  She watches an 8 month old, 1 year old, and 3 year old, so the kids will have other kids to play with :).  That's the biggest goal at this point.  I can possibly put Karis in pre-k at the school that I might be working at, but I'm not sure if we'll be able to afford it, and they aren't sure if they'll have enough kids to have the pre-k this year (the issue with small private schools!).  So, we'll see.  I think she'll be happy with any opportunity to play with other kids and to learn (this lady does a curriculum with the preschool aged kids).

So... yeah... that's where I am with everything.  I feel like our entire life has changed completely (probably because it has), and my mind is trying to catch up to all of this.  I'm enjoying most things (like the fact that Robert is here a LOT), but adjusting to other things (like the crazy traffic and living in someone else's house).  I still feel 100% positive that God called us here, and I know that he'll work things out for His glory.  We have all of our needs met, so that's all that matters :).

Monday, July 5, 2010

Pics of Our Home and Randomness...

We aren't completely finished unpacking, but I thought I'd go ahead and post pictures of what we have unpacked/organized so far :).
I don't have any pictures of our bedroom because it is a disaster still :).  I'll get them posted whenever we get it finished.

Living Room

Levi's Room, and Levi's Side of the Bathroom (sink)

Kids' Room and Bathroom

Hallway to bedroom and our bathroom

This post will probably seem a bit random as I'm a bit distracted and have a lot on my mind :).

Things are still going very well so far :).  Having Robert home more is amazing.  It seems like I have been doing everything for the past 2 1/2 years, so it is almost weird having him here to do things :).  We actually have routine now.  The kids get bathed, teeth brushed, and we read, sing, and pray all together.  And they are in bed by 8:30.  It's just easier with someone helping.  I didn't realize how much I was doing alone... 

Robert had today off because he had a holiday for July 4th.  So this afternoon I was able to go to the store, by myself.  First I went to Whole Foods, and it took FIVE MINUTES to get there.  When there's traffic it takes about 10 minutes.  Super Target is 5 minutes away.  
Between the two, I can get everything that I need... and after spending the past 5 months eating unhealthy, I finally have a desire to get back to eating the way that I know is best... whole, real, fresh food.  We eat meals at home, as a family.  We're having to get used to spending more, but we'll get the hang of it once we get a little more organized.
My plan is to make a menu every Sunday and get groceries Sunday evening for that week.  I will probably go to Whole Foods and Super Target (they are close).  I'll be able to go by myself, every week :)... I don't have to take all three kids with me :).  

I was supposed to have an interview today at Wylie Prep, but it will have to be rescheduled because the principal's grandson was born on Friday.  She was still in San Angelo last night so she emailed me saying she needed to reschedule.  It's okay... I am learning to be patient, and I am learning that ultimately, God is in control.  He will lead me to the right school... and the closer to Friday my interview is, the better.  I will be talking to the principal at Cornerstone Christian Academy on Friday.  I'm still pretty torn about which way to go... some days I think Wylie because of the location (it's closer to me right now), and especially because of the childcare.  But on the other hand, I love the position that is available at Cornerstone.  So, I'll just keep praying and talk to both principals before I make a decision.  And I will also wait to see if either one even ends up offering me a job :).  I think I have a pretty good chance, but you never know.  I don't want to assume anything...

Well, I think I'm finished with my randomness for now... I'm sure I'll be back in the next few days with more randomness :).  Life has changed so much and I love to process through writing :).

Friday, July 2, 2010

Where do I begin?

I don't know where to start... this week has been a whirlwind... and I am so excited about how things are going :).  God is allowing us to be a part of some amazing opportunities, for His glory, and I can't wait to see how they unfold!

The first part of the week was tough (with traveling back and forth, packing, unpacking,etc), but since we've been here, things are better than we could have imagined.

Our Housing Situation
I was a bit concerned about our living situation because of living at my in-laws house (mainly just because we wouldn't have our own house... I wasn't sure how that would go), and it has been great.  The upstairs of the house, where we live, is very comfortable.  It really is like our own little house up here; it just doesn't have a kitchen.  But, we have a little mini fridge and our snacks and breakfast up here, so it's not too bad.  And the living room is a good size, and so are the bedrooms and bathrooms (with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, it's just right).  One of my friends came over yesterday and the first thing she said was "I was feeling sorry for you, but not anymore."  I will post some pictures once we finish unpacking and putting stuff on the walls :).
Another thing is that my mother and father in-law are really never here (most days they are gone from way before we get up in the morning til late at night), so we're not bumping into each other all the time.  I'm so grateful that they have allowed us to live here until we are settled into the "big city."  It's a great transition place.
One really cool thing about living here with my in-laws is that my mother in law and I are planning on getting a family membership to the YMCA.  We plan to join a class of some sort... like a Zumba class.  I'm so excited about working out regularly, and about having some accountability to do it!  I desperately need to begin working out!

Robert's New Job
Robert loves his job already.  He is going to be able to be a part of the type of ministry that he has wanted to be part of for a long time!  Several months ago he said that his dream ministry (besides camp) would be to help poor families through a church... do maintenance on homes and vehicles for people who couldn't afford it, to work on habitat houses, etc.  Well, he went to work yesterday, and he found out that the church is in the process of building a habitat house (which means he will be doing that), and they made a trip to a church in inner city Dallas where they are helping them with several projects.  The area around this church wouldn't exist without this church... they provide food, clothing, education, etc to the community.
Robert is able to do the type of ministry that he has a heart and passion for.  I'm so happy for him.
On top of that, the church is very organized and each person isn't overloaded with enormous amounts of work because they have enough people.  He will be working 7:00-3:30, which means he completely avoids rush hour, and he gets to be home by 4 or 4:15.  I just could never imagine a perfect position for Robert.

The Kids
The kids LOVE their new home.  Karis walked into her room and was looking around and said "it's beautiful!"  They have been playing great here and just really seem more content overall.
Ethan has all of a sudden been talking a lot more... like saying 3 and 4 word sentences.  It's crazy.  And Karis, who had been pooping in her pants still, has started pooping in the potty all of a sudden.  I don't understand it, but I'll take it!  When she poops in the potty, she'll say "now I can go to school!"  And she actually stayed the night at a friend's house last night (after going to VBS with them); she already has more of a social life, and she hasn't been here two full days :).  She is a very social little girl, so this is perfect for her.  I'm excited for the opportunities that the kids will have.

My Job Opportunities
Our first night here, I got a call from another University Model School with another job opportunity.  I have some things to pray through.  The position is at a school in McKinney called Cornerstone Christian Academy.  If I am offered the job, and if I decide to take it, I would be the Learning Center Coordinator.  I would be working with about 12 students that are "special needs."  Some are dyslexic, others have mild learning disabilities.  The thing about UMS's is that they typically don't allow students with special needs to enroll because they don't usually have the resources to handle special needs students.  But this school feels that God is not exclusive like that, so they are doing what they can to provide for them (Faith Academy has a learning center as well).  Their feeling is that God created each person the way He did for a reason, so where they are "lacking," God has given them a tremendous gift in another area... God didn't create them "disabled," He created them who they are for a purpose.  I talked with her about my brother and all that he had gone through all of his life... he was extremely intelligent and gifted in many areas, but he struggled with mental illness... he could never get past that.  She thanked me for sharing about him.  I feel that growing up with him gave me a new way of looking at people.
I would be teaching a tenth grade "bridge English" class... basically teaching the English curriculum and making modifications for them as needed.  The other part of my job would be working with teachers to make modifications where needed.  It's honestly the perfect position for me.  It's still part time, MWF, about 12-15 hours a week.  The thing that I would really have to pray about would be that they don't have childcare... and the position wouldn't really pay that much more than the 4th grade position at Wylie Prep (so I would have to find childcare and I would be bringing less money home).  I talked to the Principal at CCA about this, and she completely understands why that would be a tough decision.  She told me to go to the interview that I have on Monday, and just see what happens.  She said she'll be on vacation until next Friday, so give her a call then and let her know what I've decided and we can go from there.  My thought is that if God wants me at CCA, then he'll provide for our needs with the perfect childcare situation (one that's affordable, close, and where the kids feel comfortable).  If He wants me at Wylie Prep, then he'll give me peace about passing up the other position.  At this point, I'm pretty torn on which way to go, so I'm going to just see what happens at the interview.  I'm praying that God will make it completely clear that day which way to go... either by not getting a job offer at one of the places, or by giving me peace about one (and opening the right doors).  I absolutely love that the principals at both schools are so easy to talk to and care about people.  It's so different than applying at public schools where you are just a needle in a haystack.

Living in the Big City
Living in Dallas is very different.  I love that there are so many different cultures here.  I love that the grocery store is across the street.  I love that Whole Foods and Central Market are pretty close.  I love that there are some amazing restaurants very close (though this can be a bad thing as well!).  I love that the library and park are down the street.  I guess I'm not a country girl after all :).  I am getting used to the traffic.  I think once I learn where I'm going, the traffic won't bother me that much.  I love that I have some good friends close.  I am excited about starting to go to church every Sunday as a family.  I am real excited about the church because even though the worship style is very different (traditional with orchestra), it seems as though the church is very solid and amazing.  Just the few stories that I've heard about the pastors (including Chuck Swindoll) make me very excited to be a part of such an amazing group of people.  I think the size of the church and the different worship style are definitely things I can get past.

I'm excited about things to come... it is very obvious that God brought us here.  I am constantly amazed.