Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Can I Get Some Whipped Cream for my Humble Pie?

Have I ever mentioned that there always seems to be a theme in my life? Each season of my life seems to be decorated with a theme, much like a little old lady's parlor room is adorned with lace and flowered wallpaper. I've had seasons of growing, seasons of resting, seasons of grief, seasons of healing. And this season, well it seems that I am serving up a big ol' piece of humble pie in my cozy parlor.

My job hunt continues and so does my downard spiral into self-doubt, insecurity, and confusion. I am telling you, this is a season like I have never experienced. I really don't know how to put it into words. Before I even began looking for a job, God began working on  my heart. He began spotlighting issues like pride and an unhealthy need for attention and recognition. And when I say "spotlighting" what I really mean is tugging, in a rough, almost painful way that made it clear that these pet sins I kept tucked every so tightly under my arm were gonna go or I was going to learn to live with unnecessary pain, like a toothache that could be relieved by a dreaded visit to the dentist. 

I decided that to deal with this issue I should just do my best to shrink away. Less of me, more of Him. He had already done such an amazing work on my heart through teaching dance and theater. I began to realize that He had slowly turned my heart from one of  a performer desperate for a stage and applause into the teacher whose greatest joy came from watching her students perform. Then, I started a job search. And I had to write a resume. I had to say good things about myself because really, "I cannot keep my house clean and I enjoy spending abnormal amounts of time alone" just does not get you a job. So, I tried to make the things I've done sound as impressive as possible. With each job application I tried to twist my credentials to make them fit what the job description listed. But at the end of the day, it is what it is. 

I had one interview and I felt really good about it. I surprised myself by how confident I felt. I was totally 100% me. For one time in my life I spoke exactly what came to my mind, no filter. That was a really big deal for me. It also meant that my confidence took a critical hit when I didn't get the job. Because I thought, 'I was myself and it wasn't good enough.' 

To add insult to injury, a few weeks ago I was shopping when I ran into one of my theater kids and his mom. We started talking and she told me she had just gotten a new job and immediately I knew. She got my job. At first my heart dropped to the floor, but as we talked some more I found myself actually feeling happy for her. I knew that she had been commuting and this job would keep her from traveling. Which was exactly why I wanted the job, but even still I found that I could rejoice for her. I won't lie, it wasn't easy. As she rattled off places she's worked and things she's done I couldn't help but admit that she was way more qualified. It was like meeting your ex's new girlfriend and she is totally gorgeous and sweet and you don't even have the satisfaction of knowing that she snorts really loud when she laughs or has a weird skin condition. A part of me wondered why this had to be rubbed in my face, and a part of me felt relieved to meet her and know who got the job.

Well, fast forward to today and I hear about a position that is just coming open. It would be with the company one of my dance mom's works for and she told me to e-mail my resume to her. Within the hour she had not only responded to let me know she had passed along my resume, but she called to ask a couple of questions and to tell me that I needed to go take a computer test to have that part of the interviewing process done.  Ugh. Anything but a computer test!!!!! Not only am I a nervous wreck about this test that I'm not completely sure of what it will entail, but brace yourself for this plot twist. The original job I applied for? It was for an employment specialist at a new workforce center here in town. Guess where I have to go to take this test? Yep, you guessed it. At the workforce center. With the new employment specialist. I actually joked with Josh when I didn't get that job that maybe they could help me find a job! And here I am, eating those words.....

I share all of this to say that there has never been a time in my life that I have felt more unqualified, more unskilled, and more unworthy. This even beats out putting on tights and teaching dance for 8 hours a day after a 10 year hiatus. Today I felt like a 9 year old who had been told they have to go play with the neighbor kid that stole their toy. I mean sure, I can still feel joy for this other person that got that job, but do I have to go hang out at the office with her? I find myself asking, 'What is the purpose?' If I wasn't supposed to get that job, why did I have to go interview in the first place? Couldn't God just close that door before I got my hopes up? Another job I thought I had the inside info on and hoped nobody else even knew about it.  I found out 149 other people applied for it!!! 

As I pondered these things I realized that when you pray for humility, you have to be prepared to go through some humbling experiences. You have to realize that you are the not the only person with hopes and dreams and plans on the line. You begin to understand that whatever education, skills or other qualities you possess don't necessarily make you the right fit for every position. And when you reach the point that you aren't even sure which job you would want anyway, you begin to treasure serving a God who is in the details and sees where this journey is going, however trying and painful it is to get there.

In case I began to doubt the theme of my life right now, I opened my devotional to these words tonight:
Remember that I am sovereign over your circumstances, and humble yourself under My mighty hand. Rejoice in what I am doing in your life, even though it is beyond your understanding.

 ~Sarah Young, "Jesus Calling"

Yes, He is sovereign. And seeing His plan come to fruition in His time, that will be the whipped cream on my humble pie.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Slow Me Down

At the age of 9 my most  favorite activity was to turn on the stereo (you know, the tall kind with a record and cassette player) and spin around in circles until I was so dizzy I would fall down. What? You didn't really think I was a nine year old who read Voltaire or played the violin, did you? Anyway, I share that because I was thinking about it the other day and how it was great practice for my life these days. It's exactly how I feel sometimes. Like I'm spinning in circles until I fall down. Except, sometimes it's not as fun.

Over the last several months our life shifted into overdrive and I've been meeting myself coming and going. I told my kids that this week was the week that we recovered our house. They asked what that meant. I told them it means we will make our house look like a place human beings live instead of a place wild animals stop through for feedings! I'm still working on the recovering by the way.

When I made the decision to look for a full-time job one of the factors soon became the fact that both of my part-time jobs took place in the afternoons and evenings. When we added church and ball into the mix, it started to feel a little crazy. When we started going out of town for dance competitions it felt downright insane. No matter how busy we would get I would constantly compare myself to other people and think, 'They do this and this and this and they're fine'.  Or, 'If so and so can handle that schedule, I can handle this.' And I could. The truth is that I've always been a busy, on the go kind of person. In high school I went non-stop. It was one of the hard parts of motherhood for me. I still remember after Sarah was born having the realization that I couldn't just up and run to Wal-Mart at 9:00 at night if I wanted to. Not without packing the house and arranging it around a baby's schedule. Now, my kids are at ages where it is a little easier to be on the go. Even though it is easier, I've realized that it is not necessarily best. 

As I've shared, it is has been emotional for me giving up dance and theater. My theater kids asked me if they could pay me 1 million dollars if I would direct another play. I told them that, yes, for a million dollars, I would. :)  The truth is, I love my dance and my theater kids like they are my own. One of my tiny tots gave me a Mother's Day card and thanked me for working with her like she was my own child. It's a card I'll treasure forever. But all of the emotion really hit home for me at our dress rehearsal. I was running around like a crazy person backstage and finally, we got down to the last 2 dances. All of my classes were finished and Sarah's lyrical class was one of those last two. I headed out front to sit down and actually watch one of her dances. I had seen parts of it and heard the song, but that day as I was waiting to embark on my last week of dance, it hit me hard. I watched my baby girl, who isn't looking like a baby anymore, dance so beautifully to a song that spoke to my heart in a deep, cutting way. 

SLOW ME DOWN~Emmy Rossum
Rushing and racing
and running in circles
Moving so fast, I'm forgetting my purpose
Blur of the traffic is sending me spinning
Getting nowhere

My head and my heart are colliding, chaotic
Pace of the world
I just wish I could stop it
Try to appear like I've got it together
I'm falling apart

Save me
Somebody take my hand, and lead me
Slow me down
Don't let love pass me by
Just show me how
'Cause I'm ready to fall
Slow me down
Don't let me live a lie
Before my life flys by
I need you to slow me down

Sometimes I fear that I might dissapear
In the blur of fast forward I faulter again
Forgetting to breathe, I need to sleep
I'm getting nowhere

All that I've missed I see in the reflection
Passed me while I wasn't paying attention
Tired of rushing, racing and running
I'm falling apart

Tell me
Oh won't you take my hand and lead me
Slow me down
Don't let love pass me by
Just show me how
'Cause I'm ready to fall
Slow me down
Don't let me live a lie
Before my life flys by
I need you to slow me down

Just show me
I need you to slow me down

The noise of the world is getting me caught up
Chasing the clock and I wish I could stop it
Just need to breathe, somebody please
Slow me down

Read more: http://artists.letssingit.com/artist-zx8rfm3#ixzz1vBJVV9cF
LetsSingIt - Your favorite Music Community 

I watched beautiful young girls dance to a song asking us to slow them down and I thought of the last several months and how much Sarah has been running with me. I've been setting the example for her that what matters in life is how fast we run, how much we do. I cried like a baby watching that dance because I am ready to slow us all down. Before I blink she will be a teenager and I will have lost precious years to busyness. 

Father, slow us down. Teach us the balance of fulfilling our purpose and being productive for you while experiencing the peaceful, quiet rest of Your Presence. Focus my heart and mind on the important things, the things that matter to You. Help me be the teacher and parent that my children need and live out for them what a life poured out for you looks like. 

"The LORD replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
~Exodus 33:14

Monday, May 14, 2012

A Month of Mondays

Josh's grandpa, Pop, used to tell us it felt like he hadn't seen us in a month of Sundays. Well, it's Monday so I'll say I feel like I haven't blogged in a month of Mondays! I thought I would document in pictures what's been going on around here. Because it wears me out to think about writing it all out!

We  got the game ball!!!!

We field tripped.....

We Relayed for Life....

We put on 3 performances of "Mother Goosed".....

We partied like Bigfoot......

We sent Eleanor Roosevelt to school......

We worked the concession stand....

We dance recitaled......

 I stood on this stage 2 times while it was announced I won't be teaching dance next year and I managed not to cry.....
We celebrated Mother's Day!

Josh surprised me with a swing he made!

We also registered Kate for kindergarten!!!! I don't have any pics, I was on a field trip with Eli. But Josh reported that she did exceedingly brilliant on her evaluation. :)

So, that's a little of what we've been up to. Now, this is my plan for the rest of the month :)....

Saturday, May 5, 2012

My Little Man

Eli, last night I said, "Goodnight to the six year old Eli!" And now, I am waiting for you to wake up so I can say, "Good morning to the 7 year old Eli!" And just like that, another year has passed.

Sometimes, I still think of you like this....

Or this.....

This too....

Even this...

But these days....you look like this....

You are a little man now. You ask to wear cologne. But you're still a boy. I often find myself out in public with you trying to figure out when the last time was you washed your neck during a bath. :)  You ask lots of other questions too. Questions I'll never be smart enough to answer. Thank goodness for Google! You are so bright and inquisitive. You are so motivated and a little bit of a perfectionist with your school work. You've made straight A's all year and without having to try very hard. You get that from your Daddy. Lucky you! :) You are thoughtful and sweet. Daddy has to remind you to really throw the ball at the 2nd baseman, because she's a girl and you're scared you will hurt her. You love Legos and video games and baseball. And pancakes. This year you lost your two front teeth and your new ones are growing in together perfectly. They make you look like a big boy, not a little boy. I'm trying to be okay with that and you make it easy because you still cuddle with me. One day you wouldn't hold my hand in the grocery store, but you gave me about 5 hugs during our shopping trip, so that made up for it. :)

We love you Eli Fidler! We love your hugs, and your laugh and your sweet smile. We love how hard you work and how much you care. We love how you love your sisters and we've loved watching you grow a little more independent this year. Mostly, we just love you! 

Happy Birthday Little Man! Let's eat some pancakes!

"Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go."

Joshua 1:7