Thursday, April 12, 2018

Possibilities

I started this post last year in order to document the ways in which it seemed God was speaking to Jason & myself about a potential major change in our family's life.

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The last week of July Jason and I were discussing how he would like to leave the fire department, for various reasons, most of which I won't go in to here. One big reason is that he can't dedicate himself to our family business as much as he would like because he's on shift every 3rd day.



We talked about what would need to happen to make it even possible for him to leave the department, and one of the biggest roadblocks is that it provides health insurance for our entire family. No job, no insurance. Our family business just isn't quite there yet to begin providing it thru that venue. We also aren't quite making enough money to be able to afford insuring a family of four on our own. So, health insurance for all four of us. If that were covered, it would make him leaving the department much more realistic and feasible.

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The next day I received a text from one of my former supervisor's at my old job asking for assistance with something that used to be my responsibility. We texted back and forth for a bit, as I tried to help him via text, hundreds of miles away, with something I haven't handled in three years.

At the end of the conversation he jokingly texted (paraphrased): I'm going to have a position open soon. Just sayin'.

I replied "Everybody has a price. Just sayin'." (winky emoji)

He then sent a few texts about how they would cover relocation, how there's plenty of land available nearby, etc.

I figured he was half serious, half joking and left it like that. But the thought wouldn't leave me, so I mentioned it to Jason that night.

He basically responded something like "that would be okay".

I was surprised. I figured the idea of me going back to work, not being able to homeschool the kids, relocating 300 miles away would freak him out.

But it didn't. It didn't freak me out either. Which is incredibly weird.

I have been trying to move back to Ohio, closer to my family, for years now. We're an hour away from them right now. Now, suddenly, the idea of being 5 hours away doesn't bother me? Why? I have no reason. It makes no sense. I have no idea why I'm okay with it. I can't explain it.

But there it was. So the next morning I texted my former supervisor and told him if he really thought it would be a good fit for me, then to let me know when the job was posted and I'd take a look at it.

He reminded me of how things work there and that the opening was recently delayed and it could be some time before it was actually posted, but he would definitely keep me in the loop.

Basically that translates to say that the job could be coming open in a few weeks, months, year... or never.

But you see what happened there, right? If I went back to work, we'd have additional income & insurance and Jason would be able to leave the fire department. In fact, if we relocated, he'd have to. So talking and praying about it one night, and the very next day this happens. Did you see that?

But there's no telling when the job will actually be posted, if ever. So... what to do? Well...

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I started looking at housing prices, educational options & expenses, child care expenses, etc. in the area. You see, I realize that if this actually comes to fruition we'll need to make a decision relatively quickly, but this is a major life decision that directly effects our entire family; a decision I can't take lightly or without considering all sides.

But I also started praying for God's direction. Specifically, I asked Him to slam shut any doors he didn't want us to walk through, and to throw wide the doors that He does. Make it obvious. Make His will unmistakable.

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Fast forward to September. Try as I might to shake the idea and not obsess about it, I can't stop thinking about it. Jason & I found ourselves unexpectedly without kids, so we discussed it in depth for the first time. We had both been praying about it. As we spent the day together, we repeatedly said that we want God to show us, really obviously, what His direction is.

After dinner we started driving around, just driving and talking. Jason needed to use the restroom, so we stopped at a little mom-and-pop bar & restaurant in the middle-of-nowhere Kentucky. Seriously out in the middle of nowhere, driving thru the hills of our beautiful state, miles from civilization. We stopped and went in.

Jason walks into the single-stall bathroom, which was unlocked, and walks in on one of my former executives... peeing.

He literally walked in on the man as he relieved himself. Jason apologized, they both finished their business, we chatted with him for a bit. I had worked closely with this man for the entire 10 years I worked at my former employer. I also hadn't seen him since I left three years ago.

We stayed to listen to the band for a bit, I found Mr. Executive again before we left and said goodbye, then Jason & I got into the car and started laughing at what an incredible "coincidence" that was.

So the day we're asking God for a sign about what He wants us to do, we "randomly" run into one of my former executives at a tiny establishment in rural Kentucky. He doesn't even live in Kentucky anymore. He's still with the company, relocated 300 miles away like so many others. Happened to be in town visiting family.

He happened to be in town this particular weekend, a weekend where we just happened to unexpectedly find ourselves without the girls, he just happened to be at the same tiny bar in the middle of nowhere that we come upon at just the moment when my husband desperately needs a restroom, just happens to be in that restroom, just happens to have forgotten to lock the door. Did I forget anything?

It's a little too "coincidental" for us to believe that it was truly random.

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Now, jump ahead to October. We're still praying about it, but I'm also trying to balance that with not thinking about it. I know from my experience with the company that the job could be posted any day, might not be posted for a few months, or HR could pull the opening altogether. There's no sense on dwelling. But somehow we need to balance that with being prepared for the day it opens. If it does.

So one night, Jason is on shift, the girls are in bed, I'm doing the dishes. And thinking. It was a Friday night, and I had talked with my dad earlier in the day about Jena's soccer game the next morning. You see, my dad comes to every game. Every one. I don't think he's missed one. I've missed more than he has.

My dad adores his granddaughters. My parents were my full time childcare when Jena was little, and they are especially close. Both my parents have incredibly close relationships with the girls. But especially my dad. Grandpa. He dotes on them. Loves them. Can't get enough of them. I joke that he'd keep them if I'd let him.

And then I thought about it, really thought about it, for the first time since the idea of taking a new job and relocating came up. Leaving my parents. Taking my girls away from my parents. Away from my dad.

And I cried. And cried. Snot-faced messy sobbing cries.

What was I thinking?!? How could I leave my parents? How could I take my girls away from them? It's stupid for me to even think about moving farther away. What was I thinking?!?

But then...

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The next day I found myself at my parents. I hadn't planned it, but had an appointment about 20 min from their house, so decided to stop by with the girls for a visit before we headed home.

I'm sitting on the couch, Mom & I are watching the girls play, no one's really talking about anything. Dad walks in from the kitchen and sits next to me.

Out of the blue he says "I don't know why you ever left that job. I know you wanted to stay home and homeschool and everything, but that was a really good job. I don't know why you left."

At this point, I'm more confused than anything. At no point during the visit have I mentioned my old job, the company name, working in general. Nothing. I never told my parents about the possibility of going back. This is completely out of the blue.

He continues "Besides, it's only 5 hours away. If we really wanted to, we could still see each other every weekend. I don't know why you left."

Still in disbelief, I said "You know that's a possibility. My old boss contacted me about a job."

He's stunned. Can't believe it. My mom replied with "Don't give her any ideas!"

We laughed, but I really had a chance to think about it on the drive home.

The night before I had been freaking out about taking my girls away from their grandparents, specifically Grandpa. The very next day, on an unplanned visit, my dad unprompted, seemingly out of nowhere, reassures me that we could still each other every weekend if we really wanted, that it's not that far away, that he himself questions why I even left.

I can't ignore the coincidence. And I haven't been bothered, really bothered, by the idea since.

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Semi-random side note: one of the dealbreakers for me from the moment this came up is that whatever salary they offer me has to be enough for us to reasonably afford a 4+ bedroom house, so that we can have a guest room for our family to stay in comfortably when they come to visit.

Ideally I'd like to have an in-law suite, but a guest bedroom is my minimum. Not having a place for them to stay when visiting is a dealbreaker for me.

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But alas, nothing happens. Months pass, and there has been no opening. No more discussion (at least that I am aware of) about the job. Eventually Jason & I stop talking about it even being a possibility.

Honestly, thought, it leaves me a little confused. I don't really believe in coincidences, I believe in God. Everything seemed to be pointing us toward this job and relocating our family. I did pray that God would slam shut any doors He didn't want me to walk thru, so maybe that was it. Maybe going back to work & relocating wasn't His plan. But then what is?

Maybe this was just to get me thinking about it. Maybe it was just to open us up to the possibility of me going back to work or of relocating to a different area. Maybe it was just getting us to think & to talk about it as a couple.

Or maybe there's some other plan I'm not seeing yet.

********

And then, this past week...

I run into 3 of my former co-workers in less than a week. All of them have relocated. Two are 300 miles away. One is 900 miles away. All back in town in the same week for various reasons. It is not a holiday week, not a company shutdown week, nothing in common brought them to the area at the same time, as far as I can tell. Yet each of them crossed my path; one at church, one at Once Upon a Child, one at Kroger. I didn't run into co-workers out & about that frequently when they all lived here!

Again, I'm left wondering... what are the chances of that actually happening? What a coincidence! But why?

I mention it to Jason. We agree it seems like too much of a "coincidence" to ignore, but we also agree that we don't know what God is trying to tell us!

We both agree that it still seems that the job & relocation might be a possibility, but we also both agree that it seems more & more that there must be another reason these things keep happening. God is trying to show us or tell us something that we just aren't getting just yet.

So we will continue to pray for His direction and His Divine intervention in our lives, and just trust Him as we see what the future has in store!

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Sorry there isn't some exciting announcement and conclusion to the end of this. At least not just yet. But I'll be sure to update if anything else happens!

What do you think? Do you think it will come to fruition? Or is God using this to direct us elsewhere?

As always, thanks for checking in!

Thursday, April 5, 2018

How My 9 Year Old Found Out about the Easter Bunny (and Santa Claus)

I have worked very hard to keep the magic alive for my kids for the past nine years. Very hard. This past year I thought Jena might be starting to figure out Santa, but alas, ends up I was wrong. How did I find out? Because when the truth was discovered she was absolutely devastated. So how did that happen? I'm glad you asked.

Jena hunting Easter eggs at my parents' house, 2017


The day before Easter Jena blurted out "I saw the text you sent Daddy last night!"

Uh oh.

The night before Jason had been on shift. I had not had time alone to shop for the girls' Easter baskets, so I sent him a text around 11pm asking him to stop at the store on his way home to pick up stuff for the Easter bunny to bring.

And she saw it.

Here's where the added layer of parenting gets added.

She saw it because she was disobeying. She has been instructed numerous times to not read any messages on any adult's device. Jena's iPad had died, so in the morning I had given her Jason's old iPad to play games on. At some point she apparently opened the messages and read (at least) that one.

She flat out asked me, so when I had the chance I took her into her room, just the two of us, to talk it out. She was absolutely crushed. Then she asked if that meant Santa wasn't real either. Devastated.

Why the devastation? In her words, because it means "magic isn't real".

I tried telling her it was a different kind of magic, it was Mommy Magic, but she insisted, correctly, that it's not the same.

I gave her the option in the future of either:
    a) pretending none of this ever happened, and both of us going thru the motions as if it were all real, just like before, or
    b) joining in on the magic with me and helping to make things special for her little sister

I told her she could decide at any time, and she didn't even have to tell me. I would just know by her actions what she wanted to do.

I also told her to be sure not to talk about it with her friends unless she knew for sure that they already knew. I explained that lots of parents work really hard to keep life magical for their kids, and if she told them they would feel just as bad as she did now. I also told her she would be in big trouble if she ever told her little sister.

It was a really difficult afternoon, lots of crying over her new realization, but by that evening she was slipping me pieces of candy to put in her basket.

Of course we still had to address the disobedience that got her there in the first place, but she wasn't having it. She's been in a rather rebellious & disrespectful phase lately, and insisted on telling me that it was all my fault and I ruined her Easter because I should never have sent the message in the first place.

Because... of course. And because... she's nine.

But that is another topic for another time.

What about your kids? Have they figured it out yet? How did they find out?

As always, thanks for checking in!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Recipe: Chicken Enchiladas with White Sauce

Chicken Enchiladas with White Sauce




Ingredients:
8-10 small soft flour tortillas
3T flour
2 c chicken broth
1 c sour cream
2 1/2 c canned chicken
3 c shredded cheese (cheddar, Mexican blend, or Monterrey Jack)
3 T butter
4 oz diced green chiles



Directions:
Preheat oven to 350

Grease 9x13 pan

Drain the water from the cans of chicken and add to chicken to a large bowl.

Mix chicken & 1 c of the shredded cheese

Fill tortillas with mixture, roll, and place each one in pan

Melt butter in sauce pan on stove top

Whisk flour into the butter while on the stove

Add broth and continue to whisk

Cook until it begins to bubble

Add sour cream & chiles to saucepan and mix together

Pour mixture over enchiladas.

Top with the remaining cheese.

Bake for 20-25 min.

Enjoy!
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