Friday, November 30, 2012

this week at work

At Golder:
55 month end invoices to enter
25 carafes of coffee made
19 meals/snacks ordered/prepared/arranged for...
10-14 additional people in our office (that's double our staff) Tu-Fr
8 loads of dishes in the dishwasher
5 additional garbage bags (large) to haul out of our kitchen
4 hours of overtime (paid!)

2 evenings of napping/resting
1 huge thank you to me by our Canadian President in front of the Canadian Management Team.

Meanwhile, Sean's week was:
40/40 on his 'skilled helper' demonstration assignment at school
38 letters signed, stuffed, mailed for YFC
3 hours of overtime (unpaid)
1 day off
1 (excellent, if I may say so) essay completed and turned in at school on how he views the role of a 'skilled helper'.

What a week.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Good News!

Since the day I met my husband, Sean, I knew there was this ambition to make a difference in the world that stirred deep within him. He was taking Human Resources in school as we started dating and graduated shortly after we were married, with the goal of better relationships in work places. But even deeper than that I saw a need in him to improve people's lives. There have been a lot of challenges in moving towards that goal over these last 12 years.

Last winter Sean went to tour the new Youth For Christ building here in Winnipeg, even we had never really had a strong connection with that organization (other than our first Church together in Winnipeg was at the YFC firehall and now our current Church owns that same firehall) but grew more interested as the controversy in our city grew over the government offering the land to YFC for the goal of impacting inner city kids rather than an aboriginal or 'anything but Christian' organization. We wanted to go together but I was out in Steinbach the day of the tour so Sean went alone. At the time, this was not a Sean-like thing to do, but he went. It was a self-guided tour after the opening ceremonies, so as he wandered through he stopped to watch a skate park filled with about a 100 teens, and Sean felt a tug from God on his heart there. Another atypical Sean thing, his passion had never been kids. Regardless, because of that tug he dug in real deep with God about wanting to pursue working in any place that could make him feel that heart tug, a job where he feels challenged and like he's contributing to the world not just to our pockets. So he ended up looking at their website for job postings and there was an HR manager posting.

Now, it just so happens that the director of YFC, John Courtney, is an elder at our Church, Riverwood. A week before this tour we had a member meeting at Church and they were discussing possibly hiring an HR person at Church as well, and people interested should talk to John, so Sean did, and emailed him his resume. That got passed on to our pastor who then contacted Sean to say they were going in a different direction. So Sean sent in his resume to YFC as well, mentioning to John, 'this is the guy at Riverwood who just talked to you about HR at Riverwood'.

We didn't hear anything back.

The YFC job got long forgotten, Sean still wasn't quite sure about where to pursue new work. He asked God to show him if he should stay and suffer through, because he had a wage and hours that helped us invest so much of ourselves in our Church, which we have really dove into over the last year. Or, he asked if there was a job out there that could mean more to him, because serving in our Church community had grown a hunger in Sean to get so much more joy and growth out of work. Serving at Church in the various different capacities we have taken on in the last year have been hard work, long hours, challenging people, BUT, so rewarding. For example, we take vacation each year to volunteer at a Leadership Summit held at our Church, we work longer hours than a normal work day but it's an awesome experience. After we returned to our jobs Sean felt this gap even more so, between God's work and his job. But he didn't seem to be getting any answers.

Until August.
There was a situation in Sean's life in August, God was asking him to do something he didn't want to do, but he finally did it anyway. Within 15 minutes of doing this thing he got an email from John Courtney inviting him to an interview for the HR manager position still available at YFC. His wife works in the same office space at Church as our ministry director of Friday nights and she has also been our volunteer coordinator when we volunteer at the Leadership Summit, so his wife was becoming very familiar with us through serving at Church, and while John mentioned he couldn't recall meeting Sean he said that his wife spoke very highly of him. So that meeting happened in late August. John said he would pray about it and get some discernment from other decision makers around YFC and get back to Sean, encouraging Sean to do the same as all YFC positions are 100% raised support.

A little over a month later John called Sean back for another meeting. This time to tell Sean they would like to hire him, talking more with Sean about being comfortable with raising support, and then proceeding with the logistics of a formal application with reference checks. Sean and I had been preparing ourselves for what life would look like if we were on support. Interestingly enough, God had been laying it on my heart over the last 2 years to release my finances to His wisdom. I've mentioned here before how fiscally organized (ok, controlling) I can be, and as you've seen in my posts here I've been working at being a better steward of what God's given us. I've always been contentious of living well within our means, but in the past I've been very much a worry-wart about a secure future financially. God finally helped me get over that, and has been preparing my heart for what it would look like if Sean took a job with a much lower wage, and that became my goal, to find a way we could live on the lowest possible amount so Sean could pursue wherever his dreams led, no matter the income.

So, Sean decided to move forward onto the next step with YFC, he submitted those references mid-October and was just last week called back for another meeting at YFC. I am happy to say that as of Nov. 15th Sean formally accepted the position of HR Manager at YFC (on condition of support), he will likely start somewhere around Jan.7th provided he raises a certain amount of support between now and then. Sean is still pursuing his counseling certificate, in fact YFC has counseling positions as well, so who knows what will happen once he's finished school, but John is aware of Sean's school and is very supportive and thinks it's part of what makes Sean a good fit.

Anyway, we are so very happy for this God-led direction for Sean, clearly recognizing this is exactly where God has been leading us over the last few years, and we are so glad we have had the faith to follow blindly.  No matter how much faith you have in God He can always find a way to stretch it :) While this is still a step of faith for us, as we’re not sure what this adventure will yet ask of us, we know we are surrounded by people who support us in so many ways, and a lot of that support has come from you, my friends.

While I wanted to share this good news, this amazing shift in our lives, I also wanted to support Sean by sharing some of the responsibility to raise support. While the term 'supporter' is used in this situation (and many of you have already been supporters of us through the years, through prayers and encouragement) we find that term too one-sided and that's not what we are looking for. We are looking for ministry partners, people we feel can be ministered to by the work Sean will be able to do, who feel that tug of the heart Sean first felt at YFC, who maybe have a passion for helping an organization that helps keep kids off the streets - out of gangs, and who want to partner with us to make that happen. If that is not you, please don't feel any pressure or obilgation, we feel that support is something that naturally flows out of relationship and it is mutual. That is what we are pursuing. That being said, if any of you would consider becoming our ministry partners, whether with prayer support, or investing financially (it is a tax deductible donation), all we would need is a mailing address for YFC to send documents to set things up. Any and all support is welcome.

Thank you so much for stopping in to read about our good news! I hope to have many future posts about the exciting work God is doing in our lives through this opportunity. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sometimes I feel like a humbug

Talking to someone recently about Christmas preparations I realized as I talked about what I wasn't doing or wasn't looking forward to, I felt somewhat like I was raining humbug on their Christmas parade.

Speaking of parades, we don't go to the Santa Claus parade. It's Winterpeg, it's cold! I don't like being cold. I see more impressive floats on the t.v. airing stuff from the States, in my nice cozy home anyway.

I have no decorations because I have cats, and I prefer them alive. Not even lights outside, because again, that means going out in the cold, and neither of us like heights. Don't get me wrong, tastefully done Christmas decorations are beautiful and I like looking at them, just not worth the work for in my own home. I'll look at them at the mall or driving in the nice areas of town.

Speaking of the mall, I will be there at an absolute minimum after Nov.11th,I have exactly 5 gifts to buy, for the kidlings, because they are kidlings and they enjoy receiving much more than adults. And they don't feel obligated to give me something back because 'that's what you do at Christmas.' Christmas used to be such an exercise of trying to figure out what each person would want or need, and it isn't that I don't truly want to give them something to show I care, but I feel I can better show I care by spending quality time with them, rather than a gift that likely just clutter up their home. And feeling like receiving gifts was doing the same to others. My immediate family was the first to catch on to that 7 years ago, and now Sean's family has as of last year as well. So only gifts of our company and great memories for everyone but the kids.

I am very particular about my Christmas music. Maybe it's the kind of music we all grew up with that turns into memories rather than personal taste, but I cannot stand 50% of secular Christmas songs. There are a handful I really love like Carol of the Bells, The Holly & The Ivy, Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree, Silver Bells, Snoopy's Christmas (Snoopy vs The Red Baron). Other than that, strictly CHRIST-mas songs are my personal choice. Even with songs I love I get tired of them pretty quickly, I don't like listening earlier than Dec. 1st because then I'm just sick of them by the day I would actually like to enjoy them. Never mind the annoying 'Christmas' songs about hippos and Dominic the donkey, a couple of days is enough to drive me over.the.edge.

Even the food. You would think, at least Lori likes the food part of Christmas. Well, yes and no. I enjoy the food that Christmas is known for, to be sure, but it is a bit like an alcoholic celebrating Christmas at a vineyard. It's a temptation fighting season, holiday drinks at Starbucks, candy canes and chocolate passed around the office, cookies to bake, and then of course the Christmas dinners, we average about 4-5 of them. It's hard to say no thanks when these goodies are often equal to gifts but I am finding my ways to not let myself overdose, although it is a bit of an internal battle.

The one thing I can whole-heartedly get on board with is all the Christmas gatherings, I love our office Christmas party, our family gatherings, the Church events, the extra social outings with friends because, as I mentioned, that's what I try to gift my friends. To me, all the rest could (mostly) fade away, but as long as I have all those dear to me in my close company over the holidays, I feel like I am experiencing the true reason for joy behind the season. God sent His Son to break down separations between us all, to make us all one in Christ.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

48 days until....

No, not Christmas. That is 41 days.

Nope, it's 48 days until it's no longer 2012.

I'm ready for the year to be over.

The year Sean got badly bit by a dog.

The year my aunt's (mom's sister) kidneys shut down and had to start dialysis, had complications, got septic, is now almost blind.

The year my mom had her heart attack.

The year my uncle (husband of mom's other sister) died of cancer, after only a few weeks of notice and lots of pain.

The year my mother-in-law also starts getting unexplainable chest pains.

The year so many of my friends have had their loved ones die suddenly.

One of my best friends is experiencing sudden and extreme fatique as well as numbness in her body. So far tests have come back 'clear' and a hastened neurologist appointment didn't find anything, which in this situation is not good.

Then my sister Jodi has an attack of pain early Tuesday morning (she has had these acid build up pains for  years, that usually come every so often and last a couple of hours), that lasted longer than usual and so she went to the hospital where they gave her morphine for a couple more hours. Turns out she has gall stones now as well. She is waiting for a surgeon referral and a scope, so that hopefully they can find more than they did the last time they looked into it 11 years ago.

And that is just the physical pain. So many of my loved ones are experiencing afflictions of varying kinds and degrees this year! What's stranger still is that outside of the pain in the lives of those surrounding me, my life has been so uplifting, hopeful and full of promise this year. I feel like I'm in the eye of a hurricane, it is eerily calm and peaceful.

I don't know if I can blame it on 2012, but I certainly am hoping 2013 brings more joy and less pain than 2012 did.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Laughter is the best medicine

I heard a statistic the other day, that 'they' have been tracking this since at least the depression, which is how many minutes we spend a day laughing on average.

If I had to wager a guess, on average, I say I'd spend 15-30 minutes a day laughing, partly due to shows like Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother.

Partly because I watch video clips from The Skit Guys.

Partly because I have co-workers with a pretty good sense of humor.

Some of my best friends will quote BBT with me over and over, and we laugh at the show again as well as our rendition.

My family, especially my mom and my sisters keep me in stitches at every gathering.

But I'd say the biggest reason is because my husband is a riot. He tries to make me laugh a lot. We just have a sense of humor that is in sync so we'll just look at each other in a situation and laugh because we know we're thinking the same thing. We enjoy being silly and not taking ourselves too seriously. We also quote BBT and Skit Guys tirelessly (but we never get tired of it).

The average amount of laughter in homes during the Great Depression and World War II was about 15 min. Today, sadly, it is 2 minutes. Wow! Hard to imagine that many people live with so little laughter. Makes me feel incredibly blessed!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Tis the Season

There is a season for everything

This is my season of a lot of status quo

This is my season of pouring into other people

This is my season to uplift my husband in his time of flourishing

This is my season of foundational truths

This is my season of falling in love all over again

I wish this season lent itself to more blog-worthy posts, but these blessings are a little too personal to share on a world-wide platform. I'm itching for some more shareable material and the time to write it, as soon as I hope that season comes I really can't imagine being in a much better season than right now.

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