Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

First day on the job

Finding a job really is all about who you know. Keri Lynn and I went to go visit a friend of hers from the youth group who had been hospitalized with infected tonsils. As it turns out, her mother works at Target and offered to pull my application and get me an interview. She said, "I can't guarantee you a job, but I can sure put you in touch with the people who do the hiring." And that's exactly what she did. She also advised me to say that I was available for all hours, because as it turns out my application had been by-passed along with hundreds of others that Target gets every week, because I was not available 24/7.

I went in at 10:00 AM, waited around for a while, then had first one interview with one person and then a second interview with another person. The second interviewer is the third of nine children, so she was interested in my big family. She asked if I could wait five more minutes and I'd talk to someone, but then came back and told me that that someone had just clocked out and that she was the only one in the store currently who actually offered the jobs. So now my application sits on that magical person's desk for a call-back tomorrow. As it so happens, Target usually wants most of their seasonal workers to work later shifts, through dinner time, when I need to be home with my kids. BUT, at this very moment, they are in desperate need for day shift cashiers. If I'm accepted at Target, I think I may be offered nearly full time hours. Then, I'll have to figure out how to work out hours with Ross. Hmmmm . . . . I guess I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. Plus I don't want to be counting too many chickens . . .

After that whole Target interview process, I made my way off to get some lunch. I had planned to have lunch with a neighbor friend who is leaving in two days to Iraq for a whole year, but I had to cancel our lunch date because of the interview. She has two kids, seven and three, and then when she comes back from her stint, her husband is scheduled to leave for Iraq for a year. Talk about huge commitment and painful dedication. Please be praying for Karen as she prepares to say good-bye to her family.

At 2:00 PM, I headed off to Ross for my very first day of work in over 16 years, and my very first day of retail sales in (gulp) 23 years! A lot of memories came flooding back, and quite truthfully, all in all, it was a enjoyable experience. I mostly observed the two front leads work the register. I got an opportunity to run the register myself about a half dozen times. I also put away hundreds of hangers, hung up returned clothes, and wished for really comfy shoes. Most every customer was very sweet and understanding. It happened to be senior discount day, so the clientele appreciated a smiling face. Registers sure are amazing these days. I remember working my register back in the old days, and those registers were pretty high tech, but they had nothing on these babies today.

What fascinated me the most, working in the customer service line where returns were accepted, were that returns came every four to five customers. Clothes were going out, but they were coming in at an awfully fast rate, too. The returns piled up at enormous rates and, when things slowed down, we would hang them up and put away the hundreds of hangers.

The person training me said that I was doing well and seemed to have a knack for the business. This, of course, made me feel quite pleased, but I was glad that my shift was only four hours because my feet HURT!

I got into my car after work and enjoyed just sitting for a minute before checking my cell phone voice mail. (Keep in mind that the youngest three come home at 3:00 and that I reviewed carefully with them about how I would be at work when they got home.)

Kade at 3:05: Mom, when are you coming home? Kylie hit me. Would you please call and tell her that she can't go and play at her friend's house? Call me back as soon as you can. Thank you.

Kylie at 3:17: Mom, just to let you know -- Kade hit me, too. I'm done with my homework and going to play at Ashlynn's house. See you later! Bye!

Kathleen at 5:36: Where are you? I need you home! I want to make mash potatoes but Keri Lynn won't let me! She says I have to ask you first.

I called home while pulling out of the Ross parking lot and Kathleen answered on the first ring, "FINALLY!"

Much to my relief, the world had not caved into some big black hole where my house once stood. Everyone was progressing along just fine. Keri Lynn was making dinner, as per our schedule. Kathleen was able to get Keva from the bus without incident.

By the time I got home, I discovered that the little kids had not been careful in keeping the pantry door closed. This is essential when keeping Kody out of the trash. So there were bits of Keva's used diaper scattered throughout the leaving room, and bits of trash and garbage, too. Keva also had filled a very special diaper for me, just to help me feel loved and needed. : ) Half an hour later, Keith came home and got everyone whipped into shape in cleaning up, and now we are all ready for bed!

So goodnight, y'all. Thank you for praying for me in this process of looking for work. Please continue praying, especially for that Target job, and that it will work easily with the Ross job. I'm taking some Advil and going to bed!

Monday, October 29, 2007



Keva's pixie cut

Back from orientation -- I am now oriented -- FINALLY!

Here I am in my interview clothes. I'm next on the list for getting a haircut!

Don't steal!

This morning, we all went off to church as usual, but three of the girls went with their hair newly trimmed or cut. Keva's hair got chopped last night spur of the moment. I love my one cut that I do for her. (The other girls won't let me cut their hair in that cute pixie style anymore -- boo-hoo!)

I left after the first hour of church to go to my job orientation at Ross. There was one other customer service person who will be working full time, four stockroom workers and me (the part-time seasonal person.) We all watched a video on how great Ross is and how if anyone even thinks about stealing from Ross, they will be taken out to the back of the building and shot. (Kidding . . . totally kidding!)

Then, we filled out a tree's worth of paperwork. Do you know how long it's been since I've filled out a W-4 for myself? : ) I now have my own employee number, my employee discount card, and my schedule for this week -- Tuesday and Thursday, 2:00 - 6:00 PM and Saturday 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM. I counted out on my fingers and figured out that it's 15 hours. I'm really planning on the WOW factor, as in, "Wow! That girl can work HARD! Give her some more hours!"

The manager would like to start me out in the morning at 8:00 before the store opens to count the drawers (since I'm so good at finger counting) and then move on into customer service. First, she says, I need to get used to customer service, thus the afternoon hours to start with.

I like the front end leads that are directly over me. They were very encouraging and eager to make us all feel welcomed. In fact, the management in general seemed very friendly and ready to work hard for the company.

I've come to learn that most of the retail places hire their employees at part-time hours and that most everyone with part-time hours works some other part-time job, just like I'm planning to do. I think it will be easier for me, at this point, to get another job now that I'm actually employed! Plus, I've got a few names to drop now that I didn't have last week when I go back to Target and Dillards.

Now the trick will be NOT to buy clothes while working at Ross until we're back on our feet financially. I think it's kind of neat, though, to be at a place that can help get me out of my Mom Clothes for a more professional look as I do move toward teacher certification. And it's also pretty funny that most of what I own right now comes from Ross anyway. : ) I found out from the orientation video that Ross actually started off in California. The store here in Newnan is only about four years old.

Friday, October 26, 2007

I've got a job!

It finally happened. I got a call last night at 8:30 from someone at Ross. She asked me a few questions and then told me I could come in for an interview today at 12:30. So, I did. I felt like I was interviewing for CEO. The manager of the store normally conducts the interview, but she was training an assistant manager, and several other manager types were in and out, and I was in and out, first filling out a questionnaire, then talking to an assistant, then back waiting in the break room again, then brought back out to the hallway where I was told that I could come for the orientation Sunday at 12:00.

I'm hired! Now, it is part-time, seasonal work, at a whopping $6.75 an hour. I have no idea what my schedule is going to be, just that it's going to be about 20 hours a week, but they seem willing to work with me with my time frame of being home during dinner time with the kids, and for Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings. I may work some evenings, 8:00 to midnight, which actually might work very well for our family's schedule.

And then, I'm hoping to get a second job somewhere else. I don't know how it's all going to work and I wish I had better pay, but $6.75 is better than $0.00, I figure. Plus, it's a good segue type job as I move into teaching. While building up the substitute teacher hours, I can be working at Ross, and the seasonal work goes all the way into January.

Now, I've got to go find some really good shoes and I've got to lose weight!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The start of the turning of the leaves

These pictures do not even come close to adequately capturing the start of the turning of the leaves. You can see a little bit of change here and there, and I will try to remember to get some pictures of these same angles as fall progresses. It is so beautiful and such a picture of God's constancy.

A proud moment

Kade gets his very first 100% on a spelling test! Yay!

Kade and Kylie's baptism

Kylie at her dressing room door. Check out the cute jumper.

The baptismal pool is just down the hall from the dressing rooms, right at the front of the church behind the choir loft.

Kade, Katherine and Kylie. Don't you just love Katherine's dimples! She's the same age as Kade, and Kade is the same age as Keri Lynn was when she got baptized, only it seems to me that Keri Lynn was a lot older! Then, there's Kylie, who is such a little thing, but she's two years older than the other two.

Kade is all ready and just a tad nervous. He's got a hankerchief in his hand to put over his mouth and nose so that when he gets dunked, water doesn't go up his nose.
The girls with Miss Brenda, our children's ministry director. She has got such a huge heart for kids and does double duty as an elementary school teacher as well as children's minister.

Kylie makes her declaration of faith and is baptized. The pastor said, "I baptize you, my little sister, in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."
Then Kade had his turn . . .
We were all very proud, getting the opportunity to stand for him in a precious moment of identity with Christ.

Our very own computer game addicts

Keith and I are glad that we have not passed on our addiction to video games . . . um, yeah.

Why Kristofer is always hungry

There it is. The proof that our oldest boy continues to grow, even though we have threatened, begged, pleaded for him to stop growing. He just keeps doing just that. One day in the not too distant future, he'll be taller than me. Bittersweet!

Keva hogs the camera

I was trying to get a candid shot of Keva watching TV, but she kept turning her head for the camera! She made a full circle. In her hand is her latest victim, I mean, doll.

Fall is here

I've been in denial for weeks now. It can't be true, but it is. The leaves are turning. It's fall. How could that be? We just got those beautiful leaves back on the trees, and now we're going to lose them again?!

I remember, while we were living in California, how transplants from other states, particularly back east, would complain about how there are no seasons in California. It's true. The weather is so wonderful -- only a few cold weeks in winter and a few hot weeks in summer -- no real need for heating or air because the temperatures are so mild. In fact, the weather man's job is just a glory job, a chance to make small talk with the newscasters and then point to the weather map to explain that temperatures will be exactly like yesterday's numbers. (Yawn.)

Meanwhile, here in Georgia, where we experience real weather, and where the weather cannot make up its mind, I feel time marching on. Summer giving way to fall and winter just around the corner. And me with still no job. But I'll not whine about THAT today.

I organized a chore chart for the kids and, as in most organizational endeavors, they're quite excited about it -- or rather, I should say, the little kids are quite excited about their new responsibilities. I divided up the chores equally among each of the six kids that can do the work. (Keva continues to live a life of leisure!) With the chores divided among six, they each only have one, sometimes two, chores to do each day, aside from the usual maintenance of the their bedroom and bathroom. The chores are: clean/vacuum living room, clean/vacuum family room, sweep (foyer, kitchen, breakfast room, hallway), feed Kody, make dinner, do dinner dishes, take out the trash. Only Keri Lynn, Kristofer and Kathleen have to make a meal, but otherwise everyone does at least one of those things on the list each day. And I have to say that by late morning today, the house was looking pretty good!

Now, we'll see if it lasts. I'm going to have to really stay on top of it to make this work, but once they've made it a habit, then we should be able to keep the house relatively clean with very little effort because each of us is doing our part. That's the theory anyway!

Meanwhile, I had thought I had gotten such a great handle on the laundry two days ago. I was inordinately proud of myself, and then Kathleen and Kylie decided to organize their closet from whence came a whole mountain of forgotten and dirty clothing. This answered a big question regarding Kylie's clothes. I KNEW she had a lot more clothes than she actually had. She'd been saying that she didn't have anything to wear, and I had just washed all of the clothes -- what in the world did she mean?! Well, she just had not bothered to take it to the laundry at all. It is one BIG scary pile, and I have no idea how we're going to fit her clothes in her dresser when they're washed. It can't be done. We'll have to tame the monster that is her wardrobe. Should we all have such trouble!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Konner helps in the kitchen

Konner helps me snap green beans. He LOVES to help in the kitchen, especially when I'm making cookies.

Kade concentrates on a computer game. Note the Rubic's cube next to the laptop. Did you know that Rubic's cube has made a big comeback? I still don't know how to do it and neither does anyone else in our family.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Taming the house

I took a break from the job hunt today, at least the pounding of the pavement part, and actually got a little housework done. I feel better just having gotten a better handle on the laundry and dishes. I ran two loads of dishes, scrubbed and put away the pots and pans, and have kept the washing machine and dryer humming right along all day. I swept and picked up, too. Counters are clean. I stacked the bills in a nice neat pile in hopes of someday being able to pay them! I organized one of the laundry room shelves, and I went to the grocery store.

I suppose some of this time between the homeschooling life and work is a good opportunity to organize the transition. I've started doing a few things differently with housecleaning. For instance, I used to keep an ever-growing pile of dirty clothes in Keva's room. (And believe me, her clothes have their own special knock-out odor.) Then, I got to thinking, that it might not be a bad idea to actually take her clothes (along with her diaper) to the laundry room each time. This little tiny extra something has grown into a big deal. Her room smells better and it stays neater. Now, if I could just get her to keep her mattress on her bed. I'm about ready to have Keith bolt it down to the frame!

Another move toward transition is to get the kids to bring their dirty clothes down each time they change instead of just gathering them in their own laundry baskets in their rooms. That just is NOT working. The older kids are kind of doing their own laundry, but I had pulled back on that while they got used school. But once I start working, we'll all have to pool our resources and get laundry done. This transitional time is the perfect time to get that going.

Then, there's the meal preparation. My mom reminded me of crock-pot dinners, and I brought out the crock-pot for the first time in a long time. I made the yummiest venison stew. Even all the male members of our household were full after that dinner. It won't hurt, though, when I start working to set up menus so that each of the big kids can be responsible for a meal a week. We have dinner at church on Wednesday nights, and then that would leave just three meals for me. This would be a good thing to start implementing while I'm not yet working.

The kids just finished their first quarter of school. Already! I can't believe it. But when you think about it, a quarter -- at least for our school district -- is only nine weeks! About this time in homeschooling, I'm usually giving myself a stern lecture about catching up with our course of study! Anyway, the kids brought home their report cards, and I'm really proud of them. They are all doing well. The little kids are still in catch-up mode (Kylie and Kade especially), but the big kids are doing well above average. Whew!

Kathleen especially has at last found her stride. She was really struggling at the beginning of the year, working on homework until 10:00 or 11:00 every night. Now, she puts in one or two hours most nights and is getting mostly A's. She's more relaxed now, too, and her teachers like to give out candy for major achievements, so she works extra hard! She's also surprised me with how competitive she is with academics. This is unusual, I think, for a middle child, nevertheless, I guess she's inherited enough of my first-born competitive streak.

Kristofer was coasting earlier in the quarter, but Keith and I started to get on his case about too many poor test grades. He doesn't test well, but all of his other work is nearly perfect. He told me that he just doesn't want to put too much attention on himself by getting good grades. I told him, with as straight a face as possible, that it was okay to get good grades, that indeed he really ought to strive to get good grades. Then I reminded him about the Hope Scholarship. This is a Georgia scholarship that pays for college tuition for kids getting A's and B's all through high school. He said, "What's the Hope Scholarship?" And I nearly fell out of my seat. Keri Lynn has known and worried about it since we moved here two years ago! He, on the other hand, didn't have a clue! So, he says that now that he knows about this scholarship, that he will definitely work harder.

Kristofer also is paying more attention to his grooming, which relieves Kathleen to no end. So when I got up the other morning, and noticed that he was wearing pants that were flooding high enough to cause FEMA to come rushing in, I was surprised.

"Mom, I've got nothing clean!"

"Check on top of the dryer. You have a whole basket of clean clothes!"

A few minutes later, he was fluffing his collar, and told me, "Now I don't have the nerd look going, I have the guy-trying-to-be-cool look going!"

That boy makes my heart clinch for the love of him.

Keri Lynn has been working like a dog all through these last nine weeks, but she's relaxed some, too, in the second half as she's gotten used to how it's all done. She brought home all A's and enjoys a smart-kid reputation in her classrooms. The teachers all like her because she actually takes the classes seriously. Even Algebra 2, which was such a struggle the first half of the quarter, is not so hard anymore. This is a relief and gives her some confidence, since it's the high school class with the highest failure rate.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Application Binge

My application for substitute teacher didn't get processed in time for tomorrow's training class, so I have to wait until November 28 for the next one. That is assuming I get accepted at all, which at this state of the game, I'm beginning to wonder. Over four solid weeks of job hunting and I'm feeling emotionally and physically frazzled. I figured I'd at least have a temporary job by now, and I've now applied to an innumerable list of seasonal retail jobs just to get paid for SOMETHING!

I stopped by Target today to check on my application and the lady that had been there before when I applied was there again. She was very sweet and told me that it usually takes a week or two to go through an application, and not to lose hope! Then she mentioned that Kohls was accepting applications, too. So, today I applied at Hallmark (along with two cute young things -- can you see me rolling my eyes?), BJs, Bed, Bath and Beyond, and Kohls. Babies R Us and Old Navy require on-line applications, so not holding my breath with those!

Tomorrow, I'm going to stop by Family Social Services, even though I applied for a couple of jobs through a government website there. I figure it wouldn't hurt to show my face and see if they have real paper applications for someone with a BA in psychology. Then, I'm going to go back to the retail stores and continue my application binge. SOMEONE has got to hire me, right? I also am going to ask a neighbor about an assembly line job at our local Yamaha plant. She's a manager there. I know they're hiring and it might be just the thing for something temporary.

I have a few other ideas to follow up on, too, but if I keep on listing these things, I will only have my Mom reading the end of this post. (Love you, Mom!)

I probably shouldn't sent this at 9:30 at night when I'm tired because I know I'm sounding really whiny, but it is the true state of my feelings. And you all know by now how I like to just lay it all out. All the gory details. Right, Mom? : )

Monday, October 15, 2007


Yesterday, Kylie and Kade were baptized. I was glad to keep busy seeing to their needs as they got into their baptismal clothes. The pastor had already gone over how they were each to come down, where they were to put their hands, what they would say, and how he'd dunk them. One other little seven-year-old girl got baptized along with them. They were so sweet looking down the short hallway that led to the baptismal pool.

The church provides a sort of water-proof white jumpsuit. It looks like a robe, but the legs keep the garment from ballooning above the water.

I rushed back to the church and went all the way around so as not to distract coming in through one of the side front doors and found my seat next to Keith and the rest of the family. Then we stood and I snapped pictures, again glad to be busy so that I wouldn't blubber like a baby.

The pastor asked each child, "What is your profession of faith?"

And they each answered, "Jesus is Lord."

I have The Ugly Cry and sure do hate to cry in front of people, so kept my attention on how sweet they each looked and how nervous the other little girl looked as she anticipated going down under the water.

Then, afterwards, I went out with the other mother to retrieve back to the rest of the service.

After the service and many congratulations, we went out to El Charro's. It was the first time we'd gone out to eat as an entire family in a very long time. It was a lovely treat. We gorged ourselves on chips and salsa and El Charro's specials! Mmmm-mmmmm! Then we rolled right on out of there and back home.

Lord, bless our children. Keep Kylie and Kade close to Your heart. May they continually seek You in all that they do.


This is an absolutely amazing post from an amazing writer. Please take the time to read her thoughts on the face of God. You will be blessed. Just so you know a little background, Boothe (the mother) and Conner (the father) and Sellers (their first daughter) had a little baby born to their family with a terrible genetic defect that allowed her to live only eight days. Little Copeland, though, has touched the lives of thousands.

Left brain/right brain

I found this link absolutely fascinating. Take the test . . .

Is the dancer twirling clockwise or counter clockwise? Apparently, most people see her dancing counter clockwise.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Job update

So here's the scoop so far on the job hunt.

I dropped off my three personal reference forms. At least two of them were supposed to be for bosses or supervisors from the last ten years, but since I haven't worked (for pay!) for the last 16 years, then I'm guessing that a husband doesn't count as a reference. So I asked Keva's teacher to write up something for me, and she was sweetly obliging. I also asked my senior pastor, who not only filled it out this afternoon when I dropped it off but put it right in the mail! Then, I dropped off a form with Jerry, my adult class Sunday School teacher, who just happens to be assistant superintendent for our county's public schools. He not only agreed to fill out the reference, but took me across the street to Human Resources to introduce me to the people who do the hiring.

I dropped off my application with them, and, should all the references come back in a timely manner, and the criminal background check come back clean, I may be able to go to the substitute teacher four-hour training workshop. Four hours and you're a substitute! No wonder subs are the way they are! Good grief!

THEN, if I make the October workshop, I have to wait for the approval at the next school board meeting. That's not for another month. Jerry told me they just met last night. If I don't have all that I need by the October workshop, then I have to wait until the end of November for the next workshop. Eek!

Meanwhile, I met a lady yesterday (when Jerry was taking me around) who places employees in specialty jobs, like helping a handicapped kid or being an aid for a special ed class. She said that she didn't have anything at the moment, but that didn't mean that something might not turn up tomorrow. I'm also applying for two brand new fresh-off-the-press school office positions, a clerk and a registrar. I'll turn those applications in tomorrow.

I also got the details for teacher certifcation. Georgia has a special program in which a person with a BA can be certified. I would need to take two tests during the course of this school year. One is a skill-level test to discern strengths and weaknesses and educational level. The other is a teacher methodology test. If I pass both of those and then present myself to the school board, then there's a good chance that I could actually start teaching for the next school year. It's a year-long training program, but I would actually have my own class. The types of classes that I can teach depend on my major. Since I majored in psychology, I could teach middle school social studies, middle school or high school special ed, and high school social studies, history, civics or geography. I would be supervised throughout the year and at the end of the year, I'd be certified. How about that!

The thing that's killing me is that it may take a lot longer than I had hoped to start working as a sub. I was really hoping I'd be able to start within the next week, but that is not going to happen. Eek! So the whole money thing is really stressing me out.

So, Lord, You know our family's needs. You are the great Provider and Protector. You are Lord of all. I thank You for Your hand upon our family. Help me to trust You more, to let the anxieties of the day melt away. You are my comforting shelter for me in this time of difficulty.
Psalm 17:6-8

I have called upon You, for you will answer me, O God;
Incline Your ear to me, hear my speech.
Wondrously show Your lovingkindness,
O Savior of those who take refuge at Your right hand
From those who rise up against them.
Keep me as the apple of the eye;
Hide me in the shadow of Your wings.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The question of Halloween

Yesterday, one of the neighbor kids asked me about Halloween.

"Why don't you celebrate Halloween?"

I looked at her and thought a minute. Could I help her understand without hurting her feelings?

"Well, what comes to mind when you think about Halloween?"

"CANDY!" She says with glee.

"Okay, besides candy. What images come to your mind that represent Halloween?"


"What else?"

"Scary things. Ghosts, goblins, graveyards."

"What else?"

"Spells, haunted houses . . ."

I paused for a minute and just looked at her, then said, "Did you notice that not once did you say rainbows and pretty clouds and nice things? They were all yucky things. That's why we don't celebrate Halloween."

"Oh," she said, her eyes bright with understanding. There was no argument. No mention of candy. She just knew.

Monday, October 08, 2007


The kids were home today from school for a teacher work day. I had planned to send some things in the mail and to get some things in the mail . . . like maybe a copy of my diploma and transcripts from Biola. I waited and waited, getting more and more anxious by the minute, when I checked my calendar. It's Columbus Day observed today. A postal holiday. Gurrrr. What business did Columbus have forging a path to a new continent when I've got a job to get!

On brighter news, Kylie asked for the 100th time when she could get baptized. I'd been putting her off in the interest of having her gain more maturity. I wanted her to remember that important day of identification with Christ. Then, Kade piped up, "I want to be baptized, too, Mommy! Please, can I get baptized?!"

I gulped, "Well, we'll talk to Daddy about it when we get home, okay. But first I have some questions for you. What does it mean to get baptized?"

"That we love God!" announces Kylie.

"Yes, that's definitely part of it.

"That 'Jesus is Lord'," says Kade, remembering what each person says before they're dunked.

"Yes," I say, "But what does it mean? Why do we go under the water? What does it symbolize?"

They were stumped.

I try to pull out an answer, "When Jesus died, He was in the tomb for . . . . " waiting for an answer.

"Three days!"

I let out a sigh of relief. At least I haven't TOTALLY failed as a Bible teacher.

"And then, what happened to Jesus?"

"He rose from the dead!" they both proclaim.

"That's right. So when we're baptized, we're saying that we have new life in Jesus. We are buried in the water and then we rise up out of the water in new life."

"That's what the pastor says after the baptism!" says Kade with his usual enthusiasm, "Whew! now I know what baptism means!"

So, Keith, who does not worry about such things as kids being too young to understand or remember, but just takes each step of faith for what it is, immediately told them both that, of course, they could be baptized!

We took them up to the front of the church at the end of the service yesterday, as is the tradition of the Southern Baptists, and the kids made their official proclamation of faith. Then, church members stood in a big long line to shake their hands along with Keith and me in celebration of their decisions. It was touching to see the joyful support of our church family.

As I shook hands, I realized that Kade is the same age as Keri Lynn was when she got baptized. Seven. But Keri Lynn seemed so much older to me! However, that made me feel better about the two young ones being baptized. They get baptized next week. We wish all of our family and friends could come to join in our celebration as well, but we know you will be there in spirit.

Who Am I Casting Crowns

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Dilbert - The Knack

Keith found this awhile back and we found great humor in it . . . Hmmm . . . .

The epiphany

Sometimes things just hit me like a ton of bricks. The "Ah-ha!" moment. The clarion call. The epiphany.

The bricks fell on my head last night.

I was wringing my hands over my unemployment, and looking once again at every possible job out there in our city and beyond that I could even possibly do. I even started filling out an application for a police clerk when I erased my information and went back to the classifieds again.

I then went back to look at the subbing work offered in our county's public school system. I had already sent out a request for my college diploma and transcripts from Biola so I could apply as a substitute, but the job had seemed too low in pay and too fraught with problems. (Substitute teachers do not have a great reputation.) But I got to thinking about how I could make a good substitute, but I could make an even better teacher. I have a certain amount of experience with homeschooling, Bible study teaching, Sunday school teaching. I've always been a bit of a grammar geek. I even like math. I just like school. To me, school is an interesting endeavor.

As I looked into being a Georgia teacher, I was amazed to find out that because I already have a BA, I simply need to be certified, and I could even start as a teacher NOW while in the process of certification. Whether or not our county has openings for me and whether or not this may be what I'm meant to do, I still don't know.

To all my praying readers -- PRAY -- Please! I know so many of you have been praying for me anyway, and I'm so thankful. I'm really excited about the possibilities of a teaching career. It just seems to "click" in my mind as a do-able opportunity. I would even be home when the kids are on vacation, and home fairly soon after they are home from school.

I have an avid interest in teaching middle or high school students, although if you twisted my arm, I suppose I'd be okay with elementary age students. It's just that the older kids seem to be a more interesting challenge.

I was talking to the older kids about all of this on the way to church this morning.

Kathleen immediately piped up, "Just don't teach at MY school!" (Gotta love middle school kids!)

Keri Lynn wanted to know what I would teach, and she thought I should teach English. Kristofer thoroughly agreed. Kathleen was still worried that I'd go to her school and ruin her life.

I'm going to speed up the process tomorrow, and get the diploma and transcipts faxed if they haven't been mailed already, so I can send them off with my application. Then, I need to go track down my reference people so they can send in a written reference. One of my references happens to be Associate Superintendent of our county's school, so that will be kind of handy, I think. I also plan to talk to several teacher friends to get the skinny on certification.

And tonight I'll go to sleep with visions of white erase boards and apples on my desk . . .

Friday, October 05, 2007


Ever since I titled one my last posts from a song from Fiddler on the Roof, I've been humming it. Sunrise Sunset is my favorite song, though. It makes me cry every single time. It won't be long before I'll be bawling through my own children's weddings.


Our freezer in the garage is filled with meat: venison, salmon, chicken, halibut. A family from our church had extra meat from a hunting trip and asked if we would like some. Are you kidding? We were thrilled to pieces!
For dinner last night, I cut chicken into strips and cooked it in a big pan with some honey-mustard salad dressing that we never use. It was the perfect seasoning and a different taste than what I usually use. I served it on top of spaghetti sauce and macaroni.

Psalm 113

Praise the LORD!
Praise, O servants of the LORD,
Praise the name of the LORD.
Blessed be the name of the LORD
From this time forth and forever.
From the rising of the sun to its setting
The name of the LORD is to be praised.
The LORD is high above all nations;
His glory is above the heavens.

Who is like the LORD our God,
Who is enthroned on high,
Who humbles Himself to behold
The things that are in heaven and in the earth?
He raises the poor from the dust
And lifts the needy from the ash heap,
To make them sit with princes,
With the princes of His people.
He makes the barren woman abide in the house
As a joyful mother of children.
Praise the LORD!

Kristofer rests up at home

Kristofer hung out at home yesterday after his altercation with the classroom floor.

Floor: 1 Kristofer: 0

Wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles

I love Fridays. They are becoming more and more beautiful as the weeks of public school progress. The kids start relaxing a little more, and we head into an honest-to-goodness weekend. This Monday will be a teacher work day, so we have a three day weekend. Yippee!

Yesterday, I called the warranty line about our dual plumbing leaks in both bathrooms. They told me he'd be there the next day between 11:00 and 2:00. Imagine that! Not between 7:00 and 5:00, like the washer repair guy. And guess what! He came at 11:30! I'm not kidding. He really did! And guess what else? He was finished by 12:30. No, I'm being perfectly serious. One hour. All repairs made. No parts that needed to be ordered. No second visit that needed to be scheduled. I'm in shock.

Of course, the drywall damage is no longer covered by warranty, so that's another rather big issue that will have to be addressed at a later date, but we can now use both upstairs and downstairs bathrooms without leaking into the kitchen or basement. Amazing, I know. I also got my sink faucet fixed. It has, for the nearly two years we've been here, had the hot and cold faucets reversed, which, of course, plays havoc with my poor little half-dyslexic brain. Now I'm going to have to retrain my brain so that it understands that the hot water is not coming from the hot side and the cold water is now coming from the cold side.

While the plumber was here, though, I went through all kinds of embarrassing thoughts and anxieties. This is common for me whenever a repair person comes. They usually have to come into or through the master bedroom, which is in dire need of organization. Sometimes they have to go upstairs, which is occupied by two incredibly messy boys, one fairly neat boy teen and one incredibly neat girl teen. And when the repair person is going through the house, that's when I see the house through the eyes of a stranger.

What are they thinking?

What is that smell? How many dogs do they have, anyway? Are toy boxes forbidden? Why is there one room painted bright green and the others painted "children's fingerprints"? Hmm, what's for lunch? Time for them to replace the carpet! This is a NEW house?

But now that the plumber is gone, I fall back into my old ways and go to my computer and blog happily away. It's good to be home.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The good, the bad and the ugly

It is always important, once you have dropped off a resume or even filled out an application for a job, that the phone be operational. It is also important to pay your bills on time.

On Tuesday, I got back from pounding the pavement to find NO ELECTRICITY. It had been cut off because we hadn't paid it yet. I was hoping that we would have a little longer, and I was really hoping to call the electric company with at least the plan to catch up with our bill, "Look, I've got a job! The check is in the mail!" But, three weeks later, I still didn't have a job.

I had this horrible sinking feeling when I walked into the house. The lights in the garage hadn't turned on, and the lights in the house weren't going on either. Gulp. Furthermore, prospective employers couldn't call either because our phone is connected to our Internet and the Internet cannot be accessed because there is no electricity. This was BAD. Very bad!

So, I did what I haven't done in a long time. I called my Mom and she paid the bill. Not only the electric but the impending gas, too. I had wanted her to pay the minimum, but she paid the whole thing, and that, my dear blog friends, is a lot of money. Thank you, Mom and Rich for your generosity and for letting us have lights and Internet and the refrigerator and the stove and clocks and the phone again! Electricity is a marvelous invention.

Then, today, I hit the ground running. I went to the elementary school to meet with Kylie's teacher. She suggested that Kylie go to 2nd grade math three or four times a week to catch up on her math skills. She will miss some of the fun stuff, a little bit of art and some free time, but the teacher was worried that she would just get further and further behind. I agreed. I've seen marked improvement, though, on her math skills. I don't think it will be too much longer before she catches up.

After leaving the school, I went in search of a vacuum hose at a gas station to do a quick vac of the minivan we've been borrowing. I needed to return in to the Shermans for their trip they're taking this weekend. I had the hardest time finding a vacuum hose. I went to five gas stations before I finally found one. That tells you how often I take our own car to vacuum it! When I dropped it off, Buck let me have his very own truck to drive while they are away. I was so thankful for their generosity and once again blown away by the kindness of the church family. I would have declined his offer if I didn't have to find a job so desperately, but as things stand now, I was more than grateful to take it!

The plan after that was to get home, take a quick shower, and get gussied up for another round of resume onslaught. However, as I was walking into the house, my cell phone vibrated and my home phone was ringing at the same time. Caller ID: Coweta County Schools. Oh-oh! Which kid was it this time? It was my third conversation with a school nurse this year. This time it was Kristofer.

Okay, his story deserves a post of its own, but there was too much going on today to allow for that. So I'll just summarize . . .

Kristofer was at his first block of the day. Health class. They were watching a head trauma video, and it was just getting into some brain surgery, when Kristofer fainted dead-away off of his desk onto the floor. He hit his head in two places, one near his eye on one at his temple. He was only out a few seconds, but his vision was blurry for about 15 minutes following the fainting spell. When I came to get him, his head was still bothering him.

This is our family's Year of Head Trauma.

So far, the participants have been Keri Lynn with her fractured skull and hemorrhaging and 4-day hospital stay, Kylie with a bat to the mouth, Konner with a bang on the head causing vomiting all over the Shermans' car (SHHHHH -- don't tell them!) and now Kristofer with the apropos head trauma video faint. Good grief!

The school nurse, attendance office lady, pediatric nurse and pediatrician all got a big kick out of the whole thing and each had their own stories of fainting to tell us. Kristofer had his headache for about two hours, but he took a little nap and was absolutely fine after that. I had him stay home and rest the rest of the day anyway, which -- with everything going on with school this week -- was just fine with him anyway.

Is this too long? But I'm just getting warmed up!

I got home with Kristofer, via the pharmacy for my prescriptions and the Chinese place for lunch for us. I figured that when I got home, I could call the warranty people about the two very bad leaks we have in two bathrooms, reschedule an appointment with a temp agency, check to see if anyone had called to offer me a job, and fill out some of the on-line application leads I got the day before. Um, but there was a problem.

The Internet connection was cut. Phone lines were down again! Again. Hadn't yet paid the Internet bill. Really really need a job! Fortunately, my debit card was accepted. I know for certain that we are now well over the limit, but the phone is back on, I can access the Internet, and -- most importantly -- employers can now flood my house with calls.

I did manage to at least go to that temp agency to fill out yet another application. The agency actually sought me out from an ad I had placed through our local classifieds. I think it will prove to be a good resource compared to the other temp agencies I went to. Literally next door to the temp agency was my next stop, the Department of Labor. I registered with them and will return tomorrow morning to get some help in finding a job. They announced a job fair on Tuesday night that I plan to go to, unless of course an employer throws a job at me before then.

These last few months have been a very stretching time for me and for our whole family. I hold on to the fact that God remains faithful. It is for each of us to be obedient to Him and to trust Him. Even as I worry, He continues to supply each need from the smallest to biggest.

Thank You, Lord, for Your faithfulness to me. I am so undeserving.

Letter to a boss

I cannot even begin to tell you all about the last few days. They've gone by in a whirl of chaos, tears and joy. It's so hard to be broke right now. We've been struggling for over a year now, and have made some hard decisions. Now all that's left to do is to find a JOB. A JOB! So here is a letter to prospective employers:

Dear Employer,

Would you kindly disregard the fact that I have not been employed for 16 years? My resume looks a little blank, I know. A high school job at a sales counter and a two-year stint as a church secretary just don't look all that impressive on paper. But you must believe me, dear employer, that I have not been idle! Oh, no! Never idle.

I am a master of the sale. I can buy groceries for nine VERY hungry people for a whole week for $70. I can diagnose a cut that needs stitches from a cut that needs a band-aid better than George Clooney. I can price and compare any given item or service until your eyes glaze over. I can clean and vacuum an entire house in 45 minutes. I can run a washing machine for 36 hours at a time. I can sort and store clothing for seven children. I can give spelling tests, sign permission slips, teach how to subtract three-digit numbers, explain slope/intercept form, and read Hop on Pop all in the space of two hours. And, I can give you a kiss on the forehead, dear employer, and tell you it will all be okay.

So would you PLEASE give me a job? PLEASE?!!

With all of the:

type 60 wpm
good phone skills

that I can muster,

Monday, October 01, 2007

Here's some Total Momsense

Kade and his pants

We all get up somewhere between 6:00 and 6:15 to get seven kids out the door and on the bus by 7:15. That's just enough time to look over last minute homework, eat the first breakfast (nearly all the kids eat breakfast at school, too -- but that's just not enough to fill growing bodies), find lost shoes/jackets, sign permission slips, write notes to the attendance office, etc.

This morning, I dose three kids with cough medicine with the vain hope that they'll be able to manage the school day without coughing all over everyone. I send Konner upstairs to change from shorts to jeans because it's gotten a lot colder in the mornings. Then, I see that Kade is also in shorts.

"Go change into some long pants, Kade! Quick! The bus is coming soon!"

"I'm fine with shorts, Mom. It's not too cold out there," he says between fits of coughing.

"No, Kade. You need long pants."

"I don't have any long pants. Only jeans. They all have holes. Most of them."

"You have plenty of pants. Go! NOW!"

He comes back downstairs with pants in hand, still wearing his shorts, looking down the hallway at me in the most pathetic way possible. Keri Lynn, standing nearby, stiffles a laugh because he looks so down in the dumps.

"Kade, why don't you have your pants on yet?"

"I don't want to wear my pants," he whines.

I march into the laundry room to find an extra pair. I'm fuming by now. I know he doesn't want to wear long pants, but he needs to do so anyway. But, of course, there are no pants in the laundry room. And there is no time left.

"Fine, Kade! I don't care! Wear your shorts!"

And, in a childish fit, I slam the laundry room door and march off to the kitchen, already swimming in mother guilt for having shouted angrily at my child. He runs out the door and off to the corner to wait for the bus. Other kids come by with quiet treat-mom-gently kisses while I pray, standing at the sink. It is sometimes a daily prayer mantra, "Please, Lord, give me patience. I need patience, badly!"

Keri Lynn and Kathleen are always the last to leave for the bus, so I follow them out, leaving Keva inside, and call Kade back from the corner. There are a few minutes remaining to make things right.

His shoulders are slumped as he walks over to me, and I realize with a pang that I have indeed hurt him with my words. I kneel down to look at him.

He breaks down right away, "You're right, Mom. It is cold. I should have worn the long pants. I just wanted to wear shorts because everyone else is wearing them."

I give him a hug, "Kade, I'm sorry I got angry at you. I do care about what you wear, and I don't want your cold to get worse. It's important that you do what I say even when everyone else is doing it differently, but I shouldn't have gotten angry at you. I'm sorry," and I hug him again and kiss his soft boy face, relieved that I am not letting him leave home in confused anger or resentment or hurt.

I am once again reminded of an article I read long ago about anger and how it spurs our own children to further anger. It is one of the things I struggle with the most. The article gently reminds us as mothers to treat a child as we would like to be treated. If we need disciplining, we want it to be done in love, with gentle reproving words that care about our well-being, not words that hurt or shame. It is often our own pride that gets in the way. So, I remind myself once more to treat my children with the very dignity that God treats me.

Thank you, Lord, for bringing patience.