May 23, 2015

I’m going to participate in a 5k.

It will be the second one that I have participated in – but the first one for which I have prepared.

Let me tell you about my first 5k. I foolishly thought that my leisurely walks around the neighborhood were plenty preparation to walk a 5k. Wrong. I foolishly did not mentally prepare for the excitement of beginning a 5k with everyone cheering and running. I also cheered and ran. I ran for about 1/2 block. Then my legs cramped. And then I couldn’t even walk at a decent rate and quickly fell back with the people pushing strollers. And then they were passing me. And then I realized a shortcut in the race that would mercifully allow me to not finish last and I took it. But then as you near the finish line, people are there cheering for you. And you feel excited again and you start to run to the finish line. And then you cramp up again. Because you/I didn’t prepare. (Sorry to the person who ultimately did have to finish last because I wasn’t brave enough to take that spot.)

Fast forward a couple of years to today. About a month ago I went to the doctor for a physical and was given a clean bill of health – YAY! But I’m overweight by about 50 pounds and I know that if I don’t become more active (especially now that I have a desk job where I sit all day) I will continue gaining weight and my next physical may end as cheerfully. I saw online where a local orphan ministry will be holding a Color Run at the end of May which will give me time to complete a Couch to 5k program. Almost twice.

My goal for this race is to be able to walk the first part at a decent pace and then run the final mile. I did Week 1 Day 1 this afternoon and it was ROUGH. I technically didn’t finish – I was too out of breath after a few jogs to do more. But I did manage to run-walk for .90 miles (my entire path was 1.6 miles, since I had to walk back from where I ran). Which looks more impressive than it really is, considering 5 minutes of that was the “warm up walk” and I covered a decent distance doing that. And WHY are our brains instantly against us? I got into the car and thought “Well, that was a failure.”

What? No it wasn’t. What part of that was a failure? I didn’t finish…but I didn’t FAIL.

It isn’t failure unless I quit.

37

I have never exactly been known for my stellar decorating skills or my ability to keep a clean house. In fact, I lived in my current house about 3 years before I hung curtains (There were shades, but no curtains). I live alone, so there was nobody messing the house up except for me…and yet I always felt like Pig Pen from Charlie Brown. Messiness just followed him, no matter what he did. That’s how I felt. Somehow it never occurred to me that having a clean house is a process and not an event. And if you want me to get very psychological – I think that having a messy house was a defense mechanism. I didn’t see it at the time, but I do now. About two weeks ago, something just clicked. I cleaned my house, rearranged it, and it has been clean ever since. I don’t even feel like it has been hard to keep it clean. I even invited friends over. If someone knocked on my door right now, I’d let them in with no hesitation. My bed is even made. And then, it occurred to me this morning that being married would be nice.

What. Whut. Who is this? Despite being almost 37, getting married was rarely a thought in my head. Did I grow up in the last month? The sudden ability to keep a clean house and thinking that getting married sounds nice? In just the last two weeks, I’ve involved myself in projects – things that are completely normal for everyone else but things that I always thought I’d do “after I clean my house.” A messy house allowed me to push everything back and suddenly with that gone…I’m ready to open myself up to more things.

Who is this new person? I turn 37 in three weeks and I think it is going to be an interesting year.

Don’t panic

I have a new job.

I. have. a. new. job.

I HAVE A NEW JOB!!!!

Get that? I have a new job. It is with the bank that I’ve worked at for seven years, so that is nice since I have about 6 weeks of PTO saved up. The job title, I admit, sounds fake: Loan Documentation Specialist. I think it is the “specialist” part that sounds made up. But it isn’t. I promise. I will be going from a front line teller to a back office person with no customer contact. Sounds like heaven! But, I have to write this blog to myself. Because things are going to get rough.

And I will want to throw in the towel.

This post is to serve as a reminder that the feeling of having made a mistake will happen. It will happen and it will hit me hard. Probably after a couple of weeks on the job – maybe a month. There will come a time when I will realize how far out of my comfort zone I’ve gotten myself and I will panic. I will panic and long for the days of being a teller at my old branch – where the work was simple, unchallenging, and comfortable. Here is what I have to tell myself: That feeling of panic WILL pass. And when you reach the other side of it – is where you will begin carving out a new comfort zone. It’s where you will gain confidence in your job. But first, the panic will come. It doesn’t mean you’ve made a mistake and should bail. It means that you’re growing. Don’t panic over the panic. It won’t stay for long.

Crossing my fingers and saying my prayers

I’ve had quite a few job interviews lately. Some within my company and some not. Job searching is stressful, guys!

I wish that I was one of those people who knows with certainty what they want to be when they grow up. A doctor, a nurse, a teacher…etc. That would have made life easier. Instead, I didn’t know. So I graduated high school way back in 1996 and went to community college. I finished one semester and was offered a job in a bank making a whopping $7.75/hr. Back in 1997 that was a lot of money for someone who just got out of high school. Except it interfered with my college schedule. So I quietly dropped out of college and just started working as a part-time teller. The problem with this plan is that it is 2014 and I’m still a bank teller. That was not how I’d pictured it going! Granted, I am now considered a “level 3″ bank teller and I make enough money to comfortably support myself – but I’m still a bank teller. Over the years, I would take a class or two each semester at the community college where I’d previously dropped out and eventually my advisor said “If you’ll buckle down, you can finish this associate’s up in a year” and so I did. My 2 year degree took me 18 years to complete. And then I went right into a 2 year program for my bachelor’s degree and I finished that up earlier this year.

So now – here I am. Still doing a job that I fell into when I was 19 years old…but NO MORE. No more, I tell you. This week I applied for a job within my company (where I’ve been for 7 years and have about 9 weeks of PTO stored up…I’d prefer to stay there for obvious reasons) and am not even going to hold back on telling you how MUCH that I want this job. It’s not an exciting job (But no bank jobs are truly exciting, let’s be honest)…I’d be in loan documentation. But it would be a challenge, more money, and I would finally not be a bank teller anymore. Crossing my fingers and saying my prayers for this one!!

Keep it off Facebook

Thanks to social media, there is a disturbing new trend. It’s the “Been missing you at church” comments.

I’ve just come to rant, I suppose. But these comments aren’t okay. Okay? If someone has missed a couple of services (or a couple of months worth) and they post a cute picture of their kid, or a funny cartoon status, or a photo of an apple pie…this person probably doesn’t want 5 or 6 people commenting with “Hey, been missing you at church!” For one, it feels like public shaming. Secondly, it feels like their cute kid, funny comic, or apple pie are irrelevant because they haven’t been to church. Maybe their out of town friends or family didn’t realize they’d been missing church. But now they do. Have you really actively noticed this person missing at church or did it just now occur to you when you saw them pop up on Facebook? Does a Facebook comment leave someone feeling that they’ve now done their “Christian duty” by commenting? Because, I’m sorry, you haven’t.

I’m not advocating home visits over a Facebook comment. But I am saying let’s leave Facebook comments out of it. Also, posting it to their wall. Keep it out of the public eye is what I am saying. Even if you aren’t close enough to the person to have their phone number – Facebook has this lovely thing called “email” and I think that would be appropriate. It’s private, personal, and you can still keep your message to just a couple of sentences. If you’ve been spiritually struggling – which is going to be more effective? A Facebook comment on your kid’s cute picture or an email that says “I’ve missed you at church lately! I hope that everything is going well with you – if you need anything please let me know. I hope we will see you back soon.” This will probably (but not necessarily) get a response. And it may open up dialogue. (And it may not.) But that’s okay, because you’ve opened the door. And if this is someone that you generally chat with at church – invite them out for coffee. Not to talk about their absence at church, but just to stay connected. In real life.

Your kid isn’t cute

Okay, they are cute. But not always. Or at least…not always to everyone else. I will concede that sometimes it is funny when small just-learning-to-talk tots are sassy or misbehave in clever ways. But it isn’t always cute. 

Real life example: A couple of weeks ago, a very proud grandmother brought her just-turned-3-year-old to church with her. She allowed her to sit with the older kids on the other side of the church. Strike One. She isn’t old enough to sit without adult supervision, so she’s chatting and moving around and standing in the pew while the 10 year old’s are trying to contain her.  The worship team begins to sing a song and the tot stands up and begins jumping around. It’s a worshipful church where people DO jump up and down occasionally. But this isn’t one of those times. Tot is jumping around in circles and Grandmother is beaming with pride and videoing her. Strike two. Later it was posted on Facebook as “worship.” No, Grandma. That wasn’t worship. Strike 2.5. Later in the service, the same tot begins to wander around the sanctuary sitting with different people. She wanders over to my niece’s things and starts pulling out her snack and her toys. Grandmother is STILL beaming with pride that her little granddaughter is being so social. Strike THREE. No, Grandma. We’ve crossed the line from adorable to misbehaving. It is not adorable for you to allow your grandchild free reign of the sanctuary. Not everyone thinks this behavior is the cutest thing ever. At least I don’t. 

 

Let me help!

I’m 36 – not married and no kids. All of my friends have kids. That means there is no more of “Hey, let’s go to dinner tonight!” and a lot more of “let’s go to dinner next month, you name the date” and that is okay. My friends-with-kids are very busy and it is hard to get away. But here is what I want them to know:

-I love you. Your kids are an extension of you. I love them, too.

-When I text you to hang out, I fully realize that it won’t be like our past days of dinner and a movie. It will be in the form of me bringing pizza to your house and coloring with your kids, fill up their drinks for them, grab a second slice of pizza for them, wipe up that drink they spilled, and snuggle them while watching their favorite cartoon. Oh, and between all of that – you and I will get some talking in! All of that is okay. Remember my first bullet point?

-Yes, I still text you frequently and I may still email you. Maybe you reply and maybe you don’t. It’s okay. I know that you are, eventually, reading what I write and I know that you do care. It’s just hard to express when somebody has spilled their cereal on the floor the moment you were reading my text. 

-I know that you are busy and some days you want to escape. Let me help with that! I’d be more than happy to oblige if you texted me “I’m losing my mind. Can you come watch my kids for an hour?” or “please bring me coffee” or “I need an extra set of hands when I go grocery shopping tonight” I am happy to oblige!! I never offer those things because as a non-parent, I don’t want to accidentally offend you. I’m not insinuating that I could do a better job, I’m just saying that I love you and I want to help. 

Take advantage of your non-parent friends, moms!! We may not have our own children, but we are probably going to be excited for the opportunity to help you. Before you had kids, it was easy to surprise you. Bringing you a coffee at work was an easy way to brighten your day. Now that you’re a parent it is different. If I stop by your house unannounced with coffee – am I interrupting nap time? Are you cleaning up poo smeared on the wall and not at all wanting a visitor? Are YOU catching a precious nap? You see the difference. My desire to make your day brighter is still the same, but just how to do it is trickier. Help me help you!

 

 

Bible in 90 Days

I’ve created a sub-blog, if you will. It can be found here. I am going to start reading my 90 days bible again tomorrow and I always start with a notebook writing my thoughts down, but then I lose the notebook and then I lose my notes.  You’re welcome to follow along, or not. It will be more like reading the bible in 90-ish days. I believe the last time I did it, it took me 6 months instead of three. Oops. 

 

 

Nope

I never received the phone call. Monday has come and the office where I’d applied closed at 4:30PM – 15 minutes ago. It all seemed like it was coming together so perfectly that I feel quite stunned that I wasn’t chosen for the job.

But I wasn’t and so I am allowing myself to have an hour-long pity party.

I even cried a little bit and I’m not a crier. But that’s just between us, okay?

No phone call. Yet.

“We will make our decision on Friday or Monday.”

I clung to the “Friday” part of that sentence because I didn’t think that my anxiety could handle waiting over the weekend. But here I am…waiting over the weekend. I’ve decided to go ahead and tell the story.

Last August I took my niece to a street fair at our local theatre. Games, arts and crafts, and a sample class of the children’s acting troupe called Footlights. My niece has a huge imagination and I had often thought that she would really enjoy being part of Footlights (lots of theatre games and they meet for one hour every Saturday morning during the school year). She had the opportunity to participate in the sample class that day and man o’ man she was in her element. I decided then and there that I would put her in Footlights as her Christmas present. She enjoyed the first session of Footlights and decided to continue to the second session (each session is 10 weeks). This time, she opted for the Musical Theatre class. Over the summer, a different theatre in our town did a summer camp and at the end they put on the show Treasure Island. My mom knew how much my niece had missed Footlights, that she enrolled her. Their performances were 4:30PM and 7:30PM on Friday. I opted to just take the entire Friday off work rather than try and get off early.

That Friday morning, I was lounging around drinking coffee and decided to read the newspaper. In the newspaper was a job posting for a company well-known for being a great place to work.  In order to apply, you had to apply through the unemployment office. I thought, well, I’m off work so I might as well apply. I had a lot of things planned for that day and I just tacked this last errand onto the end of my list. I figured it should put me at the unemployment office around 2PM. While I was out and about, I just so happened to change my schedule up and decided to go apply for the job second instead of last. I got down there about 10:30AM and finished up about an hour later. As I was leaving the unemployment office, I realized that they closed at Noon on Fridays. Had I left it last, I wouldn’t have been able to apply.

A week later I received a phone call asking me to come in for an interview. They said “Can you come in at 3:45?” and I checked my schedule…I was scheduled to leave at 3:30PM. So I made it to the first interview. The next day, they called me for a second interview “Can you come in at 7:15AM?” Yes, I don’t have to be at work until 8:30AM.” This job is a dream job. The pay is about 6k more per year, they would pay 80% of my tuition for me to get my masters, they pay 100% of my insurance and I could retire with a full pension in 27 years. My mom told me not to get my hopes up – but I am getting my hopes up. I realize that I may not be chosen for the job, but such an insignificant event a year ago has resulted in me being here today – waiting for the phone call. Bottom line is that if we hadn’t gone to the street fair last year, I wouldn’t be in the running for this job. It is all so serendipitous that it would be a shame if I didn’t get the job.

Please feel free to send prayers up about this job. I want it.

Edited to add:

On Thursday my phone that I had been using messed up and I switched back to my iPhone. I just realized today (Saturday) that my voice mail did not remain set up. In other words, had they called me yesterday they couldn’t have left a voice mail. (I had no missed calls, so I know they didn’t call). Is this another It just so happened? Did they need to wait until Monday to call me so that my voice mail would be operational? We will see. Pray saints, pray.

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