Turning Pages

As you may know, my husband and I are in the middle of a time of transition in our lives. We’re in the process of arranging our move from Orange County to Riverside, which means saying goodbye to some of the things in our lives right now. I feel fortunate to be able to stay relatively close, so none of our goodbyes have to be too serious, but it’s still time to turn some pages and start focusing our attention on what’s ahead.

This last week, I got the opportunity to go back and visit the little baby boy who I used to nanny, to say one last goodbye before we move. I probably won’t be coming back to visit him and his family anytime in the foreseeable future, so it was nice to see him again and be able to give him one last hug. Luckily for me, his mom said that she would be happy to send me pictures of him every so often, which means that I still get to see his cute little face.

I also finished up my part-time nanny job with my friend and her beautiful baby girl. The past two months have been a great experience for me, learning how to take care of a very young infant. I loved spending time with my friend, too, and being able to help her make the transition to working motherhood. Saying goodbye to that sweet baby was bittersweet, and I will certainly miss her. Of course, I will be back for visits whenever I’m in the area, so I won’t have to miss out on too much!

As our move-out date draws closer, we’ve been doing what we can to prepare. Of course, most of the work involved in moving happens during the last few days leading up to the actual move, so there isn’t a ton that we can do right now. We have less than two weeks from today, so for now I’m just trying to enjoy our first apartment while we still have it. I’ve loved living here, and even though our new place is great, I will miss it here in our great little apartment in Orange County.

After we move out, we will have a week before our new apartment in Riverside is ready. During that time, my husband and I will be staying with my parents. That will give us one last week to enjoy living in the OC and make all of our final preparations. And then finally, we will make our move out to the desert and start the process of settling in.

We have a lot of changes ahead, and I’m totally ready to take them on. But for now, I am definitely enjoying where I am. Every day that I get to make spur-of-the-moment plans with my friends, hang out for hours with my family, be a part of my church’s kids ministry, meet with my small group, and enjoy the warm-but-not-too-warm summer weather here, well, it’s another day that I’m grateful for. At the same time, I’m really excited to see what’s in store for us in our new town! It’s a great time in our lives for my husband and I, and I’m happy to be right in the middle of it.


A New Possibility

My husband and I are volunteers in the children’s ministry at our church. Basically that means we go to an extra church service every weekend to help run the kids’ classrooms. When I first started out in the children’s ministry, I was in the room for babies through three-year-olds. A couple of months ago, I moved to the room for pre-K through second grade (ages four to seven or eight).

Unfortunately, the service time that we serve at on Saturday nights is struggling badly to find enough volunteers. The other two services on Sunday have five classrooms open for the different age groups, which means that the lessons can be more age-appropriate and thus more effective. But for our Saturday night service, we have to combine all age groups into three classrooms because of our lack of leaders. So the babies through three-year-olds get one classroom, the four-year-olds through eight-year-olds get another, and the nine-year-olds through twelve-year-olds get the last one.

Generally we have about seven volunteers to run these three classrooms, and that’s on a good week. Last week was not a good week; we had only four leaders and had to combine babies through six year olds in one classroom, and seven year olds to twelve year olds in another. If you remember anything about being a child, you probably know that to kids, even one year of age difference can be huge. To put a six year old in the same room with a two year old and expect them to both be able to learn something valuable is not a very reasonable expectation. And of course, the result was that the class was extremely difficult to teach and manage.

To add to the craziness factor, the woman who usually volunteers in the same classroom as I was unable to be there last week. The problem was that she is always the one who teaches the lesson. Because she wasn’t there, it was left up to me to teach the class. I had never taught a class before, let alone a class with such an unfortunate mix of age groups. And yet, through that experience, I discovered something pretty interesting; I love teaching!

Even though we had some pretty wild and unruly children last week, and the lesson was too advanced for about half of them but too simple for others, I still found myself really enjoying it! Something about the challenge of breaking through to those kids and explaining the lesson in a way that they could really understand and connect with was really fun. And what’s more, I think that I may actually be kind of good at it.

Even though it was just one short lesson that I taught to a relatively small group of children, I think that there might be something to this. I’m starting to consider whether or not teaching is something I may want to pursue as a career. Fortunately, I’m already on the path towards that possibility, and all I have to do if I want to become a teacher is to keep going. The first step would be to finish my associate degree in liberal studies, which I’m about 2/3 of the way finished with. At that point, I can decide whether or not I want to continue my education and pursue a bachelor’s degree. If I make it that far, then I can decide whether or not I want to get a teaching credential, and then finally become a teacher (although of course, the process is a little bit more complicated than it sounds).

The cool thing is, I don’t have to decide now or even any time soon. I can just see where life takes me and then figure it out when I get there. But it is definitely a new possibility.

One of the nice things about being a teacher, I think, is that it would provide a steady source of income while still allowing me to write in my free time. Plus, it would give me a really good background for homeschooling my own kids later down the road. I think it may be a good career fit for me because I’m the kind of person who needs to have a dynamic work environment, doing something different every day, and I also like to have mental or other challenges to solve. I also really want to do something that involves making the world a better place and making a difference in people’s lives. I would love the opportunity to help build up the next generation!

This whole idea may end up being what I was meant to do. Or, it may lead absolutely nowhere and I will look back on this post in a few years and laugh because my life took a completely different path. But whatever happens, I still think that it’s fun to dream and plan and think about what the future might hold. It’s so full of possibilities! More importantly, it is full of promise, because as long as I keep my focus on God I know that He is going to use me for great things. And really, there is just no better way to spend your life than living it for Him.


Moving Update Mini-Post!

This week, my husband and I finally made the short trip out to Riverside County and went apartment hunting. We visited seven different apartment complexes, took five tours, and finally ended up with one favorite. Our applications have been signed, submitted, and approved. Our holding deposit has been paid. Now we are just waiting for final approval of our supporting documents and for them to prepare the lease for us to sign. After that, we’ll officially be moving!

The closer and closer our move-out and move-in dates get, the more real it feels. Now I know that we’re really not moving that far away. But still, the fact is that we are going far enough away that we will have to make a lot of changes. We’ll have to find a new church, I’ll have to find a new job, and we’ll have to get used to a new city and make some new friends so we’re not lonely out there. Spending time with our friends and family who still live here will be a bit harder. It definitely is a little bit scary to think about.

Throughout this journey, my husband and I (I bet you know what I’m going to say here) have been relying on God to guide us and show us the next steps. We didn’t know if we would find an apartment that was in a nice area, that we would feel comfortable in, that would allow our pets, and that we could afford. We just trusted God to show us where we are supposed to be, and it looks like He did! I feel certain that He will continue to show us where we are supposed to be, from the job that He wants me in, to the friends that He wants me to make, to the church that He wants me to be a part of. Personally, I feel exhilarated that I get this opportunity to start fresh in a new place and let God use me in so many new ways!

As we approach this time of change in our lives, we are continuing to grow in our marriage and in our relationships with God. It’s a fun new adventure for us and a great opportunity for us to learn to trust God more. I’ve been enjoying the journey so far, and I’m excited to see what is in store for us.

I’m So Tired I Can’t Think of a Creative Name for This Post

Right now, I am exhausted. Things have been pretty hectic lately.

First of all, my parents are buying a house. I am so thrilled for them, and my crazy-organized side has come out big time as a result of this opportunity. My husband and I have been helping them clean up and make repairs on the old house, and pack and organize their things for the move. It has been very tiring!

Second of all, we are moving in just over a month. When July rolled around, I had a scary moment of realization about how much we still need to do to be ready to move. Most important on our list is finding a new place! Since we are moving an hour and a half away, this is a bit of a challenge. It’s difficult to find a good time to go down there because I’ve been working on weekday mornings as a part-time nanny for a friend, and weekends are typically fairly busy.

We also need to arrange the moving details such as reserving a truck, hiring moving helpers, and finding/buying boxes. And of course, there’s the packing!

Third of all, we’ve been doing a bit of an overhaul for our pets. In preparation for taking my dog to live with us (he lives with my parents right now), we’ve been trying to catch him up on his veterinary/health needs. He’s had a checkup, a bath, many nail trimming sessions, and finally a surgery including teeth cleaning and growth removal. So we’ve been a little busy with him, too.

Fourth of all, July and August are busy months for me and Cory. My birthday is July 1st, then there’s the Fourth of July, and then our anniversary on August 21st, my dad’s birthday on August 23rd, and finally, Cory’s birthday on August 29th. Add to that the fact that both my husband and I and my parents are moving this summer, and it can get a little overwhelming!

Fifth of all, and I promise this will be the last one, as I’ve already mentioned I have been helping my friend out as a part-time nanny/mother’s helper every weekday morning. It’s been a great financial boost, plus I get to spend time with a good friend of mine and her adorable baby girl. And I truly enjoy being able to help make her transition to a working mother a little bit easier. But it has kept me feeling surprisingly busy! Plus, I am taking a pretty demanding online course during the summer semester, and I am still *trying* (but mostly failing) to write on a regular basis.  Basically, I have a lot on my plate at the moment!

Because of all of the above, I decided that this blog entry will just have to be a little less intentional than what I typically write. I simply don’t have a lot of time to really think about what would be a good topic and do the necessary research. But I do want to write a little bit about how I’ve been keeping God as a priority in my life even during this crazy time.

Spending time reading my Bible and talking to God every morning is something I have found to be extremely important. When I don’t do it, I don’t feel ready for the day. And when I do take the time to read my Bible and write in my prayer journal, I get a much needed boost to then go and do what I need to do.

Lately, I’ve been working my way through the beginning of the Old Testament. When I first started reading my Bible on a regular basis, I decided to start with the New Testament because it tends to be a bit more “upbeat” than the Old Testament. Plus, it’s truly the basis for understanding the message of Jesus. After I finished that, though, I started in on the Old Testament. And I have been so pleasantly surprised by what I’ve discovered!

Almost every day I have gotten something meaningful out of what I’ve read. Right now, I am reading about Moses and how God used him to rescue his people from slavery in Egypt. It is actually a very inspiring story and there is so much to learn from it. I’ve really been enjoying it.

Journaling has also recently become a big part of my ritual again. For a while, my prayer life went into hibernate mode and my connection with God was pretty weak. But I recently felt motivated to start journaling again, and doing so has helped me reconnect to my Abba! For me, I get most out of prayer time when I write to God, and getting back into that habit has felt really great.

I also make it a really big priority to go to my small group meetings every week. For those of you who don’t know, a “small group” is a group of people who meet regularly to pray and study the Bible and/or go through a Christian book study together. My small group has been going through some changes in the past couple of months; it changed from a very Bible-focused four-woman group to a much larger co-ed one, which we started with a book study. I’ve loved meeting new people and experiencing a new dynamic, plus my husband can come with me now! But either way, the most important thing for me is that it’s a regular, weekly activity and that I’m able to grow spiritually from it, which in this case I definitely am.

Being consistent in my ministry (children’s ministry) has been very important to my spiritual health as well. I’ve been able to develop stronger relationships with the other people who I volunteer with, learn patience and practice my skills with the children, and be reminded of the awesomeness of God when I see how much these children are willing to love Him. Knowing that I’m giving back to my church and the family of God is a great feeling, too.

And of course, attending church services is always of utmost importance to me. On weeks when I am unable to go for some reason, I really feel the burn. Going to church is like filling up at a spiritual gas station for me. I am able to learn more about God, grow in my spiritual maturity, and of course worship the Lord for the amazing person that He is. What could be more important?

I encourage you to keep God a priority in your life, even when you get busy. Doing so will give you more energy to do everything that you need to get done. Plus, the truth is that living for God is the reason we are even here in the first place. Everything else really is not as important.

And of course, if you don’t have a relationship with Jesus then I implore you to at least check it out. Email me with any questions you have, crack open a Bible (I highly recommend John— it’s the fourth book in the New Testament), or best of all, talk to God! See if He has anything to say back, and I have a feeling you will be surprised. He wants to have a relationship with you, and if you give it a shot, then I promise it will be the best thing you ever did.