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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Jesus - The Action Figure

So Garrett and I are in the public library, enjoying the quiet as he studies and I do some blogging and reading.

I'm sitting across from him and peek up every now and then to watch him. Right now he's leaning his forehead on his hand and highlighting something Very Important in the book in front of him. He's mouthing the words as he reads (I do the same thing when I'm concentrating), but sometimes he'll pucker his lips.

So cute.

Anyway, a few minutes ago he went on a little walk to take a mental break and brought back this picture for me.

Please allow me to introduce you to Jesus, the Action Figure.

Notice that he is in the "I'm floating up to heaven" pose.

Just to be clear that this is no ordinary action figure, we see the following near the bottom of the package.
Yes, you may pose Jesus any way you want. Rather than floating up to heaven, you may pose him in the "turning water into wine" pose, or the "I heal you" pose, or the "go ahead and give us a hug, little leper" pose. You have complete control.

But isn't that the way we treat Him sometimes? Like His actions are under our control? Like a cosmic Santa Claus, there to give us whatever we want. And if He doesn't come through (in our estimation), watch out! We'll show Him, give Him the silent treatment by not praying for a while. Maybe stop attending church and put our Bible in a drawer. Although we're more than willing to invite Him to our pity party.

Thankfully, He is not under our control. He does not require direction from me. He is God. He knows what He's doing. And this isn't scary to me because He is also kind. His actions are always for my good, and for the good of those around me. So rather than trying to control His pose, I'll choose to place myself in a position of submission to His actions.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Back in the saddle again!

If you would have told me 10 years ago that I would be a student again, I would have laughed in your face. But, here I am studying (if not cramming) in a community college library. Welcome to my fantastic summer vacation.

Being around academia takes me back to the days at The University of Texas (Hook 'em!). Back then I was just a kid and such a party animal. Focusing on my studies was low on the priority list. Don't get me wrong, I got decent grades, but could have done so much better.

Being a middle school teacher for 12 years has given me a better perspective on school. I've heard a ton of excuses from my students (some of them I had used myself at that age) and they all sound lame to me. It more sounded like whining. I've caught myself chewing kids out for not taking school seriously. How ironic for a person like me huh?

Now that I have the opportunity to "go back to school", I have put my whole heart into it. I've been reading, making note cards, reviewing, and taking chapter tests. The magical thing I have discovered is studying works! It is a REVELATION!! Well, at least for me.

It hasn't hurt my efforts to have a successful studier in the family to give me some tips (That would be my lovely Leslie). She has been so supportive and helpful with this transition. I couldn't have done it without her.

I hope to be able to take my first exam in about 5 weeks. Wish me luck or better yet, give me some tips. What have you done to help you cram? Any extra insight would be highly appreciated!

New Addition to the Blogosphere

Sometimes I think that if one more thing changes, I'll rip my hair out by the roots and run screaming for my life, leaving behind a dust cloud in the shape of my running form. This past year has been filled with wonderful changes (multiple moves, engagement, marriage, new house), but for someone that likes routine, it's all been a bit much.


Let's add one more change to the list. For the last couple of months I've been posting Bible study lessons based on Psalm 23. But I've decided to move them to a new blog that I've created. The new blog is here, and its purpose is to help and encourage Sunday School and Bible study teachers.

I would surely appreciate it if you would let people know about the new blog, especially Bible teachers. It'll be fun only if folks participate!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

God's Will....not mine.

Sometimes I have to remind myself that I am in God's world and not mine. If I need a little help remembering that, He is always there to give me a loving shove back into reality. I know it is a struggle that we all face and it isn't easy.

If you've been reading this blog, you know that I am changing careers to financial planning. I am really excited about helping people realize their dreams and financial goals.

In May, I put in an application with Edward Jones Investments. My dad was confident (if not completely convinced) that they would hire me because he was an employee. He even had his regional leader flag my application to keep an eye on it. I went through the entire interview process (about 4 weeks of jumping through hoops). The only part left of the process was to get the job offer. The HR person I was working with told me I would be getting phone call on Friday (5/23). Unfortunately, it didn't happen. Which was OK because it was Memorial Day weekend and people leave early.....blah, blah, blah. On Tuesday I sent her an email just to get an update. Her response was straight and to the point. They decided not to offer me the job and good luck with my future endeavours.

What!?!?!?! This was a sure thing. I have the drive and ambition with a successful track record to boot. I just had to show up and get the job. What in the world happened? To say the least, I was bummed out. My dad was disappointed with the news as well because he (and everyone else) knew I was perfect for the job. His regional leader did some checking around to see what happened. He found out that I wasn't offered the job because I lacked sales experience and didn't have the "entrepreneurial spirit" that Edward Jones was looking for. That felt like a slap in the face because I was a co-founder of a non-profit corporation and ran it for 7 years, rebuilt 2 Austin choir programs into award winning groups, and started an award winning choir program from scratch. In a nutshell, I am a successful entrepreneur and they didn't recognize it.

I remembered all the prayers I had made about being hired at Edward Jones. My last prayer before the bad news was something along the lines of "God, if this isn't where you want me to go, then let your will be done." I can't say that my initial reaction was heavenly motivated when I got the "We regret to inform you" email. I was feeling let down.

My wonderful wife comforted me about the news and suggested that I look for jobs that would give me sales experience. I was reluctant, but took her suggestion to get on I filled all the info out, posted my resume, and did a job search.

A company popped up called Waddell and Reed. I'd never heard of them before, but I checked them out. It looked like they had a format similar to Edward Jones. They were looking for financial advisors with no experience necessary. I sent them an email and my resume. The next day I got a call from the district manager and he wanted to interview me on Wednesday. The interview lasted almost two hours and I felt it went really well. He told me that the next step was to fill out a career assessment online. If it looked good, he would call to set up another interview. After a slight pause, he said that he knew I would do fine and scheduled the next interview anyway. I went home and read all the materials on the company he gave me and realized that it is a better fit for me than Edward Jones.

Although I may not get this job, I feel that God is reminding me that He is in control and will bless me with the right position.

Please pray for us. We are so anxious about where my career is taking me. If you have any words of encouragement or advice, I'd love to hear from you.

Have a great week!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

City Slickers

I always say that I won't go camping unless there's a hotel room involved.

We came pretty close to that ridiculous statement at The Retreat at Artesian Lakes this past weekend. We got a one-room log cabin for a couple of nights, which came with a couple of beds, table, kitchenette, but NO TV.

Since we didn't have the distraction of a TV, we did things like read, play card games (Speed, Rummy, Poker), and sit on the porch and talk.

We had a visitor to our cabin...

...but he didn't stay for long.

We even walked around outside for a while (I believe outdoorsy people call that "hiking").

Just to prove that we actually got out in The Nature for a while, we snapped a few shots to chronicle our experience.

The Nature

Not a cloud in the sky, which meant The Nature was HOT!
Garrett in The Nature

Some of The Nature is kinda gross (those are bugs swimming around in there!)...
...but some is rather pretty.
What is it about a country road that makes you want to see what's at the end?
And what is it about a wooden bridge that makes you want to cross it?
Is it just me, or does it look like someone added food coloring to this lake?
I had fun with you, sweetie!