I am pausing my A to Z Challenge one more time … just to write my jumbled thoughts and to catch my blog up on our real life – and to document this potential turning point in our situation.
I do have plans to complete the A to Z Challenge because I may be a procrastinator and bite off more than I can chew sometimes … but I’m no quitter!! Digging through old photo albums and scanning prints takes a while … but I love documenting and sharing some of the interesting places we have experienced.
SO, here goes the randomness:
1. Only 18 more actual days of school for my big kids, and we will have survived our first school year here in NW Arkansas!! Wow … time flies. The last 2 years have been somewhat tough on my kids (transitioning to a year of home school, then moving 225 miles away and starting at a new school). Annie-Belle still hasn’t found that “one special best friend” that she so longs for … and though Drew played basketball and tried Boy Scouts (now Trail Life here at our church), he isn’t always happy here either. I mean, overall, they like their school fine (it has many advantages to our previous school, as well as some really interesting, qualified, caring teachers) – but they still are feeling like “the new kids”. We feel that way about our church too – it is a very sweet congregation and there is a lot of grace and love extended there … but it is a generational church with families that have been there 10, 20, even 40 years.
We wouldn’t go back to our previous situation. ever., there is something about leaving somewhere that you have been for 12 years that takes a long time to let go. I try to remain positive, and our family agrees that NW Arkansas is an amazing place to live – a nice blend of small city with all the shopping and fun but enough country to not feel too citified! I guess what we miss the most is having friends – close, trusted, “old” friends. And quite frankly, I miss my old house!!! No doubt the lilac bush by the front door is full of fragrant blooms right now … and I sure miss sitting on that front porch in the spring sunshine.
2. But you don’t get ahead by looking back!! And so, we do try to keep focused on what we have now (our family – our health – Dan’s job) and what may lie ahead. There are hopefully some exciting things that will make life here seem more like “home”.
First of all, Daniel and I have decided to give our notice by the end of this month to move out of this duplex by the end of July (our lease requires a 60 day notice!!). Because we still own our house in Missouri (with renters in it until at least September) and debt from the transition, we will continue to rent for a few years until we get our feet back under us … but we hope to rent a REAL HOUSE again. While our duplex has been adequate and we have plenty of parks and trails nearby to make up for not having a yard, it feels a lot like living in a hotel or short-stay suite of rooms.
This is somewhat of a step of faith because we have no idea where or when we’ll find a rental house this summer … but we just feel like it is time to move on.
3. Since we have cut out so many frivolous things out of our budget these last few years (and there are a few things I am just not willing to give up, quite honestly!!), we realize that because my husband is really still new to his (3rd!) career, we will never get ahead on just his salary right now. He did get a promotion in March for which we are hugely thankful, but considering we can only pay our bills, it isn’t enough to get us out of debt. I love being home for my family – and currently am able to volunteer at my kids’ school, which helps to supplement their tuition expense – but in the end, if we are ever to get anywhere, I need to earn an income.
I’ve prayed and prayed about working from home. I like to blog, but it is my hobby, not really something I can exploit or am good enough at to make money doing. I could edit copy or proofread – but I’ve signed up through elance.com and other job sites, but no one has offered me a job. I don’t even know where to begin to find a job like that. I’ve half-heartedly applied for jobs on-line, and even had an interview for an afternoon/evening job at a doctor’s office nearby, but so far, nothing.
And so, we’ve decided – mutually – that I will work part-time outside the home – God willing – next school year, hopefully somewhat in conjunction with MiMi’s K-4 class schedule. The thing is I have a college degree and experience and am capable of working … I just hate to give up my quiet life. I’ve been praying about a “quiet” job I could do – like data entry or working at a bank or medical office, and I believe I’ve found my new calling:
I am working on certification to become a pharmacy technician. The program I am going through works in conjunction with Walgreens and will help me with job placement when I am finished. There are at least 6 Walgreens within short driving distance of me, and probably a few more within 10+ miles of where I live. And so, I will begin to prepare myself and my family for this … and in a way, I am excited about it.
While I am not so much excited about working outside my home, I am excited to be working toward a better financial situation for our family. I’m not even talking about affording lavish vacations or a huge house, I’m just talking about paying off debt, renting a modest home, and having enough money to maintain our old vehicles without worrying about where the money will come from or will my husband get overtime hours to pay for our groceries instead of adding them to our credit card debt.
4. And so, day by day, we’ll get here. Meanwhile, God provides for us in His own ways. He’s definitely provided me some interesting life lessons this past year. Lately, again, I’ve been working on “loving my (literal) neighbor as myself” (oh, the stories I could tell!) …
Most of all, I feel like I am finally coming into the new ME … adjusting my attitudes and thinking. Realizing the path God has for others isn’t for me … I feel some guilt about preparing to go back to work … But I also know I can do it – with God’s help and my family’s help. Over time, we’ll settle in here – we won’t always be “the new kids”- God willing, we’ll make friends and find somewhere to “fit in” … or not. And if that’s the case, we will create a stronger family. It will all come to be.
I finally see a small light at the end of this dark tunnel that has been our transition these last few years!! 🙂