Saturday, February 24, 2018

Nanny

I've spent the last few weeks job-hunting (again!). I applied to a wide variety of jobs - ice cream scooper, online tutor, insurance underwriter, copy editor, retail sales management, farm hand... and the list goes on.

I was getting desperate. (I mean, farm hand - really?)  Our family finances were looking worse all the time. One day, I stumbled upon an ad for a nanny position that led me to a website full of them - so many people looking for childcare!

Confession time: even though I have an education degree, and even though I've worked for many years in children's ministry positions, I have always thought I hated working with kids, and would always say, "never again!" when a job would inevitably come to an end. 

However, I've recently realized that negative voice was really a symptom of bipolar disorder - which, thanks be to God!, seems to be a thing of the past. That realization, coupled with a bit of insight gleaned from a recent sermon at my church, led me to give working with children another shot. I started applying for daytime nanny jobs in my area - and there were so many!

A couple with two little boys, who had suddenly lost their previous nanny due to health issues, contacted me. I met with them the next day, and was hired.

I work Monday to Friday, 7:45am to 4:30pm. My primary job is looking after the boys; I'm also responsible for cooking and cleaning. So far, it's been good. I've connected with the kids, and I foresee that there will be lots of joys along with hard work. I'm optimistic about the future with them.

My work hours, which are excellent, also mean that I no longer can see my own boys off to school or be there when they get home. My husband has taken over morning duty, and the kids are old enough (and responsible enough) to be on their own after school.

I have to admit, this was an unexpectedly hard pill to swallow. I've always had flexible jobs (or no job) which enabled me to be at home with my guys. I never really appreciated that incredible blessing and privilege until now. It breaks my heart to know I can't send them out the door with a prayer and a hug in the mornings, nor greet them when they get off the bus in the afternoon.

But this experience has also helped me really understand the value of the service I'm providing for this family. It's not just putting in time - keeping the kids alive until their parents get home 😊. I'm essentially a substitute parent, loving and training and teaching and disciplining and protecting and guiding; providing a measure of peace for parents who feel the same way I do when I have to leave my boys. 

I've promised this family a year. After that, I'm starting to sense glimmers of a broader plan. I feel like God may be leading me back into the educational system. When I graduated with my B. ED. waaaay back in 2001, I had determined there was no way I could be a teacher. With the bipolar diagnosis still years away, I blamed myself for all the ways I was lacking as a potential educator.

I'm starting to see things differently now. Ah, we never know what wonders God has in store - this path has had so many unexpected twists and turns. I'm grateful for each one; each one has held surprising beauty and treasure and good. I expect no less of the future; I forge ahead in confidence and joy, trusting the One who leads me on.


Monday, January 22, 2018

Sacred Space

Sacred Space
January 22nd, 2018

You draw me by Your kind embrace
Again and again to this sacred space
Water flows and wild birds sing
All Earth bursts with praise for the King

A sanctuary amid the trees
A secret place where I can see
With eyes afresh and heart ablaze
 Your tender love for me, always

Winter white and springtime green
Summer’s heat and Fall air keen
Each reveals a lovely part
Of Your vast and pure and joy-filled heart

You whisper to me in the wind
Your love You never will rescind
Though I may doubt and question why
Your love, it reaches to the sky

That You would fill this earthy place
And You would manifest Your grace
To one poor seeker, weak and wild
That You would call her “Daughter, Child”


Saturday, January 6, 2018

43

It's become a tradition for me over the past few years to write a birthday blog post. And now it's that time again - I'll soon have completed my forty-third lap around the sun!

(Forty-three - wow. Seems so close to fifty, which I used to think was officially old age. But when I look at the fifty-somethings that I know, I'm so inspired - fifty is NOT old!)

As usual, it's been a pretty crazy year - I'm coming to realize that each year is it's own brand of crazy ☺ A cross-country move, a major healing, a renewed business opportunity... it's been a year-full of transition and transformation and trust, growth and goodness and grace.

What I'm most excited about, though, is a MAJOR breakthrough in my relationship with food. Just over three months ago, a friend of mine had posted a picture of she and her husband, who had achieved significant weight loss and health gains by following a ketogenic eating plan.

I was intrigued. I had been hearing about this particular eating plan (not diet - I have come to hate that word; this is NOT a diet, it's a life-change) and it sounded like something I might actually be able to DO. (Anyone who knows me at all will know that I've been trying to lose weight practically my whole life, with little to no lasting success; when you're four-foot-nine-and-a-half, even a little extra weight is a problem, and I'm dealing with a touch more than a little...)

So I went online, I did some research... and I started. In addition to losing weight and getting healthier, I was desperate to confront my life-long dysfunctional relationship with food. Food was everything for me - I turned to food in sadness, sickness, celebration, boredom, stress, uncertainty, gratitude... everything but hunger; not even sure I knew what that was!

Lo and behold, I saw results! I lost fifteen pounds in the first month, and since then it's consistently been one to two pounds per week - THIRTY POUNDS IN THREE MONTHS! Hel-lo! (This is a near-miracle to me - I've never been able to stick with any eating plan for more than six weeks!)

And not only have I lost weight (almost half-way to my goal!), but my relationship with food has changed drastically. I no longer turn to food in response to my emotions. Food has lost it's power over me. (Man, I can't even convey with words how incredibly awesome it is to be able to write that - I have been set free!)

(I'll pause here to address those of you who are preparing cautionary/advisory comments - I know both the positive and negative things that are said about Keto, and about weight-loss in general; but what I'm experiencing is success - for the first time ever. So comment if you must, but please don't be offended if I don't change my mind as a result ❤)

Because of all this, I approach forty-three in high spirits - it's so much fun to watch yourself shrink 😍 I eagerly anticipate all the grace-drenched messy goodness the year will hold. Bring on forty-three!