Friday, June 15, 2007

No longer in limbo.

I was hired today to the Administrative Staff at MHFA, an accounting accounting firm here in Champaign.

While I was interveiwing no less than 10 people walked past the confrence room window and waved or made a face and one of the partners pulled her floor length skirt up to her knees. We talked about how much fun working there. They have company Halloween and Christams parties, summer barbecues and pool parties.

I start on Monday, June 25. That means I can spend my last week of retirement with my sister, Ivy, 15, who is visiting for two weeks. Bring on the swimming pool and 90+ weather!

Monday, June 11, 2007

I don't often wish time away, but...

Yet another reason I can't wait until Jan 20, 2009.

This is what blogs are for, right?

A very good friend of mine is in his 4th year of living with ALS, Lou Gehrig's Disease. He's 27 and he recently had to go on disability leave from his position as Sports Information Director at Buena Vista University because his body will no longer allow him to do the job.

Nick has done such a great job getting info out about ALS and the severe lack of funding for research and many aspects that affect his life on his blog:

After watching the video from the link from his June 1st entry, I was so angry (but I'm sure not nearly as angry as Nick and his family have been time and time again in the last 3.5 years). This was the first time I had seen-and-heard the toll this disease has taken on my friend (and a former crush, as a matter of fact. Nick, I think you were the wise one of the pair!). I would never wish harm or suffering on anyone (really, I wouldn't) but of anyone I have EVER known, Nick is the LEAST deserving. So, I share his story with you.

My blog certainly does not draw a very big audience, but take a look if you would. The more people exposed to Nick’s story and others like his, the bigger the voice speaking for the ALS cure.

I won't go on a big long thing about stem cell research, or our President's stupidity (Nick does a much better, less emotional [read: girly] job of it), but I will say this: The legislation that is bouncing around DC right now is the stuff good stewardship and faithfulness is made of. Stubbornness is such a waste of my time, and causing the physical decline of a person I love dearly when he could be keeping his job and working is way toward Bob Costas-ness.

I know everyone has their causes and most people feel like they have enough going on in their life to add one more thing to care about. Please know that this is a DREADFUL disease (for anyone, but especially for someone young like Nick) and its prognosis is senseless. We could be researching treatment for this disease that robs people of their physical ability to function in the world (and eventually of their physical ability to breathe) all the while leaving their mental faculties in tact. We don’t research it because the victims don’t usually live long enough to make it worth the industry’s time and money. REALLY?!?!?

It’s senseless, that’s all I can say. Please take a look at Nick’s Blog and spread the word to people in your world. What a wonderful day it will be when we can say that no one in the world has to be held hostage by a senseless disease and that dear people like Nick won’t be stolen away from us. Thanks be to God for the hope of such a day.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

The Generation of 35 Jobs and 3 Careers

Twelve months ago, if you would have told me I would be beginning a new career, I would have said you were flat out nuts! I am sure that God has called me to Youth and Family Ministry and I am sure He has not called me to ordained ministry of Word and Sacrament.

The longer I'm in this field, the more I realize how much I didn't learn about God in my teens. It is incredibly difficult to be a faithful adult. I believe many of us would have a much easier time of it if we had the proper "training" as we were growing up. Now, let's be fair, our parents, pastors, confirmation teachers and youth volunteers did the best they could and I applaud them for that. Thank goodness, though, for theological training for people like me so we can really do right by our teenagers.

So, this is what I do. And you know what, I'm pretty dang good at it. I'm thoughtful and intentional. I create an environment in which kids and teens can really feel God's love for them (and what an amazing feeling that is when we finally recognize it!). Once they know what God's love is like, I help them to extend that love out into their world. Once they've gotten a taste of all of this, their hooked (proof, I think, that God's story is worth telling) and they never want to go back. As much as they might have fought me tooth and nail, once they get on board they kick themselves for not getting there sooner. They thought they would miss "having fun" and the dreaded "too much learning and thinking." It doesn't take long before they get upset when we're having too much fun and not spending enough time taking care of the others in their church family.

So, if a year ago, you would have said that I would be "falling back on" my accounting degree, I would have said you were crazy. I love what I do and I don't want to do anything else. But, as it turns out, there is one VERY important part of church work that I'm not very good at (read: I suck at it!).

Politics. Who knew that a Christ-centered, growing, generous, kind, loving, Spirit-filled middle America ELCA congregation of 700 could have so much of that stuff we all hate. Don't we spend hours over the course of every four years talking about how awful politics are and how it would be nice if Washington was filled with people rather than politicians? Yeah, me too. I'm not a politician. I don't use talking points, I don't have tag lines, I don't take polls before I use a certain word or decide what color shirt I should wear. I'm a straight shooter: I say what I mean, I mean what I say and I take others at face value too. If you want me to have a piece of information, you better say it straight out 'cause I don't have time to try to read your mind. If you don't say it, I'm not gonna even know it exists. And that's why I'm starting another career: politics. Who knew?

So, I guess accounting will be my second career. Time to make some lemonade. I will still be working with people and helping them reach their goals in life/business. I can still be a servant of God in many of the same ways: kindness, grace, compassion...and I won't have to deal with quite as much politics. At the end of the day, I will shut down my computer, say goodbye to my office mates and go home. I won't be worried if such and such stock did well for this guy and I won't be worried if this company made enough profit to pay their dividends. I'll get to spend my evenings and weekends with my husband and my son and when I grow weary of them, I'll go back to work on Monday.

Here's to hoping that two times is the charm!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

January 20, 2009 cannot come soon enough.

I've already said goodbye to my brother (twice) before he deploys to Iraq for the next 18 months. Except, he hasn't yet left. He leaves on Monday.

But does his still being stateside make me feel better? Nope, not even a little bit. I still don't get to see him again until my 2 year old son is 4 and I have a new job (which won't be new anymore) and hopefully a new house.

My dad came through Champaign yesterday on his way to Ft Bragg to bid his only son farewell.

War sucks. Memorial Day in our house means watching the ENTIRE "Band of Brothers" series, so I have a healthy perspective of how much less sucky this war is compared to wars of the past. Relative to many of the military families in the US, we have it quite good. Patrick enlisted during wartime, so we knew he would be going overseas (unlike some of the folks in the Reserves who have been away from their families and jobs for 3 of the last 5 years...or more). And also, Patrick's job really is quite safe so we have a great chance of getting him home safely. Patrick isn't married and doesn't have any children, so less people have to miss him while he's gone. Even with all of that, war still sucks!

Patrick was the boy who got homesick (I mean really sick) at sleep away camp until he was a teen. When he was a teen he began to grow an intense network of friends and I am convinced they saved his life. His family is more important to him than any other 20 year old, strike that, any other person I know. And now he has to be many thousands of miles away from all of it.

So, this weekend I will be consumed with thoughts of Patrick's last days and hours stateside with his dad, girlfriend and 3 of his tricking friends, wishing desperately I could be there too. Then we will all wait until he gets to a computer to let us know that he arrived safe. It could be this week, it could be next month. The army isn't very helpful with all of that.

I can't wait until we have a new president...

Friday, June 1, 2007

...and it begins

For many months I've been thinking about starting a blog. I've thought it would be a useful tool for journaling and sharing my life with those I love. I've also been very intimidated by blogging and by the thoughtfulness of my friends who blog. I guess I didn't think I had anything to share that would be of value to anyone.

I have found myself writing quite a lot in the last week or so and decided to use the string of inspiration to give this a shot.

So, here we are. I hope my experiences and thoughts will be of some use to you...