Thursday, September 17, 2009

the job post (looooong...)

This will be, I'm afraid, a rather long and rambling post. Unfortunately, I don't know of any other way to tell the story. Sorry. :-p

I have been fascinated with homeschooling for a very long time now. I was in college when I first had the strange, random thought that homeschooling any children I might have one day was something I wanted to consider. God had to have been the One Who put that thought in my head, because homeschooling was not even on my personal radar at the time (I was in school studying education so that I could become a public school teacher!).

When Nelson and I were first married, we spent a lot of time with a small Reform Presbyterian church in Bristol. We didn't attend there on Sunday mornings, but we went on Sunday evenings and to many of their social events. Every single family in this church homeschooled. It was a matter they felt very strongly about, and it was here where I first began to hear the biblical arguments for teaching and training one's own.

The pastor's wife gave me a homeschooling curriculum catalog from the Elijah Company. It wasn't a huge catalog, but it was absolutely chock-full of information. It contained not only summaries and reviews of various curricula the company offered but also articles on various homeschooling philosophies and methodologies. I went through that catalog from cover to cover, many times. I made notes. The pages became worn and marked up, but I still have this catalog. It is such a wealth of information. (Later on, because of the high demand for their catalog, the Elijah Company actually started charging a $5 fee to receive it. You could then get a $5 rebate on your first order. But the catalog was that good--people were willing to pay just for the privilege of getting it!)

The Elijah Company no longer sells homeschooling curricula and no longer publishes this amazing catalog. However, in 2004, they compiled some of their best articles and essays from their catalogs into a book called I Saw the Angel in the Marble. Recently, I read this book, and I enjoyed just as much as my tattered old catalog.

One of the essays covered why they chose the name Elijah Company for their business. It is a reference to Luke 1:17, which says, "And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord." Chis Davis, the father of this homeschooling family, had left his job as a pastor to come home and raise his sons. His heart had been "turned toward [his] children", and he saw training them to be wise, godly men as his most important vocation. The main philosophy of this family was that homeschooling isn't so much about schooling as it is about home and family. He encouraged readers to pray for this spirit of Elijah to fall in their own homes and for the hearts of fathers to be turned toward children all over the nation.

I was intrigued by this idea; who wouldn't want the spirit and power of Elijah? Who wouldn't want fathers' hearts turned toward their children and disobedient hearts turned toward righteousness? Still, I honestly had no clue what it might look like in our own family. Although we were already embarking on our homeschooling adventure as I am teaching Sarah to read, and I have had two different home-based careers, I couldn't imagine how God might bring Nelson home. Although work-at-home careers geared toward women seem to abound (hence, the term WAHM, as a variant of SAHM--work-at-home mom vs. stay-at-home mom), it seems much more rare to see men or fathers working at or from home. Men "go" to their jobs. That's how it works.

When Nelson first lost his job, I thought perhaps God was calling him toward entrepreneurship, and perhaps that will be true someday. But as the months wore on, as he continued to fill out applications and send out resumes and not so much as hint of interest came back, both of us began to grow depressed and discouraged. By the end of August we had reached a breaking point. Neither of us could encourage or lift up the other, because we were both in the same dark pit. The last weekend of August I started praying fervently for some sort of miraculous breakthrough. I prayed that the next week, something would give.

I have heard it said that God is never late, but He usually isn't early either. This was certainly true in our case. He let us hit that rock-bottom point, but on Monday, August 31, He answered those desperate weekend pleas. Just as I had prayed, Nelson got a call for an interview to take place the following day.

It would be a phone interview. The company calling was in Idaho. The position would be a telecommuting one--working from home.

Because of Nelson's previous unemployments, I have a vast collection of job search sites (seriously, if you need a job in the Tri-Cities area or in IT, you should talk to me--I will gladly share my bookmarks). One of those sites, one I had truthfully never paid much to, was called Programming from Home. I honestly do not remember where I found this link; it had just been hanging out in my bookmarks folder for years. But this particular unemployment, it suddenly became the most useful link I had. The temporary job Nelson did for a month back in May/June was found using this site. Now Nelson had a job interview lined up because of an application he had filled out there as well.

Nelson started working (from home) September 7. I am still processing a lot of the aspects and ramifications of it, but it truly seems this is something God has been orchestrating for a long time. A bunch of seemingly unrelated things, over a great many years, adding up and entwining together in ways that only God could do. It really is amazing. I think perhaps the spirit of Elijah is falling in my family. I praise God for it--and for His faithfulness and provision. :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

a couple of quick Sarah stories

Still trying to get caught up on all the posts I've gotten behind on--at this rate, I might have them all complete sometime before 2015! (But don't hold you're breath...)

Sarah is a never-ending source of blog material. I have two stories for this post; one a sweet, touching tale and one that's just cute and funny. I think I'll start with the cute, funny one first!

I have several feather dusters that I use for cleaning. One is a small one for pictures, knickknacks, etc. One is a larger one with a longer handle. The last one isn't actually a feather duster at all, but I'm honestly not sure what the material is. It's purple and has a telescoping handle for reaching high places.

Sarah loves helping me dust, and she did so yesterday. Last night before bed, she picked up the small feather duster (because I had forgotten to put it away when we were done. Oops). She began pretending that it was a trumpet, holding the handle up to her mouth and making noises. Nelson made a comment about the trombone we have stored in the house. Sarah immediately decided that she should play the trombone instead of the trumpet. To do so, she put the small "trumpet" duster down and reached for the larger duster with the telescoping handle! After all, it's much more trombone-like. Isn't she clever? ;)

On to the more "serious" (but still very cute) story: a few days ago, Sarah was having a difficult time coping with disappointments. After two separate temper tantrums (and the consequences resulting from them), she apologized. We talked about how she could ask God to help her practice self-control since He now lived in her heart.

Apparently the conversation stuck. A couple of nights later, Sarah got a small piece of paper and a pen. She told me she wanted help writing the word thank-you; she wanted to write a note to Jesus thanking Him for helping her "not have temper tantrums anymore."

I am so humbled. God is doing amazing things in my daughter's life!

Monday, September 14, 2009

are you kidding me?!

I have posted before that I have a sensitivity to MSG and that it triggers migraines in me. Truthfully, it is more accurate to say that I have a sensitivity to glutamate, which is why I can't eat natural, organic things like brown rice and autolyzed yeast. I have learned to read labels very least for the things that I eat.

But I discovered a whole new wrinkle in this whole glutamate-sensitivity thing. It's one I never would have expected! Part of me still can't quite believe it. :-p

I have very sensitive skin and have always had to be careful to select gentle soap products. I recently started making homemade laundry detergent (partly because I'm cheap, but partly because I like how gentle it is). I am still searching for the perfect shower soap. But my face has the perfect skin care routine. Since I was 19 years old, I have used Mary Kay's Classic skin care line. I wasn't interested when they launched the new Timewise line; I'll stick with what works, thank you! I get lots of compliments on my complexion, and the products are safe for me. (My love for the skin care line, when I had tried SO MANY other things and found them lacking, was a big part of the reason I became a consultant).

Our house has two bathrooms, one upstairs and one downstairs. Because I prefer the upstairs bath and shower, I had all my Classic line products stored op there. The downstairs bath is a shower-only stall, and frankly I don't like it. But we are having problems with a leak from the upstairs shower, so I have been showering downstairs more and more often.

I found it difficult to fit all my skin care supplies around the tiny sink or in the limited space of the shower. And because of this, I made a terrible mistake. After 13 years of successfully using the same skin care line, I got brave and bold and decided to branch out. It took up less space! And it seemed to be okay; I wasn't having my normal irritation or breakouts.

But as the weeks wore on, I noticed something vaguely unsettling: I felt better on the days I splurged and showered upstairs. I told myself it was psychological; I preferred the upstairs bathroom, and I wasn't showering up there often because of the leak, so it was a special treat. I tried to talk myself out of this silly idea that there was any real difference.

Late last week, it occurred to me why I felt better after showering upstairs. I was getting a slight headache each day that I showered downstairs. Not a full-blown, not-me-for-a-loop migraine, but enough of a headache to be an annoyance. Now I was really convinced that it all psychosomatic; I was somehow letting my dislike of the downstairs shower make my head hurt!

But quite by accident, I stumbled across the actual cause. I still can't quite believe it. But there on the ingredients list of the moisturizer I was using downstairs was glutamic acid. Unbelievable. But apparently I was absorbing just enough traces of glutamate through my skin to cause a slight headache! Sheesh.

So now add reading toiletry ingredients' list to my things to do. And yes, I am absolutely back to using my Classic Mary Kay...even if I shower downstairs. Lesson learned.

I just had to learn it the hard way. :-p

we have a sitter! and an eater!

We've had many blog-worthy moments in life, but since I haven't gotten them posted, some are forgotten. :( Sigh. I will try to share those things that I still actually remember though!

First of all, we have a sitter! Natalie can now sit independently. :) She is having a GREAT time with this! She likes being able to sit and play and really see what all's going on around her.

Natalie is also eating a little bit of applesauce in addition to her nightly rice cereal and her enthusiastic nursing. Right now, she's not quite sure what to do with the applesauce. More of it ends up on her clothing than in her mouth. :) And the very first time I fed it to her, she got teary-eyed and looked at me with an expression that seemed to say, "Why are you torturing me, Mommy?" But we're slowly making progress. :) Sweet potatoes to come next!

True confession: the following pictures are not of Natalie actually sitting by herself. They are from August, and she is propped up on the couch. I've taken shots of Natalie sitting alone; I just haven't uploaded them from the camera to the computer. I know, I know; bad blogger mommy. Sorry. But hopefully these will do until I actually get the real thing off the camera!

I will also post the story of Nelson's job acquisition. I want to get it all recorded, because it's neat how God provided (and when). But I think I'm too tired to be that deep right now. ;)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

so behind...

I have soooo many posts to write and get uploaded here. But for now, I will simply keep it short and sweet: Nelson starts a new job Tuesday!!!!

Thanks for all of your prayers and support! Details to come! :)