Sunday, December 21, 2014


Grateful for an Unexpected Christmas Blessing

Trying to manage some medical bills and long, long hours at work had left me tired and overwhelmed in recent weeks.  I continue to tithe and increased my tithe accordingly when I got my raise.  I had been so sorely tempted to not tithe just so I could pay off the medical bills.  We battled the flu on top of that at our house.  Heather missed several days of school, and I missed one day of work.   Fortunately, I now have paid sick time at my new job.

I mapped out the bills and how I was planning to pay them off in the coming weeks and months, which was going to leave me in quite a hole for 2015 medical expenses.  I figured I would just take it as it comes and not give into the serious temptation to not tithe despite my discouragement.

Last week, much to my stunned surprise, a friend of mine got in contact with me and said a check for $1500 would be in the mail for me.  My friend had seen some Facebook posts of mine (which I did not make to solicit funds!) about the difficulties of managing our chronic health issues and the ensuing medical bills and insurance issues.

Last Friday I came home after a long, long work week...tired but grateful for my job, health insurance, my kids and all of our improved health...opened the bills and got an unexpected bill....and then my friend's check for not $1500 as I expected but $2000!!!!!!!

There are people in my life who see this as mere coincidence.  Please pray that those around me would see this as God's wonderful provision and faithfulness.  I do not preach a prosperity gospel...that if you give God will bless you...but I sincerely believe if you honor Him, He will not let you down.  Have I not seen that over and over and over since the beginning of this blog?

This Christmas season I pray people would know the peace of Christ in their hearts.  There is simply nothing He cannot help us overcome. 

In recent weeks, so many I know have lost loved ones young and old and struggle with unbelievable trials and defeat, including health and financial problems...God please help these friends whom I carry heavy in my heart and give them Your strength. It all makes me so grateful for all the good things in my life that I take for granted far too matter how dark my own situations may seem, there is always, always, always something to be thankful for.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Update: Enjoying My Day Off

When I found out from my previous employer that my end date was earlier than originally planned, I contacted my new employer HR rep and left her a message that I was available to start a week earlier.

I truthfully explained to her that an interim replacement was brought in earlier than expected at my former employer.  (A retiree who came out of retirement to help out the company since I was leaving.)

My new employer just called and moved my start date in to tomorrow.  In retrospect, I probably should have just let it go and enjoyed the entire week off, but it is too late now.  I am relaxing today, doing some shopping and having lunch with a friend.

I do not anticipate a gap in pay since I am starting earlier at my new job...I am so sorry I doubted God.  He has worked out this whole mess in spite of my fears and anxieties.  Thankfully, He is a steadfast and patient God.  

Everyone in my immediate family, including my awesome boyfriend, has been very, very supportive.  (I have to almost 49 years old I have a boyfriend!)  

He is the special, special man I dated last fall.  We broke up for a time, continued to be friends and realized what we almost lost when breaking up and got back together shortly afterwards.  I am very, very happy with him, and he has been such a rock through all of these ups and downs.

We had a lot of fun on vacation in July, and he has been a great help in transitioning Amy and Stephen to college and Heather to high school.  He has been an unexpected blessing at a season in my life when I thought romantic love was over for me!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Transitions and Forgiveness

The last few weeks have some a lot of ups and downs...mostly ups...thankfully!

My health (colon issues, asthma, depression) has continued to improve and be stable.  No pending surgeries, tests, etc. and all medication is working!

My daughter Amy graduated with honors from high school, and my son Stephen returned from a wonderful summer mission trip to Ecuador with Campus Crusades for Christ.  

This summer we once again vacationed at InterVarsity's Cedar Campus and visited Mackinac Island for a day.  Edward, the special man in my life, was able to come up for part of the week and share in some of our family traditions and biking around Mackinac Island.  I came home to a completely redecorated bedroom that he secretly worked on while the girls and I were gone the first part of the week!

We then got Stephen and Amy off to college in August, and they are doing very well.  My daughter Heather has continued to incredibly manage her type 1 diabetes and her insulin pump.  She is now a high school freshman and has joined HHS Spartan Alliance Band.  It is so cool to see her finally get to participate in that wonderful organization after all the years of watching Stephen and Amy be in the band.

Earlier this summer I decided to explore the job market just to see what else was out there.  My plan was sometime in the next few years to take the skill set I had developed in my position as a buyer for my current company and apply it elsewhere...just to see what else I could learn and accomplish.

So I put out some feelers not expecting anything to come of it for awhile.  I had my resume on several job boards and on LinkedIn.  Much to my surprise, I started getting phone calls and offers for interviews every week.  Eventually, I was contacted by an electronics component company nearby for an interview for a purchasing analyst position, which I what I was currently doing.

I scheduled the interview for an afternoon on August 28 that I already had off for a doctor's appointment.  It was a rigorous afternoon of interviews with seven different people with a salary of at least $45,000.  (My current salary is $32,000).  The interviews went very well, and I thought "If it's meant to be, it will happen."  

I did not mention this to my employer and continued to do my job responsibly as I always have.  Much to my surprise, during the first week of September, I was called back for a second interview.  Out of respect, I made what I thought was a choice of integrity and I informed my current supervisor.

He was surprised and a little angry.  I told him that it was nothing personal, that I had just put some feelers out and this was an opportunity I could not afford to ignore.  I also told him that I respected him and his leadership enough that I did not want to lie by saying I had a doctor's appointment or call in sick.  He said he appreciated that and told me to request the appointment time out via our electronic email.  He electronically accepted the request, and it was confirmed on both of our calendars.

I did not think about it much over the next weekend, but on the next Monday he declined my request via our email and told me I could not take company time for this appointment.

I had consistently worked weekends and late on a regular basis and often did not take a lunch.  I had recently used by own phone and own wifi to manage a supply problem on a weekend.  I had served above and beyond my responsibilities.

I pointed this all out to him and said I would take the afternoon off without pay and make sure everything on my desk was taken care of.  He backed down at that point and just asked that I come in early the day of the interview and work through lunch, which is what I had planned to do in the first place.

The day after the September 9 interview he and I had our usual weekly meeting to discuss work projects.  During that meeting he asked how the interview had gone and when I thought I would hear something.  I told him I thought it went well and was expecting to know more in the next couple of days.  He asked that he be given the right to counter any offer I was given, which I respectfully agreed to.

On September 12 I was offered the new position with the $45,000 salary, 401K contributions/vision insurance/more vacation/paid sick days...none of which is provided at my current employer.

I gave my boss the information via email, and he in turn took it to his supervisor for review.  My boss was out of his boss's office very shortly and very professionally said to me, "Let me be the first to congratulate you.  I encourage you to accept this offer."  He then asked if I could give him two weeks before moving on, which I agreed to, and we briefly discussed some plans for the transition. He then replied to my email that he was accepting my resignation and that my last day would be September 26.

This week I found that I needed to leave at 3 p.m. for a drug test for my new job, and I asked if I could leave early.  I had come in early, worked through lunch, etc.  I was told I could not leave and that I was needed in the office.  I told my boss that the lab hours were business hours and I had to be at the lab by 4 p.m.  There were no other options.

He let me go, and I didn't think much of it.  By that time, the company had brought in a retiree who had trained me when I first started and I was working to transition my work load to her.

Later in the week, my boss unexpectedly moved my exit interview in by a week and asked me to bring in my personal laptop by the end of the week so the IT department could remove my work links and connections.  

When I asked why we were moving everything in, I was told the company was expecting several customer visits the next week, and everyone involved was going to be busy.  

During my exit interview I was respectful and participated in what I thought was professional, constructive conversation.

However, yesterday, about an hour before my work day was to end, my interim replacement told me she was going home early.  I was finishing up my day and making notes for what we needed to work on together next week.  Much to my stunned surprise, with no warning, my boss and our HR manager walked into my office and said the company decided to end my employment that day.

I was told to pack up my personal items, not go out on the factory floor, not talk to anyone and when I was ready I would be walked out.  I was so shocked and stunned.  I vaguely remember packing up everything, walking to the car with my boss without saying goodbye to anyone and driving away.  I was so upset I could hardly drive.  

I saw my boss head out shortly after I left.  I stopped at a nearby park to try to stop the shaking and to catch my breath.  It was so surreal to be treated so disrespectfully.

I told Edward right away, and he was upset for me but admitted he suspected it was coming.  He said he didn't want to say anything to me about his suspicions because he didn't want to worry me in the event he was wrong.

I pulled into a local gas station to get something to drink, and several people leaving work saw my car.  They stopped to see me to share their outrage and incredible moral support.  I started getting phone calls and texts from co-workers who were furious for me.  They had all been planning a surprise going away party for me the next week, and right then in the gas station parking lot they decided they would still do something for me at a local restaurant the next week.

I have no idea what will happen to my second week's pay.  I have decided not to fret about it.  God has always provided, and it will put me a little behind...but I know I will be okay.  

I had some time away this weekend at an already planned personal retreat, and during that time as I was processing all of this, God really kicked me hard in the behind for worrying about the money...because my concern about the lost paycheck was absolutely doubting all He has already done for me.  

I am such a slow and forgetful learner!  It is so easy to allow myself to forget that money means absolutely nothing to God.  It's our attitude about money that He is more concerned about...and I left myself forget that...what a dumb head!

What is so sad is that I think my boss was pressured to let me go...and it was not in his character to act this way.  

I later found out from a co-worker that people at work are starting to collect funds out of their personal finances to help me recover the week's loss of pay...I don't know if that will go anywhere, but their reaction and support is worth more than gold to me.

Even though I have been unbelievably hurt by people I trusted, I am choosing to forgive. 

Please, please pray for me as I work through this forgiveness process.  It is not going to be easy, and it is a conscious choice I am going to have to make every single day for awhile.  I am making the courageous choice of forgiveness.  (Click on link for wonderful article on forgiveness!) 

I have also allowed what has has happened to crush my spirits a bit and hurt my self-esteem.  I cannot let outside situations define who I am.  I have done that far too long, and it has to stop.  Pray for me that I can break out of that terrible habit.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Struggling for Balance

Some notes from a post I wrote in June and am just now publishing:

June, 2014
I find myself not liking myself lately.  I don't have much "white space" in my life to breathe.  I am rushed at work, overwhelmed at home and crabby with the ones I love the most. 

At work it seems as if I am constantly rushing from task to task, facing deadline after deadline and meeting after meeting.  I come home to full-time mothering of Amy and part-time mothering of Heather, and I must confess, I am failing miserably as a mom because I have so little of me left to give the kids when I get home.

This past month as school wound down, I felt all I did was rush home, fix dinner and then head out the door for yet another year-end awards program, talent show, school meeting, etc.   Every time one of the kids walked in the door there was paperwork to handle, checks to write and yet another item for the family calendar.

Then, for a couple of weekends after school ended I rushed through Saturday errands and chores so Amy could have my car to go to her friends' graduation parties.  Mix that with planning and hosting Amy's graduation party and I have had enough of hurrying!

I am tired and giving 110% at work and home and not enough for me.  I don't know how other single full-time working moms do it.

I have a dear friend who recently lost her husband in an accident. This is what I posted on her Facebook page today:

"I truly mean it when I say God will get you through this is ways you can't even begin to imagine...when I look back at all the unexpected ways He has met my needs and has continued to meet my needs throughout my divorce I can hardly find the words to express my thanks."
So many things... that I feared I could not handle, God has helped me with...I can now handle health issues, car repairs, computer issues, bill paying, budgeting, etc. on my own. Everything I feared including the grief and loneliness, I have more than conquered with God's help. 

After encouraging her, I felt better.  Sometimes when I reach out to help others, I end up helping myself. Funny how that works!
Is this place in my life easy? No.  Is this where I wanted to be at this stage in my life? No.  But time and perspective have shown me I am far better off no longer married to my children's father even though it has been hard to adjust to full-time work and single motherhood.  I am also very grateful for my job and the health insurance it provides.  I am still amazed that I have been blessed with this job even after being out of the work place for over a decade.



July, 2014

"No white space…no “thinking” white space…no “spiritual white” space…no “parenting” white space…no stillness…no stopping…no mental rest. 

Most of this is my own doing.  Some is not. 

Some is simply the nature of being a single full-time working mom.  Some is from feeling I have to carry so many burdens for so long…and when someone comes along beside me to help I refuse to recognize the gift from God right before my very eyes.  I have shouldered so much for so long so alone for so many reasons.  And the “no white” space…I have allowed it to make me into something I don’t want to be…a short-tempered crabby employee, mother, girlfriend, child of God.

 Twice a year since I have been divorced I have without fail have made my way to Camp Lutherhaven or Lake Placid Retreat Center here in Indiana for a time of rest, quiet reflection, journaling and prayer.  I made the serious mistake of not retreating this spring...thinking I could squeak by without it…and everyone in my life has paid the price.

God, help me, help me, help me find some balance.  Time for prayer and study and journaling.  Time to create and craft and photograph.  Those things feed my soul, and I have to get it in my mind that “martyrdom” on my part in not taking better care of me only hurts me and those around me more.
As a result of this past week's journaling and prayer time, while still at InterVarsity Christian Fellowship's Cedar Campus on vacation, I got on the phone and scheduled not one but two retreats of silences this fall!  One for right before a busy band season for Heather begins and right after it ends.
I often go on these retreats thinking I know what I am to do, and God often tells me something different.  Usually the first thing I do is sleep.  Then I read.  I pray.  I journal.  God prompts and I try to listen.
The first of my retreats was grief-work over the divorce; the next was asking God "now what?"  All good things. 
I first learned this discipline of retreat from SLT (now IVLI) in 1988 while at Cedar 26 years ago.  Sadly, I denied the importance of this discipline for over 20 years!  
At Cedar I had an extremely restful, peaceful week and am incredibly grateful for the scholarship from the camp that made it possible.

I am also very happy that the medication that my colon doctor recommended has helped immensely and I am feeling much better.  Thanks to all who reached out to me with their prayers and concern.  I couldn't ask for better friends and family.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Great news! No surgery for now. Just monitoring and medication with another colonoscopy in 6 months.  I am SO relieved.  I still don't feel good a lot of the time.  Hoping that improves.

Thanks everyone for your prayers and encouragement!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Maybe Another Surgery?

Well friends, I may be facing yet another surgery for colon issues...not sure yet. I will meet with my doctor on Thursday for further details. Had a colonoscopy last week that showed some continued problems.
This will be my 15th surgery (sigh!).  At least this time we will be ahead of the game and avoid emergency surgery and/or emergency hospital stays as in the past. Fortunately, no cancer. It could be worse, and I am trying not to let it get to me. I am going to stay positive!

Although I have been diligently depositing over $200 a month in my health savings plan, I didn't have enough right now to cover the entire colonoscopy bill.  Fortunately, my church, The Pointe,, once again came to my rescue and helped me.  The very special man I am dating helped as well.   He has been very supportive, has said we are in this together and is willing to do anything to come alongside me.  I must admit after struggling by myself for so long, it is still hard to accept help.

I also have several other doctor bills coming in.  When Amy goes to Purdue in the fall, my child support will essentially be cut in half.  Although I won't have the day-to-day expenses she would have had while living here, the cut will definitely make things a bit challenging.

If I have surgery, I will end up taking time off without pay as well as needing to cover the medical expenses.  Fortunately, pretty soon I will met my deductible so that will help.

One thing I know for sure is that God is not in the business of letting me down.  He has provided mightily in the past and, I am sure He will continue to do so.

Monday, February 10, 2014

I have been helping Amy complete numerous scholarship applications, and she has happily been accepted to Purdue University to study veterinary science in the fall.

As she and I look over previous tax returns, medical expenses, etc., it absolutely defies imagination as to how we survived financially.  In 2011, the first year on my own, I made a mere $17,000 plus $15,000 child support.  In 2012, I made $21,000 plus child support AND had $3400 worth of medical expenses.

It simply does not add up....but God's economy is far different than man's.  I am living proof of His incredible provision.  You simply can't out give God.

The first two years on my own we qualified for free books and reduced lunch. This past year, even with a full-time job, I somehow managed to qualify for completely free lunch as well as books.  I have no idea how that happened...God at work is the only explanation I can find.

I continue to be blessed with unexpected high tax returns and a recent anonymous donation to Amy for her spring break mission trip.  Because we qualified for the free lunch program, Amy's college application fees, several scholarship application fees, SAT/ACT and AP exam fees have all been waived. Heather also recently was awarded a scholarship for free private music lessons through the Fort Wayne Philharmonic.

And I STILL have no debt except a small car payment.

This summer Dave walked in my front door and simply handed me a check for $615 so I could take the kids to Cedar Campus.  The staff of the camp also generously gave me a $415 scholarship for my expenses, and while we were there someone donated $100 for our expenses at the camp store.

When I bought my car this summer, I was able to talk the dealership down to a $500 down payment and a $2000 lower price.  Dave also gives me $600 every Christmas to make the holidays special for the kids, and we still celebrate Christmas together as a family.

Heather's insulin pump and supplies arrived in December and is up an relieved that we have met our deductible...the pump alone is $10,000...and I paid a mere $23 for it all!

Heather also recently qualified for the 21st Century Scholar program, which gives her free tuition to any eligible Indiana college as long as we continue to qualify financially and she keeps her grades up.

The bottom line is this....Are you afraid to budget and tithe?  Don't be.  God ALWAYS provides!

"I will sing to the Lord because He has treated me generously." 
Psalms 13:6 

"I’ve thrown myself headlong into your arms.
I’m celebrating your rescue.
I’m singing at the top of my lungs,
I’m so full of answered prayers."
Psalm 13:5-6 (The Message)

"I will sing to you, O Lord,
because you have been good to me."
Psalm 13:6 Good News Translation (GNT)

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Facebook Video Recap...I AM SO BLESSED!

Facebook Recap

Click on the link to watch my Facebook video recap.  Click on the bottom left arrow to play.  Clink on bottom left arrows to go to full screen.

The recap includes:

  • pictures at our favorite vacation spot at Cedar Campus
  • Stephen's senior pics I took while at Cedar
  • Kids celebrating Christmas
  • My post about getting a job (at last!)
  • Heather's baptism
  • Amy being accepted to Purdue
  • Me celebrating 17 years of being cancer-free!
  • Amy & Heather looking beautiful for their first day of school
  • Heather overcoming limitations to run in Fort4Fitness running event
  • Amy's beautiful photography

I have such an AWESOME and BLESSED life!