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Colors of fall.

Colors of fall.

It’s September, and I can feel the anticipation that autumn brings. It is time to wrap up old ways and make room for the new. Change is coming.

I have been praying and hoping for the past 2.5 years that God would open up new opportunities and bring us family wage jobs. Our living situation was fine when it was just the two of us. But it is far less than ideal with a little one. I won’t go into all of my complaints here, but I will just say that it is not working.

Yet, our income remains modest, and we can’t afford something nicer here in Portland. I have always loved living in the city, but in recent months I’ve started craving a more peaceful environment. Maybe I’m just getting old, but I’m growing weary of hearing drunks yelling outside my window at 2 a.m.

Portland no longer feels like home.

And that’s it – the gentle nudging of God’s still small voice. We secretly hope Jesus will call us up and ask to meet us for tea one day, at our favorite tea shop that used to be a bookstore and was a train car before that. We could sit across from Jesus and He would say in a kind voice, “Here, take this key to your new house in Sausalito. It’s an easy ferry ride across the bay to your new job as a magazine editor in downtown San Francisco. I called in a few favors from some old friends.”

But that doesn’t happen, does it? As much as we want Jesus to meet us for tea and tell us what to do next — life doesn’t work that way. God speaks to us in a quiet whisper, in the sense of unease that something isn’t quite right. And in the calm peace that comes when things are just as they should be.

So the subtle sense that I am no longer at home in the city tells me that we may be on the verge of a move. We may be getting close to an open door. And yet –

    “these are only hints and guesses,
                  hints followed by guesses; and the rest
                  is prayer, observance, discipline, thought and action”
(T.S. Eliot, The Four Quartets)

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photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/31246066@N04/5115966185/”>Ian Sane</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

I almost got a teaching job last week. The principal loved my resume so much that he drove a half an hour to my apartment to personally drop off the application, since he didn’t have it in a Word document. I spent several hours filling out the application and my husband got off work early so I could go to the interview.

I was excited about the possibility of getting the job. It would greatly increase our income (duh). We might have been able to buy a house, or at least afford a nicer rental. It would have been fulfilling, and intellectually stimulating.

But. School starts in a couple weeks. Not much time to find quality childcare for my little darling. And the cost of childcare for a child under the age of 2? Between $800 -$1500 per month. I don’t know exactly what they would have paid me, probably about $3000/month during the school year. I also would have left the house around 7 a.m. each day and gotten home around 5 p.m., and then had to work more at home on evenings and weekends. That wouldn’t leave me much time or energy left for Baby Bear.

Thinking about all this made me feel anxious. I remembered that I used to get stress headaches every day when I was a teacher. And that was before I had my own child, back when I got excellent sleep every night. Still I showed up to the interview and gave it my best shot. I figured I’d leave this decision up to God.

After the interview, I started to sense that it was not God’s plan for me to take the job. I kept thinking about my daughter and how I would never be able to regain this time with her. Apparently the hiring team felt the same way, because they offered the position to another candidate. The principal called me the next morning and said it was a tough decision and that they really liked me. I felt a deep sense of relief — my summer vacation continues!

But our cash flow situation remains a problem. I’m trying to find work writing, editing and tutoring. So God, would you help us out? As Anne Lamott would say, I’m awaiting your operating instructions. Thanks in advance.

 

 

I’ve been attending my church’s women’s bible study for a few months. For whatever reason, I’m the only married woman who attends. We were chatting about Facebook, and I mentioned that I don’t like to look at Facebook too often because it tends to make me feel bad about myself.

“But what could you have to be jealous of?” asked one of the younger women. “You’re married and you have a baby.”

I was slightly taken aback by this comment, and could’ve given her a list of things I might be jealous of. People with dishwashers, for example. The feminist part of me bristles a bit at the implications of that statement — as if women should aspire to nothing more than being wives and mothers.

And yet — maybe she’s right. It is so easy to take for granted the blessings that are in our lives every day. While it’s true that I don’t have the money or the career that I thought I would have at age 29, I do have a few good things. A healthy, beautiful, sweet daughter who adores me. A kind, smart, handsome husband who is an amazing chef. An apartment in a great Portland neighborhood. No debt. Faith in God. A graduate degree. Friends and family nearby. Memories of trips to Europe and Hawaii.

Well, when you put it that way my life seems pretty good. Maybe Facebook doesn’t need to make me feel bad about myself after all.

 

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Yes

i’ve heard it said
refusing to forgive
is like swallowing poison
and waiting
for the other person to die

and yet, if we’re honest
forgiving
isn’t something we feel like doing
not really

i mean, i remember
all the ways people have failed me
and when, and i’m ready
to bring it up
at just the right moment

but, well
i don’t think corrie ten boom
felt like forgiving either
after years in a nazi death camp
when she met her captor face-to-face
and he asked
sister, can you forgive me?

but she reached out,
grasped his hand in hers
and said,
yes.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/bamboo-adventure/3530133273/”>Richard.Asia</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;