Learning to Teach; Trip back to Tulsa; Toys for Tots…Lead to lots of Thinking

Ah, my good intentions to write a couple of times a week seem to have gone by the way-side these last few weeks.  But hey, January 1st 2011 is right around the corner, which means…new years resolutions!  So maybe one of mine will be to make blogging more of a priority.  I honestly don’t know why it is something I want to be more diligent about.  It’s not like I lead a crazy, unusual life…or do a neat craft or teach you about the new dish I just cooked up…all I do is ramble about my questionings and random topics in life.  I don’t even know how many people consistently read my blog…and yet I feel a compelling pull to keep writing one.  I would like to have maybe a “topic of the week” or something that I kind of focus one of my entries on…like a religious issue, or politics, or some interesting event happening in the world…so maybe I will add that element in the new year.  For the end of December though I am content on my usual random-Rachel’s life-ramblings 🙂

On that note, I am in my SECOND full week of working at Leggett and Platt, and I am absolutely loving it.  The people continue to be fantastic and so accepting and encouraging.  I feel so comfortable and able to perform well, because my environment is so positive.  God definitely blessed me by placing me in this job and I am so grateful and excited about this opportunity.  My first big project has been creating an e-learning course focused on Antitrust Laws.  Now, don’t worry…I know some of you are thinking “I didn’t know Rachel knew much about laws,” and I don’t…but I get all my information from topic specialists.  I just package all the information and format neat lessons for the intended audience to watch and engage with.  I am pretty pleased with how things have been going, and while there is still so much to learn about the computer programs and just e-learning in general, I welcome the new knowledge and chances to expand and grow myself with open arms.

After completing my first full week of work, I headed back to Tulsa last Friday to visit the parents, take back a few things I didn’t need at the apartment, pick up a few things I did need, and to volunteer at the Church of Battle Creek’s: Toys for Tot’s Christmas event.  Toy’s for Tots wasn’t until Sunday, so Saturday night Mom, Dad, and myself went to a live nativity at a big church in southern Tulsa.  The program was called BELIEVE and centered more on how it must have felt for Mary and all the trying and difficult things she must have faced, especially during the time in which she thought Joseph might divorce her.  Thank God, literally, that he sent that angel so Joseph knew he could take Mary as his wife with no doubt of unfaithfulness on her part.  The show was well performed, the singing was beautiful, and they even had a live donkey and two camels…which was just fun.  It was good for me I think to see a live nativity, because I don’t think I had seen one in a while and it got me thinking and really reiterated in my heart just how special and miraculous it was to have Jesus Christ come as the Son of God on Earth.

In addition to the joy of the BELIEVE performance, I was treated to a nice dinner afterward with my parents…and then a really special visit from my cousin!!  He was traveling for work, but was able to stop over in Owasso for Saturday night.  And in the morning, all four of us went to Tally’s in Tulsa and enjoyed a perfect Sunday Diner breakfast.  After enjoying way too much giant, gooey, delicious cinnamon roll, I excused myself from breakfast and made the drive over to the Toys for Tots event…where I spent the next six hours or so helping little 5-12 year olds make crafts and play I-spy.  It was truly such a wonderful experience and a blessing for ME.  I hadn’t got to spend time with kids like that since I had worked at Pine Cove, and it was such a blast.  I had so many adorable little children come through, and it just made me smile to see them coloring their stars and baby-Jesus pictures.  It was refreshing…plane and simple.  I think one of my favorite memories from the day was:  One little boy came in and didn’t want to color, or glue, or do anything.  I didn’t want to push him too much to do something if he really was going to hate it, but I felt bad having him just sit over in the corner.  So I suggested we play a game.  At first he didn’t really want to do that either, but I could tell he was listening and kind of looking around as he watched me and a few other kids play I-Spy.  When it was my turn to “Spy” something I picked the red Nike signs on the little boys tennis shoes.  After some time had passed and no one was figuring it out, he started offering suggestions.  A little while later, and with a bit more of a smile on his face and enjoyment in his eyes, he eventually guessed his Nike signs and won that round of the game.  From then on…his spirit seemed lighter, and mine definitely was.  It was such a simple little thing, but so overwhelmingly sweet in my mind.  I was glad God was able to help us find a way to make that little boys experience a little brighter 🙂

Well, drat…I really have more I would like to write.  Like about some of the really neat people I am starting to meet/get-to-know here in Joplin, various excitement about Christmas, and a few other tidbits, but I had probably get to some other things.  Now that I have a real job…I have to plan how I spend my evening time a little better 🙂  I hope everyone reading this has a blessed day tomorrow, and I really appreciate all the people who have been praying for me as I made this transition to a full-time job, new city, new people, etc.  I know I am only doing as well as I am because our Father is with me. xoxo

Do you ever put your arms out and spin and spin and spin…

Today was my first day as a big girl…aka my first day as a “real” full-time employee.  And to my surprise and enjoyment, this new job came with my own office, my own giant window that views an attractive little courtyard, a neat group of co-workers who had me crying I was laughing so hard at lunch, and some awesome chances to learn, design, and help empower others in their jobs.  Can you say STOKED?  Because I can and I am.  I am so excited about this new chapter in my life…

But it is just that, a new chapter…and with the turn of a page/day I am confronted with the beginning of one thing and the end of what came before it.  So while today was unbelievably more than I could have asked for, it is still an interesting adjustment going from unemployed “I-do-what-I-want” girl…to professional working woman 🙂  Haha or something like that.

And yet, I have taken HUGE comfort in these last few days…as I have moved out of my house (again), organized my first solo apartment, attempted to budget and figure out bills, and obviously begin my new job…because I know God has been here with me through it all.  THROUGH IT ALL!!  He and all my prayer warriors are seriously why I am where I am today.  I am beyond blessed…and it is a strange feeling to stand in the recognition that you do not deserve to be where you are and yet there you are.  Now, that is not to say I just sat around doing nothing, waiting for God to move…no I attempted to give God something to work with, but alas he has taken my pool of paint and created a masterpiece.

And while the realist and sometimes pessimistic side of me barks out to remind me that I have indeed only worked one day, and maybe I am just speaking out from the intoxication of something new and exciting.  But I do just have a good feeling about the future, and honestly, no matter how the job goes, or relationships, or dreams I have in general…I can feel secure in knowing I won’t be going it alone.  And that is the beauty of it all.  No matter where I spin, or how fast…no matter if I look like a beautiful ballerina or a out-of-control tornado…my Jesus is there for me to hold tight to 🙂

Did the munchkins really talk like that?

Sometimes I think of really great things to blog about…but it is usually at a time I am feeling too lazy to bust out my computer and write it down or whatever.  Then, usually as it turns out, by the time I am in the mood to blog, the really cool thing I had planned to write about has disappeared out of my head.  So here’s to a random post about off-topic things until I remember what it was I was really hoping to blog about, haha.

So last night at dinner I started humming the tune the guards sing on the Wizard of Oz…you know “Oh We Um, Eoh Um…Oh We Um, Eoh Um” I don’t know how random things like that pop into my head, but after it did I couldn’t stop thinking about how long it had been since I’d seen that movie.  So right now as I write, I have that lovely old movie playing in my VCR (yep you read that right we still own and occasionally use our VCR).  And while there is definitely a lot to say positively for some of the new movies and technology Hollywood uses, there is nothing like a classic.  As I’m watching, the little munchkins have made their appearance, and now I am wondering did all the munchkins really have squeaky/funny voices in their every-day life like they do in the movie, or were they enhanced with sound effects?  Maybe I will Google that…

After dinner my dad made a fire in our fire-pit outside and Mom, Dad, and I spent some time warming ourselves by the flames, chatting about various things, and enjoying the crisp fall night.  I do love the fall, though I hate how, now that Daylight Savings Time has occurred, the sun goes down far before I think it should 🙂  Even before the early darkness, I had been feeling more tired than usual and falling to sleep before my usual bedtime…and I can only image it getting worse now that sunset comes around 5:30-6.  Awful.  But the weather makes up for the lengthened darkness a bit.  I love the cool sunny days of an Oklahoma Autumn, and we have been having plenty of them these past weeks.  It is perfect jeans and t-shirt/jacket weather, and simply being outside makes me a bit happier.

Well, it looks like this week could be a big week as far as job futures go, because I am expecting the company I have been interviewing with to check references and possibly, if everything goes positively, offer me a position by the end of this week.  WOW!  It will be quite a big deal to land this job, and will put me in a good position as the Holidays come around.  Still, I can’t lie this change will be a bit bitter sweet.  I am so excited to have projects, co-workers, and things specifically for me to do for others throughout the day.  But I can’t pretend the flexibility I enjoy now will not be missed.  Now I can spend time with my family in the evening, go to the gym basically whenever I want, do various task around my house, watch the Wizard of Oz while I blog :), etc. and all to a schedule I determine.  While it will be nice to have some definite structure to my days, provided by a job, it will be an adjustment to go from a work-as-I-like job to an 8-5 type position.  But above all I am thrilled to start making a paycheck, and to be embarking on a new adventure…though one quite different from my last.  Seeking out and applying for jobs has been a rather long, frustrating task.  The thought that the end to my searching for a while is in sight is comforting.  However, they have not officially offered me anything and as with all big decisions there will be things to consider, so I plan to keep praying about it…and I would appreciate your prayers as well.  More than anything I want to keep growing in my relationship with my Father and learning to hear and listen to his calling for me in my life.  I’m hoping through this experience I can do just that and come out on the other side, whatever the outcome, better for it and more in-tune with how God is incorporating me into his plan and this world.

Well, I think that’s enough rambling for now.  In conclusion I am posting this link to one of my favorite songs for this fall.  Enjoy 🙂

Into the Blue

I received a package a few days back from my friend David who hiked with me in Switzerland.  I’m pretty sure I blogged about it after it happened, because it was quite the ironic situation.  Both of us were heading out to hike, with no set destination and no hiking partner.  We started chatting on the train ride over to Grindelwald and by the time we had arrived we had agreed to spend the next few hours hiking and photographing the Alps together.  Well, David had a very nice camera, and needless to say he was quite the photography man while on our trekking about the mountains.  When we parted he promised , if I remembered to get a hold of him once I got back to the States, he would send me a copy of the pictures.  I eventually was able to track him down and request my copies, and that is how the package of two cds arrived at my house.

That said, one of the pictures in particular really caught my eye, and I thought I would share it with you. Into the Blue

I think the reasons for why this picture appealed to me might be rather obvious, but for the sake of writing I will tell you anyway.  First…it is just beautiful.  The scenery, the landscape, the colors, the green and flowers in the foreground, the mountains in the distance, and me walking in amongst it all.  Second, I do love how I am just walking off into the unknown.  You can’t see exactly what lays before me, but I look sure and confident as I move forward…I like that.  Especially relating this picture to my situation now.  I don’t really know where God is leading me, and yet I must step out and move forward.  There might be mountains and challenges to climb in the future, but the view can be breathtaking along the way…and finally, this picture does just remind me of how fabulous my whole Europe trip was.  This picture seems to embody the bliss, freedom, and exploration I experienced on my trip.  Such a wonderful memory!!

Here are some other pictures from that specific hiking day…including my hiking buddy David himself 🙂

It’s been a hot minute…

So needless to say quite a lot has happened since I last blogged.  Which is saying a lot since before that really nothing had been going on thus there wasn’t much to write about.  Anyway, I come to you now from Dallas, and this would be my second time down to the big D since the beginning of October.  I arrived earlier this month for a nice two-week stay with my Aunt and Uncle, the primary purpose being to conducting important job investigations and pursue networking opportunities.  After a relatively insightful but still job-offer-less two weeks I headed back to Oklahoma to enjoy a little OSU homecoming festivities with the family and rest-up a few days at home before coming back to Dallas for a planned job-shadowing arrangement.  However, God was looking out for me, and as I arrived in Stillwater I received a text about a job position at one of the companies I had toured while down in Dallas.  Ahhh so exciting.  They wanted to know if I could come in for an interview, which worked out wonderfully since, as I said, I was already scheduled to head back down to Texas in a few days.  Whoo-hoo. That was job potential number one. 

At the same time that path was opening up, I had a positive return from another application I had sent in a few weeks earlier.  A few e-mails back and forth eventually progressed to a phone interview and next I will be headed over to Missouri for a face-to-face interview at the company this upcoming week. 

Things are beginning to develop, and it feels exciting.

However, with all good comes the bad (well it doesn’t really NEED to, that just seems to be the way it goes sometimes, haha) so naturally I had to pick up a nice little stomach flu on my way back to Dallas.  I picked this gem up thanks to my over-night stay with my little sis who had been sick the day before I arrived to stay with her.  I didn’t really understand just how sick she was until I was at her place and she was telling me.  But of course by this time I was already there, and anyway she was feeling much better, so we both didn’t think much more of it. Well we should have, because sick I did get.  And it kind of came about in one of those humorous-but-not-so-humorous-at-the-same-time kind of ways…

Luckily I made it through Wednesday just fine and dandy, which was SUPER important because I had my first set of actual interviews at the Dallas company that day.  But then Thursday arrived, which was supposed to be the day I would meet with the lady and job shadow her.  So, there I am all dressed up and feeling a bit unsettled in my tummy but trying to just grin and bear it.  I really didn’t think I was THAT sick, and I figured I’d just tough it out.  I hop in my car and begin the drive down to Dallas…and every mile I seemed to feel worse and worse.  Finally, I decide, knowing my sister had been sick and just wanting to play it safe, I had better call the lady and cancel our plans.  By this time I was already in down-town Dallas, but it didn’t matter any more…I felt BAD.  So I call her, tell her I don’t really feel well, and we plan to rain-check on it.  Well that was good, but I still felt kind of like a sissy for giving into whatever icky-ness I was experiencing.  That soon gave way though to thinking “wow I totally made the right decision” because not probably ten minutes after talking to the lady did I have to basically cut a car off so I could pull into a gas-station parking lot, open my door and get sick all over the pavement next to my car.  Now…let me tell you, there are few other experiences as humbling as stopping in Uptown Dallas to spew in front of numerous people in expensive cars.  Oh, life is interesting.

After that I was able to compose myself enough and drive all the way back to Plano and my relatives house…where I basically went up stairs and stayed in my bed, other than to get sick, for seriously the next 24 hours straight.  UHHHH, gross!!  I don’t think I have laid in a bed that long…ever, or at least not in a long time.  I mean I was out and did not feel like getting up.  Ewww.

Finally I started to come back to life, and now, Saturday, two days after the event I am feeling much better!!  Thank goodness.  Though I am still not quite back to my old self, at least I am not confined to my bedroom anymore:)

Ok, enough about being sick.  This morning I had two more important meetings.  One with the director on the account, a.k.a. the big guy for hiring me, and another with an old Beta brother of my Dad’s.  Truthfully, both were quite fun, funny, and enjoyable.  I genuinely enjoyed talking to both gentlemen and it made for quite the pleasant morning.  Breaking it down a bit more, the interview with the Director went really well, I do believe.  He shared a lot about the position, the people on the team, the account, the company, and other random funny stories.  He gave me good things to think about, and I know if I am to take the job I would highly like working for him.  He just puts off a great vibe.  The Beta brother was equally entertaining with his stories about my Dad in college, his job that had him roaming all about the country, and other interesting little tales he shared.  All in all, a morning of good conversations and movement in a positive direction for securing a job.

There is plenty more to share…but I am actually kind of tired.  Since being sick, my eyes have felt pretty dry.  I think I still might be a tough dehydrated.  So it might be another early night for me, with hopes of fully kicking this illness good-bye.  Plus, I haven’t got to run or exercise really all week, so I think tomorrow would be the perfect day to wake up feeling ready to go!!  Or, if I don’t go right to sleep…I might just go back down stairs and continue the House marathon I began like 4 hours ago, haha.  So addictingly good 🙂

Cheer, Cheer…Fall is here

Oh what a lovely lovely fall weekend this has been!  Saturday the weather was beautiful, which was just what Mom ordered because it was pre-planned clean-the-yard-and-outside-of-the-house day!!  Whoo-hooo (slight sarcasm) ;)I was given the exciting jobs of clearing weeds out from the flower beds, trimming the lower limbs off some of our garden trees, and cleaning the outside of the ground floor windows.  And man did I dominate at them!!  Really, it was a productive day and since the weather was so nice, with all three of us working together, it was actually rather enjoyable.  Plus, the house looks so GOOD now.  After cleaning most of the morning I took a few hour break or so before starting on cooking dinner for the family.  I had selected some new recipes, a curry vegetable medley and tuna-cakes, to prepare for the meal…and with the help of Mother was able to pull-off a very delicious and healthy dinner 🙂 

After dinner, I decided to really make the most of my Saturday night and went to meet my friend and Crossfit coach Laurie to listen to her husband and his band play at Bakers St. in Tulsa.  Now, let me just say…that place is FUN and the band, Uninvited Guest, was Great!!  I had a blast just hanging out, listening to music, and people watching 🙂  I hadn’t ever been to Bakers before and I am so glad I decided to go!!

Still, going out on Saturday makes for an early morning on Sunday, especially when you have a bike ride planned and you are leaving at 8:30 in the morning 🙂  But it too turned out just wonderful.  The weather was a bit cooler and overcast compared to the day before, but thankfully no rain, and therefore was a fantastic day for riding.  I joined my neighbors, Emily and Randy, and their friend for a delightful little trek from Sperry to downtown Tulsa and back.  It was a lot of fun.  Plus, when we reached downtown we stopped at the Blue Dome Cafe and had a yummy little breakfast.  My parents joined us at the cafe too 🙂  It was a fantastic way to start my Sunday, and hopefully this next week.

This next week is looking like it could be a busier one, with scheduled meetings with friends, bible studies, doctor appointments, job searching, and website content managing.  Plus, the seasons are changing and I definitely need to make time to really enjoy the splendid-ness that is fall.  Soon the leaves will be changing colors and beginning to float to the ground.  Ahhh…I love fall.  I am super looking forward to buying a pumpkin soon too and carving it up.  Well, I had better get to doing some other things for now.  Hope you all have a wonderful week too, and enjoy the rest of your Sunday afternoon 🙂

On a Friday Afternoon

And I thought I was bad about blogging while I was on my Europe trip…ha.  The thing was, what kept me from writing then, was I was so busy doing awesome stuff that I felt like any time I sat down to blog I might be missing out on some unexpected adventure.  On the contrary, now, I have times when I could easily be writing a nice blog entry…but I feel like there is NOTHING to talk about.  I mean, compared to the excitement I was sharing with my friends and family while I was on my trip, my day-to-day life is hardly a page-turner.  It leads me to wonder…what do people blog about all the time, because unless they have a crazy awesome, doing-something-new-all-the-time life-style…it would seem less than captivating.  But maybe I’m wrong.  Maybe I just think it is hum-drum, but other people would like to hear about my normal life right now.  Thus if in fact you are here reading this blog…I hope you enjoy it.

The updates as of late:

1. My job search continues.  I feel like I have been sending resumes and trying to contact people, network, and research employers for months instead of weeks.  It is SO discouraging to spend hours on the computer sending out letters and filling out applications never knowing if it will ever even get viewed by anyone that has an opinion that matters in the company.  On a positive note though, I did have an interview a week or so ago…but while it went quite well, and the employer complimented me on my work and self-presentation…the job was given to someone with the infamous “more experience.”  So, I continue pressing forward:)  I know God has a job/position for me in mind…it is just a matter of waiting it out.

I will actually be traveling to Dallas here in a week or so to stay with my Aunt and Uncle in Plano, Tx and hopefully interview with some employers down there.  If anyone has some business connections in Dallas I would be thrilled to hear about them.

2. I was asked “what do you do all day” by a girl not long ago…and I truly felt like saying “nothing…” Which actually isn’t true and yet I do feel that way sometimes.  I mean, researching and working on finding a job is not nothing.  Working on art and drawing pictures is not nothing.  Working out and going to CrossFit…occasionally cooking for the family…not nothing.  Reading, e-mailing, talking with my family, helping out around the house…all these things are not nothing.  But I feel like because they are so typical, everyday things they don’t really counts as “something.”  This has led me to really dwell on how God called us to live for him even in the little things…the everyday, typical “nothing” things.  I try also to remember how, though some of these things feel futile now, at one point they will pay off and then I will realize the benefit.  I hope that day comes soon 🙂

3. I have started two bible studies…one is through the Church at Battle Creek and is usually held in Broken Arrow.  I have only attended twice, but the last time I went I had a really great time and met some new fun people.  Speaking of meeting people, it has been kind of tough to make new friends since I’ve been home.  And after going months were I was meeting new people like every day, it is strange to not have many people to call and hang out with.  Plus, I seem to have some uncanny ability to make friends with girls who are married.  This is ok, but considering I don’t even have a boyfriend…it just makes things a little different.  Still, it is always good to have fun girl friends, and I know the young women I have met lately are glad to have a girl they can chat, since usually they are just hanging out with their guy.  Anyway, back to bible studies.  The other bible study is really more like an accountability partner, and we meet every other week to discuss what we have been reading in our bibles, the book we are reading together (Mere Christianity), and life and God.  It has been such a blessing, truly, to have her around to talk with and be encouraged by.  My reading of the Bible is still far from where I would like it to be, but having Melissa around to check-up with me about it helps me be a bit more dedicated than I have been.

4. There is a guy I have kind of been interested in getting to know better…but I am waiting for him to actually do something about it before I really let myself think about it too much.  So far…yeah…not much is happening.  Well, actually he kind of confuses me because some days he acts in such a way that I think “hmm, maybe something could evolve from this…like a date.”  Then other days, I think, “I don’t even think he thinks about stuff like girls and dates” because he is so focused on his future and all the things he has going on.  Which I totally understand, I mean basically all I am doing right now is trying to figure out my future, job, and where I will live.  For all anyone knows I could be moving out of Owasso, Tulsa, Oklahoma…in a couple months.  Oh well, we will see.  At least I can count him amongst my new friends in the Owasso/Tulsa area.  And as I said earlier, it is nice to be meeting a few new people.

5. I have started doing some “content management” work for a website designing company out of Broken Arrow.  I met the owner at my TCABC bible study, and after some discussion he said he could use me for updating some of his websites 🙂  Actually I am stoked about this.  It may not be design work, and it isn’t full time, but it gives me something to do, gets me working, and earning a little money…which are all EXCELLENT things.  Plus, the guy who ones the company, Cullen, seems really cool, patient, and fun to work with.  I’m excited to get going with it.  If you by chance are interested or need a website remodel, or a website at all, you can check it out at http://www.innovatedmedia.com/ and maybe we can help 🙂

Well, I need to get back to my usual list of things to do.  When I get my powercord back maybe I will upload some more photos from this summer to the blog.  Otherwise, I will brainstorm on what-else I can blog about, because I really do enjoy doing it.  If anyone has some interesting topics they would like me to cover…please send them my way and I will see what I can do 🙂  Have a lovely Friday evening!!!